Hello, Dear Readers,

I apologize for my continued vacation from regular posts.  I took a break a while back, after posting monthly since 1998, and time seems to fly.  Posting is easier than ever, as I’m about to prove to myself, so let’s see what’s up.

In my last post I wrote about Mercury retrograde, those periods when Mercury appears to backtrack in its orbit while it’s actually looping through the inside of its orbit around the Sun as seen from the earth.  (When Mercury’s on the far side of the Sun from Earth, it appears to be moving forward through the Zodiac, then when it comes around to the side nearer Earth it appears to be moving backward.)  All the planets retrograde, in their own patterns – Mercury for three weeks or so, three times a year; Venus for 41 days or so, about every 19 months; Mars every other year for about 72 days, and the remainder of the planets yearly for varying periods of 4-5 months.  We pay more attention to Mercury retrograde because it happens so frequently and because of its apparent ability to slow down our daily affairs, wreak havoc on plans and agreements and communications, and generally tangle things up. Mercury retrograde is also known for travel delays and snafus, and it’s generally best to install software and update computers while Mercury is direct, though all information processing and communication devices may be a bit more prone to malfunction during these retrogrades, necessitating those very repairs and updates.

Since Mercury’s retrograde period is only three weeks or so, it makes sense to be aware and work around it.  (Don’t stop everything – just get things rolling before the retrograde, be prepared for a few delays during that period, and look ahead to the return to direct motion for things to straighten out.)

We just finished a Mercury retrograde period from September 17 to October 9, and the next Mercury retrograde will run from January 5 to January 25, 2016.  Good to know as you’re getting the New Year off to a good start.

Recent developments: It’s interesting to watch the transits of the planets through the signs of the zodiac,  The time each year that the Sun is in each sign, for about 30 days in a sign, starting with its ingress into Aries at Spring Equinox, provides a framework for the cycle of the year.  The sign Mercury is in, usually for two or three weeks in each sign, with retrogrades as noted above, gives indications as to how we’re all tending to think and communicate.  Venus’s sign position gives clues to how we’re tending to relate to one another, to express our affections, and to enjoy life and its pleasures. Venus spends about a month in each sign.  Mars’s current sign gives indications as to how we’re using our energy, pursuing our goals, asserting our wishes; that changes about every two months.  These evolving placements can be interesting to watch as day-to-day life unfolds.

What’s really interesting to me, though is the progress of the outer planets through their orbits.  Jupiter spends about a year in each sign, and gives an indication of qualities and abilities that we are currently developing and expanding. (Also, it’s great to note when Jupiter enters your sign, as that can be a time when much progress is made, things open up for you, expanding your life experience and presence in the world.)  Jupiter was in Leo, a good period for Leos and a great time for all of us to enhance our confidence, creativity and self-expression, from July 16, 2014, until August 11, 2015.  On August 11, Jupiter entered Virgo, where it will remain until September 9, 2016.  Then it will be in Libra.

Jupiter’s transit in Virgo is a great time to get your life in order, from straightening up your living space and doing repairs, to organizing your papers, to getting your healthy lifestyle in real life, moving from good intentions to actuality.  Virgo can obsess over details, to excess.  It is always good to balance a sign’s energies with the qualities of the opposite sign.  Virgo’s opposite is Pisces, and Pisces is able to go with the flow, and have faith in the overall Divine order.  Let go and let God.  So this is a time to do your best, put in good work, and then let it be.

We are really having an opportunity to experience the benefits and the excesses of Virgo right now, as Venus and Mars have  been in Virgo, making a beautiful show in the early morning sky.  I myself have gotten a lot done, and just now, on November 7, Venus has moved into its own sign, Libra, a sign of harmony and balance.

Saturn is the planet of hard work and patiently dealing with challenges.  Saturn takes approximately 29 years to complete its orbit, spending about 2 1/2 years in each sign.  Saturn has just recently completed its transit of Scorpio.  Many of us have been dealing with deep issues, hidden matters including family issues and other things from the past.  It’s tempting to avoid such matters in life, but it’s better to deal with them, and Saturn’s transit in Scorpio can be just the time when we examine and resolve long-standing issues, or this may be the time we become aware of them.  Saturn was in Scorpio from October 5, 2012, until December 23, 2014, and then retrograded back into Scorpio from June 15 until September 18, 2015. It’s now in Sagittarius.

The time when Saturn is in your sun sign is typically a time of much hard work and fewer free passes.  Typically when Saturn completes its transit of your sign you can look back with pride in your accomplishment and relief that it’s over.  Scorpios might be able to confirm that, though they tend to be private about personal matters.

