With Love from the Heritage Foundation

Dear Friend and Reader:

When a friend in her 20s had Hodgkin’s disease a few years ago, she spent part of her life puking into a bucket, part of it plugged into chemotherapy, and the rest of her time fighting her health insurance company, which was constantly trying to cancel her coverage.

Under his philosophy of “guns and butter,” Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare into law on July 30, 1965. This was the most recent successful attempt to expand health care for Americans, an effort that has gone back to the administration of FDR. White House photo.

She got well and then had a relapse — and then her insurance company tried to cancel her for having a “pre-existing condition.” They didn’t get away with it, and she has made a full recovery (and has managed to graduate nursing school).

This week, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 5 to 4, affirmed the legitimacy of a law that is intended to prevent just that kind of vicious conduct by insurers. What happened this week is a lot bigger than medicine or medical insurance, but let’s start there.

The state of health care and health insurance in the United States is an utter disgrace. It’s a national shame though in truth it’s a global shame, and I don’t use that word lightly. It is scandalous that people in the United States can lose their life savings in a week merely because they get sick — particularly when you consider how much profit how many companies are making specifically from poisoning us.

In the United States, we have a series of patchwork government health care systems, each of which covers a different constituency: veterans, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, those between jobs, and a few others. Yet many people fall between the cracks, especially if they’re self-employed or if their job doesn’t carry benefits through a private carrier.

We all know that reforms are needed, but it’s worth asking if they are even possible; if ‘health’ or ‘care’ can come from a system so invested in profits that there is very little room for any real ideas about what will help us. Most of the solutions to health issues involve prevention, which is not profitable to people selling $5,000 rides through the CT scan. GE makes many of those machines and is close to holding the world record for how many people one company has given cancer to.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the 2010 law that was the first attempt to overhaul how medical resources are distributed since the 1960s passage of Medicare in 1965, notably, during the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. The law was adopted in late 2009 (and signed by Pres. Obama in 2010) with a supermajority of the Senate voting in favor (a nearly-impossible 60 votes, on such a contentious issue). Does everyone remember Robert Byrd being wheeled into the chambers to cast his vote — one of the last of his long political life?

In 1993, Bill Clinton proposed that all Americans would have a Health Security Card, a form of universal health coverage. The initiative failed miserably and was not resurrected until the Obama administration got the ACA through congress in late 2009. Official photo.

Among other provisions, the law includes the requirement for insurers not to reject people on the basis of pre-existing conditions; that there be no cap on payouts; that children and young adults in the families of insured parents be included up to the age of 26. These provisions help straighten out some of the most serious issues of our health insurance system, which is a strictly for-profit enterprise.

In response, 26 states sued the federal government in an attempt to block the law. When any state is a party to litigation, the Constitution says that the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction, and that’s how the issue ended up there.

In its decision Thursday, the Supreme Court upheld nearly every key provision of the law, including the mandatory involvement of nearly all Americans in the insurance pool (called the ‘mandate’, or mandatory coverage provision). There are still some people who will be left out, though at this point I don’t understand how that would work. The net effect would be a massive broadening of the insurance pool, including about 30 million people who are currently left out of the system.

Before we get too excited about this, I would remind you of something. The law that passed, and that the Supreme Court upheld, is not the one that liberals wanted. It’s not the one that many aware and informed people wanted — that was something else, called single payer. That is the government, per se, serving as the insurance pool, as it does with Medicare. Medicare seems to work pretty well, and it could be expanded to cover everyone.

Many other countries have what is called a single-payer system, which many people, including some entities in the medical industry, have been advocating. These systems don’t work perfectly, but at least everyone can get into the system — not just the relatively wealthy, the poor or specific constituencies (as in the United States).

Leaning forward: Willard ‘Mitt’ Romney spoke of the ‘personal responsibility principle’ when advocating for mandatory involvement in the Massachusetts health care program, which is functionally identical to ‘Obamacare’. Now, he pretends he didn’t support the policy that works so well. But what choice does he have? Photo: Think Progress.

When we talk about universal coverage, this is something that actually fits the description. When I was a resident of France, overstaying my tourist visa on a regular basis, I was eligible for a government health care card, no questions asked. That is universal coverage.

