As we become more and more connected to the world, through the internet, with global news instantly broadcasting 24/7, it has become natural to identify with what happens to others no matter how far away or seemingly disconnected they are to our immediate physical reality. The historically massive crowds protesting the recent terrorist attacks in Paris manifested in a mantra that exemplifies just how much we felt that shattering experience on a collective level. The French phrase “Je suis Charlie,” which means “I am Charlie,” served to unify the response to the highly symbolic killings where the loss of a few brave lives standing up to tyranny represented not only the loss of freedom of speech, but the loss of freedom to be who we are no matter how controversial, and the loss of truth, for it seems comedy is the only place these days where truth can be delivered unfiltered without concern for political correctness. Beyond the correspondences between recent events and the era-defining Uranus/Pluto square that was aligned with the last lunar cycle in Capricorn, and all the socio-political implications aside, for the purposes of those of us on a spiritual path may we also see a personal message, one that is in line with the Aquarian theme of this period: to be willing to be who we are no matter the cost, and also to face the truth, no matter how personally painful or humiliating it may be. Having a sense of humor as we impartially face the feedback mirror will give our true identity some distance from the manufactured ego identity we project out into the world, which is made up of conditioning and belief systems passed down through the ages that all too frequently undermine our unique, brilliant nature. During these soul-searching times, as we become one with Charlie and other crowd sourced cries for sanity in a mad world (“Black lives matter,” and “I can’t breathe” here in the US), may we embrace true unity in diversity and never lose our Aquarian sight of the inimitable gifts we bring to the march.
On January 20th, the theme of emergence continues as the Sun enters Aquarius followed just a few hours later with yet another New Moon at the fresh, unfettered zero degree mark. Liken it to entering this world with no foreknowledge of anything that went on before. That would give complete freedom to experience present time with no thought of past experiences triggering learned thoughts and behaviors. Imagine a mind freed of all that clutter so it can become a receptacle for creative, innovative responses to whatever the moment requires. This is an absolutely essential skill we all need to develop in order to increase our ability to respond to the dense, data-overflowing networks we’re now plugged into. The annual lunar cycle in Aquarius, ruled in modern times by liberating Uranus, presents an opportunity to wake up and shake off the bed of habituation blanketing our existence. The only major aspect this New Moon makes is a cooperative sextile to practical Saturn, the traditional ruler of Aquarius, which gives him increased authority here. Extending past January 22nd, when the Sun’s sextile to Saturn in truth-seeking Sagittarius is exact, this influence may help us get past the shock of the wakeup call itself, and tune us into realistic notions of just how to go about making the bed we really want to sleep in. Whatever our desire, the vibration of the eccentric Aquarian New Moon cycle should make all things alternative suddenly look powerfully attractive. We could join a meditation class to learn how to observe our thoughts among loving witnesses, or start a private digital journal so we can pour the plethora of fragmented thoughts swirling chaotically in our mind out onto the screen, and in the process of observing them, come to some realizations about how they operate, where they come from, what they trigger in us, and ultimately see them as something other than who we are. That is a genuine first step we could take towards personal freedom.
The time for reflection opens up when Mercury stations retrograde on January 21st. This is the first of three Mercury retrogrades this year in cerebral air signs. Moving back through the degree space between 17° and 1° Aquarius over the next few weeks, Mercury can be the neutral witness here, who will revisit that which has been developing since he went into the shadow phase (the point at which he first arrived at 1° Aquarius on January 5th). Anything set in motion after that point, including projects, plans, new relationships or perhaps our new year resolutions, may need adjustments, loose pieces picked up, or simply to be looked at from a different angle. Mercury operating through the cool, technical Aquarian filter should give us an objective, clinical edge to review our observation experiment, but in a fixed sign he may need to recognize where he has refused input from others who he perceives just can’t see it his way.
Venus changes her posture from “my way or the highway” to “we’re all in this together” when she leaves Aquarius and enters the compassionate realm of Pisces on January 27th. Venus emulates her higher octave, Neptune, while visiting the sign he rules, becoming somewhat boundary-less in her emotional involvements. Seeing the pure potential in others, she is inspired to open her heart to anyone she meets, which can be quite lovely as long as she has a good handle on her own identity. If not, she may indiscriminately expose her vulnerability to the strongest ego in the room, only to find out later that her ideal of that particular other may never be realized.
Following in Mar’s star tracks of last week, as Venus approached the borderland between Aquarius and Pisces she began encountering Saturn and Neptune, who are within range of a long term square (see last AstroCast). Between the time her square to Saturn becomes exact (January 30th) and she conjuncts Neptune in Pisces (February 1st), she acts as a translator for their collective message, bringing her own concerns into the conversation of course while she receives input from each of the slower moving planets that inform her choices. On a mundane level, for example, the issues regarding the Keystone XL Pipeline may come to a head, with the focus on its impact on society (Venus). With Saturn representing structure (the pipeline) and Neptune representing oil (that which the pipeline will deliver), the President may find a bill on his desk, which he’ll have to sign or veto, siding either with those concerned for the health of the planet and its inhabitants, or those who say the pipeline will bring a significant number of badly needed jobs to US citizens. Chances are, the financial benefit to the corporations involved, and the perpetuation of an industry on the wane, are issues that will be sidelined in the public discourse. On a personal level, Saturn may give Venus a reality check on her relationships, personal finances, or artistic endeavors. If she wasn’t clear before on where she stands in all those arenas, she will need to get clear now. Is the give and take in balance? Is she making responsible choices? Do these areas of her life have sufficient foundations to pass the test of time? Are they worth the effort? Neptune’s growing influence on her may make it difficult to decide between the real and the ideal. A blossoming romantic glow could make everything seem so rosy the fault lines right before her eyes become distant fuzziness. At the higher evolutionary level, Neptune asks Venus to refine her inner vision. Together, they bring the sublime into expressions of love and art.
