by Boots Hart, CAP

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

January 2016: By Reflection Shaped

 (image) 'Fraktál Mandala' (a Fractal Mandala)
(credit: Szlávics Alexa, September 2012)
With Uranus having gone direct on December 26, January looks to be - among other things - a time when we will be doing some reconnoitering and reconsidering, all starting rather promptly on Saturday, January 2nd - or rather, late on Friday the 1st for those in the Americas.

What is this about? It’s about communication-oriented Mercury exiting the sign the Sun is in (Capricorn) by moving on into Aquarius at 2:21 in the morning UT/+0 time (still January 1st in the Americas).

Le Traité d'Angoulême by Peter Paul Rubens
The point here isn’t about when Mercury gets to Aquarius, however. (That would just be too easy.) No, the real caution is that no sooner does Mercury get into Aquarius than it does a ‘turnabout’ by going station/retrograde at 1 Aquarius on Tuesday, January 5th at 13:06 (1:06 in the afternoon), UT/+0 time.

And let’s remember - Uranus just went direct, as discussed in the previous (December 2015) post and we know ... every day we hear things changing, and we’re having to flex and change in response to those changes.

To this we then add the idea of Mercury changing signs: from earthy, nuts-and-bolts ‘what counts and what doesn’t count’ Capricorn into the airy, non-personal, theory-driven, universally systemic if eternally quirky sign which is Aquarius...

Mercury in Aquarius (glyph chart)
January 2, 2016 - 2:21 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific) 

Mercury in Aquarius (text chart)
January 2, 2016 - 2:21 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific) 
... which vis-à-vis the Sun (still in Capricorn) indicates a touch of good (i.e., added perspective) at the same time it opens us up to a smattering of more negative moments which specifically challenge us to weigh ‘cause’ against ‘effect’ in terms of the Where, When and How (or even If) we interact with others (part one) - and (part two), whether those interactions are productive, or merely based in a desire to protecting/promote your Self while avoiding ego nicks and feeling vulnerable for a while.

And no, we don’t get to be the one deciding if things are going perfectly - which is likely to be the rub. Mercury’s move into Aquarius takes conversations (and thinking) into a less personal realm than it was in under Mercury in Capricorn (where Mercury tends to manifest as thinking about how things will ultimately affect us individually), meaning things which arise under Mercury in Aquarius tend to call our attention to, or require us to think about others,  whether that’s a ‘local’ others (as in friends, family, co-workers or cultural compatriots) or something far more giant and general, as in ‘humanity’ or the members of one’s community, nation, or some other group.

That all this is happening as Mars is finishing up its transit of Libra going into the weekend suggests opportunities to reach compromises and agreements - and in many cases, a ‘push’ one someone’s part to achieve just that. For others this will be a time when we hear something has been agreed upon by others in a way which affects us or our thinking. And there will also be those moments and situations where one person’s agreement or liking something is that thing which empowers someone else, or which inspires additional efforts and new ideas.

But let’s be real here: with Mars entering Scorpio on Sunday, January 3rd (at 2:34 in the afternoon, UT/+0 time) just a day behind Mercury, this does mean  Mars will be reaching fixed sign Scorpio in square to Mercury’s reaching equally fixed sign Aquarius.

And that’s a formula for various kinds of ‘pushing and shoving’ ranging from speaking out of turn, acting without thinking and the voicing of opinions which might have done with a bit more thought - or even a keeping of the lips zipped! 

This is an energetic, can-be-testy combination which comes to a head during this first weekend, but which has been warming its feisty little self up ever since Uranus went direct on December 26th. Best estimates suggest a first peak as Mercury arrives in Aquarius on Saturday (thinking and communication rise to the fore here) with a second bump from Mars as it changes signs during the mid-afternoon on Sunday (UT/+0).

This combination also has a decided physical side, so hopefully the ‘New Years Warrior’ types will take it easy as they charge into the gym, outside to take the holiday lights down or off into the wilderness to see if they can track down Santa’s reindeer for a post-holiday interview. That Mercury/Mars in square is known for talking out of turn and ‘untimely actions’ of the physical sort urges caution as well, especially if you are anywhere or doing anything where where ice, icy conditions or cutting instruments are likely.
It’s a challenging moment - if one when, if we apply ourselves, we can well estimate what our challenges really are.

With both planets moving from cardinal into fixed signs, there is a natural ‘settling down’ as that pertains to the pace of things, though whether this creates a new ‘status quo’ or is merely a sign that things are being focused and worked on with specific intent is individual. As Mercury is showing up in Aquarius in the company of asteroids Icarus (haste, assumption), Euphrosyne (pleasure, merriment) and Photographica (image), there may be some jumping to conclusions or a predetermining (or predetermination) of ‘worth’ - and that may be good or bad, correct or not correct and useful or not. And with Mars conjunct Apollo and Nemesis, there is some need to face (Apollo) some (Nemesis) ‘known,’ though whether that’s on our part or on the part of someone else is individual.

Feeling ‘under the gun’ when in public wouldn’t be unusual now, whether simply because others are unhappy or because someone isn’t prepared with all they need (research, homework, etc.) to be effective. Mars square Mercury is famous for debates, arguments, fights and badly timed actions or choices, and with Mars moving into Scorpio being the ‘trigger’ on this energy, nobody is likely to be subtle about anything unless they’re intent is to function ‘in the shadows.’ Nor is there likely to be any love lost as Mercurial words get heated, reheated and overheated by turns. With Mercury in Aquarius, nerves, nervousness and even afflictions of the nervous system may ‘act up’ or become manifest and the square to Mars indicates challenges to our skills - and to some degree, finding out about things ‘the hard way.’

On the plus side, Mercury in Aquarius is a vigorously social and ‘societal’ time. Connections can get made, information can be sourced and with Venus sauntering its way through Sagittarius (forming a transiting sextile by sign), Mercury’s entering Aquarius wakes up that instinct to find what to do next - or how to get it done.

On the minus side, Mercury in Aquarius can also be a time of regrets, exclusion, arguments and having to ‘go it alone.’ Famous for offbeat humor and all things (and impulses) unusual, unexpected and unpredictable, Mercury in Aquarius often comes to be a time of advances and even triumphs, provided we are both prepared in our own right and willing to see or approach things from new perspectives. 

Even when or where we aren’t prepared, that may be intentional. Mars in Scorpio refers to a time when some among us will act (and feel) like concrete walls. Mars in Scorpio embraces all we do - and all we haven’t done (and perhaps have no intention of doing) as its weaponry even when weaponry isn’t needed, which should tell us a lot about the intensity of feeling and purpose we are going to feel in our own guts and experience in the determination of others - whatever they may be determined to be, act like or not get into. Mars in Scorpio speaks to an intensity of feeling and purpose, as well as the desire to have everyone else cooperate with (and support) OUR purpose, whether or not we’re even interested in theirs. Because of this, these next nine weeks of Mars in Scorpio can be exactly when we find out how much support we lack, and how difficult things are going to be for us if we just continue to plow ahead.

