Astrology Lessons, Horoscopes, Planet Symbolism, Retrogrades

Cool Plunge: 2018 Astrology Overview

Something about this past full moon and this January 1st was intensely aligned and organized, which is calming. The beginning of our new year lined up with a strong lunation, on a Monday, a moon day, the beginning of the week. The lunation in question fell in Cancer, definitively aspecting some of the more personal planets, and softly dancing with some of the larger-scale transits that will shape the year to come.

It’s symbolically rich. Cancer is the sign of attachment, attachments that ask us to feel, and to sacrifice some of what we feel and hold them privately to preserve the attachment and work together. Throughout the first weeks of our new year, this energy – of renewal, in combination with recommitment – will call on us and ask us to enter our year with sureness and confidence in our desires and precise self-knowledge of our capabilities and hopes.

2017 was, in a lot of ways, about the energy of fire — its dual role as both destructive and cleansing. When we got burned, we ourselves burned over with frustration. We externalized our fears and righteous anger. We identified the ways in which things are unacceptable, in which they are unsustainable, and we wanted to burn shit down. Our patience evaporated.

Since Jupiter exited Libra this past fall, the fire of our rage has been slowly suffocating without air. This year, 2018, is about a reprieve from the searing heat, the melting of our senses. Like an optimistic overstay in a sauna, like frogs unable to acclimate to their own boiling, we became lightheaded and exhausted over the past few years before awareness, fear and urgency set in. Sunlight fell upon all of our failures and wrought the image of our fears in sharp clarity. Some outer planets have spent years pouring unbearably hot steam through the cosmic undercurrent of our lives, but the kettle has now screamed, and we have turned off the stovetop.

2018 is our leap out, into a cold dip. Year-defining Jupiter is already sending massively palpable tidal waves of cold, water-based energy through our lives due to its trek through Scorpio. Like a shower suddenly running cold from boiler overload, the information we’re being asked to observe through Jupiter in Scorpio is jolting and chilling. We are becoming more aware of the horrible things that were already there. But this is all preparation for the actions we’ll make later, when Jupiter enters Sagittarius on November 8th. For now, this deep, dark water is to help us reflect. The return to fire is when our time spent thinking and feeling will again help us act.

THE YEAR’S ECLIPSES

The moon points us in this direction as well this year, which is why I feel this otherwise-normal Cancer full moon holds special strength. Last year’s eclipse series in Leo and Aquarius continues throughout the year, lending January/February and July/August intensity and the potential for rapid, dramatic change. This year, both of those signs will harbor one solar and one lunar eclipse each, and we will have an additional eclipse in Cancer, stimulating the Cancer/Capricorn eclipse series that will continue into the next two years. (Aside from the full moon on the 1st, we get an additional glimpse at the energy along this axis this January, from a giant midmonth stellium in Capricorn.)

Each year’s eclipses bring us through cycles of transformation, maturation, and closure in another aspect of our path, colored by the character of the signs they fall in. It’s not so much doors opening and closing as it is that we’re going to be forced out the door, through a new threshold, and pushed to adapt – so hold on to the knowledge that you absolutely can and will come out stronger and surer.

URANUS IN TAURUS

Other important dynamics this year: two outer planets make a grand exit from fire signs for the first time in years, signifying a major shift in the general vibe of things. These two planets are Uranus and Saturn. 2018 brings us our first glimpse of Uranus in Taurus. This is a drastic leap from an influence whose erratic energy has been consistently colored by fire for the past near-decade. Uranus is a planet that works through sudden starts and stops, revolutionizing everything it touches and bringing a quality of surprise. The planet will go from making our behavior (fire) seem erratic to revealing surprises that relate more to the structural or material (earth).

Uranus is a generational planet, taking 84 years to complete one cycle of the entire zodiac. This means most of us will only live through its transit in a given sign (and the corresponding region of our personal charts) only once in our lives. Because the outer planets move slowly, you can’t always see the full effect as soon as they make the change – and Uranus will retrograde back into Aries for a brief time at the end of the year, so we aren’t fully done with that, either. However, its time in Taurus from May 15th to November 6th will show us more about upcoming trends that will affect us from here out to 2026. Big hint: the last time Uranus was in Taurus was around the 1930s and 40s. You can imagine that this transit is going to drastically change our relationship to Taurus-ruled money, finance, and banking, or at least severely shake up the current status quo — as is the Uranian style.

