This week I am starting my travels to South Africa a long awaited journey and for you my readers, you could find yourselves traveling another expedition that engages your highly intelligent problem solving skills. This practice puts you on a new and clear direction and path leading you to your next exciting journey. This is particularly strong over the course of the next few days as Mercury stations to go direct at 1° Aquarius 28′ and Saturn gets close to the 4th degree of Sagittarius.

Since late December, Saturn entered Sagittarius where it last traveled between 1985 and 1986. However, whenever a slower planet like Saturn puts its toe into a new sign, it takes about 3° to get its mojo going so that we all clearly see what our next steps of organizational planning might be.

Saturn rules disciplines, but Sagittarius wants to be free and have a long leash. This is the challenge of the next 2 ½ years. These next few weeks show us a picture of how to have vision but also shows us a picture of what we need to do (not always a lot of fun) in order to make that vision a reality. Double checking what you say, or, what you’ve done, rather than saying — oh that is good enough — is part of the learning curve we face.

Since Saturn will be stationing to go retrograde (appear to go backwards) at the 4th degree around mid-March, the plot is laid. This early preview at the Saturn in Sagittarius movies is just a preview. Previews are ticklers — they either titillate you or horrify you. Either way, they are designed to mirror back to you the ‘issues’. These ‘issues’ are, of course, ‘issues’ of others or other organizations. For example, the 3rd and 4th degrees of Sagittarius are the degrees of flight. Could the airlines find themselves on the hot seat as more mechanical problems result in tragic accidents, or, if the price of oil is still down, answering, honestly, while travel is becoming increasingly expensive?

The other issues to which I refer are our issues. What aren’t we willing to look at because it is just too uncomfortable or we are having too good a time, or, whatever? Don’t worry because it is just a preview. The real story starts in September 2015. But it is best to start correcting the behaviors that keep me or you or us from attaining our goals. Progress and advancement and specialization require time — not just a ‘good enough’ attitude. Dave Grant was a motivational speaker about two decades ago and I remember his comment, “If you have a choice between pleasure and pain, do the pain first, then pleasure is a true reward!” How much do you want IT?

Good news for more fun as the Full Moon appears on Tuesday at 14° Leo 48′. This is just a day after Uranus (innovative thinking) aligns with the Sun in Aquarius. Your brain is lit up with ideas, or, finding yourself in the right place at the right time, socializing, and feeling a general sense of happiness and joy as the Moon moves towards an alignment with good luck Jupiter on Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday. This is a perfect set up for the end of the week, when Mercury, the thinking planet begins stationing to go direct the following week and lines up with clear thinking and organized Saturn on Thursday, February 5. This along with a good stiff Moon in organized Virgo all the way through Saturday is particularly supportive of getting ‘it’ done — whatever ‘it’ is.

The weekend brings a very social Libra Moon having great conversations with whomever you happen to run into on the runway of life. Those ‘moments’ are key in opening some new doorways to new possibilities that hold true potential. Sunday supports closing the deal and presenting your ideas as Venus and Pluto support each other offering key teaching and coaching moments for many.

The Sun has been traveling through Aquarius since last week. This is a much lighter energy than the previous passage of Sun in Capricorn as it aligned with Pluto. Aquarius is an air sign and therefore has more of an ability to objectively view what choices are the better choices and those that are far less so. The Second Quarter Moon on Monday at 6° Taurus 55′ lends itself to a more solid and practical scenario of picking and choosing our battles. The sensitivity needed during hardball negotiations is also supported by transit Venus entering its exalted position of Pisces on Tuesday morning. For the next couple of weeks it runs with transit Mars in Pisces as well, which often portends the possibility of romantic encounters that bring some nurturing to a starving soul.

However, it is always a good idea to wait until both Venus and Mars leave Pisces in the coming weeks to make a decision as to whether this is the right relationship or not — because many times when planets are in Pisces, the issue of creating healthy boundaries is challenged. No worries, though, Mercury, thinking and analyzing, though still retrograde, is in a very strong holding pattern in the sign of Aquarius which lends a practical dialogue to the situation or circumstance.

