Heaven Sent

Mojo Po’s Seven Steps To Heaven in 2011

I’ve got a few bon mots to jumpstart your entrée into 2011. Hope you enjoy … There are seven steps to Heaven, and they’re probably the Seven Deadly Sins transcended. Here’s the list, along with suggestions for their resolution. PRIDE: Give up foolish pride. LUST: Doesn’t it depend on what you lust for? GLUTTONY: Look at yourself naked in a mirror. ENVY: Be happy with what you’ve got. COVETOUSNESS: You don’t even own your own body, so there is no real owning when everything is on loan, right? SLOTH: Quit being so lazy … WRATH: … Or I’ll kill ya! In an ecological world, the only sin is waste — waste of an opportunity or a resource. Happy Chinese New Year on Groundhog’s Day, the New Moon in Aquarius Feb. 2. Kung Hei Fat Choi! The BIGGEST astrological event in 2011 has to be the Sun and New Moon in Aries, along with Mars conjunct the planet Uranus, plus Jupiter followed by a retrograding Mercury. This stellium of planets occupies Aries, in opposition to an exalted Saturn in Libra, April 3. Time to restart our economy, our philosophy and our lives. Have a happy and worthwhile new year, each and every one of you. Due to limited publishing space, you can check out the expanded version of your year ahead forecast at MOJOPOPlanetPower.com ARIES (3.21-4.20) Batter up! Jupiter, the planet of luck, beneficence and expansion, is in Aries until June. Use it before you lose it. You start 2011 at the top of your game. Your ruler Mars is halfway through the sign of its exaltation, Capricorn, until the afternoon of Jan. 15 (Mars enters Aquarius), when you’ll need to give it all away somehow, some way or the other, to a sister or a brother — your everyday world that you’re giving a twirl. Try it. We’ll buy it. After that, Mars enters Pisces at sunset Feb. 22. The planet Uranus, the planet of electricity, modern astrology, the unusual, eccentric and bizarre, enters Aries March 11 for its next seven-year transit. Look up “altruism” in the dictionary and become at one with it. It always takes help from others to make your dreams come true in this physical 3D world we share. Personally, I’ve always been a dreamer and anticipator. Your turn’s coming sooner than later. It’ll be your turn to pursue your dreams as Mars moves through Pisces to sprout 2011’s seeds from Feb. 22 until it enters your own sign the first week in April. This prognosticates an early personal spring for you to do your early personal thing. As usual, you’re ahead of your class — if anyone has to ask. Does “Me first!” ring your school bell? We know you so well. April 3rd you get the holy word! It starts with the New Moon in Aries. Then the Moon moves opposite Saturn in its sign of exaltation (Libra) while the Sun conjuncts Jupiter in Aries and Mars conjuncts the planet Uranus, both in Aries. Finally, at sunset, the Sun moves in opposition to Saturn — all on the day of the Sun. Mark April 3 on your calendar with a red star. You might as well sleep until then and find out who’s your friend. You can believe me now, ’cause you’re gonna believe me in the end … Is every ending a new beginning — or just an extra inning? Batter up, Buttercup. But wait until spring to take a swing! TAURUS (4.21-5.20) Thank GOD that’s over! Your ruler Venus has been in your opposite sign of Scorpio since Sept. 2010, and resides there until Jan. 7. Four months of not being yourself, of not being for yourself and of learning about yourself from others; your sisters, brothers and lovers. A new economic philosophy is being born now until the Chinese New Year/Groundhog Day, Feb. 2-3. You’ll have until then to find the money (theoretical 8th House); but is it money you seek? Freedom will be a key. Do you wish to love or be adored? If both were available to you, which would you choose? Are you the lover or the “lovee”? Which is more important to thee? We’ll see, won’t we? In February (Venus in Capricorn), you return to school to learn economy’s Golden Rule: “The One with the Gold Rules.” Uh-oh! I see old love and old lovers surprisin’ on the horizon! March finds Venus in Aquarius, working together with the people you know are your sisters and brothers, your tribe, those who know your limits as you know theirs. It’s time to care and share. Venus is exalted in Pisces March 27-April 21. Dream on the little birds of spring, for love and loving is your thing. Don’t go all macho/macha on me. Wait until April 2, when Venus moves into Aries ahead of the multi-Aries New Moon April 3. Careful that you’re not premature … (It’s almost a guarantee.) Isn’t incorrect impulse