Libra Season+The Equinox 2018

 Venus reflected on the Pacific Ocean and setting with the Sun in 2008; by OceanBrocken Inaglory at the English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Venus reflected on the Pacific Ocean and setting with the Sun in 2008; by OceanBrocken Inaglory at the English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Mercury and the Sun are now in tropical Libra. The Sun's annual entrance into Libra each year initiates the equinox (autumn for the northern and spring for the southern hemispheres). For the north dwelling ancients (where western astrology gave rise), the Sun into Libra symbolized the start of the Sun's descent. Traditionally, the Sun is in its "fall" in Libra, where it loses some of its autonomy and power.

Today, we know that the solar system is heliocentric, that all planets orbit the Sun. The ancients, at least those who developed western astrology, did not. However, it's an interesting synchronicity (synchronicities are ubiquitous with astrology) that the Sun (as a symbol of the self, ego, or I) would lose its dignity in a sign which emphasizes relationship. Relationships do not revolve around an individual. For any relationship to work (romantic, marriage, friendship, or professional), some part of the self must be sacrificed or changed.

In Libra, the Sun is not symbolically at the center; it must accommodate the needs of others. With Mercury and the Sun entering Libra side by side, this equinox doubly emphasizes empathy, diplomacy, and sensitivity to alien points of view. At the moment, both Mercury and Sun in Libra suggest moving beyond a purely egocentric lens and seeking understanding of another.

Additionally, Venus is at its greatest brightness and visibility as it gets closer to the Earth. As ruler of Libra, the Venusian energies are dominating this Libra season. At sunset, we can still glimpse Venus in its last moments as the evening star. Soon, it will descend into the heart of the Sun, vanishing in Oct. but emerging again before sunrise as the morning star in early Nov.

The desire to love and be loved is getting louder. You might note a deeper appreciation for those you love and the things you want. With Venus bright and both Mercury and Sun in Libra, we perceive through the heart, noticing beauty and feeling more strongly pulled by our attractions. Next month, anticipate a critical revaluing of relationships, resources, and self-worth.

For now, delve deeply into your heart. Attune your focus to another viewpoint or perspective. Calm the mind and surrender to the heart energy so that you can hear what it has to say. Decisiveness can be a problem, especially the next several days, but it is the season to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and consider the pros and cons.

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A Sharper Focus: Mercury's Superior Conjunction

 By Thennicke [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By Thennicke [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Mercury is reaching its superior conjunction with the Sun (Sept. 20) just before entering tropical Libra. Sun and Mercury enter Libra side by side, jointly announcing the equinox Sept. 22. Mercury's superior conjunction occurs every 116 days as it transitions from morning to evening visibility (aka apparition). Currently, you will not see Mercury in the sky.

Mercury is behind the Sun and at apogee, the furthest it could be from us on Earth. Mercury's superior conjunction is the antithesis of its retrograde/inferior conjunction. Mercury is moving at its top speed, and so the mind is "out there" enthusiastically dissecting, editing, and dividing. At this point in the Mercurial synodic cycle, the mind is attuned to the future and getting ahead.

In Virgo, Mercury's more pragmatic focus infuses the solar consciousness. Communication is empowered and most useful right now. Look for the spontaneous emergence of insights and progressive perspectives. Mercury's exalted position in Virgo gives the mind profuse precision, detail orientation, and technical competence. This Mercury/Sun conjunction is favorable for learning, teaching, writing, speaking, traveling, or for honing critical skills.

Mercury enters Libra just before the Sun on Sept. 21. Mercury's superior conjunction alongside the equinox is a most potent transitional period, quickly moving our focus from the micro to the macro. Mercury through Libra can assist in reaching a more balanced perspective, incorporating different viewpoints, and learning to speak or perceive through the heart. For articulating feelings, moods, and impressions, Mercury in Libra will be a vital asset through Oct. 9.

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Revolution Reboot: Mars Square Uranus

 By Thennicke, via Wikimedia Commons

By Thennicke, via Wikimedia Commons

Mars is making its final square with Uranus this week (Sept. 18). We are likely to feel the full force of Mars/Uranus clear to the Full Moon in Aries (Sept. 24). This week can inspire sudden, impulsive moves. Mars/Uranus is erratic, individualistic, and freedom-loving. Mars in Aquarius has a flair for genius and eccentricity, too. And these Mars/Uranus themes have been ongoing since Mid-May. Notice the progress you have made.

Dissatisfaction with stale or stifling routines is a likely possibility, but be careful how you carry out liberations this week. Mars on the lunar South Node significantly cools Mars' aggressive hostility, which can help lessen explosiveness. Still, be mindful that Mars near the South Node emphasizes a letting go of violent or destructive behaviors. Uranus can help liberate frustrated energies and channel them to more constructive means.

So yes, this week is infused with restlessness or potential agitation. Don't push yourself too hard, but don't repress your need to change or innovate something either. With Mercury nearing its superior conjunction Sept. 20, the mind is getting sharper and more attuned to the future. Virgo Mercury alongside Aquarian Mars can generate fresh perspectives and transcend the past.

So do indulge in creative change/innovation this week. Seek a healthy expression of pent-up unrest. However, considering that we are nearing the equinox this weekend and a dicey Full Moon square Saturn, do not throw all caution to the wind or recklessly pursue your own needs and desires. Maintain mindfulness of consequences, because the Full Moon energies are not supportive of an unrestrained Mars. Compassion and common sense are a must.

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Listen to the Wound: Full Moon in Aries 2018

 By Moyan Brenn from Anzio, Italy (Meditation) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Moyan Brenn from Anzio, Italy (Meditation) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

September 24, 2018

2 degrees tropical Aries 00’

7:52 PM Los Angeles

10:52 PM New York

September 25, 2018

3:52 AM London

10:52 AM Beijing

12:52 PM Sydney

September's Full Moon in tropical Aries occurs shortly after the equinox and conjoins Chiron. A Full Moon in Aries represents a temporary rise in courage, assertiveness, and adventurousness. Aries, the trailblazer/warrior archetype, ruled by the planet Mars, doesn't initially think before leaping. Aries is great at getting something started but often struggles with consistency or commitment, which the Sun/Mercury in Libra emphasizes.

