The big picture
No doubt the January 11 Full Moon Eclipse in Cancer brought a major shift of energies to our region, with rain finally falling on our parched land. With the Eclipse’s extraordinary alignment to one of the major astrological occurrences in recent year, the Capricorn Saturn-Pluto’s conjunction, the weather change was only one of the many events that this powerful transit brought in its wake. This regional experience reflects the fact that the long awaited and by many dreaded alignment is now technically behind us, even if still powerfully close. The numerous thunderstorms we are experiencing are just another sign that a massive pent-up energy is being released. Many of us feel lighter and more optimistic; also awed by nature’s uncanny power to surprise us.
We are certainly not out of the wood though. The failure of the December 2019 UN Madrid Climate Conference to achieve significant commitments from participating countries clearly demonstrates that we are still hovering at the edge of a chasm, separating us not only from viable solutions to the pressing climate crisis, but also from a unifying vision for the future: first world countries versus developing ones; aging politicians and plutocrats versus angry activist teenagers; science versus conspiracy theory etc.
Pluto in Capricorn is destined to bring profound changes that could be lethal if we do not take responsible charge of the situation. Allowing Pluto, ancient God of the Underworld, to do his own thing could mean unprecedented ecological disasters, massive extinctions and consequently social upheavals the world has not seen in a long time. Positively the slow passage of Pluto through Capricorn (2008-2023) could instead provide us with the moral courage and resourcefulness to tackle this crisis and indeed survive it, if not completely avoiding the dangers we are facing, as the Australian fires have sadly demonstrated.
Saturn, known as the Lord of Karma among other titles, is not missing this opportunity to deal out some heavy penalties for our past transgressions and callous indifference. For this reason it is considered by most astrologers an ominous companion for Pluto. To me Saturn represents also a hopeful side of this difficult equation though: the down to earth, responsible attitude that is absolutely crucial to the success of any human intervention. Like knowing, for instance, the limits of what can be realistically achieved, finding viable local and global solutions, rather than aiming for the stars only to fail miserably.
Apart from all that, there is indeed a light at the end of this tunnel because Saturn will soon be leaving Capricorn (March 22) to enter Aquarius. This transit, due to retrogradation, will last only until July 2. When Saturn will re-enter Aquarius for good, on December 17, it will also, few days later, become conjunct to Jupiter, on December 22. This alignment could indeed bring some welcome opening to unity and humanitarian reforms, all sentiments that seem unattainable under the ominous shadow of the current conjunction to Pluto. Furthermore the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius is not just one of their regular twenty year meetings. It represents in fact the momentous shift of these alignments from the Earth Signs (where most of these conjunctions have occurred since 1802) to the Air Sign (where most will occur until 2140!). Astrologers throughout the ages have considered the alignments of Jupiter and Saturn extremely influential in shaping world’s history, its prevalent ideologies and socio-political leanings. While collectively the Earth Signs are driven by the need for material security and a pragmatic view of life, the Air Signs are driven by ideals and a reforming, sometimes even revolutionary spirit.
However 2020, with Jupiter in Capricorn also activating Pluto in early April, at the end of June and again in mid November, will see most probably an exhalation of similar issues to the ones we have experienced in 2019. Only at the very end of the year Jupiter’s ingress into Aquarius, with Saturn, could mark a positive shift. The next UN Climate Conference will be held in Glasgow, England, on November 19 2020, just a month before the Aquarius alignment. There is hope that the Aquarian spirit of mutual understanding and friendship may prevail over our differences and that more visionary, idealistic goals could drive the discussions toward the more radical approach needed in this grave emergency. Pluto, in Capricorn until 2023, can in fact provide enough down to earth focus to manifest ideals into practical forms.
In the short term
It is that time of the year again, on March 8, when the Sun will align to mystical Neptune in Pisces, encouraging us to become more conscious of our innate intuition, imagination and compassion. It will be easier to forgive and forget, washing past resentments into the unifying water of this oceanic Sign. With Mercury, returning in Pisces, after retrogradation, from March 16 to April 11, the gentle, artistic, dreamy influence of this Sign will remain with us, softening the harsh realities of the intense Capricorn experience.
