A new year is almost upon us! And that, astrologically, means nothing.
Here’s what I mean: from a planetary standpoint, nothing special happens on January 1 of each year. In fact, as you’ll read in this post, 2022 is largely affected by planetary influences that started in 2021.
But, as arbitrary as terrestrial time-keeping is, it helps us break down long astrological cycles into digestible chunks.
Before we begin, I want to be clear about the perspective through which I approach mundane astrology (the study of world events through astrology).
I believe history has consistently demonstrated the resilience of nature — and the human spirit. Nothing halts evolution and progress. Life goes on. Our planet has gone through five major mass extinctions… and here we are. So, any claim that an astrological aspect or phenomenon is a harbinger for “end times” is absolute nonsense.
Even the most cursory review of the last few centuries provides countless examples of atrocities, horrors, and strife. But, we as a human race persist. We set goals, create art, develop technology, start nonprofits, go to therapy to better understand ourselves, take care of our health, fall in love, sing along to our favorite songs, have fun with friends, go on vacations, and try our best to enjoy our brief stay on this oblate spheroid we call Earth.
Of course, we all go through challenging moments. It’s okay to experience disappointment, doubt, frustration, and sadness. It’s important to not feel shame around these emotions — and even more so to be able to share them. This has especially been on my mind lately because an acquaintance and a friend both died by suicide this fall. If you are experiencing emotional distress or thoughts of self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24/7, free, and confidential) to speak to a crisis counselor: 1-800-273-8255.
When I analyze and write about astrological cycles, I choose a narrative that sees challenges as opportunities for learning and growth, darkness as a way to appreciate light, and moments of reckoning and “truth bombs” as important pivot points of evolution.
I don’t mean to downplay or minimize difficult and harrowing events. My Virgo moon despises toxic positivity and fairy tale forecasts that promise “an amazing year” ahead. My point is simply that humanity has an amazing capacity to adjust and overcome.
I also believe that we each energetically contribute to the overall state of the world. I want my contribution to be one that raises awareness and shows the bigger picture in a practical and realistic manner, but with a dose of measured optimism. If you’re looking for doom and gloom, fear-based predictions, rants about how “we’re all screwed,” or something to contribute to your stress and anxiety, you are in the wrong place (and I encourage you to explore why you seek that kind of information).
Let’s begin. For ease of reading, this post is divided into subsections.
THE SATURN-URANUS SQUARE IS STILL AT PLAY
2021 was dominated by a square (90-degree angle) between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus.
This aspect happens approximately every 22 years (the last Saturn-Uranus square was in 1999 and 2000, when Saturn in Taurus squared Uranus in Aquarius — very fitting for the Y2K fears that were rampant at the time).
Throughout 2021, Saturn and Uranus were approximately 90 degrees apart. They were exactly 90 degrees apart (what we in astrology call “in an exact square”) on:
- February 17
- June 14
- December 24
Since Saturn and Uranus move quite slowly, each of these three squares was active three weeks before and three weeks after the dates listed above.
Saturn represents authority, caution, pragmatism, rationality, rules, and structure that provide stability and a solid framework. Uranus upsets the apple cart, questions everything, sparks revolution, and wants to march to the beat of its own drum. Saturn wants order; Uranus wants freedom.
This is why 2021 had such a ‘push-and-pull’ feel to it.
This aspect has played out globally with public health mandates in response to COVID-19, especially vaccines and vaccine “passports.” Saturn sees vaccination and documentation as the evidence-backed, rational, pragmatic, and proven approach to dealing with a global pandemic. Uranus sees it as an authoritarian overreach that imposes on its freedoms. I believe that, if these two planets were not squaring one another, the COVID-19 vaccine would have largely been received as no different from the chickenpox vaccine.
Not surprisingly, the dates around these three peaks brought significant events in regards to COVID-19 vaccinations:
- In February, COVID-19 vaccines first became available in US pharmacies.
- That same month, protests against COVID-19 vaccines ramped up.
