The Astrology of January features Saturn, Neptune and Pluto, with the retrogrades of Mercury and Mars also a factor. The mid-month Solar Eclipse completes the set of two that began with the Lunar Eclipse of New Year's Eve, and emphasizes both the concrete practicality of Saturn and the dreaminess of Neptune, which are normally antithetical. Saturn and Uranus form another pair of opposite-themed planetary archetypes whose opposition is still active even in this month of its greatest angular separation and which will become much more potent over the course of 2010. Meanwhile, Saturn and Pluto continue their square dance, moving even closer to an exact 90-degree aspect after mid-month, when Saturn changes to backward motion and begins to close the gap once again. They are never further than 1 1/4 degrees away from exact square all through January, culminating on the 31st when their distance moves to exactly 90 degrees. They will be within a 2-degree orb all through February.
This is tough love on the part of the universe. Saturn with Pluto reminds us that something in the structure of our lives has got to experience radical change, even dissolution, applying equally to the cherished structures of our society. Throw in the Uranus entrance into Aries in late May, where it will opposeSaturn in Libra and squarePluto in Capricorn, and you've got quite the witch's brew.
Uranus in square with Pluto is redolent of the rebellious attitude of the pivotal sixties, when they were last in major aspect, and in fact these themes of rebellion may well be coming back over the course of the next few years, along with the accompanying backlash repression, and with violence possible on both sides. UranussquarePluto will be a definite factor for the first nine months of 2010, and will perfect in June of 2012, although fading somewhat in its influence during the late fall and winter months of 2010-2011.
In the current month, Mercury remains retrograde right up until the day of Solar Eclipse on the 15th, when it turns direct. The Mercury retrograde period is good for reconsidering everything and reflecting on where life is leading us at this time, not so good for taking drastic unplanned action. Mercury remains in its retrograde shadow for the entire remainder of the month, so that things will not entirely straighten out until February. To complement this introspective time, making it more so, Mars is moving backwards still, all through January and February and even into March.
The Solar Eclipse of Friday, January 15th, taking place late evening on January 14th on the West Coast, is powerful, and brings the outer-planet energies of Saturn, Neptune and Pluto fully into play. Then the Full Moon at month's end conjunctsretrogradeMars. The mid-month Solar Eclipse is also exactly conjunctVenus in Capricorn. Venus is ruled by a stationing Saturn, and in turn rules the sign of Libra where Saturn currently resides, in what is termed a mutual reception. Since the degree of Venus matches the eclipse degree there is a strong emphasis over the final two weeks of the month on the Saturn – Plutosquare that remains within a degree of exactitude. Neptune, in the same degree of Aquarius at the time of the eclipse, is exactly semi-sextile the eclipse degree – to the minute. Neptune with Saturn brings the ideal and the concretely real into contrast. At this important juncture, we will therefore be taking a good hard look at our dreams, attempting to see whether they are viable in the chaos of this new decade. The answer is yes, but painstaking and dedicated action is the key to bring them into fruition, and careful discrimination is required to determine which ones are worthy of the effort.
The Coming Changes of 2010-2012
As astrologers we can go along with the trend of taking a look at a year or a decade in review – but for the future instead of the past! Of course foreknowledge is advantage... even though as astrologers we must also acknowledge that our vision is imperfect and we but see through our glass darkly. This is necessarily so, since the astrological symbolism allows for many variations and for many levels of the evolution of our consciousness in the response to these symbols. The higher octave of what might take place under a difficult Mars-Pluto transit obviously looks very different from the lower, and this is precisely where free will comes in. We always have our chance to take the high road; and we always have the power to redeem ourselves in the long run even when we discover in hindsight that we have not in fact taken the high road.
This variation of potential outcome is a key factor in evaluating the potentials of these difficult and pivotal times leading up to, and through, 2012. The alcoholic has to keep on doing his thing until he, or she, bottoms out. But a person always has the choice to remain in the self-destructive cycle until things are indeed very bad or has equally the power to decide to bottom out at an earlier point in the game, when the destruction is not as great. This is the choice that faces us as a society, which is indeed the sum total of many upon many lesser decisions, but which allow us to arrive at a collective destination with respect to negative tends that we see right now in the fight for the environment, for alleviating the suffering caused by grinding poverty, and for the improvement of human relations to the point where war is not perceived as an answer.
The polarities are stacking up. Saturn and Pluto, in square with each other now and for much of 2010, represent one such narrow strait between revolutionary change that sweeps away all existing institutions on the one hand (Pluto), and the resistance to any and all changes (Saturn) on the other. A middle ground must be found, usually by a complex dialectic consisting of trial-and-error push for massive change – giving rise to a backlash of suppression – and of subsequent violent reaction to the suppression itself. The horrors of 9-11 and the events that followed, including the "pre-emptive" invasion of a sovereign nation, Iraq, in blatant violation of international law, were a reflection of the previous major aspect between these two power-house planets, their opposition of 2001. The current square gets stronger in January and February and then fades away until the summer of 2010, when it returns for a last hurrah over the fall months. These particular months could be a time of great stress on the American system, not this time from terror attacks but rather from the reactionary forces that were then engaged.
Meanwhile Saturn and Uranus, opposed at the time of the 2008 election, still have a couple of passes to go before their opposition fades away, and the last ones are the most potent. Saturn represents the status quo, and Uranus represents unconditional change, change at any cost, as we saw so clearly represented by the people's choice in that historic election. Obviously this conflict between what could simplistically be termed the old and the new is far from ended, as the recent battle for public health care shows. The next major reappearance will be in April, when they oppose each other from the Mutable signs of Virgo and Pisces. Then in late May, Uranus enters Aries, conjoined by Jupiter as well, there to opposeSaturn still in Virgo. Saturn will shortly enter Libra once again, so that by late July their opposition is again exact, this time in Cardinal signs. This is the last exact pass, and the most intense, with Pluto in early Capricornsquare to both. There is a good chance that the summer will make manifest what many have been feeling, and what astrologers have been saying all along, that the times for America are indeed a'changing, and that there is no going back. As indicated above, the only question is do we go willingly into a new future for ourselves and our nation and indeed our world culture, or do we go kicking and screaming.
After the big summer of 2010, the last major hits of the Cardinal T-square come in June of 2011, and then in June of 2012, when the square of Uranus and Pluto becomes exact for the first time, and when we all will really begin to understand at gut level that we are no longer in Kansas, anymore.