On February 18th at 10:36 A.M. PST the Sun joins gentle Venus, generous Jupiter and innovative Uranus in dreamy Pisces, with only an Aries moon hinting at the awakening energy that will begin unfolding during this solar cycle. As the Sun travels through completive Pisces, aggressive Mars will turn direct in fiery Leo and Mercury and Venus will venture into instigative Aries. This mixture of planets in intuitive, nebulous Pisces and provocative, pioneering Aries walks our psyche’s fine line of war and peace and helps us plan and act accordingly. It also foreshadows some of 2010’s most noteworthy planetary activity, the movements of both Jupiter and Uranus into Aries and their returns to Pisces.
LIke last month, at the start of this solar cycle we find must of the planets lined up along the winter axis of the zodiac wheel. Winter is the season of reflection and contemplation and this one has had extra brakes on it with a Mars retrograde that began the day before Winter Solstice. But unlike when the Sun entered Aquarius or Capricorn, now the majority of these planets are in the season’s final sign, Pisces. Being the last sign of the zodiac as well, Pisces prepares us for Spring and the start of a new astrological year. Before even the March 20th Spring Equinox arrives, on March 10th Mars will turn direct. In fellow fire sign Leo, it will be poised to fuel the fervor of the planets in and bound for Aries, Venus on March 7th, Mercury on March 17th and the Sun on March 20th.
Ruled by the planet of insight and illusion Neptune, for Pisces life is but a dream. One of the Yin or inward pulling signs, it is happiest in its serene nether worlds. Ruled by passionate Mars, Aries could not be more different. Not only does the Cardinal fire sign demand that we deal with the real world, it is intent on shaking the whole thing up. The dance that will unfold during this cycle between the fish and ram is an unusual one. We all want the peace and bliss found in mutable Pisces’ idyllic waters. Yet inertia is not an option, nor would we really want it to be.
The most dramatic example of these energies in action during this cycle is the War in Afghanistan. For years the Taliban regularly shot and beheaded women publicly to demonstrate its unchallenged and brutal authority. At the same time it also operated terrorist training camps with impunity. Before 9/11, only the voices of women’s rights activists, and a few military hawks, called for intervention. Pisces teaches us compassion for the innocent and the weak, and Aries understands the imperative to act. Presently, the battle of Marjah, a fight that may well come to be regarded as the Normandy of the Afghanistan War, is underway as the planets awaken from the Pisces dreamland and shift into the Warrior energies of Aries and Mars moving forward in Leo, a fire sign revered for its leadership and courage.
In its lower vibration, Pisces is spaced out, uncommitted and unreliable. In its lower forms, Aries is selfish, grossly insensitive and recklessly impulsive. But in combination in their higher degrees, Pisces’ imagination, empathy and quest for Oneness complement Aries’ decisiveness, boldness and fearlessness. We can see how together these energies may well win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, and the War. From May 27 through August 13 Uranus will enter Aries. A few days later, on June 6th, Jupiter will also enter Aries where it will stay until September 9th. Both will ultimately retreat into Pisces before entering Aries for good in 2011. The window they create this summer is an outstanding one for trying out new projects, paths and ideas. With both heavyweights returning to Pisces for the long Autumn, there will be plenty of time to refine these ventures. It will be interesting to see how these aspects play out on the international stage.
More immediately, in our own lives, while the Sun moves through Pisces, we have a little more time to prepare for the big opportunities ahead. Still, during this solar transit, some of the important doors are very likely to begin opening. Gleaning some reflective Pisces wisdom now may well serve our big picture plans. Some exquisite points of Pisces guidance include the February 28th full moon in analytical Virgo and the March 15th Pisces new moon when Mercury will be conjunct Uranus. Don’t expect the solutions to come by thinking your way through the issues or problems, however. Under these influences, you’re much more likely to have your a-ha moment when delving into a pool of creativity, such as writing, painting or playing music. For it is only deep in those unfathomable Neptunian depths that Pisces yields her prescient pearls.
It is with great hesitation that I criticize a charitable organization publicly. However, after spending the past several YEARS trying to have my information removed from Oxfam’s mailing list, I must vent. With the kindest of intentions, I unsuspectingly bought a set of their holiday cards, 12 years ago, and have been subsequently subscribed to the official “Mailing List from HELL.”
No matter how often I protest their incessant mailings and repeatedly request removal from their list, yet another solicitation arrives, like today’s. This is exactly the irresponsible kind of behavior that utterly discourages charitable donations. I have moved clear across the United States and their mailings persist. I have phoned them. I have mailed them. No matter what, they don’t seem to give a damn about my wishes and insist on sending more unwanted mail.
Over the weekend I spoke to a friend who noted that she has so many mailing labels from charities and political organizations that she could wallpaper an entire wall with them. She gave to one animal rights organization who in turn shared her information with several others. Now she is inundated with mail from them all and feels overwhelmed. When I mentioned that I was considering sending money to one org, she warned me about the onslaught of unwanted and undesired mail that would be the inevitable consequence of my behavior. Why do charities and non-profits share a private donor’s information without consent in the first place?
In the wake of the Haitian earthquake, the overly aggressive and utterly inconsiderate actions of organizations like Oxfam only dissuade people from donating. You’re much safer anonymously chucking your change into those collection jars at Starbuck’s, so that you can’t be hounded eternally. I am now honestly considering, just sending cash in envelopes with no return address and hoping for the best.
That being said, giving is important. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to allocate 3% of my grossly monthly income to various causes. Since 2007 most of my giving has fortunately gone to U.S. Marines in Afghanistan, who thankfully, have never hit me up for another cent. They seem to understand and appreciate that I’m doing what I can, and I have fun shopping for items for them and making up the packages. Also, I gave to Heifer International at Xmas 2008. They have a place on their online form, if I recall correctly, where you can opt out of mailings. Unlike Oxfam, they have TOTALLY respected my wishes, so I would absolutely consider donating to them again, and in fact highly recommend them to the charity weary. It’s orgs like Oxfam who ruin it for orgs who respectfully and responsibly treat their donors. Let’s not even get into the unconscionable waste tens of thousands of trees and hundreds of pounds of pollution pumped into the air with the fuel used to deliver their unwanted solicitations. For the record, I am just as harsh on businesses who send unwanted catalogs. I never thought I’d say that I regret giving, but today’s envelope is the last straw with Oxfam. It’s time to apply do not mail/call laws to non-profits. I doubt this post will stop Oxfam’s mail. But if it steers even one person to a more responsible organization, then it’s worth posting.