This week and the next several weeks are threshold weeks on Planet Earth—we’re moving into a new astrological pattern in preparation for other planetary patterns which unfold over next year and the next several years. And while I know that most readers are concerned about what’s happening right now, it might be prudent to contemplate how the power of the current moment sets the stage for what comes next. When we live—really, when we embody—the idea that our co-creative human superpower sets our personal and collective future in motion, we can choose to be responsive rather than reactive. So put those thinking caps on and get ready to contemplate what it is you want to co-create, and don’t forget to attach the extraterrestrial antennae—lots of information from a wide range of sources is available to help you sort through a variety of decisions.
The first and maybe most telling bit of current astral information is Mercury Retrograde, which started on December 3 and persists until December 22/23. (I’ve covered the particulars of Mercury Retrograde do’s and don’ts in previous columns, and I won’t reiterate them in this one other than to say that during a Mercury Retrograde phase you can expect detours, delays and snafus related to communication and travel.) What makes the current Mercury Retrograde phase significant is its relationship to Saturn. Mercury began this retrograde on December 3 (also the day of the Full Moon, in Gemini) a little more than one degree away from Saturn. That conjunction is exact December 6, and will be exact again on January 13, when both Mercury and Saturn are both in the early degrees of Capricorn.
Currently, Mercury’s proximity to Saturn (they travel in tandem until December 11) is an invitation to reflect on Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius. You could say that Mercury’s nearness is the equivalent of good-bye kisses—Mercury won’t be conjunct Saturn, in Sagittarius, again until Saturn returns to the Sign of the Archer in 2044.
Mercury/Saturn conjunctions tend to manifest as mental endurance—occasionally this mental might is characterized as an unwillingness to let go of an idea. At its best, this combination provides the capacity to think deeply. Sagittarius is the Sign where we search for truth, so we could speculate that these goodbye kisses are about deepening our understanding of what’s transpired since Saturn began its transit of Sagittarius in September 2015, a transit that began with Mercury Retrograde, in Libra. But before that deepening can occur, it’s important to understand Saturn’s influence.
I like to think of Saturn as the voice of reality because it symbolizes rules and regulations, limits and limitations, and all things related to systems, open or closed, as well as structure, physical or conceptual. But Saturn isn’t only about boundaries. At its best, it is the principle of discernment—it allows us to gather wisdom from our experiences, or put another way, Saturn represents growth. It’s how we mature. We can become harsh and judgmental and rigidly cling to our opinions, or we can understand that life is a process that often challenges what we think we know for sure and continually asks us to reevaluate the limits of our understanding.
On December 20, 2017, Saturn enters Capricorn, its Home Sign, a position that amplifies Saturn’s qualities as well as Capricorn’s. Capricorn is an Earth Sign, and it literally represents a down-to-earth practical and pragmatic approach to just about everything. For some, Saturn’s entry into Capricorn could resemble a crash-landing, especially after the idealism of Sagittarius. For others, Saturn’s entry into Capricorn is likely to feel more like a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-get-to-work moment that makes everyone want to take charge and deal with whatever needs to be dealt with.
Most importantly, Saturn’s entry into Capricorn begins its inexorable approach to a conjunction with Pluto that is exact in January 2020. While that may seem a good distance away, it isn’t as far away as we may think, at least not in cosmic time, and as Saturn transits Capricorn, its resonance with Pluto will gather strength. Capricorn is all about corporations, government and authorities of every variety. In its essence it signifies order, but as with all things on Planet Earth, the need for order is often exploited by a hunger for power. Be prepared for even more rigid controls. But also anticipate intense resistance to the greedy exploitation of those controls.
Mircea Eliade writes about thresholds as the liminal space between chaos and order. They are passage ways from the profane to the sacred. Thus, crossing the threshold into a temple, mosque, synagogue, church or any other structure that signifies sacred space means entering into a different dimension. That’s what we are doing these next several weeks as we move with Saturn across the solstice threshold into the next phase of human endeavor.
