Saturn in SagittariusDecember 23, 2014
Eating Words: Mercury Retrograde In AquariusJanuary 21, 2015
The following is an excerpt from the 2015 Astrological Almanac. This handy tome contains descriptions of every day, monthly summaries, an ephemeris, and more. Secure your copy today!
2015 ends the stretch of history which began in 2011 with the inauguration of the Uranus-Pluto squares. It was March of 2011 when Uranus moved into Aries, kicking off the series of squares between the two bodies. Astrologers expected revolution, and were heartily rewarded for their foresight. The Arab Spring swept an entire region, and the Occupy movement was not far behind. Since then it has been one protest movement after another. Students in Chile, activists in Thailand, the Ukraine, revolution in Libya, etc. The tide of resistance to the world’s current systems of control has not ceased, but instead continued mercilessly since Uranus entered Aries. These movements have been clearly indicated by Uranus’ series of squares with Pluto.
While some astrologers believed a permanent and utopian revolution was hiding amidst this configuration, the more historically minded among us understood it to be a period where resistance gathered, and the huge problems with the world-as-it-is and as-it-is-becoming were outlined clearly. For anyone currently residing on our sphere, this work has quite obviously been accomplished. Now the systems-which-don’t-work are besieged with revolutions which offer nothing coherent to replace them. It is not quite that chaos reigns, but there is, at the present, an intractable conflict between ailing systems and inadequate answers.
Historically, dialectically speaking, this is a point of maximum tension between the thesis and the antithesis. A synthesis will inevitably emerge—a new order, a new thesis—but such things do not appear immediately. The years which they take will only be sentences in the history books, yet for those of us living these years, each one is a significant portion of our small lives.
With 2015, we have the last of the exact squares between Uranus and Pluto. Here their effects become clear. This last exact clash occurs in March, and after that, although the two great spheres will draw close, they will not again find the 90 degree angle which augured such perfect rebellion.
If the Uranus-Pluto squares foretold rebellion, then what foretells order? The answer is Saturn’s movement into Capricorn at the end of the decade and subsequent entrance into, and conjunction with Jupiter in Aquarius at the beginning of the next decade. Yet this time is years away. 2015 sees this shift from the disruptions of Uranus-Pluto to the changing, slippery years that come before the next period of order. This is reflected in the movement of Saturn into Sagittarius, a mutable sign, and the emphasis on the upcoming squares with mutable Neptune. In August, Jupiter also ingresses into mutable Virgo, and the Nodes, the Head and Tail of the Dragon, follow suit in November, entering Virgo and Pisces. What we have, in the interim, from 2015–2017, is a period of frantic adjustment and mutability, where we merely attempt to cope with and navigate the world in its unresolved, mutating state. In addition to these broad strokes, 2015’s more specific qualities can be ascertained by some of the planetary patterns the year is host to.
One of 2015’s most persistent characteristics is the abundance of planets in fire signs. This elemental weighting gives the year an energetic, action-oriented quality. Things will move quickly and often with a surfeit of drama. Uranus will be in the cardinal fire sign, Aries, all year. He will share the sign with Ketu, the South Node, until November, when the Node regresses into Pisces. Meanwhile, Jupiter will be in the fixed fire sign, Leo, until the end of August. Jupiter will share Leo with Venus for nearly four months, spanning almost the entirety of the third quarter. Finally, Saturn will be in Sagittarius for ¾ of the year, being absent from the mutable fire sign only during the third quarter. Added to these longer stays are the swifter movements of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars. Taken together with the slower bodies, they keep the fires burning, especially during March and August.
