2023, aquarius, astrology, eclipse, moon, new moon, pisces, pluto, saturn

April 2023: Finding a new equilibrium

The energetic shifts of March were intense!  With Pluto, Saturn, and Mars all changing signs within two weeks of each other, the seismic shift in energy created was enormous.  And, just as with a geological earthquake, an energetic earthquake also has aftershock waves that continue to reverberate as a new equilibrium is found.

If we think about what an actual earthquake consists of, we start to more closely see the parallels between our energetic experiences last month, and where we find ourselves today.

Earthquakes occur when the giant set of tectonic plates that make up the earth’s upper crust shift against each other and the pressure becomes enough to cause movement along the boundaries of the tectonic plates (or fault lines) as they shift to release pressure that has built up between them.

Most of us have heard of the “aftershocks” that often come after an earthquake, but what are they really?  According to The United States Geological Survey, Aftershocks are a sequence of earthquakes that happen after a larger mainshock on a fault. Aftershocks occur near the fault zone where the mainshock rupture occurred and are part of the “readjustment process” after the main slip on the fault.

This, friends, is what the month of April is really about!  Several large shifts have occurred, and there is a readjustment process that has to occur to find the new “normal” after all of this tension has been released.  Practically, what does that look like?

If we look at what our biggest “fault lines” were in the month of March, they consist of Pluto at the end of Capricorn and in early Aquarius, Saturn at the end of Aquarius and in early Pisces, and Mars at the end of Gemini and in early Cancer.  For those with personal planets in any of these areas of the zodiac, the energy shift will have felt even more momentous.  Post seismic shift, let’s look at where the energies will settle out over the next few months (and, in Pluto’s case, years).

With Pluto being the slowest moving planet, its movement is likely to create the largest and most far-reaching cosmic shift.  We are now experiencing the early days of Pluto in Aquarius.  Pluto will retrograde back into Capricorn in June and will continue moving back-and-forth across the Capricorn/Aquarius boundary for the next few years.  These early days of Pluto in Aquarius are likely to feel initially less restrictive.  Capricorn is a highly structured sign, and Pluto moving through Capricorn has given all of us reason to feel more keenly the bonds that societal structures place on us.  When we pair Pluto’s move into Aquarius, with Saturn moving out of Aquarius with its disciplined energy, there will be ways in which Pluto in Aquarius feels incredibly freeing from a societal perspective.  This may mean moving more fully toward the end of covid, being freer to move about freely without restrictions, travel, etc.  It also may mean more freedom in the way we interact societally.  For example, many of us are now very used to using video calls and other means to stay in touch with people beyond just in-person conversations.  For the new group of people working from home more permanently, there is a whole new freedom in the way they can show up to work (i.e. their cat walking in front of their computer screen during a meeting, or wearing yoga pants instead of dress slacks).  A lot of this energy is freeing and amazing.  

However, Pluto will never let us linger blissfully ignorant at the surface.  Pluto will always prompt us to go deeper and to understand more fully.  With so many of us having spent so much time by ourselves and in our homes during covid, what does reintegrating with society look like?  Is it more stressful for us to interact societally?  Are we realizing that what was “working” for us societally before was only working because we didn’t know any other way?  Pluto in Aquarius will be helping us plumb the depths to understand our relationship with society and our place in it.  Whereas several years ago, we may have seen ourselves by default as members of specific communities, neighborhoods, and friend groups, we may now be questioning whether those are the groups we want to be part of.   What in our existing pre-covid societal structure was working for us, and what actually wasn’t that we now want to change?  These are questions Puto in Aquarius will encourage us to ask.  There may be people considering job changes, moving to new cities, and intentionally creating new friend groups, because they are starting to realize the limitations of their previous communities.

In the midst of this big shift as we try to parse what we did and did not like with our previous societal interactions, we have a New Moon in Aries – the second one this year!  It is rare to get two New or Full Moons in the same sign in the same year.  However, we had an Aries New Moon kicking off the equinox at 0 degrees of Aries in March, and now we have a second one a month later in the final degree of Aries right before the Sun and Moon move into Taurus.  And to supercharge this rare second New Moon in Aries even more, it takes place within a few degrees of the North Moon Node, meaning that it is also a total solar eclipse.

