Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys for the final time in 2022 as following on from last month we usher in and take a deeper look into 2023.
The three slower moving outer planets of the system, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (we are still calling Pluto a planet for the purposes of astrology) define and delineate the overarching themes that the world experiences collectively. Uranus for example takes 7 years to travel through one particular sign, Neptune twice that much and Pluto varies but is slowest of all. What this means is that within, for example, that 7 year period in which Uranus is in a particular sign, that every birth chart and other chart that is created has something in common – Uranus in that sign. Furthermore, because these planets are slow moving, when they aspect one another the aspects also stay in effect for longer periods of time which means that, for example, if you are born in any year where Uranus is in opposition to Pluto then that’ll remain true for many years and so everyone born around the same time period as you will have Uranus in opposition to Pluto. This then becomes a feature of an entire generation of people. In the same way, already living human beings experience these transits as ongoing situations which affect the entire global population in various ways.
These influences transcend single forms. As an example from recent times, the transit of Uranus through Aries (2011 to 2019), which resonates with uprising and rebellion, saw the widespread unrest known as the Arab Spring, the Egyptian revolution and everything that followed it, as well as the triumph of Trump over the establishment in the USA, among other things. With the passage of Uranus into Taurus in 2019 we entered a volatile period of global financial instability and shock, and soon after we had lockdowns and global trade was disrupted more than at any other time in recent history, and most have been or are now facing economic hardship, collapse, inflation, rising prices, a sudden lack of common supplies like toilet paper and antibiotics, etc. What this means is that when slow-moving planets change signs it represents a shift in the global mindset and collective experience, one which may arrive suddenly and shockingly or alternatively it may creep in like a fog changing our view gradually. This becomes especially important this year in relation to Pluto, which dips into Aquarius for the first time after having been in Capricorn since 2008, and its entrance is a giant bang to the drumbeat of Mars and Jupiter.
Here is the graph from last month for ease of reference:
Unlike recent years going back to the middle of the last decade the skies of 2023 are less troubled by major planets forming aspects that hang around for long periods of time. This means that the overall tone of the year is not about situations dragging on as it has been in previous years but is actually more about new things kicking off, something that is driven very strongly by Jupiter in Aries (see last month) at the start of the year. The shift of Jupiter into Taurus (once it clears its square with Pluto) and Saturn into Pisces later in the year is very significant and helps to calm things in general, but the upcoming conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Taurus in 2024 could well see those themes of economic upheaval exploding dramatically. Nevertheless, the skies overall do look less turbulent and grueling, as we are finally freed from a gruelling 5 years of strong Saturn in major conflicts which has brought us so much collective isolation and hardship.
URANUS in TAURUS (14°-23°)
This year Uranus moves between 15° – 23° of Taurus, retrograding in August back to 19° and therefore placing strong emphasis on 19° – 23° Taurus from August onward. His only major encounters are with Mars – a helpful sextile from Cancer in April and a trine from Virgo in August, with the more disruptive meetings taking place with Mars in Leo (end of June) and Mars in Scorpio (mid November). This means that, generally, the craziest and most volatile times of the year (in which change tends to have immediate, unforeseen consequence or backlash but which also creates exciting adventures and major, dynamic breakthroughs) are at the end of June and mid November, while efforts to create change will flow more controllably and smoothly in April and August. If you have the Sun, Moon or other important objects at 15° – 23° of any Fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius), this is especially significant. By Sun signs, this includes everyone born around February 3rd – 13th, May 5th – 15th, August 7th – 17th or November 7th – 17th. All of these people are among those who will experience some kind of major life change in 2023, one that is meant to push them towards more freedom and independence, but they have to be extremely careful about acting selfishly in this pursuit as it will carry many consequences. Many new things will emerge for these people.
