Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

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Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

Post by Spiritwind »

A friend shared this to my Facebook feed this morning and I thought it was well written and exceptionally thorough so sharing it here.

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2018 is a year of beginnings, although many of them may look like endings. We are introduced to dynamics which will take us well into the next decade, yet also reek of the past. It is our first of several years in a place where the past and future overlap to an unsettling degree, the historical version of the lands which souls journey between death and life again. It is lost Lemuria, sunken Atlantis, the Egyptian Duat, the Tibetan Bardo. Like all of these spaces, it floats between, somewhere across the waters.

We thus enter 2018 as we would a vast, unknown continent. There is much to explore, much to remember and much to learn. Yet one thing can be certain at the outset — this land is haunted. It swarms with the ghosts of the past. Some are eager to help us, desperate to pass on knowledge that would otherwise be forgotten. Others followed us here the way parasites follow hosts.

Phantom cities dot the landscape. Some are afterimages of golden ages fondly remembered, while others are the nightmare dystopias we carry in our hearts like shrapnel. We see not only the dead in this land, but also images of our past selves, their activities haloed with both nostalgia and regret. Yet some of those selves are unfamiliar. These are the shades of future-selves, echoing backward into our time. They whisper to us of the worlds they inhabit, eager to tell their stories. Each of these tales is a pathway through this land, and to the many and clashing futures which lie beyond it. Some are stories of dull ruin and tyranny, of failures personal and collective, but there are also heroic sagas which tell proudly of how we set aside childish things, banded together, and made good.

These happy endings and tragedies play out before us, blending into the visions of golden and leaden ages past and to come. These visions and ghosts come and go like the weather across our new land. Like storms or particularly beautiful days, they distract us from the labor at hand. And there is much to do. The place we’ve found ourselves is stony and sometimes forbidding. It is not cruel, but neither is it kind. Its yields are almost perfectly proportional to the effort and intelligence invested. In some ways it is a fair place, but the notable lack of mercy can make it seem harsh. We will be here for a while. For years. For now, it is best we try to work to make ite liveable, to direct our efforts toward stone and soil. Yet before we build and plant, we must walk the land, and take its measure.

A Three-Part Exploration

We will begin our exploration of 2018 by looking at it as a whole, beginning with where it fits into the historical sequence. Part I will thus be an exploration of larger themes. In Part II, we will pace the quarters of the year, locating and discussing 2018’s most important configurations. Finally, Part III is comprised of some reflection on the nature of the year, a bit of advice and a substantial rant.

The largest context for 2018 is its position in the 200+ year Jupiter-Saturn cycle, which comes to a definite conclusion at the end of 2020. As I wrote of this previously:

The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is one of astrology’s longest used and most reliable yardsticks for measuring history. The two planets conjoin every 20 years, providing a tool for examining history in two decade increments. But these 20 year cycles themselves form a larger pattern. For approximately 200 years at a time, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur in signs of the same element. This gives us 200 years of Fire, Earth, Air, and then Water. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle thus offers us not only the ability to study history in 20 year arcs, but also to look at the larger spans of history enclosed by the 200 year periods.

The two planets have been making conjunctions in Earth signs since the early 19th century, enclosing and timing the waves of industrial revolution and overseeing the transformation of our relationship to the material world that’s taken place since then. The next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which occurs during the last days of 2020, will be in Aquarius, an Air sign. This conjunction will begin another 200 year cycle of conjunctions in Air signs, thus bringing an end to over two centuries of meeting under the auspices of Earth.

It is worth noting that there are two methods of calculating when the Jupiter-Saturn cycle shifts from one element to another, the apparent and the mean conjunctions. By the mean cycle, which is a mathematical idealization, we entered the Air cycle in the year 2000. It is the apparent conjunction, actually visible in the sky, which shifts us unequivocally into the Air cycle in 2020. Since 2000, we have been in an unusual period where the mean and apparent cycles clash, a fact which nicely illustrates the dissonant nature of our current times.

It thus plays a complicated requiem for a pair of centuries which brought us both miraculous physical technologies and the most devastating, traumatic wars ever fought.

The countdown to the end of this cycle began in earnest with the movement of Saturn into Capricorn on December 19th, 2017. 2018 is thus, in a sense, quite literally “the beginning of the end.”

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

The next bit of longer term thinking we need to do about 2018 concerns the movement of Uranus into Taurus. Uranus spends approximately 7 years in each sign, and so speaks to underlying trends of that duration. We will deal what those will look like in a later section. For now, it is Uranus’ relationship with the other slower-moving bodies, Neptune and Pluto, which concerns us.

With Uranus’ movement into Taurus this year, we get our first taste of an outer-planet arrangement which we’ll live within until the middle of the next decade. Uranus will be in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn until 2025, when all three change signs. There is a rare synchronization between their cycles in 2025 — they all change in the same year, a most unusual thing. Not only will Uranus, Neptune and Pluto remain in the same signs until 2025, they will all be in signs of a yin or passive quality, and then enter signs of a yang or active quality. As the slow-moving outers all speak to longer-wave historical currents, that set of 3 ingresses in one year signals a massive shift, effectively and deeply dividing the 2020’s into two very different sections.

It will thus be Uranus in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn which will accompany us across the threshold of 2020, effectively bridging the end-times of the two-century Earth cycle and the early days of the Air one. As always, the longer the trend, the smarter it is to understand and adapt early.

