Weekly Update » March 27 - April 2, 2008
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Pluto Stations Retrograde and Mercury Enters Aries
By Shelley L. Ackerman
[From my 'Shimmering Stars' column in The Westchester Guardian, © 2008]

My Chicago Spring Break: Oprah Looked Fabulous

Photo: Rich Press

Chicago is like New York, only better.
Not only is the Windy City cleaner, it’s less expensive and far more civilized.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a New Yorker through and through, I was born in Manhattan and will most likely never leave the Big Apple. Besides, I couldn’t even if I wanted to: I don’t drive and I’d probably die if window-shopping and dropping in for at least one Starbucks a day were removed from my routine. But if I were ever to consider living anywhere else at all, the “Second City” is one very tempting option for sure.

I spent my birthday in Chicago last October (the chart was better than in NYC), and didn’t expect to return so soon, but after several attempts I lucked out when a good friend came through with two highly coveted tickets to a taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

The good news came by way of an email about six weeks ago which included very clear instructions: My guest and I had to arrive no later than 7 am (some come and line up as early as 4:45 am I’m told). No cell phones, cameras or recording devices are permitted and wearing bright colors are suggested- they’re better for the camera. Our bags would be thoroughly searched.

Reggie Wells and Oprah

Harpo Studios runs as good as a well-oiled Mercedes Benz. It’s a universe unto itself, sort of like Emerald City with staffers of every age and background ready to greet and orient you from your arrival till your departure. My sister and I were especially delighted to see several retirees (at least in their 70’s or 80’s) on hand working to keep things moving smoothly.

Our coats were checked, bags searched (oddly, my folder of airline documents and other emails were removed, put in a plastic bag, and I was given a claim ticket); then we were seated in a waiting area (filled to near capacity for all of the 315 audience members), and given questionnaires to fill out and releases to sign. The waiting area had several flat screens way above eye level along the sides of the room, streaming montages of Oprah’s greatest on air moments of the past twenty two years.

The blue questionnaire cards that we were given were for our questions for Doctor Oz for an upcoming show on the liver and pancreas (and you thought the producers did all the work). The releases we signed granted Harpo productions permission to photograph us and use our image for any reason into perpetuity. We had no idea who the guest was or what the topic would be for the show we were about to see.

The highlight of the pre-show waiting period was meeting Reggie Wells, Oprah’s wizard of a make-up artist who’s as personable as he is gifted. Reggie’s been on the show many times. I adore him and was happy to learn that he’s a Sagittarius (Sun/Jupiter conjunction on the ascendant), born on December 2. Oprah is an Aquarian but both her Moon and ascendant are Sagittarius. Reggie is beyond cool, very available, warm and wonderful. Most of Oprah’s nearest and dearest are I’m told, which says a lot about who she really is.

About 20 minutes after we were finally seated and warmed up by the producers, Oprah emerged in sage green. She looked beautiful and though she seemed a bit tired, she radiated goodness. I liked her energy very much.

The show, which is scheduled to air April 3, was about a pregnant man who was born female, lost her mom at 12, took testosterone, had his breasts removed, but was still able to conceive. He and his wife went public to tell their story the way they wanted to. After the show, I asked a question about the flexibility of parental/gender roles which Oprah seemed to like, and shared my knowledge of a gay couple (two men) who are the most fabulous parents a kid could have ever wished for.

Oprah spoke of the importance of tolerance and asked, "Who here is part of our web-class or reading "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle?" She seemed disappointed that so few hands were raised and wondered out loud whether it was too esoteric. Too Esoteric? Hardly.

She then said that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Hippies in the 1960's, for they promoted the message of tolerance to the masses. Oprah's an Aquarian (Jan 29, 1954), and though she's reportedly not that into astrology, she was still talking Aquarius talk. Every astrologer worth his or her salt knows that it was the cultural revolution (the Uranus/Pluto conjunction) of the 1960's, depicted in the musical Hair (The Age of Aquarius), that gave rise to the Hippie Movement.

I have always felt that if Oprah were exposed to the way that astrology can contribute to the empowerment of an individual, and be used to serve the cause of tolerance she'd be open it.

After the show, we picked up our belongings and were asked if we wanted to submit questions for next week’s show on getting out of debt with tough-talking financial guru Suze Orman.
The line for that was long too.

Chart: Pluto Stations Retrograde
Click for larger view

The Planets This Week:
March 27: Moon in Sagittarius, Mercury Sextile Jupiter @ 2:56 pm
       Mercury conj Uranus @ 4:08 pm
March 28: Venus Sextile Jupiter @ 6:54 am, Moon V/C @ 9:21 am.
       Venus Conj. Uranus @ 6:58 pm. Jupiter Sextile Uranus @ 8:14 pm
       Moon in Capricorn @ 10:43 pm
March 29: Last Quarter Moon @ 5:47 pm
March 30: Sun Square Mars @ 3:22 am
March 31: Moon in Aquarius @ 9:34 am
April 2: Moon V/C @ 5:14 am, Enters Pisces @ 4:56 pm
       Pluto Stations Retro @ 5:23 pm, Mercury Enters Aries @ 1:45 pm

* All times EDT.