I have written an extensive article about Uranus in Taurus and its history. Essentially this influence disrupts the normal way of life in such a radical way that it never returns. Uranus in Taurus is a global lesson that nothing is changeless and that all things are required to undergo radical shifts. There was a time, for example, when people hunted their food. This lasted for millennia until agriculture began to develop, forcing what was assumed to be a forever way of nomadic life into radical change. The development of inventions drives much of this change. Uranus in Taurus was probably strongly involved in these transitions. Today we have a hugely complicated, electronically powered global economy in a similar state of radical transition, this time the machines are growing intelligent enough to replace us at our manual jobs and labors, having evolved from the plough into semi-aware robots. This is calling into question the viability of future jobs and even the sense of carrying on with the same financial structure. It will globally disrupt the status quo irreversibly. This problem won’t go away when Uranus leaves Taurus in a couple of years, it is being just initiated and established in our awareness now and from my perspective the oncoming new space race will just add to it. Just next door in the asteroid field between here and Mars there is a dragons dream of a treasure hoard in the form of gold, silver, exotic materials and other commodities. The asteroid Psyche is commonly quoted on the web as having gold worth approximately 10 quadrillion dollars (enough to make everyone a billionaire, but this wouldn’t happen because gold would suddenly be rendered virtually worthless), and this is just one rock. The existence of these resources – not just gold – throws the entire capitalist system into chaos, and we are now able to drag them here. These are the future seeds being planted now by Uranus on Taurus.
Ultimately we are presented with the necessity for change by Uranus and in this case, in Taurus, that change happens to the things that we place physical and material value on. Money, is of course the number one thing that we place value on, but stretching back this includes all jewels and shiny things, and even deeper and more fundamentally a well-stocked supply of food, fresh water and the security that comes from a stable, flourishing Earth. The Earth is clearly in a state of turbulent change, regardless of the causes. Interruptions of basic supplies and even an ongoing disruption of the natural order as the planet adapts to change seeking a new equilibrium must be accepted. We have not seen much of it yet, but I believe Uranus in Taurus will not only permanently reshape national borders politically (for example the war in Ukraine) but also environmentally. There are a couple of years left for this to transpire, if it will.
Uranus has cleared its exact squares with Saturn in Aquarius but the hangover if you like of those squares is still with us for as long as Saturn stays in Aquarius. This shift occurs in early March, marking a significant but subtle shift in the way Uranus is behaving in our skies from that point on. He is no longer trying to undermine authority and overthrow oppression as directly, his agenda shifts and at first it is not altogether clear where it is going since he forms no major aspects with other planets this year. The closest he comes to one is a sextile with Neptune in Pisces, which he gets 3° away from in October. There is an interesting dance to this sextile with Neptune – they draw close together this October then pull apart, they draw closer still (just 1° apart) in October of the following year but then pull apart again, they try again in 2025 but just before Uranus catches up with him Neptune leaves Pisces and moves into Aries, evading him. Uranus himself then leaves Taurus for Gemini, looking to make a sextile in different signs. However, both Uranus and Neptune then retrograde back into Taurus and Pisces to finally make the exact sextile in November 2025. It is almost as if Neptune plays a few unexpected vanishing tricks on his brother in a game of hide and seek. This has the feel of something that keeps trying to manifest or of a steadily increasing buzz or hum that bursts into music, with the first rhythms appearing in October of this year and then repeating in October annually until 2025.
It’s not until 2024, however, that the new agenda of Uranus in Taurus starts to unroll in the form of major aspects. This year it is likely a wrapping up of what has been going on in the last few years with regard to the conflict between freedom verses rules or responsibility. While the other placements this year (Jupiter in Aries and the Pluto collision with Mars and Jupiter in May) do not exactly generate quiet times, as far as Uranus is concerned, he’s pretty quiet.
His first meeting with Mars is on April 28/29th with Mars in Cancer. This is a sextile that helps us to break out of bad habits in unorthodox or lateral ways. It helps us to move forwards but not directly, more sideways like a crab, so it helps us to tackle problems from new and unexpected angles. Often these positive combinations of Mars and Uranus stimulate new directions and new activities and are good for either shaking up our convictions in refreshing ways or pushing us to experiment boldly. His next meeting while in Leo (June 26th) is not nearly so easy-going. This is the kind of influence people lose their temper under very quickly, becoming bossy and domineering and forcing their will upon those around them. It can bring out the predatory side of Leo, the bloodied tooth and claw and the red matted mane. On the positive side though it can help us to stand our ground against an offensive, especially when we believe in the cause and have allies. Mars then encounters Uranus in Taurus on August 16th while in Virgo, a trine, which is probably the best time in the year to plan a major change around since the flowing interaction between these two will allow you to make progress quickly. This is also an extremely productive period that is fundamentally good for anyone wanting to get the work done and put in hours or make tangible improvements. His last encounter with Uranus in 2023 comes when he is in Scorpio, and it is likely the most problematic. This takes place on November 11th and can lead to power struggles in relationships and upsets in the balance of power generally, it makes people more pushy and aggressive, more possessive and driven to get things their way, but it’s also potentially offering a major emotional, physical or financial breakthrough for people who have been working hard or diligently. Most encounters with Mars will last at least a week to arise, climax and then fade out, some longer.
