All I can say is…wow. Glad that month is over. January pretty much kicked my butt with that Mars retrograde/Mars - Pluto opposition cycle stuff. All the physical and mental “alignment” difficulties one would imagine when bringing flighty and tempestuous Mars in Gemini in line with “evolve or die” Pluto in Sagittarius. Not that the opposition cycle is over. We still have the final pass to look forward to on March 6.
But hey! At least: 1) that’s next month 2) Mars won’t be retrograde at that time and 3) the signs will be different.
So let’s just focus on the matters at hand for February. The big news of the month is, of course, Pluto in Capricorn, for the first time in 246 years, giving us a taste of what’s to come during the next 16 or so years of the Pluto in Capricorn transit.
Pluto will retrograde back into the tail end of Sagittarius in June and won’t be in Capricorn to stay until November. But still…these first few months of Pluto in Cap should give us an idea of the areas of our life and world marked for Plutonic death, transformation and rebirth. (For more on this, check out the Pluto in Capricorn analysis at the end of this article.)
February has a very “paradigm shift” kind of feel to it. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how we’re now at the tail end of one astrological era (Pisces) and at the beginning of another (Aquarius). Well, this month, we definitely have the opportunity to commit to a new paradigm and align ourselves with a newer, fresher way of doing things for good. But at the same time, we have a lot of earth energy grounding our airy visions and making sure we don’t get too far ahead of our current reality.
Throughout the month, we have a stellium in Aquarius. That means there’s a cluster of planets in the sign, creating a concentration of that type of energy. Aquarius is the sign of the new paradigm, so there’s a big focus on moving out of the past and into a fresher way of doing things.
The Sun is also here for the first two-thirds of the month, meaning we’re aware of these themes in our conscious moment. It’s not just something going on in the background of our lives. It’s right there. A big theme related to Aquarius is community. Like-minded people sharing a vision for the future and working together as equals to get there. Friends and comrades, guided by similar ideals, to create a world that works for everyone…not just those who can fit into the mainstream way of things. Differences being respected and taken into consideration. Everyone in the group using his or her own personal genius, improving things for everyone, by being who he or she is. Individuality and independence within the group. Using our collective genius to solve the problems on the planet for the betterment of everyone. Equality over hierarchy.
So this month, there is a focus on our new tribes coming into existence.
Following the “people coming together” theme, we have a Venus - Jupiter conjunction in Capricorn on the first day of the month, which starts a new 10-month cycle of expansion and growth in our relationships. In Capricorn, this means we’re going to be making concrete, material progress with and through the partnerships in our lives. Our careers and public roles are going to grow and our horizons will expand with help from the people in our lives during this cycle. Our relationships will grow through us performing in our professional capacities, as well.
In fact, the next Venus - Jupiter conjunction at the beginning of December, 2008, is in Capricorn, too. This double shot of Capricorn ruling the next two Venus - Jupiter cycles means our partnerships will have this focus for about two years. We’re going to be working together over time, with our relationships becoming vehicles for reaching our highest potential - while grounding and making reality those visions we have for community and the future. The double Capricorn is an indicator that our relationships aren’t just fun and games these days…they’re purposeful, prudent, and about real, concrete progress.
At the beginning of the month, we have the Sun, Mercury, Neptune, Chiron and the North Node in Aquarius. Near the middle of the month, the Sun moves into Pisces, but Venus enters Aquarius. A lot of Aquarian energy! And it’s all ruled by Uranus in Pisces, another indicator of the Pisces - Aquarius shift. (Uranus and Neptune are in a mutual reception - meaning they’re taking up residence in each other’s sign - until 2011. This shows us the transition time we’re in until then.)
Then, on the evening of February 6, we have a New Moon solar eclipse in Aquarius - yet another indicator of this paradigm shift month. Eclipses always indicate a shift of this kind, so combined with the ultra-concentration in Aquarius, it should be a big one. If you think of the Moon and Sun coming together and aligning with the Earth, you can sort of think of it as a new lens being dropped over our Earthly reality. The old lens no longer exists because it has been “eclipsed” by the new one. The old goes dark just before the new light appears to show the way, and we step into a new way of looking at things.