All of this comes into focus over the first weekend in January, during a time when Sun in Capricorn promises we are (in spite of what anyone might think) already looking ahead and working planning for our  future. For many (if not most) of us, Mercury’s move into Aquarius will manifest anywhere between a ruffle in the day and a frizzled headache and a half. Yet by the time Mars moves into Scorpio, the Moon will have almost concluded its latest trot through Libra...

Mars in Scorpio (glyph chart)
January 3, 2016 - 14:34 (2:34 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Mars in Scorpio (text chart)
January 3, 2016 - 14:34 (2:34 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
... which means by the time Mars enters Scorpio, that Moon will have almost caught up, conjuncting Mars from behind - specifically from 27 Libra, a degree which polarizes attitudes towards either peace or violence through an equal lack of awareness or understanding. Mars-Moon contacts often time out rising emotions, emotional outbursts, intensification of feelings, emotional motivations and all manner of debates, arguments, competitions and conflicts, though fortunately they tend to pass rather quickly. Moreover, with the key to Scorpio ‘outcomes’ being generally read from Pluto’s position (Mars is the choice, Pluto is the outcome), Pluto being in exact conjunction with fixed star Vega promises substantial changes of many kinds are not only ‘in progress’ at this time, but is likely to be heard about.

Pluto has been working on this Vega conjunction for some time now. Things first started getting ‘stirred up’ as Pluto came into orb with Vega back in February 2013. Pluto passages indicate the ‘transformation’ of things, and with Vega being associated with ‘charisma’ and those who are charismatic, who and what we felt was ‘wonderful’ would have started changing (sometimes radically) about the time the exact conjunction began in early April 2015.

Or maybe it was OUR charisma which has been being transformed. Either way, Pluto will continue its conjunction of Vega through November 2016 - which yes, does make ‘Things Pluto’ worth watching throughout the current U.S. Presidential election as the whole world can expect to hear this Pluto/Vega now-we-like-them, now-we don’t quality through the whole of this election cycle ... and through many of the trials, elections and political doings all around the world.

As for Vega ... fixed star energies most often function as part of our ‘background.’ Call them the ‘backdrop’ to the rest of life, a backdrop which in this case has Vega representing whatever we are attracted to being entertained by, that which we are willing to ‘suspend rational thinking’ for, and whatever qualities in our own life we experience as ‘good fortune,’ ‘a blessing,’ or a quality or talent we pretty much take for granted. Said to have a combination of Neptune-Mercury influences, Vega is a hallmark star as often prominent in the chart of a street-level rabble-rouser as that of a great entertainers or world leader as it speaks both to the ability to be noticed and to use inspiration (positive or negative) as a tool with equal charismatic aplomb.

Mind you, Pluto conjuncting Vega does not mean anyone will necessarily change, but their appeal, or our perception of them as ‘appealing’ will. How it affects their world, their public or their market is changing ... or maybe they are having to change in response to changes IN what that world, public or market wants, respects or is willing to reward. Plutonic changes aren’t comfortable - no one knows why tastes and priorities change, but they just do. Pluto has a well-deserved reputation as an object which times out the ‘detoxification’ and ‘purification,’ of relationships, societies, industries and individuals, so whenever we see Pluto transiting our chart (or in this case, transiting Vega, a fixed star which appears in everyone’s chart) it heralds a ‘cutting out’ of the old and worn. Plutonic processes are famous for manifesting as periods and situations which put us all through every sort of emotional upheaval (aka ‘the metaphysical wringer’) as bad intentions, feelings and other human or societal toxins are ‘brought out,’ and then examined and eliminated through dealing with whatever underlying emotions which have been ‘festering’ beneath the surface.

Yes, Pluto does lead to ‘taking a step forward.’ But the process often involves bumps, bruises and a few skinned knees. 

With Pluto in Capricorn, all of this will also have an ‘overcast’ or tinge of Capricorn’s worldly ruler, Saturn, too. As a sign, Capricorn signifies  achievements which our inner ‘taskmaster’ (our Saturn efforts) work for as Saturn’s primary rule states that ‘we earn what we get and we only have so much time in which to do that earning.’ Where we fail to do that earning, or where we don’t live up to whatever responsibilities have come with any of our prior achievements, this is where Saturn tends to trip us up, leading us back to Vega in Capricorn as a metaphysical symbol, one which in being conjuncted by Pluto may as easily symbolize the surfacing of something ‘old’ and not so good which has gone ‘unnoticed’ as something positive which has also not gotten its share of attention.

Pluto being known for its ability to ‘create, deny or destroy,’ all three of these attributes are currently in play as Mars entering Scorpio initiates another round and the intensification of dynamics behind our struggles with any of these concepts, exposing our (Saturn) fears - particularly those which concern loss, being ‘behind’ or that particularly helpless feeling we get when we recognize how in failing to put enough effort into what we should have done, we end up setting ourselves up for a far more costly lesson.

All this is being set in motion exactly now not so much because Pluto is continuing to conjunct Vega, but because Mars and Pluto are joint rulers of Scorpio, making Mars’ transit of Scorpio a time which is going to automatically ‘bring out’ our Pluto challenges, struggles and perceptions, most of which have us projecting onto others those things we are most afraid of facing in our Self. 

And this isn’t exactly an overnight transit, either. Mars begins its passage through Scorpio on January 3rd and doesn’t leave Scorpio until March 6th - which is but a few scant days before the March 9th Solar Eclipse at 18 Pisces. During that time, problems and dreams will both face puncturing in the lives of many attempting to live on (or in) illusions, even as some things, people and efforts currently buried in obscurity come to be of worth and/or importance.

And beyond all that is the idea that ALL of this is happening only two days shy of Mercury’s station-retrograde date. And since we know that things which occur within a couple of days of any planetary station tend to refer to things either yet to occur or  about to be wrapped up, we can all expect that whatever is going on during this time is going to add and/or subtract from the peace of our days whether we are directly involved in it or not.

Beyond that, with Mercury going retrograde only a couple of days after Mars enters Scorpio the whole of this Mercury retrograde (which lasts about three weeks) is going to occur during Mars in Scorpio - which is a ‘doubling up’ of sorts. Scorpio has a solid connection to understanding our inner fears, desires and motives - which makes it not surprising Scorpio is the sign most associated with psychotherapy, a process which seeks to allow us to understand and ‘free’ our Self by understanding where our feelings of vulnerability come from - that being a core notion associated with the Scorpio/Taurus polarity. So when we add Mercury retrograde we have a bucketful of energy which though often ‘aimed’ at others (principally our complaints about and frustrations with others), is far more about us - and certainly far more productively about us as being irritated at others hardly ever solves our problems.

Understanding why things are as they are is greatly important now, whether that information is in our favor or not, or useful in the immediate moment or not. For many this will be a period which is at least partly (and mentally) ‘behind the scenes’ as we negotiate with ourselves (principally our emotional Self) on the subject of how to negotiate life with others. Then again, as we’re talking about Mercury retrograde (a time when many of us just get caught up with life’s errands, needs and necessities) this could as easily be a time when we’re thinking things through, tossing things out and otherwise arriving at various decisions as we ‘clean up’ and ‘clear out’ that which no longer will serve our efforts.
Whether this refers to cleaning out a closet, getting rid of some relationship or sorting through some pile of misconceptions, approaches to things or that we are in control of simply because it’s ‘ours’ to do or not do is entirely individual.