The last instances of Uranus in Taurus between 14° and 23° occurred over 1938/39, 1854-1856, and 1763-1765. These have ominous resonances in history – the outbreak of World War 2, the Crimean War (which decimated Russia and redefined Europe), and the end of the Seven Years War (a global conflict that involved most of Europe’s powers). The grim historical theme is clear – global warfare, poverty and high prices/unavailability of basic goods, turbulence and disruption to the balance of power in Europe. If things go awry for us in 2023 it is because of this karmic interaction with Uranus in Taurus and the events involving Pluto in May. We are about to re-experience the consequences of these times and the way things have always been done before will undergo even more radical change than they have already. This also seems to centre around the conjunction of Jupiter with Uranus in Taurus, but that does not manifest until April 2024 (this year the closest they come is 7°- 8°, in the third quarter).
NEPTUNE in PISCES (22°-27°)
Neptune spends 2023 floating in the 3rd decan of Pisces, preparing to make shore with Aries in 2025. Even though Saturn is now in Pisces and is slowly gaining on him, the two will not join in a conjunction in Pisces. Instead Saturn will meet Neptune in Aries, also in a couple of years. As with Uranus, Neptune makes no major contact with other slow-moving planets, only interacting with Mars (and of course the Lights, Mercury and Venus interact with all the slow moving planets on an annual basis). The closest it comes to a major aspect is the sextile with Uranus (described in the previous section) that almost happens in October but has to wait 2 more years before it finalizes. Positive or easy to handle interactions with Mars/Neptune are placed in the middle of May and the middle of November while the more tricky aspects occur in mid March and August and at the very end of December. Interactions between Mars and Neptune essentially relate to refinement and the importance of subtlety in the way we express our drive, willpower and desire nature. They help us to imaginatively assert ourselves and gain insight and greater clarity into who we really are and what pushes our buttons. They can also be useful in developing the psychic will, the capacity to create forceful impact with the imagination.
Although Neptune in Pisces has occurred a number of times in recorded history having a cycle of just slightly than 150 years it is an extremely subtle and difficult to define or pin down influence, its nature being related to the intangible and ethereal as well as the unseen world. What Neptune in Pisces does essentially is alter the astral field around us rather than the physical field and this is not something that we see recorded in history books very often if at all. There are aspects of Neptune in Pisces which affect the invisible world and the spirit world and the way it interacts with us, for example the way that we have destroyed and removed the habitat of many nature spirits, harming them or forcing them to move on, and the way that the ocean life around us is being affected with only the most visible signs showing up on our shores. These effects gradually accumulate under Neptune in Pisces like drops of water in a bucket or grains of sand in an hourglass, eventually manifesting themselves physically all at once and making people wonder about the mystery of it all and where it came from.
What the historical record shows is that Neptune in Pisces has powerful effects on what we believe and how human belief is expressed. Going back to the excommunication of Henry VIII and the creation of the Church of England, then the spread of Christianity and Catholicism into the Americas, leading (the last time Neptune was in Pisces) to the publication of ‘The Origin of Species’ by Charles Darwin, what we see is an evolution of the human idea of God or Creation and its mysterious implementation in the physical world. The importance of Darwin here is that he shows that Neptune in Pisces is not really concerned with religion but more with what is believed about existence. The form of things is largely irrelevant with Neptune. It just permeates them whatever they are. This is a quality it has in spades while in Pisces. Something permeates the imagination which seeds it with a new level of consciousness or alters the way that collective human belief is expressed. In the past Neptune in Pisces has represented a waning of power for those in positions of religious or spiritual authority – the Pope loses England, the priests of South America are overthrown and destroyed, the grip that religious thinking has is loosened by scientific theory and discovery on a remote Pacific island, etc. We see similar things happening today with the scandals arising in the Catholic Church, the (probably foireign power instigated) rebellion of women in Iran, the reaction from many religious Americans to what they perceive as a corrupted and condemned society, etc. We still have two years of Neptune in Pisces to play out and it is unwise to try to summaries it before then but it also seems strongly connected with the pandemic outbreak and developments in epidemiology and health care. Neptune in Pisces brought us Florence Nightingale and the initial observation about cholera breaking out in a contaminated water pump in London that led to the modern understanding of epidemics. Florence especially is an example of the way that Neptune in Pisces raises compassion and empathy and brings charity and kindness into play, sometimes though this emergence of greater compassion comes through an experience of unbearable suffering and sacrifice as we see in the story of the slave ship Hannibal. Flooding is also a theme of Neptune in Pisces – it’s not just floods of water but floods of emotion.
