For those celebrating Easter, both Orthodox and American Easter, they were yesterday! Rarely do these two celebrate on the same day, but this year they were on the same day. When we were children (I am Greek Orthodox), much like the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, our families would gather and go to church late at night — tough for little kids — and right at midnight, the lights in the church would go off and a holy flame was passed throughout the church for all of us to light our white candles. The white candles also had paper cups on them, to insure that the melting wax wouldn’t get on us or our clothes. I must say my mother was very handy at getting wax out of our clothes! I was also witness to only one occasion where a woman’s Easter bonnet caught fire, but which was quickly put out. (We wore Easter bonnets in those days, too). We thought it was funny, but my mother didn’t.

After the lighting ceremony, a beautiful hymn would be sung — several times past midnight — Hristos Anesti Hristos Anesti — meaning Christ has Risen. Then everyone would either head home ‘with their lit candles in the car’ -if you can believe that one — what were they thinking??? And then we’d stay up half the night eating the prepared meal, the home-made Easter Bread with the red egg in the middle and proceed to our favorite activity of what my brother and I and my cousins used to call the Egg Wars where each of us took our very red egg and tried breaking one end or another of the egg being held by the persons at our table. The winner, the egg that didn’t break, had the ‘good luck’ for the year. All hokey I know, but still lovely.

Whether one is Christian, Moslem, or Buddhist, those moments of total light and insight and harmony are beautiful and the memories are even greater. I must say, for we kids, it was ‘how long do we really have to stay up?’ and ‘when do we eat?’, because we were also fasting to take communion, but, in the end, it was about community and togetherness and forty days of saying Hristos Anesti and responding with Aleetheenos Anesti (He has truly risen). So, this week is about taking the energy of the spring season and as Pluto retrogrades on Thursday April 20, it is also about making choices on how to reframe our conscious minds to gain inner peace going forward. Sometimes when Pluto goes retrograde, we are faced with a choice that is challenging, an ending of some kind, or the reality that something must end, in order for something else to grow or start. It can be painful. It might require some serious distillation of what we want versus what we really need as Saturn and Venus square, or, chatter at each other on Saturday. By week’s end, the Moon and Venus line up and with the Sun in Taurus starting on Wednesday April 19, things ease up and spring in the Northern Hemisphere begins again. What new ‘flowers’ will you grow this year?

This week begins with a full moon in Aries and Libra. Full moons usually heighten emotions and those effects last for a day or two. However, this full moon remains more active throughout the first five days of the week offering sudden out of the blue catastrophes or insights or opportunities depending on your attitude. Think positive rather than negative. There are surprises some of which maintain a bit of a chaotic up and down, so stay steady and defer judgment or response until your head gets clear.

The first few days have either the transiting sun in Aries or the transiting Moon in Libra tossing us back and forth between forward motion where we act, but then pulling back because we don’t want disruption. Since Uranus is in the mix, causing the opportunities as well as the surprises, strangers or people in your immediate community may come forward to help or offer alternative ways of approaching an issue. Uranus, often associated with ‘the stranger’ in astrology, can also put you in the right place at the right time, particularly if you’ve written down a goal or idea you have — even if you don’t have all the parts or pieces put together.

Uranus can also be distracting, charging the nervous system, so sleep often suffers. Sleep deprivation does not make for making good decisions. Pay attention to your driving (it isn’t always you, it may be them) and move at a pay which allows you to pay attention. If your intuition is telling you it is time to check the tires or the computers or anything else that has to do with technology, then it is a good idea to listen to that intuition and not put it off.

On Saturday, April 15, Venus is direct at 26° Pisces 55′, but until it really gets back to its original position on April 28, items on the agenda may feel as though they are slower than usual with some delays since Saturn is involved in the mix until then. Direct confrontations are possible, too, since these two usually don’t spare words — i.e. tact is not their best suit — but they still make the point of dealing with the resolution of any circumstance that has been brewing since early March, 2017. Gaining perspective is not easy, but this period offers a wonderful opportunity to do just that and open the doors to more constructive conversation and resolutions.

Highlight for this week: Jupiter is still in last quarter square to Pluto. Think before spending. Plan before acting.

