Astrology Jan. 4th-10th: Blueprint

Astrology Jan. 4th-10th: Blueprint

Though the Moon wanes down to nothing this week, it is hardly a time of falling action.  This intense week sees Mercury station retrograde in a near-perfect square to Mars on Tuesday morning, Venus get tangled in the Saturn-Neptune square for several days, and the Sun join Uranus and Pluto’s long standing squabble.  Not wanting to be left out of the action, Jupiter stations this week, beginning his annual retrograde phase.  Finally, things come to a close on Saturday with the New Moon in Capricorn.

The celestial events of the week activate the standing waves of longer term configurations, and thus speak to larger issues- themes which exceed the span of a week, month, or even season.  Therefore, consider this week an introduction to several of 2016’s challenge.

The week is dramatic, and the ride a bit bumpy, but there is solid ground on the other side of it.

crossroadsTrouble At The Crossroads

Mercury turns backward on Tuesday morning.  Spinning on his heel at the very beginning of Aquarius, he calls a halt and then a retreat, one which is due to last until January 25th.  The planet’s triannual retrograde phases trouble communications, transport and electronics. Also, they call the mind inward, backward and sideways.  We are rerouted onto curving, crooked paths, both mysterious and seemingly inefficient.

Mercury’s station this week does not occur in isolation, though.  Red Mars looks on from Scorpio, injecting a considerable amount of vigor and venom into a perfect square with the messenger.  Mercury squared Mars last week as well, but this week’s installment occurs in a different set of signs.  While last week’s Mercury-Mars square saw the messenger in Capricorn and the warmonger in Libra, this week’s clash sees Mercury in Aquarius and Mars in Scorpio. As this week’s installment catches Mercury in the midst of his retrograde station and Mars in one of his most potent signs, it is certain to be of greater intensity.  Barbed words and agitated minds are a sure result.

Memory PalaceFHR Cornelius Smith Mausoleum

Mercury’s station occurs in Aquarius, but by Friday the 8th returns to Capricorn, where he will carry out the majority of his dark sojourn.  Though Mercury shifts back and forth between signs during this cycle, what both Capricorn and Aquarius have in common is that both are traditionally ruled by Saturn.   Both are concerned with time, though for Capricorn it is the past, and Aquarius the future.  Mercury’s movement backward from a future-oriented sign into a past-oriented one thus suggests that we take counsel from the old before initiating the new.  As George Santayana famously said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

In addition to a particular orientation toward time, Saturn highlights the necessity of a particular state of mind- the cold calm of stone.  Solid and nigh eternal, the mineral spirit which witnesses the aeons fly by like days.  Walk the quiet halls at night, and discover the space between them.  There is both solidity and emptiness, yin and yang clearly differentiated.  Let monuments and mauseleums be your meditation instructors.

Strange Battleground

Venus’ ride across the plains of Sagittarius sees her encounter the Saturn-Neptune square this week.  She makes a square with Neptune first, on Monday, and then proceeds on to a Friday conjunction with Saturn.  Here the road turns rocky, the skies cloudy and a fog bank rolls in.  Slowing to a careful pace, only torch light illuminates the thick mists, illuminating a shifting collage of hopes and fears.   Something beckons beyond and behind the images and the heart seeks it, but with uncertainty.  Shouts of “True!” and “False!” echo about.

surrealbattlegroundHere dreams and nightmares may interfere with our motivation to go about the business of life.  The visionary and imaginative pulls sideways, like the will o’ wisp of lore.   Yet these dreams are not strictly illusory- they have an important role to play in the events of this year.  They must, however, be prioritized behind our duties and obligations.  There will be time to chase them, but first we must execute the day’s work.

One of the key themes for this year’s Saturn-Neptune square is the differentiation of truth from lies, reality from illusion.  This easier said than done, because one must first establish a firm definition of the true and the real- a debate and battleground haunted by legions dead philosophers.

