Now that Mars is moving forward again, we’re back in action. Processes can progress, and we can move on beyond circumstances in which we were held hostage. In addition, I’ve already noticed a shift since Pluto went into Capricorn. Jupiter being there helps to bring the effects to prominence (I wanted to say, “point the infection”, but I don’t think infection is the right descriptor), but Pluto leads us to see the deeper trends in our world. There were two marvelous stories on PBS last Friday evening, as Pluto made its move.
Plutonian Themes Emerge.
Both were about a new, more practical perspective that is being born in the Christian
evangelical movement. The first report was on NOW with David Brancaccio, the second on Bill
Moyers’ Journal. Brancaccio went to Kansas, a state on the front line of Christian social
activism. Brancaccio spotlighted two churches where pastors with strong political positions had
been let go in favor of younger pastors with less contentious approaches. Their values are similar
but more tempered, and there’s no more preaching political positions from the pulpit (how’s that
for alliteration?) in these establishments. They are focusing more on doing good for those in
need, helping the poor and others in need. Politics is being touted as a personal matter, although
it is frequently clear how the church wants you to feel about particular issues, especially social
ones. One thing that has united Christian evangelicals with those usually more liberal is care for
the environment. Many are rallying around the call to do something about global warming and a
proper stewardship of the planet. This is very good news.
The report on Bill Moyers’ Journal was an interview with John Grisham, who is a devout
Baptist but with compassion for the little guy — kind of a Jimmy Carter-type Christian (not sure
if he’d agree). He made very pointed statements that delineated very clearly what he felt was
wrong with the current stance of many (what I would call) fundamentalists. This clarity reflects a
growing awareness among Christians that perhaps some of their positions were not very, well,
This corroborates my viewpoint that Pluto in Capricorn turns us toward more pragmatic
approaches to the deepest issues that face us. While pragmatism is not all that we need, it is a
shot in the arm of truth. (I just couldn’t resist the ungrammaticality of this line!) If only because
we are concerned for our survival (a Cancer-Capricorn issue), we as a species may be willing to
make compromises that were absolutely unthinkable before this. Where Pluto in Sagittarius
brought us to fly the kite of idealism high in the sky and damn the fallout, Pluto in Capricorn
places results and effects highest on the list of priorities. If you’re not going to accomplish your
goals, you just don’t even contemplate an unproductive path even if the principles behind it
fulfilled the value system of your loftiest dreams.
Reconsidering Pluto in Sagittarius
Pluto in Sagittarius got so many people high on ideals that cooperation and consensus
became lost arts. (I don’t favor compromise, which almost always means that neither side gets
what they want because they haven’t done the work to find their common motivation. The
discovery of common motivation uproots an issue and makes it possible to create a third solution
that supports both sides’ needs.) While we still need ideals, we also need practical solutions.
Capricorn brings these into play. The extreme expression of Capricorn is a moral-less “ends
justify the means” approach that makes Capricorn types infamous for corruption and power-grabs. We will see this side as Pluto in Capricorn plays out, for sure; but with so much at stake,
there is a new air of cooperation and setting aside of agendas in favor of problem-solving.
Any politician who has the insight to see this trend and need in society will do well this
election season, as well as those to come. The winning presidential candidate will be the one who
can inspire while promising to provide security in the form of changes on the personal level. It is
through pain that those who didn’t understand what it takes now are learning, unfortunately. So,
those who have been downsized or off-shored out of a job may come to realize that there are
solutions to those problem that lie in the political domain. They may finally learn that it may be
more important (and possible) to elect someone who will foster a more employee-friendly
regulatory environment that brings jobs back to the US.
As Pluto dodges back and forth this year between Sag and Capricorn, we get the chance
to see the finer distinctions between idealism and pragmatism and the divisiveness that rigid
ideals can bring about.
I did a presentation for the Southern California Astrology Network (SCAN) in January,
and this led me to give the presidential candidates a quick look. While I did not do a
comprehensive analysis, the gestalt I got suggested that McCain or Romney would win the
Republican nomination (this was when McCain was still an afterthought in the caucuses and
while Huckabee’s and Ron Paul’s numbers were higher than his). I looked at Clinton, Obama,
and Edwards, and I was stunned at how strong Obama’s chart looks. Not only is Obama’s chart
strong during this election season (and at the time of the inauguration), but his chart has amazing
ties with the US chart. His chart shows that in so many ways he will heal the wounds that the US
currently bears. It also shows that this is universally true. Not only is his chart strong at the time
of every inauguration, but his chart connections with the US chart are eternal and profound.
(And, just as an aside, I am personally uncertain about his readiness to take the helm, so this
realization came reluctantly at first.) Hillary’s chart is no slouch either. She looks strong enough
to grab the brass ring and be on the podium too, but perhaps not as strong as Obama. (I’d rate
him a “9”, while I’d rate her a “7” on a scale of 10.) And this is not dependent on birth time
astrology. These factors are independent of the points that are determined by birth time. (As you
may know, we do not have accurate birth data on most of the candidates this time.)
Naturally, there is much more I can say about the presidential election, and I will do so in
February’s Power Is Front-Loaded.
