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AstroUpdate – February 2015

By Stella Woods, 01-02-2015

2015 Astrology Course - Starts Wednesday 25 th February Sign up Now & Please Tell Your Friends!

If this seems like an impassioned plea – it is! 2015 has not got off to a good start for me and I need your help to spread the word about my upcoming Astrology for Beginners course! I won’t go into full details, but a bout of flu, a sick mother and a dysfunctional website for three weeks in January plus Mercury retrograde have all combined to put me behind the eight ball. BUT… with my mother now at home, the website back up working properly and myself recovered from illness, I’m pretending that 1 st February is the beginning of the New Year!

If you live in or near Melbourne and have ever fancied studying astrology and learning to read birth charts for yourself friends and family, this course could be for you. And if you have any friends who might be interested – please do pass on the info to them – I would appreciate your support in helping me get back on track! Here are the details.

ASTROLOGY FOR BEGINNERS – 32 WEEK COURSE BEGINS 7.15 pm Wednesday 25 th February in Elwood, Melbourne COST $425 x FOUR TERMS OR $750 x TWO SEMESTERS CALL STELLA ON (03) 9534 5021 or stella@stellastarwoman or



Mercury Retrograde – Inconvenient Truths! Communication planet Mercury turned retrograde in late January and will travel backwards through air sign Aquarius until 12th February. Mercury is sometimes considered the single most important planet in the birth chart, since it is through Mercury that we absorb and disseminate all of our perceptions. When Mercury turns retrograde, our perceptions often shift drastically as we contact information in new ways and process it unconsciously. Hermes (Mercury) was the only god to be able to travel to the underworld and back at will, representing his role as the link between the conscious and unconscious mind.

Mercury retrograde can bring chaos, epiphany, creativity, discovery, new answers and new ideas. During Mercury retrograde we may put an idea or plan of action on the back burner for processing and maturation or in some cases, our shadow will surface – if we are not being true to ourselves an event or circumstances will force us to acknowledge and come to terms with our more primitive and undeveloped side. You can be sure that any information, event, fact or awareness that surfaces during Mercury retrograde is completely within character and relevant to your individual growth even if it makes you feel uncomfortable!

February Full Moon The February full moon falls on the 4th bang in the middle of dramatic fire sign Leo, highlighting the extremes in temperature that happen at this time of the year when we are at the exact midpoint between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. The full moon is flanked by the king and queen of the planetary pantheon – Jupiter and his wife Juno, meaning this full moon is inextricably linked with equality in relationships. If you look up at the sky on the day of the full moon (3 rd or 4 th in the evening should be a good view), you will be able to see Jupiter shining brightly in the heavens close to the moon. And with relationship planets Venus and Mars both in in romantic

Pisces, February could be a month for romance. The full moon also links in with the Pluto-Uranus square bring a spark of excitement and heightened emotion. As the energy is somewhat erratic and volatile, take time out to relax and meditate, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or tense. And don’t forget - Leo is the sign of fun, creativity and self-expression, so get out there and enjoy yourself!

February New Moon – Year of the Wood Sheep

The February new moon falls in the very last degree of air sign Aquarius on the 19th February – the second Aquarian new moon of 2015. The Chinese celebrate their New Year at this new moon which ushers in the Year of the Green or Wood Sheep. The Sheep is known as a calm and peace loving creature, making 2015 a good year for family bonding, harmony in personal relationships, the arts and small business. The Year of the Wood Sheep offers the opportunity to heal and recharge the batteries after the chaotic and super-charged energy of 2014, Year of the Horse. Because the Sheep is caring and creative, now is a great time to express your creative side and embrace your closest friendships. The wood element is associated with the planet Jupiter which aids growth and helps us to set and attain goals. Wood is the element of spring, when plants have newgrowth. And, in the Five-Element Chinese Cycle (Wood to Fire to Earth to Metal to Water to Wood), Wood comes before Fire and so has a favourable relationship with it - when you stoke a fire with wood you get a big blaze. Those born in 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991 and 2003 are all born in the Year of the Sheep. 2015 will be a year when Sheep can really shine, both personally and professionally and overcome any recent setbacks or obstacles.

