This week highlights lots of Venus (value and love) activities. Tuesday Venus is opposite Pluto, the drama begins, where power struggles or confrontations regarding values and relationships may arise. This can be a transformative opposition if one has the right attitude towards constructive conversations rather than destructive criticisms. If something in a relationship has not been working, whether personal or professional, do not walk away but confront what everyone is unwilling to confront. The key in moving through this and achieving a positive result is listening without the compulsion to fire back. If that happens, then the will gets in the way of the solution. Taking a step back from an agreement or a partner issue to answer properly is best delayed until very late on Thursday or early Friday as the Moon moves into the problem-solving sign of Gemini. Now, you have more information for making a better decision. Throughout all this we all must realize we are in the week between two powerful eclipses and people get tense during these times — also exhausted. They are like a cosmic dam holding back highly charged emotions which have no place or vehicle through which to express. Edgy is a good word for how most people feel between eclipses, particularly those that pass over the country in which you reside.

By the weekend, there is some ease as the Moon and Venus come together in a joyful conjunction and high spirits and positive energy return on Sunday when the Sun in Leo and Uranus (the catalyst for thinking in new ways) in Aries are in a positive aspect. This is a great weekend for a short break, a getaway, a family vacation, and getting together with friends and family as Monday’s Total Solar Eclipse at almost 29º Leo begins around 11:30 am Pacific time Monday.

Today is a lunar eclipse (full moon) at 15º Aquarius 25′. This is one of the more critical degrees of the zodiac as it is right in the center of the fixed signs affecting those born with many planets in middle degrees of Leo, Aquarius, Taurus and Scorpio. I call this degree a ‘financial’ degree as well as a ‘decision’ degree and with the Moon in a positive aspect to Jupiter (good fortune) this eclipse offers a great opportunity to get your name out there regarding something you’ve cherished and crafted. The more unusual the better, since Aquarius is the sign of the ‘unusual’ along with the ability to work with groups more than individuals. If you aren’t doing that, you might be thinking of something that does engage with organizations or groups in a positive way. This could be volunteering and donating either time or money to a cause in which you believe. With Mercury going retrograde on Saturday August 12 at 11º Virgo 38′ start analyzing a situation that needs a re-think or restructure. Since Mercury goes direct September 5, this next few weeks is about review rather than action. By September 20, Mercury catches up to where it left off and systems, equipment, personnel, software and schedules are sorted.

For those astrologically inclined, I am presenting a workshop for the Sacramento NCGR group on Sunday September 24 on Antiscia (Solstice Points) and for more information on that workshop, contact Linda Byrd at fullofgratitude@comcast.net. The lecture is from 10 to Noon and the workshop is in the afternoon. And for those not attending but knowing astrology, this eclipse has as sensitive degree of 14º Scorpio 35′ or 14º Taurus 25′. If you’d like to explore this phenomenon in your own chart, I do have some phone appointments available in August.

Venus enters Cancer on Monday at 7:54 AM Pacific Time. I really do like Venus in Cancer, but that is probably because I enjoy my home, cooking, hanging with friends and sharing a meal or a movie. Venus in Cancer offers these types of opportunities for a few weeks before it enters Leo on August 27 just after the Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017. In contrast to this transit, Uranus is slowing down this week at 28º Aries 32′ and retrograde late on Wednesday August 2 and into the early morning hours of Thursday August 3. Uranus remains retrograde until late December 2017 and this is really a good period (each year) to sort out or address your obligations to your community as well as restructuring your goals or putting them into a newer more prioritized order. Frustration sometimes arises the few days before, but this is temporary.

This ‘could’ affect the markets since Uranus traditionally rules cycles or cycles performance, but with this coming Friday’s last quarter Jupiter square Pluto at 11:48 AM spending can escalate or markets rise suddenly but drop during the following week. Remember these are opinions. Last quarter squares are very good for deciding on some sort of learning experience, or shoring up skills, or, taking a course that is of interest. Regardless of whether this helps in your chosen professions or not, it is the ‘key’ to a new direction.

