A Running Start into 2011


'A comprehensive view of all the details of the year ahead' sounds like a great idea, doesn't it?

Too bad there's no time for such pontification, at least not on my clock. This first week of 2011 is too astrologically massive. We want to make the most of 'right now' right now, right, babies?

This Tuesday (Jan 4) brings the solar-eclipse partner to the total lunar eclipse from two weeks ago… a super-duper New Moon conjunct the lunar north node, at the approximate midpoint of the now-separating Mars-Pluto conjunction.

Within mere hours of the eclipse's exactitude, Jupiter and Uranus form their third (and final) conjunction in late Pisces… at the same time they're both forming a flowing trine to Venus in Scorpio.

And then, just a few days later (Fri Jan 7), Venus finally moves into Sagittarius, after having spent much of the past four months in Scorpio… lifting off a layer of ultra-intensity that's been making our relational and/or financial involvements so darned complicated (though, in some cases, simultaneously so darned compelling).

If this cataloguing of major astro-news sounds eerily familiar, perhaps it's because a big-time solstice-Mercury-retrograde-conjunct-Mars/Pluto lunar eclipse also just happened… and my description of that was just as jam-packed with spectacular-sounding astro-pronouncements.

Can we agree there's always something astrologically significant going on? Sure. But to be fair, we must also acknowledge these have been an unusually active few weeks. Eclipse periods always are. Throw in a seasonal shift, the flipping of the calendar to another new year, an inconvenient holiday-time Mercury retrograde, and a Venus who's showing off her first new steps in months… and the zaniness does make some astrological sense.

If the end of '10 presented poignant symbols of culmination, then the kickoff to '11 offers a mightier-than-usual energy for bursting into newness. Solar eclipses are perhaps our best intention-setting opportunities… and especially those (such as this one) that are linked with the North Node, an energetic arrow pointing us toward clues for evolving to our most promising future. Lined up so elegantly with the January restart of our popular Gregorian calendar, this eclipse certainly supports us in the annual exercise of resolving to do things differently.

Dare I say, though, this is not a year for short-sighted or superficial New Year's resolutions that aren't more deeply integrated with one's principal longer-term ambitions. An eclipse in Capricorn, by nature of its sign's character, is more serious in tone than that. Capricorns earn their (admittedly oversimplified) reputation as the CEOs and lordly masters of the zodiac due to a mix of strategic prudence (i.e., always preparing for what will have to be dealt with at some later point) and measured persistence (the trait that ensures the goat will make it all the way up the mountain, without prematurely petering out). Like a champion chess-player, Capricorn is often already thinking a few steps ahead.

New Year's objectives prioritized during this time ought, first and foremost, to be centered on those larger lifetime goals that demand several smaller coordinated steps built atop each other. What would you like to accomplish over the next decade?

Flanked on either side by Mars and Pluto, this solar eclipse carries the vice-grip of a determined dog who, once his jaw has locked itself down on that meat-covered prize, will not let go until he's satisfied his appetite. Exalted Mars in Capricorn has staying power… enough, even, to occasionally throw a round or two to competitors, if only to tire 'em out or pump up their false hopes, since the only victory that really matters is the final one. Pluto in Cap, meanwhile, is our perpetual reminder of structures in agonizing decay (e.g., banks, governments, tyrannical hierarchies), as no authoritarian body can dominate indefinitely without history periodically rooting out its debased mutations—or else decimating its stronghold altogether. (This is that period in history, you know.)

Bear all this mind, personal-is-political-style. Envision your own ambitions being fulfilled only as part of effecting this transformation, rather than futilely ignoring or resisting it. Why play according to rules that have already proven themselves to be hopelessly broken and on their way out?

Trying new things—and flatly abandoning what no longer works—also fits perfectly with the Jupiter-conjunct-Uranus energy, which fuels our urge to radically depart from 'appropriate convention' or 'how it's always been done' on behalf of individual liberation. Jupiter and Uranus have been conjoined (within a 5-degree orb) since last May, encouraging grander statements of independence and innovation than we've witnessed in several years. Wherever you stand politically, it's hard to avoid notice of a corresponding upswing in oppositional populism, through revolutionary activities of Tea Partiers, WikiLeakers and other untraditional approaches to civic engagement.

Unlike the previous two conjunctions in '10 which happened in early Aries, this latest union occurs after both Jupiter and Uranus have retrograded back into Pisces. This clearly signifies the end of a cycle of suffering, hopefully marked by our refusals (in one form or another) to continue sacrificing ourselves at the altar of others' successes, as if our only power is to bow down and bless them for the meager crumbs they've left us.

Courageously pioneering Aries always follows up on Pisces's emotionally wise sensitivities, ready to do anything—and often it doesn't even matter what, as long as it's something—to springboard the individual out of passive receptivity, and into literal action. Jupiter reenters Aries on Jan 22, where he'll stay through early June, reigniting the impulsive thrusts of forward movement that he inspired during mid-'10. There's a gradual acceleration of this Aries vibe in the first few months of the year, climaxing in April-May 11… at which point the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars will all reach this initiating, instigating sign.

We get a tiny taste of this fiery astro-scape with Venus's entry into Sagittarius this week, which renews our thirst for the sorts of relationships and experiences that teach us something new, carry us far from our familiar trappings, and/or 'keep life interesting'. Venus in Sagittarius hates boring people and stale situations. Her influence (through Feb 3) reminds us that, should we hit our breaking point with unnecessarily burdens, we can always set out toward another elsewhere—it's a damn big world out there.

Of course, as I wrap up this first article of 2011, I can't leave you hanging without some year-ahead pontification… which returns our attention back to Uranus, who also reenters Aries early this year (on Mar 11), but for a much longer stay than Jupiter. ('Much longer' = through 2018-19!) And throughout the vast majority of this time, Uranus squares Pluto—one of the most turbulent, tumult-stirring, society-redefining astrological aspects of all.

In other words: The uncertainty, the upheaval, the transition from one historical era to the next… it all keeps on keepin'-on. For several more years yet. And it's still intensifying.

We hit the ground running in 2011, with a first-half of the year demanding lots of in-the-moment decisions and impromptu improvisations. That's why the standard 'resolutions' don't serve us.

All we really need to triumphantly lead ourselves through the transitional bedlam, and to the brighter tomorrow? One or two of our own most seriously considered, Pluto-in-Capricorn-inspired, strategic long-view intentions… to regularly bring ourselves back to focus (because there are too many distractions), to remind us why we're bothering to fight injustice or to labor so hard in building something from scratch, to continually illuminate our best way forward.

Everything else, we'll have to figure out on the fly…

Someone else's thoughts:
This Year, I Am Where I Need to Be (from BackyardMystic.com)