The effect of eclipses is not always Earth-shattering or even all that apparent in our day-to-day lives, but they definitely relate to a point when the old is discharged and a new reality is entered into. And I have a feeling, looking at the chart for that day, that this will be big. The New Moon is in a close conjunction to Mercury (going retrograde) and Chiron in Aquarius, with a looser conjunction to Neptune and the North Node. The Sun and Moon both connect with Mercury retrograde just before the New Moon solar eclipse. So the information coming to our conscious awareness around this time is an important part of the shift (connected to the Mars - Pluto opposition cycle realignment of ourselves and our lives).
Mercury retrograde in Aquarius currently rules Mars in Gemini. That means we have a lot of mental processing and integration to do regarding the realizations we had in January (and even since the Fall Equinox in September) - realizations that were related to, among other things, the changes we had to make in our day-to-day interactions, conversations, thoughts and goals so that they were better aligned with our deepest personal truths. We’ll be mentally processing and going over this territory for the rest of February and into March, trying to get our bodies and our minds on the same page.
So we may be heaving a sigh of relief that Mars is finally moving forward and we’re able to take action and make some progress toward our goals, but with Mars now being ruled by Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, outward progress will likely seem sporadic this month.
Also slowing our outward progress and focusing us on internal restructuring is Pluto in Capricorn. Yes, Pluto has entered the solid, earth sign of material progress (Capricorn), but it’s currently being ruled by Saturn retrograde in Virgo. Saturn is moving backwards in the sign of health, work, service and self-mastery, restructuring the ground related to those areas that we’ve covered since the Fall Equinox. We won’t hit fresh ground here until August.
So there’s still a focus on an internal processing, going-over-where-we’ve-been-type of energy. We should be a little more free to act towards our goals this month, but the goals are going to be related to stuff that’s come before. The month of February has a bit of that sticky, pulling in different directions kind of feel to it. I think the frustration is related to the distance between our mental vision and ideals for the future (the new paradigm) and the sometimes stark reality of where we actually are, progress-wise, on the planet.
Pluto in Cap, ruled by retrograding Saturn in Virgo, is showing us how far we have to go and how hard we have to work before we get to live in a world that reflects our highest ideals. We may be quite aware of the world we want to live in in the future (Aquarius), but it’s going to take a whole heck of a lot of time, hard work, elbow grease, refinement and attention to the details before we get there. We have to keep our feet on the ground in the here and now, even while our minds may be projecting into the future.
This month could feel like a bit of a downer unless we accept the challenge before us - to do what it takes to narrow the gap between our vision and our current physical reality.
Retrograde Saturn might seem overly picky to some (as Virgo often does), but it’s looking out for our best interests by letting us know that we can’t skip over a single detail in our quest to make that vision a reality. One important step in heading off any disappointment we might feel related to the vision - reality gap this month is to understand and accept that while we might choose to live in a new way, in a new paradigm…that doesn’t mean the rest of the people on the planet will. We might choose a model of living where we interact purely as equals, regardless of station in life, but we’re still going to have to interact with people who insist on clinging to the old, traditional ways…even when those ways have been proven to be past their prime and efficacy.
That’s not to say all tradition is meant to be wiped out with a new paradigm, but there are definitely ways of doing things that are no longer going to be effective. But as people seem to like to do, some will continue trying to recreate the past.
This brings up the Chiron flavour involved in this month, which will come to a head with the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Virgo on February 20 (Virgo is co-ruled by Chiron, the wounded healer sign). Chiron in Aquarius relates to the wounds we have inflicted upon us (and then carry with us) based on being ahead of our time. We’ve been wounded by living true to ourselves rather than fitting ourselves into community standards. Living our ideals, no matter what, has caused hurtful situations related to the people and the communities around us. Being seen as a maverick who marches to the beat of his or her own drummer is not always popular. Often it leads to ostracism, disappointment (for both sides) and being labelled a weirdo. The feeling of not quite fitting into any group can be painful and frustrating. As can always being considered the “different” one. There’s loneliness and pain related to not being able to relate to the majority of people or to how they organize themselves into groups. It hurts when people don’t understand your ideas, misunderstand your motives or reject your values. So we’ve collectively got some of that stuff to deal with as part of our process toward holistic health during the next two years of the Saturn in Virgo transit. The distance seems, to me, to be increasing between those who choose a new way and those who prefer to stay with the old. I’m now finding it almost impossible to relate to people on the level they want me to relate to them on. Before, I could somewhat play along, but not anymore.
