Astrology of January 2012
by Henry Seltzer (
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The Astrology of January features Mercury, Jupiter, Chiron, Uranus and Pluto. As we enter another radically transformative year, these powerful symbols are very much focalized. The Christmas Eve New Moon from the last week of December strongly aspected these four outer planets, continuing the trend from the fall, so that the significant archetypal energies of Zeus/Jupiter, lord of death and radical transformation/ Pluto, plus the Wounded Healer/Chiron and Prometheus or the Trickster/Uranus are very much in evidence in our individual lives, and in the life of the surrounding collective. That New Moon in early Capricorn was conjunct Pluto as well. What this looks like will depend on us, but we might imagine further surprises and opportunities for transformational growth and enlightenment, as our inner wounding becomes both more drastically activated also as a consequence more apparent to our conscious thought process.

The chart for the New Year, midnight on December 31st, is quite interesting. This chart can be thought of as an indicator for the entire year to come, and it features the Sun and Moon in square with each other, and occupying the signs of Pluto and Uranus as their forming square gets underway, to complete the first pass of a total of seven on June 24th. We will therefore have Uranus-Pluto with us throughout the remainder of the decade. As for the climactic and powerful year of 2012, the beginning of these intense years still to come, the fact that the First Quarter Moon square exists in this New Year’s Eve chart is indicative of a highly contentious year, as symbolized also by the powerful outer planet energies that are currently configured.

We could add dreamy Neptune as well as stern and unforgiving Saturn to the above list as the year gets underway. Saturn is stationing in early February in close trine with Neptune, while Neptune is conjunct both to Chiron and also to the January 22nd New Moon. Neptune is also changing signs, entering its own sign of Pisces in that same early February time frame. Thus, all the outer planets are extremely active in this important year of 2012.

This year is likely to be very intense and is of course made even more so by the mythology that has risen up in our culture surrounding these numbers of 2012, we have an opportunity to tune in and really think about where we are going and why, both in our individual lives and in terms of the surrounding collective. It is well to remember that our every thought and action has a ripple effect throughout the increasingly larger concentric circles of societal connection that surround us: friends and family, community, state or province, country, world and cosmos.

In the current month, the very potent Full Moon of late evening, January 8th on the American West Coast, early morning January 9th elsewhere, features a yod to Mars from Venus and the heavily aspected newly named “dwarf” planet Eris, plus the Moon in contra-parallel to Pluto, so that the potential for anger or at the very least strong determination is there, plus the transformational changes implied by Uranus-Pluto. Mercury in the second degree of Capricorn aspects the same trinity of outer planets as did the late December New Moon in Capricorn, namely Chiron, in conjunction with Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter. There are brilliant ideas now in plenty, and they come at the right time, for creative and compassionate solutions and “out of the box” thinking might be just what is needed now as we try to get it right for this climactic month and year.

The New Moon of Sunday, January 22nd also aspects these three planets, so that it kicks off another very intense lunation cycle is that will take us into February. Mars turns retrograde the next day, January 23rd, and the sign of Virgo is the scene of even more internal reflection as symbolized by normally outgoing Mars turning inward. The Mars retrograde period takes place in the sign of Virgo and lasts until mid-April. February also features Neptune’s entrance into Pisces followed by Saturn’s stationing retrograde itself in almost exact trine with Neptune, a few days later at the time of the February 7th Full Moon. Saturn with Neptune implies grounded spiritual activity in support of high ideals, perhaps in the form of peaceful protest, or else mislaid idealism bordering on illusion that can sidetrack concrete plans and turn negative thinking and vocal criticism into deceptive propaganda.

With Uranus and Pluto emphasized at the very beginning of the year, and completing the first exact hit of their square aspect in June, this year is bound to be an extremely potent one, picking up where the intensity of 2011 left off and taking even further this past summer’s revolutionary energy for necessary change. We can work with this energy, promoting radical transformation as needed in our own lives, and in the life of the society that surrounds us. We win when we choose to be part of the solution rather than remaining outside of the flow of history and increasingly irrelevant to it.

January 1st New Years Day New Years Eve
This is an interesting chart from several standpoints. For one thing, as the chart for the very beginning of 2012, it has a lot to say regarding what the year might hold for us. Beginnings are special, and convey the quality of the moment of time that symbolizes the entity or the event that is being launched. In the case of this chart for 2012 we have the First Quarter Moon coincident with the midnight moment of the New Year – a square alignment. The Quarter Moon happens within an hour or two before or after midnight, at least in this country, depending on where it the New Year is dawning, from the East to the West Coast. Moreover the Sun and Moon in their respective signs of Capricorn and Aries highlight Pluto and Uranus in these same signs and now in forming square to each other, a difficult and exciting aspect that has been the subject of this column and other astrology writing for many months now. This square comes to its first exact configuration on June 24th of this year. Because of retrograde motion caused by the relative movements of the Earth and the planets, the exact square alignment repeats a total of seven times over the next several years, although these moments of exact are not as important as the general tenor of the UranusPluto square in general, which will last throughout this decade of the ”turbulent teens” in their first major alignment since the sixties – a storied time that was characterized by their 1965 conjunction – so that the combination of these outer planet energies bespeaking revolutionary change will therefore become the hallmark of this difficult decade.