Overall, the interval when Saturn is in Scorpio is a time when all of us, and the world at large, grapples with more challenges, does more soul-searching, and faces the darker aspects of life.  This last couple of years has coincided with the square of Uranus and Pluto, about which I and other astrologers have written extensively, and I’m guessing most of us would agree it has been a doozy.

Now Saturn is in Sagittarius, an opportunity for all of us to refine our Sagittarian qualities. Sagittarius can be rather outspoken and opinionated, can jump to conclusions, and may have good intentions and high ideals that may not be well realized due to restless impatience to get on with the chase.  It’s a good time for all of us, Sagittarians included, to employ the deliberation and diligence of Saturn to these areas, toning down our opinions in order to see things in a more balanced fashion, embracing our ongoing learning, speaking after thinking, and following through on attaining our aspirations for ourselves and the world.

I’ve spoken as though only Leos and Virgos have enjoyed the expansive influences of Jupiter, and only Scorpios and Sagittarians are working hard with Saturn’s issues.  I want to be clear that Jupiter’s sign indicates qualities all of us can develop and expand, and Saturn’s placement indicates challenges we are all likely to be experiencing.  Also, if you know your individual birth chart, you can identify the house Jupiter is in and the house Saturn is currently occupying, giving more potential insight as to where you are easily expanding and growing, and where you are likely to be working to put your life in solid order.

That’s about it for now.  I’ll post more soon.  I’m available if you have simple questions about astrology, and I appreciate your interest in this column.

Mercury Retrograde

 I and many other astrologers have been writing about some major planetary configurations in the past couple of years and more.  The Uranus-Pluto square (or squares – those two planets were exactly 90 degrees apart seven times, the last time being March 16, 2015)  has been in the forefront of astrologers’ perspective through this time.  We were predicting chaos and upheaval and rebellion long before these planets came into exact square, and I must say things have been crazier than I dared imagine.

But enough about that.  We’ve all been through a lot of changes, and I hope these are bringing us to good places in our lives, to liberation and unexpected developments  that are resulting in our being more fully ourselves.

I’d like now to focus on a couple of day-to-day astrological influences that are not quite so striking or amazing as these major planetary alignments.  I’m thinking of Mercury retrograde. Mercury is retrograde now. For years I have been inserting some endnotes in my forecasts, explaining some common concepts of astrological “weather.”  These endnotes have included this about Mercury retrograde:

Mercury takes a little three-week retrograde cycle approximately every four months.  Our daily affairs slow down and get complicated.  Communications get tangled, computers flake out, automobiles break down and travel arrangements fall into disarray, a comedy of scheduling mishaps occurs, and things pretty much slow to a crawl.  It’s really a great time to slow down and regroup, to finish projects and catch up on unfinished business.  Just try not to launch your big project, or sign on the dotted line for a new contract, job, car, or whatever unless you really need to.  Try to get those things moving before the retrograde, and shepherd things patiently along during the retro cycle, knowing that some things may not completely come together until Mercury turns direct.  If you are making significant moves during the Mercury retrograde period, just know that some things will have to be straightened out after the direct.

Mercury turned retrograde the evening of May 18, and it will turn direct on June 11. I am hearing of all sorts of breakdowns and complications and delays from people around me.  This particular Mercury retrograde cycle may be a little more challenging than some.  I think I’m cruising along okay, but that may be because I’ve spontaneously decided not to try to make my daily activities unfold on a schedule.  Each day I have a list of things I might hope to accomplish, and then I just jump in and whatever happens, happens.   It never goes according to the agenda I created, but I have faith that it will all get done somehow.  My sympathy goes out to all those who have tight schedules and structured plans, because Mercury will have its way.

So, how to navigate the Mercury retrograde cycle, this Mercury retrograde cycle?  There’s a little more to the cycle than the simple explanation given above.  There is not only a retrograde but a “prograde” that astrologers pay attention to.  It’s great when Mercury turns direct and affairs start to move forward again.  However, we don’t consider things to be fully back on track until Mercury regains  lost ground and again is at the position it occupied when it was stationary, turning retrograde.

Let’s look at the current retrograde cycle.  Mercury turned retrograde on May 18, when it was at 13 degrees Gemini.  When Mercury is retrograde it is moving through the part of its orbit on the side of the Sun closer to the earth.  Midway through the retrograde Mercury will be aligned with the Sun as seen from the earth.  I find that we are often able at this point to gain some information or insight that is helpful in navigating the retrograde period.  This alignment or conjunction of Mercury and the Sun is called the inferior conjunction, not because it is less good but because it is lower or closer to earth, in contrast to the superior  conjunction when Mercury is on the far side of the Sun.

