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Sun shining through leaves of a tree

We don’t need astrology to clue us in to the fact that we are in the middle of a period of tremendous and historically unprecedented change. Climate change is proceeding apace (along with its accompanying apocalyptic horsemen of pollution and resource depletion), science and technology are making tremendous strides in a number of different directions, and globally people are questioning whether autocratic strongmen or democratic governments are best suited to lead us through these changing times.

What astrology can do for us is give us insight into the changes that are happening all around us. If we ignore those changes, if we don’t look at the bigger picture, if we don’t try to understand how and why the world is changing and act on that understanding and knowledge, then we leave our future in the hands of others. It’s time to put on whatever underwear makes us feel all grown up, then — as grownups do —  get dressed and get to work planning and creating the future we envision.

This overview of 2024 will cover the high points, but there are a lot of high points. This is a pivotal year.  I’ll put the technical stuff in italics, so you can skip over the astrological jargon if you just want to focus on the interpretation. I’ll take a few paragraphs for the astro-literate, then get into what it all means.

(Astrologers:  The big story this year features Pluto’s move into Aquarius, with one last brief retrograde in the autumn back into Capricorn. Jupiter’s conjunction with Uranus on April 20th at 22° Taurus and subsequent move into Gemini also brings major shifts.

Sign changes herald changes in the world that reflect the signs/planet in question, and this would be a good time to consider the signs involved (Aquarius and Gemini), particularly their shared Element of Air, as well as the evolving condition of their rulers.

Aspects with Saturn are important as well. There’s a semi-square with Pluto that is well within orb between late April and mid-May, then again in September.

The year also features the opening square of Jupiter and Saturn. Their 2020 conjunction, which heralded a 200 year Age of Air, is being activated by Pluto most of the year as it travels back and forth over the 0° Aquarius degree of that conjunction. The square is in mutable signs, and both planets are challenged in the sign they are in. Jupiter disposits Saturn, and both planets aspect Pluto through the year, Jupiter first by trine and then sesquiquadrate, Saturn by semi-square. One way of reading this planetary confabulation is as reflecting confusion that brings profound consequences, particularly in the last quarter of the year (see Mars and Mercury lighting a fire under the outer planet aspects that define the year).

April 8 brings a powerful total solar eclipse at 19° Aries that will be particularly significant for the USA (more on that in a later post).

Autumn is an active time as Pluto moves back into Capricorn in early September, and we move back into eclipse season in late September. In November, Pluto returns to Aquarius, leaving Capricorn for the final time, Mercury goes retrograde in Sagittarius, staying in that sign for 2 months, where it will form hard aspects to both Jupiter and Saturn several times, including right as they make their second square at year’s end.

Mars goes retrograde in Leo in early December, and will be within orb of an opposition to Pluto right through November and December. I’ll expand on all this in individual posts as we move through the year.

One more point I want to make about Pluto’s journey through Aquarius: Aquarius has a conservative side, because its primary mission is to take the social structures that Capricorn built and make sure they work for everyone. A healthy society needs a certain amount of structure. Fear can make that need for structure manifest as authoritarianism, and the revolutionary violence that is necessary to put it in place. But, Aquarius’ traditional ruling planet, Saturn, is not always a stick-in-the-mud. It is more than willing to tear down what it has built in order to rebuild something better and more lasting, and Pluto is happy to lend its considerable power to that project. In the end, Aquarius demands freedom in pursuit of its ideals, and Pluto will clear the way.)

As a witch, I work closely in meditation and magic with the same four classical Elements we see in astrology — Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. One of my favorite meditations for bringing myself back into balance with the world around me and connecting with the Earth itself is to envision myself merging with a tree.

Trees anchor themselves by sending their roots down deep into the soil, from which they draw the minerals that feed them (Earth), and the Water that all living beings need for life. The water and dissolved minerals travel up through the trunk into the branches and then into the leaves, where they pull in carbon dioxide from the Air around them, and use the light and heat of the Sun (Fire) to transform the carbon dioxide into sugars that are sent back down to feed the roots, and oxygen which is released into the air we breathe. This is the process of photosynthesis, which is the foundation of life on our planet.

