Mars Retrograde 2016 – Don’t Stop Evolving

mars retrograde 2016


During 2016, Mars retrograde period occurs during April 18th – June 29th.

The affected degree areas in your horoscope are (in reverse order): 08 Sagittarius – 23 Scorpio. If you have planets or angles within this zone, the above period will have more significance to you.


During the 2-year orbit of Mars, there is a period of several months where – observed nightly – Mars appears to be moving in reverse of his usual direction.  This is called Mars retrograde period.  If you were born during Mars retrograde period, you’ll see a little ‘Rx’ or just ‘r’ marking by your natal Mars symbol in your natal chart.

In this article we’ll focus on transiting Mars retrograde, which will be significant regardless of your natal Mars being direct or retrograde.


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Uranus Pluto Transit: Time for Necessary Changes

uranus pluto transit

Uranus Pluto Conjunction, Square, Opposition Transit: Overturning the Tables

Transit or solar arc between Uranus and Pluto can mark a dynamic period of empowerment and individuation. Uranus intensifies Pluto’s need for deep transformation, and Pluto empowers Uranus’ need to be true to one’s self without worrying about what other people may think.

Noel Tyl said Uranus Pluto transit is like Jesus walking into the temple and overturning the tables of moneychangers. There is a powerful sense of “this MUST change now!” that accompanies this transit. There may also be an upheaval that opens up hitherto unseen possibilities.

Whether you experience it on an external or internal level, Uranus-Pluto transit could present an opportunity to make life-altering changes.


Uranus Pluto Transit: Questions to Ask Yourself

Here are some questions that may be relevant during Uranus conjunct, square or opposition Pluto:

  • What must change in your life right now? What have you tolerated too long?
  • What change, if implemented now, would make you feel more alive and authentic?
  • What have you been neglecting that is essential for your joy? Is approval from others worth neglecting yourself?
  • Where does your passion lie? How can you bring it back into your work and relationships? 

Uranus-Pluto Implosion: Risk of Tolerating the Unacceptable

As Uranus-Pluto transit nears exact conjunction, square or opposition, you may feel a pressure building in the form of upsets or discontent in any area of your life. This could be a warning signal showing you that the time to make the necessary change is now.

But what if you don’t, and continue tolerating the intolerable situation? The tension and pressure might implode within the body, causing some health issues perhaps 1-2 years later.

Under the force of Uranus-Pluto transit, it may be easier to find the courage to take a step of faith in a brand new direction. Afterward, you will most likely feel stronger and more attuned to your authentic self.


Are you experiencing the Uranus-Pluto transit right now? How do you feel its pressure? Were you able to make the necessary changes? Feel free to share your thoughts and experience in the comment section.



photo: Jeff Turner

Venus Neptune Aspects: The Necessary Disillusionment in Relationship

Venus Neptune conjunct square oppositionVenus represents your relationship needs.  Neptune is often described by the word “Disillusionment.”  Hence, Venus Neptune aspect is commonly thought of as “Disillusionment in Love” which sounds ominous.

While disillusionment can be a difficult experience, it’s a necessary process that accelerates your healing toward having a healthier relationship with yourself and others.  Here we’ll take a look at Venus Neptune conjunction, square or opposition in transit and in natal chart while specifically focusing on the disillusionment process.

Natal Venus conjunct square opposition Neptune: Flight Into Beauty and Romance

In your natal horoscope, Venus Neptune aspect suggests an overabundance of romantic and aesthetic needs. Like swooning to Rachmaninoff’s piano concerto, there seems to be a need for aesthetic or romantic intoxication, sometimes to the point of excess or even escapism.

The question to ask is “Why does this need exist?” When did this need to escape into the ideal world of beauty and romance arise?

In childhood, the creative imagination of Neptune is frequently used as a means to escape painful reality. If the early home environment was extremely difficult for you as a child due to one or both of the parents being problematic, then perhaps the beautiful world inside your imagination functioned as the only place of escape for you

Some clients with Venus conjunct, square or opposite Neptune might tell me “Oh I’ve had a good childhood – my father was very loving to us, he was a very good provider”, etc, even though it becomes clear later in the discussion that they hardly spent any time with one or both of their parents, and felt terribly abandoned by them. It’s the Neptunian idealization process at work in the context of relationship with their parents.

