We just had a New Moon on January 9, which starts the action cycle for each month. It is the time to ‘plant’ seeds for the next 30 days with regard to your position in community or in your career. This is the starting point in finding that new direction in your career for which you’ve been searching. Getting involved with a different type of group or organization at month’s end may be just the ticket for shifting into a new direction yet unexplored. This is the time to start. If you have a dream of something you’ve been wishing to do while Mercury is retrograde (until January 25), start writing down some ideas (while holding back self-judgment as to whether this is a realistic stance or not). It is important to hold back judgment, because the voice of judgment is the #1 problem that keeps one from manifesting.

The Voice of Judgment, called the VOJ, in Dr. Michael Ray’s book, Creativity in Business, is the one thing that keeps us from becoming what who we really are. The VOJ comes at us in many forms and from many directions. Dr. Ray’s suggestions for getting rid of it are three-fold:

#1, When it starts harping on you, just tell it to go away; #2, When it still is there, then seriously yell at it to leave; and, finally #3, Physically do something that pushes it away — even beating on a body bag helps tremendously. Self-judgment keeps you away from your true self. Of course, it’s there for our survival, but extreme self-judgment can derail us. Retrograde Mercury is about discovering the holes in our desires, our plans, finding out about the holes and then finding answers, which fill those holes when it goes direct.

The week begins with a slowing down of everything technical. Mercury, which rules such things as travel, communications, sales, negotiating, and anything that requires clarity and thought starts its retrograde movement on January 5 at 1º Aquarius. The year begins with challenging aspects to the U.S. government’s Saturn and Sun and a slowing down of the economy is possible. The planets involved are Uranus, which just went direct on December 25, Pluto which forces one to look at what one doesn’t wish to address, but must and as Mercury retrogrades back close to these same degrees, there is opportunity for change resulting from revisiting old plans, budgets and thinking patterns. Planning is a good activity right now as all indicators suggest that 2016, though filled with wonderful opportunities to serve, become more efficient, pare down spending and streamline systems, may be volatile. The roller coaster ride is far more manageable if we take a serious look at what we don’t need and start from that position. In other words, streamline and prosper.

Mercury goes direct January 25 and since it goes direct in middle degrees of Capricorn thus aligning itself with Pluto at that time, this adds an incentive, during the month of January for sorting out business goals. Reviewing and exploring outdated technology and pruning redundant systems that are in place are also on the agenda. And, of course, backing up information from your computers and phones, while attempting to streamline, goes without saying. This not always the best time to buy a technical device, since we often see problems emerge after Mercury changes direction. However, it is an excellent time to negotiate and again revisit any pending contracts through the 25th as people may soften their response to your offer. In fact, the contract you thought you lost may return after the 25th of January or after February 14.

In personal relationships, Mercury retrogrades often try to convey something but isn’t always heard by the opposite party. Advice? It is best to wait before responding in anger or saying anything that may be construed differently. Think it through, because when Mercury goes direct at month’s end, it lines up with Pluto, which means other parts of the story or the conversations or contracts become clearer. It is a great time to ask the questions that people usually don’t ask in business dealings, and to get right to the point. But when it has to do with a more personal conversation, think before speaking.

On Monday, December 28, transit Venus is at the end of Scorpio and enters the more optimistic sign of Sagittarius on either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on where you live. There is often an urge to travel, go for a drive and experience a new adventure with Venus in Sagittarius. Perhaps you can incorporate that desire for a new experience with your current interests be they hobby or profession. Venus in Sagittarius aligns with Saturn around January 9 or 10, 2016 and this often suggests that duty or pleasure is the rule of the day since Saturn is the slower of the two planets. It may also be the perfect time to incorporate your fortunate ability to prosper with a practical application of systems or methods since Jupiter remains in Virgo.

As the week ends and the Moon enters Libra on New Year’s Eve at 10:41 PM on the West Coast and at 1:41 am in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day on the East Coast, it is a perfect time to gather with friends in a social situation and make a treasure or mind map of the thing you most desire in 2016. I do this with friends most years and the one thing I always tell people is to write across the top of your treasure map the following: “Under the light of God (or Spirit) and for the good of all!” Happy New Year and blessings to your families and friends.

