February 2012: Neptune’s Home and Mars is in the Garden!
(All dates are UT)
February begins with Neptune completing its fourteen year journey through Aquarius. In doing so it returns to its natural home of Pisces for the first time in over 160 years. Can you imagine wandering around away from home for all that time? How would it feel when you got back? How long would it take to settle back into everyday life again? Would it even feel like home? Okay, so this is a bit tongue in cheek, of course, but it’s worth thinking in these terms at times. There can be much celebration when a planet returns to its natural zodiacal home, only to find that it takes a while to get back into its stride. For about four months of 2011, Neptune was back home, sorting things out, doing a bit of cleaning, getting rid of the old junk not needed anymore, before returning to Aquarius for a final goodbye. On 3rd February 2012 it walks back through the door, starts to unpack and settles into life back home once again. On this day it returns home, to reflect on a completed journey around the Zodiac and to plan the next one.
Neptune is the planet of transcendence. It seeks union and the dissolution of all that separates. It will as readily connect us to the oneness of the Divine as it will point us in the direction of a bottle of wine to blot out the loneliness of life in the modern age. All it wants is for us to surrender our individual sense of self in order to become one with something greater. Neptune’s journey is that of the Christ, who is both loved and reviled, worshipped and sacrificed, but who keeps on loving none the less, knowing that only love will enable the ultimate transcendence, the resurrection, to occur. Under the influence of Neptune we may experience the highest sense of love and the darkest sense of loneliness. We may seek to avoid life through the use of those things that change our consciousness and ease the pain, and we may find what it takes to offer our personal desires and interests up for sacrifice in order to gain something far greater in return. So as we journey through this month, Neptune will be settling back into its domain, asking us all to consider just how much we’re prepared to sacrifice over the coming years in order to receive the gift of oneness, within ourselves, with each other and with the Divine.
With Venus opposing Mars, and Jupiter continuing to oppose Saturn, relationships are under the spotlight as this month begins. How we respond to others, how we go about getting our needs met and how far we are prepared to meet those of other people, are all issues in the frame now. One of the biggest challenges of these times is how to go about being as congruent with our inner world as possible, whilst taking account of the inner worlds of those around us who may experience our congruency as unpredictability, bull-headedness or just plain old selfishness. There is much to be negotiated now, and this is the time to hone our skills in this regard, for as the pressure mounts this year, it will become more and more vital that we’re able to express both our deepest desires and yearnings, alongside our unfailing support for others as they seek to unearth theirs.
And ‘unearthing’ is another theme this month, as Mars continues his retrograde passage through the earth sign of Virgo. This is akin to a gardener testing the soil before planting her prized crop. She needs the pH to be just right, the nutrient balance just so, plenty of helpful worms and lots of beneficial bacteria. Preparing the soil takes time and care, attention to detail and a willingness to get your hands dirty, but when done well, the eventual harvest is a wonderful reward. Mars is now taking us through this process, checking out the soil in which we want to grow our hopes and dreams into reality, removing the stones and clods that prevent roots from taking hold and flourishing. It may feel like there’s not much going on, no progress being made. The seeds aren’t even in the ground yet! But the activity taking place now is vital to the growth of healthy and durable results. Mars retrograde in Virgo teaches us the virtue of patience, and just how vital a nutrient it is if we are to grow the results we want and need in life.
If you find yourself embroiled in relationship issues and conflicts, the 3rd February provides an opportunity to talk them through, as long as you harbour a willingness to listen too. It’s important to remember, today, that putting feelings into words often gives a poor representation of the feelings themselves. So listen carefully when someone tries to do this, and remember that words can mask as much as reveal. All too often communication breakdown occurs ‘because you just don’t understand how I feel!’. Today could begin to change that if we approach others with a willingness to listen, really listen, then communicate, really communicate, and see what arises out of the exchange. The following day sees a Kite suspended in the heavens above us, giving us an opportunity to create something new and productive out of previously painful obstacles. This is no quick fix, however. It will still take work and a commitment to honest and open communication. But the heavens remind us today that even arguments and disputes contain within them the seeds of peace and understanding if we will but look for them. Every problem has a solution, even when it’s one we don’t necessarily like the look of at first glance.
As we approach the Full Moon, it comes under pressure from a Yod on 5th February, and we are urged to find a new perspective on something that frequently sneaks up on us and seems to sabotage us at an emotional level. Whatever it may be, it feels like it has a life of its own and there is little we can do to mitigate its’ impact upon us. But Pluto wants us to go deeper into it today. It wants us to explore the depths, where we can learn something very important about aspects of ourselves that seem almost like entities that overtake our minds and hearts without mercy. There is a reason they feel this way, and Pluto wants to reveal it to us.
