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The Sun shines out across a new week and a new month and, accordingly, new possibilities flit about in its beams. The Sun’s work during the first half of the week helps stabilize the results of a chaotic January. The second half of the week, though, holds challenges both new and old. Though Mercury has finally pulled free of his multi-week engagement with the Uranus-Pluto square, Venus replaces him, hitting the same intense note one final time. Meanwhile, the week’s end also holds the Sun’s square to Mars in Scorpio, announcing a set of challenges that will color the months to come.
The week begins with Mercury taking leave of the Uranus-Pluto square, which he hovered around for the entire second half of January. Although still well within the terrain of the retrograde, this time his movement is forward. Thus we’ll spend much of this week digging out rather than digging deeper. Not only is Mercury now direct and clear the Uranus-Pluto square, but he is also on his way toward a helpful trine with Jupiter in Virgo, which he completes on Saturday (10:44 AM PST).
This third and final trine with Jupiter will serve to highlight the ultimately reconstructive nature of Mercury’s retrograde cycle. You cannot build anew without sweeping away the rubble. Look for overdue structural improvements and technical upgrades to finally be completed.
The Sun is of central importance this week, as not only does it aspect several planets, it’s potency is also enhanced by another pair of factors- the quintet of planets visible just before dawn, and the Sun’s passage across one of the great spokes of the year.
For the last week, as well as the next three, all five visible planets precede the Sun’s daily rise, heralding the return of the day each morning. In the Hellenistic phase of astrology, planets which rose in the pre-dawn hours were seen as an honor guard, heralding the luminary’s daily emergence. These planets, referred to as “spear bearers,” were seen as announcing and clearing the way for the return of the Sun, lending the Light greater power and prestige than normal.
The many spear-bearers have gathered to announce the Sun at a special moment in its yearly cycle. This week the Sun moves through the 15th degree of Aquarius, marking the midway point between the preceding Solstice and the coming Equinox. Mid-winter in the Northern hemisphere and mid-summer in the South, this point in the annual Sun-Earth cycle is recognized by virtually every culture.
The Sun moves across this point on Wednesday the 3rd this year, the same day that the Sun completes its sextile with Saturn. Yet the actual date changes a bit from year-to-year, and most celebrations of this cross-quarter fix it to a particular calendar day. This station of the Sun is recognized in a secular manner with the February 2nd celebration of Groundhog Day in the United States.
This cross-quarter point in the North is also commonly known as Imbolc, from the traditional Gaelic celebration. It is also seen as one of the eight Sabbats in many witchcraft traditions, and is celebrated in both Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions as the feast of the Presentation of Christ at the Temple.
This Gaelic tradition recognized Brigid, later St. Brigid, as the central spirit of the holyday. Ruler of the bright, active half of the year, here we see the Sun as a woman, royal and bright. Though the Greco-Roman tradition usually pictures the Sun as male, cross-culturally it is not at all uncommon to find the brilliant orb imagined as female.
While the winds of winter blow cold across the surface and the sky keeps to glacial greys and blues, something stirs beneath. Though the cold of Yin dominates the visible, the seeds of Spring, of growing Yang, stir beneath the surface, to prepare for their inevitable ascent during the season-to-come. Here the spirit stirs within the shell of matter, announcing the invisible quickening of the forces of renewal.
In the global South, the situation is reversed. At the height of summer, the lady of light announces her plans to relent before the heat which enlivens becomes the heat which destroys. The seeds of Autumn are thus sown quietly, as day cedes time to swiftly growing night.
Thus, bestriding one of the year’s great spokes and heralded by a quintet of spear-bearers, the Sun’s work is of the utmost importance this week. After a January in which much did not go according to plan, this week offers real potential to bring affairs back into alignment with our intentions. This potential for positive order is further attested to by the Sun in Aquarius’ sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius on Wednesday (10:17 AM PST.) Though the Sun- source of light, life and joy- and Saturn, lord of limitations, structure and obligation, are not powers easily reconciled, the circumstances under which they connect this week are nearly ideal, for they are not only in an easy aspect, but also mutually received.
Though it passes away by week’s end, the Sun’s sextile to Saturn offers the breathing room to get organized. For the many whose New Year’s resolutions have been delayed by January’s mess, this is a chance to begin implementing new and more positive order. If you’ve been too busy, confused, or upset to put new habits into place, the first half of the week is an excellent time to commit to a new and better way.
Meeting the Future’s Gaze
While the first half off the week sees the Sun bestride the cross-quarter point and sextile orderly Saturn, as we move toward the weekend, Sol makes a pair of more intense contacts. On Saturday, the Sun in Aquarius completes her sextile with innovative Uranus in Aries (8:38 AM PST) and, more troublingly, a square with potent Mars in Scorpio that night (4:07 AM PST). Aspected both by Mars and Uranus on Friday and Saturday, and coinciding with Venus’ configuration to the Uranus-Pluto square, the potential for bellicose outbursts is heightened considerably.
Mars in Scorpio’s superior square to the Sun in Aquarius suggests that the order established earlier in the week is due to be challenged. With Mars comes the blistering pace, the angry word and the forceful hand. Thus we light a flame and shine a better vision onto the future, but we do so while looking upon the clearly illumined face of the next set of challenges. The Sun and Mars will maintain their square quite tightly throughout the weekend and in to early next week, when the New Moon in Aquarius will serve to further spotlight Mars’ influence. The red planet will be the principal source of challenges for much of this year, and so it is best we meet his gaze sooner rather than later.
Lure of the Depths
While the Imbolc Sun takes meetings with Saturn, Uranus and Mars, Venus has her own important matters to attend to. As the now-direct Messenger departs the Uranus-Pluto square for the gentler embrace of Jupiter, Venus follows fast on his heels, making her way down through the same chthonian depths Mercury dwelt within for the second half of January. Venus conjoins Pluto in Capricorn on Friday (5:14 PM PST) and then squares Uranus in Aries on Saturday (2:02 PM PST).
Venus’ journey brings the heart to bear on the issues which Mercury raised in January, offering moments of crisis, catharsis and deep understanding. Truths emerge, though some of them may be troubling. Venus’ conjunction with Pluto and square to Uranus can pressurize the emotions, and will certainly oversee more than a few volcanic outbursts. Friday night, which sees the Moon conjoined to both Venus and Pluto, has an especially high capacity for drama. Make space for what needs to arise, and give others the room their processes require.