Welcome to the first day of a new year and a new decade, each promising a dynamic (okay…wild) ride of personal and planetary transformation that challenges all of us to rise to the occasion of a new consciousness, capable of envisioning what needs to be done to right the course of planet Earth. It’s a daunting task that nevertheless must be accomplished if we are to make it through the shifts that lie ahead. So take a deep breath, find your center, and set your internal compass to your personal true north because all year long you will need to hold fast to what is most true so you can find your way through a multitude of shifts.
Ancient astrologers looked to the sky for messages from the gods, and if those sky watchers were alive today and had the power of telescopes, their heads would explode from the deluge of portents lighting up the 2020 night sky. From the perspective of our ancestors, who viewed the sky as alive and speaking to us all the time, 2020 is bookended by two of the most potent astral signatures possible: (1) a Saturn/Pluto conjunction on January 12, a configuration that signals a restructuring of government and other authoritative institutions that provide the backbone of collective reality; and twelve months later, (2) a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction on the winter solstice of 2020 closes the year and simultaneously signals the start of a new regime, specifically a dynasty based on the notion that ideas shape reality.
But don’t get too excited about this idealistic shift—we can’t just click our ruby shoes, use a Bluetooth mouse, swipe to the next screen, or use the TV remote to hurry into our brave new world; we have to co-create it, which requires working with each other in spite of our differences. Right at this moment in our collective turmoil that might sound like an impossible dream, but there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of small citizen initiatives all around the world that are positively affecting daily life and countering hate and greed by improving attitudes and aspirations. So do not despair as the glare of nightly news illuminates obstacles. As Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The first week of 2020 opens with confusing impulses. At midnight on January 1, we start the calendar New Year with a Moon/Neptune conjunction in Pisces, an empathic combination that speaks the possibilities of compassion as a guiding principle for the coming year. Unfortunately, by the end of the first day of the New Year, the Moon moves into Aries, indicating strong emotional currents that are more about self-interest than altruistic intentions, and that shift in attitude is likely to manifest as aggression—hardly anyone will be all that interested in making nice with others. And as the Moon moves through Aries for the next couple of days, it forms fractious angles to the aggregation of planets in Capricorn—Mercury, Jupiter, the Sun, Saturn, and Pluto. Anticipate everyone being more than a little cranky.
Also be aware that while we’ve been experiencing this lunar activation cycle for the last several months, this is the last in the cycle; it culminates in a lunar eclipse at 20° Cancer 00′ on January 10, at 2:10 PM EST. This lunar eclipse punctuates the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, which is exact and separating on January 12. Because eclipse effects extend before and after the actual event, you may well be experiencing the tension of next week’s eclipse this week. The Moon will oppose Saturn and it will also oppose Pluto; it will not oppose their conjunction in Capricorn again in our lifetime because there won’t be another Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn until 2754. So I would expect a fair degree of intensity.
Another momentous conjunction occurs at the end of 2020: it’s a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction at 0°00′ Aquarius. The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn occurs every twenty years; it moves through each astrological Element approximately every 200 years, and because there are four Elements in astrology—Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, it takes about 800 years for the conjunction to make a complete cycle. A change of Element indicates a shift in perspective and concerns—think of the difference between Aries and Taurus or Taurus and Gemini or Gemini and Cancer. Our ancestral astrologers believed this change in Element signaled a change in emphasis, which is probably why they deemed this Element shift a dynasty change. The last time we started a full Jupiter/Saturn cycle in the Air Element was 1226—nearly 800 years ago. For those interested in a long list of this cycle, go to Richard Nolle’s site: www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html
Please note that there is always a conjunction that presages the shift in Element. In this case it was 1980-81, when there were three conjunctions in Libra, an Air Sign. Then the cycle shifted back into Earth, with one last conjunction in the Earth cycle in May 2000, in Taurus. Now we are entering an Air cycle that will continue until 2219.
So 2020 can be seen as a year of great transition, where Earth Element concerns clash with Air Element concerns. Earth is the tangible world; Air is the intangible world—the world of ideas, ideologies, ideals, and idealism. Some will call it the beginning of the Aquarian Age (Oy…I may have to change the name of the column), when the utopian principles of Aquarius and its egalitarian aspirations clash with the Capricornian voice of reality, a voice that wants to get real and keep it that way. But these days, it’s hard to know what’s real. Again, this is the year we make choices about what reality we are going to embrace—fact or fiction, contraction or expansion, cruelty or compassion?
2020 opens with the harsh reality of the Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, the Sign that gets down to the bones of things and doesn’t back off until the superfluous is deemed unessential. Pluto’s journey through Capricorn, which began in 2008, continues to challenge all sorts of systems previously taken for granted, individual and collective, but none more important than the political and financial structures that are the backbone—the skeletal structure—of how the world works. When Saturn entered Capricorn in 2017, it amplified Pluto’s journey, and as Saturn moved into its conjunction with Pluto, we have been living with the combined effect: a daily reality that is divisive, polarizing, and aggressive, as the status quo struggles against the inevitable forces of change.
One more thing: Uranus goes direct on January 10, about six hours after the lunar eclipse, which means that these next days are likely to resemble Mercury Retrograde, especially when it comes to technology snafus. So keep your patience pills handy—you’ll need them to manage any techno-breakdowns. Also do whatever it is you do to soothe and calm your nervous system. Whenever Uranus “changes” direction, it feels like a speed bump in the ethers and nervous systems often struggle and strain to keep up with the current. That being said, start your new year off with a resolution to be kind to your fellow travelers of every ilk. We all need the comfort of kindness right now, even and maybe especially those who think they are immune to the great forces influencing daily life.