Astrology of January 1/9-1/15: Conditional Expectations

Astrology of January 1/9-1/15: Conditional Expectations

The year makes its first big move with the Full Moon in Cancer this week. Although every Full Moon is worthy of note, this one completes a grand cross configuration, and will therefore be particularly intense. Though grand crosses have been known to kick up a shit-storm or two, there is an underlying structure to them, which becomes clear after the winds die down. The easiest way to avoid such weather is to take a withdrawn and contemplative stance during the time when the cross is most active. In this case, Wednesday.

In this particular grand cross, the Sun and Moon throw gold and silver spotlights on the Jupiter-Uranus opposition, making its dynamics quite clear. The core tension between Uranus and Jupiter is the potential conflict between sudden, radical changes and slow, steady growth. The game-changers and wild cards which Uranus unleashes tend to disrupt Jupiter’s steady, expansive trajectory. Some of these surprises or big changes may be positive ones, but they can still hamstring careful plans. When expectations becomes irrelevant, it means that we have to adapt, intellectually and emotionally, to the new situation. This sort of adaptation or re-framing does not occur instantaneously, and it requires both time and energy.

Although this Full Moon is a plenty-dramatic configuration, the factors which it asks you to consider and incorporate into your plans may not fall suddenly from the heavens, trailing fire, under the Moon’s silvery beams. The Jupiter-Uranus opposition has already been in full effect for a month, and has plenty more to show us throughout the year. This Full Moon merely brings the light of the Sun and Moon to bear on it, illuminating it brilliantly.


As both the Sun and Moon seem intent on us considering the Jupiter-Uranus opposition in greater depth, let us imagine a few permutations of the way their dynamic might play out.

In one situation, Uranus’ push for rapid and overwhelming change hijacks the Jupiterian growth/improvement impulse, and the result is quick but unsustainable growth. This version would involve conquering territory without being able to hold it, chasing unreachable expectations and denying the inevitable crash-landing. Some analysts believe that this is the version of the Jupiter-Uranus story which will play out in financial markets. Needless to say, the market’s pattern of behavior is tremendously destructive when applied to an individual life.

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Another version of this imbalance sees Jupiter artificially dominating and suppressing Uranus. In this scenario, the need for steady growth and harmony eclipses the importance of making radical changes, as well as the necessity of big re-thinks in the face of unexpected events. Without allowing for the possibility of black swans, we become vulnerable to changes, slower to adapt, and easier to catch off-guard.

The perfect version, the dialectical synthesis, would involve an artful adaptation to surprises, and an ability to resume sustainable growth in the stable periods between those surprises. Here, we play the game beautifully during periods of peace and transition smoothly into new rule-sets as game-changers present themselves.

The Jupiter-Uranus opposition describes one of this year’s most important lessons – how to be ready to adapt to an uncertain world without being locked into a wholly reactive stance. If we make no assumptions and no plans, we certainly remain flexible, but we also make no progress when there is no crisis or chaos in play. It is thus not mere flexibility we’re interested in, it is flexible movement toward fixed strategic objectives. If a wreck closes down the freeway, you don’t change your destination – you change your route.

Thinking Cap(ricorn)

This is the art. To establish clear objectives and make plans that have enough wiggle room to adapt to changes. Appropriately enough, Mercury moves back into Capricorn only hours after the Full Moon. Capricorn is, inarguably, a strategic sign. The Goat looks to slow, inexorable Saturn as its ruler, and exalts Mars, the general, within its stone halls. The messenger’s time here, which – I emphasize again – begins only hours after the Full Moon, is perfectly disposed to making plans and setting schedules. Yet Mercury’s ingress into Capricorn is not a sign that you should have it all figured out, it’s an omen that enough has been revealed that it is now time to begin bringing the available facts and known-unknowns together into a coherent plan.

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But what is a plan? A plan begins with an objective, or objectives. Objectives, of course, must be possible. It is useless to set winning the Powerball lottery to obtain 672 million dollars as an objective. Yet setting achievable objectives are not enough in and of themselves. People often get paralyzed attempting to achieve too many at once. You can travel north and south, but not at the same time. As my mother once said to me, “You can do everything, you just can’t do it all at once.” This applies not only to external goals, but to internal goals, as well. As we want to accomplish something in a given year, we also want to be something in that same year. The words we use to describe these internal goals are the language of virtue. We hope to embody strength, patience, clarity, compassion, etc. Yet these being-goals have constraints just as external goals do.