Saturn in Capricorn

The most important single factor in understanding 2018 is, without a doubt, Saturn’s presence in Capricorn. The ingress into Capricorn called an end to the frantic dumpster-fire of Saturn in Sagittarius (2015-2017), and initiated a new trio of years with a significantly colder and more thoughtful quality. In Capricorn, Saturn builds mighty fortifications, comes down hard on the unrepentant, and teaches of secrets thought lost to dusty tombs. Patience, hard work and thoughtful planning are all rewarded by the leaden planet in the Goat’s sign. See my lengthy article, “Saturn in Capricorn” for an in-depth exploration of these themes.

Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter will be in tropical Scorpio for the overwhelming majority of 2018. Although the big planet abandons the scorpion for the archer in mid-November, Jupiter in Scorpio will contribute generously to 2018’s themes. In Scorpio, Jupiter blesses bold journeys into the underworld, gives us the bravery to examine ugly truths, and teaches the methods by which the shadow-self might be claimed and integrated. For more detail, please refer to “Jupiter in Scorpio.”

The Eclipse Cycle

2018 continues the same cycle of Eclipses in Leo and Aquarius which dominated last year. While 2017’s big Eclipse moment was the Great American Eclipse in August, 2018’s is late July’s total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, which will be tightly conjoined a retrograde Mars. That total Lunar Eclipse will be visible over much of Eurasia, loosely centered over the region of the Persian Gulf.

Mercury retrograde: Fire Cycle

2018’s Mercury retrogrades occur primarily in Fire signs. The first occurs between March 23rdand April 10th in Aries, the second occurs August 1st through the 21st in Leo, and the third, which takes place November 34th through December 10th, begins in Sagittarius, but backs into Scorpio, where it will station direct.

This is not much of a shift from 2017’s Mercury retrogrades, which also occurred primarily in Fire signs. We can therefore expect the same, brief firestoms of hype and outrage to accompany 2018’s Mercury retrograde periods.

Elemental Balance

Another method we can use to understand the year as a whole is its elemental proportions. While 2017 was overwhelmingly fiery, the omens surrounding 2018 are of a more mixed quality, though tending towards the earthy.

Saturn, along with Pluto, will be in Capricorn, an Earth sign, for the entirety of the year. Having entered the Goat’s sign less than two weeks before 2018 began, Saturn will no doubt be eager to introduce itself. Additionally, slow-moving Uranus makes its first ingress into earthy Taurus in May 2018, although this initial 6-month foray is followed by a November retrogression back into fiery Aries.

The traditional Chinese calendar sees most of 2018 as being earthy in quality, as well. Specifically, it is the year of the Earth Dog, also called the “Yellow Dog” or “Mountain Dog.” Although not as overwhelmingly terrestrial as 2017 was fiery, we would be foolish to ignore the presence of three outer planets (Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto) in Earth signs, as well as the elemental opinion of the traditional Chinese calendar.

The fire dominated years of 2016 and 2017 brought spectacles of outrage and bonfires of inspiration, and set a restless, athletic pace. Earth, on the other hand, is decidedly less manic than fire. It is also considerably heavier. While the fiery years saw a non-stop conflagration of rhetoric and reaction, the earthier years yet to come are less prone to catastrophizing. Yet as earth is weighty, so too will likely be the events which occur. 2018 and 2019 will challenge us with actualized facts and events, rather than fantasies and visions imagined in flame. Its pacing will be slower, though punctuated with a few fast and furious moments, and its developments more concrete.


The first quarter of 2018, comprised of January, February and March, is the least dramatic. Although things ramp up significantly during the second half of March, the first portion of the year is comparatively sedate, giving us enough time to get a good head start on 2018.

A Serving of Shadow

The first event of note during Q1 is pair of Eclipses. A total Lunar Eclipse in Leo arrives on January 31st, followed by a partial Solar Eclipse on February 15th. This pair churns up the surrounding weeks, giving them unusual depth. Eclipses make space for latent changes to rise to the surface, sometimes with surprising speed. Although this first set of Eclipses will inevitably be dramatic for some individuals, there is nothing particularly daunting or malefic about this particular set of shadows.

Angry and Confused

After the Eclipse, things hum along rather nicely until the second half of March. On March 17th, Mars joins Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, making for a rather intimidating gang. As this period of copresence occurs primarily during Q2, we will deal with it in the next section. Shortly thereafter, on March 22nd, Mercury stations retrograde in Aries. Mercury’s retrograde ties in very neatly with the rough Mars-Saturn copresence, and will make for harsh words, unpleasant moments, and rough struggles.

Both Mars’ time with Saturn and Pluto, as well as Mercury’s retrograde carry us from the relative ease of the Q1 into a significantly more challenging Q2.


The second quarter of 2018 is divided, rather neatly, into two. The first half is dominated by Mars’ copresence with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, while the second focuses on the ingress of Uranus into Taurus. Though Uranus’ ingress may bring with it some unwelcome surprises, there will also be some happy reversals, making it much more generally favorable than the first half, dominated by the Mars-Saturn-Pluto configuration.

A Gang of Toughs

From March 17th and until May 15th, Mars will be in Capricorn. This is important in and of itself, as Capricorn is the only sign in which Mars is exalted, but there is quite a bit more to it. This year, Mars will find both Saturn and Pluto waiting in Capricorn.

