Some experts associate the Chinese Year of the Dog with the
element of metal; however, the lunar year that begins with the Aquarius new moon
on Sunday is being called the Year of the Red, Fire or Hot Dog, and energetic
fire is its element. Although astrologers suggest that in the days preceding a
new moon you do little more than clean your plate, major forces are at work this
weekend. The opposition between the rebellious Aquarius sun and restrictive Saturn
in Leo brings something that started this summer to a head. And the first of three
challenging square aspects between expansive Jupiter in secretive Scorpio and
idealistic Neptune in Aquarius might also raise a ruckus.


Aries is the one fire sign that's not in the line of fire this week. But
you should know that for the rest of the Chinese Year of the Fire Dog you'll
have a significant boost in energy and more action than you've experienced
over the last two years. The Aquarius new moon also emphasizes the air element
that'll fuel those fires. If you have a touch of the poet in you, then the
lyrical Mercury-Neptune conjunction midweek would be an excellent time to set
pencil to paper, mouth to microphone and reveal what's in your heart and


Bulls who consider themselves artists – and, no matter what your specialty,
aren't you all? – may welcome the challenge to not only do more but
to do it to the best of your ability while enthusiastic Jupiter and imaginative
Neptune apply extra pressure. Also this week, another reason to deal with a real
estate or family matter that's been keeping you from moving on. Do you break
the ties that bind so that you can progress personally and professionally? Or
do you wait until your Venus ruler faces forward next weekend before you decide?


The Twins could be off and running once the new moon in Aquarius, a compatible
air sign, boosts your energy level and heightens your sense of purpose. A situation
that may have made you anxious or wary the last few months may be resolved with
little effort on your part – blown away by a fresh burst of rational Aquarian
thinking and a growing appreciation of what one individual brings to the communal
table. You could also become more interested in a subject, e.g., a foreign culture,
that up until now you know nothing about.


Crabs may be able to sidestep one of the issues that arise this week by coming
up with a creative answer to a question of aesthetics. However, to avoid a direct
confrontation over finances, you'd be wise to read the warning signs that
safety-first Saturn in your Leo money house posts. But even if you do, you should
know that you'll still feel saddled by rules and regulations for at least
another year. If you're in debt, the discipline that Saturn imposes could
be just what you need. If not, the savings you rack up couldn't hurt.


The Aquarius new moon can introduce a fresh approach to an assortment of relationships,
be they with present and former partners, co-workers or your HMO. One may become
more stressful over time, another might insist that you deal directly with what's
been bothering you and be done with it. Happily for lusty Lions, it's predicted
that you're likely to see an improvement in your love life as well as your
health during the Year of the Fire Dog. But first you'll have to face up
to pain aggravated by the opposition between your sun ruler and Saturn in your


The Virgin may have it a lot easier this year thanks to the rise of the fire element
that the Chinese associate with the Year of the Red Dog. For the past two years,
the metal element favored the water signs; for the next two, fire will provide
energy and opportunity to the fire signs, of course, but also to earth signs like
yours. On that encouraging note, be aware that your fantasy life could get in
the way of reality while your receptive Mercury ruler merges with illusion-filled
Neptune on the 1st. Okay for artists and poets, not for the typical CPA.


Your prospects for fashioning an even finer romance improve when the airy Aquarius
new moon breathes new life into an existing relationship. Just try to keep your
expectations within the realm of reality; imaginations tend to run rampant this
weekend. After your Venus ruler comes out of retrograde on the 3rd and faces the
future, you should have a clearer understanding of what changed around Christmas
and why you've held your affections in check. If you intend to make amends,
go slow. Take as long as it takes to reach rapprochement.


Seriously, could there be a religious conversion in your future? Pencil in the
dates when faith-based Neptune challenges ever-expansive Jupiter in your sign:
this Friday, March 15 and Sept. 24. It's likely that the pressure to believe
eases up after the tight square loosens up, so proceed with caution. You're
well aware that once Scorpions decide on a goal, you tend to obsess about it until
it's achieved. Natives born in October may sense that this is the time to
choose between making a bold career move and handling a family matter. Maybe yes,
maybe no.


Philosophical Centaurs may have wondered why the last two years have been heart-wrenching
for some of them, stagnant for others. Well, wonder no more. It seems that during
the metal years, (not the 80's) the emotional water signs were favored.
However, starting with the Lunar Year of the Hot Dog, high-spirited fire signs
and the element of fire will dominate. Heady flights of fancy this weekend while
your Jupiter ruler succumbs to Neptune's magical, mystical spell; try to
record them before they disappear into thin air.


Divergent planetary phenomena can determine how you spend the week and whether
you'll wind up feeling pleased with yourself or proud of yourself. Either
go with the sense that you're running lucky this weekend as pleasurable
Venus in your sign and prosperous Jupiter present an opportunity to cash in. Or
else be willing to assume the responsibility placed on your shoulders when the
Aquarius sun opposes your Saturn ruler. While friends will gladly celebrate your
good fortune, it's a significant other who'll give you the respect
you deserve.


The focus is on you and how you'll react to the pressures and pleasures
in store this week. Even if you choose to hide out this weekend and protect your
privacy, a new moon in your sign on Sunday will seek you out. Visual artists,
musicians and inventors are urged to step beyond the limits they've set
for themselves; to see themselves as glamorous, camera-ready creatures. Worker
bees who are carrying more than their share of the load may get the opportunity
to be recognized for the special services they perform.


Pisces poets may be inspired by images of Imbolc, the ancient celebration of mid-winter.
The first of February is also the day that, for this year only, both Neptune and
Jupiter, your new and old ruling planets, exert their considerable spiritual influence
on Mercury, the messenger of the gods. Somebody has something to relay. And while
it might not be germane to the Fish's domain, the tradition of Groundhog
Day draws attention to sun and shadow, light and dark, the yin and the yang of
the cosmic Pisces glyph.

LA Weekly