Saturn in Sagittarius & Fundamentalist Religion

Last month we discussed Saturn’s recent entry into fire sign Sagittarius and I described one of the more unfortunate manifestations of this transit (which will be happening until late 2017): “Fundamentalist religious beliefs and religious fanaticism tend to rear their head with Saturn in Sagittarius…. the fight against Muslim extremists is bound to escalate in the aftermath of the recent Sydney siege and Pakistan school massacre….On the positive side, Saturn in Sagittarius will make people examine their core beliefs paving the way for positive change and acceptance of difference.” Only days after my article was published, the terrible events in Paris unfolded with 17 people killed in the Charlie Hebdo and Jewish grocery store attacks. I was actually in Paris researching Gothic cathedrals at the time of the attack and the atmosphere was incredible. 1.3 million people on the streets of Paris and 2.7 million in other French cities marching in support of freedom of speech and racial tolerance. The mood was sombre, but defiant – young people I spoke to were especially angry and determined to fight back.

One man who has aroused the wrath of the Muslim community in the past for speaking his truth is British author Salman Rushdie whose book The Satanic Verses was published in September 1988, the last time Saturn was in Sagittarius. Rushdie was accused of misusing freedom of speech and copies of his book were publicly burned, but the issue escalated into a major international incident when Ayatollah Khomeini, a Muslim leader, issued a fatwa (ruling) calling for the death of Rushdie and his publishers. After the fatwa, the book's Japanese translator was stabbed to death, its Norwegian publisher was shot, and its Italian publisher was knifed. Sales went through the roof but bookshops were bombed, the book was banned in several countries and Rushdie was forced into hiding for many years. In a recent statement in response to the armed attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, Rushdie said: "Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry becomes a real threat threat to our freedoms. This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today." The fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie still stands.

We may also recall that the Order of the Knights Templar was destroyed by the French King and the Pope under Saturn in Sagittarius back in the early fourteenth century with most of the knights tortured, imprisoned or put to death.

Under Saturn in Sagittarius, I believe we all need to be aware that our view of the world and how things should be is only our view - others may not necessarily share it.

Featured Sign-Aquarius

From the 20th January to the 19th February the Sun travels through fixed air sign Aquarius, noted for its egalitarian nature, progressive ideas and humanitarian bent. Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac with keywords “I am different” and “I am detached”. Aquarians are both radical and immovable at the same time. They will often espouse a social or religious movement such as feminism, Buddhism or environmentalism and then remain committed to it for the rest of their lives. Those born under the sign of the Water Bearer often look to the future and have fine minds and a higher vision for society. Many Aquarians excel in the areas of science, technology and politics. At best they use their cool headed idealism to serve humanity. Negatively, Aquarians can be detached and aloof with a rebellious or fanatical streak. In medical astrology, Aquarius rules the calves, ankles and general circulation. When Aquarians are out of balance they can suffer from varicose veins, sprained ankles, irregularities of the heart action and fluid build-up. The Aquarian colours are turquoise, aqua and silver. Aquarius’s greatest lesson is to learn to care for and relate to individuals rather than groups.

Celebrating Lammas- Wine Music, Food & Abundance

In the wheel of the year, February marks the celebration of the Celtic fire festival Lammas. The word Lammas derives from the Old English phrase hlaf- maesse, which translates to loaf mass. In early Christian times, the first loaves of the season made from the newly-harvested grain were blessed by the Church. We still celebrate this time of the year with harvest picnics and outdoor wine, music and food festivals. The hot days of summer are upon us, but we know the bright reds and yellows of the harvest season are just around the corner - now is the time to begin reaping what we have sown.

Grain has always held a place of importance in human civilization and was associated in mythology with the cycle of death and rebirth (cf the myth of Demeter, Persephone & Hades). In ancient agricultural societies, the harvesting and processing of grain was crucial. If crops were left in the fields too long, families could starve, so taking care of one's crops meant the difference between life and death. By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honour our ancestors and the hard work they did in order to survive. Lammas is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. It is a time of transformation, rebirth and new beginnings.