Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
New Moon at 23Cp11, 1-13
Vesta Direct Station at 27Ta47, 1-14
Jupiter semi-sextile Saturn, 1-17
Jupiter tri-octile Uranus, 1-18
Mercury Retrograde Station at 14Aq29, 1-18
Mars enters Aries, 1-18
Jupiter quincunx Neptune, 1-20
Saturn trine Neptune, 1-23
Full Moon at 8Le51, 1-28
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
Happy New Year! 2002 starts out with quite a bang, with a number of huge planetary storms and major aspects to pass through in January. I would especially watch out for the storm pattern that lasts from the 22nd to the 31st. In nearly 20 years of watching the A5 Spectrum on a daily basis, this waveform is the strongest and most intense waveform I have ever seen, beating the previous record quite handily. This is an extremely complex pattern, involving all of the 10 major planets except Pluto, so it's a bit hard to predict what to expect. I can reasonably guarantee a lot of chaos and fast moving action, perhaps even a feeling that "things are out of control", so it's important to be flexible and think quickly on your feet. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some big, defining event that happens this month, perhaps a new chapter in this country's war on terrorism, that shifts us decisively in a new direction. On a more personal level, you may experience a private defining moment in your own life, particularly if your birthchart has some planets or other points in the 6-10 degree range of any zodiac sign. Whatever happens, get ready for a wild ride!
Besides the big storm activity, there are a large number of conventional astrological events worth noting in January, mostly in the last half of the month. There are 4 "big aspects" to consider, all of them the second of 3 contacts -- we are in the middle of all these cycles and a "time of decision" atmosphere may dominate. Mars changes signs on the 18th. There are two stations, Mercury going retrograde and Vesta going direct.
This is a very lop-sided chart, with 5 planets in Capricorn and 4 more next door in Aquarius. Capricorn is about creating structures that cement your place in the world and perfecting your approach to handling practical matters. Aquarius is a little lighter and more mental, but it's still focused on the big picture out there. There's a lot of drive and disciplined energy to tap into, but you have to act intelligently and intuitively to achieve the best results. Relationships may be under greater stress the next few weeks, resulting in a need to withdraw into yourself (as Vesta is standing still). Don't let this pulling back become a manipulative or punishing affair, since the real need here is to regain your composure, not take it out on the other person. If you stay clear and communicate with your partners (which isn't easy as Mercury is slowing to a crawl in coming days), this shouldn't be a problem. Remain open to unexpected changes in your plans -- surprises may show up that are an easier path than you originally started on. So get to work while the energy is backing you!
Vesta reaches her direct station on the 14th at 27Ta47, about to resume normal motion. Vesta began her retrograde cycle last October 9 (at 13Gm29), closely intertwined with Saturn's cycle. Typically when Vesta is in reverse motion, there's a strong impulse to withdraw from the world and go within. Passing through Gemini and now Taurus, there's been a need to minimize pointless social interactions that distract you from your sense of "core self" and ground your life at the physical level. As a people, we tend to live in our heads, out of touch with nature, our physical bodies, our quiet inner being. Hopefully, the last 3 months have been a time to rediscover what's truly important and worthwhile in life, to get in touch with the stuff that genuinely empowers us. As we approach the direct station, it's time to take a deep breath and reemerge from the cocoon. This is the tricky part for Vesta. She's very good at withdrawal, but the reconnecting with the outer world is a crucial part of her cycle as well. Once you've gone within and found your power, you must come back out and live according to that power. Curiously, the station is the same degree as the Pleiades (a center of spiritual power and guidance in many New Age circles) and the star Algol, one of the most demonized stellar positions in older astrological writings. I don't expect this to be a "doom and gloom" event, but I'd keep an eye on the news anyway.
Jupiter is semi-sextile Saturn on the 17th, the second of 3 contacts. The first contact was 2001-10-10 and the final one is on 6-11. As is usually the case with Jupiter and Saturn, there are strong social overtones to this influence affecting the national and even international scene. It's important to put this aspect in the context of the conjunction that began the cycle (2000-5-28, 22Ta43), as it takes 20 years for Jupiter and Saturn to play out their game plan. The conjunction marked a change in direction for the country -- more conservative, less prosperous, struggling to figure out what we really stand for in the world. It's interesting that we've officially declared a recession during this semi-sextile, a recognition that we need to put our economic affairs into a new order. While the long-term trends are looking better, we're not out of the woods yet. Remember that whenever you think of Saturn and Jupiter in 2001-2002, you have to automatically think Pluto as well. We need to tear down and recycle many old patterns before we can build up something new. It's necessary to examine how our unspoken assumptions about how society "should" work can backfire on us in the end, creating problems we never imagined. On a more personal level, Jupiter is about the ways we reach out to the world and bring in the gifts that enrich our lives, while Saturn is about the responsibility and discipline required of us to make these interactions go smoothly. This is a time to reassess the quality of the give and take with others in our lives, to insure a mutually beneficial fairness and respect. We'll be working on this the first half of the year.
The 18th is a busy day, starting with the tri-octile of Jupiter and Uranus. This is also a second of 3 contacts affair, starting on 2001-8-19 and finishing up on 2002-5-16. This aspect can be loosely characterized as a clash between intuition and conventional wisdom. Jupiter can be very optimistic and outgoing, trying to understand the world at large, but he often does this in a very unoriginal or uncreative fashion. He's simply stuck in a rut of what he already knows. Uranus is great for busting out of these ruts, since he can see through the facade and get to the heart of the matter in a flash. However, tri-octiles rarely operate smoothly. It's likely that we go overboard in one of these two directions, either retreating to the tried and true (witness the resurgence of old political and religious symbols in recent months) or going crazy about overhauling everything. There are no easy answers here and it winds up being a question of balance more than anything. Just keep your eyes open for new and novel solutions to old issues.
