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“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

The number-one question astrologers are being asked this month is something along the lines of: “So, will 2021 be better than 2020?” The only unequivocal answer I can give is that it will be very different.

In line for the Most Over-Used Phrases of 2020 Awards are “the new normal” and “getting back to normal”. Our obsession with normality is certainly understandable during a year of serious, extraordinary disruptions, but the astrology of 2021 suggests that we will be redefining normal, not reclaiming it.Our challenge will be to redefine normality in a way that conforms to our dreams, not to our fears.

If you are reading this on a computer or a device you own, “normal” for you has probably included things like access to clean water, sufficient food, shelter, clothing, and a reasonably peaceful environment. But this is not normal for far too many people.
Our world is full of serious problems that need to be addressed — poverty, environmental destruction, human trafficking, war, social violence, racism, misogyny, and various other forms of discrimination. These things have been and are normal in many parts of the world, and they are normal in the hidden underbelly of so-called “first-world” countries.

Our vision of a “new normal” needs to extend far beyond adjusting to the effects of the pandemic. Our visions need to be of a new global reality that minimizes the above-mentioned problems and encourages human freedom and creativity. We need a vision of the future if we want to create a better one.

This year is going to be very different from the past year. There will be upheaval and change as the social and economic fallout from the pandemic continues while we work to figure out what needs to be done about it all.

It will be months — possibly even another year — before the vaccine brings the virus under control to the point where we can interact with each other without fear. There are massive changes — some good, some not — in store around food and its distribution as well as farmland and its management.

Our high-tech financial systems seem increasingly disconnected from the reality of resources and labor that are the foundation of any economy. They are also vulnerable to disruption via hacking and/or electrical disruptions. This year will likely bring some notable changes — possibly sudden, driven by technology — in money and banking sectors.

Social inequality and an inability to discern truth from falsehood and fantasy — a widespread mental illness for which we do not have a vaccine — will continue to encourage some violent and sociopathic responses to current conditions. The meaning of freedom and the structures — both physical and philosophical — of a free society will be of pressing interest and subject to much discussion. Civil and otherwise.

On a happier note, there will also be exciting, genuine opportunities to make great strides in the direction of our dreams. When life is in flux is when it’s most malleable and easily changed. If we are willing to do the work of shaping a new reality, we can bring our dreams into being. If we don’t have a dream, or we aren’t willing to do the work that’s required — well, things in flux tend to go splat if they are not given direction.

I’m going to take a brief detour for the astrologers here, then we’ll consider how we might take advantage of these upcoming opportunities and work with the energy of the times to create a better normal.

(For those of you who are interested in the astrology, here’s what I’m looking at:

We have 1 Jupiter-Uranus and 3 Saturn-Uranus squares this year. Saturn and Uranus co-rule Aquarius, but Saturn is stronger both by being in the sign of its rulership and by zodiacal position relative to Uranus. This doesn’t mean Uranus is over-powered, but it will need to fight harder. And when Uranus fights harder things tend to blow up, get shaken up, and the unexpected becomes commonplace.

Uranus and Saturn need to find common ground this year. Think in terms of how they can work together towards changed, just, and strong communities and governments.

That focus on Aquarius’ co-rulers, plus Saturn and Jupiter’s recent conjunction and presence in the sign puts a spotlight on the sign. No, this does NOT herald the “Age of Aquarius” (which has to do with the Great Ages and the precession of the equinoxes), but it does put an emphasis this year on Aquarian matters such as social justice, science, freedom, revolutionary thinking, cultural rebellion, intellectual analysis, and emotional detachment.

Jupiter brings expanded, innovative vision and inspiration, Saturn offers the structures that bring visions into reality. The squares to Uranus in Taurus suggest that there may be some demolition and cleanup of old structures before new ones are built, and the question of who’s going to pay for all these changes will be a source of conflict.

Uranus in Taurus puts an emphasis on the food supply, the natural environment, monetary structures, and the technology that supports them all.

