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Featured Articles

The 2013 Spring Equinox Chart 

"Ask and Receive" Series: Ask and Receive: A Simple, Powerful Tool for Expanded Spiritual Awareness, Healing and Accelerated Awakening    Transcending the Mental Realm with "Ask and Receive"    Your Negative Reactions: Golden Opportunities for Clearing and Awakening!    Crisis: Your Call to Awakening!    Invocation Construction Kit   "Heal and Awaken": Persistence Required?

Practical Spirituality Favorites: "Divine Saturation" Snap Meditation    How to take dictation from your Higher Self    

The Astrology of 2012: The December 2012 Winter Solstice * Part 1: The 2011 Winter Solstice Chart (Part 1) * Part 2: The 2011 Winter Solstice Chart (Part 2) * Part 3: The Uranus-Pluto Square * Part 4: Neptune in Pisces

Articles on Astrology, Meditation & More
All articles by Benjamin Bernstein, unless otherwise noted

To go directly to an article, click on the title

The 2013 Spring Equinox Chart 

The 2012 Winter Solstice: Time for Love!, by Spiritsong

The December 2012 Winter Solstice

The Uranus-Pluto Square: Overview & Personal Strategies

The Astrology of 2012, Part 4: Neptune in Pisces

The Astrology of 2012, Part 3: The Uranus-Pluto Square

The Astrology of 2012, Part 2: The 2011 Winter Solstice Chart (Part 2)

The Astrology of 2012, Part 1: The 2011 Winter Solstice Chart (Part 1)

"Heal and Awaken": Persistence Required?

Invocation Construction Kit

Crisis: Your Call to Awakening!

Your Negative Reactions: Golden Opportunities for Clearing and Awakening!

Transcending the Mental Realm with "Ask and Receive"

A Messy Transition to a Golden Age

An Astrological Signature for the Law of Attraction

Ask and Receive: A Simple, Powerful Tool for Expanded Spiritual Awareness, Healing and Accelerated Awakening

Did the Signs Just Change? And are there now 12 or 13?

2011 forecast, Part 6: Planetary Ingresses, Saturn in Libra, Pluto in Capricorn & Conclusion

2011 forecast, Part 5: The Eclipses of 2011

2011 forecast, Part 4: The Other Transits to the US Chart

2011 forecast, Part 3: Transits to the US Chart

2011 Forecast, Part 2: A Year of Jupiter Aspects 

2011 Forecast, Part 1: The Uranus-Pluto Square

The Law of Attraction Made Simple

The Healthcare Bill's Passage Astrologized

2012 Collaboration: What You Can Do Now to Help Smooth the Transition to the New Golden Age

Manifesting Your Ideal Reality with "The Pivot"

The Feeling Test

New Perspectives on the Triple Conjunction in Aquarius

EFT: Good For What Ails You?

Who You're Becoming: Progressing Planets & Personal Evolution

Divine Saturation Snap Meditation (revised and expanded)

2009 Full-Year Forecast: A Year of Extremes

Obama Astrologized

2008’s Most Powerful Astrological Event: the Saturn-Uranus Opposition

Choosing the Perfect Gift With the "Four-Planet Method" by Spiritsong

What a Difference a Daily Makes!
Boosting Your Intuition with a Regular Morning Meditation

"Why does the world seem to be falling apart, and what can I do about it?" by Spiritsong

The 2008 Election: An Astrological Perspective

The Endless Dance of Death by Spiritsong

"Light Speed Astrology: Diving Into the Heart of the Chart" -- UAC lecture notes
(PDF: click to view, right-click to download)

"Crazy Time" -- The Uranus Opposition in Your Life and Mine

Variations on the Divine Saturation Snap Meditation

What Sign Will My True Love Be?

Forecast for 2008 and Beyond: Pluto in Capricorn!

Dancing With Saturn, by Spiritsong

Has Richard Tarnas Written the Book That Will Finally Legitimize Astrology?

Inner Guidance Writing: How To Get the Information You Need Right From the Source!

Read The 2013 Spring Equinox Chart at our new site,!

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Unconditional love

The 2012 Winter Solstice: Time for Love!

by Spiritsong

This sacred NOW moment...

So much has been written about this "turning of the ages" we have so long anticipated! So many ceremonies have been done...and opportunities given through beautiful teachers and websites, blogs and podcasts to open and awaken to the Love that we Are. I AM thankful for these! And bottom line, this is my perception on what to do on December 21, 22 and 23, 2012.

Whether you are doing a solitary ceremony, gathering in sacred circle and doing ceremony with other beautiful Beings of Love, or just going about ordinary, everyday living... just BE LOVE! Look through eyes of Love...hear with ears of Love... let Love flow out of your heart of Love! It is as simple as that. We are here to love one another and ourSelves as the Divine Beings of Light that we are.

Yes, we are moving from this old 3rd dimensional existence into higher dimensions! Yes, we are being upgraded to Crystalline Light bodies instead of dense, carbon-based bodies! Yes, we are moving into a new way of Being that we can only at this point imagine! But, as far as I can see, there is ONE way to get there. It is simply to open our hearts and LOVE!

In the 12/17/2012 podcast with Benjamin, I talk at greater length about all of this, but implicit in my sharing is this...relax, love everyone and everything wherever you are, and you will be doing exactly what we are here to do to move through this blessed portal of grace into this glorious new age of Grace and Purest Love! Just Be Love and let yourself Be Loved, right into pure bliss!

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The December 2012 Winter Solstice

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 11/19/12 newsletter 

After years of anticipation, the moment is nearly here: the 2012 Winter Solstice on 12/21. The end of the Mayan Long Count Calendar, when Earth aligns with the Galactic Center. The moment when, according to some, an unprecedented event will occur: reality as we know it will be forever transformed, as the spiritual vibration of Gaia and her inhabitants is dramatically upgraded. A new Golden Age will dawn, and peace, love and harmony will prevail. According to others, things will be pretty much the same on 12/22 -- apart from a slew of disappointed, un-Ascended New Agers.

What will actually happen when the Sun enters Capricorn on 12/21 at 6:11:37 am, the moment of the Winter Solstice? Astrology has some clues.

The signature feature of the 2012 Winter Solstice Chart is a striking aspect pattern (a geometrical figure created by three or more planets) called a
Yod. Nicknamed "The Finger of God," this aspect pattern shows two planets at the "back end" of an elongated triangle, impacting a third planet at the tip.

Winter Solstice 2012

The two planets at the back end (connected by the blue dashed line) are Saturn and Pluto. Saturn represents conservatism, old traditions and existing structures. Pluto represents death and rebirth: think of a phoenix burning to ash and resurrecting, or a caterpillar transforming into a beautiful butterfly. The theme here is the destruction of old structures that have outlived their usefulness, as new ones arise to take their place.

This idea is given even stronger emphasis because these two planets are in mutual reception. This simply means that each planet is in a sign the other one rules. Saturn rules Capricorn, and Pluto rules Scorpio. In this chart, Saturn is in Scorpio, and Pluto is in Capricorn. This underscores the theme of profound transformation.

The planet at the tip of this Yod is Jupiter. In ancient astrology, Jupiter is the Great Benefic: bringer of hope, joy, celebration and expansion. And Jupiter is in Gemini, the sign of eclecticism, curiosity and playfulness. Thus, this Yod could represent the challenges of transformation leading to a bright, sunny and delightfully diverse future.

This aspect pattern also contains a fourth planet. Venus, directly across the circle from Jupiter, makes this a Bounce-Back Yod. In ancient astrology, Venus is the Lesser Benefic, bringer of harmony, balance and tranquility. And she's in Sagittarius, which carries the same uplifting meaning as Jupiter.

This Yod is active 12/14 through 1/2. And, extraordinarily, its intensity peaks on 12/22 – just one day after the Winter Solstice.

Of course, this Yod is not acting alone. We're now well into a multi-year Uranus-Pluto square, “The 60s Part 2,” which is broadcasting the energy of revolutionary transformation. And Neptune's long-term residency in Pisces is easing the way into spiritual awakening.

Overall, the astrological energies in place at the fated moment of the Winter Solstice are profoundly hopeful. Will there be a certain amount of challenge, disruption and turmoil? Of course. No worthwhile global transformation takes place without them. Is it a good time for the toxic, greedy, life-destroying structures currently rampaging across the planet – be they corporate, governmental, financial, religious or otherwise – to either die or be transformed into forces for good? To become institutions that honor the earth, recognize the unity of all life, and serve the highest good of all? Absolutely.

These astrological forces are also calling each of us to embody this process personally. What can you now release -- unnecessary possessions, negative relationships, shackling addictions, and self-limiting ways of thinking -- that slow your awakening into your own divine consciousness? How willing are you to face your fears and dive into the purifying cauldron of transformation?

It doesn't really matter whether we experience a global sea change of consciousness at the moment of the Winter Solstice, or whether mankind awakens into its new Golden Age more gradually. My shamanic visions have shown me that it's coming either way, and nothing can can stop it. Any chaos you see around you is just the dying gasps of the dark age we're now leaving behind.

I, along with many others, am living the consciousness of the Golden Age now. And you can join us whenever you're ready!

For FREE, simple, powerful invocations that are helping many in their awakening process, click here.

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Read The Uranus-Pluto Square: Overview & Personal Strategies at our new site,!

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Read The Astrology of 2012, Part 4: Neptune Enters Pisces (revised and retitled "Neptune in Pisces 2012 thru 2025") at our new site,!

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The Astrology of 2012, Part 3:

The Uranus-Pluto Square

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 1/16/12 It's All Good Astrology News. 

Many thanks to my friend and fellow astrologer Eric Meyers, for allowing me to include his ideas from our “Big Change Now!” presentation into this article.

This is my original in-depth article on the Uranus-Pluto square. For my June 2012 article on this subject, which gives a more concise overview of Uranus-Pluto and provides personal strategies to help you work with it, click here.

Breaking outWe enter 2012 in an unsettled world. A world of economic uncertainty, recession, more frequent and powerful natural disasters, and increasing evidence of global warming. We recently had a tsunami and triple nuclear meltdown in Japan, the Arab Spring revolutions are still playing themselves out, and the Euro Zone is struggling with a massive debt crisis.

The global Occupy movements have focused public attention on the widening economic disparity between the “1%” and the “99%,” American politics has become intractably divisive, and the “end” of the Mayan calendar looms.

Astrologically, we are now entering the most turbulent times of our lives – and the most exciting! From a cosmic perspective, all the breakdown, revolution, and crisis now in process are absolutely essential. They are necessary precursors to the new Golden Age of harmony and universal love now arising. (More on this in the next installment!)

As we examine the astrological influences now in effect, remember that any particular planetary alignment has many possible outcomes. By consciously partnering with the planets, we can create a new reality which serves the highest good of all!

The Uranus-Pluto Square

The top astrological headline of 2012 is, without question, the Uranus-Pluto square. While the 90° angle between these two powerhouses is exact for the first time this year, its influence has been felt since the global financial crisis of 2008. As with horseshoes and hand grenades, “close enough” definitely counts in astrology!

Uranus and Pluto make exact squares twice in 2012, on June 24 and September 19, and will square a total of seven times 2012 through 2015. It is this aspect, more than any other, that makes our current era feel like “The 60s, Part Two.”

To understand how these two planets work together, we must first examine them individually.


Uranus catalyzes paradigm shift, rebellion, shock and awakening, and can strike like lightning. On an individual level, it represents the humanitarian, the revolutionary, the genius, and the individualist. It sends down intuitive flashes – those ideas we absolutely know to be true upon inception – and which we are always wise to follow!

Uranus in Aries

Uranus entered Aries in 2010, and will remain there until 2018. this placement correlates with new beginnings, and stimulates innovation, technology and revolution.

Uranus' prior entry into Uranus, 1927-28, was marked by several technological breakthroughs. The Jazz Singer, the first talking motion picture, was released. These years also saw the first successful TV transmission and the first color movies. Uranus' association with aviation was highlighted by Charles Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight to Paris.


Pluto is associated with transformation, sex, death and rebirth, and truth-seeking. It also has archetypal resonance with transpersonal power, oligarchy, secret societies, and great wealth.

Unto itself, Pluto operates slowly and relentlessly. Astrologer Rick Levine described it as “a tsunami moving at the speed of a glacier.” Pluto metaphors include a phoenix burning to ash and resurrecting, a snake shedding its skin, and a caterpillar morphing into a beautiful butterfly.

Pluto in Capricorn

Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008 – when we nearly had that global financial meltdown – and will stay in that sign through 2024.

Pluto's prior stint in Capricorn – 1762 through 1778 – coincided with the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence. This time also marked James Watt's perfection of the steam engine, and the acceleration of the Industrial Revolution that Watt's refinements made possible.

These events clearly illustrate a basic Pluto in Capricorn theme: the destruction of old structures which have outlived their usefulness, and the birth of new ones whose time has come.

In our current Pluto in Capricorn era, we are also witnessing revolutionary changes to the existing world order. (For a refresher, read the first two paragraphs of this article again.) Among its more challenging manifestations are “Big Brother” style surveillance, widening government control, and increasing invasion of privacy. But, in the US, we've also seen healthcare, financial and energy reform – at least to the extent that a bitterly divided Congress will allow it.

The Uranus-Pluto Square in Detail

The seven squares between Uranus and Pluto, although exact 2012 through 2015, are strong 2008 through 2018. The most volatile astrology since the 1960s, we can expect this era to be marked by upheaval, revolution and rebellion, intensified artistic and intellectual creativity, rapid technological advance, and inspired innovation!

The "Great Depression" Square

The prior Uranus-Pluto square occurred from the late 1920s through most of the 1930s This era, the Great Depression, has obvious resonance with the huge economic challenges being faced around the world today.

The Synodic Cycle

Uranus and Pluto, like all planetary pairs, run in synodic cycles – which start and end with their conjunction to each other – that can be divided into four major parts. These correlate to the major phases of the Moon: New, First (Waxing) Quarter, Full, and Third (Waning) Quarter. These relate to four potentially challenging astrological aspects: conjunction, waxing square, opposition and waning square.

The 60s Conjunction

Uranus and Pluto take 125 years to complete a synodic cycle, which consists of these four phases. Their most recent “New” phase occurred when they were conjunct during the 60s. This volatile decade could not have been more different than the conformist 50s that preceded them!

In the US, we had civil rights demonstrations, the feminist movement and anti-war demonstrations. Thirty-two African countries gained independence, China fell under the iron grip of the Cultural Revolution, and Eastern European countries demonstrated against communism. Arab-Israeli conflicts grabbed the headlines, and the world barely averted nuclear disaster during the Bay of Pigs/Cuban Missile Crisis.

The 2010s Square

Many felt disappointed that many of the ideals of the 60s were seemingly drowned out by the hyped-up, disco-driven “Me Decade” of the 70s. But the nature of synodic cycles is that themes which initiate during a conjunction (New Moon) phase continue developing, often behind the scenes, then burst back into prominence during the waxing square (First Quarter).

Few imagined during the 60s that GLBTs, Hispanics, immigrants, non-Christians and other minorities would rise to hold as many positions of power as they do today. Environmentalism, the increasing acceptance of gay marriage, and the gradual progress toward legalized marijuana can also be seen as current outgrowths of 60s idealism.

Technological Explosion

The 60s was marked by breakthroughs that were truly revolutionary for their time. Highlights include the Moon landing, the pill, satellites, video games, computers, cassette tapes, ATMs and lasers.

We are also experiencing extraordinary breakthroughs in this decade: cloud computing, smart phones, tablet computers, social networking and other innovations are rapidly reshaping our lives. Many of us may not even be able to imagine the technologies that will be transforming our lives by decade's end.

The downside of all this technology can be artificiality and isolation. A Facebook “friend” whom you barely know can be a poor substitute for someone you can embrace in person!

Unity Consciousness

One of the paradigm shifts now emerging under the Uranus-Pluto square is an awakening of unity consciousness. A universal spirituality, unrestricted by sect or dogma, is arising.

More holistic and inclusive perspectives are coming into prominence based not on abstract ideas, but on more more people having direct experience of their own divine nature. More people are realizing, as Eckardt Tolle teaches so beautifully in A New Earth, that the taming of the ego is an indispensable step in the harmonization of our world.

We will dive deeper into this subject in the next part of this series, as we discuss Neptune's entry in Pisces!

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The Astrology of 2012, Part 2:

The 2011 Winter Solstice Chart (Part 2)

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 1/2/12 It's All Good Astrology News. 

Winter Solstice Green ManWelcome to the second and final part of our discussion of the 2011 Winter Solstice Chart. To read Part One, click here.


 Unlike Uranus and Pluto, Neptune has been dancing in decidedly non-Cardinal territory since mid-2009: late Aquarius and early Pisces. Thus, its connection to the Sun in recent seasonal charts, while consistent, has been less dramatic.

 Neptune's gig is to either spiritualize or dissolve. The spiritualization factor has been pretty dramatic recently, with more and more people making conscious connection with their divine source.

This year, the first in which I've been sharing
my invocation process with individuals and groups, it's been striking to note that virtually everyone has powerful healing and awakening experiences when they do it. The spiritual paths on which I currently focus – shamanism, Deeksha and ecstatic dance – have all become much more potent in the last year. And as I observe those following other “paths with heart,” it's clear that their practices are also gaining a whole new level of power.

While Neptune's initial entry into its home sign of Pisces has a lot to do with this, its repeated aspects to the Sun in recent seasonal charts is a significant factor as well.

There's also been plenty of Neptunian dissolution on display, starting with the totalitarian governments dissolved away by tidal waves of popular discontent during the Arab Spring. Neptune, lord of the ocean, sent a tsunami to Japan, resulting in three nuclear meltdowns that dissolved many nations' faith in nuclear power. The United States' previously perfect credit rating was washed away by a Standard & Poor's downgrade, and the ground grows increasingly mushy under the European Union's economic stability as well.

Neptune also plays an important role in the Winter Solstice chart. Although Neptune isn't angular, it makes a tight sextile to the Sun, as well as a close square to the Moon. With such tight aspects to both luminaries, we can expect continuation of the Neptunian trends discussed above.


Like Neptune, Chiron also sextiles the Sun and squares the Moon in the Winter Solstice Chart. Chiron has been energetically conjunct Neptune for the last several years, pretty much making the same aspects at the same times.

Since it carries the archetypal energy of the wounded healer, Chiron has been wounding strategically in order to show the need for healing. All of the “dissolution” events described in Neptune's section above fit this category. And with Chiron now saturated with spiritual energy – in the Winter Solstice Chart, it's conjunct Neptune and in early Pisces – it makes a powerful statement about the easy availability of spiritual healing for all who wish to invoke it.

Jupiter and Saturn

Balancing out the more challenging signatures in the Winter Solstice Chart, a sextile from Saturn to the Sun offers dynamic grounding. And a tight Jupiter-Sun trine – with Jupiter in stability-loving Taurus – creates an easy conduit for hope and optimism.

As with any chart, there's a lot more that could be discussed. But this should be enough to give you a flavor of some of the stronger energies in effect between the 2011 Winter Solstice and the arrival of Spring in 2012!

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The Astrology of 2012, Part 1:

The 2011 Winter Solstice Chart (Part 1)

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 12/20/11 It's All Good Astrology News. 

I'm beginning my series on the astrology of 2012 with a shorter-term view: the three months between the 2011 Winter Solstice and the 2012 Spring Equinox. In mundane astrology, which focuses on the astrology of countries and world events, solstice and equinox charts can provide a helpful quarterly preview. (For the sake of brevity, I'll call these “seasonal charts”.)

I'm using the United States Winter Solstice chart: December 22, 2011, 12:31 AM, Washington DC.

Winter Solstice 2011


It's no secret to anyone that we are now living in revolutionary times. Events such as the Arab spring uprisings, the global Occupy movements, and the recent election protests in Russia leave no doubt about that!

Uranus, the planet associated with revolution, has been in hard (challenging) aspect to the Sun in all of these charts for the last three years. Aspects to the Sun have special power in these charts because the Sun's entry into the Cardinal signs – Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn – mark the beginning of each season. Uranus' effect has been even stronger since it entered fiery, volatile Aries in 2010.

The 2011 Winter Solstice chart is no exception: Uranus makes a dynamic and challenging square (a 90° angle) to the Sun as the Sun enters Capricorn, and the orb of their aspect is less than 1°. (“Orb” indicates how exact an aspect is.) This indicates that the fires of revolution will continue to burn brightly for the next three months, and also invites us to revolutionize whatever needs refreshing in our own lives!

Uranus has other meanings as well, including originality, genius, weirdness, high technology, breakthroughs, awakenings and paradigm shifts. Astronomers' new ability to identify habitable planets in other solar systems, the creation of the first synthetic cell (controlled entirely by man-made genetic instructions) and the iPhone 4S' amazing Siri voice assistant (sister to Hal 9000?) are examples of recent scientific and technological breakthroughs.

On the spiritual front, more and more people are awakening to higher levels of consciousness, and it's increasingly common to personally know someone who has actually attained enlightenment. We can expect such technological and spiritual breakthroughs, as well as paradigm shifts in other areas, to continue for the next three months and beyond. And don't think it can't happen to you!

As the modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus also represents the humanitarian ideals of brotherhood, community and fairness (remember the song “Aquarius”?). These ideas are very much at the heart of the “Occupy” slogan, “We are than 99%.” They are also central to the current American political debate, in which one party champions the well-to-do while the other advocates for the less fortunate. These themes will also retain a dominant place in the national discussion this winter, and we are all invited to integrate these ideals more and more into our lives.

Not only does Uranus tightly square the Sun, it makes hard aspects to all four angles in the US Winter Solstice chart. It conjuncts the Decendant, opposes the Ascendant, and squares the Midheaven and IC. This gives all the effects described above dramatically increased power!


Pluto is also a major player in this chart. The mythological lord of the underworld catalyzes death and rebirth. Immensely powerful, it is represented on the dark side by the likes of Darth Vader and Hitler, and on the high side by peaceful but unrelenting reformers such as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Pluto is the modern ruler of Scorpio, and shares the attributes of that sign.

Pluto's core task is to destroy or positively transform all the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual structures that have outlived their usefulness. Simultaneously, it provides its gifts of wealth and power to the new structures that replace the expiring dinosaurs. But it's rare for those dinosaurs to give up without a fight!