Also on the 18th is Mercury's retrograde station at 14Aq29. It's time to put your brain cells in mothballs for 3 weeks! Mercury rules the thinking, symbol-using part of the mind, the part of the psyche that believes it can capture the world if it spins a net of words, symbols and concepts. Most of the time it's pretty successful at this, but when Mercury is in reverse gear, the thinking mind seems to fall flat on its face. Things pop up that you didn't expect, communication with others leads to misunderstandings, ideas that you thought were obviously true have exceptions. The most typical response to these snafus (other than 4 letter words) is to be more clever, trying to improve your mental model of the world so it's more accurate and useful. This is useful, to a point, but ultimately you must realize that no collection of ideas or beliefs is big enough to truly grasp the universe in all its infinite variation. Rationality is almost a "god" in the Western mind. We need to be reminded from time to time that rational thought has its limitations and that other ways of knowing are also valuable. It's a kind of humility that keeps you honest and open. So anyway, be careful with your plans the next few weeks and don't make decisions that box you in (in case you need to change your mind when the facts shift again). Mercury goes direct again on 2-8, at 28Cp38.
Mars shuffles out of Pisces and marches into Aries on the 18th. This is a most welcome change of pace! Mars is warrior energy, the grit and the willpower we all need to get things done. Despite the bad reputation this masculine energy has in our culture, it's absolutely necessary that we all have this kind of drive and passion. Mars is out of place in Pisces, since this sign values selfless actions above self-expression. You can almost see the warrior pacing in the corner, waiting for the chance to get moving again. Well, Aries is the sign of "me first!", so Mars (the ruler of Aries) should feel right at home now! It's an invitation to get past the limitations in your life and really concentrate on what you want to do. There are only two warnings to this energy. The first, don't step on too many toes. This placement can be so self-centered it fails to see how it's affecting others. If you're generating a lot of anger and hostility, it may be time to reexamine your motives. Also, Aries is known for starting things and never quite finishing them. Choose your projects carefully, trying not to bite off more than you can reasonably complete. Mars can forget that accomplishing a task is the real reason for all this swashbuckling -- activity is not an end in itself. Mars enters Taurus on 3-1.
Jupiter is quincunx Neptune on the 20th. This is another second of 3 contacts; the others are 2001-8-15 and 2002-4-30. Normally, Jupiter and Neptune are a good match for each other. There's a dreamy and optimistic side to both planets, a sense of vision that looks beyond boundaries and limitations, an interest in the higher path. But quincunxes frequently bring about problems reconciling planetary energies, even when they are similar. There can be problems balancing material and spiritual concerns, of bringing together the practical and the ideal, even though there is no real distinction between these two sides of life. Watch out for areas of your life that are dominated by fuzzy or wishful thinking -- you may be causing yourself unneeded problems here. You may also need to cut back somewhere, settling for more modest goals, as ungrounded optimism can make you overextended. If you can keep your feet on the ground without losing your vision, you should be just fine.
Saturn is trine Neptune on the 23rd. The previous contact was 2001-6-25 and the final act will be 2002-4-1. It's hard to imagine two planets as different as these two and even harder to imagine them working together. Saturn is about distinctions and rigid structures, discipline and responsibility, hard work at a very concrete level. Neptune is the other-worldly dreamer, the mystic, the hidden connections behind the individual forms that makes the universe operate as one being. But trines have a way of harmonizing energies, even when they seem to have no common ground. I suspect this cycle is an excellent time to make your dreams come true. First of all, you need to clearly define what it is you want. Neptune is more than happy to bring into reality whatever you visualize. The problem is, most of us don't clearly put our dreams forward, so we wind up with something else instead and feel cheated. And you have to realize that you achieve your dreams less by changing the world about you and more by changing yourself into the person whose dreams have come true. It takes hard work to transform yourself like this. Sometimes you have to be brutally honest with yourself and your delusions. But if you stay focused on your vision and don't waver, shifts seem to happen in an uncanny way.
The Quake is still raging by the full moon. The emphasis is more on Aquarian energy now (6 planets), although there's a giant fan-shaped grouping of planets that forms the backbone of the storm. Mars, Neptune and Saturn are especially strong. So first of all, recognize the powerful mental energies available -- despite Mercury backing up, thinking is more prominent than feeling the next two weeks. However, aimless thought without a purpose is counterproductive. It must be directed consciously into activity to be worthwhile. There's a T-square of Chiron, Jupiter and Mars in this chart that catches my eye. It's as though we're trying to reach out to the world and not making much headway. The usual ways we have of interacting with others just doesn't work very well, leaving us feeling isolated and cut off. Perhaps it's just that we've gotten too passive, simply hoping that things will work out instead of doing something to actively change the situation. Perhaps it's some other "dysfunction" in our lives that has gone on too long. Mars says it's time to bust through these self-created restrictions. The relationship stresses I noted previously (another T-square of Uranus, Vesta, Juno, with help from Pallas) are still present. It may be possible to break through the logjam here and resolve long-standing problems, but it's just as likely that an impass or a breakup is the final outcome. At any rate, there may be a huge emotional gulf between partners now that's hard to bridge. Stay flexible, since the tendency is to fall back on old positions and not give an inch. Aquarius can be a visionary, but he's also very stubborn. Anyway, put this energy to work in coming weeks. It may not be easy to use this much power skillfully and wisely, but it sure beats not doing anything and being run over by it.