STAR WISE: November 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

Astrologers are a bit phobic regarding the defence of their chosen profession and they take strident measures to prove the validity of their sacred science. We just can’t get any respect, especially from the scientific and business communities. I encountered a prominent scientist a few years ago at a garden party and when I told him I was an astrologer, he blinked so rapidly I thought he was going to pass out. I’m sure he thought I was pulling his leg with the outrageous prospect of actually being an astrologer. It was similar to the reaction one would get if they said they had spotted a Sasquatch.

So here I sit on Thanksgiving Day (October 12) pondering what to write about for November. I have taken a very long look at Stephen Harper’s horoscope and the charts for Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair. Trudeau is the only one with a valid birth time while Harper shows an exact midnight birth, which is dubious at best. It would be rare to be born right at the top of the hour and a few minutes of time can mean so very much in the accuracy of predicting events. Mulcair’s birth time is not known and getting that information from a Scorpio is like trying to milk a dead cow. By now, the results are in and the world knows who is at the helm of Canada’s top spot. Philosophically, I would like to see Trudeau run the show and shake things up. Interestingly, his chart shows a demarcation in how he runs his life. He is experiencing the Uranus opposition that occurs around 42 to 43 years of age. It indicates a time of revolution and dynamic change. Uranus happens to be passing over his Moon, which is another indicator that his life is in the midst of profound changes. Of course, if he is the new Prime Minister, his life will change dynamically and dramatically and his chart is indicating just that. Offering any type of prediction for Harper and Mulcair would be guessing at best.

On a completely different topic, Venus and Mars spend most of November moving though Libra. This is a great planetary combination for justice, balance, relationships, marriages, romance, love and all forms of creativity. Saturn and Neptune are 90 degrees apart, constituting a square aspect that will extend throughout most of 2016. It indicates a time of probable confusion and distortion – did I mention confusion? It may take us a while to get ourselves together and find our direction as a nation as we ponder our choice of bombs or extended arms.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)
Venus and Mars cast their glance from across the sky bringing excitement, challenge, change and romance. Wow, sounds like big fun! If you’re already settled in, married or partnered up, this lively combination can spice things up. Aries’ biggest danger is always boredom and restlessness and those two things are not on the cosmic menu.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)
It’s time for a little soul searching. My bet is there’s a whole lot of things to be soul searching about. Matters like shared monies, death and taxes, inheritances, health, work and career are just some of the topics that need your keen attention. Then again, it just might be time to let down a bit.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)
The full Moon on November 25 will illuminate your inner horizon in order for you to see what is what and what must be done in order to set the ship on a steady course. Resources may be a bit tight and other problematic areas need attention. Not tension, but redirection, and planning and balance are called for.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July
22)
The first half of the month runs a little smoother than the second half. Mercury and the Sun cast triangular energies your way providing inspiration. The crab spends a lot of time in the surf dealing with the ever-changing tides. Ride the waves and continue to adapt and adjust to what comes your way.

 

LEO (July
23 – August 22)
The skies brighten in late November after a dreary start to the month. You may ponder a major relocation or spiritual direction. Relate, communicate and negotiate are the keys to finding your way into the future. Going over the past regarding family – and especially children – may take up some of your time and energy.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September
22)
The skies brighten in late November after a dreary start to the month. You may ponder a major relocation or spiritual direction. Relate, communicate and negotiate are the keys to finding your way into the future. Going over the past regarding family – and especially children – may take up some of your time and energy.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)
Venus and Mars liven up the place as they move through your sign most of the month. Romantic and creative energies are high and it is time for you to do your thing. It may not be all roses and lollipops and there might even be a few bruises – and you may not mind.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)
The new Moon on November 11 heralds a new start in a new direction. You may be honing your skills and regathering your confidence as you shake off Saturn’s heavy lessons of the last few years. Time heals everything and it just gets better as we move towards year’s end. Your star is shining again.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)
The full Moon on November 25 is important and significant. It will help you get in touch with many factors of your life. The areas that need the most work will be illuminated strongly, such as career objectives or limitations. It’s not a Sagittarius thing, but you may have to learn to economize, strategize and compromise.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)
Pluto’s presence may be felt rather strongly. He has a profound effect when he moves through your sign. Pluto will be in Capricorn until 2024. He bestows great power and wealth, but he can bring our ruination if we abuse his powers. Humility and compassion are the right ingredients, while dominance and control ruin everything.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)
Your career sector gets a boost as the Scorpio new Moon on November 11 unfolds its power across the top of your solar chart. Venus and Mars lend a hand as well as they cast positive triangular energy into your sign most of the month. Saturn also helps in stabilizing the ship.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)
It might be time for a career change or there may be honours coming your way for work well done. I guess honours can give a boost to your career anyway. Lord Jupiter casts very supportive energy as well, practically ensuring a breakthrough or some sort of fortuitous timing of events. Move forward with confidence.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: September 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

A true phenomenon is upon us. The Golden Age has begun! It dawned on me the other day that something very unique has taken place. In the thirteenth century, Kabir and Guru Nanak came along – both proponents of Sant Mat or the Path of the Masters. It is not known how many they initiated or how many souls were connected to the godly way within the succession of gurus since that time. But we do know things began to change in the 20th century, especially when Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj came along and initiated 100,000 souls into the mysteries of the beyond. His successor Param Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj initiated 89,000 souls, Sant Darshan Singh Ji Mahraj initiated 86,000 and the present day living Master Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj has initiated 740,000 souls so far. That is close to one million initiates these Godmen have put on the way.

These one million souls are not Masters, but they could potentially become Masters in the future. As my beloved brother Arran Stephens says, “In order to become a Master, one has to become a perfect disciple first.” Imagine one million people living in a godly, loving way, loving one another and revering all of life. Like a sweet perfume, it radiates outward and affects everyone.