Mercury Retrograde (glyph chart)
January 5, 2016 - 13:06 (1:06 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)\
 Mercury Retrograde (text chart)
January 5, 2016 - 13:06 (1:06 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)\
As for the station itself, with Mercury going retrograde at 1 Aquarius there is some ‘thread’ or essential notion which refers to a difference or ‘gap’ between that which we are interested in and that which is actually workable - a situation which rather echoes the whole Pluto/Vega ‘do I like it’ quality. 

Another form of this would be the recognizing of some form of ‘detachment’ from things - some of which may be quite popular. Some of us will want to think through why we are or aren’t part of the current ‘mainstream’ opinion while others will wonder why anyone would want to be part of that mainstream option depending on where we stand with the whole idea of a ‘liking and being liked’ (online and otherwise) world society.   

Aquarius is also a sign which tests our willingness to confront, tolerate and/or grow into appreciating  differences so we can (in time) be/become even better equipped to tackle whatever life throws our way. Given this, we shouldn’t be surprised if we hear or run into things (people, situations) which are strange or not ‘on our wavelength’ (at least initially) ... or with which we simply never get along. All this is about promoting and provoking those experiences which are so testing, so trying, so much about invisible instincts tugging at our psyche weighing out what will and won’t work - for us, for the project, for everyone. What is optimal - and what does optimal mean to us as an individual versus any given situation, and what is that ‘gap’ made of?

With both Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius, there’s a quality of experimentation on one side and a conservative advance on the other. Given how the Sun is in Capricorn, there are likely to be a lot of swings between feeling convinced and unsure for everyone. Sun in Capricorn always features that which shows us both the positive and possible as well as those negative and frightening prospects we want to avoid (Capricorn motivation can be very tough love!) but we will figure things out. It may take a little time, but then, isn’t that what Mercury retrogrades are for - the ‘figuring it out’ part?

Given how Mercury is going retrograde at 1 Aquarius, most of its retrograde will be in Capricorn. But it doesn’t start there, it starts in Aquarius. So in the spirit of ‘everything happens for a reason’ we take note of Aquarius being one of the last three signs of the zodiac and recognize that ultimately, this retrograde which will tend to focus on ‘our standing’ or how we can achieve XYZ (the Capricorn thing) is about how who we are and what we do affects others - and thus what we achieve.

So Mercury moves into Aquarius, Mars strikes a striking pose in Scorpio, Mercury goes retrograde, and then, having entered Aquarius on Saturday, January 2nd, Mercury ‘backs’ out of Aquarius (into Capricorn) on Friday the 8th at 19:37 (7:37 p.m., UT/+0 time).

Mercury deals with what we do, how we do it or communicate it ... and how our brain works and what we’ve learned (thus far) which cause us to do things/choose to do things the way we do them. Under Mercury retrograde, there is a tendency for all such things to get messy, whether we’re talking about a phone message, email, communications transmissions, computers, lectures, travel, traffic and everything about them from the time involved (plan on everything taking longer than you suspect) to the ability to get things done (it’s amazing how often that ONE THING you need doesn’t happen under Mercury retrograde!) The standard astrological advice here is to have all ‘needed maintenance’ done before Mercury retrograde begins and to resist singing contracts or making ‘forever commitments’ of any kind.

Like all retrogrades, Mercury asks that we ‘do’ for ourselves - which as Mercury equals ‘think’ gets us to ‘think for ourselves.’ Under Mercury retrograde our answers seldom come from others, though some of the information which we will (for whatever reason) stop to listen to or source out now may very well have some bearing on the answers we eventually find.
So saying, Mercury’s going into retrograde also does one other thing: it sets the stage for a whole gathering of events starting the Friday after Mercury goes retrograde on Tuesday.

Mercury's December 2015 / January 2016 retrograde cycle
Actually, since this next nexus of energetic happenings starts with Jupiter going retrograde on Friday the 8th, Jupiter’s ‘station effects’ will begin on Wednesday - the day after Mercury goes retrograde - with Jupiter at 23 Virgo and the North Node next door at 24 Virgo.

Wherever we see Jupiter, the theme is ‘increase’ or ‘expansion’ - which in a degree which speaks to the kinds of conflicts or indecision which pit our inner sense of what’s ‘right’ against some external ‘right’ or ‘popular correctness’ which with Jupiter all cuddled up to the “should do” North Node suggests any combination of the following: wanting to get away from something  overwhelming, wanting to do what we want to do (never mind what we should do), being in position to “insist” that others do something as instructed, finding out there’s more required in order to get where you want to go, or blowing some minor need  entirely out of proportion.

Wherever we see the North Node we are being given the image of something which challenges what we know as well as what we yet need to learn (about our Self or something else) with none of this being what any of us get up in the morning longing for. With Jupiter a degree away, the ‘should’ factor normally associated with the North Node is likely to be larger than usual. Or we may be in a position (whether physical or mental) to enlarge or explain such a necessity to others (i.e., teach them something about it) - or maybe we’re even needing to make our needs known in a way which we’re sure is being understood by others.

Then again, perhaps this station is telling us that we need to (Jupiter) enlarge our definition or scope when we think through something (or things) which need doing. Considering how all this is happening in Jupiter, perhaps there is a greater need for education, help or morality in some quadrant. Given how the North Node in some way always refers to our relationships with others and our world, the North Node’s being in a degree speaking to ‘our duty to fulfill our function’ so that we can be acknowledged perhaps says even more about what we ‘should’ do.

To put this all astrologically, this is one of those two-sided, utterly perspective-laden moments: much depends on where you’re coming from and your individual perspective on any given situation. Just as the metaphysical idea of what we (North Node) ‘should do’ is being (Jupiter) enlarged upon, so also is our opportunity to enhance or expand our own life or abilities to be found by (North Node) doing what we really ‘should’ to at this time.

(And no, we don’t need to necessarily like it!)

But as to this last part ... because this is Jupiter going retrograde, that which happens now, and that which we learn - now, or as we reflect on our experiences - is something which is going to apply to other things we will be learning about or expanding on during the next four months of Jupiter  retrograde.

(Jupiter goes direct again in early May, 2016.)

Jupiter's 2015-2016 retrograde cycle
And yes, there's still more to this Jupiter station. Besides being what it is in its own right, this Jupiter-North Node combination is also in an earth sign grand trine. With Sedna-Capulus in Taurus as part of that trine, part of this Jupiter-North Node speaks to needing to deal with an ‘enlarging’ of a need to be mature about where security really comes and some need to ‘let go’ of some image, behavior or attitude which in being ‘learned’ long ago now represent an ‘immature’ or unrealistic behavior and attitude ... and yet another part of it speaks to Pallas, Hidalgo, Child and Lumiere in Capricorn, a grouping which taken together speaks to a (Pallas) perspective on (Hidalgo) manners or mannerisms (whether ours or those of others) with either our perspective OR the actions of that other being colored by the innocent, that which is childish, whatever is inexperienced or simply not (Child) mature/d as (Lumiere) some form of ‘enlightenment’ - with all of this being endlessly ‘spun out’ or ‘spun together’ by the energy of the grand trine in a typically earth element ‘results oriented’ manner.

