Chodesh Adar is all about masks, mixed messages and Mercury Retrograde.

Chodesh Adar 5780 (February 25 – March 25, 2020) is the month of Pisces (Dagim), symbolized by two fish swimming in opposite directions. The classical planetary ruler of Pisces is Jupiter/Tzedek, making Pisces the realm of dreams, visions and inspiration. Naphtali, the second son of Yaakov and Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaiden, is the Tribal ruler of Pisces. At his birth, Rachel declared: “Sacred schemes [Naftulai] have I maneuvered to equal my sister [Niftali]!” and she called his name Naphtali (“my scheme”).

This alludes to the mystical, somewhat even magical reputation of Pisces, the most sensitive, “psychic” and empathetic sign of the zodiac, a free spirit flowing like water through life.   The modern ruler of Pisces is Neptune/Rahav, suggesting a certain inscrutable, oblique quality, like that of fish beneath the ocean, unseen by the human eye. Pisces rules the deep recesses of the unconscious, the subterranean subconscious, the wellsprings of faith, the fountain of dreams, the river of fantasy, and the boundless sea of imagination.

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Mercury/Kochav’s retrograde this month is likely to manifest in misunderstandings, miscommunications, misinformation and downright propaganda. Facts are fickle, trust is sketchy and communication platforms we thought were stable are exposed as vulnerable.

The masks we wear on the Full Virgo Moon of Purim on March 9 reveals our truest selves, but who will believe it? It may become dizzyingly difficult to sort through all the cacophonous, confusing and conflicting information until after the Vernal Equinox / Tekufah Nissan on the 19/20th.  The secret to a great Chodesh Adar is Rachel’s “sacred schemes” – the utterly immersive and unrelenting war of prayer she launched against God in her quest to bring more children into Yaakov’s family. Like Rachel, may we use every trick in the book, including “sacred schemes”, to wrest whatever joy we can extract during these heavy, intense times.

Aries/Taleh

You’re experiencing pressure with ruling planet Mars/Ma’adin in Saturn/Shabbtai-ruled Capricorn squaring your natal Sun all month, causing your determination muscle to grow strong with repeated workouts. The square of Venus/Noga in Aries to Saturn on March 3 builds patience and forbearance if you’ve cultivated enough patience along the way.  Your material world and financial status takes a front seat after March 6. Invest your energy into things that yield sustainable, repeatable successes and not untested, razzle-dazzle ventures. The Spring Equinox/Tekufah Nissan March 20 joins with a Mars conjunction to Jupiter/Tzedek, re-energizing positivity and refreshing your sense of personal power.

Taurus/Shor

Venus/Noga enters Taurus March 5 which normally is a cozy transit, but with Venus conjunct Uranus /Oron March 8 followed by the Full Moon of Purim on March 9 and Mercury/Kochav in retrograde Pisces, you’re far from relaxed — you’re turned-on, tuned-in and ready for something completely different. Your reputation as solid and dependable gets a workout this month when your friends and community find you full of surprises, some of them potentially shocking.  Shake your grogger and shake up the status quo; you’ve awakened a sleeping giant within, who wants to release all that beauty and originality upon the world!

Gemini/Teomim 

Retrograde Mercury/Kochav and the First Quarter Moon in Gemini on March 2 enhances the hall of mirrors effect you’re experiencing during this multifaceted month of many-layered meanings. Like Zevulon steering his ship between the shoals, you’re maneuvering your own ship of state between facts as you understand them and information which may not be reliable. Discerning truth is a full-time job now. Purim’s Full Moon in Virgo March 9 illuminates the home front; are you ready to drop the mask you wear with your family? Mercury Direct March 10 is where errors are corrected, perspectives re-measured and relations redefined.

Cancer/Sartan

Moon-ruled Cancer has bravely endured the Nodal Axis transit over the last 16 months. Relief comes early May, but meanwhile, Purim will set you free, at least for the evening, as the Full Virgo Moon on March 9 stimulates your social side. Gather with friends and neighbors to exercise both your intuition and your sense of humor, both of which may be feeling crushed under the weight of so much seriousness. As Tribal leader Reuven cared for his mother by collecting mandrakes, so you must care for your own creative fertility this month. Protect your sacred space against energy-draining intruders.

Leo/Aryeh

Tribal leader Shimon’s legendary rage over dishonor to his family reflects your aversion to disrespect, but remember offense is taken and not given, especially March 6-7 and 23-25. Dampen your temper and realize chances are you’re hearing only half the story. Mercury retrograde signals potential misunderstandings, miscommunications and missed cues, especially in domestic relationships. Be exceedingly meticulous with your word. The Spring Equinox/Tekufah Nissan on March 20 inspires new beginnings in business and career. Patience pays off at the Aries New Moon on March 24: the sweetest sound is your praises sung by others, not the tooting of your own horn.

