All through this winter we are asked to turn inward in some key aspects of our lives.  To slow down, review, reflect and revisit what otherwise gets passed over in the constant shuffle forward.  With the New Moon recently past on January 30 and Venus turned direct motion on the 31st, we enter February just as messenger Mercury is about to turn retrograde.  It is as if the planets are saying, “Tag!  You’re it!”  We might as well bend with the road for if nothing else, the record cold, ice and snow (at least in the United States) encourages hibernation and inward journeys.

Planet of relationship and money, Venus’ retrograde period prodded us to look hard at these areas of our lives.  Now turned direct, she continues her tight pairing with transformer Pluto in earthy Capricorn, both challenging titanic Jupiter, prolonging our assessment of established relationships, family, aspects of ourselves (the ugly, pretty and in between) as well as our relationship to money.  Government and big business are included in our review:  are they serving us or are we serving them?  We may feel very pushed and pulled as we discern what is real vs. what feels fake.  That which percolated all through January during Venus retrograde is now brought to the surface to be dealt with once and for all.  Capricorn is black and white and unmercifully says, “toss it out” if it doesn’t work for you.  And if you recall, Pluto is god of the Underworld.  Some of these relationships and parts of ourselves truly are meant to die.  Why?  To move us where we are to go, evolve into our full Self.

Meanwhile, Jupiter in maternal Cancer prods Venus and Pluto to be kind as we make changes.  Ask:  what is the most caring and compassionate way to manage ourselves, those around us, our situation?  Conversely, in between all three of these planets, game changer Uranus taunts us, acts like a match to gasoline, tells us to blaze completely new trails, in partnership, friendship, business, our bank account.  If you don’t, we’ll make sure you will have to, says this planetary configuration.

As much as we are catalyzed to do something, messenger Mercury slows down the first week of February preparing to turn retrograde on the 6th for the entire month.  So we are given time to adjust to new attitudes and developments on the above fronts.  Bide your time.  Do not rush into anything.  Re-member the Re words of Mercury retrograde:  relaxation, renew, revisit, recycle, etc.    As Mercury shifts into reverse it sits closely with Neptune, so the messages we give or receive may be confused, mixed up or obscure.  However, if we aren’t rushing about, rather, sitting still and paying close attention, Neptune can bring pristine clarity and fresh insights to thoughts and words delivered via Mercury.

Mercury, healer Chiron and Neptune form a beautiful angle to the moon’s North Node and nurturing Ceres in Scorpio to pull us toward our intended direction.  Ceres is the protector of women and children, overseeing nourishment, harvests of grain and how we feed and nurture ourselves.  In Scorpio, she calls us to nourish ourselves at the deepest root level.  Ceres also governs loss and death, where you may recall from mythology, she lost her daughter Persephone to Hades and the Underworld for six months of the year. 

With Ceres tied to the north node of the moon in Scorpio, the sign of transformation and death, she holds our hand as we move through this significant passage of change.  This newly elevated planet guides us as we give ourselves a life makeover.   What is dying or deadwood in your life?  Change is difficult but only that much harder when we refuse to budge, go kicking and screaming.  Ceres says breathe, open, flow into possibilities brought about by letting go.

Mars in Libra joins Ceres and the North Node in their alliance with Chiron and cleansing Neptune, forcing our hand to clean house, literally, as well as with relationships and/or parts of ourselves needing a re-boot.  Think of it as a psychic check up, routine maintenance:  this configuration helps us clean and maintain ourselves so we function positively and optimally in life and with others.  For example, when was the last time you stopped to listen to yourself speak?  How do you sound to your partner, your friends, especially your children?  A recent article in the Boston Globe stated that yelling at our children has replaced spanking which is widely considered to be corporal punishment, un-politically correct, child abuse….   However, as the article wisely suggests, how you make someone feel with words can be just as damaging, possibly last a lifetime:  good, bad, indifferent.

In unsparing Scorpio, Ceres and the North Node demand integrity in all we do.  Under its X-Ray glare, you may feel that the entire world can see you in your underwear.  So a word of caution:  behave as though everyone can see what you are doing, overhearing your conversations, etc.  The idea makes anyone squirm uncomfortably; but you get the point.  Do the right thing.  Show up.  Be honorable.  Slackers, cheaters, thieves and worse need not apply.  This includes you, Mr. Putin.  The Russian President will oversee the winter Olympics in Sochi taking place just after Mercury turns retrograde, Feb. 7-23.  The whole world really will be watching Putin wield his anti-gay stance, especially under the bright light of the Full Moon on February 14th.  The former KGB chief thrives on secrecy but there is little chance of that now.  Rather, practicing open honesty yet with great care of your word is best.  Be impeccable with your tongue.  This is not the month to commit to projects or people you cannot honor in full faith.  Think about prospects, commit later on, in March.

Beginning February 9th, the Sun aligns with Mars for the rest of the month.  In inventive, radical Aquarius, the Sun fosters changes we seek or must make to our lives.  Just as helpful angles to Neptune give us the vision to see what needs adjusting, the Sun and Mars embolden our will, energize us to act.  Revitalize what you thought dead or lackluster, be it your career, love life, living space.  Where the Venus-Pluto duo have challenged our conditioned, established relationships and habits, especially in the family arena, ample support is ours all month long as healing Chiron makes a great angle to Jupiter in family-minded Cancer.  What family matters, business, relatives, property, estates require attention?  This is an amazing time to heal past wounds, particularly the familial kind.

You may have to practice patience, dig a little deeper to get the answers, change or healing you seek when messenger Mercury in Aquarius challenges Saturn in Scorpio at mid-month.  Do not give in or give up.  Simply try different routes, give your quest a momentary rest, or seek alternative answers to whatever you are looking for.  Here’s why:  both Aquarius and Scorpio are fixed signs, meaning they do not like to budge.  Both insist never say die.  In these intransigent signs, however, the planets can truly be of service to us:  Lord of dharma and karma, Saturn in Scorpio unrelentingly demands change from us while messenger Mercury in ingenious Aquarius stubbornly says, “Well, OK then!  I can try solving it this way, or that way, or let’s even try doing it thus?”   

Life isn’t going away. So you better get going says this pair.

On February 19th, the Sun enters Pisces, joining Neptune and Chiron in its alliance with Mars, Ceres and the moon’s North Node, easing our will and bringing a quiet, calming flow to our efforts.  This is greatly enhanced as the Sun forms a helpful angle to abundant Jupiter for the rest of the month, smoothing our path even as Mercury turns direct motion on the 28th, a special gift after long weeks of internal work.