Break Down, Break Through: The Astrology of January 2020

It’s not difficult to see the effects of this month’s heavy-hitting, powerfully transformative planetary transits and aspects given the alarming global news headlines. Australia’s incineration and the death of half a billion animal species so far. The build up of war between the US and Iran and the threat of a much larger conflagration in the wake of the drone missile assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Great Britain’s Brexit mess. Ongoing anti-authoritarian / mainland Chinese government protests in Hong Kong.

It’s a jarring time and it can certainly fill one with a sense of acute anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. It’s as if we’re living out the horrors of W.B. Yeats’ nightmare chillingly depicted in his 1919 poem, “The Second Coming”:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold,

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.   (lines 3-8)

Much of the chaos and confusion stems from the anticipated exact conjunction, slated for January 12, between structure-, law-, governmental-authority-oriented Saturn and Underworld-rooted, power-conscious, death-and-rebirth preoccupied Pluto. This conjunction is certainly a show-stopper on its own, but there’s actually a quadruple conjunction of planets in Capricorn happening on January 12, two days after a Cancer full moon eclipse! The scope of our narrative broadens. Journey with me into our space-time continuum, won’t you?

The Saturn-Pluto Cosmic Waltz and Change Agent Pluto

Saturn and Pluto come toe to toe in their waltz approximately three times every century. However, the last time these two outer planets were conjunct in Saturn’s home sign of Capricorn was nearly 500 years ago. The conjunction fueled the Elizabethan Age and the English-speaking world’s mad dash to join Continental Europe’s plundering of the New World. Pluto deconstructs what appears to be real (Saturn) so that society can be reconstructed in a life-altering way, for good or ill.

Other major Plutonian transits that indelibly affected the course of Western history involved Wild Card Uranus, “the Great Awakener.”

Uranus and Pluto were conjunct in the late 1960s, fueling the radical social transformations that found expression in the US civil rights and women’s rights movements and hippie counter-culturalism in general. More recently, Pluto’s entry into Capricorn—the sign ruled by Saturn which governs, among other things, economics systems—in late January 2008 sparked the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Pluto in Capricorn squared Uranus transiting Aries from 2012 to 2015 and seemed to bring a reflowering of some of the social issues from the 1960s but in a higher octave: civil rights struggles on the LGBTQ+ front, such as the fight for legal recognition of gay marriage; the legalization of marijuana in many US states; the Arab Spring of 2011; the Occupy Wall Street movement, and more.  The last time Pluto transited Capricorn was between 1762-1777, which had the Industrial Revolution and the US War for Independence as the major outcomes.

Pluto brings radical change but Saturn resists change.

The major question posed by the life-shattering Super Conjunction on January 12, 2020 is whether or not Saturn and Pluto at 22° of Capricorn (numerologists will no doubt note the import of the number 22!) will wind up EMPOWERING entrenched power structures or OVERTHROWING them? Time will tell, and the effects of this conjunction will be with us for years, not months or weeks!

The Cancer Full Moon Eclipse Leading Up to the Super Conjunction

Note: All dates and times given reflect my Central Standard Time zone in the US; please adjust for where you are in the world.

Saturn and Pluto are key players but certainly are not the only ones involved in the great game that’s being played out right now.

January 2020 opens with no less than 5 planets and the Moon’s South Node transiting the Cardinal Earth Sign of Capricorn.

Cancer Full Moon Eclipse 2020 (c) Anna Applegate

On Friday, January 10, 2020, at 1:21 p.m. CST, the Full Moon at 20° Cancer will have its eclipse while trining Lord of Illusions Neptune at 16° in his home sign of Pisces. Additionally, Uranus stations Direct in Taurus at this exact moment, indicating how strongly we’re about to break from the past. Meanwhile, Mercury and the Sun will be exactly conjunct at 20° Capricorn, forming a half-square to Mars in Sagittarius. The Cancer Full Moon will be opposing all of the Capricorn planets, causing heightened emotions and triggering the “eclipsing” or culmination point of Cancer-themed issues in our lives: families, foundations, our homes, our sense of emotional security and the pain of its lack, tensions between home life and work life, our Mothers.*

The Moon’s trine to Neptune invites Divine Guidance to enter into the picture, but the caution is to not be led astray by (self-)deception, illusion, and flat-out crazy behavior, your own or other peoples’. To quote one of my late astrology teachers, Chicago’s own Guy Spiro, “this energy will bring out the crazies in full force.” Mercury will be sextiling Neptune at this time as well so pay attention to your dreams: spirit journeys, visits from the dead, or important information bubbling up from your subconscious mind could be coming to you as you sleep. Keep a notebook on your nightstand or a recording device ready to record what you remember upon awakening.

