January is a mosaic of sultry undertones, dream fog, high ideals and putting it all on the line for those ideals. We’ll have a Mercury retrograde in Capricorn for most of the month, a few conversations with Neptune, a New Moon in Capricorn and a Full Moon in Leo.
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Mercury Retrograde – Mercury Goes Into The Underworld
This Month does include a Mercury retrograde, the most popularly notorious of transits. I do not find them scary. I even think they are enjoyable! But, this one may require some extra tenderness because it will be interacting closely with Pluto. A retrograde Mercury speaking with Pluto is like Mercury going into the Underworld at the time we are being asked to be a little more introspective. Cue existential dramas and dark nights of the Soul.
Mercury will have recently entered square aspects with Mars twice before he retrogrades. Once in the end of Capricorn with Mars in the end of Libra, and once freshly in Aquarius, and Mars freshly in Scorpio. The retrograde then, on the 5th, begins with a tone of going within after having some kind of dispute. It is a retreat energy.
Add Capricorn as the garment of inward-Mercury, and we have a lot of potential for self-judgement to come up and inward directed harshness on how good of a job you are doing or not.
While you may not be able to avoid this thought track, it can be a focus to witness it this month and give it pardon. My friend was recently telling me that whenever she feels judged by someone, she realizes that she is judging herself, and even if the other person is judging her, that also means they are judging themselves, and so either way they each deserve pardon.
When Mercury gets closer to its exact conjunction with Pluto on the 22nd of this month, and again the 30th, these inner-judgments will take on a much more dire tone. Dire in the sense that our sense of deep personal security can be wrapped up in our inner report-card. Instead of it being an observation, it feels like a sentence. This will be a time to one, see it as a kind of cosmic weather and so don’t get too wrapped up in it, but also more importantly, to transmute the story. Maybe once, in a previous life, it was a life or death matter if you were charming or not. A courtesan for example, could have lost their ability to survive without keeping up their charm. It is time to release the tethers of your psyche where they are not real any longer. It is like walking through a cemetery with all your ghosts. They stay only when they have not been dealt with, and don’t have the closure they need to move on to the next plane.
Mars, Venus and Neptune – Love, Sex, Despair, Paradise and Dreams
At the start of the month, there is some tension between Venus and Neptune that by the end of the month, turns into Venus and Neptune getting along productively. This is a planetary drama I’m tuning into this month. Venus and Neptune are naturally correlated, they both deal with love, but two different kinds of love. Venus is earthly love and the world of pleasure of the “five senses”.. while Neptune is spiritual pleasure, divine love, and divine longing. When the two planets are in disagreement, we are especially sensitive to feeling despair, feeling lost or confused in love, wishing for something else or something more, or for having dramatically whacked-out ideals in love that have an inevitable comedown. When the two planets are in agreement, art flourishes and romances can transcend earthly contexts and become something more spiritual.
With a longer duration of influence, Mars will be in harmonious contact with Neptune this month, in a way that could easily be overlooked because of the nature of their link-up. But, tuning into their story can help with mixing the plane of action and the plane of dreams – this is a wave to be surfed.
Though Venus and Mars hold multiple associations each, they both correlate to romantic love, classically Mars being the the part of romantic love that is the chase, pursuing, making advances, as well as sexuality. Venus is the charm, aesthetic, passion, and allure. Both pertain to magnetism, with Venus more about seduction and Mars about charged impulses and animal magnetism.
With Mars and Neptune in harmonious conversation, I would look out for ways in which your animal impulses and innate sexual drives can be ‘redeemed’ spiritually. I mean that even if you are not existing in a paradigm where sexuality is sinful (and given that you are at this site, you’re probably not of that group), we still have subtle ways of separating our lower and higher selves and including our desire at the lower self. Where have we not owned what we want? And in matters of ambition, it’s time to see that what we are called to go out and get is not just a matter of our human-self talking, but that destiny, which is given to us from the divine, is realized step by step on the level of instinct and impulse.
Romantic love is one of the things we have in this life that makes ordinarily sensible people act crazily. Someone who doesn’t believe in past lives is suddenly aware that they had a series of lifetimes with this new lover, in which they were dramatically separated each time before their relationship got to play out, imbuing the relationship with a sense of urgency and longing, the need to make up for lost time. Unrequited love is a classic example of how earthy love will translate to divine love – without the actuality of tangible relationship, the love vibration does not just… evaporate. It is sent to the world of dream and fantasy. No matter what we do in love, unless we have completely shut that part of ourselves off, we are susceptible to the divine play of earthly love, in which there is always a grander picture in the fantasy world for what is happening. It is meant to be.