With Mars in Aquarius still in square aspect with Uranus, that freedom loving, impulsive, and erratic energy is a dominant force with this Full Moon. However, with the Full Moon receiving a square from Saturn, an opposition from Sun/Mercury in Libra, and with Mars conjunct the lunar South Node, there is considerable restraint imposed upon the willful and impetuous Mars/Aries dynamic. Chiron, too, adds another layer of challenge and complexity.

Chiron's conjunction with this Full Moon and square with Saturn makes it difficult to ignore a source of pain in some specific area. A Full Moon is a breaking point, crisis, or state of completion, so it's time to acknowledge the source of that pain and bring awareness and healing. Saturn's square is a catalyst for taking the initiative and responsibility for our suffering. Chiron also works like a key, helping to unlock a door that was previously obstructed or concealed.

Interestingly, Chiron will move back into Pisces the day following this Full Moon. It will re-enter Aries in Feb. 2019 and transit here until 2026/2027. Reflect on the house where the Full Moon and Chiron fall in your chart; this will reveal what your specific pain, wound, or defect relates to. Chiron's transit through this house/sign the next eight years will assist in unlocking and eventually transmuting self-defeating attitudes or beliefs blocking a healthy flow and expression of energy here.

Aries/Mars energy is about taking the initiative and action. What is preventing you from being proactive here? This Full Moon can help illuminate your blocks and can also symbolize a breakthrough or a threshold reached with changes you may already have initiated. Witnessing the results of hard work, dedication, and commitment can rapidly transmute some area of your life and inspire you to continue in your efforts.

Yes, Saturn's square can also amplify the woundedness so characteristic of Chiron. Feeling the weight or enormity of hardship or challenge is possible with this Full Moon. But a Full Moon is about the integration of two ends of a spectrum. This Full Moon can additionally help to balance or diversify a limiting or self-focused perspective via the Sun and Mercury in Libra. Listening to alternative points of view, receiving helpful feedback, or reaching out for support can help shift excessive or obsessive focus on a problem.

There are obvious limitations to anyone's personal and subjective viewpoint. Getting your way can only take you so far in life. For some, it might work out circumstantially. If you have enough wealth, power, or privilege, it's easier to bulldoze your way through any environment without considering your impact. But this Full Moon can put the brakes on any selfish or destructive pattern.

Chiron in opposition to the Sun and Mercury can impulse more profound thought and consideration of the consequences of one's actions, attitudes, or choices. Saturn's square to the Full Moon axis can bring forth the knowledge that absolute freedom is impossible. Ultimately, we need the help and support of others to survive. This lunation can also work as a breakthrough in realizing that teamwork and cooperation can more effectively solve a problem than going it alone.

Chiron's transit through Aries will continue next year, but with this Full Moon, remain receptive to any insights or suggestions you receive in regards to healing and transmuting your woundedness. Don’t forget the power of your body and mind to change. Mars' last conjunction with the south node can limit or dampen the energy of Mars, which lessens one's ability to effectively make those impulsive leaps or respond to this Full Moon with full strength hostility or aggression. As counterintuitive as it may sound with an Aries Full Moon, it might be best to put down your sword and fully assess both sides of a situation before charging into a battle. An alternate perspective can sometimes change everything. A willingness to listen will be vital.

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Mercury Trine Pluto+Sextile Jupiter

Along the Yuba.jpg

Mercury's opposition to Neptune may have momentarily dissipated the Virgo/earth sign productivity flow. But Mercury is moving on, nearing its superior conjunction with the Sun next week. If you lost your focus, anticipate a rapid return soon enough. Mercury's superior conjunction in Virgo is high power mental/communicative energy and helps if you need to concentrate ahead or clarify just about anything.

Mercury makes a trine with Pluto this weekend alongside the first quarter Moon and a sextile to Jupiter. The Moon's power is rising and surging and can empower motivation for the completion of tasks and critical projects. The Full Moon in a little over a week is not a smooth integration, but it is a catalyst for growth, maturity, and change. If you've been proactive with managing your to-do-list and responsibilities, expect a rising sense of accomplishment or authority.

Mercury's trine to Pluto this weekend favors in-depth investigations and conversations. Combined with Venus in Scorpio, superficial exchanges especially reveal their hollowness. If you need or want to go further with an interaction, be upfront, and you'll effortlessly move beyond the usual obstructions. Mercury to Pluto lends a high degree of persuasiveness, so utilize this momentary leverage with mindfulness.

Pluto can empower Mercury in Virgo's perceptiveness as few details evade notice. Of course, Neptune's fading opposition still manages to stir up idealism and residual cloudy judgment, but reason, logic, and an acute focus will be on the increase over the next week. By Sunday, Mercury's sextile to Jupiter can help dissolve mental blocks, mobilize creativity, and forge a path toward clearness.

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Getting Wyrd: Mercury/Neptune Opposition

 A rocky peak rises from a sea of fog in an Arizona Valley; image by NOAA.

A rocky peak rises from a sea of fog in an Arizona Valley; image by NOAA.

Mercury's opposition to Neptune is building in intensity, inviting the numinous into the daily flow. For Mercury in Virgo, Neptune's opposition can be a frustrating distraction to the current, earth sign synergy. Staying on track/task could be a challenge. But Neptune can open the mind to the domain of the irrational as well as magical.

The synchronistic flow of the past week continues through Mercury/Neptune, a poignant reminder that mystery and meaning imbue our daily narrative. Combined with Mercury's trine to Pluto this weekend, the remainder of the week offers up cutting-edge insight and altered perceptions. Be careful with all communicative transactions, as critical details can evade even the most astute.

