Did your 2016 turn out the way you expected it to?

I will admit that it kind of shocked me, even though I went into it knowing that with Saturn being in square to Neptune that everything would not be as it seems.

Bernie Sanders brought us the Berners and the Bernie Bros.

Hillary Clinton brought us all those nasty women.

Britain has given us Brexit.

Reagan McNeil has come back to our screens now played by Gina Davis in the television series “The Exorcist.”

And, shocker, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

As Voltaire stated, “we live in curious times and astonishing contrasts.”

Last year, I discussed at length the need for us to wait things out with patience and not take any form of significant action, and this remains true while this aspect is active through much of 2017.   There will still be an urge to build new structures and dissolve old ones.  For many, needing to accept the challenge of taking control of our own lives will be paramount to finding a more creative dimension to this aspect than seeking ‘redeemers’ to attempt to fix life for us, but with the latest headlines, it’s hard to imagine whether that is possible.  It’s hard to reconcile a square aspect between Saturn and an outer planet, and our quest to find redemption or a figurehead Messiah will most likely continue to be projected an external figure to provide us with security and structure, even though these are personal issues that can only be resolved within.

I am going to begin this blog a little differently than I normally start a yearly forecast.  Rather than get to the nitty gritty, which I normally do, I am going to start first by painting in broad strokes and then attempt to filter this down to the personal.

Why?

I have had several of the readers of my website and the listeners of my radio show write to me over the course of the last several months trying to make sense of what is happening in the world.  Many are scared and frightened, and several others are concerned about the trajectory our world is taking whether it be political, economically, or ecologically based.

So, I am going to try to provide a bit of insight.  Not in the usual way of exposing my political bias (and we all have one) or attempting to vilify or make an enemy of collective figures – because they all live inside of us.  Instead, I am going to try to offer some collective insight into the energies that are percolating; if we really want to master and control our outer world, then we must start by controlling our inner one.

I’ll begin with a map that was created by Gret Jung, who was Carl Jung’s daughter and I first encountered this map in the early 90’s from reading a book by Liz Greene called Outer Planets and Their Cycles, which I recommend to anyone who can find themselves a reasonably priced copy.

This map is tricky, and I agree with Liz Greene’s assessment that it’s hard to tell what age we are in and what constitutes an age or how long one actually is.

There are a few noticeable things that I can mention.  During the Arian age, which allegedly ran from about -2000BC to 0, the concept of deity moved from the agricultural realms of the Great Mother Goddess and into a more humanized version of the Greek Gods.  The focus moved from the fields, living off the land, and natural survival and shifted to the building of the city-state and a more patriarchal society.

Then around the year 0 – 2000 (?) we were in the Piscean age, which we can all recognize with the Christian religious imagery that has existed up till now – fish, fishermen, and the redemptive themes of sin vs. salvation.

Whether or not we have entered into the Aquarian age is questionable, and there may be a several hundred year bleeding process in which we can still see the remnants of one age and the formation of another.  We do see technological advancement at an extremely rapid rate coupled with mass information and the popularity of the internet as valid points for the Aquarian age.  We can also see the opposite sign of Aquarius manifesting through our quest for self-improvement and inward focus with a dose of lovely terms such as ‘inner child’ work in the sign of Leo.  However, none of these factors can clearly discern whether or not we have changed ages.

For the sake of this article, I am going to use a chart that does use Aquarius rising, which would reflect our being in an Aquarian age.  The planetary house placements do not change, and I do feel that planetary energies trump where a planet lands in the chart.  For me, house placements just reveal what stage in life that the planets will be enacted on.

Let’s begin with the astrological holdovers from last year.  There are two:  Saturn in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces and Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn.

The transit of Saturn and Neptune made itself rather apparent in the 2016 election cycle.  For many, both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump successfully tapped into this planetary cycle, which seeks a redeemer figure to heal us of our collective suffering.  Saturn-Neptune is messianic and although Sanders and Trump were hooks for this pairing of planets, it was ultimately Donald Trump with his bombastic attitude and political promise of “being the one” that resonated with at least 49% of the American population, and an electoral college win (Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote by almost 3 million).   These same elements could be seen in Brexit where the British people voted to leave the European Union without even considering what that ‘exit’ entirely means.

