Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Sun conjunct Chiron, 1-1
Mercury Retrograde, 1-2 to 1-22
New Moon at 12Cp01, 1-2
Chiron octile Uranus, 1-10
Mars enters Sagittarius, 1-16
Pallas enters Pisces, 1-17
Full Moon at 27Cn55, 1-18
Jupiter quincunx Chiron, 1-29
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
Welcome to 2003! The coming year is very transitional, with the passage of Uranus into Pisces (over a 9 month period) dominating the picture. There's a marked shift in the overall mental outlook of people going on, but it's gradual and mostly below the radar for most of us. January is kind of a quiet leadup period to these changes. It doesn't appear on the surface that much is happening now, but we are being "softened up" for events yet to come. Curiously, Chiron is a major player this month. In fact, the year starts with a Sun-Chiron conjunction on new years day, so this quirky, initiatory energy may underlie the whole year. A useful resolution to set for yourself under such an influence is to ask, "What is missing in my life and how do I get it back?" Anyway, the month may seem aimless and drifting much of the time -- gestation periods are often like that.
January doesn't look like much in traditional terms. There are two "big aspects", both involving Chiron, plus two sign changes (Mars and Pallas). Of course, there's the infamous Mercury retrograde to deal with this month. Otherwise, it's pretty quiet. It seems, however, that Chiron is quite active, curiously enough.
One of the most intriguing details of the new years chart is the close conjunction (exact around 10:07 at 10Cp49) of the Sun and Chiron. One of the Sun's biggest roles, as a transiting planet, is simply to provide focus and attention, to say "this is what you need to look at." The Sun is hinting in this chart that Chiron issues will be active all year, if only in the background. I've noticed Chiron operating on two separate levels for most people. The first is a level of healing, of creating acceptance for parts of ourselves that have been rejected. Often, these rejected areas are the parts of our lives that give it meaning, beauty and pleasure, that make life worth living. We could talk about the superficiality of life in our culture until the cows come home. What's needed is to rediscover the alternatives that actually enrich life and start being that kind of person instead. Talk is cheap, real growth is extremely rare and precious. The other level is one of initiation, of entry into a whole new way of experiencing the world. Part of our woundedness that needs healing is a very narrow awareness that can only see the world with restrictive blinders, as it were. What we call "reality" is only a tiny portion of the full relation each of us has with the world -- mostly, we stumble through life on unconscious autopilot. 2003 may be the year when you actually have to wake up to this wider experience instead of hitting the spiritual snooze button one more time. The quirkier life feels this year, the better. Don't compromise with the old "common wisdom" (which is anything but) anymore -- step out with your eyes wide open.
Mercury is standing still on the 2nd at 28Cp28, about to go into reverse motion. This retrograde cycle continues until the direct station on the 22nd at 12Cp18, when Mercury resumes forward movement again. Mercury is the thinking, symbol using part of the psyche, the part that tries to "figure things out" and make sense of them in an intellectual way. Normally, Mercury is pretty good at this chore, though it can never fully capture reality in this way. During the three weeks of Mercury retrograde, however, the thinking mind falls down on the job frequently. Your thought processes seem to come to the wrong conclusions based on misguided starting assumptions and blindspots, causing you to misjudge situations without even realizing it. Communications between people suffers, as it's nearly impossible to make words mean what you want them to. Don't make big decisions that you can't revisit later, since you're likely to change your mind about many things come February. In particular, don't get locked into a phony notion of what's the most "practical" thing to do (Capricorn), since what is ultimately the most useful later on may not seem very reasonable now. On the other hand, Mercury retrograde can be an excellent time for standing back and getting to know those blindspots of yours. It's easier to give your mental machinary a tune-up when you can see what's broken. If you can get the machine to hum and purr now, it will serve you well in coming months.
There are two things that stand out about the new moon chart right away: Mercury is standing still (having reached its station 2 hours earlier) and the new moon is closely conjunct Chiron. The waveform is unusually strong, considering the weak energy period it's in, with peaks at 11 and 26 degrees that correspond with two powerful groups of planets. All told, a very interesting way to start out the new year.
There's a heavy Capricorn influence in the new moon chart. Especially with Chiron in Capricorn so close to the new moon point, there's a heaviness in the air that is weighing us down. So many people that I've talked to lately speak of being so busy all the time that they can't relax or have fun. There's a rhythm to our lives that we all fall into after awhile and right now that rhythm is so quick we don't have time to be human anymore. We'd all like to reclaim our lives, but don't know how. Perhaps we could stand to be less tied into "the system" and live life in a more fulfilling way -- easier said than done. However, this sense of emptiness, a mark that Chiron is at work, will likely follow us much of 2003 until we make some changes. Part of this is learning to balance your obligations to others with the need to tend to your own needs, treating others fairly while recognizing when you need to get off by yourself. This tension is probably most evident in close one-on-one relationships, particularly the romantic kind, as the continuing Mars-Venus conjunction in Scorpio hints at. Such partnerships are a battleground of desires, ideas and perceived commitments that fail to come together easily for now. A degree of detachment and high-mindedness helps when these soap operas heat up. It's all rather confusing, and with Mercury retrograde most of the lunar month, it's nearly impossible to figure out. The thinking mind (which is turned to mush these days) loves to come to neat conclusions and answers. It's more important now to let the right questions come to mind and forget about the answers. Be patient -- this is only the beginning of a long roller coaster ride. We've got quite a trip ahead of us...