Take a step back, and if in doubt, allow the next few days to pass before you can once again rely on clarity. By the weekend, Mercury's Pluto trine can re-empower prudence and reasonable control, giving the mind an acute focus. Mercury in Virgo's constructive powers will be at maximum strength by the start of next week, so use that as an incentive to wait out the fog.

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Venus/Uranus Opposition+Jupiter Sextile Pluto

 By Mostafameraji [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By Mostafameraji [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Venus is now in Scorpio, a sign with a vastly different resonance than Venus. In the dignity/debility scheme, Venus is currently in detriment, set to retrograde in early Oct. Venus in Scorpio imbues all relational interactions with a sense of ferocity, passion, and realness. Fake fronts won't work until at least the first of Nov., so it's best to come forward now and avoid a more dramatic unmasking. However, Venus won't complete its full transit through Scorpio until early Jan. 2019. 

Venus will make its first of three oppositions with Uranus Sept. 12, while Jupiter sextiles Pluto. With Mars back in Aquarius, Venus/Uranus makes a striking and somewhat intimidating t-square in the sky. The need for new sexual/relational experiences is one possible result, or a desire to detach from a static dating/relating routine. The Venus/Uranus theme will be an ongoing saga with unusual twists and turns until the end of Nov. 

Bring something edgy and exciting into your current relationships, and also be mindful of the need for space or time to individuate. Sudden and unexpected changes in a relational narrative can synchronize with these Venus/Uranus oppositions, increasing in intensity toward the end of Oct. For now, we might begin seeing the subtle emergence of signs pointing in the direction of change. Combined with Mars in Aquarius, and Jupiter/Pluto, ingenious creative changes are within our grasp. 

Jupiter's sextile with Pluto is an impressive surge of power, optimism, and a bolstering of faith. Jupiter in Scorpio can strengthen conviction, but be cautious about leaning too heavily in the direction of fanaticism. For lessening self-doubt, momentarily overshadowing existential questioning, and increasing a sense of personal power, Jupiter/Pluto is 100 percent behind this collective boost of purposeful confidence. 

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A Fresh Route: Mars in Aquarius+Venus in Scorpio

 By Johannes Plenio jplenio (https://unsplash.com/photos/nfreue44HjI) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Johannes Plenio jplenio (https://unsplash.com/photos/nfreue44HjI) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

We are still in the dark of the Moon, the cyclic restart of the lunar cycle. New beginnings abound pointing us in fresh directions. The Moon's new cycle is underway at the start of the week, so be prepared to rise and forge ahead. Mars re-enters Aquarius today, following Venus' entrance into Scorpio yesterday. Mars direct in Aquarius will make its third and final square with Uranus next week (Sept. 18), but we will feel it the next two weeks. 

Mars in Aquarius square Uranus is innovative and cutting edge in its approach, but also volatile, even erratic. The rebel genius is the Aquarian/Uranian ideal, and Mars' square can inspire sudden breaks with the past and anything suffocating autonomy. So, the next two weeks offers up another wave of rebellion, freedom fighting, and groundbreaking moves. However, unlike Mars/Uranus squares earlier this year, Venus joins the conversation. 

Yes, Venus will turn retrograde next month. We may already notice strange turnarounds in our relationships, serendipitous meetups, or even blast from the past reemergences. Those will get louder Oct. through Nov., and Uranus flavors each of these changing dynamics in our partnerships. Anticipate allowing yourself and others more space to reinvent themselves.

Experimentation with new arrangements and interactions is a likely scenario. However, Venus in Scorpio gets deep into the core of relational issues, uncovering all hidden dimensions. Be sensitive to that, and avoid pushing others too hard too fast. Venus retrograde is a cycle of revaluing what we love and want, so give your heart some time to reflect. Some profound work lies ahead. 

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Mercury's Grand Trine+Sun/Neptune Opposition

 David Hawgood / Rock Arch in Diggory's Island

David Hawgood / Rock Arch in Diggory's Island

Mercury in Virgo joins Saturn and Uranus in an earth grand trine, alongside the Sun opposing Neptune. The mind is attuned to the mundane this week as it enters into a phase of extra efficiency. Plotting your way toward accomplishments, solving real-world problems, or tending to bodily needs/desires might take up a lot of our time and energy. Saturn's direct station can inspire proactive steps to free yourself from stagnation if you've felt especially static the last few months. 

However, the typical limitations brought by pure earth energy are not as dominant this week. Mercury trine Uranus offers fresh possibilities, unique perspectives, and novel solutions to all practical dilemmas. The earth trine synergy with Mercury helps with mental/communicative clarity. For enhancing competence and understanding, Mercury's grand trine is exceptionally fortuitous. 

While you may feel additionally motivated this week with all that you need or want to get done, the Sun's opposition to Neptune suggests that many things still evade our grasp. This weekend's New Moon is a natural period of rest and downtime, and its oppositional relationship with Neptune can feel like a need to step back for some of us. Neptune also infuses the numinous in all that we do, which can be a source of inspiration or outright confusion. 

In your busyness or worldly focus, don't ignore the subtle signs or synchronicities all around you. Take a moment to notice the mystery of the world and how little you understand it. A step back might sound counterintuitive, but it offers a chance to slow down and clarify a vision. Realize that your efforts have a higher purpose and that tending to the details always takes more time. 

Humility is especially vital in the next few days. Be forthcoming about what you don't know or understand. And Neptune the trickster can be a tempting route toward escapism, so be mindful of what you're trying to avoid. For those struggling with meeting responsibilities this week or with feeling overwhelmed, focus on the first step you need to take and go from there. Surrender to your desire for change and trust that each effort will get you closer to your goal. 

