Power and change is in the air. Everyone feels it. The news reports on various manifestations: the good–more people are identifying as empaths and getting in touch with their spirituality through paganism than ever before, and the deeply troubling–fascism and xenophobia are on the rise in governments throughout the world from Brazil to Russia and here in the United States. This challenging moment of uncertainty, heightened sensitivity and connection by some and a doubling down on separation and violence by others, has deep roots. The current expression is related to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that we’ve been feeling since last Winter, which will culminate in a year, from December 2019-January 2020. This epochal alignment is the overarching context we’re operating within for the next two years. To understand what this means for us as individuals, we need to look at how this has historically manifested in the collective because the movements of Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto define generations.
Saturn is the planet of strict authority, hard limits and boundaries, sufferings and hardship, and necessity and finality. With his many rings, he likes to constrict and deprive. Before humans had telescopes to view the heavens, Saturn was the last planet visible with the naked eye. As such, he’s associated with the endings of things. Pluto is associated with the God of death, the underworld, and the riches that lay beneath the Earth. He’s raw power and evolutionary transformation, and has the ability to empower and intensify whatever he touches. Pluto and Saturn come together every 31-37 years. Their combined energy brought us some of the most difficult periods of the last century: World War 1, World War 2, and September 11, 2001. Moments of contraction, characterized by international crisis and conflict, that each brought about the end of an era. In his book, Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas describes the archetypal Saturn-Pluto complex as tending “to constellate a widespread sense that one’s life was determined and constrained by large impersonal forces…too powerful to and dominant to be affected by the individual self. This sense of vulnerability was in turn regularly matched by a drive for power, control, and domination” (210). Capricorn is Saturn’s home sign of structure and security that desires to create firm foundation from which a mighty empire can grow. Astrologers have been speculating how the Saturn-Pluto conjunction will manifest in Capricorn as the cold earth sign does nothing to temper Saturn’s force, but rather exacerbates his autocratic impulses.
We’ve already seen an emphasis of this energy in 2019. The year began with a Saturn-Sun conjunction on January 2, the Capricorn new Moon partial solar eclipse on January 5, and the Sun’s conjunction with Pluto on January 11. Consider what was going on for you during those days for an indication of your personal experience with this power. Mars and Venus are going to set off these points in February, which will be especially pronounced for those with planets in Capricorn or any cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, and Libra). If all of that feels a tad ominous, it is (feel free to call me with your feelings about it late at night because I’m already up thinking about it), but it’s not the only major alignment at play.
The month starts on February 1, with Mars well dignified in his home sign of Aries, moving into a conjunction with Uranus, and a square with Pluto. This Mars square may add some extra emphasis to the Saturn-Pluto experience, but it’s also highlighting the end of the Uranus-Pluto square that’s been with us since 2010. If Pluto with Saturn closes things down, Pluto with Uranus breaks things open. The revolutionary emancipatory impulse of Uranus in Aries coupled with the transformative power of Pluto can be credited with much of the radical social justice movements that emerged in the last 8 years: the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, increased immigrant rights, and greater freedom and liberation for the transgender community. Uranus takes 84 years to cycle the Sun, so this is the last time he’ll be in Aries in our lifetime after moving into Taurus on March 6.
In considering a long view of history, we see progress is commonly followed by backlash. The visibility of issues and concerns that were long ignored by the mainstream is a tremendous step forward. Yet those who’s fragile egos are threatened by these changes are attempting to take us back to an earlier era, to make America great again, because Saturn rules old age and creates nostalgia for the past. We see the Saturn-Pluto archetype writ large in people who cast themselves as victims and compensate for feeling vulnerable with violence and repression. But their fearful hate can’t negate the progress of the last decade. We’re a global society, more connected, organized, and informed than ever before. This Mars square hits on the ongoing negotiation within us personally and collectively, demanding we consider where we feel powerful and disempowered, free and confined, open and unallowed, evolving and stuck. The strong drive of Mars can give a nice boost to whatever area of your chart is ruled by Aries, but there’s a tendency to go too hard and an impulse to fight too much. The best use of Mars is to direct him towards a task, so be clear about what you want to achieve and watch him make it happen.
The following day, February 2, Venus is highlighted in the conversation as she makes a trine to Uranus from Sagittarius. This is an anarcha-feminist riot grrl kind of energy that has the potential to bring topics relating to the emancipation of the Divine Feminine to the forefront. Venus is often active on the Witches Sabbats, and February 2 is the pagan holiday of Imbolc, also known as Candelmas, Brigid’s Day, or mid-Winter. The ground is frozen but the light is gaining in the sky. The warmth fertilizes the Earth and we look for signs of the Goddess stirring from her slumber in the tentative hints of Spring.
Imbolc is traditionally a festival of torches when we reflect on the illumination from within and the inspiration from without. We give thanks for having stayed warm enough to survive the cold and remind ourselves that Spring is around the corner. One way to celebrate the increasing power of the Sun on Imbolc is to light a candle in each room of the house. Some pagans enjoy wearing a crown of lit candles on their head, but I’ll leave it to you to decide what’s safe in your space and for your hair. If there’s snow on the ground, you can remember the warmth of Summer and draw images of the Sun in the snow to remind your neighbors. I did this one year at a park after a formidable series of blizzards, and everyone appreciated it and started drawing their own. Witches inspire others to remember their magic so give yourself permission to play.
