Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
~ Albert Einstein
Like most of you, I’ve been curious about where we are headed in 2018, so I’ve been poring over my ephemeris, calculating transits, and casting cardinal ingress and eclipse charts — three astrological methods of gaining insight into future events. This post will be long, but I’ll break out the more technical astrological details into separate paragraphs for the astrologers, so those of you who just want the conclusions can skip through.
The theme for this year is grounding and reality checks, with Earth and Water signs emphasized. A big part of the reality check will be much of humanity coming to an inescapable understanding and visceral awareness of how all life on Earth is intertwined and interdependent. Some will continue their efforts to deny that fact, even in the face of incontrovertible evidence, but eventually, the dams that hold back the onslaught of reality break.
Enter the Time Lord
One of the most important changes we face this year is the entrance of Saturn into the sign of Capricorn — a sign in which it is empowered. It joins Pluto there, and the two together presage major changes in the worlds of business, finance, and government on a global scale. It will be a year or so before Saturn catches up to the slower Pluto, but powerful outer planet aspects are reflected in the events of our world long before the aspect is exact. Astrologer Robert Hand describes the aspect thus:
“The Saturn-Pluto combination represents crises that come about as the normal, lawful, and predictable manifestations of Saturn are challenged by the need for deep and fundamental changes in the system, which are indicated by Pluto. Saturn-Pluto change is likely to impose some kind of restriction on our freedom of movement or upon our resources.”
Saturn demands hard work, responsibility, solid foundations, discipline, and practicality. Saturn is known as the Teacher, the Builder, Lord of Time, and Lord of Karma. Pluto demands death and rebirth in one form or another (not necessarily physical), empowers, intensifies, and oversees the excavation of all that is hidden. Pluto is the Destroyer, the Miner, Lord of the Underworld. This is a powerful combination of forces in the sign most connected to our material reality and social structures.
What can we expect? Upheaval, crisis, and contraction that will have long-term effects. We are in the middle of it now. Pluto has been doing its job in Capricorn since 2008 — uncovering corruption in business and government, excavating buried rage and resentments, empowering conservative ideologies, and undermining anything that is not built on a strong foundation, conservative or liberal. Saturn now comes along and demands that we do something about this mess (and it’s past time, wouldn’t you say?).
The bedrock upon which all our power is built here in material reality is planet Earth and the intricate web of interactions that sustains life upon it. The illusion that we can ignore that web and its needs — the foundational illusion of sociopathic power structures — is fading, slowly but surely. Saturn represents leadership and authority, and as it moves through Capricorn it is supported by Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Scorpio. There are a lot of scenarios that can manifest under this sky, ranging from political power grabs masked by illusion and deception, to uncompromising spiritual leadership, to profoundly transformative artwork, to delusions of grandeur, to deep awakenings of spiritual power, but it will undoubtedly lead us to face ecological realities and our interdependence. That will not be an easy confrontation, but it can be a productive one.
Saturn is a creator. Saturn builds, and builds to last. Saturn is the archetypal Time Lord, who understands the underlying malleability of time, and so the importance of respecting its structure as we explore its boundaries. It’s rather less-than-fashionable to talk about limits or boundaries these days, but Saturn will teach us a lot about them over the next 3 years as it moves through the sign it rules. Everything has limits and boundaries — in fact, they define us. A lifetime is limited by birth and death, a canvas is limited by its edges, a sculpture defined by the limits of the material from which it is constructed. Learning to work and create consciously within the limits defined by time and space is the primary lesson of our physical realm.
I wrote this almost 3 years ago in a post about Saturn’s then-imminent passage through Sagittarius:
Sagittarius is the sign that reflects our human search for meaning and greater understanding. It rules faith (in all meanings of the word) and truth. With Saturn here, faith and and the vision of a greater truth have a tendency to either be pulled out from under us like the proverbial rug, or to solidify into dogma. That’s when we see people either moving into some kind of existential depression or clinging to the support of orthodox religious principles and rituals and rigidly defending them against any questions. Both of these reactions stem from the fear of a vast and seemingly unpredictable Universe. Neither reaction is particularly desirable, so the question becomes: how do we use this energy productively?
In Capricorn, Saturn will set out to answer that question. Saturn’s answers inevitably involve work, and hard work at that. But Neptune in Pisces and Jupiter in Scorpio have a say, too, and they are having a conversation about cooperation, healing, and the depths and heights of the human psyche. We’ll need to learn to work together, and understand that true leadership does not involve self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment, but service to all those one professes to lead. We choose our leaders in every aspect of our lives. We give authority to certain people and deny it to others. These are choices we must make very, very carefully.
On a personal level, not everyone will take the reality check. Some will still be lost in a fog of illusion, delusion, and deception, and manage to stay in denial as reality swirls about their ankles like a rising flood. But there will be consequences, and outcomes depend on our willingness to set boundaries, demonstrate self-discipline, work hard, and respect the work of others. Saturn in Capricorn can actually bring tremendous rewards, but only to those who have put down a solid foundation and done the work.
Brilliant, eccentric, disruptive Uranus also changes signs this year, moving from Aries, a Fire sign, into Taurus, an Earth sign in May (it goes back into Aries for a few months at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019). Taurus rules, among other things, farming, banking and other financial matters, our values and our resources. We can expect to see sudden, unexpected changes, as well as breakthroughs in practical applications in all these areas. (The Social Security Act was passed under Uranus in Taurus. Hopefully, its Uranus return will not herald its sudden demise.)