Anyway, the  inferior conjunction of the Sun and Mercury is coming up this Saturday morning, May 30.  Just by coincidence, it happens that a business agreement  that other parties and I  both desire has run into complications and remains unresolved, but I believe a solution may be evolving, and the timeline seems to be pointing to Saturday.   Are there any tangled situations resulting from this Mercury retrograde that you are aware of?  Can you foresee an opportunity for resolution opening up in the next three or four days?  Be on the lookout for it.

Mercury will continue to retrograde for a few more days after the inferior conjunction with the Sun and will at last turn direct on the afternoon of June 11.  You may notice the fog beginning to clear as we approach June 11, and things will continue to pick up.  However, we will not be in the clear until Mercury “completes its prograde” and is back at 13 Gemini, where it turned retrograde.  That will come on June 26.  Watch it and see what you think.

Mercury was retrograde at the beginning of 2015, from January 21 to February 11. The current retrograde period runs from May 18 to June 11. The third and final Mercury retrograde period of 2015 will run from September 17 to October 9.

Mercury turns retrograde about every four months, and I’ve noticed it’s been working out that Mercury will stay in the same element for three or four retrogrades. This year all the retrogrades occur when Mercury is in air signs – Aquarius, then Gemini, then Libra. Last year each Mercury retrograde cycle began with Mercury in a water sign, whence it backtracked into the air sign preceding it.   In 2013 Mercury turned retrograde in each of the water signs and remained in water throughout the retrograde.

In 2016 Mercury will spend its retrogrades in the earth signs, a possible indication that practical and business and mundane matters will go through tangles and delays to an unusual degree.

And that, dear reader, is enough said about Mercury retrograde.

FULL MOON  June 2, 2015

I want to pique your interest with one other astrological tidbit. Everyone knows that Full Moons are high points in the lunar cycle that can bring matters to culmination, and they are often associated with striking developments, that “something’s got to give” moment.

The coming Full Moon looks to be pretty dynamic. This lunar cycle began with a New Moon on May 18. At the New Moon the Sun and Moon were aligned with the fixed star Algol, which is sometimes associated with violence and atrocious behavior. Now comes the Full Moon, which is the high point of the cycle, on Tuesday, June 2. The chart is a volatile one. The Sun and Moon will be opposite one another, as that’s what makes a Full Moon. The Sun will be bracketed by Mercury on one side, still in retrograde, and Mars, planet of impulsiveness, temper and aggression, as well as healthy assertiveness, on the other. These bodies will be squared by Neptune, planet of inspiration, imagination and illusion.

The next few days, culminating on June 2, are likely to be fraught with upsets, impulsive actions and overreactions, accidents and rifts resulting from those impulsive words and deeds, and an unusual amount of drama or violence in the news.

This is a suggestion to proceed with care, knowing that even when we are grounded, many people will not be. Drive with care. Be aware of the dynamic energies of this Full Moon period and try to put it to good use.  Give yourself and others some slack. Some of us will likely be channeling this energy into breakthroughs in our lives.

Back to the forecast!

After publishing a monthly forecast from 1997 until the summer of 2013, I just, without warning, could  not manage to write another.  Why would I break such a long track record? I think it was that things had just gotten so non-stop chaotic in the world it was like trying to do a forecast in a hurricane.

I’ve always thought it’s great fun to look at the astrological “weather” and see if I could make sense of it, either forecasting the trends or flavor of upcoming astrological influences and how they might show up in our daily individual lives and on the broad canvas of the news and cultural trends, or looking at what’s happening or already happened and seeing the underlying significance of it writ in the stars, so to speak.

So, this is what I did for years and years. Then, in the last few years, we have had some very interesting and chaotic astrological conditions, especially the off-and-on square of Uranus and Pluto, which I was writing about, right along.  I’ll post my general interpretation below.  Anyway, these two planets were exactly square to one another (90 degrees apart) a total of 7 times from June 24, 2012, until March 16, 2015, and they remained in pretty close 90 degree alignment throughout that time.  Astrologers had been looking ahead to this period long before it arrived, as it is the classic stuff of chaos and revolution, and also breakthroughs and breakneck progress, turning lives and the collective topsy-turvy.

Uranus and Pluto have a cycle of approximately 125 years from one conjunction to the next, and the quarter points in the cycle, beginning with the conjunction, are times of high excitement as described above.  The last Uranus-Pluto conjunction was in the late 1960’s, and we are still talking about that period.  Everyone was protesting – students, African Americans, labor unions.  There were protests and riots abroad in the land, and this was the first appearance of domestic terrorists in recent times.  There were assassinations – JFK, Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King.  Wild times!

Now, in the last three years or so, at this First Quarter point in the cycle, things have reached a level to match that.  I don’t recall the whole world being in chaos in the 1960’s as much as I recall the United States being in upheaval, but now it’s obviously going on the world over.  I’m sure part of this awareness on my and others’ parts is due to the Internet. Remind me to discuss the rise of the Internet later.  It has to do with Pluto in Sagittarius.