The chart of the New Year, and also of the Christmas Eve New Moon that preceded it by a week, also features an optimistic Jupiter-Uranus combination that is very encouraging. Brilliant ideas and a positive outlook, symbolized by this combination, are an important component now and will help to se us through. As the radical transformation and revolutionary ardor symbolized by Uranus in combination with Pluto nears its first peak, we are reminded that there is an underlying cosmic reason for this configuration to come along at this particular moment in time. The times are out of joint, as the bard says, and we must begin to set them right again, and it will be a struggle. It easily possible to slump into despair that ever we can manage to get things turned around, but then again, what other choice do we have? It’s time to pull together or be collectively pulled under.

What we might also read in the chart for the New Year is dependent on its rising sign of Libra. This is true wherever in the world we cast this chart, due to the midnight position of the Sun in Capricorn. Venus is thus the ruler of this chart, and is positioned in the fifth house of creativity. Things are dire on planet Earth, and it will take a concerted joint effort to get ourselves out of it, one that involves working with each other and relating to each other with love, which Venus symbolizes. A powerful chart for a powerful year to come reminds us that we cannot do it alone. It will take all of us.

January 8th Full Moon Full Moon Chart
The Cancer-Capricorn Full Moon that is coming up on the late evening of Sunday, January 8th, is an important one. This is a time for thinking carefully and for taking action that is consistent with our highest purpose. So often our thoughts and even our actions arise out of the standpoint of knee-jerk reactions to events and by yielding to a consensus version of reality enforced by early conditioning. Just as in the metaphor of PlatoÕs Cave, only rarely to we get to escape the narrow view imposed by our own self-created conceptual imprisonment. This Full Moon provides a chance to take a moment, utilizing a fresh vision, to peer outside the narrow view imposed by the chinks of our cavern. This is because as the Full Moon perfects late night Sunday or early the next morning, there is a strong and spiritually positive aspect, a quintile, made from the Sun to Uranus. The trickster planet is emphasized as well by its close semi-sextile to Jupiter, now in forward motion after its Christmas Day station, and at this same moment by its square to Mercury, occupying the second degree of Capricorn and therefore aspecting both Uranus and Jupiter. Uranus with Jupiter breeds new ideas, fresh ways of looking at the world. And since Uranus, in the second degree of Aries, is still close to the Aries Point, the realm of its influence refers not only to contemplation but to action; and what is favored is action that is fully consistent with the evolutionary forces that the cosmos is currently bringing to bear, that is, action that is in alignment with our own evolutionary transformative process of expanding consciousness.

Since the Sun and Mercury are in Capricorn, with a midpoint that conjuncts Pluto as it begins to close its square with Uranus, the radically transformative energy of Pluto is also very much in the picture now. The Uranus-Pluto square gets closer and closer leading up to its first moment of exact in late June. The degrees of their separation, now more than six, become five by the end of March and then shrink to three by the end of April. All these are stages along the way to its greatest intensity – for this spring anyway – that will come after the Summer Solstice. And then the radical intensity of this planetary combination continues through the rest of the turbulent teens. It is best to meet the changes implied by this important pairing of archetypal energies head-on and without delay. Putting off the struggle doesn’t really help. We are strongly encouraged now to find the places inside us that need to transform, and allow them to without getting in the way of our own progress.

Another combination of outer planets that are coming together in a milder way for the remainder of the month are Saturn and Neptune, whose trine is quite close at the time of this Full Moon. This lasts for several weeks right through the entrance of Neptune into Pisces on February 3rd, followed by Saturn’s retrograde on the 7th. These are fundamentally antithetical energies and they do not combine easily, so that as they do the results are varied. Saturn with Neptune implies either transcendence or illusion and it is difficult to choose which. The grounding implicit in Saturn’s sense of limitation and holding back from action can either be powerful, and blended with high idealism, or else a burden to the flights of fancy represented by Neptune. When idealism goes astray it can become misplaced, so that we must also beware at this time of active deception in the name of idealism, such as governmental/media propaganda, or else rose-colored glasses of our own design bordering on self-deception.

We come to a peaceful resolution only by consulting our inner guidance and even then we must keep checking in so as not to fall off course. But then that is what life is all about, so that any extra awareness that we can bring to bear is energy well spent, as we continue to navigate this difficult, exciting and challenging time.