often (always!) your downfall, Toro y Torita? Even with your own Taurus New Moon May 3, I’d have to suggest that you keep it in your own pasture/pants until Moonday, May 16, when Venus comes back home into Taurus. If you’re not really in or can’t find true love by June 9 go for the money. GEMINI (5.21-6.21) YANG: Now, I know this won’t be for everyone, but let me lay out some information which may correspond with your spiritual and mystical growth. Jan. 10-11, your ruler Mercury (planet of mentality, wit and communication) is conjunct the galactic center, the God of the Maya, the “Hunab Ku,” at 26 degrees Sagittarius — where the Earth will be Dec. 23, 2012. Ring a Mayan bell? It will. It will relate to what was affecting you last Halloween and was recapitulated Dec. 21. Do you have a part in a coming drama — or is it all Maya? We’ll see … YIN: Meanwhile, back on planet Earth … What a confusing end to 2010 (Mercury retrograde in opposition), wasn’t it? What did you learn, and how can you use it best to stand the test of time? Start by realizing what you’ve been potentializing since December, when Mercury moved retrograde. This January 15-16, Mercury kisses the Dragon’s Head (the North Node of this lifetime’s karma) and what you’ll feel, you need to be real. Since it’s in Capricorn, it could concern your economy, a financially related division (Capricorn’s ruler Saturn in Libra) or a grave decision. You can create your own shadow February 2-3 (the Chinese New Year and New Moon in Aquarius on Groundhog’s Day), as Mercury joins the party and enters Aquarius, the sign of its exaltation. Intelligence (Mercury) finds its highest expression in Aquarius, the sign of inventive genius. The vocabulary of transcendence lasts until Mercury and the Sun enter Pisces Feb. 20, when it shifts to a more spiritual “transcend-dance” — an example of a multi-dimensional pun, which you’ll be used to by then — or when it’s done, my friend. Your dreamtime will be over and you’ll be rolling in the clover as of Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday. An unusual, eccentric project should initiate around then. Mercury and the planet Uranus enter the sign of new starts (Aries) in your theoretical 11th House. It’ll happen at a party or a gathering of some kind. Any “new starts” will be tested March 30-April 23, as Mercury retrogrades. Your ruler Mercury retrogrades three times a year, creating a three-week phase for reflection. The other retrogrades this year are Aug. 3-25 and from Thanksgiving-Dec. 13. Keep track of these dates. I’ll try to remind you, but Mercury’s retrograde as I’m writing this … so who knows? At the end of the second retrograde, April 22, an old debt is due to show up for you to help evaluate your past. Mercury retrograde isn’t always necessarily a bad thing; it’s a potentializing thing, forcing us to rethink, review and renew. Your next New Honey Moon is the first of June; with the New Moon partial Solar Eclipse in Gemini, which Mercury enters June 2. That’s when you’ll be born again. You’re here to communicate. You won’t be happy until you’re understood. Mid-June has you overly concerned with money matters and economic insecurity. Work on your homestead, house, landscape and the garden that is your life. Make a dynamic move around July 4, and keep the ball rolling until August — a month of review for you. Then finish what you started end of July and concentrate on details during September. Remember, concentrate on your home center. The lessons of music are your keys to the harmonies you seek mid-Sept.-Oct. 13. Harmony’s more powerful than unison. Find what keys you sing in. What’s your favorite song? If you have to wonder if it’s music or not, it’s not. Is music magique? You’ll find out, as Mercury moves from Libra (the sign of harmony) into Scorpio, the occult sign of mysteries and enchantment and all things occult, Oct. 13. Happy Halloween! I’ll be “see-ancing” you by the Full Moon total Eclipse in Gemini (in opposition to a retrograding Mercury in Sagittarius), Dec. 10. We’ve got a year to work on that, for a happy half-birthday gift. Enjoy 2011 intil then, from one of your many friends. Thanks for reminding us (the other 11 signs) to keep our sense of humor. CANCER (6.22-7.22) With you, it’s always a matter of following your ruler, the Moon. It’s the astrological “planet” that represents and develops our personality — or the basis of how we relate to one another on this planet Earth experience. The Moon is the giver of form. The entire zodiac offers an analogy to the development and subsequent release of the