The week begins with a first quarter moon, always a good week for getting things done, but Saturn is stationing to go retrograde on Wednesday April 5 at 10:06 pm on the Pacific Coast and at 1 am Thursday April 6 on the East Coast. The concern regarding Saturn’s station is that it is stationing at the Galactic Center (G.C.) so anything goes with this degree, things can fly fast and furious, particularly since Friday April 7, transit Jupiter (over expansion) is opposite the Sun, which could indicate a reverse direction or spike in various markets or something surprising in the news that could affect those markets or ‘deals’. There are surprises this week because a couple of days later, Mercury, the planet of commerce, sales, communications, contracts, travel begins its retrograde from April 9 to May 3. Since it is in the earth sign of Taurus, it suggests reassessing spending, values, or a contract or project which you’ve been trying to figure out since Venus was retrograde on March 3. The interesting thing about this passage is that the following week, Venus does go direct, which normally puts things back on track, but there is still something that is missing or not right.

So, this is the way it might play out. You are close to deciding on a project, a job or a contract or something you’ve been attempting to sort out over this last month. You are close, but there are still some last-minute hitches. This retrograde Mercury is about where to get the money, how to spend the money, or where the real profit is in this project. Patience is always the key and with Saturn retrograde (a good direction for Saturn), another authority figure or someone who knows a better way to attack this project is suggested.

I rarely speak of the comet, Chiron, but Chiron came back to its shadow position on March 24, just a few days ago. Shadow position is a term used for when a planetary body returns to its retrograde position after being retrograde, going direct, and then returning to the original retrograde position. Chiron, retrograde started on June 27, 2016, just about the time of the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. Chiron has now returned to that spot at 25º Pisces 15′. So what does that mean? Since Chiron often relates to mental as well as physical health, its return suggests added strength along with more refined skills for correcting physical as well as mental and even, sometimes, financial challenges. The discipline to continue in that mode is supported by the hard angle to Saturn, which rules discipline and responsibility. Since Chiron has only one more year in the sign of Pisces (it began in 2012 and ends in 2018), the nearer to the end of a cycle, the nearer to resolutions for areas revolving around the unconscious habits that drive us and the ability to get clarification on how to prioritize those things needing to end.

Chiron was a centaur, half man, half horse and half mortal and half god. Because his father was a god, he wasn’t in the same class as the lowly centaurs, because he had the intelligence and wisdom of a higher being. What resulted is that he really didn’t fit in anywhere. Abandoned by his mother and father, he raised himself, but, ultimately, came out into the world to teach and share the experiences developed in those many years in the cave where he also discovered the use of herbs. The name Chiron, is the prefix used in the word, Chiropractor and Chiron is often associated with healing using one’s hands as well as working with herbal remedies. Returning to his shadow position offers opportunities to combine old and new, out of the box, ideas, since he was one who walked his own path. Where, in your life, can you walk a new path that combines the positive of the older more conservative ways with new solutions that bridge the gap between the old and the new?

The fact that organic food has a stake in main stream commerce, the eat and grow local food movement is found in homes and restaurants, and the humane meat movement shot forward over the last few years, are all indicators of Chiron’s influence of the last few years as it passes through Pisces, the toxic waste management sign of the zodiac. Everything must filter through that sign before it is born anew, because it is the last sign of the zodiac.

Awareness of what harms versus lifts the body for a healthier response to living may be the result of Chiron’s return to Pisces over the course of the last few years since 1960 to 1970 the last time it was in Pisces. As any planet or planetary body finishes up its last year we often see its growing influence. In the 1960s Rachel Carson wrote her groundbreaking book, “Silent Spring”, which was about pesticides and how it affected our environment. Now that along with other issues like global warming and climate change are part of the continuing cycle.

Since Pisces is the part of the zodiac that deals with the integration of the psyche — joining both the conscious and unconscious mind, listening to intuition and paying attention to the ‘red flags’ that are our intuition, the ability to make better decisions regarding past confusion and chaos is there. With Saturn holding Chiron at bay through the end of the year, those decisions may seem harsher, but are really the result of not setting boundaries earlier in the cycle when it began in 2012. This next year is about making it better for everyone with a few little hiccups along the way.

Highlight for this Week: Jupiter is in a last quarter square to Pluto. Tensions run high during this cycle. There is a need to change, but without enough information. The key is to not over react, but stay consistent. Overextending oneself is often an aspect of this cycle. Caution in the markets is suggested.