We can expect major shakeups in currency markets and bank stocks. Financial astrologer Raymond Merriman notes that when Uranus transits a sign — a seven-year process — the sectors of the economy that sign rules are in for a boom and then a bust. So if you are a farmer or an investor, if you work in the banking or financial industries — or even if you use banks — be on the lookout for revolutionary changes in these areas, and don’t be too quick to jump on the latest bandwagon (at least, if you do, be prepared to jump off just as quickly!). But you also will want to keep up with changing ways of doing things in your sector. If you do some thinking, some research, and pay attention, you’ll be fine.
I’ll be writing more about Uranus in Taurus, as well as what its final retrograde into Aries might mean, as we move through the year, but for now I’ll just note that this is a good time to consolidate your resources, and consider the financial risks you take very carefully, because the results could be extreme — in either direction.
Calling the Quarters
In the realm of ceremonial magic and some Pagan religions — notably Wicca — there is a foundational awareness of “The Quarters”. These symbolic divisions consist of both the Four Directions — the equal-armed cross of manifestation that divides the sacred circle — and also represent the four classical Elements that were thought to underly all of Creation: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. (Clearly, these are not the elements we see in a periodic table, but if you are scientifically-inclined, you might consider how they correlate exactly to the four basic states of matter: gas, plasma, liquid, solid. )
Astrology students: As the circle has four quarters, so does the year. The cross of the year is defined by the solstices and equinoxes, heralded by the entrance of Sun into one of what we call the four “cardinal” signs, each ruled by a different Element. A chart cast for that moment in time and specific place is called a “cardinal ingress chart” — a.k.a. the chart of the solstice or equinox. They are predictive for anywhere from three months to a year (depending on a number of factors) for the place they are cast.
These ingress charts are important in mundane astrology — the astrology of politics, culture, and world affairs. Mundane astrologers use them, along with the charts of lunations and eclipses, countries, and key people to predict trends and probable types of events. It’s important to keep in mind that the predictive influence of any particular chart is like a wave — it forms, strengthens, breaks, and recedes. The waves of many charts are moving toward and receding from the beach at any given time. This is what makes mundane astrology so complex.
If a mundane chart is cast for the capital of a country, it is predictive for that country. Hence, the charts I work with are cast for Washington, DC. You can cast the Capricorn ingress chart for December 21, 2017 at 11:29 a.m., EST in DC, with 14°27’ Pisces rising.
Some predictions you can make from these charts will be global — the outer planets change of sign, for instance, and aspects between them — while others will be place specific. Remember that anything having to do with an angle, house, or house rulership is place specific.
The Elemental emphasis for this year, based on the four charts of the solstices and equinoxes, leans to Earth and Water. Practical matters will certainly be of prime importance, but we will also be focused on deep emotional, psychological issues that influence us all — including those who make decisions that affect all our lives.
Health crises may be severe. These can range from health insurance problems, to dietary concerns, all the way to full-blown epidemics or widespread illness due to pollution. If you haven’t been paying close attention to your overall health, now would be a good time to start. If you have any concerns about your drinking water, invest in the best water filter you can afford. Consider that a healthy environment is a requirement for healthy humans.
We can expect breakthroughs in neuroscience and psychology, especially having to do with how mental health is affected by our environment. Some of the more disturbing possibilities of behavioral control, from social media to operant conditioning to psychoactive chemicals, will be brought to our attention, and we would do well to remember Ralph Waldo Emerson’s declaration: “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind”.
Despite all the reality checks being cashed, delusion and deception will be rampant, even weaponized. Making decisions based on false or incomplete information is inviting disaster. Pay attention.
Astrology students: Neptune is conjunct an angle in three of the four ingress charts this year, and Moon is conjunct Neptune in Pisces in the fourth one. It is square Mercury in the Capricorn ingress chart — highly problematic for communication, transportation, and tech. Also note that Uranus is stationing direct on January 2nd at 24° Aries, square the USA’s natal Mercury in 24° Cancer.
Also note in the Cap ingress that Jupiter (law and justice) is conjunct Mars in Scorpio in the 8th house (sex, death, taxes, depth psychology, espionage and other hidden things), both square the nodal axis (the collective), semi-square Sun. Mars is tightly square Moon (the people of the country). This is a rather explosive combination and may indicate violent demands for justice. Of course, our culture is long-overdue for an attitude adjustment around all these topics.
Jupiter and Neptune will be in orb of a trine to each other much of the year. Keep in mind that a trine simply indicates an easy flow of energy between the two planets — it is not necessarily “benefic”. Watch for delusions of grandeur, victimization, martyrdom, and expansion of consciousness with this aspect. Also note the ongoing semi-square between Uranus and Neptune all year — among other things, this points to upheavals in oil, and strong storms that result in flooding.
Neptune’s prominence this year can open us to new realms of consciousness and lead to spiritual awakening, but not without risk of getting lost in the funhouse. A disciplined spiritual practice and trusted mentors should be the foundation any deep spiritual explorations you undertake at any time, but especially this year. That said, it’s a good year for deepening and expanding spiritual awareness.
Epidemics of both mental and physical illnesses may be a concern for much of the year, as will the ramifications — both good and bad — of drugs of all kinds. We can also expect sudden, strong storms, flooding, and wild swings in oil prices which may be accompanied by disruption in supply. Neptune also indicates scandal, and there will be plenty of it. We should also see important discussions about spiritual truths, and some jailbreaking of hidebound religions.
We must all choose what work we are going to do this year — will we help build prisons or housing, mine coal or restore forests, work magic for peace and justice, or just focus on our own personal desires? We all contribute to the zeitgeist, and our choices matter. If your personal work — both the work you get paid for and the work you do for love of it — does not contribute to the greater good, this may be the year for a job or even a career change. If you’re wondering how this all applies to you personally, contact me for a consultation.
Happy New Year!