- On June 9, the United States bought and donated 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to donate to approximately 100 countries over the next twelve months
- As we head toward the third and final Saturn-Uranus square, Belgium and Austria are seeing massive protests to vaccine mandates and coronavirus measures. I also expect a stronger push for vaccines and boosters (or see stricter mandates and measures) as cases sharply increase.
Saturn and Uranus will still taunt one another (albeit less aggressively) through the end of February of 2022. Saturn will then sprint through Aquarius until late July of 2022, rendering this square inactive. However, in early August these two planets will approach one another again — and be less than one degree away from an exact square the first half of October of 2022. That tension won’t dissipate until the last week of December of 2022, by the way.
So, while 2022 brings the end of this particular Saturn-Uranus square cycle, we’ll traverse a few moments when the sparks between these two will once again fly.
This aspect ultimately provides opportunities to cement (Saturn) new and creative solutions (Uranus). Its main ask 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!”).
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 take its place. 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, chaotic, and erratic. 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).
Let’s also remember that Uranus is currently in Taurus — the sign that relates to money and finances. Uranus rules technology and whatever is new and on the cutting edge. Cryptocurrency, anyone?
Consider how the three Saturn-Uranus square peaks also align with significant cryptocurrency moments:
- As Wikipedia succinctly explains, “in January 2021, a short squeeze of the stock of American video game retailer GameStop and other securities took place, causing major financial consequences for certain hedge funds and large losses for short sellers.”
- In late January of 2021, Bitcoin reached its highest price yet.
- In the summer of 2021, Bitcoin prices plummeted (remember, Uranus is the planet of volatility)
- As we head toward the third and final Saturn-Uranus square, Bitcoin prices are once again skyrocketing.
Also of note: on June 9 (five days before the second exact square), El Salvador became the first country to make make Bitcoin legal tender. The US dollar is still the country’s primary currency, but cryptocurrency can be used for any transaction (if a business accepts it).
The ongoing Saturn square to Uranus indicates that cryptocurrency will face hurdles, obstacles, and regulations. That isn’t necessarily bad. As I always explain to clients in private readings, Saturn is the zodiac’s auditor. It stress-tests things to ensure they are sustainable and are on a solid foundation, and also provides rules and regulations.
As Uranus continues its trek through Taurus through 2026, I expect cryptocurrency to continue to grow.
JUPITER AND NEPTUNE MEET IN PISCES
2022 contains one important planetary conjunction (“meetup”): on April 12, Jupiter and Neptune sync up at 23 degrees and 58 minutes of Pisces — Neptune’s ruling sign. Fun fact: Jupiter was the co-ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces until Neptune’s discovery in 1846.
To understand what this conjunction may bring, let’s consider all the archetypes at play.
- Jupiter: Expansion, faith, hope, optimism
- Neptune: Dissolution, fantasy, imagination, refining, transcending
- Pisces: Artistry, compassion, conspiracies, drugs, invisibility, medicine, pharmaceuticals, sensitivity, spirituality, the collective unconscious, viruses, water
Although this conjunction takes place on April 12, it is active from March 27 to April 27. During that time, I expect to see an important development related to COVID-19. Alas, that could go one of two ways: either with a new variant that expands the virus’ outreach or antiviral medications that help reduce hospitalization and death from COVID-19, thereby providing hope and optimism that we are nearing the end of the pandemic (the actual virus aside, we’ll still be dealing with its aftermath and various consequences through 2024, as I explained in this post).
I also expect this conjunction to set the stage for:
- Developments around the legalization/decriminalizing of certain drugs (globally);
- Important milestones in, the research and development of medications for chronic diseases;
- Expand global interest in non-denominational spirituality;
- Bring significant flooding in the spring and summer of 2022 (in countries/cities with charts challenged by this conjunction)
Jupiter and Neptune last met in 2009 (in Aquarius), but their last meeting in Pisces was on March 17, 1856.
