January 8 - March 15, 2021
In the birth chart of the United States, and in the birth charts of several of its founding fathers and leaders, Aquarius plays a prominent role. Written into the Declaration of Independence itself is a quintessentially Aquarian ideal: that all men are created equal, and are entitled, inherently, to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A glaring omission from its lines, however, is another truth: that this radical and inspiring sentiment applied only to a white, male, aristocratic minority, and ignored the enslavement, genocide and disenfranchisement of the rest of the population. It also contains a paradox: that, as progressive as the American experiment claims to be, America (its government especially) is frustratingly slow to embrace change.
Aquarius is a fixed air sign; it sees ideas writ large and then translates them into ideals. But, once convinced of its truth, it can be hard for it to see outside its own vision. Such is the perplexing energy of a sign ruled by both the rebel (Uranus) and the loyalist (Saturn). We will be hearing a lot about Aquarius, and about both its rulers, this year, as they are major players in the drama of the skies for the foreseeable future. Jupiter and Saturn have already entered the sign via the Great Conjunction on the solstice. By February, there will be six planets transiting through (seven if you count the Moon, and eight if you include asteroid Pallas Athena). Today, Mercury makes its entrance.
Mercury in Aquarius can be a networker and a social connector; it can be forward-thinking and inventive; it can also be an instigator, a fomenter, and a revolutionary. The messenger planet, hovering in the ether, looks down at the world from the future. It surveys the circuitry of life from its bird’s eye view in the proverbial Cloud. As Mercury makes its way though our individual charts, it may activate our social networks, both in person and online; it may spark insights; or the impetus to speak our truth, whatever the cost. As it travels though the US’s 3rd house, passing over our karmic South Node and our Moon (symbol of the people), Mercury will likely stir up talk of reform, innovation, as well as insurrection. Conversations, and diatribes, on the personal, local and national level will, I expect, center around topics of equality, equity and the social contract. How should freedom operate within a collective, and how far do we believe our ethos of individualism should extend? A retrograde for much of February will prolong our time with these themes.
George Washington, icon of American history, undoubtedly possessed the contradictions of character mentioned above and shared by his fellow founding fathers. But his natal Mercury in Aquarius did give him a brilliant mind, and insight into the pitfalls of government, which he enumerated clearly in his Farewell Address, and which we have continued to blatantly disregard ever since, for all our lionizing of the man. His parting words were an endorsement for unity and Union, as well as a warning against the dangers of divisive sectionalism, entrenched political factions, and the two-party system. His words ring true throughout, more than two centuries later, but this part I find especially prescient: “the alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissension…is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation on the ruins of public liberty.” After the treasonous mob mania of Wednesday—the outcome of the corrupt, inept sham of the Trump presidency—Washington is surely rolling over in his grave. Those of us who are alive during this time, however, have an opportunity to course correct, to try and mend the rips in the fabric of our nation, and to re-envision a more effective system of government. In other words, it’s back to the drawing board for us and our declarations: this Aquarian time is asking, what do democracy and independence mean anymore, and what are the true American ideals?
January 6 - March 4, 2021
In Death in the Afternoon, Hemingway’s treatise on bullfighting, he explains to those not in the know: “All supposed exterior signs of danger that a bull gives, such as pawing the ground, threatening with his horns, or bellowing are forms of bluffing. They are warnings given in order that combat may be avoided if possible. The truly brave bull gives no warning before he charges except the fixing of his eye on the enemy, the raising of the crest of muscle in his neck, the twitching of an ear, and, as he charges, the lifting of his tail.” As Mars enters Taurus, I think we’d do well to remember the temperament of the bull when provoked. He is not a warrior by nature, but when made to fight, when trapped in the ring, he is a force to contend with. And even when doomed to death, he doesn’t go out without first inflicting pain, and most likely drawing blood.
Mars in Aries for the past six months has been an adrenaline junkie, full of vim and vigor, or piss and vinegar, depending on which turn of phrase you prefer. It’s been a boon for all risk-takers, initiators, and brave endeavorers, but now his time’s up, as he comes practically screeching to a halt in Taurus, the Venus-ruled earth sign. He may keep his horns, his strong will, his physicality and passion, but otherwise we play by very different rules here.
Whereas Aries is a proving ground for the Self—a trial by fire—in Taurus, you are part of an ecosystem; you must respect your place in it and not try and change it. This new Mars will find himself more grounded, and slower to anger. His fire will now smolder, simmer, or throb; warm instead of burn. His hot head must try to cool and remain steady—violence only when necessary, and as a last resort. Here, he will have to summon his patience and simplify his pursuits. Under Venus’s purview, everything is in relationship; any action becomes a dance, and desire the lingua franca. Conflict becomes a pas de deux, challenge a matter of honor, battle overlaid with pageantry and romance, and the battlecry full of duende. Bloodsport, but make it seductive.
During his time in Taurus, Mars will pass by Uranus and Black Moon Lilith, square Pluto and Mercury in Capricorn, and square Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius. This transit is full of power. It is determined, dominating, acrobatic, torturous and sensuous. It is a fixed eye and a raised neck muscle. It is also an opportunity to raise your voice and bellow. For the next two months, life is the corrida, and we are both torero and bull.
December 21, 2020 - January 21, 2021
It may come at the end of our calendar year, but Capricorn knows that good things come to those who wait, and that last definitely doesn’t mean least. Capricorns are pledged to Saturn, the icy dark lord of the rings, and so look askance at the rest of us Sun worshippers. In the embrace of Father Time, they see no need to hurry, or to fight the ticking of the clock. Watched over by the most ancient god, they have respect for tradition and the old ways. The Senex is a testament to a life lived. The Crone is not to be feared or avoided—she is a source of great wisdom!
Its modality is cardinal and its triplicity is feminine earth. There is natural authority and powerful creativity in Capricorn. For all its characteristic seriousness, there is a wild side to Capricorn that should not be discounted. Its symbol is the sea-goat, a mythical creature with associations to the Horned God Pan. Capricorn has an amphibious quality, at home at sea and on dry land, but bound either way by the empirical, material laws of nature. In their bones, these natives know that the Original Ones were earth deities, and that the megaliths and standing stones contain their stories.
The other signs of the zodiac help us navigate through life in important ways, but it’s Capricorn who captains the ship. We stargazers look to the heavens in awe, but it’s Capricorn who maps the sky. It is they who oversee the monumental projects, who cultivate the earth and dam the rivers, to give rise to civilized, organized life. Without Capricorn there would be no structure to our lives, no laws, no limits—and we would be adrift without purpose, without containment, without rudder or anchor. We put our trust in their capable hands and on their solid shoulders. Many attempt to climb mountains, but Capricorn has the long game to make it to the summit. It is the sign of the Great Work, for which there are no short cuts, no life hacks. The cathedrals and pyramids weren’t built in a day.
To be born under Capricorn is to be born into expectation, both from oneself and from others. They are here to learn duty, responsibility and boundaries; to meet their inner parent; and to create something long-lasting. They are happiest when they are achieving, and being duly rewarded for their hard work. Being so accustomed to pulling their weight, they will rarely, if ever, ask for help. They hold themselves to the same high standards as they hold everyone else, and can make harsh masters. And a stiff upper lip is necessary to manage those vexing and inconvenient emotions that occasionally make themselves felt. But when Capricorn is at its best, it makes us all want to do better; to have their blessing and to make them proud.
Fittingly, Capricorn also begins our calendar year, showing that the initiation and accomplishment of all great undertakings bear its signature.