With Pluto in Capricorn since 2008, two contradictory but powerful trends have simultaneously arisen. One is the trend of the wealthy and powerful increasing their holdings and influence. In our brave new world of homeland security, ubiquitous surveillance cameras and shrinking privacy, liberty and freedom are fraying at the edges – notably so here in America, which was founded on these bedrock principles.

But there is always a tipping point, and social movements such as the Arab Spring and Occupy movements noted above – which are Plutonian as well as Uranian -- have arisen in direct response to this trend. This is the other side of Pluto in Capricorn: the airing of the dirty laundry of the powers-that-be by whistleblowers such as Wikileaks.

Pluto has made strong hard aspects to the Sun in seasonal charts since the start of 2006, and is conjunct the Sun (with a seven-degree orb) in this one. And in this chart, Pluto is even more angular than Uranus: it's barely more than one degree into the Fourth House, putting it in tight hard aspect to all four angles. Thus, we should be feeling the intense Plutonian effects described above in spades for the next three months.

On a personal level, it can be a wise strategy to voluntarily release all that doesn't contribute to your personal growth and evolution – it sure beats having Pluto's representatives take it by force! And there is no better way to maximize Pluto's power in your life than to unconditionally surrender to divine service, as reflected in your intuitive guidance.

In Part 2, we'll talk about Neptune and Chiron as we conclude our discussion of the US Winter Solstice Chart! 

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Read "Heal and Awaken": Persistence Required? on our new site,!

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Read Crisis: Your Call to Awakening! on our new site,!

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Read Your Negative Reactions: Golden Opportunities for Clearing and Awakening! on our new site,!

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Read Transcending the Mental Realm with "Ask and Receive" on our new site,!

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Read The Law of Attraction Made Simple on our new site,!

A Messy Transition to a Golden Age

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 3/21/11 It's All Good Astrology News.

The world's attention is riveted on Libyan airstrikes and the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan - which, in turn, stole headlines from an unexpected series of Arab democratic uprisings.

The inexorably tightening 90° square between Uranus and Pluto (sudden and radical transformation) is the major long-term factor here. Uranus and Pluto were energetically conjunct during the 1960s, triggering global revolutions and paradigm shifts. As they make their current "challenge for growth" angle throughout most of this decade, they are showing signs of even greater volatility.

At the same time, according to the avatar Bhagavan of India's Oneness University, the Vedic 6000+-year Kali Yuga (Dark Age) has just shifted to the Satya Yuga (Golden Age). This has set the stage for a wave of enlightenment and unconditional love to inundate all of humanity - a tsunami to celebrate! And the 5000+-year Mayan Long Count Calendar will transition to the Age of Flowers by the end of 2012.

The Libyan airstrikes, Japanese nuclear crisis and the Arab uprisings share a common theme: the purging of darkness. The horrific and merciless acts of violence unleashed by Moammar Gadhafi upon his own rebellious Libyan citizens have been widely condemned. The dark side of nuclear power is its toxic waste, which remains deadly for millennia. Clearly, humanity needed a forceful reminder of this, to discourage the building of additional nuclear plants. In the Arab world, the greed, abuse and injustice of the despots now being toppled also has no place in the new enlightened era.

It's going to be messy for a while: the old, outdated structures must crumble as new ones take their place. But divine intelligence is guiding this process, and everything is right on schedule during this relatively brief transition. The abundant blessings of the Golden Age now blossoming will be well worth the trouble!

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Read An Astrological Signature for the Law of Attraction at our new site,!

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Read Ask and Receive: A Simple, Powerful Tool for Expanded Spiritual Awareness, Healing and Accelerated Awakening at our new site,!

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 1/17/11 It's All Good Astrology News.

God bless the astronomers of the Minnesota Planetarium Society (MPS), who just made headlines with information that astrologers have known for millennia.

Incorrect Signs?

The MPS astronomers claim that Western astrology's signs are not accurate, since the moment the Sun actually enters a zodiacal sign is currently several weeks off from the date when Western astrology says that a given Sun Sign begins.

This discrepancy is already common knowledge to any serious student of astrology. It highlights the difference between tropical astrology, as practiced by Western astrologers, and sidereal astrology, whose best-known use is by Vedic astrologers in India and many other countries.

Western astrologers say that the signs change based on earthly seasons. Thus Aries begins on the first day of Spring, and Cancer on the first day of Summer. Libra is timed to start at the onset of Fall, and the Winter Solstice heralds Capricorn.

But sidereal astrology holds that the entry of the Sun into the actual sky constellation marks the initiation of that Sun Sign.

The Procession of the Equinoxes

This divergence is caused by the Procession of the Equinoxes, or progression of astrological ages. Right now, for example, after spending over 2000 years in the Age of Pisces, we have just entered the Age of Aquarius. (The Procession of the Equinoxes runs through the signs in reverse order.) The MPS astronomers correctly state that this is caused by the Moon's gravitational influence, which makes the earth "wobble" very slowly.

 Thus, in sidereal/Vedic astrology, over a 26,000-year period, every Sun Sign will eventually start on every single day of the year. And, once every 26,000 years, the Western and Vedic systems will once again agree on the days that the Sun enters the signs -- for a few years, anyway.

Which System is Correct?

Does this mean that one astrological system is right and the other wrong? Not at all. Both the tropical and sidereal astrological systems are based on millennia of careful observation of the synchronicity between planetary alignments and earthly events. Each system uses different methods and techniques, and each works beautifully within its own context. Vedic and western astrologers might say that many of your planets are in different signs, but a competent astrologer using either system would have important and accurate insights to share with you about your life.

13 Signs?

The MPS astronomers also claim that there should be 13 astrological signs, not the 12 currently in popular use. But their 13th sign, Ophuichus, was considered and rejected by the Babylonians, early practitioners of astrology, almost two millennia ago. For many reasons, a 12-sign system describes the cosmic influences more accurately and elegantly than one using 13.

I have done over 3000 astrological consultation, and I constantly ask my clients for verification that my interpretations -- based on the 12 signs of the Western zodiac -- are supported by their own life experience. And, well over 99% of the time, they confirm that my interpretations are accurate. A system based on erroneously calculated signs couldn't possibly yield such consistently accurate results.

Thank You, Astronomers!

The MPS astronomers have done astrology a huge favor by putting it in the world news spotlight. As credible astrologers' rebuttals of the MPS astronomers' misunderstanding hit the media in response to the initial story*, many more people may be prompted to explore the many benefits offered by this ancient blend of art and science.

* Asheville astrologer Randy Spiers and I helped set the record straight in an evening news story on Asheville's ABC affiliate station WLOS-TV on 1/14/11.

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 1/10/11 It's All Good Astrology News.

What's coming up astrologically in 2011? I've been sharing my views each week in this newsletter, as I serialize and expand upon the main points from my 2011 forecast lecture. Here's what I've covered so far; please click the links to catch up on the prior installments if you need to.

Part 1: The Uranus-Pluto Square 
Part 2: A Year of Jupiter Aspects
Part 3: Transits to the US Chart
Part 4: The Other Transits to the US Chart
Part 5: The Eclipses of 2011

So, we come at last to the final installment of my 2011 forecast series! This time will be looking at planetary ingresses, Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn.

Planetary ingress overview

There is a significant planetary ingress during each of the first four months of 2011: Jupiter enters Aries in January, Chiron enters Pisces in February, Uranus enters Aries in March, and Neptune enters Pisces in April.

Jupiter in Aries and Taurus

As described in part 2 of this series, "A Year of Jupiter Aspects," Jupiter will enter Aries on January 22. Jupiter passes through all the signs of the zodiac every 12 years, and its entry into Aries starts this cycle anew.

Jupiter's energy is naturally expansive, hopeful and optimistic, and the first sign of the zodiac holds the energy of new beginnings and fresh primal energy. Therefore, Jupiter's transit through Aries is a wonderful time to make major new beginnings.

On the global stage, we have historically seen both the high and low side of astrological energies play out. Therefore, the dark side of Jupiter in Aries - over-the-top violence, sexuality and aggression - may also be in evidence in the world around us.

Jupiter enters Taurus on June 4, where it will remain through the rest of 2011. This will amplify the Taurean high-side energies of calm, tranquility, sensual pleasure, security, appropriate material acquisition, appreciation of the natural world and simple beingness. Jupiter rules spiritual quests, so paths of self-development which incorporate any of these qualities will receive special support.

Of course, those who choose to use low-side Taurean energy - mindless resistance to change, excessive attachment to money and possessions, lethargy, and a belief that "the devil I know is better than the devil I don't know" - will have it available to them as well.

Chiron in Pisces

Chiron is a unique body in the solar system: because of its unusual composition and orbit, this planetoid is simultaneously considered a centaur, asteroid and comet! Its primary astrological  meanings include the healer, the mentor, the shaman and the maverick.

Chiron has been in Aquarius since 2006, where its presence has supported a global renaissance of unconventional healing practices. Many of these are indigenous modalities which have existed for millennia, but are only now coming into broader awareness. These include the ceremonial ingestion of mind-expanding plant spirit teachers such as ayahuasca, San Pedro, iboga and peyote, all of which have been used in native cultures for healing and spiritual awakening.

Other ancient healing tools, such as Atlantean crystal technologies, have gained popularity with Chiron in Aquarius. High-tech innovations in energy healing are also proliferating, such as the SCENAR handheld healing device used on NASA's space shuttle missions. There is also a growing array of laptop-based software/sensor combos such as the QXCI Machine, which can diagnose and energetically treat a wide range of conditions.

Chiron will enter Pisces on February 8, and will stay in that sign for eight years. Spiritual healing, spiritual mentoring and maverick spirituality will all be empowered during this period. Since Pisces also radiates divinely inspired creativity, we can also expect an outpouring of music, drama, dance, film, art and other creative expressions which transmit healing energy. The prevalence of the unconventional healing practices described in the preceding two paragraphs should also continue to grow, since they are inherently spiritual modalities.

Chiron's arrival can precipitate a healing crisis. The symptoms that arise serve to focus our attention on any weak areas which need support. In Pisces, Chiron will help us see more clearly, individually and societally, where religious and spiritual structures are in need of healing.

Uranus in Aries

Uranus took his first tentative step into Aries in the summer of 2010, then retrograded back into Pisces. He re-enters the Sign of the Ram on March 11 for a seven-year stay, initiating a new 84-year journey through the zodiac.

Uranus' movement from Pisces to Aries is the transition from dreaming to doing. It's a time when the paradigm shifts, revolutions and breakthroughs we've been dreaming about get launched in the physical world. Uranus in Aries periods are also accompanied by technological breakthroughs, since Uranus rules science and technology.

This can also be a time of great instability. Uranus is known for bringing sudden, unexpected change, and Aries can be so impatient that its motto sometimes seems to be, "Ready, fire, aim!" Fortunately, Uranus also brings intuitive flashes of wisdom and guidance, and an excellent use of this energy is to take immediate action on these divine "insider tips".|

Neptune in Pisces

Neptune, the planet just beyond Uranus, has an orbit almost exactly twice as long: 165 years.  Neptune enters Pisces, the final sign in the zodiacal journey, on April 4. It retrogrades back into Aquarius four months later, and reenters Pisces in early February of 2012. It then remains in the Sign of the Fishes for 13 years.

In the astrological alphabet, Neptune and Pisces have the same meaning. On the high side, they represent divine union, compassion, oneness with all things and divinely inspired creativity. On the low side, they are associated with excessive alcohol or drug use, counterproductive escapism of any kind, confusion, martyrdom and victimization. Neptune's sign placement always influences cultural trends, so all of these themes will soon be more prominent in our movies, music, TV and other mainstream entertainment offerings.

I, of course, recommend that you take advantage of Neptune in Pisces by putting a long-term emphasis on spiritual union practices and/or your divinely inspired creative expression!

Saturn in Libra

Saturn is midway through its two-and-a-half-year  transit of Libra during 2011, so its energy is more of a continuing influence than anything new. It started its most recent passage through Libra 10/29/09 thru 4/7/10, then settled in on 7/22/10 for a longer stay through 10/5/12.

With the "stern taskmaster" in the sign of relationships, watch for all of your important ones to be tested. If any are found wanting,  then it's time to reinforce, revise or release. This is actually a process to be welcomed, since it keeps us from wasting our time and other precious resources on relationships that don't serve our highest needs.

Saturn can be tough, but he also brings the blessings of achievement, productivity, efficient time management, maturity and wise eldership. All of these can be applied to the Libran themes of relationship and creative expression.

Saturn enjoys its second-most powerful placement, called exaltation, in Libra. And Saturn represents tradition, conservatism, big business, the powers-that-be and the status quo. Therefore, it's no surprise that the US Republican Party made a major mid-term comeback during Saturn's Libran occupancy.

I recommend getting serious about your relationships during this period, and focusing on the ones that move your most important goals forward. And if you're creative in the artsy sense, this energy can really help you get the work out -- especially if you keep to a schedule!

Pluto in Capricorn

I wrote extensively about Pluto in Capricorn in this article, published in my January 2008 newsletter the same month that Pluto entered Capricorn. As I reread the article, I saw that, three years later, things are unfolding pretty much as I expected.

To give just one example, WikiLeaks has taken on the Plutonian role of airing the dirty laundry of the powers-that-be. It has put the US on the defensive by publishing many of its Afghanistan war documents and diplomatic cables. Currently, Bank of America is hurriedly planning PR damage-control strategies, since WikiLeaks has warned of revealing embarrassing information that could "take down" a major American bank.

I also spoke of a Big Brother-style invasion of privacy, the current crowning symbol of which is the new airport scanners which image nearly naked bodies. (The alternative? A stranger patting down your private parts.) And the Department of Homeland Security is now looking into multiple-camera drone planes, just one of which can show everything going on in an entire village.

I also wrote three years ago that, in 2010, "we may well experience the start of something resembling another American Revolution in order to set our ship of state on a more enlightened course." I didn't have the Tea Party in mind, and have my own opinion about their level of enlightenment, but there is no question that they have brought a revolutionary energy onto the American political scene!

Here are some brief excerpts from my original article discussing Pluto in Capricorn, which I think is still worth reading three years later for a deeper understanding of this important subject. Even though the article was my 2008 forecast, most of it covers long-range trends that are still in play.

Pluto is the planet of transformation, death and rebirth. Metaphors for its processes include a phoenix burning to ash and resurrecting, a snake shedding its skin, and a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly. Pluto can also represent tremendous power and/or wealth.

Capricorn is the sign of existing institutions and structures, including big business, governments and established religions. It's inherently conservative, traditional and resistant to change. Its shadow side can be cold, dictatorial, and ruthless, believing that the ends justify the means. Its more evolved qualities include integrity, commitment, and perseverance, as well as being the "wise elder."

What can one person do when faced with such daunting astrological energies? Let's take some inspiration from Pluto itself. It's a tiny planet - not even that, if you accept its "dwarf planet" classification. And it's nowhere near the heart of the action - so far out in the boonies of the solar system that the Sun hardly looks brighter than any other star.

Yet Pluto is astrology's most powerful transiting planet. Its diminutive size demonstrates that small things can be very powerful. It does, after all, rule plutonium, a tiny amount of which can either power or decimate a city. In the same way, one person - working with Capricornian discipline and Plutonian obsessiveness - can make a huge impact during this time. By doing whatever you are most called to do - however insignificant it might seem - you will be playing your perfect part in a leaderless web of perfect synchronicity.

Stay open to change. As I tell my clients who are having powerful Pluto transits, the more you resist transformation at such times, the more you suffer. The more you embrace change - even if it's frightening and you can't see where it's leading - the more empowered you become.

Pluto can be experienced as cruel and greedy people and institutions conspiring against you, or as a river of divine power that flows through you. And that river is always strongest when you allow your actions to be guided by your inner wisdom. As with any astrological energy, you can use it or be used by it. The choice is yours.


I hope you've enjoyed this series on the astrological forecast for 2011. There's a lot going on this year: the tightening Uranus-Pluto square, numerous Jupiter aspects, challenging transits to the US chart, lots of powerful eclipses, Jupiter and Uranus entering Aries, Chiron and Neptune entering Pisces, and the continuing adventures of Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn.

With so much complexity, I find it helpful to focus on a few simple ideas:
  • Embrace transformation.
  • Nurture your direct connection to your own divine essence.
  • Follow your intuition.
  • Be your authentic self.
  • Energize your vision of an ideal reality.
  • Be the change you want to see in the world. 

We are living in an extraordinary time, and we all chose to be here. Your thoughts and actions are helping to make the world what it is right now. So  why not help to manifest a more beautiful world? Help make 2011 all it can be -- hop on board the Co-Creation Express!
The MP3 and 58-slide PowerPoint deck of my Nov. 18 "2011 Astrology Forecast & Shamanic Planetary Invocations" presentation is now available for download. To get it, click here!    


2011 Forecast, Part 5: the Eclipses of 2011

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 1/4/11 It's All Good Astrology News.

What's coming up astrologically in 2011? I'm sharing my views each week in this newsletter, as I serialize and expand upon the main points from my 2011 forecast lecture . Here's what I've covered so far; please click the links to catch up on any installments you've missed.

Part 1: The Uranus-Pluto Square 
Part 2: A Year of Jupiter Aspects
Part 3: Transits to the US Chart
Part 4: The Other Transits to the US Chart 

As we've seen in prior installments of this forecast series, 2011 will be a year of major changes. The unusually high number of eclipses, and the unusual strength of many of them, is yet another factor pointing to big shifts.

(Not to mention the strange clusters of bird and fish deaths in Arkansas and Louisiana -- synchronistically occurring as the new year ramps up, and within days of the year's first solar eclipse! Perhaps these animals are being martyred to redirect our attention to the peril the environment is in. Or perhaps they're serving as an omen that this will be a year when death - literal or metaphorical - will be a major theme. And death is always followed by rebirth!)


Eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth and Moon line up in such a way that the light of the Sun or Moon appears to be obscured. During a solar eclipse, the New Moon's shadow crosses the Earth's surface, blocking some or all of the Sun's light. During a lunar eclipse, the Full Moon is dimmed by Earth's shadow.

In 2011, we have the usual number of lunar eclipses - two - but twice the normal amount of solar eclipses - four. The lunar eclipses are not heavily aspected, but three of the solar eclipses are unusually powerful!

The January 4 Solar Eclipse

For example, the solar eclipse on January 4 (the day I published this article) was a powerhouse! The Sun and Moon conjoined at 14° Capricorn, and served as the filling of a fiery Mars-Pluto sandwich. (Pluto was at 5° Capricorn, and Mars was at 21° Capricorn.)

(FYI, the next two paragraphs are from my January 2011 forecast.)

New beginnings are supported with special power here, especially in the Capricornian themes of work, career, reputation building, and becoming more mature, responsible and wise. With Pluto conjunct the eclipse, your new initiatives will work even better if you make it a point to simultaneously jettison or transform whatever no longer supports your endeavor.

This eclipse's tightest aspect is a square from Saturn, so don't automatically give up if you encounter significant resistance. Persistence may reap rich rewards!

The Sabian Symbol for this eclipse is, "An Ancient Bas-Relief Carved in Granite Remains a Witness to a Long-Forgotten Culture." For me, this immediately brings to mind the Mayans, and their stone-engraved Long Count calendar. One 5000+ year cycle ends, and another (the Age of Flowers) starts, on the Winter Solstice of 2012. This reminds us to avoid the dark side of Capricorn - mindless adherence to tradition and the status quo - and remember that it's sometime the wisest and most responsible course of action to branch out in radically new directions!

This eclipse energy is still quite potent as I publish this on January 4, so you can still harness its energy if you act promptly.

The July 1 Solar Eclipse

The June 1 solar eclipse in Gemini is relatively tame: its only significant aspects are a supportive trine from Saturn and a loose square from Chiron.

But the solar eclipse that follow it a month later on July 1 in Cancer will be anything but warm and fuzzy! This eclipse fills in the "empty corner" of a potent T-Square pattern* involving Pluto, Uranus and Saturn, creating a Grand Cross** configuration. This is astrology's most challenging aspect pattern!

This solar eclipse activates an encore of the nearly two-year Saturn-Uranus opposition series  that started in late 2008. It also energizes the Uranus-Pluto square I discussed in Part 1 of this series. Put it all together, and we could see some major shake-ups in the world in the May-July time frame. (The T-Square is powerful May 13 thru July 21.) Even more importantly, this powerhouse eclipse gives you the chance to shake up, purge and release whatever you need to let go of, and launch new initiatives with tremendous power!

The Sabian Symbol for this eclipse is, "A Large Diamond In The First Stages Of The Cutting Process." It's easy to see this as a metaphor for spiritual awakening. There is divine awareness already present in the core of each person (the large diamond) The "cutting" process could describe the illusions and dark energies that are released as consciousness becomes more refined. In fact, some Buddhists describe "diamond mind" as an enlightened state.

The November 25 Solar Eclipse

The final solar eclipse of 2011, in early Sagittarius on Nov. 25, is another doozy. This eclipse receives a trine from Uranus, a quincunx from Jupiter, and squares from Neptune, Chiron and Mars! The preponderance of hard aspects could mean some eventful world news in the weeks around Thanksgiving.

But always remember that every disruption contains the seeds of new growth. Sagittarius is the sign of expansion, hope and opportunity. The square from Neptune can be used as an urgent call to spiritual awakening and divine inspiration. The square from Chiron can catalyze the healing of old wounds, and the trine from Uranus can ease the way for intuitive flashes and sudden breakthroughs. No matter how ominous an astrological event may seem at first blush, you can always use your intention and imaginal power to partner with the energies in a positive and life-enhancing way.

This eclipses's Sabian Symbol is, "Two Men Playing Chess." Perhaps a strategic battle of wits between two opposing forces will be prominent in the news at this time. On a more personal level, this symbol suggests a carefully considered approach to whatever new starts are being made.


So, as we've seen, the number and power of 2011's solar eclipses is quite extraordinary. I hope that you will use them as launching pads to propel your personal growth to new levels!

Next week: the 2011 forecast series concludes with planetary ingresses, Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn.

The MP3 and 58-slide PowerPoint deck of my Nov. 18 "2011 Astrology Forecast & Shamanic Planetary Invocations" presentation is available for download. To get it, click here!

* A T-Square is formed by two planets in opposition (180° apart), both of which make a square (90°) to a third planet.