Esoterically Neptune in Pisces awakens the third eye or psychic senses, the creative imagination. This has both good and bad effects because it means that people are more willing to believe in things that are only imaginary while also opening their minds. It makes the entire world feel more surreal. What is needed with Neptune in Pisces is a strong grounding (astrologically this means a good connection with Saturn or the Earth signs) because the visions are so enchanting or the surrealism beyond parody, beyond farce. Certain spiritual truths are so sublime that they transcend words and some situations so surreal that they defy reality and this is the experience that Neptune in Pisces stimulates and leads to. Those who are consciously working with this impulse find themselves able to develop their psychic potential through empathy and compassion very rapidly and smoothly while those who are needing to become more discerning about the nature of material reality often grow extremely confused and tired. To integrate the higher energies of Neptune in Pisces we need to be in an altered state of consciousness and this is why many people find it hard to stay awake during these times. However it is not enough to simply alter our consciousness, we also have to learn how to do this consciously which means without the aid of things like drugs or sleep. Neptune in Pisces involves us in all of these issues, which can lead us deeper into addiction if we are not aware of it. Really we have to develop and clarify our discernment of what reality is first and then Neptune in Pisces becomes a powerful boon to the awareness.
Mars first meets with Neptune as he is leaving his long passage through Gemini in mid March (15th). This encounter is problematic as the symbolism fosters confusion, clumsiness, awkwardness and a kind of slippery evasiveness or outright deception. There is a fogginess to communication and an inability to clarify what we intend but also potentially a turning point in which we overcome self-deception or delusion about who we are and what we want. If the roads are icy at this time it is not a good idea to travel because of the literal slipperiness of this square. A couple of months later in mid-May (15th) the two meet again, this time on far more friendly terms with Mars in Cancer. This is one of the better times in the year to express what we feel and to assert or somehow act upon our intuition or imagination but we need to overcome any shyness. In particular this aspect helps us to empathise with those whom we are emotionally invested in taking care of as well as the vulnerable in general. However there is little directness and forthrightness to this aspect so it can be more difficult for us to say what we really mean and easier for us to fall back on passive-aggressive behaviour in getting what we want. Overall this is a good month for working on the emotions. On August 22nd Mars and Neptune meet again, this time in opposition, their most direct antagonistic relationship this year. Mars in Virgo pulls us towards activities which emphasize and empower the desire for the facts while Neptune in Pisces pulls in the other direction looking for the essence and the invisible undercurrent, not the actual words or deeds but what is written between the lines. This is the essential conflict here but it can manifest in different ways, for example as a contradiction between the perceived facts and evidence (Mars in Virgo) and the instinct and intuition (Neptune in Pisces). Mars then gives us a second Water trine with Neptune, this time from Scorpio in mid-November (17th). This one is more forceful because Mars is in a sign that he rules and it avoids the passive-aggressive problems but replaces them with more overt passions and temptations of desire. However overall this is a very strong aspect for expressing the emotions and allowing them to flow as well as transforming them by taking control of them when they are destructive and cleansing them. Pursuit of peace is still a pursuit that Mars can get behind and there is powerful regenerative and restorative power available here. To end the year (December 28th) Mars in Sagittarius gives us a square with Neptune, a tricky aspect that can throw spanners in the smooth running of things, disrupt or confuse long journeys or quests, lead to slippery slopes where dogma drives a crusade, create confused arguments or lead into a hidden ambush, trap or snare of some kind. On the positive side we can perhaps use this aspect to realise that some of goals are too ideal, visionary or impractical and then make the necessary adjustments.
