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.

My weekly insights are written prior to the weeks when you, my readers, explore them. In the case of this week, a few days after the recent US Inauguration, I really don’t have any new information, but looking at the transits the weeks ahead I am making comments. Obviously, Mercury just went direct at the Galactic Center on Sunday January 8 (the day I presented a live presentation at San Francisco Astrological Society, but more on that later). The Galactic Center is the last degrees of Sagittarius and falls at the midpoint between the arrow being shot by the constellation of Sagittarius directly into the heart of the constellation known as Scorpius. The heart of the Scorpion is known as Antares and is one of the four royal stars — powerful points of access in the zodiac.

Whenever we see planets heading towards or over the 27th to the 29th degree of Sagittarius, where Saturn the rule makers dances throughout 2017, we see sudden twists and turns of ideas, events, news, and anything can happen at a moment’s notice. Time speeds up — and with Saturn (ruling time, business, contraction, regulation, government, conservative thinking) dancing back and forth at these degrees particularly as we approach the first week of August, again — anything can happen, can change. So with that said, it is very difficult to ‘predict’ if there is such an ability as to what might happen.

However, there were lots of things that I ‘saw’ when I presented that forecast talk just a couple of weeks ago. One of the things I saw was the global movement towards rule making, rule breaking, and the need (doesn’t mean people will do this) for more civility as Saturn is a more serious thinker who expects each of us to take responsibility for our actions. Saturn was often considered to be the god who brought order out of chaos — as he was the one who destroyed his father, Uranus, the original god of chaos whose unbridled actions required a checkpoint. The thing to remember here is that Saturn is the planet of Karma. As we move into this heavy cycle, the issue of taking responsibility for our actions is up. Saturn is also the planet that rules what we think is limited, when, in fact, it is our perception of limitation that is challenged with Saturn. In the last few weeks, such companies as Volkswagen, executives from Taketa airbags and others are called home by Saturn. So, remember — what goes around, comes around, either now or later.

I also ‘saw’ in most of the Ingress charts for this year (including the Winter Solstice chart for December 2016), that in most of the charts, Neptune was at the Rising Sign, the birth moment of the chart, for Washington D.C. So, I had to think what does that mean. Neptune has a bad reputation for being dodgy, foggy, but it also has the most powerful ability to create what the mind feels or sees! In other words, believing a certain way so intensely, with underlying fears (that Saturn I mentioned above), can create more problems than necessary.

I am not a Pollyanna that the opinion about ‘how’ things are being very split, but my concern is with Neptune at the ascending position is that a massive uprising based on thoughts (not yet materialized) that are filled with hate, anger and extreme rebellion will, in fact, create the worst outcomes and increase negativity so that no progress is made at all and, instead, we descend into an even darker place. The power of the word and the power of the mind are Neptune’s vehicles of expression.

No one knows, really, what this new administration will do, because it hasn’t even started at this writing, but, I do know, that sometimes we can be surprised. Sometimes bad people do good things AND good people do bad things. It goes both ways.

We are still a democracy which has, at its core, the tenet of free speech and my fear (something I am working on as well) is that those opposing the upcoming administration exercising high levels of extreme messages of hate and intolerance have the potential to become the very bullies which they are fighting against!

Disallowing any possibility of free speech or thought in conversations because one does not agree with the larger majorities is the start of a type of Fascism too, but in reverse as expressed in the press. I may lose a few readers by saying this, but it is something that needs saying looking at these new year charts. A warning, perhaps, that we have a choice to go one way or the other in 2017.

Being frightened or afraid of having a conversation with someone who holds opposing views, forces people to do one of two things: 1) retreat because they are fearful that their property or their life will be threatened so they shut down. Or 2) Fighting back which could lead to repercussions resulting in violence in an environment already at peak levels of psychic anxiety! Either way, this is the beginning of dismemberment in society and of democracy (Neptune) and this is the challenge of Neptune (which rules tidal waves, storms, and, frankly, madness) highlighted in most Ingress charts for late 2016 and going through 2017. These were just a few of the ideas which I touched upon in my forecast for SFAS on January 8. If anyone is interested in that lecture, there is a PowerPoint that is available as well as a live recording of my presentation.

No one wants to be estranged from lifelong friends, their community, their neighborhoods or their jobs because they disagree or think differently. And, many, in fact, have had that exact experience. The current rhetoric of hate and intolerance (on both sides) is when Neptune expresses in the negative because it feeds on the worry and the insanity. Going into this new year, let’s think about that. Let’s listen to opposing views, ask questions, get the facts and not the information from the many news feeds that are designed to grab demographics rather than present unbiased information or be caught up in the hysteria of massive marches and movements where things, frankly, can go awry. Peaceful protests are the way to go. Here is an interesting perspective: If someone is marching in support of the new administration and its policies, would they be allowed the same civil liberties of peaceful protest? Ponder on that one.