The week begins with Venus and Saturn opposing each other — the signature for duty over pleasure — or getting things done before taking a little time off. This is also the week in which Mercury enters its own sign of Virgo at 4:41 PM Pacific time on Tuesday July 25. However, and this is something to remember regarding any contracts, agreements, or negotiations…. Mercury is also entering what we call the ‘pre-shadow’ of the degree at which Mercury will retrograde back to later in August and very early September. “Pre-shadows” are good for reviewing any work or project to which you’ve devoted time. Do you have enough, or, too much? Do you need to step back and simplify? Those questions are the basis for redirecting as the Sun and Mars align in Leo on Wednesday July 26 at 5:57 PM Pacific. I don’t usually put charts in my forecasts, because many of you are not familiar with Astrology, but for those who are, here is the West Coast chart for Wednesday’s Sun Mars conjunction.

For those of you who do understand astrology, note the rising sign, which is 27º Sagittarius 34′ right at the Galactic Center, where things can happen very quickly. The Sun Mars conjunction is in the 8th house of investments and in the same area where that Total Solar Eclipse occurs starting on the West coast of the USA in late August 2017. With these two markers plus Saturn in the 12th house and going over this chart’s rising sign on November 29, 2017, this may be the starting point — this week — where one reviews monies owed to others like the IRS, or, your fixed assets and their values needing a review and re-strategizing those values and what to do with them. Overexpansion is not necessarily the way to go right now, whereas prudence is.

In terms of your income or salary or notes or monies owed to you, this is a good time to take actions regarding their payments and either redrafting agreements or reminding those owing that it may be time to act and reorganize themselves as well. Partnership opportunities offering support may appear, but do the numbers. Really do the numbers. It might even be a good week to take a ‘few profits’ out of your portfolio for insurance. If something doesn’t feel right with what is promised, then keep digging until you have all the facts. The Sun Mars affords the courage to ask for what is owed to you regardless of your concerns regarding asking. Sun/Mars gives us courage and confidence and positive returns if we engage with it consciously.

Monday begins with Venus in Gemini in a challenging aspect to Neptune. This often suggests that one might want to extend the weekend into Monday or that if you are back at the desk take the time to sort through things and hold off on making concrete decisions until at least tomorrow Tuesday. Venus square Neptune floats in a fog of romance, or, drift which doesn’t sound so great but is, in fact, a good time to imagine or reimagine your plans allowing other ideas to come forth from the unconscious mind.

Sometimes when we ‘sort’ through things it allows our unconscious mind to figure out the solutions to those items plaguing us or pushing us for a decision. Late on Monday Mars the planet of motivation is challenging Uranus and an insight on how to do something in a more extraordinary rather than the ordinary way shows up so that as Tuesday and the rest of the week unfold, putting that plan into action is possible.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are favorable for ‘getting it done’, for stabilizing what has seemed to be an unstable situation or a situation that held no answers. One of the ways to negotiate a troublesome issue is risking frankness regarding your concerns without taking an accusatory stance. With Mars ending its run in Cancer (not its most favorite place to be for the last few weeks) on Thursday July 20 at about 5:19 am Pacific Time and entering the more hearty and fiery sign of Leo, energy returns. Later that day as the Sun and Uranus challenge each other, the solution emerges combining an old way of thinking and a new way of thinking — a type of hybrid thinking — late on Thursday going into early Friday morning. Key thing here is don’t pick up all your marbles and go home if you don’t get an immediate answer. Wait for Friday and then Saturday’s transit of Sun into its own sign of Leo where it becomes a New Moon (new starts, new ideas and new beginnings) on Sunday July 23 at 2:46 AM Pacific time and 5:46 AM Eastern time. Patience is the key and getting a little exercise helps, too, with all the fire we will see in the sky and on earth during August.

First, I apologize for the incorrect birthday number for the United States — last week. A savvy reader caught my error. The USA is now 241 years old, and, not, as stated… 301!

Think about that only 241 years old — a mere teenager — still in its adolescent phase compared to its older compatriots in Europe and Australia and China who are many more hundreds of years older. I think, however, that this idea of being a nation that is 241 years old bears some examining because the truth is this nation is still quite young and will make many more errors before it transforms into adulthood which it is doing as we speak. Since the USA was founded with its Sun in the sign of Cancer, the sign that feeds and nurtures and caretakers others and then adding Pluto opposite that same Sun during these last few years (a rare 247-year cycle), that mindset is changing as it is for the individuals who are citizens of the United States.