A lot of the action in February is already in play at the start of the month. And, peculiarly,
the pattern that exists at its opening will persist through much of the month. This pattern involves
a clustering of planets that occurs in the mid to late degrees of Aquarius, felt most by those with
planets in Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius (the fixed signs). When the planets cluster, there is
a multiplicity of interconnections that get woven together into an elaborate play in our own lives.
In addition, they include several contacts that will be felt in the year to come. Let’s see
what’s going on.
Aquarius Is the Sign of Finding Common Ground.
Aquarius is an air sign, which means that it is impartial and objective. It can even be experienced
as cold (it is a winter sign in the northern hemisphere, where concept of the zodiac was
developed.) and unfeeling. Think of the air in the depths of winter (in whatever hemisphere). It is
dry and staticky; we get shocks from things we touch. This is Aquarius. There’s no argument that
it is connective — perhaps too connective. Aquarius looks dispassionately at what is happening
on a social/group level and decides on what is best for the group. Even if it harms some
individuals in the short run, the welfare of the group is paramount, because the group is then
strong enough to support the individual. Equity between group and individual can only be
maintained if the group holds its members’ welfare as its highest priority, so long as it does not
jeopardize the reasonable existence of the group (with a freely and consciously agreed-upon
When individuals come together to form groups, differences exist and arise in the course
of finding cohesiveness. This is natural. However, unless we have good negotiating skills (and
sometimes even if we do), conflict may arise. Two things are happening as a result from the
planets that are involved, how they interact, and the fact that they are in Aquarius. The first is a
“jostling for equity/agreement”. Issues will come to the surface that need airing, as group
dynamics move from self-interest to group unity. This sorting out process results eventually in
finding common ground, a process that occurs magically if/as the members tune into the spirit of
The second thing is that the complexities of pre-existing issues will be revealed. There is
no doubt that the issues we face in the world today (and perhaps each of us as well) defy solving.
This is because people try to boil them down to a simple explanation so that they can arrive at a
simple solution. This makes the situation more manageable, they think — but if the issue is
difficult, it is usually because of its complexity. The complexity must be patiently explored and
thoroughly understood before a solution can be devised. The true solution is not likely to be the
one arrived at through oversimplification, but it could still be simple. Even if it is not (requiring
many actions on several fronts to get a robust result), it is better to deeply understand a matter
before trying to solve it.
An example of this could be the conundrum of a worldwide recession, or the war
(occupation) in Iraq, or the melting of the ice caps. Each of these requires careful sorting through
what’s happening, why, and how to solve each tendril of the problem. A blind stab or mindless
stab at any of these is useless and wastes time and resources.
The issues we face and encounters we have will be evaluated through this lens as we
make our way through February, both individually and socially, nationally, and as a world
community. This could be experienced as a gradual process, except for the fact that two eclipses
will punctuate the month. This is likely to result in some events around the time of the eclipses
that provide rallying points for problem-solving. Keep this in mind as your month unfolds.
The Aquarian Saga
Here’s how it will work: As January ended, Mercury and Mars were standing still.
Mercury had been traveling through Aquarius since January 7, beginning retrograde (backward)
travel for 3 weeks starting January 28. Mercury, which had made it past the other planets in
Aquarius, will now track back over them as it makes its way backward through the sign. This
gives us two triple contacts, one with Chiron and one with Neptune. Mercury the Messenger is
therefore carrying water for these planets for
the next two months.
Meanwhile, the Sun is also in
Aquarius. It is making its single yearly pass
over Chiron the planet of healing and Neptune
the planet of unseen reality, setting off the
yearly cycle that we experience with these two
bodies. The Sun will connect with the Moon
and Mercury at the same time, and since the
Sun and Moon are precisely lined up, a solar
eclipse occurs at the same time. (See the chart
above.) The Sun connects with Chiron,
Mercury, Neptune, and is eclipsed all between
February 5 and 10.
There is a dispersion of energies after
this, as Mercury moves back to degrees out of
range of the other planets and finally turns
around to go the right way forward again on
the 18th. In the meantime, however, Venus
goes into Aquarius, and it begins to connect
with these planets (Mercury, Chiron,
Neptune) just in time for the lunar eclipse to
occur on the 20th. (See the chart at right.)
What This Means
We will have a rich array of experiences in the house (part) of our chart where Aquarius
is found. This will set a tone for some patterns and issues that will be with us for 12–18 months,
while aspects of them will be resolved within the next 2–4 months.
The relevant theme in our life is something we’ve been dealing with since 1998 on some
level. It will come out now as something in our nature that we need to understand in a new way.
The shift will result in a change in behavior that may be subtle, but it will have profound effects
over time. It will take about a year to implement and see the results, and we may not see signs of
progress right away. We will have to trust our inner sense of direction that what we are doing is
correct. Events or situations will arise that are related to this learning process around the
May 25–26 August 1 August 10-16 October 25–November 1
If you know of activities that you will be involved in on these dates, they will
undoubtedly challenge you to apply your new understanding in some way. One thing to watch
for, on a political level, is the degree to which dishonesty in the presidential campaign is
escalated during these times. I expect some defamatory initiatives to begin during these times,
especially the one in mid-August. This does not mean that your life will be negatively affected,
because individuals have more choice about how they use energies than groups, who are more
likely to respond unconsciously (and thus negatively) to them.