It has been said that, at the beginning of a new age, there is calamity and upset throughout the land. Well, we certainly have that. What we need is a change of heart among all nations and all people. We need a spirit of cooperation and compassion rather than a sense of dread and paranoia. In the Sant Mat literature, there is a term called Sadachar. It translates as living in a godly way in thought, word and deed. Feel the love, become part of it and contribute however you can each day and bye the bye, things will change for the better. Love is the only commodity that increases when given out; all other forms of giving lead to depletion. All those initiated souls I mentioned have the potential to come back to Earth and each one of them may very well help humanity in finding its goal of living in the Golden Age. It starts with you, right now. Star Wise, we have Neptune moving through Pisces, while lord of Pisces, Jupiter, casts his glance from across the zodiac into Pisces bringing great opportunities for enlightenment and advancement. Lay down your fear and your sword and give some love.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)
You are the first born of the zodiac and while the Sun moves through Virgo, you have the opportunity to serve and help humanity however you can. Aries is the initial spark that ignites the fire and illuminates the pathway ahead. It truly is a pioneering time in which you can blaze a new pathway.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)
Home, family and real estate are major features now. Creative energy is high. Romance is in the picture too. The aforementioned topics are earthly considerations; it’s time to nurture your spirit. Earthly possessions cannot accompany you into the beyond. You will have to leave them behind someday. What does accompany you is spiritual devotion.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)
While lord Mercury moves through Libra all month, you can expect a plethora of ideas to flood your consciousness. Creativity reaches a peak and the name of the game is to not get too lost in the whirlwind of ideas and possibilities. You may be in the mood to make some very big changes.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July
22)
A word we don’t usually associate with Cancer is intrepid, which means fearless. I’ve known many Cancer types that have displayed this intrepid quality. Be brave and make some moves towards your goals and objectives. Creative/artist energy is very high now. Ask and you shall be given; seek and you shall find.

 

LEO (July
23 – August 22)
Venus and Mars – the planets of love and desire – hold hands as they move through the middle of Leo. A Leo lady recently proclaimed she went to a wedding and everybody loved her and wanted to be near her. Acts of bravery and heroism could occur and cupid’s arrow may find its target.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September
22)
Strangely, Virgo possesses similar qualities assigned to Leo. Both signs have a love of the grand and will go all-out in creating something wonderful or beautiful. Leo needs the attention and acknowledgement, whereas Virgo is more comfortable out of the spotlight. Well, Virgo, the cosmic spotlight is on you now and you can truly fly high.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)
You’re known for you scintillating intellect, brilliance and ability to bring people together in unity and harmony. Now a time has arrived in which you can display some of that brainpower and magic that you possess. Mid-month, it’s probable you will be re-evaluating your overall plans.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)
Finally, to your relief, on September 17 the grim taskmaster Saturn leaves your sign. Lessons learned, wisdom gained and now you can move forward once again. New doors are opening and opportunities developing, especially in the career sector. Your confidence increases as will your circle of friends and connections. Gird your loins and head out.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)
Travel and career sectors are hot, which is music to Sagittarius ears. It may not be all sweet music, though, as you may be casting about and seeking to better your situation. You may feel tired or bored with the status quo. Clashes with the higher-ups could be the case. Changes are in the wind.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)
Dealing with publishers and editors, along with considerations regarding law, could be the case this month and onwards. Joint monies, inheritances and all that those topics entail may dominate your thoughts this month. In many ways, it is a transitional time for Capricorn and you may be in the midst of some personal changes now.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)
Bells are ringing. It may be time now to partner-up or join-up. Joint monies and investments loom strong on the horizon. Inheritances may also figure into the picture. Long distance communications and all kinds of negotiations may be experienced. Because of the situation, you may have to rethink the plan again and again.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)
Do what you do best now, which is to reach into the cosmos and intuit or dream up a plan regarding how you want to go. You are in a special window of opportunity and you should pay attention to what your inner voice is saying now. It is speaking rather loudly and clearly.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: August 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

The dog days are upon us. It’s hot and dry with not much relief in sight. Saturn, known as a dry planet, rules the deserts and desert-like conditions and he has been moving through Scorpio for the last two years. Over the next several years, Saturn visits Sagittarius, Capricorn then Aquarius, which are dry signs as well. Saturn’s entrance into Pisces in 2023 may bring relief and wetter conditions. As we head into August, Jupiter and Saturn form a square aspect. In astrological terms, a square behaves somewhat like Saturn’s energy.

Saturn always asks us to live with less and do away with anything wasteful or superfluous. It is time to tighten the comic belt a few notches and get used to the idea that less is better all the way around. If we ignore the message of the stars, we will have to pay the price, which basically equates to rising food prices, scarcity and many other problems associated with the waste and misuse of our precious resources. We have become complacent and we have lived off of the fat for many, many years. It’s time to give back and take care of our dear mother Earth. Everyone and everything matters and we must all do our part, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential. “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” may very well be the mantra of the future.

On a lighter note, you just have to love those Leos. They do take up a lot of space and suck up all the air in the room with their dynamic presence and grand, dramatic entrances. Many years ago, my Gemini client complained she suspected her Leo husband was cheating on her and cruising the chicks. I happened to know him personally and knew that he really was not that way. He was a total car buff. I told her he was not cruising the chicks, but cruising by them fantasizing about how good he looked in his flashy ride. We howled with laughter knowing we had just nailed the truth of the situation. A while back, a lady called regarding booking an appointment for a reading. After a few minutes of conversation, I was ready to get her birth information. I asked what date in August she was born. Somewhat surprised, she asked how I knew she was born in August. I answered, “Outside of saying hello, you have conducted the whole conversation, including when you would be available and what time you would arrive.”

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)It’s summertime and the living is easy – made all the more easier as five planets move through Leo at various times throughout August casting triangles to the Aries planets. Triangular aspects are very positive. The Leo new Moon on August 14 carries special energy and you would be wise to make hay while the Sun shines.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)You may have to tighten up your game and conserve your resources. Venus, Jupiter and Saturn square off as August begins and you may feel the squeeze financially and emotionally. But this is not the time to bull your way through; it is time for careful and sensitive negotiations regarding matters of the heart.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)Home, family, land and real estate topics are on the front burners throughout the month. Any type of creative writing project has the potential to go well. Your confidence gets a boost and the summer promises to be pleasant. In essence, you should push forward, mix and mingle and sell who you are. Enjoy the days.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July 22)

Health, finances and family harmony are the prominent features of interest throughout August. Health is most important, for without it, not much else matters. Striving for harmony in the family also affects everything else. Partnerships and relationships are in the midst of a big transformation. Forgive and forget, lest resentment fester into serious problems.