What does this mean, especially as we are all trying to stabilize after the intensity of the planetary shifts in March?

This Aries New Moon and Solar Eclipse will be about embracing new ideas, new paradigms, and new ways of “being” after this cosmic shift.  Rather than focusing on how to “get things back to normal”, which wouldn’t allow us to integrate the learnings from the past few years, we can use the New Moon/Eclipse energy to make the deep, Plutonian changes we need to make.  Oftentime, recognizing a change that needs to be made is Step 1, but if we can’t get beyond that to actually making the change, the new energy withers before it really gets going.  In the synchronicity of the Universe, right after this tectonic shift comes, it is followed by initiatory energy to help us take that shift and run with it to create something better – in our own lives and in our communities.  This is the great task for all of us throughout the month of April – identify the old and stale that is no longer helping us, determine what changes we need to make, and start working to make those changes in a real and concrete way.  We can even think of this as a break-down to build-up.  Wherever we feel stuck and limited, and feel like we can’t build farther, those are areas that are prime candidates to start deconstructing during this month to build a foundation for a whole new set of behaviors and structures.  Big work like this takes time!  So remember that small, baby steps in this direction are perfect; certainly don’t feel the need to complete all of this by the end of April!  If we all start taking positive steps and making positive changes, we will see more opportunities emerge to take that energy farther as we move further into 2023.

Photo by Jason Ortego on Unsplash

2023, aquarius, astrology, Capricorn, pluto, saturn

March 2023: Aquarian Shifts

The planetary shifts in March are intense, and there are more changes happening this month than any month in the recent past. Many planets are changing signs this month. Venus is moving into Taurus, a sign that she rules. After six months in Gemini, Mars is finally moving into Cancer.

However, there are two very important and less frequent planets changing signs this month, both of which involve Saturn.

Let’s start with a little background on Saturn. Saturn is the classic “Father Time” figure. He is noted for bringing discipline, working through hardship, and staying focused on long-term vision rather than optimizing for short-term gain or instant gratification. More generally, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, Saturn is there to help your effort find success.

In traditional astrology, Saturn rules two adjacent signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, and as the Sun moves through these two signs each winter in the northern hemisphere, we have our coldest and darkest days of the year. This is not a coincidence as we think about Saturn’s significations. Life is hard in the winter, especially historically. If you did the work to store grain and food for the winter, you were able to make it through until spring. If you didn’t put in disciplined work, winter was an extremely difficult time.

Saturn has spent the past approximately six years first in Capricorn and now in Aquarius, so it has been traversing signs that it rules during the recent past. After six years of this, on March 7, Saturn departs Aquarius and moves into Pisces, a sign in which it doesn’t have dignity and a sign in which its hard work and discipline is less appreciated. Pisces encourages connection to the universal life flow – not to hard, disciplined work to create things in the three-dimensional world.

This is a big shift for Saturn, and will likely result in Saturn trying to bring disciplined energy to artsy Pisces themes. This next three years is likely to be a time of more dedicated work and money going into painting, music, film, and other art forms. Whereas people may have been more fluid in their artistic approaches in the past, we will likely see art techniques emerge that require more time and discipline and effort to perfect. This in itself is a large Saturnian shift.

However, there is another even larger Saturnian shift coming toward the end of the month.

Pluto, which has spent approximately the past 15 years since 2008 in Saturn-ruled Capricorn is making its first move into Saturn-ruled Aquarius on March 23rd, shortly after the spring equinox. Pluto will spend the next few years retrograding back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius, so we will see some overlapping themes between these two energies, but this is Pluto’s first foray into Aquarius since it was discovered in 1930.

Pluto’s intense, transformative energy applied to Capricorn has shown us the cracks in governments, financial institutions, the economy, the job market, our ability to work through global health crises, and other public, Capricorn-oriented institutions. Think of the 2008 housing crisis (which kicked off as Pluto moved into Capricorn) and the covid pandemic and resulting supply chain shortages and economic problems (which happened at the end of Pluto’s traversal through Capricorn). Pluto has shown us weaknesses in our existing institutions. Pluto in Aquarius is going to look very different.

