Current Transits for January 2005

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


New Moon at 20Cp21, 1-10
Vesta enters Aries, 1-11
Saturn Quincunx Pluto, 1-19
Inauguration Day, 1-20
Full Moon at 5Le33, 1-25
Mars Conjunct Pluto, 1-28

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

Happy New Year! January is kind of a deceptive month. On paper it doesn't look like much at first, with very few astrological events worth talking about. However, the closer you look, the more interesting this month becomes. Essentially we are entering a quick series of rather potent planetary storm patterns that should really stir things up. The planets Mercury and Venus are flying in tight formation in coming weeks, repeatedly kicking groups of outer planets into action. In short, the pace could be fast and a bit beyond "making sense" much of the time, but there's also the potential to accomplish a lot of useful goals in the process. Rely on your intuition to make decisions more than usual, as it's likely to be a more useful tool than logical thinking (especially the first half of the month). I guess that after a lazy new year's day, the year is off to a rousing start. Get ready for the ride!

As I said earlier, there's not a lot of big news in January in a traditional sense. The only "big aspect" this month is the Saturn-Pluto quincunx on the 19th, although the Mars-Pluto conjunction on the 28th is no slouch either. The asteroid Vesta moves into Aries on the 11th. There are no stations until February.

Unlike most of the rest of January, the new moon is not a well-organized storm. In fact, it looks downright messy and scattered, with no obvious focal points to pay attention to. But given that this new moon ushers in some very momentous events in the coming weeks, for the nation and the world, we need to take a closer look at this chart.

First of all, there is a lot of Capricorn action in this chart (5 planets). Capricorn energy is good for getting down to business, taking care of practical issues that just need to be faced. The better you can do that, the more manageable your life becomes. In its highest manifestations, Capricorn is the ability to bring your dreams down to earth and make them real, "creating heaven on earth" as people like to say. (Be careful however -- not all heavens are desirable places to live in...) I don't think that the issue we're facing these days is one of perfection. Chiron is the planet closest to the new moon point and he has a lot to say these days. I'd say we're more likely to be busy cleaning up messes and dealing with dysfunctional situations that have been festering for a long time. It's work that desperately needs to be done, but it's a real bother to be the one to do it. Directly opposite the new moon is Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn. One of the big problems we're dealing with is simply that people are scared stiff and afraid to make necessary changes. This theme shows up in the Inauguration Day chart as well -- fear is ruling over us. At least there's some Jupiter influences to lighten the mood. Jupiter is in a wide, but active T-square with Saturn and the Capricorn planets. Jupiter is currently chugging along in Libra, but will be standing still on Feb 1 as it starts its annual retrograde period. Jupiter in Libra is an optimist about people. More to the point, he enjoys being with people and sharing stories and points of view. It's fun, he says. This is the contrary message for balancing out that mood of doom and gloom we've talked ourselves into. We feel our strength in numbers, in our connections with other people. Fear of each other is dispelled when we share our stories. We may be hard pressed to listen to one another in coming months when Jupiter is backing up, but it's important to continually broaden your horizons and let others enter your world. Of course, this doesn't include the backdrop of the outer planets in this chart. I've been looking forward about 5 years or more recently at the major planetary alignments coming at us. It always pays with the outer planets to have a few years warning of their visitiations. There are some amazing energies affecting us all too soon; the complex story right now is just the beginning. The reason for perfecting our world is not to realize today's dreams, but to lay a foundation for the transition to dreams we can't even imagine yet. The outer planets are working on us incessantly, expanding our perspectives in strange ways, preparing the way for ... who really knows? Keep your optimism, above all...

Vesta slips from an extended stay in Pisces into Aries on the 11th, where she'll stay until Mar 25. Vesta is normally a retiring, independent woman to begin with, but this Aries business can really exaggerate her normal tendencies. Vesta in Aries can come off as fiercely independent, perhaps even aggressively aloof. It's not snobbishness (though some people might take it that way), but simply that she's used to be being self contained and on her own. Vesta always seems to find her power within herself and doesn't require the help of others to establish herself. This is an excellent set of traits if you're in a situation where you can work alone and follow your own goals, but it can be really tough if you need to work with others. This is not an easy placement as far as relationships are concerned. For the person acting out the Vesta energies, the mere presence of her partner can feel intolerable, as though she's being smothered by having someone in the same house. For the partner, there are often feelings of being emotionally abandoned and uncared for. In extreme cases, this aloofness can border on something abusive and tyrannical. It's important to come up for air occasionally and check in with the people you're supposedly close to if you want to avoid an unpleasant scene with them. You need to temper your own self interest with some concern for the people around you. If you're on the receiving end, you need to speak up and let your own desires be heard. Work hard and make the most of this time. Not all Vesta placements are so ambitious.

