2006 offered some powerful astrological challenges that were reflected in the world around us. Beginning in late 2005 a powerful Grand Cross involving Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune and Mars in fixed signs created explosions, tensions, riots and conflicts that continued into January.

Then in February Saturn and Chiron moved into opposition, forcing a crisis (Saturn) of healing (Chiron) that exposed fissures in the US government, the Islamist movements, the immigrant populations all over the world. This opposition was the culmination of a series of oppositions between these two that occurred between 1986 and 1994 – 27 in all!! Chiron exposes the wounds in the structures of our society (Saturn) and encourages us to heal these wounds rather than run from them.

Saturn was also connected by square to Jupiter throughout 2006, beginning in December and ending in October. The struggle between Jupiter’s expansion and optimism and Saturn’s restriction and need for discipline created an erratic political season as well as a roller coaster in the world’s financial markets. This was exacerbated by the continuing square between Jupiter and Neptune between January and September created confusion (Neptune) between our hopes and optimism (Jupiter) and the realities that we faced via Saturn and Chiron.

Fortunately during this period Jupiter also made a trine to Uranus, helping to add a new dimension (Uranus) to our ideas and the way we find meaning in our lives (Jupiter). Rather than get bogged down in explosive violence there has been a slow but steady move towards progress in global issues.

Over the summer we had six planets in retrograde motion, creating a need to continually look back and re-do projects we thought were completed; reinvestigate situations that we thought were resolved.

There were some exciting astronomical events that occurred in 2006 that could have long-lasting astrological implications: the discovery of UB313, nicknamed Xena initially with the final name of Eris; and the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet along with Eris and the former asteroid Ceres. The discovery of Pluto, named for the god of death in 1932, was the harbinger for some of the most violent years in human history. The discovery of Chiron, named for the god of holistic healing and wisdom, instigated the resurgence and mainstreaming of holistic health practices.

Throughout 2006 and into 2007 Pluto is making its way through the last degrees of Sagittarius, and issues of culture and religious (Sagittarius) war (Pluto) are everywhere. As a planet completes its tour through a sign it tends to “clean up” the matters of that sign, and Pluto tends to dig up secrets and reveal the sordid underbelly of life as it relates to the sign it travels through. With Pluto in Sagittarius, the sign of religion and travel, since 1995 we have seen warfare by planes on September 11, civil war between warring Islamic factions in Iraq, a burgeoning Palestinian civil war, a surge in Evangelical churches in the US and a fascination with end-time philosophy and Revelations, all very Plutonian events.

In August Saturn began its opposition to Neptune, a cycle that will continue throughout 2007. This is typically a time when we are forced (Saturn) to confront our illusions and fantasies (Neptune), and power structures (Saturn) tend to break down (Neptune) in order to be rebuilt. This episode saw the rapid downfall of the Republican party of the US with one scandal (Neptune) after another. The cycle isn’t over, and it is now up to the Democrats to make lasting changes that can stand up to the intense scrutiny of this planetary cycle.

Finally, we have the conjunction of Pluto to the Galactic Center which began its approach in the summer of 2006 although the connection wasn’t “exact” until late December. This conjunction will remain in effect throughout 2007 as Pluto completes its tour of Sagittarius and prepares to enter Capricorn in 2008. Pluto demands nothing less than complete regeneration, and in connection with the Galactic Center there is likely to be a significant course correction for the human species. We can attempt to predict the effect of this event, but at this point it is all guessing. Still, we can be sure that this is a significant time for mankind in general and for each of us individually.

Over the next week or so we’ll take a look at what is coming up for us next year!

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