Oh, yes, Pluto is now in Capricorn.  Pluto is associated with breakdown and rebuilding, and Capricorn relates to societal structure, government, established social mores.  We astrologers were talking about this transit many years before Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, and I just could not imagine the scale of events as they are coming to pass.  Pluto will remain in Capricorn until 2023, so we are about halfway through it.

And Uranus, planet of revolution, is in firebrand Aries, BTW, from 2011 to 2018, so we are at the midpoint of that transit as well, but again, we are moving past the square.

Anyway, there is lots more to look at.  I am to be a provider at  Ronald McDonald House Girls’ Night Out this evening and must get on with that. I will be back on blog soon, very soon, I promise.

Below is a  copy of material I’ve been in the habit of posting at the end  of each forecast.  I’ll be giving  Mercury retrograde dates and other interesting stuff that you can watch  in daily life, in a couple of days.


The Uranus-Pluto square is a very significant astrological alignment that astrologers have been writing and speaking about for some time. Uranus will be exactly square Pluto 7 times, on June 24 2012, September 19 2012, May 20 2013, November 1 2013, April 21 2014, December 15 2014, and March 16 2015. Uranus and Pluto are both considered planets of change and upheaval. Alignments between the two herald upheaval in the world, some of it seemingly random.

Many of us recall the late 1960’s as a time of great upheaval. That was the time of the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. Now we are at the square. I think I liked the sixties better.

Sabian Symbols – The Sabian Symbols are a set of symbols, one for each degree of the zodiac, derived in 1925 by psychic Elsie Wheeler, working with astrologer Marc Edmond Jones, a member of the Sabian Society. Astrologers study them for deeper insight into the meaning of the degrees.  This can be useful in studying an individual’s birth chart, for instance, or in studying current astrological placements such as the degree at which a New Moon, Full Moon, Eclipse or planetary station occurs.

*Regular readers of this column and others familiar with astrology know that all the planets occasionally appear to backtrack or “retrograde” in their orbits.  A planet will slow down, appear stationary, and then appear to slip backward for a period of a few weeks or months before again appearing to slow down and be stationary before resuming apparent forward motion.  Of course the planet is not actually reversing direction but only appears to do so due to its motion relative to Earth’s.  Nonetheless, we do feel the effects of these shifts.  When a planet is at its “station” or stationary point, the planet’s energies are emphasized; when retrograde, its energies are more internalized.  The cycle looks like this.  The planet is going forward, and affairs of the planet are moving forward normally.  As the planet slows and turns stationary, those matters related to the planet become emphasized in our lives, and significant developments may take place.  Then those matters ebb in our outer lives for a while, as we internally digest those developments and realizations and integrate them into our lives during the retrograde.  Later, the planet again goes stationary, coming back to the forefront of our awareness, and then “turns direct,” resuming apparent forward motion as we again move forward with those matters related to the planet.

Mercury takes a little three-week retrograde cycle approximately every four months.  Our daily affairs slow down and get complicated.  Communications get tangled, computers flake out, automobiles break down and travel arrangements fall into disarray, a comedy of scheduling mishaps occurs, and things pretty much slow to a crawl.  It’s really a great time to slow down and regroup, to finish projects and catch up on unfinished business.  Just try not to launch your big project, or sign on the dotted line for a new contract, job, car, or whatever unless you really need to.  Try to get those things moving before the retrograde, and shepherd things patiently along during the retro cycle, knowing that some things may not completely come together until Mercury turns direct.  If you are making significant moves during the Mercury retrograde period, just know that some things will have to be straightened out after the direct.

**Moon void of course occurs when the Moon has made all the alignments it will make while in the sign it’s in, and is just “marking time” without real momentum. The Moon goes through a sign in 2 to 2 ½ days, so consequently it also goes v.o.c. Every couple of days as well, sometimes for only a few minutes or more likely hours, but sometimes for more than a day.  Things initiated during a Moon void of course period tend to meander off and arrive at a destination other than what was planned.  Void of course periods are well used in completing tasks or doing routine chores, or in resting, meditating, and planning for future activities.  The v.o.c. period ends when the Moon enters the next sign.

I am available for personal consultations and forecasts, either in person or by telephone.  I also offer comprehensive computer chart services, providing charts, transit calendars, and computer interpretations.  I invite your feedback on this column and am available to answer simple astrology questions.  Be in touch!

Please feel free to share this forecast with your friends.

Just be sure to include my name and contact information:

Sandy Bryan, Astrologer

(505) 255-5001

Email: sstars@thuntek.net