It is this place through which Venus carries the torch of the passions this week. Venus’ crossing speaks primarily to what, and who, we offer our hearts to.  Have we tethered our joy to truth or falsehood, illusion or reality?  The two are not always clearly differentiated.  Some hard reflection may thus be necessary for a successful solve.

sacredchaoThe Empire and the Rebels

While Venus crosses the surreal terrain of the Saturn-Neptune square, the Sun negotiates another long standing formation- the Uranus-Pluto square.  This slow motion clash of the titans has been ongoing since 2011, and has since overseen a score of revolutions and destabilizations.  Its central narrative, on a collective level, is one of “the rebels vs. the empire” and it brings the impetus for radical change into collision with the inertia of systems and the need for order.  Although the two bodies finished the last of their 7 exact squares in 2015, they are still close enough for sparks to fly.

On Tuesday, the Sun conjoins Pluto in Capricorn and then, early Thursday morning, squares Uranus in Aries.  The Sun’s conjunction with Pluto may be accompanied by a sense of being buried by obligations, or powerlessness before great and impartial forces, yet the square to Uranus follows with the realization that even though your agency has limits, you are indeed radically sovereign over your own small kingdom. You cannot change the world, but you can change your world.  No torch, no star, spreads infinite light, yet the universe is built of these radiant points.


Slowing Jupiter pauses and then turns back this week.  The big planet’s annual retrograde station occurs on January 7th, and advises a halt to further expansions, and instead counsels that we chew what we have bitten off, consolidate the ground we have taken, and reflect on what we have been taught.  Jupiter’s retrogrades take approximately a third of each year, and so we will not see old Zeus signal a forward march until May.

It is important to note that Jupiter’s retrogrades are not parallel in meaning to Mercury’s more frequent ones.  They do not indicate a burst of chaos within that planetary sphere, or even significant disruptions to its business.  The closest parallel is instead to the cycle of tides.  We thus note Jupiter’s high water mark this week, and continue about our business.

What’s He Building In There?  calc2

The Sun and Moon come together again on Saturday in the 20th degree of Capricorn, setting the stage for the coming weeks. Though every lunation is important, this one is doubly so, for it is in this face that Pluto resides, and to which Mercury will return for his direct station in late January.  This decan is represented in the history of astrology by those with grand plans and ambitions.  Cathedrals, pyramids and mighty institutions grow from this place, yet so does hubris and vain ambition. On a collective level, we gather here to discuss the future of the mighty structures which hold us.  Systems of taxation, education, representation and more.  On a personal level, this is where life’s architecture is designed, and our labors harnessed to those blueprints.  What is that you’re building?



Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at
Aries: The Ram

Mercury stations retrograde on Tuesday morning, raising questions about your position within the social world, as well as your relationships to friends and colleagues. Meanwhile, Mars’ square to Mercury exerts pressure to act, perhaps rashly. Don’t torch any bridges you’re going to want to cross later on.

Venus’ ride through Sagittarius this week takes her across the Saturn-Neptune square. You may find your passion caught somewhere between dedication to fulfilling long term objectives and a longing for comfortable confinement within your imagination.

Meanwhile, the Sun’s conjunction to Pluto this week sees professional pressures loom heavy atop you. You may feel momentarily overwhelmed, but it won’t take long to dig out of the astral avalanche. You’ll find the point of resistance within yourself- that spark of sovereignty which cannot be extinguished. Nonetheless- you’ve duties, and the world expects something of you. This theme of personal freedom vs. professional obligation has been in the background for years now, but it’s a long term process, with some frictions still left unresolved. Friday’s return of Mercury to Capricorn and Saturday’s New Moon there both confirm that you’re due to spend some weeks working out the kinks.

Taurus: The Bull

Mercury stations retrograde on Tuesday morning, highlighting the structure of your professional situation. There are new directions here, novel plans to hang your aspirations on. Yet do not rush too quickly toward them, for there are likely complications hiding in the next few weeks. Approach plans with due diligence and you will be duly rewarded. Meanwhile, Mars in Scorpio squares stationing Mercury, spotlighting potential trouble in relationships. You may need to resolve said situations before you can turn your mind fully to professional questions.