Lots going on as the week starts. First it is Spring Equinox starting at 3:29 AM Pacific Time and 6:29 AM on the East coast. Spring Equinox represents equal day and equal night and now the days become longer, and, hopefully, warmer. It is the first day of spring and is the window of opportunity to step out and do something that involves risk, something different or fresh in terms of your behavior. I find that when the Sun enters Aries (which it always does on Spring Equinox, that my brain clicks in a little better and the ‘mush’ of fuzzy thinking finds resolutions. Wherever the Sun enters Aries in your chart each year (and for those who understand astrology, whatever house of your chart the Sun rules) is where you get a shot in the arm beginning a more adventurous and positive direction for the next year. We call these Ingress charts in the business. Ingress charts denote the activity for the next year, particularly for the next quarter.

In looking at various places: Washington, D.C.; San Francisco, CA; Chicago, IL; the UK and even Sydney, Australia, it looks like Neptune (water, floods, creative imagination, viruses, oceans, wines, credit bubble issues to name a few of the symbols associated with Neptune) may be all over the news and reflect chaotic responses in the markets resulting from the above mentioned. I write these several weeks in advance, it is hard to tell exactly how this plays out, but one thing that seems obvious in all these charts is Saturn conjunct Moon.

The Moon represents the emotions and the people of the land and with Saturn, the feeling of the people is a more serious tone. A more serious outlook on life. It could be, too, that there is low inventory in housing (Saturn on Moon) or that an adjustment with monies and finances, rates go up, slowing home buying down, too. However, it is during this quarter where the Netherlands have elections and Article 50 is employed by the UK. This, too, could affect markets.

Key Thing to Remember: My suggestion is to always keep a list of companies in which you are interested on hand and watch these market moves because this year there are many swings in markets and psyches as Neptune is so strong in so many charts. Economists call it “animal spirits”. Mass thinking, hysteria, belief, panic, or, positive thinking adds to the volatility. So be prepared.

In my opinion, and this is just an opinion, the fireworks kick in this week. Though complacency has been the norm since the Sun entered Pisces at the end of February, that is changing starting this week. Though Venus is still retrograde (until April 15) the week starts with Mercury entering fiery Aries. Blurting things out is what comes with Mercury in Aries. Markets can shift during cardinal entry points — up or down – as well. However, on Tuesday March 14 the Sun aligns itself with Chiron and just a few days later Friday March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) it stresses Saturn. So, this lends itself to ‘a fish or cut bait’ type of week. Don’t eat or drink too much- Chiron has a way of getting you when you least expect it.

Are your negotiations stuck? Have your buyers or sellers stalled? Are you stuck in a project or stuck with the final form it will take that you don’t like? The good news is that this could be the week in which you figure out the problem, combining a more traditional approach with a less traditional application. Hybrid thinking is the order of the day allowing a more conservative and affordable approach while coming to a positive solution by the end of the weekend as Mercury and Venus inch up to each other. This is a good time to catch up and call those folks you love and care for but for whom you’ve been putting off that call.

This is the first week of Venus retrograde. Retrogrades horrify the public because they think that everything is going to go to hell in a hand basket. And they may…Just kidding. But, the, maybe not… It really depends on your attitude. And your persistence when it comes to resolving relationships hanging out there in the stratosphere that need resolution. Since Venus is retrograde in Aries, one of the most impatient signs of the zodiac, it is very likely that the issue or idea of patience is key here. Sometimes certain markets decide to reverse direction during the time as do agreements which started out one way, but really need revamping.

Since we have a full moon coming up on Sunday March 12, the realization that a system, a foundation, a plan needs revamping is in the wind as well. That full moon in Virgo is on the same axis as Chiron and squaring Saturn so emotions run high and those not even as sensitive feel the push of emotions during this time. As far as investing, I always tell people to think twice, do your due diligence, then decide. Sometimes as Venus retrogrades we realize that the value of something — i.e. what we paid for something or our regard for someone — is challenged. Values are the big theme with Venus and when she is retrograde (until April 15) the price you pay may not be the real value of the item. Sometimes lovers or partners from the past show up with offers of love and devotion. Again, exercise caution when saying yes. Enjoy the moment, but take time to think ‘what if’.

There has been an interesting phenomenon over the course of the last few weeks with all this other added activity of eclipses. It is the phenomenon of the comet Encke, which was discovered back in 1786 by Pierre Mechain, but not plotted in terms of its return until much later after three others observed it, Messier, Caroline Herschel and Pons, but finally plotted by Encke in 1822. It was discovered that it returns every 3.3 years. For the last few weeks it has been hanging out in the sky and is closest to earth on March 10, 2017 having been visible since February.

