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Lynn's Skywatch:
Planetary Illuminations for February 2012

2/1 Venus opposite Mars
2/3 Neptune enters Pisces
2/7 Sun conjunct Mercury
       Full Moon 18 Leo 4:54 pm
          Saturn turns retrograde
2/8 Venus enters Aries
2/9 Venus conjunct Uranus
2/13 Mercury trine Saturn
       Mercury enters Pisces
2/14 Mercury conjunct Neptune
       Pluto square Ceres
       Jupiter sextile Chiron
2/15 Venus square Pluto
       Venus conjunct Ceres
2/16 Mercury conjunct Chiron
       Mercury sextile Jupiter
2/18 Sun trine Saturn
       Mercury sextile Pluto
2/19 Sun enters Pisces
       Sun conjunct Neptune
2/21 New Moon 2 Pisces 5:34 pm
2/23 Mercury opposite Mars
2/24 Sun conjunct Chiron
2/25 Sun sextile Jupiter
2/28 Sun sextile Pluto

All dates and times are for the Eastern time zone; please adjust for your own locality.  For daily planetary news, visit my Facebook and Twitter pages.

OVERALL ASTROLOGICAL PICTURE

Mars turned retrograde on January 23rd, and when February begins it is still moving very slowly through the sky so its influence is felt on a more deeply personal level. The energy of Mars is important for our motivation and our ability to move forward in our lives, and Mars is in Virgo where it is bringing our attention to the details of life - the mundane everyday world in which most of our lives transpire.

Any planet in retrograde motion asks us to look within a little more carefully, and Mars retrograde periods urge us to carefully consider areas of life in which we react to stimuli without thinking. Where do we respond in anger? Where are we blocked from expressing ourselves when our boundaries are violated? What do we really want and how can we put our dreams into action? These are all Mars Retrograde questions and because Mars will be inching along very slowly for the first two weeks of February we will continue to feel its effects. This could include sleeplessness and agitation if Mars is hitting a sensitive area in our chart and we are allowing that energy to implode without giving it an outlet, through physical activity perhaps, or by expressing ourselves more clearly and assertively.

Saturn is preparing to turn retrograde too - that retrograde turn occurs on February 7th so Saturn's motion is also slowing down to a standstill in preparation for that retrograde turn. Saturn is at the 29th degree of Libra, not quite ready to move into Scorpio but instead going back one more time to complete the work of helping us to re-establish our sense of values and aesthetics (Libra).

Saturn turns retrograde every year, so this is not such an unusual event. Saturn is the planet that teaches us to build and create strong structures that will sustain our lives and grant us success in the material world, but in order to accomplish this it often calls our attention to areas in which our performance has not been adequate. This can lead to feelings of self-doubt and anxiety. Saturn retrograde periods offer opportunities for us to use this awareness of where our efforts have fallen short so that we can improve them and ultimately achieve lasting success.

We also have Neptune re-entering Pisces after a brief sojourn back into Aquarius. You can read more about that here.

And finally, Pluto is moving into position to form a square aspect to Ceres. Ceres represents our ability to nurture ourselves and others, and Pluto presents a challenge to that ability. There are often issues of food disorders under this aspect, or at the very least a difficulty in balancing our emotional needs with the physical ones.

FEBRUARY DETAILS

Venus opposes Mars on February 1 st which brings all of that Mars energy into the area of our personal relationships. There is a debate here between our personal needs (Mars) and the compromise that is required in order to find balance (Venus).

Neptune re-enters Pisces on the 3 rd. Here again is the link to an article about this major planetary change.

On the 7 th the Sun conjoins Mercury in time for the Full Moon in Leo. Because the Full Moon consists of an opposition between the Sun and the Moon, Mercury is then tightly wound into the fabric of the Full Moon and brings a mental alertness and flow of ideas into the energy of this lunation (lunar event).

The Leo Full Moon is all about learning to become the very best “I” we can be. Leo instills a sense of healthy ego identification and joy – there is greater generosity and expansion of the heart. The Full Moon is a culmination of the cycle, and bringing something into form is an important piece of the intention here. Yet the Leo Moon is opposite the Aquarius Sun, necessitating a balance between our identification with the personal (Leo) and our lives as part of a collective (Aquarius).