In traditional astrology, Mars and Saturn are the two “malefics,” meaning that they preside over various forms of difficulty, impediment and adversity. Mars is the hot malefic, and rules over adrenalized crisis moments, and Saturn is the cold malefic, and speaks to the challenges of deprivation and ordeals of endurance. The two planets are not considered to be terribly friendly with one another, though they can both agree on giving the human a hard time.

The periods where they share the same sign (“copresence”) sees them join their power, often generating extremely difficult or unpleasant situations and states. The last time they were together was in Sagittarius from March-May and August-September of 2016. The time before that, in August 2014, when they were copresent in Scorpio, the largest-ever Ebola outbreak took place while ISIL made massive territorial gains, the virus serving as an apt metaphor for the grotesque organization.

Although unpleasant, these periods of copresence are not at all common, comprising on average, a month and a half out of every 27 months, or a little less than every two years. The Mars-Saturn copresence this year is unusual for a number of reasons. First, it occurs in the sign of Capricorn. Capricorn is the only sign in which both Mars and Saturn are both considered to be extremely potent. Capricorn is Mars’s exaltation, and the sign which Saturn rules. Mars and Saturn only share Capricorn either once or twice every 30 years. The second factor which makes this March-May copresence rare is that Pluto will also be Capricorn. While Pluto was discovered too recently for traditional astrology to have any opinions about it, it falls quite comfortably within the confines of the “malefic” category. Thus we have 3 very potent malefics all cohabitating in the same sign for a substantial amount of time this year.

Some notable difficulties will certainly befall individuals and peoples during this period. Yet it is not wholly negative, nor without value. Mars and Saturn together support fierce, powerful action, and there are projects which require this sort of merciless intensity. This period of co-presence, if approached correctly, presents us with an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to the accomplishment of outrageously difficult tasks. Mars-Saturn-Pluto together generate a destructive power, but if that potency is pointed in the right direction, it can accomplish great things. The net result of negating a negative is positive. An obstacle destroyed leaves behind a clear pathway. Instead of waiting for the challenge to pick you during 2018’s second qaurter, you may want to decide upon an alchemical ordeal of your own design.

Although this period of copresence ends on May 15th, when Mars enters Aquarius, Mars’ third quarter retrograde will bring the red planet back into Capricorn in mid-August. There will thus be another period of copresence between August 12th and September 10th, meaning there will be something about the events and experiences of this period, especially the May portion, which we will return to later in the year.

Uranus Enters Taurus

On May 15th, the same day that Mars exits Capricorn, Uranus enters Taurus. This ingress is one 2018’s most important changes. Just as slow-moving Saturn’s December entrance into Capricorn signaled a lasting change, so too does Uranus’ ingress into the Bull’s sign.

Uranus is approximately three times slower than Saturn, and spends roughly 7 years in a sign. Uranus has been in fiery Aries since 2011. Shortly after the ingress that year, Uranus touched off a spate of revolutions and protest movements. In Mars-ruled Aries, Uranus not only brought belligerent resistance and revolution, but also the next wave of military technology. The era of the drone war is now well underway, and the chaos which followed revolution has become the norm.

In Taurus, Uranus’s interests turns toward physical things, intent on both disrupting and supercharging them. This will no doubt include the ongoing cryptocurrency drama, 3-D printing technology, artificial intelligence, and the integration of digital systems with physical objects. New technology is a relatively safe place for Uranus’ disruptive and experimental impact. Unfortunately, Uranus’ time in Taurus also points the planet’s lightning bolts at things less happy to be interfered with. This is, in fact, one of the chief incongruences between Uranus and Taurus. Whether Uranus disrupts or upgrades, it always seeks to change. Taurus, on the other hand, is the Fixed Earth sign, meaning it thrives on stability and regularity, moreso than any other. Thus the Bull’s pasture is unlikely to receive change-mad Uranus with open arms. Some of the inevitable changes will be repressed, as denizens of the pasture try to contain or minimize disruptions. This strategy is unlikely to work, as not only does it delay the inevitable, it often worsens it. When the tension between tectonic plates is dispersed regularly through small quakes, there is a minimum of destruction. It is when that tension cannot be released that a big quake builds up. There is a lesson there for handling Uranus in Taurus, especially for those born to the Bull.

Uranus’ time in Taurus targets commodities and materials, and will likely oversee much more volatile markets for both. One of Venus-ruled Taurus’ crucial but less concrete significations is value. Although “values” are often spoke of in a psychological context, they are also the very real prices assigned to goods and services. During Uranus’ time in Taurus, we can expect a volatization of values on both a cultural and economic level.

Uranus enters Taurus on May 2018, but it is due to retrograde back into Aries in November. This type of tentative ingress is not unusual for the slower planets. The 6-months of Uranus’ time in Taurus this year will thus serve as a “teaser” for the themes and events which will comprise the planet’s 7-year residence in the sign.

Just as this is the first year of Saturn’s time in Capricorn, this is the first year of Uranus’ time in Taurus. Sometimes the planets are shy to re-introduce themselves after having entered a new sign, but not this year. Uranus’ time in Taurus during 2018 is configured strongly to both the Mars and Venus retrogrades which dominate Q3 and Q4. This puts Uranus in Taurus at the center of two of the year’s biggest configurations, and suggests that our introduction to this next chapter will not be subtle. This is, in its own way, quite helpful, as the earlier we become acquainted with the new patterns, the more readily we can adapt to them.