The chance for negative emotions to rush with tidal force is enhanced by Mars at 1° Sagittarius forming a strong trine to the “Wounded Healer” asteroid of Chiron at 1° Aries. Core wounds, usually stemming from childhood, will surface and clamor for attention if they’re not being addressed. As always, it’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters. Focus on your agency, what is and what is not within your power to control. Emphasize the former and let go of the rest. Practice radical self-care, whether that means getting extra sleep, having a good/healing cry, talking to your therapist or to friends who function as therapists (don’t we all have at least one friend like that?), exercising more to channel negative emotions, luxuriating in a long bath or swim (Cancer is a Water Sign), or spending time alone and away from the people who trigger you.

*Depending on where the Cancer and Capricorn energies fall in your particular birth chart, different aspects of your life will be undergoing radical revision at this time. This is a generalized report meant for mass audiences; to see where the Cancer eclipse will be hitting your particular natal chart, contact me at for info on how to get a chart reading from me!

The January 12 Quadruple Conjunction in Capricorn

We will never see this in our lifetimes again: Saturn and Pluto exactly conjunct at 22° Capricorn with the Capricorn Sun just 1 degree behind (21°) and Mercury just 1 degree ahead (23°). This is the tightest a Capricorn stellium has ever been or will be that those of us alive today will ever know. And while out of the range of the orbit of exactitude, but still adding their chorus of voices to the Capricorn song, are expansive Jupiter in Capricorn (9°) and karma-clearing Ketu, the Moon’s South Node (8°).

1.12.2020 SUPER CONJUNCTION (c) Anna Applegate

What does this mean? Obviously, if you’re a Sun Sign Capricorn, you’re the equivalent of every hero or mythological figure you’ve ever admired at the apex of their power and glory. This is your day, your month, your year to be the supreme author and artist of your life, creating the characters and experiences that you want to inform your story as you see fit. Recharged health, financial opportunity, worldly success, self-empowerment, recognition, overcoming your enemies…I could go on and on, but the point is to reap the karmic rewards that you’ve been given by your Lord and Karmic Taskmaster, Saturn!


Rising Sign Capricorns will surely benefit from this Apex of Power moment, and to a lesser degree, so will fellow Earth Signs Taurus and Virgo (who trine Capricorn as sister signs) and Water Signs Scorpio and Pisces (who sextile Capricorn). Folks who may be having an extremely challenging time with this Super Conjunction are Sun and Rising Sign Cancer (opposes Capricorn) and Aries and Libra people (who square Capricorn). Follow my advice above about practicing radical self-care and avoiding triggers as best as you can.

Certainly, as you look at your own natal chart, find out which natal planets you have in Capricorn, if any, and what their degrees and house placements are. Do you have any planets in Capricorn near the 20° mark (say, within a 5° orbit)? What houses are those planets in? Expect those life areas represented by the houses to be the ones receiving a major boost throughout the year ahead! Do you have natal planets challenged by Capricorn? What are their degrees and placements? Those are the areas of life you can expect to struggle with, unfortunately, for this year. Again, if you’re not sure, or if you have no idea what I’m talking about, contact me at for a look at your natal chart and your current planetary transits!

Other Key Planetary Transits and Aspects This Month

On January 2, we had mentally agile Mercury form an exact conjunction with jolly Jupiter at lucky 7° of Capricorn. This is an optimistic aspect that will last about a week, and will hopefully bring you optimism and good news, especially pertaining to your career/work life or finances.

On January 6, Christmas Eve to Eastern Orthodox Christians around the world (Srečan Badnji Dan to my relatives in Serbia!), the Sun at 14° Capricorn will be sextiling Neptune at 16° Pisces. This aspect is great for creating art and music, not so great for dealing with mundane reality. Call upon the Divine to inspire you but keep your shields up against those who may be plotting to deceive you.

On January 13, enchanting Venus leaves behind her clinical Aquarius white laboratory coat for some mermaid scales as she enters Pisces, the sign where she is exalted. This transit takes effect at 12:39 p.m. CST. Venus in Pisces favors soulful connections in love affairs. Dreamy and empathic, she is sultry, seductive, and deeply compassionate.

On January 15, the Moon will transit Libra and square each of the planets in Capricorn one by one, making us emotionally integrate the energies of both the Cancer full moon eclipse and the super conjunction in Capricorn in the past week. The emotional intensity can be good or bad, depending on how your personal planets interact with this current sky drama.

Venus will sextile shock-and-awe Uranus on January 15 as well. We may unexpectedly meet a new lover or friend; pleasant changes that we couldn’t foresee will announce themselves suddenly in our lives. This could also represent a financial windfall, so keep an eye on your investments.

On January 16, fleet-footed Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, enters the Fixed Air Sign of Aquarius, highlighting innovative thinking and championing unconventional attitudes. This transit lasts until February 3 when Mercury enters Pisces, the sign he will retrograde in, which I’ll write about next month.

