This second month of 2019 harnesses the explosive power wrought from January’s eclipse season to help us fashion the outcomes we want across many aspects of our lives. It’s a month for taking decisive action. The extremely wonderful astrology news is that this month has three times the sweet planetary aspects compared to a handful of challenging ones, encouraging us all to have faith in ourselves and the Cosmos and move forward in executing our goals. This is not a “wait and see” nor a seed-time/Visioning month. All systems are go, and it behooves us to seize the momentum during this short window of opportunity when all planets are still moving direct.
Note: All times given for planetary aspects and transits reflect my time zone of Central Standard Time (CST). Please adjust for your time zone accordingly.
Happy New Year, everyone! Last night I performed my time-honored divination ritual, casting my 13-card Year-Wheel/12 Houses of the Zodiac Tarot spread to see what 2019 has in store for me month-by-month as well as filtered through the aspects of life experience denoted in the zodiacal 12 Houses of Western astrology. I carved some space and about an hour to myself amidst the revels at a friend’s house, and I think he and his two adorable Havanese dogs (sisters from the same litter) proved to be good luck charms for my reading, as I haven’t drawn such an awesome spread in a long time!
December highlights Elemental opposition between Fire and Water, and that translates, astrologically, into a severe square between between Sagittarian Fire planets (at the time of this writing, I’m referring to the Sun and Jupiter) and Piscean Water (Mars, Neptune—Pisces’ ruler—and Retrograde Chiron) that will serve as the dominant energetic pattern for most of the month. We also have the cosmic paradox of fiery, ego-identified and assertive Mars, the ruler of Aries, unhappily slogging His way through the Neptune-ruled Piscean star-soup every day this month until the night of New Year’s Eve, when fireworks truly begin to ring in the New Year with a bang as Mars will be entering His home sign of Aries. But for the first 30 days of the month, alas, Mars is skewered by Neptune’s trident, floundering in confusion, low energy levels (possibly even low libido), and even physical sickness. (I’m actually combatting pneumonia as I type these words; I was diagnosed with it on Thursday and am now in Major Arcana Hermit mode at home.) Mars in Pisces loses impulse and direction.
Adding to the Watery Elemental force is the fact that the month begins with Retrograde Mercury having backed into Scorpio’s harsh currents on December 1, and on December 2, the first night of Hanukkah, beguiling Venus also dips back into the familiar waters of Scorpio. So much of the energy will feel exactly like it did during Venus’ protracted Retrograde period in Scorpio (October 5-November 16), and now with Mercury’s analytical focus shining a spotlight on these dark waters, we’re going to be given remedial lessons on power dynamics in relationships, the abuse of power, sexual abuse and trauma, obsessiveness and jealousy/possessiveness, and what it means to assert one’s (sexual) autonomy. This is Underworld terrain, and its concerns very much go against the grain of the commercially enforced cheerfulness marketed to us this time of year for the holidays.
And, one more prominent note on the Fire-Water opposition, this month will bring us a Fiery New Moon (in Sagittarius, early in the morning on December 7) and a Watery Full Moon (on December 22 in Cancer, the Sign ruled by the Moon). So much of this push-pull dynamic and the Sagittarian desire for real-world expansion and adventure contrasted with the Piscean pull towards cultivating a rich inner life translates into moving. Very. Slowly. It’s deliberate. The Cosmos is asking us to sit quietly with what we perceive to be setbacks in the “real world.” For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere getting ready to welcome the official start of Winter at the Winter Solstice on the 21st, our task, as much as we may not like it, is to follow the pattern of Nature and take a cosmic Time Out. Slow down. Reflect. Dream. Build your emotional foundation. Hibernate. Act slowly and steadily. Set your intentions/do your goal-setting at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon, but allow your intentions to germinate in the garden of your soul. Don’t put plans into action until the very last day of the month, when Mars breaks free from His Piscean prison and announces it’s all systems GO as He bursts headlong into the Cardinal Fire of Aries and is home again. It will be an amazing way to welcome 2019!
This month we have no less than 7 planetary bodies dramatically changing signs and affecting the energy patterns of the Collective Consciousness, and as of the time of this writing, November 6 (mid-term Election Day in the United States: fellow Americans, I hope you voted!), two of them will be set in motion by day’s end with effects to be felt for the next 12-18 months. Let’s just jump right into it.