The third quarter of 2018 is easily the most challenging. Mars goes retrograde just before the quarter begins, and will remain so until the end of August. Meanwhile, difficult New and Full Moons lead up to a dramatic total Lunar Eclipse at the end of July. Mercury’s retrograde, which occurs from July 25th-August 18th, encloses both Eclipses, contributing a bit of chaos to an already difficult period. All of this does not an easy quarter make.

Mars Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn

Mars’ retrograde, which runs from June 26th until August 27th, dominates the 3rd quarter of 2018. Mars’ retrograde periods are not unlike “Full Moons” for Mars which occur every 2 years. Mars is both close to the earth and maximally bright during the 9-ish weeks that the planet is retrograde. The planet is powerful during this period, but with a tendency to get out of control. Latent conflicts heat up and energy levels oscillate between excessive and deficient.

Mars retrogrades also tend to set a tone for how conflicts will be carried out for the ensuing year. Big players often change their strategies during Mars’ retrograde periods, so watch for a shift in the way the great game is being played during the third quarter.

This Mars retrograde begins in Aquarius, but concludes in Capricorn. The Aquarius portion of Mars’ retrograde highlights the rage of the alienated, the plight of exiles, and the power of the unorthodox and independent. The Capricorn portion, where Mars stations direct, will tend to confirm orthodox, structural power, and favor those already ensconced in fortresses. We may see some big power moves during this period, especially in the Middle East.

This particular Mars retrograde intersects strongly with two of the year’s other big themes, the first of which is Uranus’ May ingress into Taurus. Mars makes an extremely tense square with Uranus at 3 different points in its cycle this year, lacing the retrograde cycle with even more disruptive potency than usual. Mars’ trio of intersections with Uranus in Taurus should serve to make the themes native to newly-ingressed Uranus obvious without much delay.

Mars’ retrograde also intersects quite tightly with the Eclipse cycle. The total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on July 27th Is tightly conjoined with retrograde Mars at its brightest and closest, effectively combining the two crimson portents.

You Want It Darker

2018 serves up its second set of Eclipses during the third quarter. An extremely weak partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is followed by total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, and then flanked by another partial Solar Eclipse in Leo. Mercury’s retrograde, which begins on July 25th and ends on August 18th, overlaps with the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius and the Solar one in Leo.

As a whole, this set of Eclipses moves the story forward, echoing as they do the Solar and Lunar Eclipses of August 2017. Unlike the previous year, it is not the Solar Eclipse which steals the show, but the dramatic total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, which will be visible over vast swathes of the earth, and occurs right next to a very retrograde Mars. It is probably the most potent single configuration of 2018, and not a particularly mellow one. Although Eclipses can be expected to demarcate periods of unusually rapid change, their effects are more deeply personal than most other configurations, and thus make them difficult to speak of generally. Individuals should look to their experience of August 2017’s pair of Eclipses for meaningful precedents.

The Gang of Three Returns

Immediately following the partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11th, Mars retrogrades back into Capricorn. This regression puts Mars back in the same sign as Saturn and Pluto, resuming the intense dynamics which accompanied their copresence from mid-March to mid-May. It is there, in the late degrees of Capricorn, where Mars will station direct, ending his retrograde in the sign of his exaltation, right next to the very degree where he is most potent. Mars will station direct in Capricorn on August 27th, but it will take until September 10th to vacate the Goat’s sign.


As the Mars retrograde dominated the third quarter of the year, Venus’ backward dance defines the fourth. Stocked with storms of emotion as well as moments of heartfelt clarity, Venus’ retrograde is certainly challenging, but significantly less so than Mars’ war-dance. Furthermore, Venus’ retrograde is followed by Jupiter’s auspicious shift into Sagittarius and an unusually benevolent Mercury retrograde.

The Ugly, the Pretty, and the Beautiful

Venus stations retrograde on October 5th and will remain so until November 15th. While Mars’ retrograde dominated the 3rd quarter of the year, it is Venus’ which defines much of the 4th. While Mars’ retrogrades re-arrange battlefields, Venus’ reconfigure relationships. Unlike Mars, Venus will not be bright during her retrograde, but completely invisible to the naked eye, gone away to visit her dark sister in the underworld.

Venus retrogrades open up the heart, sometimes with a corkscrew, drilling deep in order to get back to its precious, golden core. They are periods of emotional and relational reconfiguration. This particular installment, which begins in Scorpio and ends in Libra, is a repetition of Venus’ retro from 2010, 2002, 1996, 1988, etc.. Venus does us the favor of having an extremely orderly and beautifully mapped cycle, and thus meaningful personal and collective precedents can be drawn by counting backward to the same season in 8 year increments. Some will find that their life runs on this 8-year clock, while others need pay it no more attention than the weather.

This particular Venus retrograde begins in Scorpio and then crosses back into Libra. The Scorpio portion, in a sense, concerns what is distinctly un-Venusian — our relationship with the grotesque and the fearful. Yet a true concept of beauty makes a place for such things, as does love. The second part of Venus’ retrograde in Libra dwells upon classic themes of relational balance and fairness. No doubt the integration of the dark and unlovely bits of the Scorpio portion will be an important theme. The ugly and mean exist, certainly, but in relationship to the pretty, upright and light parts. True beauty is not a simply an exaggerated form of ‘pretty’, but a product of the relationship between it and ugliness.