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Close, Yet So Far: Neptune Perigee

 Image of  Neptune's rings  acquired by   Voyager 2   in August 1989; photo by NASA/Voyager 2 Team

Image of Neptune's rings acquired by Voyager 2 in August 1989; photo by NASA/Voyager 2 Team

Neptune and Earth are getting intimate. For the vastness of the solar system, intimacy is millions or billions of miles. For Neptune, that's 2.7 billion to be exact. Every year when Neptune makes its opposition to the Sun, its at perigee, which is a planet's closest approach within its elliptical orbit. Opposite perigee, is apogee, a planet's furthest path. I remember the difference using this mnemonic: apogee means "away," and perigee equals "pretty darn close." Neptune's perigee is exact Sept. 6, with its opposition to the Sun Sept. 7. 

However, you will not see Neptune with the naked eye. Like its symbolic nature in astrology, Neptune evades our immediate senses, requiring a telescope and a knowledge of where to look and what to look for (binoculars will even suffice). But you can also experience the archetype of Neptune as perhaps closer than usual, by looking within yourself, or by noticing the increase of synchronicities around you.

Neptune's opposition to the Sun each year symbolizes a clash or confrontation between the rational/conscious awareness and the numinous. In Neptune's positive face, we gain an understanding that the world we see and touch is not the whole story. Perhaps, over the last week, you've begun noticing the strangeness of things beyond what is usual. Synchronicity is a primary experience of Neptunian realities. 

When a dream symbol physically manifests in the real world, that's a sure sign you're experiencing a meaningful coincidence. Repeating numbers, themes, or names can be another way of witnessing synchronicity. What do synchronicities mean? Everyone has their interpretations, but for me, they're just little reminders that I'm a part of something bigger, and that this world is shrouded in one giant enigma. Through synchronicities, I feel only slightly closer to the mystery, yet its distance still eludes me. 

It's easy to get caught up with a micro-sized view of ourselves and our lives. Modern people are feeling increasingly alienated and alone. While the internet and social media have connected us, they've also left many devoid of a sense of meaning, or even meaningful, human relationships. When we tap into Neptune, we gain access to the knowledge that a strange reality exists behind the one we see. A true Neptunian experience is beyond words; it's an intuitive sense that we've made communication with something that bypasses rational explanation. 

With the Sun and Mercury in Virgo, Saturn stationing direct, and Mercury's earth grand trine, we are in the thick of the worldly earth element. And yet, Neptune's opposition to the Sun pierces through the veil to offer us a glimpse of something beyond what we can tangibly interact. With Neptune opposite the Virgo Sun, we have to find a compromise between reason and fantasy. Or we might glimpse that both are just as valid realities in their own right. Mercury's opposition to Neptune Sept. 13 carries this synchronistic thread clear through next week. 

The negative side of Neptune can seductively tempt us into distraction or escapism. With Mercury's earth grand trine, it would be a shame to waste this productivity flow while chasing an energy drain. The challenge of the moment lies in overcoming the heaviness of Saturn's direct station by taking responsibility for any limitations or hardships we face. Don't make yourself a victim. Step up and meet life, and you might reach more than you were expecting. 

Remain humble with Neptune opposite the Sun, and try your best to not rely on purely rational faculties. The New Moon this weekend captures this opposition and carries its themes for the next six months. A new vision is emerging, or perhaps a newfound sense of faith in your life purpose. To embrace and manifest this vision requires a slight modification of the ego and mind, so slow down your thoughts and the pace of life in any way you can. Surrender to the flow this weekend, and trust that you will slip into the right place (or at least a strange one).

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Mercury in Virgo+Saturn Direct

 Grand Tetons National Park, August 2017; photo by Chad Woodward

Grand Tetons National Park, August 2017; photo by Chad Woodward

Mercury is entering Virgo, its home sign, and place of exaltation. From Sept. 5 through Sept. 21, Mercury in Virgo empowers mental and communicative precision, favoring the editing of words/documents, clarification of messages, and technical mastery. For all cerebral tasks, projects, and activities, a more precise focus can fuel productivity but can also overwhelm with minutiae. 

Hyper-awareness of imperfections can lead to rigorous and laborious digressions. If you need your words or thoughts on point, Mercury in Virgo is invaluable. With Saturn's direct station Sept. 6, anticipate a notable increase in ambition the next few days. For those just getting into the work groove this Virgo season, Saturn direct is pure motivation. 

If you think you're not living up to some higher expectations at the moment, assess whether or not that's true. You might have internalized an unhelpful inner voice which has now become a tyrannical critic. Guilt tripping is never useful nor helpful, so make improvements where needed, but then forgive yourself for not being perfect. Start with small steps now, and you'll rise with the new lunar cycle next week. 

The week's end brings us high-capacity earth energy, and yet, from the background, the numinous invades our perception through the Sun's building opposition to Neptune (exact Sept. 7). Beyond delusions of grandeur and paranoia, lies the awareness of one's participation in a vast synchronistic field, rich with meaning, inspiration, and insight. While the magical and pragmatic may clash toward the end of this week, the mystical can infuse the physical, revealing their separation as a total illusion. 

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New Visions: New Moon in Virgo 2018

 By Ralph F. Kresge [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ralph F. Kresge [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

New Moon @ 17 Virgo 00'

September 9, 2018

11:02 AM Los Angeles

2:02 PM New York

7:02 PM London

September 10, 2018

2:02 AM Beijing

4:02 AM Sydney

On Sept. 9/10, the Sun and Moon will conjoin in tropical Virgo. During every New Moon, new life is dawning forth from the depths of the darkness. In the dark of the Moon, possibilities are more easily within our reach, because emerging insights and realizations have yet to take shape. While the sign of Virgo is unquestionably pragmatic, the New Moon is a moment of mystery and uncertainty. 

With Mars now direct and the eclipses behind us, we've made it past the intensified astrology of July/August, and actually, the most challenging aspects of 2018. Mercury is direct too, and now undeniably strong in its home sign Virgo, also supported via a grand trine with Saturn and Uranus. Occurring in a mutable sign, this Virgo New Moon is transitional, gently carrying us deeper into the astrology of September. 

