The Astrology of 2017: Ante Up

The Astrology of 2017: Ante Up

The skies of 2017 shine bright and gaudy as a Vegas casino, and house just as many games of skill and chance.  The year deals a thick deck of cards, emblazoned with images both luminous and monstrous.   In that deck hide jokers aplenty.  There is no lone Fool concealed within, but a motley army, intent on showing up when they’re least expected.

The odds may be… odd, but if you understand the rules of the game, you just might come out ahead.  Of course, you’ll need more than skill— a little luck and the right kind of superstition are critical.  You’ll have to decide when you’re on a hot streak, and when you’re not.  You’ll also need to pick your games carefully, as there will be fights at some of the tables, and you won’t want to be there when they break out.  Although its mostly cards, you can find all manner of other gambles, as well.  The betting pool around contests of all sorts- from cagefights to karaoke- is sure to be packed.  You can even climb into the spotlight, if you’re willing to wager yourself.

The high rollers will be there, too.  From a distance, you’ll see billionaires and politicians dressed like cowboys, at elevated tables atop high security ziggurats. They’ll eye each other warily over fans of cards, caressing the antique revolvers at their hips.  The outcomes of their rarefied gambles will cascade down to the floor of the casino, reshuffling decks and fixing the odds of a million smaller games.

Between the wins and losses, you’ll probably end up watching one of 2017’s big song and dance numbers.  The casino has spectacular shows, but there’s something going on behind the curtain.  The dramaturges have questionable motives, and some of the shows may be no safer than the tables.  You’ll need to pick the spectacles you expose yourself to carefully.

Though there are tables with higher and lower stakes, there’s no place in 2017’s casino immune to chance.  So take a deep breath and a deeper drink, then place your bets, because closing time is just around the corner.  We’ll all be escorted off the premises at the end of the year, packed into a shuttle, and driven to the end of the decade’s more somber landscapes.


Part I: A Year Among Many

Our method for investigating 2017 will take place in four parts, moving from the large to the small.   We will thus begin with 2017’s place in history, as one year of many, and then continue in an ever more granular fashion.  Enjoy.

The Jupiter-Saturn Cycle

One of the more important contexts to consider the year within is the Jupiter-Saturn cycle.  For much of astrology’s history, the Jupiter-Saturn cycle has provided the backbone of historical analysis.  It is 20 years between each Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, traditionally called “The Great Conjunction,” and so they measure out short eras which last for a pair of decades at a time.

The last Jupiter-Saturn conjunction was in the year 2000, and the next one will be in the last days of 2020.  If we take these 20 years as representing a particular historical arc, it is clear that we are already most of the way through the story.  Indeed, we’ve rounded the corner and are now solidly in the last quarter.  From this position, we can look back and see the themes rather clearly.

The 16 years so far of this 20 year cycle can be summarized, very quickly, as being a time of unprecedentedly rapid economic globalization.  This is particularly true of the first 7 or so years- the first third, or act, of the 20 year cycle.  The second act, beginning with the financial crisis, made the difficulties, dangers and drawbacks of the previous years’ globalization quite clear.  Now, well within the third act, the resistance to the global direction which began the cycle has peaked. Anti-globalist, nationalist leaders have come to power in many parts of the world.  Thesis, meet antithesis.  This resistance to globalization will likely increase during the decade’s last years.  Indeed, as the 20 year cycle closes out, we are likely to see thesis and anti-thesis at a point of peak tension, the drawbacks and costs of neoliberalism and neonationalism each fully exposed.

This developing tension will bring us to the end of this Jupiter-Saturn cycle, and to doorstep of the next one. The upcoming 20 year cycle begins with Jupiter and Saturn’s conjunction in Aquarius at the end of 2020.  New ideas and directions, perhaps even a classic dialectical synthesis, are thus due to arrive in the early years of our next decade.  Yet the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius in 2020 does not merely begin a new 20 year cycle, it actually begins a series of 20 year cycles which will last over 200 years, taking us well beyond the border of the next century.  A bit of additional background may be required here, so please allow me to explain.

The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is one of astrology’s longest used and most reliable yardsticks for measuring history.  The two planets conjoin every 20 years, providing a tool for examining history in two decade increments.  But these 20 year cycles themselves make a larger pattern.  For approximately 200 years at a time, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur in signs of the same element.  This gives us 200 years of fire, earth, air, and then water.*  The Jupiter-Saturn cycle thus offers us not only the ability to study history in 20 year arcs, but also to look at the larger spans of history enclosed by the 200 year periods.

The two planets have been making conjunctions in earth signs since the early 19th century, enclosing and timing the waves of industrial revolution and overseeing the transformation of our relationship to the material world that’s taken place over the last two centuries.  The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius in 2020 begins a new 200 year arc of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in air sign.  Air is associated with abstract thought, movement and communication, and the historical periods governed by the air triplicity have, in the past, given birth to enduring systems of thought, innovations in the development of language, and overseen the spread of ideas and culture across great swathes of earth.  A breath of fresh air, certainly, after a decidedly materialistic pair of centuries.

