“What about this year? It has been a struggle so far. Any ideas?”
I recently received this question on Facebook. At first I laughed because it is such a broad and big question, and I am far from having any answers. But if together we take a look at your chart and your life, we may see how the current planets and aspects are reflecting your experience, and that can be so helpful for finding the answers within…
I can offer a brief sketch of some general astrological themes for this year (2017): The revolutionary energies of radical change and wrenching transformation that began a few years ago during the epic Uranus/Pluto square are getting triggered off this year by Jupiter in Libra. Additionally there is an emphasis on FIRE, and air feeding fire this year (with Saturn in Sagittarius, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Libra, the Nodes of the Moon preparing to enter Leo and Aquarius, with our first Leo eclipse tomorrow on Feb 10, and Venus and Mars both in Aries right now as well). So it makes sense that collectively we are seeing and feeling instantaneous flare-ups of high-spirited passion and energy, manifesting in all kinds of different ways.
I have a lot of fire and air in my natal chart so I am used to intense energies within myself zooming to the surface for expression. For balance I look to and learn from my more earth and water friends. They are not instantaneous in their reactions. When I am able to slow down my responses, and try to really listen, and pause before speaking — it is miraculous. Taking it a step further is listening for the feelings and needs underneath whatever we are hearing or seeing, that might seem irritating, disturbing, frightening, or enraging… When we can bring mindfulness, inquiry, empathy, understanding, compassion, and presence to whatever is arising within or around us — it is a nourishing tonic for this fiery year, with the potential to offer deep and healing solace. I am needing to review my Non-Violent Communication books and I am loving listening to Tara Brach’s podcasts. She continually reminds people to ask, “What is it like to be you?” When we ask this we automatically become an ally, especially to marginalized and vulnerable others (“What is it like to be you?”), or especially to people with whom we vehemently disagree (“What is it like to be you?”), and often most importantly to ourselves (“What is it like to be me, in this moment?”).
The news about the historic first time ever flyby of Pluto is a few days old now but still interesting to me, and this is the first chance I’ve had to post anything. At the very moment of the flyby of Pluto by NASA’s fast moving spacecraft, New Horizons, which took almost ten years to get to Pluto — the Sun, Moon, Mercury, and Mars were all opposing Pluto. The opposition is an aspect of awareness of the Other. It is like looking across a round table at someone sitting exactly opposite you. Although they are furthest away from you, you are in a position to have the most clear, straight-on view of them compared to all the other seats around the table. So with the faster moving planets in this opposite position we got a much better look at Pluto, who is known to us in astrology as the hidden, mysterious, and powerful symbolic god of the underworld. On the day of the flyby the Sun and Moon were unified in Cancer opposing Pluto in Capricorn, representing a sort of spotlight bringing our undivided attention to Pluto. Additionally Mercury’s opposition represents communication with and about Pluto, and Mars represents decisive and probing action regarding Pluto. Wherever Pluto is currently transiting in your birth chart will give an idea of the area of life that is undergoing a slow but profound death and rebirth process (what we associate with Pluto). During the last couple of weeks with this four pointed opposition to Pluto — we had an opportunity for more awareness of what is being disintegrated and transformed within ourselves or our lives.
These faster moving planets were acting as triggers, going over the degrees of the longer-term transit of Uranus square Pluto, which is correlated with a groundbreaking turning point for us individually and collectively, as well as now literally with new astronomical information about Pluto. Even though Pluto is small in size (though New Horizons found it to be larger than anticipated) and even though scientists are finding many other dwarf planets out there in space, I trust there is a reason why Pluto is unique and has been part of our consciousness for a long time. I am struck by the heart-shaped landmass shown in the new photos of Pluto and widely circulated and discussed in the media. Pluto is associated with doing the heavy and sometimes frightening psychological work of confronting one’s unconscious shadow parts. But this new mass awareness of Pluto’s heart, suggests that on a psycho-spiritual level, once we actually have the capacity to get a closer view of our own deeply hidden feelings and motives, for instance, as symbolized by this distant and invisible (to the naked eye) body in our solar system, we may also discover a more welcoming and loving part of ourselves that we never knew before.
