Thursday, January 13, 2022

Unfolding illuminations and the January Cancer Full Moon

 


 

"Our ancestors understood that civilization cannot develop unless it is rooted in the power of the heart to give birth to a feeling world... 

They knew that without feeling, we cannot bring justice into being. And they understood that without the inward journey to develop soul, creation cannot continue to unfold. The message is clear: without the creative energy of love, we cannot create a true civilization. And when we cannot create, we destroy.”--Betty Kovacs, Merchants of Light

 

 

If you've been keeping track, you'll know that the potent Capricorn New Moon that helped kick off this new year of 2022 will be culminating on the 17th with a glorious Cancer full Moon, certainly a reminder of the wise observation cited above: when we create and nurture what is true and worthy in the life around us, civilization thrives; when we do not--or cannot--destruction is sure to follow.

We were vividly reminded this past week, marking the 1st anniversary of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, that destructive forces are certainly at work in the U.S. at the moment, and they're targeting not this one building--as significant and symbolic as it might be--but the entire democratic system of government that it represents. That's a weighty possibility to ponder.

The assault grew out of Donald Trump's refusal to simply accept defeat in 2020, as anyone who engages in a political contest potentially must on occasion. Instead, he willfully laid the groundwork for, and propagated his "Big Lie" about the 2020 election being "stolen" from him. Spinning alternative realities has always panned out for him in the past--why not this time? 

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD)
Even one year later, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary, Trump refuses to admit that Biden's election was absolutely legitimate. Just this week, in fact, Trump attacked GOP Senator Rounds (R-SD) for dismissing Trump's fraud claims and saying the 2020 election was "as fair as we've seen." Speaking truth is the necessary first step towards making constructive progress in our torturously divided society, and all political persuasions are charged with this: IMHO, we should all give Rounds a lot of credit for his courage in this.  

As for that basic premise about the certainty of destruction when we cease being able to create, no principle or dynamic is more fundamental and essential for the survival of this planet and its biodiversity, and lest we forget, we humans are only one of millions of species at stake in this survival. 

But this month's full Moon will remind us that it's not enough to simply create; we must also nurture and protect what we have brought forth, and that takes care, compassion and yes, love--at times even the "tough" variety. This is the wisdom of watery Cancer and its earthy opposite, Capricorn, I think: Both energies are deeply attuned to the creative imperatives of Life: Cancer, from the more primordially instinctive and nurturing Lunar perspective, and Capricorn from  the more sanguine Time-and-gravity-bound, worldly perspective of Saturn. 

Interestingly, astrology considers all water and earth signs to be "yin" in nature--so more receptive and passive than "yang" alternatives such as Aries and Libra. Notice that all four of these signs are considered Cardinal, however: they simply provide different approaches to achieving the goals and ambitions that typically drive Cardinal dynamics in our personal and collective lives.  Aries revels in the creation and protection of Self, especially the nascent "warrior" Self; Cancer focuses on nurturing its creations' biological and survival needs; Libra seeks harmony through a reasoned balance of Self and Other, and Capricorn prods its creations to develop and structure the Self through effort and discipline.

These dynamics work with equal force and importance on both personal and collective levels, of course, but it seems almost unnecessary to point this out: if our times are telling us anything, it's that these levels are intensely interdependent, and that the more we embrace this fact, the better our chances will be of surviving and thriving into the future on this planet. 

As we'll see illustrated in the chart for this month's full Moon, all four Cardinal signs are playing key roles in these times, in fact. Underlying it all, I think, is the project of birthing a new human perspective that honors and embraces our role in the Earth's creative odyssey. 

 


The astrology

In fact, home, family and the birthing of a new world that embraces a healthy, responsible new perspective are all at stake with a Cancer-Capricorn lunation. Let's consider Chart 1 below on its own first, and then, to explore the U.S. context for this moment, we'll set the lunation chart next to the U.S. Sibly chart in Biwheel 1. Not surprisingly, given the times and the myriad challenges that seem to have converged all at once on the U.S., setting these two charts together enhances the drama considerably. 



Chart 1. Full Moon, January 17, 2022, 6:48:16 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.

It's hard to miss that the "star" of a full Moon chart--the Moon--is actually the handle of a "bucket" configuration in this chart: every other major point in the chart (set for Washington, D.C.) is found in the western hemisphere (houses 4-9)--only the Nodal Axis seems to bridge the two hemispheres, holding it all together with its trine-sextile "wedge" formations with both the 12th house Moon and the 6th house Sun. The implication of this seems to be that if we focus on a constructive path forward, we can usefully manifest and integrate personal, social and collective priorities. 

The only problem with this is that half the nation seems bent on forcing us backwards (So. Node) into the past (the movement afoot to roll back women's reproductive rights and to suppress voter access to the polls comes to mind), while the other half is freaked that we haven't been able to create much forward momentum (No. Node) with the challenges of climate change. IMHO, not being able to achieve consensus on things as critical as the fundamental principle of one-person-one-vote and mitigating/reversing climate change feels like the country is caught in the grip of a mental illness at times; we'll be able to dig deeper into this when we look at Biwheel 1 below. 

Meanwhile, there's good reason for concern; as long as some deep-pocketed economic priorities are allowed to stifle our climate change progress, it seems that every step forward will be reabsorbed by the fossil fuel industry's purposeful inertia. From the New York Times:

"America’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy and industry rose 6.2 percent in 2021 as the economy began recovering from pandemic lows and the nation’s coal plants roared back to life, according to a preliminary estimate published Monday by the Rhodium Group.

The rebound was not a total surprise: The nation’s emissions had plummeted more than 10 percent in 2020, the largest one-year drop on record, after the initial coronavirus outbreak triggered widespread lockdowns and energy use plunged to its lowest level in decades. As restrictions eased and economic activity picked back up, emissions were expected to bounce back.

'If anything, last year’s rebound in emissions was lower than it could have been because the pandemic is still causing disruptions and the economy isn’t back to normal,' said Kate Larsen, a partner at the Rhodium Group, a research and consulting firm. 'Emissions are still well below 2019 levels.'"

This, as one senator from the coal-mining state of West Virginia is wielding disproportionate power over what legislation gets passed and what doesn't. 

The "good old days?"
Notice that Venus remains retrograde in Capricorn and that in this chart it semi-sextiles Saturn (Aquarius), squares Chiron (Capricorn-Aries) and trines MC-Uranus (Rx, Taurus). Creative, earth-focused progress is spotty, at best, right now--not too surprising under the influence of two retrogrades, but frustrating and painful, nevertheless. Saturn's 6th house position conjunct a retrograde Mercury (Aquarius) points to labor shortages and upheaval. Saturn's square to Uranus Rx, with Venus disposing that Uranus Rx suggests to me that companies are likely staying afloat, despite an absence of healthy, "normal" productivity. 

Between supply-chain bottlenecks in our harbors and serious worker shortages, some due to the heightened numbers of COVID cases--(Mars in Sagittarius rules the 9th and squares Neptune-Pallas in Pisces seems to also reflect both of these issues), the sluggishness could continue to take a toll on a lot of economy-related systems. Neptune falls in the 8th house here, reinforcing this economic sluggishness. 

The headlines today spoke to the human dimension of all this, announcing that U.S. COVID-related hospitalizations reached a new high this week, and it's probably reasonable to assume that they will continue growing into the full Moon next week. We can see that with the 12th house Moon in this chart--hospitals are one of the "institutions" associated with the 12th house of "undoing." Vaccinations could help prevent a lot of this, of course, but with NEPTUNE TRINE this Moon (Pisces-Cancer), we probably can't count on rational decision-making being the norm. 

Meanwhile, our healthcare workers are suffering ever greater levels of burn-out and trauma from dealing with it all--perhaps one of the examples of disruption that we see in the Eris (Aries) t-square to the Full Moon axis (Cancer-Capricorn). Volatile issues like that are likely to continue dividing us in the short term, in other words. 

Still, there may be a silver lining as well, especially with Jupiter (Pisces) t-square the Nodal Axis (Gemini-Sagittarius). It will also soon move into a sextile position with Uranus Rx (Taurus); both of these aspects support what could be amazing activity and development in the auto industry these days, with all the major brands bringing more and more electric vehicles to market and infrastructure money flowing to install a more robust network of charging stations. It seems they finally see profit in the transition to a green energy economy; hopefully more industries will follow suit in a bigger more obvious way too, in the wake of these energies. 

