Current Transits for January 2007

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


Happy New Year, 1-1
Full Moon at 12Cn48, 1-3
Mars Conjunct GC, 1-12, and Pluto, 1-13
Mars enters Capricorn, 1-16
New Moon at 28Cp41, 1-18
Jupiter Square Uranus, 1-22

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

Happy New Year! After all the build-up and drama related to the Pluto-GC conjunction on Dec 29, the new year seems to shift gears and introduce some very different energies. There's one major pattern to watch for during January. For starters, Jupiter is square Uranus this month, beginning an aspect that finishes off in October. Pluto, the GC and Mars for much of the month, occupy a curious placement relative to this square. At 15 degrees from Jupiter and 75 degrees from Uranus, these other bodies don't really make common aspects to the square. However, there are two zodiac positions (around 27 degrees of Capricorn and 12 Aquarius) that tie all these planets together in a web of mutual aspects. Over and over, the faster moving planets pass through these power spots, creating most of the important planetary storm activity we'll see in coming weeks. In fact, since this pattern is present on Jan 1 already, it's likely to be the energetic backdrop for all of 2007. Jupiter and Uranus are a lot lighter energies than we've been dealing with for some time -- some of life's heavy soap operas in recent months are turning more into a comedy channel. There's also a marked "mental" quality to their energies (especially when activated by the thinking planet, Mercury), helping us shift to a more analytical and intuitive outlook. We're not done with the Pluto-GC scene yet (Mars passes through this position on Jan 13), but it's less pressing. It's going to take a long time to assimilate these new energies coming in -- don't be in a hurry to do so.

In traditional terms, there's not much astrological news to discuss. Mars moves into Capricorn on the 16th. The only "big aspect" is the Jupiter-Uranus square on the 22nd, though several lesser aspects are worth mentioning. I'll be refering to the pattern of Jupiter, Uranus, Pluto, etc. as "the backbone planets" of the various storms throughout January. This funny pattern is very active this month, even without a lot of aspects.

Because people around the globe all celebrate new years at local midnight, the charts for each of the 24 celebrations look basically quite similar, with the Sun and Mercury near the bottom of the chart. This year, the chart(s) are dominated by a big T-square of Jupiter , Uranus and the Moon. The picture also includes Venus at one of the activation points, hence Pluto and the GC are dragged in; throw in Saturn for good measure. It's hard to make sense of this complex pattern, but let's make some guesses. Both the Moon and Sun have strong connections with Jupiter and Uranus, so the struggle between competing paradigms and perspectives will dominate the coming year. Perhaps the most visible arena for this conflict will be at the governmental level, with the new Democratic Congress taking office in just a few days. A question of values may grab our attention. Unfortunately, the debate as it currently stands is pretty silly, with a false dichotomy of traditional values vs. mindless immorality that resolves nothing. A more sensible question is what kind of values we wish to honor, what goals we wish to strive for. Such creative subtlety may be lost in a haze of mindless, black and white thinking. The more we resist change, however, the more the universe will push us to change, perhaps through some major, unanticipated event that shakes things up for us (March could be one of these chaotic times). The continuing action of the Jupiter-Uranus square and the Pluto-GC conjunction until October indicate these two forces attempting to overhaul our awareness will be themes to struggle with all year. It could be rather messy at times, but I'm essentially optimistic about this chart. It shakes up all the right areas. We just need to get the message. (P.S. -- Venus is on the USA Pluto today. Big power struggles!)

The storm at the beginning of the month is still going good at the full moon, so much of the pattern present on new years still applies. The waveform for the full moon chart reveals a remarkably simple structure now. The strongest planet now is Uranus, which joins up with the Sun, Mercury and the Moon by trines and sextiles. There's a little Saturn in the air. But after that, all the other planets are essentially negligible in their effect.

With a full moon chart like this, the next two weeks could be quite surprising and revealing. There's a battle going on between old "realities" and newer understandings, so a few overhauls and "gifts from left field" will understandably take place. The most challenging lessons may involve letting go of your emotional connections and reactions to cherished ideals of the past. With the Moon going over the USA Sun (not to mention, Bush's Sun), this mood of questioning and challenging should be evident in the political arena. The USA is in a phase of reassessing how it behaves in the world at large, with a decision on the new direction in Iraq due any day now. It's hard to give up on your dreams, even when they are manifestly not working out in real life. The Sun and Mercury indicate the opposing path of disciplined and practical thinking. It's not very glamorous or inspiring, but sometimes you just need to get down to pressing business. At least Uranus can lighten the load by showing you a better way to handle the situation. Remain open and flexible, ready to bend even if you'd rather not. Things are actually pretty good right now...

