by Joan Kiley
As is the annual tradition, millions of humans (and probably some non-humans as well) watched with excitement and awe the artful fireworks that exploded in so many cities around the world to bring in the New Year. It is, in many ways, a fitting metaphor for what is happening in all of us, as we take on the challenge of a new cycle in the midst of the final crescendo of the Uranus/Pluto square with which we have been struggling for five years.
On the Winter Solstice last month, the onset of a yearly cycle, we had a New Moon at the very first degree of Capricorn, emphasizing the need to find new ways of coping. New beginnings, starting afresh, recognizing the need to set fire to the old as we free space for the bursting forth of the new! Fireworks indeed!
On January 1, there were four planets in earthy Capricorn: Sun, Pluto, Mercury, and Venus. On the one hand, we could look at that and say, oh yes, very grounding, and very practical energy. On the other hand, with Pluto conjunct the Sun and both of them square Uranus, we could say, oh look out, everything we have built up that has outlived its purpose, shall be pulled to the ground, creating great destabilization! And both observations would be correct. The Moon on the first was in Taurus, another earth sign, but one that resists change.
There is the feeling that we are in the midst of change, and we know life is in flux. Some of us are exercising practical techniques of planning, list-making, setting resolutions, and letting go. Others of us are resisting the pull of inevitability with all our strength, leaving us irritable and exhausted. Most of us are somewhere in between.
With Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, having moved into Sagittarius on December 23, there is the added energy of “Yes, I can do this!” And we can use that confidence to support whatever point of view we may be taking! Sagittarius’ ruler, Jupiter, currently in Leo and retrograde, was exactly opposed Mars in Aquarius on January 1 and remained in aspect throughout the first week of the month. These planets, in their respective signs, show the energy of creativity plus the desire and courage to find your own path, live by your own rules. All are great ideas as long as you utilize discernment, as well as assertion, when dealing with other people and their needs.
Venus shifted into Aquarius on January 3, and Mercury followed right behind on January 4, just hours prior to the Full Moon in Cancer, which arrived at 8:54 PM PST on January 4. This Full Moon involved the Uranus/Pluto square, making it a powerful stream of cardinal energy, initiative, and urge to move ideas into manifestation. It also involved the Moon’s nodes, creating a full cardinal cross, and emphasizing focus on the movement from where we have been to where we need to go.
With such a stark and intense aspect on the Full Moon in the sign of Cancer, our emotional roots were definitely stimulated. Each of us had the potential for experiencing motive for change by feelings of excitement, inspiration, insecurity, fear, or shame. By looking at your own chart, and mulling the placement of cardinal signs in their respective houses you can get clues to the areas of life that are demanding shifts and letting go during this period. It is you, and your particular place on your life’s journey, that determines your feelings about the changes. There is no “bad” or “good.”
Whether you are fully aware of what is changing or just experiencing discomfort or confusion is dependent on the stage of transformation you are in. There could be surprises in that you may feel that this is an old issue that you have dealt with previously. Why is it feeling like déjà vu? Been there, done that! Well, because some issues are karmic, deep, and need multiple levels of healing, old themes may reappear. Be patient, breathe deep, and try to stay positive. This is a process, not a quick event.
On January 6, an opposition between the Moon in Leo and Venus in Aquarius set off a week that highlighted relationships. Saturn was trine the Moon on the 6th, sextile Venus, and square Neptune. Not only were we challenged to look at relationships more compassionately, but given the confidence to speak up and communicate in ways that could improve understanding between ourselves and others. People may have felt encouraged to speak up with a rather specific agenda—saying, in various ways, “this is who I am.”
On January 9, Venus and Mercury were exactly conjunct. With both Venus and Mercury in Aquarius for much of the remainder of the month, the notion of being true to oneself is of high value! One of the rulers of Aquarius is Uranus, right now in the powerful square with Pluto. Also, Uranus is considered the higher “octave” of Mercury, in that it has strong associations with the mind, consciousness, and material from the unconscious that is trying to emerge into consciousness. It also means you, and others, may be looking for something new, a new way to express yourself, a new way to “take space,” perhaps an entirely new job, home, or relationship.