There are many decisions to be made over the course of the next several weeks, decisions about how we want to handle what lies ahead—how we want to co-create our future. Some of the choices won’t be easy. For many, the next several weeks are a time of heightened sensitivity, and those overwhelmed by a surplus of feelings are sure to need helping hands and tender gestures. For others, the next couple of weeks are the holidays as usual and their choices will be more about Mercury Retrograde interference with traffic and shopping—not to mention a wide variety of techno-hassles. But most of us are likely to turn thoughtful, determined to hone our ability to stay responsive to each new development. Saturn and Capricorn are both synonymous with responsibility and that is likely to be the keyword for the coming year. Don’t forget to be kind to your fellow travelers—it’s much needed.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
I was serious last week when I wrote that the next several weeks are best spent contemplating what you’ve learned these last two years about your belief systems. Whatever synthesis you arrive at, those principles will guide your actions through the next phase, which is why it is important to identify those guiding lights—you will need them to help your fellow travelers find their way.
Taurus April 20-May 20
It’s a necessary completion phase, and even though you can sense the shift that’s just around the corner—you are an Earth Sign after all, and Capricorn is your cousin—there’s still work to be done tying up loose ends and making closure where closure is necessary. Take your time with this process because there is enough time to do all that’s necessary to create a tidy ending.
Gemini May 21-June 21
It hasn’t been an easy Saturnian ride and you won’t be sad to bid Saturn Adios. But even though it can’t happen too quickly for you, there may still be some relationship lessons to be learned. As you contemplate what’s shifted over the last two years, pay special attention to who has shifted in your life—old relationships that have ended as well as new ones that have begun.
Cancer June 22-July 22
Take a deep breath and then breathe as many times as necessary to calm your spirit and quiet your heart. Yes, these next two weeks are intense, but they are not calamitous. Although you are required to show up (so no checking out), you are not responsible for the outcome—which is a group effort. But you might consider acknowledging what you’ve learned and sharing that information with others.
Leo July 23-August 22
You have a great deal of innate creative skill, and these last two years you’ve been challenged to channel that skill into all sorts of plans and projects. Before you take the next step and start sharing that skill with others, take a moment to contemplate its value. Creativity comes easily to you, and that sometimes translates into taking it for granted, so just for now, appreciate it.
Virgo August 23-September 22
Saturn taught you to be quite forthright about what you need to feel steady within your environment and steady within yourself. And while sometimes it’s been awkward speaking up, for the most part it’s been an exercise in acknowledging your needs and then doing what’s necessary to make sure they are satisfied. Don’t stop now—if you feel unsafe, say so and be sure to articulate why.
Libra September 23-October 22
I know you’d like to take flight and break away from the intensities, but it’s not the right moment for lift-off. I’ve been advising you to stay present, and that advice continues, except that this week, I would add: Notice what you don’t say but wish you could. I’m not suggesting you start blurting out every thought, but I am advising you to notice just how much you hold back—and why.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
You’re probably going to feel like Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone when Saturn leaves your Solar House of personal finance on December 20—and it doesn’t even matter whether you made or lost money these last two years. If you haven’t yet seized the moment and used Saturn to confront your finances and shift the structure—do it now.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
There is no greater healing salve than simply being yourself—all you, all the time—without compromise. But even though authenticity has the power to heal previously unhealable wounds, it’s still not easy to tell the truth to yourself or others. For the next two weeks, practice authenticity and see what it’s like to never edit or rehearse who you are—you just might find it’s not that hard.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
There’s no need to be anxious about Saturn’s entry into your Sign, so rather than spend energy in needless worry, concentrate on finishing up the next two weeks of Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius by paying close attention to your dreams. Sleeping and waking, those are the visions you’re likely to try to put in motion for the next several years.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
Hold high your banner of personal growth—you’ve accomplished so much these last two years learning the incredible Saturnian lessons of how to participate in community activities. Take the time to reflect on this process because it has served you well—and don’t be afraid of a tweak or two—there’s still time to polish and refine.
Pisces February 19-March 20
Use the end of this Saturn phase to find peace—a real abiding sense of calm that will allow you to make an accurate assessment of how you responded to the challenge of career, success and recognition. Even if you thought that none of these areas were a concern, the last two years of Saturn lessons could have shifted your perspective. My hope is that you’re able to see the value in the new view.
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