Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

2018 is a year of beginnings, although many of them may look like endings. We are introduced to dynamics which will take us well into the next decade, yet also reek of the past. It is our first of several years in a place where the past and future overlap to an unsettling degree, the historical version of the lands which souls journey between death and life again. It is lost Lemuria, sunken Atlantis, the Egyptian Duat, the Tibetan Bardo. Like all of these spaces, it floats between, somewhere across the waters.

We thus enter 2018 as we would a vast, unknown continent. There is much to explore, much to remember and much to learn. Yet one thing can be certain at the outset — this land is haunted. It swarms with the ghosts of the past. Some are eager to help us, desperate to pass on knowledge that would otherwise be forgotten. Others followed us here the way parasites follow hosts.

Phantom cities dot the landscape. Some are afterimages of golden ages fondly remembered, while others are the nightmare dystopias we carry in our hearts like shrapnel. We see not only the dead in this land, but also images of our past selves, their activities haloed with both nostalgia and regret. Yet some of those selves are unfamiliar. These are the shades of future-selves, echoing backward into our time. They whisper to us of the worlds they inhabit, eager to tell their stories. Each of these tales is a pathway through this land, and to the many and clashing futures which lie beyond it. Some are stories of dull ruin and tyranny, of failures personal and collective, but there are also heroic sagas which tell proudly of how we set aside childish things, banded together, and made good.

These happy endings and tragedies play out before us, blending into the visions of golden and leaden ages past and to come. These visions and ghosts come and go like the weather across our new land. Like storms or particularly beautiful days, they distract us from the labor at hand. And there is much to do. The place we’ve found ourselves is stony and sometimes forbidding. It is not cruel, but neither is it kind. Its yields are almost perfectly proportional to the effort and intelligence invested. In some ways it is a fair place, but the notable lack of mercy can make it seem harsh. We will be here for a while. For years. For now, it is best we try to work to make ite liveable, to direct our efforts toward stone and soil. Yet before we build and plant, we must walk the land, and take its measure.

A Three-Part Exploration

We will begin our exploration of 2018 by looking at it as a whole, beginning with where it fits into the historical sequence. Part I will thus be an exploration of larger themes. In Part II, we will pace the quarters of the year, locating and discussing 2018’s most important configurations. Finally, Part III is comprised of some reflection on the nature of the year, a bit of advice and a substantial rant.

PART I: The Triplicity Cycle

The largest context for 2018 is its position in the 200+ year Jupiter-Saturn cycle, which comes to a definite conclusion at the end of 2020. As I wrote of this previously:

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 form 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 since then. The next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which occurs during the last days of 2020, will be in Aquarius, an Air sign. This conjunction will begin another 200 year cycle of conjunctions in Air signs, thus bringing an end to over two centuries of meeting under the auspices of Earth.

It is worth noting that there are two methods of calculating when the Jupiter-Saturn cycle shifts from one element to another, the apparent and the mean conjunctions. By the mean cycle, which is a mathematical idealization, we entered the Air cycle in the year 2000. It is the apparent conjunction, actually visible in the sky, which shifts us unequivocally into the Air cycle in 2020. Since 2000, we have been in an unusual period where the mean and apparent cycles clash, a fact which nicely illustrates the dissonant nature of our current times.

It thus plays a complicated requiem for a pair of centuries which brought us both miraculous physical technologies and the most devastating, traumatic wars ever fought.

The countdown to the end of this cycle began in earnest with the movement of Saturn into Capricorn on December 19th, 2017. 2018 is thus, in a sense, quite literally “the beginning of the end.”

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

The next bit of longer term thinking we need to do about 2018 concerns the movement of Uranus into Taurus. Uranus spends approximately 7 years in each sign, and so speaks to underlying trends of that duration. We will deal what those will look like in a later section. For now, it is Uranus’ relationship with the other slower-moving bodies, Neptune and Pluto, which concerns us.