During the busy middle of the week, bright Venus tangles with Saturn and Neptune. Obligations to others, and their obligations to you, may be complicated by a lack of clarity with friends and colleagues.

Meanwhile, the Sun’s mid-week traversal of the Pluto-Uranus square returns you to the blueprints of the life you’re building. Grand designs are wonderful, but make sure there are living quarters somewhere within them. It is all-too-easy to plan a cathedral and end up with a prison. This long running theme, sparked by the Sun’s passage across the Uranus-Pluto square, is further attested to by Mercury’s return to Capricorn on Friday and the New Moon on Capricorn on Saturday. This review of your life architecture is scheduled to last for the next several weeks, so make the time to reflect on your constructions, past, present and future.

Gemini: The Twins

The week begins with Mercury’s retrograde station in Aquarius and square to Mars in Scorpio. New possibilities open in a confusing splay of thoughts and directions, yet those novel possibilities are likely to be limited by the current necessity for action. Take care of business first, then ponder the potentials.

Meanwhile, Venus traverses the Saturn-Neptune square, simultaneously highlighting professional uncertainties as well the importance of defining relationships. A thoughtful review of who you’ve committed your energies to, and why, is suggested.

During the busy middle of the week the Sun crosses Pluto in Capricorn and squares Uranus in Aries, highlighting the importance of cooperation and synergy in the accomplishment of great works. Yet knowing who to co-operate with, and trust, is a difficult matter, for requires considerable discernment. Mull your plans and those they involve, for these themes permeate the coming weeks, due to Mercury’s retreat back into Capricorn and the New Moon there on Saturday.

Cancer: The Crab

The week begins with Mercury’s retrograde station in Aquarius, which raises questions concerning the resources you share with people, as well as the terms on which those exchanges operate. There are issues here, but none so insistent as those emanating from Mars in Scorpio. Mars is in a mood to demand a significant amount of energy from you, drawing out your desire to birth a variety of projects. Your creations, be they children, monsters or macaroni greeting cards, will be tugging at your sleeve for some months this year, begging to be born and subsequently tended to.

Venus in Sagittarius deals with the Saturn-Neptune square for much of this week. Here your heart may seek mystical or philosophical reverie, only to be pulled back to the work at hand. There is room for both dreaming and labor, but work should be prioritized.

Meanwhile, during the busy middle of the week, the Sun conjoins Pluto and squares Uranus, highlighting the tension between the needs of your relationships and the demands of your changing professional situation. The question of partnership is one further emphasized by Mercury’s return to Capricorn on the 8th, and the New Moon in Capricorn on the 9th. Take the time to consider the blueprints of your relationships, and reflect whether the structure could use some modifications.

Leo: The Lion

Mercury’s retrograde station this week raises questions between yourself and those close to you. There may be unspoken truths which need to make an appearance, or a dynamic that needs to be renegotiated. This may well be complicated by Mars in Scorpio, which activates issues surrounding home and family. Mars in Scorpio is likely to reveal to you both the power and poison of familial bonds. Learn how to draw strength from your ancestors, even if they were assholes.

Meanwhile, Venus blazes through Sagittarius, and there encounters the square between Saturn and Neptune. Attempts to discipline your lifestyle may be melted by distractions. The square might also highlight a creative project which requires collaboration from a difficult-to-pin down participant.

Finally, while all of this action occurs, the Sun crosses Pluto and squares Uranus, highlighting the tension between your concrete duties and your longing to seek freedom, adventure and empowerment. Life contains time for both, but this week and the next suggest that you get your ducks in a row before leading them off on a quest. Mercury’s return to Capricorn on Friday and the New Moon in Capricorn on Saturday further emphasize this theme, and will carry it well into January.

