astrology of 2009You will all be relieved to know that the first half of 2009 should offer a bit of planetary relief from the intensity of the past year or so.  Pluto is now firmly settled into Capricorn, and we are adjusting to this new quality of contraction that has created so much havoc in a world that had become all too accustomed to the “relentless optimism”® of the Pluto in Sagittarius era.  From an emphasis on growth, growth, growth, we are now in a reality-induced recession that has necessitated adjustments on many different levels.

As we begin the New Year, Saturn (planet of restriction and limitation – the ruler of Capricorn) has just turned retrograde.  When planets appear to change direction as we watch them from our perspective on earth, their influence is stronger and more noticeable – more focused.  We have just experienced an intensely Capricornian New Moon the previous week, and now we have Saturn, ruler of Capricorn, having turned retrograde.  Though Saturn’s influence can be heavy and depressing, it can also bring great rewards for a practical application of wisdom and disciplined behavior.  This is therefore the perfect time to make plans for the New Year – to avoid sinking into a doldrum of despair and instead create a plan to turn things around in your own life if you are in crisis, or to plan to help others if your own life is going smoothly.
A planetary cycle involving the opposition of Saturn to Uranus, which began last year, will continue into 2010 so this is big news for 2009.  In this planetary combination we see a pull between safety and conservatism (Saturn) and that which is innovative and free (Uranus).  These two planets do not get along well and have nothing in common as Saturn seeks to create structure and form and codes of morality, and Uranus is the iconoclast that strives to overturn the status quo.  The second phase of this planetary face-off will take place in early February, and the third (of five) in mid-September.  The opposition, with two planets 180 degrees apart, creates tension that requires a balance of two opposites in order to bring about a resolution.  While the force for things to remain the same (Saturn) is naturally powerful, there is a yearning across the globe now for change and liberation (Uranus).  In our personal lives, this struggle will be an internal one and will require an ability to “go with the flow” as we are being called to evolve and shed the trappings of the past.
Chiron and Neptune have been traveling closely together without touching in an actual conjunction since early in 2008.  Chiron and Neptune share a great deal in common – both planets are concerned with our spiritual evolution and the soul’s yearning to experience the divine.  Neptune’s focus is to blur the boundaries between the material world and the spiritual to make it easier for us to access that which lies beyond the veil.  In doing so, Neptune opens the doorways to creativity and inspiration as well as confusion and delusion.  Chiron, in its role as Wounded Healer, plants a wound in the soul that cannot heal and which reminds us that we are more than just a physical body.   Chiron acts shamanically to transmute the pain of our wound into spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Chiron and Neptune will not come together in an exact conjunction until 2010, but throughout this year they will continue traveling in tandem, opening doorways of consciousness.  This opening can be stressful for some and may require the use of healing modalities to align the energy fields that are being transformed now.
I will be writing more about this cycle in the months ahead, but one of the exciting planetary adventures coming up in 2009 is the conjunction of Jupiter to both Chiron and Neptune beginning in May and continuing through August.  Jupiter has a reputation for bringing good things, and this is certainly true. But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and that also falls under the realm of Jupiter.  The addition of Jupiter to he shamanic experience of Chiron and Neptune may bring about a tremendous wave of healing and wisdom and a complete integration at the soul level. If as individuals we are feeling stuck or blocked under this cycle, the Jupiter influence may help to provide an expansive influence that helps to increase the flow of energy to help keep us moving forward.  If this triple conjunction is in a stressful aspect with planets in our own chart, though, we may be overwhelmed by all of this spirituality and shamanic experience and require some assistance.  In any case, for those of us on a path of spiritual awakening this is a phenomenal event that will bring lasting change.
Venus will be retrograde from early March to late May, something that only happens every eighteen months or so.  Venus is the ruler of our aesthetic sense and our desire to be in harmonious relationship with others, so this will be a time that focuses on our relationships and our craving for peace and serenity.
Saturn changes signs this year, entering Libra in early November after 2-1/2 years in Virgo.  Saturn is said to be exalted in Libra, and during this period we will be focused more on relationships and justice.  Saturn and Pluto will begin moving towards a square (90 degree) formation once Saturn enters Libra on November 5, and this square begins the march towards the more stressful planetary formations that begin in 2010.  Saturn is often called the Lord of Karma and Pluto is the Lord of Death and Transformation, so when these two begin this battle it could be interesting.  Pluto is in Capricorn, which is ruled by Saturn, so the Saturnine influence will have already prepared us for the hard work and expiation that Saturn requires in square to Pluto.  I suspect that this will be a time when governments will be forced to pay for their sins and those that are non-functional will be destroyed.
But that’s 2010 – for now we have an exciting combination of influences that will help to facilitate change and transformation.  Be clear, though – change is a necessity now and not an option.  Our outer and inner worlds are evolving at a rapid and ever-increasing pace, and resistance will only delay the inevitable.  This is a time of letting go and riding the wave of conscious awareness and allowing our lives to unfold in incredible new ways!
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