What's So 'New' About The Year?


I haven't abandoned you, dear reader, I swear… even though we're now two full weeks into 2014 and these are the first non-horoscope words you've heard from me.

I will be honest: It hasn't exactly felt like a 'new year' to me. After completing the epic task of authoring your latest year-ahead forecast (ASTROBARRY'S 2014, which you must check out if you haven't yet), I didn't experience the relief of much down-time. Come January 2nd, I was already diving back into the deep-end of the work pool, to continue along with all the life-adjustment projects underway since last year. A new year on the calendar, perhaps, yet qualitatively more of the same.

The astrology hasn't changed a whole lot since the new year, either, which is why I haven't had much pressing news to report. The grand-cross dynamics I described shortly before Christmas in my last article have remained in effect throughout this time… and while they peaked in exactitude (for this round, that is) following Mars's square to Jupiter last week, this week's Full Moon in Cancer (coming right on the heels of this Cancer Moon's conjunction to Jupiter) kept the emotions running high.

I received quite a bit of feedback, in fact, that this particular Full Moon (on Jan 15) really brought the crazy out in folks. Let me suggest any such 'crazy' is simply the culmination of energies which had been building over these prior few weeks… and though the Full Moon hopefully helped us release some of the pent-up feelings (Full Moon in Cancer + Jupiter in Cancer = lots of tears?), the relevant circumstances underlying these feelings are far from settled, at least as far as the astrology says. After all, the main astrological root-cause of these life-issue instabilities—the Uranus-Pluto square—remains in direct effect for another couple years. Planetary magnifying-glass Jupiter is still forming another opposition to Pluto over the couple weeks ahead (exact on Jan 31), followed by another square to Uranus the following month (exact on Feb 25), which keeps this disruptive Uranus-Pluto energy conspicuously on the surface of our collective experience. And it's all building to a stupendous crescendo, when this grand cross reappears with a much tighter orb (and thus more punch) during the second half of April.

Meanwhile, Mars is still in Libra. Venus is still in Capricorn, and still retrograde through the end of this month. Because these two typically fast planets are both stuck in their same zodiac-zones for this protracted length of time, we don't get to enjoy that benefit of a variation in vibe which their regular movement from one sign to another in the matter of a few weeks usually provides. Assertions-of-will remain constrained by Libra's detrimental influence on Mars, who can struggle with being decisive and direct due to a supposedly 'diplomatic' quality which also threatens to project responsibility for any interpersonal frictions onto the other person. Relational concerns continue to demand reconsideration and/or reaffirmation while Venus is retrograde, based not on 'romance' but a soberly-strategic Capricorn look at long-term lifestyle compatibility. As I write this, Venus and Mars are exactly square to one another… which means trying to balance both these energies at the same time is more challenging than ever.

The only fresh astrological influence is the arrival of Mercury into Aquarius last weekend (Jan 11), to be joined shortly thereafter by the Sun (Jan 19). At first glance, Mercury in Aquarius promises to offer us a restorative mental distance from these heightened emotions, allowing us to 'get above' the situation for a more systems-level perspective on how all the parts and players of any given situation are fitting together (or not). This Aquarian distance can be very good for comprehensive data-analysis, particularly with an eye toward identifying likeliest future outcomes. But from that view, it's only a very small distance to know-it-all-ism, a trait that often characterizes the less-flattering aspects of Aquarius, which verges on ideological tyranny when its visionary ideas neglect to include the disobedient wild-card factor of emotional diversity. Yes, although Aquarius is hailed as a sign that cherishes 'human diversity', it does so from a detached scientist-like position; the unruly feelings of individual humans themselves, however, are seen as inconvenient exceptions to their otherwise-brilliant theories of everything.

I bring up this unfavorable angle to Mercury in Aquarius as a heads-up, in light of the fact that Mercury is approaching a square to Saturn in Scorpio (on Jan 25)… an obvious warning against anybody claiming too complete an intellectual understanding of a situation when there may be powerful emotional complications which utterly betray our overconfident hypotheses. This warning is so palpable, it reiterates itself when Mercury hits sensitive-feeler Pisces (Jan 31), then soon after turns retrograde (Feb 6) and returns to Aquarius (Feb 12), forming a second Saturn square (Feb 19). Any know-it-all assumptions that attempt to gloss over or discredit an 'inconvenient' emotional reality will be forced to be revisited, revised, and/or retracted during this Mercury-retrograde/Saturn-square redux. Only after Mercury's direct again and through the third square to Saturn (Mar 11) will our understandings truly be thorough.

We must try to remember this, now that Mercury has begun his two-month trip through presumptuous Aquarius: Theories are not facts, shouldn't be presented as such, and require real on-the-ground testing before they can be reliably said to (ahem) hold water.