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Aug 28th
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Columns - Astrology

Mars Retrograde, Winter Solstice

Mars Retrograde, Winter Solstice

The important astrological news this week is Mars (Ray 6) retrograde (19.42 degrees Leo) early Sunday morning (Dec. 20) and winter solstice (Monday, Dec. 21) as Sun enters Capricorn (9:47 a.m. Pacific time). Mars is retrograde until March 10, 2010 (74 days). Mars has been slowing down since mid October, so many have wondered at the increasing dawdling about in areas where we must take action. Mars is the definitive sign of “action” and energy. Mars only retrogrades every 2.2 years. So humanity isn’t as familiar with Mars retrogrades as with Mercury retrogrades (occurring Dec. 26). Mars signifies energy and will, devotion and desire, anger, wars and all outward actions. Mars retrograde shifts these outward behaviors inward so we can review and reorient (Scorpio work, Mars rules Scorpio) and make things new again when Mars is direct. With Mars retrograde in Leo (especially Leo Sun/rising/moon, Aquarius and the remaining fixed signs Taurus and Scorpio) the entire world becomes introspective in order to review beliefs and attitudes concerning life itself. The life force Mars exhibits becomes subdued, it’s warring energy softened. Leo is very independent, exuberant and dramatic. With Mars in Leo retrograde we will see dependence, shyness, inner reflections. It will be interesting to see what films and Broadway shows (theater) emerge during Mars retro in Leo.  It’s important to be aware that anger, wars, violence, the dark side of Mars, may be somewhat hidden during these two months. It doesn’t disappear, it becomes aggravated. Because of the Leo, it’s not a good time to gamble or take risks of any type. Our hearts (physical, throbbing), arteries, blood need special care, as do children and loved ones. How will the Leo Mars retro affect us?

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Columns - Astrology

Sign of Silence

Sign of Silence

Let’s discover a bit more about Sagittarius … a sign often hidden in the preparations of Hanukkah, winter solstice and Christmas. Sagittarius is associated with vision, aspiration and a one-pointed direction toward the goals of service and saviorship (Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces). Sagittarius learns the “right use of the arrows of thought (Sag’s great test), restraint of speech, and consequent harmlessness resulting in liberation. Sag is esoterically one of the “signs of silence.” Sagittarius is a potent sign due to its one-pointed focus on goals, silence and that it is the time and sign immediately preceding the new light at winter solstice representing the birth of the Holy Child. Sagittarius seeks the “spirit of truth, emerging from individual revelation.” Three constellations make up Sa —Lyra, the seven-stringed harp; Ara, the altar; and Draco serpent of wisdom. Two other constellations surround these three—Aquila, the eagle (Spirit) and Cygnus, the swan (Soul). Sag is known for its extraordinary ability with music (from Lyra) and its photographic eye (from Aquila).

Saturday is the first day of Hanukkah and feast days of Santa Lucia and Our Lady of Guadalupe. Wednesday is the last new moon, 25 degrees Sag, of the year. Astrology news alert! Mercury’s in Capricorn, Mars retro begins next week followed by retro Mercury! Click Read More to see Horoscopes >

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Columns - Astrology

A Beam of Focused Light

A Beam of Focused Light

There are many events this week following last week’s Full moon festival of Sag/Gemini (goals brought forth for humanity and Earth’s well-being). The Parliament of World Religions & Women at the Parliament in Melbourne, Australia, Dec. 3-9; Copenhagen Climate Change Conference Dec. 7-18; Santa Cruz UNA (United Nations Association) Human Rights Fair (after downtown parade), Saturday, Dec. 5, noon to 9 p.m. at Louden Nelson. Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent (“something’s coming”) and feast day of St. Nicholas (the real Santa Claus).

We’re in Sag now, sign of food, music, the photographer, adventurer, professor and philosopher. In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna (divine driver of warrior Arjuna’s chariot) says, “I am the month of Sagittarius.” Artemis/Diana are the female Sagittarian deities. Sag’s center of attention, when not seeking the arrows of intuition scattered everywhere, is always upon the Capricorn mountaintop. Sagittarius nobly holds high aspirations (aspiration of the Soul) to return to the Father, humanity’s origins (we are starlight). Sag is energetically a “beam of focused light.” No wonder Sag is the photographer. Sag’s focus brings forth expanded awareness and consciousness through Jupiter, planet of great generosity and love (Ray 2) leading to wisdom. The Tibetan says, “Jupiter brings together and binds in friendliness.” Thus, in the season of giving (through Jan. 6, Feast of the Three Kings), let us be generous with our light, our money, our gifts, our love, our goodness and our wisdom.