*This is a short summary of the dynamics of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle.  I have spared the casual reader some of the nuance involved, such as the difference between apparent and mean conjunctions, as well as the matter of the mutation conjunctions which occur near the boundaries of the elemental periods.  For those interested in more depth, I recommend “The Astrology of the World II” by Ben Dykes.

Revolution and Counter-Revolution

Yet before we reach even the barest beginning of this new 200 year arc, we have to get through the decade, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn which looms at its end.  In order to understand the meaning of the end, though, we must also understand its beginning. The difference between the start and finish of this decade can be characterized by considering the major configurations which began it, and those which will end it.

The decade began with a series of squares between Uranus and Pluto.  Hard aspects between this pair reliably preside over periods of revolutionary sentiment and action.  This last installment provided exactly that.  The Uranus-Pluto squares coincided with the Arab Spring, revolutions in Ukraine and Thailand, the formation of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and a score of other like developments.

The decade will end, however, with a series of conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto.  While Uranus-Pluto configurations are consistently revolutionary and strongly left-leaning, Saturn-Pluto alignments are reactionary, nationalist and conservative.  For example, the previous Saturn-Pluto conjunction in the early 80’s inaugurated the Reagan-Thatcher era.

This wave of conservative empowerment is already evident on an international level, likely due to antiscial conjunctions of Saturn and Pluto in 2016.  Both cultural and geographic borders are being locked down, and the rise of conservative, nationalist leaders is evident on every continent except Antarctica.  See the Economist’s “The New Nationalism” for a good overview of the phenomenon.

This tightening of economic, cultural and geographical borders is, among other things, a reaction to the break neck speed of globalization over the last 20 years.  Information, people and capital have been redistributed at a previously impossible pace, and although there have certainly been a variety of gains, the drawbacks of unchecked globalization have become abundantly clear.  This reaction has gained sufficient power to be represented politically now.

While the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction at the very beginning of the next decade ends and begins a 20 year cycle, the Saturn-Pluto conjunction at the end of this one ends and begins a cycle which started in the early 80’s. Thus, from a larger point of view, we can expect the next 3 years to be characterized politically by a conservative reaction to the neoliberal globalist thesis.

With 2017 nearing the end of cycles lasting 20, 38, and 200 years, a doorway with a blazing EXIT sign is fast coming into view, but it will still be a few years before we actually pass through it.


Part II:  Significant Configurations

With the larger sweep of history in mind, let us now move on to the year itself.  2017 is, in many ways, a sort of sequel to 2016.  They are both fiery and unpredictable, though 2016’s configurations were more vicious and pointed than 2017’s look to be.  It is important to note both years see Saturn in Sagittarius, whereas the slow planet will be in Capricorn for 2018-2020.  This is important commonality, as Saturn’s shift into Capricorn at the very end of 2017 will begin a significant multi-year arc with its own distinct character.

Saturn and Neptune: Post Post-Truth

Although 2016 and 2017 share many characteristics, there are several important differences. The first is 2016’s configuration between Saturn and Neptune.  The tension between these planets did a marvelous job of distorting perceptions and thoroughly scuffing the line between fact and fiction.  It did so in a variety of ways, including outrageous political rhetoric, a plague of blatantly false news stories, the introduction of commercially available VR, and the Pokemon Go craze, which saw hordes searching the landscape for unreal beasts.

Though some of these boundaries will remain scuffed, this configuration is drifting into the past, as the two planets made their final exact square during September 2016. Yet they will remain in squared signs for the rest of 2017, still active enough to work the fog machines for a bit.

However, instead of generating belief in false realities, this “hangover” phase of the Saturn-Neptune square is more likely to generate disillusionment, especially in regard to political movements.  Disillusionment is a skeptical state, yet often mechanically so.   It is an emotional reaction to being fooled, or lied to.  Without discernment and rigor, cynicism is no better than naivete.  This reactive disillusionment is one of the heavy clouds in 2017’s sky.

While Saturn and Neptune’s square slowly fades throughout 2017, several configurations rush to replace it.  This year’s most prominent configurations are Jupiter in Libra’s opposition to Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Sagittarius’ trine to Uranus in Aries, and the sextile between Jupiter in Libra and Saturn in Sagittarius.  I summarized these configurations in my “November 2016: Sorting Stories” and “December 2016: Wild Cards” pieces, but here offer an expanded reproduction of those writings.

Jupiter Sextile Saturn: Temperance

The first of these pairings is the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn. The angle between the two planets is a sextile, which signifies a friendly, supportive relationship. Not only are these two planets in signs friendly to one another, the two also have a “mutually received” relationship, meaning each is happy to listen to and work with the other’s advice.

This positive connection between Jupiter and Saturn offers the potential to build Jupiter’s ideals into Saturn’s structures. Jupiter’s optimism helps counter Saturn’s pessimism, and vice versa, their contrarities the proper recipe for a balanced perspective.  Not only that, but working in concert, Jupiter and Saturn also offer the perfect balance between expansion and contraction, the recipe for sustainable growth.  In isolation, this is a wonderful aspect.  Unfortunately, they are not the only two planets which will have their say.

Although Jupiter and Saturn will remain within aspect for much of the year, their connection will not be perfect or complete until August 26th, when they make their single perfect sextile at 21 degrees.

