February 2019 Forecast

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In February, in the northern hemisphere, the snow is piled on the ground, the skies are often gray, and the air is cold. The cold, rational quality of Aquarius is similar to Capricorn’s stony practicality. Winter is about survival in a time of scarcity, and hibernating until the earth is reborn in spring. But by the end of February a few hardy crocuses may bravely push through the frozen ground.

While the sun moves from air sign Aquarius to water sign Pisces, the astrological calendar for this month primarily features the elements of earth and fire. We are concerned overall with the material aspects of life. With Saturn, Pluto, and the south node together in Capricorn (as they will be for all of 2019), and Venus joining them in Capricorn on the 3rd, we have some bone-chilling winter cold in the emotional-mental-spiritual weather for February.

Once Venus leaves Sagittarius, she ditches her loud prints for a well-tailored suit and gets down to business. Venus in Capricorn is all about that good bone structure, aging well, beauty in maturity, and the attractive power of success. In this sign, she values achievements and the accumulation of material wealth. She commands respect with her combination of old-fashioned character and dignity. With Venus meeting Saturn on the 18th, Pluto on the 22nd, and the south node on the 24th, there is an increasingly serious theme of cold, hard truths: about relationships, about what we value, and about how far we’re willing to go to get it. Listen to the wise council of the north node in Cancer, who says “Protect what you care about; guard it with love.” Not all achievements are worth the price.

The beginning of this month still has the sun and Mercury in Aquarius, our coldest air sign, ruled by no-nonsense Saturn. So the new moon is at 15.45 degrees of Aquarius on February 4th. This lunation, conjunct Mercury in Aquarius, moves us away from the moon’s typically emotional realm and into analysis. Why do we feel the way we do, and how can we approach the problem in a practical way? Aquarius can be hyper-rational, but it is also a sign that has a different relationship to intuition, attracting unusual ideas in the absence of emotional blocks. A clear mind is an open mind. We may encounter unexpected perspectives at the beginning of this new lunar month.

It’s not all chilly, though. There are some fire transits to keep us warm, including 2019’s lucky star Jupiter in Sagittarius, who has some nice sextiles to the sun and Mercury in Aquarius on the 3rd and 7th, promoting fresh ideas and optimistic conversations. Mars in Aries is especially active, squaring Pluto in Capricorn on the 1st. This aspect challenges us to take action to transform an institution that no longer works—whether it’s a social institution or a personal pattern you want to kick. Power struggles are likely here, so pick your battles well. Mars then squares the nodes on the 7th, calling us to fight for what we care about most. The hottest aspect of the month is on the 13th, when Mars meets Uranus in Aries. This is a bombastic aspect, sure to light a few firecrackers. Take cover, unless you’re the one lighting them.

In keeping with the earthy theme of the month, as well as the emphasis on cardinal and fixed modes, Mars moves into Taurus on the 14th. Mars in Taurus is sensual, devoted, and determined. We can all use this kind of drive to stick with our commitments. In fact, the whole month has us initiating and sustaining important projects. With Venus in Capricorn and Mars in Taurus, this Valentine’s Day will probably be understated, favoring conservative gestures and long-term partnerships. Aquarius season in general is not a wise choice for a day of romance. Since Aquarius is a sign of community and friendship, not romantic love, February is always a much better time to honor friends with a Galentine’s Day celebration.

The most important transit in February is on the 18th: Chiron’s move into Aries. The asteroid of the wounded healer will be transiting this sign for the next seven years straight. If Uranus in Aries has been a series of fireworks and explosions, Chiron in Aries is the steady hearth fire that warms you. It’s still a fire, and it can still burn. But Chiron’s crackling fireplace can represent a space of rest and healing after the intensity of a Uranus transit.

Chiron was in Aries last year from April 17th – September 25th , so we’ve had a taste of this already. This transit can help us to heal individually and collectively from the wounds of toxic masculinity. Chiron can be the key that allows us to access the purifying fire of our own anger, confront it and use its energy in healthy ways. On a personal level, Chiron in Aries is also about authenticity and identity. In the next seven years, in some area of your life, you are asked to be yourself even when it makes you feel especially vulnerable. You can read more about this long-term transit in my post here.

Fire melts cold snow into water with some Piscean transits, too: pure, refreshing liquid that offers some healing in preparation for the spring to come. Mercury moves into Pisces early on in the month, on the 10th. Mercury in Pisces is not as quick and light on his feet as he is in Aquarius, spouting off radical intellectual ideas. Mercury in this sign is a poet, floating dreamily in the oceans of the unconscious, letting one word come through at a time. The sun enters Pisces on the 18th, beginning our solar Pisces season on the same day that Chiron moves into Aries. A full moon at 0.42 Virgo follows right on the heels of the sun’s ingress, on February 19th.