 

LEO (July 23 – August 22)

You may by doing some deep reflection regarding what is right and what is real and what really matters most of all. You are the knight in shining armour; nay, you are the King or the Queen. Stand tall and take responsibility for your mistakes and you will be loved and respected even more than before.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)

Your time in the Sun has arrived. Opportunity abounds and it is up to you to do something with it. You’re able to gain the trust and respect of others. Jupiter casts his blessings for the next 12 months. You can party or truly strive to make something of yourself. Strike while the iron is hot.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)Social activities intensify. Your entrance is your exit. It means that how you allow people to treat you when you first meet them is how you will be treated when those relationships end. Good times are predicted, but there is a bit of toxic energy around like jealousy and envy. Humility and honesty work best.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)Saturn stands still and squares off with Venus and Jupiter in the first half of the month. It means the time has come to make important personal and legal decisions that may very well affect your future. Perhaps it’s time to cut off a relationship or partnership that has become stagnant or non-productive.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)Sagittarius is often prophetic. Now is one of those times when your deep intuition has you sniffing the air. You may be sensing that changes are in the wind. Legal, career and personal areas may be affected. Stave off fear and negativity, as any changes that do take place will work to the positive, eventually.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)A time of dismantling, unravelling, reworking or retooling your life has arrived. Money, name and fame won’t get you where you need to go, whereas a year or two in an ashram might be what is truly needed. Cappy can always get what they want, but might have a harder time getting what they need.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)A mystic deity born under the stars of Aquarius pondered his life direction for a long time. He finally came to the conclusion that God first and world second was the way to go. Now, you may be pondering life-altering decisions regarding what is most important and valuable to you. Love is the answer.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)Lord Jupiter casts his glance into Pisces for the next 12 months, helping you in finding your direction. Open up and increase your faith in the divine. It won’t let you down. No sense trying to make a really solid plan, but do know that a cosmic plan is in place and will take place.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.

Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: July 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

We can expect a very hot July and I’m not talking about the weather. Actually, it’s the astrological weather that will cause the heat to rise all the way around. Fiery Mars throws his hat into the ring and he always creates a disturbance or ruckus of some sort. The Canada Day full Moon is potent, hopefully for the good. We know that a full Moon carries high energy as we witness people coming unglued; it’s tricky enough to navigate a full Moon without losing our cool, but when Mars gets involved, it acts like a high octane fuel where only a minor spark is needed to set off a bonfire of emotions and knee-jerk reactions.

“What to do?” you ask. Forewarned is forearmed. We always have choices and we can choose to step aside and let the testosterone junkies have their way. We know someday they will pay, but today, just let them go by. If we react to their rudeness, we get sucked into the drama and people’s lives may be at stake. Is it worth it? The whole month has a testy buzz and edge to it and it will take our best behaviour to get through unscathed. The new Moon on July 15 carries its own potency in the sense that Mercury and Mars are opposite to Pluto. The combination tells of aggression, manipulation and control. The creepy crawlers with an agenda to carry out their malignant forms of violence will dominate the headlines. Fires, accidents and incidents will be notable.

Here’s another take on the astro dance. Venus and Saturn are in square aspect throughout the month and instead of looking out for the bad guys and bad incidents, we could find ourselves simmering away with some form of resentment or discontent with our near and dear. I’m sure the divorce lawyers will be licking their chops after the smoke clears and the summer antics are revealed. Now that I have you totally depressed, we can throw in the very positive and counterbalancing Venus/Jupiter conjunction that will also be in play throughout the month. It’s probable we will work though all sorts of concerns as we unravel the complicated double knots we have tied ourselves with over myriad lifetimes of karmic exchange and indebtedness. Imagine you can work though your difficulties and come out of it closer, tighter and more loving than ever before. As Shakespeare said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” It’s up to us to make conscious choices.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)
Read the introduction regarding your ruling planet Mars being involved with the July lunation cycles. When planets are moving through Cancer, they form a square aspect to your Aries planets creating tension and awareness. This may not be a bad thing; if anything, there are all kinds of opportunities for you to resolve ongoing disputes and concerns.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)
Now is the time to sort out what works or doesn’t work, what stays and what has to go. You have a strong sense of values and now you will be keenly aware of making the difference that brings contentment. Communication and exchange, visits, journeys and an all-round busy time make the month fly by.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)
Health, home, family and friends are topics that dominate the scene for the twins this month. It’s all about values – what you value and what is most important to you. Some choices will have to be made as you find ways to economize and streamline wherever necessary. It’s a time of hellos and goodbyes.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July
22)
This month is loaded for bear. Although sounding a tad ominous, it may not be that way, but the potential for high gear activity and movement is strong. Cancer folks are relentless when they want something and will work very hard in order to attain their objectives. Well, gird your loins and get at it.

 

LEO (July
23 – August 22)
Venus and Jupiter cast their benevolent and uplifting energies into your sign. Make sure you know what you truly want for you may get it. There is the likelihood of going overboard as well and taking on way too much. Some situations or relationships may end and you may very well walk away.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September
22)
October’s going to be hot. Wait a minute; the astute Virgo’s dynamic sense of discrimination and observation knows that Mac should be writing about July. Sorry, I got excited when my eye caught a glimpse of the October skies. July looks very good as well although it is time to sort and sift through what makes you happy or not.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)
Career objectives are the big focus. You might want to get a move on and make a decision as to what you truly want to do. Work your magic and charms as July offers great opportunities to mix and mingle. You can win the trust and admiration of others easily now.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)
There’s a two-pronged energy prevailing now. It’s a time of laughter and tears, joys and fears, great memories and regrets. My hint is to embrace it all. Give your love and devotion to those that matter and say goodbye to those leaving your inner circle. Travel is highlighted, spirituality as well.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)
The Scorpio paragraph fits in a way, as this is a time of expansion and contraction. You will move forward and meet some success in some areas and will have to acquiesce and bow out in other areas. Money and abundance may come, but at a price, for as we know, nothing is for free.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)
Very intense energy is on-board throughout the month and it will take some manoeuvring to sort it all out and get though safely. Keep in mind that a soft reply turns away wrath, while the cut from a sword will heal in time, but a cut from the tongue can fester for a long time.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)
The sands of time continually shift and we can hardly recognize the landscape of the past. We’re here to sort through what we have created in our past lives and now the opportunities are on-board to do exactly that. Before you dive for cover, know that it may be about love and lots of it.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)
Your solar fifth house of romance, entertainment and children is lit up like a Christmas tree. There’s nothing like the love we have for our children that melts our hearts. Creative energies are very high and you should make good use of the times. You’re at your best when giving, serving and loving.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: April 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

Western tropical astrology is solar based – in whichever of the 12 signs of the zodiac are featured. Eastern Vedic astrology is lunar based and much of it is derived from the Moon’s monthly motion through the 27 lunar mansions, also called nakshatras. Each nakshatra has a ruling planet and ruling deity and the ancients have been culling a great amount of information, knowledge and wisdom from the nakshatras for several thousand years. The material is very revealing – almost shocking – in its descriptive details regarding some of the personality traits and activities that unfold regarding the nakshatras. We can use the nakshatras to plan auspicious events such as marriages, travel, investments and at the start of a particular activity.