All of this is what will be coming out at this time courtesy of Jupiter-North Node. In most cases the North Node ‘should-must’ quantity will be expressed through specific problems or defined needs. But in some cases the Jupiter-North Node is likely to simply be a very loud (Jupiter-like) call or demand for attention because of need, be it real or perceived.

With the degrees of this grand trine being all in the third decanate (between 20 and 29) of respective signs, that also tells us how whatever is being considered, confronted or recognized is also not entirely ‘about us’ as an individual. We may be a party to whatever is at hand, we may even need to respond to whatever is going on. Whatever happens, the earthy quality points to realities or the threat of realities and what must be (North Node) done about them. With Jupiter going retrograde, the overall metaphysical purpose being expressed here is a need to ‘grow ourselves’ or create some sort of ‘internal’ change (on whatever level) so as to be or become effective in ways which support our ultimate goals.

And no, these results aren’t going to be instantaneous. Whatever it is we are going to learn or ‘grow,’ that will take time. Jupiter will be operating internally from now until May 9th when it goes direct, describing a period of months during which we will grow in who we are, what we know and why anything has meant something to us (or doesn’t, of course) up until this time.

Could that change? Yes it could - and for some, undoubtedly, it will. But again, that will take a while.

In the meantime, as this grand trine forms the ‘base’ of an astrological Kite, there’s another matter at hand - the goal of said kite, a goal which appears to have something to do with understanding the nature of relationships and which are or aren’t actually friendships.

The good and bad news here is that kites are ‘steered’ by whatever is sitting at the kite’s ‘tail’ - as in, where the string would tie the kite to earth (an apt image as astrological kites speak of opportunities which can ‘lift’ our circumstance out of its present setting) ... and how the planet at said tail-of-kite is Jupiter.

So from this we know that efforts to ‘fly higher’ or to ‘get a lift’ will also now be taking a ‘time out’ for “internal development and growth” - that Jupiter thing.

Enough said?

Well, apart from all this, and how the day Jupiter goes retrograde in earthy Virgo is the day Mercury (already in retrograde) backs into earthy Capricorn suggesting a focus on things tangible in this moment, there’s also a little Eris (Discordia) matter to think through.

And what is Eris up to?

If you take a peek back at that schedule of days above you’ll see Eris (discord) going direct on Sunday the 10th - two days after Jupiter going retrograde as Mercury re-enters Capricorn. And because we give objects a two-day-before, two-day-after ‘station allowance,’ that means the stations of Eris and Jupiter are each within each other’s ‘station allowance,’ creating an astrological overlap.

As Eris represents things which either create discord or point out some choice which has created discord, that Eris is going direct after Jupiter’s station suggests an (Eris) conflict or conflicted choice we are going to have to face the origins of if we are going to (Jupiter) learn what we need to know in order to be or become effective moving forward.

Eris going direct speaks to that which we are going to learn in and from our world. It’s about how life isn’t what we want it to be, and how we have a choice to simply opt for what we like OR that which is productive without any option to choose both. In Eris situations, generally we know we should not pick the thing we want - a concept which itself is very much like the Jupiter-North Node quotient just discussed. But with Eris, most of us end up humoring our Self in spite of ‘what we know we know’ - and that’s where Eris’ discord starts.   

The very storybook myth puts it all rather concisely: when a young mortal male (Prince Paris of Troy fame) is asked by Eris to award a ‘sacred token of favor’ (a golden apple) to Juno (loyalty and nurturance), Athena (wisdom and knowledge) or Aphrodite (beauty, appeal), Paris does what most mortals do - he gives the apple to the goddess he ‘likes’ best, that being the goddess Aphrodite.

And from that comes conflict. In giving Paris that  one apple, Eris represents life giving Paris (a young human) the ability and option to pick that which would be a ‘winning quality’ for everyone, or that which has the ability to ‘win’ him over personally, and Paris, as a ‘quintessential’ example of the human race, chooses to please himself - which is exactly how this same young prince starts the twenty-year Trojan War (by stealing the beautiful Helen from her husband and taking her home to Troy).

To be clear here: the disaster is not about Helen or Aphrodite being bad. The challenge as presented by this story - and by the astrological Eris - has to do with choosing that which is ‘pretty’ (fun, pleasant, etc.) over that which (Athena) taxes or requires thinking or that which provides (Juno) stability and nurturance for humans as a race.

Le Jugement de Paris by Carel van Savoyen
What price beauty, right? And rather apt for our times, yes.
At the same time Eris (and events) are testing our tolerance for reality (and our ability not to just ‘run away’ into that which is pretty or pleasant) this association of Jupiter and Eris stations also suggests uptick of, surge in, or growth of discord within us, our personal scope of activities or in some quadrant of our general life or lifestyle. As Jupiter goes retrograde prior to Eris going direct, some form of discord or discordant activity is implied. Either we do not yet (Jupiter) know about or fully understand something well enough to make a useful choice or we are blowing the matter of making that choice entirely out of proportion for internal, probably personal reasons we will do well to stop and understand.
And about that last piece ... not only will anything having to do with a growth of new understanding(s) take some time (think May), but given how there’s a New Moon at 19 Capricorn on that same Sunday when Eris (and asteroid Phaethon) go direct, this period carries a definite ‘hard-nosed,’ self-defining - and often self-defeating (Phaethon) quality for those who insist on ‘grabbing the reins’ and taking on things they don’t know how to do. That the degree of this New Moon speaks to the developing of the ability to to stand alone, think for one’s Self and to not use force except when required may say some of us are bringing those qualities to our decisions of this moment ... then again, it may speak to an asset or ability we may be confronting a need for over the whole of the next lunar month.

And that would be that, pretty much except for that one little notation for January 9th on the (above) diagram of days.
Yes, that’s right ... January 9th is the start date for the two-month ‘Eclipse Effects’ period which precedes a total solar eclipse set to occur on March 9, 2016 at 18 Pisces.

One of the year 1900 Solar Eclipses as photographed by Thomas Smillie
(courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution Archives)
During the two months prior to any solar eclipse, issues and matters outlined by the eclipse’s degree (most often, our resistance to them) begin to break down. We may be strong or weak going into this period, and the issues which become more undecided or unstable may be new, old or some repeating of a personal ‘habit’ or cycle you may be in. Whatever happens, it’s telling you that something has outlived its purpose or no longer works and how that area of life will change. Our choice is basically about whether we are willing to initiate changes ... or whether we’re we’re more about being confronted by, and changing in response to life’s requirements and conditions.