Neptune was last in this area of Pisces (22° – 27°) in the years 1859 – 1860, 1694 – 1696 and 1530 – 1532. It was in 1860 that Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” and the first Neanderthal bones were discovered in Germany. This is also the time when John Snow began the science of epidemiology and Florence Nightingale founded her school for nurses. The period in the mid-1690s saw a major eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the founding of the Banks of England and Scotland, the completion of the Potala Palace in Lhasa and the horrific voyage of the slave ship Hannibal which ended with the deaths of nearly half of the 692 slaves aboard. In the early 1530s Rome was engulfed in a flood, the Knights of Malta were formed and the Church of England was created after King Henry VIII of England secretly married Anne Boleyn. In almost archetypal Neptune in Pisces style a portrait painting of Saint Dominic was gifted by ‘three ladies of wonderful appearance’ in Soriano Calabro, Calabria and was deemed a miraculous gift from St. Catherine, Mary Magdelene and the Virgin Mary.
PLUTO in CAPRICORN and AQUARIUS (27° Capricorn – 0° Aquarius)
This is the last significant year of Pluto in Capricorn. In May he makes a short visit into the beginning of Aquarius before retrograding back into Capricorn for the rest of the year. In Capricorn, the closest he comes to a major aspect is a near sextile from July until around October, but the real action happens while he is briefly in Aquarius in May as he opposes Mars in Leo and squares Jupiter in Taurus, both of whom also newly arrived in those signs. His positive interactions with Mars occur in late August when Pluto is in Capricorn and Mars is in Virgo and in mid-November with Mars in Scorpio. He not only clashes with Mars in Leo (when Pluto is in Aquarius) in mid-May but also with Mars in Libra (when Pluto is in Capricorn) in the first half of October. May could be a month in which there are extremely dynamic but stressful breakthroughs, while the first half of October is problematic because it tends to create arguments in relationships, often over money. Both late August and mid November provide energy bursts for whatever you need it for, with Mars and Pluto providing the raw power to stick to our guns and forge ahead.
As we reach the end of Pluto in Capricorn we can begin to look back on what has happened in the world since the time it entered the sign in 2008 seeking insight into what it has brought. Quite obviously, this has been a time of economic turmoil with huge bailouts and desperate rescue plans for entire nations, many of which have been broken as a result. We’ve also seen a tightening of the grip by authorities and an escalating threat of environmental destruction, fatalism concerning capitalism and the material way of life, many revolutions in many countries and governments, the concentration of greater power and wealth in the hands of the already super wealthy and the emergence of the first corporate superpowers (Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Disney, etc). Quite likely, 2023 will see us reviewing all of these matters and attempting to draw lessons and meaning from them as this period draws to a close. It is time for the final arguments and moves on these matters to be made before they are replaced by startlingly new but even more urgent matters. Very likely this involves the imminent emergence of advanced artificial intelligence and robotics, key themes of Aquarius. The talking points this May and which develop more next year will help us to foresee what the major talking points of the next 20 years will be in the same way that the near financial apocalypse of 2008 forecast the talking points of the next 15 years.
There is an interesting suggestion in the historical record of Pluto moving from Capricorn into Aquarius that already has some resonance for us today and that is the it tends to coincide with the sudden death of a monarch, institution or ruler followed by some kind of radical reformation. Back in the mid-1770s this was the American War for Independence, in the early 1530s it happened at Chichen Itza with the arrival of the Conquistadors and in the mid-1280s there was the coronation of the last King of Jerusalem and the sudden death of the Scots king when he fell from his horse. Things happen to people at the top, usually bad things, there is a vacuum and it is quickly filled by something radically new. My thoughts here are not only on the UK with the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II but also on Russia, China and the USA because Aquarius has powerful effects on all these nations. In Russia and China this connection to Aquarius is expressed historically as communism and a strong emphasis on communal identity while in the UK and United States the emphasis is being placed on individual freedom and independence, at least notionally. The rift between these nations will probably widen under Pluto in Aquarius as it will both transform and intensify the different paths they have taken. Or perhaps Aquarius will play its trump card and reshuffle the entire deck and all hands in a completely surprising way.