** A Grand Cross is formed by four planets creating the corners of a square (the four-sided figure you learned about in geometry class). Each planet is 90° away from the next planet in the pattern, and the planets at opposite corners form oppositions (180° angles). Thus, a Grand Cross contains four squares (90° angles) and two oppositions.

  • by Benjamin Bernstein

    Originally published in the 12/27/10 It's All Good Astrology News.

    What's coming up astrologically in 2011? I'm sharing my views each week in this newsletter, as I serialize and expand upon the main points from my 2011 forecast lecture.

    Here's what I've covered so far; please click the links to catch up if you need to.

    Part 1: The Uranus-Pluto Square 

    Part 2: A Year of Jupiter Aspects

    Part 3: Transits to the US Chart

    This week, I'll be focusing on...

    The Other Transits to the US Chart

    In Part 3 of this 2011 forecast series, we focused mainly on one aspect to the US natal chart: Pluto opposing natal Venus at 3° Cancer. This time, we're going to finish our overview of the most important aspects to the US chart. I continue to use the Sibley Chart, dated 7/4/1776, 5:10 PM, Philadelphia PA.

    Important meanings of Venus I didn't discuss in my prior article include important relationships and creativity. I also didn't mention that transiting Uranus will be squaring Venus starting in April!

    Secrecy on the Wane?

    As I described in Part One of this series, Uranus and Pluto working together create revolutionary transformation. Thus the United States can not only expect dramatic changes in the economic sphere, but also in our political dealings with other countries.

    With so many of our diplomatic and war-related communications made public by Wikileaks, much of what we really think about other countries, as well as their leaders and representatives, is no longer secret. This has already transformed our international relations in ways we are only beginning to see.

    As a nation, this gives us the opportunity to deal with our international neighbors with greater transparency and openness. Our world is so interconnected that one man now has the power to expose top-secret information about the inner workings of the world's most powerful nation. But this may just be the beginning: with the widespread global spiritual awakening now underway, it may not be long before telepathy becomes as common as thought, and the very concept of secrecy becomes obsolete.

    Creativity Amplified

    It's exciting to contemplate the possibilities as Venus' creative side is stimulated by transiting Uranus and Pluto. For starters, we're in for a wealth of extraordinary movies, books, music, TV, theater, art, dance and other expressions of the arts. But the definition of creativity extends far beyond the arts, and encompasses new ideas in all fields of human endeavor.

    Einstein said, "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." As so many of us ride the wave of spiritual awakening to new levels of consciousness, we will begin to see radical and brilliant new solutions to our most intractable problems.

    Great Good or Great Evil?

    Venus rules the US Midheaven, which represents our reputation and work in the world. With Venus so powerfully aspected by Pluto and Uranus, our power to accomplish great good - or great evil - in the world is magnified. The planetary influences indicate that the US will be greatly empowered to move in one direction or the other. Each one of us who sends love and light into the world, and to the US and its leaders specifically, increases the odds that the US will take a more positive path at this critical juncture.

    Transits to the US Jupiter

    Are we still talking about Venus? Let's move on to Jupiter, just three degrees further along in the US chart at 6° Cancer. Being so close to Venus, Jupiter is also receiving an opposition from Pluto and a square from Uranus in 2011.

    Big Brother Watching

    Jupiter represents politics and law, and we may well continue to see extreme examples of control and freedom. Pluto has been opposing Jupiter for over a year. During that time, we have seen a mixed bag of changes involving increased government control, including

  • New ultra-revealing airport scanners,
  • A legal mandate to buy health insurance,
  • The financial industry coming under stricter regulation and
  • Wal-Mart cooperating with the Department of Homeland Security as it encourages shoppers to report suspicious in-store behavior.
  • At the same time,

  • Don't Ask Don't Tell has finally been repealed, and
  • Both gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana are gaining momentum toward federal legalization.
  • Echo of Transformation

    The US chart has Sagittarius on the Ascendant, which means that Jupiter is also the chart ruler. The ascendant, or rising sign, represents the mask or persona. Thus, echoing the transit to Midheaven ruler Venus, the US has a major opportunity to transform the face it shows to the world.

    Uranus Conjunct the IC

    Uranus is conjunct the US IC (Fourth House cusp) in 2011, amplified by transiting Jupiter. Past conjunctions of Uranus to the US IC have always coincided with major technological breakthroughs, and this one should be no exception. Major population shifts are also a possibility under this transit.

    Saturn Returns & Squares the Sun

    Transiting Saturn is also a major player in 2011. Starting last November, and continuing through September 2011, it has been conjuncting the US' natal Saturn and squaring its natal Sun.

    Saturn's conjunction to its natal position - known as the Saturn Return - occurs every 29-1/2 years. It's a time of releasing old structures that no longer serve, and building new ones better suited for current needs. It has a reputation as a time of challenge, as the "stern taskmaster" coldly and impartially determines what goes and what stays.

    One such reality check has already been written, as the Republican midterm sweep forces Obama to scale back his big-government visions to a level that a more conservative Congress can tolerate.

    This humbling of the president is also indicated by the square of transiting Saturn to the US Sun. In a country's chart, the Sun represents the leader, and Saturn represents restriction and challenge. The political restraints now being placed on Obama are perfectly described by this transit.

    Mass Delusion or Mass Awakening?

    Finally, transiting Neptune has been powerfully influencing the US Moon since early 2009, and will continue its energetic conjunction through early 2012. In a country's chart, the Moon represents the public.

    On the dark side, this conjunction represents the public being deceived, bamboozled and misled. But Neptune also represent spiritual awakening and union with the divine, and people are waking up in the US in greater numbers than ever before.

    Of all the transits to the US chart, I am most excited by this one. As Einstein implied in his quote about change and consciousness, it is only as we experience a personal awakening that we can create lasting harmony in the world around us. As within, so without!

    Next week: The Eclipses of 2011

2011 forecast, Part 3: Transits to the US Chart

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 12/13/10 It's All Good Astrology News.

What's coming up astrologically in 2011? I'm sharing my views each week in this newsletter, as I serialize and expand upon the main points from the
2011 forecast lecture I gave last month. Here's what I've covered so far; please click the links to catch up on the first two installments if you need to.

Part 1: The Uranus-Pluto Square

Part 2: A Year of Jupiter Aspects

This week, I'll be focusing on...

Aspects to the US Chart

In looking at the astrology of the United States, I am using the Sibley Chart, dated 7/4/1776, 5:10 PM, Philadelphia PA.

The transits to the US chart show numerous challenges throughout the 2010s and beyond. Here are the main transits the US will be experiencing in 2011:
  • Pluto opposing Venus (Midheaven* ruler)
  • Pluto opposing Jupiter (Ascendant* ruler)
  • Neptune & Chiron conjunct Moon
  • Uranus & Jupiter conjunct IC*
  • Uranus & Jupiter opposing Midheaven
  • Uranus & Jupiter squaring Venus (Midheaven ruler)
  • Uranus & Jupiter squaring Jupiter (Ascendant ruler)
  • Saturn return Nov 2010 thru Sept 2011
  • Saturn square Sun Nov 2010 thru Sept 2011
 * The Midheaven is the cusp of the 10th House, the Ascendant is the cusp of the 1st House, and the IC is the cusp of the 4th House

To have this much going on at once is the astrological equivalent of a perfect storm!

Pluto is the most powerful transiting planet that I use, and its aspects to the US chart are the most powerful since the Great Depression. Now thru 2016, for example, Pluto opposes the US Venus, Jupiter and Sun!
Uranus-Pluto Square
For this week's article, let's just focus on one US natal planet, Venus, and one of the things that she represents, money. We'll talk about more transits to the US chart in next week's installment.

It's no secret that the US is currently weathering its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We barely averted a complete financial meltdown in 2008, and are currently running up a national debt of staggering proportions. Draconian cutbacks are becoming increasingly common as states, constitutionally required to balance their budgets, struggle to make ends meet. The continuing housing crisis and chronically high unemployment are major contributing factors to the country's financially stressed condition.

Pluto represents gut-level, death and rebirth transformation. It also has the job of exposing hidden secrets. (Can you say Wikileaks?) It seems clear to me that Pluto is now bringing the United States' gross financial inequities into greater public awareness.

The Wikipedia article "
Wealth inequality in the United States" discusses "the severity of wealth inequality, 'with the top 10% possessing 80% of all financial assets [and] the bottom 90% holding only 20% of all financial wealth.'[2]" According to sociologist G. William Domhoff, "As of 2007, the top 1% of [US] households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth."

The Wikipedia article "Income inequality in the United States" says, "Data from the United States Department of Commerce and Internal Revenue Service indicate that income inequality has been increasing since the 1970s,[10][11][12][13][14]whereas it had been declining during the mid 20th century. [15][16] As of 2006, the United States had one of the highest levels of income inequality...among high income countries...being one of only a few developed countries where inequality has increased since 1980.[18]

"Alan Greenspan stated before Congress in 2005 [19]: 'As I've often said, this is not the type of thing which a democratic society - a capitalist democratic society - can really accept without addressing.'"

This transit of Pluto to the US Venus is giving us an opportunity to make our financial system more just and equitable, in harmony with the spirit of the new Aquarian Age. If we don't, Pluto may have to go into "Kali mode" and destroy that which has outlived its usefulness. This would be an unavoidably disruptive process, but you can't have a new Golden Age with a greedy and corrupt financial system!

I am not an economics expert, and cannot address exactly how a more enlightened financial system would operate. But I have faith that as divine consciousness spreads inexorably across the planet, those with economic expertise will be inspired to help create a more equitable financial system in the US and around the world. And the more each of us wakes up individually, and channels divine light for the highest good of the planet and its inhabitants, the faster that will happen!

Next Week: More Transits to the US Chart.

The MP3 and 58-slide PowerPoint deck of my Nov. 18 "2011 Astrology Forecast & Shamanic Planetary Invocations" presentation is now available for download. To get it, click here!

2011 Forecast, Part 2: A Year of Jupiter Aspects
Uranus-Pluto Square

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 12/16/10 It's All Good Astrology News.

Would you like to know my thoughts on what's coming up astrologically in 2011? Then be sure to read the next few editions of this newsletter, where I am serializing and expanding upon the main points from the 2011 forecast lecture I gave last month.

Last week I discussed the Uranus-Pluto square that is nearly exact in 2011, and discussed the importance of consciously co-creating with the moving planets; please read that article if you haven't already. 
This week, I'll be focusing on...

A Year of Jupiter Aspects

All the exact outer planet aspects in 2011 include Jupiter. This is not only uncommon, but lucky! Why? Because Jupiter's core meanings are faith, expansiveness, confidence, humor, grace, optimism, generosity, good fortune and hope. In ancient astrology, Jupiter was known as the "Great Benefic" - the luckiest planet in the sky!

Harmonious Aspects

Not only that, but the aspects that Jupiter makes in 2011 are overhwelmingly flowing and harmonious. Here's the complete list, with harmonious aspects in green and the 
one challenging aspect in red:

  • Jupiter conjunct Uranus: Jan. 4 (303 of 3; also conjunct June & September 2010)
  • Jupiter square Pluto: Feb. 25 (3 of 3; prior squares July & August 2010
  • Jupiter sextile Neptune: 6/8 (1 of 1)
  • Jupiter sextile Chiron: 7/2 & 12/6 (1 & 2 of 3; final sextile Feb 2012)
  • Jupiter trine Pluto: 7/7 & 10/28 (1 & 2 of 3; final trine Mar 2012

Jupiter moves through one sign per year on average, and so typically aspects the above planets annually. Again, with four out of five aspects harmonious, this adds plenty of positive energy to the 2011 mix.

Jupiter Conjunct Uranus

Jupiter's conjunction to Uranus is the most powerful of these events. Jupiter, being the largest body in our solar system except for the Sun, tends to expand whatever it connects with. This, it has the ability to amplify Uranus' positive qualities, which include helpful technologies, innovation, breakthroughs and genius. This sense of new beginnings is even stronger because Jupiter crosses into Aries, the sign most representative of fresh starts, just 18 days after it conjuncts Uranus in Pisces. (Uranus enters Aries on March 11, and stays in each sign for about seven years.)

Of course, this conjunction could also amplify Uranus' dark side attributes of insanity, chaos and turmoil, and bring out Aries' potential for anger and violence. As I said in Part 1 of this series, the planets collaborate with the energies we humans generate here on Earth. That's why keeping our thoughts positive and hopeful is so important if we want to enjoy the planets' highest manifestations!

Jupiter Square Pluto

Jupiter's square to Pluto on Feb. 25 - a hard angle - could be the most challenging single aspect of 2011. Some sort of amplified death-and-rebirth process is called for in the weeks around this square. To harness this energy positively, release and surrender all that doesn't serve you, and actively seek positive transformation.

Those Other Aspects

Jupiter's remaining aspects are not only harmonious angles, but occur after Jupiter enters Taurus on June 4. Taurus is much more stable and grounded than Aries, which will have a calming influence on Jupiter's behavior.

Jupiter's predominantly positive aspects in 2011 don't get us completely out of the woods - not with everything else that's going on and 2012 just around the corner - but they provide plenty of reason for hope!

      Next week: Aspects to the chart of the United States

The MP3 and 58-slide PowerPoint deck of my Nov. 18 "2011 Astrology Forecast & Shamanic Planetary Invocations" presentation is now available for download
. To get it, click here!

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2011 forecast, Part 1: The Uranus-Pluto Square

Uranus-Pluto Square

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the 11/29/10
It's All Good Astrology News.

Would you like to know my thoughts on what's coming up astrologically in 2011? Then be sure to read the next few editions of this newsletter, where I will be serializing and expanding upon the main points from the 2011 forecast lecture I gave earlier this month.

This week, I'll be focusing on..

The Uranus-Pluto Square

Uranus and Pluto will be making exact square aspects (90° angles) seven times in the years 2012 thru 2015. This aspect has been "warming up" for several years, and will be nearly exact in 2011!

This aspect's "orb" (degree of exactitude) will range from 1 - 8.5° in 2011. The orb will be about 8.5° as the year opens, will tighten to around 1° in early August, then will widen back out to about 6.5° by the end of the year. The Uranus-Pluto square will be quite strong - within 3° of orb - from June thru mid-October.

Uranus and Pluto Defined

What will the effects of the Uranus-Pluto square be? To understand that, let's consider the archetypal meanings of the planets involved.

For me, the most pertinent meanings of Uranus in this context are the humanitarian, the revolutionary, the genius, the truth-speaker, the paradigm shifter, the rebel and the awakener.

The most pertinent Pluto concepts include transformation, death and rebirth, and transpersonal power. My three favorite Pluto metaphors - a phoenix burning to ash and resurrecting, a snake shedding its skin, and a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly - seem very much in play!

The 60s Part 2?

This Uranus-Pluto square is the first major challenging aspect this pair has made since their conjunction formed the astrological centerpiece of the 60s. (They're conjunct about every 125 years.) But since a square is much more dynamic and challenging than a conjunction,the next several years could prove even more revolutionary!

A key theme here is revolutionary transformation: the elimination or restructuring of everything that has outlived its usefulness. There is growing awareness that a radical shift is needed in how the global powers-that-be operate. Governments, multinational corporations, and other global players must shift to new operating paradigms if we are to avert environmental catastrophe. 

Archaic assumptions held for centuries must be revised if mankind, as well as most of Earth's other species, are to survive. The idea of perpetual economic growth must be replaced by sustainability, the global population must be kept to a manageable size, and the planet's precious natural resources must be managed with the seventh generation in mind. And why don't we acknowledge and directly experience our unity with all living things - including Gaia herself - while we're at it?

Typical Uranus-Pluto Effects

In Cosmos & Psyche, a magnificent book which describes how the alignment of the outer planets systematically synchronizes with world history, Richard Tarnas notes these typical Uranus-Pluto effects:
  • Widespread radical social and political change
  • Often destructive upheaval
  • Massive empowerment of revolutionary and rebellious impulses
  • Intensified artistic and intellectual creativity
  • Unusually rapid technological advance
  • An underlying spirit of restless experiment
  • Drive for innovation
  • The urge for freedom
  • Revolt against oppression
  • Embrace of radical political philosophies
  • Intensified collective will to bring forth a new world
  • Massive demographic shifts
  • Fervent, often violent intensity, and
  • The excitement of moving rapidly toward new horizons

The Last Time Around

The most recent Uranus-Pluto square occurred from the late 1920s thru most of the 1930s, the period of the Great Depression. And, just as they are now, both planets were in cardinal signs: Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Cancer then, Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn now. Cardinal signs carry the energy of new beginnings.

The Outcome is in Our Hands!

None of this means that we are doomed to suffer another Great Depression. As a global society,we have the ability to influence the specific manifestation of this Uranus-Pluto square, just as we do with every other planetary alignment. 

To the degree that we willingly embrace the needed changes, we will collectively experience positive and thrilling quantum leaps into new and more wonderful realities. (And not just in the physical dimension!) To the degree that we resist the changes needed for humanity's evolution, universal intelligence will have to bring them about by force. Obviously, the coercive option involves much more pain and suffering.

In my shamanic visions, I have experienced a new Golden Age already present in the etheric realms. It is now filtering down into the physical plane, and a rapidly expanding number of "early adopters" have started to embody this spectacular new energy. To me, humanity's transformation into a more enlightened species is inevitable. The key question at hand is how difficult we're going to make the transition.

What revolutionary transformation will we planetary citizens visualize into being during this Uranus-Pluto square? That's as much your decision as anyone else's. In fact, you are making it right now based on the visions you hold, the thoughts you think, and the actions you take. Ghandi's shining words - "Be the change you want to see in the world" - are now more timely than ever. 

Don't just ask what the planets have in store for you in 2011. Have the courage to embrace the revolutionary changes that are needed in your life, and in the world around you. Do your part to guide the astrological energies into their most positive and uplifting expression!

     Next week: 2011: A year of Jupiter aspects.

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The Healthcare Bill's Passage Astrologized

By Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the March 30, 2010 It's All Good Astrology News

Even the Republicans who unanimously opposed the new healthcare bill have to admit that its passage on March 23 is historic. It's being called the most significant piece of social legislation since the 1960s.

Whether you favored or opposed it, the astrological energies surrounding its passage clearly showed that its time had come. In fact, the timing was so good that I have to wonder whether Obama was secretly consulting an astrologer!

As points of information, this article represents my original thinking: I have not read any other astrologers on this matter. And I'm using Porphyry houses.

Transits to Obama's Chart

Let's start with a look at some of the most important transits to Obama's chart. Unless you believe the “birthers,” he was born 8/4/1961, 7:24 PM, in Honolulu HI. (For more astrological information on Obama, see my “Obama Astrologized” article.)

For starters, Pluto, the slowest and most powerful outer planet, was making a virtually exact sextile (60°) to Obama's natal Chiron. Pluto brings transformation, and Chiron is the planet that most specifically represents health and healing. Clearly, this energetically flowing aspect did much to set the stage.

Pluto also was making another “soft” angle – a 120° trine – to Obama's natal Pluto. Since Pluto rules Obama's Scorpio midheaven (the cusp of the 10th House), this connection empowers his ability to create transformation in the world.

Transiting Neptune (dreams and visions) and Chiron (health and healing) were conjunct Obama's South Node of the Moon. With these moving planets aligning with his “axis of destiny,” it was time to fulfill his karmic duty: making his vision of fair and affordable medical coverage for all US citizens a reality. He obviously didn't get everything he wanted. But, political pragmatist that he is, he did the best he could under the circumstances.

Neptune and Chiron were also opposing Obama's Uranus, which represents revolution and paradigm shift. (Uranus is a powerful planet in Obama's chart: with Aquarius rising, Uranus is his modern chart ruler.)

A Progressive Progressed

Looking at Obama's progressed chart, we see two additional factors. His progressed Moon – the evolving mood of the soul – was conjunct Chiron! And his progressed Sun, his evolving sense of identity and purpose, was very late in Virgo – most of the way through the 29th and final degree!

The progressed Sun moves at a snail's pace, taking 30 years to creep through a sign. When it finally approaches the next sign, there can be a sense of urgency about wrapping up unfinished business relating to its current placement. With Obama's progressed Sun poised to enter Libra this summer, it was time for him to wrap up Virgo-related matters. And – no surprise – Virgo is the sign that rules health and healthcare.

Clearly, the moving energies affecting Obama's chart were mostly supporting his efforts to get the healthcare bill passed. But what about the chart of the country whose citizens will be so profoundly affected by it?

The USA's Transits

As usual, I am using the “Sibley” chart for the USA: July 4, 1776, 5:10 PM, in Philadelphia, PA.

Let's start once again with powerful, transformative Pluto. It was opposing two of the most important planets in the USA chart: Venus (ruler of the midheaven) and Jupiter (ruler of the chart). Even more significantly in this context, Venus rules the USA's Sixth House of health and healing.

Transiting Neptune (dreams and visions) and Chiron (health and healing), which were such major players in Obama's chart, are also important here. They both were conjuncting the USA Moon, which represents the public in a country's chart.

Given the health care bill's high level of controversy, and the difficulty Obama had getting it passed, we wouldn't expect a cakewalk USA transit chart. In fact, none of the USA transits discussed so far are “flowing” by definition. The oppositions being made by Pluto to Venus and Jupiter are considered “hard” angles – challenging by definition – and a conjunction can feel either hard or soft, depending on the circumstances.

Some of the toughest aspects were being made to the USA chart by transiting Saturn. Saturn is the planet most representative of conservatism and maintaining the status quo. One group this planet obviously represents is the Republican Party. Its representatives, more often than not, have fought vigorously against major US social legislation, including this healthcare bill.

On March 23, Saturn was sitting right on top of the USA midheaven (taking action in the world) and making a strong square to natal Venus (the USA's healthcare ruler). Fortunately for Obama, Jupiter -- transiting in the compassionate sign of Pisces – was trining the USA Sun. The Sun represents the core of the USA's identity, and also rules its Ninth House of politics.

Quantum Global Shift

As extraordinary as the passage of this landmark legislation is, it's merely an early expression of even more momentous changes to come -- in the USA and around the world. As I describe in great detail in the MP3 audio recording and accompanying PowerPoint of my "Quantum Global Shift" lecture, and touch on in two articles ("The Saturn-Uranus Opposition" and "Pluto in Capricorn"), we've now entered what could be called “The 60's, Part 2.” This is a time of global paradigm shift that will leave the world profoundly transformed before the end of this decade.