That which we face during this time may feel very important - even critical to our life or lifestyle. It can be something we love dearly, or something we don’t care much about. Whatever it is and whatever the ‘worth’ of that ‘thing’ is in its own right, if an eclipse denies or removes it from our life we may be sure that on a metaphysical level we no longer ‘require’ that thing, situation, habit or person in order to fulfill our potential and purpose.

That doesn’t mean the process is pleasant. In fact, when solar eclipses hit our chart with any degree of exactness, things get difficult because something we have built, become comfortable with or based our life on is no longer there. Neither ‘humane’ nor ‘humanistic,’ eclipses theoretically remove that which we would neither know how to, nor be able to bring ourselves to separate our Self from - and in that way open the door for us to evolve (over a 36-month period) to where we are more of the person we were intended (or ‘destined’) to be simply because we either had to face some reality or were called upon to develop our Self in some new or different way. Often associated with passing of world leaders, the famous and those who are ‘famous’ in life (or more specifically, our life) for things they  represent or have been to us, solar eclipses serve both to ‘eliminate’ what we don’t need (the Moon moving in front of the Sun) ... and as a celestial mechanism which ‘reveals’ those spectacularly special qualities (represented by the Sun’s corona) which have not yet been utilized to their fullest advantage.

As for the degree of this next incoming eclipse, like all Pisces degrees 18 Pisces has something of a ‘split’ intent, mirroring the two fish of Pisces  swimming in different directions tied by that golden cord which forces them (and us) to either deal with our internal emotional problems and dichotomies or be proportionally undercut by their effects. In polarity to the earthy ‘methodology’ sign which is Virgo, emotional, spiritual Pisces is often where we pit our Self against our Self, asking us how much we should or shouldn’t support and emotionally ‘side’ with that Self - as opposed to Virgo, the earthy polarity sign which asks us if (and how well) we are going to do something and care about others as we do so.

Bottom line: do we hold the lives, needs, rights and humanity of others on a par with our own?

As for the specifics of 18 Pisces, this is a degree which speaks of a willingness to go to extremes, though the motivation for doing so have more to do with vulnerability or a lack of wisdom (emotional comprehension). This degree speaks to values and self-worth through projection (i.e., how we act with others being about how we feel about our Self) with a specific conceptualization of violence, militancy or physical aggressiveness posing questions on how much we intrinsically value life, whether our own, that of someone else or that of some other plant or creature living on this Planet Earth.

18 Pisces apparently poses question about the acceptance of responsibility - be that the responsibility for who we are, what we do (or don’t do) or how any of same may affect our ability to pass such knowledge and understanding of responsibilities from generation to generation on a worldly basis as well as inside anyone’s personal family.

So this station (or I should say, stations) mark the initiation of this next ‘breaking down’ period, with what’s being ‘broken down’ being our resistance to dealing with dynamics outlined above. And as Eris is one of those objects which always refers to a moment or something which challenges the status quo or, considering how Eris is in the “I Am” sign of Eris, that would tend to speak to our status quo as individuals and (collectively) as human beings or humanity ... or even as the life on this planet. Maybe this is about something we’re just now beginning to (Jupiter) learn.

Or maybe it’s something which occurs to us as we’re in the process of doing something else or (Mercury retrograde) waiting to see, hear or experience what happens with regards to something we’ve already done. With Eris is going retrograde in an inconjunct to Jupiter, it could be both. Or how something (even  nearly everything) we’ve been planning or doing needs to be changed. Maybe all of this is setting us up to ‘eclipse’ our former attitudes or change our goals or way of living.

Plus there is still Phaethon which needs talking about. ‘Rock comet’ Phaethon is also doing a ‘turnabout’ on January 10th. As an object, Phaethon refers to things we either feel very strongly about, or moments in which we are determined to ‘show strength,’ whether we know what’s at stake or not - with all of this leading to getting ‘burned’ and ‘taking a fall’ of a final or even ‘deadly’ type. In going direct at 28 Aries, all this headstrong Phaethon’ energy is emphasizing either ‘unusual qualities’ (including fine details) being ‘set apart,’ or the idea of ‘walking alone’ (which may be a reference to someone who does just this) because they haven’t come to be appreciated by others.

And again, all of this is happening under Mercury retrograde. So even with Eris and Phaethon energy in the mix, things are unlikely to come together seamlessly and from their proceed to any ‘next step’ without distraction, delay or interruption. In keeping with Mercury retrogrades, we may not even begin to clarify or recognize what is really going on or at stake - or what we can productively do about it until on or after Mercury goes direct on January 25th.

(Which we’ll get to in a bit.) 

Meanwhile, back to that New Moon. Occurring at 1:32 in the morning of January 10th (UT/+0 time) at 19 Capricorn, this start of the January-February ‘new moon month’ takes place in a degree said to promote ‘defense of one’s stance’ (for reasons good or bad) even while it supports independent choice, thought and action IF or WHERE those choices, thoughts or actions are truly expressive of, or in line with greater standards of integrity.

That means just trying to get your own way (or to your personal or individual goal) is a no-no. Everyone is going to go through some form of this, even if what they do is be in denial of their defensiveness or unable (for whatever reason) to function independently.

Moreover, with the New Moon at the apex of a cardinal sign t-square, whether things work or not, whether they have integrity or not, none of us are likely to be getting everything what we want: a combination of Mercury retrograde plus a Black Moon Lilith (conjunct Terpsichore) in the ‘others’ and ‘open enemies’ sign of (Libra) guarantees that much.

Black Moon Lilith being an astronomical function of the Moon means our feelings, money, value and values are wrapped up in why we’re trying to do things this month. And as Black Moon Lilith specifically speaks to a denial of, or an inability to ‘connect’ with someone or something in society, for all that a Capricorn New Moon speaks to order and stability, Black Moon Lilith in square by sign guarantees there are those who will be either unsupportive of the Capricorn supports of ongoing stability and ‘status quos’ or that there is likely to be much which is ‘thrown at’ or which challenges status quos over the next lunar month.

Some of what seems ‘at stake’ will be due to our own shift in attitudes - a touch of the ‘what I used to like I like no longer’ Pluto/Vega notion in our New Moon mix. Another will surface as a challenge (or urge to challenge) some form of status quo which seems unlikely to change for reasons which pertain to us - a little twist on things thrown in here by asteroid Hel, an interesting object which represent some manner in which we make things hard (or harder) for ourselves from time to time, and how we feel about realizing we’ve done that.

So ... have we managed to get into some pickle which makes it hard (or at least harder) to maintain some standard of integrity? And that this occurs under Mercury retrograde, does that mean we don’t understand (or don’t want to understand) something we think is going to harm us, our potential, standing or anything else which describes our (Capricorn) ‘place’ in this world, good or not-so-good as that may be?

The ‘t’ of this t-square being such a potent mixture (a New Moon plus Pluto exactly conjunct Vega being a substantial astrological event), it’s easy to imagine any one of us getting wrapped up in something which means something very intrinsic to us, even as what we are doing (right or wrong) is making something else more difficult in some way - - or, to think in ‘reverse,’ maybe it’s things in the (Capricorn) world making it harder for us to ‘be who we have been,’ or have been working to be or become, which would be world or life conditions making our personal world that much harder.