Whether you find yourself in despair or in ecstasy, you are in contact with Neptune. Earthly romances are tinted this month. Let them take you home, not to a fantasy land. The line between the two is very thin. Watch out for divine discontent that is sparked at the beginning of the month – this is from the realm of Venus-Neptune, and may need be your fuel for actions taken with Mars-Neptune. (Mars loving adversity and all).
Mars-Neptune transits can have a Missionary or Joan of Arc feeling to them archetypally. When we are touched by these two energies at once, we feel divinely inspired to carry out our special life purpose even if we only know how to start, but don’t know what the finish line is or how we get there. We just dive in, with blind faith. Except Mars is tempered this time around by being in Scorpio – classically Mars in Scorpio will make moves cooly, acting only when it appears wise to act. Not acting when it would be disempowering. Where others jump blindly, Mars in Scorpio is already ten steps ahead and understands the power dynamics of any given situation.
Let us not reduce Mars in Scorpio however, to just a figure playing it safe, removed from the fray. Mars in Scorpio will win any war game by making the other attack first. Psychological warfare is in Mars in Scorpio’s toolkit. This means this is an energy that is playing out this month – in contact with Neptune means there can be some illusion or alternately, transmutation of this energy at play. Watch for situations that make you feel defensive even when there is not a seemingly rational reason or proof of a direct threat. This is a sign of a need to go within for further clarification. Are you shadow-boxing with another or just yourself? If you can clear the clouds from your own headspace, you will feel much more able to direct your actions skillfully this month.
The good thing about realizations that come from this Mars-Neptune interaction is that as a trine, and not a harder aspect, you’ll see yourself being able to make personal progress like it’s easy, not having to make that progress because of crisis.
New Moon in Capricorn on January 9, 2016 – Making the Superego or Killing the Superego?
Think to what in your life has undergone massive upheaval since 2008-2012 and what is still in reconstruction. I wanted to ask “were you spared?” and then I thought, no, I don’t actually want to buy into that — upheaval and massive life change is a gift. It can be a daunting gift – but watch a time lapse photography of the forest and watch how plants come into being and decay and into being and decay and all over again. The difference between our lives and that is that we often become attached to our lives the way they are when we feel we are on top or feeling good. Too obsessed in the Maya of form & from a separatist perspective, we don’t see that life is death and death is life. Would life feel better if we weren’t struggling to maintain the foothold at the top of the mountain? What if we just kept running?
One of Capricorn’s highest wisdoms is of understanding the value of timing. There is a time to be at our height, a time to be climbing, a time to struggle, a time to celebrate – a time for each. If we want to welcome the new into our life, if we feel stagnant or feel like we aren’t living in a way that exhilarates us, chances are we are holding onto some kind of baggage out of fear of releasing it. Our attachments to anything, good or bad, can be tethers and chains. Here is where Pluto plays into this New Moon – intentions for New Moons that are Pluto-influenced can have something to do with letting go. And you can let the lunar cycle carry you through the process. When we let go of something massive all at once and without ceremony, it can be very powerful or very destructive. It can create the feeling of a black hole. So play wisely with that. Sometimes quick and rapid change is just the medicine we need. I’m just saying it’s a potent one and that there might be a series of steps to take, instead (which unfold over the course of this lunar month!).
This Full Moon will be a push in the direction of letting go of what is dead-energy, deadweight. At the same time of the Full Moon, Venus has just recently formed a conjunction with Saturn and has only separated by a degree (exact, to the second, too). This speaks to a kind of responsibility that is occurring on this new path, in terms of living by what we value and practicing what we preach (Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius). A big fear about living an ethical life is that we won’t stand up to our ethics. So why even try? But those who know their ethics (as they are naturally for them) find a certain ecstasy in living up to them. We will be tried and tested – we will be “tempted” – and in the course have to change what we believe in or else risk personal suffocation. This is the emperor principle – is the inner-emperor rigid and unable to hear the tides of change? Or is the inner-emperor fair and just, able to make tough calls with wisdom? We are liberated when we follow the ethics of our actualized and individualized self, and there is nothing short of romantic about it.