I will not go into great detail on these energies here, since I have covered that ground so thoroughly already (especially in "Quantum Global Shift"), but a few summary paragraphs seem appropriate.

In the short term, a series of five Saturn-Uranus oppositions – the first one memorably exact on the day Obama was elected president -- finishes by the end of Summer 2010. This fundamentally represents old structures that have outlived their usefulness (Saturn) being replaced by revolutionary new paradigms (Uranus). But not without a fight!

A similar theme is being played out by a series of Saturn-Pluto squares, which began in the fall of 2009 and run through the summer of 2011. Saturn's meaning is the same, but Pluto is relentlessly insisting on the transformation of everything that no longer serves the greater good into something that does.

Through 2011, Uranus and Neptune never stray far from the 30° semi-sextile (and, for most of that time, mutual reception) that has connected them since the summer of 2008. Taken collectively, the energies of these two planets and the three signs they occupy during that time – Aquarius, Pisces and Aries – could be taken to mean “initiating a compassionate global spiritual revolution.” I'm seeing more people around me waking up faster than ever before – how about you?

But the most momentous sky event, which started heating up in early 2009 and will last through most of the 2010s, is the Uranus-Pluto square. It's Uranus and Pluto who will be primarily responsible for the “60's, Part 2” phenomenon. In combination, they represent themes such as revolutionary transformation, superpowered technological innovation, shamanic breakthroughs, sexual liberation and sudden awakening.

Uranus and Pluto were conjunct during the 60s, and it is only now that they're making their next world-shaking aspect. What started in the 60s goes to its next level of evolution now – but, of course, in the context of contemporary life.

Other than that, not much going on in the world these days.

In Conclusion

In summary, we've had a look at moving energies working on three levels to support the passage of the healthcare bill: transits and progressions to Obama's chart, transits to the USA chart, and major sky transits affecting the whole world. And, from an astrological perspective, it appears that the passage of the healthcare bill is only the beginning of a series of momentous changes to come in the next few years. In this decade, increasingly rapid and radical transformation will be the global status quo.

And not a moment too soon! It is growing increasingly clear to more and more people that humanity has now reached a crucial crossroads. We all must now develop far greater compassion – for each other, for our fellow species and for the planet – or face unthinkably dire consequences.

So here's to everyone working to bring about a worldwide outbreak of compassion, love and awakening. Spread it around!

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2012 Collaboration: What You Can Do Now to Help Smooth the Transition to the New Golden Age

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the Dec. 21, 2009 It's All Good Astrology News

It's an exceedingly rare thing, the chance to start anew. The chance to wipe the slate clean and stride into the light of a dawn never before seen by human eyes.

That opportunity, the likes of which has not occurred for thousands of years, opened for humanity early in December. (I felt the energy shift while participating in shamanic ceremonies in the Peruvian jungle.) We now stand at a tipping point, balanced between the end of the current age and the dawn of a new one. It's as if the universe is holding its breath.

And what each of us does now will make all the difference.

Will we collectively create a smooth and graceful transition to a more utopian existence? Or will we do it the hard way, with a horrific transition filled with cataclysms such as those portrayed in the recent 2012feature film?

It's up to us. More specifically, it's up to you.

This transition is a work in progress, being shaped moment by moment by every human thought and action. When we choose fear, greed or selfishness, we vote for the hard way. When we choose love, generosity or selflessness, we vote for easy entry into something akin to Paradise.

Of course, the specific choices we make are important. But never before have our motives for those choices, and our feelings as we make them and carry them out, weighed so heavily in the balance.

Don't worry; perfection is neither required or expected. We are still human, after all (although our collective upgrade to homo luminous may be closer than we think). But by doing our best to think and act in the highest and best way we can - and getting as close to that goal as often as possible - we will each be helping to anchor this radiant new vibration on the planet now.

I don't know how long we have to shape the nature of the 2012 transition, whether this critical window will be measured in days or years. In terms of how we can best deal with it, the specific duration really doesn't matter. The strategy is the same, and feels so good that you'll want to make it a lifestyle anyway:

Choose love instead of fear

Choose generosity instead of greed

Choose selflessness instead of selfishness

If you want to expand the list, you can add these "2012 Beingways" from James Gustave Speth's marvelous book, The Bridge at the End of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability:

being, not having

giving, not getting

needs, not wants

better, not richer

community, not individual

other, not self

connected, not separate

ecology, not economy

part of nature, not apart from nature

dependent, not transcendent

tomorrow, not today

Don't dwell on what's wrong with the world; fighting against the old power structures is rarely the most successful strategy. Instead, to the best of your ability, start living the beautiful reality you want to see in the world now. Embody the change that matches your highest vision.

It bears repeating that this is a collective experiment in co-creation. There are no official leaders, no rulebook and no authoritarian hierarchy. Those who feel called to lead simply stand up and start leading; those who feel called to follow them follow.

The universe is an intelligent and naturally self-organizing entity, and we humans are integrally woven into its extraordinary design. When right intention is exercised, the means for its material manifestation naturally unfolds. The magic of synchronicity will ensure that, as each person self-selects the role that best fits them, all the necessary pieces for the 2012 transition will fall beautifully into place.

Choose love.

Choose generosity.

Choose selflessness.

Above all, choose love.

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Read Manifesting Your Ideal Reality with "The Pivot" on our new site,!

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Read The Feeling Test at our new site,!

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New Perspectives on the Triple Conjunction in Aquarius
by Benjamin Bernstein
Originally published in the June 2009 It's All Good Astrology News

The ideal topic for this month's article was obvious to me, since we're now in the heart of the year's most important astrological alignment: the triple conjunction of Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter in Aquarius. However, I have already written and lectured on this subject, and didn't want to simply repeat myself.
So I spent some time contemplating and researching in order to come up with some fresh perspectives on this potent partnership (including its honorary fourth member, Uranus in Pisces). If you've read my prior writing on this subject, or heard my "Quantum Global Shift" lecture, you'll see that I have included some of that material, which is essential for those new to the topic. (The previous material is "front-loaded", while the new information dominates toward the end.) In any event, you'll be rewarded with plenty of new insights!
The Triple Conjunction

From now through January 2010, we will have the opportunity to benefit from an extraordinary triple conjunction: Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron joining together in Aquarius!

Jupiter and Neptune share spirituality as a common theme. Jupiter represents your faith, your beliefs, and your specific religious path. Neptune, which transcends the specifics of any particular path, represents the dissolving of boundaries: mystical union and the indescribable, euphoric blending of consciousness with Spirit. Chiron, the wounded healer, represents the wound that needs healing. It also represents the mentorship that one can provide when one has progressed far enough on one's own healing journey.

And let's not forget that all this is happening in Aquarius, which is about revolution, paradigm shift and sudden change. These same energies are further amplified by the fact that Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius, is also playing a major role in this configuration.

The Technical Paragraph

(This paragraph is for Astrology geeks, and can be skipped with no harm done.) For starters, Uranus is in "mutual reception" to both Jupiter and Neptune. This simply means that they're in each other's signs. Uranus is in Pisces, which is co-ruled by both Jupiter and Neptune. And Jupiter and Neptune are in Aquarius, which is co-ruled by Uranus. Uranus is also connecting by aspect, holding a 30° semi-sextile to Neptune through the Spring of 2011. (Uranus also semi-sextiles Jupiter April through July).

Spiritual Awakening and Healing

A valid interpretation, it seems to me, is the opportunity for God's light to pour through with extraordinary power (since Jupiter magnifies whatever it touches). As it does, this energy can bring profound healing to the personal and societal wounds afflicting humanity. (Aquarius is also the sign that represents humanity as a whole.) Even previously intractable problems, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the nuclear challenges being offered by North Korea and Iran, have a much better chance of being resolved under this transit.
I can imagine a mass awakening, with people all over the planet having a sudden "Eureka!" moment. They would realize that their kinship extends beyond their particular race or religion or culture or country. They would "grok" that they are one not only with their fellow humans, but with the sacred living spirits that inhabit every animal, insect, tree, plant and stone. Once saturated with the incomparable ecstasy of divine bliss, they would discover that slipping back into negative patterns of hate, violence and anger is intolerable, for it wipes out the supreme joy that only a heart filled with divine love can experience.

You may say I'm a dreamer, and this scenario will not play out for everyone. But I regularly associate with people who have already had this awakening, and see evidence all around the world that this type of consciousness is spreading faster and faster. This embodiment of universal love -- whose propagation will make all of our other problems so much easier to solve - is now spreading as never before!
The Importance of Community
The importance of community (Aquarius) is also becoming paramount. Those who are awakening and serving spiritually benefit from the amplified energetic and social support that they receive from associating with others on similar paths. And, on a purely practical level, we all need to be able to both depend on and assist others. This will be crucial if the coming global paradigm shifts disrupt the basic societal infrastructure and services we usually take for granted.
These communities won't always be large-scale, either. The old paradigm of massive structural hierarchy is giving way to a plethora of small, flexible and independent groups who synchronistically connect and separate as needed.
The Dark Side

Of course, we are also seeing darker manifestations of these archetypal energies. Those who succumb to fear may well let their unhealed wounds (Chiron) feed their delusions (Neptune), leading them to proclaim their rigid dogmas (Jupiter) as the One And Only True Path (Jupiter again). This applies not only to religious fanatics, but to any person or group that persists in advocating outmoded views and beliefs.
There has also been an unusual pattern of mass murders in recent months, with ordinary people snapping and wreaking bloody havoc. (Neptune=delusion, Chiron=wounding, Jupiter=amplification.) It seems to me that the divine light is growing so strong that it is driving insane some who cannot integrate it.
Powerful transits have always played out on both the light and dark sides, but, as Gandhi said so beautifully, no matter how strong evil may grow, good always wins out in the end.
A Historical Perspective
Astrological theory is all fine and good, but, as Richard Tarnas shows in his landmark (and highly recommended) book Cosmos and Psyche, it's always instructive to see what happened during previous incarnations of the same alignment.
The Triple Conjunction of 1945
The last time Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter were all together in the same place was in the late Summer and early Fall of 1945, in the sign of Libra. The events of that time were nothing if not historic: for starters, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, which led to that country's surrender and the end of WWII.
In this instance, we see both the dark and light sides of Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter taken to extremes. The atom bombs caused extreme (Jupiter) wounding (Chiron) that caused Japan to finally surrender the illusions (Neptune) that had kept it fighting even when there was no realistic hope of victory. But that same event made it possible for new hope (Jupiter) and a spirit of unity (Neptune) to arise as the US healed the wounds of war (Chiron) and helped rebuild Europe. The Libran signature is also evident: the restoration of balance, harmony and fairness.
The same light-side qualities are self-evident in another historic event of 1945: the founding of the United Nations. And, since this conjunction occurred in Libra, the list would not be complete without mention of an artistic landmark which remains one of the world's most distinctive buildings: Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum.
The Triple Conjunction of 1881-82
What about the Neptune-Chiron-Jupiter conjunction before that? It took place from mid-1881 through the first quarter of 1882 in Taurus. Taurus, being "fixed earth," is the most stable sign of the zodiac, so shocking and dramatic events are much less likely. Taurus is associated with music and ruled by creative Venus, so it is fitting that this incarnation of the triple conjunction took on a markedly different flavor. Neptune expressed divine creative inspiration, Chiron showed its maverick side, and Jupiter amped it all up.
The result was an extraordinary creative blossoming, which included Henry James' Portrait of a Lady, R.L. Stevenson's Treasure Island, Ibsen's An Enemy of the People, Brahms' "Academic Festival Overture," Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," Wagner's "Parsifal" and Debussy's "Le Printemps." The seeds were also planted for future creative blossoming, with the births of the mavericks-to-be Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Picasso, Braque, Samuel Goldwyn, Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky.
This glimpse into the past demonstrates that we must consider more than just the planets involved: the sign they inhabit is also of paramount importance. Thus, the fact that Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter are now in Aquarius (revolution, paradigm shift, breakthrough, awakening) and partnering with Uranus in Pisces (spiritual union, unconditional love and compassion, the dissolution of boundaries) says much about the high-side possibilities of our current alignment.
The Galactic Center
It is of more than passing interest that all of the planets we're discussing are currently in strong aspect to the Galactic Center at 27° Sagittarius. (Thanks to Mayan astrologer Clare Coriell, with whom I do a Mayan-Western "Soul Journey" Consultation, for reminding me about this!) The Mayans view the Galactic Center as the place from which life originates, and the place to which the spirit returns after death. In fact, it is the alignment of the Sun and Earth with the Galactic Center which marks the famous end date of the Mayan Long Count calendar on December 21, 2012. (For more on this, download my lecture on "The Astrology of 2012.")
The spiritual energy radiating from the Galactic Center has increased substantially in recent years, and continues to build. The fact that Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter are currently sextiling this point, and Uranus is squaring it, means that all of these planets - which are already about spiritual awakening - are strongly connecting to this cosmic energy flow and transmitting it down to us!
Wet Weather
On a more mundane level, the next few months could bring events involving wounding (Chiron) involving lots (Jupiter) of water (Neptune, the sea god). Weather forecasters are expressing serious concern about the hurricane season that just began. (And is it a coincidence that Asheville, North Carolina, where I live, just had its wettest May on record?)
Ancient Bowl, Fresh Violets
I can think of no better way to close than with a look at the Sabian Symbol for 27° Aquarius, where Neptune, Chiron and Jupiter are currently hanging out. (Any planet at or after 26°01' Aquarius "rounds up" to the Sabian Symbol for 27°.) The symbol is, "An Ancient Pottery Bowl Filled With Fresh Violets."
To me, this speaks to the time-tested indigenous, traditional and shamanic wisdom ways (the "ancient pottery bowl") being updated to fit the current times and attracting new adherents ("fresh violets"). Our post-industrial revolution mindset has led us to the brink of global environmental destruction, and we must integrate the earth-honoring perspective of our ancient ancestors into our modern lives if Mother Earth's species (including us!) are to survive and thrive. By carrying out the revolution of putting "fresh violets" (that which is sustainable from our modern lives) into the "ancient pottery bowl" (indigenous wisdom), we can chart a course from chaos and breakdown into hope and renewal.



by Benjamin Bernstein
Originally published in the May 2009 It's All Good Astrology News

I'm always on the lookout for tools and techniques that will help my astrology clients work through the issues that come up in our consultations. This month, I'd like to share one that I'm especially excited about: EFT.

Quick and Broad-Ranging
EFT -- or Emotional Freedom Techniques -- has been increasing in popularity since the mid-90s, when it was introduced by Gary Craig. It has repeatedly shown the ability to rapidly relieve serious emotional, psychological and physical
problems, even if they've been hanging around for years. Spiritsong and I have both used it to reduce or eliminate various physical and emotional symptoms, often in less time than it will take you to read this article!
Of course, you can take classes to learn EFT (I took an excellent and inexpensive six-week course which Gary Schwartz frequently offers here in Asheville). But you can also learn everything you need to enjoy EFT's numerous benefits for free, and with no obligation. (More on that shortly.)

Clearing the Energy Blockages
The basic idea behind EFT is that most of our problems are caused by energy blockages. Once an energy blockage is cleared, the symptoms associated with it disappear.
To do this, an EFT practitioner (which can be you just doing it for yourself) uses the same energy meridians as acupuncture or acupressure. You begin with a "setup," which lets your body know which problem you wish to address. Then you rapidly tap through a series of points that stimulates each of the acupuncture meridians in turn. Now that I've learned the procedure (which didn't take long), I can do an entire tapping sequence in about 75 seconds.

"Try it on everything!"
While there is no guarantee that EFT will work on a particular issue, practitioners are encouraged to "try it on everything!" Some problems will disappear after one or two rounds, others may require significantly more time and persistence, and some may not respond to EFT at all. But, since the technique is free, quick and easy to do, I find that it's often worth a shot!

Links to Free EFT Resources
Links revised 7/23/11. Here are links to the main EFT site, a free how-to manual, and Asheville EFT teacher Gary Schwartz's one-page EFT overview.  Gary Schwartz also has a free EFT lecture on YouTube in which he explains and demonstrates the technique step by step. Here are links to each of the video clips: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, & Part 10.
I have found EFT to be so useful that it has joined the Divine Saturation Snap Meditation and the Divine Dictation Exercise in my bag of "frequently recommended techniques for clients." If you decide to give it a try, please feel free to send me an e-mail and let me know how it worked for you!



by Benjamin Bernstein
Originally published in the April 2009 It's All Good Astrology News

If you want to understand not only who you are, but who you're becoming, then it's time to get cozy with your progressed planets.

Progressed v. Transiting Planets

Progressed planets are different from transiting planets. Transiting (moving) planets appear in their actual sky positions in the chart, and are usually shown outside the natal wheel. But progressed planets creep along at a snail's pace, only moving as far in one year as a transiting planet moves in a day.

For example, the transiting Moon circles the entire horoscope in 28 days. The progressed Moon, however, takes 28 years to make the same orbit! Likewise, the transiting Sun makes a complete 360° orbit of the horoscope each year, while in that same year the progressed Sun moves only one degree.

Natal & Progressed Suns

Looked at from the perspective of the "fixed forever" birth chart, I am and always will be an Aquarius Sun sign. From the perspective of my progressed Sun, however, I started as an Aquarius, spent 30 years as a Pisces, and am now in the midst of my Aries period.

To demonstrate how the slow but steady orbits of the progressed planets mark significant changes in a person's life, let me illustrate how the movement of my progressed Sun (along with a few supporting players) has shaped my destiny. (I am, after all, the person I know best!)  

I was born (2/14/1960, 5:15 pm, Norman, OK) with the Sun just past 25° Aquarius. Therefore, my progressed Sun toddled into Pisces when I was four, then meandered into Aries when I was 34. (It will amble along into Taurus when I hit 65).

Progressed Sun in Pisces: Spirituality, Creativity & Fantasy

During my progressed Sun in Pisces period, ages 5 to 35, the thing that I valued most consistently was my membership in the Lotus Center, a meditation school in Oklahoma City. I devoted myself to a guru, and spent nearly 20 years practicing his meditation techniques. I also studied piano, classical guitar and synthesizer, and recorded an album of meditative electronic music.

Through most of this period, I had fantasies of leaving my day job -- I was a foodservice manufacturer's representative -- to become a full-time professional musician. But, alas, Pisces is more about dreaming than doing! Pisces also rules spiritual union and divinely inspired creativity, and these themes were obviously front and center in my life during this time.

Is There a Natal Explanation?

But let's not jump to conclusions. Is there some valid astrological explanation for this other than the progressed Sun being in Pisces? (Along with progressed Venus, who entered Pisces when I was 30?)

If there was a lot of Piscean-flavored energy in my natal chart -- which could show up as planets in Pisces, planets in the 12th House or aspects from Neptune -- that would explain it. But such is not the case: my 12th House is empty, Neptune only makes a strong aspect to one planet, and only Mercury and my South Node are in Pisces. So it would appear that the presence of the progressed Sun (followed by Venus) in Pisces is largely responsible for the spiritual and creative flavor of this period of my life.

Progressed Sun in Aries & Progressed New Moon: Restlessness & Breakaway!

When I was 35, my progressed Sun entered Aries, the sign that rules action and getting things started. Around this time, I began to grow increasingly restless with my materially comfortable but creatively frustrated life. The progressed Sun in Aries was making me itchy and dissatisfied, but it would take something more to actually propel me into action.

That "something more" was a progressed New Moon, the conjunction of the progressed Sun and progressed Moon. This only occurs every 30 years, and marks the beginning of a major new life cycle. And so it was with me: less than four months after my progressed New Moon, I retired from a 15-year career in foodservice sales and left Oklahoma, where I had lived my entire life. My destination was halfway across the country in Asheville, North Carolina, and my intention was to create a full-time career as a touring singer-songwriter.

By the way, I was completely unaware of all these astrological events when they were happening, since I had absolutely no interest in astrology at that time. (Of course, the planets always influence us, whether we know it or not!)

Since leaving the conservative, conformist energy of Oklahoma and moving to liberal, anything-goes Asheville, the energy of my progressed Aries Sun has blossomed. My lifestyle is far more daring and adventurous now, at least compared to my Oklahoma days. Now that I am finally blossoming into the unique person I was born to be -- wherever my progressed Sun wanders, I will always be an Aquarius Sun at my core -- I am discovering and stepping into those leadership roles for which I am suited. (Spirituality is still a major focus in my life, by the way; other planets have progressed into Pisces since the progressed Sun's departure.)

My Story is Your Story

Of course, your progressed planets have influenced the course of your life just as mine have, and will always continue to do so. Gaining insight into where you are on your evolutionary journey -- and how you can consciously come into alignment with it from this point forward -- is only one of the many benefits that astrology has to offer.

I'm glad that I understand my progressed planets. It's very helpful to have a sense of not only who I am, but who I am yet to become!

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Obama natal chart2009 Full-Year Forecast: A Year of Extremes
by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the January 2009 It's All Good Astrology News

NOTE: While this article contains three paragraphs of rather technical Astrologese, I have italicized them so that you can skip them if you wish. I have done my best to write everything else as close to plain English as I can!

Based on the astrological indicators, 2009 will be a year of extremes -- for both challenges and opportunities!

Revolution & Paradigm Shift: Jupiter Enters Aquarius

The year's primary theme -- revolution and paradigm shift - will be set up right away by Jupiter's entry into Aquarius on January 5. Jupiter will remain in Aquarius the entire year, stimulating ingenious breakthroughs and quantum leaps. These will be essential -- on the technical, social, political and ecological levels -- in order for so many humans to be able to live sustainably on our environmentally challenged planet.

Of course, revolutions and paradigm shifts can be messy and disruptive affairs, often manifesting in unexpected and unsettling ways. As you find yourself personally affected by these powerful global shifts -- as all of us already have been -- it will be helpful to remember that they are the birth pangs of a new, more equitable, more sustainable way of life. The corrupt old economic and social structures must die as the new ones are born, and those decrepit old monsters still have plenty of fight left in them.

Saturn & Uranus Oppose - Twice!

That fight is powerfully symbolized by the continuing oppositions of Saturn and Uranus. Their first exact opposition was on November 4, Election Day in the US, and they will make four more before they're done. (As I explained in my November 2008 article, this opposition was one of the factors that helped precipitate the global financial crisis.)