You've made it through the thick of this year, so first, utilize this lunation as a grounding point and allow yourself some rest. While true that every New Moon helps to initiate new paths, those seeds can be gently planted. Aside from an opposition from Neptune, this New Moon receives supportive aspects/sign-based relationships from all other planets. And as I mentioned, Mercury, the ruler of this lunation, is in a powerful place. 

In regards to taking first steps with anything you've been mulling over, reconsidering, or processing these last several weeks, this lunation is most definitely supportive. New beginnings are well within your reach, but yes, Neptune's opposition is a dominating theme of this New Moon. Neptune can be a source of deception as well as inspiration. Its opposition here suggests that we could all use insight and revelation. 

However, Neptune's opposition can force insight upon us, especially if we approach this lunation without humility. The hubris of the modern world is its arrogant assumption that all things can be rationalized, every mystery deductively dissected, and all instincts tamed. Don't fall for that delusion with this New Moon. Humbly accept that you need guidance, you need an awakening and that there are endless enigmas which still evade your grasp.  

The first step in passing through this New Moon is to take some time to step back, find your quiet place, and relax. With Mars and Mercury direct, and the delays of the past weeks now dissolving, this might sound a bit counterintuitive. Surely, the first New Moon after the most tumultuous astrology of 2018 is about taking action. But sometimes, the best step is choosing to wait for clarity, and instead allowing the universe to send you a message. Without intuitively and thoughtfully considering these first steps, the Full Moon in two weeks can work to block our efforts. 

If you find yourself feeling lost with this New Moon, unmotivated, or uninspired, you're probably looking in the wrong places. In this dark of the Moon, the best place to look is within yourself, and its there that you'll discover the vision needed to make any new path successful. A supportive trine to Pluto in Capricorn provides access to all of those unconscious narratives that keep tripping you up and holding you back. But to grasp those insights requires some intense introspection. 

The Virgo path is the path toward self-improvement. Virgo understands well that the improvements are endless. Bettering oneself is not an easy thing to undertake, but with this New Moon, the visions we seek can point us in the right direction. But don't fall into the trap of believing that you need to resolve all of your stuff, that you need to cleanse, purify, and scrub away every defective and broken piece before moving forward. Accept that you're human, that you have flaws, and that life is dirty. All of those dirty and perceptively broken places are what make you who you are. 

When approaching the path of self-improvement, it's important to accept that perfection is not the goal. Instead, the journey toward a better you is all about the journey itself and how it changes you. The path of self-improvement has little to do with achieving this towering goal and proving to the world how incredibly disciplined and focused you are. It's not you that changes you. We are shaped and sculpted by life, etched into something we could never have imagined. Neptune here reminds us that we are made "better" by what happens to us. 

So, accepting yourself the way that you are, in all of your wholeness and innate divine perfection is how you improve. It's through loving and seeing ourselves as complete that we can humbly accept that life can make us better. But we have to trust life to do that, and we have to trust ourselves to see it through. And with this New Moon, its about trusting the darkness and loving the mystery and all that it can teach us. Mercury in its domicile is an influential teacher, so look for synchronicities, omens, signs, or a guide who may come in any guise. 

Editing, pruning, and decluttering are Virgo's primary tactics. Mercury in Virgo can undoubtedly notice all the details and flaws. You can apply received insight and a seemingly infinite focus to many things--yourself, a project, goals/objectives, a relationship, or just your life overall. Look for the various ways you can augment your reality, but be kind to yourself. In your scrutinizing, be careful what you choose to believe about yourself and your potential. 

Lastly, Venus is entering Scorpio alongside this New Moon. Aside from a momentary dip back into Libra in November, Venus will not complete its transit through Scorpio until January 2019. Venus isn't comfortable in Scorpio, and her retrograde cycle beginning Oct. 5 can uncover many layers of secrets, truths, and rare insight within our relationships. 

Venus in Scorpio is blunt, honest, and real. Venus adds more profound complexity to the New Moon conversation. And Venus' t-square with Mars/Uranus stimulates a desire to break free of routines in our relationships and our approach to creative projects. However, be cautious with committing too deeply to any new fling, or responding solely to your impulse desires when it comes to investments. Venus' upcoming retrograde cycle will be a phase of revaluing what brings us joy and what feeds our heart. Utilize the Virgo/Mercury powers of discrimination to see past any glamour or gloss. 

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Is the Jupiter/Uranus Opposition Still Relevant?

 Somewhere in central California; photo by Chad Woodward, 2018. 

Somewhere in central California; photo by Chad Woodward, 2018. 

The short answer is yes. An opposition is 180 degrees and while Jupiter and Uranus' current relationship may not be exact, precisely, they both occupy opposing signs. Whole sign aspects were widely used by ancient astrologers, and they're still relevant today. With Uranus retrograding back to Aries, and Jupiter heading for Sagittarius soon, this oppositional relationship will only last until Nov. 7. 

Uranus in Taurus is still something we're all adjusting. Its entry into a new area of your chart and life will be making waves for the next seven years. With Jupiter's current involvement, the genius/innovative, radical revolutionary takes on a more bombastic quality, and changes come about more easily. Exploring the house Taurus rules in your chart could provide insight into the themes currently undergoing a revolution/liberation in your life. 

Jupiter & Uranus were in exact opposition from Dec. 2016 through Sept. 2017 in the Aries/Libra axis. Their cyclic conjunctions, squares, and oppositions lead to electric revolutionary impulses in the political, scientific, and creative landscapes. The combination of Jupiter/Uranus is inherently innovative and original, inspiring many to seek freedom in new frontiers or to release themselves from the status quo, with notable success.

So from now until early Nov., this broad Jupiter/Uranus oppositional relationship gives you added motivation to revolutionize some part of your life. Think in what way you could go above and beyond your limitations to bring something fresh and exciting into the foreground. The Moon's transit through Taurus Aug. 31-Sept. 2 pulls this theme into conscious view and has the advantage of helping generate palpable results. 