Once we have established our internal and external goals, which this week’s centrifuge is sure to help with, we must then plot a course toward their achievement. This is the tactical portion of planning. It is here that we can be flexible or fixed, fast or slow. If an objective is a destination, then your tactics are the route. This year’s skies promise enough surprises to make a person nervous about making plans, but without any expectations or tentative tactical structure, we’re just waiting to react to developments that may or may not come. We’ll expect the unexpected, which makes it into the expected. As Nick Harkaway writes, from the perspective of super-spy Edie Banister in the excellent “Angelmaker:”

“…all that mystical jabber about expecting the unexpected is just so much toffee. Expect the unexpected, Edie was told by a sour veteran sergeant in Burma, and the expected will walk up to you and blow your expectations out through the back of your head. Expect the expected, just don’t forget about the rest.”

A Bath and a Glass of Wine

While the Full Moon spotlights the tensions and possibilities of the Jupiter-Uranus opposition and Mercury asks that we take a serious look at our strategic objectives and tactical formulations, Venus makes a dream-time conjunction with Neptune in the gently psychedelic seas of Pisces.

This aspect, which is active all week, is of a very different character than this week’s other configurations. It is one of romance, artistry, leisure and trance. It is a body-temperature pool of salt-water, a bath and a glass of wine, an enchanting fairy tale.

The Venus-Neptune conjunction can help anesthetize some of the week’s harsher moments, and provide enough peace to retain clarity in the midst of complicated and potentially irritating situations, though its sedative effects can also potentiate slumber when awareness is needed. Use pleasure and fantasy to blunt the edge of history, but don’t get caught trying to build a home inside a soap-bubble. You can visit, but you can’t stay. The Venus-Neptune conjunction does, however, grease the wheels of creative labor, as the spectre of the sublime is all-the-easier to conjure. Look, in particular, to approach the Venus-Neptune conjunction during the Moon in Cancer’s applying trine to Venus on the 10th.


Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. However, they are fun and can be reasonably accurate. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read your from 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

This Full Moon highlights the relationship between your career and your home life, your desire for accomplishment and need for downtime. What do you want to accomplish, and what kind of foundation do you need to support those efforts?

This lunation would also like you to consider that balance in a social context. How much should you just “do you,” regardless the consequences, and how much should you limit your expression to the diplomatic? What kind of a character do you want to be? The independent loner or the people-pleaser? Guess what – you can frequently achieve both objectives. Don’t let yourself believe that it’s one or the other. You might have to choose every now and again, but for the most part it’s a false duality.

While the Full Moon asks questions, the Venus-Neptune conjunction emanates a sweet siren song. If you follow it, you may find some strange insights beneath the waves, but there’s also plenty of pure fantasy on display down there. Enjoy the escapes your mind can offer you, but don’t let yourself be lulled into unconsciousness by false answers to real questions.

Taurus: The Bull

This week’s Full Moon asks two sets of questions. First, it queries the relationship between your short-and long-term goals. Are your daily, weekly steps getting your closer to your long term objectives? Or are you trying to substitute frantic activity for a lack of coherent direction?

In addition to the matter of short and long term direction, this Full Moon also asks you to look at how you’re managing your physical and mental health. Make sure you’re giving both your mind and body the types of treatment they deserve. While proper care of the body is relatively straight-forward, the mind is another matter. Sometimes, for the greater cause of sanity, you have to let yourself be a little crazy. Every now and again, consider selecting a cushy padded cell and letting your imagination have its way with you.

While the crossed Full Moon queries the matters described above, Venus’ conjunction with Neptune is likely to bring some manner of pleasantry into your social life. Seek refuge in the shelter of friendship and community.