Pluto, still in Saturn’s sign, keeps our focus on power — who has it, who wants it, and who we give it to.

The nodes in Gemini and Sagittarius — mutable air and fire — can be an incendiary spark for ideas and actions that trigger change, particularly as they are aspected by transiting planets in mutable signs. Note the January square from Neptune, and aspects from Mars in March and December.

As always, watch the eclipses, particularly the June solar eclipse, conjunct a retrograde Mercury and conjunct the USA’s natal Mars, and the December eclipse, conjunct the USA’s ascendant [Sibly chart])

In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. ~ Eric Hoffer

We are, undoubtedly, in times of change. Here are some ideas for making the most of the months ahead.

  • Stay aware of what’s going on around you. Be aware, informed, discerning, and keep your BS meter on. You don’t need to be on constant high alert. But make sure you have several reliable sources of information about our collective social reality. Don’t stay stuck in what you think you know — be willing to learn.
  • Give careful thought to what’s going on around you. Use what you’ve learned to consider where we are going as a society, and how that will affect you. Think about what the future might look like, consider your options, and make at least a rough plan to reach the future you want for yourself, your family, and your community.
  • Act to change and/or stabilize what’s going on around you. When life is in flux, it’s much easier to direct energy and events in the direction you want to go. But you’ll also need to stabilize and organize what you want to keep. You’ll have decisions to make about when to go with the flow and when to plant your flag and take a stand.

I emphasize “what’s going on around you” because this year will bring big questions and challenges around how we work together, how we manage as a community, as a society, how we create or destroy civilizations.

Your engagement in community, in society, in your government is important. Your willingness to learn new ways, to support change that leads in the direction of a healthy, peaceful society is important. Questions of cooperative community vs. individual freedom will be front and center this year. Aquarius asks us how we can cooperate to ensure maximum individual freedom within a strong community.

Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others… ~ Timothy Leary

Building structures of a cooperative, healthy civilization while avoiding groupthink is always a challenge. But it’s a challenge we are facing right now, and it’s one we need to grapple with on an individual basis first.

How to avoid falling into groupthink? Check in with your core values, and measure your current life by their yardstick.

For instance, since I believe life here in physical reality is essentially a creative endeavor, when I am assessing any situation, opportunity, or actions, I look closely at the effect on the creative freedom of the people involved, how individual freedom of action can be maximized without interfering with the freedom of others.

I also believe strongly that people can and do change and evolve. So my outlook on prisons, as one example, is well outside the norm, because the norm goes against my core values.

(We can talk later about how taking away the ability of one person to harm others by restricting their freedom may be a necessity, but should also be a sacred trust focused on rehabilitation and not subject to profiteering.)

This year is a good time to look at what your core values are, and use them to assess the thoughts and opinions that guide your days, and the ways in which you live your everyday life.

No doubt there are parts of your life where you are in agreement with the norm, where conforming is easy because it’s fully in line with your personal values. There are also almost certainly parts of your life where you disagree, but go along with the consensus simply because fighting strong social pressures would be too difficult. And that’s OK. But it’s important to be clear within your own mind and heart about what you support and what you resist in the world around you.

Think about how you have adjusted to a profoundly sick society. Be willing to change. Dare to be different.

This year is about building strong, cooperative community and government that works to protect individual freedoms while supporting social justice and equal rights for all. (Which brings me to our current social and governmental upheaval, but that’s a whole other blog post, which I’ll write over the next few weeks.)

Meanwhile, keep in mind that we humans do best when we work together. Our big, complex brains and opposable thumbs are not our only evolutionary superpowers. It’s our ability to cooperate that allows us to build civilizations that support us all.

Get clear on what you stand for, and bring what you have to offer to your community. We are in a year that will bring tremendous change, and we will have opportunities to build something new, different, and better in our world. Let’s not waste those opportunities.

Find the others, and get to work.

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