With the Sun in Virgo also stimulating an earth grand trine with Uranus & Saturn, we're experiencing a unique fusion of elements. Both the practical and novel weave together quite beautifully right now, assisting in the implementation of a different look and feel to things. Experimenting with unusual approaches can lead to new forms and designs. Pushing known boundaries might result in shifts to areas which have been stagnant for far too long. And the current earth energies help maintain reasonable, concrete focus for the avoidance of going too far. 

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Mars Direct+Mercury Square Jupiter

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Strength, vitality, willpower, and momentum will return over the next few weeks. Mars is stationing direct in Capricorn, which might feel like our actions aren't manifesting the concrete results we so desire. Transient frustrations are possible, but use this time to double up your efforts and sharpen your focus. Life will return to its normal pace soon enough. 

Mars in Capricorn is helpful for specifying a target, enthusiastically prepping for future challenges, or revitalizing ambitions. If you want to get to the mountaintop, adequate preparation is required like gathering essential supplies/resources and physical conditioning. So yes, some effort is needed, but nothing pays like the satisfaction of knowing you're primed and well adapted. 

In the midst of the earth element influx (Mars in Capricorn, Virgo Sun/Grand Trine), efficient strategies prevail, but more innovations are coming soon. In looking back since Mars turned retrograde in late June, how has your trajectory/target been altered? More alternations are likely in the latter half of Sept. via the third Mars/Uranus square. The Mars retro narrative continues. Set up a stable foundation for your initiatives now so they'll withstand the unexpected. 

But some potent Mars-like vigor is surprisingly available to all, even those who might feel exhausted. For anyone that has been running on pure adrenaline, the now waning Moon will assist in calming down. In two weeks time, the New Moon in Virgo is a rest/destress milestone, so adjust your schedule accordingly. 

Mercury's third square to Jupiter can feel a little redundant. As was the case earlier this month, watch for ideologically charged ego battles, or inflamed debates over who's right or wrong. Question all positions, assumptions, and dogmas, even your own. You can constructively refine beliefs, theories, and opinions in light of knowledge previously concealed from view. However, now that Mercury is direct, big ideas have greater impact and outreach.

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Shifting Tides: Full Moon in Pisces 2018

 Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, Sedona, Arizona; photo by Chad Woodward

Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park, Sedona, Arizona; photo by Chad Woodward

Full Moon @ 3 Pisces 12'

August 26, 2018

4:56 AM Los Angeles

7:56 AM New York

12:56 PM London

7:56 PM Beijing

9:56 PM Sydney

After the crossfire of three eclipses plus Mercury and Mars retrograde in July/early August, this Full Moon in tropical Pisces is a welcome reprieve. Complications which arose over the last few weeks finally get an opportunity for resolution. Devoid of challenging aspects to the Moon itself, this lunar culmination is helpful for pulling projects or situations together or otherwise reclaiming confidence in a larger purpose.

Mars is stationing direct in Capricorn the following day, which magnifies a willingness to engage in prolific productivity. Finding an endpoint becomes more relaxed with this lunation, especially with an earth grand trine formed between the Sun, Saturn, and Uranus, all supporting the Full Moon. The strong presence of the earth element is helpful for concrete actualization or for acquiring tangible results from consistent efforts. 

Neptune is currently transiting with the Moon in Pisces, which excites the waning Jupiter/Neptune trine from the previous week. Outer planet aspects have a longer shelf life, so this lunation certainly has mystical, creative, and visionary elements. In mutable Pisces, this Full Moon is a definite marker of shifting tides. Real, tangible transitions are now afoot, and with Mars turning direct, hurdles and hesitations will soon cease in the following two weeks.

Pisces evokes contemplation, compassion, and the desire for self-transcendence. The culmination of this Full Moon is helpful for detaching from excessive worry or self-doubt and engaging more fully in what fuels passions. While the Full Moon energy is often outer-directed, this lunation carries a robust inner calling. If you require some time to yourself to reflect or focus in on what matters most, these symbols are highly supportive. 

The main point of tension is Venus' applying square to Pluto which adds an element of intensity to relational interactions. Venus/Pluto suggests working to create authenticity in stable relationships, as opposed to giving in to the temptations of drama or fleeting seductions. The Sun in Virgo and its earth grand trine with Saturn/Uranus, however, serve as a powerful grounding point, which may correlate with a need to engage more fully in pragmatic tasks or endeavors.

The interplay between both the timeless archetype of Pisces and the earth elements suggest that this is an optimal Full Moon for getting wholly consumed in some work, practice, project, or duty which fuels the heart. Yes, the earth grand trine can incite an obsessive focus on what needs to get done or accomplished to the point of losing sight of other needs or obligations. Pisces' negative face might lead to escapism through productivity. 

But after the many setbacks of the last few weeks, it might feel good to dig into something concrete. Look around for things that are reaching culmination or completion with this lunation. Perhaps you'll see the tangible results of a daily practice coming to fruition, or a plan you've been mulling over finally coming together. And trust that within the next few weeks, the usual pace and momentum will return, so reap any benefits of this Full Moon and prepare yourself for larger initiations just after the Virgo New Moon Sept. 9. 

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Virgo Season & Earth Sign Synergy

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Virgo season has arrived. For northern hemispheric dwellers, summer is on the wane, though you will notice that nature has begun to transition and change (the signs of spring have emerged also in the southern hemisphere). As the Sun enters Virgo this year, it comes into a grand trine with Saturn and Uranus, exact Aug. 25. The synergy between Sun/Saturn/Uranus in earth signs is incredibly palpable, synthesizing pragmatism, ingenuity, and precision. 

For adding a unique touch to the daily grind, freshening up an otherwise monotonous task, or giving the overly radical a more credible look, this earth grand trine can do it all. With the Sun in Virgo until the equinox Sept. 22, consider those things in life which desperately need more clarity. Virgo season is a time to get coordinated in daily routines, emphasizing duty, service, and contribution to others. And this year, the productivity flow is almost effortless.