Saturn Trine Uranus: Some Improvisation Required

Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries form a series of trines over the course of 2017. Though the trine (120 degrees) is usually a happy angle, through which energy is easily exchanged, Uranus and Saturn do not generally play together well. While Saturn stabilizes, Uranus disrupts. Where Saturn looks to history, Uranus points to the future. Saturn demands order, Uranus chaos. Uranus’ trine with Saturn thus challenges our plans and expectations by throwing black swans in our path. The distant planet slips wild cards into our deck, making it difficult to count cards and project probable outcomes. The plans we make must therefore be resilient, capable of incorporating unexpected changes. Our goals may remain the same, but we will benefit from being flexible about which path we take to their completion. The Saturn-Uranus trine punishes rigid protocols and rewards adaptability.

Saturn and Uranus will remain within 10 degrees of a trine throughout 2017.  Their first perfect aspect occurs at the very end of 2016, on December 24th, with both planets at 20 degrees.  The second exact trine is on May 18th, with the two at 26 degrees.  The third and final exact aspect will be on November 11th, at 25 degrees of Sagittarius and Aries, respectively.

Jupiter Opposite Uranus: Dynamic and Static Equilibrium

While there is a friendly-ish trine between Saturn and Uranus, Jupiter and Uranus find themselves in stark opposition.  While Jupiter in Libra reaches toward the middle-ground, Uranus in Aries points toward extremes. Revolutionary Uranus in Aries wants none of the compromise and concord that Jupiter in Libra advocates for.  Uranus interferes with Jupiter’s pacing, turning plans for steady growth into rapid and unstable mutations. Furthermore, Jupiter in Libra’s movement toward equilibrium is tested by the moments of sudden volatility Uranus brings. It could be said that this opposition calls for balance, but it would be more accurate to say that it calls for a comfortable oscillation between balance and imbalance.

One of the areas that the Jupiter-Uranus opposition will be felt most keenly is in the area of deal-making.  While Jupiter in Libra pushes to establish mutually agreed upon rules of exchange, Uranus in Aries will have a difficult time sticking with one contract or another.  The deals that result, personally, professionally, diplomatically and economically, are likely to only cohere through a series of surprises, and to be of an unusual character themselves.

The first exact Jupiter-Uranus opposition occurs on December 26th, 2016, with the planets at 20 degrees of Libra and Aries, respectively.  This is followed by another perfect opposition on March 2nd, at 22 degrees.  The third and final opposition occurs on September 27th, at 27 degrees.

Jupiter Square Pluto: The Spectre of Justice

Jupiter in Libra opens the way to accord and alliance, but Pluto in Capricorn points to the hard landscape of power. Territorial claims and position within hierarchies limit the depth of friendship and alliances. The hard contours of power can be negotiated, but they cannot be ignored.

The contacts between these planets emphasize the friction between high hopes and the relentless inertia of the-way-things-are. Ideals must find a way to manifest through the power structure of the present, which resists all that is contrary to its interests. This configuration thus calls for those who hope for a better world to become patient, strategic and cunning. Rome was not built in a day, nor will the Empire be dismantled overnight.

In essence, the Jupiter-Pluto square digs at our understanding of fairness, undermining the fulcrum upon which relationships, large and small, teeter. It points to the cracked idols and eroded effigies of Justice, and pushes us to understand the difference between the great spirit and the forms we beg her to haunt.  Like all immortal ideals and righteous daimons, the spirit of Justice moves from body to body, incarnating in one institution and heart, then another. Though the bodies themselves can die, the specter of Justice can never be exorcised.

Jupiter squares Pluto precisely three times, on November 24th, 2016, second on March 30th, 2017 and again on August 4th, 2017.

Jupiter and Neptune:  A Sprinkling of Faery Dust  

Though not as significant as the pairings listed above, Jupiter and Neptune are scheduled to make a few happy connections during 2017.  Jupiter, optimistic, benefic and temperate, has an easy time when exposed to Neptune, half of whose fantasies are decidedly cheery.  Jupiter-Neptune connections provide the upward draft necessary to keep dreams afloat.  Under Jupiter-Neptune configurations, it becomes easier to live on poetry and prayer alone, or at least easier to believe you can.  This fairy dust can be mixed to make a spiritual antidote for the disillusionment the Saturn-Neptune square left in its wake, but mixed a little differently, the pairing can also induce a trance-state of Pollyanna-ish naivety.  The unguarded faith this duo can generate is especially troubling when applied to markets, as it tends to generate bubbles.

Jupiter in Libra makes perfect antiscial conjunctions to Neptune in Pisces in 2017 twice, on April 20th and  then on July 24th.  After Jupiter enters Scorpio in October, the big planet moves on to a proper trine with Neptune in Pisces, which is exact on December 2nd, at 11 degrees.  Jupiter and Neptune will then make two more trines in 2018.

Eclipses in 2017:  Bright Light, Deep Shadows

Another one of 2017’s features is the shift of the eclipse cycle.  While 2016 saw eclipses primarily on the Virgo-Pisces axis, 2017’s eclipses will be, for the most part, in Leo and Aquarius.  This shift is augured by the movement of the North Node (Rahu) into Leo and the South Node (Ketu) into Aquarius in May.  There will 4 eclipses in 2017, the first two of which arrive in February.  February 10th hosts a penumbral lunar eclipse at 22 Leo, while February 26th offers an annular solar eclipse at 8 Pisces.  February’s solar eclipse is the last eclipse in either Virgo or Pisces that we will see for most of a decade.

