Transitional is the key word for 2018. It’s a year of integration, a threshold moment where past, present and future meet to create what happens next. Poet and author David Whyte describes a threshold as the place where you don’t know how to proceed and need to ask for help. And that ability to ask for help—that need and that willingness to reach out to others of like mind, heart and soul—is the key to navigating not only 2018, but it’s also the key to navigating all the years ahead. Seen from that perspective, 2018 is a year of community, in which those of us who understand the deep physical and metaphysical ecology of life on planet Earth move into an active and deeper experience of unity. Some of us will find it hard to acknowledge a need for a combined effort, working with others to achieve necessary goals. But others will find it comforting, because as individual and collective confidence in our ecological connectedness grows, the realization that we’re not alone fertilizes a determination to work even harder to preserve our shared ground: Planet Earth. Transitions, as many know, are seldom easy—the passages from one phase of life to another are often tumultuous, so be prepared for more than a few rough moments. But also anticipate glorious moments of authentic transformation.
Perhaps it’s best to think of 2018’s transitional signature as the astrological equivalent of a gap year—you know, that hiatus between high school and college that’s supposed to facilitate greater maturity before taking on the rigors of higher education. Not that 2017 was high school—indeed, it was a year of extreme polarization, symbolized by a series of three Uranus/Jupiter oppositions which turned the world upside down with one startling shift after another. And all those upsets were punctuated by the Great American Eclipse with its preponderance of startling revelations. 2017 simply tilted the very axis of reality, throwing the planet and most of her inhabitants into a tailspin.
While 2018 has its own share of unexpected plot twists, it is essentially a year of integration and preparation, because what lies ahead of us is even more intense than what we’ve just been through. From 2019 through 2025, we’re under the influence of increasingly intense planetary patterns, and we need to prepare for those changes. Unfortunately, that means 2018 is not a vacation. In hindsight, it’s likely to be seen as relatively quiet—the calm between the storms. Don’t misunderstand…there are plenty of astrological changes occurring over the coming twelve months, but with the exception of Uranus and its change of Signs, what happens astrologically in 2018 are tiny inconveniences compared to the coming years. I don’t mean to be scary or obscure—I’m simply suggesting that we make the most of the year ahead. Forewarned is better prepared.
The Big Shift of 2018
Uranus leaves Aries on May 15, 2018, beginning the end of its transit through Aries, a transit that began in May 2010 and was completed on March 11, 2011—the day an earthquake sent a tidal wave crashing onto the shores of Japan, a wave that started the Fukushima nuclear fires. (In an article in the New York Times on the anniversary of this event, an expert is quoted as saying radioactive waste is likely to pour into the ocean for the rest of time.) Because we tend to experience the presence of Uranus more intensely than almost any other planet, I tend to think of it as the most dramatic of all the planets—there’s just no ignoring how immediately we feel its influence.
Uranus enters Taurus on May 15, 2018, beginning a cycle that will last until 2025. It’s leaving a Fire Sign and entering an Earth Sign. Recently there were articles in the news about increased earthquake activity during 2018 because of the slight wobble in the Earth’s rotation—the Earth is slowing down. When I heard that more earthquakes were a possibility, I couldn’t help but think about Uranus and its dramatic effects. Originally, I thought this Uranian move from Fire to Earth would be more akin to a huge volcanic eruption and the ensuing disruption. But there’s simply no telling what the effect will be until Uranus settles into Taurus on March 6, 2019. The good news is that the retrograde pace of its transition between Signs allows plenty of time to tie up the loose ends of the last seven years of Uranus, in Aries.
Taurus signifies money and all personal resources other than real estate, so from a practical perspective, finances are certain to be an issue for the next seven years. I don’t necessarily think we’ll see the full effect on markets and banks until March 2019—but we will get glimpses throughout 2018. What we are most likely to see is a backlash to against the newest version of the tax bill passed by both Houses of the Congress in late 2017—a backlash that’s indicative of just how polarized we continue to be.
