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These astro-morsels are actual excerpts from online mini-readings, with only the data as given. We hope you find them useful. Enjoy!

Saturn/Pluto Opposition
Progressed Moon into Pisces
Mars and Red Hair
North Node of the Moon
True Node or Mean?

Saturn/Pluto Opposition   - Aug. 4, 2001

"I'm having quite a time with these transits, seeing as my Sun and Mercury are at 12 Sagittarius. I should be experiencing transformation, but I feel more like a big truck spinning it's wheels going nowhere. Would that be Saturn? The last 5 years have been hell. I've got progressed Mars conjunct Saturn on my Vertex." - J.

Without having the rest of your chart, I can't assess 'why' the last five years have been so difficult, but I would say that this opposition now, with Pluto on your Sun & Mercury is when you have to "put your money where your mouth is" in reference to any area of your life where your personal will has been thwarted in aspiring toward or achieving your own personal goals. There are bound to have been power struggles, and it is essential that you 'grab the bull by the horns' and stand firm with what you know is 'good' or 'right' for YOU!

The Saturn opposition would indicate that you may have cowered to authority figures in the past, and that now the test is to stand up for yourself and trust your own instincts, rather than doing 'the done thing' and following orders or dictates that are destructive to your well-being. Feeling like you are being pulled through a knothole backwards is typical of a Pluto transit, and if it helps, most people consider Saturn/Pluto combinations to be the toughest transits of all, so things should improve in the not too distant future.

You can accelerate the improvement, however, by 'owning' your Sun, the light of your soul, the self-actualization potential contained within your chart, and your Mercury, your ability to communicate your preferences and share your experiences with good humour and enthusiasm, providing inspiration for others.

The opposition from Saturn is making you aware of your limitations, but also insisting that you align yourself carefully with the most effective and efficient application of your energies, which would also support the prog. Mars/Saturn/Vx. It can be difficult as a woman 'in a man's world' to embody and exert all of her own Mars/yang energy, especially if she is in a relationship with a man, which can even include a boss, a father or other significant male! After almost three months of a Rx Mars, hopefully we have all dug deeply enough to know our own desires and needs, have found a new level of self- respect deep within our core (Pluto), and are willing to exercise our personal will to enact choices towards that transformation of which you spoke.

Mars and Chiron both turned retrograde at 29°Sagittarius, and so the changes and healings are gigantic! Slow down, yes, but not just to 'not go fast,' but to notice and incorporate the vital ingredients of a vibrant life for yourself. In turn, you will have more than enough energy for what/whomever you want to spend it on, once you have nurtured yourself. No more Little Miss Nice-Nice. It's time for some HONESTY and FUN!

The 'big truck spinning its wheels' is Pluto, delving your deepest core (Kore = Persephone = Pluto's consort and Queen of the Underworld). Once it goes direct Aug.23, the opposition will also be off, and you should begin to feel the rumblings of the earth moving beneath your feet. Mars enters Capricorn on Sept. 8, and finally, well placed actions will manifest results.

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Progressed Moon into Pisces   - Aug. 13, 2001

"My progressed moon will go into Pisces on Wednesday and I would love some insight on it. I know what happened last time and I am hoping for a 'higher' experience this time around." - E.

I always see the progressed Moon much like a satellite dish orbiting around the chart, picking up signals on that particular frequency (re what sign it is in), like a radio station. The sign the Moon passes through for that 2 1/2 year period will colour all of your personal experiences and habitual patterns. It is as if the Moon will be wearing a Pisces filter for the next while, and you need to lean toward your own Neptunian interests and strengths in order to actualize the best from this passage, like your psychic work, art, music, meditation (an alternative to mediCAtion) and spirituality. You will also find that you attract more Pisceans and Neptunian types during this period of time.

