The Astrology Blog 4 January 2021
All times in GMT
“A year from now you’ll wish you had started today.”
Karen Lamb – Author
“If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?”
W. Somerset Maugham – English playwright & novelist (25 Jan 1874 – 16 Dec 1965)
NEW YEAR, NEW APPROACH
It’s probably safe to say that, at least if you’re English, you’ll have heard of Somerset Maugham, one of the most successful writers of his time. I prefer to use quotes that spring from an individual’s life experience, in this case a life that was a combination of great tragedy, confused sexuality and enormous literary success. We read a lot about changing our attitude in order to change our lives, as if the idea is somehow new, but when you come across the concept from a writer who lived before the “mind body spirit” boom it carries a lot of clout and really makes you think, especially as he states it as an absolute.
Note for students – One glance at his horoscope and you see that it’s dominated by a Fixed T-Square, involving an exact Sun – Saturn conjunction in Aquarius opposite Uranus, all square the Moon. The opening lines of his Wikipedia page give the biographical info that reflects this to exactitude (my notes in brackets) – “Both Maugham’s parents (Sun/Moon) died (tight aspects to Saturn/Uranus) before he was 10, and the orphaned boy was raised by a paternal uncle who was emotionally cold (Sun in detriment in Aquarius/conjunct Saturn).”
You probably haven’t heard of Karen Lamb. Neither had I, but when I looked for quotes about fresh starts for the New Year this one jumped off the page. It was followed by a quote analysis which I also love, especially as we’re living in a world that has unexpectedly taught us about the power of compound effects –
Most of the time, getting started is already winning half of the battle. The compound effect is an extremely powerful tool that many people overlook when they are pursuing a goal or their dreams. For example, the power of tiny gains:
- Just 1% improvement daily gets you 37.78 times further than where you started
- But just 1% decline daily nearly puts you back to zero
So, if you have goals and ambition, start now. Work at it daily no matter how small. It will take you way, way further than waiting for the right moment to strike and further than you could’ve ever imagined.
This resonates with me. I remember having to turn my life around about 15 years ago and, as part of the process, I remember deciding that I would do one thing each and every day to promote my work, no matter how small. It took a while but not that long, the tide turned surprisingly quickly. And very, very early on in this pandemic I read an article about the truth of exponential growth which was brilliant. I wish I’d kept it, it wasn’t astrological but it was frighteningly accurate in terms of its predictions, but I do remember that it used the story of the rice on the chessboard as an example.
If you don’t know the fable, a king challenges a sage to a game of chess. If he were to win the game the sage asked for the prize of a grain of rice to be doubled up on each of the 64 squares of the chessboard – so 2 grains on the second square, 4 grains on the third square, 8 grains on the fourth square and so on. He won the game –
Following the exponential growth of the rice payment, the king quickly realized that he was unable to fulfill his promise because on the twentieth square the king would have had to put 1,000,000 grains of rice. On the fortieth square, the king would have had to put 1,000,000,000 grains of rice. And, finally, on the sixty-fourth square, the king would have had to put more than 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 grains of rice which is equal to about 210 billion tons and is allegedly sufficient to cover the whole territory of India with a meter thick layer of rice.
Putting it another way, from a recent article in the BBC –
If the R value is higher than one, then the number of cases increases exponentially – it snowballs like debt on an unpaid credit card.
USING YOUR OWN R FACTOR – GET STARTED
So it’s clear that there’s a valuable lesson here to carry forwards with us into this much longed for New Year. No more waiting for “the right moment”, pandemic or no pandemic. The positive side of living through such grueling times has been the wakeup call about how much we used to take for granted and the reminder that life is both precarious and precious. We can never retrieve lost time. So no matter what it is you want to change or achieve, no matter what you’ve been putting off and no matter for how long, just take the first step.
You can focus on what you want an outcome to be, and that is often very helpful, but sometimes that in itself can feel overwhelming. Far more effective from the exponential point of view is to look at where your thoughts, beliefs or habits have historically not produced the results you wanted or have even worked against you. Taking that first step in the new direction may not feel that powerful to begin with but science tells us that it’s the way to propel ourselves forwards. In other words, good things can snowball as well as bad!
PERSONAL PLANETS, OUTER PLANETS
This week’s astrology strongly supports the embracing of doing things differently as the theme of new cycles continues. If you’re not actually an astrology student note that when I sometimes refer to the “personal” planets this means the first seven celestial bodies of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. All the slower moving outer planets that come next are sometimes in fact called the “transaturnians” – the ones who come after Saturn – and have significantly longer orbits.
These outer planets are also called the generational planets simply because they change sign so infrequently – eg the reason that you continually read that Pluto is in Capricorn is because it’s taking from 2008 to 2023 for this planet to travel through this sign. Putting it another way, every child born within these dates will therefore have Pluto in Capricorn in their natal horoscope.
The personal planets change sign at varying speeds depending on their own orbit and retrograde periods. This week is notable because Mars who usually changes sign every two months is now finally moving on after being in Aries for over 6 months (was retrograde from 9 September to 14 November). Conversely, Mercury is ending the trip through Capricorn and entering Aquarius, but will turn retrograde in this sign at the end of the month and will therefore be looping backwards and forwards in this sign between now and 15 March. To put that in perspective Mercury at full speed can whizz through one sign in a couple of weeks, but the retrograde phase extends the trip through one sign to over two months.