The romantic and aesthetic imagination of Venus-Neptune aspect can easily form a defense mechanism against undesirable experience of rejection, criticism or abandonment. In its most extreme, Neptune-Venus aspect suggests denial of the fact that something painful was going on in your early relationship with your family.

Such denial is a setup for later disillusionment, perhaps to be triggered by future Neptune transit to Venus or the 7th house ruler.


Transit Neptune Conjunct Square Opposition Venus: Illusion or Inspiration?

In relation to transit or solar arc Neptune Venus aspect, many astrologers use phrases like “deception in love” or “romantic disillusionment”, which can be alarming if you’re beginning a relationship under this transit. To keep a more balanced perspective about this transit, here is a thought you may want to try out:


Neptune transit to Venus or the 7th house ruler tests your relationship to see if your idealized perception about your partner and the relationship is valid.


If your perception was based on a fantasy created in your early childhood (see the above section on natal Venus Neptune conjunction, square or opposition), then you may be choosing to blind yourself to important signals that are telling you all is not as it seems in your relationship.

Such signals may include the fact that your partner hardly spends any quality time with you, or that he/she has lied to you before, or that there seems to be a little too much alcohol or drugs involved whenever you’re together.

If the relationship is indeed based on unreality (i.e. you turning a blind eye to unhealthy signals and ending up victimized as a result), then this transit will most likely dissolve the blinder you have on, creating an opportunity to release the pattern of idealization you’ve been holding onto since childhood.


Neptune Venus Transit: Disillusionment Gives Opportunity for Emotional Healing

The most difficult part of transit Neptune Venus conjunction, square or opposition is to let go of the pattern of unrealistic idealization. In order to do so, you’ll need to let go of the defense mechanism you’ve created as a child (e.g. fantasizing the idealized relationship with the parent of opposite gender), thereby realizing (and feeling the emotions associated with) the truth about your early family life.

The process of disillusionment has a purpose, and its pain is most likely a reminder of how you used to feel as a child, growing up in your home environment. If you are able to fully embrace the pain at its childhood root, the pain will dissolve and the stuck emotional energy, along with the pattern of denial, can be released.

Many people with a strong Neptune aspect lose memory of their childhood, especially if it was painful. If you choose to escape again, even after the disillusionment, into the idealized perception of your life, then your pattern of denial will remain the same, and the disillusionment process will most likely have to repeat itself in the future.


Venus Neptune Aspects: The Rewards on the Other Side of Disillusionment

The process of disillusionment, if successfully embraced, will dissolve the frozen emotional energies that were stuck in your psyche since childhood (unsurprisingly, the released emotions may come out as tears.) This is a tremendous healing opportunity, and takes real courage to go through (a help from a therapist or a counselor might be beneficial.)

As a result, you will end up with much more emotional energy, giving you an increased capacity to relate more fully with others. In addition, because your perception has been clarified, you’ll be able to better “see” others and relate to them on a more authentic level (before then, you were most likely relating to the idealized perception you had of your partner within your mind rather than to the real person.)

Lastly, your increased emotional energy may free up your creative capacity and aesthetic appreciation, so that you can enjoy more creativity, beauty and romance, all the while maintaining a healthy connection with reality.


Photo: Abrahim Asad

Transit Jupiter Conjunct Ascendant: Expand Your Self-Image

jupiter conjunct ascendant

Jupiter symbolizes expansion, reward and success.  Ascendant represents your self-image.  Jupiter conjunct Ascendant invites you to begin a new course of action in order to grow as the person you’d like to become.

Jupiter Conjunct Ascendant: a New Cycle of Personal Growth

In movies, success comes at the end of the story, and people live happily ever after. In life, success almost always is a beginning of a new journey.  Jupiter crossing your Ascendant is sometimes accompanied by success. Whether it does so or not, you’ll benefit from this time period through sowing new seeds of intention for your personal growth.