Pisces is YIN (receptive/feminine), and if you are open to RECEIVE guidance, it will be there for you. If on the other hand, you identify with the helpless victim, then you won't recognize help even when it does come. Our societal environment is still so patriarchal that purely 'yin' activities and skills are not honoured nor even noticed in most venues. Choosing your pathways and company carefully are vital, since the Pisces Moon renders you more open and 'vulnerable' than ever. But you can CHOOSE (as you know) to allow in only 'the highest' energies of light, and support that with your conscious choices on a daily basis.

The denser the 'matter' the farther away from Neptune/Pisces it is, so these passages can also be accompanied by a need or desire to 'lighten' your load, change your diet to include less meat, alcohol, sugar and/or chemicals! You might want to take up watercolours or dance or music to enhance your own inner awareness of your Feminine Soul.

Looking at your chart reveals that your prog. Moon has just hit the exact waning square to itself, thus beginning the Last Quarter phase. You might appreciate reading Dane Rudhyar's Lunation Cycle,  and/or Alexander Ruperti's Cycles of Becoming  (his work is patterned after Rudhyar's). This is the maturation phase of integrating the last 20 or so years since the progressed Lunar Return (conjunction to itself). Since it is in your 5th house (self-expression & fun) and going into the 6th (work & routines), I would say that your creative uniqueness needs to be applied 'in earnest' into your daily activities and work, with a renewed enthusiasm and confidence, in order to avoid boisterous unmanageable people (5th house) and health upsets as a result (6th house).

Teach, share, enjoy! Be like a child again! Your prog. MC is 0.Virgo, so prog. Moon will be on the IC as it enters Pisces, and will emphasize your home and comfort zones as being your best place for all creative and imaginative pastimes. LISTEN to your intuition! Guidance from past matriarchs may become available to you. You could also be incredibly psychic about land investments and real estate, and you may need to redecorate your office, studio or bedroom. Most of all, rejoice in celebrating your own wholeness and watch for opportunities to synthesize the dangling bits.

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Mars and Red Hair   - Sept. 2, 2001

"Maybe it is just a coincidence that my red-heads have their Mars in the First House?" - J.

Mars is the RED Fire planet ruling the #1 Fire sign, Aries. Mars is the most singularly potent expression of Fire we can have in a chart and so is usually the most obvious, but all forms of Fire connected to the body (First House, Mars or Sun) qualify for Red Hair, head wounds, facial scars, caesarean births, impatience, anger, pure yang energy - forward, forceful, creative.

I know a seven-year-old boy with Mars in Aries (exactly square Uranus) who has had stitches in his forehead three times, and twice in exactly the same place! For any of you parents out there, the fiery kids, especially Mars in Fire, are usually the most likely to play with fire, literally, so do be sure they understand the dangers. Also these kids will often get fiery hot fevers to burn out any invasive germs that may be trying to attack their bodies, and then they'll suddenly be fine. Don't let it scare you; this is their way of releasing toxins. Mars or ASC in Fire also needs to be physically active with all body parts in good working order, if they expect their brains and hearts to function properly.

When analyzing any factor in a chart, it is always RELATIVE to the rest of the chart, and to the life conditions into which the individual is born. Not every Aries or Mars rising will be loud and boisterous, but somewhere in their character, they can get 'all hot and bothered' about stuff, and that is when they get things done! Medical astrology is based on the correllations between the signs and the parts of the body. Any time we can draw a parallel to the astrological signature involved, we have access to remedies and balance points that might easily be missed through different diagnostic techniques. Maladies reflect that sign or planet's energy being blocked or sabotaged, and associating the behaviours with that sign/planet can point to the underlying cause of the trouble.

The reason that Mars-types (or transits to/from Mars) get headaches is because the "I am" of Mars/Fire is not being allowed expression in that person's life, or at least in a particular situation (the one that gives them the headache). The same thing might be shown by a rash, an itch, inflammation, hot flashes, lacerations, surgery, violence ... all are revealing an imbalance of some sort in the ability to assert one's identity and/or personal will. Anger is Fear turned outward, and both are expressions of a Mars imbalance, where the "I am" is not strong and focused. Any form of self-discipline like sports, dance, martial arts, craftsmanship etc. can help to guide the untrained Mars into a well-developed warrior.

