As I always say, the planets don’t give a
fu er, “hoot”, about how we keep track of time on Earth.
Astrologically, the start of a new week/month/year doesn’t have special significance. It’s the dates of specific planetary configurations that we care about.
Last year, we experienced three crucial astrological events on five specific dates (one reason why it was such a… unique year!):
- January 12: Saturn-Pluto conjunction
- April 5: Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (first pass)
- June 30: Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (second pass)
- November 12: Jupiter-Pluto conjunction (third pass)
- December 21: Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.
Astrologically speaking, 2020 ‘started’ on January 12 and ‘ended’ on December 21. That’s almost equivalent to a calendar year. But, some years, we don’t have an important astrological event until April or May. And, that one event may be at play until June or July of the following year. So, a calendar year is not always the most accurate way to track astrological phenomena.
As an earthling, I nevertheless understand the symbolism of beginning a new year. So, in this post I will cover the most significant astrological influences over the next twelve months, and specify who will be most affected by them (if you have your birth chart handy, you’ll want to reference it).
I have divided this post into various sub-sections so you can read it piecemeal (and easily remember where you last left off).
BUT, FIRST… SOME CONTEXT
Context is the centerpiece of astrology. To understand where we are now, we have to understand where we have just been. Astrologically, nothing happens in a vacuum.
On January 12, 2020, Saturn and Pluto met in Capricorn.
As I explained in the months building up to that aspect, we were on our way to “foundational collapse”. That term wasn’t meant in a fatalistic, doomsday way. It was simply a literal translation of the astrology. Saturn is about foundations; Pluto is about collapse. When these two planets meet in a conjunction (as they do roughly every 38 years), that’s the order of the day.
Established paradigms and foundations (Saturn) collapse (Pluto). The status quo (Saturn) is transformed (Pluto). Subconscious (Pluto) fears (Saturn) surface (Pluto) and must be addressed (Saturn).
This conjunction was of particular importance because Saturn and Pluto hadn’t met in Capricorn since 1518. And, Capricorn is the sign that relates to government and business.
Soon, the entire world came to a grinding halt — and some industries had the floor removed from under them — as a result of COVID-19.
As we approached the last six weeks of 2020, it was clear that a slew of changes were in store (see this post for details), including a solar eclipse on December 14 that, from my astrological lens, pointed to Donald J. Trump’s presidency being limited to one term.
The other big-ticket event: a meeting between Jupiter and Saturn on December 21. Although these two planets meet roughly every twenty years, this one was especially significant because it happened at zero degrees (a powerful degree) of Aquarius and kicked off a new 200-year cycle of Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in air signs. This particular conjunction had “big changes” (in neon capital letters) written all over it.
I was not at all surprised that, two weeks after this event, two Democrats won the Georgia Senate runoff elections, flipping the Senate from Republican control to Democratic control (in addition, Jon Ossoff had his Mars return at the time of the election — a period of success and forward movement — while Raphael Warnock had opportunity-laden Jupiter supporting his natal Mars and Jupiter — significantly increasing the chances of the odds being in his favor).
As I explained in my November 4, 2020 blog post:
“Aquarius is progressive, forward-thinking, revolutionary, unpredictable, unexpected. It is also the sign that rules science and technology.
This gives the period between 2020 and 2040 (the next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction takes place in Libra on October 31, 2040) a significant amount of radical, unconventional, innovative, experimental energy.”
I also noted that while this indicated the beginning of a new era, “astrological ‘stress’ is required for growth and evolution. When there is such a significant shift from the energy of one sign to the next (as we shift from a time of extreme Capricorn energy to a significantly more Aquarian energy), there are some initial bumps in the road.”
Which brings us to…
THE EVENTS OF JANUARY 6, 2021
In my previous post, where I discussed the astrological events of the last six weeks of 2020, I mentioned that “Mars has a pending boxing match with Saturn and Pluto. The Mars-Pluto fight takes place from December 17 to December 31. The Mars-Saturn face-off takes place between January 6 and January 27. When Mars squares off against these two heavy hitters, anger and resentment surfaces. Whatever has been festering finally comes to a head so it can be addressed once and for all — head-on.”
The January 6, 2021 breach of the United States Capitol by pro-Trump rioters was an unprecedented event. And, yet, given the current astrological landscape (that puts a magnifying glass over our collective societal shadow so we can finally face it and do something about it), I was not surprised. Not only did this take place during a square (combative aspect) between Mars and Saturn; it was also planned during a square between Mars and Pluto. That’s a lot of mismanaged anger — with extra kerosene, to boot.
