Many people I’ve talked to, both through my blog and in real life, noticed the bottoming out of energy after the beginning of the new year. It didn’t seem so bad the first few days, but Mercury and then Jupiter turned retrograde and momentum was lost. I had planned on writing a piece about the change of pace for 2016 but even that didn’t pan out. Even now, with the Mercury retrograde over, the pace remains sluggish. I have said before that I wasn’t someone who was excited to see the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn begin to wind down; for all the headaches and tears it caused, it was a tremendous wellspring of opportunity for change and transformation.
The Uranus-Pluto square is still more or less in effect the first couple months of 2016 but losing much of its steam. After that, while Uranus and Pluto do not change signs for a while, the square between widens until it is barely there (although the retrogrades of both will briefly tighten the square this year.) What is replacing this energy? A whole lot of retrogrades and emphasis on the mutable signs. There are four Mercury retrogrades this year, as opposed to three last year. (The next Mercury Rx runs from April 29th to May 22nd in Taurus; then again from August 30th to September 22nd in Virgo; and lastly from December 19th through January 8th, 2017, in Capricorn, the same sign Mercury went retrograde in at the beginning of the year.) There’s that not particularly easy retrograde of Mars from mid April until the end of June. That’s a lot of time spent looking back rather than moving forward. One of the Mercury retrogrades and half of the Mars retrograde also occur in mutable signs.
There’s an unusual amount of focus on the mutable this year, with Neptune, Chiron and the South Node in Pisces, Jupiter and the North Node in Virgo, Saturn and an extended period of Mars in Sagittarius. Gemini gets in on the action in June to form a mutable Grand Cross. The mutable signs at the neutral level represent changeability, adaptability, flexibility. When at their best they see all sides of the issues presented to them and find the middle ground or a workable solution for all involved. While the cardinal signs initiate and the fixed signs stabilize, the mutable signs flow.
In the wake of the past few years, where buttons were pushed non stop and everyone was in crisis/survival mode, the changeover to the the less intense feeling of the mutable signs can feel alternately calming and frustratingly unproductive. When at their worst, the mutable signs see so many different sides to the issues that they never take the leap and act. Uranus in Aries squaring Pluto in Capricorn was the cardinal trigger forcing movement and that is quickly becoming nothing. The fixed signs are the ones who’ll stay the course and see things to their fruition, but their time in the spotlight is brief this year. Coming on the heels of a period of major change, there is a need to adapt ourselves and our expectations to the new paradigm, that is understandable. It becomes problematic when the urge to act on new wisdom and information does not gain necessary traction, resulting in a feeling of gridlock. The changeable nature of the mutable signs obviously doesn’t impede change in everyday life and in fact supports it, but it can continue to shift and morph in unexpected ways. Lacking clear direction or purpose is a common issue with heavy mutable emphasis. It can seem like nothing is happening one minute, only to see a flurry of activities the next, only to dissipate again.
The square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces in particular will contribute heavily to losing sight of targets and projected outcomes, no guarantee of any outcome at all. Vagueness will be a dominating theme for much of the year. Discerning the real from the unreal will be a full time job. Besides squaring Neptune, Saturn in Sagittarius is closing in on its mutable square to Jupiter in Virgo, exact on Wednesday, March 23rd at 16 degrees. Jupiter in Virgo sees success in practical applications, Saturn in Sagittarius brings a heavy dose of reality about higher education. With the square between the two building, bigger issues will arise surrounding the growing difficulty in finding a job that fits your experience and education level. Many are in ridiculously deep debt from student loans, earning degrees that they find do not take them as far as they thought. On the flip side, many decided to opt out of perpetual debt and skip college, and are finding that no matter how qualified, experienced and/or competent they are, they don’t look good enough on paper to impress potential employers. This may not make the headlines but in your life and the lives of those around you, you’ll experience the rapidly growing frustration and and disillusionment with the promises of education and the reality of the job force (and the actual unemployment numbers) this year more than ever.
Saturn square Neptune is also a big culprit in the illusion of time itself running at a speed that seems out of synch with life. Saturn is associated with three dimensional time itself, something Neptune doesn’t even acknowledge in its view of otherworldly time-space dimensions. Add to it the mutable emphasis in general and the funky retrogrades, much of 2016 will feel like a lot of talk with no action and purposeless movement.
It is important to realize that the feeling of slowing down is only illusion, not unlike a speeding train creating the appearance of other fast moving trains moving backward. Retrogrades are themselves illusions of planetary bodies moving backward, which they are not. In reality, periods of emphasis on mutable signs act as periods of massive transition; no major changes as you get with the cardinal signs but constant movement nonetheless. Remember this as you’re feeling nothing is happening this year that very soon the illusion will dissipate and we’ll be whiplashed by the realization that we were accelerating all along.