What we got with the ACA was something that came from the lunatic fringe of the right wing. It was either formulated or advanced by the Heritage Foundation, the same think tank that gave us abstinence-only sexual indoctrination (instead of sex ed, teaching kids to just say no till you’re married — which doesn’t work). Heritage Foundation picked up the issue in response to Pres. Clinton proposing the Health Security system, under which everyone would have been covered.

The concept being pushed by the Heritage Foundation was to privatize the whole business: to keep it in the hands of corporations, that is, the insurance industry. The critique of ACA as something that seems designed to loot the public and enrich the insurance companies has a basis in truth and is therefore a valid critique. The money is going into a for-profit enterprise that has not demonstrated it has the interests of people at heart. Fortunately the law has some provisions that protect the insured.

However, even Noam Chomsky, the Papa Smurf of the American left, has said that mandatory coverage is an essential step in the direction of universal coverage, because the system has to be funded. The way this works is, if you don’t buy into the system, you have to pay a small tax. Mitt Romney himself advocated the mandatory buy-in when he was governor of Massachusetts, and an identical program was put in place under his leadership — something he avoids talking about. He called it the “personal responsibility principle.” He can argue against it now, but Romney does have that problem of never seeming to agree with himself.

And, that said, from what I am hearing, the ‘mandatory’ part of the buy-in has no teeth. If you don’t get health insurance, you’re taxed $95 (for not having insurance) the first year. As I understand it, there is not an enforcement provision to collect the tax if you don’t have insurance. I don’t know enough to fully sort this out, however, here is a basic look at the legal aspects of this issue from SCOTUS Blog.

Coming out from behind the conservative colors, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the liberal bloc of the Supreme Court. Photo by Mark Wilson.

There’s a lot else to sort out, though whatever else may be going on, I am grateful there are now federal laws that prevent insurers from dumping their clients when they need coverage the most.

What is the most interesting is that a solidly conservative Supreme Court, the same one that gave us the Citizens United case that has turned our elections into a game of how much unregulated money can be heaped onto a candidate, sided with Obama and the then-Democratic majority of Congress. And it was Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush in 2005, who provided the swing vote, siding with the liberal bloc of the court. (Usually Roberts votes with the conservatives and Anthony Kennedy provides the swing vote).

It’s not clear why he did this. Many are certain it was political maneuvering, to show that the court is not strictly partisan (and there is a caution in the astrology that what happened Thursday was a form of chicanery, which I will cover in that section).

Some are daring to consider the idea that he did what he thought was the right thing. This is part of why Supreme Court justices are appointed for lifetime terms: it’s supposed to insulate them from political manipulation and gives them a measure of independence. However this also preserves the legacy of presidents who get to appoint a lot of justices, no matter how bad it is.

Writing for the majority, Roberts said, “We do not consider whether the Act embodies sound policies. That judgment is entrusted to the Nation’s elected leaders. We ask only whether Congress has the power under the Constitution to enact the challenged provisions.” Well, any 5th grader who took civics could tell you that, though I am not sure that’s taught too many places any more.

This decision is, however, something that reshuffles the deck of American politics — particularly the divisive-for-its-own-sake kind of politics that we’ve seen since the fraudulent Clinton impeachment. As one of my friends who observes Washington politics from inside the Beltway wrote to me yesterday, “This was definitely unusual, unexpected, and out-of-the-ordinary.”

Our Moment of Astrology

Let’s take a look at the charts and see what they say. There are two to work with: one for the signing of the bill into law by Pres. Obama in 2010, and the other for the release of the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday morning. These are both what you can think of as hot charts — loaded with energy and describing something controversial.

Chart for the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law. Notice the Moon rising in the early degrees of Cancer — and the grand cardinal cross. For a larger version of the charts used in this article, use this link. Or use you can see grossly oversimplified charts that will help you see the aspects more clearly. Keep an eye on the cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn — which connect to the Aries Point and the Uranus-Pluto square.

Of necessity, this will be a slightly more technical discussion than you usually read here, though I will keep things as basic as possible and intersperse the astrology with interpretation.