This Venus cycle also happens to oppose Uranus three times, lending it a more shocking, disruptive, and experimental quality than most. October 24th’s Full Moon in Taurus strongly emphasizes the Venus-Uranus dynamic. The lunation will see the Sun conjunct Venus in Scorpio opposite the Moon conjunct Uranus in Taurus. The normally sedate Taurus Full Moon thus holds a potent charge this year.

A Dash of Fire

Just before Venus’ retrograde concludes, on November 6th, Uranus slips back into Aries, ending the 6-month preview of its time in Taurus. Uranus will spend the rest of the year and the first two months of 2019 finishing up in the Ram’s pen.

A few days later, on November 8th, Jupiter enters Sagittarius. Though the year has a number of unlovely portents, this is not one of them. Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Sagittarius, and quite potent in the Archer’s sign. Having Jupiter in such a powerful position will help offset a number of difficulties, and provide otherwise unexpected opportunities.

The year’s final Mercury retrograde begins the day after Venus’ direct station on the 15th. Mercury stations retrograde in mid Sagittarius, with plans to conjoin newly-ingressed Jupiter. As Mercury takes on the qualities of the planets he conjoins, this is likely to be a surprisingly positive retrograde.

Though the celestial gears continue to turn throughout December, their configurations are not particularly dramatic. The year thus rolls to a close on this relatively benign note.

2018 certainly has surprises in store. The retrogradation of both Mars and Venus in configuration with newly-ingressed Uranus promises moments of shock, sudden reversal and rapid change. These certainly must be considered, but if we over-focus on the volatile, we lose sight of the fixed, and there is little more fixed in the skies of 2018 than Saturn in Capricorn.

Saturn is the lord of fixation, of concretization, and the protector of causal links which bind action to result. Although it is easy to resent the planet of long labor, ordeal and consequences, such a rejection ignores one of the year’s central opportunities.

This is the first of three years that Saturn will spend in Capricorn. It is thus the beginning of a three year arc, just as 2015 began that of Saturn in Sagittarius. If you look back at 2015, and see how themes which began that year climaxed in 2016 and 2017, you would probably go back and adjust both your expectations and your strategies. During this, the first year of Saturn’s time in Capricorn, you have the opportunity to adapt early. One of the advantages astrology offers us is the ability to see patterns in their nascent stage, rather than having to wait until they are blindingly obvious.

Start by thinking about the three year Saturn in Capricorn arc as a whole. Instead of making a cluster of short term resolutions, think about who and where you want to be in 2020, and how you’re going to get there. Break that down into three year long chapters, and see what portion of the work falls in 2018. From there, cut the 2018 portion of the plan into 4 seasonal chunks, with expectations for progress modified by a generally easier first quarter and a tough Q3.

Sure, unexpected things will happen before Saturn’s time in Capricorn ends, and you’ll have to make adjustments as you go. The success of master-plans, though, does not result from the absence of disruptions. It is the result of successfully dealing with disruptions, either by altering the tactics you’re using, or adjusting some of the goals. Many times, though, surprises do not even require that. People are too quick to abandon long-term goals. During a perceived crisis, our bodies flood with adrenaline and our minds zoom into the present. It’s a useful reaction if you’re being attacked by a bear. The problem is that we can get stuck there for days, weeks, or months at a time, and during that time completely neglect our long-term strategies.

This issue is, unfortunately, deeply exacerbated by the current state of our culture and media. The news does not seek first to inform. Its primary goal is to make money, and it does that by activating us emotionally, which puts us in either pleasure-seeking or safety-seeking mode. The online world is even worse, if such a thing is possible. It seems to consist primarily of millions of air-raid sirens, disguised as humans, going off 24/7. If we’re going to maintain the clarity required to effectively pursue long-term goals, we have to control your exposure to the things designed to pull us into the amnesia of crisis.

If this sounds like a cranky grandpa lecture, then good. Saturn is cranky grandpa, and his advice to get off your phone, think things through, work hard, keep your promises and complain less, is solid.

If you can commit yourself to building something, whether it is a family, a community, a career or a barn, not only will you eventually succeed, you will also be less affected by the collective panics which blow through this period of history. With a strong anchor, those howling, anxious winds might whip your hair a bit, but they won’t knock you off your feet. That anchor, that commitment, is your dedication to reshape one little piece of the world.

The governmental layer of the world is in a deeply dysfunctional state. If we wait for the powers-that-be to put things back on track, we’re going to be waiting a very long time indeed. In a world where sane adult leadership is conspicuously missing, it falls to us, the citizens of history, to take responsibility for our world in the ways we can, and accept the work of shaping it. “Things” may or may not get better any time soon, but we can get better — better at taking care of ourselves, and better at taking care of each other and the things in our direct sphere of influence. If even half of us succeed in doing a half-ass job, the result will look more like paradise than anything we’ve seen in a long time.
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Re: Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

Post by Spiritwind »

Here is a nice update and reminder about what is coming up astrologically. Happy St. Patrick's day (coming up).

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By Steve Forrester

Mars, currently in Sagittarius, enters Capricorn on March 17th, joining Saturn and Pluto there. Interestingly, around the same time, it also goes “out of bounds,” crossing south of the Sun’s most southerly possible declination. Mars remains in that strange, volatile “OOB” condition until early April. On April 1, it forms its conjunction with Saturn. Finally, back within bounds, it catches up with Pluto on April 26th.