The Dance Continues
2014 was defined, in no small part, by the back-to-back retrogrades of Venus and Mars during the first and second quarters of the year. This pair tested, disrupted and remade relationships on both a personal and political level. While the third quarter of 2015 is indeed host to Venus’ retrograde, Mars will maintain direct motion throughout the year. Yet the two continue their dance: Mars and Venus will share the sky for a long periods throughout the year, making not one, but three exact conjunctions. Thus while 2014 brought chaos to a number of arrangements, it did not end the dance—only separated some partners. 2015’s long periods of copresence between Venus and Mars suggests a series of attractions, participants magnetized to one another and the generation of new connections. Yet many of these connections are new, unstable, and prone to severance, especially during Venus’ third quarter retrograde. Other relationships, though—those that met the challenges of 2014—will want to be sanctified, bound in more permanent forms of union. The height of the year’s relationship drama will no doubt occur in July and August, during Venus’ retrograde. Although Venus’ retreat would be enough to bring bonds into question on its own, this particular backward journey sees Venus participate in the exact square of Jupiter and Saturn in early August, which connects the heart and history in no uncertain way.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Mercury’s cycle during 2015 places each of his three retrogrades squarely within the confines of air signs. The tricky periods occur in Aquarius in late January and early February, Gemini in late May and early June, and then in Libra during late September and early October. The last two years have seen the Mercury cycle at least partially embedded in water signs, and great outpourings and eruptions of emotion have emerged into the discourse. Now, occurring entirely within air signs, the subject for public and private debate will move steadily toward a discussion of principles and ideas. The cognitive processes behind opinions are set to be revealed—prepare to have your thinking challenged and remade.
Long Road Ahead
This year Jupiter makes a waning square to Saturn, signifying that their mutual cycle is ¾ complete. Thus in 2015 we round the bend and enter the last quarter of the Jupiter-Saturn cycle. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is one of the oldest astrological methods for measuring history, having been a backbone of mundane astrology for more than 1000 years. The final five years of this cycle see us sliding through the consequences of what has so far been wrought. A new order is coming to crown the chaos, but not until the end of the decade.
Sand And Fog
One of the outer planet dynamics which defines much of 2015’s background is the ongoing square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces. This square is of a very different character than the Uranus-Pluto squares which have characterized the last several years. Where Uranus and Pluto are revolutionary, oppressive and explosive, Saturn and Neptune are heavy and diffuse.
Saturn signifies and moves those things which are solid and enduring. The leaden planet lords over the structure of life and the architecture of the real, both natural and human law. Neptune, on the other hand, refers to the world of dreams—the strange and seemingly non-existent rules which govern the coagulation and dissolution of fantasies. Neptune inspires with highs and destroys with crashes.
The two spheres govern what are usually quite separate layers of reality, yet their clash brings the two into conflict. These two strata mingle poorly, as each interferes with the other, especially when the two are in a square aspect. Saturn brings the weight of hard realities to bear on the mystical, escapist dream of Neptune. Meanwhile, Neptune makes the duties and structures which Saturn presides over fuzzy and ill defined, smudging the lines and making it difficult to know what the responsible thing to do really is.
Saturn and Neptune form two squares to each other during their 36-year cycle. These can be likened to the two half Moons which appear during the lunar cycle—one is the waxing square, the other the waning. The Saturn-Square we are approaching is the waning square, which places Saturn in what is considered the superior position. That Saturn is in this position suggests that when realities and dreams come into conflict, it will be the harder, heavier truths of Saturn which will prevail. Historically, this cycle correlates to periods of disenchantment with big dreams. Utopias fair poorly under these conditions, and the sadness of the world seems all the heavier. On a personal level, the Saturn-Neptune squares represent the challenge to reconcile life structures and dreams which have drifted radically out of synch with each other. The point is not to choose one over the other, but to bring the two close enough that a meaningful bridge can be built between the hard earth and the lighter realms one dreams through.
Though Saturn and Neptune will be in squared signs, Sagittarius and Pisces, for much of the next 3 years, their influence will wax and wane considerably during 2015. The influence grows throughout the first quarter, and then begins to recede during the second. The dynamic is likely disappear during the third quarter before surging again during the fourth. It is thus the Saturn-Neptune squares whose dynamic slowly replaces that of Uranus and Pluto. From the clear drama of oppression and revolt we move on to a sodden, muddy period, where the way forward is unclear.