With Uranus’ movement into Taurus this year, we get our first taste of an outer-planet arrangement which we’ll live within until the middle of the next decade. Uranus will be in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn until 2025, when all three change signs. There is a rare synchronization between their cycles in 2025 — they all change in the same year, a most unusual thing. Not only will Uranus, Neptune and Pluto remain in the same signs until 2025, they will all be in signs of a yin or passive quality, and then enter signs of a yang or active quality. As the slow-moving outers all speak to longer-wave historical currents, that set of 3 ingresses in one year signals a massive shift, effectively and deeply dividing the 2020’s into two very different sections.

It will thus be Uranus in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn which will accompany us across the threshold of 2020, effectively bridging the end-times of the two-century Earth cycle and the early days of the Air one. As always, the longer the trend, the smarter it is to understand and adapt early.

Saturn in Capricorn

The most important single factor in understanding 2018 is, without a doubt, Saturn’s presence in Capricorn. The ingress into Capricorn called an end to the frantic dumpster-fire of Saturn in Sagittarius (2015-2017), and initiated a new trio of years with a significantly colder and more thoughtful quality. In Capricorn, Saturn builds mighty fortifications, comes down hard on the unrepentant, and teaches of secrets thought lost to dusty tombs. Patience, hard work and thoughtful planning are all rewarded by the leaden planet in the Goat’s sign. See my lengthy article, “Saturn in Capricorn” for an in-depth exploration of these themes.

Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter will be in tropical Scorpio for the overwhelming majority of 2018. Although the big planet abandons the scorpion for the archer in mid-November, Jupiter in Scorpio will contribute generously to 2018’s themes. In Scorpio, Jupiter blesses bold journeys into the underworld, gives us the bravery to examine ugly truths, and teaches the methods by which the shadow-self might be claimed and integrated. For more detail, please refer to “Jupiter in Scorpio.”

The Eclipse Cycle

2018 continues the same cycle of Eclipses in Leo and Aquarius which dominated last year. While 2017’s big Eclipse moment was the Great American Eclipse in August, 2018’s is late July’s total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, which will be tightly conjoined a retrograde Mars. That total Lunar Eclipse will be visible over much of Eurasia, loosely centered over the region of the Persian Gulf.

Mercury retrograde: Fire Cycle

2018’s Mercury retrogrades occur primarily in Fire signs. The first occurs between March 23rd and April 10th in Aries, the second occurs August 1st through the 21st in Leo, and the third, which takes place November 34th through December 10th, begins in Sagittarius, but backs into Scorpio, where it will station direct.

This is not much of a shift from 2017’s Mercury retrogrades, which also occurred primarily in Fire signs. We can therefore expect the same, brief firestoms of hype and outrage to accompany 2018’s Mercury retrograde periods.

Elemental Balance

Another method we can use to understand the year as a whole is its elemental proportions. While 2017 was overwhelmingly fiery, the omens surrounding 2018 are of a more mixed quality, though tending towards the earthy.

Saturn, along with Pluto, will be in Capricorn, an Earth sign, for the entirety of the year. Having entered the Goat’s sign less than two weeks before 2018 began, Saturn will no doubt be eager to introduce itself. Additionally, slow-moving Uranus makes its first ingress into earthy Taurus in May 2018, although this initial 6-month foray is followed by a November retrogression back into fiery Aries.

The traditional Chinese calendar sees most of 2018 as being earthy in quality, as well. Specifically, it is the year of the Earth Dog, also called the “Yellow Dog” or “Mountain Dog.” Although not as overwhelmingly terrestrial as 2017 was fiery, we would be foolish to ignore the presence of three outer planets (Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto) in Earth signs, as well as the elemental opinion of the traditional Chinese calendar.

The fire dominated years of 2016 and 2017 brought spectacles of outrage and bonfires of inspiration, and set a restless, athletic pace. Earth, on the other hand, is decidedly less manic than fire. It is also considerably heavier. While the fiery years saw a non-stop conflagration of rhetoric and reaction, the earthier years yet to come are less prone to catastrophizing. Yet as earth is weighty, so too will likely be the events which occur. 2018 and 2019 will challenge us with actualized facts and events, rather than fantasies and visions imagined in flame. Its pacing will be slower, though punctuated with a few fast and furious moments, and its developments more concrete.