The week begins with Winter Solstice at 11:48 PM Eastern time on Monday December 21, 2015. This is referred to in ancient times as the Festival of the Return of the Light and is the time of year for all the ‘light’ holidays –Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Yule, you name it. In the northern hemisphere it is the shortest day of the year. In Pueblo, Zuni and Hopi traditions, they celebrate the Soyal Solstice ceremony for 16 days which is a celebration to encourage the various Kachinas to bring back the Sun. One of the most famous is Kokopelli, the flute dancer. Regardless, it is important to take time during the transition of the Solstice to meditate, or, think about what you see for yourself at the time of Spring Equinox in late March of 2016. The solstice has long been known as the ‘conception’ point of the zodiac. Therefore, it is imperative that your state of mind move in a more positive direction rather than the reverse for a more fruitful birth of a new idea in spring.

With Uranus direct on Christmas day at 16° Aries 33′ and opposing the US Saturn and squaring the US Sun and Pluto opposition, there should be some surprise news coming out of Washington. This could also signal the beginning of the arrival of the El Nino on the West Coast since it is also 90 days after that 4° Aries/4° Libra Total Lunar eclipse of September 27. If you have anything in early Capricorn, Cancer, Libra or Aries in your chart, this is a super turning point for your life basics- physical body, partnerships, home and career.

At the end of this week on December 18 we have a First Quarter moon in 26° Pisces 22′. These are very good for putting things in order and figuring out a management plan. The insights may come very fast, so make sure you write them down, as Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the three days the Sun travels the last degrees of Sagittarius, which is the Galactic Center mentioned in the previous week. In addition, Mercury, planet of communication and commerce, aspects Pluto on the 19th, which could be when you make that ‘reasonable’ or ‘unreasonable’ request to save yourself a little money or time!

Earlier in this year I presented a workshop for OPA on Financial Viability (which is available soon at our website) and one of the prime things I spoke about is how people make money or resources by making regular reasonable or unreasonable requests, something I learned from two very close clients of mine years ago. A reasonable request is as simple as “this can is dented, can you give me a discount” and an unreasonable request is for something bigger that benefits both the receiving party as well as you, the requester. It is something like, ” I am planning on using your workshop facility four times this year — if I contract for them all at the same time and pay for them all at the same time, can you give me a 25% discount on the entire package?” Some people may say this is cheap, but it really isn’t. It is just a request. The person being asked can always say no and if they do there is no arguing, but more often than not, they listen and agree. Anyway, this is not a bad practice as we head into 2016 and from the looks of things, people may be very open to your requests.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, transit Mercury is between 27° and 29° of Sagittarius before it enters cardinal Capricorn on Wednesday, December 9 at 9:34 PM Eastern time and 6:34 pm Pacific time. The last few degrees of Sagittarius are the Galactic Center where when planets travel through these degrees, things happen very fast. Like the speed of light, lots of changes can happen in a very short time and since Mercury is involved, the ideas fly as do the emotions and words. At the end of the month as we get closer to Winter Solstice or 00° Capricorn, the few days before that the Sun travels through the same 27° to 29° Sagittarius and we often see lots of changes (or heightened emotions) during this time every year.

Those changes may include sudden holiday surprises as Mars opposes Uranus –watch your driving as well as others’ driving– during this time as the excitement of change can often be distracting in our day to day functions. With Venus in a beautiful trine to Neptune late Thursday and Friday, take time to visit with people you’ve not seen in a while and whose presence offers a balm to your spirit during this fast changing end of year period. Since this week is a Last Quarter moon and the New Moon is on Friday, December 11 at 19° Sagittarius 03′, this is also a great week to clear things out of your house and office and desks and congested spaces or storage units. It is the giving time of the year — what can someone use more than you at this time?

This week is highlighted by many different aspects to Mercury which is currently in Sagittarius. A week filled with Mercury aspects, usually means lots of communications, sorting through files, networking, figuring out software and machines that use that software as well as getting familiar with new technologies. In other words, it can get very busy and keep us in our heads. As a result, the body often is ignored and so it is suggested that one takes stock of those daily health habits that may have fallen by the wayside in the last weeks. On Friday, December 4, Venus enters intense Scorpio where it remains until December 31, so it hangs out with us through the holidays.

Since Jupiter (opportunity) is currently in the earth sign, Virgo, it works very well with Venus in Scorpio. In fact, this combination can be very productive as it researches to find out the best way in which to do something. The Jupiter in Virgo is excellent for implementing systems that take that information and sort through it so it is most efficient and there is not waste. This combination is a sextile (in the natural sixth and eighth houses) which is an indication that this is a good time to get people who specialize in these various skills. We can’t do everything and in order to proceed, delegating is the key to success if one can let go of the control.