Gemini: The Twins

This Full Moon asks you to consider two different sets of issues. The first matter is monetary, and involves the question of what is yours, and what is shared, loaned or borrowed. The Full Moon asks you to consider what would bring this axis into greater harmony. How can you better claim what is yours while recognizing what others bring to the table? Self-esteem and respect for others must be built in equal measure to avoid deformity. Of course, the Full Moon may highlight more literal monetary questions of value as well, but even those are often underpinned by the same dynamics of self-esteem and respect.

The second matter the cross highlights is what you’re doing with your social and creative resources. What, and who, are you investing your power in? Consider the bets you’ve already placed on people, as well as those you have yet to make.

Meanwhile, the Venus-Neptune conjunction dusts your professional outlook with a little sugar, though whether it provides a passing sweetness or lasting gain is unclear.

Cancer: The Crab

This week’s Full Moon asks you to consider two intersecting sets of issues. First, there is the year long question of the relationship between your professional life and personal life. How much energy will you reserve for your career, particularly to managing the ongoing changes in that area? On the other hand, how much of your life will you allocate toward improving your foundations – the solidity of your home base and your familial relationships.

Complicating this issue of zenith and nadir is the question of how well you’re balancing your own needs with those of the people close to you. If the scales seem tipped too far in one direction or the other, consider some corrective action.

Finally, while the grand cross asks questions aplenty, Venus’s conjunction with Neptune reveals a star you can depend on to guide you. This shining point marks true north, and if located, will make it easier to remember your direction, even if your route is crazy-making.

Leo: The Lion

This week’s Full Moon, which features a grand cross, highlights two pairs of issues. The first is the one generated by the Jupiter-Uranus opposition, which will be a factor for much of the year. This pairing highlights the relationship between your long and short term goals, and how well they line up. While trying to take advantage of short term opportunities, you may find yourself drifting away from longer range aspirations. Conversely, you may end up missing low-hanging fruit because you’re too focused on distant objectives. Consider how to balance your efforts along this axis.

The second issue is that spotlighted by the Sun and Moon. It is the matter of what you are doing to maintain both your psychic and physical health, and the time you spend working to solve concrete and invisible problems. Take care not to spend all your time navel gazing, or on the contrary, merely chasing the visible symptoms of deeper patterns. Consider what adjustments would help bring you into balance.

Meanwhile, Venus conjoins Neptune in Pisces, which helps facilitate the help or support you may need from others in order to bring this all together.

Virgo: The Virgin

This Full Moon is a complicated one, as it brings up two sets of issues for you to inspect. The first issue is that raised by Jupiter and Uranus, and will continue as a theme for much of the year. This is the matter of resources and ownership. The tension is between what is yours and what is borrowed, loaned and shared. Remember your own needs and requirements, as well as those of partners, collaborators and creditors, as you set expectations for your bottom line this year.

The other axis of inquiry involves your creative energy and social life. How much of yourself are you spending on your social life and reputation, and how much are you reserving for private projects and pleasures? There is a right answer here, a golden mean between frivolity and hermitude.

While the Full Moon lights up a cross of questions, Venus conjoins Neptune in Pisces, highlighting the pleasure of temporarily losing yourself in good company, as well as the benefits of partnership.

Libra: The Scales

This Full Moon asks four questions at once, packaged as a pair of pairs. The first pair of queries is posed by Jupiter and Uranus, whose opposition will be with us all year. They ask that you consider what you need for growth relative to what those close to you require. This is a classic matter of finding equilibrium between the self and other, and like all problems of this sort, will involve scales swinging as different weights are placed on either side.

The other set of issues is brought to the fore by the luminaries. It is the ratio of time/energy you spend on your professional life vs. your personal one. If upon examination you appear to be slipping into being a workaholic, or conversely, hiding at home, consider what adjustments might bring this axis back to balance.

While the Full Moon oversees complex matters, Venus and Neptune help smooth some of the week’s rougher edges, perhaps by temporarily reducing your workload or helping to solve a few nagging practical problems.

Scorpio: The Scorpion

The Full Moon this week asks you to consider two sets of issues. The first is the tension signified by the Jupiter-Uranus opposition, which will be with us all year. These two planets ask that you look at the state of your mental and physical health, and the habits which support and corrode those stores of vitality. Some patterns can be gently improved, while others must be cast into the fire and remade from ash. It is thus a question of sudden and incremental methods of improvement.