 

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Columns - Astrology

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

We begin the week Thursday with Thanksgiving. Unfortunately the entire day is v/c, which means making contact can be difficult unless there is an earnest intention to do so. Holidays that fall on v/c (moon making no contact with planets, therefore we don’t make contact with each other, events, feelings, food, etc.) days can be stressful unless we are aware of the withdrawn energies of the moon, which rules our emotions, family, contact and comfort. Therefore, during this Thanksgiving let us have the conscious intention to make contact with each other, aware that we must work a bit harder for that contact to occur. We remember, “making contact releases love.” And in this solar system (the second of three) “love is all there is.”

To assist us with that contact and with giving thanks for everything small to large and everything in between, here’s some music from David Lowe’s Dreamcatcher album, track title “Seventh Heaven”. The accompanying film on the animal kingdom is beautiful and especially good for children. Playing this music over and over elevates the heart and frees the mind.

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Columns - Astrology

Sagittarius, Venus, Gratitude

Sagittarius, Venus, GratitudeSaturday Sun enters Sagittarius. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters onto the “plains of Sagittarius”. Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused entirely upon the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is a “disciple.” Adventure, luck and optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius.
Venus this week captures our energy, interacting daily with other planets. Thursday, Venus squares Mars and relationships turn into battlegrounds, rainstorms and passionate encounters occur. Sunday Venus joins Ceres and nurturing becomes the main principle mentally and in the heart. Monday Venus squares Jupiter and our values come into question, especially money. We’ll need to take a different path and bring something of value into form and matter. Tuesday evening Venus squares Chiron and our wounds are felt. We seek the most holistic methods to tend to what hurts. The old ways (direction of energy) won’t work anymore. Wednesday Venus trines Uranus - a brilliant aspect – with everyone becoming social and many discussing how to contribute to the betterment of the world; how to bring forth, with intelligence and heart, the new culture and civilization.
It’s time to give thanks … letting our gratitude be the light in the season of darkness.
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Columns - Astrology

Saturn Square Pluto, Dark Sky, New Moon

Saturn Square Pluto, Dark Sky, New Moon

Saturn squares Pluto Sunday in cardinal signs Libra/Capricorn. Cardinal signs bring forth new realities, squares force us onto new pathways. As Saturn disciplines us toward reality and truth (the breakdowns, economic crisis, shootings, etc., are engineered), Pluto simply transforms everything relentlessly. Libra is about relationships, money, economics, Right Relations, Right Thinking and Right Values while Capricorn rules governments, leaders and the entire structure of our civilization. This Saturn/Pluto square occurs again Jan. 31 and Aug. 21, 2010 moving us forward on a trajectory of constant and ceaseless new direction, change and transformation. All of this humanity needs in order for our present unreal financial system to move toward a real economy based on principles of sharing. Day by day, transit-by-transit, planet-by-planet, sign by sign, over time this reorientation (Scorpio work) will occur. At first we will have suffering. Then realization.

Venus is in Scorpio for the next three weeks (till Dec. 1 at Full Moon). With Venus in Scorpio our feelings, often hidden, show themselves directly. (There's more at nightlightnews.com.)

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Columns - Astrology

Mercury in Scorpio – Don’t Be Cruel

Mercury in Scorpio – Don’t Be Cruel

The Sun and Mercury join forces in Scorpio Thursday - Hermes, the messenger (Mercury) sending information about Scorpio’s Nine Tests to humanity via the Sun.  With Mercury in Scorpio we all become resourceful, determined, fearless, intuitive, quite witty, investigative, profound and filled with desires, however secretly and with great mystery. We may go into hiding, display suspicion and skepticism, stubbornness, determination and be emotionally on edge. Scorpio presents an interesting mix of depth-psychology behaviors. Research is best during Mercury in Scorpio. We’ll all be deeply searching for something seeking the heart of all matters. When we find what we’re searching for we’ll “capture” it and make it our own. Our intelligence becomes highly instinctive, and we’ll learn how to strategize. There is a warning with Mercury in Scorpio. That we do not harshly criticize and judge, opinionate or insinuate for Mercury’s communication while in Scorpio could destroy due to its power, force, passion and intensity. Mercury in Scorpio can also be vindictive. Intrigue, hidden motives, and mysteries may appear. We must ask if they are real or mental illusions. We will challenge others and be challenged in return. Everyone may begin to wear black and sales of sunglasses will skyrocket. We are to remember Elvis’ (Jupiter in Scorpio) song “Don’t be Cruel.”

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.