At the end of the week on Sunday the 6th of December, the Sun in Sagittarius is a sextile to Mars in Libra, another really positive combination pushes the Mars square Pluto. Decide to do it and then go do it. It is possible that at this particular time, someone may show up from out of the blue that is exactly the person required for the next step in these projects which you’ve been developing for the last year.

Several events surround us this week as we head into the USA Thanksgiving holidays. As the week begins Venus and Chiron are at odds with each other — this could simply be the edginess that comes when families get together for the holidays as Venus has to do with relationships. Perhaps looking at your part in any potential conflict and keeping it at bay is not a bad idea with this opposition. You have support for that later in that same day as Mars and Saturn are sextile and in a very good stabilizing aspect. Ask to do some tasks, get them done and get them done on time — this will work great and encourages family cooperation.

The Full Moon on Wednesday at 3° Gemini 20′ is great for a chatty, lively assortment of people gathering to put together a wonderful holiday party. Since Saturn is on the Sun sign side of this full moon, remember to include, if not at your table, but in your actions those older that are unable to call, attend, or participate. The holidays are often difficult for people, but for those left alone, they are worse. Since Saturn is square Neptune on Thanksgiving day at 4:15 AM Eastern Time, the entire day could take on a tone of serious introspection, or, it could be a perfect opportunity to get into deeper and more meaningful discussions at your table.

Figuring out ‘how’ to do this or that and getting things in working order for that vision/idea mentioned last week is there as Chiron goes direct on Friday at 1:43 AM at 16° Pisces 56′. This is a great time, rather than going out and shopping, to sort out your holiday giving schedule –whether it is gifts, donations, or time. Regardless of how you approach the holidays, it is our wish at Starcycles to wish you a joyful Thanksgiving and subsequent holiday season. Please keep checking in at our website for online classes in 2016 as well as free podcasts and weekly forecasts. I am very thankful for this work and for your support.

As the week begins, the planet Neptune is turns direct and moves in a forward motion on Wednesday November 18 at 7° Pisces 01′. If you’ve started that budget or implemented cost cutting in this last week, you are ahead of the game as Neptune will, in 8 days, push a very hard square to Saturn at Sagittarius. This can be disappointing for stocks that include oil or plastics or even wines, but it may also be disappointing in terms of credit availability — which appears, at this writing at least, less available than during the spring of 2015.

The Neptune direct chart for Washington, D.C., suggests that visions or ideas that have been percolating since spring 2015 now have legs in which to start. It would behoove you to review any savings, portfolios, loans that you have out, and talk with your tax professional to sort out a new plan that may be, in fact, more conservative, but will in the end lend itself to a more balanced — both physically and emotionally — life style as you move forward working on your new visions of business or direction. The upcoming Saturn square Neptune mentioned above makes you work hard for your dream and if you apply a regular and concerted effort is a winning combination. Put in the time and don’t whine. Let others know what you expect and be the example of what you want.

Mars is the planet of motivation, trading, ambition, reaction and direction this week it seems to be floating around looking for a direction until late Thursday November 12 when it enters the action sign of Libra at 4:41 PM Eastern Time (1:41 PM Pacific). Usually when a planet is in its last days and not aspecting anything else, it is considered to be somewhat ‘void’, which means that any decisions to be made might do better by waiting for week’s end for the rest of the information and planet’s ingress. Though Mars in Libra is in a more debilitated position, it still is what we consider a cardinal sign and the direction to take is more fluid and includes working on or planning beautiful environments, negotiating and pounding out the details of a contract that requires back and forth consideration, as well as working on one’s own self-improvement such as cleaning out closets, putting together old things in a new way, or just going to get a plain old makeover!

On the 11th, a US holiday called Veterans Day, we have a New Moon (new starts) at 19° Scorpio 01′. The New Moon is always a good time to implement plans for the coming month, and, might, since it is end of year, include planning a new budget or spending or expense report for 2016. This might be easier than usual since that New Moon is working well with Pluto which is willing to let go of or release things that take up too much time or money or old thinking which you’ve totally outgrown. Taking effective action resulting from some major decisions at the end of the week. Share your ideas with others, but provide a visual type ‘show and tell’ so your thought process is clear.