Saturn is qunicunx Pluto on the 19th, the second of 3 such contacts. There was a previous contact on 2004-7-31 and the last one will be on 2005-5-23. This is not an easy aspect, no matter how you look at it. First of all, Saturn and Pluto both have reputations that precede them. Saturn is a karmic planet, a body where structure and discipline and purpose mean a lot, not to mention hard work and responsibility. He demands that you build up the supporting frameworks of your life step by step and will let you know if you miss anything. These structures have a purpose in the long run, as you can't create anything worthwhile in life without some organization and focus. Pluto, on the other hand, seems to care little about what you're doing in your own private life. Pluto has his own plans for you, or rather your higher self has ideas about your life that your conscious ego doesn't necessarily agree with (or even recognize). In his view, you came into this world for some big soul purpose and anything that distracts you from these goals is only an unneeded diversion. Pluto hates unneeded diversions. All those structures that Saturn is having you build may simply be "wrong turns" in Pluto's eyes and he's more than willing to tear them down if they get in the way. In short, these two powerful forces are working at cross purposes with each other. They are playing tug-o-war and you're the rope. Quincunxes are typically an aspect where the two joined planets are subtly out of sync with each other. A new point of balance must be discovered between conserving the past (Saturn in Cancer) and stepping boldly in a new direction (Pluto in Sag). Now I find it interesting that the first contact was about the time of the Democratic convention, while this second contact is the day before Inauguration Day. Considering that the opposition of these two planets several years ago was one of the big influences behind 9-11 and the subsequent never-ending war on terror, we may be in for more of the same in the second Bush administration. (You'd hope this energy would dissipate by the last contact in May, but there's another stressful Saturn-Pluto aspect starting up this fall.) We can't seem to get beyond this old national karma yet. So build yourself a steady foundation for future growth and change. Yes, it's a contradiction in terms, but that's what this aspect is demanding of us. Slow and steady...

See Bush Inauguration Chart 2005 for a copy of this chart.

I'm working with a tentative chart for the inauguration based on 12 o'clock noon, but these kinds of ceremonies usually run a bit late. This year's chart is different in many ways from the 2001 ceremony, so we may be seeing a new George Bush in this second term. I think the changes will be mainly due to circumstances in the world (like the Indian Ocean tsunami in December), not a shift in policies.

The feature that first caught my eye in the Inauguration chart is Chiron on the midheaven, close to the Sun, opposite Saturn near the 4th house cusp. What's the "Wounded Healer" doing next to the presidential Sun and why is Saturn afflicting the house of the people? I wonder how effective Bush will be in his second term with that wounded 10th house. He's discussed the onset of lame-duck-hood in public and the House Republicans already seem willing to defy his rule, not to mention the various factions of the GOP party. Bush has ambitious legislative plans that border on the messianic at times (Neptune the Dreamer is also in the 10th house), especially for overhauling the economy (an area where he's never shown much aptitude). Ceres, not Mars, is on the 7th house cusp of foreign affairs. His anti-terrorist campaign of "bread and bombs" in the Middle East may have to rely more on the aid end of the spectrum, if only because the military is currently tapped out. He may need to modify his foreign policy goals to a softer approach, out of necessity more than anything else. Saturn on the 4th cusp should describe the mood of the people in this country and it's not wildly optimistic. Half the country is scared silly, especially by the constant drone of "terrorist threats" in the news (not to mention all the other bogus issues knocked about), and the other half is depressed (moving into anger) after the elections. There doesn't seem to be much consensus as to which direction the country should be heading. Mars has moved from the 7th house in the first administration to the 8th house in the second, fairly close to Pluto and in a region of Sagittarius that I'll discuss shortly. This doesn't hint at less aggressive policies by any means, though they may be pursued more covertly than out in the open like the last two wars have been. Uranus lies in the 11th house of Congress, so the legislative branch is apt to go after their own agenda in an independent manner. Jupiter in the 6th (labor, the military) could show up as continued huge military spending.