There’s another major astrological influence currently at play — the United States’ Pluto return. As I wrote in this June 3, 2020 post, this aspect “is exact on February 21, 2022, but its effects will begin to be felt as early as January 2021.”
The Pluto return (which happens roughly every 244 years, and therefore is the country’s first-ever) requires that we:
- tear down structures and systems that are rotten at the core and start over;
- forget band-aid solutions; identify foundational problems and look to foundational solutions;
- face all the “ugly things” that have been swept under the rug;
- embrace systemic change.
Pluto — regardless of whether you talk about it in a person’s chart or a country’s chart — represents whatever has been repressed for a long time. It represents our shadow; the unpleasant side(s) of ourselves that we often avoid, or project onto others.
“Shadow work” can really pay off. Consider, for example, the tremendous power and insight that can come from someone accepting that their own deep-seated insecurities about “not being good enough” are at the root of their constant desire to dominate conversations and have the last word (as opposed to less-evolved perspectives like “everyone I meet is so boring,” or “I’m just a say-it-like-it-is kind of person; if other people don’t like it, that’s their problem.”)
Alas, we often hear about what happens after people do “shadow work”. The clarifying “a-ha” moments. The amends they made. Their improved, authentic life. The albatross they took off their shoulders. The success they achieved.
What is often left out of the equation is the experience of doing the shadow work (much like how fairy tales end at a happy climax; we never hear how Prince Charming and his betrothed had a shitty honeymoon where they gave each other the silent treatment for 48 hours).
It’s important to understand that, as a backdrop to the astrology of 2021, we have the very beginnings of the United States’ Pluto return. We will all, collectively, do societal “shadow work”. A lot of unpleasant things will surface.
I’m not sharing this to scare anyone or deflate hopes of “things getting better”. It just so happens that, astrologically, we now have to address a malignant tumor that has been growing for a while. And, in order to excise it, we’ll need to face it and analyze it from various angles. When Pluto comes knocking, hiding isn’t an option. Neither is downplaying its seriousness, using humor as a defense mechanism, or playing dumb until it leaves. Pluto has unfinished business for us to address, and there is no grace period.
What we in the United States witnessed on January 6 was the manifestation of a dark collective unconscious that, for decades, lurked in the shadows. As the country approaches its Pluto return, we will be asked to acknowledge this underbelly.
Remember: the December 21, 2020 Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius is the bridge to a new era that will be in full swing by the time Pluto enters Aquarius “for good” in 2024 (in 2023, Pluto will dip its toes into Aquarius from March 23 until June 11).
Until then, we will come face-to-face with very ugly truths about who we are as a people. If this journey through Pluto’s psychological caves is handled well, it can help bring long-standing societal shifts that help us evolve. However, this can only be accomplished if we embrace our collective shadow.
That doesn’t mean we have to self-flagellate, go down a shame spiral, or engage in self-hatred. However, it is vital that we recognize the inherent problems in many of our country’s societal foundations, historical institutions, and customs. “People are crazy!” is not an acceptable response during a Pluto return. Pluto wants us to look inward and surrender to the fact that some of the ugliness we see (and will see) is part of our collective identity.
In the wise words of Carl Jung: “knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.”
To be very clear: that doesn’t mean making excuses for other people’s terrible behavior or engaging in problematic “both sides”-ism. It simply means to resist the initial urge to project negative qualities externally — and to understand that this isn’t “their mess”; it’s “our mess”.
THE MAIN ASTROLOGICAL EVENT OF 2021
While 2020 had three significant astrological events, 2021 has one — a square between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus.
This aspect takes place approximately every 22 years. In 2021, it will be exact at three different times:
- February 17
- June 14
- December 24
Given these two planets’ slow speeds, I will keep an eye on those dates — with a three-week window on either end.
Saturn represents structures, authority, the status quo. Uranus upsets the apple cart, sparks revolution, and wants to march at the beat of its own drum.
While it’s great that we have essentially been given the tools to “build something new”, this year’s astrological landscape has two powerful entities fighting for control of that blueprint: Saturn (representing those who want a return to what they already know) and Uranus (representing those who want to go with a brand new concept).
This aspect encourages us to tackle old habits that have gotten in the way of our progress. It also provides opportunities to cement (Saturn) new and creative solutions (Uranus).
With that said, the main ask of this aspect is to find the sweet spot between Uranus (“blow it all up and start from scratch!”) and Saturn (“don’t change a single thing; we’ve done it this way for the last 100 years!”).
