February 2003 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
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Volume 2, Number 2

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

February Star Watch

by Terri Smallwood

Welcome star watchers to February, the month of Love, the season of Aquarius and Pisces and the time when spring’s first breaths begin to stir over the frozen landscape.

For over a billion people living in Asia, February 1 represents the beginning of a New Year, and this feeling of newness is reflected by the inventive uniqueness that is Aquarius. Aquarius is the 11th sign of the zodiac, airy, fixed and masculine. He is called the “Water Bearer” and resides in a region of space known to the ancients as “The Sea,” named for the large number of water-themed constellations in its vicinity. The constellation of Aquarius is depicted as a kneeling man, pouring out an urn filled with water. The etymologists among you will recognize another link between Aquarius and water, as the name Aquarius is derived from the Latin word aqua, or water. Even the astrological glyph for Aquarius is reminiscent of watery waves, ripples on the surface of the ocean. In meditating on the glyph of Aquarius, one can begin to comprehend why an air sign should be associated with so much water.

Aquarius, like all the air signs, is considered by astrologers to be a “human sign,” air being the element that governs the mind. In Aquarius, air represents the intuitive, inventive aspects of the mind. Intuition, by its very nature, is a flowing, elusive phenomena, and people experiencing its flashes will characterize the experience as “following a hunch” or having a “gut-feeling,” but rarely can they intellectualize this experience, rarely can they verbalize what they feel from it, and most rarely of all can they take this mysterious sense and develop it into a facet of their conscious mind. That is, unless they’re Aquarians, because this fusion of intuition and consciousness is what Aquarius strives for. It’s the force present in an Aquarian visionary, inventor, or prophet when he sees his dreams of the future and begins to realize that potential now. And it’s the gift that Aquarius, whose strongest inclination is to serve humanity, is trying to share. The ripples on the surface of the ocean are the winds of Aquarius, the winds of change, seeking to inspire us all.

In the Christian tradition, John the Baptist is a Biblical figure often associated with Aquarius. His role was described as “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ” (Isaiah 40:3.) John was a blustery prophet, a seer, and a man unafraid to break with convention. He baptized his followers with water, but said, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11.)

The astrological parallels are many. John the Baptist was charged with the mission of preparing the masses for the arrival of Jesus, the Biblical figure typically associated with the unconditionally compassionate waters of Pisces. Aquarius precedes Pisces in the zodiac, and the Aquarian, as the second-to-last sign, has attained a great degree of spiritual knowledge and wisdom from his time spent in the previous 10 signs, according to the astrological theory that sees the soul traveling around the wheel of the zodiac in its incarnations. Like John the Baptist, the Aquarian prepares the way, pouring waters of consciousness and understanding from his urn, baptizing his brothers in preparation for a more peaceful and spiritual time dawning on the horizon. This year, February 20 marks the shift from the Sun in Aquarius to Pisces, where the Sun will stay until late March and the Spring Equinox - the beginning of a new turn on the wheel of the zodiac.

February begins on a very Aquarian note, with the Sun, Moon and Neptune all conjunct in the early degrees of Aquarius, while Uranus rounds out the field in the later degrees of Aquarius. With all this Aquarian energy afoot, “Expect the unexpected” will be the watchword of the day, especially as Jupiter opposes the conjunction on the 1st. This short-lived influence will typically inspire a boisterous and jocular mood, provided that the boisterous hi-jinks don’t get out of hand.

A much stronger influence for the beginning of February is one that has characterized much of the last year - the waning effects of the oppostion of Saturn and Pluto on the Sagittarius / Gemini axis. Although technically the aspect is no longer in orb, it continues to influence us with after-shocks as the energies stirred by the opposition seek to find resolution. The planets opposed each other exactly in August and November of 2001 and May of 2002, but have been pulled within spitting distance of each other again due to Saturn's current retrograde.

This oppositional aspect has been a key vibration during some of the world’s most difficult periods over the last couple of years, including September 11, as well as many of the important dates surrounding the American-led “War on Terrorism,” and more recently, the events surrounding the Iraqi issue and the process of UN inspections. Pluto, the intense planet of transformation, has been using the vehicle of Sagittarius to transform many different spheres, but especially in the area of religion and spirituality. The attraction of many to new forms of spirituality, the quest to find truth and deeper meaning in life, and a newly awakened sense of spiritual regeneration occurring in many people today are examples of the greatest good that can come from the time Pluto is spending in Sagittarius.

The negative side of the equation is that this influence can also be expressed as a stubborn clinging to whatever truth one holds as one’s own, leading to racial or religious intolerance, fanaticism, and even martyrdom. Placed in opposition to Saturn, this Plutonian energy simmers as a stressful undercurrent, limited by Saturn from attaining its natural need for expression. Other planets might accept this restriction, might seek compromise and find ways to integrate the limits. Not Pluto. Pluto seethes, stews, and when denied expression for too long, boils over with a violent explosion.

In Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology, Oken describes the question posed by this aspect as “De-structure or Re-structure,” a phrase eerily reminiscent of the challenges faced by Germany in the early 1930s, which was the last time this opposition occurred. At that time the energy was played out on the Cancer / Capricorn axis, which explains why many of the issues of the day revolved around money and the challenges faced during the Great Depression. However, we can also see the Saturn-Pluto struggle mirrored in the rise of Hitler and fascism in Europe and Asia.

As we now approach the end of the Saturn-Pluto opposition that has marked the first years of our new millennium, it is important to note that many astrologers consider the third pass of an outer-planet transit to be the most critical. The first pass will present a question, or announce the theme of the transit. The second pass will precipitate a crisis that prompts one to look for the answer to the question. The intensity of the third transit will depend on how the second transit was resolved. If a resolution was found that is based in sound spiritual values and respect for self and others, then the third transit will be a harmonizing time of consolidation, and in the case of Saturn, a chance to reap some karmic rewards. If the challenge of the second pass was not resolved, then the third pass takes on the sterner qualities of spiritual summer school. The student may well feel resentful, needing a break, a respite from the energy that at this point may well feel like a plague, but the teacher knows he has one last chance to impress a necessary lesson upon the student, and will go to any lengths to drive the lesson home.

When looking at the current set of astrological aspects influencing the world around us, it is important to note that, technically, the Saturn-Pluto opposition is over, as the roughly 3-degree orb separating the planets is too great to be considered as any type of strong influence on its own. However, toward the middle of February, Mars first conjuncts Pluto, and then quickly opposes Saturn. These short-lived but highly intense transits carry with them the potential to reactivate the slumbering outer planets.

First conjuncting Pluto on the 16th, and then opposing Saturn on the 20th, the highly ego-fuelled, aggressive and demanding God of War, the planet Mars, could precipitate a final crisis reminiscent of the issues surrounding the other times the opposition was close to exact. People with Saturn in Gemini, experiencing the effects of this opposition in their natal charts, will be well-advised to consider how they have resolved the challenges that the previous passes of the transit have presented them. Proactively harnessing the strength and vitality of Mars during the third week of February, either physically or through demanding mental work, provides a necessary outlet for the strong energy. Ego conflicts will abound this week. For those not coping with the effects of this transit in a personal way, it would be a good week to look closely at the current political scene. Because so many of the important events in current international politics seemed to happen concurrently with the Saturn-Pluto opposition, the transit from Mars could spark further developments in that quarter, especially as it relates to war, ego, and conflict of a religious or dogmatic nature.

Another major aspect that colours February also has tendencies towards dogmatic thought, although not in the explosive power-struggle fashion of the Saturn-Pluto opposition. Jupiter in Leo opposes Neptune in Aquarius, a transit that also becomes exact during the third week of February.

Jupiter, the planet of expansion, good fortune and higher learning, is quite at home in the domain of Leo. The two grandiose influences combine to bring a time of big thoughts, big ideas and lavish extravagances. An opposition from the intuitive, deep-thinking, humanitarian vibration of Neptune in Aquarius is not generally a cause for alarm. Taken on its own, this can be a very spiritual transit, a time of growth and real learning. However, taken in consideration with the other astrological influences of the week, the challenge will be to allow the good energy to shine through on its own and not be sullied by some of the more divisive ego-energies at work that week.

The only potential difficulty of Jupiter in Leo is the possibility that the strong ego drive of Leo will activate the occasionally narrow and dogmatic nature of Jupiter. The challenge presented by Neptune in Aquarius is the danger that the highly mental energy of Aquarius can become unfocused and self-deceptive in Neptune’s deep waters. Again, this misleading and possibly fanatic energy plays into the current international political tensions, especially those concerning the possibility of war in Iraq, and the various demands for proof of the necessity of war. “Proof” that emerges during this week of potentially deceptive, over-confident, ego-filled energy would be inherently suspect until these energies dissipate. On the flip-side, countries in the world that have been acting deceptively may very well come undone as Saturn goes direct on the 22nd and begins to finally pull away from its tango with Pluto.

The month ends on a quiet note, but with a sense of hopeful change on the horizon. March will bring us newness in the form of spring and its accompanying sense of renewal. March also brings us the beginning of Uranus’ turn in Pisces, which sets the stage for a seven-year cycle that combines the energy of the Water Bearer with the Fishes. John the Baptist with Jesus. Prophetic intuition poured out on the deep waters that ripple through all of mankind.

For a detailed listing of this month’s transits, see
the February Interactive Calendar