THE UNITED STATES’ PLUTO RETURN IS IN FULL SWING
This June 2020 blog post covers the bases of what the United States’ first-ever Pluto return entails (please read it for context).
The TL;DR? Chaos and crises that are meant to nudge us towards evolutionary change. The demand is to shed skin, write a new chapter, and embrace a new identity.
Of particular note is this excerpt from my June 2020 post:
The United States’ Pluto return is exact on February 21, 2022 but effects will begin to be felt as early as January 2021.
To clarify: the current situation relates to the first transit I mentioned in this post: Jupiter conjunct Pluto. Think of Jupiter as the magnifying glass being used to identify what will need to be repaired during the Pluto return.
The United States’ Pluto return has four “peaks” (moments of high intensity):
January 2021, of course, was when pro-Trump rioters breached the United States Capitol. With this greater astrological context in mind, it’s important to see that event not as something isolated and random, but rather as a piece to a larger puzzle that will become more evident as we navigate 2022.
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.
Over the next two years, we will continue to come face-to-face with very ugly social truth. The recent Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, for example, was only the latest example of there being two separate and unequal justice systems in the United States. I suspect we’ll see more examples next year.
In true Pluto return fashion, these events are unpleasant reminders that a certain past has not been fully acknowledged or processed at the collective level (Pluto is the planet that rules whatever we repress, consciously or otherwise). Since Pluto realities are so harsh, one very common reaction to its energy — whether you are talking about an individual person or a collective society — is to ignore, downplay, or become defensive about everything it brings to the surface.
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.
Challenging Pluto transits — like a Pluto return, which no human experiences since it wouldn’t happen until we are approximately 248th years old — are never pleasant per se. But, they are necessary.
Pluto oversees the processes of detoxification and purification; not just physically, but metaphorically as well. A Pluto return is like that quintessential scene in the television show Hoarders where we see what lies at the bottom of all the piles of junk: the rodent fecal matter, the flattened corpses of a few animals, and spoiled food. We now need to essentially do the social equivalent of getting rid of the garbage we have accumulated over time (which, if you’ve seen the show, is not necessarily pleasant, amenable, or enjoyable… even though the results are worthwhile).
And, yes — just like on Hoarders, some will not want to get rid of the garbage because it provides them a sense of familiarity and safety. The transition from a dirty and messy abode to a clean and organized one will bring tensions to the surface.
THE UNITED STATES’ NEPTUNE OPPOSITION
Next year also sees the continuation of the United States’ current Neptune opposition (transiting Neptune, at 22 degrees of Pisces, is opposite the United States’ natal Neptune at 22 degrees of Virgo). This opposition started in March of 2021 and wraps up in March of 2023.
Since Neptune is one of the slower-moving planets (it takes approximately 165 years to make a complete orbit around the sun), the United States last experienced this opposition from March of 1857 through April of 1859.
This timeline includes the buildup to the US Civil War, escalated warfare between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces, as well as the Dred Scott vs. Sanford decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that slaves were not US citizens (and therefore did not have a right to sue in a Federal court) and that Congress did not have the authority to restrict slavery in any territory, “regardless of citizen’s wishes.”
In astrology, we always look back at the last time a major astrological event (like a Neptune opposition in a country’s chart) to get a sense of what general themes may re-emerge. Of course, the planetary landscape in 2021, 2022, and 2023 is not what it was in the late 1850s. So, we are not talking abou a carbon copy, but a similar ‘vibe.’
The combination of this opposition (which the United States has only had once before) and the country’s first-ever Pluto return points to a need for the United States to fully acknowledge — and repair — its racist past. In order for something to be processed it must be first be accepted as truth. Pluto’s ask is deeper than that, though. Ultimately, the ask is to tear down and excise any remnants of the past.
I also think this planetary combination points to ongoing legal battles relating to abortion and reproductive rights over the next year, especially since Saturn (which, at its most challenging, puts up barriers and denies progress) is in Aquarius — the planet of progressive thinking and activism — until March 7, 2023. I would not be at all surprised if conservative ideas and legal decisions gain traction until then.