So, what does all this mean? Well, I think in looking at some of its very interesting history it stirs up the pot. Unfortunately, back in June 1908 a comet exploded, which they think was a portion of Encke, destroying a great deal of Tundra in Siberia. The impact was more destructive than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, but there were no people in that part of the world, thus forests (who are also people) were destroyed rather than humans. Encke’s last perihelion (closest position to earth) was between September and November 21, 2013. At the end of 2013 Obama had won his second election. However, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act was not seamless if you recall, in addition, the threat of the ‘fiscal cliff’ arose that fall not loosening up until very close to the October 18, 2013 eclipse at late degrees of Aries. It was a chaotic time of non-resolution. There was so much arguing going on that nothing got done. So, hmmm? Let’s think about this.

After March 1, there is more clarity. Wednesday, March 1 is the conjunction of Sun and Neptune. Yes, this can suggest fog and confusion, but a remedial measure for this combo is doing something creative. Dance, paint, take photographs, listen to music, get season tickets for the theater, walk along a beach or lake, get away from the air waves and breathe some salt air. Move into a more spiritual space or make time to be alone with just quiet for a few minutes a day to either nap or think. Get inspired. Go to an art show or museum, see an exhibit, let the Neptunian part of you have a day off — maybe even listen to some great comedy. This is the way to best deal with Neptune. Once that’s done, you begin the new cycle of rethinking your values, your wants, your needs as Venus begins her retrograde walk on Saturday March 4 at 13° Aries 08′. More on that next week.

Highlight for the week: Jupiter opposing Uranus, March 2, the Lightbulbs go on!

Early this week there are lovely aspects — in fact great ones — for conversing, conveying information, and editing because the planet of communications is passing over the eclipse degrees of February 10 helping speak the ideas that had shades of confusion. As the week begins, we have Presidents’ Day and Mercury, ideas are in a great aspect to Uranus, the innovator and the out of the box thinker. This energy follows through to Tuesday when quick moving Mercury is in a positive aspect to the planet of opportunity, Jupiter. Make hay while the sun shines on the first two days because Wednesday’s aspect where Mars (who reacts) is in a hard aspect to Pluto (often a control freak) suggests saying you will get back to them on Thursday. This buys some time to think about how you handle requests. There is support for this on Thursday as Mercury, communications is in a positive aspect to Saturn, rules and boundaries.

This is a good negotiating stance, but I’d still wait to sign on the dotted line until after Sunday’s Solar Eclipse at 8° Pisces 12′, which is the last in the series, which is often the one where all the issues of the last two years regarding giving too much, serving, details, health, and micro-managing come to a head. I would also say — everyone — watch your tempers and your driving this next weekend. When you get in that vehicle, think before turning the key and stay focused on the road and the other drivers. The last eclipse in a series is often packed full of the unresolved issues of the last two years and if they aren’t resolved over the next few weeks, they are resolved, if you set solid boundaries by late May 2017.

This week I head over to Baltimore for the NCGR conference and am excited about seeing colleagues and friends whom I have not seen for a long time. It was at the last NCGR conference where I spoke in Philadelphia a few years ago, that I brought up the idea of the foundation Alexandria iBase Project, which has come to fruition as a 501C3 non-profit foundation with the mission of preserving astrological research, papers and books for future astrologers. This digitized project www.alexibase.org is the result of a collaboration between the Urania Trust in the United Kingdom, Starcycles, and help from Kepler College and individuals who see the need for this. With that said, I look forward to going back to the east coast to see the people who in that meeting spurred this on.

The week has a nice feel to it since we have Jupiter, good luck, still hanging out with Spica, that fixed star of good luck on the 15th. During this same time, we see the Sun in a nice aspect to Saturn, which allows us to get some ideas and work done, helping us focus as we move forward. On Thursday February 16, Mars (action, motivation) are in a nice aspect to Mercury (Communication), so this makes Thursday and Friday prime days for getting together with co-workers to plan.

Saturday, the Sun passes into Pisces and stays here for about four weeks. This year as the Sun passes through Pisces, there are some areas of challenge because as the Sun enters Pisces, it passes over Neptune right after that Solar Eclipse on February 26. Neptune is foggy in its expression and, again, the theme of what you believe you see intensifies during this time. Since this is also the time of the last quarter moon, it behooves all of us to take stock of what we say, how we respond, and, if you don’t know what to do, the last quarter moon is a great time to retreat and get all that stuff cleared off your desk, particularly those items you no longer need.