personality; starting in Aries and leading to its surrender in the cosmic universality that is Pisces. The raw material of the personality is gathered in your sign of Cancer. The developing “ego” emerges into its usage in Leo and its perfection in Virgo, when the continually evolving ego realizes that “to serve is to rule.” The foundation that bases the evolving personality is an accumulation of the first three signs of spring: the “I AM” of Aries, the “I HAVE” of Taurus and the “I THINK” of Gemini. That’s what the “claws” of Cancer the Crab hold on to. Those first three cosmic experiences become the basis for the raw material of personality held together by the Cancer incarnation. The first six signs develop our personal growth, perfected in Virgo and continuing into Libra, where the social realms of interaction symbolized by the last six signs continue to develop the growth of the ego until it reaches its ultimate dissolution in the sign of Pisces. It doesn’t do any good, or mean anything, to surrender a nonexistent ego, does it? This relates as an analogy with the living/dying experience. Cancer is the sign where we gather the raw material we use to create our personality. Use it to “surf” the tides of the zodiac. Follow the Moon. Surf’s up! Your rebirth, or half-birthday, comes with the Full Moon on the Cancer/Leo cusp Jan. 19. Two weeks later, it’s the Full Moon in Aquarius (the sign of the unexpected), the Chinese New Year and Groundhog’s Day. Here comes some unexpected money (8th House). The next Full Moon is Feb. 18, in Leo. More money (2nd House)? The New Moon (conjunct Mars) March 4 is in Pisces. Wear red to get ahead. The Full Moon in Virgo is March 19. Details, details, details. Never fails. The next New Moon starts the astrological new year in Aries, April 3. It’ll be a mother! Give form (the Moon) to something energetic (Mars), BIG (Jupiter), unexpected (the planet Uranus) and brilliant (the Sun)! Balance it all out by the Full Moon in Libra, Palm Sunday, April 17. The New Moon in its sign of exaltation is May 3, in Taurus, of “chorus.” Taurus rules the throat, so it’s time for you to sing a new song — one that you wrote. The Full Moon in fellow water sign Scorpio is May 17, you sexy dogs! How does the MOJO know? (Maybe he’s a Scorpio?) The next New Moon Solar Eclipse is in Gemini, in your theoretical 12th House of self-undoing. Do I hear some clichés to keep your boat afloat? (“A slip of the lip can sink your ship.” “Silence is golden.” Etc., etc.) Travel (at least in your mind) and see if you find clues (the Full Moon conjunct the North Node of this lifetime’s karma) for this incarnation’s dues and blues. You are reborn on the New Moon Solar Eclipse July 1. That’s your rebirth-day, a short half-a-year from now. Start by following the Moon and learn to surf the Zuvuya. Surf’s up! Let’s hang 11 (surfers) or 12 (bunnies)! LEO (7.23-8.22) What can I offer someone who knows everything better than anyone else, figures to win every bet, assumes we are all here to serve them and is somehow related to Divinity? Please, your majesty, if you would be so kind as to give relevance to my tortured, plebian life and read the first part of Cancer to better gauge the mystery of your astrological life’s mission. We all love you. I know it’s lonely at the top. (You complain about it all the time, that’s how I know!) It’s also warmer, more comfortable and usually implies an atmosphere of security. But what price must you pay for such imperial treatment? Let’s look through 2011’s clues, dues and don’ts to set up your wills and won’ts. Just like the rest of us, you win or you lose depending on how you choose, your majesty. Let’s center … Pluto is within the first 7 degrees of Capricorn all year, activating economic regeneration through your theoretical 6th House of health and work. Details, details, details! It’s there for a long time, but eventually it makes you money — once you feel compelled (the key word), then you let it. A Scorpio will be/have the key. Neptune’s been in your opposite sign of Aquarius these last 13 years and remains for one more, affecting late Leos with a vague, ephemeral opposition. Watch out for Pisces. It’s almost over. A clue for you: Neptune rules the indefinable. The unusual, eccentric planet Uranus moves into Aries, your theoretical 9th House of travel, foreign lands, formal education, gambling, luck, philosophy, generosity and philanthropy. You’ll have seven years to develop those groovy aspects of your human personality, you intriguing rogue, you. Saturn’s exalted in Libra these next two years. You must dress