Part II: Walking The Quarters

Q1:

The first quarter of 2018, comprised of January, February and March, is the least dramatic. Although things ramp up significantly during the second half of March, the first portion of the year is comparatively sedate, giving us enough time to get a good head start on 2018.

A Serving of Shadow

The first event of note during Q1 is pair of Eclipses. A total Lunar Eclipse in Leo arrives on January 31st, followed by a partial Solar Eclipse on February 15th. This pair churns up the surrounding weeks, giving them unusual depth. Eclipses make space for latent changes to rise to the surface, sometimes with surprising speed. Although this first set of Eclipses will inevitably be dramatic for some individuals, there is nothing particularly daunting or malefic about this particular set of shadows.

Angry and Confused

After the Eclipse, things hum along rather nicely until the second half of March. On March 17th, Mars joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, making for a rather intimidating gang. As this period of copresence occurs primarily during Q2, we will deal with it in the next section. Shortly thereafter, on March 22nd, Mercury stations retrograde in Aries. Mercury’s retrograde ties in very neatly with the rough Mars-Saturn copresence, and will make for harsh words, unpleasant moments, and rough struggles.

Both Mars’ time with Saturn and Pluto, as well as Mercury’s retrograde carry us from the relative ease of the Q1 into a significantly more challenging Q2.

Q2:

The second quarter of 2018 is divided, rather neatly, into two. The first half is dominated by Mars’ copresence with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, while the second focuses on the ingress of Uranus into Taurus. Though Uranus’ ingress may bring with it some unwelcome surprises, there will also be some happy reversals, making it much more generally favorable than the first half, dominated by the Mars-Saturn-Pluto configuration.

A Gang of Toughs

From March 17th and until May 15th, Mars will be in Capricorn. This is important in and of itself, as Capricorn is the only sign in which Mars is exalted, but there is quite a bit more to it. This year, Mars will find both Saturn and Pluto waiting in Capricorn.

In traditional astrology, Mars and Saturn are the two “malefics,” meaning that they preside over various forms of difficulty, impediment and adversity. Mars is the hot malefic, and rules over adrenalized crisis moments, and Saturn is the cold malefic, and speaks to the challenges of deprivation and ordeals of endurance. The two planets are not considered to be terribly friendly with one another, though they can both agree on giving the human a hard time.

The periods where they share the same sign (“copresence”) sees them join their power, often generating extremely difficult or unpleasant situations and states. The last time they were together was in Sagittarius from March-May and August-September of 2016. The time before that, in August 2014, when they were copresent in Scorpio, the largest-ever Ebola outbreak took place while ISIL made massive territorial gains, the virus serving as an apt metaphor for the grotesque organization.

Although unpleasant, these periods of copresence are not at all common, comprising on average, a month and a half out of every 27 months, or a little less than every two years. The Mars-Saturn copresence this year is unusual for a number of reasons. First, it occurs in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is the only sign in which both Mars and Saturn are both considered to be extremely potent. Capricorn is Mars’s exaltation, and the sign which Saturn rules. Mars and Saturn only share Capricorn either once or twice every 30 years. The second factor which makes this March-May copresence rare is that Pluto will also be Capricorn. While Pluto was discovered too recently for traditional astrology to have any opinions about it, it falls quite comfortably within the confines of the “malefic” category. Thus we have 3 very potent malefics all cohabitating in the same sign for a substantial amount of time this year.

Some notable difficulties will certainly befall individuals and peoples during this period. Yet it is not wholly negative, nor without value. Mars and Saturn together support fierce, powerful action, and there are projects which require this sort of merciless intensity. This period of co-presence, if approached correctly, presents us with an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to the accomplishment of outrageously difficult tasks. Mars-Saturn-Pluto together generate a destructive power, but if that potency is pointed in the right direction, it can accomplish great things. The net result of negating a negative is positive. An obstacle destroyed leaves behind a clear pathway. Instead of waiting for the challenge to pick you during 2018’s second qaurter, you may want to decide upon an alchemical ordeal of your own design.