We had a Solar Eclipse New Moon on Mar 20th and there is a Lunar Eclipse Full Moon tomorrow morning (Apr 4th). This Lunar Eclipse (at 14º Libra) is tightly connected with the last exact Uranus/Pluto square, which though ebbing is still very active. So this Eclipse may correlate with moving in the direction of closure regarding the transformative process of internal and external restructuring that took place over the last three years.
The time around eclipses, and especially between a set of eclipses, can be highly charged for many (depending on how it is interacting with your birth chart), because eclipses have a way of bringing things up to the surface, which were previously only brewing in the unconscious. Once in plain view often something must be done or at least seen and accepted as a reality. In this way eclipses necessitate actions and attitudes that usher in needed change. But even positive change can be tumultuous or scary.
As always a Full Moon brings awareness or clarity (though often not until a day or two after the exact Full Moon) as it sheds light where there was darkness (the unknown) before. Also, Full Moons and Lunar Eclipses embody a polarization of some sort as the Sun and Moon are in direct opposition to one another. This opposition between two poles may be felt as an internal tension or experienced with an external person or situation. This eclipse is near the North node, so wherever Libra is in your birth chart, is where something new will be learned, assimilated, integrated, or received.
On Friday (3/20) there will be a Solar Eclipse New Moon, and it is the Spring Equinox marking the astrological new year. Along with the Sun transitioning to Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, the Moon will also enter Aries on Friday. Together this may feel like an extra powerful new beginning in the air. However shortly before this transition, the eclipse and the New Moon will be at the very last degree of Pisces, suggesting the experience of significant endings along with the bounding new beginnings. Additionally this eclipse is aligned with the South Node, which suggests we are letting go of something... Eclipses are associated with big shifts and transitions if they are closely aspecting one’s chart, and they are often felt ahead of time. I like the description of eclipses as a doorway or portal opening up, allowing us to step into a new experience. Along with the last exact Uranus/Pluto square on Monday (3/16) at 15º Aries and Capricorn, this is a moment of culmination — and a time of large scale transformation and change (which could potentially feel like both a crisis and a breakthrough) for many people.
We are currently experiencing an exciting and electrifying Grand Trine (a harmonious, flowing aspect pattern) amongst planets in the three fire signs. The Sun, Mercury, and Venus are in Sagittarius, Jupiter is in Leo, and Uranus is in Aries — with trines happening between Nov 26 and Dec 14, 2014 (see exact dates below). In a few words, the Sun is a symbol of the core self, identify and vitality. Mercury is a symbol of the mind and how we express ourselves. Venus is a symbol of love, beauty, pleasure, and wealth. While these inner archetypes connect harmoniously with Jupiter, there is a sense of optimism, opportunity, and grace. While they connect harmoniously with Uranus, there is the potential for flashes of knowing, radical change, and freedom from limitations that have constrained us in the past. A Grand Trine can bring forth rewards for work already completed. Read more...
We are also approaching a Full Moon on Dec 6, which is the climactic phase of the lunar cycle, and we are building up towards the next Uranus/Pluto square on Dec 15th. This will be the sixth of seven exact hits of this life-changing and transformative square (an aspect representing a turning point) from 2012-2015. All of this together can be a little overstimulating, but that is the small price we pay for exquisite and welcome changes, breakthroughs, and opportunities that may present themselves during this period.
Nov 26th — Venus trine Uranus Dec 4th — Venus trine Jupiter Dec 4th — Sun trine Uranus Dec 5th — Mercury trine Uranus Dec 6th — Full Moon in Gemini Dec 12th — Mercury trine Jupiter Dec 14th — Sun trine Jupiter Dec 15th — Uranus square Pluto
Things are heating up as Mars is getting ready to set off the long-term and life-changing Uranus/Pluto square (active from 2012-2015). When there is a trigger from a faster moving planet such as Mars, it can mark a pivotal point within the larger transformational process that is happening. The current waxing Moon in Aries is giving a preview of the flammable energies that are building. On Nov 10th, Mars will conjoin Pluto and on Nov 12th, Mars will square Uranus. When Mars is making hard connections such as these with Pluto and Uranus, there is a potential for aggression, power struggles, shocks, or accidents, etc. However, these aspects can be utilized consciously and productively… Pluto forces us, for the purpose of deeper healing and awareness, to unearth buried wounds or parts of ourselves that may be manifesting unconsciously in the form of external circumstances or unhealthy behaviors and relationships… Uranus brings change — wanted and unwanted — to push us towards living more in alignment with our inner truths and greater potentials. The trigger from Mars to Pluto and Uranus will provide plenty of energy, motivation, and opportunity to go after our own healing and spiritual development and to confront internal or external conditions that are impinging on desired freedoms. Read more...
