A Brave New Year

This week’s astrology involves the integration of two powerful forces that can make it difficult to ‘live and let live.’ Mars is moving forward through Aquarius while Jupiter is retrograding back through Leo, forming an exact opposition on New Year’s Day. We’re already feeling the effects of this dynamic polarity, and it isn’t an easy task to live out this planetary opposition in a fair way.

An opposition is like a tug of war between two forces. When manifested in its best form, they can compliment each other wonderfully, like the graceful tightrope walker balancing impossible conditions. But at its worst, it can be an ugly battle or blind disregard for compromise. Things can seem either/or rather than a balance between both.

Mars and Jupiter are powerhouses of energy, and when in contact with each other, amplify our willpower, confidence, and assertion. Aquarius and Leo are fixed signs, tending to stay attached to their personal points of view. Jupiter in Leo is demanding of attention. It can evoke a generosity of spirit and a willingness to bare one’s soul, but it can also be greedy for satisfaction and overwhelmed with desire. Mars in Aquarius is very opinionated. It can certainly push us to work hard toward our dreams or idea of the future, but it can also cling to a position of being right, or having things our way.

So, Leo (the sign of the king, the ruler, the lion) has expansive and optimistic Jupiter, while Mars is pushing and pulling in extremely independent and idealistic Aquarius. Mars in Aquarius say “Do it this way, I’m right, follow me” while Jupiter in Leo says “Love me, I’m amazing, pay attention to me.”  That leaves us in a tricky situation of balancing what we envision with what we can actually make progress in. We can’t all get our own way.

At this time of year, we’re all taking stock of where we are in life and what our goals are for the next year ahead. And it can be incredibly painful or embarrassing to be proven wrong, or even worse, rejected. It is scary to be vulnerable, and that is exactly what we are when we go after what we want.

This is a time to be aware of your judgement and your demands, both on yourself and on others. We can become fixated and dogmatic with this astrology– and there’s a potent urge to express ourselves, to plunge into the deep end and stand up for what we feel we deserve. But that ego-driven desire and self-righteousness doesn’t leave a lot of room for respect or gentleness. This isn’t a flexible energy, so we have to remember to incorporate that into this tightrope walk.

The incredible life-affirming hope and joy of this astrology can also flip the coin to bring up worthlessness and fear. Try not to fall off the tightrope. The truth is that no mood, no loss, and no limitation is permanent. Not really. Try to celebrate what is good, rather than look at what is lacking. Namaste is a word used to end yoga practices, which loosely translated means “The light in me honors the light in you.” This week, we’ll all do well to remember to honor our own unique journey, as well as those of everyone around us.

Cheers to 2015!

Shifting Gears

A new season begins this Sunday night when the Sun moves into Capricorn, marking the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. The Moon is following right on the Sun’s heels, and the two meet up at 0 degrees Capricorn, forming a New Moon at 8:36 p.m. EST.

Much is placed on the broad, capable shoulders of Capricorn. Characteristics of this sign include determination and ambition, and people born with Capricorn strong in their charts tend to work hard for their reputation or outer success. This isn’t the same type of attention-seeking that brave and lovable Leo exhibits — Capricorn is drawn to being an authority, being seen as dignified and respectable. Being held in high esteem, particularly in their professional world, is of great importance to this cardinal earth sign.

So we have this shift moving from the more excitable and whimsical Sagittarius energy to the  reality-oriented mood of Capricorn. Both signs are concerned with future planning, but where Sagittarius is the philosophical daydreamer, Capricorn puts its nose to the grindstone for as long as it takes to get results.

Sunday is also the day that Uranus (still in a tense square to Pluto) turns direct after being retrograde since July, infusing the next week or so with an erratic and unpredictable energy that may push us to act rashly without premeditation. This does not jive well with methodic Capricorn, who would never act without thinking things through first. Conflicts with those in authority can manifest, especially if we’re being rebellious without a cause.

But the bigger climate shift involves Saturn, which will move into Sagittarius on Tuesday, Dec. 23, and except for a brief retrograde back into Scorpio this coming summer, will travel through this sign through Dec. 2017. The next two years of our lives will be colored by this transit of Saturn, testing the limits and boundaries of all that Sagittarius represents– which, in a nutshell, is faith. I don’t mean religion, although that is included under the umbrella. Sagittarius symbolizes the human quest for meaning and hope, the search for understanding of our place in the cosmos. While Saturn, the teacher of the zodiac, transits this spiritual sign, we will be faced with challenges to what we have held sacred, and what we believed to be true.

While depression and despair are possible expressions of this, the ultimate purpose of Saturn’s transits are to strenghten that which is weak. Many of our beliefs completely hold us back from happiness and peace. Dogmatic religious views, overzealous philosophies and viewpoints, and blind trust in government all lead us away from our own spiritual core and into role of “follower.” Whenever we accept systems of beliefs that are pushed on us from without, we give away our power. When we are spoon-fed a motto or creed to live by, we don’t get anything of value for it.  Saturn is going to force us to be sincere with ourselves, all in an effort to let us stand in our own strength with unshakable faith.