Although this period of copresence ends on May 15th, when Mars enters Aquarius, Mars’ third quarter retrograde will bring the red planet back into Capricorn in mid-August. There will thus be another period of copresence between August 12th and September 10th, meaning there will be something about the events and experiences of this period, especially the May portion, which we will return to later in the year.

Uranus Enters Taurus

On May 15th, the same day that Mars exits Capricorn, Uranus enters Taurus. This ingress is one 2018’s most important changes. Just as slow-moving Saturn’s December entrance into Capricorn signaled a lasting change, so too does Uranus’ ingress into the Bull’s sign.

Uranus is approximately three times slower than Saturn, and spends roughly 7 years in a sign. Uranus has been in fiery Aries since 2011. Shortly after the ingress that year, Uranus touched off a spate of revolutions and protest movements. In Mars-ruled Aries, Uranus not only brought belligerent resistance and revolution, but also the next wave of military technology. The era of the drone war is now well underway, and the chaos which followed revolution has become the norm.

In Taurus, Uranus’s interests turns toward physical things, intent on both disrupting and supercharging them. This will no doubt include the ongoing cryptocurrency drama, 3-D printing technology, artificial intelligence, and the integration of digital systems with physical objects. New technology is a relatively safe place for Uranus’ disruptive and experimental impact. Unfortunately, Uranus’ time in Taurus also points the planet’s lightning bolts at things less happy to be interfered with. This is, in fact, one of the chief incongruences between Uranus and Taurus. Whether Uranus disrupts or upgrades, it always seeks to change. Taurus, on the other hand, is the Fixed Earth sign, meaning it thrives on stability and regularity, moreso than any other. Thus the Bull’s pasture is unlikely to receive change-mad Uranus with open arms. Some of the inevitable changes will be repressed, as denizens of the pasture try to contain or minimize disruptions. This strategy is unlikely to work, as not only does it delay the inevitable, it often worsens it. When the tension between tectonic plates is dispersed regularly through small quakes, there is a minimum of destruction. It is when that tension cannot be released that a big quake builds up. There is a lesson there for handling Uranus in Taurus, especially for those born to the Bull.

Uranus’ time in Taurus targets commodities and materials, and will likely oversee much more volatile markets for both. One of Venus-ruled Taurus’ crucial but less concrete significations is value. Although “values” are often spoke of in a psychological context, they are also the very real prices assigned to goods and services. During Uranus’ time in Taurus, we can expect a volatization of values on both a cultural and economic level.

Uranus enters Taurus on May 2018, but it is due to retrograde back into Aries in November. This type of tentative ingress is not unusual for the slower planets. The 6-months of Uranus’ time in Taurus this year will thus serve as a “teaser” for the themes and events which will comprise the planet’s 7-year residence in the sign.

Just as this is the first year of Saturn’s time in Capricorn, this is the first year of Uranus’ time in Taurus. Sometimes the planets are shy to re-introduce themselves after having entered a new sign, but not this year. Uranus’ time in Taurus during 2018 is configured strongly to both the Mars and Venus retrogrades which dominate Q3 and Q4. This puts Uranus in Taurus at the center of two of the year’s biggest configurations, and suggests that our introduction to this next chapter will not be subtle. This is, in its own way, quite helpful, as the earlier we become acquainted with the new patterns, the more readily we can adapt to them.

Q3:

The third quarter of 2018 is easily the most challenging. Mars goes retrograde just before the quarter begins, and will remain so until the end of August. Meanwhile, difficult New and Full Moons lead up to a dramatic total Lunar Eclipse at the end of July. Mercury’s retrograde, which occurs from July 25th-August 18th, encloses both Eclipses, contributing a bit of chaos to an already difficult period. All of this does not an easy quarter make.

Mars Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn

Mars’ retrograde, which runs from June 26th until August 27th, dominates the 3rd quarter of 2018. Mars’ retrograde periods are not unlike “Full Moons” for Mars which occur every 2 years. Mars is both close to the earth and maximally bright during the 9-ish weeks that the planet is retrograde. The planet is powerful during this period, but with a tendency to get out of control. Latent conflicts heat up and energy levels oscillate between excessive and deficient.