Here’s to Your Health: Saturn Reaches Its Culmination Point.
The Sun began its yearly solar interaction with Saturn last August, and in February, we
experience the culmination — the “Full Moon” — of this cycle. This cycle has to do with
creating structure and taking responsibility. What have you started that has at its core a desire to
serve others? What new structures are you building in your life? Where are you creating better
health in your life? (This could be, for example, better financial health if Saturn is in the right
place in your chart.) Wherever this applies, your efforts will reach a culmination around the 24th.
I’d like to say that Valentine’s Day will make all your partnership dreams come true, but
it is not likely to be the case. Venus and Mars make an awkward contact with each other that
suggests that there are some ways in which our relationships with others will be — awkward.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is better to know that there are ways that the relationship
needs to be improved than to be blithely unaware of a problem.
We have to understand the context to know why this is what it is and how to work with it.
Mars has just spent almost 4 months retrograde, digging up all the reasons why this relationship
isn’t working (or can’t work). Well, it turns out that they’re all inside us! This is good news,
because what’s inside us is easiest to change. (Ever tried changing someone else? Let me know
how that went.) With this perhaps painful new awareness, we’re ready to change, and as Mars is
now moving in its normal forward direction, the healing can begin.
So, sometimes we need to leave things in awkwardness, in ambiguity rather than trying to
fix it on our own, because that allows others to play their role in its resolution. Perhaps the
imbalance in your relationship is based on an imbalance of power. If one person acts unilaterally
to solve a problem, the imbalance persists.
So, although Valentine’s Day may be problematic, look for greater harmony come the
All Things Bright and Beautiful
If you can see the sky in the early morning hours of February 1, you’ll want to gasp in
awe. Venus and Jupiter will be together in the morning sky. If you miss them on the 1st, don’t
worry, they’ll be visible until the 24th, but not so snugly juxtaposed. This is a wonderful blessing,
felt wherever you have Capricorn in your chart. This contact is only felt for about a day, but we
can make the effects more long-lasting through our focus.
All the talk these days is about the economy. Suddenly, people are discovering what many of us
have suffered with for a long time — the US economy is ailing. The seeds for this were planted
in the 1980s through “Reaganomics”, which led the US to become a debtor society at the expense
of many wise initiatives toward energy independence and fiscal responsibility that were put into
place by President Carter.
Now, as people have run out of ways to borrow money against their assets (their homes
being the last of those), it’s time to pay back what we owe. This is going to result in belt-tightening by many people, and a lot of grief due to the new, tighter bankruptcy law passed in
2005; due to the health system as it exists now; and due to the relaxing of usury (high interest
rate) regulations in 2002. As I have said before, we have the chance for a soft landing if the
people at the top take the signs and signals of recession (depression) seriously. So far, they’ve put
a bandage on the wound in the form of lower bank interest rates and a “stimulus” package that
robs Peter to pay Paul. (Think the “rebate” you’re getting is going to help? It’ll come out of your
next year’s tax refund. If you don’t get a refund, you’ll have to pay it back then.)
This relates to the shift of Pluto into Capricorn, but on the more local, short-term level,
it’s a function of the Mars and Mercury retrogrades and stations of the past two weeks. Of
course, the seeds were planted and cultivated over many years. We began seeing signs of trouble
when Mars turned retrograde last November. This follows the pattern that was seen in the winter
before the Panic of 1929. Conditions are different now, and the economy is more diverse, but the
real estate bubble will have to be reckoned with — a new frontier in global economic terms.
Although Jupiter and Saturn are no match for Pluto, because they are harmoniously
connected (by trine) this year, we’ll have some protection from deep difficulties. This may
produce the soft landing I’ve mentioned before, giving us space and time to adjust.
Keep track of what you experience this month, because this is another seed-planting time.
This will help you discover the thread of meaning for 2008 and anticipate when future related
events will occur. It is a good time with great hope for the future, especially because we can set
our intention to make it so!
Significant Planetary Events
Mercury and Saturn are retrograde. Sun is in detriment. Jupiter is in fall.
Venus conjoins Jupiter
Mercury ℞ conjoins
Neptune (2nd of 3)
Sun conjoins Chiron
Sun & Mercury ℞ conjoin
Venus sextiles Uranus
New Moon Solar Eclipse
Mercury ℞ conjoins Chiron
(2nd of 3)
Sun conjoins Neptune
Venus quincunxes Mars
Sun conjoins Lunar North
Node (transiting eclipse
Venus enters Aquarius
Mercury returns to
forward motion (stationary
Sun enters Pisces
Full Moon Lunar Eclipse
Mars trines Lunar North
Sun opposes Saturn ℞
Mercury conjoins Venus
All dates are based on Pacific Time. Blue = harmonious/Red or orange= challenging/intense Events in bold are more significant.