Mercury, the ruler of this full moon, makes an exact conjunction with Neptune on the 19th. This colors our discerning full moon with a dreamy Piscean flavor that tempers some of Virgo’s sharp perfectionism. The moon makes a trine to Mars in Taurus and Uranus in Aries. This is a moon that can help us see our way past through the cold winter transits and into the coming spring. As I mentioned at the beginning of this forecast, Venus will be meeting up with Saturn, Pluto, and the south node in Capricorn right around the time of this full moon. In the midst of such cold realities, the Virgo moon allows us to discern what is most important. This is the crocus pushing up through the snow: determined against the odds, hardy and yet delicate, the first to herald the arrival of a new season. You may find an unusual way to get through the winter storm at the end of February.

Image Credit: illustration from p. 251 of The Victoria history of the county of Bedford, edited by H. Arthur Doubleday and William Page, 1904.

The Void-of-Course Moon

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If you have been reading my weekly horoscopes, you may have noticed that the “weekly moon” portion of the aspects usually says something like this:

VOC Moon in Leo: Jan. 22 from 8:19 – 10:21 pm

What does “VOC” stand for? It’s shorthand for void-of-course.

Explanation for astrology nerds

When I say the moon is “Void-of-course” (or VOC), I’m referring to the period after the moon has made its last major Ptolemaic aspect* in one sign and before it moves into the next sign. During this period, the moon is not making any major aspects to the sun or planets. Minor aspects or aspects to asteroids like Chiron aren’t taken into consideration.

* The Ptolemaic aspects are the conjunction, opposition, square, trine, and sextile.

This is the traditional definition of void-of-course as I understand it, recorded by Roman astrologer Firmicus Maternus and studied for 45 years by astrologer Al H. Morrison in the 20th century. Some astrologers throw in some other aspects or take asteroids into consideration, but I like to keep it simple.

The void-of-course moon is most traditionally used in horary astrology, the set of astrological techniques for divining answers to specific questions. It’s only more recently that astrologers and laypeople in the west have put it into everyday use.

Explanation for everybody

The moon is void-of-course once every two days or so, and may be VOC for only a few minutes, a few hours, or a full day.

When the moon is void-of-course, she is “resting,” but the influence is subtle. The astrological interpretation of this period is that we feel more like relaxing than being productive, thoughts are ‘fuzzier’, activities take a vague direction or need to be redone. With some similarity to a planet’s retrograde period, the VOC is a time for more inward reflection than outward action.

The most important reason for noting a VOC Moon is to plan the launch of a new project, deal, or decision around the VOC period. This is a time to avoid starting anything big and new, because it may not go anywhere, or it may need to be redone at a later date.

How to use the VOC Moon

Pay sparing attention to the VOC Moon. Schedule important beginnings for another time, and otherwise go on with business as usual. It’s too easy to spiral into a state of information overload when you start merging all kinds of astrological techniques to plan your life. Something that happens every two days or so is not a big enough influence to freak out about.

I know an entrepreneur who uses VOC moons to schedule important meetings. He won’t schedule a business meeting, especially one that will lead to an important contract, during the VOC Moon. Notice that this refers to client meetings—he might still have lunch with a friend, catch up with his assistant, or get a report from his team during a VOC period if he needs to proceed with work. Life does not have to stop altogether. However, he has noticed that client meetings during VOC moons tend not to deliver tangible results. This is one way to use astrology to plan your life without going overboard.

So if you have a big meeting with an important client to schedule, a magical working to perform, or a fresh start to make, plan a time when the moon is not marked “VOC.” Otherwise, live your life.

Image Credit: “Lunar Day" from Recreations in Astronomy by H. D. Warren D. D., 1879

January 2019 Forecast

Antoine Caron, Astronomers Studying an Eclipse, 1571

Antoine Caron, Astronomers Studying an Eclipse, 1571

Jan. 1 – 10

Capricorn season is intense in January 2019. The focus on Saturn in Capricorn starts right away, with the sun meeting Saturn on January 2nd. This is serious, practical earth energy that puts our focus on working towards our goals from the start of the year, even more than usual. It will feel similar to last January’s Capricorn stellium. Mercury enters Capricorn on the 4th, putting our mental focus on the work at hand. However, the moon will be waning from the 1st - 4th of this year, and our energy may wane with it, as the post-holiday fatigue calls us to rest. Slow and steady wins this year. Take things one step at a time. Set intentions this week, make some baby steps, and plan to ramp up your efforts after the partial solar eclipse on Saturn in Capricorn on the 5th. Astrologically, this eclipse is the real push into the year 2019.

Our January 5th eclipse is part of a longer cycle in Capricorn and Cancer (2018 - 2020), and it’s right on Saturn. This is a reality check. We’re in the second year of Saturn in Capricorn, and the transit is asking us to take on responsibility. Accept the challenge. Make solid plans for the year ahead. The events of Saturday will give you a clue about the longer cycle of 2019.