To understand this concept, think of a teenager, who has done something that isn’t kosher as we say. The parent of that teenager takes the car away, grounds them for so many days or weeks depending on the offense, and, hopefully, the teenager will get the lesson — the consequences of their actions — whether those actions resulted from either naivete or done purposely. If we then look at the bigger picture of Pluto still opposing the US Sun sign, the country is in the cocoon phase of transformation.

A cocoon doesn’t show whether the transformative body becomes a moth or a butterfly, but we do know it will transform. I don’t know what a cocoon is like but I imagine it is very dark, invisible and, most importantly, inactive probably suspended on the edge of some sort of death limbo. That suspension is necessary for the major transition.

So many people write to me these days about what the heck is going on, or, that they can’t seem to get their footing, or, that they don’t know whether they should move forward and take a chance or just wait. It isn’t just one person that feels this psychic atrophy. It is individuals, cities and those running governments, particularly in the United States. If we think about how the USA has been a world leader and return to the metaphor of the cocoon, I think it offers some insight. But, we say, we must do something, which is very common for a country that has such a strong Mars placement — often reacting without thinking — during its younger iterations. Sometimes that something is learning to live one day at a time and doing the things that need getting done that we put off.

Pluto works well when it either releases things or takes something that is dead or old and transforms it. Remaking, retooling, refurbishing, remodeling are all good action items for Pluto cycles and can produce rather than destroy. As we finish the full moon of last weekend and move into the new week and into a period right before the eclipse coming up in August that traverses the US with its shadow, it is important to pick that one thing and get it done. Get it done before late December of this year when a very new cycle begins for all of us.

I want to reach out to all my readers and wish them a happy Fourth of July celebration in the United States. These last few days have been rather striking, in that Chiron, who often wounds, but ultimately heals, went retrograde just a few days ago — so if any things were said that require an apology or a reframing of a message, perhaps these next few days are the time in which to do that. With retrogrades we often have a discovery of some unknown fact or issue, which surfaces in order to be resolved during retrogrades. With Chiron retrograde at almost the very last degree of Pisces last Friday, then there may have been an emotional bloodletting or release of some sort long overdue. Now take that experience and finesse it with a new way of looking or reacting to those things that continue to irritate and block your progress. Chiron goes direct on December 5 going all the way back to 24° Pisces, but then proceeds to exit Pisces and enter Aries in spring 2018.

When a planet (or comet in this case) is at the end of its run and this run has been for almost ten years, lots of things begin the finishing process that was begun at the beginning of the cycle. Since Chiron has been in very psychic, emotional, creative and sometimes even out of bounds Pisces, the unthinkable has materialized in world tragedies as well as world advancements. The 1960s were the last time Chiron was at these degrees and many of the issues of that time have been revisited in recent years. This is a good thing, although at times it may seem unbearable. I think the biggest learning experience that comes out of this is to check in with ourselves, regularly, when tidal waves of events and emotions take over reason whether in our personal or professional lives. Learning to ride the wave is key rather than fighting the undertow.

This week may be one of those weeks as Mars (the god of war and agitation) opposed Pluto yesterday. Some of the issues that arise with Mars opposing Pluto, is, first, the discoveries mentioned earlier in this text, but then, since Pluto is involved, we have opportunities to make choices regarding our response to these ‘discoveries’. A less mature Mars energy gets angry and wants to fight back immediately, reacting with no back up plan, and just exhausting oneself. A more mature approach to this opposition (which includes communication issues as well), is recognizing there is a conflict of wills and desires, stepping back, and then waiting a few hours or days before one responds and one finds out the facts that belie this confrontation. Another way is to just get in and clean out a storage unit, paint a room or transform something in your living environment.

This opposition affords an opportunity to transform (Pluto) what we perceive to be our limitations and a portion of that transformation’s lesson is letting go of something you’ve really outgrown anyway. This can apply to things as well as attitudes as well as belief systems. Sometimes our belief systems are so deeply embedded that we don’t even realize they are the one thing that get in the way of progress and may not even be true. This suggests that the person or incident causing this stress is actually the catalyst shedding light it (it is an opposition, like a full moon). Once you get that, the next thing to ask is, “What do I do with this added information?” This is far more powerful than holding grudges and remaining immovable — thus holding back any openings to new means of communications far more honest and truthful than before. Happy Fourth of July to my fellow US Citizens and remember there are some great things about our wonderful country — freedom being the most precious of its gifts and the reason for our celebration on our 301st birthday!

