2011 calendarThe new year begins with Jupiter, planet of possibility, hope, and expansion, conjuncting Uranus, planet of change, innovation, and rebellion, on January 4th. There is a feeling of "new beginning" with this one, even thought it's at the end of the last sign of the zodiac, and it's compounded by the fact that the first (partial) solar eclipse of the year also occurs on this day (a new moon). Uranus and Jupiter together create a big leap toward freedom: Uranus wanting to crash through barriers and Jupiter wanting to climb higher and higher, neither one wanting to be confined, told no, or follow the rules. In Pisces, heart-centered knowing and intuitive response to life is highlighted. This is happening in 27 degrees of Pisces, so wherever you find this degree in your chart, a revisioning wants to take place.

This is not about picking apart your vision and disillusioning yourself, but actually becoming re-inspired, allowing yourself to hope again. With the first significant planetary meeting being these two 'freedom lovers', and the last year or two being very challenging for many people as the new Pluto in Capricorn energy forced us to deflate and deal with the real, Jupiter and Uranus in Pisces are encouraging you to unfurl from the fetal position. Come out from under that rock. Do you dare to look beyond the survivalism that has governed many of us in the past couple of years? What do you wish for the year? For your future? This is not the time for new year's resolutions (a Capricorn word), it's the time for new year's possibilities.

Fresh off the last Mercury retrograde which ended December 30th, every planet starts out the new year direct, a good feeling of forward motion. Jupiter steps on the gas when it enters Aries on January 22nd while Saturn's putting on the brakes on January 25th, stationing retrograde. Jupiter and Saturn are often considered 'planetary pairs', maintaining a natural yin-yang relationship with each other (Jupiter expanding and hopeful, Saturn contracting and realistic), but the difference between them becomes ever more apparent as they reside in opposing signs. Jupiter in Aries wants to thrust forward, staking its claim, while Saturn, retrograde in Libra, makes it even more challenging to do the Libran work of bridging the gap between people, ideas, systems. Polarities in every corner, from political, religious, business, and social environments are likely to become more apparent and problematic, as the emphasis seems to be tipping from Saturn's admonishment of 'let's all get along' to Jupiter fanning the flame of 'I deserve better and more.' And apparently this is just what we need.

Tug of war

Besides the obvious relationship-oriented Libran energy and the me-oriented Arien energy, a more subtle balancing act is at work. Saturn in Libra is about teamwork and getting sometimes opposing sides to find a compromise, but sometimes in the pursuit of the happy medium, stalemate occurs. Heads butt and no one wants to concede, so nothing gets done. The fire of Jupiter in Aries being direct while Saturn takes a back seat for a while can be used to break up stuck energies by getting us to reconnect with what we want and to act on it while too much vacillation in waiting for everyone to sign on or no one to be offended has been failing.

Can this passion be overdone? Most certainly. With Uranus joining the fray and entering Aries on March 11th, the push for the 'don't-fence-me-in-I'm-gonna-do-what-I-want-with-or-without-your-agreement' is gigantic, and Jupiter's capacity for overdoing things can get the better of us. It's quite possible to use all the rebellious, entitled, impulsiveness to wreck what we've achieved so far. Oppositions are about a balance of energies. We're being given a chance to remember that compromise and sharing doesn't mean the loss of our will or our passion (Aries) and flatlining with a plastic smile on our faces. It means finding a way, finding common ground. From their meeting in Pisces (re-visioning) to Aries (action), we are being urged not necessarily to trample others, but not to hesitate or hold back our desires, either.

'Moderation in all things,' Libra would remind us. 'Including moderation,' Aries would add.

Where Aries begins in your natal chart is where you're being urged to begin a revolution, or continue the one that began last summer when they joined up in Aries in 2010. Jupiter and Uranus will both come within range of squaring Pluto in Capricorn (although Uranus will never be exactly square Pluto–it will get closest around the end of July). Part of the transformative power of Pluto in the sign of Capricorn is to strip away all the dead cells of systems, governments, rules, and structures that don't work and have already begun to decay.

Condemned It's not about being opposed to systems, rules, and structures but about creating BETTER systems, rules, and structures that ARE supportive and DO what they are supposed to do. A good visual might be to imagine a building that appears to be in good order simply because it's still standing, but should actually be condemned and demolished because its insides have become completely unsafe and crumbling and its now a fire hazard. Jupiter and Uranus entering Aries and squaring Pluto in Capricorn can be the kind of purging, demolishing fire to create regrowth, but it can be a powerful and destructive force to be caught up in. During the summer months (June-August), each of the personal planets will trigger the energy of this square 2 or 3 times, provoking it and INvoking it, causing this period of time to seem the most volatile and create the most events to manifest. Chaos may seem to reign but creation is always messy.

