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by Anita Sands Hernandez

If astrology is a fixed set of measurements and rules about a big laboratory experiment called life, ( closely watched by stargazers for almost five thousand years,) then, what is it that these rules attempt to measure?

It is the influence of the universe as felt from your desk chair. The four DIRECTIONS. The four winds.

A set of mechanical springs seem to lie under the western zodiac. Unlike the Hinduic one, pivoting on the constellations, ours is built on the solstice and equinox points.

To analyze the magnetic flavor of the universe isn't going to be complex. Our western cosmology is involved with the same four magnetic compass points that the Druids and Mayans observed at Stonehenge and Chitzen Itza.

This short list of four flavors starts with the FIRST DAY OF SPRING, The Spring EQUINOX which is the birth of the growing LIGHT period each year. March 21st is absolute zero, the alpha and omega of our zodiac. As is the myth, so is the reality, so expect some kind of birth.

Any planet in ZERO ARIES brings new starts. The sign ARIES has that quality of INITIATING matters, ruling pioneers, inventors.

March 21st, we enter into the six month MAXIMUM GROWING SUN period (in the northern hemisphere that is.) It's time for seeds to sprout and some mysterious universal energy pushes everything out of the ground now and greens the world up.

Celebrate your own rebirth then --- paint and hang portraits of yourself. Honor yourself, Fall madly in love with yourself. Forgive yourself all prior mistakes. It was part of the learning process. Accept that you're great, not in spite of your errors but BECAUSE of them and get into motion because you have three months of total growth of the light.

ARIES is a fire sign. Fire is a symbol of the ardor of love, Aries it's love for Self, (Leo of romantic love and Sag of the love for the teacher are the other two fire or love signs.) Fire up your motors about who you are and what you can do. Aries is an action sign. Maximize your heroicism, (Aries keywords, or clues to what ARIES is all about.) In the ARIES month we do feats to achieve SELF love. Why? What we believe of ourselves is what others will believe, too. The dark forces of Winter fall away when we learn that skill, start spinning that motor, the central coil in our skull's many labyrinths... The LOVING-YOURSELF MOTOR, and ARIES being a fire sign, 'motor' is a good metaphor!

At the ARIES Equinox, plan what the heroic 'You' wants to accomplish in the year ahead. You will launch those new ships onto the waves by vow, a kind of SPIRITUAL lightning bolt, and by these rays springing from the magician's wand, will things move. PRONOUNCE what you will do. Words are the breath in our sails. VOWING is the prod from the wand. VOWING that you'll do the necessary acts (ARIES KEYWORD) to not only start toward--- but arrive at your goal. (If you have a habit of keeping your WORD that is.)

On the zero ARIES day, or whenever a planet gets to zero ARIES, you'll find it easier to start new habits.

March 21st is the real "NEW YEAR" and the resolutions of this moment, are the ones that count. GET A PENCIL AND WRITE these action-vows DOWN.

The SUN has two more months in the GROWING LIGHT period. These three signs add up to the three strategies for the light time. TAURUS manifests beautiful THINGS, or 'fixes' the basic ARIES energy in 'stuff.' The vows to act show up as results --- in matter. LAND appears, that we sow with seeds. Beautiful flowers, objects. A car, money. Our deals go through and the checking account reflects it.

Next stop, Sun goes into GEMINI. We have land planted and now we can relax and use the flexible mutable air sign to study, learn artisanry and travel.

These are the basic energies of the GROWING LIGHT PERIOD, the Aries energy, Taurus wealth, then the GEMINI time to learn, move, travel.

FIRST DAY OF SUMMER: Zero Cancer is a SOLSTICE, a maximum subway stop on the earth's railway line. The car has gone as far out as it can. The light principle is at its maximum. We have been in a growing light period for THREE MONTHS now and maybe we're spoiled by how good it got. People are all vitaminized and are energetic. Aries made them heroes, TAURUS made them rich, GEMINI made them smart and mobile and NOW, just as the sun is at its maximum, the time of waning light STARTS, --- Moonchild's 30 days, and now we look backwards over the last three months of easy growth and we see that those three months brought us here, to the maximum point of light.