Ambience is everything. People buy or purchase or are attracted to experiences, items, or events that have ambience — sending a sensate message to participate. This is how the week begins as Mars and Neptune are in an excellent aspect with each other. The right thing shows up at the right time, but don’t allow the ambience to overextend your budget. Tuesday Mercury which has much to do with commerce is in a hard aspect to Jupiter and this aspect can overextend someone on their budget but by the end of the day as the Moon moves into Virgo — a more realistic solution or compromise shows itself.

Wednesday June 28 Mars and Mercury are together in Cancer — Mars Mercury is notorious for getting a little overheated because one can find themselves over reacting even to the little things. It is best to let that moment pass. It can also be an aspect of decisiveness — you are going to do or not do something and because of that decision you see rapid progress. It can go either way. The key thing is since they are together in the sensitive sign of Cancer, regardless of who you are or what your chart says — have a bite to eat before you start talking — it will level out the blood sugar and a more reasonable conversation and better solutions emerge.

Friday, Chiron stations retrograde very close to the end of the zodiac at 28º Pisces 42′. It will move in a direct motion at the end of the year and then proceed to move into Aries in May 2018. This means that Chiron, after almost ten years, has only one more year to end its 50-year return cycle. This has been a long, hard run of the comet, Chiron, who last was in Pisces during the 1960s during all the political turmoil of Civil Rights and the burgeoning Vietnam war as well as the first awakenings to the environmental movement spurred by Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring”. The 28th and 29th degrees of Pisces, a little of which we experience over the course of the next few weeks, but which we live with for a good amount of time starting in early 2018, is close to the fixed star, Scheat at 29º Pisces. Scheat is a fixed star denoting ‘release’ or ‘freedom from bondage’ which is what Diana Rosenberg, a fixed star expert, a friend who passed away a few years ago, used to say. Since this degree is in the constellation of Pegasus — who flies over the head of Andromeda — trapped and bonded as an offering to the gods — Scheat denotes the idea of being freed from bondage.

Therefore, it is no surprise that either now or as 2017 ends — that that ‘theme’ plays out for all of us in our occupations, in our families-as many suffering health issues will be ‘released’ from the bondage of illness and that the issues of many of the movements of the last few years — such as Black Lives Matter are finally addressed with some sort of resolution that involved re-training and re-educating. This can be a sorrowful degree as well so it is important to realize that empathy and compassion in certain situations helps all concerned as this comet begins its retrograde emotion until late December 2017.

Monday may feel a bit edgy because Tuesday June 20 is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the official start date of Summer — which is hard to believe. I always ask myself each year — how did we get here so fast? This is also the day the Sun enters the sign of Cancer for four weeks and when the focus changes from idea making to family making or home making or nailing down your plans for you and your family’s future security. There are several aspects on the day of the solstice that are wonderful. Venus and Neptune are in wonderful aspects — good for dating, new relationship options or beautifying the environment. On that same day, we have Mercury (thinking) and Uranus (innovation) — like last week’s Sun/Uranus aspect — offering more solutions and ideas that are more out of the box solutions than usual. This is a good aspect for getting a group together or attending a group or starting a training program — even if it is online. The Summer Solstice on the East Coast doesn’t start until June 21, the next day, right after midnight and is accompanied by an excellent aspect where Sun and Mercury line up — a very rare combo that takes place during the year and can indicate trend changes in markets.

By Friday June 23, we have a New Moon — new starts — new planning and planting at 2º Cancer 47′. Wherever the sign of Cancer is in your chart is where you have a four-week window to produce something solid for those you love and by Saturday June 24 Venus and Pluto are in a perfect distance to each other — which is a great window for investment — again — check out values, comps, past performance and history before deciding. The other way these two can work is giving you, your office, or home a makeover.

Happy Father’s Day to all of you who have taken on that role — whether they are your own children or someone else’s. Being a father in the United States has become a more and more complicated role, but the key thing about a good father is that they listen and are there as anchors when needed. Congratulations to all of you that take on that role daily.