Imbolc ritual for self-dedication using candle magic: Decorate your altar with snowdrops and a Brigid’s cross (fun to make ahead of time). Cast your circle, light yellow, orange, and/or red candles and gaze into the flame. As you do, visualize your life bursting with vibrancy and creativity. Like the Goddess, you’re also being refreshed and renewed during Winter, but soon new life will spring forth. This is the quickening of the year, when spirit enlivens form. See it in your mind’s eye as if it’s already true. Believe in it and affirm it everyday from now till Ostara. Draw a picture or visually represent it to yourself in some other way. Some people like to create a poppet or Brigid’s doll. Carry that token with you or keep it on your altar for the next 7 weeks. So mote it be.
February 3 is a great time to move towards what you wish to manifest when Mercury sextile Jupiter. Business and communication are favored, and it’s an ideal day to make plans and create systems. Jupiter wants to expand your mind and Mercury is the key so let your imagination run wild and your spirit soar. Venus enters Capricorn on February 3, lending some grounding to the day, and further immersing herself in the power-play dynamics of Saturn-Pluto. Venus in Capricorn wants to make sure our relationships work for us, that they enable us to be our truest, most fulfilled, and productive selves. Over the month Venus may test your partnerships to see if they measure up, but only because she wants the very best for you. This is a strong, sensual, earth Goddess Venus who’s not going to allow you to settle for less.
The Aquarius New Moon on February 4, has a nice sextile from Jupiter and will continue the theme of forward looking innovation. We’ve finally concluded the eclipse cycle along the Leo-Aquarius axis that lit up those areas of our charts for the past 2 years. If it felt like there was a lot of loss in your Aquarius sector of life, this is a beautiful time to set intentions for a new beginning (feel free to email me if you’re not sure where this is for you). February 7 is a favorable day when the Sun sextiles Jupiter and Mercury sextiles Mars. Success is yours so if you’re feeling lucky go for it. I don’t know what it will be for you, but you will!
Mercury enters Pisces on February 10, beginning a lengthy swim through a psychedelic pond that will last (gasp!), until April 18. During that time they’ll encounter Neptune (the swamp monster!), multiple times over. Neptune isn’t actually a monster, but he is a confusing, disorientating, and, at times, debilitating influence. Mercury is in their adversity in Pisces, and will go retrograde there on March 5, so by the time it’s all over we may say, what a long strange trip it’s been. This is going to be a lazy, hazy couple of months, which means if there’s stuff you need to get done perfectly, do it now.
Mars conjuncts Uranus on February 13, but the volatile energy will build throughout the week. The best advice is to expect the unexpected and try to control yourself. Be careful when operating heavy machinery and avoid rash behavior or rushed decision making. This is a good day to begin an innovative project or express yourself individually, just be sure to play it safe in all arenas. Valentine’s Day may have a sharp edge this year thanks to Mars entering Taurus on February 14. Mars likes to fight and is in his adversity in the Venus ruled sign of love, beauty, pleasure, art, nature, romance, and sensuality. Mars will be there until April 1, so take the next 6 weeks to commit to what you’ve started because Taurus is faithful and enjoys hard work. Venus sextiles Neptune on February 17, which feels like a cosmic love letter, and will make for a better date night if you want to postpone romantic stuff for a few days.
The Venus-Saturn conjunction on February 18, curbs the dreamy influence and brings everything into the harsh light of day. If you find yourself feeling alienated or alone, reach out to those you trust. Conversations may feel somber but remember to give yourself the tenderness you need that may not be available from others. The Sun enters Pisces on February 18, moving us into the final sign of Winter, and two-thirds of the way towards Spring. Pisces is an emotional, intuitive water sign, ruled by Jupiter, that pertains to the formless and mysterious nature of God as embodied through the ocean. The Sun in Pisces incubates in the embryonic waters of life, gestating in the wisdom of all that is and the potential of all that could be. This is the final trimester before the rebirth at the Spring equinox when the Sun ingresses into Aries, the sign of it’s exaltation. Whatever you’ve been holding inside may begin pouring out, but do no be ashamed of your leaky body. Revel in the healing available from the baptismal waters of Pisces, especially if they burst forth from your eyes.
The Virgo Full Moon on February 19, is all fogged in due to the Mercury-Neptune conjunction on the same day. The Moon is in a trine with Mars in Taurus indicating there’s something to build, but it may be of a spiritual nature. Mercury is also making a sextile to Saturn, which provokes a desire for self-improvement and tendency towards exaggerated critique. However, due to the Neptunian influence it will be hard to see things clearly. Virgo does not suffer confusion gladly so this is more an opportunity for surrender than it is for control, which is a challenge for the mercurial earth sign. Dedicate yourself to what’s tangible and real, and appreciate the internal changes that have occurred since September.
Mercury squares Jupiter while Venus conjuncts Pluto on February 22, adding emotional intensity and depth to the weekend. You may confront the obstacle in your path or watch it be blown to bits. Passions will run high, but so will obsession and jealousy. Pay attention to who enters your life during this time and wait at least a few days before running off with them.
February is a short month but it’s packed with intensity. Please let me know how it goes for you, especially with all things Saturn and Pluto. Blessed be.