Virgo: The Virgin

Mercury, the ruling planet of Virgo, stations retrograde this week in early Aquarius, signaling it is time to take a serious look at your habits. Just in time for the New Year, Mercury’s station helps you dream a hundred new ways you might program yourself for greater efficiency. Mercury is at the time, though, in a tight square with Mars in Scorpio, which may see your weekly schedule temporarily eclipse the time you need to experiment with new regimens. Don’t worry if you can’t implement your upgraded protocols this week— habits are a matter of duration, not acceleration.

Meanwhile, Venus crosses the Neptune- Saturn square, highlighting what confusion exists between your responsibilities to your home and family and the attention that friends and partners require. This configuration asks you to set priorities and boundaries.

Finally, in the midst of a busy week, the Sun in Capricorn conjoins Pluto and squares Uranus in Aries. This mid-week set of aspects emphasizes your responsibility to what you create, and the manner in which others’ participation in these matters either liberates or infuriates you. The matter of what you’re building out of your blood, sweat and tears is further emphasized by Mercury’s return to Capricorn on Friday the 8th and the New Moon in Capricorn on Saturday the 9th. These designs, and the help or harm others offer, will be of central concern for the next several weeks.

Libra: The Scales

Mercury’s retrograde station in Aquarius on Tuesday morning is likely to throw aspects of your lifestyle into question. What are you spending your energy on, and what are you getting out it? Meanwhile, the growing focus on your financial situation indicated by Mars’ recent movement into Scorpio informs these lifestyle changes. You may need to adjust your pleasures in accordance with your wealth, or bring your monies into more proper alignment with your preferred activities.

Meanwhile, Venus’ passage through Sagittarius takes her across the Saturn-Neptune square. Preserve your enthusiasm for the accomplishment of identifiable, short term goals, though distractions may abound.

The Sun’s journey through Capricorn this week sees him conjoin Pluto and square Uranus, activating an aspect which has provided the framing narrative for this decade. This configuration highlights the relationship between places and people, relationships and living situations. Home and family are actually topics of considerable focus this January, as indicated not only by the Sun’s placement, but also the return of Mercury to Capricorn on Friday and the New Moon in Capricorn on Saturday.

Scorpio: The Scorpion

The week begins with Mercury’s retrograde station, square to Mars. The station, in Aquarius, brings up uncertainties surrounding your living situation, while the square from Mars in Scorpio may indicate a lack of patience on your part, due either to obnoxious obstacles or your own relentlessness.

While Mercury and Mars tussle, Venus moves into configuration with the Saturn-Neptune square, which highlights the tension between your financial limits and your desire to have jolly good time. This is a theme for much of the year, so pay attention to the manner in which Venus frames the friction this week.

Meanwhile, the Sun in Capricorn encounters the Pluto-Uranus square, highlighting tension between short term goals and the need to make some radical changes to your regimen. This process of putting together your schedule is key for much of January, as it is attested to by both Mercury’s Friday return to Capricorn and Saturday’s New Moon in the Goat’s sign.

Sagittarius: The Centaur

The week begins with Mercury’s retrograde station and square with Mars. The messenger’s about-face in Aquarius raises questions surrounding your short term goals, as well as the composition of your weekly schedule. Meanwhile, the square from Mars in Scorpio sees hidden factors come crawling into the light. Your own questionable motives and the hidden agendas of others are both likely to become easier to spot.

Venus’s journey through your sign sees her cross the Saturn-Neptune square this week. Venus’ aspects here highlight the need to juggle your own obligations with the potentially pleasing distractions of home and family.

All the while, the Sun conjoins Pluto and squares Uranus, spotlighting the relationship between your financial status, lifestyle and creative aspirations. Though there will be time for fun projects and good times, there are a number of indicators that the next several weeks are more concerned with getting your money right. Both Mercury’s Friday return to Capricorn and the New Moon in Capricorn on Saturday suggest a thoughtful review of your resources is in order.