Uranus also symbolizes revolution, invention, and surprising twists of fate—it throws lightning bolts of illumination into stagnant situations. From a personal perspective, these lightning bolts tend to manifest as startling events. For example, you think your marriage is doing just fine, and then Uranus enters your Solar House of relationship, and suddenly you or your significant other start talking divorce—from zero to sixty in the blink of a cosmic eye. From a collective perspective, Uranus, in Taurus, could also mean that previously tried-and-true financial institutions fail—again—only this time there’s no way out of the mess other than a complete overhaul.
Be aware, as Uranus shifts the focus from Fire to Earth, everyone is going to experience that shift, consciously or unconsciously, so be prepared to review and reflect on seven years of change as you simultaneously prepare for more upset and upheaval.
Saturn entered Capricorn on December 20, 2017, a transit that will last until 2020. I often describe Saturn as the voice of reality, and for the next two years it’s broadcasting, in no uncertain terms, information about what’s working and what’s simply falling apart. During 2018, Saturn moves steadily toward a conjunction with Pluto in January 2020, and while some astrologers feel that the start of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction is in 2018, I don’t agree. We won’t really start to understand how the coming Saturn/Pluto conjunction will manifest until the beginning of 2019—if then.
Saturn signifies authorities, structures and organizations; it helps us get to the bones of things. The next couple of years are essentially about the battle to solve problems—there is so much to figure out and the problems are mounting daily. As Saturn transits through its Home Sign of Capricorn, its powers of problem-solving will be at an all-time high. The thing is…things are going to continue to fall apart during 2018 and it wouldn’t be wise to be too hasty in putting things back together. No quick fixes will work; the solutions have to be real—grounded in practical wisdom that will serve the greater good.
After the Great American Eclipse on August 21, 2017, it would be difficult to not mention the eclipses of 2018—none of which will gather the publicity of the Great one. And for good reason: No eclipse in 2018 travels as dynamic a span. That being said, the solar eclipse on February 15, 2018 comes very close to the degree of the Great Eclipse, and we are likely to see a resurgence of the same issues in both individual and collective arenas.
Here’s the list:
Lunar Eclipse on January 31
Solar Eclipse on February 15
Solar Eclipse on July 13
Lunar Eclipse on July 27
Solar Eclipse on August 11
There are always Mercury Retrograde phases, and this year there are three:
Mercury Retrograde March 23 – April 15
Mercury Retrograde July 26 – August 19
Mercury Retrograde November 17 – December 6
But—and this is a big but—this year Mars is also retrograde, from June 26 -August 27. Please make a note that the second Mercury Retrograde of 2018 occurs during Mars Retrograde—and that means those few weeks are sure to be brutal when it comes to getting anything done. More about the particulars as the year unfolds. But please note that the three eclipses of the summer take place during Mars and Mercury Retrograde.
And…yes…there is more: Venus Retrograde begins October 5 and ends November 16, with the final Mercury Retrograde of 2018 beginning the very next day.
Learning to work together toward the greater good is part of the transitional force of 2018. Healing is always about finding the truth of a condition, recognizing its causes, and then applying the appropriate remedy. Mr. Trump and his gang of hungry ghosts are the manifestation of the worst of us. The conceit of their greed is that they believe themselves to be the best. Their egregious behavior woke many from a deep sleep of complacency. You might even say that while the Trump Gang was one extreme of what happens when you are unaware of the interconnectedness of life, complacency is simply a milder version. The failure to recognize yourself as a part of a much bigger reality—one that requires your active participation—means that you’ve become complicit. Silence is consent. If you want to make a difference in the world, find your voice and speak your truth to power.
The Earth has a lot more to say during the coming year. It’s our job to listen closely and take her seriously. We also need to listen to each other closely, and not just because we need each other, but because a continuing dialogue will help us handle the transitional signature of the year. The realization that we are all in this together—that we are not alone even when we feel as if we are—gives us all hope for a better future. And learning to listen eventually strengthens and widens our ability to be kind and compassionate with our fellow travelers.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
Uranus leaving your Sign is certain to catalyze a wide range of emotions. On one hand there is relief, yet on the other there’s a deep sense of appreciation for just how dynamic this transit has been. Its move into Taurus requires a revolution of personal values, and the shifts are likely to include money. Don’t panic—this doesn’t necessarily mean you lose everything. Stay present for the changes, allow things to unfold, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Taurus April 20-May 20
Yes…Uranus is going to shake things up—especially for you, because the first thing it does when it moves into your Sign is catalyze an identity crisis. You’re likely to want to change your clothes, your hair and your face. But I wouldn’t be too hasty about making any permanent changes at the beginning of this transit. Rather than act on impulse—a Uranian characteristic to be sure—take your time, sit with this new energy and get used to it before you act precipitously.
