Astrology of January 2010
by Henry Seltzer (
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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 oppose Saturn in Libra and square Pluto 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. Uranus square Pluto 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 conjuncts retrograde Mars. The mid-month Solar Eclipse is also exactly conjunct Venus 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 SaturnPluto square 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 oppose Saturn 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 Capricorn square 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.

For Transits to the U.S. Chart See Henry Seltzer's Zodiactivism Blog »

January 7th Last Quarter Moon Last Quarter Moon Chart
The Last Quarter is traditionally a time of recognition of all that has gone before in preceding three weeks of the lunation cycle. This is when consciousness arises regarding what had transpired, and how the insights gained might apply to the next time around. This month is a thoughtful time, and these first two weeks especially so, with both Mercury and Mars in retrograde. It is interesting that the Sun and Moon aspect retrograde Mars at this time, reminding us that action is at a relative standstill now and that introspection is the rule of the day, as we attempt to think our way out of the chaos of the last decade even we enter this new one. Coming as it does between two eclipses, this configuration is dramatic in its own way as a mediating influence, a preparation for the powerful New Moon to follow in a week. The fact that the Sun and Moon are in square is indicative of a point of tension in the process of development that is still unfolding from the moment of the previous New Moon of mid-December.

January 14th Solar Eclipse New Moon New Moon Chart
This powerful Capricorn New Moon and eclipse is exactly conjunct Venus rather than Mars, emphasizing relationship in all its forms. There are also ties to Neptune, exactly 30 degrees away, practically to the minute, and to Saturn, Uranus and Pluto. A stationing Mercury conjoins Pluto, also in Capricorn, while the mutual reception between Venus and newly retrograde Saturn in turn serves to emphasize the SaturnPluto square which is very strong right now. Additionally Eris, the new planet beyond Pluto named as recently as 2006, is also powerful at this time, being almost exactly square to the nodal axis at the time of the eclipse. This indicates the presence of a fierce feminine warrior energy in these times that will emerge in many different ways in the months ahead, and not always pretty ones. At its best, this energy champions the underdog and opposes the arbitrary allocation of power to outmoded patriarchal institutions. As all the outer planets come into play over these next few weeks and months we are enjoined to take the highest possible viewpoint on our situation. We might remember equally that all things must pass, and that this is our moment to make a difference. We are called at this time to service as an opportunity rather than an obligation, and we win when we think of ourselves not as victims of a world gone astray, but rather as cogs in the machinery of positive change that is still possible and now more necessary than ever.

January 23rd First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
The First Quarter is traditionally a time when the rubber meets the road in terms of changes that must be made, a time when the tender shoots of our impulse must be tested against the potential of the world to destroy these impulses or else to validate them as viable. This testing period can be a time of tension as we potentially face off against each other and the world and sort out the true possibilities. A note of hope is granted now, since Jupiter is newly arrived in Pisces, symbolizing grace in action, and since the Sun and Venus aspect Jupiter from the sign of Aquarius, which can be optimistic also, a look forward to the future.

January 29th Full Moon Full Moon Chart
This Leo Full Moon conjuncts retrograde Mars, and as a configuration represents the climax and fulfillment of the cycle that was began mid-month. This is the flowering of the impulse from that decisive moment. This is not however the time for action, but rather the time for greater awareness and recognition of our situation. This is because Mars is still retrograde, lasting well into March, and Mercury, though in direct motion once again from the 15th (right after the eclipse that took place in the same sign of Capricorn) has a ways to go before it recovers its lost Zodiacal ground on February 4th. What is most appropriate is that we continue to meditate on our situation, dire though it might be, and continue also to have faith in our process of evolving consciousness as individuals and as a society at large.