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 The easiest way to avoid such weather is to take a withdrawn and contemplative stance during the time when the cross is most active.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.
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.
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.
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.
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Thank you so much for these, I look forward to them every week. The section on planning was especially helpful for me today!
As always, thank you for the insightful information!
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…
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.