royally to be taken for royalty, right? (Let’s face it, a large part of your gig is lookin’ cool. How does the MOJO know?) Jupiter starts blasting through your 9th House for a year Jan. 22. Traveling, schooling, publishing, teaching a class and having a blast (9th House), that’s how you expand (Jupiter). Mars represents your helpers; the soldiers you send to do your bidding and fulfill your quests. Mars starts 2011 in heaven (in Capricorn, where it’s exalted) until Jan. 15. From then until the end of February, Mars is in opposition to your Leo planets. Watch your “helpers” closely, especially Feb. 21, when there’s a Mars/Neptune conjunction at 28 degrees Aquarius. Mars is in Pisces (time to dream about how to get other people’s money) until April 3rd, when you get the word. That’s when you make it happen, Cap’n. That’s when you create the scene, my queen. From May 11-June 21, Mars is in your 10th House of fame and fortune. Your reputation will make or break you. I guess it depends on what you’re famous for, doesn’t it? Watch your temper until the 20th of September, when your real friends show up and prove themselves. If you help them handle the little details, they’ll make you money after Oct. 10. In January, you love your freedom. In February, you love money, materiali$m, $tatu$ quo and tradition. In March, you love humanity, electricity, invention and quick wit. Stay the dreamer until April 21. Then create art and start something from something you heard April 3rd. That’s the word. I’ll keep you updated on when and where Mercury offers difficulties. Pick your path carefully. VIRGO (8.23-9.22) Mother Nature, Isis, Sophia, Erzulie, the celibate goddess of fertility(?), the blessed Virgo Mary, the power within the Earth to grow things, the simple magique that turns a seed into the sprout, and the root of all manifested life here on Earth. That’s you. That’s why you’re here, to turn your life into a fertile garden. That’s why you’re so picky and detail-oriented, for when Mother Nature makes a mistake myriad life forms can suffer and die. Let’s see if we can sprout some deeds from 2011’s seeds … What a mess! When your ruler Mercury left off in December, it had just finished a three-week retrograde beginning in Sagittarius, in a square aspect to the later degrees of Virgo, bringing confusion to your 4th House, your home center. I’d suggest you start your New Year’s with a thorough after-party cleanup to get back on track. Remember, your house is your body and your room is your mind. A big moneymaking idea comes in from your oldest child, your father or a Scorpio by the Full Moon at 29 degrees Cancer Jan. 19. Who’s gonna pay for all this? That’s the economic question of the year so far. Mercury moves into Capricorn Jan. 13- Feb. 2-3, Groundhog’s Day and the Chinese New Year. Begin the Year of the Rabbit with a move toward altruism. With Mercury exalted in Aquarius Feb. 3, following the New Moon, it would be a good time to meditate on your role in society, study electricity, look up “altruism” in the dictionary and offer up a “favor” of some sort to someone, without any concern for your own remuneration (better look that one up, too). Aquarius rules dreams that you can manifest in some way. Feb. 21(President’s Day)- March 9(Ash Wednesday), Mercury enters Pisces, hand-in-hand with the Sun. These be the times for dreams beyond the mortal; unicorns, Pegasus, fairies, elves, trolls, gnomes, mystical adventures and adventurers far from home — perhaps leading to some sort of mystical/spiritual thoughts, meditations and actions? Always meditate before a new beginning, and April 2-3 (the New Moon in Aries) is the actual new beginning of the astrological new year. The Sun (exalted in Aries), the Moon, Mercury (just turning retrograde until April 23), Mars (conjunct the planet Uranus) and Jupiter are all in the sign of new beginnings, Aries. Something’s gotta happen, something’s gotta break and since all those planets are in opposition to Saturn in Libra, somewhere there’s gonna be a war. This Arian stellium affects your Virgo-ruled 6th House of work and health. It’s a perfect time for you to spring (cleaning?) into a new health regime or job. Remember, people don’t get rich working for other people. If you’re tired of playing everybody’s second banana, April proves time for a move to initiate your new groove. Put your head down (like Aries the Ram), and charge LARGE! Wait a minute! What about Mercury retrograde? Well, since this retrograde Mercury is opposite Saturn in Libra, we’ll have to eventually (Saturn rules time) balance (Libra) out