Please note all times given for planetary transits reflect Central Standard Time in the U.S. Please adjust for your time zones accordingly!
Energetically speaking, astrological events this year have really forced us into a “review and release” mode as we evaluate our lives. This past summer was an extremely challenging period for many people (myself included), dominated as it was by the Mars Retrograde and the major shake-ups brought by the eclipses. Whether we were ready for it or not, we were tasked with major, even karmic, releases. Now the shift focuses on reviewing and reevaluating our lives, including how we attract or repel the forces of abundance, as the planet Venus gets ready to station Retrograde on October 5, plunging us into the archetypal experience I liken unto the Goddess Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld.
The golden-rod is yellow;
The corn is turning brown;
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down…
By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
—Helen Hunt Jackson, “September” (1892)
September opens on an optimistic note, having us all breathe easier with the confidence that the Summer of Stagnation, largely caused by Mars Retrograde, is behind us. The Mutable Earth Sign of Virgo welcomes change and poises those of us in the Northern Hemisphere at the point of literal and symbolic harvest in our lives, asking us to reflect on how the year’s experiences, expected events or not, have compelled us to grow. Wisdom is the art of applying knowledge that was hard-won from experience, and the Sun’s annual transit in Virgo, which lasts until September 22, requires that we all operate from actionable insights aligned with our highest integrity (this is the “purity” of the Virgo archetype). This harvesting process is expedited by the fact that all personal planets in our zodiac are moving direct this month. As a Cosmic Bonus, Virgo’s Ruling Planet of Mercury makes His ingress into Virgo the night of September 5 (9:40 p.m. CDT) and transits until September 22, blessing us all with clarity of thought, precision in communications, and good fortune in travel. But wait—there’s more!
Perhaps I should change the title of this post to read, “The Astrology of the Rest of the Month.” My participation in the amazing 9th United Astrology Conference, which ended on May 30, and subsequent life upheavals have delayed the writing of my monthly AstroCast column, a mass forecast relevant for all signs, by a good 12 days or so. But better late than never, eh? The transits in place as of today actually serve as a very good springboard for examining the overall theme of the month that I’m calling “Pulled Within,” as the Mars Retrograde and other key features of the month betoken an inner harnessing of the planetary energies. Let’s have a closer look.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
“He went like one that hath been stunn’d
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.”
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (lines 623-626)
The atmosphere in the Marriott Magnificent Mile hotel conference room where Dutch astrologer Karen Hamaker-Zondag taught her United Astrology Conference 2018 post-conference workshop on May 30, 2018, definitely felt gloomy and funereal. In many ways, the dimly lit and shockingly cold space would be a fitting Plutonian environment for delving deeply (six hours’ worth of learning in a single sitting) on the subject of “What Do You Really Want with Your 8th House and Pluto?”
All of the amazing concurrently running astrology workshops and classes comprising the 9th United Astrology Conference, recently held here in Chicago from May 23 to May 30 at the Marriott Magnificent Mile hotel on Michigan Avenue, definitely made it hard for me to choose which world-class teacher’s talk I would attend at any of the time slots for each day. At times I wanted a truly trans-historical, “big picture” perspective on the Cosmic Intelligences at work in all of our lives, while at other times my Virgo Sun Sign made me want to take a more granular view of planetary energies, focusing on present or imminent planetary transits. And while so many of my fellow Americans were planning on celebrating the Memorial Day holiday on Monday, May 28, through the time-honored tradition of outdoor grilling and family barbeques, the fires I wanted to zero in on instead were those of “Mars Transits and the Mars Cycle,” my first class of the day, which was taught by astrologer Donna Van Toen.
The main conference days of UAC 2018 were Friday, May 25 through Tuesday, May 29, though I also elected to participate in Karen Hamaker-Zondag’s 6-hour-long post-conference workshop on May 30 on the subject of the 8th House. These glorious days of intense learning, fellowship, socializing (I organized a small-group dinner outing to Greek Town for out-of-state conference attendees the night of Sunday, May 27) and partying (the Chicago “Roaring Twenties”-themed jazz party and silent auction on Saturday the 26thwas lots of fun) were definitely presided over by Airy and Watery Elemental forces.