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

aquarius, astrology, festivals, Jupiter, pisces, planet, retrograde, saturn, Signs

Lughnasa Festival – Jupiter in Aquarius

Lughnasa – the final Celtic festival to celebrate the harvest. Celebrating the nearing end of summer and preparations for winter. Celebrating the last of the harvest while also facing the reality of another winter. Lughnasa falls on August 1, and this year it certainly does feel like the beginning of an end. Both of summer, which this festival marks, but also socially and astrologically.

Several days ago, Jupiter, after a brief respite in Pisces from May 13 – July 28, has retrograded back into Aquarius, leaving us wrestling with themes from several months ago that we likely thought ourselves past. Some of these are obvious and impersonal. The covid restrictions are an obvious example. As more and more people got vaccinated in the spring and early summer months and covid case numbers went down, many of us started to relax, feeling like after over a year and a half of restrictive Saturn energy (first Saturn co-present/conjunct Pluto in 2020, followed by Saturn square Uranus in 2021), we were finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Many of us started going to restaurants, started to see each other’s faces instead of just impersonal, emotion-hiding face masks. However, in the past few days, Jupiter our benefic planet retrograded out of his home sign of Pisces and into Aquarius where he spent the first half of 2021. He is no longer in a sign that he rules, and he is now back to being copresent with Saturn. What this means is that he is distinctly less able to work his “lucky” magic and the best we can hope for is a softening or a few bits of luck in our Aquarius-ruled areas of life. It is interesting to see how literally we are seeing this. Regardless of personal feelings that individuals may have about the covid vaccines, there is a very clear message from social and political leaders: Our way out of these newly-returned (Jupiter out of Pisces and back in Aquarius) restrictive measures (Saturn) is to get a vaccine (Jupiter, often positioned as a wise, benefic physician with healing remedies).

Apart from this very apparent difference we are seeing of Jupiter’s influence in Pisces versus moving back to Aquarius… what else may we expect to see due to this shift? It is partially complicated (of course!) because nothing happens in isolation. Jupiter retrograding back into Aquarius is not the only thing happening in the sky during this time! However, for the purposes of this post, I want to focus on Jupiter’s move from Pisces to Aquarius and the shift in energy that movement by itself will bring.

Aquarius is the coldest sign which occurs (in the Northern hemisphere) during the deepest part of the winter, when living things are most in hibernation mode and there is not yet a glimmer of rebirth in the frozen ground. Aquarius is also a fixed sign; there is no view yet of a transition to spring. Pisces represents a time of increasing warming and a time of change. The days are getting longer, and spring is imminent. The end of a cycle is completing and the new beginning is about to rise (quite literally) as a phoneix out of the ashes of the soil in spring.

A retrograde of Jupiter, the planet called in ancient times the “greater benefic” from the sign of Pisces into Aquarius will definitely cause a strong energetic shift. This may definitely feel like an energetic loss of optimism. Again, we may be seeing this in a literal way via the covid situation, but we also feel this on many other levels in our life. Areas in our lives where we may have felt change happening, the figurative ground of our souls starting to soften in preparation for new seeds to sprout, may now start to feel as though the change is stagnating or even reversing. We are becoming stuck for some reason we can’t define. The optimism that came so readily a few weeks ago may be difficult to find now. Particularly with Jupiter moving back to be co-present with Saturn in a Saturn-ruled sign, there will be even more of a feeling of increased restrictions, boundaries around us, and a cage (visible or invisible) that we just can’t break free of. In some ways, this may feel even more restrictive than the previous Jupiter in Aquarius energy in the beginning part of 2020, because we were used to restrictions then. Now, after experiencing the gorgeous Piscean rainfall of Jupiter on the parched ground of a Capricorn/Aquarius-dominated time, these restrictions may feel even greater, and the figurative chains on our ankles may feel even more chafing.

However, although this paints a somewhat bleak picture, there are good parts mixed in here as well! Any areas that are Aquarius-ruled in your life have been under a huge constrictive influence over the past few months with only Saturn in that sign. With Jupiter there now, you are likely to get a little luck back in those areas. Anything that has been especially blocked may get a little positive bump or nudge into an easier direction.

Also, Aquarius is the sign of social awareness and justice and the sign of technology. These are both definitely areas that could use an infusion of some of Jupiter’s benefic rays!