the impetuosity of Aries. Mercury moves direct April 23. Everything, including your new plan, should work out by mid-May, around the Full Moon in Scorpio May 17, which will be opposite the Sun and a conjunct Mercury, Venus and Mars, in early Taurus. Hope that sprouts some seeds to help nourish your 2011 deeds. Let’s keep up and I’ll talk with you soon, by the next Full Moon. LIBRA (9.23-10.22) “Grace” is the cash of the spiritual economy. The planet Saturn is exalted in Libra before it moves into Scorpio, conjunct Mercury, as your birthday gift from the cosmos in 2012, if you’ve been good little boys and girls. Balance is the key through the door to mystery. I figure this is about a journey within and without (your wins versus your doubts), for you to better understand the yin/yang and the enchantment of life and death’s mysteries as of Oct. 6, 2012. Let’s seek the highest usage. Your relationship with Capricorn (and Capricorns) will be highlighted these next two years. Due to Saturn’s rulership of Capricorn, Jan. 4th’s New Moon Solar Eclipse conjunct Mars, which is exalted in Capricorn, affected your home center; your 4th house. This was the start of YOUR New Year’s. Time to fire it up. Let’s follow Saturn for this coming year, since Saturn rules karma and Libra rules balance. Are you scared? It’s responsibility and commitment (also ruled by Saturn) creeping up on you. Saturn moves retrograde at 17 degrees Libra Jan. 26, and continues to move “backward” until June 13. When it reaches 10 degrees Libra, it will recapitulate where you were Halloween 2010. Start giving form to spiritual/esoteric magique. There’s both BIG money and “grace” in it. Which means more to thee? Your ruler Venus moved into Sagittarius until Feb. 4. Your sisters and brothers and mothers and lovers have the uplifting word for you (and perhaps $ome cake). Their optimism lasts until Feb. 4, then it’s time for you to get a job or get out (“It’s for your own good!”). After March 3, when Venus moves into Aquarius, get out and about. Study the occult, astrology or computers, join a group and get social. Electrify yourself. At the end of March, Venus moves into its exaltation in Pisces. Don’t be fooled; the April fool has its name all over you. Hide the first week of April, as a veritable military barrage of planets is heading right toward you. Your only prayer is to put everything into your partnerships, then turn around and become your own biggest enemy. That’s why I said hide. The New Moon April 3 has the Sun, Moon, Jupiter and Mars (which is conjunct the planet Uranus in the 1st degree) all in Aries in opposition to your Saturn (the planet of your status quo) in Libra, followed the next day by a retrograde Mercury. You won’t have a chance. Magicians don’t leave, they disappear. Only magique can help you in April. (Study martial arts.) That’s an example of the type of comeback I’m talking about. You’re famous for. Now prove it. Resurface in May? Take your time. Maybe June. You could try for the May 3 Taurus New Moon, but it may be too soon. There will still be five planets in Aries directly opposite retrograding Saturn in Libra. Better to wait until mid-June. Saturn moves direct soon, on a sunny Whitsunday (Pentecost) right before the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse June 15, conjunct the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, the Hunab Ku, the god of the Maya. This is when the magique grace shall enter you. Spit it out your throat; sing us a song you wrote. You are once again the harmony you seek, and all you had to do was speak. That’s grace/cash in this nebulous world. Study (do) yoga. SCORPIO (10.23-11.22) Plutonians: The Sun is still barely conjunct your esoteric ruler Pluto at 5 degrees Capricorn, and conjunct the North Node (this lifetime’s karma) by 2 degrees. Big things are coming from the past. Tradition intrigues you. You feel that, somehow or another, if you had enough money it could all work out. There is money in mistakes. Someone will be willing to pay for something another is throwing away. If you have the worst, sell the best. If you have the best, sell the worst. Become a cashier, not a salesperson. Nobody becomes a millionaire working for someone else. Oh, yeah?! Then, prove it. I’m talking to you, not through you. Regenerate (Pluto) through yoga (which means union) and the traditions you hold to be true from the past (Capricorn). There’s no hurry. You’ve got all the time in the world. Why are you here? In a karmic universe, you wouldn’t just accidentally be born here. You “asked” to be born here. You