Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Saturn Trioctile Pluto, 1-1
Full Moon at 24Cn05, 1-14
Juno Direct Station at 12Gm13, 1-14
Saturn Quincunx Uranus, 1-19
Parallels within the Grand Cross, 1-21 to 2-1
Jupiter Square Neptune, 1-27
New Moon at 9Aq32, 1-29
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
Happy new year! After the whirlwind of December, you'll probably be happy to hear that life will be quieting down somewhat in January. The big Grand Cross pattern that we talked about last month is still around, but the pattern is starting to spread out and dissipate its energies over a wider area. All the major aspects this month (as in December) are part of this Cross, so it's still spitting occasional sparks our direction. However, after about the 5th, we're free of the towering Koz Alert waveforms that became the dominant pattern in December. In the longer term, several of these big aspects are ones that last through the summer, so we are still towards the early stages of these cycles. So the year starts with a bang, but settles down for the long haul. Take a deep breath and slow down...
It seems all the "big aspects" in January are related to the Grand Cross pattern, giving all these contacts an added note of urgency. There is also a curious pattern of parallel connections between these same planets towards the end of the month, further tightening the web that has had us for so long. The only station is Juno's direct station on the 14th.
On the first day of the year, we have the trioctile of Saturn and Pluto. This is the second of 3 such contacts. They started on 2005-9-9 (in the aftermath of Katrina) and will finish up on 2006-6-29. This is not the kind of aspect you'd call fun, even in your wildest imagination. Saturn is the Teacher of karmic lessons, the fellow that insists you pull your own weight and take responsible action all the time. It's not a bad lesson to learn, but Saturn is usually tedious company to bear. Pluto is even more problematic. His game is that he insists you be totally true to the grand, overarching plan for your life, the plan your conscious mind has never had the privilege of looking over. When you stray from this definition of your authentic self, Pluto makes certain you get back on track by removing the distracting obstacles. Unfortunately, these "obstacles" are typically habits and luxuries that you've grown very fond of over the years, so Pluto's proddings are apt to unleash a lot of resistence. The Dark Lord is busy tearing down all the comfortable structures in your life, the kind of foundations that Saturn is known for building up, so these two planets are at cross purposes this year. It's the nature of the trioctile that the planets involved are brought together without meshing well. There's a sense of friction or gentle conflict, as though things just aren't fitting together properly. Frequently, the conflict is viewed in projected form as coming from people or situations in the external world, but it's perhaps best to think of the conflict as coming from inside yourself, with the "troublemakers" around you just acting as a mirror for your inner discord. While Pluto is tearing down the parts of your life that aren't working according to plan, Saturn is trying to forge ahead and keep things moving. Obviously, this is not a strategy that is going to work out. It's important to realize as quickly as possible that staying the course is not going to work if you are attempting to build for the future upon a faulty foundation. You need to take a few steps back initially, removing the old structures that no longer serve your purposes, before forward motion is possible. Examine the weaknesses in your approach and look for a better way. You can expend a lot of energy uselessly in a misguided effort, or you can retool and work more efficiently. It's only going to get tougher if you don't adjust. President Bush is the poster boy for this aspect, since Saturn is going back and forth across his ascendent and first house Mercury and Pluto this year (since Sep 12). It hasn't been a good year for him so far.
Looking at the full moon chart, maybe we should stop talking about the Grand Cross so obsessively. Unlike two weeks ago, when every planet but one was in a single pattern, this chart is split into 3 separate groups, focused at 9, 16 and 24 degrees of various zodiac signs. The sky is speaking with 3 separate voices, not one, and the messages don't always mesh together well.