 

"Today many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period. When it seems that something is on the way out, and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying, and exhausting itself while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble."Vaclav Havel

 

The 'revolution' each of us may have on a personal level is, at its heart, about freedom, and not the kind of passive "I'm grateful to live in a free country" mantra we say when we speak in school about freedom. Whether it's the freedom to discover who you really are, the freedom to speak your mind, the freedom to love who you want to love, the freedom to perform the mission you were meant for in this world, it's about passion, not passivity. It's not about what you have the 'right' to do or be–that almost comes second to the force of doing or being itself. Something is being born and it needs to force of life and the desire for it to do it. This is not about counting your blessings, this is about Seizing The Day.

This is also a time of deconditioning ourselves–not just large systems, but our own internal response to it. We ingest what we are fed by the 'system'  and then it regulates us from the inside. Capricorn is about what is considered socially respectable and Capricorn's ruling planet, is in Libra, a sign that knows how to fit in. With Pluto in Capricorn, the it's the deconstruction of what's been conditioned in us as right, appropriate, and the unquestioned traditions of what you're supposed to do to be an upright citizen, a good man/woman/homeowner/parent/you-name-it. Jupiter and Uranus in Aries can speed that deconstruction along, but our personal Pluto-in-Capricorn journey has to start with us recognizing what we've agreed to because that's just the way it's done.

Butterfly with chain handsTotal anarchy and rebellion isn't necessarily required (frankly, I'm thankful for traffic laws and schools and other things societal regulations have benefitted us) but it's time for these things to be looked at more suspiciously to clear out the cobwebs. Planets or angles in your natal chart between 3-8 degrees of cardinal signs, especially, are being affected deeply by this Pluto deconstruction. What are the 'laws' you have internalized? What have you chained yourself to voluntarily? We are invited to look closely at those handcuffs and see whether or not the key to them doesn't just happen to be in OUR pocket and not the guard's pocket.

Just a couple of weeks after Uranus enters Aries, Jupiter in Aries opposes Saturn in Libra on March 28th, again bringing a confrontation between the work of creating true harmony and real, fair, balanced structures (Saturn in Libra) in a way that isn't so crippling that it debilitates our individual will and growth potential as a force of our own (Jupiter in Aries).There may be an effect where things in our individual lives (and the larger story of the world around us) explode from the pressure of 'revolution meets regulation' and come to a head while these squares are in effect. However, Jupiter will enter Taurus on June 4th and shortly follow it's square up with a trine to Pluto on July 7th, almost as if to say 'now that I've kicked up a fuss and gained a little elbow room for myself, I can play a bit nicer, just so long as I've made my point.' It can also be about stabilizing what has just been 'painfully born.'

Neptune takes its first step into Pisces in over a century, dipping its toe in its own sign from April 4th to August 4th before retreating back to Aquarius until 2012. So far we've seen Neptune in Aquarius, closely aligned with Chiron in the last couple of years, making us aware of our humanity, connecting us, many times through our own woundedness, unifying us THROUGH and BECAUSE OF our humanity. Equal rights become the focus as we are made conscious of the real pain NOT having equal rights creates in the lives of all those people who are considered to stand out in some way because they are not normal (Aquarius: the outcast). Neptune in Pisces takes us further into that, dissolving more boundaries between us, maybe even prompting us to unite in a collective mythology as human beings a la "We Are The World." In Aquarius, we should all, as individuals, have equal rights. In Pisces, we simply are One.
 
The big paradox here, then, seems to be us figuring out how to be individuals as well as part of a global community. Aries, the beginning sign of the zodiac, the power of the will and life itself, and Pisces, the ending sign of the zodiac, the merge into the great ocean, the dissolving of boundaries–this paradox has our sense of the world and ourselves constantly changing sizes like Alice in Wonderland: Are we one or are we many?

 

"The single planetary civilization to which we all belong confronts us with global challenges. We stand helpless before them because our civilization has essentially globalized only the surfaces of our lives. But our inner self continues to have a life of its own."–Vaclav Havel

Uniting the best of Aries and Pisces seems to urge us to bring our best selves to the table–not our most behaved selves or our most perfect selves, but our most passionate selves, and contribute that to the global comunity. "Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."–Harold Whitman

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