The Mars - Pluto opposition has created a lot of “lines in the sand” that we simply cannot physically stand crossing anymore. And with Mercury retrograde in Aquarius currently ruling Mars and connecting with Chiron just after the New Moon solar eclipse, our interactions with others will be bringing these issues up in our day-to-day lives. Right in our faces so we can’t squirm away!
I can definitely feel Chiron in Aquarius being activated in me. I think I bought into the idea that I would one day just fall into a group of perfectly compatible people, and I would feel instantly at home. That hasn’t happened, of course. And the ready-made communities I’ve come across have proven, to me, to be false karasses (to use a Vonnegut term).
For me, community has to have soul-affinity, not just a common interest. And I’m reminded that community, like anything, is built slowly and with great dedication, endurance and faith. And only what’s really useful to the Universe will be sustained. I’m hopeful that this month is an indicator that we can start to draw people into our lives who are more of an energetic match to who we are now and to the roles we are to play in the future. And hopefully, we will also be able to relate to the people currently in our lives in a new and more satisfying way. But as with everything these days, it seems there is a lot of clearing work to do before we can get close to what we desire. And we have to sort of move through the debris of the past to get there.
Tricky transition times, but the closer we get to a new paradigm, the easier it is to see what direction to go in…and what has to be left behind. I think this will become even clearer this month.
PLUTO IN CAPRICORN: January 26, 2008 - November 20, 2024
Pluto fuels a process of intense examination and scrutiny of the aspects of life we would often rather not look at. All the dark creepy crawlies we’d prefer would just stay hidden under the rug - the dark undercurrents of life, ourselves and other people; denied emotional realities; abusive, unequal relationship dynamics; things we repress that then come out in our lives and selves in a multitude of unpleasant ways; power struggles; control issues; hidden motivations; betrayals; emotional suppression and poisoning; oppression; domination and subjugation; lack of personal integrity; behaviours and circumstances that result from disconnection to the core, soul-level reality; etc. All that fun stuff that we all love dealing with! Pluto knows that these things go on under the surface and it also knows that until we recognize these aspects and bring them up to conscious awareness, we’re doomed to repeat unpleasant karmic cycles and patterns.
Pluto gets us to do this by making life so uncomfortable and hellish and oppressing us so horribly that we’re forced to look at this stuff, examine it, release the old and make changes because we would literally rather die than continue the way things are. Or, rather, Pluto knows we WILL die (at least, on a soul-level) if we continue the way things are - hence the “evolve or die” thing. Pluto’s location indicates the area that needs most desperately to transition and be reborn into something new. So while Pluto is in Capricorn, we’re going to be forced to look at our concepts of material progress and success and all the structures that have grown out of those concepts and transform those things to better fit our continued life on the planet.
As far as the transpersonal view goes, Pluto in Capricorn will be a time when the Plutonic process is applied to things such as: business and corporations and the hierarchical structures within them; “bosses;” owners; management; time; money; economics; material goals and progress; patriarchy; use of power of those at the top; the aspects of control and power that money and position afford; public image; what our societies respect, recognize and deem worthy; leadership and the legitimacy of that leadership; concepts of success; climbing the corporate ladder and where that ladder is leading us; etc. In my view, the masculine and feminine energies on the planet are currently unbalanced and unequal to the point of collapse. And nowhere is this more apparent than in our business structures, with the prevailing ideology of growth and achievement at all cost and a seeming lack of concern about negative effects on the environment, the populace and the basic overall soul of things.
To me, we’ve gone as far as we can go with the current system of unfettered growth (to the point of almost destroying our planet), and now we desperately need some balance. We need to inject some soul into our structures. We need to balance outward achievement with inner reflection and guidance. We need to care about how our actions and “progress” affect other people and the planet. We need to make sure that the ways we’re striving to be recognized and respected in the public world feel right to us in our inner world. This relates to the balance of Cancer and Capricorn.
During a Pluto transit through a sign, development of the sign opposite Pluto is crucial to sort of pull us out of the muck and mire that Pluto kicks up and create some balance. Capricorn rules the Father figure energy (masculine) and Cancer rules the Mother figure energy (feminine). Capricorn rules the outwardly visible public self and Cancer rules the inner, soul self. So to me, Pluto in Capricorn is very clearly a time when the disconnect between these things must be addressed. Masculine and feminine must come into balance. They must learn to work together as equally important forces, each playing a complementary role and becoming one force of creation, instead of two separate forces resisting each other and fighting for dominance.
