**Times where noted are for the Pacific Time Zone; degrees where noted are rounded to the nearest whole degree.
We’ll have an opportunity to tune into the outer reaches of space during this time period as first Mercury then Venus activates the ongoing square between Uranus and Pluto. They could trigger external events or perhaps briefly open up a wormhole to higher consciousness. The friction-generating square between the planet of revolution and the planet of power is a relatively rare aspect. The last time they were in this astral relationship was during the height of the Great Depression in 1932-34 and the next time won’t be until 2073-74. While the aspect occurring in the 1930s was a “crisis of consciousness” third quarter square, this current period peaking from 2012 to 2015 is a first quarter square where we will experience a “crisis of action.” To understand the nature of the crisis we need to reflect on the seeds that were planted at the time this planetary pair were last conjunct in 1965-66. Many astrologers write about the correlation between outer planet cycles and socio-political movements but also, notably, does the cultural historian Richard Tarnas who is pioneering the incorporation of astrology into philosophy, cosmology and consciousness education at the California Institute of Integral Studies. While the slower planets’ movements set the rhythm of life and define eras, the faster planets making significant aspects to them release the building energy to punctuate life with memorable moments. With the Messenger of the Gods and the Goddess of Love attending the outer planet showdown at the gateway to 2013 the paparazzi flashes should start popping.
Uranus is primarily concerned with individuation. His purpose is to awaken us from the soma of conformity to discover our own uniqueness and become our own authority in matters of self-expression. Uranus beckons us to transcend social conditioning, to deprogram our minds of the layers of do’s and don’ts put upon us through the ages, and to be free of the need for societal approval so that we can act authentically from the core of our being. Pluto is only interested in the truth of our being, our reason for existence. Anything less is simply absurd. Access to Pluto means access to true personal power, the kind that shapes history. Occupying the ultimate existential observation station of our solar system, Pluto’s vantage point puts things in a much different perspective. Shall he look to the petty personal planets circling a tiny Sun, or shall he look out to the vastness beyond, a multiverse of space with infinite possibility? Uranus in Aries asks us to find the courage to be an individual; Pluto in Capricorn asks us to do that with depth integrity. The square between them challenges us to weed out weakness, anything that cannot hold up to the pressure, much as open enemies bring out the best in each other by forcing the development of each other’s mastery. The civil unrest of the 60s was a lot about breaking from the status quo and resisting authority but that period also witnessed many profound scientific and artistic achievements. We went to the Moon. It was the golden age of rebellious rock n’roll. We explored alternate realities with drugs but ultimately fell into their nether world. What was missing was a well-developed sense of an integral authority within each individual. That is the crisis facing us now. Where and how can we be the stewards of this energy that will ultimately reshape our world?
Mercury at 5 degrees Capricorn is the first to arrive when he squares Uranus at 5 degrees Aries on January 3rd then conjuncts Pluto at 10 degrees Capricorn on January 6th. In the 60s we protested against Vietnam and the daily body count on the nightly news. We marched for civil rights and women’s rights. We instigated a socio-cultural revolution that liberated many a taboo and opened the door to mind/body/spirit integration. Will we take up these mantels again and shout out to the still embedded unquestioning masses our counterculture notions of equality between sexes, between races, between nations, or most likely now between the haves and have-nots? Will the seeds of these still nascent thought forms now become mature, balanced avenues of expression worldwide? Channel your inner protestor and find out.
Empowering the midpoint of the quicksilver Mercury/Uranus/Pluto configuration, a boisterous trine between Mars at 7 degrees Aquarius and Jupiter at 7 degrees Gemini greets the New Year on January 4th with high-energy enthusiasm. As long as we have a good plan at our disposal we’ll have the confidence to act and the ability to marshal the resources necessary to achieve our goals. With the energy of Mars acting through Aquarius and Jupiter operating through Gemini, our objectives are apt to be related to some sort of collective breakthrough, finding the best resource at our disposal to be openness to and assimilation of new information.
By January 7th any over-reaching optimism will be tempered when Mars at 10 degrees Aquarius squares Saturn at 10 degrees Scorpio. If our plans are not well thought out, Saturn will hit the brakes and insist for proper steps to be taken. Patience is the key to open the space to move forward; neutrality and discipline will promote endurance and steady the process.
Venus raises the bar on relationships when she enters Capricorn on January 8th. Trustworthiness, reliability and consistency are the qualities she values most when expressing through this practical earth sign. Under Capricorn’s authority, Venus sees these elements as the solid foundation of a harmonious and balanced relationship. She may withhold her affection until she knows they have been earned but her ultimate reward is an enduring love that will withstand the test of time.
The first New Moon of 2013 imprints this year with the will to achieve. A total of five planets, including Mercury, Venus and Pluto are in this hard-working sign when the Moon joins up with the Sun at 11:44 a.m. on January 11th at 22 degrees Capricorn. With a cool headed strategy for self-advancement the words “can” and “will do” could be on everyone’s lips. However, the highest expression of this industrious energy would be a focused intent devoted to the welfare of civilization. According to Dane Rudhyar, it is within the realm of Capricorn to realize the dream of a “new era of human evolution” characterized by “a truly sound and creative social order, an order based on the free and creative ‘association’ of individuals who have dedicated themselves to a global Purpose.” What a New Year’s resolution that would make.
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Venus has her say with the epoch-making duo when she squares Uranus on January 12th at 5 degrees Capricorn/Aries and conjuncts Pluto at 10 degrees Capricorn on January 16th. This configuration sets the stage for us to wake up to feminine power. We may channel our inner Gloria Steinem and speak up about the tired conditioning of traditional gender roles, for both men and women. Those rising up in India against the culturally entrenched brutal treatment of women have only just begun. We may join the feminist Avant Garde, become disorderly in love or let love die so that it can be reborn transformed. We may experiment with aesthetics and discover a new sense of beauty or negotiate sudden peace with our souls. We may discover the true artist within us.
On January 18th at 12:56 a.m. the Sun and Mercury join up for the Superior Conjunction at 28 degrees Capricorn. Due to Mercury’s proximity to the Sun, the conjunction is the only possible major aspect to happen between them. Therefore when it does happen it marks significant shifts in our mental will. The so-called Inferior Conjunction, which occurs when Mercury is retrograde, is a time when seeds of new ideas are planted. What ever developed between November 17th, the date of the last Inferior Conjunction and now could mark a period in this Mercury cycle that can be likened to a Full Moon – a potent time of culmination when bright mental activity is likely to be at its peak. By the end of the day, Mercury enters the lofty air sign of Aquarius where original thinking and eccentric behavior will be favored over any manner of conformity – at least for the quick two and a half weeks this fast moving planet takes to traverse the Water-Bearer’s degree space. Mercury in Aquarius will bring cool detachment to the atmosphere of discourse and the prospect for groundbreaking discussion amongst friends or any groups we belong to, daring us to speak the truth even if it means becoming an outcast. As we individually grow in awareness, further away from widely accepted beliefs, the archetype of the Exile grows stronger. Yet it is the outposts of society that draw us collectively into new ways of being. At the dawn of this New Year may we celebrate all that we are in this moment – each one of us a star.