The week starts out with Jupiter, the planet of opportunity, taking a step back to rethink the options it offered over the course of the last few months. It entered the sign of Libra back in September and stays in Libra until it moves to Scorpio in October of this year. Libra is ruled by Venus often associated with, among other things, sweets, sugars, pleasure. Have you been eating more sugar than usual? If so, with Jupiter beginning its retrograde process now until June 9, you have an opportunity to re-think diet and adding more nourishing foods into your diet.

Jupiter has also stationed at 23° Libra 08′ which is very close to the fixed star, Spica, which is one of the luckier stars in this portion of the zodiac often referred to as the Via Combusta, or, the Fiery Way! Yes, the portion of the zodiac between about 15° Libra and 15° Scorpio is associated with the need for everyone to be more ginger about fiery retorts and over the top reactions to what is already a tense atmosphere. The irony of this star in the middle of all this fire is that it is lucky, fortunate, offering insights and opportunities for moving forward. That Jupiter stopped at this point gives me hope for more peace in the coming months, if not closer to summer.

Another major event occurring this week is the annular lunar eclipse on Friday February 10 at 22° Leo 28′. Of course, eclipses always affect everyone as they begin to shed their shadow (a psychological term as well as an astronomical term) over the planet and the people of the planet. Lunar Eclipses (Full Moons) are associated with the people of the world as opposed to Solar Eclipses (we have one on February 26) which seem to affect more individuals or people in the news. Friday’s eclipse is particularly important for those folks with lots of planets in late Leo, late Aquarius, late Taurus and late Scorpio. This suggests in all the areas of your life: family, property, careers, bosses, friends or people you think are friends, organizations in which you are involved, and children or your creative babies are all affected. If it isn’t you, it is them. Shadows are a way for the more conscious of the lot to take a step back and re-think the above areas mentioned. And since we often don’t find the answers at the time of the eclipses, we sure do come 90-days later. For this eclipse this occurs somewhere between May 10 and May 17.

This eclipse is very close to Regulus another fixed star, but the one on August 21, 2017 at 28° Leo is right on Regulus. Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation of Leo. It is known for its capacity of offering great success, but without humility or introspection, it can be quite destructive. However, as this occurs, we also have a lovely aspect between Venus (the planet that allows us to partner with others) and Mercury the planet of communication in Aquarius, which is exalted, so honest conversations about what you are doing with partners or friends or associates where everyone is willing to listen to process things is the ticket for the day. Don’t expect any solutions quite yet, because with Venus slowing down to begin its retrograde period on March 4, it is best to leave the final decision making until closer to late April or mid-May.

There is no question about the next few years which show a need for thinking ahead, planning ahead, in a way stocking our psychic shelves with good mental food, reasoning, and thoughtfulness as well as stocking our shelves with the real deal — canned goods and making budgets. Saturn is about what do you NEED versus what do you WANT? There is a big difference. This week’s New Moon in Aquarius and positive aspect to Mars ends the tensions of the last few weeks. Over the course of the next few weeks, Mars, motivation and energy, moves into Aries, which is a fire sign and works well with the Aquarian air, which feeds it. Aquarian air is more objective, more adept at looking at the macroscopic view versus the microscopic view, more innovative and allows us to think outside of the box that encloses us. New ideas in the news such as Amazon starting to go into the filmmaking business, flood the news. The contrast with what is restrictive versus what isn’t is the basis for new ideas regarding every industry, particularly the health services industries, the water preservation and infrastructure industry, new types of travel devices such as electric bikes are part of the landscape of the new year.

Purchasing those types of items may be on the books for many of you. However, let me caution the value of those purchases — at least for now — as Venus is beginning to slow in her movement in the skies and in early March stations to go retrograde until middle April. Venus retrograde is the signature of the disgruntled customer, as Jessica Shepherd, another speaker at the annual forecast talk, stated. Venus enters Aries at the end of this week heading into next and that type of personality may seem to be more prevalent during the retrograde period. Venus retrogrades are about values — we aren’t officially in that position yet, but in your own lives and in the news, those issues will be most prevalent. Ask yourself the question of what you most value during this period and how those values may need a review over the course of the next few weeks.