Uranus stations direct at 29 degrees of Aries on January 6th, beginning his move back towards the early degrees of Taurus. He’ll move into Taurus for a longer-term transit on March 6th. From January 6th – March 6th, then, we’re finishing up the Uranus in Aries transit that has influenced us since 2010. Uranus in Aries has been all about rebellion, entrepreneurial innovation, radical identity shifts, and asserting individuality. Where have you been with all of this in the past eight years? Use the promethean fire of this planet to fuel your entrepreneurial/rebellious spirit until early March, when Uranus in Taurus will bring a different flavor to your life.

On the 7th, Venus enters Sagittarius. Venus here needs her freedom. In this sign, she’s optimistic, fun-loving, attracted to wild, colorful patterns, and alert to the promise of adventure. Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius offer us some levity to balance the somber weight of our Capricorn-laden month. Work hard and play hard this January.

With Mars in Aries as of New Year’s Eve, we have some more action-oriented fire energy to complement all of the earth. Mars in Aries can help you get some of your plans off the ground. Just make sure that you’re staying practical. Planets in Capricorn will remind you to plan your actions carefully as they square Mars throughout the month, starting with Mercury square Mars on the 8th.

Jan. 11 – 21

The sun meets Pluto exactly on the 11th. This is a regenerative aspect that helps you to finally shed old patterns from 2018 and start anew. Your evolution is a process, and it’s not a race. Mercury meets Saturn in Capricorn on the 13th to help us with structure and discipline in this endeavor.

The most important thing happening on January 13th is Jupiter’s first exact square to Neptune this year. This is already in process, and will continue to influence the astroweather throughout 2019. Jupiter in Sagittarius is optimism, luck, exploration, and expansion. Neptune in Pisces is all about dreams, fantasy, and the numinous. Because this is a hard aspect, it’s possible to get so caught up in optimism that we take it too far, tipping over into delusion. Stressful aspects can also give us the friction we need to make a change. In it’s most positive form, Jupiter square Neptune will spur us to seek out our dreams. This can actually be a wonderful transit to pair with all of Capricorn’s structure. Anchor yourself with a plan that keeps you from floating too far out to sea.

The 18th promises to be an interesting day this month, with three transits on top of each other. Venus will trine Mars for some fun, passionate energy. Mercury meets Pluto in Capricorn, leading us further on the path of evolution and renewal, and the sun squares Uranus, promising a bit of a surprise. Electricity crackles in the lead-up to our total lunar eclipse.

The sun enters Aquarius on the 20th. Aquarius is the sign of communities, humanitarian causes, and visionaries. Just as we start this next solar cycle, late on the night of the 20th/early in the morning of the 21st we have a total lunar eclipse at 1 degree of Leo. This is the last of the Leo-Aquarius eclipse cycle that started in 2017. That cycle was all about the axis of the individual and the community. Creative gifts flow from each unique person to the community and vice versa. We are always negotiating this balance of giving and receiving, of shining apart and being a part of something larger. We’ve already started the Cancer-Capricorn eclipse cycle, but these cycles overlap with each other. Something about your individuality and community belonging will be highlighted with this one. Think back to February and August of 2017 and 2018, because the same themes are coming back around.

The eclipse is flanked on either side by Venus square Neptune (Jan. 20th) and Mars square Saturn (Jan. 21st). These two aspects suggest that we be wary of false gurus and other sources of deception, and protect ourselves from danger. Eclipse cycles are always an intense energy on the mundane level, and sometimes on the personal level (depending on where they fall in your natal chart). The Leo-Aquarius cycle has had quite a lot to do with 45. This one doesn’t sync with his chart as significantly as some others, but given that it’s a total lunar eclipse, it’s likely that we’ll get some important news of world events around this last one.

Jan. 22 – 31

Venus meets Jupiter in Sagittarius to bring us some blessings on January 22nd, the day after the eclipse. These are two of the zodiac’s benefics, coming together for fun, wealth, and expansion in the sign of luck. Plan something beautiful to take advantage of this day. On the 23rd, Mercury squares Uranus (known as the higher octave of Mercury) for a surprise or an interesting idea, right before he zips into Aquarius on the 24th. He meets the sun there (exact on the 29th), so they can brainstorm together in this brilliant sign.

Mars makes a trine to Jupiter on the 25th, giving us some extra energy to pursue our optimistic plans. Then we have a rather quiet waning moon period until the 31st, when Saturn makes an exact sextile to Neptune. Saturn sextile Neptune is one of the quieter ongoing aspects of 2019, adding some necessary structure to the Jupiter-Neptune square. As Saturn in Capricorn will remind us over and over again this year, discipline is the key to achieving the dream. Find the structure and use the support as we close out the month.