Mars is conjunct the Galactic Center (GC) on the 12th and then conjunct Pluto on the 13th. Back in December, I was noticing a peculiar phenomenon. Even though Pluto and the GC were in the same zodiacal position (26Sa57), Pluto is considerably north of the zodiac, while the GC is considerably south of it. There's actually a big gap between them, with the zodiac running right down the middle of the gap. As one planet after another moved along the zodiac and passed through this gap, I started thinking of the process as "threading a needle" or a big "keyhole" or something. Venus was the first keyhole planet (on 12-7), followed by the Sun (12-18), Moon (12-20) and Mercury (12-25), all leading up to the big conjunction. Each of these passages activated and intensified the conjunction energies, a kind of previews of coming attractions, in a way. This Mars passage is the last of the keyhole planets. Having watched "big aspects" for several decades now, I've come to appreciate the process of how we incorporate such influences into our lives and personalities. It doesn't happen all at once. We go through stages of letting in the influences a little bit, a little more, a little more, sometimes understanding it mentally, other times learning how it feels, eventually figuring out what we are supposed to do about it all. These keyhole passages the last month have been introducing us to a deeply transformative, but unconscious power which we normally shouldn't even be aware of. We've gotten through most of the mental and emotional breakthroughs already (or at least started them). Mars is telling us this subtle new consciousness needs to be felt in the body, that it requires action from us to make it real in the world. Unfortunately, Mars conjunct Pluto rarely goes according to one's highest intentions. First, Mars is rather egotistical and hot-headed, while Pluto tends to dredge up unconscious drives that can run away with us. Aspects between these planets are typically known as "stay out of dark alleys" kind of energies, a time when the worst can happen to at least some of us. Obviously, this is not the higher spiritual way that the GC demands of us, so something has to give. I've already been noticing a new side to Pluto energy the last week or so, as its more positive role as Higher Self has squeezed aside its more negative side (the side that most people associate with Pluto). This requires a more conscious and cooperative connection between our normal ego awareness and our deeper spiritual nature. It requires a review of how we experience and use willpower, determination and even anger in our lives. It nudges us to act for reasons that transcend our more selfish concerns. Most of all, it demands that we stop ignoring this deeper side of our nature and take it seriously. It's probably easy to blow your top at somebody these days -- Mars-Pluto creates intense emotional pressure in the psyche that needs to blow off somehow. Just realize there are better ways to utilize this energy than making life miserable. Mars is extremely powerful and useful, but only when he's given a task to do that's bigger than his own ego. This keyhole event is an important part of bringing down the conjunction.

Mars moves from Sagittarius into Capricorn on the 16th. It will remain in this sign until Feb 25, when it shifts into Aquarius. As far as Mars placements go, this is one of the best. At his most basic, Mars is about using your physical energy to do something. He's not really good at choosing good or useful goals and is easily distracted by actions that appear "fun for the heck of it", regardless of the outcome. It's the difference between an unruly teenager and a well-trained military officer. Mars needs authority, goals, discipline, structure to channel his exuberance into worthwhile ends. In short, he needs Capricorn. This zodiac sign is called the "exaltation" of Mars by astrologers, because it exalts or brings out the highest qualities of this planet. Rather than the endless distractions and detours that he experienced in Sagittarius, he feels more focused and disciplined here. In broad terms, the goal of Capricorn is to make the world a better place. It's much easier to work for the greater good under this placement than many other zodiac signs. That's not to say Mars in Cap can't be selfish or narrow-minded. In fact, he can and with ruthless efficiency. That's why it's important to give your Mars a higher goal to strive for. If you've got work to do, the coming weeks are excellent for bearing down and doing it. Not only do you have the oomph and drive to settle into your task, but your organizational skills are probably a little better as well. Make good use of these 6 weeks.

The new moon falls towards the end of the big planetary storm in mid January -- you can already see how the waveform is starting to look somewhat ragged. And yet this lunation chart is able to tap into enough of the energy to perpetuate the strong backbone influences into the coming month. There are a number of interesting points in this chart to comment on.

First of all, the new moon itself (28Cp41) is awfully near one of the main activation points, giving even more life to the backbone planets. The most prominent planet in the chart seems to be Uranus again, so disruption and excitement are in the air still. Next is the close conjunction in this chart of Venus and Neptune, exact just before the new moon. It's hard to imagine a more dreamy, feel good, warm and fuzzy feeling than these two planets. The main drawback of this conjunction is the air of unreality it can produce, as this aspect is the prime "rose colored glasses" contact in astrology. Don't worry too much about this. There's a wide (but growing) opposition from Saturn to this point that should force us to keep our feet on the ground. Another intriguing quality of this chart is the extreme emphasis on the sign Aquarius. In fact, on the 20th there are 7 planets and asteroids in Aquarius, almost half the bodies I follow in this one sign! Aquarius is good at seeing the broad, long-term picture, the idealistic view from the mountain top, so to speak. We crawl out from under the minutiae of everyday, mundane living to higher ground where the mental vistas are more impressive. Since Uranus is the ruler of Aquarius, this fits in well with the strong Uranus in the chart and the general messages coming in from the higher self. It's a good time to get out of your mental ruts and view life from a different perspective; not so good for perpetuating the status quo, however. The days ahead are challenging us to move on, but they aren't overwhelming us in the process. It's the best of both worlds...