 

EV production is scaling up and sales are soaring.
There are less glowing possibilities with the Jupiter-Nodal Axis t-square, if we trace the ruler-and-dispositorships back to Saturn (Aquarius) and Neptune (Pisces)--this chart's two final dispositors. Chaotic times with the pandemic are likely to persist like a dull toothache in our collective, despite attempts to move things forward. A certain percentage of the American people have apparently decided they are not going to cooperate, no matter who or what is harmed by that decision, and that creates a great deal of inertia that drags out any hope for forward motion. More such passive aggression is certainly likely with the Mars-Neptune square here; we'll consider this and the potential for further corruption more deeply with Biwheel 1

Let's take a look. 


Biwheel 1: (inner wheel) U.S. (Sibly) chart, July 4, 1776, 5:10 p.m. LMT, Philadelphia, PA; (outer wheel) Full Moon, January 17, 2022, 6:48:16 p.m. ST, Washington, D.C. . Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.

Notice here that the Full Moon axis (Cancer-Capricorn) cuts across the Sibly 8-2 axis, conjoining Sibly Mercury-Pluto and transiting Pluto (Capricorn) as it does. The U.S. is within the last month of its long-awaited Pluto return at this point, and this lunation clearly wants to draw our attention to that all-encompassing reality. I have written extensively about this return process, but this chart allows us to look at the dynamics driving that return with fresh eyes. Clearly, it's about our values (2nd) and the choices we make about the gaining and use of resources (8th); as anyone who has followed our unadulterated history knows, there's a lot of karmic baggage to talk about within those parameters. 

Today we're struggling to resolve some part of this within the same basic brutal corporate culture that created the problem in the first place: our votings rights dilemma comes to mind because it represents the remnants of the slave economy that (face it, it's the truth) built this nation. It's hard to miss that Sibly Pluto and Saturn (disposing Capricorn) have shaped the sometimes ruthless, but always "detached" mindset (Sibly Mercury) of this nation towards its own people--I suspect that the "rugged individual" myth that took shape during our exploitative Wild West years has served corporate bottom lines and other questionable purposes exceedingly well over the years.

This view is reinforced by the Aquarius Sibly 3rd house, ruled by an air-sign Saturn-Uranus trine (Libra-Gemini) and housing the Sibly Moon-Pallas conjunction (Aquarius): we don't expect to be coddled by our government in this country, but we do expect Justice, and those two dynamics are often at odds. Sibly Moon semi-sextiles both transiting and Sibly Pluto at the moment and widely inconjoins radix Sibly Neptune (Virgo). There's always been an uncomfortable disconnect between the human needs of all (Moon) and the ideals we profess in this nation (Neptune), a fact fundamentally expressed in the Sibly Neptune-Pluto trine: our national ideals (Sibly Neptune) have always been filtered through and modified by the influence of our corporate power dynamics (Sibly Pluto). Needless to say, we're experiencing the deeply difficult revisiting of all these historical dynamics today, with Pluto's transiting return to Sibly Pluto and Neptune's transiting opposition to Sibly Neptune.

All of this was at stake when Trump released a violent mob on the very heart of our democracy at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, but that's only the most headline-grabbing and visually dramatic way in which we've been revisiting all these difficult Neptune-Pluto dynamics. The insidious, widespread effort in GOP-led, "red" states to suppress the vote of anyone opposing them is probably of more long-term concern because it threatens our very Federalist system of democracy and if we don't get this right, we'll be getting a host of related issues wrong at the same time. 

Not that GOP candidates winning is "wrong," if it's truly the uncorrupted will of their constituents--it wouldn't be healthy for either party to win all the time. What's key here is not the winning itself, but the manner in which a party gains or loses power, and that's all about the health and integrity of our democratic institutions. Unfortunately, the Neptune-Pluto dynamics of the moment leave the door too open for corruption, misinformation and deep-pocketed interference in democratic systems, all for the purposes of gaining total power

Italian dictator and Hitler ally, Benito Mussolini
History is littered with those who covet that sort of control, and they have almost always used the pretext of "Law and Order" as their tactical means of achieving it. We very seriously need to learn from history here: as today, Saturn was also in Aquarius in 1933 when Hitler seized upon the disordered atmosphere created by a cardinal 3Q Uranus-Pluto square (Aries-Cancer) as a pretext for violently imposing Nazi rule.  From the U.S. National Holocaust Museum website:

"On February 27, 1933, the German parliament (Reichstag) building burned down due to arson. The Nazi leadership and its German Nationalist coalition partners exploited the fire to persuade President Paul von Hindenburg that Communists were planning a violent uprising to derail Germany’s "national renewal." They claimed that emergency legislation was needed to prevent this. Commonly known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, the resulting act “For the Protection of the People and State” abolished a number of constitutional protections and paved the way for Nazi dictatorship."

The fire itself could well have been a Uranus-Pluto event, with Uranus in fire sign Aries; needless to say, the arson has always been considered "suspicious," since it served one man's ambitions as perfectly (and as immediately) as it did. Hitler blamed the Communists for it, which helped him tap into powerful corporate fears and gain corporate support for his extreme measures, and he tapped into the public's fears by using the pretext of "protecting" them from the spectre of Communist violence. Sound familiar? It was the same pretext that drove 1930s Spain into the arms of the fascist Franco dictatorship that persisted for decades, and it's a pretext that has morphed into the playbook for several recently lapsed democracies. 

The fact that we're now in a different phase of the Uranus-Pluto cycle than the case was in the 1930s could be one source for optimism; however, the stakes in heading off the forces of Fascist nationalism that have been awakened since the 2010s, when the 1965 cycle's 1Q square (7 hits in all) unfolded with Uranus again in Aries, but Pluto in Capricorn, couldn't be higher. This 1965 cycle conjunction in mid Virgo coincided with massive Civil Rights movements and the passage of the Voting Rights Act; African-Americans were simply done with being treated as if they had no legal rights as citizens, and rightly so; this oppression (often violent) wasn't acceptable then, and it's even more unacceptable now. Yet, some small, but radicalized segment of our population longs for the good old days of Jim Crow because they've convinced themselves to fear being "replaced" by people who may not look or worship like they do. 

This latter fear--regarding how people worship--is far from an incidental issue these days, in fact.  As we speak, it's being exploited by a deep-pocketed campaign by Christian nationalists to return this nation to its so-called "Christian roots." And to throw out our Constitution in favor of Bible-based rule, while they're at it.  An extended excerpt from journalist Katherine Stewart's amazing study entitled "The Shock Troops of the Next Big Lie" is in order here:

"But Mira Vista [the estate of Pepsi heir James B. Lindsey] is something more than a home. It was also listed as the address of the James and Joan Lindsey Family Foundation. A search of the foundation’s public reports appears to turn up, proportionally speaking, little of the kind of community-centered philanthropy characteristic of other wealthy locals. Instead, the records show a vast and steady flow of contributions to leading organizations in America’s Christian nationalist movement. Every year over the past decade, the Lindsey Foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations such as the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, WallBuilders, and a faith-based media company called Mastermedia International, and lesser amounts to other groups like the Council for National Policy, a networking group for movement leadership.

'We are a Christian country. And the Founders were—definitely—and our founding documents were written under prayer each day of the writing,' Joan Lindsey has said. On the eve of the 2020 election, she announced that 'this election will either preserve faith’s sacred place in our country or destroy it.'

From 2019 to 2020, the Lindsey Foundation funneled at least $500,000 to a new organization, Faith Wins, intended to mobilize pastors at conservative churches to bring out the pro-Trump Republican vote. Faith Wins is part of a Lindsey-backed coalition called The Church Finds Its Voice. In many respects, the Lindseys’ investment in Faith Wins and The Church Finds Its Voice follows a long-standing pattern in the Christian nationalist movement of backing projects to turn America’s network of tens of thousands of conservative churches into a powerful partisan political machine.

But there is also something novel in the Faith Wins project, and it sheds much light on the direction of the movement in the aftermath of the Trump presidency. Unlike pre-Trump get-out-the-pastors projects, Faith Wins has made concerns about 'elections integrity' a central part of the message for its target audience. The pretense is that this is intended to shore up public confidence in elections. The reality is that the group is consciously helping to lay the foundations for the next iteration of the Big Lie."