It is also important to be aware that Jupiter is retrograding into Aquarius; we have seen what Jupiter in Aquarius looks like between December 19, 2020 and May 13, 2021. Jupiter in Aquarius is not new to us! There is nothing in this energy that will likely feel new. Jupiter is retrograding through a path it has already recently traversed. So this is less about experiencing new restrictions than about a final opportunity to really close out some of the older themes in a productive way. If we just “got through” the first part of 2021 but didn’t really learn how to “be” in that restrictive space and deal with the increased boundaries in a positive way, this is a chance to go back and re-integrate some of that. If we had feelings around social justice, better uses for technology in our new air-centric world but didn’t really do anything about those feelings, this is the time! Whenever we have retrograde planets, there is a sense of turning inward rather than outward. So start with your internal work first before rushing out to make positive outward changes; this is the real wisdom that Jupiter retrograde into Aquarius can bring us.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom – Aristotle

People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering. – St. Augustine

Photo by Rowan Freeman on Unsplash

planet, pluto, retrograde, saturn, Signs

The Wheels of Change Turn – Backwards!

There has been so much change across the world over the past several months that it almost feels unbelievable that there could be much more change.  However, May 10-15 was a significant week on the astrological front and, while nothing as prominent as the Saturn-Pluto conjunction happened over that week, there were still subtle but distinct shifts in energy that all of us will feel more or less, depending on natal chart placements.

Let’s start with Saturn, which stationed retrograde at 1 degree of Aquarius on Sunday, 5/10 in the Pacific timezone.  There was a little relief when Saturn departed from Capricorn so that it was no longer co-present with Pluto and the South Node.  Now Saturn is headed back for its last set of interactions in Capricorn for almost three decades, and there will definitely be a theme of closing things out.  Although Saturn won’t actually enter Capricorn until July 2nd, its retrograde slows down any momentum that it has been gathering in Aquarius and moves it closer to revisiting its conjunction with Pluto.  Wherever Capricorn lies in your natal chart, expect a brief return to some of those recurring, perhaps more difficult, Saturn/Pluto themes from the past 2 and a half year as those energies become fully integrated in your life and head towards their final chapter.

One day later, on May 11th, Mercury moved into Gemini.  Moving from the slow, plodding fixed sign of Taurus into its home sign of Gemini will be a move that greatly strengthens Mercury’s power, and communication will see an energetic boost.  This is one of the more positive movements in the month of May, and any boost we can get to communication (particularly given that the majority of it is now done via video conferencing for most of us!) will be welcome.

One day later, late, on May 12th, Mars finally departed Aquarius for Pisces.  While Mars in Pisces is not particularly inspiring as the Piscean dreaminess is antithetical to the Mars “get things done” attitude, this will be the first time since Feb 17th that Saturn and Mars won’t sharea sign.  Putting a sign boundary between them should definitely provide some relief from the Mars/Saturn tension from the earlier part of the year.  Mars in Pisces will likely be all about “doing”, but will direct that “doing” based on Piscean/dreamy intentions that may or may not be reflected in objective reality, so some of this Martian action may not result in the intended consequence.  When Mars departs Pisces for Aries on June 28th, we will likely see a much more aligned, effective energetic push towards movement and accomplishment!

A few hours after Mars departed Aquarius, late on May 12th, Venus stationed retrograde in Gemini.  While a retrograde Venus certainly doesn’t make relationships easier, it provides an excellent opportunity to revisit aspects of your relationships that may or may not be working and provide the chance to really evaluate what is serving you in your relationships, and what could benefit from an overhaul.

Then, two days later on May 14th, Jupiter joined Pluto, Saturn, and Venus in retrograde motion as it stationed at 27 degrees Capricorn.  All of these retrograde planets will definitely lead to a collective “slowing down” with less forward motion than we would typically like, and a lot of revisiting old ideas/thoughts/evaluations in our minds over and over as we look for better solutions, and generally experience delayed gratification, particularly since both benefics – Venus and Jupiter – are among the retrograde planets.

Bottom line: there was a lot of planetary action starting the week of May 10th, and much of it related to planets moving retrograde!