January 16th Last Quarter Moon Last Quarter Moon Chart
This Last Quarter Moon, taking place in the early morning hours of Monday, January 16th, ushers in a week-long period of reflection when we are profitably engaged in mulling over the events that have transpired during the previous three weeks of the Sun-Moon cycle. There is likely to be plenty of food for thought for each one of us, as indicated by the powerful symbolism of the starry messengers that we rely upon for cosmic guidance as we attempt to navigate these intense times. As we slow down to take stock during this last phase of the Capricorn lunation, we are also brought into thoughtful re-alignment by the Saturn-Neptune trine that is still quite active as Neptune begins to slip toward its entrance into its own sign of Pisces over the next few weeks. The dour restriction of Saturn is coming from a more realistic place than numinous Neptune, and tends to bring his fanciful flights down to earth, but this is not necessarily always so. The imaginative and cosmically sensitive outer planet energy of Neptune can equally hold sway and tend to confuse the practicality of the situation so that it is difficult to tell at any particular moment which end, so to speak, is really and truly up.

Saturn is strongly configured at this juncture, since it is conjuncted by the Moon and squared by the Sun just as it slows down, preparing to retrograde early next month, and comes within 2 degrees of an opposition to Jupiter as it does so. This is another powerful planetary amalgam, even though this last pass opposition to Jupiter never completes; in the weeks to come, Saturn retrogrades in the final degree of Libra and Jupiter moves on in Taurus. Over this period there could be reminders of the last time these two planetary archetypes were opposed, in late March of 2011, so that echoes of issues that were brought up at that time might return to haunt us in these next few weeks as Saturn makes its transition.

We are tuning to the inner in more ways than one, since Chiron in early Pisces is conjunct Neptune, and is also activated by Venus and by Mars during this interesting time period. Relationships are on our minds, and as well the personal blueprints of connection that we bring to the table of each potential interaction, scripts that are anchored in the past but not set in stone there, because we have the ability, by looking more closely into these ancient patterns, to recognize the places inside where we are stuck, and to move beyond them.

All these planetary combinations speak to the polarity of inner versus outer, and we win when we acknowledge the power of both of these modes of living and of soulful inquiry. There is neither one nor the other that is more important or more relevant for our day-to-day activities and decision making. When we accede to our deepest promptings we emulate wholeness and our outer lives proceed in greater alignment with what Spirit is asking of us. And when we take the time to examine more fully our internal motivations and past actions, we proceed with greater confidence and with renewed vigor into the unfolding joy of each present moment.

January 22nd New Moon New Moon Chart
This New Moon, coming up late on Sunday evening, January 22nd on the American West Coast, or early Monday morning – like all the New Moons lately – triggers both Jupiter and Uranus on the one hand, and the Chiron-Neptune combination on the other, making it yet another in a long sequence of potent New Moon configurations. Since this New Moon is in Uranus’ own sign of Aquarius, and closely squares Jupiter, the presence of these two planetary archetypes is very pronounced and even startling in their immediacy. Jupiter is a particularly appropriate archetype for combining with Uranus since its exuberance matches that of the trickster planet. Jupiter amps up whatever he touches and Uranus does not need much encouragement to get way out there. Surprising events await us and unexpected epiphanies that will come to us as a result of keeping our eyes wide open.

The Sabian symbol of this New Moon supports this idea. It is “A deserter from the navy” and Marc Edmond Jones has this to say: “the disregard of all consequences for the sake of immediate liberation of the spirit. … Except as a man creates his own allegiances, his destiny has no depth.” This is a message that we all need to take to heart right now since this is in fact 2012 and the time for action is at hand. As Bob Dylan remarked in song during the sixties, the seed period for this turbulent decade of our own:

Come senators, congressmen please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside and it’s ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

In order for our destiny to have depth, as Marc Edmond Jones puts it, we must stand and be counted, and be counted upon as we ride the rapids of the cultural changes that are upon us, or else be discounted in the world process that we are in any case all part of.

Another factor aspected by this New Moon is Chiron, in conjunction with Neptune and aspected as well by a stationing Mars. With Mars turning to retrograde motion we are driven to look inside ourselves for answers and to meditate on our true motivation. Similarly Chiron, the Wounded Healer, contains within its symbolism the theme of tuning to the inner voice, understanding and forgiving ourselves at the deepest possible level for our reactions to the ancient wrongs that were done to us in the name of socialization and of parenting, in spite of our actual needs. We do well when we can proceed with the resolution to no longer allow ourselves to be beholden to a dead and increasingly irrelevant past; and to heed rather the beat of the distant yet distinct drummer that no longer moves in lock-step with consensus thinking. This is the voice inside us that stands for truth and for moving on with our lives in peace and wholeness, in spite of everything.

January 30th First Quarter Moon First Quarter Moon Chart
Coming soon...