There will be two exact Saturn-Uranus oppositions in 2009, on February 5 and September 15. These will be times when the existing structures that have outlived their usefulness (Saturn) will be powerfully beset by the forces of revolution and paradigm shift (Uranus). As we saw during the global financial meltdown, Uranus' effects can be rapid, powerful and surprising. One must expect the unexpected. One must also have faith that, in the greater scheme, the targets of Uranus' lightning bolts must be altered or eliminated in order to make way for new paradigms better suited for our evolving reality.

Even though these Saturn-Uranus oppositions occur more than seven months apart, these two planets will stay "in orb" the entire year. This means that they will remain energetically connected, and will experience energetic "flares" throughout the year as they are aspected by faster-moving planets. These flares will be set off every few weeks by conjunctions, squares and oppositions from the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars, keeping the tension between the forces of tradition and innovation consistently stimulated.

Universal Love Spreads like Wildfire

All will not be sturm und drang, however. For most of the year, we will have the opportunity to benefit from an extraordinary triple conjunction: Jupiter, Neptune and Chiron joining together in Aquarius!

The two slower planets, Neptune and Chiron, have already buddied up as the year opens. Jupiter gets close enough to start making a significant connection with them in mid-March, then makes an exact conjunction with them during the last week of May. They squeeze in for another tight group hug in mid-July, but stay energetically joined at the hip from May 2009 through January 2010.

Jupiter and Neptune share spirituality as a common theme. Jupiter represents your faith, your beliefs, and your specific religious path. Neptune, which transcends the specifics of any particular path, represents the dissolving of boundaries: mystical union; the indescribable, euphoric blending of consciousness with Spirit. Chiron, the wounded healer, represents the wound that needs healing. It also represents the mentorship that one can provide when one has progressed far enough on one's own healing journey.

And let's not forget that all this is happening in Aquarius, which (sorry for the unavoidable repetition) is about revolution, paradigm shift and sudden change. These same energies are further amplified by the fact that Uranus, the modern ruler of Aquarius, is also playing a major role in this configuration.

For starters, Uranus is in "mutual reception" to both Jupiter and Neptune. This simply means that they're in each other's signs. Uranus is in Pisces, which is co-ruled by both Jupiter and Neptune. And Jupiter and Neptune are in Aquarius, which is co-ruled by Uranus. Uranus is also connecting by aspect, making a 30° semi-sextile to Neptune pretty much the entire year. (Uranus also semi-sextiles Jupiter April through July).

 A valid interpretation, it seems to me, is the opportunity for God's light to pour through with extraordinary power (since Jupiter magnifies whatever it touches). As it does, this energy can bring profound healing to the personal and societal wounds afflicting humanity. (Aquarius is also the sign that represents humanity as a whole.)

I can imagine a mass awakening, with people all over the planet having a sudden "Eureka!" moment. They would realize that their kinship extends beyond their particular race or religion or culture or country. They would "grok" that they are one not only with their fellow humans, but with the sacred living spirits that inhabit every animal, insect, tree, plant and stone. Once saturated with the incomparable ecstasy of divine bliss, they would discover that slipping back into negative patterns of hate, violence and anger is intolerable, for it wipes out the supreme joy that only a heart filled with divine love can experience.

You may say I'm a dreamer, and I admit that this scenario may not play out for every human on the planet. But I regularly associate with people who have already had this awakening, and see evidence all around the world that this type of consciousness is spreading faster and faster. I have no doubt that this embodiment of universal love -- whose propagation will make all of our other problems so much easier to solve -- will spread as never before starting this spring.

Of course, there are also likely to be some darker manifestations of these archetypal energies. Those who succumb to fear may well let their unhealed wounds (Chiron) feed their delusions (Neptune), leading them to proclaim their rigid dogmas (Jupiter) as the One And Only True Path (Jupiter again). However, it is my belief that the positive incarnations of these energies will ultimately prevail.

Saturn Enters Libra and Squares Pluto

The Fall of 2009 will bring two more significant astrological events, both involving Saturn. The first is that Saturn, after having spent just over two years in Virgo, enters Libra on October 29. Since Saturn brings challenge and Libra represents relationships, watch for all of your important relationships to be tested. Be prepared to release those that have outlived their usefulness, while those that are built for the long haul will be strengthened. (Saturn will be in Libra during two time periods: 10/29/09 thru 4/7/10, and 7/22/10 thru 10/5/12.)

Saturn is quite strong in Libra (it's "exalted" there), which will help those trying to maintain the status quo dig in their heels a little bit longer. Of course, the conservative powers-that-be will need all the help they can get on November 15 when Saturn and Pluto form an exact square. This aspect, representing "challenge for growth," will be quite intense, since Pluto's job is to destroy everything that has outlived its usefulness! (Saturn and Pluto will be interacting strongly from August 2009 through late 2010, and then again March thru August 2011.) This Saturn-Pluto period, according to the respected mundane and financial astrologer Ray Merriman, may be "quite possibly one of the most intense geo-political periods of our lifetime."

The 60s, Part Two?

Finally, there are two "background players" who deserve mention: Uranus and Pluto. They're building toward a square which will not be exact until 2012, but their combined energy is already striking sparks as they tease their way toward each other. (They'll only be about 5° apart in early July, for example, which is plenty close enough for significant interaction.)

Uranus and Pluto are the volatile couple who helped bring us the 60s. They were the keynote energy for that entire tumultuous decade, radiating the power of revolutionary transformation that saw the blossoming of the civil rights and anti-war movements, feminism, and ecological awareness. The square they are building toward now, which will have seven exact iterations 2012 through 2015, will be these two planets' first major aspect since the 60s, and promises to be even more earth-shaking!

The Economy & Aspects to the US Chart

The natal chart of the United States (I am using the Sibley chart dated 7/4/1776, 6:10 PM, Philadelphia PA) is beset by numerous challenges in 2009. In fact, the rulers of all four of the chart's angles (the "power points") are under significant stress!

Economically, things continue to look challenging. The US Venus, the natural ruler of money and ruler of the US midheaven (a "power point" related to business and economic matters) is receiving a powerful opposition from Pluto that will be in orb now through 2011. While Pluto can bring massive prosperity, its first job is to destroy that which has outlived its usefulness. And, since the entire global economic system is built on the suicidal premise of unsustainable, environmentally destructive growth, the global (and US) economies  will require a major tear-down so that a revamped and truly viable economic structure can replace them.

(For an outstanding explanation of how the overwhelming power of global capitalism can be transformed into an environmentally supportive force -- and how you can help bring about that change -- I enthusiastically recommend James Gustave Speth's book, The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability. Speth is Dean of Environmental Studies at Yale, a founder of two major environmental groups [the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute], former chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality and a former head of the U.N. Development Program. The man knows his stuff, and has a gift for making this complex subject easy to understand.)

I'm not the only one who sees continuing economic hard times in the near term. There is nothing bullish in the headlines, and the stockbrokers I've talked to (including my father) speak only of continued decline. Ray Merriman, the expert financial and mundane astrology I referred to earlier, feels that the market will rise in 2009 -- but only briefly, before plummeting to new lows.

While there is more than enough challenge to the US chart, there are also reasons to rejoice. For example, the Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction discussed earlier will be conjunct the US Moon, helping the public feel powerful new hope and optimism as the Obama administration gets down to business.

To be honest, there's so much going on the US chart that to discuss it any further here would make this article even longer than it already is! However, I will have much more to say about what's going on in the US chart in the February newsletter, and in my This Week in Astrology podcast.

In Conclusion

So we all have a lot to look forward to in 2009. Yes, there will be significant challenges, but they will give us the opportunity to be part of a truly historic undertaking: helping to avert global environmental catastrophe by modeling and working to bring about a truly sustainable way of life. And, by embracing this year's extraordinary opportunity for spiritual awakening, you can choose to be assisted in
your worldly work by an entire pantheon of invisible allies!

Few of us are celebrating the recession or the stock market or the declining value of our homes. But we all chose to be here during this extraordinary time, and we all have our part to play in making this planet a welcoming home for the seventh generation to come. So let's get to work making something good happen!

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Obama Astrologized

by Benjamin Bernstein 

Originally published in the December 2008 It's All Good Astrology News       

Now that Barack Obama is set to become the next president of the United States, it seems like a good time to explore how some of his key personality characteristics and talents are shown in his natal chart. (I'm using Porphyry houses and the birth information August 4, 1961, 7:24 PM, Honolulu, HI.)

Obama natal chart
Leo: Leadership as Service

Obama's strongest sign is Leo, the sign of the "king" -- one who is naturally at home in the spotlight. He has four things in Leo: the Sun, Mercury, Uranus and the North Node of the Moon.

At first blush, one might expect someone with so many Leo planets to be a preening egotist. Fortunately, their house placement counteracts this. The Sun and Mercury are in the Sixth House of humility and service, while Uranus and the North Node are in the Seventh House of others. So all his Leo planets make him a natural leader, while their house placement helps ensure that he charts a course for the benefit of others.

Unaspected Planets: The Wild Cards

Obama rose from Illinois State Senator to United States Senator to President-Elect with stunning speed. His ability to rapidly achieve his goals by making an end run around the usual path is reflected by the presence of three "unaspected" planets: the Sun*, Venus and Uranus. (I am using the classical definition of "unaspected": no Ptolemaic aspects to anything from the Sun through Saturn.)

To have one unaspected planet is noteworthy; two is rare; three is extraordinary. (In fact, out of some 2000 consultations, I cannot recall ever seeing another chart with three unaspected planets!) Unaspected planets are considered wild cards. Being mavericks, unrestrained by the other core energies of the chart, they can plunge fearlessly into areas where angels might fear to tread. For some, this could be disastrous. For Obama, it led him to believe that he could be the first black man to be elected President of the United States.

Aquarius Rising

Most people would be comfortable applying the adjectives "distinctive," "paradigm-breaking" and "one-of-a-kind" to Obama. These words describe Aquarius and its modern ruler Uranus. Obama's rising sign -- the mask or persona he presents to the world -- is Aquarius. (He also has Jupiter and the South Node in this sign, making Aquarius a powerful force in his chart.)

Aquarian energy also features prominently in Obama's "Axis of Destiny" (the archetypal journey from the South Node to the North Node). His South Node is in Aquarius, and while the North Node is in Leo, it's conjunct the Aquarius-flavored planet Uranus. Any hope this man may have had of being "just a regular guy" was doomed from the start!

Mercury and the Golden Tongue

Obama's outstanding oratorical skills are universally acknowledged, and are clearly supported by Mercury (the planet of communication) in charismatic Leo. Plus, Mercury has powerful allies! Its energy is amplified and made distinctive by its opposition to Jupiter in Aquarius. Its tight sextile to the Moon gives his words emotional power and helps them resonate with the public. (In a famous person's chart, the Moon can stand for the masses.) Mercury trines the Midheaven, the angle associated with career and public recognition. One could even make a case that Mercury makes a loose conjunction to the Sun, a signature often seen in the charts of well-known writers and speakers.

Additional support for his gifts as a communicator comes from the Moon in Gemini (the sign of communication), opposing the Midheaven and energized by a square from powerful Pluto. And pioneering Mars, which rules Obama's Third House of communication, connects easily by trine to rock-steady Saturn (dignified in its home sign of Capricorn).

Saturn and Uranus: the Tightest Aspect

Obama has made clear that he intends to accomplish his ambitious agenda by partnering with both Democratic and Republican lawmakers. His ability to work with the established powers-that-be as he brings about paradigm shift is reflected by the tightest aspect in his chart: an angle of adjustment (a quincunx) between Saturn and Uranus that is only 1/20 of a degree from being exact! (Saturn represents tradition and the status quo, while Uranus represents revolution and paradigm shift.) It seems nothing less than poetry that Saturn and Uranus create Obama's most exact natal aspect, while these two planets also made an exact opposition in the sky on the day he was elected President!

Jupiter: Bringer of Hope

Obama's chart reveals so much more about him, such as his desire for a sane and stable home life for his family (Taurus on the Fourth House cusp) and his mission to bring much-needed transformation to the world (Scorpio on the Midheaven). But let's conclude by exploring why the audacious concept of "hope" - one of the words with which he is most strongly associated -- is so strong in his chart.

Jupiter, bringer of optimism, hope and luck, permeates Obama's personality because it aspects more of his personal planets than anything else. It sextiles his Moon, opposes his Mercury and quincunxes his Venus. Hope is easily visible in his message because of Jupiter's sextile to the high-profile Midheaven, and the inspiration he offers feels so stable, trustworthy and credible because of Jupiter's conjunction to Saturn.

The Right Man at the Right Time

I feel that there is something truly magical about Obama.** It seems to me that he is the right man at the right time, for the United States and the world. I, for one, will be keeping him in my prayers.

* I state later in this article that the Sun might be loosely conjunct Mercury. Even if true, the distance between them is so great (more than 10°) that their wide conjunction would not significantly impact the Sun's behavior as an unaspected planet.

** The spiritual energy Obama radiates is shown by numerous Neptune aspects: the planet of divine connection squares the Sun, trines Venus and Chiron, semi-squares Mars and quintiles Uranus and the North Node. Chiron in Pisces, Saturn and Jupiter in the 12th House, and Neptune standing alone at the top of his chart as his most elevated planet also contribute to his spiritual vibe.

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by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the November 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

What’s the most powerful astrological event of 2008? Most astrologers would agree that there are only two serious contenders. Some would give the nod to Pluto’s entry into Capricorn (1/25 and 11/26), but my choice is the Saturn-Uranus opposition, which first comes exact on Nov. 4, 2008.

Exact on Election Day!

It's extraordinarily synchronistic that this opposition occurs on the day of the US presidential election! As I said in my recent article, where my astrological analysis of the candidates’ charts seemed to indicate an Obama victory, this planetary lineup indicates an extraordinary "wild card factor."

I've heard a lot of ideas about how this unpredictable energy could play out, including an attempt on Obama's life (let’s hope the arrest of those two white supremacists nipped that one in the bud!) and the election being stolen through vote tampering.

I pray that neither of these dark possibilities will manifest in a meaningful way. Instead, I focus on a much simpler and more straightforward interpretation: Saturn represents McCain (the old way of doing things) and Uranus stands for Obama (revolutionary change). And, as you'll see in a moment, Uranus usually triumphs in these situations.

The Global Financial Crisis

As Richard Tarnas definitively demonstrates in his astrological magnum opus Cosmos and Psyche, significant sky transits such as this can begin “turning on” when they’re still 15° apart. Saturn and Uranus hit that benchmark in September 2007.

It was soon after this that an increasing number of news stories about the subprime lending crisis began appearing. (Click here for a detailed credit crisis timeline.) Saturn and Uranus were only about 9° apart in early September of 2008, when the dominoes really started falling with the US government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The more exact the opposition has become, the more intense the global financial crisis has grown.

Consistent Effects Throughout History

Nor can this astrological correlation just be written off as coincidence. Every time Saturn and Uranus have opposed each other, there have been tumultuous times. The effect of their prior opposition, from 1965-1967, speaks for itself: we all know the paroxysms the world went through during the mid-60’s!

The Saturn-Uranus opposition before that, exact from 1918-1920, also occurred during a turbulent time in history. The better-known events of those years included the end of World War I, the British abandoning Home Rule for Ireland, controversies over the new psychology of Freud and Jung, the ratification of Prohibition, the formation of the League of Nations (predecessor of the United Nations), proof of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the “Black Sox” baseball bribery scandal, American women gaining the right to vote, the rise of the Dadaist art movement (some exhibitions allowed visitors to smash paintings!), and Gandhi’s emergence as the leader of India’s independence movement. (There were other powerful astrological transits in force during these times as well, but I’m focusing here only on the Saturn-Uranus oppositions for the sake of simplicity.)

As one studies the events of these years, a common theme emerges: the forces of the established order (Saturn) struggling mightily against the forces of change (Uranus). Once in a while the forces of conservatism win a short-lived victory (Prohibition; civil rights marchers being beaten back by police in the South). More often, however, the forces of revolution win the day.

This Saturn-Uranus opposition will be exact five times from 11/4/2008 thru 7/26/2010. This period will be characterized by revolutionary transformation, with outmoded or corrupted structures (such as the derivatives-riddled global economic system) being replaced by new paradigms.

How Will This Affect You?

On a more personal level, it’s essential to recognize all the structures in your life that have outlived their usefulness. It doesn’t matter if “it’s always been done this way” - if there’s a better way to do it, it’s time to embrace a paradigm shift. Perhaps something has served you well until now -- a relationship, a way of thinking, a residence, a job -- but is no longer a good fit. It hangs poorly on you no matter how much you try to alter it. This means that it’s time to release it, and leave a void for Spirit to fill with something better! Tune in to your intuitive flashes - Uranus' method of communication - and follow them whenever you can.

This will be especially true for you if the Saturn-Uranus opposition is making a conjunction, opposition or square to sensitive points in your natal chart. Check the range from 16° to 30° in the mutable signs of Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces and Gemini, as well as the first three degrees of the cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. If you have a personal planet, angle or angular ruler in that range, you can expect to feel some powerful effects.

Technical Breakdown of the Five Oppositions

If you want to dig a little deeper, here’s a listing, using 3° orbs, which gives more precise timing of when and where the five Saturn-Uranus oppositions will be most strongly felt. (Of course, significant life events can also be triggered by other significant astrological events happening in your chart during this time.)
     11/4/2008 (US Election Day): 16-22° Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces and Gemini
     2/5/2009: 18-24° Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces and Gemini
     9/15/2009: 22-28° Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces and Gemini    
     4/26/2010: 26° Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces and Gemini thru 2° Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn
     7/26/2010: 27° Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces and Gemini thru 3° Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn

Challenging Times to Benefit the Greater Good

There's no getting around the fact that we are now entering a multi-year period of challenging times. “It's all good" because such times are when we humans achieve our most meaningful growth, and make our deepest connections with each other.

Sadly, the historical status quo of the global powers-that-be has been the systematic gang-rape of Gaia, with little concern demonstrated for the resulting destruction of her species and environment. Therefore, nothing less than a radical paradigm shift is needed to ensure the survival of the majority of the species on this planet -- including the human race.

That life-affirming outcome, whatever we have to go through to get there, sounds like a good thing to me!

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by Spiritsong

Originally published in the October 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

September 30th was my 60th birthday - a major milestone for me -- and Benjamin gave me a perfect gift! He brought it upstairs to my office after I sent my first draft of this article to him, and we both roared with laughter: it was a wire-wrapped pink quartz necklace! You will understand why that was "a perfect gift" and such a funny, delightful moment for us as you continue to read this article.

It was because of my birthday that I started thinking about gift giving, and how helpful it is to be able to use the recipient's astrological chart to select a present that they will almost certainly enjoy. (People often make the mistake of choosing a gift based on what they would enjoy receiving themselves.)

If we know the recipient intimately, then we don't need to consult their natal chart. But what about folks you don't know as well, or those who are just "hard to buy for" people?

This article will show you how you can use the "Four Planet Method" to choose a present they will truly treasure when that next birthday, holiday or special occasion comes around. And since so many of us are weaning ourselves from society's runaway consumerism, I'll give examples of noncommercial gifts as well.

Beyond Sun Signs

Most articles on this subject advise you to base your gift choice on the recipient's Sun sign. This can be a good start, but a person is so much more than that! We're going to go deeper than Sun signs to identify a more meaningful present. We'll do this by examining the sign and house placement of the Sun (the "I am"), the Moon (emotional nature), Venus (what I love) and Jupiter (what makes me feel expansive), along with some basic aspects.

If the person's Sun sign is all you know, a basic Sun sign gift article such as this one can be of some help. It will also give you lots of ideas based on the usual qualities associated with each sign, which you can use whether you are looking at the Sun or any other planet.

I'll be using my chart and Benjamin's as examples. You can apply the principles to your own chart to see how they work, then use them to help you get "just the right thing" the next time you choose a gift.

Two Helpful Resources

Before we get started, you should know about two helpful resources. If you need to calculate a natal chart, Astrolabe's free chart calculation service is quick and easy. And if you don't already know the basic meaning of the planets, signs and houses, you can get a free copy of Kelly Lee Phipps' excellent one-page overview by clicking here.)

Start With the Sun

To identify that perfect gift, start with the Sun's sign and house, along with any conjunctions it's making. For example, my Sun is in Libra, in the First House ("I Am"), and conjunct Neptune. Therefore, gifts that are beautiful (Libra), spiritual (Neptune), and personal (First House) are indicated. Something material might be a wire-wrapped stone or crystal necklace, which is beautiful, spiritual, and personal, since I would wear it on my body. (Can you hear us laughing?)

A noncommercial gift would be something like a poem or song (Libra and Neptune) written or selected just for me (First House).

Add the Moon, Venus & Jupiter

Now let's explore the other three gift-related planets. My Moon and Venus are both in the Twelfth House. This house, which embodies the same archetypal energy as Neptune, repeats the theme of Neptune conjunct my Libra Sun: things that are beautiful (Libra and Neptune) and touch the deeper realm of Spirit (Neptune and the Twelfth House) delight me (Moon and Venus)! Thus, as we saw when we analyzed my Sun, I would deeply appreciate a recording of some beautiful music, or a picture or poem that stirs my soul - especially if they had been created by the giver.

My Venus, in flamboyant Leo, likes sparkly, colorful things. However, my Moon, in grounded Virgo, is content with something more earthy. So it gets a little more complex. But since both reside in my Twelfth House, they share in its dreamy, poetic and otherworldly flavor. A soft, flowing dress (practical Virgo) with a goddess flavor (Twelfth House), accented with a sequined scarf (Leo Venus) would satisfy both Venus and the Moon. One of my favorite kinds of gifts - a stone from a stream, or shell from the ocean, costs nothing but the time and effort to spot it and pick it up.

My Jupiter is in optimistic Sagittarius. Since Jupiter is also in my Fourth House, that uplifting piece of art that stirs my soul also graces my home (Fourth House) and expands my natural feeling of enjoyment (Jupiter trines Venus) there.

