by Joan Kiley
January is often a month many would prefer to ignore, as it involves re-entering ordinary day-to-day reality after a period of holiday-making, a few extra days off, and perhaps, even a bit of revelry. Add to that, the cold and snow of deep winter, plus attempts to adhere to unrealistic New Year’s resolutions, and we’ve often got a bitter pill to swallow. January 2016, however, asks us to stay in the here and now.
We began the month with the Sun at 10 degrees Capricorn approaching a conjunction with Pluto at 15 degrees Capricorn. Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler, was slowly moving away from its square to Neptune, and Venus was building to a square with Neptune. Mercury was slowing down, at the end of Capricorn, preparing for another retrograde period, that despite its beginning in Aquarius, would spent almost entirely in Capricorn. In addition, Uranus, direct, was in very close square aspect to Pluto. These configurations, so much Capricorn and Saturnian energies, encourage us to “be real.” Despite the Neptunian aspects, it’s important not to be carried away in fantasy. Despite the Uranus/Pluto square, the Mercury/Mars square, and the Mercury retrograde period approaching, it’s important to stay calm.
There can definitely be frightening situations that occur around us, but allowing ourselves to get carried away by anxiety or fretting about what “might” happen to your computer during a storm, will not be productive. Stay practical, plan strategically, and know that you are capable of handling whatever comes your way.
Mercury moved into Aquarius, at 6:20 PM PST on January 1, followed by
Mars entering its own sign of Scorpio at 6:38 AM PST on January 3. These shifts continued the square between Mercury and Mars that was in play at the end of December. The aspect plays itself out about January 9, but while in play, watch that you don’t speak first, and ask questions later, particularly in delicate conversations or negotiations. Yes, Mercury is usually quite thoughtful when in Capricorn, which it will be during most of this square. However, when triggered by Mars, especially Mars in Scorpio, there is a good chance of hard edged, or sarcastic, remarks uttered without much consideration.
Mercury, when it moved into Aquarius, was slowing. It stationed retrograde at 5:06 AM PST on January 5 at 1 degree Aquarius. It will remain retrograde for about 3 weeks, most of that in the sign of Capricorn, stationing direct on January 24, but remaining in its shadow period until mid February, when it returns to the degree it was when it stationed retrograde.
Every Mercury retrograde period has its own character, depending on the sign it is in, and the aspects it makes to other planets. This January retrograde, almost all of it in the sign of Capricorn, will carry a rather somber, introspective quality, not just because it is in Saturn-ruled Capricorn, but also because Mercury will spend half of its retrograde period and much of its shadow period conjunct Pluto. Given that Mercury is our mental process, and our communication, it seems clear that looking within, and pondering our own transformative journey with Pluto, is on the agenda. That is what we are called to do. And remember, if Mercury is conjunct Pluto, it is also square to Uranus, the awakener! How is our life altering in ways that will benefit the vision of a sustainable future for ourselves and our fellow beings in the world? How are we collaborating with what wants to be birthed within us, from our own unique creative capacity?
Another key activity in the sky this month involves our biggest planetary figure, Jupiter. Jupiter stations retrograde on January 7, at 8:41 PM PST at 23 degrees 14 minutes Virgo, and will remain in its retrograde period for four months. For the entire month of January, it remains conjunct the North Node of the Moon. This additional planetary alignment in an earth sign just accentuates the need to be asking ourselves: What direction do we want to be headed? How can we best preserve the earth, the substance of our earthly lives, our own bodies and those of all beings? What practical actions can we be taking to sustain the highest quality of life for all?
The New Moon in Capricorn on January 9 at 5:30 PM PST further emphasizes our theme of moving forward, in a practical manner, despite sometimes overwhelming odds. The New Moon is conjunct Pluto at 15 Capricorn, square to Uranus at 17 Aries, and trine Jupiter at 23 Virgo. Yes, there is tension. There is, quite truthfully, a great deal of insanity in our daily lives. Yet, we cannot just turn our heads and try to ignore it. That is not an option for our evolution. Pluto is a reminder that death is all around us, as both a metaphor and a reality. We must face, head-on, the negativity and craziness, not with equal negativity, but with kindness and integrity. With death comes rebirth. We must breathe deeply, accept our tears as normal, find others who will support us as we support them, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Earth and Fire. We are being given the inspiration of fire, and the grounding of earth. Listen deeply. We can envision the new, and find ways to manifest what we need.