And all this, in a nation that purports to honor and demand the separation of Church and State--an essential element in any pluralistic democracy. Apparently not here anymore, however, especially when it comes to elections and partisan power. Or to imposing their brand of religion on others, like it or not! Again, nothing new here and quite a predictable strategy: trigger Neptunian fears (deep pockets are good at that), and then bring on the Saturn-Uranus control measures to "solve" the problems (often not even real) that we're told we should fear. 

Needless to say, the pandemic and other difficult Neptunian dynamics like the "Big Lie" and the Opioid epidemic that keeps resurfacing in the news, have enabled a lot of scary power-mongering to proceed unnoticed behind the scenes while we've been distracted. Why do  would-be authoritarians simply hate the free press and do everything they can to discredit and question its veracity? Because the press sheds light on what's going on behind those scenes that many power-hungry individuals would rather we didn't see. As the Washington Post motto goes, "Democracy dies in darkness." All the more reason everyone capable of doing so needs to shed light! 

Bottom line, it seems that we're far from out of the woods, even though I wonder if our current stage in the Uranus-Pluto cycle really lends itself to what the authoritarians in our midst are trying to do. I frankly worry that our current Saturn-Uranus Rx (Aquarius-Taurus) dynamics could be manipulated to create a crisis, however, and I'm concerned also that the "bucket" formation found in this Full Moon chart leaves the task of resisting that authoritarian drive up to "We the People." Or should I say, "We, the Exhausted People?" Yes, there are supportive forces at the top, as reflected in the trine/sextile formations the Full Moon axis forms with the Nodal Axis (mentioned earlier), but those bridging dynamics can be put to less helpful ends as well. Then there's the pandemic (Neptune), which is creating a tremendous drag on our mental and physical resources, with little end in sight. 

The antidote to an out of control Neptune, of course, is the healthy intervention of  rule-of-Law-conscious Saturn. This describes, in fact, what's going on in the House Select Committee that's investigating the January 6th insurrection. As they wrap up their proceedings in the coming months and turn over whatever recommendations they have for indictments or further investigations to the DOJ, we'll get to see whether Saturn's waning 3Q with Neptune (the cycle is now in balsamic phase) is going to be an obstacle to Justice or not. Consider the importance of Saturn in this Full Moon chart, (disposing the Sun and thus the ASC, through LEO, and co-ruling the DSC with Uranus; Saturn's basically charged with providing a counterweight to the heavy background "noise" of Pluto and Neptune. Exactly Inconjunct Sibly Sun (Executive), this Saturn can either be put to constructive use by Biden, or it could remain--like Senator Manchin--a frustrating thorn in his side. More to come on this in a future post!

Given our impending Pluto return (first exact on February 20th), it makes sense that we're collectively questioning or trying to process where we've come from in our grand experiment in democracy, but I will go out on an optimistic limb here and say that I don't quite see the astrological conditions we might expect for a Reichstag Fire-style overthrow of our system.  Yes, January 6th and all the planning that went on behind the scenes for that day in Congress came too close for comfort, but I suspect that the really serious threats are happening much more gradually and, as noted, in the shadowy realm of deep-pocketed influence campaigns. 

Investigators have uncovered that 5 states sent forged elector documents after Election 2020.
Pluto's cozy relationship with this lunation speaks to these perils and it's high time they be "illuminated" as only a Full Moon can do. I can't think of anything that illustrates this point better at the moment than the stunning new revelations about five states having sent forged GOP elector documents to Congress and the National Archives in the wake of the 2020 election, seeking to overturn Biden's win in those five states, and that what appears to have been a coordinated effort may, indeed, have something to do with Trump's then-Chief-of-Staff, Mark Meadows. Can't say that surprises me; Meadows has just recently been recommended for indictment by the January 6th House committee investigating all this, but this latest development probably adds to the list of things they subpoenaed him to discuss. I'm sorry to say my home state of Michigan was one of the five, which also included Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin.  

Deep-pocketed campaigns like the ones that produced January 6th also gave us the current composition of our highest Court, of course, which is already posing one of the biggest threats to our fundamental, but deeply misunderstood principle of the separation of Church and State. The Court has mirrored the toxic state of our politics for far too long, and it's been catering to corporations and Christian nationalist interests far too open-handedly, as well. Unfortunately, this problem probably won't be solved in the short term unless some pretty shocking reforms are forced. 

I suspect by the time the currently waning Saturn-Uranus cycle begins anew in 2032,  serious reform may be possible, but in the meantime we have to contend with what could be the oppressive winding down of the current cycle and an upcoming Jupiter-Neptune cycle launching in Pisces that's likely to further erode the boundaries between Church and State, among other potentially corrupting developments.

No doubt, we'll need to revisit this issue in future posts. For now, however, Jupiter and Neptune are lying low in their balsamic phase at the bottom of the Sibly chart, as investigations into who was really behind the January 6th assault on the Capitol swirl around them. As always, the investigators clearly need to "follow the Money!" 

 


Final thoughts 

One constructive way we might also want to "follow the Money" is to consider the heavy price we are collectively paying every year for the political inertia that keeps us from doing something significant about climate change. The Washington Post recently detailed these facts from just one year, 2021:

"The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday that at least 20 individual billion-dollar disasters occurred in the U.S. in 2021, the second-most on record. From tornadoes to floods, fires and hurricanes, the year featured a number of catastrophes, many of which were made more severe by human-induced climate change.

Racking up a price tag of more than $145 billion, the disasters of 2021 combined into the third-costliest year on record dating to 1980, according to NOAA. At least 688 people were killed. The only costlier years were 2005, which featured Hurricane Katrina, and 2017, during which hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria made landfall.

The 2021 billion-dollar disasters include exceptional heat and drought in the western states, a rash of wildfires, a punishing cold snap in Texas, four tropical storms and hurricanes, and eight severe thunderstorm/tornado events."

According to the New Republic, faced with all this and the assurance that such billion-dollar events will become more and more frequent, conservative think-tanks are apparently doubling down on writing model legislation that they want to push in state legislatures--legislation that would make it "an unlawful, discriminatory practice for financial institutions or insurance companies to assess higher premiums, surcharges or interest based on a company’s fossil energy holdings.” 

Actual state bills have come out of this effort, such as Texas Senate Bill 13, which "direct[s] state comptrollers to 'sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly traded securities' of financial institutions that are found to 'boycott energy companies.'"  In other words, state pension funds will be forced to include fossil fuel investments in their holdings or be accused of discrimination! What a breathtakingly devious way of preventing progress at all costs!

Finally, here's a thought I would challenge everyone to ponder going forward about this month's Full Moon passage. Since Earth exactly opposes Sun, this means that when the Moon is in full phase, the  Earth and Moon are "conjunct"--this time in the lovely, nurturing sign of Cancer. How does that reality alter our perception of the full Moon's gifts of illumination and objectivity? I welcome your brief comments and ideas on this and will happily post all that are thoughtful and respectful.  

Be well and safe out there, everyone! 





Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

 
© Raye Robertson 2022. All rights reserved.






Saturday, January 1, 2022

The long and short of it: Jupiter's ingress, the January New Moon, and reasons for hope in the New Year

 

We know that one New Moon, however impressive, does not an entire year make, but today I choose to feel hopeful...

 

...that the January 2nd lunation in Capricorn, which follows  pretty closely after Jupiter's re-entry into Pisces, the sign it co-rules with Neptune, will at least feel like a breakthrough into something discernibly better for the year ahead. Perhaps the convergence of all that with 2022's lovely Quadrantid meteor shower will strengthen this impression even more for us.  

As we'll see in the lunation chart we'll examine below (Chart 2), this confluence of events is likely to feel especially significant if we are willing to approach the coming new year with a more collective and dare I say Nature-focused sensibility. It's hard to miss that most of today's burning challenges relate to successfully navigating our lives within Nature's limitations, and will only be solved with intense collaboration between the personal and collective levels. 

If you happened to catch the recent Hollywood version of Humanity's catastrophic refusal to take facts of Nature seriously, perhaps you also concluded that we, by contrast, must Look Up (and to the experts and the collective reality all around us) because that's where the answers are. This can sometimes be an elusive fact, but in the end, Astrology is also about the natural world and our lives within it; using it to avoid dealing with Nature or to abstract the natural world out of relevance would be a tragic distortion. 