Benjamin's Sun

For someone like Benjamin, the picture is completely different. (Then again, so is he!) His Aquarius Sun conjunct Chiron in the Seventh House likes something unusual or humanitarian (Aquarius), relating to healing (Chiron), and beautiful or relational (Seventh House). So he might appreciate a gift certificate for an alternative healing class. This satisfies his innate need to be of service to others in some healing way (Aquarius Sun and Chiron in the Seventh House). Another gift that would delight him is a good astrology book (Aquarius) that allows him to be a better mentor (Chiron) to others (Aquarius plus the Seventh House = the astrological counselor!).

Benjamin's Other Planets

Going deeper, Benjamin's Virgo Moon is in his Second House. This says, "I feel (Moon) fulfilled (self-worth is a Second House quality) by being of service to others (Virgo Moon)." This reinforces the themes revealed by his Sun's placement.

Benjamin's Venus is in Capricorn in the Sixth House. Therefore, what pleases him (Venus) is something practical or business-oriented (Capricorn) that he can use day to day, especially in his work (Capricorn and the Sixth House). Once again, this repeats the themes of practicality and service.

So an ideal noncommercial gift for Benjamin would be anything that is helpful. This could be time spent helping him with a project, or freeing him from some mundane responsibilities so he has more time for his work. On the commercial side, he would love some work-related software!

Because Benjamin's themes of work and service repeat so insistently, the energy of his final gift-related planet, Jupiter, is rather overwhelmed! (It's in Sagittarius, like mine, but in the Fifth House.) Even so, just to change it up sometimes and tickle his Jupiter (expansiveness) in Sagittarius (let's just get happy!), I could take him to an inspirational (Sagittarius) movie with a romantic flavor (Fifth House).

In Conclusion

If I got Benjamin the kind of sentimental, sometimes "impractical" gift that would please me, I would miss the mark completely. As would he, if he chose something for me that was mundane and purely practical rather than beautiful or romantic.

In summary, all that we've basically done is analyze the four gift-related planets - the Sun, Moon, Venus and Jupiter - by examining each one's sign, house and (if present) conjunctions. If a repeated theme shows up,as it did with us, it makes choosing easy. If a look at the Sun, Moon, Venus and Jupiter reveals very different kinds of needs, you might focus on just one of the themes.

Start with your own chart, and see if these guidelines ring true for you. If you find that this procedure makes sense in your own chart, then you can feel comfortable using it to guide your gift-giving. You could end up with dozens of great gift ideas for that person who's always been so hard to buy for in the past!

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Boosting Your Intuition with a Regular Morning Meditation

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the October 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

Each client I work with has a unique astrology chart, but there's one piece of advice I find myself giving almost everyone: follow your intuition. This article will give you some practical tips on how to empower your natural intuitive abilities so that you can more easily receive your inner guidance!

The Gods of Change

The best way I know to negotiate the frequently challenging transits of the "gods of change" - the life-transforming outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto - is to tune in to the unique flavors of intuitive communication they each use. Uranus' modus operandi is the intuitive flash - the sudden electric jolt of insight, usually accompanied by goose bumps or some other powerful somatic signal. I call these feelings the "ITC" - the Intuitive Tingle of Certainty. When you feel the ITC riding shotgun with a sudden insight, take it seriously. Chances are, it's your Higher Self sending you a cosmic Instant Message!

While Uranus is typically the most dramatic outer planet, Neptune is usually more subtle - more flow than flash. If Uranus is a lightning bolt, Neptune is a never-ending waterfall, sending those of us wise enough to be wading downstream a constant supply of bliss and inner knowing.

Neptune and Uranus are usually the easiest outers to work with, since they give us earth-planers a way to figure out what they're up to. Pluto, however, tends to raise a huge cloud of dust while he spends about three years tearing down whatever's outlived its usefulness, then replacing it with new and improved structures. (Astrologer Rick Levine memorably called Pluto "a tsunami moving at the speed of a glacier.") Since it can be notoriously difficult to figure out what the Master of Transformation is up to, Pluto transits usually involve a test of faith. Can you manifest the courage to release the old familiar things and "rest in the not-knowingness" when their absence leaves a temporary vacuum behind? Even if you don't yet know what's coming to replace them?

And, bottom line: what do you do when all of this sounds great in theory, but you can't actually do it yet?

The Daily Morning Meditation

The thing that's worked well for me lately is a daily morning meditation. If you're time-challenged, this doesn't have to take a lot of time: my Divine Saturation Snap Meditation, for example, can be done in one breath! As the guru I once followed loved to say, there are as many paths to God as there are people. So link up with Source in whatever way works best for you. (For a more mental approach to getting specific "inside information", click here.)

In my experience, starting the day with at least a moment of inner connection makes a huge difference. When I do, I feel more balanced, centered and serene. My body is more relaxed, and I usually get more accomplished. And - more to the point of this article - I more easily receive my Uranian flashes and Neptunian flows, and can more confidently "step into the void" when it's time for a Plutonian transformation.

Does "Monkey Mind" Really Need Taming?

While we're talking about meditation, allow me to dispel the most persistent and pernicious misconception about meditation that I've come across: the idea that if your mind is not completely still, you've failed. It's the mind's job to think, so don't get upset with it when it does its duty!

Just visualize your "monkey mind" thoughts as a flowing river, imagine yourself stepping out of the water onto the bank, and watch the river flow by for a moment. Now, no longer immersed in the thought-stream, you can more easily re-establish your focus.

When you realize that your attention has once again wandered, as it inevitably will, don't beat yourself up. Instead, choose positive reinforcement: pat yourself on the back for re-establishing your attention! The more you do this, the better you'll get. I consider any meditation 100% successful, regardless of how well I focused, if I simply sat down and did it!

It may help to think of yourself in several parts, as I learned during my years of Vipassana Buddhist practice. When you mindfully observe yourself long enough, you discover all the things you're not. Ultimately, you are not your body, your emotions or your thoughts, but rather the indestructible consciousness which animates them all. The less you exclusively identify with the impermanent aspects of yourself, the more you'll be able to receive and be guided by your intuitive wisdom.

The Best Security in "Interesting Times"

We now live in "interesting times," and, to judge by the coming transits, they're going to get considerably more interesting through 2015. (See my "Pluto in Capricorn" article for more on this.) The subprime mortgage crisis and September's near-meltdown of the U.S. financial system (still teetering on the brink as I write this) were just the warm-up acts. But, as these events so clearly exposed, there is "something rotten in Denmark." It's time for the corrupt "make a few obscenely wealthy at the expense of many" dealings in the U.S. and the world to be exposed and cleansed.

It is unfortunate that this clean-up will inevitably be accompanied by the suffering of so many who did nothing wrong themselves, but this will only be temporary. I sincerely believe that a more equitable, harmonious and enlightened world will emerge out of this massive global restructuring. In effect, a new building has to be built on the site of an existing one. Since the old one has to be torn down before the new one can go up, there's no way around the fact that we're going to be faced with a messy construction site for a while. (For more on what this might entail, listen to my lecture on "The Astrology of 2012.")

In the midst of such all-encompassing change, the things we usually turn to in the physical world for security are less capable of providing it. But, by allowing our inner wisdom to guide us through times when our usual methods and strategies no longer work, we are in the most secure place possible: in the embrace of the unconditionally loving, omniscient Source that sent us here in the first place.

And it's that daily meditation - ideally in the morning before you get caught up in your regular worldly activities - that can make you more sensitive to Spirit's perpetually available guidance. Spirit never stops speaking to you. If you're not hearing it as consistently as you would like, then perhaps some of these ideas can help you become a better listener!

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"Why does the world seem to be falling apart, and what can I do about it?"

A note of encouragement from Spiritsong

Originally published in the October 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

world falling apartHave you been asking yourself that question, and wondering how it is all going to play out? We live in chaotic times, both in the outer world, and, for a lot of people, in their individual lives. The microcosm and macrocosm often mirror each other.

Radical Changes in the World

It is apparent in the sky, for those of us who are watching, that things may get even more intense for the next several years. With the current global financial crisis, the world is feeling the effects of the intensifying Saturn-Uranus opposition. (Incredibly, these two planets make the first of their five exact oppositions on U.S. Election Day!)

This paradigm-shifting breakdown of old structures that have outlived their usefulness will be strong through the Summer of 2010, and will lead us into the revolutionary Uranus-Pluto square that will hold sway 2011 thru 2015. This will be kind of like the Sixties Part 2, but even more challenging. When it's done, we will truly be living in a transformed world!

I don't say this to provoke fear. In fact, if you find yourself feeling worried or frightened, let me share with you a couple of simple tools that I have used successfully to alleviate fear within myself.


The first, called "pivoting," is something I learned through the "Abraham" teachings. (These offer a very positively focused way of relating to life, based on messages from a "collective" of non-physical beings channeled by Esther Hicks.) Let's say you hear something on the news or think about something that causes anxiety to spring up inside you. If you consciously choose (pivot to) a different thought that feels better, you have helped yourself and others, as well.

Here's why. If we are always creating reality with our thoughts, which I believe we are, then choosing another thought that feels good allows us to help create a better outcome. This works whether we are focused on something of a personal nature, or on a national or global level. If, as soon as we feel fear associated with our thoughts or observations, we "see in our mind's eye" something that would be a more positive outcome, then we are helping to create the possibility of that better thing happening.

Whatever we focus on gets bigger. And, since we know that stress is one of the greatest factors that causes or aggravates ill health, allowing ourselves to "pivot" to a better-feeling thought contributes to a healthy body, mind and spirit. You can also think of it as changing directions. When you look in a different direction, you see something different. If you don't like what you're looking at, just look at something else!

It is the feeling of being helpless in the face of difficult circumstances that causes fear, and the resulting negative emotions. But we are never helpless, because we have power over our thoughts!


The second thing I would suggest to ease thoughts of fear and despair is to sing! Yes, it might seem obvious, or to some, even silly. But it works! Just pick a song that makes you feel happy and start singing! As soon as you do, you will change your brain chemistry, find yourself connecting to your inner joy, and feeling lighter and more peaceful. Try it, you might like it! I'm sure some of you are doing this already, but if you aren't, you have nothing to lose by trying it but your fear!

A "New Heaven and New Earth"

Finally, meditation is one of the oldest and most reliable ways of staying connected to your inner peace. (Benjamin has written several articles on meditation, including How to Take Dictation From Your Higher Self and his "Divine Saturation" Snap Meditation.) As we face the "signs of the times" we may have heard about, whether through a religious path, teachings of indigenous peoples, or even scientific reports, may we remember that this is the birthing of a "new heaven and new earth." The chaos is the signal that we are in transition and that a new and miraculous birth is about to occur, whether we see it now or not. This is where we use our faith, believing in that which we don't yet see.

While you can choose to see nothing but the devastation and "disaster," and allow fear to be your dominant feeling, you cannot help yourself or anyone else while in that state of mind. However, you can choose to believe that we really can make a difference and help create a better world with our thoughts. Then you are helping yourself and everyone around you with your more peaceful energy as you use the transformative tools in this article, and any others you find helpful in lifting your spirits.

May we all work together to envision and co-create a more peaceful world!

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by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the September 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

Does astrology have anything to say about who will win the 2008 U.S. presidential election on November 4? Of course -- astrology can shed light on just about anything! In this article, we'll take a look at the most important astrological influences affecting this historic election.

Please note that an article such as this unavoidably requires the use of a lot of Astrologese. Please rest assured, however, that all technical terms will be promptly followed by English translations!

The Bottom Line

For those who just want the bottom line, I'll give it to you up front: my professional astrological opinion is that Obama will win. (I should note that, in doing my analysis, I have tried my best to remain objective and set aside my personal support for Obama. I have also tried to set aside from my thinking the fact that Spiritsong also supports him, and has contributed money and time to his campaign. [For better or worse, Aquarians excel at separating their heads from their hearts!])

An Obama victory was also the prevailing opinion among a panel of seven well-known astrologers at the UAC astrology conference in May. Although they used many different systems and styles of astrology to reach their conclusions, six predicted an Obama win, while one called it a tossup between Obama and McCain. (Interestingly, none predicted a win for Hillary -- even one female astrologer who was campaigning door-to-door for her!)

The Uranus-Saturn Opposition

Even those who called it for Obama, however, noted an extraordinary synchronicity: Uranus and Saturn make an exact opposition on Election Day! Uranus rules shock, unpredictability and surprise, thus throwing a "wild card" energy into the mix. However, this aspect can also be interpreted as revolutionary new paradigms (Uranus) overcoming the old order (Saturn). Since the outermost planet (Uranus in this case) always has more power, I interpret this aspect as favoring the candidate who more truly represents change (Obama).

In looking at the transits, progressions and solar arcs (three planetary movement systems) being experienced by both candidates on Election Day, Obama has a far calmer chart. However, McCain's chart shows that busier is not always better: it's full of challenging aspects!

Benefics and Malefics

As we get into this, I will be identifying certain planets as benefic (having a positive influence) or malefic (having a negative influence). This may seem odd to those of you who are accustomed to my optimistic "it's all good" personal consultation style. But different types of astrology require different approaches. In client work, it's valid and helpful to use the "it's all good" approach of seeing even the greatest challenges as ultimately positive growth opportunities. When doing forecasting that involves countries and politics -- mundane astrology -- the planets can be viewed as having overtly positive or negative influences.

Finally, before we jump into the chart analyses, here's the birth data I'm using (Porphyry houses):

  •  Barack Obama: 8/4/61, 7:24 pm, Queens Hospital (Honolulu), HI
  •  John McCain: 8/29/36, 9 am, Cosocolo, Panama
  •  United States (Sibly chart): 7/4/1776, 5:10 pm, Philadelphia, PA

The Obama Breakdown

In Obama's Election Day transit chart, the transiting Nodes of the Moon line up on his Sun. This can indicate his ego and vital energy stepping into his destiny. Also, transiting Mars is closely sextiling natal Mars. This bodes well because transiting Mars is in the Ninth House (politics) and approaching the Midheaven (public recognition, career). Also, Mars is the ancient ruler of Obama's Scorpio Midheaven.

The most compelling success transit in this chart, however, is the transiting Moon. (In a celebrity chart, the Moon can represent the public.) While the transiting Moon conjuncts natal Saturn (a malefic) in the early morning hours, it conjuncts lucky Jupiter (the Great Benefic) in the late afternoon. Using Whole Sign houses, the Moon also moves from Obama's Capricornian 12th House (dreams and visions) into his Aquarian First House (new beginnings).

This movement of the Moon from the 12th House into the First is also shown by Obama's Progressed Moon. While late in the 12th on Election Day, it crosses the Ascendant on Dec. 17 -- placing it just past the powerful cusp of his First House on Inauguration Day.

I also find it compelling that Obama's Solar Arc Mars (his ancient career ruler and indicator of new beginnings) is conjunct his Ninth House Neptune (political dreams and visions).

Of course, Obama is also receiving his share of challenging aspects. Among them are a Neptune-Mars quincunx, Saturn approaching conjunction to Mars, a Sun-Neptune separating conjunction and Pluto squaring his progressed Sun. Compared to McCain's heavily afflicted chart, however, Obama's challenges are a relative cakewalk.

The Lowdown on McCain

McCain's chart tells a very different story. Starting with his transits, malefic Pluto is conjunct his North Node, placing huge challenge upon the achievement of his destiny. Neptune is also quincunxing Venus, which could place a dissolving influence upon the ruler of his chart (the mask or persona projected to the world).

It also would seem to bode ill for McCain that the Election Day Uranus-Saturn opposition lines up on his natal Saturn. This highly disruptive energy challenges the core structures represented by Saturn, and in fact threatens to rock his very foundation (McCain's Saturn rules his Fourth House). The Uranus-Saturn opposition also lines up on McCain's chart ruler Venus, destabilizing another critical planet.

Transiting Saturn -- whose 30-year orbit of the chart times career cycles -- is early in McCain's 12th House on Election Day. This normally marks a fallow, contemplative time when career ambitions are released -- hardly an ideal energy for assuming the Presidency. Even McCain's transiting Jupiter, another important life cycle timer, is just entering his Fourth House -- which represents private and domestic affairs, not the national spotlight.

The Election Day transits of McCain's personal planets are overwhelmingly dominated by challenging squares and oppositions: Venus square Saturn, Venus square Venus, Venus opposing Chiron, Sun square Mars, Sun square Uranus and Sun square Mars. This is the astrological equivalent of a dense thicket of thorns and brambles! One otherwise hopeful sign -- transiting Moon conducting his natal Moon, which rules his Midheaven (career, public recognition) -- is weakened by the Moon's opposition to natal Pluto.

Like Obama, McCain has his Progressed Moon in his 12th House on Election Day. However, while Obama's immediately shifts into the First House of new beginnings, McCain's progressed Moon remains in astrology's lowest-profile (and unluckiest) house for another 18 months.

What About the U.S. Chart?

Finally, let's examine the astrological clues in the chart of the United States itself. Starting with Election Day transits, Pluto is sextiling the Moon, indicating a public excited about meaningful change (score one for Obama).

Natal Mars is getting hammered - it's receiving a Uranus square, a Neptune trine, a square from Saturn, a quincunx from itself and an opposition from Venus! Being the only personal U.S. planet in Gemini, this indicates a powerful change in how the country thinks. And since Mars rules the U.S. Nadir, these transits also indicate a revolutionary change in many of the country's foundational structures. Given what I know of the candidates, it seems to me that Obama is more likely to spearhead the far-reaching transformations suggested by this barrage of transits.

The extraordinary Election Day Uranus-Saturn opposition lines up on Neptune in the U.S. Ninth House. Neptune can represent deceit, propaganda and illusions -- which the current Republican administration has dished out in abundance -- and the huge paradigm shift indicated by Uranus-Saturn could easily swing the pendulum over to the Democrats. (I also find it interesting that the U.S. Neptune is in the Ninth House of politics!)

The final transit I want to discuss is the Moon conjuncting Pluto in the Second House. This could indicate the public desiring a profound transformation in the country's values, something most easily achieved by the candidate who represents the greatest departure from the status quo.

Shifting to other planetary movement systems, the Progressed North Node is conjunct Mercury, which can be interpreted as the country's evolving destiny being brought to fruition by a younger person. And Solar Arc Jupiter is conjunct the Moon, indicating that the public will respond most powerfully to the candidate who offers the most hopeful vision. Obama would seem to be the candidate of choice on both counts.

A Prediction, Not a Guarantee

Let me emphasize that all of this constitutes a prediction of an Obama victory, not a guarantee. The power of the "wild card factor", created by the Election Day Saturn-Uranus opposition, cannot be underestimated. If you feel strongly about one of the candidates achieving victory, you would be wise to do whatever you can to help his campaign right up until Election Day!

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by Spiritsong

Originally published in the August 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

For a while, it seemed as if I might have come to Hawaii to die. But now I can see that my journey here is more about the mysterious Plutonian process of spiritual death and rebirth.

The past seven weeks have been, for me, a test of courage and faith. It started with elective arthroscopic knee surgery on June 19th, which ended up being more complicated and extensive than anticipated. I had no idea that this procedure, undertaken to help me regain mobility lost in a freak accident last summer, would begin a series of health challenges that would nearly overwhelm my body. My recent brush with death has had me looking very seriously at what life lessons I am supposed to be learning from all this.

The knee surgery was followed by an elective four-hour dental surgery a few days later. Looking back, I can see that doing these two procedures so close together seriously stressed my body. The dental surgery caused a flare-up of the virus that causes fever blisters. These appeared all over the side of my mouth, which was stretched relentlessly during the long dental surgery. This compromised my immune system, resulting in a painful urinary tract infection. Chinese herbs seemed to help with the UTI, but it was still there when I started having bouts of extremely high fever day and night.

Only six days now remained before our trip to Hawaii. Despite all these health challenges, I was pushing myself hard to make our house a fitting sanctuary for our dear friends who would be staying there. And, of course, I had to prepare for my own four-week trip.

My raging fevers, however, seemed to have their own agenda. Since the symptoms of the UTI were gone, I thought I now had a really virile flu bug. But by the morning of July 24th, less than 24 hours before departure, I was still having fevers day and night that would cause my shivering body to convulse like a jackhammer for 30 minutes or longer each time my fever spiked. Benjamin and I knew we had to visit the Asheville ER to find out what was going on.

My white blood cell count was so high that the ER doctor knew I had infection in my kidneys. (I suppose this was an educated guess on his part, as he never looked at my kidneys!) Instead, he chose to focus on my gall bladder - which, I kept trying to tell him, I felt sure was not the source of the problem. My whole belly was swollen and painful, but he kept insisting I had a diseased gall bladder that needed to be removed. He released me with the name of a surgeon who could remove the "offending organ."

I slept almost all the way over to Hawaii, and went to bed an hour after arriving. But 13 hours later, we were at another ER a few blocks away from our sweet little Hawaiian "home away from home".

One of the first things the doctor said to me was "Wow, my dear, you are lucky to be alive!" The infection in my body, he said, was actually caused by a kidney stone blocking the ureter on the right side. This had caused the infection to spread to my whole body - something the ER doc in Asheville would have seen had he bothered to look. I was lucky I had not died. (CAT scans in Hawaii showed no gall bladder problems at all.)

A swift line-up of doctors led to a quick surgery to insert a stent around the kidney stone, allowing toxins to drain normally into the bladder and out of my body. I was given a combination of three potent IV antibiotics to kill the raging infection before it could kill me. I endured three more days and nights of "jackhammer" high fevers before my temperature began to approach normal again.

I am now out of the hospital with a PICC line in my arm, which allows Benjamin to hook up my antibiotic IV's each day. This allows me to be in our sweet little cottage instead of the hospital. I feel like I've been to the underworld and back several times in the past two weeks, and am just grateful to be here.

I believe that everything which happens to us is designed to move us forward into a higher place of personal spiritual evolution. So I know that all the physical suffering I've been enduring has some good purpose. Since my Higher Self has gone to such great lengths to get my attention, I am definitely taking notice! I don't want to miss any of the messages I need to receive from this grueling experience.

Astrologically, there is enough going on to cause physical challenges galore! Transiting Neptune, whose job is to either spiritualize or dissolve, is hovering at the entrance of my Sixth House of health and illness. He is also opposing Venus in the Twelfth House of spiritual union. (The Twelfth is also know as the House of Troubles!)

Transiting Uranus, which can bring sudden and radical change, is dancing back and forth across my Descendent. Uranus coming above the horizon for the first time in four decades signals a paradigm shift in how I present myself to the world. Uranus is also opposing my Ascendant, which is the house cusp ruling the physical body.