Examples of Success and New Beginning During Transit Jupiter Conjunct Ascendant

Jupiter’s orbit is 12 years, so the “planet of reward” conjoins each planet and Angle in your horoscope once every 12 years. While not all Jupiter transit to the Ascendant will coincide with breakthroughs and huge successes, they often suggest a beginning of the success to come.  See these well known examples:

1) In October 2009, president Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.  Transiting Jupiter was conjunct his Ascendant exactly within 1 degree.  Many people including the president himself saw the award as a “call to action” in the upcoming future, rather than the reward of past achievements.

2) When Oprah Winfrey first began hosting a low-rated morning show called AM Chicago, transiting Jupiter was about to conjoin her Ascendant. Within a matter of months, AM Chicago became the number one rated morning show in America, and later was renamed Oprah Winfrey show.  For Oprah, transit Jupiter conjunct Ascendant marked a relatively humble beginning for an avalanche of success to come.

3) Pamela Anderson was discovered during a football game in the Summer of 1989. Within a few months she was selected as the cover model for October 1989 issue of Playboy magazine. Transiting Jupiter was conjunct her Ascendant in June 1989, and then went on to conjoin her Sun in September of ’89.  Again, transiting Jupiter crossing Ascendant was marking a beginning of a new career, which would give her a brand new self-image.


Sowing a New Intention for Growth: How to Work with Jupiter Conjunct Ascendant

When transiting Jupiter crosses your natal Ascendant, you may find it useful to ask yourself “What new path is opening before me? What kind of person do I want to become? Looking back at the past 12 years, what old habits and thought patterns can I leave behind?”

Asking yourself these questions during this transit can help you respond positively to the opportunities and reward that are present in your life.

Solar Arc in Astrology: Guidelines for Interpretation

Interpreting Solar Arc Planets

Here are some general guidelines for interpreting the meaning of planets progressed through the Solar Arc method. Since each “arc” will last for approximately 9 months (6 months applying, 3 months separating), we can add the faster moving planets and points to the interpretation.

ASC or MC solar arcs tend to manifest as visible events in terms of the planet that they are aspecting. MC arc may suggest a vocationally significant development. For example, solar arc of MC making a hard aspect to Pluto (which is written as MC=Pluto) may suggest an empowerment in terms of career, or a status change within the family such as relocation, etc.

Sun solar arc 
suggests “illumination” of self in terms of the planet aspected by it. Solar Arc Sun=Venus may be a time where love relationship is especially highlighted, or when an artistic project receives rewarding recognition, etc.

Moon solar arc suggests the shift in emotional needs in terms of the aspected planets. Moon=Pluto may be a time when passion and zeal enters the heart; Moon=Jupiter may be when international interest opens up.

Mercury solar arc potentially suggests development of an idea, communication, or travels.

Venus solar arc may suggest development of love, relationship, arts, or pleasant dealing with the public.

Mars solar arc can suggest a time when you make a stand, or assume additional responsibility and meet it successfully. 

Jupiter solar arc often suggests rewards, opportunity, and education.

Saturn solar arc
suggests change of gears, ambition moving forward, or some inevitable hardship that leads to maturity.

Uranus solar arc 
suggests status change that may lead to greater individuation, freedom, or innovative change. Individuation may necessitate a separation from old relationship.

Neptune solar arc 
suggests inspiration or confusion. It tends to be beneficial for people in aesthetic professions such as artists, entertainers and fashion designers. In general, Neptune transit or Arc to the Angle suggests a time of “ego wipeout.”

Pluto solar arc suggests change that may lead to empowerment, rebirth, and necessary endings or death.

Nodal Axis solar arc may suggest important meetings, or connection with the public through work.

It’s helpful to remember that not all of the solar arcs manifest as an observable change. In the next post we’ll discuss some practical considerations that modify our expectation with regards to transits and solar arcs.

Predictive Techniques: Solar Arc vs Secondary Progression

Solar Arc vs Secondary Progression: Which Systems to Use?

Secondary progression (i.e. “a day for a year” method of directing a natal chart) has been around for a long time, but it was by no means the only method of progressing a horoscope. Throughout the history of astrology, astrologers have invented different methods of projecting a natal chart into the future.

Right now, Solar Arc and Secondary Progression are the most popular methods used by professional astrologers.  Noel Tyl popularized the Solar Arc method (although he still uses Secondary Progressed Moon). There are many fine astrologers using Secondary Progression as their tool of choice, so both methods are here to stay.