The second round of eclipses arrives in August.  The first of these is a partial lunar eclipse at 15 Aquarius on August 7th.  The second, however, is a total solar eclipse on August 21st, at 28 Leo.  The solar eclipse in Leo is by far the most remarkable of this year’s set, as not only is it total, it will be visible all across the United States, from sea to shining sea.  This is the first time a solar eclipse has been visible in the continental United States since 1979, and the first time one has passed from coast to coast since 1918. For this reason, some have already dubbed it the “Great American Eclipse,” which is also an amazing name for a band.

Though it is difficult to know exactly what it augurs, it is hard to imagine that it does not have something to say about leadership in America.  First, it is the Sun eclipsed in its own royal sign, and secondly, it falls within a single degree of the Ascendant and Mars positions of one Donald Trump.

Venus 2017 Retrograde:  Fire-Dance

Another one of 2017’s chief features is Venus’ retrograde.  Venus turns retrograde on March 6th at 13 Aries and will continue backwards until the direct station, on April 15th, at 26 Pisces.  Venus retrogrades are somewhat rare, as they occur roughly every year and a half.

The periods during which Venus is retrograde, as well as approximately a month leading up to and following the period of contrary motion, are characterized by a disordering and reordering of the passions.  Venus retrogrades are similar to the much more common Mercury retrogrades, but instead of targeting communications, thinking and travel, they affect Venus’ domain— art, passion and relationships.  The mythological analogue for Venus’ retrogrades is likewise an underworld journey, but it is the saga of the goddess Inanna, not the psychopomp Hermes, which Venus’ retrograde describes.  The heart is stripped bare as it descends, its contents revealed as each concealing veil is removed.   Venus retrogrades are points of test and transformation for relationships.

Venus’s retrogrades move in a tidy 8 year pattern, and so 2017’s Venus retrograde, which begins in Aries and ends in Pisces, is very similar to those which occurred during March-April of 2009, 2001, 1993, etc..  Look back to the transition between the first and second quarter of those years for precedents as to how your life responds to this particular Venus retrograde.


Part III: Trends and Tactics


A great number of 2017’s planetary configurations feature planets at the end of fire signs.  The first of these factors is Saturn, who spends the entirety of the year in the last decan, or third, of Sagittarius.  Saturn’s retrograde station, which occurs in April, takes place at 27 Sag, and the direct station in August happens at 21 Sag.  The second is Uranus, which spends all of 2017 in the last 10 degrees of Aries. The distant planet stations retrograde in August at 28 Aries and then direct at 24 Aries in January 2018, just over the annual border.

The third and final fire sign, Leo, does not host a slow moving outer planet.  But it does open its savannahs to Rahu, the North Node of the Moon.  There will be a pair of eclipses in Leo this year, both of them in the last 10 degrees of the sign.  February’s lunar eclipse in Leo occurs on February 10th, at 22 Leo, and August 21st’s total solar eclipse will be at 28 Leo.

So we have all three fire signs accounted for- Saturn at the end of Sag, Uranus at the end of Aries and eclipses at the end of Leo.  In addition, three of 2017’s Mercury retrogrades will  come to an end in late fire signs.  Early January sees Mercury station direct at 28 Sag, May hosts a Mercury direct station at 24 Aries, and September has Mercury stationing direct at 26 Leo.  In December, Mercury stations retrograde in December at 29 degrees Sagittarius.

In addition to Mercury, Saturn and Uranus’ presence in fire signs, there is also the matter of Venus’ retrograde, which will color the second half of Q1 and the first half of Q2.  Venus stations retrograde in Aries, and will spend the majority of the retrograde cycle in the fire sign.  Because of the changes in speed around the retrograde portion of Venus’ phase, the planet will spend over 11 weeks in Aries, rather than the usual 4, yet another omen surrounding 2017 which points to the element of fire.

If we step sideways, into other astrological systems, we find similar elemental omens.  The Chinese New Year, which occurs on January 28th, begins the year of the Fire Rooster.  Furthermore, if we were to switch to the sidereal zodiac, as is customary in the astrology of the Indian subcontinent, we would find that the majority of planetary action detailed above still occurs in fire signs.  Indeed, from a sidereal point of view, we would see the entirety of each Mercury retrograde occur within fire signs, and bear witness to both Saturn and Uranus make dramatic entrances into fire signs.


What does it mean to dwell within a year whose body is composed of fire?   First, fire is the only elemental state which produces light.   Earth, water and air do not provide illumination— only fire.  It is light that enables us to see, yet the images which light is parent to are ambivalent.  They teach, seduce, threaten and more.  The more of our attention we give an image, the more powerful it becomes.  What we gaze at long enough is seared into us. This dynamic is employed for strategic purposes by both sacred artisans and advertising firms.  Consider the images you regularly ingest, the patterns you imprint yourself with.

Fire has a rhythm, a structure in time.  It flares up, rages, spreads and dies within a short time frame.  It is the element of both inspiration and rage.  It is irregular, with less structure than the other states of matter.  It is swift and hard to predict.  It changes what it touches, separating and transforming.