In addition, because all my angles are close to the same degree, Uranus is also squaring my Midheaven (career and work in the world) and my Nadir (home and deep psyche). The Uranian icing on the cake is its square to Jupiter, which serves to amplify the intensity of the experience.

As if that isn't enough, transiting Pluto is opposite my natal Uranus (modern ruler of my Sixth House of health and illness). Pluto is also trine my natal Saturn (ancient ruler of my Sixth House) in the Twelfth, further activating my Sixth/Twelfth House axis (physical health/spiritual health). There is plenty more, but you get the idea.

It's one thing to know the astrological reasons why something may be happening. It's yet another to find out how to work with the energies to minimize the drama and trauma, and get the "good juice" out of any potentially difficult transit. I have been aware of these transits for some time, but do not seem to have brought their energies into the most positive manifestation. So now I seek my own answers, and sit with the mysteries.

When I asked the Tarot earlier today for one card to tell me what major energy I'm working with, I pulled the Death card. In the "Light and Shadow" Tarot deck I used, this card is called "The Endless Dance of Death," and is reproduced at the top of this article. The card's interpretation is "the extraordinary metamorphosis of new life emerging from death." Thus, my questions for myself are: To what am I dying? To what am I giving birth?

My primary intention in coming to Hawaii, other than relaxing and getting healthier, was to give attention to my creative processes: music and writing. I know this is new birth within me, and I fail to see why I would need to almost die to get that message. So I look deeper.

Where can I give more attention to Spirit and divinely inspired creativity? This is advice I would give anyone with Neptune entering the Sixth House if they want to keep their physical health vibrant. I can see, after contemplation, that I could be spending more focused time in meditation and spiritual practice. Since I naturally live in the realm of love and compassion, I can forget that I still need to cultivate the deeper spiritual journey. Therefore, what I need to "die to" in this realm is overdoing it in my daily schedule. I have so often allowed physical exercise and spiritual practice to get pushed aside to make room for the ten more things to do each day than I can possibly get done. What is the message in this? SIMPLIFY! PRIORITIZE! And most important: NURTURE MYSELF!

I am exploring my inner landscape to further discover what these deep outer planets are saying to me. I know I am being called to become more than I ever have been in the world, and it scares me. What if I fail? What if I don't have enough energy? What if I somehow miss my greatest calling? These are the great questions that loom in front of me.

All I can do is surrender. The best anyone can do when Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune join forces to accelerate your transformational process is Surrender, Surrender, Surrender! Here in Hawaii, I am certainly in a most exquisite and powerful place to surrender to the volcanic flow of transformational energies, and hope to emerge like the butterfly from the cocoon, like the phoenix from the ashes.

One of my favorite songs of all time comes to mind: "Let Me Fall," which Josh Groban performs so beautifully. It feels important to me to share the lyrics with you. (Actually, this is one of those songs in which the magic is truly carried by the marriage of the words and music. There are even visuals: to experience the song in its original context, as part of Cirque du Soleil's Quidam show, watch this video clip.

Let Me Fall*

Let me fall
Let me climb
There's a moment when fear
And dreams must collide

Someone I am
Is waiting for courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me

So let me fall
If I must fall
I won't heed your warnings
I won't hear them

Let me fall
If I fall
Though the phoenix may
Or may not rise

I will dance so freely
Holding on to no one
You can hold me only
If you too will fall
Away from all these
Useless fears and chains

Someone I am
Is waiting for my courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me

So let me fall
If I must fall
I won't heed your warnings
I won't hear

Let me fall
If I fall
There's no reason
To miss this one chance
This perfect moment
Just let me fall

This song speaks to where I am in my journey right now. May we all fall into this perfect moment!

I am so grateful to those of you who have poured out your loving support and sent healing prayers and positive energies for me. I know it has made a huge difference, and I thank you with all my heart and soul.

I still have surgery to remove the kidney stone and stent ahead of me, as well as an extended period of rebuilding my core vitality, so I welcome your continued prayers.

May you be blessed beyond imagination, and filled with light and joy!


* Legal note: "Let Me Fall" lyrics are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, and are provided for educational purposes only.

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"Crazy Time" -- the Uranus Opposition in Your Life and Mine

by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the April 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

You could call it "crazy time." Or maybe you prefer "midlife crisis" (or, more optimistically, "midlife shift.") Whatever you call it, everyone in their late 30s and early 40s goes through it.

It's commonly associated with the stereotype of the middle-aged family man suddenly buying a screaming red Corvette and running off with his sexy young mistress. But it can also be a time of profound and positive change, a quantum leap to the next level of your evolutionary journey.

The Uranus Opposition

Astrologers call this period of transformation the "Uranus Opposition." This once-in-a-lifetime event occurs when the transiting planet Uranus circles around to a point directly across from its natal position. (The transformative power is further boosted by the fact that both Neptune and Saturn are squaring their natal positions. [A square is a 90° angle.] Neptune squares dissolve that which no longer serves your highest need, while Saturn squares challenge all outmoded structures in your life.)

Uranus embodies the archetypal energies of revolution and paradigm shift. It rules the breakthrough moment, the "Aha!", the "Eureka!" I view it, like all transiting planets, as an angel sent to serve your highest need. If something in your life no longer serves your highest need, it's Uranus’ job to get rid of it as quickly as possible!

While Uranus will use the tactics of shock and surprise when required -- and can even create wholesale chaos if need be -- it usually won’t take such extreme measures without firing warning shots across your bow. Like all transiting planets which herald an important life change, it offers you a choice: the easy way or the hard way.

Follow the Flashes!

The easy way is to follow the guidance of your intuitive flashes. (It's intuition when you feel the "ITC" -- the Intuitive Tingle of Certainty.) In my experience, and that of my clients, the more quickly you act on your intuition, the easier the transition will be. The longer you resist, the more you’ll experience increasingly stressful and potentially painful situations until you finally embrace the needed change.

(For a simple writing meditation that has helped many of my clients connect more easily with their intuitive guidance, click here. Pairing it with the Divine Saturation Snap Meditation can make it even more effective!)

My "Crazy Time"

I experienced one of the biggest turning points in my life during my own Uranus Opposition. As I approached “The Big Four-Oh”, I was living a life that looked great on the surface. I was 15 years into a job as the Oklahoma sales representative for Nabisco Food Service. The money and benefits were great, and my position with the company was secure. My sweetheart and I lived together in a very nice house and had a wonderful relationship -- my best committed romantic relationship ever to that point.

And yet I was experiencing a typical Uranus Opposition symptom -- a gnawing dissatisfaction, a disquieting feeling that something important was being left undone. Though I was still hitting my sales quotas, I had grown bored with my job. I wanted to live someplace more physically beautiful, spiritually progressive and creatively inspiring. There was a deep sense of urgency -- a feeling that if I didn't act soon, a critical "now or never" opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream would pass away forever.

A Dream of Music

The dream in danger of dying was to become a professional singer/songwriter. I had played music most of my life, studying classical piano as a child and immersing myself in 15 years of serious classical guitar study in my teens and 20s. I became fascinated by electronic music in my mid-20s, ultimately releasing the meditative electronic album The Beauty Within at 34.

Not long after that, however, my focus shifted to guitar and vocals -- first as a cathartic expression of the deep psychological purging I was experiencing in my new Buddhist Vipassana practice, and later to write songs that people might actually enjoy! My new identity as a singer-songwriter felt great, and I applied myself to it diligently. I took voice lessons, soaked up everything I could about songwriting and performance craft, and learned the business skills essential for survival as an independent musician.

Up until this point, I had been mostly living the "safe" part of my chart (cautious, detail-obsessed Virgo Moon in the security-craving second house; four planets in the conservative, don’t-rock-the-boat sign of Capricorn). But now, with transiting Uranus opposing its natal position, I finally had the planetary support to do something totally crazy: move halfway across the country to Asheville, North Carolina to become a full-time singer-songwriter!

My sweetheart, with both her boys now out of the house and also ready for greener pastures, was happy to move with me. (Although an astrological "perfect storm" -- all five transiting planets from Jupiter out simultaneously hitting sensitive relationship points in my chart! -- signaled the end of that relationship two years later. However, this allowed the relationship that has eclipsed all the ones that went before – my marriage to my beloved Spiritsong – to start blossoming just a few months later.)

From Musician to Astrologer

As it turned out, my new career did not go as planned. Despite establishing something of a reputation around Asheville under the stage name Benjammin, and releasing the CD Shining From Inside to strong reviews, my musical income never even came close to meeting my expenses. However, moving to Asheville in pursuit of my crazy dream set up another life-changing event: meeting my astrological mentor Kelly Lee Phipps at an open mic, where he was reciting his cosmic poetry. Thanks to his inspiring teaching and expert guidance, I soon learned enough to hang out my shingle as a professional astrologer.

The contrast between the two career arcs was remarkable. As a musician, doors opened for me grudgingly or not at all. As an astrologer, they seemed to fly open everywhere I turned. There was no question where Spirit was throwing its support!

Better Than I Could Have Imagined

I've shared this little bit of my life story with you here to illustrate an important astrological principle. Because I followed the intuitive guidance I received during my Uranus Opposition and dared to make a radical change in my life – although, at that time, I didn't even know what a Uranus Opposition was! – my existence was utterly transformed. Even though things didn’t go as expected – and with Uranus, surprises are the norm – the outcome was far better than anything I could have imagined.

I don't even want to contemplate what a dull gray man I would have become if I had stayed in a place that no longer suited me, working at a job that had grown stagnant and unrewarding. I might never have started practicing astrology, which fills me with joy every time I have the privilege of sharing its life-affirming guidance with another client. I might never have met Spiritsong, the extraordinary human angel whom I am blessed to call my wife. And I might not be able to say that every year since I mustered up the courage to follow my dream in 2001 has been the best year of my life.

So far!

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by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the February 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

Boy, do I get asked this one a lot! I'm having a conversation with someone who knows I’m an astrologer, the subject of romance arises, and they ask, "What sign should I look for?"

If only it was that easy! The Sun sign is always an important factor in any person’s chart, but it's rarely the most relevant for romance. Venus, which carries relationship as a core part of her archetypal energy, is usually much more important. For women, Mars represents an essential part of the energy of her romantic partner, and Saturn and the Sun can also be worth a look. For men, I might look not only at Venus but also at the Moon. For each of these planets, I would also consider its sign, house and aspects.

And that's just the beginning. When describing a person's ideal long-term partner from their own natal chart, it's also essential to look at the signs ruling the seventh and eighth houses, the rulers of those signs, and any planets in those houses. And that doesn't even factor in the critically important natal aspects between all these planets. And don't even get me started talking about the transiting and progressing planets that might be temporarily stimulating everything we've been talking about so far!

Is your head spinning yet? I hope not because, believe it or not, even that isn't the whole story. When looking for compatibility between two people, I take all the natal factors discussed so far and cross-correlate them between both charts. The climax of a relationship consultation is a deep analysis of a 256-box grid which shows how all of one person's planets and sensitive points interact with those of their current or potential partner.

Bottom line: relationship astrology, like relationships, is complicated. The question of what astrological energies a person should seek in their ideal partner can never, ever be boiled down just to a Sun sign. in fact, considering only the Sun sign could cause you to weed out someone who might, when all the astrological energies are factored in, turn out to be a virtually perfect match!

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not dissing Sun sign astrology. Heck, I feel very fortunate to be able to write a triannual Sun sign column for Aquarius Magazine, and send my sincere blessings to all the other Sun sign writers who do so much to keep astrology alive in the public mind. But, since any statement about a Sun sign has to be true for 1/12 of the world's population, one has to stay very general when working at this level. And, since one has to do the opposite when seeking a life partner – move from the general to the minutely specific -- working only from a Sun sign doesn't tell you enough to even start making a decision.

So if you're going to use astrology to help you choose a partner, be sure to learn enough about the numerous relationship factors in your own chart to do it properly. Otherwise, you're really better off consulting with an astrologer who already knows the ropes.

Or, if all else fails, you can always follow your heart.

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by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the January 2008 It's All Good Astrology News

The big astrological news in 2008 is Pluto's entry into Capricorn. I wrote this entry about it in my January 2008 forecast:

1/25. PLUTO'S ENTRY INTO CAPRICORN, which begins today, is probably the most important astrological event of 2008. When Pluto changes signs -- which only happens every 12 to 20 years -- it signals profound transformations in the areas of life which relate to that sign.
        Just look at one example of what's happened since Pluto made its prior sign change, entering Sagittarius in 1995. One thing Sagittarius represents is religion. Since 1995, the Catholic Church has weathered a huge scandal involving the sexual abuse of children by priests, and numerous fundamentalist megachurch preachers have been ruined by scandal. (Pluto loves to bring hidden dirty doings out into the light!) In a more positive vein, there has been an ever-accelerating sea change in how more and more people now approach spirituality, abandoning more intellectual or emotional approaches in favor of direct, conscious and transformative union with Spirit.
        So what can we expect as Pluto transits Capricorn for the next 16 years? For one thing, even more exposure of the hidden dirty doings of big business – the huge multinationals, in particular. Capricorn also represents the underlying structure of things – it rules the skeleton, for example – and is an earth sign. Thus, Capricorn can represent the core structure of the Earth itself. Pluto, representing death and rebirth, gives a clear and sobering message at this critical moment in history: either humans need to positively restructure how they interact with the global ecosystem, or death and destruction on a cataclysmic scale will result. And there is no guarantee that humans will be among the surviving species.
        Heavy stuff, I know, but Capricorn is a no-nonsense, let's-deal-with-the-facts kind of sign, and it is not Pluto's habit to sugarcoat hard truths. Let's just hope that the United States, China and the other major contributors to climate change quickly embrace the radical paradigm shifts needed to ensure that the Earth continues to possess a habitable ecosystem.

But Pluto will still be nostalgic for its Sagittarian years: it will retrograde back into Sagittarius on June 14, then re-enter Capricorn to stay (through 2024, anyway) on November 26.

In my January 25 entry, I focused on the dirty secrets of big business being exposed, as well as it being make or break time for the global community to deal with the world's environmental crisis. However, Pluto in Capricorn has many more ramifications. And this critical sign change sets a world-changing chain of events into motion that extends well beyond 2008.

Let's start by examining the archetypal energies we're dealing with. Pluto is the planet of transformation, death and rebirth. Metaphors for its processes include a phoenix burning to ash and resurrecting, a snake shedding its skin, and a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly. Pluto can also represent tremendous power and/or wealth.

Capricorn is the sign of existing institutions and structures, including big business, governments and established religions. It's inherently conservative, traditional and resistant to change. Its shadow side can be cold, dictatorial, and ruthless, believing that the ends justify the means. Its more evolved qualities include integrity, commitment, and perseverance, as well as being the "wise elder."

Some historical perspective is also helpful. Pluto orbits the sun about every 250 years, so a quarter of a millennium elapses between its passes through Capricorn. The last time it was there was from 1762 to 1778, during the American Revolution. The time before that, 1516-1533, Martin Luther's Protestant revolt created a religious and political crisis for Emperor Charles V and the Catholic Church. No matter how far back we go in recorded history, Pluto in Capricorn periods correspond with revolutionary changes to the existing world order.

This will also be true for us. The powers that be, however, never go down without a fight. Pluto and Capricorn do have some things in common - they both love being in control, for example - and so we can expect more of the "Big Brother" style surveillance and invasion of privacy that are already spreading through the United States and other countries such as Great Britain. (Capricorn can also bring fear - of terrorism and other real and imagined threats - to justify government's systematic erosion of our fundamental civil liberties.) Government may seen to act as if, in order for freedom to be kept safe, it must be locked away.

The forces of authoritarianism and ever-increasing government control are likely to gain power through about May of 2010. On May 27 of that year, however, Uranus brings the planetary energy of revolution and paradigm shift out of its seven-year stint in Pisces (dreaming, visualizing and imagining) and into Aries (the leader or warrior taking impulsive action). At that point, we may well experience the start of something resembling another American Revolution in order to set our ship of state on a more enlightened course.

This idea is also supported by the fact that Uranus is aspecting three planets in the United States' natal chart around that time (Pluto, the moon and Mercury), and conjuncting the nadir! (I'm using the Sibley chart for the U.S.) The U.S. is also about to undergo the most powerful Pluto transits it has experienced since the 20's and 30's: between now and 2015, Pluto will oppose the United States' Venus, Jupiter and Sun. Venus and Jupiter rule the U.S. midheaven and ascendant - powerful and public points - and the Sun is the core of identity and vitality.

These Pluto transit alone are enough to guarantee that the U.S. will be profoundly transformed over the next seven years. My feeling is that we will emerge a more humble country, either by choice or because the rest of the world finally got fed up with us! Hopefully, we will move away from the arrogant "cowboy diplomacy" of recent years, and will instead adopt the spirit of harmony and cooperation that has become so essential for the well-being of the global community.

The Pluto oppositions just discussed are unique to the United States, but Uranus' entry into Aries will have a global impact. Other countries and institutions will experience revolutionary events relevant to their particular situations.

By 2010, Uranus and Pluto will already have been radiating some of the energy of their impending square (a 90° angle of challenge for growth). These two planets create revolutionary transformation and powerful paradigm shift when their energies connect. They were most recently conjunct 1964-1966, when the revolutionary fervor of the 60's shifted into high gear. (Their prior conjunction coincided with the French Revolution.)

Uranus and Pluto will make seven exact squares to each other from 2012 through 2015, wiping out old structures of all kinds that have outlived their usefulness. A square is much more dynamic and challenging than a conjunction, so this wrecking ball effect may make the 60's look tame by comparison.

This may sound scary, but look at the stakes. Nothing less than a radical shift in how the global powers-that-be operate - be they governments or multinational corporations - will be sufficient to save the planet from an environmental catastrophe too horrible to contemplate. Archaic assumptions that have held sway for hundreds of years must fall by the wayside if mankind, as well as most of Earth's other species, is to survive. These include the outmoded ideas of endless economic growth, unrestrained population expansion, and mankind's right to exploit Gaia's resources without regard to future consequences or future generations.

Some people hope for a miraculous rescue. It could be that, when the Mayan calendar ends on the Winter Solstice of 2012, mankind will experience a quantum leap into a more enlightened state of consciousness. (To hear my free lecture on that subject, "The Astrology of 2012," click here.) Or maybe the alien motherships will finally descend from the skies to save us from ourselves.

I could more easily believe in such a deus ex machina if Pluto was in Pisces, the sign of saviors. But Pluto will be in Capricorn, the sign of sweat equity, hard work and keeping your nose to the grindstone. Its spiritual motto could be, "God helps those who help themselves." If 2012 does mark an evolutionary leap, I believe that the exact nature of that transformation will be shaped by what mankind has done, individually and collectively, up until that moment to raise its vibration. At this point in human history, more so than ever before, the work each of us does to awaken ourselves can profoundly benefit humanity as a whole.

What else can one person do when faced with such daunting astrological energies? Let's take some inspiration from Pluto itself. It's a tiny planet - not even that, if you accept its new "dwarf planet" classification. And it's nowhere near the heart of the action - so far out in the boonies of the solar system that the Sun hardly looks brighter than any other star.

Yet Pluto is astrology's most powerful transiting planet. Its diminutive size demonstrates that small things can be very powerful. It does, after all, rule plutonium, a tiny amount of which can either power or decimate a city. In the same way, one person - working with Capricornian discipline and Plutonian obsessiveness - can make a huge impact during this time. By doing whatever you are most called to do - however insignificant it might seem - you will be playing your perfect part in a leaderless web of perfect synchronicity. (For more on this idea, read Daniel Quinn's empowering book Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure. And as long as you're book shopping, pick up Richard Tarnas' Cosmos and Psyche [click here for my review], which presents compelling evidence of the outer planets' powerful effect on human history.)

Pluto's entry into Capricorn isn't the only significant astrological news of 2008, although it is by far the most important. Jupiter will be making three sextiles to Uranus, on March 28, May 21 and November 13. The periods around these dates will be times when following your intuitive flashes will bring you enhanced good fortune. You would also do well to heed any lightning strikes of sudden illumination regarding religion, foreign travel, higher education, publishing or politics.

However, the astrological event that I would rank second in importance to Pluto entering Capricorn is Saturn's opposition to Uranus. It occurs on November 4, the day of the American presidential elections! It represents the struggle between Saturn (conservatism, business as usual) and Uranus (revolution, paradigm shift). This opposition, which will occur five times between November 4, 2008 and July 26, 2010, will serve to open chinks in the armor of the powers-that-be, and will pave the way for the revolutionary shifts (Uranus entering Aries, Uranus square Pluto) that we've already covered.

So what can you do to make the best of 2008's Plutonian challenges? The bottom line is to stay open to change. As I tell my clients who are having powerful Pluto transits, the more you resist transformation at such times, the more you suffer. The more you embrace change - even if it's frightening and you can't see where it's leading - the more empowered you become.

Pluto can be experienced as cruel and greedy people and institutions conspiring against you, or as a river of divine power that flows through you. And that river is always strongest when you allow your actions to be guided by your inner wisdom. As with any astrological energy, you can use it or be used by it. The choice is yours.

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by Spiritsong

Originally published in the October 2007 It's All Good Astrology News

The Saturn return is a life-transforming astrological event which most people only experience twice in a lifetime. For me, it contained elements of being squished like a pancake between two metal objects -- and like David facing Goliath!

Last June, on a bright sunny afternoon, my husband Benjamin and I approached the entrance of a local hotel to attend a meeting there. Happy that we had managed to arrive on time in spite of some challenges, I followed him through what appeared to be the entrance of the hotel. But, just as I started to walk through the door, I felt something slam into my left side, knocking me into the door frame to my right. I felt like a tin can in a crusher before the force of the sliding door that had hit me spit me out, stunned and disoriented, into the hotel lobby.

In another incident last month, Benjamin had to rush me to the ER. Because of an electrical malfunction in my heart, I was experiencing an episode of tachycardia (in which the heart races at 160 beats per minute or more) that would not stop. When the usual medicines used to restore normal heart rhythm didn’t work, they had to shock my heart. This reestablished my normal heart rate, but led to me staying in the hospital for six days. Spending some time in a hospital is not foreign to me, but having to fight for my rights and buck the whole medical system -- while in an extremely vulnerable state -- is!

