Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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And Justice for All: New Moon in Aquarius

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_justice-themis.jpgIt should be a very interesting month ahead. This month’s New Moon falls on January 20th at 8:14 am, just inside of the sign of Aquarius, the sign of freedom and equality. Just hours later, Mercury turns retrograde. In the chart cast for Washington, DC (and so predictive for the country), the conjunction of Sun and Moon falls in the twelfth house of hidden things. The sensitive Ascendant, plus two other planets, Venus and Mercury, are also in Aquarius. That’s a lot of focus on freedom (or its lack) and on the vagaries of equality in these transformative times.

There is also a major emphasis on the first house in this chart — the house of the people of a nation. Venus and Mercury in Aquarius are joined by Neptune, Mars and Chiron in Pisces all in the first. The combination could promise well-thought-out, heart-centered plans for improving the lives of ordinary citizens — and we all could benefit from that kind of planning in our own lives, in our own communities. But — particularly given some of the aspects — it could also promise attempts to deceive and control that are actively opposed by some -- and studiously ignored by others. There are opportunities for spiritual awakening — and religious oppression. For expressing empathy, and for cold-hearted manipulation. You’ll be watching these decisions made on the world stage, but you are also likely to see them in your personal life. Nourish your spiritual life, and be honest with yourself — and others.

(A paragraph of more detail for astrologers — feel free to skip) Remember that Uranus rules this chart, along with Saturn, since both these planets rule Aquarius. Take a look at their aspects — Saturn is right up there on the Midheaven, squaring the Mars-Neptune conjunction in Pisces. Uranus is within a degree of exact square to Pluto, and conjunct the South Node. Jupiter (ruler of the Sagittarius MC and co-ruler of Pisces) is also strong, sitting on the Descendant, and dispositing 3 planets. Note Jupiter’s aspects as well —  its opposition to the Ascendant, Mercury, and Venus, and a tense, obsessive quindecile with Mars and Neptune.

All this adds up to yet more large-scale, sudden and disruptive events. One reflection of the square of Saturn and Neptune (in effect through late 2016) will likely be issues and problems around the world’s oceans.  As I noted in a previous post, this aspect is also quite likely to indicate an upsurge in infectious disease, particularly when it is conflated with Mars, as it is in this chart. We’ve had a bad flu season already — it may not be over. Keep your immune systems strong! The Saturn-Neptune square can also herald the manifesting of spiritual ideals, and this chart is bursting with the energy to help us define those ideals.

The sign of Aquarius is much more concerned with equality, liberty and justice than it is with empathy and emotional realities. We’ll be seeing lots of emphasis on Aquarian topics — and probably a lot of hurt feelings as well. Yes, these are important issues. But when they arise in your life, take heed that you are not hurting other people’s feelings unnecessarily.

Tell It Like It Is: Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

Mercury in Aquarius is not particularly tactful. More so when it goes Rx, which happens the day after the New Moon. The Trickster has a key position in this chart (rising conjunct the Ascendant). It is also stationary, preparing for its retrograde. We’ll see a lot of pundits and talking heads blathering on (sometimes intelligibly or even intelligently) about realities of social justice and governmental over-reach, about progress and what it means, about the ability to freely express ourselves as individuals while respecting the needs and rights of the group (any group). What we probably won’t see is much acknowledgement of emotions, their validity, and the importance of addressing emotional issues empathetically. That is, we won’t see it until those emotions boil over.  

There is, in fact, a steaming cauldron of emotions underlying the psychological state of the nation this month. (astrologers: look at the tight Neptune-Mars conjunction plus Chiron in Pisces, intercepted in the first house). Whether or not it can be reduced to a simmer by reasonable discourse, an airing of the issues, and promises of justice is very much up in the air. Attempts at repression, or empty promises — both of which might be expected — are likely to bring the cauldron up to a rolling boil.

The Path Through Mercury Rx

We give very little respect to the cycles of Nature in our culture. We light our way through the night, heat and cool our way through the seasons, eat fresh strawberries in the dead of winter, and deplete our bodies and minds by pushing ourselves to be constantly productive. Then, when Mercury Rx comes along, we get frustrated, annoyed, even angry at the communication, transportation and technological obstacles that arise. The planets have their cycles too, and Mercury Rx happens three times a year. Like winter, or summer, it’s something you adapt to, not a time of continual crisis. It is difficult to buck a system that insists on continual productivity, but here are some suggestions to help you not just make it through Mercury’s retrograde through Aquarius, but adapt well enough to actually gain some benefits from it. The key is that this is a time of rest and restoration for your mind, a time to shift focus, to perhaps let yourself daydream a bit and let your thoughts follow an intuitive flow.

  • First, develop the Observer. The Observer is that part of you that can identify what you are feeling, what you are thinking, and consider it at a distance from the immediate experience. Meditation helps develop this, along with all its other benefits. Mercury Rx is a good time to make this kind of internal discipline into a habit.
  • Let yourself rest. Acknowledge the needs of both your body and your brain for regular periods of rest and refreshment. A lot of communication problems and misunderstandings can be traced back to stress and overwork. Mercury rules the nervous system, and when it’s retrograde, rest is of even greater importance than usual.
  • Have some fun. Mercury loves humor and fun — indulge him. Laughter will do you good.
  • Let yourself fantasize and daydream. There is a rich vein of information, inspiration and insight that can’t be tapped by our rational, reasoning mind. Give yourself some time to let your mind wander where it will. You might let your body wander a bit too — go for a hike, take a new route home, allow your senses to take in some new experiences. Practice your divination skills, and expand the library of personal symbols that is so important to magical work.
  • And, yes, of course — back up your computer, be careful with your emails, and follow up on all your communications. Try to cut everyone some slack, and for heaven’s sake, if you think someone is ignoring you, just reach out. Don’t make it personal, ‘cause it’s probably not. It’s probably just Mercury.


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Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at www.uraniaswell.com


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