A few paragraphs above, I referenced the previous US Neptune opposition as the time period that laid the groundwork for the US Civil War. In some astrological circles, Neptune’s entry into Aries in 2024 is seen as “the aspect” that “predicts” (those of you who have been with me for a while know I loathe that word and instead prefer “forecasts”) another civil war.
Here’s my take. So, yes, the US Civil War took place the last time Neptune entered Aries. But, there was another astrological factor at play as well: the July 8, 1861 solar eclipse that fell a mere two degrees away from the United States’ sun and squared the United States’ Saturn, meaning that the country’s identity (the sun) would undergo a major transition (solar eclipse) that necessitated challenging (square) the status quo (Saturn).
We won’t have that happen the next time Neptune enters Aries.
Besides, I’m of the opinion that the United States is already in the midst of an informational, philosophical, and social “civil war” (consider, for example, that despite there being no evidence, millions of Americans believe President Joseph R. Biden “stole” the 2020 presidential election).
The larger point is that the ever-growing division in this country is not sustainable. In my eyes, these astrological cycles are nudging us closer to the inevitable (though not imminent) death of the two-party system.
THE PERSONAL PLANETS’ 2022 RETROGRADES
Make note of these dates, which relate to retrogrades of the three personal planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars).
As usual, I will say more about each of these retrogrades on my Instagram page as we approach them.
- December 19, 2021 – January 29, 2022: Venus retrograde
- January 14, 2022 – February 3, 2022: Mercury retrograde
- May 10, 2022 – June 3, 2022: Mercury retrograde
- September 9 , 2022 – October 2, 2022: Mercury retrograde
- October 30, 2022 – January 12, 2023: Mars retrograde
WHO WILL BE MOST AFFECTED BY THE ASTROLOGY OF 2022?
When it comes to forecasting events and experiences through astrological transits, 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 impacts something in your chart, only does so for roughly eight hours).
These planets’ slow movements is also why broad generalizations about an entire sign are simply inaccurate. For example, only Cancers born on the last three days of the sign will have Pluto opposite their sun in 2022. Cancers born the first two days of the sign experienced this same transit back in 2007 and 2008. So, we can’t generally state that “Cancers will have Pluto opposite their sun in 2022.”
If you don’t know the placements of your sun, moon, planets, and sensitive angles: head to Astrodienst, enter your birth information, and create a free chart. Then, read below to determine if you will be affected.
YOU’LL BE HELPED BY SATURN IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 18 and 25 degrees of Aries, Gemini, Libra, or Sagittarius.
If this is you, 2022 will mainly be about solidifying and crystallizing. Even when Saturn is helping, it’s still true to form. 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. However, by the time you are done, you will walk away with a tremendous set of skills.
YOU’LL BE CHALLENGED BY SATURN IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 18 and 25 degrees of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or 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 crumbles.
YOU’LL BE HELPED BY URANUS IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 12 and 18 degrees of Cancer, Virgo, Capricorn, or 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.
YOU’LL BE CHALLENGED BY URANUS IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 12 and 18 degrees of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or 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.
YOU’LL BE HELPED BY NEPTUNE IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 22 and 25 degrees of Taurus, Cancer, Scorpio, or 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.
YOU’LL BE CHALLENGED BY NEPTUNE IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 22 and 25 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).
YOU’LL BE HELPED BY PLUTO IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 26 and 28 degrees of Taurus, Virgo, Scorpio, or 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.
YOU’LL BE CHALLENGED BY PLUTO IF:
You have the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, or a sensitive angle (ascendant/descendant; IC/Midheaven) between 26 and 28 degrees of Aries, Cancer, Libra, or 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.
I have tried my best to make this post as thorough and informational as possible, but there is a limit to how specific I can get when writing to a vast collective. If you would like to learn what the next twelve months look like for your personal birth chart, please book a year-ahead reading with me.