As I wrote last year, Saturn and Neptune are mortal enemies.  The two planets have little in common, and one of them is ultimately going to get projected.   If you side with Saturn, you are going to find the fairy tale Neptunian vision of a particular utopian flavor dressed up in slogans such as, ‘a future to believe in,’ ‘we are going to start a political revolution,’ or “make America great again,” suspicious or a pipe dream.  Saturn wants structure and foundation and potentials rooted in collective yearning can seem disingenuous or childish.   If you side with Neptune, the establishment and everything it represents is corrupt, evil, tainted with sin, and must be dissolved and replaced with a savior figure who can fix all the problems that the establishment has caused, which has resulted in human suffering.

Starting to sound a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

For the moment, Neptune seems to have won the battle over the Saturnian establishment, but it comes with a price, and that is hopelessness if the messianic figure cannot live up to the expectations of the collective and Neptunian expectations are often very high.

This transit, although technically over, will still be within orb throughout 2017.   In Gret Jung’s chart, Saturn is currently transiting the 10th house of government and social structures and Neptune is now moving through the 1st.  Neptune in the 1st house is often seen as the ‘victim’ in a personal chart, and it will be interesting to see what occurs once the fog of Saturn-square-Neptune begins to fade.  Will Trump or the British government be able to solve the problems of those that voted for these types of changes or will they morph into the next Saturnian structure system?  In the latter case, this can often lead to blowback, and it will be interesting to see what the next election will bring – so, pay attention to the midterm elections in the United States.

Saturn and Neptune did not work alone in recent world events.  Another transit that has been around for almost 7 years need to also be considered – Uranus square Pluto.

I have written at length about this aspect.  At times, I feel that I will write about it for several years to come because it seems to be a “seed level” point that erupts over and over andv it feeds into other aspects and the roots of the current transit of Uranus and Pluto actually began in the 60’s.

There is something curious that happened with this aspect that seemed to crack something in the collective that has yet to be resolved.  Perhaps, it will not be resolved until the next Uranus-Pluto conjunction, which occurs in 2100.  Right now, we are experiencing the first square to that conjunction that took place in the sign of Virgo.

The sign of Virgo get’s a lot of bad press.  It’s not nearly as glamorous as Leo and doesn’t involve relationships like Libra or Aquarius.  Instead, Virgo is earthy and reflects everyday life, our rituals, and the world of natural law.  Virgo is efficient, dutiful, and disciplined and all of these earthy ideals came into question when Uranus and Pluto formed their conjunction.

One of the most notable events of the 60’s was the Vietnam War, and the children of World War II veterans were just not having it.  Protests against the war occurred throughout the United States.  Draft dodgers and conscientious objectors were featured in newscasts, and the unquestioned obedience to the system and authority were smashed as people began to wonder about the motivation of their government and its involvement in foreign affairs.  This period also gave birth to the drug culture and during the later part of the transit issues surrounding homosexuality came front and center with the Stonewall Riots in NYC.

We are now in the first square of the Virgo conjunction, yet many of the same themes have come to the surface.  Labor union disputed in the Midwest, revolutions in the middle east, and individuals coming face to face with their personal desires being at odds with their governments.  Uranus in Aries is concerned with collective ideals of individual progress and destiny; whereas, Pluto in Capricorn is concerned with the tearing down of corrupt governmental structures and replacing it with new structures that are viable to continue to survive in the modern world.   As a result, the questioning of governments and the elimination of that which is perceived as tainted are being cast aside and replaced with some rather unusual world figures.

In the ages chart, Pluto is currently moving through the 11th house of collective groups, and it is not surprising that corruption and decay are projected upon politicians – they are as good of a hook for it as any.  However, groups have also carried projected Pluto regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on.  We have seen Planned Parenthood, the gun lobby, police officers, certain races, and even the Russian government once again cast as the dark god of the underworld, many of which might rightly deserve the role.  Uranus is moving through the material 2nd house and people’s ideas on their relationship to money and resources and opposition to those that ‘have’ and the question of whether or not this is fair and just are being questioned.  Uranus likes freedom, and in Aries, it wants personal freedom. So, it is not really all that surprising that there is a war between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots”.