In fact, we saw three planets station retrograde during that four day period.  The word retrograde comes from the two Latin roots of gradi (meaning “to walk”) and retro (meaning “backwards”).  So the word literally means to walk backwards.  And that is exactly how retrogrades tend to feel… as though we have taken the proverbial two steps forward and one step backward, unable to make the forward progress we are trying to and likely feeling somewhat frustrated in the attempt.  This will be felt in nearly all areas of our charts that these four planets touch.  Mercury will join the retrograde party on June 18, just a few days before Venus stations direct on June 24/25.  We will be dealing with this general planetary retrograde motion for several months, as the various remaining outer planets move into retrograde (Neptune on June 23, Uranus on August 16, and Mars on September 10).  As can be seen from the rough diagram below, all of the planets will spend some amount of time retrograde in 2020, and some of them (particularly the outer planets) will spend a significant portion of the year in retrograde.

 

A rough diagram of the durations of planetary retrograde in 2020 for each of the planets
A rough timeline of planetary retrograde in 2020 for each of the planets

What do all of these retrogrades mean?  How “bad” are retrogrades?  Although the idea of taking two steps forward and one step back doesn’t sound appealing to most of us, it seems as though it is already a strikingly accurate description for the way the after-effects of the giant Saturn-Pluto conjunction that coincided with the worldwide covid-19 pandemic are playing out.  This is true on both an individual level and on a collective level.

 

Collective Retrograde Effects

As a collective, it would be hard to think of another time in recent history in which we have spent so much time agonizing and re-agonizing over decisions, trying to find the correct path forward.  The news the past few weeks is rife with economic re-opening plans that are continuously re-evaluated as more data becomes available.  Expected economic re-opening dates are announced, and then get pushed out farther.  Re-openings start to happen and then are brought to a halt again.  Restaurants are poised and ready to open and are continuously reviewing all guidelines for a safe re-opening over and over as more as the guidelines start to formalize.

 

Personal Retrograde Effects

And then, on a personal level, even for those geographic areas and industries where the economy is starting to re-open, everything looks very different than before and there is a feeling of having “retrograded” from the freedom that we experienced in January.  Going grocery shopping takes longer than usual and requires extra vigilance to keep six feet between yourself and others.  Even an activity as simple as walking down a sidewalk requires attention to detail and frequent detours to the road to keep from inadvertently passing too near another person.  Buying simple items like flour or toilet paper may require trips to multiple stores.

 

Retrograde Effects by Planet

Yes, we are certainly seeing classic retrograde symptoms in our world already.  And if we look at the four planets currently in retrograde (Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto), how would we expect to see this manifested in particular?

Venus

Venus is retrograde in Gemini, which at a surface level would indicate that communication in our relationships would be delayed/frustrated during this time.  YES!!  Has anyone not been struggling to communicate over Zoom, with family, friends, and coworkers during this time!  Has anyone not experienced Zoom fatigue on multiple levels over the past few months?  Is there anyone whose communication has been been overall easier and more understandable and concise recently.  (If so, we should talk; I would love to see your natal chart!  😉 )

Jupiter & Pluto

Jupiter and Pluto are retrograde in Capricorn, which would lead us to think  transformation (Pluto) and prosperity/growth (Jupiter) would experience delays/frustration in many of our erected structures (whether political, social, governmental, etc).  YES!!  All of the boundaries which we have erected based on social distancing/flattening the curve are slowing down prosperity/growth on a global as well as a personal scale.  In addition, our efforts to transform the structures around the ways we work has been painful and difficult for many of us.  Finding our new daily routine, adapting to life without physically spending time with friends, family, or coworkers, figuring out how to either manage being unemployed during this time or how to continue working effectively from home…. this has required a transformation for all of us in all of our daily habits and routines.

Saturn

Saturn is currently retrograde in Aquarius (and soon to be Capricorn) before it goes direct.  That would lead us to look for delays relating to boundaries and new and potentially revolutionary technologies as well as humanitarian efforts.  Again, we are certainly seeing struggles in those areas.  As we attempt to find a balance between providing support for those affected either physically or economically by the virus, we are all caught in a macroscopic and microscopic struggle to find new ways of working, new ways of helping others, new ways of slowing down the virus, etc.

Neptune?