In fact, problem-solving ideas necessarily span the personal and collective levels, and if we haven't already been doing so, the astrological year ahead will hopefully coax us to begin thinking about society and our roles in it from that perspective. For instance, it isn't Biden's or Trump's or any leader's sole responsibility to rid us of COVID; we have to make sure that happens by cooperating with all expert recommendations, in consultation with our physicians if need be. 

In a healthy society, fueled by common values and at least some common understanding of the facts, not to mention what "healthy" even means, we (here in the U.S. at least) wouldn't have the same acute anti-vaxxer phenomenon that keeps us in thrall to COVID. Trouble is, noone can create and maintain a healthy, democratic (small "d") society for us--it has to come from us. As we examine the lunation chart below (Chart 2), perhaps we can remember that the mundane Moon represents us, We the People.

 


Today's cosmic landscape 

Along with that awe-inspiring Quadrantid meteor shower, which could be more visible this year in the northern hemisphere because it happens to coincide closely with the dark of a New Moon, we will experience a number of significant transits and notable astrological phenomena over the next few months, but today we'll focus on two that happen one right after another: first, the December 28th re-entry of Jupiter into Pisces (after a months' long retrograde "dance"), and second, the January 2nd New Moon lunation.  

The first event is significant because in Chart 1 we'll find Jupiter at a significant moment in the retrograde "dance" it began by stationing retrograde at 2 deg 11' Pisces last June 20th. Sign ingresses are not typically complicated by being part of a retrograde journey, so to my eye there's more significance there than usual, as well. 

When Jupiter turned direct last October 18th at 22 deg 20' Aquarius, it gave a boost to the Saturn-Uranus agenda (Aquarius rulers) for the final quarter of 2021, which has turned out to be a volatile, complicated period in which the U.S. rule of Law (Saturn and Uranus together often promote "law and order") has been reaffirmed in a number of high profile cases. 

4 students killed, 7 wounded by a "Xmas gift."
This has been proven out in the response to the tragic Oxford High School shooting in Michigan, for starters,  in which the prosecution is holding even the 15-year-old school shooter's parents accountable to manslaughter charges because they enabled, rather than stopped their son (they had a chance to do so the same day of the shooting) from killing four fellow students and wounding seven others in a shooting rampage with a gun the parents bought for him for Christmas. 

Strongly applying the rule of law can register as harsh and authoritarian when abused, of course, but in the case of this shooting tragedy, the public seems to concur that something extraordinary is called for, for the sake of justice.   

Then there were instances of authority figures imposing "law and order" like the So. African travel ban that Biden issued after SA scientists announced (on November 24th)  their discovery of "Omicron," the new, super-virulent COVID-19 variant  that is now bedeviling the world. The ban was well-conceived (IMHO), but often seemed unfair since South Africa's Omicron numbers have actually been reined in pretty quickly compared to ours. Would we have preferred they not tell us about their discovery? Biden has since lifted the ban, but the resentment it opened might remain. Scorpio Mars opposed Taurus Uranus Rx and together they t-squared the Jupiter/Saturn midpoint in Aquarius (chart not shown); there was no easy way to proceed with that decision, but Biden erred on the side of protection and security. The early Sagittarius Sun widely trined the late Cancer Moon, which opposed Capricorn Pluto. 

Reps. Bennie Thompson & Liz Cheney co-chair the 1/6 House Committee
Somewhat harsh-sounding authority has also been applied to those attempting to subvert and refuse their cooperation with the January 6th House Committee Investigation--it's amazing what progress the committee has made, considering the high-level resistance. In light of several high-profile refusals to honor subpoenas, the Committee has moved so far to hold both Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon and Trump's former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusing Congressional subpoenas. Bannon surrendered to authorities, claiming he and others will be "taking down the Biden regime." 

Mark Meadows has yet to be indicted by the Justice Department, but clearly Bannon is doing what he can to promote the "Biden as autocrat" narrative. This narrative, which the Saturn-Uranus energies of our times can be construed to support, resonates with Trump supporters, of course--surely we haven't heard the last of this as long as Bannon and others in his same fix aren't allowed to totally evade accountability. 

How to wield "right power" is an ever-present theme with this fixed Saturn-Uranus cycle, and of course, one person's sense of being oppressed and "martyred" is another's sense of justice. That Biden has refused to extend executive privilege over Trump documents that the Committee has requested from the National Archives undoubtedly also figures into this "narrative." Is our democracy not worth protecting? If the facts are what the evidence before the House Committee seems to say they are,  is plotting to corruptly overturn an election not a crime worth prosecuting in our books anymore? We say we believe in the rule of Law; does that mean some people are simply above it?  

Then there's the Supreme Court's gutless, but clearly ideologically-driven decision to "look the other way" as Texas rodeo-stomps all over women's reproductive rights and the protections of Roe v. Wade. This also happened during that period between Jupiter's station direct and now; if the Court goes on to completely overturn Roe v. Wade in June--using a 15-week abortion ban case presented by Mississippi as a pretext--women and their families will surely feel the heavy weight of an authoritarian, Jupiter-enhanced Saturn-Uranus square.  Right power is becoming a more and more elusive concept with this increasingly toxic wing of our government, and I suspect we will see the further unraveling of its integrity ahead. 

On another, more global note, equally alarming have been the dire warnings that came out of the COP21 conference about the road ahead with climate change, if nearly impossible sounding changes don't transpire.  In keeping with the discussion about Saturn-Uranus-style "right power" that has been so highlighted since Jupiter went direct in October, there's actually a notable lack of power invested in the Paris Accord, despite the world's "agreement" that its imperatives should guide our actions. 

A view of recent wildfires in Colorado.
Depending upon the goodwill or enlightened self-interest (Jupiter in Aquarius, moving into Pisces?) of nations to sufficiently reduce their carbon emissions seems like a fool's errand to me, designed to make sure that we do nothing more than nibble around the edges of the problem. If carbon emissions can't be drastically reduced voluntarily, then perhaps Saturn-Uranus energies will need to be unleashed with more authority than we've seen thus far. No central world government exists to demand anything from everyone at this juncture, but it's likely that the Earth itself will make sure we pay more attention to its imperatives. Are we enjoying the non-stop environmental crises in the news these days? 

Here's where that necessary collective focus mentioned much earlier comes into play: every crisis has our name on it these days, and the situation won't get better unless we cooperate to make it so.  Will the world's powers wait to be forced into submission? Or will they remain willfully ignorant while the world burns? No worries...they can always take off in their billionaire-provided rocket ships

All snarkiness aside, a crisis of the magnitude that's developing in front of our eyes demands that we acknowledge climate change as the serious imminent threat it is. I'm encouraged by the aspirations of the Biden administration, but one small-minded Senator from the coal-mining state of West Virginia seems hell-bent on standing in the way of those aspirations, and that simply can't be acceptable. Maybe it will take today's environmentally-committed youth taking over the reins of power to re-envision and re-engineer both our political and economic systems; if so, the sooner, the better. 

Meanwhile (and not unrelated), our current global systems, very deeply in thrall to the fossil fuel powers-that-be, have landed us in the precarious position of heightened tensions between the U.S. and nuclear powers, Iran and Russia. I can't think of a more perfect "chess move" on Iran's and Russia's part if their joint aim is to even further delay the world's ability to roll back carbon emissions. 

We know that Iran and Russia have been allied against U.S. influence in the Middle East since at least the beginning of the ongoing Syrian civil war (from 2011),  and they've only deepened their mutual support since then. They're also united in wanting to evade and/or roll back U.S. and E.U. sanctions against them. With Iran, those sanctions (levied against them for their nuclear program) have had a profound impact on their oil exports and revenues.  

Can sanctions be an effective deterrent?
With Russia, the threat of sanctioning their oil and gas exports (which almost happened in 2014 and could be on the table now, with their latest threats against Ukraine) could also harm U.S. allies in Europe, so it's a less effective deterrent. The long and the short of all this only confirms that the current tension is some kind of tortured mix between geopolitical, economic and fossil-fuel-oriented priorities. Again, the use of "right power" (Saturn-Uranus) here will be key--we've seen Biden speak with Russian president Putin more than once during this period since Jupiter went direct. 