It promises to be a colorful few weeks.

Before I attempt to unravel all this moving symbolism, first let’s have a quick word about what it means when a planet goes out of bounds just so we are all up to speed. It’s an easy concept – imagine Earth’s equator projected onto the heavens. Planets are usually above it or below it, just like New York is north of Buenos Aires and they lie on either side of the equator. In the sky, what we call “latitude” here on Earth is called “declination.”

When the Sun reaches its maximum northerly declination, it is as high as it can get in the sky – at least up here in the northern hemisphere. That’s the Solstice, marking the start of our summer. After that, it’s all “downhill” for the Sun – until six months later, it reaches “the bottom” and our winter begins. Meanwhile, our Aussie friends are firing up their barbies. It’s the beginning of summer down there.

The Moon, and most of the planets, can get a little further north or south than the farthest the Sun can reach. When they do that, they are said to be out of bounds. And when that happens, they get a little weird, as if they have been unleashed from the repressive, controlling grip of the Sun. That’s what Mars will do around the 17th, right as it passes into Capricorn.

The Sun is what tethers the solar system. As above, so below – so the Sun is what tethers your head too. The Sun represents Reason. It represents your core values – that to which you must be true if you are going to be sane, whole, and authentic. What would happen to you if, for example, your Venus grabbed the steering wheel and made all your decisions? Or your Neptune? That’s what an out of bounds planet is like – highly independent, profoundly creative and self-expressive, and a bit unhinged.

When the Moon or a planet progresses out of bounds, that planet has “gone to the wilderness in order to re-invent itself.” The part of you it represents has been too stifled by customs, other people’s expectations. It is sick of “the rules.” It will look a little crazy for a while, but there is a good chance that when it comes back in bounds, it will be refreshed, liberated, and renewed – and significantly re-oriented.

Progressions are personal. Transits are collective, even though they have personal meaning too. So this month, everyone on Earth will experience Mars going out of bounds, right as it crosses into Capricorn. The fact that Capricorn is already supercharged by the presence of two slow-moving “heavies” really puts this upcoming Mars event in the spotlight. Bottom line, for about three weeks the epochal cultural processes symbolized by having Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn will be served with some additional hot sauce.

(Let me add that Mars will again go out of bounds this summer, starting in early July and running into late September. Apart from a brief return to Capricorn from August 13 through September 10, much of that will happen with Mars in Aquarius, and so apart from those three weeks, that is a different ball game from the one I am discussing here.)

So what does it all signify?

I wrote quite a lot about what it means when the Moon is out of bounds in The Book of the Moon. In chapter three I provide some solid grounding in the broader principles of declination. You can also check out this out of bounds Moon article on my site.

Tony Howard has really begun to make his mark as a pioneer researcher, writer, and lecturer about the out of bounds expressions of Mercury, Venus, and Mars. You can check out his work – we’re releasing his 2-part webinar series on Mars this month. He’ll also be speaking at NORWAC in Seattlethis month on Venus out of bounds, and giving an intro lecture on out of bounds planets at UAC in Chicago in May.

This subject is a broad one. Before we get specifically to Mars, let’s quickly set the stage by thinking of the slower, theme-building planets that are already waiting in Capricorn. This extra-edgy Mars will definitely trigger a fierce and perhaps highly creative expression of something – but of what?

Pluto brings shadows to light. Secrets are revealed. Lines of taboo – or control – are crossed. Truth surfaces. Meanwhile, Saturn deals with justice – the eternal law that all actions have consequences. Underlying both planets right now is the archetypal field we call Capricorn. Among other things, Capricorn represents the existing order of things. With Pluto in Capricorn (2008 -2023), one pattern we are seeing revealed is the dark side of conservatism – and I don’t just mean the political philosophy. I mean the existing, underlying “conservative” structure of society, which is what “conservatives” always seek to conserve. We are talking about social class, national boundaries, the patriarchy, the current economic systems, gender definitions, sexism, racism, family structures, and so forth – the whole enchilada of society’s “givens.”

Saturn in Capricorn (now through 2020) is another big deal. Justice – plus a re-definition of integrity – is the heart of it. Have a look at my newsletter for December 2017 for a deeper grasp of that transit.

Now add Mars to the mix, and passion, anger, and intensity enter the equations. Throw in the fact that Mars is out of bounds and we simultaneously throw out the rule book regarding the expression of that passion, anger, and intensity.

Positively, it is time for some bold creativity relative to all those old dinosaurs. Negatively, pent-up destructive forces of rage and resentment are freed from any moral boundaries or scruples that might previously have constrained them.

The subject, again, is vast. The definitive textbook will be this month’s headlines. Here, in this limited essay, I want to focus on one critical contemporary aspect of the configuration, paying particular attention to its Martial ingredients. Specifically, I want to think about gender. And I want to start with Mars – which has often uncritically been defined as a “masculine” planet.

Astrologically, the idea that “Mars is male” is ancient. But that notion must be scrutinized carefully as human cultures transition into their future forms. Not to over-simplify, but a pretty good opening “Tweet” here is that “I’ve seen a lot of women’s charts and I’ve never seen one without a Mars.” Ditto for men and Venus.