Mars retrogrades also tend to set a tone for how conflicts will be carried out for the ensuing year. Big players often change their strategies during Mars’ retrograde periods, so watch for a shift in the way the great game is being played during the third quarter.

This Mars retrograde begins in Aquarius, but concludes in Capricorn. The Aquarius portion of Mars’ retrograde highlights the rage of the alienated, the plight of exiles, and the power of the unorthodox and independent. The Capricorn portion, where Mars stations direct, will tend to confirm orthodox, structural power, and favor those already ensconced in fortresses. We may see some big power moves during this period, especially in the Middle East.

This particular Mars retrograde intersects strongly with two of the year’s other big themes, the first of which is Uranus’ May ingress into Taurus. Mars makes an extremely tense square with Uranus at 3 different points in its cycle this year, lacing the retrograde cycle with even more disruptive potency than usual. Mars’ trio of intersections with Uranus in Taurus should serve to make the themes native to newly-ingressed Uranus obvious without much delay.

Mars’ retrograde also intersects quite tightly with the Eclipse cycle. The total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on July 27th Is tightly conjoined with retrograde Mars at its brightest and closest, effectively combining the two crimson portents.

You Want It Darker

2018 serves up its second set of Eclipses during the third quarter. An extremely weak partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is followed by total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, and then flanked by another partial Solar Eclipse in Leo. Mercury’s retrograde, which begins on July 25th and ends on August 18th, overlaps with the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius and the Solar one in Leo.

As a whole, this set of Eclipses moves the story forward, echoing as they do the Solar and Lunar Eclipses of August 2017. Unlike the previous year, it is not the Solar Eclipse which steals the show, but the dramatic total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, which will be visible over vast swathes of the earth, and occurs right next to a very retrograde Mars. It is probably the most potent single configuration of 2018, and not a particularly mellow one. Although Eclipses can be expected to demarcate periods of unusually rapid change, their effects are more deeply personal than most other configurations, and thus make them difficult to speak of generally. Individuals should look to their experience of August 2017’s pair of Eclipses for meaningful precedents.

The Gang of Three Returns

Immediately following the partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11th, Mars retrogrades back into Capricorn. This regression puts Mars back in the same sign as Saturn and Pluto, resuming the intense dynamics which accompanied their copresence from mid-March to mid-May. It is there, in the late degrees of Capricorn, where Mars will station direct, ending his retrograde in the sign of his exaltation, right next to the very degree where he is most potent. Mars will station direct in Capricorn on August 27th, but it will take until September 10th to vacate the Goat’s sign.

Q4:

As the Mars retrograde dominated the third quarter of the year, Venus’ backward dance defines the fourth. Stocked with storms of emotion as well as moments of heartfelt clarity, Venus’ retrograde is certainly challenging, but significantly less so than Mars’ war-dance. Furthermore, Venus’ retrograde is followed by Jupiter’s auspicious shift into Sagittarius and an unusually benevolent Mercury retrograde.

The Ugly, the Pretty, and the Beautiful

Venus stations retrograde on October 5th and will remain so until November 15th. While Mars’ retrograde dominated the 3rd quarter of the year, it is Venus’ which defines much of the 4th. While Mars’ retrogrades re-arrange battlefields, Venus’ reconfigure relationships. Unlike Mars, Venus will not be bright during her retrograde, but completely invisible to the naked eye, gone away to visit her dark sister in the underworld.

Venus retrogrades open up the heart, sometimes with a corkscrew, drilling deep in order to get back to its precious, golden core. They are periods of emotional and relational reconfiguration. This particular installment, which begins in Scorpio and ends in Libra, is a repetition of Venus’ retro from 2010, 2002, 1996, 1988, etc.. Venus does us the favor of having an extremely orderly and beautifully mapped cycle, and thus meaningful personal and collective precedents can be drawn by counting backward to the same season in 8 year increments. Some will find that their life runs on this 8-year clock, while others need pay it no more attention than the weather.

