Today, February 11th at 10:22 am, Eastern Time, Mercury resumed forward motion in the sign of Capricorn. This Mercury retrograde proved to be more challenging than others due to the fact that the retrograde was involved in the last New Moon along with being aspected by transit Saturn from the sign of Scorpio. Rather than a universal “quiet-time” we saw confusion, accidents, violence and for many moments of discouragement along with the usual missed appointments, lateness and glitches in technology. Some of the more annoying attributes of Mercury retrograde will begin to lessen quickly.

Along with the changing of Mercury’s retrograde status we also have Mars moving to Pisces on 2/12 at 2:52 a.m. and the Sun moving into Aquarius at 10:50, p.m., Eastern Time. This level of planetary change in less than forty-eight hours can cause nervousness along with a sense of confusion because of the energetics involved in the movements of the planets. It is best to breathe through the nervousness and to not attach too much importance to dramatic or emotional thoughts during the next few days especially if the emotions are coming from anxiety or confusion. The energy will settle down soon enough.

Mars is better placed in Pisces than in Aquarius and hopefully, we will see less anger and agitation in our daily interactions with others. We are still living through times of great change and for those people who are afraid of change or who refuse to identify with the world at large or who insist that they are victims and therefore have no responsibility for their own emotional and mental well-being there will be a slight lessening of pressure but they will continue to be confused during this time period.

Mars is still Mars and will applying his brand of pressure to those born with strong Pisces in their charts as well as those who have the signs of Gemini, Virgo or Libra prominent in their charts. Other than Pisces the other three signs tend towards “vata derangement” which can bring about nervous anxiety while Mars in aspecting them. Because of the fiery nature of Mars the combination of the high level of vata/air along with the fire of Mars can also cause higher levels of inflammation, angry expression and impulsivity. Mars is a courageous energy and this is a good time to move forward with plans but to choose actions wisely. For the world itself Mars is now hitting the eclipse points of Ketu and Rahu which indicates some surprises and both loss and gain – it will not be a dull time.

The Sun is not particularly well-placed in Aquarius but generally does not cause great amounts of trouble in this sign. As the Sun moves out of the sign of Capricorn and away from Mercury being retrograde in Capricorn there can be a shift from the seeking of security and safety through money and traditions to more universal and creative attitudes. Aquarius is a sign of media and communication which may give us a thirty day time period of higher levels of media caused drama. It is a good time for personal growth and creativity.

Saturn is continuing his passage through Scorpio and many have been experiencing the need to clear out old emotional patterns and hurts while others are wrestling with unfulfilled desires (a matter of Scorpio). The emotions of Scorpio run deep and as the ruler of Scorpio is Mars there can be levels of impatience with the process a process which is much slower due to the current influence of Saturn. It is best to curb the impatience and work with the patience and honesty of Saturn. Most people with a strong Scorpio influence in their charts will be different people by 2017.

The Moon is debilitated in the sign of Scorpio and during the long transit of Saturn in Scorpio when the Moon visits this sign every month there is the possibility of some feeling depressed or hopeless during the Moon in Scorpio transits. This month those days will be 2/12 and 2/13 – the key is to not act on the emotions and to use the lower energy for restful activities.

Finally, much of the world goes by the arbitrary and fixed date of January 1st as the start of the New Year. However, other cultures have kept with the tradition of using the lunar cycle to mark the New Year. This year the Chinese New Year takes place on February 18th with the New Moon in the sign of Aquarius. I know very little about Chinese Astrology other than the assignment of animal symbols to each year running in a sequence of twelve animals for a cycle of twelve years. This year we will be moving into the year of the Sheep or Ram and leaving the Year of the Horse. I do know about the year of the Horse which is traditionally a year of difficulty, instability and fast movement. 2015 certainly lived up to the reputation of the Horse. The Year of the Sheep is said to be calmer and more positive. I wish all of us a Happy Chinese New Year!