As an example, when we knew that game seven of the Stanley Cup finals was to take place on June 15, 2011, I looked up the positions of the planets and the nakshatra the Moon was travelling through. It was a full Moon, which always brings our emotions to their peak and the Moon was in the nakshatra called Mula. I became very alarmed and told everyone that would listen there would be a riot downtown and it would be wise to stay away from the core of the city on that evening. If you look up the meaning for Mula, you will find the deity is Nirrti, the goddess of destruction, calamity, violence, upheaval, cruelty, ego and anger.

Many of us were scratching our heads and wondering how seemingly good and decent people could stoop to such destructive, mindless acts. It was a potent mix of full Moon, large, angry mobs fuelled by alcohol and Mula’s influence driven by the goddess Nirrti, ruler of destruction and upheaval. Logically, it would be wise to plan all major events according to the auspicious or inauspiciousness of the Moon’s position in the nakshatras and you can bank on it that the ancients used this powerful tool in planning their major events. I’m pretty sure that Vancouver’s retiring Chief Constable Jim Chu would not have been receptive to this loony information from an old hippy astrologer. He probably would have had me carted off to the loony bin. Of course, loony bin and lunatic are derivatives of luna, which is another name for the moon. The gist of this article is not fear mongering, but to help us become aware there is a great amount of knowledge in the stars that we could put to good use in our everyday lives.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)You wrote the script for your present life activities long ago so you need not worry as to what it is you will do; if you don’t know what to do, keep eliminating those things you don’t like to do. This activity will make room for all forms of creative energy to manifest.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)Mars dominates the scene throughout April. You’re fired up about something or a lot of things. He gives a great boost of energy and enthusiasm. It’s a good time to start any type of project especially ones that require a lot of effort. Mars also represents anger and frustration so measure twice and cut once.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)Spring has sprung and in true Gemini fashion you will have much to do and very much to think about. It’s a dual-pronged process in which you will be in a highly creative mode – living, loving and laughing – while, at the same time, some sadness creeps in and some things will have to go.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July 22)Home and career activities dominate the calendar. Throw in a surprise or two and we have the recipe for a demanding and very active spring season. Friends feature strongly and health matters as well. Be pro-active, stay original and give your love and support to those that need it most. Love is in the air.

 

LEO (July 23 – August 22)YJupiter brings his blessings to your table. Throughout April, those born from August 3 to 7 will receive the strongest play from this giant among the planets. Jupiter brings lessons of the heart and of the spirit. Any losses are followed by abundant gains. Travel, spirituality, expansion and general good fortune are in the works.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)Virgo is all about the fine details of any given thing. Of course, this is the blessing you have to offer. But it might be wise to strive to look at the big picture as your life is about to expand in all kinds of ways. Plan for the long term. Roll up your sleeves and have at it.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)The lunar eclipse on April 4 takes place in your sign. Those born from October 6-10 will glean the most from this lunation. You will have to do some fancy dancing and figuring in order to accommodate the new realities that have come into your life recently.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)Your ruler, Mars, moves through your opposite sign Taurus all month and indicates the probability of some sort of clash or confrontation. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing at all. It might be you are confronting yourself and pushing yourself to new limits and higher standards. Finding the balance in all things is important, though.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)Expansion and contraction are the two keywords to pay attention to now. On one level, there will be all kinds of opportunities to do quite well; on another level, there are areas you will have to cut back on. It doesn’t make sense to me, but it should make sense to you.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)What you resist persists and what you assist desists. Life is going to be like that and you might as well get into the groove and go along with the cosmic plan. Cappy loves to keep things stable and steady, but that’s not the game right now. ‘Transplant, regenerate and transform’ is the mantra now.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)The stars are leaning in your favour especially in the area of relationships. Partnerships and alliances are featured. You could win a long-standing dispute or court case. ‘Steady-on’ is the advice of the times. A move or renovation could be in the works. Of course, an internal renovation is desired as well.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)Personal earning capacity along with probable inheritances might be on your mind. But you have bigger fish to fry. Oops, sorry, I forgot you’re from the fish family. You may feel a bit rudderless these days, but have no fear, you are on a journey to a cosmic destination. Be at peace with it all.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.

Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

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Portrait of columnist Alan Cassels
Rarely, if ever, has a disease colonized a colour, but that’s precisely what you can say about the corporate fundraising behemoth around breast cancer. It’s audacious, sometimes crass and very hard to miss. And did I say, it’s very, very pink?

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Get Pink Campaign kicks things off on March 12, urging you to “recruit your co-workers or classmates to join your Get Pink’d! team…” You could go one step further and “Shop for the Cure,” choosing from 35 corporate or community partners to spend money or to raise money for the cause. Or you could send a “Boob Bomb,” touted as “a fun and cheeky way to help remind your friends that they should check their breasts regularly.” While you’re at it, download the free Don’t Forget to Check app so you can learn how your breasts look and feel.

Ok, go ahead, call me a curmudgeon, but is all this saucy pinkification of our lives and all the touchy feely – literally speaking – stuff about breasts likely to make any difference?

I can understand how people get infected with the urge to jump aboard the breast cancer bandwagon. Those who’ve had a close brush with breast cancer or lost a loved one to the disease are likely to find great comfort in a likeminded community that somehow wants to contribute back.

