In this issue of the Forrest Astrology newsletter, Tony shares an open discussion about Uranus and Venus retrograde in the charts of Madonna and Miley Cyrus on the night of the taping of Miley's MTV Unplugged special. But first, a couple of updates...
Today, as we enter the shadow period following Venus retrograde, we find ourselves in yet another shadow – the one just before Mercury retrograde, which kicks off officially with its station retrograde on February 6th or 7th (depending on your time zone). Completing the trio of personal planets, Mars joins this planetary backwards-day party on March 2, marking the first half of 2014 as a season of retrogrades.
We tend to complain about retrogrades no matter when they occur. But having them at the start of the year goes against the natural logic of forward momentum that any new year carries with it. Instead of marching valiantly forward with our New Year goals, we’re encouraged to take a step back. Re-visit, re-vise, re-do. Just about any word you can add “re” to will apply during this time. If you find your actions meeting road blocks, try adding “re” to whatever it is you’re doing, shift gears if necessary, and see if that helps create some ease.
by Steven Forrest
Venus turned retrograde on December 21st, right on the Winter Solstice. Those two pregnant moments coinciding is a rare event and it tells me that we should pay a lot of attention to the strong Venusian signature on the coming year.
On January 11, that retrograde Venus conjuncts the Sun at 21°12' of Capricorn. It remains retrograde for the usual forty-day period, finally turning direct on the last day of January at 13°33' Capricorn.
The Sun-Venus alignment on the 11th is called an “inferior conjunction.” Despite the term, there’s nothing wrong with it! “Inferior” here only means that Venus is directly between the Earth and the Sun. On the other side of its orbit, Venus again aligns with the Sun, but this time with the Sun between us and Venus. That’s the “superior” conjunction, and it is a very different beast. How can you tell the difference? Either way, it is the Sun and Venus in the same degree. But there is one critical distinction: at the inferior conjunction, Venus is always retrograde. At the superior conjunction, Venus’s motion is always direct.
by Steven Forrest
On Saturday, February 1, I am going to do something I had pretty much decided that I would never do—a Webinar. I will be talking intimately to my laptop computer. I will cling to the belief that somewhere out there in the vague world of electrons, ones, and zeros there are some actual human beings who are listening, watching, and hopefully getting something out of the whole enterprise.
I will also moan to myself about the absence of what I have always found to be critical elements in my teaching: eye contact, body language, and that whole critical, vague, rich territory we call “vibes.”
While I am doing all that, transiting Saturn will be standing just one-quarter of a degree from my Ascendant.
To the kinds of gloomy astrologers who still think of Saturn as a Malefic, this would seem like a dumb time for me to take a risk. They would assume that Saturn would bring some kind of misfortune down on my head. I am realistic enough to be prepared for some screw-ups and glitches, but all in all, I think that this is a fine time to launch something new. After all, the Ascendant is the cusp of the First House—the “beginning of the beginning,” so to speak. When anything major hits your Ascendant, there is an excellent chance that you are warp-driving headlong into the kind of choice-point whose consequences will echo in your ears for a long time. Good news or bad? That depends on the wisdom of your choice.
by Steven Forrest
As I write these words, I am sitting in a hotel in Beijing, China. I am about to teach the second day in the first of a pair of seminars I am offering here. I’ve got about forty students. Many are now friends and familiar faces from my previous visits to this country. When I was a kid, I thought China was another planet. Times change: The concerns of my students here are not so different from those of people in my classes in America, or anywhere. And maybe I am not so different from them either: For one thing, I ate breakfast with chopsticks this morning! I did that while reading about the US government shutdown on my Android smart phone. When I was a kid, if I had seen a picture of my future self holding a smart phone, I would have thought Star Trek had come true. To say I am living a life that my grandparents could not have imagined understates it. I am living a life that I myself could not have imagined not so long ago. And nowadays “not so long ago” might as well mean the Late Jurassic. That’s true for me, and also for my Chinese friends and students.
by Tony Howard
We can usually count on nice weather in Portland in September. It's often like a much-needed extension of summer – a sweet memory to tuck away for the rainy months to come. But no such luck this year. In fact, it's been raining cats and dogs. And it usually only rains butterflies and hummingbirds here, if you know what I mean (light sprinkles and mini drops).
So after about 5 days in a row this week without seeing the sun, I started getting grumbly. But now as I prepare October’s newsletter, it's all perfect fodder for this month's subject: The Grace in Debility! Because if we're evolving well in life, we learn to appreciate the benefits in "taking our medicine," whether that means eating our greens for health, or accepting the first frost, which might signal the start of winter, but also lays the stage for the coming rebirth of Spring.
by Steven Forrest
September opens straightforwardly with Venus in Libra and Mercury in Virgo. Each planet is in the sign it naturally rules, in other words. And that symmetry can be a bit bland, like a beige rug in a beige room. But then things get a lot more interesting. On the 9th, Mercury crosses into Libra where it resides for the bulk of the month, until finally entering Scorpio on the 29th. Two days after Mercury slips into Libra, Venus leaves it, crossing the border into the classic sign of its “detriment,” Scorpio, where it remains until the end of the first week of October.
It is this period from September 11th onward, with Venus in Scorpio and Mercury in Libra, that I'm interested in. Harnessed in an evolutionary way, this planetary combination can trigger conscious deepening, support both truth-telling and truth-hearing, and foster the resolution of tough, longstanding intimate conflicts. Experienced unconsciously, it can read like the script of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. People can tear each other apart in the name of love, in other words.
What does it mean when an astrologer says that Venus is in “detriment” in Scorpio? The word is unfortunate and I believe astrology would be better off without it. “Detriment” implies something is wrong, and yet the real truth is that when a planet is in the sign opposite the one it rules, its action can be enriched, not degraded. In a sign that is antithetical to its own nature, the planet is forced to deal with complication and paradox. It feels more subtle and nuanced, sounding more like a wise old Jungian analyst tempered by time and experience than like a fulminating Fundamentalist preacher—which is the great peril of a planet in its “agreeable” sign of rulership!
by Tony Howard
Well, we’re still smack in the middle of the Uranus-Pluto square, as evidenced by any handful of news headlines you can find on a daily basis. As I write this, judge Col. Denise Lind just issued a verdict on the Bradley Manning case. The Manning case is likely to be remembered historically as one of the hallmarks of this transit, and the verdict could have a profound impact on our culture. Whether you believe Manning’s actions were right or wrong, the case calls into questions our current legal system, and glaring issues around accountability for wrongdoing within our armed forces and systems of government.
As a true representative of the Uranian archetype, whistleblower group Wikileaks is seen as a threat by the status quo. They are criticized for “going too far.” Their actions are seen as “offensive and operating outside the law.” And maybe that’s true. But in the eyes of those blowing the whistles, the means taken to reveal truth are necessary to shed light on wrongdoing. These are extreme archetypes at play, so whatever stories unfold on the world stage right now, they’re sure to be dramatic.
Manning’s case represents the fight – the tension and conflict represented by the square aspect – between the status quo and those challenging the system. We’ve seen this specific flavor of drama play out on the world stage before, most recently in the 60s when Uranus and Pluto were conjunct. It’s a recurring theme historically. The planetary movements ensure that we’ll repeat it again and again. And hopefully we learn something new and evolve a little more each time.