Saturday the 18th can be a crazy-making day as Mercury at 3° Aquarius squares Uranus at 2° Taurus. This is nervous system-rattling energy; don’t be surprised if your body feels like harp strings that are being plucked, but the sounds that emanate may very well be dissonant, not harmonious. Both of these planets have warp-speed energies so the best thing you can do for yourself is move about your day slowly and mindfully. Beware of accidents. On the plus side, mental quantum leaps are very possible on this day.

The Sun leaves Capricorn and enters Aquarius on Monday, January 20, at 8:55 a.m. CST. This is the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in the US. Dr. King was very much a Uranian figure (Malcolm X even more so), so it would be fitting to hold a ritual of remembrance that incorporates personal pledges on what actions you can take for the betterment of society. We have long ways to go towards reaching racial and gender equality in this country; in what ways can you live the humanitarian Aquarian ideals of equality and progress for all? Lead a group ritual that energetically amplifies those ideals!

The Sun’s entrance into Aquarius will also give us a new vantage point from which to see the changes that have taken and are taking effect from the Capricorn Super Conjunction. How have the energies shifted in the collective and for you personally in your own life?

On January 23, Venus at 11° Pisces sextiles Jupiter at 11° Capricorn. Material indulgences are called for, especially ones that can lead to heightened spiritual epiphanies. Use your imagination!

The Aquarius New Moon and the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rat

The Moon enters Aquarius on Friday, January 24 at 7:20 a.m. CST and becomes New at 4° Aquarius at 3:42 that afternoon. The Aquarius Moon and Sun will form a nice sextile to Mars in Sagittarius, beckoning us to adventures that are off the beaten path. Saturn and Pluto demand we focus our attention on more serious matters, however: They will be opposing the Moon’s North Node, Rahu, in Cancer, bringing into the forefront of our conscious awareness what our dharma in life ought to be and to work on purging everything in our lives that is not it/is an unnecessary distraction. The Aquarius Moon and Sun will be strongly squaring Uranus in Taurus, accentuating our individualism and heightening the desire for rebellion against authority. Watch the news headlines, as events on the world stage are really going to play this aspect out!

Venus will be inching her way closer to Neptune in Pisces, which may bring us loving “escape” from reality in our lover’s arms or plunge us into the quagmires of codependent relationships and addiction/substance abuse issues. Don’t trust who you meet at this time as far as romantic encounters go: people may not be who they appear to be. Choose wisely!


Aquarius New Moon (c) Anna Applegate

The following day, Saturday the 25th, heralds the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rat. Other Rat years include 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, and 2008. This is a highly adaptive animal renowned for its intelligence/cunning and fertility. In Hindu belief, a Rat accompanies the God Ganesha, helping Him (and His countless devotees) deftly maneuver around life’s obstacles. Blessings of prosperity and peace to all in this Rat year! Gung hee fat choi!


Planetary Aspects Closing Out the Month

January 25th through the 27th will be highly charged days. Venus in Pisces will be squaring Mars in Sagittarius, while Mercury in Aquarius sextiles Mars in Sagittarius. Sexual tension, the making of love and war, and mental gymnastics with obsessive thoughts churning away at warp speed will keep us at a manic pace of activity and lack of mental stillness. Keep your focus.

Venus will form her exact conjunction to Neptune at 16° Pisces on the 27th: mind the cautions I wrote above about deception in love and the traps of codependency and addiction. Harness this energy for spiritual work and creative endeavors. The Moon will catch up to the Venus-Neptune conjunction on the 28th while Mars squares Neptune. Dizzy yet? Steer clear of other peoples’ passive-aggressive agendas.

We have a short dose of Fire energy to close out what is essentially an Earthy and Airy month, with the Moon at 20° of Aries forming a trine to Mars at 18° of Sagittarius on January 30. This Fire energy plays well with the Air of Aquarius. Set your goals and speak your truth with courage. Revel in your independence.

The Moon will enter Taurus on the 31st, rooting us in our bodies as we continue to ground the newly shifted realities brought to us in the wake of the Capricorn Super Conjunction.

Remember, even though planetary aspects can be traced to their moments of exactitude, we can feel the effects in our own lives and bodies weeks before or after the date the aspect is exact. So perhaps January 12’s truth bombs have already dropped on you, or perhaps they’ll detonate at a later date. Again, feel free to email me at to discuss the particularities of your own natal chart and the impact of current transits and aspects.

Stay in your integrity, be good to your body and all aspects of your Self, and I’ll see you in February. Have a great month and Happy New Year to all!

One thought on “Break Down, Break Through: The Astrology of January 2020

  1. See, you would hate to contend with what the Magic Modernization Project suggests regarding astrology. State-of-the-art astronomical knowledge, could it have a role in modern cosmic magic? An alternative to astrology has been developed, would you care to learn about it? That chapter has been withheld from publication, so far, but an introductory paragraph might be placed on my blog, if anybody demonstrates any interest.


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