Gemini May 21-June 21
Uranus moves into Taurus, a position that stirs your internal world—the realm of the unconscious where we dream of what was and imagine what will be. As part of this process you are sure to gain greater insight into psychological patterns that you weren’t previously able to crack open, even with your innate intellectual prowess. Uranus catalyzes an interest in alternative ways of knowing, ways that challenge and provoke but also stimulate a new, innovative perspective.
Cancer June 22-July 22
Uranus’ journey through Taurus stimulates a desire to deepen your commitment to community action. I realize that might sound a little far-fetched to your crabby tendency to withdraw into your hermit persona. But I wouldn’t say no just yet. You are an innately nurturing human being, and that impulse to take care of others could override the tendency to be self-protective. They are not mutually exclusive impulses, and the gift of 2018 is learning how to blend them.
Leo July 23-August 22
Uranus moves into Taurus, catalyzing a renewed interest in career possibilities—even if you’re retired. Don’t hesitate to follow your heart when it comes to doing what you love—anything less than authenticity is unacceptable. The only obstacle to this process is not knowing what you want to do—so if you don’t know, get crackin’! Uranus is thrusting you into the spotlight, and that attention might as well include what you are most passionate about.
Virgo August 23-September 22
Uranus’ journey through Taurus stimulates a desire to immerse yourself in new ideas, new ways of thinking and new belief systems. Embrace this phase by indulging your curiosity—travel to learn about different cultures, study a new language, or become an expert on a religion other than your own. Be willing to see through the eyes of an ‘other’ and you’ll open your body, mind, heart, and soul to a new and truly valuable universal perspective.
Libra September 23-October 22
You can hardly wait…I know…the beginning is near, and soon the emphasis on relating and relationship will become a thing of the past—but not quite yet. When Uranus moves into Taurus, you will feel an immediate lessening of tension, but it is important to realize that the next Uranian phase might be just as intense, given that Uranus enters your Solar House of transformation, inviting you to even deeper processes and experiences of personal growth.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
The gift of Uranus, in Taurus, is the gift of moderation in relationships—all your partnerships, including and especially your relationship with yourself. The key to successfully navigating this next seven-year excursion is to realize and then know that finding a true balance with another human being, especially someone we love deeply, takes a lot of work and a constant commitment to staying on the field. You’re up to it, but it requires living the notion of nothing in excess.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Uranus’ journey through Taurus is a muscle-building phase—you’re building physical muscle, but you are also building strength of character because Uranus catalyzes a deep desire to be of service. That desire could manifest as active participation—you could run for office. It could also show itself as a commitment to taking care of a family member. It doesn’t matter what arena you choose. What’s important is your desire to make a positive contribution.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
Uranus moves into Taurus, catalyzing a deep desire for personal self-expression through creativity. It doesn’t matter whether your medium is writing, music, painting, or gardening. It also doesn’t matter if you’re not inclined toward an art or a craft. Life is the most creative endeavor any of us participate in, and Uranus is going to help you turn your life into your masterpiece. All that’s necessary is your desire to show up and be willing to risk being you.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
When Uranus moves into Taurus it moves into your Solar House of the home—and that means where you live physically but also where you live psychically—all of which translates into catalyzing new terrain, within and without. It is as Herculean as it sounds, but you’re up to the task. Uranus is, after all, your Ruling Planet, and you’re attuned to its innovative and erratic pulse. Even if there are moments of destabilization, you’re still likely to feel comfortable with this process.
Pisces February 19-March 20
Uranus’ journey provokes an exchange of ideas that spans all sorts of communication methods. Whether it’s a personal blog, a writing workshop, a course in non-violent communication, or simply a series of heart-to-heart dialogues with friends and family, you’re talking and sharing your ideas about a wide range of topics. Embrace this Uranian phase because ultimately it is catalyzing your ability to converse intimately in a wide variety of languages.
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