The theme of letting go of what’s old and worn, and allowing the new to emerge is extremely powerful during this whole month, and for the entire season of winter! Whenever possible, give yourself space, time alone, time for self care. We all have busy lives, but we also have choices about what we do with our leisure time. It may be very important to schedule fewer social events, and more time for journaling, taking a solitary walk, or just being in silence.
On January 12, at 2:30 AM PST, Mars moves into Pisces for about 5 weeks. With Neptune at 5 degrees Pisces, Mars is immediately influenced by Neptune the planet, as well as Neptune’s sign, Pisces. This is not a comfortable place for Mars, the fiery planet of action, in watery and emotional Pisces. Plus, it will be square Saturn in Sagittarius for the first 10 days of its run in Pisces. It may be easier to connect with your spirit during this time, be more intuitive, more inspired artistically, and more in touch with your dreams. However, if your desire is to make impactful definitive statements with your warrior face on, the effect may be a bit disappointing.
In the third week of the month, Venus and Mercury, conjunct in Aquarius, build toward an opposition with Jupiter in Leo. Jupiter is the single planet in over half of the zodiac this month. Therefore, it takes on a somewhat higher level of importance, acting like a singleton in an individual’s chart, in opposition first with Mars, then Venus and Mercury, and by the end of the month, the Sun and Mercury together. Jupiter is trine Eris the entire month, and because it is retrograde, ends the month trine Uranus as well. What this tells me is that, despite its relative isolation over in Leo, and its retrograde motion, Jupiter is the power behind the throne this month.
There is the fire and heart of Leo present in our every day. The biggest planet provides ongoing wisdom and faith, even when we feel down, a bit depressed, or lost in the unfolding changes. Our egos can get carried away, no doubt about it, either in the “look at me” or “pity me” dynamic, so watch for that. In general, however, as we debut new behaviors, communicate new versions of who we want to be, release old paradigms, or just express our authenticity, the strength of Jupiter in Leo provides a foundation to care about and believe in ourselves.
At 1:44 AM PST on January 20, the Sun moves into Aquarius. Just a few hours later, at 5:13 AM PST, the Moon joins the Sun for an Aquarius New Moon. As happened at the Capricorn New Moon in December, we have this renewed emphasis on beginnings, as the Moon and Sun join within the very first degree of the sign. So it is clear, our work in making change continues.
With four planets in Aquarius, the idea of working toward a better future, and doing it in community, is highly emphasized. At the time of the New Moon, Mercury is slowing, and the following day, at 7:55 AM PST stations retrograde at 17 degrees 5 minutes Aquarius. With Mercury retrograde, we now have the opportunity to not only vision a world we want to live in for the future, but do it with self-reflection, slowing down the “busy bee”ness of our minds.
During the last week of January, we will not be able to ignore the influence of Saturn, as it will be square Mars, square Neptune, square Venus, and sextile the Sun. Saturn may be in the mutable fire sign of Sagittarius, but it retains its cautious and disciplined qualities. It may be providing more of the Sagittarius optimism than one usually associates with Saturn. Nevertheless, it asks us to be slow and deliberate in our projects, take the delays and snags that frustrate us and learn from them, realize that not getting what we want when we want it may actually be in our own best interests. If you are going to do a thing, do it right. And with all this Piscean energy, do it with the greater good in mind.
On January 27, Venus moves into Pisces at 7:00 AM PST. At the time, she is square to Saturn and building to a conjunction with Neptune. Venus is considered “exalted” in Pisces, meaning she is quite comfortable there. The sign positively accentuates many of her best qualities. Whenever we have multiple planets in Pisces, our minds may envision unconditional love, compassion, imagination, getting our ideals met, etc. What we must not forget, however, is the shadow side of Pisces. We can be victims of deceit, yes, duped, scammed, taken for a ride, when we lose our way in the world of fantasy. And with Venus there, these things happen particularly in the areas of relationship and resources. So…remember the old adage: when a person or proposal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Otherwise, enjoy the softness, beauty, and love available to you, especially when you express kindness for others.
The month ends with a Sun/Mercury conjunction on January 30 and a Mars/Chiron conjunction on January 31. Lots of ideas could flow, and the ego could take a hit. Try not to take things personally so that feelings of woundedness do not inflate.
See you next month!