Lots of planets are in Pisces this month which offer a softening effect for the planets in Capricorn. The continuing stress may be because Saturn requiring a responsible approach to achieving one’s vision may continually collide with transiting Chiron which remains in Pisces for at least another year. This ongoing stress aspect asks each person to release old emotional patterns that keep getting in the way of progress. The ability to face and see those past hurts in a new light is key in the transformative process. Stepping out of the angst of the pain of those patterns, be that personal or global, allows for a greater understanding leading in a more mature understanding that nothing is black or white. There is a heightened sensitivity with this combination and as we move into the week that include the USA inauguration of a new president, this is particularly important.

On Thursday January 20, 2017 at Noon in Washington, D.C. is he USA inauguration which is when the Sun passes into the sign of Aquarius each year. The Sun in early degrees of Aquarius is on the fixed star of Altair, the Eagle, which is the higher octave of the sign of Scorpio, asking for a larger perspective for change. Aquarius is the sign of the rebel, the one that thinks outside the box, the radical, radical views as well as the sign of dictators as well as those that work together in community. These are two very opposite possibilities that, again, are a choice. The ‘eagle’ is the animal that flies the highest and has the clearest view. Stepping out of fixed notions and working as a group or a cohesive organization solves problems. Again, the choice is there to re-invent old ways moving them into unchartered territories.

The inauguration chart has Taurus rising ruled by Venus which is in a perfect aspect that day to Pluto, the ruler of the seventh house of other people and open enemies as well as partners suggesting that the possibility of new partnerships for growth are possible if compromise and cooperation are engaged. Again-choice. This aspect offers the opportunity to improve one’s ‘relationship skills’ if one chooses that road.

Also, interesting about this chart is that there are many planets in Pisces in the 11th house of goals, friends who can help with goals, and a support system for the named leader. In Pisces suggests the possibility for a new vision, but we have Chiron there as well suggesting that there will be several trip ups while getting to that goal. Chiron is often referred to as the ‘wounded healer’ but is also the planet that incorporates both old conservative views with newer, outside the box liberal solutions. It is considered a ‘bridge’ between both worlds and to cross that bridge, one must walk carefully. Further on in the spring Uranus, the awakener and the planet that must do with the bigger projects will be in a positive aspect to Saturn, which represents building — it could very likely that railroads or a similar type of fast ground transport system will begin implementation and which will be necessary if infrastructure improvement becomes a main goal. You can’t transport heavy things across large spans of land without a solid rail system!

Mercury is stationing direct tomorrow, so the energy is shifting in a more positive direction after the back and forth experiences of the holiday season. We are heading into a Full Moon on Thursday January 12 at 22º Cancer 27′ very near transit Uranus implying some big surprises particularly having to do with financial issues in the USA — whether it is stocks, or, investments, or interest rates, or a little roller coaster ride with the markets. Again, these are the moments for having a few investment things up your sleeve that you’ve researched prior to these moments of opportunity.

Other possible surprises are in the housing market — generally this is a great time of year to find a bargain in real estate as it still is winter in the Northern Hemisphere and it is during the mid-school year where people really don’t want to move. Since the Sun continues in Capricorn until later this month and it triggers Uranus two days before the full moon on Tuesday January 10, and Mercury is finishing in that Galactic Center degree (27º to 29º Sagittarius) mentioned in earlier forecasts, finding the perfect property or opportunity may come faster than you think. It may come through a friend, someone who knows you are looking, or hearing about an opportunity at coffee.

Mercury enters the more conservative sign of Capricorn which is a perfect time to put together those budgets or concrete plans for the next year — this may seem boring, but this is the perfect time for doing this. This occurs as transit Venus aligns with Neptune later the same day offering a softer and perhaps more romantic weekend or get together with those with whom you couldn’t see during the fast-moving holiday season.

Mars, the planet of motivation, has been in the sign of Pisces since December 19 and last night crossed over Neptune, which should, over the course of the next few days feel as though a veil is lifted as Mars moves past dreamy Neptune. Anytime a slower planet conjuncts another slower planet, the weeks before feel as though something is coming, but one cannot put their finger on it. Once that alignment takes place (a conjunction) it operates likes a New Moon which is always the starting point of a cycle. An alignment of Mars and Neptune can often signify the moment that one wishes to align themselves with faith, inspiration, or an ideology. There is a lot of that going on around the world — some good and a lot very bad, depending upon the ideology.

I looked at three different locations for this alignment: London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. In London, the alignment took place in the third house of public transportation, railroad systems and various forms of communications. In New York, it took place in the fifth house of entertainment — remember the Big Ball in Times Square — as well as any public celebration facility and in the San Francisco Bay Area this occurs in the sixth house of public health issues (anybody get flu this season?), as well as unions, systems that run other systems, food services and food supply. Mars triggers some unforeseen changes in these areas — again some good and some bad, because shortly after this conjunction it heads towards Chiron in mid-January just before the inauguration.

However, the other implication of this alignment is inspirational, creative, and the capacity for tapping into a larger sphere of spiritual access like the annual world meditation that took place for several years on December 31 at different times around the world, considerably reducing crime in the weeks that followed. As human beings, we have choices as to which road to take — the higher or the lower. During this week as the new year begins — do your own private centering exercises — this sets the tone for a much more fruitful and satisfying year. Happy New Year and Blessings to all of us.