With Mercury in retrograde, we are all likely to not be thinking all sides of everything through - nor will we be likely to get to ‘all those other details’ until after Mercury goes direct on the 25th. (Or perhaps not until after Mercury exits from its retrograde shadow on February 14th.

And of course all of this may well pertain to the  onset of Eclipse Effects. And we are all a bit isolated in our personal and mental Mercury retrograde doings. (Which, by the by, are as always somewhat more difficult for those born with a Mercury direct in their natal chart than for those with a natal retrograde Mercury.)

As with all t-squares, this one is asking that we stop thinking in personal terms (MY achievement ... MY success ... MY reputation and standing... ). With a t-square our aim may be individual or universal, but the effort must at least be in the form of something greater or more inclusive than our Self.

If not, as they probably say in the world of pole vaulting, it just isn’t going to fly.

With regards to the ‘goal’ described by this New Moon t-square, that’s described as Uranus (the same Uranus which just went direct) at 16 Aries conjunct fixed star Alpheratz, a three-part combination which mixes something up, then watches what happens. Associated with a strict sort of judgment (which may be ‘strict’ in the harsh or disciplinary sense and then may simply represent very black-and-white situations, choices or ways of judging things) and the energy of ‘breaking free,’ Alpheratz’ current position at 14 degrees of “I Am”  Aries adds the idea of ‘individuality’ and/or ‘isolation’ to the Alpheratz Effect which could speak to unique ability, a different approach, a moment which ‘changes everything’ or even the close identification with some group, be that for positive or negative reasons.

Moreover, the ‘breaking free’ quality of Alpheratz when added to Uranus by conjunction (and station) equals a lot of wanting to be different (or) the energy of being different or differentiating one’s self (standing out from others)  - with all of this being good or bad depending who’s involved and what is or isn’t at stake. For some this will bring about a breaking free of something, or a ‘breaking away’ from something one has been doing (or possibly how you have been going about doing it). For others this time - which includes the whole of the next lunar month (call it a space in which to reflect) - may even well speak to a time where we break from a former way of thinking through coming to recognize some new personal facet or uniqueness, a process which would make of us a more ‘individualized’ human being.

Wherever we see Uranus however, with the freedom comes what must have been some sort of lack of freedom. What has that been? How do we feel about changing that part of who we are?

Whatever our ‘freedom becomes - a freedom to try or a freedom not to try - whatever our New Moon efforts are, with Mercury retrograding back through Capricorn as the Sun is finishing its transit OF Capricorn, can we be thinking of life lightheartedly?

Probably not. Constructively? Sure. But consider one thing: especially with a Pluto/Vega (change of ‘what I like’) going on, might all of this on a Mercury-mental retrograde basis be about taking a vacation from thinking? Or is that just some myth we used to (Pluto-Vega) believe in about how something would ‘free’ us which we’re now freeing ourselves of (along with any associated expectations)?

All these examples and more describe a time long on urge and a bit short on success. Sometimes it’s hard to see how we’ve been getting in our own way. T-squares often start out just like that, testing us until we solve their puzzle.

But then life moves on. After this conglomeration we have ten days during which the Sun moves through the last third (and most worldly and public) decanate, degrees 20 through 29. During this time a lot of  emphasis will swing towards things outside of our ‘personal sphere.’ Participation is always possible, but many of us will pass through this time continuing to (Mercury retrograde) think about what we are trying to accomplish (with side orders of ‘how to accomplish that,’ and ‘whether something is worth it.’) 

Then we arrive at January 20th, on which date the Sun moves into Aquarius at 15:28 (3:28 p.m.) UT/+0 time. Just to continue the ‘this is complicated’ January theme, this ingress is also taking place during the two-day ‘window’ for a station being executed by dwarf planet Haumea on the 21st.

This shift of (Sun) life and basic concerns from the concrete world of Capricorn into the airy and more systemic and 'let's discuss it' world of Aquarian pieces of a whole, missing parts, dynamic factors and universal factors and factions.

Sun in Aquarius (glyph chart)
January 20, 2016 - 15:28 (3:28 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Sun in Aquarius (text chart)
January 20, 2016 - 15:28 (3:28 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Being a fixed air sign, Aquarius always functions by thinking the idea through and deciding if it will ‘work’ before committing to the task, a method which is wholly different than the Capricorn ‘jump in, do your best, achieve on your merits and learn from results’ mode, one which in that singularly cardinal earth way which often places sheer determination (that which emotionalism calls ‘courage’) to do something and reach one’s goal ... against the Aquarian priorities of skill, timing and an understanding of the process (and human nature) as that which gets thing done.

Where Capricorn opts for conventional strengths, one might say, Aquarius utilizes techniques which tend to be (among other things) more effective, efficient and widespread - less ‘pointed’ than the Capricorn aim, one might say. And that as the Sun is moving into Aquarius it’s in conjunction with asteroids Pallas and Child (with Child still in Capricorn) suggests some form of clarified or ‘Child-like’ Pallas ‘perspective’ which, given Pallas’ association with dispassionate perspectives, overviews and the logical approach to everything fits well with the Aquarian affinity for all things systemic, analytical and ‘scientific’ in the sense that Aquarius favors understanding all the component parts and their individual functions as part of its ‘any chain (or system, population, group, company, society or organization) is only as strong as its weakest link (or member)’ Plus with Lumiere and Icarus also present (at 1 and 3 Aquarius, respectively) we are also given hints about how the Sun’s entering Aquarius will bring with it additional options and insights on various matters - as well as a few (probably sudden) ‘Icarus events’ which may speak to impossibilities, ‘impossible accomplishments’ as well as various forms of those difficulties (sometimes fatal difficulties) we encounter when we start into doing something with some sort of lack, be it of preparation, knowledge or experience.

Moreover, as the Sun is entering Aquarius without any ‘standard’ (Ptolemaic) aspects from other planets (only full-fledged planets need apply here... ) we also know many of us will be operating in a more individualistic, autonomous or ‘on your own’ manner at the moment (and to some extent, throughout the solar month). Along with this, we shouldn’t be surprised to see new and innovative situations, events and offerings - things which are ‘unaspected’ by that which has come before. The pluses and minuses of ‘modernization’ are likely to be brought up and discussed (read: debated) now as well, and with the rulers of Aquarius (Saturn and Uranus) in a fire sign trine with Uranus conjunct the enduring ‘preservationist’ qualities of Sphinx and the ‘captive’ qualities of asteroid Sabine it is to be expected that this month of Sun in Aquarius is going to see a (Uranian) ‘breaking out’ of things, mindsets or situations which have (Sphinx) long (Sabine) held us back or prevented us from getting something done.

