Mercury continues his retrograde motion until February 28th.  He is still in the sign of Aquarius where, at the time of this writing (2/15), he is conjunct the Sun.  Mercury will continue to be too close to the Sun until February 18th at 7:05 AM, EST when he moves back into Capricorn and will, once again, be under the positive energy of Jupiter. 

At this time Mars is only four degrees away from Rahu in the sign of Libra.  This energy, along with the above mentioned Mercury conjunction to the Sun, can put additional stress on the nervous system and can easily cause tempers to flair.  This pattern certainly puts an end to the slower energy of January.

The conjunction of the Sun and Mercury will pass quickly while the energetics of Mars and Rahu will be with us until March 26th when retrograde Mars will move back into the sign of Virgo.  Mars itself will begin his retrograde motion on March 2nd but will still remain close to Rahu.  Rahu is the North Node of the Moon and is not known for rational thought or balanced actions.  Rahu is also known for surprises and as Mars is the planet of athletics we have witnessed a few surprises in Sochi such as the USA victory over Russia in hockey.  There have also been a few surprises in the world of professional sports as ARod drops his lawsuit and Michael Sam comes out before the NFL draft.   It is never known exactly what to expect when Rahu is in the picture.

For the rest of us the combination of these two conjunctions has turned some southern state highways into parking lots, has people in my area shoveling and/or slipping and sliding on roads and walkways while Southern California still awaits some rain.  Aquarius and Libra are both air signs and air signs are known for affecting the weather patterns.    

There is nothing anyone can do about weather patterns except to be as prepared as possible.  We always have the ability to do something about our own emotions and thoughts.  Mercury is the neutral mind and rules the nervous system.  It stands to reason that if he is conjunct the fiery Sun the energy will test our patience especially in the area of communication – restraint of impatient actions and words will go a long way towards keeping a semblance of peace in our personal relationships for the next few days.

The bigger challenge is the Mars/Rahu conjunction.  Mars, among other things, rules ambition, aggression, physical activity and impatience. The conjunction is taking place in an air sign which happens to also rule relationships. It will take a bit of effort to not bite off the heads of people in our lives.  It falls to those of us who understand that planetary energy affects us to be able to pull back if others are driving us to distraction. Sometimes other people are simply unable to understand that others are also being affected by the energies of this time period and they end up with the perception that their pain and frustrations are greater than others – not fair but true.   

Rahu tends to work on our desires but also influences our karmic patterns.  Rahu is also one of the indicators of psychologists and energetic healers.  When he is activated Rahu will dredge up old karmas and old feelings so they may be understood and released.  Rahu can bring out irrational fears and neurosis and without an understanding of the psyche some people will act and react on the illusionary thoughts of their psychological problems.   We are not required to jump into their mud puddle.

It is important as we deal with this energy to remember that Rahu has a tendency to magnify both the negatives and positives of a situation.  If something is causing us great anxiety at this time we can be fairly certain that the situation is in no way as awful as our imaginations are telling us and on the other hand if something seems too good to be true it most likely is not a deal which will deliver what is promised.  Restraint combined with common sense will take away the power of this conjunction.

Many are experiencing disturbed sleeping patterns right now and it can be helpful to take care of the nervous system and/or to find a holistic formula for sleep during the next six weeks or so.  Whether we are enjoying this time period or not there is more energy available at the moment and utilizing the energy through physical activity can be helpful for both the nervous system and a good night’s sleep. 

Because Mars is being pumped up by Rahu it can be helpful to know what I like to call the “bewitching hours” of Mars.  Because Mars makes four aspects there are going to be four times each day when his influence is felt more strongly.  Paying attention to these hours can help us to avoid extra conflict.  Currently Mars is especially strong from approximately 8:30 AM to 10: AM; 10 AM to 12 PM; 10 PM to 12:00 AM; 4:30 AM to 6:00 AM.  All times are eastern standard.      One of the reasons for the more active sleep states many are experiencing is due to the fact that two of the Mars bewitching times fall during sleep hours. Extra care during commuting hours is advised at this time period.

This energy will lead us right into “eclipse season” which indicates that we will continue to deal with higher stress levels along with some surprises.  It also indicates new opportunities on a mundane level as well as a continuation of our own quest towards conscious living and letting go of old patterns which no longer serve us.  Due to Rahu’s tendency to bring out our fears, resentments and other subconscious dross which actually always interfering with our inner peace I am going to include a short, easy but very effective Buddhist technique to help when the negative and/or painful emotions cloud our days.

The technique is named “Tonglen.”  When a painful or disturbing emotion takes hold over our thoughts and lives rather than try to ignore or eliminate the emotion this technique helps to work with it. Inhale and with the inhalation bring that emotion within so that it can be deeply felt.  While holding in the breath imagine others feeling the same emotion. Finally exhale out the emotion with compassion for yourself and all others who are feeling the same.  Once you’ve practiced this for a short amount of time it can be easily done at other times during the day.  It can be done while sitting in traffic or while standing on the express line behind someone with a full grocery cart.  This technique will help you return to a peaceful place and also gives the opportunity to send out compassion to the world.