Over the past few days, I’ve read several comments online to the effect of, “Good riddance, 2013.”
Not so fast.
An intense planetary configuration on New Year’s Day with after-effects lingering into July might make you long for the old year. Then again, challenging aspects such as these can come with changes that are long overdue.
The image that immediately comes to mind is the passage in The Odyssey in which Odysseus must sail through the dangerous strait between Scylla, the six-headed monster, and Charybdis, the deadly whirlpool. The phrase “caught between a rock and hard place” has its roots in this story. Odysseus, as you may recall from Mythology 101, fought in the Trojan War and then had to make a perilous ten-year journey home to his throne on the island of Ithaca and to his wife, Penelope. There are many passages in The Odyssey that serve as metaphors for the difficulties we face on our life’s journey “home” to ourselves – and that is where I see us headed.
At the heart of this astrological turbulence is the conflicting square between Uranus, planet of revolution and innovation, and Pluto, planet of breakdown and renewal. If you look at where these two are transiting your natal chart, you can get some idea of what area or areas of your life are screaming for change and where breakdowns are happening so that you can let go of old ways of being that are holding you back from expressing your full potential.
The New Moon falls less than half a degree from Pluto. The beginning of a new lunar cycle often brings new beginnings, but sometimes one door has to shut before a new one can open, and it’s pretty clear that will have to happen now. Pluto, named for the Roman Lord of the Underworld, is associated with death, although in astrological symbolism, this doesn’t necessarily mean physical death. It can mean giving up a destructive habit, a toxic relationship, or even a whole way of life that’s counter to your true life’s purpose. Tearing down is deathly difficult, and it’s frightening to be in the empty hallway, not knowing which new door will open or when. I don’t think we’ll have to be there too long, given that there are so many planets in the activating cardinal signs.
Humanity as a whole also is going through a transformation – some call it a stage in the evolution of human consciousness – and this change can’t happen without extreme societal disruption. That’s the big picture, although I concede that it’s hard to keep your eye on it when all hell is breaking loose around you, and it’s little comfort to those who have sacrificed and lost so much. At times, all hope seems to be gone, and faith in the future seems futile.
The Uranus-Pluto square last peaked in early November, and it won’t be exact again until April. However, Mars has been in opposition with Uranus and square Pluto, and the New Moon on New Year’s Day amplifies the conflict. Mars in Libra is a marker for passive-aggressive behavior, and Mars squaring Pluto typically corresponds to power struggles. Difficult Mars-Uranus aspects often show up as explosions or explosive arguments. The pattern I’ve observed emerging over the past week or so is suffering caused by the mistakes of others who either can’t or won’t accept responsibility for their actions. It’s crazy making, and the frustration is enough to send anyone over the edge.
Mercury within 2 degrees of the New Moon and Pluto is helpful for gaining deep insights that lead to more effective problem-solving. Capricorn is often called the sign of the goat, but I like to emphasize that it’s really a Seagoat, a creature that can plumb the depths of the ocean and return with profound wisdom. In Roman mythology, Mercury was the only god who could come and go freely to the underworld. Pluto, meanwhile, was credited with guarding underground riches, including gems. The New Moon, Pluto, and Mercury are widely conjunct Jupiter in Cancer. Although retrograde, Jupiter is nonetheless the planet of luck and abundance. So there is an overall theme around this New Moon of journeying, delving within ourselves, sacrificing what is holding us back, and resurfacing with riches beyond what we thought possible.
In addition to all the conflicting aspects in the New Moon chart, there are a couple of outlets. The first is from from Jupiter to Saturn, lord of the material plane and ruler of Capricorn. Saturn has a well-deserved reputation for being the stern teacher and taskmaster, but he also represents structure, discipline, and perseverance. Making positive changes is no easy feat. Many of our negative habits and thought patterns are so ingrained that we may not even be aware of them. When we do become aware, we still have to work hard to overcome patterns developed in childhood and that may go back for generations or lifetimes. Certainly this is true for humanity as a whole. We have been a violent species for millennia. This isn’t going to change overnight, and it’s not going to happen without turmoil.
The second outlet is from the Sun, Moon, Pluto, and Mercury to Chiron in Pisces. Chiron represents healing, and Pisces concerns the collective unconscious. Whether it’s apparent or not, healing is taking place, individually and collectively. In Greek mythology, Chiron was a wise centaur who overcame his traumatic upbringing and became teacher of gods and heroes. Everyone has a core wound, a separation of self from self that needs to be reconnected and made whole. Breaking down the barriers to healing can be painful, and sometimes we are scared to go there at all. Deep healing could happen very fast for some of us at this New Moon – again, depending on where it falls in your natal chart. The greatest potential for deep healing can be found by looking at where Chiron is transiting your chart.
Retrograde Venus also is in Capricorn, and while she makes no aspects with other planets in the New Moon Chart, she adds to the theme of revisiting areas of life that need rethinking and possibly elimination, especially regarding relationships and finances. Venus in Capricorn is practical and errs on the conservative side, so you needn’t fear making a drastic mistake you’ll regret later. Listen to your gut.
I know it’s hard to imagine a more challenging year that 2013, but I do want to prepare you for that probability. Just remember that “challenge” doesn’t necessarily mean “bad.” We’re not supposed to feel good all the time. Achievement, a Capricorn keyword, requires growth and change, and that can be painful by definition. Or, as the old adage goes, That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I know, I know …
I’ll leave you with the annual JibJab year in review. It fits right in with the year’s astrology.
Wishing you all much love and courage in the New Year,
© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2013.