As for Haumea, whether we take this dwarf planet to be ‘the shape’ something is in, the ‘shaping’ of something, a tendency to shift or ‘reshape’ your ‘ground’ (physical or mental) or some attempt to disguise yourself or your intent (echoing the mythic Haumea’s status as a ‘shape-shifting’ goddess) or as a reference to that which we have been ‘shaped by,’ Haumea going retrograde at 23 Libra describes restless, mobile, unsettled influences bent on making things more satisfying or to one’s ‘taste,’ whether doing so is ethical, moral or even likely to be or become successful. 23 Libra being a degree written about as having a noted association with the kidneys and urinary tract (as more than several degrees of Libra are), Haumea’s presence in this degree may also refer to conditions which ‘take a turn’ and affect these parts of the body too, so if you have any sense you’re having a problem, ask a doctor about it.

With this station occurring on the 21st, its ‘station allowance’ began on the 19th and ends on January 23rd. So as January 23rd is when Venus will enter Capricorn (at 20:33, or 8:33 in the evening UT/+0 time), that overlays Venus’ final days in Sagittarius with a Haumea influence, suggesting this as a time when efforts and situations which aim at getting things ‘in shape’ for that soon (or yet) to come in our world will come to the fore or attract support and attention.

As for Venus in Capricorn, this year’s edition of Venus in achievement clothing (we’ll go for a snappy business suit image here...) lasts some three and a half weeks, ending on February 17th just after Valentine’s Day.

Venus in Capricorn (glyph chart)
January 23, 2016 - 20:33 (8:33 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Venus in Capricorn (text chart)
January 23, 2016 - 20:33 (8:33 p.m.) UT/+0 - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Being how Capricorn is a businesslike, Saturn-ruled sign, it probably won’t surprise anyone that Venus’ transits through Capricorn aren’t known as extensively frivolous. Instead, this is Venus in a mode which is quietly bent on accomplishing whatever can be of benefit, especially in and for the long run. 

Venus seldom supports drama when in Capricorn and its approach to romance (for instance) is likely to be more about the quality of the connection (and the enduring qualities one brings to that romance) rather than anything spectacular or showy. Ordinarily supportive of business and financial ventures (or venturing) this year’s edition of Venus in Capricorn is a bit ‘reined in’ by ruler-of-Capricorn-Saturn being in the sign next door (Sagittarius), a situation which leads to tougher times and tougher attitudes and the expectation that objections will get made during these next three weeks (plus) of Venus in Capricorn both to the terms under which things are done, and some lack of clarity or the ‘correctness’ with which they are being proposed or done.

Under Venus in Capricorn, our choices need to make sense - fluff, facades and fakery bears less than beautiful fruit. So even though Venus is also making an unaspected ingress into this most worldly of earth signs, though our efforts or desire to achieve may know no bounds, they may also be somewhat ‘pie in the sky’ as they don’t fit in with anything else. Such efforts, estimates and preferences (or ‘tastes’) may be unusual for us - or for the situation we are in. Such innovations can be very useful, or they may be greeted with surprise, suspicion, even derision. Where they aim at solid growth and the ‘dislodging’ or altering of conditions so that things which have ‘held things in place’ (or kept from evolving), a gaining of ‘traction’ may be achieved, but nothing is likely to be immediate.

Beyond this, as Venus is entering Capricorn in an inconjunct to the Moon (at 0 Leo), Industria (work) and Plutino 2003 AZ84 (an object which provides a ‘magnifying’ effect), Venus is an energy bent on stabilization (or re-stabilization) which when all is said and done will ‘vote’ for what works rather than some alteration of a status quo in the name of innovation. Inconjuncts indicate either a desire or need for some sort of ‘adjustment,’ yet with AZ84 being a Plutino (meaning, part of its effect on us comes from the fact that its orbit is controlled by Neptune), we should be careful not to ‘over-estimate’ or ‘over-inflate’ things - and in this regard, the Venus in Capricorn tendency to indicate a ‘conservative estimate’ may well be of substantial, cool-minded assistance.

With Venus reaching Capricorn just a day before January’s Full Moon (3 Leo) and a station being taken by asteroid Psyche (knowing your own mind) at 10 Gemini (conjunct royal fixed star Aldebaran) things are going to test us - our sense of proportion, responsibility and dedication. There’s also a Mercury issue here (which we’ll get to in a moment) but in this moment of many ‘rising’ influences, some of us will be totally invested in our feelings (Moon/ZA84) while others of us are all about maintaining our dedication to our goals here in this moment.
And so the Moon comes to Full as Psyche goes direct on Sunday ... all of which is what it is while also being that which leads to Mercury going direct on Monday night (in the UT/+0 zone).

Full Moon at 3 Leo (glyph chart)
January 24, 2016 - 1:47 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Full Moon at 3 Leo (text chart)
January 24, 2016 - 1:47 a.m. (UT/+0) - Aries Wheel (Location not Specific)
Does it mean we are reaching some ‘full-filling’ moment which ‘lights the way’ for us to move ahead? Maybe. The Full Moon is always an emblem of something coming ‘to a head’ or ‘into the light’ (theoretically for the purpose of ‘enlightening’ us) but does that mean we always mean like what happens? No. As much as the Full Moon has this storied reputation in poetry and song, astrological events which occur at the time of a Full Moon are less about making us happy or sad than they are about showing us how to be and become more effective in our life overall. So with Venus just having entered Capricorn, in combination with a Leo Full Moon we could be in for anything from the opening of a door of opportunity (which will still require more work) to some sort of sobering recognition which we will do well to accept and deal with responsibly. Such a moment may be marked with realizations as to what we really want to focus on or what is (and isn’t) important for any of a million reasons.

More important to some however will be how with this ‘moving’ moment happening a day shy of  Mercury going direct on Monday the 25th, that places a metaphysical focus (never mind a personal one) on how in this moment relates (through connection or its utter lack of connection) to whatever it is which has been being worked on, thought through, waited on or otherwise contemplated under Mercury retrograde. When looking at this lineup of symbols in light of Mercury’s going direct, it’s would seem facets and factors ‘coming together,’ with Psyche’s going direct at 10 Gemini underscoring how we sometimes ‘undermine’ our Self (or destroy our own potential) through lack of trust and how that trust is far less about ‘them’ than the psychological ‘gaps’ and ‘vulnerabilities’ in our own ... psyche (which asteroid Psyche is now calling to our attention).

That Psyche is taking station at 10 Gemini draws us to examine our 10 Gemini ‘search for perfection’ in this rather imperfect world and all which that search (and how we tend to go about searching) says about us individually.
Some among us are now going to see some ‘light’ as they come to understand something now which reflects Psyche’s association here with royal star Aldebaran, a star which promises we will achieve success only when and where we operate from a position which embodies all essential notions of integrity.

Will we know who they are? Not necessarily - which means if we’re the one ‘seeing the (Full Moon) light’ now, we are going to have to ‘demonstrate’ our change of mind (and that we’re minding that change of mind) before it will become evident to others, and thus bring success to us where perhaps there hasn’t been much of late.