Weekly Horoscope

ARIES: There are six more weeks of Mars in Cancer to endure, and to avoid any and all unnecessary scuffles with family, be extremely clear about the extent of your involvement and overall availability between now and May 9th. On March 30th, keep romance private and a creative venture to yourself. Why even open the door to unwelcome comments or criticism? On April 2nd Mercury enters Aries and the words flow that much easier. Pluto’s reversal in your career house begins a five month professional re-evaluation. Take your time.

TAURUS: You’re aglow and buzzing: As Venus makes the rounds and conjoins Uranus in your 11th house of group activity, you will find yourself thrust into and at the center of an exciting community that you relish being a part of. And though a partner may be critical and/or jealous, stick with them. You have much to gain and learn from this association. The naysayer will eventually come around.

GEMINI: The last quarter Moon on the weekend could bring a conflict between disparate factions in your life to a head, but it’s been a long time coming. Step back and allow the dust to settle. Your ruler, Mercury, is moving at break-neck speed, and so is your mind. And while the manic high feels so wonderful, there’s only one place for it to end up, and who needs that? Exercise restraint, stop playing “both ends against the middle”, and treat yourself to some bodywork.

CANCER: This week will be anything but boring but you’re up for it. The good news is that a partner or spouse is now in a position to offer emotional and financial support for something you want badly, but the Pluto station and reversal will bring up around of second thoughts. Do not be discouraged and do not react. The challenge is to allow him or her to go through their process- you’d want the same courtesy, right? Clear your throat: Mercury enters Aries and you can literally talk your way into or out of anything.

LEO: Pluto and Saturn both retrograde in work/money houses doesn’t not have to be a downer, but the overspending has to stop for the time being. This is the perfect time to bear down and break some bad habits once and for all. When Mercury enters Aries (and your 9th house of higher education, publishing and travel) on April 2, the door opens to generating some serious income from that wonderful imagination of yours.

VIRGO: A partner is crazed beyond words and the more you try to rein them in or to understand them, the less you will. But they’re having a blast- so try to be happy for them. They’ll come back down to earth fairly soon. In the meantime, you have other fish to fry. When Mercury goes into Aries on April 2, make a beeline to your bank, speak to your accountant and file those taxes. Discuss approaching your finances in a different way, and id you haven’t done so already, consider forming a company.

LIBRA: Though part of you is an elitist, another part of you identifies just as strongly with the common man and the workers of the world. With Mercury and Venus conjoining Uranus (all in Pisces) in your 6th house of work, service and health, a little volunteerism goes a long way. Through a willing ness to serve others, several career opportunities present themselves. Are you ready to move beyond your comfort zone?

SCORPIO: This week, you have the unique challenge of enjoying yourself to the hilt in a social or romantic setting while playing it very close to the vest. Your ruler, Pluto, turns retrograde in your third house of communication and you won’t feel like sharing that much, so don’t. In addition, a sibling may be less forthcoming than usual. So the question is: are you capable of fun even when you have a lot on your mind? Why not? Think Clint Eastwood.

SAGITTARIUS: Just when an economic boost looked like a sure thing, there’s a big fat block. But it ain’t over till it’s over, and trust me, it ain’t over! The next few months may be sluggish, but there are things you can do and work on till your main ship comes in. Work on your home, your garden, or your apartment to move the energy around and in your favor. Whether you ever needed it or not, it is imperative to put together a bona fide home-office. Prepare to have several income streams

CAPRICORN: In the past two months you’ve become aware of parts of yourself you didn’t even know existed, and as a result, you’ve begun to test your new wings and have set several new projects in motion. But even the strongest among us must take a step or two backwards to access where we’ve been and where we’re going. From April 2 through Sep 8, Pluto will retrograde first in your sign, and then in Sagittarius. This review period is necessary to prep you for the mammoth out put of energy that will characterize the next 15 years of your life. Don’t fight it.

AQUARIUS: The focus is on finance but it doesn’t feel like drudgery at all. The meet-up of Mercury, Venus and your ruler, Uranus, in your 2nd house of earnings generates some long-awaited home-improvement. And if your main squeeze is on board, you may even look into buying some property and a reasonable rate. A group purchase with like-minded people is a possibility too. So is the “club house” you’ve always dreamed about.

PISCES: The combination of Venus, Mercury and Uranus on your ascendant has you wired for sound and up for the game. In this altered state, you easily dazzle and overwhelm the rest of us who are in a very different place. When Mercury goes into Aries (and your 2nd house of income) on April 2nd, see if you can turn some of your ideas into cash. Though you’re used to handling this sort if thing yourself, let someone qualified do the talking for you. One of your cohorts would love to help