With Venus going retrograde last week, it's been a time to reassess and reevaluate. One of the most striking features of this process has been a series of pardons issued by various governments.

Vladimir Putin has been leading the pardon pack, closing the case against Greenpeace activists arrested in the arctic circle, letting political rival Mikhail Khodorkovsky out of jail, and also freeing the two Pussy Riot members who were still incarcerated (they warned that we shouldn't be lulled into any warm and fuzzy feelings for Putin). It may all be a strategy for cooling criticism as the Sochi Winter Olympics approach, but it does show that Putin recognizes where the criticism would fall.

President Obama commuted the sentence of 8 people convicted on federal cocaine charges. He did so two days before the retrograde, citing an unfair system.

Perhaps most significantly, there was some talk of amnesty for Edward Snowden. The consideration of amnesty may be more about shutting him up so that he doesn't release any more of the many documents it is assumed he still has in his possession. Yet as Mars opposed Uranus this Christmas Day, Snowden - clearly the poster child of Uranus in Aries - announced boldly that he has "already won" by making it clear just extensively the government is spying on its citizens.

Many people have mixed feeling or vilify Snowden, but he has unquestionably raised one of the most important issues of the Uranus-Pluto square. An individual who rebelled (Uranus is Aries) against excessive government power (Pluto in Capricorn) might otherwise be hailed as a hero and a patriot, but the other side of Pluto in Capricorn is fear, and we shouldn't forget that those extensive government powers were given by American people, even if rather passively.

Finally, in a classic case of a little too little, a little too late, Queen Elizabeth pardoned another spymaster, Alan Turing. But Turing didn't work against the government but for it. His was a more personal 'crime' - Turing committed suicide after being chemically castrated for having gay sex, which was a crime in Great Britain in 1952. A reminder that although we aren't sailing through easy times today, the good old days that people often pine for were bad, bad, bad.