The foundation’s Don’t Forget to Check program sounds benign and fun, but like many aspects of breast cancer advocacy, there is the obvious gap between the research around what they’re promoting and the marketing hype. One message – that women should carry out routine breast self examinations – is the opposite of what you hear from evidence-based sources, such as the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which says breast self-examination shouldn’t be done – probably because there is no evidence it helps and may even cause harm.

In the two trials where it’s been studied, it led to more imaging procedures and biopsies than for control patients without changing the length or quality of those women’s lives. You should definitely talk to your doctor about any suspicious changes to your breasts, but the push to carry out routine breast self examination is not endorsed by the World Health Organization, the American Academy of Family Physicians or the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (CTFPHC).

As for full-blown mammography, there is also a contrast between the advocates and the cautious experts. Those who review screening as part of Canada’s Task Force on Preventive Health Care don’t recommend that women start mammography in their 40’s, but recommend doing it every two to three years starting at age 50. The USPSTF agrees with this and says women should only do it every two years until age 74. By contrast, the American Cancer Society says women should be getting a mammogram every year starting at 40, “continuing as long as a woman is in good health.” The American College of Radiology has the most zealous pro-screening position, claiming, “By not getting annual mammograms starting at age 40, you increase your chances of dying from breast cancer and the likelihood that you will experience more extensive treatment for any cancers found.” (See mammographysaveslives.org)

So who is right? Why do some groups recommend having mammograms twice as often as another group? Does this have anything to do with the science-based orientation of some groups (like the USPSTF or the CTFPHC) versus the advocacy, fundraising and professional goals of other groups?

I agree there are legitimate differences of opinion around breast cancer screening because of the problems of overdiagnosis. Any screening involves false positive and false negative findings, unnecessary biopsies, surgeries and radiation, all of which are capable of inflicting psychological and physical harm. All the pink you see this time of year tends to camouflage the fierce debates within medical circles around how frequently breast cancers are overtreated.

One of the world’s major breast screening researchers, Danish physician Peter Gotzsche said, “Healthy women are getting unnecessary diagnoses of pre-cancerous conditions that are unlikely to develop during their lifetime.” This sentiment is echoed by Dr. Gilbert Welch, author of Overdiagnosed, who wrote that, in the US alone, “Seventy thousand women a year are overdiagnosed and treated unnecessarily for breast cancer.” How common is overdiagnosis in breast cancer screening?

One meta-analysis – a study of many large studies – of breast cancer screening was summarized by the Public Health Agency of Canada in an excellent online guide. It says if you gave mammograms to 1,000 women aged 40 years and older every year for 10 years, here’s what you’d find: 1) 981 women will not have breast cancer. 2) 451 women will have normal results every year. 3) 549 women will be told they have an abnormal result at some point during the 10 years. 4) 533 of the abnormal results will be false alarms, which turn out to be normal after further testing.

After a decade of annual mammograms, this means 97% of the women who are told they have an abnormality on a mammogram do not have breast cancer. Furthermore, of those 1,000 screened women: 1) 16 women will have their breast cancer diagnosed through a screening test. 2) Three women will develop breast cancer that is diagnosed and treated without screening. 3) One death from breast cancer will be prevented. 4) 12 women will die from some cause other than breast cancer. 5) Two women will die of breast cancer despite breast cancer screening.

The “mammography saves lives” rhetoric that underlies the pink fundraising activities is only true for the one in 1,000 women who is screened every year for a decade. Independent groups, such as the USPSTF, are more restrictive in their assessment of screening because they are only interested in assessing screening on its medical value. Other countries recommend women not start screening till age 50 and some have even severely curtailed it. Some experts in Switzerland, widely considered to have one of the best healthcare systems in the world, have suggested that mammography be banned in that country.

Thankfully, there is a tide flowing in the other direction from all the pink surrounding us this time of year. The 2012 film, Pink Ribbons, Inc., is a powerful documentary, calling breast cancer “the poster child of corporate cause-related marketing campaigns.”

The activists at the US group Breast Cancer Action (BCaction.org) based in San Francisco is not financially tied to the breast cancer industry and they deconstruct it at every opportunity. Their Think Before You Pink campaign asks if we should really allow companies to “pinkwash” themselves, i.e.: wrapping themselves in the feel-good vibe of pink ribbons and pink marketing while they sell products containing chemicals linked to breast cancer? Anyone up for a big ole pink bucket of fried chicken?

What would make me trust the fundraising campaigns run by groups like the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation? To start, I would need it to come clean about the facts around preventing breast cancer and that means some unvarnished facts about the downsides of mammography. As much as we might like to wear pink sunglasses and have fun with this disease, the harm and unnecessary treatment caused by encouraging more and more women into the mammography juggernaut should have us all seeing not pink, but red.

Alan Cassels wrote Seeking Sickness: Medical Screening and the Misguided Hunt for Disease where he discussed, among other things, mammography. www.alancassels.com

STAR WISE: March 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

The spring equinox takes place on March 20 at 3:45 PM Pacific Daylight Savings Time (PDST). It is an auspicious astrological event and many cultures in ancient times used the spring equinox chart as their cosmic indicator as to how the year would go. I set the chart for Vancouver and the indications are excellent. Maybe “excellent” is a little over the top, but in the language of the stars, the equinox chart is radiating very positive and harmonious qualities. I wouldn’t expect lollipops to be falling out of the sky, but if we lean into the tasks that lie before us, we stand a very good chance of doing rather well.

Just before I lull you into passivity with dreams of sugarplums and mega-dollar projects unfolding, know that life will be hot, dramatic and intense, as it should be when you dwell in a metropolis the size of Vancouver. Thirteen hours before the equinox, a solar eclipse takes place and it will cast its astrological shadow throughout the rest of 2015. Eclipses are associated with karma and in addition to personal karma, we have collective karma as well. On March 21, the Moon eclipses Mars and Uranus and we can expect some type of fireworks to manifest in the form of fires, earthquakes, accidents and violent incidents. It doesn’t necessarily mean these events will take place, but the stars are showing the potential for some type of calamity to manifest. It could come about as gang activity, political turmoil and other sorts of mayhem. No new news here. It’s the same old story.