The upshot is that there’s something a lot bigger going on than one law or one Supreme Court decision. As befits the astrology of the week (or is it the century?) — the Uranus-Pluto square, and Venus stationing direct after the extremely rare transit event earlier in the month — we’re talking about something with far-reaching effects, and which has tipped the balance of power in a way that absolutely nobody predicted. Wednesday night, most supporters of ACA thought they were going to lose, and most opponents thought they had victory locked up by a right-leaning Supreme Court.

That unpredictability factor is the Uranus piece of the Uranus-Pluto square. Whenever Uranus is in the equation, you can expect the unexpected. And whenever Uranus and Pluto are working together (which is not that often), that’s an indication of progress or at the very least significant change. Keep that in mind as part of the background. Also remember that Sunday’s exact contact of the Uranus-Pluto square was the first of seven of them that will happen through March 2015 — so this is only the beginning.

Interestingly, an asteroid associated with law and politics — Pallas Athene — is exactly conjunct Uranus right now, meaning that it’s functioning as part of the Uranus-Pluto square. Pallas plus Uranus = something unpredictable or even shocking in politics; square Pluto = an evolutionary moment of some kind. Recently in Daily Astrology, I wrote:

It requires awareness and foresight to work productively and positively with what Uranus brings, since the energy can throw you off center. With Pluto rumbling through the foundations of our lives (personal and cultural/institutional) and Uranus/Prometheus potentially hiding a little fire up its sleeve, where might Pallas Athene channel all that energy?

Well, a quest for justice. One sector to watch is the U.S. Supreme Court, which happens to have so many pending cases they are considering extending the current term by a few days.

The justices are due to release a number of decisions on high-profile cases fairly soon (June is one of their scheduled times to do that). Two of the best known are the Arizona immigration law and the 2010 health care plan derisively called “Obamacare” (which should be called Heritage Foundation Care, since it was invented by them and not by Obama) by those seeking to reinforce the negative connotations attached to Medicare — and bring the president down with both.

Now, it’s possible that the justices of SCOTUS could surprise us with their inventiveness. This does not necessarily mean their inventiveness will be progressive, however.

Inventiveness is precisely what we got, though in the form of what we’re being told is something progressive.

To learn more, let’s go back to the pivotal chart for this issue: the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law by Pres. Obama. That is the chart above; use this link for a larger version of the two chartsused in this article. Here is the grossly oversimplified version. It will open in a new browser window.

As you look at these charts, keep an eye on activity on the cardinal cross — Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. That’s the scene of the Uranus-Pluto square; it’s also the full-contact Aries Point: the cross in the horoscope that’s the intersection between the individual and the collective, or as I used to call it, the personal and the political.

When the Aries Point is hot, which means when there is anything significant happening on the first degree of Aries, in the early degrees of that sign or in the early cardinal signs, we see this kind of political development that influences something deeply personal. It can also manifest as the feeling of the world crashing into the living room. News events lose their abstract feeling and start to feel like they actually influence our lives.

If you look at the early degrees of the cardinal signs in the chart for the signing of the ACA, we find that they are ALL occupied, and angular: for the signing chart, the Moon in Cancer is rising (that’s the little gray crescent at the left side of the chart). Pluto in Capricorn is setting (the red golf tee to the far right of the chart). The Sun in Aries is highly elevated (right at the top of the chart), and Saturn is in early Libra (exactly opposite the Sun).

The cardinal grand cross would be plenty — though it has even more impact with the ascendant involved, which is ramping up the energy. The Cancer Moon is in an astonishingly close opposition to Pluto in Capricorn — take a look at the numbers.

Even the fast-moving Part of Fortune gets into the game, making a square to the Moon and Pluto. While some less imaginative astrologers would say this portends something bad, I would say it hints at something big that’s going to influence a lot of people. This is particularly true given that the Moon is an astrological significator for ‘the public’ and Pluto for ‘the masses’.

Simplified chart for the signing of the ACA (same chart data as above), emphasizing the cardinal grand cross (which aligns with the Moon on the far left of the chart). For a larger version of the charts used in this article, use this link. Or use you can see grossly oversimplified charts that will help you see the aspects more clearly. Jupiter is the orange 4-like symbol at the top of the chart, leaning slightly toward the right.

Yet because it is rising and involved with the early cardinal degrees (the Aries Point) this is the chart saying loud and clear, “It’s about you. And everyone — but it’s about you.” Remember that the Moon moves quickly (one degree in two hours) and the ascendant ticks along extremely fast — one degree every four to five minutes. So this is one of those charts that’s ALL about the exact time.