Given the current global landscape, I suspect that as the year goes on, we will see two opposite ends of the spectrum as COVID-19 vaccinations are rolled out. Some nations — or parts of the country — will quickly go back to “the way things were”, while others will be looking to create a new normal. And, at times, these opposing perspectives will clash.
The ask of this aspect, of course, is to determine what can be kept from “the old” and what has to be reinvented. Alas, that process will get a little dirty sometimes.
This aspect also reminds us that change (Uranus) needs a framework (Saturn). One of the pitfalls of tipping the scales toward too much Uranus is simply stating that “the status quo has to go” without first thinking about what would replace it. Too much Uranus is chaotic.
As I always tell my clients in private readings, there is no such thing as a “good planet” or a “bad planet”. It can be very tempting, when discussing Uranus and Saturn, to think of Uranus as the progressive, forward-thinking, freedom-loving planet… and of Saturn as the stodgy, boring, firm authoritarian.
Resist that cognitive trap. They both offer benefits and challenges.
After all, Saturn is the brakes on our cars (imagine driving a car without breaks), traffic lights (imagine driving without traffic lights), and laws. Sure, you can err on the side of too much Saturn and have too many rules and regulations. But, the absence of limits, boundaries, and order is just as problematic.
And, while Uranus represents virtuous traits like egalitarianism, creativity, and revolutions that move society forward, it can also be disruptive and chaotic. Uranus rules, among other things, earthquakes. Too much Uranus is the equivalent of experiencing an 8.0 magnitude earthquake on a weekly basis.
As we begin to build new foundations during this new Aquarian era, we’ll need to embrace change (Uranus) that is sustainable (Saturn) and well-rooted (Saturn).
By the way: Taurus — Uranus’ current home — is associated with the economy. So, in my eyes, this Saturn-Uranus square indicates major (Uranus) economic (Taurus) restructuring (Saturn) as we embrace a new (Aquarius) world. When Uranus entered Taurus on March 6, 2019 (it will be there until April 27, 2026 — except for a brief stint in Gemini from July 8 to November 8 of 2025), I published an Instagram post where I wrote:
“The planet of change, rebellion, technology, invention, and novelty has entered the sign that rules — among other things — finances, values, the earth, and resources.
The last time Uranus was in Taurus (1934 – 1942), we experienced the the worst part, and end, of The Great Depression. It also included the creation of the New Deal, the Social Security Act, and the Banking Act of 1935, which ‘changed the structure and power distribution in the Federal Reserve System.’ You can’t get more Uranus-in-Taurus than that!
No, you don’t need to stockpile food. Life goes on. Society evolves.
Since Taurus rules the earth, it isn’t surprising that the Soil Conservation Act — which called for changes (Uranus’ favorite word!) in plowing techniques — passed during Uranus’ previous sojourn in Taurus.
Expect ecological-focused technology to advance by leaps and bounds during this transit.”
As Saturn squares Uranus, the above-mentioned themes will dominate much of the conversation in 2021. Specifically: how do we redesign a new financial reality?
I expect major volatility in global markets — and especially with cryptocurrency — as this aspect plays out.
PS: Saturn and Uranus will be in an almost-exact square (literally half a minute from being exact) from October 1 to October 12 of 2022. So, while the squares are only exact in 2021, the effects of this aspect will reverberate through the majority of 2022.
WHY OCTOBER OF 2021 SEEMS SIGNIFICANT
Within a twelve-day period in October of 2021, four planets will end their respective retrogrades:
- Pluto turns direct on October 6;
- Saturn turns direct on October 10;
- Jupiter and Mercury both turn direct on October 18.
This is a lot of concentrated astrological activity. I have found that multiple reversals in direction (especially from retrograde motion to direct motion) align with a flurry of activity and developments.
Additionally, from October 16 to October 28, Mars will be square Pluto. This is always an aspect that brings tensions to a head. Sometimes, this can result in forceful, yet productive, discussion. At its worst, though, it can incite anger and violence.
WHO WILL BE MOST AFFECTED BY PLANETARY MOVEMENTS IN 2021?
When it comes to feeling astrological effects, I only focus on the movement of the slower-moving planets: Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Their slower speeds mean that their effects are felt for a significant period of time (as opposed to the moon, which has an orbital period of 28 days and, if it affects your chart, only does so for roughly eight hours).
If you don’t know where you have your sun, moon, and planets: head to Astrodienst, enter your birth information, and create a free chart. Then, read below to determine if you will be affected by the planets’ movements over the next twelve months.
HELPED BY SATURN
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 7 and 12 degrees of Aries, Gemini, Libra, Sagittarius.