January 27th through February 3rd, concurrently with the Venus/Saturn/Neptune alignment, other significant astral configurations take place that should activate the synapses required for increased clarity and a regenerative connection with our power source. As retrograde Mercury crosses back over the Sun in the illuminating Inferior Conjunction in Aquarius, both receive just enough of a boost from electrifying Uranus in Aries to upgrade their vision into High Def 3D. The mid-point of the Mercury retrograde cycle, punctuated by the sextile to Aquarius’ ruler, therefore has the potential to achieve an elevated state of lucidness. Free association with radical ideas could liberate even the most entrenched positions at this time, aided and abetted by the disrupting force of Uranus plugging into Mercury and the Sun in emotionally detached Aquarius. Augmenting this alignment, Mars in Pisces sextiles Pluto in Capricorn to stimulate a profound desire to act on any revelations we may have, or reveal a level of charisma we didn’t know we had that can influence others to align with any unconventional breakthroughs occurring at this time.
Right on cue, the Full Moon on February 3rd brings to a culmination all that has been emerging since the New Moon. The Sun in Aquarius opposing the Moon in Leo, is harmoniously aligned with Uranus to amplify the theme of unity in diversity established at the New Moon. With the Moon in Leo representing the creative force of the individual and the Sun in Aquarius representing the collective force created when each individual unites in a powerful collective, this astral event could shine the full force of people power over the darkness that preys on a fragmented society. As a family of nations, if we were truly united in our conviction to root out terrorism at its source, it could open the doors for innovative humanitarian solutions rather than continuing to rely on controversial, fiercely controlling means that have ultimately proven to be ineffective. Adding his optimistic weight to this philosophical scenario, Jupiter in Leo aligns with the Full Moon to open our hearts and minds to the idea of a non-violent revolution in collective consciousness. Jupiter conjunct the Moon a few hours after it was full bestows genuine self-assurance, and Jupiter opposing the Sun, exact on February 6th, extends that confidence to others to give us the message that we can turn our world upside down. And when we do, may the integral force of unity shake out the pessimistic, powerless shadow side of our collective nature. May our fear driven limitations expand into heartfelt knowingness of life’s abundance that is experienced in every quarter of the globe, even if but for a moment, because once we’ve had an experience of it, then we’re wired to recognize we can get there again and be motivated to make the effort.
On February 5th, retrograde Mercury returns for his second sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius in a month to support our topsy-turvy perceptions with a sense they may endure. This planetary pair in a helpful relationship should foster an awareness that we need to apply organized thinking to the process of transforming our world.
Now traveling in tandem just behind Mars, Venus in Pisces has her own sexy sextile with Pluto on February 7th to bring new depths to our experience of love and beauty. Relationships may profoundly appear on our radar now, especially in light of newfound ideas about how to reshape our collective experience. While Venus and Mars don’t reach an exact conjunction until just after they take the lover’s leap into innocent Aries on February 21st, for the next couple of weeks they are fully engaged in the unity in diversity theme, or possibly distracted by the gender-based sub-theme “Vive la difference”!
Mercury turns direct on February 11th after being retrograde for three weeks, and over the next few days the suspensions we may have been experiencing in our internal and external travels start to release. As the moment of stillness approaches, our thoughts may deepen and perhaps be more difficult to express outwardly, yet Mercury’s time moving backwards can be valuably employed as a mental retreat wherein we unplug from our standard operating perceptions. Once Mercury goes direct we can then re-approach the day to day with a refreshed outlook. Having first entered Aquarius on January 4th, Mercury won’t dive into watery Pisces until March 12th, spending three times longer than normal in this independent sign. As he works his way back from the first to the last degree of Aquarius, the process of cooperative awakening to our unique purpose is reformed.
Here’s the data:
*Times where noted are Pacific Time Zone.
**Degrees where noted are rounded to the nearest whole degree.
January 20th – Sun at 0° Aquarius at 1:44 a.m.
January 20th – Moon conjunct Sun at 0° Aquarius at 5:14 a.m.
January 21st – Mercury station retrograde 17° Aquarius at 7:54 a.m.
January 22nd – Sun sextile Saturn 3° Aquarius/Sagittarius at 9:24 p.m.
January 27th – Venus at 0° Pisces at 7:00 a.m.
January 27th – Mercury sextile Uranus at 13° Aquarius/Aries at 9:03 p.m.
January 30 – Venus square Saturn at 3° Pisces/Sagittarius at 12:23 a.m.
– Mars sextile Pluto at 14° Pisces/Capricorn at 5:36 a.m.
– Sun conjunct Mercury (Inferior Conjunction) at 10° Aquarius at 5:45 a.m.
February 1 – Venus conjunct Neptune at 6° Pisces at 9:36 a.m.
February 2 – Sun sextile Uranus at 13° Aquarius/Aries at 4:29 a.m.
February 3 – Moon conjunct Sun (Full Moon) at 15° Leo/Aquarius at 3:09 p.m.
February 5 – Mercury sextile Saturn at 4° Aquarius/Sagittarius at 3:40 a.m.
February 6 – Sun opposite Jupiter at 18° Aquarius/Leo at 10:20 a.m.
February 7 – Venus sextile Pluto at 14° Pisces/Capricorn at 9:51 p.m.
February 11 – Mercury station direct at 1° Aquarius at 6:57 a.m.