Saturn and Uranus, coming up to their quincunx on the 19th, form a group all by themselves. It may be challenging to hold onto stability in your life in the face of the rapid current of changes we are all experiencing. The trick is learning to be flexible without losing the ground under your own feet. The next group is Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and Neptune. There's a mental overtone to the message coming from this group, as Mercury and Jupiter both have associations with thinking and communicating. However, the central figure in this T-square pattern is Neptune, the planet that rules over confusion as well as clarity. If you need to make decisions or communicate important information, double check everything first, because it's easy to overlook some vital detail now. Similarly, Mars is in a troubled position in this group. He's all pent up energy, ready to go, and Jupiter is urging him on to new heights. But Neptune seems to let all the steam out of his boiler. Expressing Mars will be pretty problematic in coming days, unless your motivations are mostly selfless. Of course, Mars is not a big fan of selfless activity -- he'd rather concentrate on me first. There's a balance point in here somewhere that should make everyone happy, I hope. Meanwhile, Venus, Pluto and the Sun and Moon form the last group in this chart. Venus is still retrograding and is in fact passing between Earth and the Sun at the full moon. She is also in Capricorn, a very uncongenial sign for her. In short, the feelings and intuitions represented by Venus are in virtual eclipse at this time. This is not to say that these levels are dormant. With the Moon in Cancer, the feelings are quite active, while Pluto indicates the doors to the unconscious are wide open. The trouble is, our ability to sort through all this psychic activity and take a stand for or against these influences (Venus) is what is most untrustworthy right now. Your best strategy now is to take things in now and sort them out later, assuming you have such a luxury. There's not much clarity to the emotions for now and much is coming from the deeper layers of the psyche that defies being stuffed in a convenient box. The images coming to us now need time to mature and spread their seeds. You can't rush some things...
Juno reaches her direct station of 12Gm13 on the 14th. She has been in reverse motion since 2005-11-1, when she stood still at 22Gm53. Juno is the queen of relationships, the woman looking for a good partner that will treat her with love, trust and equality. This is an ideal kind of love, the kind that we rarely see in real life. When Juno is backing up like she's been doing the last few months, even the best of relationships can be sorely tested and pushed to the limit. In the name of peace and harmony, Juno can put up with many things, but only to a point. The anger and resentment builds and simmers within her, until one day the rage breaks through. It's instructive that this entire retrograde zone lies in the sign of Gemini, the sign of communication. It's important to keep up the conversation with your partner, for when the sharing stops, the angry secrets start to accumulate. Don't let the molehills get out of control. Find out where each of you feels slighted, misunderstood, taken advantage of. Look for where you take the other as just a fixture in your life, where you fail to see her humanity. We all forget how to relate from time to time. The bumps in the road are a reminder that we travel this road together, not along solitary parallel paths. As we reach the direct station, the hurt feelings may be coming to the surface and the relationship forced to come to terms with them. Be honest and caring. A good relationship will come through eventually, though the less honest ones may fail. It's time to show how good a lover you can be.
Saturn is quincunx Uranus on the 19th for the second time. They connected previously on 2005-9-21 and will finish up on 2006-7-31. Here's another 10 month aspect that won't be done until next summer. Saturn and Uranus make a very strange couple. As we've said, Saturn is rather conventional, trying to build up a structured life step by step. He makes up in persistence what he lacks in imagination. Uranus, on the other hand, is an anarchist on steroids. His role to challenge us when we get too complacent, to overthrow any false authority that rules our lives, to evict us from any rut that we've been in for too long. He has no patience for Saturn's slow and steady progress, wanting to skip all the intermediate steps and get right to the punchline. So these planets don't naturally get along anyway and the quincunx doesn't make it any easier. There's something out of sync about a quincunx, as though the planets aren't really on the same wavelength. Things feel out of control as Uranus chips away at the boundaries of Saturn's carefully crafted (but oh so limited) realities, a psychological symptom that you are out of your comfort zone and operating beyond your usual vision of what makes sense. With Saturn going through Leo these days, there is tremendous pressure on your notion of "who am I?" and what your role is in life. It's hard enough to make sense of such questions in normal times, but the urge to be the center of your own story is frequently frustrated now. Uranus is deep into Pisces, the most selfless of all the signs. Any point of view that doesn't make room for this otherworldly perspective is apt to experience great resistence from Uranus. As often happens with Saturn and the outer planets, there is a question of balance going on that has no right answers, just moment to moment solutions. Yes, you need a firm foundation and inner sense of self; yes, you need to see the world from a larger perspective where you are more of a bit player. Neither point of view is ultimate truth and neither is a comfortable place to camp out for long. Saturn's campground is rather boring and lifeless after awhile, just as Uranus' playground is too much high amp stimulation and overdrive to tolerate for long. There is a middle ground between rigidity and burn out. This may actually sound intelligible some days. Have fun with the puzzle anyway...