Just a couple of other points before we go to the next chart. Do you see that little orange ‘4’ high up in the full chart, toward the right side, next to the dark line? The dark line is the 10th house cusp. The 4 is Jupiter, which is in its rulership — Pisces.

You don’t need to do the calculations to know that this is the strongest planet in the chart, based on being in its rulership, in direct motion and so close to the 10th house cusp.

The Moon comes in a close second, in its rulership (Cancer) and right in the ascendant. This is a ridiculously potent chart, drawing on a lot of emotional energy for its impact. It presents the image that ‘the government is supposed to do good things’ (Jupiter in the 10th) and ‘take care of people’ (Moon in Cancer rising).

The 10th is the sign of the government and of big corporations. It’s also the house that includes the president personally. Jupiter here could mean one of two things: the government or the president did something beneficial; or something happened that was good for the government and corporations. Both could be true. I think that any time big companies benefit from government policy, the issue is worth watching carefully. We are, however, in a rare moment — part of the Uranus-Pluto cycle — one which historically is about a pushback against regressive policies.

One last thing. Just to the right of Jupiter is an orange key (which is Chiron) and a blue trident (which is Neptune). The two are close together — that’s a conjunction. This was the momentous Chiron-Neptune conjunction, in late Aquarius. That alone is significant; it’s is an extremely rare aspect. But look at the next chart and see where those degrees appear — right on the horizon line known as the descendent. We will come back to that in half a moment.

Here is the chart for the Supreme Court’s decision Thursday. We are fortunate to have a time for this; I’ve never seen another Supreme Court decision timed to the minute, but thanks to SCOTUS Blog, we have one, set for 10:07 am.

Chart for the ruling on the ACA by the Supreme Court. The late degree ascendant can be seen on the far left side of the chart, marked by the number 29. The Sun (yellow circle on upper left) is opposite Pluto (red golf tee) and square Uranus (blue H). This is a chart with a lot of energy — and it represents a large struggle behind the scenes, as well as the possibility for progress. For a larger version of the charts used in this article, use this link. Or use you can see grossly oversimplified charts that will help you see the aspects.

Let’s start at the beginning of the chart — the ascendant. Ascendant is the exact degree of the rising sign — and in this case it’s 29+ Leo — properly called the 30th degree: the end. We know from lots of experience that the last two degrees of a sign are the scene of the interesting, the strange and the unusual. What happened yesterday definitely qualifies as such. A late rising degree also indicates something that doesn’t fully have a grip in reality, though the ascendant being in fixed sign Leo helps compensate for that a bit.

Notice that there’s a point in the ascendant, right on the line — that hot pink circle with the slash through it. That’s called Transpluto. It’s a hypothetical point — it doesn’t exist except in the minds of astrologers and in astrology programs. It’s hypothetical but it’s real. It’s sometimes delineated as relating to narrowness, criticism and self-critique; I look at it as focus and specificity. Lynn Koiner associates it strongly with independence and self-sufficiency.

Transpluto moves extremely slowly and is not well understood by astrologers. Nearly everyone alive has it in Leo. It’s now in a three-year process of changing signs to Virgo, which I will get to in another story. For now, think of Transpluto as being in transition from a sign about self to a sign about collective responsibility.

This placement doesn’t warm my heart. It’s hardly the Moon in Cancer rising; Transpluto in Leo is all about the rugged individualism that Americans love to hallucinate about (often while on the way to the bank, cashing their government check). Transpluto here also feels like something was forced through a very small opening. Note, this chart is all of two minutes from being Virgo rising. But it’s still Leo rising. The Sabian symbol for that last degree of Leo is “an unsealed letter,” meaning that the truth cannot be concealed forever; eventually the envelope is opened. This is a cue to be on the lookout for the specifics of what is in that envelope.

Across the dial, we have the last degree of Aquarius on the 7th house cusp — the relationship angle, the environment, ‘the other’. The 7th cusp or the descendent is exactly aligned with Chiron/Neptune from the signing chart. In a sense, it’s describing the topic — which directly involves Chiron, significant in all aspects of healing.