Capricorn: The Goat

The week begins with Mercury’s retrograde station in Aquarius and nearly simultaneous square with Mars in Scorpio. The messenger’s backward turn on Tuesday raises questions about the resources available to you. Uncertainty surrounding certain financial matters is likely, as is the need to reconsider your budget. Interpersonal matters may complicate financial situations, as Mars’s square may indicate squabbles with friends, or difficulties with others in your social network.

Meanwhile, Venus’ movement through Sagittarius sees her encounter both Saturn and Neptune. This set of aspects highlights the importance of maintaining inner stability amidst a regular onslaught of colorful and potentially distracting sensoria.

Finally, the Sun’s time in your sign this week brings it into configuration with the Uranus-Pluto square. Here the Sun re-emphasizes the transformative ordeal you have either just left behind, are in the middle of, or are soon to begin. The focus is on the changes to your identity occurring as a result of this slow motion initiation. The return of Mercury to the Goat’s sign on Friday and the New Moon in Capricorn on Saturday both confirm this, and ask you to consider not who you are, but what you are becoming.

Aquarius: The Waterbearer

The week begins with Mercury’s retrograde station in your sign, prompting a series of questions about who you are and what, exactly, you’re doing. Make the space to muse upon them- it’s not a pop quiz, it is an invitation to reflect. Yet at the time of the station, Mercury is in a tight square with Mars in Scorpio, which may see professional concerns leave little room for contemplation.

While Mercury and Mars tangle, Venus rides through Sagittarius and there encounters the Saturn-Neptune square. This configuration speaks to the entanglement and exchange of resources between yourself and others. It may be worth spending some time affirming boundaries where finances are concerned.

The Sun conjoins Pluto in Capricorn and squares Uranus in Aries this week, which along with Mercury’s return to the Goat’s sign on Friday and the New Moon in Capricorn on Saturday, pulls you to inspect the dusty halls of your past. Take your time walking this mausoleum. Examine the monuments to your successes and failures, and do not fear to chat with the ghosts you encounter there.

Pisces: The Fish

Mercury’s retrograde station in Aquarius this Tuesday pulls your mind inward and backward. In that odd space, you may well find novel perspectives on who and what you are. In addition to such pithy stuff, you’re also likely to come across forgotten messages, neglected communiques and other troves of lost data. Mars in Scorpio, however, squares Mercury’s station quite tightly, indicating that the need to journey, either mentally or physically, may overwhelm or eclipse the reverie brought on by Mercury’s station.

Venus rides across Sagittarius this week and there encounters the Saturn-Neptune square, highlighting your hopes, dreams, fears and delusions about your role in the world. Venus’ conjunction with Saturn this week serves to spotlight and confirm the accomplishment of your duties. Do not let your uncertainty prevent you from playing your part.

Meanwhile, the Sun crosses Pluto in Capricorn and squares Uranus in Aries. These aspects serve to accentuate the relationship between your participation in groups and the resources you have at your disposal. Lessons surround the dynamic of supporting, and being supported by, a community. On Friday, Mercury regresses back into Capricorn, which is then followed by a New Moon in the Goat’s sign the following day. This combination of factors suggests a not-inconsiderable focus on your place within the collective, one which is due to last for the next several weeks. Every play has a structure, and each character a part meaningful only in the context of the others. Find yours and affirm it.

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. Meya 4 years ago

    Thank you Amazing writer and Astroleger Austin Coppock , very much appreciated.
    Sometimes I can’t see your great Work that’s because of the prohibited reasons claimed by the Goverment of Kuwait. Today I had the big chance to grab your formidable piece of Art and I am so grateful to you.
    Many thanks

  2. Bliss Blood 4 years ago

    Dear Mr. Coppock,
    I have missed your weekly columns. Your insights are so incredibly valuable in the maelstrom of planetary chaos. Thanks for your return and I look forward to your cosmic helmsmanship.

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