The Sun and Moon also ask that you consider the structure of your calendar, and whether your schedule is getting you closer to your big goals, or taking you somewhere else entirely. Furthermore, you may want to consider how your schedule is contributing to the structure of your habits.

While the Full asks a complex set of questions, Venus and Neptune conjoin in Pisces, signifying short but sweet blooms of creativity and joy.

Sagittarius: The Centaur

This Full Moon points you toward two intersecting sets of considerations. The first is brought to you by the Jupiter-Uranus opposition, which will color a significant portion of 2017’s skies. What is asked of you here is to balance your private creative time with your public social time. How much will you invest in personal works, and how much will you share with the people of your world?

The second issue raised by this Full Moon is one of resources. What is yours, and what is it that you’ve borrowed or share? See if you can right the balance between going it alone and asking for, and acknowledging, the support you need.

Meanwhile, Venus and Neptune conjoin in Pisces, saying nice things about home and family. Burrow into your nest for a bit and enjoy the comfort and support it can offer.

Capricorn: The Goat

This Full Moon spotlights your life, asking you to look at multiple questions of balance. First, consider your relationship to relationships. Have you let significant others monopolize your time, or have you been hiding away from people? If you find that your current status is imbalanced, free up some time/energy for the neglected half of the equation.

Additionally, this Full Moon asks that you consider your work/life balance. It may be that one or both areas are demanding, and you don’t feel like you have much choice in the matter. Still, take a step back and see if there aren’t some adjustments you could make to increase the level of harmony.

Finally, while the Full Moon illuminates and questions, Venus and Neptune offer succor, pointing toward the pleasures hiding amidst your weekly schedule of work and leisure. Take another look, and see if there isn’t a bit of fun you’ve been walking by every day without noticing.

Aquarius: The Waterbearer

This Full Moon asks you to ponder a complicated set of adjustments. The first is the relationship between your long and short term goals. Are your regular activities meaningfully linked to your long term goals, or have the two become disconnected. If so, then why? Though bouts of chaos will occasionally pull you back into short-term thinking, there is always a calm between storms. Make sure you’re using those periods of relative peace to build toward your bigger goals.

The other set of issues involves your mental and physical health, and what you’re doing to maintain or degrade them. Take a look not only at your habits, but also the reasons for those habits, and consider how to take apart the ones that aren’t doing you any good.

While the Full Moon shines on questions of habit and goals near and far, Venus’ conjunction with Neptune this week points towards a bright spot. You might receive something valuable, or get some financially pleasing news. It could also a more subtle gift, such as great clarity about what you mean to other people and what value you bring to the world.

Pisces: The Fish

This Full Moon asks you to consider two interlaced sets of issues. The first is a matter of resources and possession, namely what is yours and what is shared, loaned or borrowed. There may be some confusion around these categories which could benefit from a dose of clarity. The back-and-forth of time, money and energy can make for foggy boundaries. Though binary clarity is not necessarily possible, a conversation can help exchanges from slipping into total unconsciousness.

Simultaneously, the Full Moon asks you to consider the proportion of yourself which you’re spending on creative endeavors and private pleasures, and how much you’re allocating to the maintenance of friendships and collegial ties. If you’ve been leaving either area to languish, consider tweaking the ratio of your involvement.

While the Full Moon highlights a complicated set of issues, Venus and Neptune conjoin in your sign, providing a cushion of sorts, be it a good mood, good company, or good drugs.

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. Jessica Cross 1 year ago

    Thank you so much for these, I look forward to them every week. The section on planning was especially helpful for me today!

  2. Denise Dumars 1 year ago

    As always, thank you for the insightful information!

  3. Gates7 1 year ago

    Hi Austen. I have been enjoying your writing very much and got lots out of your New’s Years discussion with colleagues. So I’ve joined up today and just have a question: Moon in Cancer’s applying trine to Venus? Isn’t it separating? Would appreciate your clarification. And I look forward to reading more…

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 1 year ago

      Hi Gates7-
      Good question. The Moon in Cancer’s trine to Venus in Pisces was applying on Tuesday night, the 10th, and separating on Wednesday night, the 11th.

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