Just like in 1934/1935, we’ll see Uranus in Taurus have a little dance with Jupiter in Scorpio. This aspect is never “exacted” this year due to both of their movements, but we’d still expect some echoes of the dynamic to occur. (More on that later this year.)

JUPITER IN SCORPIO

Jupiter in Scorpio will make a few more important connections this year to Neptune and Pluto as well. Though neither of them will change signs, the flavor of their influence will change as they move from being antagonists to playing nicely with the rest of the earth & water energy on the table. This is great, because both have caused severe problems over the past decade when placed in difficult positions that aggravate the other planets. With the relief on these hard angles, their positive effects will be more visible – particularly those of Neptune.

Neptune, when pressed, is a planet that clouds our judgment and makes reality feel like fantasy. It’s no wonder that, pressed with severe and difficult oppositions and squares the past few years, Neptune has given the past few years a quality of the surreal, simulated, or even nightmarish. Supported by soft, kindly aspects this year, the other side of Neptune’s transcendental energy should come out – a balmy, dreamy influence that lends us a sense of hoping for what seemed beyond possible shortly ago, or a more refined confidence in our place and role in our communities and environments, almost on the level of a spiritual sureness.

As Jupiter in Scorpio dregs up horrors from the well of trauma and secret ills we all keep internalized, Neptune in Pisces will be able to connect us in to a sense of togetherness that acts like a painkiller for these re-intensified emotional wounds. Pisces is a sign that dissolves the ego with the aim of showing the lonely that they have each other, that they aren’t the only ones who suffer, that our pain is better worked through together. Untied to grounded dynamics, this energy can lend itself to delusion and codependency. Wedded to the incisive truth of Jupiter in Scorpio and the rooted footing of Saturn in Capricorn, it is instead a font of encouragement and profound significance. It says that you alone have to see to your own healing, but being sensed and heard and felt can help it hurt less while you tend to the wound.

SATURN IN CAPRICORN

Finally, Saturn has made its move into Capricorn, a place that is much more forgiving than its previous position in Sagittarius. Here, Saturn, usually known as a tough teacher, feels at home energetically, and feels more like a reassuring presence of stability, encouraging you to keep going and keep trying. We’ll look more in depth at what Saturn will get up to over the next few years, but for now, think of it as an immovable rock on which the waves of the sea will break, helping us orient ourselves towards shore.

RETROGRADES

Last important note about 2018: every single planet is going to be retrograde for at least one portion of the year. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto will each spend several months running backwards, as is the norm. More importantly, Mars and Venus will BOTH spend time retrograde, on top of Mercury’s regularly scheduled antics. Retrogrades are not a simple time of chaos, as we all know, but they do make us stop ourselves and think more about why we do things. Do yourself a favor and slow down – don’t get punished for acting. Be rewarded by making time to plan, to think, to absorb, to review, and to ready yourself whenever these retrogrades come up. They will feature more prominently for the second half of the year, so take the rest of winter and spring to bank some time tying things up and firming up your goals.

This year, starting with the most water-bound of Cancer moons, we are submerging ourselves briefly in our feelings with the purpose of reflecting, having faith and knowing so we can plan, restructure and organize – an ideal flow from water to earth rulership. We are being asked to look honestly, and – hearts and heads locked in alignment – analyze our course of action through feeling, before we return out to the sweltering sun.

Sometimes, confronting our feelings is unpleasant, like a surprise splash of water to the eyes, or the panic of realizing we have only a moment to surface from the depths before we’re emptied of breath. But this year isn’t about staying submerged forever. It’s a refreshing plunge into our confusing and ephemeral experiences of deep and honest emotion. We will sink to touch the sea bed under our feet, slimy as it may seem, just to realize our fear of being grazed by our unidentified darkness is nothing compared to the cold relief from encroaching flames. And then, healed and protected and nourished by the life that water gives us, we will push off from the floor, having made contact with the depth, and float fearlessly back to face the fire, confident about how to redirect its energy in our best interests.

IMPORTANT DATES

Eclipses:

January 31st Lunar Eclipse in Leo

February 15th Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

July 12th Solar Eclipse in Cancer

July 27th Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

August 11th Solar Eclipse in Leo

 

Mercury Retrogrades:

March 22nd to April 15th in Aries

July 26th to August 19th in Leo

November 16th to December 6th in Sagittarius and Scorpio

 

Mars Retrograde:

June 26th to August 27th in Aquarius and Capricorn. Overlaps with Mercury retrograde in Leo

 

Venus Retrograde:

October 5th to November 16th in Scorpio and Libra

 

 

 

 

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