Look Up! ... Orion Rules the Winter Night

Hello Night Sky Travelers,
January 9, 5:30pm PST marked the beginning of a new lunar cycle that peaks with the January 23 Full Moon, and ends February 8, 6:39am PST.

Lunar Theme: With the Vision of the Eagle & the Voice of the Angels We begin our New Year "Our New Moon lies under the auspices of majestic Aquila the Eagle and inspirational Lyra, harp of the angels. Acceleration, imagination, originality and artistic inspiration, vision and insight amalgamate to create the hallmark of this lunar cycle ... begins an acceleration of global events and geo and sociopolitical transformation occurring throughout 2016 ... revelatory disclosures that may not only begin the obsolescence of our existing technological paradigm, but also humanity's very consensus of reality." Click the lunar theme link for more insights by Nick Fiorenza.

The folks at SouledOut.org invite you to celebrate the current lunar month by participating in the Aquarius Festival Global Meditation.

Orion Gives Birth ~ Rules the Winter Night
Mercury Retrograde ~ Jupiter Retrograde

Image: NASA / JPL–Caltech / STScI

Orion the Hunter gives birth to stars! This Spitzer/Hubble infrared and visible-light composite shows an artistic masterpiece of turbulent and chaotic energies that baby stars are creating 1,500 light years away in the Orion Nebula. Four monstrously massive stars, collectively known as the Trapezium located at the center of this cosmic cloud may be the main culprits of this gorgeous chaos. "These behemoths are approximately 100,000 times brighter than our sun." JPL

[This] image from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes looks more like an abstract painting than a cosmic snapshot. … It was "painted" by hundreds of baby stars on a canvas of gas and dust, with intense ultraviolet light and strong stellar winds as brushes. NASA's Full Caption / Description

The Orion Nebula is the nearest star formation region to the Earth and consequently particularly well studied. Despite this, star formation is not all that well understood. astro.nineplanets.org

More than half of the 25 brightest stars appear overhead in the winter sky making it the brightest night sky of all the seasons.

It is no coincidence that the brightest stars congregate here [the winter sky], for this is where many stellar nurseries reside, including the marvelous Orion Nebula (M42). Massive stars begin their lives in such cocoons and burn most brightly. Scan this region with binoculars to see one marvel after another. Astronomy Magazine 2/03

The Orion Nebula (M42) is easily visible as a fuzzy star with the unaided eye.

Everyone loves Orion's bright stars but it is one of his dimmer stars that will blow you away. Face southeast in the early evening and below Orion's three belt stars you'll see three dimmer stars which make up his sword. But no matter how sharp your eyesight the middle star always seems to look fuzzy, out of focus. [Image] That's because it isn't a star at all but a humongous cosmic cloud of gas and dust where new stars are being born. We call it the Orion Nebula and there is enough material here to produce over ten thousand stars the size of our Sun. Indeed, this nebula is so huge we could line up 20,000 of our solar systems end to end from one edge of it to the other. How's that for a fuzzy little star? Star Gazer

During this lunar cycle, hour-glass shaped Orion lies high in the South from 8:30pm - 10:00pm.

Orion was once known as "the three Kings".

The ancient name of Orion was "the three Kings", because of the three beautiful stars found in Orion's Belt. The Three Kings represent the three divine aspects of Will, Love and Intelligence, and Orion, therefore, symbolizes the spirit. The name Orion literally means "the breaking forth of light."

- Alice Bailey: Labors of Hercules - Labor II / Online Text

The three belt stars of Orion point to Aldebaran our star of enlightenment and to Sirius our spiritual Sun. Helpful Map ~ Use brightest star Sirius to imagine sun’s path through Milky Way

Navigating with Orion

Orion's shoulder star is our Valentine's star!

Orion's shoulder star is a point of the equilateral Winter Triangle.

Orion's left leg is a point of the Great Winter Hexagon.

Orion's belt stars have nifty names.

Orion and His Rival

Mercury Retrograde
Jan. 5 - Jan. 25, 2016

Mercury began its retrograde motion Jan. 5. It is in inferior conjunction with our central luminary Jan. 14, and is stationary direct Jan. 25. During the planet's retrograde, which always occurs in close proximity to the Sun, Mercury is hidden from our sight by the Sun's glaring light.

As Mercury joins with our Sun, it switches from the evening to the morning horizon. At this time Mercury the messenger of the gods seems to be communicating with our solar deity, formulating a new divine message for humanity.

A shift or change in direction is taking place now. It is not the time to make new important decisions. It is time to review, re-evaluate and revise ideas, objectives and desires.