What can we expect next?  Neptune is the next planet to go retrograde in Pisces (its home sign) on June 23.  All of this collective energy of dreaminess may result in assumptions based on fantasy rather than reality that further slow down our ability to move out of this massive covid-19 time.  Or, since Neptune is in its  home sign in Pisces and hopefully exhibiting its more positive qualities despite the retrograde, maybe the Piscean collective dreaminess and knowledge that we are all together in this will result in some creative (although potentially delayed) solutions?

 

Conclusion

Regardless, while this is a long stretch with a variety of planetary challenges and we find ourselves re-evaluating decisions over and over as more data becomes available and conclusions we made last week may now be irrelevant, it is important to find the areas where these configurations can counter-intuitively set us up for success and help us move forward in the longer-term.

We have all been given a unique opportunity to evaluate what really has a purpose in our lives versus what has just “been there” but doesn’t reflect an energy we want to cultivate.  This could be a habit we want to break, a person who doesn’t contribute to the energy we want to surround ourselves with, a job that doesn’t fulfill us, a lifestyle choice that we have outgrown, a routine we don’t have job in following.  We can all pay particular attention to the houses in which these retrograde planets fall for us for pointers on which areas of our lives could benefit from a second look.  (Certainly the Capricorn house in each person’s chart will have been particularly activated over the past several years and especially in the first half of 2020.)

Essentially as some of the largest cyclical motions in our solar system have temporarily ground to a halt and slowly reversed directions, a pause button has effectively been pressed.  We all have the opportunity to step back, evaluate the direction of our lives, and make any needed changes so that we are ready as the pause button is released.  When fairer skies come in the future, they may be even fairer based on our ability to evaluate the areas of our lives that need to be transformed and on our motivation to put in the work (whether physical, psychological, spiritual, or emotional) to do just that.

planet, saturn

Saturn: A 2020 Capricorn/Aquarius Cocktail

Saturn: The Greater Malefic

Saturn has been such a big part of the energy of the past few years, and with about six years of Saturnian energy where Saturn is in signs that it rules (Capricorn from 12/20/17 – 4/22/20 and Aquarius from 4/23/20 – 3/7/23) (retrograding back into Capricorn for several months from 7/2/20 – 12/17/20), we are looking at about five and a half years of Saturn in its own rulership. (Although though we have had a tough time of Saturn in Capricorn/Aquarius, a good part of that is a series of unfortunate conjunctions with the Tail of the Dragon, Pluto, and Mars…. not exactly a cocktail for fun and games!)

Saturn gets a bad reputation as a malefic in traditional astrology, and so this extra dose of Saturnian energy (particularly given its momentous, world-defining conjunction with Pluto in January 2020) is generally not welcome. Frankly the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 isn’t giving people much incentive to think of Saturn as anything more than a malefic to be avoided as much as possible either. I straddle the line between traditional and modern astrology, so the idea of Saturn as a malefic resonates with me, but at the same time, what would our planetary charts be without Saturn, our old, wise, teacher, forcing us into the discipline that we would never learn given another option?

Saturn: The Teacher

Saturn’s teachings are not for the faint of heart, certainly, but they definitely have something that our modern world seems to be lacking.

Most of the really great things in each of our lives are things that we worked hard for. Things we overcame obstacles for. Things that cost us very little tend to be valued very little. Very similarly to the lone sea-goat represented by Capricorn steadfastly climbing a mountain without a clear finish line in sight, keeping fixed on the goal and turning aside neither to the right-hand nor to the left, but climbing ever up and up, Saturn, more than any other planet, gives us the opportunity to really work towards something difficult, maintain discipline, and prove to ourselves that we are stronger than we thought and can hold on to the end. Saturn gives us that ability to face ourselves in our mirrors, staring into our own eyes and seeing a new version of ourselves, more disciplined and somewhat harder and stronger around the edges than we were previously.