As for this next week, the full moon has passed and as the next few days continue, you may feel a bit tired, need more sleep, or a bit more confused than last week as Neptune is stationing to go retrograde at 14º Pisces 16′ next Friday June 16. Neptune does this once a year — and a good way to handle the days prior to it, starting say Wednesday is to stop a little and give yourself a bit more time on major decisions. Getting away from the desk, the contract, the office — escaping — at least until it shifts directions is the way to handle the lethargy you may be feeling. Once the weekend is done and you move into next week, you have a better handle on that confusing line item that has everyone balking at agreement. Sometimes it pays to just stop.

By Sunday afternoon as Mercury (thinking) comes opposite Saturn (clarity) you know how to write, edit, clean up or clean out that thing that had you stuck last week. That along with the Sun in Gemini and Uranus (innovative thinking) in a very good aspect to each other — that idea — that person you needed to complete that project — may show up when you least expect it during the following week. Put the order out there in your mind, don’t judge it, but put it out there and I think you will be very surprised.

Staying and getting healthy are the themes for this week as Mercury is in an excellent aspect to Chiron late Monday going into Tuesday. Tuesday transit Venus finally leaves the very contentious sign of Aries where it has been since March and enters the more amenable sign of Taurus. On that same day, Tuesday, June 6, Mercury enters its own sign of Gemini. Both these planets are in the signs of their rulerships which means focusing on what you want, what you’d like to do and being clearer on how to communicate that idea to others — is on target — finally. On Friday, the Full Moon in Sagittarius — Jupiter, good luck, opportunity, also goes direct in mid degrees of Libra. I would say the next few weeks are the times in which to hit it for getting those projects finessed and done over the summer, since this summer provides many windows of opportunity for moving forward.

I’d like to suggest a wonderful destination for Saturday June 10 at Book Passage in Corte Madera. A very good friend of mine and Cancer survivor, has written her book on “Surviving the Storm” which is an excellent and extremely insightful work on the real process of surviving this devastating disease. From 7 to 9 pm that evening, Cheryl is also an excellent therapist working in the field for many years. She is also almost finished with her second book and I highly recommend going to the event. Insight is something we can keep forever — and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Memorial Day begins the week for those in the USA. This four-day week begins on a Tuesday, a day that is ruled by Mars, and it is the second 90-day period after the last eclipse in Pisces in late February 2017. So, step lightly and tread carefully with those closest to you. Weeks that begin on Tuesdays are fascinating in that Tuesday, named after the Norse god Tiw, or, Tyr, a war god, are often weeks when things can get heated up because the week begins on Tuesday instead of Mondays, which is ruled by the Moon. Since transit Mars (the Roman version of the war god) is still in adverse aspect to transit Saturn as the week begins, this is probably good advice. It will be interesting to watch the news with the President of the US, Mr. Trump, these next few weeks as these aspects hit his chart precisely. And since this is the 90-day period after that last leftover eclipse at Pisces, it wouldn’t surprise me if something ignites because of these aspects. If we use the 1984 date of birth for the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-Un, his Moon is in Pisces and that last eclipse in February hit him hard. This is the 90-day period after that eclipse and my hopes and wishes are that resolutions appear for the safety of the planet.

Igniting and ignitions are all associated with Mars, but there is a cooling off period as we get closer to Wednesday and Thursday as Mercury the planet of communication slips into a tender and caring aspect with Pluto which can transform situations through service and systems. The same can be said to be true on Thursday as transit Venus in Aries softens the harsh effects of Saturn in Sagittarius giving stability and purpose to relationships and on Saturday June 3 the Sun lights up possibilities as it works in tandem with fortunate Jupiter. This is a great aspect for visiting those you care for and just listening, rather than rescuing, your partners, business associates, families, friends, or neighbors, who may have some challenges on bookend days of Friday June 2 and Sunday June 4.

If you are asked to make decisions, then ask for a pass until Monday June 5 after transit Mars enters the cardinal (action sign) of Cancer when the mind works more clearly. The next six weeks are spent on fixing properties, interiors and exteriors, long overdue and may even heat up the real estate market sales for the at least a few weeks — again, do your homework, check comps, if it doesn’t feel right or seems too high — step away — until a better situation arises.