On 7th February the Full Moon occurs in Leo. By now we may well be developing a new perspective on a number of emotional issues, This Moon is fiery and impulsive, but stubborn with it! Its North Node reminds us that a broader understanding is often what’s needed when we find ourselves at logger-heads with others. And that may be a broader understanding not about them, or even about ourselves, but about life itself and how it actually works: how this vast universe plays itself out in the minutiae of our little lives, as much as it does in the vastness of space. Gaining such a perspective at the time of this Full Moon will go a long way to helping us sort our priorities for the rest of the month, and decide where we really want our energy focused and invested. A few hours before this Full Moon, Saturn turns retrograde for the final time in Libra. Now we are being given that last bit of assistance, to realign the significant relationships in our lives with a more authentic expression of ourselves, before we must dive even deeper into who we are in our very depths come October, when Saturn enters Scorpio.
On 9th, Venus crosses the Celestial Equator into the Northern Hemisphere, where she remains until the end of October 2012. In doing so she brings her energy and influence to us in a more conscious and creative way, enabling us to find our direction through sensing out what ‘feels’ right and good for us. Connected up with Uranus at this point, she wants to contribute to our awakening, but in a truly Venusian way: through helping us use enjoyment as the barometer of our progress, not the sweat, blood and tears of toil and suffering. Yes, life can be tough and yes we suffer, but for the next nine months Venus wants us to pay equal attention to what ‘fits’. What brings us pleasure. What helps us relax into life. It’s all about balance, she reminds us, and now’s the time to find it!
Between the 11th and the 20th, Venus squares Pluto, reminding us that pleasure can be found in the most unlikely of places at times, and that even the sweat, blood and tears I mentioned can be enjoyable at times! Venus is redefining pleasure these days, showing us that when we throw ourselves into the experiences of life, living them fully without holding back, there is a pleasure and satisfaction inherent in that very process which can carry us through the suffering and keep us whole until we’re out the other side. On 13th, an Irritation Triangle formed by Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus since 23rd December 2011, finally melts away, releasing some of the pent up energy that has been around during this time, constantly challenging us to find solutions to problems, but without creating the conditions for solutions to be found. It’s been an endurance test. If you’re still here, you’ve passed! Now we can begin to move forward with tentative steps, gradually breaking the deadlock and looking at life, and the relationships that occupy it, with fresh eyes.
Between the 15th and 19th, Mars has only a tentative connection with the rest of the planets, as he beavers away, retrograde in Virgo, still sorting out the basics. During this time we may find ourselves becoming immersed in detail, only to suddenly realise we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture, which must always inform our actions and decisions. Expending all our energy on tweaking the finer details can sometimes be a waste, and we need to ensure, now, that where we place our focus is where it will be most productive and positive in its effect. The New Moon in Pisces on 21st, conjunct Chiron, assists us in recognising the need for both focussed and diffuse consciousness. Each serves a different role and has different things to show us. Being able to cultivate and call upon both as we need them is a skill that will be very useful in these times of change.
On 23rd a Great Sextile is formed by the Sun, Jupiter and Pluto. This one will be with us until 2nd March, helping us find creative ways to work with the challenges we face in order to bring about healing rather than greater strife. Our powers of transformation can be strengthened by this planetary alignment, encouraging a deeper appreciation of the fact that what we do for ourselves we do for everyone. And likewise, what we do to others we do to ourselves. February comes to an end with Uranus cast a drift between 25th and 28th, enticing us to forget everything and everyone else, and just do what we need to do! But overall the heavens warn us against taking such a stance at this time. That’s what the Great Sextile’s there for! There will be plenty of opportunity to forge ahead with our own plans and pursue our own dreams, but right now we need a deeper and more enduring sense of community with those around us, and a shared path that benefits everyone, not just the few, even when the ‘few’ seem to be the ones doing all the work!
The final day of February, 29th, sees Saturn standing strong and firm, reminding us that to live life most constructively, we need to think, feel and do, in equal measure. Too much or not enough of any of those things leads to imbalance and dis-ease. We must commit to taking necessary action just as much as enjoying the fruits of our labours. And we must consider and contemplate well, in order to act clearly and with focus. This type of ‘rounded’ living is required of us now, so that we can move forward with clarity and purpose, whilst also being able to stand back and wait when the universe tells us that patience is needed. Seems like a good note to end on, really 🙂
Text: Sarah Varcas