The first bubble to burst and change tempo will come courtesy of Jupiter ingressing into Libra September 9th (until October 10th, 2017). Libra is a cardinal sign associated with initiating change in the balance and fairness of most things; while Libra is most often associated with relationships, the need to correct and restore balance extends across the spectrum into most areas of life. Jupiter in Libra brings a high minded philosophy to how the balancing of scales plays out. This change in tempo will feel quite good for a while, then the friction ramps up again.
By about late October into early November, just around the time of the U.S. Presidential election, Jupiter in Libra begins squaring Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter = big, Libra = restoring balance; Pluto = other people’s money, Capricorn = government, big business, infrastructure. Jupiter aspecting Pluto is one of the biggest tip offs that something big happens around money. The square implies it won’t be easy money. Now, Jupiter-Pluto is no financial doomsday transit; matter of fact I have no doubt that a lot will see windfalls, actually. But, the square means the Jupiter in Libra need for fairness and equal balance will be thrown off by the more ruthless Pluto in Capricorn, which can and has enabled spectacular levels of global corruption in the way business is now done. This looks like some type of “market correction” to me, with not everyone being impacted equally. Think of an uptick in home forclosures or repo’d cars or similar scenarios; lots of people benefit during a “buyers market” but obviously it comes at the great misfortune of others. I don’t know for sure that the Jupiter-Pluto square will cause a housing crisis, but the last time Jupiter was in Libra was 2005 (corrected from original post where I wrote 2006), when housing prices peaked and started to decline. Jupiter in Libra in 2016/2017 will be a “full circle” culmination of events since 2005 and this time Jupiter in Libra will square Pluto. The effects, both good and bad, are deep and incisive. And no doubt tangled up in the American Presidential election.
Whatever the Jupiter-Pluto square throws at us, it too will only be a lead-up to bigger events on the horizon. We are not far away from Uranus -rebellious shocker, agent of both chaos and ingenuity- moving into Taurus, bullish earthy sign of the banker, of money and tangibles. Taurus likes to build, accumulate; it does not like change and spontaneity so Uranus in Taurus looks incredibly difficult and uncomfortable to me. The last time Uranus was in Taurus was from 1935-1942 and one only needs to look at that period of history to understand how Uranus in Taurus upsets finances and turns money on its head. We can’t repeat that time frame; the square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn we’re leaving propelled us into uncharted, unprecedented territory. Once Uranus moves into Taurus (at first briefly between May and November 2018, and then it settles in from March 2019 until 2025) we will have to learn to survive at a material level according to the new and accelerating climate.
The end of 2019 and most of 2020 has me the most nervous. There, Pluto in late Capricorn will be joined by Jupiter and Saturn, and while this conjunction never “perfects” (never meets at the exact same degree) this is a major force of reckoning in matters of government and global business. Capricorn focuses a lot on consequences: good, bad and everything in between. By the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto conjunctions in 2019/2020, we’ll likely see the consequences of the Uranus-Pluto squares we’re leaving behind. We will see just how effectively we used the major catalyst of change; whatever we ignored in the past few years will be unignorable in the coming few years. Think of the Uranus in Aries-Pluto in Capricorn squares as Martin Luther nailing his ninety-five theses to the church door, and the Jupiter-Pluto square and then more strongly the Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn conjunction as the delayed fallout and reaction. Uranus will be very much in Taurus at this time, and we’ll also have Chiron -creator of both pain and healing- in the martial sign of Aries. (I’ve got a timetable listing the movement of these bodies over the coming decades for those keeping track.) These astrological shifts are not that far off that we can ignore them now.
Which means, here at the beginning of 2016, we can see that the slowness and sluggishness and hard to pin down quality is a much needed time of adjusting and preparing. Nothing in life can fully move forward with success without reviewing where it’s been and what could and should have been done better, different. On a day to day level, the planetary retrogrades are a pain in the assignment but that is their higher purpose; replay, rewind, review, go back in time.
The mutable signs keeping things vague, flaky and ever shifting as a way of examining various possibilities and examining potential outcomes. We are not as free to do as we’d like and will have fewer choices in the future if the trajectory continues. So, this year is a period of evaluation. Self evaluation and questioning of the external world. Is want we want correct morally, spiritually? How big are the risks for pursuing particular paths? What are the risks for not pursuing them? How are we affected individually versus the affects on our family, community, country? Is what we’re doing hurtful or harmful to us in the long run financially, physically, emotionally? Are we moving in the right direction but with bad timing, bad advice or bad people? Are we going it alone when we ought to be enlisting others, and vice versa?
Remember as you’re beating your head against the wall or feeling tired and drained, listless this year that this apparent state of flux is actually a state of transition, and that in all of nature species must adapt to survive.