We start out the week with Mars and Venus conjunct. This is a once a year event where the mythological lovers come together. A conjunction is always the starting point for the dancing cycles of two planets until they come together again in some future date two or so years from now. In other words, it is special, because it is where the vitality of Mars and its risk-taking qualities align with the receptive and value-based planet, Venus. Combined these two unify the idea that risky choices that change the course of life aligned with collaborative energies, is the ideal union that creates something new. This falls in line with the fact the next day, November 3, transit Jupiter is opposite transit Chiron, which has much to do with healing or correcting something by creating a teaching moment which becomes the impetus for change. This is the push that is needed and sets the stage for the weekend’s activity of inspiration coming from incubation.

On Saturday November 6, transit Mercury first complements Neptune in Pisces and then on Saturday it complements the Moon in Cancer. All three water signs are engaged in a very fortunate aspect of opportunity –being in the right place at the right time — only if we are willing to do the work after that moment of inspiration. Are you?

I looked at the dates for this week and got a little sentimental. Each year in the Greek Orthodox faith October 26 is designated as the feast day of St. Demetrius (James in English). For a little history on Greek tradition, the names days are often celebrated even more than birthdays by elder Greeks, since many of them really don’t have birth dates because many of the records were burned during the invasion of Germany into Greece. And it is very interesting to see how the given names often line up with qualities of their namesakes’ histories. St. Demetrius, was like all saints, a martyr, but also a young and well-trained warrior and, interestingly enough, a myrrh-bearer. He is often pictured as stomping on a Scorpion as St. George is depicted as piercing a dragon.

Myrrh is a very sweet and elegant fragrance that was often presented as a valued gift that healed, acted as a balm and also masked the smell of corpses. In other words, it was very commonly used as part of the ritual of release at funerals. It was said that the relics of myrrh bearers often exuded a sweet and fragrant scent. Lest I divert, the sentimentality mentioned at the beginning of this week was associated with the reference to St. Demetrius, or, James, which was my brother’s name. He died, quite suddenly, in March 1998 (right after a Pisces/Virgo eclipse — similar to the cycle we are in right now, which is perhaps why it seems more timely than usual). He was only 47. And he was fierce and big-hearted and a risk taker and also much tormented. He was someone who when he believed in something took it to the mats, whether it was the right approach or not and that intensity as well as fixity that got him through things also often got him into trouble. This is an innate quality of the Greek make-up or culture.

The above thoughts are a prelude to the date of October 28, which falls on a Wednesday this year. It is called “Oxi” day in Greece and derives from the following story (a full article was written about this in the Galactic Trader Journal by me in June 2015). On October 28, 1940, Prime Minister Metaxas of Greece at that time was presented with an ultimatum on that date. Early in the morning hours of October 28, Benito Mussolini handed a document to Metaxas demanding that Greece lay down their arms and surrender to the Fascists and, ultimately, to Hitler’s Germany. Metaxas knew full well that his small country and the limited population would be compromised considerably with surrender and would suffer tremendous losses and death and destruction if he did not give in.

However, he also knew his people and their tenacity, stubbornness, and ferocity and without blinking an eye, his immediate response was one word, “Oxi”, which means “No” in Greek. What followed over the course of the next several years were brutal losses to the Greek people, but they fought so hard that their strength in defending their country delayed Hitler’s eventual march into Russia — forcing a march into Russia in the dead of winter, which ended Hitler’s Third Reich and was the beginning of the end of World War II. This is a time then and now when decisions often are decided upon whether or not someone wishes to be destroyed by another’s hand or take the responsibility for their own fight and possible destruction.

The point of this story is two pronged: We are in the month of Scorpio, the sign of birth and death, of give me liberty or death, the either/or sign of the zodiac. In addition, the Sun and Neptune, both in water signs, are in alignment with each other and then join up with the Moon in Cancer on October 31 and November 1. Hard decisions are spurred by inspirational and insightful moments encouraging risks even though the risk is high. In addition, the 27th of October gives us a Full Moon in Scorpio and Taurus at the 3rd degree. The earlier degrees of signs are purer manifestations of the sign, and this degree suggests the very same ferocity of purpose, which may be one of the big issues this month and next, requiring major sacrifices for the greater good (see earlier stories this week) and for those we love. (Remember: You get one more as we start Daylight Savings Time at 2 am on Saturday October 31!)