In retrospect, this will be the week that was because major planetary movements of the planets swing back and forth all week. Thankfully, Mercury is now moving in a direct motion on Friday January 28 at 9 am on Pacific Time. It is direct in its favorite sign, Aquarius at about 18°. On that very same day, protective Sun and Jupiter dance beautifully with each other — they provide optimism as well as insight. This will be important over the course of the next couple of days that trigger about eight weeks of rehashing and rethinking and often, self-doubt. This could be reflected in the markets as well since Mars is the planet starting its retrograde motion and Mars is all about spending.

On March 1 is the New Moon (new beginnings — check your 2014 Cheat Sheet for these dates and times and degrees) at 10° Pisces 39′. This is in the second decanate of Pisces, which is the Cancer segment. Cancer energies represent real estate, food, food businesses, antiques, storage facilities for those of you interested in pursuing these possibilities over the course of the next few months.

However, on that same day, Mars, mentioned above, is retrograde at 23° Libra. It stays retrograde until later in May suggesting that rethinking and rehashing projects is imperative. Watch costs and spending. In the course of seeking out a direction, more money may be spent, or, even thrown away just to find that you were on almost the right track to begin with. It might be that new projects started at the beginning of the year having a certain direction, change direction along with further research and study. Thus an explorative theme reigns supreme over the next few weeks through late May 2014 when Mars finally shifts to direct motion.

In addition, Saturn is retrograde (happens once a year for about four to six months) on Sunday March 2 at 23° Scorpio 19′. This is also the Cancer decanate for Scorpio — again the theme of family, real estate, food, food businesses, antiques, storage facilities. Thus, it would seem that real estate may be in the news. Perhaps interest rates are rising (not unexpected because of the Fed’s tightening of QE earlier in the year), but also that while Jupiter is still in Cancer (going direct on March 6), prices overinflated in mid-2013 — now have a reality check and drop again. Just remember — check all details. Waiting is sometimes the best strategy while the markets and rates sort themselves out!

On Tuesday, the Sun enters the sign of Pisces, for the next four weeks. This is the last sign of the zodiac and signifies a month where it is important to put things in order, process our ‘toxic waste’, let go of the past year, and get ready for the new when spring begins next month. A lot of the aspects this week are favorable even though Mercury is still retrograde, it still seems foggy, particularly on Thursday and Friday. For Pisces, however, that is often okay — since foggy is an everyday reality for people of Pisces persuasion. :) We often call up our otherwise unused and ancient senses in the fog, which we often ignore as human beings, and which were the basis of survival for our ancient ancestors.

With the Last Quarter Moon occurring on Thursday around 9:15 am Pacific Time, this assists the closing out of the zodiacal year’s energy. Many people start to feel an early Spring Fever during this time, wanting to pull back a little. This is perfectly appropriate since Pisces energies are about intuitive pursuits rather than overt and intellectual pursuits. If someone comes to mind, or an idea comes to mind, then act on it within 48 hours, because your powers of perception are at their height this month. If you think you should consider selling or purchasing something, start your research. The research may not lead to what you initially sought out, but may lead you down a completely different path that doesn’t become concrete until late May 2014.

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone. It turns out that Valentine’s Day is also a Full Moon at 26° Leo 13′, one of the most extravagant and fun loving moons. So if you don’t have a ‘love’ with which to share this day, share it with friends, family — even a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with those you deeply care for works, too. Any sort of group activity would work here since on the same day Mars and Sun are working really well with each other, great for conversations, idea exchanges, networking. Where two or more are gathered — well you know the rest?

This is very important because just a couple of days before, on Tuesday February 11, we have the Sun and Saturn at an adverse aspect to each other. Some people experience this as a kind of down day, but it is often just a reality check of our limitations and our perceptions of limitations. If there are limitations, then share those perceptions or feelings with others. Even though you may not have that Valentine in your life, there are a lot of people that love you and want to be with you, so gather them up on Friday and have a love fest of ideas that spur community cooperation.