I am one of the presenters for the forecast for the new year at next Sunday’s meeting in San Francisco at the Women’s Center on Mission Street for San Francisco Astrological Society. One of three presenters, my co presenters are Jessica Shepherd and my old friend, Steve Pincus, who is a Uranian astrologer. Presentations are between 2 pm and 7 pm on Sunday January 8.

Each of us has 75 minutes in which to present. For more information on that event contact Ian Waisler, ianwaisler@gmail.com

This could feel like a ‘break out’ week as transit Jupiter opposes transit Uranus (like a full moon transit, where something must go). This gets triggered on Monday December 26, so if you are out and about on Boxing Day, do be careful with your driving as this can also be a skittish transit. Sometimes the markets swing back and forth on this extreme degree, providing moments of opportunity, but only if one is prepared to get in and get out at the very correct moment. Monday is also the day that Pallas Athena (goddess of wisdom, strategy and consult) finishes up in Aquarius preparing to enter the more mystical and intuitive sign of Pisces on Tuesday December 27 at 4:21 AM Pacific Time.

I watch these shifts of Pallas Athena (an asteroid and not a planet) because the other side of Pallas Athena, often unknown, is that she was a weaver. A weaver can weave fabrics, textiles, and stories so for the next few weeks as Pallas moves closer and closer to Neptune, be aware that some stories in the news media may not be the entire story. They may be woven to align with the media view. That idea along with the fact that Mercury is still retrograde bears watching and further examination before making decisions and achieving some sort of clarity.

The New Moon on Wednesday, December 28 at 7º Capricorn 59′ passed Mercury a few hours earlier and heads towards Pluto in the next day. Consider the following days as the ‘seed’ moment of something new or clarity regarding a direction but which requires one more insight or piece of information. That insight suddenly arrives via a friend, something you read, or hear as Uranus goes direct on Thursday December 29, 2016 at 20º Aries 33′ early that morning on the Pacific Coast. The reality that you need to know more education may be part of this process. Whatever the choice, the new direction is set in motion, but you may not see it for a few more weeks.

This is usually the week that we all head out for the holidays and begin pulling inwards since the Winter Solstice starts on December 21, 2016 at 2:44 AM Pacific Time (5:44 AM Eastern Time). This is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and a time for introspection and reassessment of our year and of our life. It is also the point of conception for the new year which begins at Spring Equinox in late March. It is important to mindfully review what we wish to accomplish in the next year and to set the plans in motion or at least think about the whys and the how’s of that process as we move into this season.

Making decisions could be delayed, however, as Mercury also begins its last retrograde of the year on Monday December 19 at 15º Capricorn at 2:55 AM Pacific Time (5:55 AM Eastern Time). I know that “Mercury Retrograde” often sends chills up many spines, but it isn’t supposed to. It is a time when we get the chance to review the plans we’ve been ‘thinking about’ in the last few weeks and finesse them so that when it goes direct, we have a new direction. Mercury goes direct on January 8 at 28º Sagittarius 50′, which is an intense degree of the zodiac and one, frankly, that is uncomfortable since it falls at the Galactic Center.

First a little about the Galactic Center, since that degree is ignited several times throughout the coming year. Saturn heads over that same degree in 2017 between February and June and then back again between November and December 2017. That is a lot of time – thus turmoil that brings change and new directions is the result. The Galactic Center is between 26º and 29º Sagittarius. Historically, when planets move through this degree, things speed up at a lightning pace — often difficult for the human mind to embrace. An example is in 1987 when several planets were traveling through that degree, we had a market crash, countries began to change shape (remember Glasnost in the late 1980s?), and technology emerged quite amazingly during that time-we moved from large clumsy cell phones to the tiny handheld phones of today. Things moved fast!

This is the nature of this degree, an almost manic energy, where the input coming in from every direction cannot be sorted properly and things fall where they may. Bottom line — it is a degree reflective of quicksilver change. So, when Mercury begins its retrograde on Monday, and heads towards that degree and going direct on January 8, the insights you receive to change will be there, but it takes an entire year of assimilation and adaptation for a new direction, so be patient and try to do something to ground yourself daily and stay in balance.

The USA chart has Sagittarius on the Ascendant (if you use the Sibley chart — July 4 1776 at 5:10 PM). Since the Sun has now moved out of the country’s 12th house of retreat, withdrawal and review and is now in the country’s first house, it is possible a more optimistic tone is with us. As the week begins we see the Sun and Uranus (the innovator) in a fabulous aspect with each other presenting opportunities for us from friends, associates, or colleagues. The Full Moon on Tuesday December 13 at 22 Gemini 26′ may bring some surprises as this full moon aligns with Saturn.

This suggests that though there are many choices and opportunities presenting themselves this week, that taking the time (Saturn) to pick and choose which are the more appropriate choices is suggested. You can’t do it all and when Uranus is involved in transits you want to do it all. Since the Moon quickly moves to Cancer on Thursday December 15, the choices this week may be about home improvement — or taking some of those holiday dollars and appropriating them towards a less glamorous, but more long term and useful repair or upgrade.