This particular Venus retrograde begins in Scorpio and then crosses back into Libra. The Scorpio portion, in a sense, concerns what is distinctly un-Venusian — our relationship with the grotesque and the fearful. Yet a true concept of beauty makes a place for such things, as does love. The second part of Venus’ retrograde in Libra dwells upon classic themes of relational balance and fairness. No doubt the integration of the dark and unlovely bits of the Scorpio portion will be an important theme. The ugly and mean exist, certainly, but in relationship to the pretty, upright and light parts. True beauty is not a simply an exaggerated form of ‘pretty’, but a product of the relationship between it and ugliness.

This Venus cycle also happens to oppose Uranus three times, lending it a more shocking, disruptive, and experimental quality than most. October 24th’s Full Moon in Taurus strongly emphasizes the Venus-Uranus dynamic. The lunation will see the Sun conjunct Venus in Scorpio opposite the Moon conjunct Uranus in Taurus. The normally sedate Taurus Full Moon thus holds a potent charge this year.

A Dash of Fire

Just before Venus’ retrograde concludes, on November 6th, Uranus slips back into Aries, ending the 6-month preview of its time in Taurus. Uranus will spend the rest of the year and the first two months of 2019 finishing up in the Ram’s pen.

A few days later, on November 8th, Jupiter enters Sagittarius. Though the year has a number of unlovely portents, this is not one of them. Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Sagittarius, and quite potent in the Archer’s sign. Having Jupiter in such a powerful position will help offset a number of difficulties, and provide otherwise unexpected opportunities.

The year’s final Mercury retrograde begins the day after Venus’ direct station on the 15th. Mercury stations retrograde in mid Sagittarius, with plans to conjoin newly-ingressed Jupiter. As Mercury takes on the qualities of the planets he conjoins, this is likely to be a surprisingly positive retrograde.

Though the celestial gears continue to turn throughout December, their configurations are not particularly dramatic. The year thus rolls to a close on this relatively benign note.

PART III: Rant and Reflection

2018 certainly has surprises in store. The retrogradation of both Mars and Venus in configuration with newly-ingressed Uranus promises moments of shock, sudden reversal and rapid change. These certainly must be considered, but if we over-focus on the volatile, we lose sight of the fixed, and there is little more fixed in the skies of 2018 than Saturn in Capricorn.

Saturn is the lord of fixation, of concretization, and the protector of causal links which bind action to result. Although it is easy to resent the planet of long labor, ordeal and consequences, such a rejection ignores one of the year’s central opportunities.

This is the first of three years that Saturn will spend in Capricorn. It is thus the beginning of a three year arc, just as 2015 began that of Saturn in Sagittarius. If you look back at 2015, and see how themes which began that year climaxed in 2016 and 2017, you would probably go back and adjust both your expectations and your strategies. During this, the first year of Saturn’s time in Capricorn, you have the opportunity to adapt early. One of the advantages astrology offers us is the ability to see patterns in their nascent stage, rather than having to wait until they are blindingly obvious.

Start by thinking about the three year Saturn in Capricorn arc as a whole. Instead of making a cluster of short term resolutions, think about who and where you want to be in 2020, and how you’re going to get there. Break that down into three year long chapters, and see what portion of the work falls in 2018. From there, cut the 2018 portion of the plan into 4 seasonal chunks, with expectations for progress modified by a generally easier first quarter and a tough Q3.

Sure, unexpected things will happen before Saturn’s time in Capricorn ends, and you’ll have to make adjustments as you go. The success of master-plans, though, does not result from the absence of disruptions. It is the result of successfully dealing with disruptions, either by altering the tactics you’re using, or adjusting some of the goals. Many times, though, surprises do not even require that. People are too quick to abandon long-term goals. During a perceived crisis, our bodies flood with adrenaline and our minds zoom into the present. It’s a useful reaction if you’re being attacked by a bear. The problem is that we can get stuck there for days, weeks, or months at a time, and during that time completely neglect our long-term strategies.

This issue is, unfortunately, deeply exacerbated by the current state of our culture and media. The news does not seek first to inform. Its primary goal is to make money, and it does that by activating us emotionally, which puts us in either pleasure-seeking or safety-seeking mode. The online world is even worse, if such a thing is possible. It seems to consist primarily of millions of air-raid sirens, disguised as humans, going off 24/7. If we’re going to maintain the clarity required to effectively pursue long-term goals, we have to control your exposure to the things designed to pull us into the amnesia of crisis.