Monday is Martin Luther King’s birthday and it is timely in light of all the violence we’ve witnessed during the course of the last few months. Where is a Martin Luther King when we need him? This is the question on a lot of peoples’ minds as we move into a week where Mercury, the planet of rhetoric and communications begins to retrograde at 17° Aquarius 03′ on Wednesday, January 21. This promises about three weeks of re-thinking our larger goals or how we can contribute to our immediate community surrounding us? What time can we give, even for a few hours a week, to a team, a group or an organization with which we have simpatico? With whom can we meet that shares the same values and through a community organization can help change laws, practices or systems?? Mercury continues to be retrograde until February 11, 2014. This time period supports the questions of not only what do we want for future goals, but with whom do we wish to focus on those goals?

There are friends and acquaintances that come and go throughout life. This three week period is about assessing those same friends and acquaintances. Is there something more we need to explore with specific people? Or is it the time to cut loose from those ‘psychic vampires’ who take up more energy than we have available to give. Being selective about whom or with which groups to align is paramount during this time. This is part of the insight available to us as the New Moon beckons us on Tuesday at 00° Aquarius 09′. It may take until middle to late February to really get it together.

The Last Quarter Moon begins on Tuesday, January 13. Last Quarters are about breaking down the events of the last three weeks and putting them in perspective. Cleaning out quarters, desks, offices, spaces, and closets is a good way to approach a Last Quarter Moon. In addition, Mars the planet of motivation enters spiritual and creative Pisces on Monday. It remains in Pisces until about February 20th. As it continues on its journey it connects with Saturn on Wednesday, which really helps us focus more clearly on the matters at hand — which is always good when you have Pisces involved. A little strict or disciplined Saturn energy never hurt anyone.

This is particularly true since early next week Mars aligns with dreamy and sometimes spacy Neptune. In addition, we are getting ready for Mercury retrograde next week, so anything you can do to put your affairs in order this week is imperative. Anything hanging around that needs to be cleared, cleaned, fact checked, researched, or implemented is a good thing to put on your list for this week. Don’t ‘dilly dally’ as my beloved but very strict mother used to say when Saturdays came and it was housework day. Of course, as a little Pisces, a little dilly-dallying was necessary and as adults won’t hurt since Mars in Pisces is about looking at your artistic or creative options this week. Or, for that matter, your daily spiritual practice. Maybe it is time to start something like that! With Saturn supporting the discipline needed for this, you can’t lose.

We’ve just finished the sixth of seven hard challenges between Uranus (the planet of revolution, anarchy, awakening to another way of thinking, and change) and the planet Pluto (the planet embodying those things that we refuse to see, to recognize, and, then, of course, the flip side, which is planet of choice and power). A lot of individuals are saying that we are near the finish line but my view is we are just beginning. The changes we’ve pondered for a very long time (at least two years) are now upon us. Once unwilling to shift consciousness, awarenesses or even the way we live, everyone is closer to this reality as the New Year begins and as we race to the last alignment in mid-March 2015.

The bottom line is that everyone — not just those others that we often judge or criticize — but everyone is in a state of flux of rapid evolution that seems faster than our human systems can process. Life is no longer slow. It is fast and requiring the release of the encumbrances to which we are too attached. The slow release of attachments is slow. As humans, we still need to process things in an order that makes sense to each individual. Whatever pace you choose, it works as you move to the next phase of your life. This alignment–in play for almost three years — is about shedding. Shedding is not only about the shedding of things, but also judgments, criticisms, and calloused views. We can shed things, ideas, acquaintances that we’ve outgrown or whose values are now different than our own, and we can shed ideals, careers, locations. The list is endless. This year is about finding the path that works for each of us — and taking that path without doubt or remorse.

The question is — what is it that is filling up the space and keeping you from your next step?

For those of you who don’t know this, we don’t have a calendar anymore, but we do have a little astrological ‘cheat sheet’ that I’ve put together for the last two years. It contains a colorful page — graphic and color coded — showing the planetary movements for 2015 as well as a mini 2015 forecast(in general) and also a mini forecast for each sign of the zodiac. If you know your rising sign (or ascendant), you can read that, too. It is available at our website for $6.95 and you can directly download it into your computer.