Difference between Secondary Progressed and Solar Arc Planets

One of the key differences between the two methods is that in Solar Arc you get to advance the slower moving planets (Saturn through Pluto) that hardly move in the Secondary Progression method, so this tends to add more interpretive possibilities when forecasting.

Noel Tyl, who has written extensively about both progression methods, stated that in our modern era, important life changes (e.g. divorce, job change, relocation, etc) occur much more frequently than in previous times – thus we need a method that more accurately reflects the rapid pace of modern life.

In Secondary Progression, outer planets are pretty much unusable due to how slowly they move.  In Solar Arc, you’ll see natal outer planets located in cadent (3rd, 6th, 9th or 12th) houses crossing an angle within the first 10-30 years of life, frequently representing major restructuring of family unit, home environment, or the profession.

How to Calculate Solar Arc Planets’ Movement

Solar Arc planets “move” at the speed of Secondary Progressed Sun, which is approximately one degree per year.  If you obtain the current location of SP (secondary progressed) Sun, and calculate the arc (angular distance) between the SP Sun and the natal Sun, you have the “Solar Arc” you need to progress your natal chart to its current Solar Arc position (your astrology software will make this calculation for you automatically.)

Even a fast-moving planet like Venus will have a longer time frame (say 6 months applying, and 3 months separating) to be in orb using a Solar Arc method: this means Solar Arc of Venus aspecting the natal Sun (written Venus=Sun) would last for about 9 months, strongly suggesting the success of a relationship or an artistic endeavor.

In transit, Venus moves so fast that it can’t have much of an impact except for a couple days of pleasantness. Similar things can be said of Jupiter, whose transit is fleeting but under the Solar Arc, suggests a 9 months period in which reward or opportunity is likely to be presented.

Testing Solar Arc in Your Own Horoscope

Solar Arc is relatively easy to test in your own horoscope: add 1 degree per year to the natal planets to see how they move and form an aspect with the natal planet. The orb needs to be exact (less than one degree) in order for the Arc to be in effect, and we count hard aspects (conjunction, square and opposition) only.

If natal ASC (Ascendant) is at 12 Leo, and natal Saturn is at 22 Leo, this means Solar Arc ASC will conjoin natal Saturn at age 10 (we write ASC=Sat to denote this period), then we ask if there had been a status change within the family around that age: some Saturnian event such as death in the family, sickness, move, or change in father’s position, etc.

Conclusion: Secondary Progression vs Solar Arc?

Solar Arc is a modern derivative of Secondary Progression that allows the astrologers to utilize Saturn and outer planets more fully in their predictive work.  Many modern astrologers including myself use Solar Arc (which gives central importance to the Secondary Progressed Sun’s movement) in combination with Secondary Progressed Moon (which is a very important timer of life progress.)

To study further, you can read the article on Solar Arc Interpretation.

A Must Read Reference: Solar Arcs by Noel Tyl

Noel Tyl has written extensively about his method of prediction in Solar Arcs: Astrology’s most successful predictive system. The book is actually a summary of his predictive method incorporating transits, Solar Arcs, Secondary Progressed Moon, as well as Tertiary Progressed Moon.

Neptune Opposition Ascendant in Transit or Solar Arc

Neptune Opposition AscendantTransit or Solar Arc Neptune opposing the Ascendant could, among other things, signal a time of temporary defeat and a shift of self-image, or that of sharing your creative vision with the public.

Let’s take a look at both scenarios using real life examples:

Neptune Opposition Ascendant – First Scenario:
Defeat to the Ego, Shift of Identity

Ascendant represents your ego or self-image.  In our first scenario, transit Neptune opposing the Ascendant can temporarily wipe out the ego through defeat.  Afterwards, you may emerge with a renewed and refined self-image.