Digging for a Revolution

One of the defining astrological imprints on our current time in history is the Uranus/Pluto square. These two outer planets were last in aspect to each other during the 1960s, when they were in a conjunction in the sign Virgo. The revolutionary nature of Uranus and Pluto are clear when considered in that light– it was a time period when the world order was challenged. While the “hippie” movement may not have turned the world around, it certainly shook the establishment for many years. And at the very least, it offered a new perspective which struck a chord with millions- that the power is in the people, and most people just want freedom and peace.

Since 2012, Uranus and Pluto have been moving in and out of a 90 degree angle to each other. They will make a total of 7 exact squares to each other before this transit passes on, and they’re approaching number six on Dec. 15. The two powerhouse planets will slowly move out of aspect again, and then will make their final square in March of 2015, leaving us to figure out where we stand in the brave new world.

Astrologers have been talking for years about this era as the revolution the world so desperately needs. And in a lot of ways, it seemed to begin that way. The financial collapse in the U.S. shook the global market, and the Occupy Movement seemed to be sweeping the nation. Mass protests and revolution broke out all over the world, including Egypt, Ukraine, and Brazil (to name a few.) The racial tension and riots, the mass shootings and gun violence, the abuse of power revealed in both police forces and the NFL, not to mention the ongoing issue with Middle Eastern terrorist groups– it seems that corruption and unrest is visible no matter where you turn, but we’re making no progress to improve it. We are polarized as people. If you don’t believe Bill Cosby raped those women, then you don’t support women’s rights. If you think the riots in Ferguson are wrong, you are racist. This isn’t helping anyone, and it isn’t improving the debate. People are busy pushing and shoving to get the newest iPhone, but they can’t be bothered to show up to the polls to vote. It’s sort of pathetic.

But when you look at what Pluto in Capricorn really represents, it is clear that the darkness that is emerging is exactly what we need to confront in order to heal. This is our cultural hubris– the culmination of all the guilt, anger, war, greed, and abuse that this country was based on. Uranus in Aries wants us to dismantle the old institutions and systems, but the only way we can do that is by facing the very inequality that has been protected and preserved by our government and big business. In each of our own charts, and in each of our own lives, we are faced with the task of tackling our hidden box of pain/hurt/shame. Because if we don’t, Uranus in Aries will make sure it erupts in your face. We simply cannot, and should not, keep going with this helpless acquiescence to the status quo. The Uranus/Pluto square is liberating us from the past, not by erasing it, but by bringing it forward into the light of day.

So if this week seems to grow more and more intense, remember how much change is possible when you are passionate. This isn’t an easygoing time, and it’s a tense time of year anyway. Try to keep the word “healing” in mind. Destruction and volatility are offshoots of this transit, but that’s a choice to be made by each one of us. There’s always the choice to help make things better, too.

Breathing Room

The Sun’s passage through Sagittarius is typically associated with the loosening of some controls and the exceeding of some boundaries, whether good or bad. Sagittarius is eager to partake in the action because there is a hopeful belief that there is something better out there. So no matter what the adventure, Sag tends to roll right in.

What we have in the background is the ongoing Uranus/Pluto square, which is heading to an exact 90 degree aspect on Dec. 15. These two planets move so slowly that the angles they form to each other often last years, marking the time period with certain traits or energies. Uranus and Pluto have been moving in and out of a 90 degree angle to each other since June 2012, and will form two more exact squares– Dec. 15, 2014 and March 16, 2015. This is the last big push during the upcoming winter and spring.

The tension of this aspect can feel oppressive and overbearing. Like a lit fuse, it must find a release. Uranus represents spontaneaous and erratic bursts that break us out of old modes of thinking or being. It is strong and aggressive in its transit through fiery Aries, and this square to Pluto is churning up issues of authority, control, and freedom. There is a serious grind at work, an evolutionary push to change. What is not sustainable will not last. A lot has been torn down since this Uranus/Pluto phase began in 2012, and much of the terrain looks unfamiliar to us now.

Add to this the rowdy devil-may-care nature of Sagittarius– and things can be messy. But that doesn’t mean ‘bad’. There’s a strong desire to be forthcoming and unburdened with the Sun, Venus and Mercury in this sign, which can lead to saying too much or going too far. But we will get more support to see things clearly in the coming days as Mars shifts into airy Aquarius.

New insights and interests can lift us out of the passion of Sagittarius, offering some space to move freely. Aquarius is independent and idealistic. With Mars in this tolerant sign, hopefully we will move more toward honoring the individuals in our lives rather than trying to force change. The wisdom that is lacking in impetuous Sagittarius will be present again in diplomatic Aquarius. Change is inevitable, and we may get a better glimpse of the role we can play in it as the Full Moon approaches this weekend.