Let’s get back to the sugarplums. As I was saying, the stars are indicating a fruitful year ­– a year of abundance and growth – and that we need to be a bit more revolutionary and bold in our approach to our concerns. We are truly blessed and live in the land of plenty, with a beautiful culture and geography, peopled by a vast assortment of souls from every corner of the globe. We must strive to join hands and form a giant circle that includes the benefit of all for we are only as strong as the weakest link in the chain. We can be the role model for other cultures to follow, as even with all of our problems and blemishes, Vancouver is still the greatest place on the planet in which to live. She protects and nurtures us; in turn, we need to nurture and protect our sacred land and waters. We must count our blessings, knowing we are the caretakers of this beautiful land.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)
It’s your time to shine; it’s an epoch time in which many new beginnings are taking root. Find your direction and head off into a most adventurous year. 2015 is your year to pioneer. Don’t know what to do? Start by eliminating what you know is not worthy, real or true and proceed from there.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)
The past comes into play and it is now time to pay it forward as you clear up old accounts and various forms of indebtedness. The action begins mid-month and continues throughout March and April. All kinds of excitement await thee. Love and adventure, along with other forms of dynamic creativity, manifest now.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)
You are a dual sign and can handle multiple tasks at the same time. You will need that skill as 2015 unfolds. One part abundance and one part scarcity; one part gathering and one part letting go takes place. Embrace it all and fear not letting go of anything; new energy fills the void.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July
22)
Your career status is on an upward trajectory and you should assist this energy enthusiastically. Social circles expand as well, probably in proportion to your career activities. Muster your courage, don’t look back and know the energy is right and ready to help you in achieving your objectives. Meet all challenges head on.

 

LEO (July
23 – August 22)
You can groove along in a mellow way and do okay or you can roar like a lion and make yourself heard and be loved and respected for the various talents you can bring to the table. In other words, you’re hot, even more so if you believe in yourself and have no shame in your game.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September
22)
The full Moon on March 5 will illuminate the pathway ahead for you. It will become obvious as to which way you should go and what you should do. It may not be a cakewalk and clarity will be needed to sort through the confusion mid-month. Do one thing at a time.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)
A time of contrast and controversy has arrived and you will have to use that super bio computer sitting on your shoulders to sort through the myriad complexities that will arise. It’s really not a big deal unless you make it so. No sense turning molehills into mountains. All kinds of exciting challenges manifest.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)
You may feel a little weathered by the events of the last two years or so and now you just have a bit more to go before you can really rest and let down. You are gifted with great resilience and recuperative powers. Don’t give up or let up, but keep moving towards your goals.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)
It’s time to weigh up what is real and what is true. Use your archery skills to pinpoint the target and concentrate before you let loose your arrows. There’s great planetary support going on and you have even more luck than usual. Count on that luck to see you through the times when you cannot see clearly.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)
Play the long game by giving yourself a few years to see the realities coming your way for certainly they’re coming. Life is changing at a rapid pace and it’s hard to know just what to do. Fear not; your karma has you covered. Poverty, wealth or whatever is destined is already written.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)
Beat the drum a little louder in the first 10 days of March, as you are likely to be heard then. The planets are lending great support and any effort on your part will not go unnoticed. Plus Jupiter the great benefactor is casting his glance your way indicating that your timing is right.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)
Communications become enhanced this month. It would be to your benefit to first hammer out your words and what you want to say and then say it, portray it and wing it if you have to. Pay attention to your dreams and psychic impressions around March 18. Your psyche speaks rather loudly at that time.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: February 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

“Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.” If ever there were a star to wish upon, it will rise just after sunset on February 3. In western tropical astrology, the Moon conjoins with Jupiter in Leo just hours after the full Moon on February 3. Full moons are auspicious and Jupiter is known to grant wishes.

It gets even more interesting when we switch over to the sidereal Vedic system of astrology. Instead of the Moon being in Leo, it drops back to Cancer, which is the Moon’s own sign; it is also the sign of Jupiter’s exaltation in which it has much more freedom of expression to wield its power and influence. If I were to make a wish, I would certainly pay attention to this lovely conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter.
Let’s go a little deeper into it. The ancients created the nakshatras or Moon mansions. They are the star groups that the Moon travels through each day. The ancients realized that certain phenomena happened as the Moon visited the 27 different nakshatras. It just so happens the Moon will be visiting the nakshatra called Ashlesha when she joins up with King of the Gods Jupiter, granter of boons, prayers and wishes. The Vedic astrologers teach us that Ashlesha connects us to our dharma, which is the impetus to do good and benefit others. Ashlesha carries mystical and magical powers and there is nothing more powerful than the power of prayer, especially when done sincerely from the heart. If you miss the boat or the opportunity to make your wish, you will have another chance on March 2 – especially at 08:52 PM (PST) when the Moon and Jupiter embrace once again in the southeastern sky.

Those among us who are more spiritually inclined might get a strong charge out of this powerful conjunction, as Ashlesha also grants spiritual enlightenment. Venus and Mars, the traditional planets associated with love, attraction and desire, are moving through Pisces and it is another harbinger of affection, attraction and love. Karma drives the wheel and we only get to go with the people with whom we have strong karmic bonds. On a broader level, we might want to pray for world peace and for Lord Jupiter to grant some compassionate love and care for souls that are suffering. Our compassionate father cannot resist our cries for help and like the mother with her baby, must come and soothe and feed her little one.