Another interesting challenge for the first two weeks of January is the conjunction of Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius. As both planets began to move out of their square with Neptune in Pisces, they formed a unit between each other. With both planets in Sagittarius, there is an upbeat quality, yet a sobering one as well. It is a period for us to “get real” about our relationships, our finances, our creativity, and the structures we have set up, either in our minds, or in the physical world, to accomodate them. During most of the period of that conjunction, Uranus is in the background, forming a trine with one or the other or both, giving a boost of energy to birthing new forms, and new attitudes to carry forward and manifest. Don’t be too discouraged by the corresponding slump in the stock market during early January, but do take note that caution in risk-taking is a smart Saturnian lesson.
We begin the third week of January with Mars in Scorpio trine Neptune in Pisces. Given that this is a Mercury retrograde period, a time of reviewing our behaviors, emotions, and mindsets, this trine could be a good time for a negotiated do-over of an earlier poorly calculated conflict. Mars in Scorpio can bring up old resentments, and Neptune in Pisces can bring some ease, a willingness to bring resolution, and a new broader perspective.
The Sun moves into Aquarius at 7:28 AM PST on January 20, bringing some badly needed Air into the system. As synchronicity would have it, the Moon is in Gemini at that moment, providing a double blast of Air, so we may very well feel like our connections with other people and the world have loosened up a bit. We may experience more openness, more willingness to share ideas with others.
By mid-day on January 21, we have a grand trine in Water, the Moon in Cancer, Mars in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces. Take time for your feelings, for being gentle with your body and soul. It would be a great day for a massage, or a soothing soak in the bath.
Venus shifts into Capricorn at 12:33 PM PST on January 23. This means she is no longer connected to Saturn by aspect as was occurring in the early weeks of the month, but now connected by rulership, in that Capricorn is Saturn’s sign. Whatever issues may have emerged for you during the Venus/Saturn conjunction will likely have a reverberation while Venus is in Capricorn—a sobering, and hopefully productive time for relationships, finances, and creative projects.
Later on January 23, we have the month’s Full Moon in Leo at 5:45 PM PST. It forms a T-square with Mars in Scorpio. Whatever was begun on the New Moon in Capricorn has come into its fullness. It has also taken on an emotional dimension, with a renewed sense of commitment to manifest our unique vision into the world. We are more likely than usual to take things personally, and react negatively, so give yourself a few time-outs if you get feeling “put upon.” It will be a good time to ask for help from spirit guides, or friends who will tell you the truth, as well as support you. You may also feel generous toward others who need support.
Mercury stations direct at 1:50 PM PST on January 25, but remains conjunct to Pluto throughout the end of the month. We think of Mercury as mental energy, thought processes, and communications. That is the symbolism that Mercury carries, but when Pluto is so intimately involved, there are also matters of life and death on the agenda. I find it fascinating that I have seen far more blog posts and articles on the issue of death, and communicating about death, during this period of a few weeks, than is usual.
Unfortunately, for too many people, speaking of death, or even thinking about death, is not something they want to do. But we all have a Pluto in our chart, and an 8th house. We all must face death, not just our own, or that of those we love, but death of ideas, death of structures we take for granted, and the death of beliefs when they no longer fit with our understanding of who we are. That is called change. Change is essential to life. It is part of our evolution, what we are moving toward. We cannot move forward without letting something die. Therefore, to live fully, we must embrace change. We must embrace death. Having Mercury conjunct Pluto for three weeks is training, a deep and important reminder, of what needs to be a much more acknowledged part of our life.
As the month draws to a close, Saturn moves toward a trine with Uranus. Saturn, the planet of rules, authority, structure, and status quo is having a meeting with Uranus, the planet of birthing the new, the unusual, and breaking free from what has been. It makes for an interesting relationship during the time of Aquarius, because, despite the contradictory meanings of the two planets, they share rulership of Aquarius. This will be an aspect that remains in orb for over two months, goes out of orb for some months, and doesn’t actually become exact until December of 2016. Nevertheless, it provides time and energy to begin to bring some order and stability to our world after a period of chaos and change.
Wishing you the best for 2016!
See you next month!