There's an interesting second dimension to the Grand Cross planets in the last part of January. Besides the usual aspects that measure the angular distance between planets along the circle of the zodiac, astrologers also study aspects called parallels. When two planets are the same distance north or south of the equator, they are said to be in a parallel. (When they are the same distance on opposite sides of the equator, that's a contraparallel.) These aspects seem to operate much like conjunctions: mostly positive, though highly colored by the natures of the planets involved. When planets make a conventional aspect and a parallel at the same time, the effects are amplified and impinge on our lives more markedly. So having come through the toughest part of this Grand Cross pattern, it's odd that we are getting some echos now. Mars and Saturn are the planets in the Cross that are north of the equator. They were exactly square 2005-12-27 and on the 21st of this month they form a parallel. Interesting coincidence. But I also noticed that the southern end of the Cross is even more active. There is a parallel between Neptune and Pluto on the 28th, between Jupiter and Neptune on the 31st, and then Jupiter-Pluto on Feb 1. The Moon joins in on the 22nd and the 30th. Now I can't really say I know what to expect from such a curious combination, but I must admit I'm intrigued. The Cross has been funneling outer planet energies into our lives faster than our poor brains have been able to take it in (ergo the "stress" we're feeling). These parallels feel like a trap door to funnel even more our way. We'll have to study this one...
Jupiter is square Neptune on the 27th. This is the first contact of a three pass aspect, with repeat performances on Mar 15 and Sep 24. Jupiter and Neptune are rather similar in some ways, but they operate on totally different levels. Jupiter is a jolly fellow with a passion to explore the world and enjoy life. He's one of the gang. Even in spiritual matters, his tastes tend to be mainstream. Neptune takes this meeting of the world and notches it up to a whole new game. Neptune doesn't explore the world so much as merge with it. There's a deep, unspoken reality beyond the five senses that is Neptune's natural home, a realm where all things really are one, in spirit and in energy. There is great heart energy in both planets. So how come we are having a square? There is a clash between these two perspectives. As you become more sensitive and aware, it becomes harder to keep operating in a conventional Jupiter way. Take into account that Jupiter is currently in Scorpio, the sign where the individual struggles to liberate himself from his own illusions. The psyche is a hall of mirrors until Neptune is realized -- even then, the illusions don't so much go away as simply become subtler. With Neptune in Aquarius, we're seeing intimations of this higher view. Aquarius is a mental sign, which should appeal to Jupiter, but we have yet to break through to the heart energy that is Neptune's goal for us. Most of us may feel these tugs on our awareness, but stay in the realm of the tried and true. Few people are mystics. But as this aspect continues through 2006, it may become harder to ignore the call.
By the time of the new moon, it appears we are into some entirely new themes. There is a heavy emphasis on the forward looking sign Aquarius, with 5 planets in this one sign alone. This is balanced off by Saturn in Leo, directly opposite the new moon in the sky. While the waveform for this chart looks a bit haphazard, there's still a lot of power here, though not enough to bowl us over. The lunar month gets off to a rather fine start.
Aquarius is a mental sign, a place where thought and vision matter a great deal. Besides the Sun and Moon here, we have Mercury nearby, all flanked by Chiron and Neptune. It's one thing to have the thinking mind stimulated, but quite another to having it inspired by such higher vibrations. Chiron is using our old issues and problem areas to point out a better approach for the future, one not crippled by ancient hurts and rejections, but also one that is less bound by conventional ways of understanding our world. Neptune, of course, is the Dreamer, the idealist that sees a shining vision in the distance, but few of the problems along the way. He places a high value on the future and its possibilities, but it's not too clear that he understands all the pitfalls between here and there. This is where Saturn comes in. Saturn is a pragmatist, the guy who actually deals with the details and pays the bills. We've given short change to Saturn this month, especially since his placement in Leo spells all sorts of ego related issues. However, Aquarian idealism is often ungrounded and impractical. The fact that Saturn faces off all these Aquarian planets from across the zodiac is a clue that our dreams, as laudable as they might be, are pretty worthless unless they have a tangible effect on the material plane. Ideals in the abstract have little force. It is only when the vision is grounded inside our own being, informing all our actions and behaviors, that its influence is felt. The spiritual task, as always, is simply to remake ourselves at a higher and more inclusive level than before. With Pluto and Pallas sneaking up on the Galactic Center point in the sky, a powerful position that introduces energies that are far beyond the planetary forces we normally deal with, it is important to take in these higher influences and incorporate them into everyday life. Such a vision of life may be relatively clear in some areas, but merely vague whispers in others. Take them in, make sense of what you can, save the rest for a day when it will seem clearer what it might mean for us. Keep working at it, even when progress seems slow and torturous. There are no quick fixes and instant solutions on the path ahead of us...