Unfortunately, this is a much bigger story than we can address here today: for instance, will Iran and Russia use their grievances over sanctions as an excuse to interfere in our next election, as they tried to do in 2020? Deliberately provoking war could be one very risky way to that end for them, of course--a story for another day, but for now, let's just say that it will take real leadership on the part of the U.S. and E.U. to keep these tensions in check between now and 2023, when Pluto begins its gradual exit (extended by retrograde dynamics) from resource-hungry Capricorn. 

 


The astrology


With all of the above in mind, let's now examine the chart for Jupiter's re-entry into Pisces (Chart 1, cast for Washington, D.C.) this past week on December 28th. With the "big guy" less invested in promoting Saturn-Uranus's "law and order" agenda, what will the likely focus be?

 


Chart 1. Jupiter re-enters Pisces, December 28, 2021, 11:09:23 p.m., Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.

Jupiter falls in the 6th house here, along with Pallas and Neptune (Pisces) and squares the Nodal Axis (Gemini-Sagittarius). North Node conjoins Ceres in the 9th, suggesting that the forward-looking thrust--for the sake of the work force and people's health--needs to be on nurturing rational ideologies that value sustainable material security (Ceres). This Node trines Venus and Pluto, conjunct in earthy Capricorn, but the So. Node in Sagittarius also widely sextiles this Capricorn pair, reflecting that the world's economic systems are riding a teeter-totter of obligations, growth and power ambitions and debts that keep various stake holders from effecting any true change. 

The limited movement this closed system allows is just enough to look like something is shifting, or change is happening, when it really isn't. Our systems will probably have to break out of this perpetual, fruitless game to truly address the challenges of our time. We might hope that Jupiter's t-square to this axis will force some true change, but I suspect the type of change it brings will sneak up on us unawares because it will soon be catching up with Neptune in later Pisces for their new cycle (launching in April). Could the so-called "Great Resignation" be a sneak preview? According to the Harvard Business Review:

"Employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021."

The researchers writing this article conclude that there are a variety of reasons for the waves of resignations, which seem to be heavily represented in both the health care and tech industries, where the work loads have often become simply unsustainable. A lot of mid-level tech jobs are being done from home (many 30-45 somethings have children at home), and between our inadequate childcare system and the on-again, off-again need to participate in their kids' virtual learning, working at home has only created added pressure and longer work days. My sons' families are being impacted by this, as I'm sure many of yours are; the problems are very real. 

On a less heavy note, I'd like to believe that the 30-45 somethings that have been resigning in droves are also rethinking their priorities and what they want out of their working lives. Corporations haven't really been faced with workforces like this that choose to jump off that going-nowhere teeter-totter because they no longer agree with the "rules" of the game; maybe the pandemic has actually rendered something we can celebrate?  These 30-45 somethings are also climbing the ranks of national power--maybe another reason to look forward to what they can do?

Notice the wedge formation created by chart ruler Mercury's trine/sextile aspects (from Capricorn) with the ASC-DSC axis (Virgo-Pisces) and Neptune (Pisces). Given the blend of mutable and cardinal water/earth energies here, this is likely to be much more impactful than the passive, soft configuration it first appears to be. With Neptune involved, I suspect there's more going on beneath the surface of awareness than we might think. 

Mercury also conjoins Venus and Pluto (Capricorn) at the same time it sextiles Neptune: the U.S. economy and its relationship to the pandemic (levers are definitely being tweaked to keep things from getting too far out of control) seem to be the main focus here--inflation never fails to effect change, but we should probably be careful what we ask for. As we've already seen, there's been considerable fall-out in the corporate world with waves of resignations, but there could be more surprising developments to come.

Jupiter co-rules Pisces, of course, and with the exception of the Moon and Pallas, there will be no other planets coming between it and Neptune between now and April when they launch their new cycle just shy of 24 deg. Pisces. Venus will have joined them in Pisces (the sign of her exaltation) by then--this strikes me as a possible turning point in the pandemic, but we'll see if such optimism is warranted. The Jupiter/Neptune (midpoint, Pisces) here exactly sextiles Uranus (Rx, Taurus), but it also semi-sextiles Saturn (Aquarius); we can expect both disruptions and "reality checks" in several key areas, including (but certainly not limited to) the pandemic and the exercise of Justice. 

One last major point warrants consideration here: the Moon (Scorpio) widely opposes Uranus (Rx, Taurus), sextiles the Sun, widely t-squares Saturn (Aquarius) and trines Jupiter (Pisces). It appears that shockwaves (perhaps financial, with the 2-8 Moon-Uranus axis) will continue challenging people (Moon), at the same time we will continue feeling a bit too repressed by the world we're faced with at the moment. The possibility of financial shockwaves is reinforced by Mercury-Venus-Pluto (Capricorn) square Eris (Aries), as well. 

Still, creative and spiritual impulses will find fruitful outlets, perhaps even within the workplace (6th house Jupiter), and it's possible that our workplaces will attempt to provide more rewarding experiences than usual.  We're not out of the pandemic woods yet, clearly, but our workplaces may attempt to be more attentive to human needs than usual, and that's no small victory.

One detail of note before we move on to the next chart: Jupiter has not just stepped into home sign Pisces here, it's done this within the context of its post-retrograde shadow period. That period began when Jupiter turned direct in October; ever since, it's been working its way back to where its retrograde dance began last June, so it can then forge forward, refreshed and renewed. In fact, this process will take until January 9th--well within this Capricorn lunation--when Jupiter reaches that 2 deg 11' Pisces point once again. Long story short, it's worth marking that date on the calendar--perhaps we'll feel that a turning point of sorts has been reached around that time. 

 

 

The Capricorn New Moon on January 2nd

Let's turn our attention now to the fast-approaching Capricorn New Moon lunation. The chart will, of course, look familiar: how much could actually change within so few days after the event reflected in Chart 1? Yet, this lunation brings us a very different chart due to the shift in house placements and the lunar context, and as we'll see, that shift now draws our attention to some different dynamics.


Chart 2. New Moon, January 2, 2022, 1:33:20 p.m., Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.

Obviously, the point here is to tease out what this Capricorn lunation will "seed" in our public discourse and collective life at this time and place. Those of you who are familiar with the U.S. Sibly chart will immediately see how close this lunation is happening to exactly opposing that chart's Sun, representing the nation-at-large, but also its executive leadership. So it's difficult to miss that this chart has a "message" for the American "project" heading into this coming year.

If nothing else, we can't help but be reminded of the vicious assault on American democracy that happened one short year ago. Almost exactly one year ago on January 6, 2020, we watched in horror as crowds of individuals caught up in Trump's "big Lie" about the 2020 election being "stolen" from him attacked the U.S. Capitol building from several directions at once, using whatever weapons they had on hand to smash windows, breach Capitol Police lines and force their way into the Senate and House chambers.

The "gallows" they erected outside of the building was enough to send chills down any observers' spines: it signaled that the calls to "hang Mike Pence" were more than just idle threats. Trump specifically made Pence a target for their rage by suggesting in a speech earlier that day that Pence could, if he "did the right thing," refuse to certify Biden's victory. This was, of course, not true: Pence's role was basically ceremonial and completely restricted by the electoral votes documented (and already certified) in each state. That so much of this attack on the Capitol and our democracy was based on a fabricated, delusionary "hero" image of Trump (pictured on some of the protest banners like a kind of "Rambo" character) was also chilling--if nothing else, we learned that when angry people who have become that untethered from reality are unleashed by their "leader," they can be convinced to do just about anything. 

Thankfully, the Capitol Police--at great peril and injury to themselves (including one death on that day and more later)--were able to protect key targets like Pence, Mitt Romney and Nancy Pelosi, whose office was occupied and vandalized by some of the insurgents--heaven only knows what would have happened had the marauders actually found her. Would we have seen an actual lynch mob in action, egged on by Trump's inability to accept defeat, on national TV?  Thankfully, we didn't have to find out, but that was no thanks to Trump, who responded with what we're learning via the 1/6 House Committee investigation was deliberate slowness.