  • Al Gore lost year 2000 presidential election when transiting Neptune exactly opposed his Ascendant. This ended his ambition to become a president – he never ran again. Instead, he focused his efforts on innovative business ventures and environmental activism. Neptune crossing the Descendant coincided with a major change of his identity.
  • Lee Iacocca’s last year as a president of Ford Motor (leading to his being fired in mid 1978) was a very humiliating and draining time, made so by Henry Ford II’s insidious attempts to sabotage him (an example: Ford promoted a man who worked under Iacocca and placed him above Iacocca – a public humiliation.) In mid 1977 Iacocca had Solar Arc Neptune opposing the Ascendant. After trying to hold his ground for a year, he finally got fired in June 1978 (transiting Pluto was forming an opposition to his Ascendant). This led to his entrance into Chrysler, a beginning of another victory to vindicate himself.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. was involved in the Albany movement during 1961-1962. The movement was unsuccessful, and he was arrested and jailed. Transiting Neptune was opposing his Ascendant. This experience taught King a great lesson (to aim at a specific reform rather than a total overhaul of the system), that changed his strategy for the later movements. Again, Neptune crossing the Ascendant-Descendant axis coincided with a necessary course correction.


Neptune Opposition Ascendant – Second Scenario:
Projecting Creativity, Vision and Inspiration to the Public

Neptune opposing the Ascendant means it is crossing the Descendant into the 7th house, which represents the public.  In the second scenario of this transit, Neptune can suggest creativity and vision shared with the public.

  • Johnny Depp captured the public’s imagination when the first Pirates of Caribbean movie came out in June 2003 and became a huge hit. Transiting Neptune was conjunct his 7th house cusp during 2003-2004.  Depp’s creative portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow earned him superstar status, certainly transforming his image (the Ascendant).
  • When her Solar Arc Neptune opposed Ascendant, Drew Barrymore became one of the most famous child stars of the time through her role as Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  Neptune co-rules her 10th house (career), and the solar arc to Ascendant was pretty much exact at the time the movie came out.
  • In 2001, public support for George W. Bush dramatically increased following his speech and declaration of War on Terror after the September 11 attacks. He had transiting Neptune conjunct his 7th cusp (the public) during 2001-2002, representing shared vision of anger and grief expressed to the public.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. gave the famous “I Have a Dream” speech in August 1963, sharing his vision of racial equality with burning passion. Transiting Neptune was crossing his 7th house cusp for the final time.

Conclusion: How to Get the Most out of Neptune Opposition Ascendant

In general, Neptune transits seem to favor people in the creative profession.  Regardless of your profession, transit or solar arc Neptune opposition Ascendant is a time to shift ego’s energy in a more creative or inspired direction.  Whatever defeat you may suffer has the effect of connecting you with the larger world, thereby expanding your self-image to include the joys and pains of others.

If you’re going through this transit right now, you may want to ask yourself “What feelings and inspiration am I longing to share with the world?  How can I express more of my creativity, compassion or unconditional acceptance of others?”


Are you going through transit Neptune opposition Ascendant right now, or have you done so in the past?  If so what was your experience?     Feel free to share in the comment section!

Saturn Return: One of the Most Powerful Cycles in Astrology

Saturn Return in Astrology: Introduction


Saturn return occurs when transiting Saturn conjuncts your natal Saturn.  As Saturn’s orbit is about 29 1/2 years, Saturn return occurs when you are around age 29 (and age 59 for the second return).  There is a slight individual variation due to retrograde motions of Saturn – so the first Saturn return could happen at age 28, 29 or 30 (you’ll either need an astrological software or an ephemeris to get the accurate timing of your Saturn return.)


Saturn symbolizes structure – as in the structure of your life (e.g. work, family, community, etc) and identity (ego).  It is also the symbol of time – time to build, to advance, to accomplish something meaningful.  Saturn return is a time when you experience a shift of level or direction.  Frequently it represents the beginning of a new chapter in your life.


Your first Saturn return often symbolizes major shift in your career responsibility, and/or your family structure.  For many people, this period often serves as the true transition into full adulthood through the added responsibility they usually acquire at this time.


Your second Saturn return is another time of major shift in identity.  Often thoughts and plans for retirement is active at this time, and “what to do next” becomes a big theme.  As Saturn cycle affects your life structure and identity, it’s a great time to ask yourself “what is my purpose in life? How do I express it more?”

Here is a good collection of anecdotes for Saturn Return by Nancy