This last weekend was a Full Moon and a pretty intense one at that, because it pierced the veil of the previous writing’s comments. It was a Full Moon in middle degrees of Cancer opposite the Sun in Capricorn. That is what Full Moons are, when the earth is in the middle (meaning ‘we the people’ are in the middle) of the pull between the Sun and the Moon. This particular phase was stressed by Uranus and continues to stress us throughout the week, so it is important to mark (in your heads) the changes you need to make that are crystal clear as a result of this action (you will know it when you see it), but do not react in an angry, cruel or explosive way. That is not the way.

One might feel like doing that because Pluto was also stressing the position of the Full Moon. Pluto takes no prisoners and exhibits a pretty dark response to stressful conditions if one doesn’t back off for a bit to review. Being angry or vindictive is not the path to take. Remember, though Pluto is the planet of the ‘shadow’ or the parts of ourselves that we refuse to look at, it is vindicated and empowered in each of our charts when we look at what part we honestly play in the dance of our relationships. It is also the planet of choice and choice equals power and power equals choice. So what other choices face you at the beginning of 2015 supported by the light of and gift of awareness this Full Moon brought to you? Pluto can be very strategic if we just give it some time to think. After all, what he really asks is that you remain conscious.

And, honestly, really, truly how many people are really conscious? No need to answer — just think about it!

Even though it is New Year’s and New Year’s Eve week, it could present additional challenges putting some of us over the top in terms of consumption and outlandish behaviors and indulgences. Though a quiet time in the markets, with Mars opposing Jupiter on Thursday and continuing through the weekend, it may not be a quiet time on the roads. Make sure to designate those drivers or have a backup plan just in case the ‘over the top’ types need a little help. :)

Some unexpected surprises — some somewhat challenging, and many good – show up on Saturday as the Sun and Uranus clash with each other, signifying the possibility of volatile exchanges between oneself and authority figures. As Saturday continues, the Sun aligns with Pluto. Push comes to shove and power plays may be at hand, but what’s the point? If everyone is holding the same position, nothing changes and there is no compromise. The Full Moon on Sunday the 5th of January puts a few nails into the coffin of disagreement. So think twice before you decide to oust those with whom you can’t come to some sort of understanding with. Give it a few days and allow for a better opportunity to discuss differences when things cool down.

And by the way — Happy New Year — here is to a fresh start for all of us!

This week on Tuesday December 23, Saturn leaves Scorpio for about six months, and enters the sign of Sagittarius. The last time Saturn was in Sagittarius was about thirty years ago and it began on November 16, 1985. It lasts for 2.5 years. Saturn in Sagittarius is a reality check for our belief systems, as well as our political leanings. Saturn is about pulling in the belt, moving towards a more conservative thinking mode. Sagittarius thinks big, but Saturn holds it back. This also suggests a more reserved thinking pattern for the general pattern over the course of the next few years as Saturn moves through Sagittarius.

I do like it though, because in many ways it is a combination of Saturn and Jupiter working at their best. Saturn is the form in which we pour the vision of Jupiter. This is probably the most major of the week’s events, along with a very perceptive combination: Mercury with Pluto and Chiron suggesting research, uncovering the truth and getting to the bottom of what issues are really creating blockages.

Mercury leaves Sagittarius on Tuesday December 16 and enters the anchored sign of Capricorn late on Tuesday. This is important as the week unfolds because Uranus is stationing direct on Sunday December 21, which is also the first day of winter (Winter Solstice). I always found it interesting that during the coldest time of the year (Northern Hemisphere), all the partying for the holidays takes place because the Solstice period is about going inside and thinking about our lives and our purpose and putting our spiritual life in order.

However, this is often not the case as everyone rushes to get to this party or that. Perhaps it is the last hurrah of the season of light as we approach the shortest day of the year, or, perhaps it is about making some memories to take with us into the darkness of winter. Regardless, this week ends with many aspects on Saturday, December 20. Some of these are Mercury in alignment with imaginative Neptune, a very good time to do some meditation or creative work which is like meditation. Venus aligns with Pluto on that same day so more choices emerge as we make personal relationship choices that require a certain degree of emotional risk. You get a little kick (nerve) with Mars in good aspect to Uranus, which is going direct. This gives you the courage to make or break or say what you really feel regardless of the response. Remember a few weeks ago when we said make those reasonable requests??