promised? Ring a bell? Let’s check your chronology. Get ready to lower your evolutionary standards … Martians: You’re happy. You’re strong. But now, it takes too long. From Jan. 15 on, things move quick, quick, quick to keep it slick, as Mars moves into nefarious Aquarius. You’re thinking at an electrifying pace from outer space, as science fiction infects your diction. You’re a stranger in a strange land, where a stranger leaves something strange in your hand. Happy Valentine’s Day! (Who can you trust? How do you know when an actor is acting or not?) Feb. 23, Mars moves into Pisces. Fiery Mars generally isn’t too happy in watery Pisces. It’ll have a cleansing effect. So, unless you have a mystical bent that helps pay your rent (you don’t, so you won’t), it’s rain and snow from MOJOPO until April 3rd, when you get the holy word. The action focuses on your theoretical 6th House of work and health. Start something. Start a fire! This is your true new year. Be the leader or follow someone who can lead. Learn from them and eventually take over and retire them to Florida or Arizona. It will seem like your world, the start of your year, your season, and your month — for a week. Then, you’ll have to learn to follow up. You are a catalyst. Here come Venus, Mercury and Mars, running hand in hand through the meadows of the stars and the flowers of spring, in opposition to the Full Moon in Scorpio at dawn May 17. Beauty has its chance with you. Find someone to make romance with you, even if it’s only for the magical effect. What the heck? It’s your magical half-birthday present from the stars. Study (Mercury) love (Venus), and see what you can build. Now, back to Mars, which moves into Gemini just in time for the Solstice, June 21. This puts you in the background in the realm of other people’s money. Write a book about it (communication is key), and start to publish by Aug. 3. With Mars now in Cancer, taking care of the homestead is the answer. You’ll have a September to remember, as Mars moves into Leo, your 10th House of fame and fortune, until your birthday. Have a big party. Your friends are the reason why you’ll be where you will be. Happy birthday, from Michael P. SAGITTARIUS (11.23-12.21) When it comes to horsing around, any cutie wants some Sagittarius booty. Sagittarius correlates with the thighs on the human body. You like to get there first, physically, mentally, and eventually, philosophically. What do they see, these harbingers of prophecy? Tell us what you see. Wild and crazy, you are never lazy; but the dream is over. Time to start an unexpected new you, as your ruler Jupiter leaves Pisces Jan. 22. Yours is the sign of the prophet. One of the best precursors in your astrological arsenal of karmic information is the North Node, the Dragon’s Head, symbolizing the direction you’ll take during this lifetime. It begins moving “backward” through your sign March 4. March 20-April 3 (Aries New Moon), the North Node is conjunct the Hunab Ku (God of the Maya and the center of our Milky Way Galaxy) at 26/27 degrees Sagittarius. You are the prophet, and this is the food if they don’t have the power. You do. Their opposition falls to the side and you continue surfing the New Moon. It’s good to have friends in high places. It’s your turn to hit a homerun and touch all the bases. Looks like a grand slam. Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am! Be careful; with Mercury retrograde in Aries until we enter Taurus April 20 at dawn, you’ll jump ahead prematurely. Hold off on giving your jewel a final faceting until then. Succinct communication is always essential for social success. May Day, Mars is conjunct Jupiter at 22 degrees in Aries. It’s time to low profile for a while. Watch out for weapons, machinery, metal objects and belligerent bar patrons. Jupiter is in Aries until June; rush to get ahead soon. The first half of 2011 focuses on opportunities and chances for leadership. If you’re not a leader by June try to ally yourself with someone who is, does, or can. June 1’s New Moon Solar Eclipse in Gemini provides pause for thought regarding partnerships. Wake up Saturday morning, June 4, and choose money or love as Jupiter enters Taurus. It retrogrades in September, returns and goes direct at 0 degrees Taurus to help you retune what you had on the Gemini New Moon during the first week of June. Merry Christmas! Whatcha want? Your money or your love? CAPRICORN (12.22-1.20) Happy birthday! Happy New Moon in Capricorn Jan. 4, your personal New Year’s. Your ruler Saturn starts in Libra, its sign of exaltation, and moves retrograde