Obviously, we’ve all got the full complement of planets regardless of our plumbing.

A generation ago, psychologist John Gray made a ton of money with his popular book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Some people, myself included, were annoyed by its black-and-white dichotomizing of male and female psychology, but the book spoke to a lot of people – I’ll admit, myself included again.

So, are males more Martial than females by nature – and females more naturally Venusian than males? Or is that just social conditioning?

Damned if I know.

And I’d rather not be subjected to a long dinner with anyone “who has it all figured out.”

The revolution is still in progress. I bet it has another century to go before anything is really clear.

One effect of this momentous shift is that it has put men – and Mars energy – in very tricky territory, which I want to explore here. These tensions are boiling over as Saturn and Pluto challenge the old Capricornian hierarchies and assumptions. With Mars about to enter the fray – and out of bounds to boot – we can anticipate some pyrotechnics. And, hopefully, we will see some creative thinking too.

An absolutely reliable principle in astrology is that planetary energy – just like energy in physics – will always manifest somehow. But the form in which it manifests is subject to the influence of human consciousness. In a nutshell, if we don’t get a planet right, we will surely get it wrong. Add some shades of gray in between and you have the theoretical foundation of evolutionary astrology – which is always about helping people use their own magic to make right choices rather than disempowering them by making “predictions.”

Running with this idea of “the conservation of energy” from physics, we recognize that Mars is the War-God. Immediately that frames Mars energy in violent terms. There is far more to the planet than that, but let’s not be so prim as to avoid the tiger in the living room. Mars kills. If you are a guy, Mars is what punched you in the nose when you were in high school. If you are a woman, Mars is what wolf-whistled and made “improper suggestions” as you walked by the construction site.

All that aggression is truly Mars – but none of it reflects the higher ground. Mars also protects. It is the part of every woman – and every man – that would attack a rabid dog with our bare hands if that beast were attacking our child. That is violent behavior too, but let’s not throw the baby out with the water. That face of Mars is the heroic part of your nature.

Let’s get really primal here. For almost the entirety of human history, a lot of that protective Mars work has fallen to men. The reasons are pretty straightforward. Man’s part in “making a baby” is generally not terribly burdensome to him, nor very time-consuming. A pregnant woman … she may be as tough as Ayla in Clan of the Cave Bear, but she is still pregnant and significantly incapacitated for a few months. Then she is nursing and recovering from (the very Martial) ordeal of childbirth – and, given prehistoric reality, probably pregnant again before long.

Meanwhile, a man – in order to be considered honorable and “a man in full” – needed to protect her and their child. This wasn’t because she was weak or helpless – far from it; it was because she needed him and she trusted him, plus she was in a vulnerable state. There was thus a natural symbiosis between men’s Mars energy and women’s Venus energy. That symbiosis allowed our species to survive. It is why we are here today.

All this was simply the biological truth of life for something like 99% of human history.

Then the world changed.

Modern society emerged. Survival became less dicey. People had fewer babies, and more of them survived. Life got longer. Cities rose up. Efficient birth control entered the picture. The “Tiger Problem” faded as a daily concern.

Suddenly women no longer needed men to protect them.

Cards on the table: in my opinion (and feel free to have a different one) feminism is the single most fundamental revolution of the past century or more. It has rocked the world, and will continue to rock it.

That said, I hope that the misleading word “feminism” quickly fades away – not because I have any problems with its principle values, but rather because the word “feminism” implies that the whole thing is a female issue. This revolution is rocking men’s consciousness every bit as much as it is rocking the world of women.

A closer scrutiny of the exclusionary effect of the word “feminism” gives us another critical clue: in general, without social and mythic support, men are dealing with this whole explosion in a far more unconscious way than are the women. One takeaway is simply that it is a lonely and confusing time to be a man – and if that thought doesn’t trigger a little trill of compassion in your heart, then you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Not to be sidetracked here, but the current #metoo movement was triggered like clockwork astrologically by Jupiter’s entry into Scorpio –

which crystallized some of the deeper rumblings of Pluto’s passage through Capricorn. Remember: with Pluto in the mix, the shadow dimension of old social structures – in this case, the patriarchy – is being revealed. Male sexual aggression no longer hides behind the cloak of denial.

A few paragraphs ago, we said, “An absolutely reliable principle in astrology is that planetary energy will always manifest somehow. If we don’t get a planet right, we will surely get it wrong.” We also recollected that through almost the entirety of human history, an honorable man “defended the women and children.”

This social reality gave men a positive and necessary expression of pure Mars energy. Men rightfully drew dignity, identity, and self-respect from their protective, providing role.

Then the world changed and women were not so dependent upon men any longer . . . so what became of the male avenue for healthy Mars expression?

Poof. Suddenly it is gone.

Here’s the crux of everything: with far fewer positive avenues available for male expression of Mars energy, it is not difficult to see what had to happen. These eternal astrological principles work with a high degree of reliability: thus, lacking positive avenues of Mars expression, men would inevitably be drawn to less positive ones, and eventually pulled into truly negative ones.

Unless paradigms shift. Unless radical creativity creates new answers.

More about all that in a minute . . .