Virgo/Betulah

Gad’s troops are needed now more than ever to fight against disinformation and downright deception this month, as motivations are unmasked — including your own. Take responsibility for your own self-deception when Mercury/Kochav’s snap-back from retrograde to direct brings shocking clarity around a previously muddled issue. The Full Virgo Moon on March 9 shines a bright light onto the list of secret wrongs you feel you’ve endured in a relationship. Make a list of the wrongs you’ve secretly committed, in thought or deed. Put both lists together and burn them. Healthy maturity is accepting ambiguity and imperfection in yourself and others.

Libra/Moznayim 

Venus/Noga in Taurus March 5 through the rest of the month is good news for pleasure-loving Libra, especially in matters of shared intimacies. Purim revelry starts early for you with Venus conjunct Uranus/Oron on March 8, inspiring a desire to declare your love unique, one-of-a-kind and utterly exceptional. You’re prone to rash romantic decisions March 10 – 11. Though it’s liberating not to care what the neighbors think when you stand up for your sincerely held beliefs at the Vernal Equinox/Tekufah Nissan March 19/20, all decisions carry a price tag: can you afford this now?  Principles take precedence over people-pleasing platitudes.

Scorpio/Akrav

Full Pisces Moon on Purim March 9 soothes the rather tired soul, firming your resolve to escalate your quest for a better quality of life. Take a break from social interactions, Mercury retrograde-inspired confusions and concentrate on hearing your inner voice March 12-14.  The Spring Equinox/Tekufah Nissan on March 20 is the best time of year for your personal detox on every level: physical, mental, and emotional. Mars/Maadin conjunct Pluto March 23 puts powerful forces behind your determination. Ignore temptations towards subterfuge. Be very clear about your personal investment of energy and attention in those things dearest to your heart.

Sagittarius/Kashat

Mercury/Kochav’s retrograde makes negotiations regarding your business and career confusing and contradictory. Don’t sign anything or shake hands on an agreement around the value of your work until after the Virgo Full Moon on Purim, March 9, when previously unseen aspects of the deal are unmasked.  The Sun’s sextile to Jupiter/Tzedek March 11 supports a realistic assessment of your own market value. Invest in compassionate self-care at the Vernal Equinox/Tekufah Nissan; offer yourself every chance to harmonize body, soul and mind while waiting for the long-term solution. Rest and refresh yourself any way you can during this rare lull.

Capricorn/G’Di 

Mercury/Kochav retrograde until after the Full Virgo Moon of Purim, March 9, nixes any notion of communicative clarity. Delay important conversations until March 16-18. Ruling planet Saturn/Shabbtai enters Aquarius March 21 but will soon retreat/retrograde to the final degrees of Capricorn, where it will zigzag back and forth until making a conjunction with Jupiter/Tzedek in Aquarius in December. 2020 is a roller coaster ride for you. You’re the locus of expansive energy at the conjunction of Mars/Maadin and Jupiter in Capricorn March 20, and the center of calculated charisma at the Mars/Pluto conjunction March 23. Own your personal power!

Aquarius/D’Li

Saturn/Shabbtai the classical ruler of Aquarius, enters your sign on March 22. Though he’ll be playing retrograde games during much of 2020, he’s on his way to a full two-and-a-half-year transit through Aquarius. Though you know everything about hard work, Saturn is about more than drudgery. It’s time to change your relationship with all the grownup things you’ve cleverly spent a lifetime avoiding: hierarchical structure, responsibility, commitment, duty. Saturn doesn’t visit for fun: his job is to escort you through the individuation process. Maturity is his end game, and your favorite bad habits are his nemesis.

Pisces/Dagim

Just as two negatives make a positive, you may be the only one in the Zodiac avoiding the confusion made by Mercury/Kochav’s retrograde in Pisces through the Full Moon of Purim March 9. Whereas others are muddled, you see clearly. The problem is your clarity may be mistaken for clouds by those who can’t tell the difference. They’ll come to their senses by the Vernal Equinox/Tekufah Nissan and you’ll look like a prophet for holding your ground during uncertain times. Ask and ye shall receive unexpected gifts of bounty and material support with Mercury’s sextile to Uranus on March 22.

 A version of this column originally appeared at jpost.com and is reprinted with permission.

 Lorelai Kude is a practicing, professional astrologer for over 30 years with an MA in Jewish studies from Berkeley’s Graduate Theological Union. Lorelai Kude can be reached via email (lorelaikude@yahoo.com) or at her Kabbalah-flavored website, Astrolojew.com.

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