The ample LIGHT CONDITIONS on earth suffuse us with feeling, emotions, maximum JUICE. We're sensitive and aware, sentimental, all the things that Moonchild is. Suddenly at the point of most amplitude of light, it strikes us to conceive a child. This is the sign of conception, babies, birth. Life at its maximum peak but the paradox is that just as we have the MOST LIGHT, and create the spark of life, we are about to start a period of declining days. We're not yet in the dark time. That won't start 'til Autumn. But even though the light is maximum, suddenly days are getting shorter. The light pales during this poignant CANCERIAN MONTH. The Moonchild days there's a deepening awareness of the fullness of life manifesting as the thought to have a child, have a family. It's not logical to do this but MOONCHILD is not logical, it's about feeling, about how much we care about our home and clan. It's "FAMILY TIES" month. DEEPENING of parent-child relationships are possible. We dedicate ourselves to the family and to c reating the cozy home.

Then, the sun passes into LEO -- we're at home and we're energized from the light time, so it's easy to get creative. We play with children, sports, games, artisanry, we paint and learn fine arts. We create dramatic plays for fireside at night.

VIRGO month, the light is fading but we're still tanned from summer. We busy ourselves with the harvest, getting ready for the dark time. We're frugal, we put aside canned goods and grains. The last day of VIRGO is the last day of SUMMER. We ask ourselves, is there enough set aside to survive the dark time? VIRGO, the ultimate troubleshooter, yin or feminine, collecting nuts like a squirrel to be ready for the dark time.

The FIRST DAY OF AUTUMN is an EQUINOX. We've been in the period of declining light for three months already, and now light and dark are equal. In the northern hemisphere, we're going into the real DARKTIME, a period of dangerous chill.

From this point on... for three months, darkness grows to its outer limits. Nights get longer, and longer, days shorter. We are in BALANCE for a moment, as the Sun enters LIBRA, then we cross into the three months of increasingly deepening Dark Time. CONTAINED within this period are LIBRA, SCORPIO and SAGITTARIUS. They represent the three strategies for the dark time.

In any dark or dangerous time, the impulse is to add something to ourselves to survive, to find help, to take some action, (cardinal sign) to think, and to link, (air signs.)

SUN Zero of LIBRA means we think that we need the village to like us and especially one OTHER PERSON ( a partner) in order to survive. That is the LIBRA energy.

LIBRA rules the balance between two people. That uneasy truce between a dog and a cat. That's what they named this sign: "The balance". The word refers to the relationship between man and woman.

At Autumn solstice, everyone's more motivated to pair up into the infallible 'buddy system' for safety. We propose that to someone and it's logical. We can survive better as a pair. Two can survive as cheaply as one. And on a Darwinian level, if anything happens to the two of us, well, we can create this THIRD person and maybe they'll survive. Zero Libra is the wedding ceremony degree.

SCORPIO - OUR METTLE is being tested! The weather is so cold that around us, plants have already been hit by the frost, blackened and died. The thought is, "I may not get enough on my own, but I'll get something I need through YOU." SCORPIO is a transactional sign involving terrors, needs, passions. The world has become threatening. All the dead trees, the wind howls. The hidden mysteries of life and death are 'in our face. ' Halloween, Day of the Dead. We require a talisman to fight. The woman enhances her beauty, lures a man, creates entertainment, entry into the resuscitating mysteries of kundalini, heavy breathing done to the tune of exotic postures. The act banishes sorrow, exhilarates, reaffirms man's power and also results in the guy with all the testosterone paying the rent and bringing home the bacon. Scorpio is the essential bargain or trade-off. I give you love to get security. You give me security to get love.

SAGITTARIUS- The snow is falling. We huddle before the fire. The cold doesn't break so the Centaur is our storyteller. In the cold time, we sit in our hut and learn law, myth, morality and history through stories. Sagittarius is the sign of literature. Gurus with a viewpoint are required in this third month of the Big Chill. They tell us how to stay glued. They remind us of the laws, "don't kill one another; we know you've got cabin fever, but be good." Sag is a mutable fire sign, all fire signs are about LOVE. This is the love of the teacher for the student and vice versa. When one loves the teacher, one will learn the lessons and believe the prophecies of jovial light-bringing Sag just as the darkness deepens to its ultimate ---the day of ---