I want to address one more thing before I move into the new astrological events we will encounter in 2017.  For those of you that have written to me and asked important questions about the collective energies we are going through, I honestly have no real answers.  I think we all need to remember that we are part of the collective.  I suppose dealing with collective chaos is perhaps dealing with our own issues with a bit of compassion; not only for ourselves but for others.  Collective energies are difficult to manage, and none of us are going to be able to deal with them entirely because they are concerned with issues that are beyond the personal, yet hopefully the collective will move us forward in some creative way that we might not be able to see right now.  It’s up to each of us to develop our inner lives, and perhaps through personal growth and a quest to be authentically ourselves, the world can ultimately change for the better.

2017

Venus Retrograde – The Bitch is Back

Did you know that Venus goes retrograde the least of all the planets?

Well, she does, and her effects are kind of interesting.

This year Venus will go retrograde on March 4th and turns direct on April 15th.

Now, this is where the fun begins!

Venus in Aries is considered in her detriment because the sign of Aries is not focused on other people or the urge towards relationships, nor is it focused on the sensual pleasures of the body.  The sign of Aries is more self-focused, determined, intuitive, and concerned with self-achievement and winning at something in life.

Venus placed in Aries is a dilemma because the urge towards relationship needs to be filled with circumstances (or people) that are exciting, stimulating, and provide her a vehicle through which she can win.  In other words, relationships become more about personal potency than other people.

Now this does not mean that Venus in Aries is incapable of relationships.  It means that Venus in the sign of the ram needs conflict and a battle for relationships to be meaningful.  While Venus moves through Aries, we all will experience a bit of ‘me-ness’ when it comes to relationships.

Venus retrograde is challenging because she tends to be more covert and vain, and instead of being the archetype of the beloved, she tends to become the battle goddess fighting for her individual desires.  Of course, this brings up a whole bunch of rather distasteful issues like infidelity, arguments, love triangles, stress, and since Venus also rules money, our finances may be affected as well.

One thing is for sure, the more repressed Venus is in your life, the more she is going to act up.

The primary area of life that Venus retrograde will influence is relationships.  On one level or another, all of our relationships will feel her battle cry, but for those that currently have relationship issues that are unresolved or the relationship is not meeting your needs, you can expect problems.  Usually, Venus will provoke situations (she even likes self-sabotage) in your life that will bring the issues to the surface so that they can be dealt with accordingly.  This will give you the opportunity to heal relationship issues before they cause irreparable harm.  For those that cannot or will not deal with these issues honestly, and allow continues toxicity to occur, your relationships may come to an end.  Because, in one way or another, Venus will win, and being single is as valid a victory as any other.

Govern yourself accordingly.

Jupiter oppose Uranus, Jupiter square Pluto

Just when you thought that Venus retrograde in Aries was enough stress on relationships, the war on relationships continues through the spring and summer as Jupiter in Libra squares Pluto in Capricorn and opposes Uranus in Aries.

In astrologese, this configuration is known as a t-square, and these are difficult configurations in a personal chart, so they will be especially tricky in on the world stage.

The key to a t-square is figuring out which planets are friends and which are not.

In this case, Jupiter and Uranus are both sky gods.  Both planets are concerned with possibilities and potentials in a world filled with chance and chaos.   Jupiter expands the Uranian need for progress and perfection, which may be beneficial for scientific discoveries and research.  These two planets give us optimism and faith that a better future is possible.  But, there can be issues with relationships because Uranus in Aries is concerned with personal progress and relationships might prove cumbersome. This can lead many to abandon responsibilities and seek personal freedom.  Relationships that are extremely bound and constricted could prove problematic and the more you try to hold on to them, the more painful this transit will be.  In other words, if it’s past the sell-by date, then it is probably best to let it go.