One of the things a birth chart illustrates beautifully is the fact that we all have masculine energy and feminine energy within us. There are six yin signs and six yang signs that we all, men and women, contain. A mistake that we make in our society is to equate feminine with women and masculine with men. So adding women to a corporate boardroom is often considered enough to address the imbalance of masculine and feminine. This is, of course, not true because women can behave in a very masculine way, especially when they’re trying to fit in and succeed in an excessively masculine structure. So we need to transform (Pluto) the way we understand the interplay of masculine and feminine, outer and inner (Capricorn - Cancer). And see how denying the existence or the importance of the feminine or yin energy in our work and business structures is creating a problematic imbalance in our society.
Addressing and rebalancing these issues through Pluto in Capricorn will, hopefully, change the lifestyle track that people are running on of go, go, go!, "I'm so busy," tossing down three Starbucks a day to keep going, cocaine sniffing (yes, business people have resorted to that, apparently), body in a constant state of alert/panic, constant growth, constant focus on outward results, goals!, achievements!, recognition!, outpacing the other guy/gal, etc. Along with that, the way all this is artificially supported by a controlled and invisible form of feminine, which exists only to support this mad machine, will also transform. An example of this is the receptionist or admin assistants in the business structure, who support what other people are doing but usually have no real independent roles of their own.
This Plutonic transformation will also renew our respect for and understanding of growth cycles - the fact that creation involves outward growth, but also rest, dormancy and connection to the inner for guidance. The fact that the human body is not a machine, and it cannot just produce, produce, produce. Energy levels fluctuate. There is a timing of things.
These are some of the things which will come up during Pluto in Capricorn and not in a superficial way! Pluto asks for nothing less than complete transformation from the core. No stone is left unturned. So Pluto will be demanding complete institutional change. Pluto will help us to see what power is legitimate in our business structures and what isn’t, who is rightfully a leader and who does not have the personal integrity or character to truly lead humanity into a new era, who is a dinosaur clinging to power using the old methods of coercion, manipulation and control and who has rightfully earned the position of leader.
I think during the next 16 years, (within the context of the Aquarian era shift), equality will be chosen more often than not over hierarchy. Even the concept of a “boss” will come under scrutiny within many organizations. As will the owner-worker paradigm and the right to dominate, manipulate and control “underlings” that sometimes goes along with being in charge of the purse strings. Any inequalities in the dynamics between people on different levels of the hierarchy will come up. The way people are bullied into putting up with abusive conditions out of fear of losing their employment. And the personality issues that people at the top of the hierarchy are allowed to have…things that would not be tolerated in workers lower on the totem pole. Top-down decision-making where people who are completely disconnected from the reality of the workers are creating policies that don’t make practical sense. The lack of access many workers have to the decision-making process, despite the fact that it affects their livelihoods. Corporate policy that is sometimes impractical and inhumane. All this excitement and much more!!!
As far as the timing of Pluto in Capricorn, I think a lot of people are now starting to see that there are problems associated with unfettered corporate consumer capitalism. We understand now that seeing human beings strictly as corporate consumers, gobbling up products, is an unbalanced view of things. We see that translating the Earth’s resources into dollars and cents, grabbing them up and consuming them as quickly as possible is not a sustainable way to live. And the access corporate heads have to our government’s decision-making is becoming just a little too much for a lot of us to bear. (North American Union, anyone?)
For me, personally, I’ve never been able to participate in corporate structures for too long because they always felt so horrible. The imbalance and the disconnect from the inner, soul-guided level of things was something I could never stomach. So I’m quite biased on this subject. But for me, I can see quite clearly that Pluto in Capricorn is going to involve a transformation of business structures and all unbalanced hierarchical structures in our world. We’re going to start seeing through any of these structures that are propped up with coercion, fear, control and domination.
Anyway, that’s my take on things. These are issues that are really deeply ingrained in our society and they’re not at the level of conscious awareness for most people. So I’m sure it’s going to take all of Pluto’s might over these next 16 years to get people to take a look at this stuff. I just hope the planet can hold out that long…