Jupiter is square Uranus on the 22nd for the first of 3 such contacts. The remaining contacts will be on May 10 and Oct 9. The upcoming 10 months of this aspect fit into a longer cycle that already has a long history. This square aspect is part of the 13 year long Jupiter-Uranus cycle that began with their conjunction on 1997-2-15. That date is important, because it places the conjunction in the middle of one of the most incredible storms I've ever observed -- I nicknamed that time "The Grand Finale" for all the planetary fireworks going off. There were lots of doors opening to the receptive psyche back then, if only briefly. The first square of the cycle was 2000-5-20 and was powerfully tied up with the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction 8 days later that I talk about so much in relation to the Middle East situation. The oppositon on 2003-8-29 is equally momentous. A day after Pluto was at its direct station, it marks a month when the suicide bombing campaign in Iraq was just getting started and the long road to civil war begun. And now the final square, this time a long and drawn out affair. The square phases of a big cycle are often a time of crisis and reconsideration. It's a time to look over the results and side-effects of a course of action, seeing what works and what raised unintended reactions from others. In particular, it's a time to make a change of course, if needed. Squares usually imply conflict or disagreement somehow. Two parts of our being are at cross purposes and not working together. In this case, Jupiter is the conventional wisdom of the way things are in the world and how we should behave towards others. He represents the ways we step out of our little worlds and join in the greater community for our mutual good. Unfortunately, this sometimes dumbs down Jupiter's native wisdom, as communal behavior usually sinks to the lowest common denominator. Conventional wisdom is often anything but. Uranus, on the other hand, has absolutely no need or regard for convention or custom. He prefers change for change's sake. He's also a highly mental-intuitive planet, representing the power of pure insight to understand things. His mind jumps straight from point A to point B without touching ground anywhere in between, which often makes it very difficult to communicate his ideas and insights. He strips away our common sense and all its foibles, opening up a clear intuition of a new means of looking at our problems and situations. These two ways of looking at the world are clashing and neither approach instills much confidence in us yet. We're comfortable with the old styles of thinking and behaving, but it seems the "same old" is working for us less and less. The radical, whacky solutions that Uranus comes up may stand a much better chance of working well, but their unfamiliarity makes it hard to trust such a path. There's a middle path of radical change within a tradition, or perhaps constrained chaos, depending upon your perspective, that is highly creative, yet elusive to find. Change is in the air, though the details need to be worked out carefully. This is one of the prime lessons this January. Every storm brings us back to this point...

I must confess I was pretty obsessed with the Pluto-GC conjunction in December, including all the important triggering events leading up to it (the "keyhole effect"). Part of my focus was trying to organize some friends around the country to perform meditations or rituals at the same time on the 29th, to see what we could collectively feel from the conjunction. All told, the 29th was a pretty wierd day.

After a month of people watching, it was pretty obvious that many were simply quietly freaking out. Old emotional behavior patterns were coming up, being acted out in stark, but curiously unconscious fashions. With the "intensity knob" on living cranked all the way to maximum volume, it looked like a pretty demanding time as we headed into the 29th.

It was somewhat surprising to experience the actual conjunction on the afternoon of the 29th. As emails have poured in from my friends, they all described the energies in strikingly similar terms. You would normally think of the Dark Lord on the shores of the great black hole to be rather dark and unnerving, but people reported a feeling of peacefulness and calm that totally contradicted our expectations. A sense of being detached from life's emotional dramas and soap operas, of seeing a perspective that vastly transcends the smaller concerns of "mere human life", of operating on a slow time scale that surpasses our day-to-day struggles was common. I guess once you get past all the messy "shadow stuff" that Pluto initially brings up, the calm of the Higher Self shines through. Plus the GC energies operate at such a high level that earthly existence seems rather quaint and small. We're still discussing the results...

And then there's the strange situation of Saddam Hussein's execution. I went out with one of my friends after the conjunction to discuss our experiences that evening and within 4 hours of the conjunction, news programs were starting to talk about Saddam's death. The rumors on the radio all afternoon made a peculiar backdrop to my ritual preparations. It's hard to think of the GC without winding up considering the old Mayan and Aztec cultures, with their industrial scale human sacrifice to their gods. Part of me wonders if Saddam's death was a distant karmic throwback to these ancient times, a blood sacrifice to the "gods" of the Pluto-GC energies as we enter a major, long-term cycle for humankind. I'm sure the Iraqis weren't thinking on these lines when they rushed to execute him, but the timing still strikes me as completely uncanny. (The conjunction aspects a powerful Jupiter-Pluto opposition in Saddam's chart, so he's no innocent bystander in all this.)

And for good measure, George Bush also spent the day "underground" in his storm shelter, as a tornado ripped through Crawford, TX. The underworld was certainly busy on the 29th!