It is interesting to note that fire is the only element which is essentially infectious.  Touching rocks to water does not turn the water into a rock.  Nor does blowing air over a rock turn it into a gas.  Fire, on the other hand, converts other substances into itself.  It is persuasive.  Yet it is hungry, as well.

In traditional Chinese thought, fire is represented by the trigram Li.  Yang above and below conceal the interior yin.  This trigram is often referred to as “the clinging,” because although fire is externally powerful, it is dependent.  No other state of matter or type of material requires as much from its environment as fire does.  Fire is desperately hungry, always at the edge of extinction, and thus clings to what fuels it.

This is true of the images, spectacles and drama which fire illuminates, for they are dependent upon their viewers and participants.  Stories of all kinds die without people to fuel them.  They live and breathe attention and passion.  In this light, consider what pyres you climb upon, for the gods and stories you burn for are made stronger by it.

Fire is also the most active of the elements.  It runs, jumps and climbs like none of the others.  An abundance of fire thus signifies an abundance of activity and exertion.  Fiery years are wonderfully active, though not everyone appreciates such a pace.  When there is much to do and far to go, it is important to keep an eye on your fuel supply.  The difference between running low and being out of gas may involve a minuscule amount of fuel, but the difference between low and out is everything. It is the difference between motion and stasis.  Keep an eye on your tank, and remember that, for the most part, life is not a sprint— it is a multi-decade marathon.

This brief rumination on fire would be rather incomplete if it’s heat was not mentioned.  A fire year is good for your get-up-and-go, but may prove troubling for those whose constitutions predispose them to inflammatory issues and problems with overexertion.  In addition to being hot, fire is also dry, for it destroys what moisture is present in the systems it touches.  Moisture is what holds bodies and people together.  Life is a wet, sticky affair, for the most part.  Death, as the dust of tombs an attest to, is quite dry.  The lack of moisture for much of this year will thus exacerbate pathologies of excessive dryness, such as commonly afflict the skin or eyes.

The way to mitigate these environmental conditions is something we already know.  What do you do when it’s too hot out, and the rays of the Sun blaze down on you?   Seek the shade, remain hydrated, and don’t over-exert yourself.  This simple protocol is effective not only on a literal level, but on a variety of metaphorical ones as well.

The Decathlon of Wands

Though there are portions of the year which will most certainly require bursts of speed, the course laid by 2017 is a marathon, not a sprint.  It will require endurance, and more importantly, the insight to know when to expend energy and when to conserve it.

Yet the marathon is too simple to serve as the model of the year to come.  Marathons test the endurance of their participants, but they do not test their adaptability.  Endurance races provide ordeals without unknowns.  2017 is, however, stocked with surprises and variety, like an obstacle course.  Some months may require us to run, some crawl, and others to jump from platform to platform. If 2017 was a video game, it might be an intense 2D platformer, with plenty of puzzles- a challenging Metroidvania.  If it were an Olympic sport, it would be the decathlon, which involves 10 different events.  Our score this year will not be dependent on how good we are at any one of these events, but instead all of them combined.  It is thus a year which privileges not only endurance, but also adaptability.

Another model which may help to understand the nature of 2017 is the Cynefin framework, which breaks down situations into 4 categories.  These categories are Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic.  Simple situations are like marathons.  There is no mystery as to what the task at hand is.  It is simply a matter of accomplishing the task effectively.  Complicated situations involve a number of factors, but there are enough knowns to extract patterns and come up with the right answer ahead of time.  Complicated situations require expertise and planning, but can be solved.  Complex situations, on the other hand, have enough unknowns mixed in with the knowns that it is counter-productive to spend too much time with prediction.  Instead, it is most efficient to let the patterns emerge and then adapt to them as they arise.  The fourth and final category is Chaotic.  Chaotic situations not only cannot be predicted, they also do not necessarily produce order, like Complex situations do.  In a Chaotic situation, moves must necessarily be short-term and reactive, seeking to minimize damage and maximize gain at each turn.  Attempts to plan far ahead can be dangerously counter-productive.

2017, as a whole, appears to be solidly within the Complex category, though it will likely make a few forays into the Chaotic.  This means that we should watch for patterns to emerge and do our best to adapt to them as they present themselves.  It also means that we should not expect the game to remain the same, but to be willing to switch gears as 2017’s decathlon moves from one event to the next.


Part IV: Months and Moments

In this section, we will engage in a brief overview of each month, locating the significant configurations and developments previously discussed.


January begins shortly after the intense set of configurations which ended 2016, starting the month out with a certain momentum.  Early during the second week of the month, Mercury, retrograde since December 19th, stations direct at 28 Sagittarius.  Mercury’s direct station is, however, followed by the Full Moon in Cancer, which lights up the cardinal tensions of 2017.  Configured tightly to the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus, this lunation makes a proper grand cross, an energetic but rather chaotic configuration.   However, as the volatility surrounding the Full Moon dies down, January skies shift into a less dynamic configuration.  On the 28th, however, Mars enters Aries, turning up the heat in anticipation of a rather fiery February.