from Jan. 26-June 13. Study the magique of musique and partake of this most spiritual of arts until Libra 2012. Elusive as the wind, unsubstantial as sunlight, magique as a rising Moon, and as exciting as a new romance, music has an undeniable, yet imperceptible, affect upon humans. You can’t see it, but you can feel it. Play for yourself first and stay real. Remember, you can’t please everyone. Allow for different tastes and speak another’s [musical] language to communicate. The power of music can help the sad to discover their happiness, while unexpectedly moving someone who is happy to tears. If you’re going to play the blues, start low and slow. Wait for the emotional intensity to pull you up. And, if I may share my favorite musical lesson: If you wonder if it’s music or not, it’s not. The lessons of music and harmony often relate metaphorically to the lessons of love and relationships. Need I say more? Pick up the beat and play it sweet. Timing is your forte. Time to play? Wait until June 13, when Saturn moves direct, to show us what you mean and what has meaning for you. Make music out of your life. You’ll feel the gigantic wave of opposition during the first week of April, affecting your reputation and social standing. Let it flow through you. It’s too BIG, too powerful. You must acquiesce in order to survive for a time. The world returns you to power by the Full Moon in Aries Oct. 11, with the Sun conjunct Saturn in Libra marking your big turnaround. If you’ve taken lessons of harmony to heart, you may start to define the music of your mind. Make it beautiful. Live within the beauty and become it. AQUARIUS (1.21-2.19) Use January and February to finish up the dream of these last seven years. March 11, the planet Uranus (your esoteric ruler) shifts major gears, from laidback, dreamy Pisces, where you were primarily motivated to seek liberation from the mental and emotional influences of your past, into balls-to-the-walls, impulsive, let’s-go-for-it Aries, the sign of new starts, trailblazing, initiative, freedom, pioneering and resourcefulness. It’s time to start your next seven-year project, with you in the driver’s seat this time. It’s going to be a spring of unusual seeds and deeds. On April 3’s New Moon in Aries, the planet Uranus conjuncts Mars. The disruptive duo is joined in explosive Aries by Jupiter (the planet of expansion) and the Sun (which is conjunct the New Moon), followed by a retrograding Mercury, to ensure that no one has the ability to handle, channel or understand this heavy, impulsive, explosive stellium of Aries planets. I’d invite you to sit back and watch it with me but you’re right in the middle of it! You’ll be back on your own, taking a break and seeking your individuality, as your ruler Uranus moves retrograde July 9 and recedes back to 0 degrees Aries, before going direct on the Full Moon Total Eclipse in Gemini Dec. 10. You might as well read Capricorn, as the planet Saturn (currently in Libra) is your esoteric ruler, and you too can learn from the lessons of music and harmony until Oct. 2012. Hey, speaking of 2012, what do you think about the transformation of consciousness coming in December 2012? Get ready. Read Carl Johan Calleman and see that there’s no reason to fear. Until then have a good 2011. PISCES (2.20-3.20) You’ve got Neptune ending its 13-year transit of Aquarius through the April 3 Aries New Moon, which marks the most significant aspect of 2011. Neptune then slips into its home port of Pisces, but only for about one degree and four months, after which it retrogrades all the way back into late Aquarius during the first week in August, to finish any unresolved issues before moving direct on the Full Moon in Taurus Nov. 10, and finalizing its reentry into Pisces for a 14-year transit, commencing in 2012. Maybe the Maya have something (to teach) for you? Jupiter, your other ruler, joins the melee April 3, as part of the stellium of planets in Aries. The Sun, the New Moon, Mars (conjunct the planet Uranus) and Jupiter, followed by a retrograding Mercury, are all lighting up your theoretical 2nd House of money, possessions and values. Turn your birthday present from the universe into your daily bread ($) and start working to get ahead (Aries rules the head and face). Jupiter moves into Taurus for a year, starting June 4, then retrogrades in September, returning to 0 degrees Taurus and finally moving direct on Christmas Day. Get your individuality together by June. Find out what YOU really want, and then turn it/yourself into a business. Get through the preliminaries in 2011, and by Christmas Day you’ll be on your way…