On the other hand, Pluto has little in common with Jupiter and Uranus.  Pluto in Capricorn is interested in destroying structures that are no longer working, but it wishes to build a new system that is more viable and sustainable.  The Capricornian need for wealth, power, social structures, and hierarchy remains – Pluto just wants to amputate what is no longer working in those structures, but Pluto in Capricorn is still Pluto in Capricorn, and every planet works through the energy of the sign it is placed in.

So, you can see what is at odds here.

Uranus and Jupiter’s need for progress, optimism, and personal freedoms is in conflict with the survival instinct.  Pluto says destroy and rebuild, whereas, Jupiter and Uranus would prefer to tear it all down.  This could lead to some rather interesting political battles, but the war in the outer world reflects a war that is going on within all of us.  In other words, the more you try to fight the system, the more challenging the system becomes.  Conversely, if you give into the system, then you lose your sense of individual freedom and potency.

Through most of the year, this t-square will be active.  It augurs a cycle where we need to look at what is holding us back, where we feel constricted, and where we wish to gain power.  None of these desires are wrong, but we have to fundamentally be honest about them.   If we are not, one of the sides of the transit will fall into the unconscious and tends to react badly.  For example, if you side with Jupiter and Uranus, the need for freedom, progress, and personal potency may provoke issues or circumstances in your life where you feel controlled or trapped in a corrupt system that benefits some, but not all.   Alternatively, if you cling on to power and control and are afraid of losing your position, then events or circumstances will occur that shake things up, make life feel unpredictable, and tears your personal system down.

This aspect will be quite the juggling act.  Since Jupiter is in Libra, the likely area of life that will be influenced will be relationships, partnerships, and even activate open enemies.

Be on guard.

August Mega-Eclipse in the United States

For the past 4000 years, astrologers have tracked the path of eclipses.  Eclipses were a cosmic herald of changes that occur on Earth, and even today, they are watched carefully with awe and wonder.

This year the entire continental United States will experience the eclipse that will be total from the coast of South Carolina to the shores of Oregon.

So, mark your calendar – the date is August 21, 2017, and it occurs in the last degree of the sign of Leo.

This is what noted eclipse astrologer Celeste Teal says in her book on eclipses about fire sign eclipses:

“Eclipses in fire signs may produce sensational events with dissension among men, excessive heat, lack of rain, fire, rivers, movements of armies, death or imprisonment of great men, religious disputes, and the destruction of cud-chewing animals.”

Now that is some list, but let me add something else to the mix – the eclipse lands directly on Donald Trump’s ascendant.

OMG!

What does this mean?

Let’s break the eclipse down.

An eclipse is simply a super powered New Moon that is conjoined to the lunar nodes.  I have found over the years that where the eclipses land by sign seems to highlight the most important themes over the coming year.  In this case, a Leonine eclipse would bring forth themes of individual values and development, and it’s an excellent time to do magical or intention work on these issues.

The eclipse lands in the 9th house of the eclipse chart and denotes that higher education, foreigners, and the big picture are where our energies should be focused.  This is amplified by Sagittarius, the natural sign ruler of the 9th house, placed on the Ascendant (1st house).  Of course, anything that has to do with the 9th house also has to do with the world stage, and eclipses could trigger just about anything from a coup to the death of a world leader, which is very likely since the eclipse is conjoined to the fixed royal star, Regulus.

When you combine these placements together, your personal development will occur because of your big picture goals.  In other words, it’s time to focus on your BIG PICTURE PLAN and not be distracted by day to day stuff.  If you do not have a BIG PICTURE PLAN, then the eclipse augurs a time to put one together.

As far as Donald Trump is concerned, I would recommend he stay away from any of the areas that are directly affected by the eclipse path.

Jupiter in Scorpio / Saturn in Capricorn:

Finally, there are two major sign changes this year.  Jupiter, which changes signs every 13 months, will move out of Libra and into Scorpio and Saturn will move out of Sagittarius and into its home sign of Capricorn.

