January 2017 Astrocycles: Looking for Answers in an Uncertain Time

by Joan Kiley

Looking out windowAs we began our new calendar year on January 1, 2017, the Sun was conjunct Pluto in Capricorn, forming the focal point of the cardinal T-square that has been a major operator in our solar system for two months, and will continue throughout January. The opposition between Jupiter in Libra and the Uranus/Eris duo in Aries had been getting stronger, as Jupiter moved along in Libra, and then Uranus turned direct at the end of December. During January, the Sun was conjunct Pluto for the first two weeks, and Mercury is conjunct Pluto the final week, allowing the T-square to provide more “umph” to the feeling of all this upset being personal. Saturn in Sagittarius squares Chiron in Pisces, sextiles Jupiter in Libra, and trines Uranus/Eris the entire month. The pressure is intense as we head into a new year.

And what can we predict for January? Well, if we only looked at the outside world, it would be chaos. What we will hear most about will be reckless actions — many of them self-serving — constant accusations, denials, lies, and now and again, an actual fact, that will be shocking to say the least. There will also be tales of heroic action, and the sharing of deep emotional truths. Most of us will be encouraged to participate in group activities that will bolster resilience and be a counter to the actions being taken in Washington and around the world, that are so damaging to the common good. Be prepared to hear/read a story, and then hear/read something totally contradictory to the first story. This is a different world now, and we must prepare ourselves for it.

Each of us is called to support ourselves in a caring way, give ourselves time to sort through our options, talk things through with friends, make plans, and release any pressure to do what others think we should do. This new world we’re living in is one where you must pay attention to your own values, your own needs, your own limitations, and listen to your heart. Not to be self-serving, but to protect your energy so that it may be used for your unique purpose in contributing to the greater whole.  Make sure that when you say “yes,” it is with your whole being, not just a mental “ought.” Listening to our inner world is critically important to our survival.

We are assisted in this inner work, during January, by both Venus and Mars. Mars is in Pisces until January 27, and Venus enters Pisces at 11:47 PM PST on January 2. Their energies, together with Neptune and Chiron, can be very supportive of inner work, self-care, and compassion.

The New Moon in Capricorn, late in December, initiated us into the process of transformation. It challenged us to find our authority and assume it in a strong and respectful way, despite old beliefs of being “entitled,” or “less than” or even invisible. Having Mercury retrograde as the month began was a bit confusing with so much cardinal energy, many hard aspects, and the sense of  “What is going on? Am I in an apocalyptic aftermath?”

The stationing direct of Mercury on January 8 was a slight reprieve, in that Mercury needed to retrace its steps to the degree it was in when it stationed retrograde, in order to move completely out of its “shadow” period. That occurs on January 27. This does not mean we remain in a state of confusion until January 27. However, it could mean we slow down and take our time, allowing for the fact that finding complete clarity will be difficult. Plus, we can make changes, backtrack, and/or find a better plan. We can develop a clearer state of mind by processing the information we gain over time, via both the outer world and the inner work we do.  

We had a Full Moon in Cancer on January 12, at 3:33 AM PST. The Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Cancer, Jupiter in Libra, and Eris in Aries were all at 22 degrees of cardinal signs, forming a cardinal Grand Cross. Uranus, of course, was also in the mix, partnering with Eris, but at 20 degrees of Aries. This was some powerful cardinal energy! And clearly, the vision of a cross, with the oppositions and squares, is a strong metaphor for difficulties, for crises, for needing patience to find the right path forward. It is not, however, an excuse to stop or to give up. Rather, we hold onto our walking sticks, brave the strong winter “storms,” and find a way to hang onto our principles!

Given the powerful position of Eris (female warrior energy) this month, and particularly in this Full Moon in Cancer (also very feminine in a traditional sense), I felt a need to take a look at the positions of the four major asteroids during this Full Moon, to see how these aspects of the feminine were participating in what it was we were to be experiencing with this constellation. And it was very telling. Each of the asteroids was conjunct an important piece of the Full Moon picture, or planets extremely important to the whole January scenario.

In my descriptions, I am relying on the work of Demetra George in her book Asteroid Goddesses. The biggest of the asteroids is Ceres, and she was conjunct Uranus and Eris in Aries. Ceres is known for her nurturing/mothering function. In Aries, that would be nurturing one’s independence and individual identity. Conjunct Uranus, Ceres provides a mothering influence to that part of the self each of us is birthing at this time. Conjunct Eris, Ceres supports the feminine warrior energy we know is needed right now.