WINTER SOLSTICE. Now we get to the extreme 'stop' on the planet-earth's subway line. In northern hemisphere, we're at our coldest point in the year. Nights are definitely, WAAAY longer than days. (It is the dark time in the NORTH only, however, as in the SOUTHERN hemisphere, this is the SUMMER SOLSTICE and the sunniest day of the year. They have to read this whole thing BACKWARDS,) but Dec 21st, Northerners realize that much as 'SURVIVAL' has been in the air during the last three months, and this day is the darkest of the year, it also marks the beginning of a hopeful 'emerging from darkness' period. Not to worry, tomorrow. things starts warming up and windows, shutters and doors will be flung open soon, so at WINTER SOLSTICE, the LIGHT PRINCIPLE is again activated, we can do all kinds of action that we couldn't do before. The freeze on our planet is about to break.

CAPRICORN, the first sign of the WINTER TRILOGY and a cardinal action sign, is about hope for MONEY, career, fame, reputation. Its glyph is a MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING GOAT, a guy really burning calories at dead of winter, but with his eye on the goal, the mountain top where there's this big, fat bear.

The goat is a winner. Sure it's slippery and frozen and steep but he's sure footed, also frugal, seeing that we don't use up the whole sack of grain before the thaw. In a way his frugality maximizes survival or profits.

The zero Capricorn degree is dedicated to ACHIEVING POWER, using all our muscle, making a career and while we're at it, let's use the experience of the last three months, the Lib/Scor/Sag months... Go over those lessons in your mind. There were concessions there, concessions made for the dark time, but not necessarily of permanent use. We found partners, we used them, feeling transient lusts, and then we met with our priests and followed their laws so that we could be free of guilt and be perfect, and now we ARE perfect. Capricorn cares about being perfect, about his reputation. About the figure he cuts. He's proud and he's going into action that is about getting. A cardinal but FEMININE sign, (meaning, yin, centrifugal, or they take in and get stuff, they don't GIVE it!) They are also earthy or practical. ZERO CAPRICORN marks the let's "MAKE IT BIG" time. Get out on that icy mountain and catch a bear. Capricorn is a rugged, hard working goal-oriented achiever. Zero Capricorn carries that code, no matter where or in whose chart it is found.

The second strategy of the hopeful dark days, where light is slowly growing, is AQUARIUS. Now, he's a joker, kind of like Sag. But much more irreverent. He sits in the hut, (as he's fixed) but he's full of words (air sign, opinions, and he's raving, an iconoclast, synthesizing it all, teaching us how to do it, hopeful as the light is growing already, (although we're still in the dark time,) and this nutcase is keeping us all going with hope. He seems to understand how the mind works and what it needs as we round the dark bend and head out of the super dark months. We need HOPE, to be able to frame wishes to survive. So Aquarius affirms.

PISCES is the last sign of the dark side. Delicate, faint. PISCES is about to give up. It's been cold so long he almost doesn't care. PISCES is mutable. He doesn't act or fix things, he just goes with the flow. PISCES signifies leaving the body, visiting the astral plane. We're beyond cabin fever. We're just lying wrapped in a bear skin dreaming, psychic. You'd be psychic too if you hadn't eaten for three months. And then, at long last, the dark time ends and we hit the SPRING EQUINOX. Dark and light are equal again and first day of SPRING brings rebirth of the light. The first green leaves peek out from the snow. We can eat our winter salads. A red robin calls out the birth of the child, conceived 9 months before at Moonchild.

The endless wheel spins. Astrologers at campfires for thousands of years make notes and pass them on.

Anita is an organic farmer living in Los Angeles with 6 cats and a chicken. She can be found at

A Bit about the Author: Anita Sands (published by DELL HOROSCOPE magazine, two cover stories), reads the horoscopes of Hollywood's most famed mystics, including the late Carlos Castaneda, Yogi Bhajan, the ex president of India, Dyal Singh, also many other gurus, teachers, New Age personalities and some filmstars, Sally Kirkland, Michael Learned, Joan Hackett, Cheryl Ladd, Laverne and Shirley, Nicolas Cage, Robert Stack and his wife, Mrs. Clark Gable, (the late) many directors and producers and a few rock stars: Courtney Love, Joni Mitchell. She has often been called the "FIRST LADY of Astrology", "Stargazer to the STARS" "Guru to the Gurus". Her writings are found

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