If this is you, 2021 will help you solidify and crystallize. Even when Saturn is helping, it is still Saturn. In other words — you will be asked to “do the work” and put in significant effort. But, Saturn on your side is a lot like having the best coach training you. You will be put through the paces. But, by the time you are done, you will walk away with a tremendous set of skills.
CHALLENGED BY SATURN
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 7 and 12 degrees of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius.
While I don’t do “doom and gloom” astrology, I also don’t sugarcoat things. Saturn challenges are a doozy. There’s no way around it. As I tell my private clients, a Saturn challenge has a purpose and a lesson. We aren’t challenged because of “bad karma” or for the sake of suffering.
This simply comes down to Saturn’s role in astrology: the auditor. Saturn wants to make sure everything is running smoothly. And, to make sure that’s happening, Saturn stress tests our lives. Whatever is on its last leg will not make it through a Saturn challenge. This can sometimes be difficult because, prior to the Saturn challenge, it’s easier to live in denial (“okay, so maybe this relationship isn’t the healthiest… and I don’t feel listened to… but at least we’re not cheating on each other!”). Once Saturn comes along, anything built on a shaky foundation will crumble.
HELPED BY URANUS
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 11 and 15 degrees of Cancer, Virgo, Capricorn, Pisces.
When Uranus supports your chart, the winds of change blow quite strongly — and in your favor. It’s important to remember that beneficial aspects from a planet don’t mean we can avoid a given planet’s archetypal energy; rather, it means we have an easier time integrating it. Supportive Uranus transits also make us seek change and reinvention.
CHALLENGED BY URANUS
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 11 and 15 degrees of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius.
When Uranus challenges something in our chart, we learn lessons about detachment and going with the flow. Irrevocable change takes place (often times at the hands of others, and the kind of change we have no say over, but nevertheless has tremendous downstream effects). Challenging Uranus transits become a hundred times more challenging if our response is to fight change and maintain everything as it is.
HELPED BY NEPTUNE
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 20 and 23 degrees of Taurus, Cancer, Scorpio, Capricorn.
True to form, Neptune is the most subtle of the slower-moving planets. Nevertheless, the effects of supportive transits are felt — mainly as a time of increased inspiration, sensitivity, and compassion. Many people often discover an artistic talent or skill during beneficial Neptune transits, too.
CHALLENGED BY NEPTUNE
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 20 and 23 degrees of Gemini, Virgo Sagittarius, Pisces.
This is the “buyer beware” transit. When Neptune challenges our chart, we must remember that our perception of reality is temporarily skewed. What looks and sounds fabulous now will look and sound much different when the transit is over. I strongly advise against making major life changes and decisions during a challenging Neptune transit to avoid buyer’s remorse down the line. Challenging Neptune transits are the equivalent of Alice falling down the rabbit hole. The risk of wanting to escape life’s troubles to such a degree that we find ourselves in the midst of an addiction is higher than ever. The best way to navigate a challenging Neptune transit is by ensuring we have things — and people — in our lives that help ground us and provide a realistic perspective of what is taking place. These transits are also often rife with dishonesty and delusion (from others as well as self-inflicted).
HELPED BY PLUTO
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 24 and 27 degrees of Taurus, Virgo, Scorpio, Pisces.
I refer to beneficial Pluto transits as “power transits”, because these are the transits that can potentially help us uproot our lives, level up, and become our best selves. This is still Pluto we are talking about, so any changes deployed as a result of this transit will be systemic and life-changing. As I often tell clients, Pluto’s idea of change isn’t “let’s change the color of the walls in the bedroom!”; it’s “let’s completely demolish this house and build a new one.” For many people, beneficial Pluto transits allow them to finally heal from unresolved trauma and address baggage that has gotten in the way of their evolution and fulfillment. If you’re willing to go deep and transform, this transit can give you the emotional makeover of your dreams.
CHALLENGED BY PLUTO
Anyone who has the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 24 and 27 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn.
Think of a Pluto challenge as a category 5 hurricane that decimates whatever isn’t strong enough to sustain its power. And, whatever is strong enough will nevertheless be put through the wringer. It’s important to understand that challenging Pluto transits have a purpose: to facilitate regeneration. It can be difficult for (most of) us to recognize when something is over or when a cycle has come to an end. During a challenging Pluto transit, we are faced with that truth. Sure, at first it can be harrowing and a tough pill to swallow. But, Pluto transits are quite long (often times up to two years) because Pluto then sticks around to supervise the rebuilding process.
As 2021 goes on, I will — as always — share more details about these transits (and other events, like eclipses) on my Instagram page. So, please follow me there as the conversation continues!