Notice that both of these planets are now in Pisces, however. (In the last chart they were still in Aquarius, making their slow transition to the next sign.) Neptune on the 7th house of a mundane chart is a caution about fraud. It’s not a guarantee — though it suggests that plenty is going on behind the scenes here, that is, plenty that’s invisible and that you might need special glasses to see. Neptune often points to the obvious thing we’re looking right at but cannot see for what it is. It’s retrograde, making the issue even more slippery.

The Supreme Court is one branch of government that few people understand. Its inner processes are secretive, its members are appointed for life, and they wear black Masonic robes. Oh, and its decisions influence every American citizen to a surprising degree. This is the official portrait for 2012.

Chiron is standing guard right there. For a while, we have protection from some of the less savory influences of Neptune in Pisces due to Chiron’s presence there. Chiron’s message is always some version of Pay Attention. Chiron, for its part, is in a spotlight. The Sun — the ruler of the Leo ascendant — is about to trine Chiron, making it fully involved in this chart. (Centaur fans, also notice that Nessus is in Aquarius, lurking in very light blue right below the horizon — that’s an additional caution of mischief or a scheme at work.)

The Sun’s placement is where the chart gets really, really interesting. The Sun (as we’ve been writing about all week in Daily Astrology) is aligned with the revolutionary Uranus-Pluto square. In the decision chart, the Sun is square Uranus/Pallas and opposite Pluto. The Sun — especially powerful because it’s the ruler of the rising sign Leo — is all mixed up in the revolutionary nature of the moment. The Sun represents the president and leaders in general, and there’s a clue here that people in this role are succumbing to forces much larger than themselves.

The Sun opposite Pluto suggests, however, that there is a titanic battle going on behind the scenes. Health care and health insurance are only the surface. We have a lot of problems to solve in the United States and indeed the Land of the One World Government. I would note that neither the problem nor the solution is political, despite appearances. They are not economic. At essence they are spiritual issues.

One last point. The Moon in this chart is what’s called ‘void of course’. The Moon is making no more aspects to planets before it changes signs to Scorpio, which is a bit dark in a chart about health care. A void Moon is like the ball is out of play. That can mean several things, one of which is: what you just witnessed was a meaningless exercise, or was intended as such. Another is: be aware you have no idea the real outcome here. (The Moon was void in the chart for the Sept. 11 incident, and for Obama’s inauguration, to give two examples from recent history.)

That said, the political system moved today. The nation’s highest court — assailed for being hopelessly conservative — affirmed the constitutionality of a law passed by a congress that was then controlled by Democrats. In politics, anyway, that is a watershed moment.

As Pluto moves through Capricorn, taking a series of seven squares from Uranus, one question we have to ask is: what is the role of government? Is it to wage wars, or to help people? We have to decide that, and to influence the outcome however we can — principally by refusing to be ignorant, and second, by speaking up.

My take on this chart is that it’s about actual change, which could even be progress despite all the caution in these charts. The ‘progress insurance’ is the Uranus-Pluto square, which pretty dependably pushes events forward, at least for a while.

I recognize that we are accustomed to living in a world where everything always seems to get dependably worse — though that’s not really true. Moments of change are moments of opportunity to work with the energy of change, and that’s a conscious act, not something that ‘happens to us’. The dark overlords know that — it’s high time we figured it out too.

Eric Francis

Friday, June 29, 2012. Weekly Horoscope #908 | Eric’s Zodiac Sign Descriptions

Cancer Birthdays: Sun Meets Uranus-Pluto Square

If you have a birthday anywhere in the vicinity, get ready for a very exciting year — perhaps the most exciting of your life. Uranus and Pluto are making their square in aspect to your natal Sun — and that means progress. It might not feel like progress every day, and you may find that you’re dealing with forces much larger than yourself. Yet there is just one way to handle that: full commitment. You’re being drawn into your circumstances in a way that may be deeper than you ever have. There are elements of your environment that are provoking you to grow, to reconsider all of your thinking and most of all, to get in tune with the times. I suggest you face the moment with an open mind, remembering that you are no longer in the past and that the future is approaching quickly. This means making specific changes to your self-concept, your point of view and your relationships. Consider your encounters with others to be an aspect of your life that must evolve as quickly as you are, though your growth comes first. It may seem exhausting to keep pace with so many influences — whether internal or external — though if you make even the slightest effort, you will be carried by the momentum of the moment into a time of true achievement.