The action in May is also intense. As Pluto dips into Aquarius (May 23rd) he encounters both Jupiter (May 18th) and Mars (May 21st/22nd) in early parts of Fixed signs and this creates a T-square, an explosive opposition between Mars and Pluto that is exaggerated and enlarged upon in scope by Jupiter. Mars-Pluto oppositions are sometimes connected to horrific war crimes and Jupiter elevates the potential to a mass scale. The fact that Mars is in Leo does not help because it implies that egos will be involved while Pluto and Aquarius looks like some kind of humanitarian outrage. Aside from its implications for war and destruction, this arrangement could also bring about a sudden overthrow of power, not just in one place but in many places, it has the quality of people having had enough of hard conditions or demanding more pay (Jupiter in Taurus) starting a violent revolution (Mars/Pluto in Leo Aquarius). We might also see some kind of geographical or environmental disaster – a huge eruption, the loss of an ice shelf or a powerful earthquake for example. If we are looking to draw some positive advantage from this potential in May we should first of all be prepared to back down when we feel that we are absolutely in the right because this configuration can blind us but also encase us in stubborn ways that we need to break free of violently. If we are already trapped in a suffocating or life destroying situation then this configuration could help us to finally smash our way through it but likely not without a high cost. It is a very risky sky to gamble under or to guess with – chance can lead to profound ruin. Perhaps the best path with it is to accept that sometimes growth depends on sacrifice or the greater good depends upon us giving up upon or changing what we want and to work on figuring out how that applies to us. If a metaphorical bomb goes off in your life during this time it is perhaps some comfort to know that this situation will not stretch on as it emerges in May but vanishes very quickly from the sky and does not return. It is, however, probably a trailer or preview of how Pluto in Aquarius will interact with you over the long term starting next year.
The opposition with Mars in Leo on May 21st is Pluto’s first clash with Mars this year. In general we have to be very wary of getting involved in power struggles and power plays under this aspect as well as perhaps having to rein in some of our more compulsive desires. Pushy, bossy and domineering behaviour towards the people around us will very likely cause an intense backlash at this point. There are strong opinions around about what is best and who to follow but this aspect challenges us to transcend that and to seek within for the light that will allow us to courageously express our own unique and deeply considered opinions while allowing others to do the same. The next tussle between Mars and Pluto is on October 9 with Mars in Libra which creates a dynamic that can cause arguments between us and our partners, especially over matters of finances and security, but also it tends to create a need to choose between two different ambitions or to divide time and resources between two goals. Problems can arise when we take into consideration what our partners want as it may conflict with our long-term goals or plans. Potentially this square enables couples to renegotiate the rules of their relationship. The positive interactions between Mars and Pluto come from Mars in Virgo (August 25th) and Mars in Scorpio (November 22nd). The August interaction is productive and efficient, able to make select and precise changes that have profound impacts. It is good for tidying or arranging things and getting things in order as well as for stabilising them or streamlining them. However, it can be a bit nitpicky. The November sextile with Mars in Scorpio is more erotic and arousing, stimulating sensual and emotional desire but keeping it controlled so that it becomes like steam. This is also good aspect for money spinning ideas or activities and it can help when we need a strong will for something.
The last time Pluto was in the last degrees of Capricorn and moving into the beginning of Aquarius were 1776-1777, 1531-1532, 1285-1286. Some of the events that we see occurring in this period are the American declaration of Independence and the formation of the Bavarian Illuminati (secret societies seem to be connected with Pluto in Aquarius but for obvious reasons their activities are hidden from the historical record), the famous appearances of the Virgin Mary in Mexico City, Guadeloupe (visions and miraculous events that have profound impact also seem to be connected to Pluto in Aquarius), in the 1531-2 period the Comet Halley suddenly appeared in the sky, causing consternation and wonderment (perhaps Pluto in Aquarius has something to do with threats that come from space or dark omens related to the sky), and Kublai Khan made extensive plans for a final Mongol invasion of Japan but then had to call it off when he didn’t have enough money or resources (Aquarius often involves last-minute changes or reversals being forced upon us).
That’s all for this month and for this year, thank you for journeying with me, I look forward eagerly to our next year together! Blessings and peace to you all.