Let’s get to the meat:

This year, Jupiter spends most of its time in Libra.  Jupiter reflects the areas of life where we renew our faith, expand, and find meaning.   When Jupiter is placed in Libra, it’s love relationships, business partnerships, and even our open enemies that he activates.

Relationships are peculiar.   They seem to be what we desire most, but we tend to lack understanding of their meaning and purpose and use phrases, such as ‘my better half’ to attempt to explain them.  The real purpose of relationships is to mirror ourselves so that through our experiences and interactions with others, we experience wholeness.

Jupiter being in Libra provides us with an opportunity to find personal meaning through relationships.   So, this is a good time to look at your various relationships and see where they are restoring your confidence, adding value, and transforming who you are through your simple interactions in them.

In October, Jupiter will move out of the sign of the scales and into the sign of the Scorpion, which will change the mode of how we renew our faith, expand, and find meaning.

Scorpio reflects the areas of life that are hidden and deep.  It’s the laws that are governing us behind our attempts to control them through intellectual reasoning that matter.   Scorpio is connected to fate, and the unfoldment of natural processes, which is why this deeply misunderstood sign is associated with death and the darker elements of life.

Jupiter in Scorpio augurs a 13-month cycle where we will renew our faith in life and find meaning through the discovery of secrets and patterns that exist beneath the surface, yet hold value.  For the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces), this will come naturally, and the transit of Jupiter in Scorpio will be filled with experiences that will be easy to manage, but for the other fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, and Aquarius) your challenging experiences may teach you the most about life.  In fact, they will have a ‘meant to be’ feeling about them.

This leads us to our next transit – Saturn moving out of Sagittarius and into Capricorn.

Like Jupiter, Saturn will spend most of the year in the sign that it is already in.  Saturn in Sagittarius has been a rather interesting transit.  Sagittarius has to do with the ‘higher mind’ and ‘continued education, ’ and Saturn has to do with limitations, and seen the frequent instances where ‘higher minds’ have not prevailed, and populist leanings have. On the political landscape, education and knowledge of how a system works have been thrown out the window for intuitive hunches and charismatic figureheads.

In December, Saturn will move out of the sign of the archer and into its own sign of Capricorn.  The last time Saturn was in Capricorn was 1989-1990, and some of the notable news stories were:

The end of the Soviet Union
The Tiananmen Square massacre
The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
TheLoma Prieta Earthquake
The Savings and Loan Scandal
Saddam Hussein Invades Kuwait
Operation Desert Shield
The Us Enters a Major Recession
George Bush & Mikhail Gorbachev sign historic agreement to end production of chemical weapons ( ** side note – It is interesting that as of this writing, President Elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladamir Putin have decided to increase nuclear armaments).

As I mentioned earlier, the sign of Capricorn has to do with power, social structure, and hierarchy, and Saturn moving through this sign will attempt to establish rules which preserve the status quo.  This is completely opposite of the campaign promises of 2016, which were about overthrowing the current governmental structure and starting political revolutions.   So, it will be rather interesting to see what is actually changed and what is preserved.  This will be even more curious as Saturn conjoins Pluto in Capricorn in 2020.

On the more personal level, Saturn in Capricorn reflects a cycle where we need to build structure in our lives to preserve our future.   This is not about being overly structured and rigid to the point that there is no longer enjoyment in life, it is more a time of building so we can enjoy living a little bit more.  The earth signs (Virgo, Taurus, and Capricorn) will find this rather easy because it is their natural mode of operation, but for the other cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, and Libra), building structure may come with obstacles that force you into allowing things to develop rather than rushing from one thing to another without building anything.   However, the gifts of this transit are long lasting (28 ½ years worth), so Saturn in Capricorn should be taken rather seriously.

In closing, it is my feeling that 2017 is a seed level year.  It’s a turning point where we decide our fate and the trajectory of our individual lives.  Are we going to continue along the way we have or are we on the precipice of significant change?

One thing is for certain, if we wish to see a change in the outer world, then we ultimately have to change ourselves.

Are you brave enough for the task?

Storm Cestavani, December 25, 2016