So, historically it was a man’s job to “protect the women and children.” Have you detected what appears to be an epidemic of the exact opposite? Instead of high Mars energy a low energy? Specifically, men attacking women? Rape is the most obvious illustration. What about men attacking children? Or men abandoning their own children – which may not be intended as an “attack,” but certainly functions as one? This bleeds out into the whole sorry world of exploitive or degrading pornography. What about “revenge porn?” All this has made the headlines recently as #metoo exposes male abuse toward females in the professional world – Harvey Weinstein, and all he represents. Why are there so many films and novels nowadays in which “something terrible happens to a woman?” – and then male vengeance masquerades as justice.

Misguided, misqualified Mars energy is everywhere. It is an epidemic. There is no way to over-estimate its horror. Without exaggeration, we recognize that it could actually destroy the world. On a milder level, male obsession with televised violent sports is a sublimation of this Mars energy too – and with sports, let’s be careful to make a distinction between “enjoying a football game” and the compulsive, life-and-death addiction to watching sports.

It is a short, disheartening step from here to seeing how this dark “us and them” Mars energy has infected politics, where a sports-like “fan” relationship to a political party leads to a nation’s real needs going down the drain – all in the sacred name of “my team winning.”

Are men to blame for this? Some people try to make a case for that, but I’m not convinced – and that’s for the same reason I don’t like the word “feminism.” This is a human problem, not a male one. Men will not fix it. Humanity will fix it.

Mars’ current entry into Capricorn and its brief tour out of bounds are not likely to provide a quick Answer. But I believe we have come to a significant moment in this evolutionary process. That statement brings us back to the big astrological picture – I mean, the effects of Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn, while Jupiter passes through Scorpio. Mars will probably trigger some headlines that reflect these underlying tensions, for good or for ill.

My deepest hope – and I address this to you, my readers, knowing that you are not simply “representatives of the status quo,” but rather active ingredients in cultural evolution – is that these words catalyze mindfulness and creative reflection in you, and that you can thus add to the collective treasury of hope and insight.

To surf the wave of this Mars-on-steroids energy, you will have to avoid being seduced by passion and rage. That’s the dark side of the Mars “OOB” territory, and it exerts a powerful suction. When we are righteously indignant, it is difficult not to appoint ourselves judge and jury.

Knowing that the fish’s knowledge of the sea is limited, here briefly are my own tentative thoughts:

* I believe the time is ending when men are naturally identified with Mars and women with Venus. That was necessary, even healthy, for a long while. But no longer. Burn any of your books that promote that heresy!

* You astrologers, please stop speaking of “masculine” and “feminine” planets. We are all made of the same star-stuff. Women are from Mars – and Venus. Ditto for men. The old language only further entrenches the problem.

* Let’s recognize and actively appreciate the creative role that the LGBTQ communities are providing. They are very literally reflecting the blurring of these archaic gender-boundaries. They are on the front lines where there are always a lot of casualities. We all have a lot to learn from their stories.

* Men, try to actively claim your Venusian energy. Buy flowers for the sheer joy of it. Cook candle-lit meals. Ask for help. Write a poem. Consult other people for their opinions. Tell your friends you love them. Be brave enough to be dependent on someone else. And change your underpants.

* Women, you can help by actively claiming your Mars energies. Take some physical risks. Get sweaty. Go out on the streets looking like what you really look like. Tell us exactly what you want. Be brave enough to cherish your independence even if someone wants to take care of you. Initiate sex.

Hey, it’s a beginning!

As we equilibrate the division of Martial and Venusian energy in our own lives, we are addressing these problems right at the core archetypal level of their origin. All humanity will benefit.

Creatively, jointly, both genders holding hands in a spirit of mutual respect, how can we devise more positive outlets for men and their Martial force? . . . because we know that if men do not find a positive release for that red-hot energy, it will continue to manifest in harmful ways.

In parallel fashion, how can we support women in exactly the same areas?

I am aware of treading on thin ice – and probably some toes – as I write all this. I am wide-open to the idea that I am wrong about some of it – and I am 100% certain that I’ve missed 99% of it. But it is through this kind of thinking that we create a human future worth living. And I think that between March 17 and early April, some significant seeds are going to be planted.

Thank you!
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Re: Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

Post by Spiritwind »

I haven't watched this yet, but will as soon as I can. I'm posting it here for myself and for anyone else interesting in taking a look at the "lay of the land", astrologically speaking. I think it gives a broader scope of perspective when we do. Uranus enters Taurus today, and will stay there until it retrogrades back into Aries for awhile in November.

I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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Re: Astrology of 2018: The Lay of the Land

Post by Christine » ... cc62842ba2

Today is a watery mess of dreams, illusion, confusion and delusion.

With 5 planets currently retrograde, and Chiron stationing to turn retrograde on the 5th, we are being seriously slowed down and drawn within so that we can prepare for the energies of the upcoming Eclipses.

The Pisces Moon aspects the Sun in Cancer, Jupiter in Scorpio and then meets Neptune in Pisces.

That’s a huge amount of water energy that’s triggering the energies of a water Grand Trine that will be around for the next few days.

Water is emotional and intuitive energy and this much of it is not good for anything that requires clear thinking and focus. Time would be better spent in creative pursuits because imagination will be heightened as will psychic sensitivity.

You might find yourself in tears because of both the beauty and the fear in the world. Deeply, deeply emotional.

Stationing Chiron will bring up issues of self concept so you might not really know who you are right now.

It’s all very weird right now.

And that’s okay.

Surrender to the dreams and fantasy.

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