The Astrology of January features a great deal of relationship material, as both Mars and Venus become involved with the transformational energies of Pluto. In the chart for New Year's Day , which presages the quality of our life experience during the whole of 2008, Mars, still retrograde, and now in Gemini, exactly opposes Pluto. The retrograde of Mars implies that we will be thinking through the various aspects of our assertive and desire natures, allowing the energy to build for necessary changes we may need to make. We may for example feel impelled to act in certain ways, and then take the opportunity look beneath the covers of our actions to feel out the potential for aggression and even violence that remains inherent in us, as with most other life forms on this earthly sphere of "harmony through conflict." If we keep our heads at this time and seek the underlying reasons for our actions, we may find in the end that we are well rewarded for our perseverance.
This year also introduces a powerful period of several years of change leading up to 2012. Uranus will square Pluto more and more closely during these years, and, starting late in 2009, with a T-square from Saturn thrown in for good measure. This configuration repeats the revolutionary theme from the sixties which has never entirely vanished from our society.
The important Jupiter - Pluto conjunction from last month is fading, but is still very much with us, although Jupiter has already crossed into Capricorn. The January 8th Capricorn New Moon exactly semi-squares the Uranus/Neptune midpoint, so that the transformational energies of all three outer planets are powerfully invoked with the turning of the year. What this configuration is telling us at the deepest level is that the energy of our personal lives and our planetary culture needs to radically evolve in these climactic times, which are prologue to the great changes that lie ahead for all of us these next five years here on spaceship earth.
At the time of the January 22nd Full Moon, Pluto in late Sagittarius is joined by Venus, still opposed by Mars, so that our relationship energy is fully up for us at that time, and ripe for reanimation. Mercury retrogrades in Aquarius a week later, on January 28th, and conjuncts Neptune as it does. In fact, from January 21st until the end of the month, Mercury is never more than two and a half degrees from Neptune, making this last ten days of January mystical and full and rife with foggy perceptions.
This is especially true considering that Mars is stationing direct at this time as well, exact on January 30th and in close aspect to Mercury/Neptune. The combination of Mars with Neptune is powerful, and means that, chameleon-like, we can be what we want to be, or at least feel that we are. It is a time of potential deception, as Neptune imagination takes over our normally more earth-bound will power, and also a time of powerful conception, when we can dream big and see these dreams actualized in the physical world. Deceit or manifestation – It is up to each of us to choose how we handle this energy.
We are preparing this month also for the transition of Pluto into Capricorn, exact on January 25th, which is sure to make waves in the very structure of our lives as we think we know that structure, but which supports us in our quest to move beyond our current limitations as long as we can let go of the past. Earth too is changing, along with the surrounding cultural milieu. The truth is that we will survive the next few years and be the richer spiritually for the experience. There are definitely some very scary things on the horizon, but the retreat into fear makes as little sense now as it did in WWII when FDR famously stated that the only thing to fear was "fear itself."
Transits to the U.S. Chart
The run-up to this presidential election campaign has been one of the most contentious in recent history. The Democrats have swept back into power in Congress, and now sense their opportunity to take back the White House. On the other hand, they were successful largely as a response to the failed strategy and false promises of the Iraq war, which they have not been able to alter in the slightest. Their call for a phased withdrawal in the wake of the 2006 election met with the presidential response of sending in more troops, and very little has altered since that time.
Not surprisingly, as the campaign heats up, the transits for this January and February are quite intense. The New Moon of January 8th opposes the Sun in the U.S. chart, while the Full Moon of the 22nd trines and sextiles the U.S. Midheaven. The last ten days of the month are chaotic as they are accompanied by a retrograde station of Mercury conjunct Neptune that aspects U.S. Neptune, so that illusion and misinformation abounds. In this same time period, Mars stations near U.S. Mars, symbolizing the military, so that war news could come to dominate the dialog as we head into the early and decisive February primaries.
January 8th New Moon
The New Moon in mid-Capricorn sextiles Uranus and is exactly semi-square the Uranus / Neptune midpoint, indicating that the energies of these imaginative planets may come to the fore at this time. All three outer planets, including Pluto, are about transformation but the actions of these two is more subtle. Uranus is the awakener, sometimes quite suddenly, while Neptune dissolves existing structure and opens us to the vast inner dimension of greater reality, the spiritual truth that we are all one. Together they represent the opportunity for the numinous to enter our lives more fully. This pull toward spiritual epiphany thus counters the earth-bound nature of the sign of Capricorn. Mercury also enters Aquarius this same day, where it will retrograde at the end of the month.
January 15th First Quarter Moon
The First Quarter Moon forms a sesqui-yod with Saturn, meaning that each luminary makes a sesquiquadrate or 135 degree aspect to it as they square each other. Strong aspects to Saturn emphasize its symbolism of limitation and concrete reality. Saturn is in any case the ruler of Capricorn, where New Moon has taken place, but the powerful other-worldly energies of the outer planets offset this practical side of the New Moon cycle, until now.
January 22nd Full Moon
The Full Moon again aspects Uranus, by semi-square and sesquiquadrate, and there may be surprises. Also at this time, Venus is in close aspect with Pluto, while Jupiter trines Saturn. Venus with Pluto implies that we will be taking a closer look at all our relationships at this juncture. This is either a hopeful or a difficult time, depending on how you take it, either Jupiter acting on Saturn, or Saturn acting on Jupiter. The good thing about it is that you get to choose.
Pluto enters Capricorn on Friday evening, January 25th. This event heralds a sixteen year cycle of cosmic challenge, so that the exact date of this ingress is not that important, although its symbolism will reverberate through our society over the next two decades.
January 28th Mercury retrograde
The last few days of January are packed with dramatic planetary aspects, and this Mercury retrograde in conjunction with Neptune is only one. The close Mercury-Neptune conjunction is also trine a stationing Mars in late Gemini. We can tune into the otherworldly nature of this glimpse of higher reality, which is really beyond our conscious understanding, or we can shut our eyes to what we might see. In any case we could find ourselves deceived by the appearance of things. The action of Mars on Neptune is to bring the numinous possibility closer to the surface of life, confounding the mundane realism streaming past us, while Neptune's effect on Mars is to let us seem to be what we think we are within each changeable moment.
January 29th Last Quarter Moon
The Last Quarter Moon forms a sesqui-yod to Mars just as it is standing still in the sky, about to change into direct motion the next day, and still in aspect to Mercury and Neptune, and brings out Jupiter's trine with Saturn as well. We will be feeling closely connected to the surrounding social structure at the same time that we are driven to transcend it.