Yes, Virgo is known for its potential obsession with perfection, but at the heart of that lies a commitment to the ideal. Getting better at something always motivates the path toward self-improvement. And improvements can always be made. You might notice shortcomings more than usual, but don't lose sight of the need to do your best and move on. Getting hung up on the fact life doesn't exactly match up with the ideal can be problematic.

The Full Moon's culmination (Aug. 26) following the peak of the earth grand trine is incredibly motivating for taking on or tackling critical projects. The earth element is all about making mental constructions concretely manifest. Consider what you need to materialize the next few days, and what needs improvement and augmentation. Getting closer to health and fitness goals, gaining more competence in your job/calling, or just taking care of anything that needs tending, this is an optimal time. 

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Earth Influx: Capricorn Moon & Earth Grand Trine

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With the Moon's transit through Capricorn the next two days, the earth element is dominant. The Sun enters Virgo Aug. 22, and Mars is stationing in Capricorn, too. Practicality and a steady stride win out over emotionality or blazing bravado. After the recent eclipse/retrograde saga, we can ground down and get more engaged in anything requiring tangible results. If you're watching the sky, note the waxing gibbous Moon near Saturn against the star swarms of the milky way. 

Through tonight (Aug. 20) and tomorrow (Aug. 21) comfort is harder to come by. But for extended focus/concentration or a catalytic push, the Moon through Capricorn is helpful. It's not uncommon to feel emotionally detached or challenged under these Capricorn vibes. Mars' station can constellate passion, desire, or enthusiasm, which can be easily confused with stagnation. 

Use this time to get specific. Mars' station will be active for at least two weeks, but the momentum is returning. Locate the bottom line, and work consistently toward distillation and clarification. Once the Sun enters Virgo Aug. 22, it comes into an earth grand trine with Saturn & Uranus. For ironing out a technique or organizing all aspects of life, Virgo season is perfect. 

The earth grand trine at the end of this week is incredibly integrative, connecting disparate elements, both time-tested and innovative. And building up to the Full Moon (Aug. 26), there's likely a lot to get done and accomplished. For business enterprises, maximizing fitness goals, or overall decluttering, the next few days offers a nudge toward various pragmatic ventures.

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Mercury Direct & Jupiter Trine Neptune

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Alongside the first quarter Moon in tropical Scorpio, Mercury stations direct. While this is the end of Mercury's retrograde cycle, obstacles, setbacks, detours, miscommunications, and irritations gradually fade out and get resolved. Still, residual glitches and frustrations are likely the next several days. 

With Mars retrograde until Aug. 27, we don't get a clear and unhindered push until about mid-Sept. Of course, do what you usually do, but if you're considering a full-on barrage into some new terrain,  next month is far more ideal. But now that Mercury is direct in this waxing gibbous phase, we can regain our strength and willpower, and put the pieces back together. So stay focused, but still, take your time. 

Jupiter trine Neptune encourages a faithful adherence to our vision or spiritual practice. And this waxing Moon increases our engagement with any current process. Leaps of faith, however, require extra caution/consideration now. The Moon through Sagittarius over the weekend kicks up idealism and spontaneity. These Jupiter/Neptune vibes can arouse compassion and sensitivity, but can also tempt us into avoidance of duty. 

Jupiter's trine to Neptune is the final of three aspects since last Dec., but its correlations are prominent until Jupiter enters Sagittarius in early Nov. Under Jupiter/Neptune, there's a tendency to ignore the nitty-gritty reality of things and favor the bigger picture or how things could be. Idealism is helpful for creative innovation, but problematic when we apply it to situations requiring a sober assessment. 

Still, Jupiter/Neptune gives us increased access to a belief in ourselves or what we're currently doing. For empowering those who have lost their faith, this has been helpful. This weekend's peak energy allows for opening ourselves up or cultivating a holistic perspective of life in general. If you can remain skeptical and discerning, this Jupiter/Neptune trine can feel enjoyable and affirmative of a larger purpose. 

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Trust Your Bliss: Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo 2018

 By Zeynel Cebeci [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Zeynel Cebeci [CC BY-SA 4.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

New Moon/Partial Solar Eclipse @ 18 Leo 42' 

August 11, 2018

2:58 AM Los Angeles

5:58 AM New York

10:58 AM London

5:58 PM Beijing

7:58 PM Sydney

This month's New Moon is a partial solar eclipse in the tropical sign of Leo. It occurs against the backdrop of both Mercury and Mars retrograde. If you've felt like you've had to maneuver around extra obstacles, setbacks, or delays lately, you're not alone. Technical, mechanical, and communicative glitches are ubiquitous during the backtrack of the tiny and flighty planet Mercury. 

And within this potentized field of eclipses and Mars' retrograde cycle too, life can feel more unpredictable and less willing to agree with our expectations. Random annoyances are part of the deal. However, this is also a prime season for profound life shifts and changes of perception. And this Leo New Moon/eclipse can help us see a new path forward that we didn't know existed. 

Leo has a reputation for drama and excessive audacity. Leo's ruler is the Sun, the King/Queen of the solar system after all. Leo's emphasis is on the expression of creativity and affirmation of one's existence. Leo wants to be acknowledged, but not always the center of attention. Indeed in its negative face, Leo can become overly self-absorbed or addicted to applause/validation. If there were an archetype for pathological narcissism, Leo's bad side comes somewhat close. 

This New Moon/eclipse in the vibrant sign of Leo encourages visibility and self-expression. Occurring near the lunar North Node, it represents a profound shift in confidence and creative potential. This eclipse is profoundly bound up with a desire for more acknowledgment, respect, recognition, and of course, fun. With Mercury retrograde closely conjunct the New Moon/eclipse, it helps us make critical revisions and adjustments while breathing new life into ongoing creative projects. 