February holds a pair of eclipses.  The first one, the partial lunar eclipse on the 10th, is in Leo, and is the first eclipse in the Leo-Aquarius series, which will run for the rest of 2017 and throughout most of 2018. The second is an annular solar eclipse in Pisces, on February 26th.  It is the last of the Pisces-Virgo series, which begin in 2015.  February’s eclipses are thus the transition point from one eclipse cycle into the next.

Meanwhile, February also sees Venus enter Aries and creep towards her early March retrograde station.  Mars and Venus will share the Ram’s sign for the entirety of the month, making for an unusually rambunctious February.  The last week of the month, which holds both the total solar eclipse, and Mars’ conjunction with electric Uranus, is particularly volatile.


March begins with the second exact opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries, reigniting the friction between the two on the 2nd.  Surprises and sudden changes are likely to issue from this Jupiter-Uranus aspect.  A few days later, on the 4th, Venus stations retrograde at 13 Aries, turning up the heat on relationships personal and international alike.  Venus will remain retrograde for the rest of March and well into April.  March is thus characterized by sudden changes, and emotional turbulence interspersed with moments of intense clarity.  Having begun with Jupiter’s second opposition to Uranus in Aries, March ends with the big planet’s second exact square to Pluto in Capricorn, which points toward issues of fairness between people on a small scale and matters of justice on a collective one.


April begins with Saturn’s retrograde station, on April 5th, at 27 Sagittarius.   While Saturn begins his long, slow walk backward, the Full Moon in Libra activates the dynamic Jupiter-Uranus opposition. The Full Moon in Libra on April 10th, sees the Sun conjunct Uranus in Aries and the Moon with Jupiter in Libra.

April also hosts the first full Mercury retrograde cycle of 2017.  The swift planet puts it into reverse on April 9th at 4 Taurus, just a day before the Full Moon, and will continue backward for the rest of the month, refusing to station direct until May 3rd.  Fortunately, the middle of the month, the 15th to be precise, brings Venus’ retrograde to an end.  The bright planet grinds to a halt and reassumes forward motion at 26 Pisces on the 15th. The key to dealing with April is managing the volatility of the period, remaining steady in purpose but adaptable in method, despite the surprises the month likely has in store.


May begins with Mercury’s direct station, ending the retrograde which began in early April.  The messenger’s direct station takes place right next to Uranus in late Aries, suggesting a startling or radical end to the stories spun out by Mercury’s retro cycle.

Not long afterward, the nodes move into a Leo and Aquarius, leaving behind the Virgo-Pisces axis, where they’ve been since late 2015.  From May onward, the North Node (Rahu) will be in tropical Leo, and the South Node (Ketu) will be in Aquarius, concentrating the eclipses in this pair of signs.  The nodes will occupy these signs until the very end of 2018.

May 18th hosts the second exact trine between Saturn and Uranus, challenging our ability bring the clashing priorities of their spheres together.  Innovation and durability, inspiration and discipline, volatility and stability can all be complementary rather than contradictory categories.

On the 19th, Venus finally clears the degree which she stationed retrograde in, and from there, heads into new territory for the first time in months.  The rest of May has a rather excitable air, though the Mars-Saturn opposition which concludes it may preside over a series of frustrations.


June begins with the much-delayed and simultaneously disruptive and revelatory conjunction of Venus to Uranus.  Shortly after conjoining Uranus, though, Venus enters Taurus, a stabilizing contrast to Venus’ retrograde adventures.  Jupiter rights itself in early June, turning forward on the 9th, with plans to remain direct for the remainder of the year.   About a week later, on the 16th, Neptune does the opposite, stationing retrograde at 14 Pisces.

This middle of June is characterized by Mercury and the Sun opposing Saturn.  The Sun opposes Saturn on the 15th, Mercury opposes Saturn on the 18th.  Consequences and deadlines hang in the air here.  Finally, the last days of the month see a troubling opposition between Pluto in Capricorn and Mars and Mercury in Cancer, which stirs up the waters in preparation for a martial July and generally volatile 3rd quarter.


Mars shows up in several important configurations in July, perhaps the most important being the Full Moon in Capricorn on the 8th, which pairs the Sun and Moon with Mars and Pluto. This lunation asks us to attempt to contain and direct the volcanic fire of the underworld— a task easier described than accomplished.  The following New Moon in Leo on the 23rd is also configured tightly to Mars, as both the Sun and Moon will be tightly conjunct the red planet.  A few days later, on the 26th, the Sun and Mars make their bi-annual conjunction at 4 Leo.  July’s configurations are undoubtedly martial, and speak to power, contests and points of contention.  Issues of identity and nationality are likely to the touchpoints.


July’s martial considerations bring us to August, which holds what are, perhaps, the most potent configurations of 2017.  August hosts a pair of eclipses, Uranus’ retrograde station, Saturn’s direct station and Mercury’s retrograde, not to mention an unusual number of planets in fire signs.