There is a sense of anticipation at this time, with Neptune having just entered Pisces and Venus at the 29 th degree of Pisces, preparing to enter Aries. When planets changed signs the energy shifts and we have a sense of movement. However, Saturn will turn retrograde just after the Full Moon which brings our attention back into the past even as we feel pulled into the future.

Venus enters Aries on the 8 th, and for a few weeks our relationships take on the Arian quality of courage, assertiveness and bold action, qualities which are exacerbated somewhat between the 8 th and the 10 th or so as Venus conjoins Uranus, the planet of radical action and rebellion. During these few days we may find it more difficult than usual to surrender our own needs and ideas for the sake of keeping the peace.

We then have few quiet astrological days until the 13 th and 14 th when Mercury forms a trine to Saturn and then enters Pisces. Mercury deals with matters of the mind, and these few days are very good for the imagination, creativity and exploration of the spiritual mind, especially since Mercury will conjoin Neptune in Pisces on the 14 th.

For about a week or so before the 14 th, Jupiter is moving into a harmonious sextile to Chiron, bringing its expansiveness into the realm of emotional sensitivity and healing (Chiron). This entire period is very helpful for moving through difficult emotional experiences that may be creating blockages, and the Pluto/Ceres square could bring any of those issues that need to be transformed to the surface.

On the 15 th relationships could be challenging as Venus squares Pluto and intensifies our interpersonal interactions. This is a positive influence for intimate relationships that require a higher degree of Truth in order to function well, but it can be more difficult for casual relationships that thrive on more superficiality.

On the 16 th Mercury interacts with both Chiron and Jupiter which brings our attention to personal issues that require greater understanding and enhances our capacity to learn and expand our individual ideologies. On the 18 th we go a little deeper as Mercury sextiles Pluto and psychological issues come to the forefront. Meanwhile the Sun trines Saturn on that day, teaching us patience and granting rewards for responsibility.

The Sun enters Pisces and aligns with Neptune on February 19 th, a Neptunian “double whammy” that illuminates the mystery and the flow of life, reminding us that the Truth lies within and is accessed through transcending the everyday world.

The New Moon in Pisces occurs on February 21 st. This is a particularly powerfully Neptunian New Moon since Neptune and Chiron flank the Sun and Moon, all within four degrees of each other. Mercury is also in Pisces, and if we look at the asteroids as well we see Pallas linking the Sun and Chiron.

Neptune and Pisces encourage us to transcend the physical world and delve into the mysteries of spirituality, of creativity. There is a yearning under this influence to be free from the trappings of the material world – to flee from the potential ugliness of our reality and merge with the great Unknown that lies on the other side of conscious awareness. This can be an experience of incredible inspiration. It can also promote confusion and delusion.

New Moons are always times of new beginnings – it’s the beginning of the new lunar cycle when the solar and lunar principles are fused and integration can occur. This New Moon is the perfect time for a spiritual retreat, or to focus on a project involving artistry or some other type of creativity such as music and dance. Any experience in which we can let go of ourselves and allow the divinity to channel through us will be heightened and enhanced under this New Moon. Mercury in Pisces helps us to release the mind into the transcendent experience, although an opposition from Mars to Mercury will evoke a fire influence that will need to be managed in some way (ideally through integration of fire and enthusiasm into the creative spirituality of the New Moon).

Chiron and Neptune have been within four degrees of each other for several years now. You can read more about that conjunction here, but briefly, this conjunction brings together the Soul Healer (Chiron) with the Soul Teacher (Neptune) has overseen the deeply intense and sometimes agonizing experience of clearing old emotional wounds for the purpose of greater spiritual integration. Now that both planets have moved from Aquarius into Pisces, the flow and release of the old wounds can be managed with more ease and grace. It’s important with any Pisces/Neptune influence, though, to try to balance the potential power of the spiritual experience with the need to keep two feet firmly grounded into the physical world.

The presence of Pallas Athena in this assemblage of Pisces planets is interesting, since Pallas represents Divine Knowledge and Wisdom. Pallas links the Sun and Chiron, bestowing a creative intelligence that aids us in gaining understanding from these experiences which go beyond the realm of the mortal mind.

Jupiter sextiles this New Moon Pisces stellium, and over the next few days the Sun will sexxtile Pluto as well which will help the positive effects of the New Moon carry over into the end of the month.

Have a beautiful month, and relish this New Moon. It’s a juicy one!