The asteroid Juno was exactly conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius. Juno symbolizes relatedness. In Sagittarius, for positive relating, there’s a need to have shared beliefs. Paired with Saturn, we need to be wary of rigidity around belief systems, particularly with religion or politics. Given that Juno and Saturn were square Chiron, many people could have been reminded of wounding experiences in their present or past due to the inflexibility of such beliefs.

The asteroid Vesta was conjunct the Full Moon. This was an interesting combination, in that Vesta, being the keeper of the hearth or sacred fire, is in the sign of Cancer, the sign of emotional closeness and home, but Vesta was also in hard aspect to the other parts of the Cardinal Cross. Vesta symbolizes the capacity to transform sexual energy into higher spiritual awareness, and devotion to higher realms of consciousness. Vesta is known for being emotionally available to others, but not to the detriment of her cause, or what she sees as her unique and important duty to the Goddess. This placement could have had the more sensitive among us feeling overwhelmed, and needing to withdraw from all the drama, in order to feel like we weren’t abandoning ourselves.

The fourth asteroid, Pallas-Athena, the goddess of creative intelligence, was in Pisces, conjunct the South Node of the Moon. Here we have the wisdom of compassion and healing. On the one hand, conjunct the South Node, there could be the experience of overwhelm, with the awareness of so much suffering that we just give up. On the other hand, with its position opposing the North Node, we have the potential of using creative non-violent resistance to move us toward a healing future.

The feminine archetypes are strongly represented in the astrology of the Full Moon of January, and all of us, males and females alike, need to feel into these archetypes, and express them strongly in our own unique way. I’ve put a lot of emphasis on the Full Moon this month. However, the Full Moon chart felt like the culmination or high point of all we have been experiencing for several months, AND will continue to experience, though at a slightly lower pitch.

The Sun moves into Aquarius at 1:30 PM PST on January 19. It is in an out-of-sign square to the Moon, which is in the last degree of Libra, at that time. The cardinal T-square between Jupiter, Uranus/Eris, and Pluto is still strong, and Mars in Pisces is exactly square Saturn in Sagittarius. Given it is the day prior to the Presidential inauguration, the reluctance of taking action, implicit in a Mars/Saturn square, will be felt by many quite powerfully, and give the “resistance” movement great heft. On January 21, when the Women’s March in D. C. and many other cities across the country is happening, the Moon, in Scorpio, will be trine to Mars in Pisces. That feels like a great combination, as the fierce feminine (Moon in Scorpio) joins the compassionate masculine (Mars in Pisces) for a massive show of resistance to repression and a commitment to inclusivity and human rights.

Over the two days of January 23 and 24, when the Moon joins Saturn in Sagittarius, it will aspect most planets in a short period of time, including a square to Neptune, a trine to Uranus, a square to Venus and Chiron, a sextile to Jupiter, the conjunction with Saturn, a trine to Eris, and a square to Mars. This will give everyone an opportunity to find something positive about the present, and the future, while at the same time, speak a truth that is congruent with their values, as we head toward the ending of this Moon cycle.

The New Moon in Aquarius comes on January 27, 4:06 PM PST. Interestingly, there are no strong aspects with this New Moon. The traditional ruler of Aquarius, Saturn, is tightly square Venus, however, and also square Mars and Chiron, though not as tightly. The modern ruler of Aquarius, Uranus, remains in the T-square with Pluto and Jupiter. It feels like the New Moon energy will be dominated by the Venus/Saturn square, which will mostly affect relationships and finances, things near and dear to all of us, because the New Moon is exactly at the midpoint of that square. We will find it difficult to be “happy” if there is unfinished business related to love or money, agreements unkept, documents unsigned, difficult choices yet unmade. Try to keep negative judgments, of yourself and others, to a minimum, and find ways to build your self-confidence without it being at another’s expense, because Saturn square Venus can be harsh.

Mars is on a hair-trigger that day (Jan. 27), ready to jump into its own sign of Aries at 9:39 PM PST. If we let it rule the moment, we could find ourselves making rash judgments, or taking risky action. So better to focus on the New Moon Aquarian energy available and find ways to build a cooperative path forward, utilizing the faith of Jupiter, who makes supportive aspects to both Saturn and Venus. We can do this!

Mercury exactly conjoins Pluto on January 28, and by then, with Mercury fully out of its shadow, we may actually feel our feet on the ground, and our minds in forward gear, for the first time in many weeks. Mercury and Pluto will remain conjunct through the remaining days of the month. News of more “secrets” being revealed will no longer surprise us, and the idea of probing some of our own secrets, will no longer be so daunting. We can be assisted in seeing behind appearances, and more fearless in facing what we find.

Joan Kiley AstrologerSee you next month.


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