Hard-working diligent patience is undeniably associated with Saturn. No quick wins, no instant gratification. Saturn frowns upon these, and wastes no opportunity to remind us that anything easily gained is easily lost. Saturn believes in doing everything the right way, regardless of how long that takes. Boundaries, structures, and rules (definitely concepts in sharp focus during this Covid-19 crisis!) are all within Saturn’s well-worn wheelhouse. And it’s important to remember that despite the way the current environment feels, it’s reasonably safe to say that none of us would thrive very well in an environment with no rules or boundaries, and chaos would likely ensue. Certainly it’s hard to produce anything of real, lasting value without at least an awareness of structures and boundaries and a solid grasp on reality. Saturn is, at the end of the day, a teacher. A hard teacher, and one whose lessons are typically unwelcome, and yet one whose lessons are worth learning. The plodding nature of Saturnian endeavours also forces us to really think about what we are striving and working for. In a “quick win” situation, we aren’t spending much time thinking about what something is worth to us, because our investment is small. But when we are investing in something that requires months or years of investment, we will absolutely put the time into considering whether that endeavor is worth our effort at all. In this way, Saturn helps to ensure that we are focused on the correct things in a way Jupiterian optimism or Venusian temporal appreciation will not. Saturn is about sacrifices, and inherent in this is the idea of whether or not what Saturn is asking you to do is worth what you are giving up to do it.

A Series of Conjunctions

Saturn is in the middle of a series of conjunctions in the two signs that it rules, so let’s break these down.

12/26/19: New moon eclipse at 4 degrees of Capricorn (note that eclipse cycles last about six months… and this eclipse has definitely heralded a string of events of literally epic proportion that have extended significantly beyond December 2019!

01/12/20: Mercury conjoins Saturn as Saturn conjoins Pluto at 22 degrees of Capricorn

01/13/20: Sun conjoins Saturn at 22 degrees of Capricorn

03/31/20: Mars conjoins Saturn at 0 degrees of Aquarius

12/21/20: Jupiter conjoins Saturn at 0 degrees of Aquarius (The winter solstice!)

Definitely some intense Saturn energy going on, particularly at 22 degrees of Capricorn and 0 degrees of Aquarius.

Capricorn & Aquarius: Structures & Society

Certainly the areas we saw the initial largest effects from Saturn’s transits are areas of structure (hospitals, government, economy, businesses). We are definitely seeing that the next ripple of waves are very related to community/society – present even in the name of the new phrase in our lexicon: “social distancing”!

Even the term “social distancing” is a joining of the Aquarius focus on society and the Capricorn focus on boundaries. Keeping a six-foot boundary (Capricorn) around yourself when in society (Aquarius). The astrology here is a little difficult to ignore!

I absolutely love the decans, and find their significations to be uncannily accurate, even by astrological standards. Therefore, let’s consider the decanic potential of these two degrees.

22 degrees of Capricorn falls into the third decan of Capricorn. Ruled by the Sun and Mercury. This decan carries a large responsibility for decision making, power, authority, kingdom.

0 degrees of Aquarius falls into the first decan of Aquarius, and is ruled by Venus and Saturn. It is the decan of the individualist, the person who trods new ground. It is also indicative of the person exiled from their homeland; there is an inherent loneliness in this decan.

As we think about the significance of these two decans, we see an interesting juxtaposition of intense responsibility combined with intense individualism and solitariness. On one side, we have a ruler responsible for an entire group of people within his/her realm of authority, and on the other side we have an individual who is completely responsible for only themselves without an area to even call home. What does this interesting set of Saturn conjunctions in these two degrees look like? Although there is much more that could be said for these specific conjunctions based on the other planets involved besides Saturn, I would like to focus on Saturn and these two degrees. Interestingly, there is much about the current Covid-19 crisis that mirrors these two dichotomies. We have on the one hand, an entire world of leaders all forced into the difficult decision of making life-and-death decisions for their respective countries/states/cities while trying to balance extreme economic hardship versus sickness and possibly death while having very little information about this new virus to even use for assessment purposes. There are no easy options here, and clearly with our malefic Saturn transiting the 22nd degree of Capricorn, this brought out all the difficulties inherent in decision making, power, and authority. It is definitely not all fun and games when crises like these rock the very core of our world!

Meanwhile, at 0 degrees of Aquarius, most people are left feeling like their sense of security, safety, and their understanding of their “home” has been betrayed. In some way, then, all of us are somewhat exiled from any previous states of relative security and safety. And there is no clear sense of when (or if!) that sense of security will return and if there is a clear path back to the “home” from which we have been forcibly exiled.

While it is hard to imagine what the end of this Saturnian-influenced time may look like, when we emerge from the other side of this, we will likely be amazed by how resourceful we all have learned to be and will have found somewhat new identities, not only as individuals but also as a part of our local communities that have struggled through this time together.