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The Wheel of Light

Monthly Newsletter - January 2014

Astrologers define the planets of our solar system as energies. Each of those heavenly bodies represents a certain type of force. When we note various planetary patterns, therefore, we refer to them as energy influences. This year, those patterns provide four highlights. The first, and most transitory, are a series of retrogrades. When a planet is retrograde it appears to be going backwards. We can use the period a planet is retrograde to review our understanding and utilization of its energy. For example, Venus, which turned retrograde December 21, 2013 and remains in that direction until January 31, 2014, pertains to our sociability, values, esthetics and money. This provides six weeks to review our social needs and behaviors. Sometimes this is just an update. Sometimes itís a reality check that enables us to realize that certain needs will never be satisfied in this relationship. It is not, however, a good time to make big decisions about a relationship. Review and, if necessary, communicate with the other person to see if things can be improved. A similar opportunity is available in terms of re-evaluating whatís important and meaningful in our lives. As for money and aesthetics, itís not a good time to make a major purchase, get a makeover or paint the house. This is a period of research and review of these issues. Venus also pertains to harmony. When it is retrograde, harmony can seem like a rare commodity. It could be that the flow of life is more jagged during this period. It could simply mean that we tend to more aware of things not coming together easily at this time.

Mars pertains to our physicality. This could pertain to our energy level or need for exercise or sexual activity. Mars also involves new beginnings. When retrograde (March 1-May 20), our energy level tends to be lower than normal. This is not a good time to begin new projects, but is an excellent time to finish projects that are incomplete. We can also use this time to research new activities after Mars turns direct.

The most challenging planetary alignment will occur in April when four planets line up at right angles to each other. We call this pattern a grand square. Retrograde Mars (in Libra) will be one of the four, with the others being Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Cancer. The most important and powerful part of this aspect is the Uranus-Pluto square, which has been with us since 2010. This represents a classic confrontation between the traditional power forms and structures and the emerging, revolutionary forces of innovation and experimentation. This has taken the form of economics (the US and Western Europe vs. China, India and Brazil). It has also been prevalent politically, although sometimes it can be hard to distinguish who and what represents the old or the new. For example, the Tea Party ascribes to what is essentially a libertarian philosophy that has been around for many years. Is this really revolutionary or just radical in its demands for change? Relative to the Middle East, which branch of Islam is the new and progressive and which is the old and regressive? Nevertheless, the Uranus-Pluto square is present again this year and will be so until 2018.

The grand square in April will tend to generate a great deal of stress and tension, both internal and interactive. The planets will all be in cardinal signs which are action oriented. One way to alleviate difficulty in this period is to do things, especially something that might forge a new beginning. This, however, will be while Mars is retrograde, so itís not a good time to start new activities. Often things begun during Mars retrograde never get finished or we may tend to veer from our defined path and destination and wind up somewhere else. We may tend to lash out at others, blaming them for our frustration. And with Uranus and Pluto being part of this square, the energy and its expression could become quite extreme really fast. Mars (anger, aggression) square Pluto (intense passion) can take anger to rage. Jupiter (expansion) kicks the energy into a higher fear while Uranus (sudden, extreme) takes the energy into previously unknown or unexpressed areas. One way out is to put time and energy into planning rather than just acting impulsively. This could also be a good time to prioritize parts of our lives that are seemingly pushing and pulling us in ways that increase the stress while adding a layer of confusion. This will be a good time to be creative in responding to the challenges of life. Finding new ways to perceive, understand and solve problems requires patience, planning and willingness to take some risks.

In September and October three planets will be one hundred twenty degrees apart from each other in a pattern we call a grand trine. The planets will be Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Leo and Mars in Sagittarius. One very interesting quality of this aspect is that it will connect three of the four planets that locked up in the grand square in the spring. But Jupiter will have entered Leo (July 16) and Mars transits into Sagittarius on September 13. Whereas squares create challenges, trines create harmonious flows of mutually supportive energies. The grand trine represents the most positive flow of all major aspect dynamics. The problem with the grand trine is that it can also perpetrate undesirable behaviors. With the grand square the tension virtually insists that we change and, hopefully, grow. The grand trine can keep us stuck wherever we are. The energy flows so smoothly that there is not inherent reason to change.

The grand trine will consist of planets in the three fire signs. That means that, should we use this energy and work with it, our creative potential is seemingly endless. Our sense of self-confidence and, again, willingness to do things that normally we might feel are too risky can seem more desirable and do-able.