Where Capricorn is about institutions, Aquarius is about societies. Where Capricorn is about fitting into known structures, Aquarius is about creating new structures that work for a greater proportion of people. Where Capricorn is about what most of us would call “climbing the corporate ladder”, Aquarius is about finding ways to make the ladder more equitable for more people to climb. Although this sounds like a fantastic shift, it is important to remember that no Zodiac sign is “good” or “bad”, or even “better” or “worse” than another Zodiac sign. Every sign has its strengths and its shadows, and Pluto in a sign tends to show us the shadow sides as a cautionary tale. We have definitely spent the past 15 years seeing the shadow sides of some of our Capricorn institutions and organized structures. Now, with Pluto in Aquarius, it’s time to see a different shadow side. Fighting for equality and equity is important, and being mindful of our community is important. But with the shadow side of Aquarius, the reason for the fighting can get lost and we are just fighting to win, and we find ourselves feeling hate and contempt for the other side. Because Aquarius is oriented around creating new social structures, it feels no need to fit into existing social structures. This can be helpful for breaking out of old patterns, but also firmly establishes Aquarius as a rebel who will not be swayed by peer pressure. The shadow side of Aquarius occurs when people embrace this rebel attitude, disconnect themselves from the very people they want to help, and remove themselves emotionally from society. Their path then becomes about winning a societal war that they believe is justified, but without having a heart-centered, compassionate approach. Aquarius (despite the way its name sounds) is an Air sign, not a Water sign. Aquarius is the Water-Bearer, the one who carries or holds space for the emotion of others. But in doing so, the shadow side of Aquarius is to become disconnected from their own emotions and to become a facilitator rather than a partner, an observer of others’ emotions rather than an emotional person themselves. And it is nearly impossible to bring productive, helpful social change from a place of unemotional detachment. From this place, “winning” starts to look more and more like “being right” rather than bringing society to a better place.

Now, of course, the next 20 years is not going to be all about the shadow side of Aquarius! But wherever Pluto goes, we find ourselves going into the Underworld to deeply understand which things are built on a firm foundation and which things have become distorted and corrupted. Pluto in Aquarius will show us some societal organizations that have clear visions and are making real change in the world to move the human race forward. However, it will also show us societal organizations that have become corrupted – that are more focused on being right and hating their opponents than they are on their original vision. That are so comfortable being the rebel that they don’t realize there is a difference between being disliked because you are different and being disliked because you are unreasonable and lack empathy.

However, all of this being said, one commonality between the two signs of Capricorn and Aquarius is that in traditional astrology, Saturn rules both signs. Setting up strong institutional structures and social structures both require patience, discipline, intense work, low ego, and maintaining a commitment to your vision and your duty. Saturn rewards those who build both institutional and societal structures in this way. Those people who have been laboring hard to build things in a highly ethical and disciplined way will begin to see the fruits of their labor through strong, solid structures. These are the structures we will see hold solid during the next 20 years of Pluto in Aquarius. Those that have tried to take shortcuts or who have fallen into the shadow side of Aquarius and become more focused on “being right” rather than “being good” will find their structures crumbling beneath them.

Many people feel a little apprehensive approaching Pluto. This is wise! In Greek mythology, Pluto, or Hades, is the god of the Underworld and accepts deceased souls into his kingdom. Nothing about this figure was light or merry; Plutonian energy is dark, heavy, and intense. However, it is not “bad”. Understanding something all the way down to its roots brings knowledge and wisdom and none of us wants to stay in the realm of the superficial forever. For those of us willing to accept Saturn’s lessons of putting in hard work and discipline and ethically “being the change we want to see in the world”, Pluto moving through Saturn’s sign of Aquarius for the next 20 years can be experienced very positively. Pluto will help us find and repair any cracks in the foundations of our beliefs and build a worldview and set of structures that will outlast us and stand the test of time. The more we can focus on the long game rather than quickly won and quickly lost gains, the more this cycle will represent a time of intense growth and development for each of us.

Photo by Oleg Chursin on Unsplash