The Retrogradation of Mercury between Pisces and Aquarius
February 17 to March 10
Mercury is ready for its regular loop, reminding us that it is time to review our thinking and the way we communicate our thoughts, to achieve the best possible outcome personally and in our social life. People who happen to have the Sun, Moon, Planets or Chart’s Angles in the first half of the Mutable Sign of Pisces-Virgo-Sagittarius-Gemini or the last two degrees of the Fixed Signs of Aquarius-Leo-Taurus-Scorpio will be more directly affected by this retrogradation.
To avoid feeling severely ‘muddled headed’ (a common side effect of Mercury in Pisces, even when not retrograde), we could all try to take it easier at this time; not attempting to deal with too many matters or to stick too strictly to plans and routines. The best would be to stay mentally pliable, in order to adapt to shifting circumstances. It could also be wise to be tolerant of confusing or mixed messages we may receive from other people. Whom can we expect to trust when we cannot even trust ourselves?
From February 8 to March 5 Venus will transit fiery Aries, where she takes on the role of Warrior Goddess, fighting against injustice and inequality. During this transit she will cross swords with all the Capricorn planets: first with Jupiter, on February 24, then with Pluto, on February 29, and finally with Saturn on March 4. This could mean heightened chance for disputes and open conflicts, when ‘winning’ is the whole point. On the positive side, things that need facing, directly and courageously, can be faced at these times. All will be well if we manage to move on afterward. No time for regrets and looking back when Venus is in Aries.
Venus will transit Taurus from March 5 to April 4, a more relaxed and affectionate place for Venus, when art and pleasure could inspire creativity and also ability to focus more intensely on whatever we do. Said that, just as the Sun separates from Neptune (March 8) Venus becomes conjunct Uranus (March 9), bringing two powerful outer planets to play on the daily stage of life and relationships. Despite the loyal and steady nature usually attributed to Venus in Taurus the alignment to Uranus will bring up the more rebellious side of the Goddess, if for a few days. New and exciting relationships could spring up as from nowhere, and perhaps opportunities for adventure or to just prove our independence.
From February 16 to March 31 Mars will be transiting Capricorn, joining the planetary group already there, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. This will be therefore an important transit because Mars’ role is to bring things out into the open, also activating into action the slower moving celestial bodies. Mars will first meet Jupiter on March 20, then Pluto, on March 23, and finally Saturn but not before both entering the Sign of Aquarius, between March 31 and April 1. As with Venus activating the same planets earlier, this Mars will increase the chance of open conflicts at these times; the sort of confrontations when we test our strength against another, trying to establish ‘who is the boss’. Moderation is recommended, remembering that Mars can cut bridges permanently if let loose.
The final alignment to Saturn, on April 1, could manifest as a strong drive to action but also great frustration as we face delays and limitations that could severely try our patience. No time to expect immediate gratifications.
Positively the whole period of Mars in Capricorn could prove particularly constructive, helping us to get things done, putting in the extra effort and discipline necessary for success, making a ‘real’ difference: a test of our self confidence and leadership abilities.
The Aries Equinox
If you would like to celebrate the advent of autumn, the Aries Equinox will occur this year on March 20, at 2.49 pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time. The map of this cosmic event, the traditional beginning of the astrological year, the Ram leading the flock, shows, in a nutshell, the transits that will be relevant in the next six to twelve months. As it has been the case in recent months the accent is on the Earth Sign of Capricorn where many planets are still congregating at the time of the Equinox, namely Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn, the latter though on the verge of entering the next Sign of Aquarius. The fact that, just around this crucial time, Saturn finds itself at the threshold of a new Sign (together with Mars!) seems to me indicative that during the next few months the world will be at an important crossroad, the growing aspirations for meaningful changes (Aquarius) still held back by the powerful pull of the past and the way things have been done until now (highlight on conservative Capricorn).
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