2017: Responding to the Unexpected


We already got a good taste of what 2017 has in store, during the last couple months of '16… and it clearly seems we should expect the unexpected.

That's because wild-card destabilizer-operative Uranus continues to be prominently emphasized throughout the coming year, forming significant aspects to three of the four other slower-moving outer planets.

Perhaps the biggest astrological headline of 2017 is the T-square configuration (i.e., two planets in opposition both squaring a third) now underway between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto. This cardinal T-square first moved into peak expression during Nov-Dec '16, following Jupiter's arrival into Libra a couple months prior. It will hit a second pinnacle in March, followed by a third-and-final one in August and September before Jupiter leaves Libra. As a result, a good three-quarters of our year will be dominated by its energies.

To review, Jupiter is presently reanimating the potency of this decade's defining square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn… a clash between precarious surges of raw independence-seeking insurgency (Uranus) and the deeper will-to-power undercurrents which seek to preserve and/or strengthen the grip of our longstanding institutions and traditions (Pluto).

A review of Uranus-Pluto square considerations: Can we crack open our entrenched status-quos enough to allow for actual invention or progress, but without toppling the entire system and descending into anarchy? Are we capable of adapting our strategies of governance, though it might mean opening ourselves to new channels of influence and/or sacrificing a sacred cow in the process? Will we successfully deploy this liberatory zeal toward the creation of some lasting institution that safeguards its spirit, or will an increasingly threatened authority-structure move to brutally tamp it down?

We must continue to engage these questions (still?!? again?!?) in '17—and, no, I'm not speaking in a purely political context (though of course there's relevance), but more broadly about our lives. We each have in us a wild impulse-driven rebel who craves immediate freedom and excitement at all costs and a calculating self-controlled despot who presumes the end will always justify the means. The less mindfully we create dialogue between them, the more harshly they'll fight each other.

Thanks to Jupiter, we'll have planetary assistance in fostering such dialogues, whether internally or between conflicting parties. Jupiter in Libra brings an increased promise of introducing unifying ideas and approaches which attempt to synthesize disparate interests into workable compromises or win-win solutions, treading new ground without altogether devastating what's already there. Positioned in the cardinal air-sign, Jupiter becomes eager to initiate a refreshing reconsideration of our different options, encouraging us to step back from too immersed a perspective, in order for us to attain enough of a fair-minded distance to properly see all sides of the equation.

This Jupiter-in-Libra-endorsed willingness to balance our rebelliously self-centered impulses and/or grand plans for goal-oriented domination against others' ideas, intentions, and interests is one of the greatest opportunities 2017 will afford us. But, to be clear, no force will compel us to embrace concession or compromise as a means to integrative synthesis. Too often, 'dialogue' is a superficial show, an empty-worded performance of fair-mindedness intended more to quell immediate tension and satisfy appearances than actually balance anything. Where our words are empty, we only tempt a greater disruption or harsher tamp-down. As ripe a shot Jupiter offers us to create equitable alternatives to overly rough or punitive approaches, it can just as easily fuel such surges if we passively pass up the shot or pay mere lip-service when fuller effort is required.

A critical phase of this whole dynamic will unfold between February and May, when typically-faster-moving Venus will appear to slow down, loitering in its zodiac-sector for longer than usual due to a six-week retrograde (March 4-April 15). Venus retrogrades, which occur every year-and-a-half or so, are always noteworthy for how they temporarily flip our outlook on relational, financial, and/or aesthetic concerns on its ear. During Venus-retrograde periods, we often encounter people or situations which inspire us to reconsider what we find value in or affection for... an insightful process no matter the final outcome we decide upon (for romantic impulses, buy-or-sell dealings, and artistic directions which arise under a Venus retrograde sometimes prove to be phantoms or red-herrings). Because this Venus retrograde happens while Jupiter is in Libra, a sign ruled by Venus, we can expect it to have a broader-than-usual impact due to its dispositorship of Jupiter during a peak moment of its T-square with Uranus and Pluto.

