By Juan Sacelli
January 1, New Year’s Day, is an approximation of the winter solstice, ten days before. The winter and summer solstices are the two days in the year when a line through Sun and Earth points most directly toward Galactic Center, which we can cosmically call “the Source.” We time our year by our relation to Galactic Center. On the summer solstice the line goes from Sun through Earth away from the GC, seeking new horizons; on the winter solstice, the line is from Earth through Sun to GC, back to Source, or going home. In the Northern Hemisphere, at winter solstice the days begin to lengthen instead of shorten. But longer days do not immediately bring warmer weather. It takes awhile to “reheat” the planet. That interval between the lengthening and the warming is symbolized by the 10 days between winter solstice and New Year’s Day.
But whether we think of the start of the year as December 21 or January 1, both take place in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn, ruled by Saturn, is the sign of structure. Governments are structures. Jobs or careers are structures. Families are structures, as are religions. Committed relationships are structures. They define a within or without, a container for our energies and efforts. This year January starts off with a new moon in Capricorn on January 2, which allows us to make certain predictions about the structures and commitments of the coming year. This is an invitation to reframe (restructure) the future, as in, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” We are trying to set goals, parameters or structures for our own story, but also trying to make predictions about where we fit into a larger picture—politics, ecology, the stock market, the housing or jobs market, all governed by Saturn.
But what about the rest of the chart at the new year and new moon? The positions of other planets and their relationships to each other describe (not cause) influences for this new moon and new year. First, we note that Saturn itself, the ruler of Capricorn, rides 30 degrees ahead of the Moon and Sun, in the sign of Aquarius. What that tells us is that we must continue to translate our Aquarian ideals into practical applications. Concrete ways of replacing carbon-based energy with renewables, for instance. Uranus, ruler of Aquarius, is trine (120°) and ahead of Sun-Moon, reinforcing this message, while Mars in Sag lags a semi-sextile (30°) behind the new moon, implying the possibility of increased conflict if we don’t care for Earth. Or don’t make other appropriate corrections in our political and economic systems. Thus, we have both a prompt and a warning.
One more image stands out for this new moon: Venus moving into conjunction with Pluto. Here Venus depicts our relationships, and Pluto our deeper soul purposes; in other words, it is time to bond with those who reflect and support our own core reasons for being alive on this planet at this time. To know the difference between superficial and deep bondings (all true bonds are soul mates).
We then have a full moon on January 17. Full moons always test a primary polarity—in this case, while the sun is coming to the end of Capricorn, the moon is opposite the Earth in Cancer. The test: do the structures we are choosing for ourselves and our society allow us to sense and feel the subtle, or sometimes-not-so-subtle, flows of sensation and emotion which make our lives interesting and worth living? Does it feel good where we “live, move, and have our being?” For this full moon, what jumps out is the sun’s conjunction to Pluto. That is to say, we are looking at fate or destiny, which is not an external force coming from “it” or “them,” but the consequence of the core choices we ourselves have been making.
For some of us, the final lunation of January is a new moon in Aquarius, conjunct Saturn. I say “some of us” as this new moon will come shortly after midnight Central time February 1, which means that for those of you in Mountain or Western time zones, it will still be January. Either way, the conjunction of this new moon at 12° of Aquarius pushing into Saturn (15° Aquarius) emphasizes the urgency of breaking free from the restrictions of past ways of organizing our collectives, in order to give room for new solutions. Here a conjunction of retrograde (review) Mercury with Pluto (fate, our souls) represents the struggle to disentangle our minds from the truisms and banalities of the past; that is, from regressive Fundamentalism in all its forms, religious, political, legal, and cultural. (Oh, and for those of you who become preoccupied with Mercury retro, this one runs from January 14 to February 3. But really, all that means is if you’ve thought things through clearly ahead, you’ll be OK. but if you’re having problems with communication or travel, that tells you that you need to do some reprogramming. Retrogrades are always opportunities to catch up with the work we didn’t get around to earlier).
It is my purpose in this column to describe through astrology some of the crosscurrents which affect our lives, as well as the details of “which planet is dominant when.” I also hope to give some clues as to why and how astrology works. If you have questions or comments in either arena, feel free to let me know; if appropriate, I may discuss your question in a future column.
Brief bio: John Sacelli has been an astrologer, poet, dreamer, idealist, seeker, and rebel for 79 years (don’t we all have birth trauma?). He can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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