Remember McSteamy in the first episodes of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy? For those of you who do not, McSteamy, a frankly beautiful man, steps out of a shower of steam, giving us the illusion of unequivocal ecstasy! This week’s Mercury retrograde at 3° Pisces 15′ closely conjoining Neptune at 4° Pisces, the ultimate steam machine combo, may throw us off balance with illusions of what might be rather than what really is.

Easing yourself into the energy of this week, resting as much as possible, emptying your mind of all the massive batches of data, is probably the right way to cope with the Mercury retrograde at the end of the week. Illusion incorporated into vision is a good thing if you can capture it on a mind map, a drawing, a mental picture and affixing that in your mind, particularly over the course of the next few weeks as Mercury works its way back to Aquarius, going direct at the end of February.

With Jupiter (good luck, knowledge, vision) sending off a brilliant line of energy to Chiron on Wednesday February 5, signing up or researching classes or workshops that enhance ideas, possibilities, and careers is suggested. This is supported by the First Quarter Moon on Friday February 6, the same day that Mercury goes retrograde at about 1:43 PM Pacific Time. If you aren’t sure about the contract, if something doesn’t ‘feel’ right, don’t do it.

The New Moon on Thursday at 10 Aquarius 55′ heralds in a month of technical tweaking and improvement. Computers, communications, equipment, group projects that all need further examination are screaming for attention. The Chinese New Year of the Horse begins on Friday January 31 (much of the forecast for this is covered in this year’s 2014 Starcycles Cheat Sheet, which can be downloaded for $6.95). The year of the Horse wants and needs freedom. If your equipment, your group efforts, your technology is sorely in need of updating, please consider reviewing it during the course of the next few weeks (It would be nice if the IRS would do that as well, since they may discover some serious problems at their own websites this spring with all the retrograde activity in the sky until late May).

The other reason for the review is to re-assess budgets and spending. The Jupiter Pluto opposition on Friday January 31 begs for new budgets and reviews. An opposition is when two entities are as far apart as they can possibly get in the course of a 360° circle. Something has to give.

It might even be some of the fluff and stuff that we saw in the markets this last year as they ran like a train out of control up, up and away. This could be the time where things start quieting down, and, where, frankly, some bargains are to be had as that occurs.

In the meantime, enjoy the fact that Venus went direct on January 31 at 13° Capricorn (close to Pluto) and that choices in love and luck are upon you. Be clear about what you value, be very conscious, listen to your inner guide and get rid of the things or jobs that aren’t working. Improve quality, let go of quantity. (For some further insights, you might want to download the Forecast 2014 lecture given in late December 2013 at SFAS).

I’ve been trying to figure out why 2014 is so much easier to write than 2013. It is, perhaps, because it adds up to a number seven (7), which represents movement, change, relocation, new jobs. It is the Chariot in the Tarot where the man is holding several wild horses going in different directions and controlling their direction. This reflects where we are at the beginning of this year. This week we have that Last Quarter Moon in Scorpio on January 23. This is a good time to let go of the past. If you haven’t cleaned out the drawers, the closets or even the employees (yes, employees) that are no longer functional, or, just don’t want to work, this is probably a good time to have that ‘special meeting’ to inform those with whom you pursue your life’s work, how things are to work going forward.

Re-establishing work boundaries, policies, having regular group meetings, or, even regularly scheduled meetings with friends that go in the calendar — and whose dates are sacrosanct — is probably the way to go right now. With Mercury and Mars in good relationship on Friday January 24, communication is good and people might even ‘hear’ you! Yay! So if they hear you, then it is time to set down a schedule or rules (Friday January 25 has Mercury and Saturn pushing each other). This is good for focus, scheduling and editing.

Venus is still retrograde in middle degrees of Capricorn and this is not comfortable with that First Quarter Moon in Aries. A constant irritability about what works and what doesn’t is always there. You want to say how you feel, you want to express yourself, but it might be a challenge. With Mars squaring Jupiter this year, a way of moving forward when feeling like you are stuck in glue is to move through your living space and remove and release things that you’ve outgrown and benefits someone else. They say, whomever they are that if you don’t know what you want or where you are going, then let go of the things you know you don’t need anymore. Clarity emerges as Mercury begins its trek in Aquarius.