Both of these events were quite out of the ordinary, but that is often how Saturn works.

Saturn is the stern taskmaster, and often gives us tests that write us a “reality check.” Sometimes these tests, like pop quizzes, seem to come out of nowhere. Even if we think we've done our homework and prepared for the big tests, we still may get blindsided by something we weren't expecting!

Because transiting Saturn has been waltzing along the Eastern hemisphere of my chart for the past year, dancing with each of the planets in my 11th and 12th Houses, I've been learning a lot about how to dance with Saturn while trying not to step on his toes! Because of Saturn’s long annual retrogrades, he has passed these planets, then reversed course to check for anything he’s missed. I've welcomed his instruction, since I know that all the outer planets are only working for our greater good. They come along to help us awaken to and evolve into our highest life purpose.

I thought that perhaps, if I learned enough about how to please this highly demanding teacher, I might avoid having to take too many remedial lessons to correct my dance steps. One thing is certain: when the outer planets are scheduled to show up, there is no escape. Ready or not, they will come!

My Scorpio Mars (the detective) and Virgo Moon (wanting to get all the details right) worked together to help me prepare. I was as ready for Saturn's tests as I could be. I can attest to the fact that Saturn greatly rewards our hard work. However, he doesn't hesitate to show us where our steps are out of sync with the beauty of the dance. Under his stern but wise tutelage, we can make the adjustments needed to feel the joy of flowing along more gracefully.

I wanted to partner with transiting Saturn not only because of his imminent conjunctions to my natal Pluto, Venus and Moon, but also because he would also be conjuncting my natal Saturn. Saturn's return to his natal position, called the Saturn Return, is one of the most important transits in one's lifetime. It takes Saturn about 29-½ years to make his way around the chart, so in a normal lifespan we have at least two Saturn returns, around the age of 29/30 and again around 59/60. For some, a third transit will happen around the age of 88/89. Since I have only experienced the first two, those are the ones I’ll be discussing here.

The first Saturn return, at around age 29, gives us the urge to leave any remnants of untamed adolescent irresponsibility behind if we haven't already done so. The Time Lord says that it's time to grow up, to willingly shoulder our responsibilities and make our contribution in the world. Whatever has been preventing us from doing this may well be changed or eliminated, either by our choice for change or circumstances clearing the way for us.

Although this process is not always painful, it can be. If we are “on purpose” and living in an empowered way, we may not have to make any huge changes during the first Saturn return. But if we are still playing the old tapes of our early “authorities”-- parents, teachers, peers, or anyone to whom we have surrendered our power -- this will be an opportunity to become our own “author”ity and write our own script. It is common at this time to take different jobs, change life partners, relocate and make other significant life changes.

The second Saturn return comes around age 59, when we have had 30 years or more of “tending to business” -- managing a home, earning a living and fine-tuning our true purpose for being here. At this time, we are invited to become the “elders,” the mentors. It is now our time to pass on the wealth of knowledge and wisdom gained through our now significant number of years of “living, laughing, loving, crying, and learning” from it all!

Second Saturn Returns are often accompanied by a shift into a second career, or sometimes a dedication to a cause where your gifts and talents can benefit others. Sometimes a new gift or talent is discovered as you explore inner territories which you have previously neglected while raising a family and pursuing your livelihood. This is a time to be treasured!

So what does Saturn have to do with being squished by automatic doors and having to stand your ground against hospital authorities?

Let's look first at the hotel accident. The “doorway” we had entered was really an emergency opening to the right of the main automatic opening doors. For some reason, it was standing open when it should have been closed. Just as I started to go through the open “doorway” behind Benjamin, someone approached the automatic sliding doors in front of the hotel, triggering them to fly open. Unfortunately, I was in the way. In an instant, the damage was done.

Transiting Saturn was still 10 degrees away from its natal position at this time -- too far away for the accident itself to be considered a true Saturn Return event. However, Saturn had, within the last 24 hours, entered my Twelfth House -- often called "the House of Troubles." (Saturn changing houses is an astrologically significant event, since this only happens about every 2-1/2 years.) In addition, the extended period of healing and rehabilitation that the accident made necessary -- and which I'm still working through -- is very much a Saturn Return experience!

This freak accident tested the strength of my physical body and revealed structural defects and deterioration that needed my attention. (Saturn rules the body’s skeletal structure.) Without that accident, and the resulting scrutiny my body received through x-rays and other medical imaging techniques, I might not have realized that I have some serious arthritis developing. Now I can address this situation with additional supplements and care.

I was also “slowed down”, another Saturn signature. This caused me to look at the other symbolic meanings of this impact, which literally challenged my physical boundaries (yet another Saturn function). I asked myself where I might need to adjust the boundaries in my life. I am still working with the healing of those injuries and learning what I need to in the process. The full extent of that impact revealed itself over a period of several days as the injuries “ripened.” This slow, months-long healing process, and the limitations it has imposed upon me, has tested my patience repeatedly. And, yes, you guessed it: endurance is another of Saturn's lessons, as well as learning how to deal with limitations.

My Saturn Return Day, September 12th, felt very significant. I viewed it as a kind of “rebirth” day. Birthdays come every year, but a Saturn Return Day is a rare event which signals a major new life chapter. I went to the forest and created my own spiritual ceremony as dusk came, welcoming this next leg of my life journey. It was a beautiful ending to a wonderful day.

What I was not prepared for was the pop quiz I would get immediately after my Saturn Return. My hospital test was clearly a reality check. It was as if Saturn was saying, “Okay, it's great that you can do all this spiritual celebration and feel good about my return. Now let's see if you're ready for my graduation ceremony!”

On the fifth day of my hospitalization I had to challenge the authority (another Saturn word) of my attending physician. I had to become my own “author”ity, re-writing the script when the doctor's version was not acceptable to me.

While I am truly grateful for the benefits of Western medicine in emergency situations, I try to avoid allopathic medicines whenever I can. But, since my heart had required electroshock to regain its normal rhythm, I understood the doctor's desire to find a drug that would prevent future episodes of tachycardia. So I was willing to participate in an experiment while they monitored my heart, to see if we could find a drug that would keep my heart beating steadily without causing significant side effects.

After four days of trying different drugs that were not working -- at least not without significant undesirable side effects -- the doctor came in to see me. She seemed upset from the moment she walked into my hospital room. It felt as if she blamed me for the fact that the drugs were having detrimental side effects.

When I suggested a drug combination that would include the only allopathic heart medicine I've never had problems with, she became even more upset. I told her that I was not trying to cause any problems, but rather was trying to work with her to find a solution. Her response was to say that she was discharging me, telling me that I basically had two choices for medicine combinations. Each of the two choices she gave me left an aspect of my medical situation unaddressed and me in jeopardy. She seemed to be tired of her experiments failing, and appeared to be out of ideas. I don't know why she was upset. But when she left, I was the one who broke down.

I was in a bit of shock that I had somehow seemed to upset the doctor. I was only trying to be a helpful member of the team! I felt huge sadness at being treated so disrespectfully, and in despair at being given two unacceptable medical options. After having a good long cry, I began to realize how unfair the situation was. Calmness, my usual state, began to return. I realized that whatever was going on for the doctor, she was not behaving in a way that supported my well-being.

I saw the test that Saturn had set for me. It was time for me to step into my power.

I called for my nurse and asked to talk to someone in charge who could assess the situation objectively. When she returned, she brought me another pill...a sedative! (She said that this was her supervisor's suggestion.) I calmly refused the sedative, stating that while it would certainly lower my blood pressure, it would also render me unable to have an intelligent and lucid conversation about my concerns.

After she returned to report this new development, I finally got to talk to someone who was in a higher position of authority. This woman’s initial behavior was polite but distant, since she probably thought that she had a “basket case” on her hands! But by the time we finished our conversation she understood that I had some legitimate concerns, and had become warm and cordial. She then took the proper steps to find a more appropriate solution. My willingness to stand up to “the system” finally resulted in my being able to talk to someone who respected my opinions about what was best for my care. This allowed me to be part of the team making medical decisions which affected my life, rather than the subservient “subject” of the “queen” (the doctor) and the “empire” (the hospital system).

Although I was initially overwhelmed with emotion and upset by my doctor’s lack of respect, in the end I felt empowered and liberated by the way I demonstrated to myself and to others that I am ultimately my own authority. As a Neptunian Libra (Neptune conjunct my Sun natally), I am not comfortable making waves and bucking the system. But, that same Libra energy (justice must prevail) combined with my Scorpio Mars (fiery initiative to create transformation) enabled me to rise to the occasion and become a diplomatic but powerful force to be reckoned with. I was able to understand, almost immediately, that Saturn had given me the opportunity to demonstrate that I am ready to be standing in my power. It was a clear test, and I feel like I graduated to another level of maturity in this “Saturn school.”

Were those easy tests? No! But am I thankful? Yes! Thank you, Saturn!

I have read numerous helpful texts and articles about Saturn during the past several months. The one from which I have most benefited, and recommend most highly, is Caroline Casey’s Making The Gods Work For You. In this book, subtitled “The Astrological Language of the Psyche”, Caroline gives invaluable insights on how to work with the energies of the transiting planets. I read her chapter on Saturn several times, and will do so again. I have no doubt that it helped me prepare for my Saturnian tests. Thank you, Caroline!

I leave you with the following quote from Caroline's book for working with Saturn transits, and invite you to call me at 828-777-6688 if you would like some compassionate assistance to help you navigate the beneficial but sometimes tricky territories of the outer planet transits.

“Saturn teaches the art of mundane physical magic. If you're feeling constrained, tie yourself up – and escape. If you're feeling weighed down, lift weights. Saturn transits can make you feel like God's knee were on your chest, or as if you were doing resistance training with weights on. Eventually you will reach a point where you unstrap the weights and realize how strong you have become.”

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by Benjamin Bernstein

Originally published in the March 2007 It's All Good Astrology News

Certainly, there are plenty of astrology books out there competing for your attention. But one recently published volume stands apart. In fact, it may do more than any other astrology book in modern times to give astrology significantly increased mainstream legitimacy!

After all, how often does an author who’s the toast of the scientific and academic communities – and whose prior best-selling (non-astrological) work is required reading in many universities – come out with a book that exhaustively documents the effect of the outer planets on world events?

The author in question is Richard Tarnas. The book that put him on the map was The Passion of the Western Mind, and his revolutionary new one – 30 years in the making – is Cosmos & Psyche. In it, he delves into the patterns formed by Uranus, Neptune and Pluto at important moments in history. Whether the pivotal times he’s probing involve politics, war, literature, art, music, science or medicine, his research demonstrates that there is invariably an archetypally appropriate outer planet alignment fueling it.

One such example is the 1960’s, when powerful waves of revolution and transformation swept the entire world. During this decade, Uranus and Pluto formed a conjunction, which only happens every 110 to 150 years. Uranus carries the energy of revolution and paradigm shift, and Pluto stimulates core-level transformation.

A coincidence? Skeptics would hasten to say so, but then how do they explain the fact that the prior Uranus-Pluto conjunction exactly coincided with the French Revolution?

The word “coincidence” gives way to “synchronicity” as Tarnas methodically documents an impressive body of evidence. He shows consistent correlations between the archetypal meanings of the outer planets and the world events that occur when they make significant aspects to each other.

Cosmos & Psyche is not light beach reading – it’s a thick book – but I found that it never failed to fascinate. No prior knowledge of astrology is needed, since Tarnas explains everything you need to know as he goes. My understanding of, and appreciation for, the power of astrology was considerably deepened by it – as I’m sure yours will be too.

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Read Inner Guidance Writing: How to Get the Information You Need Right From the Source! at our new site,!

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The "Great Ways to Benefit From Astrology" Article Series


All articles in this column by Benjamin Bernstein


To go directly to an article, click on the title


Timing = Success
The Magic of Electional Astrology

How Often Should I See My Astrologer?

Life Path Confirmation


How to Determine Your Time of Birth, Even if Nobody Has a Clue (Rectification)


Solar Return Consultations

Business Astrology

Relocational Astrology


Children's Charts


Relationship Consultations


Timing = Success
he Magic of Electional Astrology

Originally published in the July 2008 newsletter 

timing = successWe've all heard that "timing is everything." Well, maybe not everything, but it's extre
mely important. In fact, choosing the right moment for an important event to begin can make the difference between success and failure!

That's why I'm delighted to add a new service to my menu of offerings: electional astrology. This specialized field, which has a pedigree hundreds of years old, can help you choose the most favorable energies under which to begin any important new endeavor.

Actions have astrology charts that influence their outcomes, just as people do. Therefore, it makes sense to pick a starting time that will help bring whatever you start to
the most successful possible conclusion.

If It's Good Enough for a President...

Ronald Reagan's wife Nancy routinely consulted electional astrologers to determine the best times for her husband to take important presidential actions. Could this have been one of the reasons why Reagan was known as the "Teflon President," to whom, it seemed, nothing bad could stick?

(The Reagans were actually carrying on a venerable tradition: throughout history, many of those in power regularly consulted electional astrologers to determine the most advantageous timing for new initiatives.)

Electional astrology can't guarantee a successful outcome. But it can, to the greatest degree possible, stack the odds in your favor!

How Electional Astrology Can Help

Here are some of the specific life situations in which electional astrology can be helpful:

RELATIONSHIP. Engagement, marriage, moving in together, divorce hearings

WORK. Applying for a job, beginning a job, beginning an important project, scheduling an important meeting, asking for a raise, opening a business, opening a new business location

REAL ESTATE. Listing a house, purchasing a house, moving into a house, beginning house construction

MEDICAL. Surgery, starting a round of medical treatment 

COMMUNICATION. Sending an important letter, fax, or email (or making a critical phone call) to achieve a specific goal

TRAVELING & MOVING. Changing residence, starting vacation travel 

BUYING OR LISTING FOR SALE. Cars, major appliances, and other expensive or important items

LEGAL. Signing contracts, initiating lawsuits, formalizing wills

AND MORE. Any time you're preparing to take an important action, electional astrology can help make sure the stars are with you!

Feel free to contact Benjamin at 828-338-9852 or to set an appointment, or to learn more about how electional astrology can help you!

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Read How Often Should I See My Astrologer at our new site,!



Originally published in the November 2007 newsletter 

life pathSometimes they already had a suspicion. We’ll be wrapping up a consultation in which we’ve thoroughly explored what the birth chart has to say about a client’s core personality characteristics, talents, challenges and opportunities, as well as their current “cosmic weather”. Then they'll say, ”You know, Benjamin, you didn't really tell me a whole lot about myself that I didn't already suspect. But I can't tell you how good it feels to get the confirmation!"

The benefit you can receive from this type of life path confirmation is reflected in some of the testimonials I've received. Dorsey Ridgely from Weaverville, NC wrote, “I feel that I have been doing ‘quantum quantum’ life changes since I met with you…It’s like a spring has uncoiled in me. I am really grateful to you for helping me ‘pop the cork’ that had been stuck for so long!”


Charlene Carter of Dallas, TX put it this way: “You gave voice to the things I’ve always felt about myself, but never had the courage to admit to anyone else. [You've] inspired me to live in a way that expresses who I really am.”

Astrology is certainly not the only place one can gain this sort of wisdom. As world-renowned astrologer Steven Forrest writes in The Inner Sky, “Nothing can be learned from a birthchart that could not be learned someplace else…Astrology is just one more path to self-knowledge…[with] certain advantages and disadvantages. Astrology’s principle advantage is speed. Without it, we might stumble around for years  trying to sort out good information about who we are from all the phony truths and empty dreams with which we have been programmed….In a matter of two or three hours a level of self-awareness can be generated that might take years to put together in any other way.” 

Another great astrologer, Stephen Arroyo, puts it this way in his Chart Interpretation Handbook: “Astrology has a unique capacity for re-attuning a person’s consciousness to his or her essential nature, and encouraging a depth of self-knowledge which is profound. No other theory or technique that I know of can illuminate human motivation or the quality of individual consciousness or experience so clearly, simply, and accurately.”

If you'd like to gain a deeper understanding of yourself, or receive the confirmation and encouragement you need to help you more fully express your true nature, then Spiritsong and I stand eager to help. Click here for more information on our individual and joint consultations, or contact us at or 828-338-9852.

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how to DETERMINE your time of birth, even if NOBODY HAS A CLUE (RECTIFICATION)


Originally published in the September 2007 newsletter 

rectificationIt's a dilemma that many of my clients have faced: they’re eager to have me interpret their chart, but don't know what time they were born. Whether they know the time within an hour or two or have no idea when it might be, the problem is the same: without a precise birth time, I cannot know the proper location of their planets within the astrological houses. And without that information, a significant amount of valuable astrological information is simply not available.


There are some obvious steps to take: try to locate a birth certificate or other document that may give the time of birth. (Visit this website to discover how to locate an official copy of your birth certificate, even if you were born outside the United States.) Or you can call Mom, or another family member, to see if they know.


If you can't determine the time using those methods, however, there is another way: rectification. This amazing technique allows an astrologer to work from a list of significant life events to determine a client’s time of birth!


The details of how this works are complicated, and far beyond the scope of this brief article. Suffice it to say that if a client gives me a dated list of at least 10 significant life events (spaced at least two years apart, ideally), I can most likely determine when they were born. And, with that information, I can provide them with a much more detailed interpretation than is possible if their birth time remains unknown.


My fee for rectification varies, depending on how much you're able to narrow down the possible birth time, but I never charge more than $150 (and can charge considerably less). Please call me at 828-338-9852, or email me at, if you're interested in having me rectify your chart!


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Originally published in the July 2007 newsletter 


sun imageWant to know the most important life themes you’re going to be working with from one birthday to the next? That’s exactly what a Solar Return Consultation gives you!


The Solar Return Chart – the exact moment the Sun returns to its natal position each year – indicates the major opportunities and challenges you’ll be working with for the next 12 months. And, since we combine this with your coming 12 months’ “cosmic weather” (transits, progressions and solar arcs), you’ll come away with an extremely helpful look at what’s around the corner. We’ll also give you valuable insights that will empower you to make the most of the coming year’s astrological energies.


While Solar Return consultations are usually scheduled within a few weeks of a client’s birthday, it’s never too late! I recently had a client do a Solar Return consultation halfway between birthdays, and she found it enlightening to see how her Solar Return themes had already been manifesting in her life. And, with six months to go, she still had plenty of time left to consciously shape those archetypal forces into her desired manifestation.


For more information on Solar Return consultations, as well as our other astrological services, please click here


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Originally published in the June 2007 newsletter

businessmanAstrologers are routinely consulted by businesses around the world, from mom-and-pop operations to multinational corporations. Since every business has a birthdate -- the moment it came into being in a meaningful way -- it has a natal chart, just like a person.


A business astrologer can use the information in this chart to assess the business’ strengths and weaknesses. The chart can also show when the business will be facing times of prosperity or challenge, and can indicate optimal timing for key decisions and initiatives.


On a more personal level, business astrology can indicate what professions a person is best suited for. It can also indicate times when their professional road will be harder or easier, and when a change in career direction might be called for.


For more information on Business Astrology, as well as my other astrological services, please click here.


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Originally published in the May 2007 newsletter


relocationWouldn’t it be great if you could know in advance what kind of energies you would experience by moving to a different place? That’s what relocational astrology – also called astro*carto*graphy®, astro-mapping, and other names – makes possible.


These systems map the lines of your natal chart around the Earth, showing which of your archetypal energies are emphasized in specific places. Whether you're wanting to find an optimal place to support your career, spiritual growth, relationship, creativity, or other area of life experience -- or just looking for a good vacation spot -- relocational astrology can help.


If you're having an especially challenging time where you're currently living, relocational astrology can help determine whether the location itself is the problem, or whether you're just having some "cosmic weather" that would be affecting you no matter where you were.


While I don't list relocational astrology as a stand-alone service, I'm happy to either do relocational astrology by itself or integrate it into any of my consultations. (Plus, I recently started using more powerful software which allows me to see my clients’ relocational information in much greater detail.) For more information on my services, click here.


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Originally published in the March 2007 newsletter


children's chartsHave you ever heard a parent wish that their children had come with instruction manuals? The fact is that they do: their natal charts.


Just imagine how helpful it would be to know the areas in which your child is naturally gifted, so that you could give him or her more opportunities to explore them. And if you knew up front which types of life experiences your child would find most challenging, you could better prepare him or her to face them.


All this, and much more, is shown in each child’s natal chart. Many of my clients have had me do readings for their children, and have consistently told me that the astrological insights I shared have helped them work with their kids more positively and harmoniously.


If a child is going through a difficult time, a look at their current “cosmic weather” can show how long the challenge will last, when it will peak, and what soul lesson the child is being asked to master.


Parenting is challenging enough even in the best of circumstances. Why not make it easier for yourself by guiding your child’s development based on the best instruction manual of all: the blueprint that they created for themselves before they were born?


You can find information on my “Child’s Chart” consultations, as well as my other services, at


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Great ways to benefit from astrology



Originally published in the February 2007 newsletter

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’re all thinking more about relationships. We prefer to idealize romantic love at this time of year, but the fact is that relationships can be downright challenging – even for the best of us.


How can you tell if the person you’re feeling so magnetically attracted to would be a good long-term partner? How can you gain the insights that will help you bring more harmony into an existing relationship? How can you tell whether a certain relationship issue is going to be permanent, or just temporary?


Astrology can address these relationship questions, and many more. Synastry (the astrology of relationships and compatibility) takes a detailed, objective look at the precise ways in which two people’s energies interact.


The benefits of doing this can be profound. One of my clients called me a few weeks after a synastry session. She told me that the session had “dramatically improved our relationship. I understand my husband so much better now!”


One of the most common insights gained from a synastry consultation goes something like this: “Oh, my partner isn’t doing that just to make me miserable – it’s just the way they are!” My favorite definition of suffering is “the difference between reality as it is, and reality as we wish it to be.” Gaining a deeper appreciation for your partner’s fundamental archetypal energies can help you accept them as they are, rather than making futile attempts to change them. This alone can relieve a tremendous amount of relationship stress!


If a challenging issue has recently surfaced, we can also discover what passing transit is triggering it. Then we can see when the issue will peak, when it will end, and what possible life lessons are being offered by the experience.


Synastry isn’t just for romantic partnerships, either. I’ve also had clients use it to gain valuable insights into their relationships with their children, parents, friends, and business associates.


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