ARIES (March 21 – April 19)
On Saint Valentine’s Day on February 14, we make our declarations of love. But wait! There are better days to make this display of love. February 20 and 21 are special days as Venus, Mars and the Moon align in Aries creating a cosmic mix of powerful, magical and mystical energy especially designed for lovers.
TAURUS (April 20 – May 21)
King Solomon said there was nothing new under the Sun. It’s highly likely the new love that shows up in your life this month is a very old connection from the hoary past. People from the past are destined to come back into your life now, lovers or not. Career and social activities are featured now.
GEMINI (May 22 – June 20)
“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” is probably a good line to start the forecast. Take your time searching for that special partner. He/she is likely to show up now especially while traveling or in the work place. All the more reason to walk, don’t run. An exciting month unfolds its potential.
CANCER (June 21 – July 22)
An inheritance might be in the wind and you might be in the wind as well. Travel is highlighted this month, as is spirituality. An inheritance is what is warranted to come one’s way from past life associations. The time has come this year to move closer or away from someone close to you.
LEO (July 23 – August 22)
Read the introduction regarding the Leo full Moon on February 3. It’s your time to wish upon a star. It is also your time to truly move towards your goals, dreams and whatever else you aspire towards. Nurture and nature are key ingredients to your success; without them, you cannot go very far.
VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)
Van Morrison’s Moondance fits the mood for the February skies as Venus and Mars cast their magical energy into your sign. “Well, it’s a marvelous night for a Moondance with the stars up above in your eyes…” But if romance is not in sight, use this energy to brighten and beautify your life however you can.
LIBRA (September 23 – October 22)
The last 10 days of February and early March heat up as Venus, Mars and Uranus move closer together in your opposite sign Aries, promising action, attraction, fire and desire. Changes come quickly, surprises as well, and you might not mind. Creativity is at a peak. You might be restless and excited.
SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21)
Saturn has stepped away, probably to your relief. He’s moved into Sagittarius and will be back for his final visit in mid-June until mid-September. No doubt, he has brought some powerful lessons regarding discipline and frugalness. He demands we live with less. You can breathe easy now and enjoy some light, laughter and love.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 21)
Saturn is not the planet that Sagittarius enjoys all that much. He’s such a party pooper with his stern and stringent ways. You may have to put the party gear away for a while whilst you figure how to go and what to do. Career, health and relationship topics will need some serious attention now.
CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19)
The Moon visits Capricorn on Saint Valentine’s Day placing you in your lunar high of the month. You might be flying high as the course of events from February 14 to 16 could have you in a spin. You can expect things to not go as planned as the stars are indicating a surprise or two.
AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 19)
The Full Moon on February 3 will illuminate the areas of your life that have needed clarity. Mercury is retrograding in Aquarius until February 12 and will need several more days to get up to speed again. Use this time to reconsider and rethink the plan. Patience and persistence and more patience are needed.
PISCES (February 20 – March 20)
Venus and Mars spice things up nicely until February 20. Venus brings creativity, attraction and love. Mars brings excitement and action. The Pisces New Moon on February18 signals a new start in a new direction. Pay attention to your dreams, as they will be loaded with important symbolism that will help you see the play.


Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: January 2015

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

We start the month with some pretty stormy weather. Last month, we talked about the Uranus/Pluto square that is in play until 2019. Uranus/Pluto combinations represent upheaval, revolution and major transformation. Here in the homeland, we worry about the terrorists and their far-flung machinations. We’ve got the pipeline blues, addictions, crime and all kinds of protestations going on. In the US, the people are upset with the policing policies around shooting kids with BB guns and choking people whose crime was selling cigarettes on the street corner. Here, we shot a man to death for wielding a two-by-four and hardly a whimper was heard. Robert Dziekanski died because he was frustrated and upset and did not know or understand our language. There must be a more compassionate way to handle people that are in distress or psychosis.

Now, back to the January stormy weather. That Uranus/Pluto square is pretty much exact in January and the full Moon on January 4 is in alignment with it. It’s a very potent mix and it indicates some type of rough astrological weather, be it in the form of rain, wind, snow, sleet or tears, anger, frustration, aggression and other intense concerns. “What to do?” you might ask? No sense shaking in our boots and wringing our hands with great worry. What we can and must do is strive to find ways to help those who are in distress.

Protesting and demonstrating for what you believe in is a good thing and also healthy for society and the ecology of the planet. But if we throw violence into the mix, we have learned nothing and have gotten nowhere except to create more resentment and barriers to be overcome in the future. The Aquarius new Moon on January 20 heralds excellent opportunities to bring people together in a humane way, in which we can work out a plan that brings benefits to all concerned. We are one people on one planet and we have more likeness than differences, regardless of colour, race or creed.

When my beautiful Master Param Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj visited Vancouver in 1972, he had just cleared customs and when he came out to greet the crowd, many people were crying. A woman approached him and asked, “Why are these people crying”? He responded with one word, “Love.” She burst into tears. Love has that effect on all of us and what we need now is love and only love and by the by, our wounds will heal.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)
Your solar career house is hot and if you’re restless for change, now is the time to make your move. Actually, you might be moved anyway as the stars are indicating a time of shift, shock, change and rearrangement. Know that you will land exactly where you are supposed to land as fate and destiny lend a hand.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)
Travel and career sectors are very active throughout the month. Plus Saturn has moved out of your opposite sign Scorpio, easing the pressure you have been experiencing over the last two years. You can rebuild and re-establish yourself once again. The Sun’s a bit brighter and your spark has returned.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)
Life might be a tad confusing as Saturn and Neptune cast their energies into your sign. Those born between May 21 and 30 will experience the effects of this planetary combination. The gist of the matter is within making ends meet on the monetary level while establishing some type of spiritual discipline as well.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July
22)
The full moon on January 4 will illuminate the areas of your life that need the most attention. There might be quite a bit of tension and a series of shifts will likely occur. It doesn’t have to be all that ominous, but changes are in the wind and you must accommodate them.

 

LEO (July
23 – August 22)
Mars and Jupiter oppose each other in the first 10 days of the month. This is a dynamic event as Jupiter is in Leo and Mars is in the opposite sign Aquarius. The sparks fly and the competition heats up significantly. You might be psyched up and ready to do battle. Watch for overcompensation.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September
22)
You might be feeling lethargic as the New Year begins. You get over the hump and break the slump by the middle of the month. At that time, you might be feeling agitated, which will prompt you into action and high gear. Jupiter brings his great blessings and abundance from August 2015 to September 2016.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)
The full Moon on January 4 brings a strong effect to the cardinal signs Libra, Capricorn, Aries and Cancer. It brings some type of dynamic energy to the important areas of our lives such as home, family, career and relationships. Those topics will figure strongly as you head into the New Year. Excitement rules the days.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)
Matters related to home and family become significant in the last half of the month. Land and real estate figure in as well. You could become obsessed with family politics. Emotional battles are likely if you push things too far. Career potential is very strong and you might be on the move and feeling aggressive.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)
Saturn is not the best friend to Sagittarius. He puts a damper on your enthusiasm and confidence. He’s going to be around for a while so it’s probably best to find a way to get on with him. He helps us streamline and correct any type of inefficiency. Career and health topics feature prominently.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)
The full Moon on January 4 brings all types of revelations your way. Just as the king tides bring the water level to the high mark, this full Moon will do the same by bringing important issues to the fore that must be dealt with. Be willing to make changes wherever and whenever.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)
It’s time for some behind the scenes work to take place as The new Moon on January 20 heralds a new start. Pay attention to the events that come to pass at this time, as there is the likelihood of good to great opportunities possibly manifesting. You might have to rethink the plan and rewrite the script or just plain wait it out until mid-February.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)
Mid-January might have its frustrations and limitations that you must bear with. Use it as a time to alleviate negative circumstances. February looks much brighter and you might be thankful for what came to pass in January. Let go of the past and the future will take care of itself. Love is in the air.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.