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North Node of the Moon   - Oct. 10, 2001

"I would love to know a little more about the purpose of the North Node. I have mine in Scorpio." - M.

You can find some fantastic reading material on the nodes in Spiritual Astrology and Astrology for the Soul  by Jan Spiller. You will find her listed at the BookZone, the recommended reading section of my web-site. Joanne Wickenburg (Seattle, WA) has done some fabulous work on the nodes that is often a real door-opener for students in understanding the lunar nodes, but I can't remember which book it is in. She also has a correspondence course.

The most important thing to remember with the nodes of the Moon is that we are moving FROM the South Node TOWARD the North Node, so both ends of the polarity have to be taken into consideration. The implication is that whatever is indicated by the South Node (by sign, house, conjunctions etc.), has been 'overdone' in some way, to the extent that there is a need to balance the energies by focusing on the North Node and developing it more fully.

While the SIGNS of the nodes will show you the WAY in which the experiences will be lived, the HOUSES of the nodes tend to be more revelatory as to your personal life story. You are needing to incorporate your strengths from the house of the S.Node, and train them/yourself to be applied more in the manner and area of the N.Node's house.

In most astrology (cook)books they will lump together the house and related sign, like your N.Node in Scorpio ("or the 8th house"), but in actual fact, you will usually find that the house position overrides the sign, if one has to pull rank. Obviously, they will combine their principles to create the personal expression that is yours.

However, the N.Node in Scorpio shows a soul intention and lesson in SHARING your personal values and valuables ('the things that matter'), and learning to TRUST. This starts with yourself, of course, and learning to trust your own intuition, and following it. The lessons of Scorpio are always around issues of Trust, and necessitate self-understanding and self-mastery, in order not to 'trust' the 'wrong' people. You will probably attract a lot of Scorpios into your life as well, to help you learn the 'inward passage.'

The Taurus S.Node would imply that there was abundance or well-being, but a lack of sharing in past lives, perhaps because you were royalty, or miserly, or maybe simply a peasant farmer who barely scraped together a living from the land. There can be many reasons why these patterns are in place, but the lesson here is about not hoarding, but also not squandering, and this is not just about money. The Taurus/Scorpio polarity is about values, personal and shared. Both signs know about boundaries, and how to cover their assets :)

Since Scorpio is traditionally (before Pluto) ruled by Mars, and Taurus by Venus, it might also be indicating a need to be more assertive in this lifetime in pursuing what really matters to you, rather than being more passive or complacent and waiting to receive your 'just due.' House placements and tight aspects, especially conjunctions, will qualify all of this, but this will give you a little bit to start with. Hope it helps.

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True Node or Mean?   - Oct. 18, 2001

"I came across something called a 'True Node' but haven't found a south or north node." - C.

Most astrology programs only list the North Node (of the Moon), and so your 'True Node' would be the North Node, and the South Node would be exactly opposite that point.

The nodes, not being planetary bodies themselves, reflect the wobble of the earth/moon cycles, and so in actuality they wobble back and forth a very few minutes (not degrees) at a time (Rx & D), as they slowly move BACKWARDS through the zodiac and your chart. They may change direction as often as every three days or as seldom as once a month, but they are always vascillating.

Prior to the mid-1970s we only had access to the 'Mean Nodes' which is the average position of their wobbling, since it was so miniscule it was not considered important. However, with the advent of computers and the accuracy of ephemerides and diurnal tables increasing by leaps and bounds, the 'True' position of the Nodes became a desired component in the chart. The Amercian Ephemeris published by Astro-Computing Services in San Diego, California, has listed both True and Mean Nodes ever since then. Most software programs now have the option of whichever one you prefer, with a listing of the other one somewhere as well.

As with everything in astrology there is controversy as to which one is 'right' or better, but there are no hard and fast rules that I know of. I tend to use the True Node in birth charts, as it seems intuitively to be more finely tuned to the individual, but in event charts and mundane astrology, I have found that more often than not, it is the Mean Node that is triggered exactly.

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