Monday December 8, Jupiter stations retrograde at 22° Leo 37′. Jupiter has been forming a loose square to transiting Saturn in late degrees of Scorpio these past weeks. Those of you reading last week’s forecast noted the issue about planning financially. Characteristically, when Jupiter and Saturn are in square or opposition to each other the economy tightens or people don’t spend as much. Since this is not an exact aspect yet (like it will be in August 2015), it is, in fact, a prelude to the end of 2015 and 2016 when Jupiter and Saturn will be in square for about 15 months.

Mastering your negotiation techniques is imperative. Always make those reasonable requests even though people may say no, it is always worth a try. This is important for Jupiter is retrograde and we often stop and think about how much expansion we really want. Put that next to the fact that on Sunday December 14 we have the sixth of seven Uranus Pluto squares. This aspect has been with us since June 2012. It has one more exact aspect and that is in March 2015.

Uranus square Pluto wakes us up to what isn’t working (to the dark side if you will) and how we want to break out of that old pattern (whether psychological or habitual) and try things another way — in perhaps a more unorthodox way that gets results. There could be repercussions, but they are the good kind that we have when we change our focus. You have to let go to get.

It is the last month of the year. Everyone gets ready for holiday festivities in December and this year’s festivities may be somewhat over the top with Jupiter traveling through Leo. This is a good week for getting organized and determining how much time (and resource) you have to make your plans work. Monday’s Mars sextile Saturn suggests motivation and structure work together. As the week continues, Venus beautifully aspects Jupiter on Thursday December 4 indicating a perfect time to ask for some help with these plans. This is great for taking a personal inventory of your health and how you present yourself to the world. It can also suggest that markets are working favorably and it might be a time to take some profits balancing the losses against the gains so there are not too many capital gains involved.

Because it is the end of the year it is always a good idea to make up a budget for the New Year. In past years I have offered a FREE ‘budget template’ to use while doing this. Make a copy of the original and then use it to figure out your income and your costs. It self-adjusts as you make your changes. Join my mailing list to get access.

The end of the week gives us a Full Moon at 14° Gemini 18′ and this forms a very good aspect with transiting Jupiter as well Uranus. In fact, with the Sun in Sag, Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Leo (the fire trio), there are lots of money making opportunities- but you have to look around and ‘ask for the order’. This would also help perk up those holiday surprises.

Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Earlier in the week, however, we have Mercury and Saturn aligned with each other. This is a good aspect for writing and focusing our ideas. This extends into Wednesday the 26th when Venus trines Uranus, which is great for chance meetings, sudden communication from friends or unexpected encounters. It is also a great aspect for groups of friends getting together to celebrate.

The First Quarter Moon on Saturday November 29 lined up with Pisces is a great time to see a movie, a play, immerse yourself in an art or photography exhibit, actually make some holiday gifts as well as take time and go through cabinets and closets! Thank you to all of you for all of your continued support throughout the years. You are greatly appreciated. I don’t often thank you all who read this. I have been doing astrology since my early twenties — 43 years now!

When I began studying it after being pretty well educated and having a really excellent job, this science, this art form, opened my brain up in so many ways and gave me such understanding of so much. That combined with the ‘book learning’, well, it is the only job I have ever had that never gets old. There are years in which I worked with you, my dear friends and clients, a lot in private consults. I still work with clients but not to that extent because I am trying to write more now, but those moments in the office or on the phone were great learning experiences for me. So I thank you.

There were years I traveled constantly giving lectures all over the world, which I still do but which have slowed down considerably since I need to be a little bit more particular about time and what needs to be done. Regardless, each interaction, each lecture, each teaching experience as well as each learning experience only helped to heighten my understanding and appreciation for this very old analytic art form and practice.

So, thank you for being my teachers, my support, my network that encouraged me when I didn’t feel very encouraged and for being so loyal and consistent in your support of my work as well as my family and friends who have been there every step of the way. I thank the many teachers and colleagues that challenged me and taught me and embraced me as one of their own. It just doesn’t get any better than that on this Thanksgiving week.