The month begins with Uranus’ retrograde station on the 2nd, then continues with Jupiter’s third and final square with Pluto on the 4th, again bringing up issues of personal fairness and collective justice.  The month’s first eclipse, a partial lunar in Aquarius, arrives shortly thereafter, on the 7th.  Not long afterward, on the 12th, Mercury stations retrograde, and will remain so for the remainder of the month.  Although rather full of exciting configurations, the star of August’s show is no doubt the total eclipse in Leo on the 21st, which will be visible in every part of the continental US.  Following this dazzling absence is Saturn’s direct station on 25th, and at long last, the completion of the Jupiter-Saturn sextile on the 26th.  August is a big month, though what is set in motion will need September to fully unfold.


The first week of September is, in many ways, a continuation of August.  The 5th sees Mercury station direct at 28 Leo in close conjunction with Mars, and in the degree of the total solar eclipse two weeks prior.  Not only that, but the 5th also holds a Full Moon in Pisces, conjoined to mind-bending Neptune within a degree.

Not only does September have a dramatic beginning, but also a rather intense ending, as September concludes with the third and final opposition of Jupiter and Uranus.  Deals and other agreements may undergo a final round of mutation.


October begins with a Full Moon in Aries on the 5th, in the same degree that Venus stationed retrograde within, linking events from the beginning of the year to the start of its final quarter.  Shortly thereafter, on the 8th, Mercury makes a superior conjunction to the Sun at 15 Libra in an exact square with Pluto in Capricorn, portending the release of secrets and the probing of the depths during the remainder of the season.

Shortly thereafter, on the 10th, Jupiter leaves the Scales for the Scorpion, through whose arachnoid tunnels the big planet will squeeze until the end of 2018.  The 19th’s New Moon in Libra is also notable, as the Sun and Moon conjoin in tight opposition to Uranus and sextile to Saturn here, signaling yet another lesson in volatility management.


November is comparatively lacking in new celestial drama relative to the surrounding months.  There are no planetary stations, direct or retrograde, nor are there any tight alignments between the outer planets.  The stories we’ll find here are those which have already gained sufficient momentum under earlier configurations.


December begins with Mercury’s retrograde station atop Saturn at the very end of Sagittarius.  Mercury’s retrograde will last until the 22nd.  Here, Mercury takes the role of escorting Saturn over the border from Sagittarius to Capricorn.  Saturn changes signs on the 19th, leaving behind the Archer, whose sign it first entered in late 2014, in order to enter the Goat’s mighty fortress, within which the leaden planet will dwell until after the close of the decade.  December is a mighty gate, with Mercury racing back and forth under its arch.


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Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Sarah Hayes 6 years ago

    Wow! Incredible insight into the year ahead! Loved the way you chronicled the Saturn-Jupiter-Pluto conjunction of 2020. 2017 is another action packed year indeed but it seems less stressful and tense as 2015/2016. I’m just happy I got a new moon on my bday this year(1/28). Thanks for writing this article. It was very well written and easy to understand. Happy new year Austin!!

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Happy new year, Sarah!

  2. Natalie 6 years ago

    This is an awesome article! Thank you for the level of detail. Super generous and lots to reflect upon.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Quite welcome!

  3. Sikander 6 years ago

    Thank you very much for sharing the in depth analysis of the next year! Wonderful article!

    Given what I’ve experienced so far with Saturn in Sag as a Gemini, are we to expect the fiery nature of the coming year also affecting the Air sings? I guess communication in general will be more inflamed, harsh words will be spoken and thoughts will make themselves unbearable by someone due to their inflammatory nature.

    Can this be somewhat tamed by working with elemental Water?

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Charts with planets late in Air signs will definitely be affected by this year’s fiery configurations. And yes, using water to control fire is a key. I say “control” because it will be difficult to keep up with or benefit from the year if the fire is extinguished.

      • Sikander 6 years ago

        Thank you. Blessings!

  4. Jen 6 years ago

    Ditto with Natalie’s comment. I will be keeping a calendar – for many reasons – including the Pluto Jupiter square on my Mar 30 birthday in the 5th. Hmmm – my daughter or my own creative efforts/ love life?
    Not to be an obnoxious Virgo ASC but the last paragraph before Eclipses says Neptune is in Scorp and s/b Pisces, non?
    What a great, meaty read. When my ship comes in you will see my pentacles.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Thanks for the eyes- typo corrected.

  5. Samantha Stackowicz 6 years ago

    Thank you Austin

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago


  6. Soulart Siren 6 years ago

    Wonderful as usual.
    My only contention is the use of the tax months as opposed to the solar months. I keep thinking it would make working with the transits so much easier if illuminated through the lens of the solar journey as a conscious focal point.. It always feels so opaque when through the decidedly non-astrological calendar. It’s hard to visualize. It also frames the solstice-equinox cycles so much more naturally. That said it’s good training for me to translate everything you say into the solar months with attendant moons, which is, no doubt, good for my synapses. ?
    Much love as always (and certainly as Jen stated so eloquently, “when my ship comes in”)

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      I agree, regarding calendar vs solar months. I think in solar months, but I think if I presented things in that framework it would be a bit too opaque for many readers.

  7. Jools 6 years ago

    Thanks for the 2017 essential guide in detail. I look forward to reading it it many times over. One of the best planning tools around. Happy New Year Austin!

  8. weaver 6 years ago

    i have been a super fan for a very long time and this presentation is one of the reasons why. you are stellar, austin!
    wishing you all the very best in the fires of 2017.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Thank you, and all the best to you in the year to come!