Chiron is octile Uranus on the 10th for the 1st of 3 times. This aspect spans most of 2003, with the other contacts coming on May 21 and Nov 5. Besides being a potent influence on us all year in its own right, I'm interested in this aspect since it seems to "midwife" Uranus' passage into Pisces this year, hinting at a powerful connection between these planets in 2003. Both these bodies are beyond mundane reality, a kind of whacky Trickster energy. While Uranus helps you break through mental ruts that hold you back, releasing your intuition and higher awareness, Chiron works at a more experiential level. Oddly enough, these two are in conflict (octile) with each other now, as though these two types of breakthrough can't happen at the same time. I would think this is more of a Chiron problem here, an unresolved issue relating to past emotional hurts. As Uranus moves into Pisces (starting Mar 10), the emotional part of this aspect should become clearer. There's nothing like fear and a history of broken loves to shut down the heart chakra. A new mental perspective (Uranus) helps, but it's no substitute for the work of the heart. To put this aspect into a larger perspective, note that it's near the end of a long Chiron-Uranus cycle that began 1898-12-1 (at 4Sa11) and won't end until 2042-11-13 (at 17Le24) -- we've got a lot of clean up work to do for the foreseeable future. Don't let anything stand in the way of your healing.
Mars moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius on the 16th. The best word to describe this placement is enthusiasm. There's an urge to move out into the world, pursue your interests, take on anything that grabs your attention. It seems you have boundless energy to explore the world and follow any vision that you can conceive of. If anything, there's a tendency to scatter your interests and spread yourself too thin, as Sag is well known for his lack of focus and tenacity. It's important to maintain your focus. This is most easily done by pursuing some vision or ideal that appeals to you, since Sag is also known as a "big idea man". This is probably one of the lighter versions of Mars you're likely to meet, different from our stereotype of Mars as Warrior. Will power, the ego drive to change the world as you see fit, is the true essence of Mars -- we all have our fair share of this energy, men and women alike. As long as Mars is given something useful to do, he seems to stay out of trouble. Focus on what you are passionate about and leave the egotism behind. Mars will enter Capricorn on Mar 4.
Pallas shifts from Aquarius into Pisces on the 17th. Pallas represents a type of intelligence within us based on creativity and insight, the ability to trace a vision from its beginnings in the imagination to its final expression in the outer world. With Pisces, this view of the world is colored by other worldly concerns. There's a big concern with how all things fit together ultimately and how best to serve this greater good. This can often be the energy of a crusader, actively engaged in carrying out some grand plan. Obviously, it's important to keep one foot on the ground through all this. It's easy to get lost in all this and see yourself as on some mission from God -- "focus" and "Pisces" rarely go in the same sentence. Make sure your actions are concrete and serve a purpose. This is an excellent placement for some kind of artistic expression, as inspiration and technique combine to create a finished work. At some level, Pallas in Pisces seems a preview of the coming Uranus in Pisces, also a mental planet of sorts. We get the chance to sort out the big issues in a more personal, concrete manner before the bigger shift comes along. Pallas will move into Aries on Apr 17 for an extended stay.
One thing that strikes me about this chart is that the Sun is on the US Pluto quite closely and the Moon is near the US Mercury. Obviously, the next few weeks are very important for the country. Mercury-Pluto leads to a certain amount of duplicitous communications, even in the media that claim to be objective, and a lot of manipulations behind the scenes by the true powers that be. Be prepared for some notorious examples of this, assuming it makes the news. On a more personal level, we are at the middle of a very trying lunar month which is making some extreme demands on us. The Cancer Moon is saying we need to take in the support of family and friends to get through this time -- you don't need to do it all yourself. Trying to focus on practical issues all the time seems to shut down the emotions after awhile. Just now, however, the feelings refuse to be boxed in. It's a good excuse to be passionate about things that matter, of cherishing the bonds that tie us together. You don't have to believe the old stories, just because so many are repeating them like a mantra. Decide for yourself what really matters to you.
Jupiter is quincunx Chiron on the 29th, the second of 3 such contacts. The other contacts are 2002-8-17 and 2003-6-21. This aspect seems to dominate the entire passage of Jupiter through Leo this year. An obvious expression of this placement is learning to be yourself in a more expansive and open manner than before, of overcoming the limitations on ourselves that we frequently encounter. Chiron in Capricorn has many varied meanings, but one of them is a sense of woundedness from having to be a "responsible" member of society and the many institutions that make up this society. Fitting in all the time numbs us to the many parts of ourselves that don't fit in. A quincunx generally shows where two influences meet but do not mesh -- things are out of synch. I find it interesting how the earlier contact last August coincided with the Bush administration's obsessive drive to create a war with Iraq, dragging the rest of the world along. In 5 short months, the whole political atmosphere has changed and anyone who opposes this war is branded "unpatriotic". So far, this has been a war of words and propoganda, as much against the American people by their leaders as anything else. How many of us have been able to maintain our own visions and ideals in the face of this onslaught? This is typical of the kind of pressure we all experience all the time, only now it's more blatant and less acceptable. We need to balance being a genuine, conscious individual with maintaining healthy connections with the world around us. Too much in either direction -- the egotist or the cog in the machine -- is a violation of our path in this world. Personally, I think we all need to think for ourselves a lot more than we are instead of accepting spoon fed answers all the time. Serving someone else's truth so often means you aren't serving your own truths. Your spiritual decision...