Psyche et L'Amour by Simon Vouet (c.1626-1629)

As for the degree of the Full Moon, being in Leo’s first decanate, 3 Leo is about each one of us personally: our actions, physicality or way of going about being whoever we are. This is one of the Leo degrees which is said to bring the fun-loving qualities we all so like in Leo. 3 Leo is also known for creativity, though the creativity which its known for does not seem to have the experience or discernment we would expect from a ‘master in their field’ for example. There’s some inability here with regards to knowing the good from bad, that which has potential as opposed to that which is never going to work or the quintessential ‘bad bet,’ and these estimations go clear across the board - through our choice of friends, partners, activities, options (etcetera).

But it’s why this degree acts as it does which explains things: this degree is about seeing how things (and life) works not just in terms of ‘the rules’ but in terms of the experience. This isn’t a degree which settles for some abstract description - this is a degree which wants to intrinsically know why things are said to be what they are, which for many among us (for various reasons) means starting with a wholly undifferentiated, unsorted ‘sample’ of life which we can then learn from as we instinctively seek to continue developing our Self.

And lest we forget, all of this is still under Mercury retrograde - and maybe more importantly, as part of Mercury’s overall going direct. That means anything which occurs at the time of this Full Moon has the potential to mean quite a lot going forward. Whether you’ll like what it means ...? Well, that’s a whole other thing. But if your natal chart has any point, node, Ascendant-Descendant-Midheaven-or-IC(Nadir) close to 3 degrees of any sign, this Full Moon is going to somehow be in aspect, and representative of an aspect of matters which happen as the Full Moon formulates in our sky in the wee early hours of Sunday morning (i.e., late Saturday in the Americas).

As for Mercury, Mercury is going direct at 14 degrees of Capricorn - which means it is going direct after having backed over Pluto/Vega at 15 Capricorn, only to station at fourteen and then move right back over  Pluto/Vega again (this time in direct motion). All of this effectively ‘adds’ a lot of intensity not just to the Full Moon but also to the ideas which arise in connection with Psyche and Mercury’s stations.

This intensity will last most of a week, beginning on Friday (January 22nd) and ending on the Friday afterwards, which will be January 29th. During this time we can expect many things positive, negative and merely perplexing to emerge, ‘come out,’ or develop, and given how Pluto-Mercury contacts (even without Vega) are known both for intensity and manipulative - even criminal - tendencies, it pays to be cautious about obsessions or feelings of being ‘obsessed’ on our part or anyone else’s part during this time. Given Vega’s presence in this mix and how Vega is not actually a single star but rather a nebula composed of many stars (which at great distance looks like a single star to us here on Earth), things aren’t as simple as they look now. Anything we tackle is likely to have a lot of ‘parts,’ ‘considerations’ or ‘moving pieces’ which need to be taken into account. 

Also - thought this may be splitting hairs, most of this January 22-29 period will have Mercury at 15 Capricorn, emphasizing Pluto/Vega rather than Mercury, which will only be in 14 Capricorn for about 48 hours surrounding the its station at 1:47 (UT/+0 time) on Sunday the 24th.

Why care? Because five-plus days of Mercury-Vega-Pluto is enough mental intensity to fuel great discoveries, chaotic rejections and a whole series of mental reboots depending on who (and which brain) is involved. Vega has an odd reputation both for enchanting brilliance and for bringing out grudges and long-nursed injuries - a combination which Pluto’s conjunction represents the exacerbation of for either good or the bad, reliable, complacent or problematic.
And the isn’t isn’t always going to be about ‘them,’ which is another point to bear in mind here. While it’s easy to project onto others (and with Pluto, specifically to blame them or to want to ‘get back at them’), it’s just as likely that issues which come into focus during this time would be specifically pointing at us as anyone else’s approach, attitude, stance or values as something unlikable.

All of this is what we are carrying into and through Mercury’s station, a station which in being centered in our mentality, choices, thoughts and perspectives (or lack thereof) is just as likely to bring out events connected with the pre-eclipse process as Pluto-Vega, as Jupiter’s turn to retrograde or Eris’ turn to direct back on the 8th and 10th ... any and probably all of this is part of the slow but sure, inexorable and unavoidable ‘breaking down’ of our resistance to the overall evolutionary purpose of the eclipse, whether we like it or not.

(Or considering Pluto-Vega, whether we have liked it or not.)

After turning direct, Mercury will take a full week to return to its ‘normal’ fleet-footed pace, indicating a somewhat sluggish or ‘sticky’ time. Even after Mercury picks up its rate of travel (which remember, is merely a ‘perspective’ on that rate as seen from here on Earth), Mercury will remain in the shadow of its retrograde through the end of January and on into February, during which time we will continue to work through those matters which became a focus of Mercury retrograde. During this time, with Pluto, Venus and Mercury in Capricorn sextiling Mars in Scorpio (by sign, not degree) with Sun in Aquarius sextiling Saturn by sign (if not degree) as well, the description would seem to be of a period of opportunity which probably requires a give-and-take attitude (and some real time give-and-take) if we’re going to make the best of things.

In other words, no one is likely to get everything they want for this next little while ... and everyone is likely to be dealing with some degree of dissatisfaction because of that fact!

Amid all this comes one more astrological event to cap 2016’s first calendar month. That event would be asteroid Ceres moving into Pisces on January 28th, an event which will raise the conscious (as opposed to financial) price for getting things done. Often thought of as a goddess of the harvest, the astrological Ceres is less about that which we reap as a ‘bounty’ or reward (that’s Venus) and more about the process of growing and producing things (or a life) of worth to us or to others.

In Pisces, Ceres represents the need to pay attention to our emotionality individually as well as a species, looking for emotional causes where and as things ‘pop up.’ If there is an ‘object’ here, that would be to ‘weed out’ emotional vulnerabilities, whatever they represent and for whatever reason they exist as a way of being ever more prepared for a future which is going to put us (personally) on the spot - events which will occur after Ceres moves on into Aries come mid-April, after the Pisces solar eclipse have uprooted some of those more stubbornly personal ‘soft spots’ which, unbeknownst to us, compromise our individual mortal standing. Whatever else Pisces is, it’s a sign which asks us to see what we don’t like about our Self just as often as it asks us to see and accept things we don’t ‘want’ to like in others. Pisces is all about confronting our innermost insecurities and where those come from (as opposed to where we may like thinking or claiming they come from) - and when we don’t face those truths, we end up paying a personal price for that insistence on lying to our Self, sometimes right away and sometimes down the line (i.e., when the harvest ‘should’ come in).

Where does all this get us astrologically? Well, for one, January is a transition time which begins to move us from the earthly, tangible and earthy considerations instilled, installed and emphasized by last September’s Virgo solar eclipse into the more emotionally fluid period which takes hold now and which continues to evolve through the March solar eclipse into May 2016 - which by the by is another month which includes a Mercury retrograde (this time in Taurus), Jupiter going direct (in Virgo) and one of just about everybody’s least favorite transits - Mars retrograde - taking place in Sagittarius after having begun on April 17th (UT/+0).

Until then, the concepts associated with a Solar Eclipse at 18 Pisces will be with and within us, asking us what is truly valuable to us and if fighting about really pointing o something in others or in us, a question we are likely to be more than reluctant to face, heed and respond to, but which we can and in time will acknowledge, hopefully with humility.
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