Sun conjoins Moon (Capricorn), semi-sextiles Saturn (Aquarius), sextiles Pallas (Pisces) and trines Uranus (Rx, Taurus). It's significant, I think, that the lunation quietly glows in the 8th house of this chart; our need as a society for psychological and spiritual nurturing is intense these days. Lunar energies can feel harshly demanding and unsupportive in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, but Saturn has wisdom for our times that we sorely need as well. It lends much-needed structure to our lives; it helps us to draw the best out of ourselves and to stay on track towards the goals we want to achieve. It helps us stay grounded in facts and the "real world." The seeds (literal or figurative) that we plant under this wintry lunation are tempered and hardened by the cold for the spring growing season ahead. 

Of the aspects to this lunation point noted above, the trine to Uranus (Rx, Taurus) leaps off the page at me because it reinforces the importance of grounding ourselves in the natural world at this time. Nature's seasonal retreat into its wintry "death" is a yearly phenonenon, of course, but this 8th house, earthy lunation might be trying to tell us that the material world we think we've built up around ourselves is more fragile than we might think.  

The death toll in KY from this tornado is now 77.
For instance, a winter tornado the likes of which we've never really seen just ripped through Kentucky and surrounding states on December 10th, and the most destructive wildfires ever to hit Boulder, CO just happened this past week: This trine has the potential to produce more unpleasant surprises like this, but hopefully, Uranus's 12th house placement will "contain" those possibilities for at least this lunar month. 

Uranus does co-dispose Mercury, the MC and Saturn in Aquarius at the top of the chart, however, so I do think we can expect there will be significant scientific revelations and perhaps a few surprises (perhaps even refreshing ones) this month. As somber as we may find Saturn and Capricorn energies, this lunation is not all "gloom and doom." We should, however, find it deeply thought-provoking. It seems to me that a best case scenario would be that it opens our hearts to the awesome, delicate balance of Life that unites us all, because that balance has been wounded (Chiron squares this lunation from Aries). 

Jupiter (Pisces)is also elevated in this chart, in its watery home sign and in the 10th. The entire discussion earlier about Jupiter's movements these days applies here, only perhaps with more prominence and more relevance on the world stage. I suspect we'll see some re-energizing of our nation's naval resources: today's geopolitical challenges may require a renewed U.S. presence on the seas, and there have been voices calling for such a renewal for some time. 

 We're already seeing a push towards more "guardians" for our newly-formed Space wing of the Air Force, as well  --it's not difficult to imagine why, with Pluto finishing out in Capricorn and entering Aquarius in the not-too-distant future, but these things take years to build up, and this Jupiter square Nodal axis (Gemini-Sagittarius) spanning the 1st and 7th, accompanied by strong Aquarius energy at the top of the chart, feels like a step in that direction. Another point of reflection: an 8th house lunation is also all about how we deploy resources in society.   

Mars (Sagittarius) sextiles Saturn (Aquarius), squares Pallas-Neptune (Pisces)and inconjoins Uranus (Rx). The 7th house placement of Mars here (a house it rules in this chart) suggests that we could experience some volatility in the coming month. Mars also semi-sextiles the lunation itself; volatility could co-exist uneasily with attempts to get the serious work of the nation accomplished. Notice that Mars is disposed by Jupiter, suggesting that whatever form the volatility takes, it will likely be enabled and egged on by viral social media. This could also have ramifications for our COVID numbers, of course; between the Mars square and the inconjunct to 12th house Uranus (Rx) I suspect hospitals will continue to be stretched to their limits, if not beyond. The National Guard has already been called out in some places to help; we're likely to see more of that with these energies. 

A word about the Venus-Pluto conjunction that falls in the 9th house here: I've covered this conjunction pretty deeply in past posts and other contexts (here and here), but this chart makes incredibly clear that geopolitical and economic power and resources are even more inextricably linked than ever these days. This is all confirmed by the earthiness of this conjunction, compounded by the "leverage"-related Venus-Pluto "wedge" formation with the Gemini-Sagittarius Nodal axis. If geopolitical conflict of any kind breaks out, it's very likely to be triggered by dysfunctional natural resource-related concerns.

 


Final thoughts

Clearly, the charts we've covered above are rich with information that we will need for the path ahead in newly-minted 2022. Notice that almost everything in Chart 2 is above the horizon, pointing to the importance of that collective focus mentioned near the top of this post. Racking out our focus to encompass that broad view could be scary at times, but it should also be enlightening. Let's hope that this racking out process helps over time to fuel the new stage in human evolution that the world seriously needs right now. Again, it's not all doom and gloom; even the academics and experts at  Forein Policy seem to concur. What follows is an extended excerpt from an article they published about "reasons to feel optimistic about 2022:" 

"1. The developing world will be vaccinated....


2. We’ll add more sustainable power to the grid than ever before...
Next year is on track to register the largest increase in global electricity generation from renewables ever. The world’s biggest solar farm will become operational in Abu Dhabi, but it’s not just wind and solar that will be growing. There has also been a global reappraisal of zero-carbon nuclear power, with countries increasingly drawn to it as part of the solution for cutting emissions. We’re also likely to see a growing debate over decisions to prematurely shut down existing nuclear power plants in countries including the United States and perhaps even the poster child of anti-nuclear sentiment, Germany (though we’re not holding our breath). Better, safer technology is on its way, too: In the United States, NuScale Power is developing modular reactors and expected to go public this year, and the National Spherical Torus Experiment fusion reactor will finally be fired up.


3. The world’s largest country will be a democracy. - based on india's becoming the most populous nation on earth, over China, where birth rates are declining...
India’s population numbers also portend greater upside economic potential. Between now and 2050, India’s working-age population is projected to increase by 199 million, while China’s will fall by 160 million as its workforce ages into retirement. And India—until recently a very poor country—can now build on two decades of strong performance in rolling out the basic services of a modern economy: By 2019, 72 percent of Indian women had their own bank account, up from about 20 percent two decades ago; and 98 percent of households had access to electricity, up from about 50 percent in 1992. Meanwhile, China appears in the throes of a considerable economic hangover, including a deep and ongoing real estate crisis.


4. The advanced economies will bounce back to their pre-pandemic track... 


5. It’s the year of the tiger...                                                                                                                         In the Chinese calendar, 2022 will be the year of the tiger. Next year will also mark the completion of TX2, a 10-year program to double the global tiger population involving 13 Asian countries. It’s the most ambitious recovery effort ever undertaken for a single species and has had considerable success...While global biodiversity is still under threat and remains inadequately protected, the tiger program is a sign we’re getting better at saving species in a way that allows coexistence and development. Much credit goes to modern agriculture: New crops, fertilizer, and mechanization allow the same amount of land to produce a lot more food, reducing the pressure to find more places to farm. That is why the world is well past peak global farmland and deforestation is, thankfully, beginning to slow. That could help save other species as well."

Astrologically, all of the above seems more than feasible for the coming year, so let's celebrate progress where we find it and face this new year with renewed hope, despite many serious challenges. Happy New Year to all...may you all be safe and well, and may you prosper and thrive in the coming year! 



Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com.


© Raye Robertson 2022. All rights reserved.




Sunday, December 19, 2021

On finding Joy and Wisdom in challenging times: the Sun enters Capricorn

 


 

"Relationships are like farming; if you don't plant the seeds, you'll have no crop to harvest."--Rumi

 

 

How appropriate it is that Rumi's advice (above) is for a season so blessed with special Venus activity, a season that this year challenges us to turn inward with her to cultivate and deepen our relationships--be they personal, neighborly, more collectively-oriented for today's challenges, or as Native Americans often put it, for "the seven generations" to come.  From our geocentric perspective, Venus slows to a stop in the next few days, does a graceful about face and begins retracing her steps for about 40 days. 

You may have noticed that this 40-day period rings a bell with other 40-day sojourns in our collective memory: indeed, the number 40 is significant within all major faith traditions--take your pick--and interestingly, there seems to be pretty universal agreement that it is a number suited to significant, reflective times during which the faithful work to purify themselves through fasting and meditation for an important new chapter of life. 

For instance, Christian accounts claim that Christ spent 40 days and nights in the desert, fasting and rebuffing the Devil's temptations before being tried and crucified, and according to Acts 1:3, 40 days ensued between his resurrection from the dead and his ascension into Heaven. From this derives some funerary customs based on the belief that a deceased person's spirit hovers in this earth plane for 40 days, at which time the prayers of loved ones can release it. 