We can personalize these transits by noting in which houses (areas of life experience) the fire signs fall in our own horoscope. Those are the areas where the creative risk taking can manifest most appropriately. Creativity can pertain to the arts, but doesnít have to be limited to them. We can be creative in our problem solving, or simply be more expressive in our work and personal relationships.

Saturn will again spend the year in Scorpio. It doesnít enter Sagittarius until December 23, 2014. This implies another year of having energy to engage in deep personal process work. We can free ourselves from old fears such as intimacy, poverty or unloveability. We can also work to free ourselves from addictions, whether they be to drugs, food, sex or even certain people.

Itís important to remember that the planetary influences impel, they donít compel. We have each been gifted by the universe with free will. This enables us make incredible mistakes. But it also gives us the freedom to be creative in responding to life issues or creating whatever reality we choose. Many people feel that the purpose of life is to learn and grow. To that end we can use any transit or combination of planetary patterns to stimulate us, awaken us and provide the energy to develop ourselves. This, in turn, can enhance our consciousness and our ability to love ourselves and each other in ways that promote peace, harmony and good will throughout the world.

AriesAries (March 21-April 20)
Aries: This month the focus for you is on relationship. How can you maintain your authenticity while learning to be more diplomatic and considerate toward others? Self-discipline is not normally a strong Aries trait. Growth for you this month can come from learning to be more cautious and controlled in your interactions.

TaurusTaurus (April 21-May 21)
Taurus: The second week of the month could bring insightful clarity about the reality of important relationships. From that point, how you proceed in letting others know how you feel and what you need could determine the long range fulfillment you experience in those situations.

GeminiGemini (May 22-June 21)
Gemini: In the midst of the retrogrades and T-square issues, you may find that quiet contemplation produces a deep and clear understanding of the issues confronting you. Focusing on financial issues, especially long-range financial planning for the year is a good way to productively use the energies at this time.

CancerCancer (June 22-July 22)
Cancer: The full Moon in Cancer on the 16th could bring a heightened emotional state. You could feel overwhelmed by what you are feelings, or by a sense of emotional responsibility to take care of others. Growth for you can come from defining your emotional limits and boundaries and letting other know what and where they are.

LeoLeo (July 23-August 23)
Leo: This is a time to focus on the details of your life. Your daily routines, health care regime or efficiency at work could be points of attention. Growth for you can come from making small changes that may be invisible to others at this time but could prove highly beneficial to you in the long run.

VirgoVirgo (August 24-Sept 22)
Virgo: Start the New Year by striving for clarity about your values. What gives your life meaning? What are the foundations upon which you construct your life? Getting clear about these issues now could enhance your feelings of security, self-love and social satisfaction throughout the year.

LibraLibra (Sept 23-Oct 23)
Libra: At a time of diminished harmony, you could dump feelings of frustration onto others. Projecting negativity on others doesnít really deal with whatever the issues are. Growth for you this month comes from accepting that things donít always go smoothly and working as best you can with the circumstances at hand. Lack of harmony isnít necessarily anyoneís fault.

ScorpioScorpio (Oct 24-Nov 22)
Scorpio: This is a good time for physical activity. The more you get the more your intensity can get dissipated before it spills out explosively. Whether youíre outdoors or in a gym, there will a lot of energy available to you this month, so remember to put it to use.

SagittariusSagittarius (Nov 23-Dec 21)
Sagittarius: You may approach situations with the best of intentions yet find that you are being misunderstood. In the face of hostility from others the way out is to give less, not more. This is a good time to learn about limits and boundaries with regard to being emotionally generous.

CapricornCapricorn (Dec 22-Jan 20)
Capricorn: This may actually be a fairly comfortable period for you. You feel support from friends and colleagues. You may also find that you are more productive in your social life than usual. Remember that this is also a time to look inward to insure that the beneficial situations you encounter or create this month will last.

AquariusAquarius (Jan 21 to Feb 19)
Aquarius: New ideas pertaining to career could come up for you this month. It would also be beneficial to begin to implement them. Notice when others are there to offer support and encouragement. Thatís a clear sign that you are on the right track.

PiscesPisces (Feb 20-March 20)
Pisces: This is a good time to spend as much time in quiet contemplation as you can. Itís not particularly good for spiritual or creative activities, however. Use the time to focus on planning and strategizing for long range practical projects. Others may have different opinions and points of view, so stay out of the line of fire and do your research quietly.

Rio Olesky has been a professional astrologer since 1976. He is the author of A Manual for the Modern Mystic and Astrology and Consciousness. He offers both private readings as well as classes for both beginning and intermediate students. To make an appointment for a reading or to find out more information about classes and lectures, call Rio at 707-887-1820. Check out his website:

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