This New Moon we get into the realm of the superego – the police of the ego, the one on high that ordains our “should”’s and “shouldn’t”’s according to a higher value system. This structure of self is not inherently a bad thing, as we like to think about the ego in general. The superego, like the ego, is simply a tool of consciousness that can be used for or against us. When we understand that this structure is malleable, we can use this structure to encourage ourselves to become greater versions of ourselves, and without this lens of idealized conduct we could just succumb to mediocrity. But we remember, in times of great stress or having pushed our limits, that this superego is not our ultimate truth either. It’s just a suit we wore to work. It’s not any old suit – it’s a magical suit, one that imbues us with powers we wouldn’t have had if we tried to do our work in our pajamas all day metaphorically speaking. We really also need to ask ourselves if our superego was designed for us by our culture or if we are taking part in the designing of it according to who we actually are. Where do the two meet and how can they meet? What decisions are you making this New Moon around who you are at your height? And would you not, naturally live up to that, having conceived it?
If you’re going to live by what you truly value, it does require you cut the excess. You are forced to look at your life with a critical look of honesty. There is an art of being hard on oneself to the point that it helps you take accountability and form yourself against the elements and against the odds. The two constant things to free yourself of on this path are dogma and shame. When you make a mistake, you’ve got to be able to take it lightly enough that it doesn’t hurt so bad. Equanimity in the face of mistakes + “I’ll do better next time” = an objective catalogue of your “mistake” and how not to repeat it. That’s how you master yourself. One who is too afraid to look in the mirror of their mistake, has simply given mistakes too much hold over them. This is why those who are in business and are relatively or obviously successful in this world speak so much about failure. They didn’t get where they are at because they never failed. But they didn’t give into the drama of failure in such a way that it kept them back. But I do see drama. I picture a person crying in high heels on the hard floor, mascara running down their face, briefcase spilling papers off-scene, a glass of champagne elegantly in their hand. The drama is real. Failure is hard. But it builds a heartiness. If you never fail, it’s because you’ve cushioned yourself too damn hard, and that becomes a failure of its own.
Set your intentions and your sights big. If you don’t and your stakes are too low, you’ll never know what it’s like to fall and get back up again. You won’t learn how to fall. You’ll only have kept yourself down to start with.
Full Moon in Leo on January 23, 2016 – Good Form and Poise in Romance
During the Full Moon, the Sun will be conjunct Athena, the asteroid of strategy and creative intelligence. Venus will have recently moved into Capricorn, echoing back to the vibe of the New Moon with Venus-Saturn conjunction (Saturn is the ruler of Capricorn). With the Aquarius Sun and Venus in Capricorn, there is thus a little bit of an austere energy lighting up the playful Leo Moon. Part of the reward of playing the game we find in Saturn/Capricorn is that there are perks. It’s the work hard play hard continuum when we do Saturn well. The Full Moon is going to be a time to account for the play needed in life, the feeling that all this work we do has to amount to something in the sense of vision. To play up the magical elements of this Full Moon, consult an oracle deck or any other choice elixir of vision, and ask your questions about your strategy in any given situation. “How could I perceive this situation?”
Typically, no matter how high the stakes are, if we have the ability to look at it not just objectively but with a sense of vision, child’s play — we are open to the magic that life is once again. Saturn overdrive is being too much of an adult that one has forgotten the inner-child. But one who has forgotten their ability to feel one with their inner-child does not know how to have fun anymore. Life may become too efficient, dry, and boring. The medicine for this Full Moon is play and to have something to laugh about, even if life is currently putting you through the refiner’s fire. Perhaps the harshness lessens when you can see beyond/beneath it into the drama – and grand theater – that it all is.
& why did I say good form and poise in romance? It was a feeling of the Leo Moon feeling held and framed at this moment by chivalry, something we find in Leo’s world but also in Saturn. If you’ve ever met a Saturn in Leo or a 5th house Saturn, you may see how “serious” they can get about good romance. They really show up for it. They respect timing – letting it crescendo. They respect the game. But beyond the realm of relationship, your whole life can be a romance. Lady Gaga, who yes I talk about all the time, forgive me, is an example of this. She “curated” her entire life to be an ideal. To create your vision on the earth plane, day in and day out, and in everything you do – to live your life as an act of art, however you would like to be artful – is not easy. It’s actual work. But it rewards you, and it inspires the people around you and inspires them to send you gifts. I am not just enchanted by Lady Gaga for what she is, but for what kind of magic she draws into her life as a result of who she is. Someone sent her a white horse as a surprise, that she now literally rides into the sunset. Being the star of your own life and recognizing (and treating others) as stars is very well a lifestyle, a habit, something you could condition (Saturn) yourself into.
(Top image: Eugenia Loli)