Aries (March 20-April 19) — Going forward for the foreseeable future, there are two keys to success that are right in your hand. One is communication. This is as close to the thing that will solve every problem as you’ve got — particularly when you use it among people who are avoiding that very thing. When met with anyone’s intense energy, establish contact and you will both defuse negativity and get things moving in a creative direction. Take the time to listen (before you speak) and figure out what people are trying to say. The second is to know what you want. This will help you keep your focus, in general and when you encounter pushy people who think they know what they want — and don’t hesitate to push it on you. It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic or aggressive someone is; you’re in a lot stronger position if you know your own agenda and can therefore stick to it.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — Your ruling planet Venus has stationed direct in Gemini, which is another way of saying that information is forthcoming about what in life is most important to you. That, in turn, will lead to your ability to make better decisions about what to do about that significance; to use what you know. One characteristic of the recent Venus retrograde phase has been an experiment in values. By this I mean that you’ve been able to explore aspects of life that may in some way go against your usual ethics, habits or morals. Seen one way, these parallel values systems are equally valid. Seen another way, you cannot be sure what is important to you unless you experience something different, in physical reality. It’s crucial to be able to experiment without the looming threat of failure or disaster, and you’ve come a long way in setting your worst fears aside. That alone has been worth the experiment, though you’ve gained a lot more than that.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You can now receive the benefits of something that you’ve been in possession of for a while. It may not be a thing, however — it more resembles a value that you hold close to your heart, a promise you’ve made to yourself or an idea about existence, which you’ve now decided to take seriously. You have every reason to be positive about whatever you’re committing to, or embracing your commitment to. It’s true that you have not fully let go of certain old tendencies, and you’re being reminded of certain qualities you possess that involve your ties to your parents. However, the center of gravity is leaning in your direction, and the faith that you possess is the thing that will get you past any of your doubts or perceived weaknesses. Therefore, you’re correct: this is the time to make all the progress you can, which by the way is more than you think.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — The bigger the challenge the higher you will rise to meet it. This is a moment of full engagement for you, though notably it’s subtler than it is dramatic. Indeed, drama is the last thing you want right now, and the first thing to defuse. Once you’ve done that, go for the soul connection. This feels like a point of contact that goes deeper than what people say their goals are, transcends appearances and even ideologies, and reaches to a level of core understanding. Normally we preoccupy ourselves with every other dimension of relating to people. The planets are aligned such that you are positioned for a breakthrough on understanding what this whole business of soul relationships is about. I don’t exactly mean your soul ‘mate’ because you’re likely to have more than one. I mean a perspective on existence that is readily accessible to you right now, and which has the power to ease your way in life like nothing else can.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — Have you ever been on one of those scales in a science museum that tells you how much you would weigh on the surface of another planet? Now imagine a more elaborate version of that same display that would allow you to feel what it’s like on another world. That’s what your astrology is giving you right now. Check for several distinct properties — there is less gravity. There is an unusual blend between dreamtime and what you previously thought of as reality. As a result, the energy field is less dense — which includes the realms of human psychology and your physical surroundings. Changes are easier to make; you have the ability to peer into and even through things that previously seemed opaque. The whole experience may pass by you as if it’s a dream; it’s up to you to pay attention and remember what you experience, which is in truth a demonstration of what is possible and indeed available all the time, if you tune your mind to the right perspective.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — I am here with another reminder that Mars is about to leave your sign; that happens July 3. Mars has been in your sign since Nov. 11, 2011 — almost nine months running. This transit has made you aware of the infamous Virgo self-criticism thing; there were many times when you actually grasped that if you didn’t do something about it right then, you would lose your mind. In essence, you’ve learned to temper your aggression toward yourself, and have been participating in the world’s most effective anger management program. In truth we’re talking about energy management, and now that you’ve figured out how to stop fighting with yourself, you have a lot more energy available to take on the challenges of the world — and you have some beautiful ones awaiting you, especially as you step into the next phase of your life’s work. This is not about your career; it’s about going beyond your career.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — This week’s planetary activity includes several changes that influence your sign: your ruling planet Venus stationed direct; Saturn stationed direct in your sign; and Mars is ingressing your sign. All together, this looks like the release of stuck energy combined with a lot of new motivation. You may want to leap forward all at once, though I suggest taking things one step at a time and proceeding methodically. The energy and motivation provided by Mars don’t come with guaranteed good judgment; that’s something you have to provide for yourself. It will require some reflection and adaptation to your new emotional environment. As priority one, I would suggest keeping your focus on balance. Make sure those scales of yours are equally weighted, and notice how little energy it takes to tip things in one direction or another. Take the time to observe how little energy it takes to get the job done.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — By now you’ve figured out that you feel better, and get along better with people, if you take a less critical attitude. You’re an analyzer by nature. There’s a way to do that gently, which includes keeping your sense of humor, and refusing to assume the worst. Yet there is something else I truly hope has come across, and it’s not too late. Where you see the need for improvement in the world, you can actually devote your energy, your love and your resources. Yes, this involves taking a chance, and it involves being willing to extend some extra focus. Yet the real ‘risk’ is shifting from a negative orientation on the state of the world to a positive one. You have little right to expect the world to become a better place (however you define that) unless you’re willing to put yourself into that project. It’s pretty easy to identify the ways that provide mutual benefit, and I suggest that you mediate on the concept, ‘the greatest good for all concerned.’