It is good to set clear intentions for yourself, even if you aren’t one for New Year’s resolutions. Some of us have conditioned ourselves not to dream for fear of feeling disappointed. If you are willing, recapture the essence of what brings you joy. This may take some thought but start by asking yourself questions: Is it creating something, socializing, or physical activity?

Release, let go, turn over a new leaf, and make tough choices. These are all themes for this week with all that Pluto and Mars energy and the New Moon in Capricorn. It won’t be as difficult as you think. The New Moon in Capricorn energy sustains a thicker skin while plowing through the work. Mercury opposing Jupiter might not offer the exact words. It might even lead you down a path of over exaggeration, so think about what you are saying before opening your mouth. A letter or picture works better and often worth many words and I don’t mean texts!!

And, Happy New Year! I love when a New Year begins with a New Moon. The intentions behind those heart felt resolutions are that much more likely to come to fruition. And with the Sun conjunct Pluto, if you are willing to take a few moments to sit quietly and go deep inside, you may just discover a desire that had been buried or hidden away. This is a year to face that aspect of yourself that will not try because you may experience disappointment. Try! Disappointment can be overcome, regret over not trying will stick with you a long time.

Get rid of the old with Mars square Pluto and cultivate the new and richer future. This is the year in which we connect with those we love and value as Jupiter is still in Cancer and opposing the Sun over the course of the next few days. Each year I get together with friends and make up a treasure map for the year — this is a great activity for this week with all that active Mercury energy. Children, young people, young thinkers are all present.

Start the New Year by ending the old one on a positive note. These Mercury transits are ripe with the potential to bring clarity if you are willing to do a little work. Take some time to write down all that 2013 gave you, possibly in terms of how you wanted to grow and what you wanted to achieve. For some, this was a challenging year that offered opportunities to face your fears and/or old habits that had to be released in order to live the life you see for yourself. Celebrate the end of the old year and give yourself credit for having the courage to meet life head on, being kind, and for doing the best you can.

Mercury enters logical Capricorn early in the week. This usually suggests schedules set in stone change. As the week unfolds, things could get a little crazy with Mars opposing Uranus on the 25th (could it be you are visiting several homes?). Mercury sextile Neptune is great for creative ideas and conversations along with great insights as Mercury and the Sun line up in Capricorn…but hold on to your hat, the 29th is riddled with surprises as both Mercury and Sun square Uranus. If you are traveling carry your bags with you and don’t be afraid to start a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you. The contact could be ‘gold’.

Since this is a week of celebration and gatherings, be mindful of the good cheer meant to be shared. It is especially helpful to set an intention to be patient, kind, and count to three before engaging in debates during what is meant to be a special time of togetherness.

The Full Moon this week is lively and wants to talk, talk, and talk some more. Uranus going direct on the same day certainly supports this. If you can’t be there in person, then set the day aside in which to call your favorite folks wishing them a joyous holiday season. With Sun entering Capricorn, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, it is time to plant seeds of change for Spring Equinox. Granted Venus is slowing down and going retrograde in the last degrees of Capricorn and causes delays with regard to professional success until February 1, 2014, but still, it is important to talk with those with whom you love to work and play.

Venus, the goddess of all things beautiful, is retrograde-which means this is not a time to purchase fashion and adornments, unless of course you simply cannot find anything else during your last minute holiday shopping. Returns of such items purchased during this time are likely.

A First Quarter Moon and Jupiter trining Saturn are both very favorable for getting some business done right before the holidays. With Mercury trine Uranus, you could find yourself in a group where some great contacts are found or where great ideas bubble up in conversations surrounding you. With the holidays coming, gather up those contact names and start setting up some meetings before the 21st of December for either January or February of 2014.

If you feel inspired to send a holiday card, possibly to those you have lost touch with, this is an excellent time to follow those out-of-the-blue communication ideas. Mercury trine Uranus is ripe with inspired thoughts.