posted at 11:53 am
on Wednesday, January 05th, 2011

Heaven Sent

The Hold Steady takes stages by storm with new lineup and album

America in 2004 needed a great bar band, so Craig Finn and company started America’s best new bar band, man. Since then, The Hold Steady has catapulted into the national presence behind singer Craig Finn’s tales of late nights, early mornings and the complications that can arise between the two, all of which is packed with Finn’s lyrical specificity concerning characters, places and cultural allusions. Finn says he’s writing about pursuing certain lifestyles and where they can end up. They go together when he writes songs. “The highs and lows are part of our human experience,” he says. The lyrical craft is something he works on constantly. The musical half of the Hold Steady is written primarily by guitarist Tad Kubler. Finn says it’s important to keep the discipline of writing going, even if he’s on the road. “For me, I think it’s writing every day,” he says. “If it’s what you want to do, it’s what you do.” That means working even when the writing isn’t going well, because that helps Finn to write better stuff later on, he says. With that comes a willingness to let material sit around while working on making everything fall into place. Finn says some ideas can percolate for a year or two before finally becoming a song. “First Night,” the centerpiece of 2006’s Boys and Girls In America and “Soft in the Center,” the rock song kickoff to the band’s latest, Heaven is Whenever, were songs that sat around waiting for the pieces to fall into place to make them work. At times, Finn says if something is not working, he will cherry-pick strong verses and other parts and incorporate them into other songs. Finn’s writing is also taking on different shades as he gets older. At 39, he says he’s still trying to tap into universal themes. “Your age and your experience is going to play into it,” Finn says. Those experiences have added a new twist on the band’s 2010 release Heaven is Whenever, which contains an awareness that the party does in fact end and everything eventually catches up with you. That record’s kept the Hold Steady on the road for most of the year, unraveling what is an epic, uplifting rock show that, while echoing Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, is its own celebration of partying in Midwestern metropolises. The Hold Steady has spent the bulk of the touring behind Heaven is Whenever settling into a new lineup after the departure of keyboardist Franz Nicolay and the addition of Dan Neustadt and Steve Selvidge. “We’re six months in and we’ve been around the world with it,” Finn says. After some 100 shows with the new members, the band is playing to new strengths and reinventing older material to fit the three-guitar lineup. Finn says the songs are featuring more guitar. The band is using the new lineup to stretch material out. On songs new and old, the new lineup is carving out different dynamics. Some song ideas will need time off the road to take full bloom, but Finn says he can already see how the lineup might transform songs Kubler and Finn take to the band. “It will sort of change when we play it at full volume,” he says On Heaven is Whenever, The Hold Steady approached making the album with a new angle. Finn says instead of locking down and doing 30 straight days of recording, the band did shorter bursts of work. The band would record four or five songs, then listen and evaluate them. “It allowed us to see what we thought we needed,” Finn says. By not being in such a rush to complete the album, the process was taking place in bits and pieces over six months. “It was a more deliberate record,” Finn says. He says there was an awareness going in that there are people listening to what the Hold Steady is doing these days, and it colors what goes into making the record. “You’re hyper aware that it’s your fifth record,” he says. While there was a willingness to change some of what the band does, Finn says he knew that in the end, the music was still going to sound like it was made by The Hold Steady. “You always make music you want to listen to yourself,” he says. The Hold Steady play w/ Company of Thieves and the Filter Kings Tuesday, Nov. 16, at the Bourbon Theatre, 1415 O St. in Lincoln, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 in advance and $16 day-of-show. Visit onepercentproductions.com.

posted at 10:52 am
on Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

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