If this sounds like a cranky grandpa lecture, then good. Saturn is cranky grandpa, and his advice to get off your phone, think things through, work hard, keep your promises and complain less, is solid.

If you can commit yourself to building something, whether it is a family, a community, a career or a barn, not only will you eventually succeed, you will also be less affected by the collective panics which blow through this period of history. With a strong anchor, those howling, anxious winds might whip your hair a bit, but they won’t knock you off your feet. That anchor, that commitment, is your dedication to reshape one little piece of the world.

The governmental layer of the world is in a deeply dysfunctional state. If we wait for the powers-that-be to put things back on track, we’re going to be waiting a very long time indeed. In a world where sane adult leadership is conspicuously missing, it falls to us, the citizens of history, to take responsibility for our world in the ways we can, and accept the work of shaping it. “Things” may or may not get better any time soon, but we can get better — better at taking care of ourselves, and better at taking care of each other. If even half of us succeed in doing a half-ass job, the result will look more like paradise than anything we’ve seen in a long time.

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.

15 Comments

  1. Al 8 months ago

    Excellent in description and yet crisp. An exceptionally well.written piece – though I find all your articles a great read

  2. Jen 8 months ago

    Stellar recap once again. Thank you for putting order to this mess. An organized mind indeed. Very helpful summary. Personally hoping the Aquarian Lunar eclipse is nothing like the shock of last August. Detached closure would be nice. Plans and “day at a time” my mantra.

  3. Cecilia Que 8 months ago

    Always insightful. Thanks for the overview, I will be referring to it from time to time throughout the year.

  4. Elena 8 months ago

    I very much enjoyed your comment “the amnesia of crisis”. Constant adrenaline and limbic reactions are now in my past. The 3 year framework is a helpful one for me to create the life I want and if the cosmos is on my side then all the better. Thank you.

  5. Jen 8 months ago

    NB JANUARY 10: Sun 19 deg 40′, Venus 19 deg 50′, Mars19 deg 46″, Pluto 19 deg 51′, and Saturn in the house at 2 deg. Just Sayin’…(I was wathcing this degree due to a natal Mars being there and look what I found !!!!!) Wow.

  6. JaneBP 8 months ago

    So, Austin, just wondering. What little piece of the world have you dedicated yourself to reshaping?

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 8 months ago

      Well, for this year, my body and my little corner of astrology and magic. I might also re-shape some trees into books. We’ll see.

  7. Tris 7 months ago

    Thanks for this, Austin. And loved the Cohen reference. 🙂

  8. Dana Lynne Andersen 7 months ago

    I am so appreciating your poetic vision, depth of insight and wisdom. Thank you! A question- when Uranus, Neptune and Pluto move in 2015, what are the new signs and what are those flavors?

  9. Dana Lynne Andersen 7 months ago

    *2025 not 2015

  10. Holly H. 5 months ago

    Thank you. The most useful part for me, with Saturn & Pluto coming to conjunct my moon in 2nd house in 2020, is what you wrote from “grandpa” on. That IS a worthy way of considering things. And Ive been in a state of PTSD/trauma most of my life – and am ALWAYS sidetracked, taken down. I should print those couple paragraphs out and stick them on the wall. Persevere.

  11. Kelly Baker 5 months ago

    Absolutely wonderful piece of work! Thank you for the 2018 incite and the long term approach for getting through these trying times.

  12. ellie 3 months ago

    So how does the anomaly of Jupiter conjunct Saturn in Libra in the early 80’s impact the cycle?

  13. judith 3 months ago

    part III though. you hit the nail on the proverbial head and i WISH i’d understood my talents at pattern recognition so much earlier in my astrological life. but,here we are. saturn in capricorn CONJUNCTING my midheaven. i am paying much better attention than ever before. maybe this noise in the world is turning some of us towards our inner worlds to illuminate and be the change from there first. thank you for your wisdom,austin. i always look forward to reading what you’re writing.

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