The unfoldment process involving the Mars T-square with Uranus & Pluto
Since Mars was retrograde during the Spring of 2014, instead of moving steadily along through the signs, it stopped at about 28º Libra, turned around for awhile from Mar 1st to May 19th, and went back to 9º Libra. Then Mars turned direct at 9º and once again began moving forward through Libra. What this means is that Mars is going over a portion of Libra three times, creating an unfoldment process beginning the first time Mars came to 9º Libra on Dec 25, 2013 and completing around Jul 21, 2014 when Mars will reach 28º Libra for the last time in this cycle. Read more...
With Mars in Libra from Dec 2013 through July 2014, we are all experiencing a focus of Mars-like activity wherever Libra is in our natal chart. Mars is the epitome of rugged individualism, and the Mars archetype embodies desire with the will and force to take whatever actions are necessary to fulfill the desire. However, in the polite and courteous sign of Libra, the archetype of carefully weighing and balancing before taking any actions and thinking first of the other, Mars is discouraged from acting as decisively, directly, and autonomously as is natural for him. So along with going retrograde, which slowed down his drive, being in Libra has moderated Mar’s usual take charge nature. It will be interesting to see how things shift once Mars enters Scorpio on Jul 25th, one of his home signs, where he is more enabled to move in his own rhythm.
One of the most striking parts of this Mars retrograde process has been Mar’s involvement with the Cardinal Grand Cross and the longer term Uranus/Pluto square. Included in the unfoldment process from Dec 2013 thru Jul 2014 is Mars opposing Uranus from Libra three times and squaring Pluto from Libra three times. Mars in direct motion opposed Uranus the first time on Dec 25, 2013 and squared Pluto the first time on Dec 30, 2013. Then retrograde Mars opposed Uranus and squared Pluto both on Apr 23, 2014. After Mars turned direct again it squared Pluto the third time on Jun 14, 2014 and the third Mars opposite Uranus aspect is upon us on Jun 25th.
When a planet goes retrograde and makes the same aspect three times – first direct, then retrograde, then direct again – it represents a three part process. Sometimes the three part process works like this: the first direct hit wakes you up to an issue, the second retrograde hit triggers a profound review of the issue, and the third direct hit corresponds with the beginning of the resolution. This general concept can be helpful in contemplating one’s own three part process, however it isn’t always quite that neat or clear.
It is interesting to note one’s own internal unfoldment that began in Dec 2013 and which will conclude in July. Mars has been the zealous friend spurring Uranus on to make radical changes for the sake of greater freedom and authenticity, and spurring Pluto to destroy that which is causing stagnation for the purpose of making space for a deeper expression of self. The energy is high and possibly tense or volatile especially now as we lead up to the exact Mars opposite Uranus aspect early Wednesday morning, so caution is advised, while embracing those changes and transformations that reflect who you truly are now and what you truly want as of today, regardless of what others may think or want for you. Pluto is about jumping into the fire and facing your deepest fears and coming out the other side empowered. Uranus is about being true to your self. With Mars in Libra, perhaps the caveat is authenticity and honesty — yes, but not at the expense of the other — rather in connection with the other.
April is a uniquely intense month, with the Cardinal Grand Cross peaking Apr 20th thru 23rd, sandwiched in-between two eclipses (Apr 15th and 29th). The revolutionizing Uranus/Pluto square has been in action for a couple of years now, and we’ve been dealing with the preliminary energy of the Grand Cross since Mars entered Libra in Dec of 2013. However this month we experience the exact hits of Mars opposing Uranus, Jupiter opposing Pluto, and all 4 planets squaring each other. This is a moment of climax and possibly crisis as we experience extreme tension between conflicting or opposing forces, that will lead to sweeping changes or big breakthroughs for many people. If you have planets or points in the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, or Capricorn, especially if they are near 13 degrees, you will feel this Grand Cross quite personally. Read more...
