The Astrology of January focuses on Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Also, Mercury is still emerging from its retrograde shadow period, until mid-month. The reason that all the outer planets are configured in this important transition month into 2011, both astrologically and calendar-wise, is that they are very much a part of the January lunations, especially at the time of the New Moon eclipse of the early morning hours of January 4th. Taking place only a few days after New Year's Day, this powerful Solar Eclipse links Pluto and Saturn, which are still roughly in square with each other, since it conjuncts Pluto while squaring Saturn quite closely. The eclipse also makes an ethereal quintile aspect to Uranus and Jupiter, which are exactly conjunct each other in late Pisces. It also makes a semi-square to Neptune and Chiron as well, also conjunct in the same degree of Aquarius as Jupiter and Uranus. With all the outer planets configured we will be inspired to move beyond our present dilemmas, one way or another. The outer planets are all about change, although they effect change with their very different energies in different ways. Enlightenment descends upon us quickly with Uranus, now prominently occurring with Jupiter in the sky, so that ideas for a better future come easily. Neptune, also quite prominent, presents us with ideals and with intimations of that which is beyond logical thought process, yet necessary for fully opening our hearts to each other. Pluto is the most drastic energy, and encourages us to be getting about our real business in being here whether we consider ourselves ready for that or not.
Saturn is also powerfully configured in this month's sky. Saturn stations retrograde late in the month, around the 25th, and its symbolism of a sense of limitation will be more poignantly felt at that time. This takes place at about 12 degrees beyond its perfect square position with Pluto, but the square returns next spring and early summer to within 4 degrees. Saturn with Pluto is dire, as we have already seen over the past few months; in our individual lives we might be tempted toward doom and gloom in line with the television pundits. In political terms Saturn with Pluto represents a conservative empowerment that has never fully faded in recent decades since the time that it was rebirthed in reaction to the leftward political movement of the sixties. This conservatism has real consequences for us all. There are many signs right now of this trend of turning away from the more enlightened progress that is also our legacy from the sixties.
After June, Saturn's square with Pluto fades, and the Uranus–Pluto square becomes more important. This square is highlighted in the last week of January when Jupiter crosses over into Aries, squaring Pluto there while remaining in contact with Uranus, a mere 2 1/2 degrees away. Uranus in dynamic aspect with Pluto means that we are primed for radical departures from our pre-existing patterns, for better or for worse. Uranus represents the vision of future possibility that can lead us out of our rut, while Pluto is the wrecking ball that comes along to make way for drastic change.
The January 17th time period also proves interesting. Not only is Mercury finally out of its retrograde shadow, but it also makes an exact conjunction with Pluto on this day, with the Moon opposed, triggering the conjunction. We will be all the more aware of our deeper desires and need for transformation. At the same time we will exhibit an intelligence that is slightly cynical and penetrating and that will see right to the heart of many matters.
Then, the mid-week Full Moon that follows, taking place on Wednesday, January 19th, puts us in another place altogether, occurring as it does on the very verge of the humanistic energies of Aquarius and Leo. With this culmination to the eclipse energy that began the month we are engaged mentally and viscerally to move beyond ego and into cooperation with the social forces that encapsulate us. Only by each one of us making a difference will there result a different outcome, a rescue from the road that appears collectively before us and that leads us over a cliff. We are encouraged to make this difference not out of blind obedience to the dictates of consensus thinking, but by rising up out of our own unique individuality. And we must do so if we intend to make an all-important directional shift for the society around us, in these crucial and nearly ultimate times.
January 4th New Moon
This New Moon in mid-Capricorn conjuncts Pluto and squares Saturn while making aspects to the other outer planets. Neptune and Chiron are conjunct, as they have been all year, and semi-square the Sun and Moon eclipse degree. Uranus is featured since it is exactly conjuncted by Jupiter, to the minute, and the eclipse degree is quintile. Mercury, still climbing out of its retrograde shadow, remains in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius. A subtle and spiritual dimension rules this chart, but with the cynical and darkly conservative undercurrent represented by Saturn-Pluto. We have a choice, as we always do, only perhaps more simplified and more stark. We can rise to the occasion and live out our dreams – or else succumb to despair and negativity, of which there is plenty to go around. Since Venus also squares Neptune we are also very aware of relationship ideals and potential illusions along with some sense of our deeper motivations in that area.
January 12th First Quarter Moon
This is traditionally a time of trial as we seek to understand both the limits to growth and the chance for a positive outcome. With Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn in the picture of this New Moon cycle, these considerations are greatly emphasized. A push-pull is set up: possibility versus staying static, reigned in by fear. The warrior energy of Eris, the newly named planet beyond Pluto, is also strongly constellated now and lends courage for the task at hand. This energy however must be for the highest purpose that we can find within us or it will be wasted in triviality.
January 19th Full Moon
This Full Moon takes place in the last degree of Cancer and Capricorn, so just a half degree off from the humanistic energy of the Leo-Aquarius axis. The Sun being about to enter Aquarius brings Uranus more fully into the picture, while Uranus is still conjunct Jupiter. This means that there are powerful positive forces at work in this chart, just as we leave Saturn-ruled Capricorn behind. The exciting and potentially disruptive energy of Uranus is mellowed by the culmination of the Full Moon phase and the sign position of the Sun, as well as by the trine and sextile made to it from the Moon and Sun respectively. This is a time of fulfillment as well as forward motion. Mercury is out of its shadow and conjunct Pluto, meaning that we can each clearly see the writing on our wall. The time for forward motion with all your issues has arrived and all the familiar excuses ring hollow.
January 26th Last Quarter Moon
This is traditionally a time when we reflect and absorb the accumulated wisdom of the preceding three weeks. There is potentially tension in the air now, although the primarily positive energy of the preceding Full Moon also sets the stage for this phase. The Sun conjuncting Mars in Aquarius provides plenty of feisty energy and also go-power for actualizing the remainder of our dreams. We are symbolically planting the seed, mentally and emotionally, for the next cycle to come during February. Jupiter has entered active Aries while Saturn has stationed just the day before and is therefore more powerfully felt as well. Again the push-pull is activated of forward motion versus dragging our heels and remaining stuck in a largely dysfunctional past, both individually and collectively.