MERCURY ON A MISSION
Mercury the winged messenger of the gods, who rules everything under the huge umbrella of communication and information, dominates the coming week –
Tuesday 5 January
- Mercury conjunct Pluto 24 Capricorn 00.57
Wednesday 6 January
- Mars ingress Taurus 22.28
Friday 8 January
- Mercury ingress Aquarius 12.01
Saturday 9 January
- Mercury 1 Aquarius square Mars 1 Taurus 02.46
Sunday 10 January
- Mercury conjunct Saturn 2 Aquarius 03.18
Monday 11 January
- Mercury conjunct Jupiter 5 Aquarius 17.21
In traditional astrology Mercury is said to be both dignified and exalted in the sign of Virgo, but more modern day thinking gives the sign of Aquarius for Mercury’s exaltation (best placing). Although I’m a diehard traditional astrologer I concede that there’s a strong case for this. Aquarius is an air sign, element of the thinking function, and is associated with originality, avant garde intelligence, the power of objectivity, the scientific approach and what is best for the collective. Expressed through Mercury the mind planet we get the ultimate in objective reasoning. As a natal placing this combination often denotes the lateral and original thinkers of the world, the type who have brains like top speed computers, Martin Luther King, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Mozart and Chopin to name a few.
Aquarius is also associated with distancing, which can be problematic in the arena of personal relationships, but whoever coined the phrase “thinking outside of the box” must have had this Mercury. And in the context of our life and times it’s a fitting symbol for continued social distancing and for getting this message across again and again. There’s simply no room here for taking things personally or justifying rule breaking for emotional reasons. But it’s not forever – it just feels like it! It’s also intriguing that Mercury will be turning direct in this sign 21 Feb which correlates with when we can expect to start seeing the results and consequences of the mass vaccinations that are happening now. It’s likely to be a huge turning point.
At a personal level the message for now includes wrapping our heads around the reality of life as we’ve come to know it but also computing the “how to” of your own immediate challenges. For most of us comparing life now to how it was this time last year is nothing short of head spinning but in this last week alone I’ve heard of new jobs, new homes, new relationships, new ideas – the stuff of life goes on and on.
Back to the sequence of Mercury aspects look out for a matter coming to an end. Mercury’s last aspect in Capricorn is the union with Pluto – closure and finality. Probably best not to challenge anything that is out of your control/power or beyond the point of rescue. Like presidential election results lol. If you have a tough decision to make do it now, accept matters that have been decided for you or which are in the inevitability category. Or if you have any jobs hanging over you then it’s a great week for clearing the decks. Or changing your mind. Back out of anything you wish you hadn’t agreed to in the first place.
Mercury changes sign on Friday, squares up to Mars (not easy, friction, roadblocks, delays, things that slow us down) and then plays into the Big News conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn at the weekend/going into next week. For many this reflects Brexit related changes but am not even going to get started on that. I also think this reflects a powerful time for developing work or social stuff through the power of technology, and any offers, projects or news that come your way at this time will be well worth following up.
If I had to sum up the Mercury mood it would be to say try not to get emotional or in a flap about anything. Note also that there’s nothing in the element of fire at the moment, so stay cool, use your head and do what makes sense, from a self preservation point of view but especially in keeping with the theme of moving things in the right direction, bit by bit. If you’ve got personal or relationship issues to deal with there’s probably a lot of talking to be done but you’ll get much further now if you can get your point across on the basis of facts and real reasons rather than excuses. In other words, if you’re upset, say so. Don’t act it out. Conversely, if someone else is upset, find out why. Mercury in Aquarius is great for curiosity and understanding. Asking pertinent questions will get even the most difficult of conversations started, or will be the best way to get a new relationship off the starting blocks.
Just a few hours after Mercury changes sign Venus does the same thing, moving into the earth sign of Capricorn. Venus’ first aspect is to Mars, whose new journey is also in an earth sign, which is the stuff of compatibility – ie being in your element, which is reflected in the harmonious aspect of the trine, formed when planets are exactly four signs apart –
Friday 8 January
- Venus ingress Capricorn 15.42
- Sun 18 Capricorn sextile Neptune 18 Pisces 16.55
Saturday 9 January
- Venus 1 Capricorn trine Mars 1 Taurus 15.54
This is Good News for anything in the romance department but especially for new relationships, fresh starts or shared plans for the future. The earth element favours materializing things or getting physical (Covid tests allowing!). Venus’ change of sign is immediately followed by another harmonious aspect, this time from the Sun to Neptune. This is the only splash of water (feelings) in a week otherwise dominated by earth and air. Permission to get mushy (briefly) granted. This whole picture is also great for getting creative and for money making so, again, pay special attention to anything that has got opportunity written all over it.
I’ll be talking more about Venus and Mars’s new cycles again next time as they’re both involved in major aspects next week, immediately after the New Moon in Capricorn, and Uranus is also going to turn direct after being retrograde since the middle of last August, so there’s a lot more to come.
Until next week, Happy New Year
With love from Greece