In Judaic tradition, God's anger with humankind caused the rains to fall for 40 days and nights and to destroy all but Noah and those on his ark, after which God made a covenant with Noah's people for all time. For his part, Moses is purported to have spent 40 days on Mount Sinai, where he then received the Ten Commandments from God. 

In Islamic tradition, Muhammad was 40 years old when the Angel Gabriel delivered God's revelations to him, but interestingly, Islamic tradition also says Masih ad-Daijal--a FALSE messiah--will roam the earth for 40 days before God's "day of reckoning."

And there are others, but clearly, even those who follow no religious tradition at all can see a theme taking shape here with the number 40: Humanity's perennial need for reflection and repentence--a change of heart that aligns us more fully and deeply with the responsibilities that accompany those precious relationships that Rumi celebrates.

How appropriate it is that this 40-day sojourn of Venus's should happen as the hardship caused by the pandemic drags out into yet another chapter and variant.

How appropriate also that Venus is embarking on this cleansing journey mostly conjunct Pluto in Saturn-ruled Capricorn. It strikes me that that Sr. Joan Chittister, a very wise woman and spiritual leader, is responding to these cosmic realities when she says:

"In every beating heart is a silent undercurrent that calls each of us to the more of ourselves. Like a magnet it draws a person to a place unknown, to the vision of a wiser life, to the desire to become what I feel I must be—but cannot name....Sometime or other in every life comes the raw awareness that to live in a world ever clamoring, seldom settled, always in flux, it is only the depth of the spiritual well in us that can save us from the fear of our own frailty."1

Clearly this is a message for the tumultuous, mutable ride we've been on with Neptune and the pandemic. And, I would offer, for this walk in the Capricorn desert that we will soon take with Venus in the midst of that chaos. Venus speaks to our values, to our judgments about what is worth keeping in our lives and in Capricorn, she speaks to what needs to be (easily or not) pruned away. 

"We need depth of heart....stolidity of soul."

Consider Rep. Liz Cheney's latest pronouncements as co-chair of the January 6 House Committee investigation, for instance: flying in the face of her own party, she embodies the value judgments that many fear to make these days. For the sake of safeguarding our U.S. democracy, she has decided it is more important for her to speak truth than it is to avoid political fallout. In fact, she's already suffered very real costs at her Trump-driven party's hands. 

 

 Chittister captures the importance of such value judgments precisely when she says: "We need depth of heart. We need stolidity of soul. We need what the forays of time cannot take away."

Those "forays of time" certainly struck the state of Kentucky like a torrent of daggers this past week: I was particularly struck by individuals standing over their tornado-destroyed homes and saying in one way or another that "this was our life; it's all gone." During these already uncertain, uneasy times, those piles of rubble were once their bulwark against disaster, and now that sense of shelter and "home" has been brutally stolen and crushed. It takes a great deal of courage to find the inner strength one needs at such times, but people do--usually with the help of "neighbors" on all levels, both local and far-flung.

A view of devastation caused by rare December quad-state tornado.
Having to depend upon the kindness of strangers is sometimes the most difficult, off-putting thing a person can experience, yet there is great wisdom for all of us in that lesson, whether we're on the receiving or the giving end of it. Astrology teaches that Venus is exalted in Neptunian Pisces; clearly this signals that we need to value all our relations, across all time and space--all of Creation, in fact. In Pisces, Venusian love takes a dip in the immersiveness of Spirit, where the meta-value of Compassion can take flight, as it must. 

We needn't wait for Venus to reach Pisces before embracing her higher "angels," of course. As we'll see in Chart 1 below, she is currently our best hope for bridging Pluto's harsh earth-realm realities and Neptune's deeply undermining disruptions. It may sound trite and nostalgic to say "Love is all we need," but when disaster dogs our steps, Love is everything

Kentucky was the hardest hit, with 70+ dead.

Love, relationship and responsibility 

Here's where the dimension of responsibility implied by Venus's retrograde sojourn in Capricorn is coming into sharp focus these days, especially with the added factor of the Sun's Capricorn ingress a mere two days after Venus takes her about face on December 19th. We considered the chart for that retrograde turn conjunct Pluto in the November 22 post here we'll examine the Capricorn ingress (aka winter solstice) chart below (Chart 1), and as we'll see, Venus is a key player in that chart as well.

One key point stands out in my view: we don't exist in isolation, even if it feels that way at times; in fact, if the COVID pandemic has taught us anything, it's that any sense of separateness that we may think we enjoy (as in, what I do or don't do really doesn't matter because it's a personal choice only) is fragile and illusory. What we do or don't do can matter very much, indeed, but this doesn't condemn us to being cookie-cutter copies of each other. 

If anything, Venus promotes the delicious unity within diversity that well-functioning pluralistic and free societies aspire to because she's all about creativity in all its dimensions. Nothing worthwhile is created in a relationship-free vacuum, whether personal, social or more broadly collective. Importantly, and certainly heralded by this week's convergence of significant Venus activity with the Sun's Capricorn ingress, the relationships that cultivate and nurture healthy societies must respect the integrity of Being in all its forms. This implicates our relationship to the Earth and all that can be considered the "natural world."

With Venus in Capricorn (square Venus's home sign of Libra), especially conjunct Pluto, we might want to revisit our relationships with the consumer systems in which we participate and to which we are often psychologically attached; as we're learning more and more every day, the health of these relationships is not defined just by whether we use plastic bags or not! The systems that work to extract, commodify and privatize the Earth and her resources are especially destructive because they threaten Nature's delicate balancing (Libra) act, and we absolutely play a role in that destruction. 

Gandhi's pronouncement decades ago was clearly more than prescient; in fact today, it sounds a bit naive: “The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.” This is a Venus-Pluto issue that warrants reflection and focus during this upcoming retrograde period. 

So what do we do with Gandhi's wisdom in our "greed is good" culture today? I think the restraint Venus is modeling in both her retrograde state and in her extended tour of Saturn's realm of Capricorn may have some answers for us. As any one who's been through temporary hard times, or who has ever experimented with voluntarily simplifying their lives knows, we can find ways around the conventional consumer economy to provide for ourselves and our families with minimal hardship. Communities do this together all the time when hard times prevail; retrograde in Capricorn, Venus will hopefully inspire renewed appreciation for and more conscious use of the Earth's resources for what really matters. 

"Shop 'til we drop" is no path for the way forward, in other words; it's a toxic, dead-end role that we've been playing, perhaps thinking we're doing "our part" for the nation's economy.  With Venus hovering so near Pluto during her retrograde sojourn, we can hopefully begin to purge ourselves of such compulsions and to transform our relationships with that consumer economy.

Of course, the capitalist paradigm that underlies and energizes that consumer economy won't be easily transformed, but through supply-chain disruptions (including even a cream cheese hacking!), crumbling transportation infrastructures and too few truck drivers we are all now experiencing how vulnerable the many interdependent systems we call the consumer economy can be. And life goes on, we celebrate the holidays one way or another and we find ways to reach out to each other anyway. I don't doubt that there are some unfortunate hardships being suffered because ships full of cargo are stranded off our shores; yes, and there's a lot of hardship being suffered by the people of Mayfield, Kentucky whose homes were blown to bits by the longest-enduring tornado of our times.  

Cargo stranded off the shore of So. California.

Trouble is, like the pandemic that has evolved to become more a feature of our times than an anomaly, extreme weather events and disruption to systems we've long taken for granted may be our "new normal." Simply put, life on Earth has been thrown off balance by climate change and we continue to perpetuate the problem instead of clamoring for solutions. I think perhaps Venus (and Pluto) will be reminding us of this in the coming days. Bottom line, we helped produce the situation and we can help solve it, but it will take focus. Vague sentimental love for the Earth and her future as our home won't cut it going forward; it's time to engage in the intense, compulsive Love that only an existential crisis (and Venus-0-Pluto) can inspire.

Perhaps rather than bemoaning longer delivery times, this is our opportunity to find creative, local ways of fulfilling the needs and desires we've been trying to address with our shopping lists. Legislators have been coming up with some ideas, but they can't fix the problem entirely on their own.