  9. Spike Neuberger 6 years ago

    From all my sources, 2017, regardless of elections, etc., is the year we have all been waiting for! Bring it on!
    As far as world affairs are concerned, poisons must rise to the surface to be expelled. As my grandmother always
    said— “The scum rises to the top of the pot!”. So, don’t despair. Make it your personal year! Be creative!
    Happy New Year Austin, and all your fans!
    Yours ascending, Spike ( spike neuberger on YouTube )

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Happy New Year, Spike!

  10. Leiif 6 years ago

    Hi Austin,
    Great overview. Appreciate all you put into these.

    I think there is a typo.

    Near the end of Part 1 you mention 20, 38 and 200 yr cycles. Shouldn’t that be 20, 33 and 200???
    No need to actually post this comment if you don’t want to.

    Happy New Year

  11. Karen P 6 years ago

    Just another day at the office, Austin pumps out yet another spectacular piece of literary eloquence. 2017 ought to be a dandy! Happy New Year all!

  12. Leiif 6 years ago

    My error. Went to a site and said the Saturn Pluto cycle was 33. This one is 38. Maybe others cycles are shorter/different.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      All of the standard planet-planet cycles have a stable duration. In this way, as in so many others, Pluto is anything but standard. Because Pluto’s orbit is highly elliptical and inclined, his synod with any other slow moving planet will vary significantly, along with Pluto’s speed through a given sign.

  13. Leiif 6 years ago
  14. Pamela McNulty 6 years ago

    Thanks Austin for this wonderful overview of 2017…My Sun is at 10 degrees Pisces and ASC at 19 degrees Leo. I have always liked this combo. Interesting year ahead for all of us. I look forward to your posts.

  15. ogpanda 6 years ago

    Thanks a lot for this, really helping out
    won’t ever again make the mistakes of this catastrophic december i hope

  16. Chandira 6 years ago

    Thanks Austin!
    A little nervous as that 15 Aquarius eclipse is a direct hit on my own natal Sun! :-/
    My Jupiter is at 29 Sag, also. Feeling the pinch of all those transits already..

  17. Edie Tsong 6 years ago

    Wow, this year is configured right on top of my natal planets. Any ideas on how the total solar eclipse at 28 LEO might effect me and my 28 AQU natal sun? OR final Jupiter opp Uranus on my natal 27° Libra moon?

  18. Edie Tsong 6 years ago

    Thanks for this detailed and colorful write up. So much suspense for the year!

  19. cimbalok 6 years ago

    Outstanding article, excellent writing. The upcoming Pisces eclipse sits right on my Sun and the one at the end of Leo is conjunct my Pluto (now you know how old I am, HA!). I’m going to bookmark your site and I look forward to reading more of what you have to say. Someone posted a link to this page in Starlight News, and that is how I found you.

  20. Surname William 6 years ago

    A piece of the Abrahamic Uranus Tyr of Jupiter seal of Libra.
    Joseph Saint Peter Jupiter held the Levitical Priesthood for Levi. (Doctrine & Covenants 107:1) The Nordic Baltic Saint Peter is known as Perkuno whom held the lightning and kept Levi’s perpetual fire going. It is a Libra Air element, because we blow on the fire to keep it hot. (Leviticus 6:12-13) The Nordic Tyr is Levi of the sky and the air. His name spelled in Younger Futhark Runes is 12-9-16, and is the same as Jupiter. Here Jupiter is revealed holding the Levite Aaronic Priesthood of Libra. Jupiter is an Air Planet also. The called him the king of heaven at one point. For Ouranos Greco Heaven, Uranus was in the Air Constellation of Aquarius. Jupiter had the thunder, and lightning and rain. We place the weights and measures of the Levitical Law on the Air Scales of Libra. Tyr’s Rune is the Sky Rune. (Job 28:23-26) Uranus is Abraham, and Levi, Tyr collected the tithes. (Deuteronomy 26:13) (Joseph Smith Translation Genesis 14:37) All the Christian Doctrines are in sync perfectly. Not one is out of place. We take the 37 in 14:37, and find the Catholic book of Tobit chapters 3 & 7. Now, Levi,Tyr, is the Archangel Raphael. His verses line up to the 12-21-12 of the Mayan Calendar. (Tobit 12:21) Why did he disappear from the old astrology? Because they shed a Tyr for the tithing that they received from that which was taken from Solomon. (Tobit 1:6-8) Our astrology will be the only one left working, and all of it will line up.

    It means the Tribe of Joseph of the Mormon Church held onto the Levitical Priesthood for Levi, and we put our treasures in Heaven, like Ouranos. (Matthew 6:19-20, 13:52) (Luke 18:22)
    By the way, I do not practice Witchcraft. These were Solomon’s Doctrines, all of them.
    We also have the real map to Atlantis to go with it all. They are for everyone.

  21. Dr Dayan Jayatilleka 5 years ago

    Serious, literate and cerebral. A notch (to say the least) above the rest. Bravo!


  1. […] indication right now — from astrology (like Austin Coppock’s 2017 preview) to the results of my own divination to, well, just about all of what passes for news — is […]

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The Astrology of 2017: Ante Up

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