Jupiter's square to Mercury and the eclipse represents an optimistic thrust forward, but be mindful of arrogance or over-confident, leaps of faith. It is still the dark of the Moon, so tread carefully. Fact check, read the fine print and discuss things before jumping in. Don't indulge in more than you can process. Consider seeing yourself and your creations through a new lens or perception. Experiment with fresh approaches for communicating yourself to the world at large. 

When it comes to pushing forward with current projects or situations, remember to take your time and go with the flow. Both Mercury retrograde and eclipse season require patience and flexibility. Often, the greatest ideas come to us when we aren't actively looking for them. Consider the mantra of legendary, Spanish painter, Pablo Picasso, "I do not seek. I find."

Open yourself up to the joy of discovery with this eclipse, which requires less attachment to results and more engagement with the process. Yes, Mercury retrograde induces some second-guessing, and this eclipse can undoubtedly feel overwhelming, but it invites us to bring some new element into our lives and reconsider how we playfully participate in the creative, evolutionary flow of the cosmos. 

How are you feeling the eclipse? Feel free to comment below. 

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Close Encounters: Earth, Sun, Moon, and Mars

 Photo by  Georg Slickers  via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Georg Slickers via Wikimedia Commons

Mars is nearing an intimate flyby with our home planet soon. Intimacy in astronomical terms is about 35 million miles, but if you've been paying attention to Mars lately, via the night sky, you've seen that's quite a statement. On July 26/27 (depending on your time zone), Mars will make its exact perihelic opposition to the Sun. 

If you looked down from above the solar system, you would see a straight line formed between the Sun, Earth, and Mars. If you could somehow perceive the orbital paths of these objects, you'd notice that both Earth and Mars run along an ellipse and that both planets were at their closest points relative to one another. 

This opposition of Mars and Sun is one of three rare and significant events at the close of this month, and all of them involve the infamous, red planet. Following the Sun and Mars' exact opposition, a total lunar eclipse occurs July 27/28, entirely or partially visible for much of the globe except North America and Greenland. 

This eclipse occurs in conjunction with Mars, as the red planet emits its orangish-red beams just beneath the eclipsed Moon. This eclipse will also be the longest lunar eclipse of the 21st century, lasting about an hour and 42 minutes for those on the direct path, such as Eastern Africa and the Middle East. 

And finally, on July 31/Aug 1, Mars will make its closest approach to the Earth, crossing that roughly 35 million mile mark. Mars hasn't been this close to Earth since 2003, and before that, nearly 60,000 years. We are speaking of a few million miles difference for some other Sun/Mars perihelic oppositions, but when it comes to astronomy, numbers seem to count. 

In astrology, Mars is a challenging planet to integrate. It's not a "bad" planet, that is, it doesn't always portend tragedy or crisis, but its emergence into both the personal and collective field is often uncomfortable. I believe that's because Mars is a catalyst, and whether we're responding to pain, anger, or fear, something is prodding us into action. 

Mars' perihelic opposition to the Sun always occurs during Mars' retrograde cycle, every two years. When Mars is retrograde, it's a chance to make adjustments to our aggressive, sexual, and passionate nature. But this cycle, Mars is a little bigger and brighter than usual, and perhaps that physical closeness relates symbolically to a heightened sense of passion, lustiness, aggression, or a willingness to fight. 

As an astrologer, I think that the archetype of Mars exists within us all, but that everyone's response to it is different. Mars has a "primal" vibe, in that it relates to thoughts, feelings, or compulsions which are seemingly beyond rational control. As Mars makes its opposition to the Sun, that primal wave will take over the ego momentarily, and we are given a window into that unfiltered, and untamable void. 

It's what we do with our passion, rage, or fear that matters most. Some things are beyond our control. People may trigger us, a health issue can arise, or an accident. Perhaps nothing so serious shows up for you, but you're feeling fed up with the way things presently are. Catalysts can arrive both inwardly and externally, but what we do with them, how we let our experiences define us, is indeed the most critical work. 

The synchronicity of a historical lunar eclipse and Mars' closest terrestrial encounter is both beautiful and intimidating. Always, on the global stage of political/cultural changes, we see the most cartooned version of astrology, such as a building aggression surging out of control. But with Mars retrograde, something different might show up, a critical adjustment or shift in the tide of war. 

With Mars on the lunar South Node, we know that some karma has ripened, some past, unresolved or unexpressed frustration seeks closure and release. With the Sun now in Leo, nearing the lunar North Node, we can only do our best to take the higher road, to stand confidently and courageously in our power while acknowledging the heart. 

Leo's positive face is that of generosity but also humor. Taking things too seriously could blow up in our faces. The higher road might also suggest the lighter path, where laughter is good medicine and reminds us of our humanity. Beware of the pitfalls of extreme alienation or "higher than thou" attitudes. Remember that a unique feature of humanity is the necessity of community. 

The negative face of Aquarius, the tropical zodiac sign both Mars and the lunar eclipse will reside, is anti-social-like apathy or the rebel without a cause. A Mars-like field as potent as this reminds me of Carl Jung's hypothetical enantiodromia, which warns us that when we polarize against an evil other, we risk eventual assimilation of that which we fight.

In looking at the astrological clock, it's evident that we could all use a catalyst, so let us be thankful for the reminder that life is worth living and that there are things worth fighting. Mars is the warrior after all, but a warrior defends what is sacred and vulnerable. There are harshness and injustices in the world, but Mars inspires us to protect what matters. 

In our fighting, let's not lose sight of compassion, or fall into the trap of making our enemy a literal embodiment of evil. There are profound lessons in a moment of terror, and immense strength acquired through every battle, no matter how small. And when you look out into the world, realize that everyone is in the midst of a personal crusade, even if you can't see it. Use that insight to connect yourself to the greater whole, and perhaps not feel so alone. 

Life feels overwhelming when faced with things outside of your control. Understanding yourself is key to finding your power and place in the world. While you can't control fate or the chaos of life, your destiny belongs to you, something you can always strive for to gain command of your life path

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