Clearly, the fact that this Venus retrograde sojourn coincides pretty closely with the Sun's seasonal ingress into Capricorn--countered by the Earth's entrance into Cancer directly opposite--is key here. These may very well be just the cardinal energies we need right now to generate creative, caring solutions. To get a better look at this, we'll examine this ingress (aka the winter soltice) chart, cast for Washington, D.C. below. Clearly the concerns we're discussing here are global in nature, but for better or worse, the U.S. still heavily influences world affairs and the success (or failure) of climate change mitigation, so this perspective remains useful. 

 

Amazing, but vulnerable systems connect the world's ports.


The astrology

 


 

Chart 1. Sun enters Capricorn, December 21, 2021, 10:59:08 a.m., Washington, D.C. Tropical Equal Houses, True Node. All charts are cast on Kepler 8.0 and courtesy of Cosmic Patterns Software.

 
It's hard to miss that basically everything in this chart is concentrated in the eastern hemisphere, houses 1-3 and 10-12, except the 5th house Cancer Moon. Quite a suggestive visual for the bottlenecked supply chains plaguing our steps these days! This Moon represents the basic physical and emotional needs of "We the People" and falls opposite that powerful Venus Rx-Pluto conjunction we've been discussing. If the focus on the 1st and 4th quadrants wasn't enough to get the message across, this Moon reinforces that the ways in which We project our values and desires out into the collective level of public policy, behavior and trends (10th-11th houses) matters greatly.

Our consumer behavior is key here, of course--we all need to consume, but we can do so from the perspective of deep respect for the Earth, and that will make a difference. That respect will take different forms depending upon circumstances, but the attitude is key--it will help when inevitable disruptions occur (Eris t-squares the Moon's opposition to Venus Rx-Pluto from Aries), and it will help ground us in gratitude for all that the Earth provides. Corporations don't ultimately provide; the Earth does. From the 5th house, this lovely Cancer Moon also evokes the hopes and needs of future generations; no matter what challenges we're experiencing now, it's simply time to put our focus there.

Sun (Capricorn) conjoins Mars/Pluto (0+Capricorn) and Venus Rx/Mars (1+ Capricorn). This amazing convergence of a major world point cardinal ingress (0 degrees of any cardinal sign) with such powerful planetary midpoints only reinforces the weightiness of this Solstice season. Positive, balanced leadership (Sun = Venus Rx/Mars) that honors the needs represented by that Cancer Moon will be key; finding balance in polarized times, in the midst of potentially toxic, aggressive and deep-pocketed efforts to control (Sun = Mars/Pluto) Humanity's instincts for nurturing change seems to be the other challenge represented here. Of course, well-balanced leaders know when to employ aggression and control mechanisms and when to err on the side of more diplomatic solutions; we are likely to confront challenges that require both in the months ahead.

Jupiter/Uranus Rx (midpoint, Aries) opposes Moon/Mars (midpoint, Libra); this axis squares Sun-opposite-Earth (Capricorn-Cancer). Michael Munkasey highlights both the positive and the not-so positive potentials of this midpoint duel--the Jupiter/Uranus implications are especially potent, given our times:

"Thesis (+): The application of legal methods against breakdowns in order, revolutions or strikes; growth following periods of reform; opportunities for modernization which accompany new labor-saving inventions.

Anti-thesis (-): Reform which originates in religious principles; government where no expansion   due to modern principles is allowed; civil war or unrest due to a legal or religious system which stifles justice for common people."2

These possibilities are squaring off against the always precarious balance between Leadership (SUN) and the needs of the Earth (and Humanity, by extension). Several current issues come to mind that could be impacted by all this and interestingly, the Supreme Court figures heavily into all of them: the imposition of  ideological control over women's reproductive rights (as contained in Roe v. Wade); the precarious nature of voting rights in this nation; the full-court press against our democratic (small "d") institutions.  

Improving human infrastructure is key.
On the more positive side, we are at an inflection moment when it comes to infrastructure modernization and the use of innovative technology for all kinds of positive Earth-friendly goals. Improvements to our human support systems, such as affordable child care and community college education would help prevent or correct breakdowns in our labor forces and other systems (no surprise here that this bill is also bottlenecked for now!). I have to say, it's almost startling to see how clearly today's super-critical issues are reflected here!

Tighter orbs are usually considered more accurate for Chiron aspects, so I haven't included that point in the above cardinal configuration, but that significant Jupiter/Uranus Rx midpoint is more closely conjunct Chiron (Aries), which suggests that all the drama contained in the cardinal stand-off just discussed is transpiring against a background of turmoil and woundedness in the nation's identity (Aries), values (2nd house) and aspirations (Chiron and Jupiter/Uranus Rx also trine Mars in Sagittarius). These are truly transformational times, on all levels, and we're challenged to figure out what is worth preserving and what needs to be let go of as we navigate those times. 

We might also want to pay attention to the potential for extremism in those trines involving Mars. Mars is powerful in this chart, elevated in the 10th conjunct the So. Node (Sagittarius) and widely square Jupiter in late Aquarius. There's been a considerable spike in violent crime in this country recently (the horrific school shooting in Oxford, Michigan comes to mind, but that's only one incident of many); I fear we will see more of the same in the coming quarter, although that's only one possibility for these energies. I suspect we'll also continue hearing provocative rhetoric coming out of Russia and China (Mars rules 9th here), which will test Biden's foreign policy skills. 

As for the potential for domestic unrest and/or extremism, my eye is drawn to the Mercury-Uranus trine (Capricorn-Taurus) and to the Jupiter-Moon inconjunct (Aquarius-Cancer). The election year will probably get off to a tumultuous start, given the new wave of COVID we're told to expect; with Mars also widely trine that Moon, I fear that those who have been hard-at-work whipping people up with lies and misinformation will still find fertile ground for their efforts. 

Given that we're being told to expect a new wave of COVID infections in the coming months, and the likelihood that restrictions will once again need to be imposed (Saturn sits in the 12th, square Uranus Rx), it won't be surprising if we see a deepening of public anger and resentment, and the possibility of more unrest. Critical institutions like hospitals (12th) are already sounding alarms about being stretched to their limits; unfortunately, this Saturn-Uranus Rx placement suggests that things could get worse before they get better. This cycle and the Saturn-Neptune cycle, which seems to be deeply tied to the pandemic, are both in their waning 3Q phase (Saturn-Neptune is actually in the balsamic phase).

We'll look more deeply at the road ahead with both these cycles in future posts. For now, however, this harsh Saturn energy sitting in the 12th and ruling the Capricorn quarter ahead certainly evokes that "desert" sojourn we discussed earlier. It could also explain why Biden decided to take a more stark approach to his COVID messaging today:

"'For the unvaccinated, we are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated -- for themselves, their families and the hospitals they'll soon overwhelm. But there's good news: If you're vaccinated and you have your booster shot, you're protected from severe illness and death,' the President said."


 Final thoughts

 
You might recall that earlier I cited a wise woman's advice that "it is only the depth of the spiritual well in us that can save us from the fear of our own frailty."1 Yes, anything we can do to nourish ourselves spiritually, as well as to protect ourselves physically (vaccinations work!) during the 12th house Saturn times ahead will help. 

Without a doubt, 'tis the season for cutting loose, gathering together and pushing caution aside, but it's also a (Capricorn) season for getting "real" and facing our responsibilities. Finding a balance that honors "all our relations" is the challenge. We will definitely need each other to weather the harsh conditions that may lie ahead, so those who can bring both Joy and Wisdom to their relationships this season will be treasures indeed. 

Let me end this post by wishing everyone a joyful, healthy and wise holiday celebration and year ahead. See you in the New Year!!


Raye Robertson is a practicing astrologer, writer and former educator. A graduate of the Faculty of Astrological Studies (U.K.), Raye focuses on mundane, collective-oriented astrology, with a particular interest in current affairs, U.S. history, culture and media, the astrology of generations, and public concerns such as education and health. She’s published articles on these topics in several key astrology journals over the years, including most recently, the TMA blog. For information about individual chart readings, contact: robertsonraye@gmail.com.

 
© Raye Robertson 2021. All rights reserved.


1 Joan Chittister. The Monastic Heart, The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, pp. xiii-xiv.
2 Michael Munkasey, Midpoints: Unleashing the Power of the Planets, ACS Publications, San Diego, CA, 1991, p. 264.