STAR WISE: December 2014

by Mac McLaughlin

portrait of Mac McLaughlin

Astrology is a symbolic language in which the symbols for the planets and signs, and the aspects that the planets form, relate reams of information. The greatest stories ever told lie within the pages of the ephemeris. The ephemeris is a book of numbers and symbols that informs us of the planetary positions throughout any given year. The stories are limited by our intuition, imagination and background experience regarding the potential power of the planets. Just as an example, written in the shorthand of the starry language, Uranus is in square with Pluto. The stargazers stroke their beards in recognition of the implications that this very dynamic planetary aspect signifies. “Say what?” you say! “What the hay are they talking about anyway?”

Let’s break it down. Uranus formed a square with Pluto in the spring of 2010 continuing to the spring of 2019. The majority of this square aspect takes place while Uranus moves through Aries and Pluto journeys through Capricorn. A square aspect is formed when the planets come within 90 degrees of each other. I give an approximate eight-degree orb of influence. In the old astrological textbooks, the square aspect is noted as evil and when the planets are in square, they create all kinds of havoc, unrest and discord. In my own take on the subject, a square is about as evil as an intersection. If you approach the intersection and use caution and care, you get through safely; if you insist on blasting through, we know it’s just a matter of time before you meet tragedy, injury or death. Is the intersection evil? I think not, but how we handle it makes all the difference in the world.

You can use this Uranus square Pluto as an overlay and pin it on the tensions in Ukraine, Africa, the Middle East and everywhere else where huge problems exist and where the cost of human life is very high and counting. Uranus in Aries spells out revolution and rebellion in which people strive to overcome repression with aggression and violence. Pluto in Capricorn symbolizes the birth and death of nations and all forms of power, be it street gangs, religious fanaticism or political power plays within all governments.

It all adds up to the same thing in which great turmoil and upheaval takes place. The forces of darkness and light clash and man continues to add more karmic indebtedness to the cosmic pile. Certainly, we need more love, more peace, more prayer and more help in solving the issues that have plagued humankind throughout the Iron Age.

ARIES
(March 21 – April 19)
Read the introduction regarding Uranus in Aries. You’re not done; you’ve only just begun and you must learn to lay down your gun. You’re the first-born and must lead the way into the future. Commence your ascent of the internal mountain of peace, light and love. Lead with the torch of surrender, compassion and truth.

 

TAURUS
(April 20 – May 21)
If Taurus had its way, everything would remain the same, just the way Taureans like it. Like it or not, the only constant is change within itself. In the big picture, you have about five years to truly weigh up the pros and cons of all things. After that, changes come with or without your consent.

 

GEMINI
(May 22 – June 20)
You’re the word merchant par excellence and teacher and storyteller. Now’s the time to inspire the young minds and teach them the ways in which we can heal our planet and make the world a better place to live in. You’ve got the gift and certainly the spirit to inspire and ignite that fire.

 

CANCER (June 21 – July
22)
Rest a while and take some time to delve deeply into what it is you must do in order to nurture and protect our planet, youth and all living creatures. We are your family and we need your help and protection. No sense waiting too long, as time and tide waits for no man.

 

LEO (July
23 – August 22)
Yes, you are the king or queen ­– of what, though? A pile of money, some big mansion, somewhere south? You can sit there and gloat about your empty attainments or you can use that kingly power you have been given and spread your light, warmth and love to all who are hungry, needy and suffering.

 

VIRGO (August 23 – September
22)
Virgo needs to be needed, useful and a significant part of what is going on. Well, we need you now, more than ever. You are capable, competent and none can work harder, longer and more devotedly than you. Plus, you care on a deep level and have great gifts of discernment, modesty and honesty.

 

LIBRA
(September 23 – October 22)
Rahu, the north node of the Moon, is travelling in the middle of Libra. The lunar nodes have much to do with our personal karma. Rahu seeks to acquire anything and everything, but he can never be satisfied nor satiated. Use this energy to attain higher knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Seek and you shall find.

 

SCORPIO
(October 23 – November 21)
It’s karmic payoff time, big-time. Now is the best time to settle all accounts to the best of your ability. Truly, there is nothing else to do anyway. Once the burden falls from your shoulders, you will feel a great sense of relief. It is also a time to start anew, to start fresh.

 

SAGITTARIUS
(November 22 – December 21)
Read Scorpio for soon it will be your time to set things right and get yourself on the right track or pay off some type of karmic burden from the past. If it sounds a tad ominous, it is not that way. It’s exactly the other way, meaning freedom, happiness and harmony. 2015 tells the tale.

 

CAPRICORN
(December 22 – January 19)
The winter solstice and the Capricorn new Moon take place on December 21. It indicates a time in which you can make a new start and truly reinvent yourself. Venus and Pluto conjunct close to the solstice giving you the opportunity to reassess matters of the heart. A powerful dying and birthing process takes hold.

 

AQUARIUS
(January 20 – February 19)
It’s time for some behind the scenes work to take place as you make preparations for some type of dynamic action as the New Year begins. You may feel emboldened and alive; the old spark is rekindled. It’s time to clear out the old and bring in the new – body, mind and soul-wise.

 

PISCES
(February 20 – March 20)
The Moon transits through Pisces December 26 and 27 creating a series of good planetary aspects that bring joy, peace and happiness your way. Keep in mind that Neptune, co-ruler of Pisces, will visit your sign for 10 more years. Within that time, your spirituality will develop in a most dynamic way.

Mac McLaughlin has been a practising, professional astrologer for more than four decades. His popular Straight Stars column ran in Vancouver’s largest weekly newspaper for 11 years.
Email mac@macsstars.com or call 604-731-1109.