You may want to work with this visualization in meditation, drawing Earth and Water up into yourself from your roots, absorbing Air and Fire from your leaves, then then letting them flow through you to balance the Elements within your body. Or you can simply use the idea as a metaphor. It’s a useful one to keep in mind as we move through 2024. In a year full of metamorphoses, we’ll need to stay anchored and connected to what nourishes us, while being flexible, alert, and aware as the winds of change blow around us.

(The featured photo for this post is of a tree I use often in my visualizations. It was taken from my front porch at Autumn Equinox.)


Roots Down

Globally, things are going to start moving very quickly in the realms of communication, technology, and travel (which includes immigration issues and space exploration). Mental health will be of much concern, and we’ll see many people working to create healing for the multiple wounds of a world steeped in foundational and ongoing trauma. Various crises will highlight the issues while simultaneously pointing the way towards healing.

Realistically, though, the only way to truly heal the effects of trauma is to remove the source. And since that’s a long-term goal for humanity (the end of war and general meanness is still a long way off), we need to work on strengthening our own physical, mental and emotional well-being. This requires grounding ourselves energetically as well as in our personal values and spiritual understandings.

The forces of change are particularly strong this year. We’ll see those forces unfolding primarily in the financial, environmental, and tech sectors of society, and many if not most of us will be navigating unexpected changes — with varying success.

Let’s take a moment here to remember that we needn’t be frightened by change. Change is the only way things get better. It’s a constant in life, and in those active periods of time when change is happening quickly and stability is hard to find, clear, well-thought-out ethics and spiritual beliefs give us solid ground on which to stand.

Our spiritual practices can help refine those beliefs as well as strengthen our minds, uplift our hearts, and keep us solidly rooted within our bodies and the physical realm. They also allow us to connect with the help that is always available to us from spiritual allies, if we ask.

Majestic Tree

Branches Up

Branches are like antennas that keep the tree tuned in to its environment. We’ll need to tune in too, and here are three things that will help us do that this year:

A Vision The first step to getting to where you want to go is figuring out what it looks like when you get there. Use your imagination, and seek out your soul-level desires. Build your castles in the air, and don’t worry about putting the foundations under them until you’re sure they are in line with your desires, your ethics, and your spiritual understandings.

Information The first step in putting the foundation under a visionary castle is to gather information. But that’s going to be a tricky business this year. AI is going to take off, and its accuracy, or lack thereof, will become a huge issue, and probably cause some stumbles in its implementation. Deepfake videos are likely to be particularly problematic. Pay close attention to the sources of your information, learn to discern fakes of all kinds, and commit to being truthful in your own communications.

Awareness is a critical skill that can and should be continually honed. It is not a linear process, like gathering information, though information will inform awareness. Our intuitive connections to the Earth and the spiritual beings that are part of it as well as to our fellow humans will help us discern the weaving of subtle energies that underlies the world, and understand how we can affect that weaving.

Once we have created a vision, collected information, and tuned in to the world around us, then it’s time to take action.

Power: The Ability to Act

If people can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela

There will be some intense power dynamics playing out this year, and most of them will be about people trying to take power from each other and gain power over others. It won’t be pretty, but we can — and we must —  work to counteract the hatred and fear, and model a better way.

There is a deep-seated, cross-cultural belief that is held by many and underlies global realities today — the belief that evil is more powerful than good. Therefore, according to this belief, accumulating power pretty much requires corruption and destruction.

But it’s only a belief — one of many we can hold individually or en masse. Our beliefs shape our actions (or lack thereof), and actions shape the world.

Personally, I believe that the human race can figure out a way to live on this earth that is predominantly peaceful, productive, and creative. But to do that, we need to source our personal power and share it as we work with others.

Shared power is the strongest power. This is not a time for cynicism or defeatism. It’s a time for courage and caring and coming together to create change that benefits everyone. It’s a time for action and making a difference in whatever way we can, even if it’s just within our own small community.

I’m one of those who believes that love is a far stronger force than hate. But we need to make room for love in the world. We need to find it in our hearts, nurture it, and share it. You might want to explore your own thoughts about love this year, and how you can increase its presence in your life and in the world.

2024 will be a pivotal year, full of opportunities and not a small amount of chaos. It’s a preparatory year for the rare and remarkable outer planet configurations of 2026. Don’t let this year go by in a haze of old habits of thought and rote actions. Claim the power that is yours, connect with others, and work to create the world you want.

Best wishes to you for a happy and fulfilling 2024.

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