Normally there are 3 Mercury retrograde periods a year lasting about 21 days. In 2016 we have the rare 4.
Jan.5-25 ~ April 28-May22 ~ Aug. 30-Sept. 21/22 ~ Dec. 19-Jan. 8

The current Mercury Retrograde is unique in that it is re-energizing the waning, revolutionary and revelatory Uranus/Pluto Square. Humanity is being challenged to dig deep to find the Truth and let go of antiquated ways of being, to be receptive to new paths and unexpected insights, and to embrace what is real and authentic.

Surrender and maintain during the first half of Mercury's retrograde (before its inferior conjunction 1/14). At this time allow the new incoming cosmic energies to break up the old patterns. During the second half (after 1/14) pay attention to emerging new ideas.

Mercury inspires the mind and connects us to the soul with divine tidings. Listen. What message does Mercury have for you?

Mark your calendar! Begin looking for the morning  planet at dawn, in the east, late January. Map Mercury is furthest from the Sun February 6 when it appears with Venus and a slim Crescent Moon low on the southeastern horizon 30 minutes before sunrise. Map Binoculars help one spot Mercury in the twilight glow.

Jupiter Retrograde
Jan. 7 - May 9, 2016

Jupiter is retrograde once a year. In 2016 Jupiter's retrograde occurs at the hindquarters of the constellation of Leo the Lion. Map

Jupiter, also now retrograde ... [is] in a windy and fiery area of the heavens, one that can stimulate dynamic creative expression, but can also be filled with diversionary commotion and grand spectacle. Jupiter's retrograde impels an inward expansion of conscious awareness to discern the truth and what is of true value hidden behind the dramatic and deceptive antics occurring in the world. The inward expansion and wisdom gained during Jupiter's retrograde will come to fruition after Jupiter's retrograde ...

- Nick Fiorenza / Lunar Planner Jan. 10 - Feb. 8, 2016

Ask the Great Being Jupiter for his help in determining what is real, what to focus on and what to embrace.

Mark your calendar! During this lunar cycle Jupiter can be viewed in the east after 10:00pm and in the west by dawn.

1/25 10pm Jupiter/Moon-Regulus Duo ~ 1/26-28 10:30pm Jupiter/Moon

In Conclusion ...

In general retrogrades are periods of “re:” renewing, reflecting, restarting, re-evaluating, reviewing, revising, reworking, recharging, etc. These are times to slow down, to stop, look and listen. Do this and future plans, decisions and choices will be for the better.

This cycle's retrogrades are stimulating us to dig deep for the Truth and to expand our consciousness to discern the truth and the true value of what is hidden behind dramatic and deceptive antics. As old patterns of energies break up, new paths and unexpected insights are available.

Look Up! Navigate with Orion. The heavens are filled with breath-taking and extraordinary celestial winter energies. Ponder on and be receptive to them. Trust in the unseen forces that stream forth from the heavenly bodies. They can expand your consciousness with new insights and visions.


Mark your calendar!

The Planets
- 4 Bright Morning Planets
Late January... S-SE 70 minutes before sunrise
- All 5 Bright Planets
All five bright planets will appear together in the morning sky from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. That hasn’t happened since 2005.
- Night Sky Info ... No January posting?! ... finder charts and info on each planet
- The Planets in Esoteric Astrology ... scroll 1/2 way down

Moon ... Evening, Morning, Daytime
The Moon's Phases help us grow in consciousness.
Where's the Moon tonight? Can you see it in the daylight sky?
Can you name its phase when you see it?

Rise and Set Times
Rise/Set/Transit Times ~ Major Bodies
Use this link to find exact times for the
planets, Sun and Moon in your area.
Sunrise Sunset Calculator

Charting the Heavens
EarthSky Tonight ... nightly highlights/maps
This Week's Sky at a Glance ... weekly highlights/maps


This lunar cycle takes us through the doorway and into the seasonal sign of Aquarius, as it peaks with the January 23 Full Moon and ends February 8. It is calling us to Look Up! It is calling us to dive deep within to the Truth. It is inspiring us to discover what is hidden and of true value beneath what is said and seen. It has the potential to expand our consciousness with new insights and visions. This lunar cycle is urging us to face what is obsolete and move beyond the current consensus of reality.

The Aquarian energy is the Living Water of Life flowing from the very throne of Heaven ...

Each, in our own way, is asked to bring this Life Spring into our own lives to move from personal consciousness to group consciousness ~ opening to the Love and Service of all Humanity ...

We drink from the Communal Well and we offer ourselves as fountains of Truth. And in this, we take yet another step toward Our Divine Destiny.

The Rivers of Love and Life Converge
We Share, and in Divinity, we Merge.

- 2016 Aquarius Festival Global Meditation

Join the folks at SouledOut.org for the Aquarius Festival Global Meditation.


Look Up! ... Look Within,
Susan Sun at The Night Sky