Transforming Lightning Into Love
Aquarius is everywhere right now! The New Moon is in Aquarius, and is conjunct Pluto which starts to move into Aquarius in 2023. Venus is on intimate terms with both rulers of Aquarius, conjunct Saturn and ruling Uranus. Uranus is stationary, making his defiant nature extra cheeky. And the New Moon begins the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.
NEW MOON in AQUARIUS
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Jan. 21, 2023, 3:53 PM EST
Jan. 21, 2023, 8:53 PM GMT
Jan. 22, 2023, 7:53 AM AEDT
Let us loosen our grip sometimes, open up and break free from the corroded mechanism of our life, and let us thereby indulge in living by the seat-of-the-pants allowing unclouded and eye-opening rides.
~ Erik Pevernagie
What happens after transformation? This New Moon in Aquarius gives us a glimpse of this! Three days before the New Moon, the Sun visited Pluto's deep cavern (Jan. 18), setting the stage for the New Moon in Aquarius that's still closely conjunct Pluto. Pluto is near the end of Capricorn, while the New Moon is just over the cusp into Aquarius. This complex conjunction speaks of liberation after long being held captive in doing a Great Work.
That Great Work could be to simply survive through the pandemic, not just physically but also mentally, spiritually, financially and emotionally. Or it might be a process of deep change that has reshaped your life over the last 15 years or so (while Pluto has been in Capricorn). Or it might have been a gradual learning process to develop your personal empowerment in the face of authority, obstacles, inhibitions, expectations or intimidation.
The Aquarius part of us longs to climb over the Capricorn fences that keep us contained or constrained – fences that we have outgrown or are now ready to move beyond. As always, transitioning from Capricorn to Aquarius is a process that happens in stages. On the other hand, Aquarius often acts in spurts, lunging over those fences in leaps and bounds. But you still have to be ready to take a run at it so you don't go tumbling ass over teakettle.
There's a Stellium in Aquarius at the New Moon – Sun, Moon, Venus and Saturn. As a result, there's a big push to break free of our ego-identity, reaching instead for who we are as part of the groups of people around us or even the great collective of humanity. This forms the underlying foundation on which the New Moon chart carries out its activities and purpose.
Also of note, this New Moon will apparently be technically the closest distance from our planet Earth since ancient times, 992 years ago! This is called a Supermoon by astrologer Richard Nolle. Will this mean it will be an extra powerful New Moon? Possibly, although I'm not aware of research that demonstrates it will have this kind of effect – intense weather and seismic activity, yes, but how it affects human experience is still being discovered.
That said, there are other factors in the chart that support the idea of an especially strong New Moon, like being conjunct Pluto, a stationary Uranus conjunct the last Lunar Eclipse (Nov. 8, 2022), a Stellium in Aquarius, and a lingering Mars who's still very slow after his direct station 9 days ago.
Let the games begin!
You're an interesting species. An interesting mix. You're capable of such beautiful dreams, and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you're not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we've found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.
~ Carl Sagan, Contact
Besides adding extra juice to the New Moon energy battery, there's another reason why its conjunction to Pluto is significant. 2023 is the year when Pluto begins his transition from Capricorn into Aquarius. So, the Pluto-Sun-Moon conjunction creates a kind of bridge that gives us a peek into the future when Pluto travels through Aquarian. Pluto goes back and forth between Aquarius and Capricorn, dancing through the transition:
- Aquarius ~ 23-Mar-2023 to 11-Jun-2023 (2+ months)
- Capricorn ~ 11-Jun-2023 to 20-Jan-2024 (7+ months)
- Aquarius ~ 20-Jan-2024 to 1-Sep-2024 (7+ months)
- Capricorn ~ 1-Sep-2024 to 19-Nov-2024 (2+ months)
- Aquarius ~ 19-Nov-2024 to 8-Mar-2043 (18+ years)
- Pisces ~ 8-Mar-2043 to 31-Aug-2043 (5+ months)
- Aquarius ~ 31-Aug-2043 to 19-Jan-2044 (4+ months)
As Pluto shifts from Capricorn into Aquarius, we gradually move from a focus on organized structures into a more conceptual kind of organization. While Pluto was in Capricorn (2008-2024) we saw a heavy emphasis on political structures, corporate power, and the systemic glue that holds society together. Pluto in Aquarius is likely to aim his laser beam of change toward the cultural, ideological and virtual structures that connect the sub-groups within the greater collective.
Pluto in Capricorn saw many changes in the laws and rules applied to society, many that increased the power dynamics in corporate and government areas. These changes made us more aware of those power dynamics, and challenged us to decide whether or how to continue in the same direction, or if we should dismantle some of those power structures.
