Kingston, NY, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008

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An Aquarian Anthem
By Judith Gayle
WE HAVE a star spangled week ahead of us -- so take a deep breath and prepare for an intense few days of beginnings and endings. We start this amazing sequence of energy shifts gazing up at a Leo Full Moon on Tuesday, so if things appear a bit dramatic you are justified in having a mini-tantrum, just make it brief and move along; try not to hurt anyone. This is the kind of energy that can escalate to a cranky face-off with whomever doesn't appreciate our personal angst or circumstance, and most people are too distracted by their own to have much empathy for ours. Try for the lighter tone of Leo; play with the kids, dust your collections, write your memoirs. If you have Leo planets screaming for attention, plan a costume party -- here's your theme: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? Laugh at yourself and your fears, growl at the negative possibilities and recall power points from your past with a satisfied purr, extending them into your future as affirmations of essential self.

Our stellium in Aquarius -- Sun, Mercury, Neptune, Chiron and the North Node -- continues to bring us bright ideas and a spirit of altruism. The cerebral qualities of the Water Bearer are welcome now, allowing us to consider our various options with a bit of cool detachment. Aquarius is the perpetual student, so use this time to investigate the nooks and crannies of your personal challenges and develop a working hypothesis. Don't lock into a position too quickly -- Aquarius is a fixed sign, stubborn when it takes a stand; better to allow our thought process to remain fluid and creative. Remember the hint the Full Moon provides us. If we are too impersonal, we disconnect from heart and empathy. That will serve none of us, so try for balance.

Mercury is in its echo phase (sometimes called 'shadow' phase, right before a retrograde) and, occupying the sign of lightning strikes and Uranian possibilities, will give us our money's worth when it retrogrades later in the month. Now is the time to back up computer files, check your oil and brakes, vacuum the lint in the drier trap -- in other words, prepare. Attending to the obvious now will give us latitude and energy to deal with any surprises later.

While the challenges to the economy have us all jumpy, the Saturn Jupiter trine should stabilize business and keep the market from shaking itself apart. The trickle-down economic policy the country has embraced hasn't been reflected in the public pocket for several years and the flattened housing bubble, borrowed debt and deflated dollar were destined to catch up with us eventually. A serious reordering is overdue and it's apparent now, dictated in the Cappy Jupiter opposing the Cancer planets (Venus, Jupiter, Sun) in the US (Silby) chart. We are better off thinking in the long-term than the short, but don't look for politico's to take substantive measures. Guard against panic and dire projections that echo around you. Money is a symbol representing energy -- if we lock up our energy in fear, it will not flow to meet our needs.

The most dramatic of our events this week occurs on Saturday the 26th, when the entry of Pluto into Capricorn will take us into an energetic space we haven't occupied since George Washington was a pup. Astrologers around the globe can now thumb their nose at the devolvement of Pluto from planet to dwarf, or planetoid. Pluto is no bit player -- the ramifications of this shift will eventually shake the world.

For the moment, this new energy may feel more humorless and stern than we're used to, like the cops knocking on the door to tell us to turn down the music. We'll find an increased edge of seriousness applied to old conversations and existing problems -- we will discover new points of interest and wave goodbye to others. For instance, Pluto's long residence in the later degrees of Sagittarius, its visit to the Galactic Core and stall at 29 degrees brought us to a crescendo of the 21st century "God Chronicles," and a collision with the underlying themes of patriarchy and power abuse that has dominated our world view. We sustained a long period of emotional overload and even as it fades, it will take time to leech out of our pores. Venus moving past those last degrees of Sag and into Cappy on Thursday will make everything a bit more intense; I wouldn't be surprised to find an explosion of jihadist activity or up-tick of religious violence accompanying the Centaur's final bow. And do note that the long years of Sagittarian upheaval ends with a global call for substantial change and renewal of hope. We learned our lessons well.

Those who were able to leap into new understandings of faith and spirituality will find the practical voice of Capricorn welcome, discovering ways to apply their newly achieved clarity and social consciousness in structured, functional ways -- those who weren't will continue to loop in worn out dialogues that will quickly become tedious to the whole. We're moving on -- they can choose not to come along but they will no longer benefit from our undivided attention. We will be shifting our focus to immediate crisis, wherever we find it, seeking responsible remediation and, ultimately, regeneration.

Energy is only a filter through which we observe, its application is what sets the tone and defines the moment. In our current political situation, we can anticipate the new Pluto to look somber and punitive as it establishes its authority; patriarchy squared, as Bush struggles to make his fear-based policies permanent into the next administration and beyond. Expect a conservative turn, but don't let that buzzword scare you -- the last seven years were a misnamed experiment in radicalism. The conservatism that will eventually establish itself will actually attempt to "conserve" that which is workable and valuable; traditions are born of head-earned experience and they will be sorted through in the coming years. What is worthy will find itself at the center of a new perception of environmentalism and governing responsibility. Meanwhile, we can be encouraged that there's a new sheriff in town, it comes dressed in a Cardinal sign and will initiate the changes we week. Cleaning up the riff-raff and making this a decent world to live in will define a new decade-long adventure in rationalism.

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