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — The funny thing about many of the old descriptions of your sign is that they say you like to skip over the details, yet there’s that side of you that obsesses over them. I suggest you refine this down to a short list with fewer than five items, then go back to the thing you’re so good at — envisioning the whole scene. It’s time to develop the talent of knowing when you’re in which mode, detailed close-up focus versus wide-angle view. The wide-angle means sketching out a vision that takes you out at least one year from today, with direct continuity from the present moment. Think in terms of your broad goals, and certain focused goals. The idea is to consider these things in principle, rather than in terms of specifics, or proof of what you can accomplish. Also — with Mars still in your 10th house for a few days, I suggest you solve three persistent problems at the rate of one per day for the next three days.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — There are those times in life when you actually feel met, and this is one of them. Pay attention to who you encounter and stay sensitive to your environment. You’re in a position where you can be noticed, by which I mean seen clearly and recognized for who you are. A diversity of factors are conspiring to make this one of the most interesting weeks of the year. This is not a passing trend but rather a threshold through which you’re moving. Look at the world every day through new eyes. Be present in every moment; get yourself out of automatic mode and guide yourself consciously from moment to moment. Without expectations, assume that every encounter is a meaningful encounter — this includes people you pass in the elevator, the TSA agents at the airport or meeting a dog. Then apply that to everyone else you meet; listen to what they say. Honor the unknown, and call yourself fully present from moment to moment.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Events the next few days are likely to shine the light in such a way that you see your life from a new point of view. It will be like looking at a scene from your future that you cannot enter yet, because it hasn’t fully manifested. Yet at the same time your ability to envision yourself in a new way, in different circumstances, will feed your strength. In order to get from the place you are now to your vision for the future, you will need a combination of discipline, strategy and intuition in equal measure. There will be times when you have to defer to one or the other, though most of the time the three facets of thought will provide you with useful references to cross-check. You may be surprised to see the ways in which they confirm rather than contradict one another. One thing to keep in mind is the way that you use structure. I mean this as a concept by which you guide your thinking, and also as a real thing, which you might apply as the use of space, legal devices such as a corporation, and the way you use your time.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — You have just spent the past nine months with Mars in your relationship angle, the sign Virgo. Far from being a regular occurrence, this is pretty rare, and nothing like it is going to happen again till around 2027. You’ve been through your share of conflicts, though more to the point, you’ve learned how to handle disagreement effectively and without losing your cool. This involves standing up for yourself when you need to, and arguing the specifics rather than the generalities. This and other factors suggest you can proceed with actual confidence in yourself. That’s a Latin word that means with fidelity. You’ve come a long way on your old problem of constantly being at odds with yourself. In fact, the theme that you’ve set during the past nine months is being in harmony with yourself, and more than any one thing this will be the secret to your success and happiness. Remember what you’ve learned and what you’ve been through; they are lessons of a lifetime.

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