To add more drama to its role in how Jupiter in Libra expresses its potential during this first-half of '17, Venus's retrograde takes place across the cusp between Pisces and Aries… the end-as-the-beginning starting-place of the whole zodiac cycle and, as such, a zone that's commonly highlighted when events transpire that have some widespread collective resonance. (The first degree of Aries is referred to as The Aries Point. Many astro-political forecasters cast charts for when the Sun is at the Aries Point, to interpretively describe the entire astrological year which begins at that time.) Venus behaves in markedly different ways when in Pisces versus Aries: Venus is exalted (or in an honorable position) in Pisces, but in its detriment (or at a relative disadvantage) while in Aries. Plus, Venus in Pisces will create a mutual reception with Jupiter in Libra, a condition where two planets in one another's ruling signs strengthen each other's capacities—a circumstance all the more favorable because Venus and Jupiter are our two benefics.

All of that astrological detail suggests we can anticipate a stark vacillation between sincere compassion-based relationality (Venus in Pisces) and abrupt self-centered unilateralism (Venus in Aries) as principles which will set the tone of these Venus-accentuated months. Venus spends February in Aries while still direct, then turns retrograde early in March and remains in Aries the rest of the month. Through most of April, meanwhile, Venus will be back in Pisces—the first half of the month still retrograde, the second half direct again. Venus returns to Aries late in April, leaves its post-retrograde shadow midway through May, and doesn't make it to its next sign (Taurus) until early June. Only then will we see where our retrograde-spurred reconsiderations have decidedly landed.

Right around the same time this whole retrograde scenario kicks off, with Venus entering its pre-retrograde shadow phase (on Jan 30), we'll also greet our first eclipse period of '17. Eclipses typically deliver a few-weeks' worth of intensified activity, as events which have been steadily developing over recent months come to a palpable climax in a relatively concentrated time-frame, essentially flipping us to the next 'chapter' in the narrative unfolding of our lives. February plays host to a pair of eclipses—a lunar eclipse in Leo on Feb 10, followed by a solar eclipse in Pisces on Feb 26—to usher in this next chapter, obviously strongly colored by whatever the Venus retrograde and the cardinal T-square stir up. This year's second set of eclipses arrive in August, near the T-square's third-and-final peak. The Aug 7 lunar eclipse in Aquarius is but a precursor to the most potent eclipse of 2017, a total solar eclipse in Leo on Aug 21, which will be visible across the US… and just so happens to fall right on President-Elect Trump's natal Mars/Ascendent conjunction. (Hmmm.)

Throughout most of the year, we also continue to draw upon the flowing support of Saturn-in-Sagittarius's trine to Uranus-in-Aries… an aspect with the promise to help us better respond to these destabilizing, chaotic energies of '17 through new-or-improved ventures which cultivate a reformist spirit in some purposeful, constructive fashion. Supportive aspects between Saturn and Uranus invite us to integrate our liberatory, experimental, and/or subversive impulses (Uranus) with our longer-ranging, security-driven, identity-defining goals (Saturn), to hopefully attain our most balanced expression of innovation and sustainability. If we understand where a given series of disruptive actions is leading us, and why, we're less likely to go unconsciously 'nuclear' with any needless collateral disruptions. Of course, too insistently one-sided a mindset—an unfortunately typical Saturn-in-Sagittarius pitfall—means we only see how such innovations promote our agenda, though they might simultaneous dishonor or harm those on the 'other side of the line'.

As with its preceding year, 2017's biggest vibe-change won't come until its final months, when two of the slower-moving planets shift into new signs. Jupiter makes its annual sign-change in October, when it leaves Libra behind (taking our only air-sign influence among the outers with it)… and advances into Scorpio. By December, Jupiter in Scorpio will begin to form a trine to Neptune in Pisces, an influx of watery feels that'll flood any superficially theoretical discourses with inarguable emotion, making it harder to rhetorically distance ourselves from one another's lived experiences. This Jupiter-Neptune trine in water signs continues through much of '18. In the very last days of 2017, Saturn will conclude its three-or-so years in Sagittarius and enter Capricorn, a sign it rules. This major astrological news sets the stage for a rather eventful end-of-decade, with Saturn in Capricorn approaching a triple conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto in 2020.