The Inauguration Moon is about 9 degrees of Gemini, on the USA Uranus. While it fuels the innovative spirit in the country, it also stirs up a restlessness in people. Mars, at 18 Sag, is in a sensitive spot opposite the USA Mars and Bush's Uranus and North Node. This position is one of the reasons Bush makes such a convincing "war president" despite a failing war because he taps directly into the nation's warrior spirit. Chiron conjunct the USA Pluto and opposite Saturn conjunct the USA Mercury lying in such a powerful spot in the Inauguration chart (across the midheaven axis) is curious to an extreme degree. I'm not really sure how to interpret that configuration yet, but it sounds like Bush is connecting with some potent national karma that has yet to play out. Remember that Bush's Saturn (26Cn30) is very close to the 4th cusp of the Inauguration chart, especially if the ceremony is running a few minutes late. Bush is still in the middle of his Saturn return period, with exact contacts on 2004-10-8 (during the debates), 2004-12-8 (while reshuffling the administration) and next Jun 18. Saturn returns are a time when the world rewards you (or not) for what you have accomplished -- despite the election win, the jury is still out on Bush's legacy. When you consider that Saturn next moves repeatedly over his ascendent, Mercury and Pluto, starting next fall and into 2006, there may be some harsh news for him in the near future. He's protected somewhat by having a Jupiter return going on simultaneously, but that positive influence is out of the picture by next fall.

The 3 remaining oppositions of Saturn and Chiron are all in Leo and Aquarius, thus affecting Bush personally (via his ascendent and rising planets) as well as the administration Sun (it will be about 0Aq44). Chiron will pass over this position on Mar 3, Jul 19 and Dec 16. Maybe then we'll find out why Chiron is next to the Sun...

The full moon falls in the middle of the major planetary storm at the end of January. It's unmistakable that the sky is extremely active now. It's easier to describe which planets are not in the pattern (Neptune, a few asteroids) than which ones are contributing.

The full moon axis lies across Aquarius and Leo, so there's a much lighter and more energized mood than at the new moon, particularly since the full moon is aspected by Uranus. The situation is exciting and bordering on the chaotic, but something is definitely happening. Mercury and Venus are forming a T-square with Jupiter and Saturn, aided by Juno and Mars-Pluto (nearly conjunct -- ouch!). Saturn seems to be the focal point of this complex grouping, which could come through in a number of different ways. At its best, this could be the discipline and courage to balance all the conflicting demands from this pattern. There are powerful ego-promoting urges here next to caring relationship energies, caution mixed with enthusiasm in this chart. It's not likely that all these contradictory demands can be met simultaneously, but you have to try. Be a little cautious about demanding your way, since the approaching Mars-Pluto conjunction on the 28th makes expressing yourself rather tricky. It's easy to run roughshod over someone else without even realizing it -- hurt feelings don't heal quickly these days. Try to slow down inside, even as the world around you is spinning crazily. This is not an easy ride, by any means...

As if to add more fuel to the fire, Mars joins Saturn and Pluto on the 28th. Here's 3 of the planets most likely to wind up on a wanted poster of the solar system's most infamous characters, so the combination of all 3 is something to be concerned about. Now I normally don't talk about Mars aspects too much, but I make an exception for Mars-Pluto contacts. Mars adds an element of danger and physical violence to the mix, as too much ego and a bad temper can sometimes get out of control. Pluto has an unconscious, dark alley side that also brings out the worst in people sometimes. On the negative side, this is definitely a time period to watch your back and stay out of situations where your safety is an issue. Fortunately, few people have to actually face such a negative outcome. On the other side, this is a challenging test of how you express and use power in your life. Mars is quite simply will-power, the ability of the ego to impose its designs on the world around it. He's the one that gets you off the couch, who allows you to stop dreaming about something and start doing it. The catch right now is that the ego is not really in control of the situation. Pluto is demanding your actions serve a higher purpose that may conflict with your personal designs. If you allow this to frustrate you, all the worst Mars traits will blow out of proportion and make a mess of things. The relevant question is not "what do I want?" but "what do I stand for?" There's something bigger than you requiring your attention. Hopefully in the context of your own life, you can make some good of this energy in the weeks and months ahead (the complete Mars-Pluto cycle takes about 2 years). As for the larger world scene, I don't think positive results are very likely. The Iraqi elections are two days away and the level of violence there is already mounting every day. The time between Bush's inauguration and the Iraqi elections is likely to be very bloody and brutal. We can only pray for the best over there.