Still in Shadow

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An Aries discovered this week that I’m an astrologer and wanted to know, as people usually do, what was going on with her. Mars had stationed retrograde on Monday, but things hadn’t gotten better yet. I understand where she was coming from, because this week wasn’t stellar for me either. If I didn’t know better, I could have sworn that both Mars and Mercury were still retrograde.

Astrology depends on accurate timing. A chart is a map of a moment, frozen in time. However, the cycles we track--aspects, retrogrades, lunar patterns--are moving, ever-evolving things. Most astrological patterns happen in a gradual way. Which means that while it would be nice to think that Mars retrograde frustration is all patched up instantly the moment Mars stations direct, it will take a little longer than that for you to recover. Charts are similar to photographs, frozen images, but when astrologers analyze charts we’re looking at something more akin to a video, with cycles moving forwards and backwards through time.

I don’t get into shadow periods a lot because I don’t want to make it seem like Mercury retrograde is six weeks longer than it actually is. It’s overhyped enough anyway. The shadow period is the period in which a planet moves (direct) through the degrees of the retrograde. This means that every planetary retrograde is effectively a three-part cycle. The pre-shadow period is a kind of preview of the themes that will come up. The retrograde itself is the main event. The post-shadow period is a time to integrate the lessons of the retrograde.

Think of a car slowing down from 80 miles per hour to a dead stop. That’s the pre-shadow period. The car slows gradually, not instantly. Once the planet stations retrograde, imagine for the sake of this example that the car has come to a full stop. Time to just sit, reflect and enjoy the scenery. When the planet stations direct, the car begins speeding up again. But it doesn’t go from 0 to 80 immediately. It happens gradually, over a short period of time. That’s your post-shadow period.

Your Mars car is revving up again, but you’ll have to give it a little time before it’s going full speed towards your desires. Mercury is out of shadow on September 2nd. Mars will officially be out of shadow on October 8th. In my experience, it’s the first few days after an inner planet stations direct that require your continued patience. The rest of the shadow period should be less intense. Don’t worry; your car will start moving faster!

As with everything in life, astrology has no silver bullets, and no instantaneous rewards. Astrology only allows us to see and work with continuous cycles. Expect that we will always be participating in a series of cycles, because the only constant here is change.

Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo: Recovery

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This partial solar eclipse is at 18.41 Leo on August 11 at 5:57 am

It's the second-to-last eclipse in our Leo-Aquarius eclipse cycle. The last one will be a total lunar eclipse in Leo on January 21, 2019. Normally, I would say that the new moon is a time for setting intentions that you can act on once the moon begins waxing. This one is a little different, though, because the solar eclipse happens to be next to Mercury retrograde in Leo at a time when nearly everything else is retrograde, too. The moon and Mercury Rx are also squaring Jupiter in Scorpio.

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Since October 2017, Jupiter in Scorpio has been solving mysteries and uncovering long-buried secrets. We've all been in a collective process of recovery: uncovering "open secrets" about patterns of sexual harassment and abuse, recovering from abuses of power, and resisting the secrecy of those who want to bury the truth. In your own private life you may be recovering hidden memories and truths, or undergoing a kind of initiation by Jupiter into knowledge of the mysterious. This solar eclipse is very much about this kind of recovery: a recovery of self.

The Leo-Aquarius eclipse cycle has been about allowing yourself and others to shine individually while creating a collective vision for the future. All of the axes of signs are described with a set of balanced or paradoxical archetypes. The two signs complement each other. Leo and Aquarius are along the axis of individual and community. When an individual dares to be different, shining brightly, he or she will almost always create a community of people who appreciate that individuality, and together they develop a shared vision. Having the courage to stand alone, paradoxically, brings us together.

With Mercury retrograde in Leo squaring Jupiter right now, you are uncovering something important about yourself. It may be some special weirdness that you've hidden from the rest of the world in an act of self-preservation, or a latent talent you almost forgot that you had. You might decide to free yourself from a secret that you're tired of keeping to protect someone else's reputation. You might remember something that was once repressed, or find something you once lost. This eclipse has an element of memoir to it. You are declaring ownership of your story and re-telling it in your own words.

I find it metaphorically resonant that this eclipse happened at dawn, just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. Discovery can happen like daybreak: a shadow passes over and the light returns, and nothing is ever the same again. Internally, you are reflecting on the changes that have occurred throughout this eclipse cycle since February 2017. You have recovered something about yourself, and you're getting ready to share that with the people who recognize your true belonging.

Image Credit: 20,000 Leagues under th thingy by Pete Amachree

Horoscopes for March are Up

You might want to know what's going down for you in March. With two full moons, Mercury retrograde in Aries, Mars meeting Saturn in Capricorn, and Venus sashaying into Taurus, it's a lot. Horoscopes are up. Let the March madness begin!