The Sun triggered the Grand Cross Apr 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 8th. Mercury will trigger the Grand Cross Apr 14-16th, so those precise days may be stressful or significant for many. The Full Moon Lunar Eclipse (with the North Node) on Apr 15th in Libra may represent a time of clarity and culmination about something needing to be integrated, cultivated, or given more attention — wherever Libra is in your chart will give more information about what that is for you… The New Moon Solar Eclipse (with the South Node) on Apr 29th may represent a fresh beginning regarding something unproductive needing to be released — wherever Taurus (and Aries) is in your chart will give more information about what that is for you… Under the turbulent influences in April some people may behave irrationally or erratically (if they are prone that way), but this can help propel us towards profound spiritual opportunities for growth and to shift old or toxic patterns that no longer serve. While in the pressure cooker of these tense aspects, the deeper challenge is to inwardly surrender (which is different from outward submission) by completely accepting the present moment, and in so doing we become more free and more whole, little by little, moment by moment.
It is rare to have a New Moon exactly on New Year’s day, both powerfully and clearly signifying a fresh new beginning. This New Moon in Capricorn was extra potent and also potentially volatile because not only was it tightly involved with the Uranus/Pluto square, representing a long-term process of deep change and transformation from 2012 to 2015, but it was also square to Mars and opposed Jupiter. Anyone with significant planets or points in the cardinal signs of Capricorn, Aries, Libra, or Cancer (especially around 11 degrees) will be experiencing Dec 30, 2013-Jan 2, 2014 (and perhaps this whole year) more intensely. Dynamic forces are in the air and may stir up anger, brutal honesty, and big energy and motivation to move stagnancy and create change. Read more...
“Pay little attention to what people say or do. Instead, try to see their innermost motive for speaking and acting” (Vernon Howard). When people are triggered they say and do things stemming from the “pain body”. Unconscious fear and hurt can be covered over with defense mechanisms such as denial or anger. Sensing the real feelings and needs underneath is where empathy and understanding come in, which are both crucial for sustaining love and care amidst the inevitable disagreements, growing pains, and change that occur in all significant relationships.
The New Moon is a time for visioning and planting seeds for the future, but we may still feel in the dark about how to proceed. The Full Moon is when more clarity and objectivity will come. Also Venus is retrograde through the end of January. This suggests that this month is especially useful for reflecting on Venusian matters (especially partnerships and love, but also finances, art, and beauty), as opposed to making permanent decisions, because situations and perspectives could shift after Venus goes direct.
For this New Moon in Capricorn, Some of Capricorn’s key themes such as ambition, striving, and success may be activated. I love Ari Moshe’s definition of success: “To me the true definition of success is the experience of performing an action that is in vibrational alignment with who we truly are/who we wish to become. When we perform such actions over a long period of time, we build a successful lifestyle in the sense that all aspects of our life are in expressed harmony with the essence of who we are.”
These are high intensity days within a long-term process of change
Sep 18th-20th are high intensity days. Conflicts, crises, resolutions, and shifts that occur now are part of a long-term and deeply transformative process of change, which is happening on both the individual and collective level. On Sep 18th, Pluto stationed direct, right before the second of seven exact Uranus/Pluto squares on Sep 19th, giving this generational-changing/revolution-bringing aspect extra momentum. Then on Sep 20th, fast moving Mercury triggers the Uranus/Pluto square, which has the potential to stir unconscious or core issues up and into our thoughts, words, and day-to-day interactions. We may not be able to fully appreciate or understand the full impact of what is now in process, as there are still five more exact Uranus/Pluto squares to come through 2015. The seven squares in total indicate that it will be a profound series of changes and upheaval, unfolding over time, urging us to let go of outdated and restrictive structures within our psyches and within our societies. This process can feel challenging or scary, as a part of us has to die to the old way, but ultimately it correlates with a strong push forward and a rebirth that is aligned with liberation from internal and external limitations that are no longer serving.