Yet, that time also showed us that altering the rules, boundaries and parameters we're expected to follow can affect only so much change. It may (or may not) change our behaviour, but it takes more than Capricorn's wagging finger telling us what not to do before we embrace the spirit of those changes.
So, Pluto in Aquarius picks up where Capricorn leaves off. Both signs are ruled by different sides of Saturn. Capricorn Saturn says, "Follow the steps, follow the recipe, and you'll get the outcome you want." On the other hand, Aquarius Saturn says, "At some point you need to let go of the arbitrary dos and don'ts, and do it without the training wheels."
In other words, Aquarius challenges you to do what needs to be done because you know what needs to be done, not because you're following a rule book. And that means you get to make up your own rules, if that's what feels right, but only self-contained maturity will help you do that without letting it all crash and burn.
In other words, Aquarius will test our ability to be a self-directing grown-up, and show us whether we're acting out of grounded wisdom or just acting out. In Aquarius, accepting responsibility for the consequences of what we do means we can't just blame forces outside of ourselves – it's up to us to make our own decision about what we think is best, and then see if that works.
You can see how rebellion and revolution can stem from this Aquarius energy, since you can't change "the system" without breaking some rules. You can't change the picture without colouring outside the lines.
The question is: Are you scribbling outside the lines just to prove that you can do it, or are you truly trying to manifest a new vision? And is it really something new you're trying to create, or are you trying to "reinvent the wheel" in the same old way? There's nothing inherently wrong with any of these options, but it's better to be aware of which one you're doing – they're not the same.
Pluto remains in Aquarius for around 20 years (2023-2044, and continually 2024-2043), which gives us lots of time to experiment with different ideas, try on various rationales and theories, and learn how to work within the abstract levels of both the virtual and physical worlds.
There's so much more to say about Pluto in Aquarius! I'm hoping to have a new article on this in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! Also, I'm doing an online talk on Pluto in Aquarius for the Edmonton Astrological Society on May 12, 2023. I hope to see you there!
An agreement is more powerful than an argument.
~ Sukant Ratnakar, Quantraz
Venus is tightly conjunct Saturn, with both in Aquarius. On the possible downside, this points to possible delays in Venus things – getting paid, beautifying yourself or the space around you, developing relationships or friendships, or perhaps fitting in with a new group of people in your life.
Patience definitely helps, but don't let it stifle your creativity or your social interactions. By keeping one foot on the ground while the rest of you longs to soar free, you might not advance as far as your imagination hopes to go, but using a bit of restraint can intensify the pleasure and build more substance to what you're doing.
In other words whatever you're working on, keeping it real is more likely to keep it going than if you react impulsively without considering the implications. Take things one step at a time, or maybe take smaller spontaneous leaps. Aim for solutions and actions that will be both innovative and lasting, not just jumping at the first possibility that comes along.
However, on the possible upside, Saturn can slow things down enough that your Venus energy gets to savour the pleasure of experiences, ideas and interactions, more than if she was sprinting through them. So, if things seem like they're moving too slow, try treating it as an excuse to take your time and find the positives to enjoy.
Waiting for your paycheck so you can hit the bars or a movie? Discover what you can do for free that you usually ignore or dismiss as not exciting enough. Wishing a new relationship would move faster? Enjoy the moments, and consider what a stronger commitment would actually involve. Pay attention – are there things about the person you hope they will outgrow or change? Now is not the time to simply dismiss these out of hand, if you're hoping for a lasting connection.
But it's not all caution and wait-and-see. Some spice is added to the chart courtesy of the modern ruler of Aquarius Uranus which is stationary and officially turning direct just one day after the New Moon. This makes Uranus—and therefore the Aquarius New Moon—especially saucy and spicy. In other words, Saturn doesn't get all the authority over the New Moon – he has to share it with Uranus who is determined to keep things lively, loose and juicy!
Uranus in Taurus is in Mutual Reception with Venus in Aquarius (in each other's signs). So, Venus disposits one ruler of Aquarius while being conjunct the other, making her the Special Guest of Honour at the Aquarian party.
Venus' alliance with both rulers of Aquarius brings an echo of the Saturn-Uranus square that haunted our skies in 2021 (plus and minus a year). That transit saw a persistent argument between caution and defiance, authoritative stability versus dramatic upheaval, and choices between whether to stay the course or shift gears into a new direction. I recently heard an observation (thank you—you know who you are) that during those years, many people found their priorities in friendship changing, often letting go of old friends they had outgrown, and this sounds a lot like Saturn-Uranus (firm decisions about friendships).
Venus' Libra side is an expert negotiator, understanding how the give-and-take equation needs to have an equivalent result if it's to succeed. With Venus being the go-between with Saturn and Uranus, we might feel like problems with friendships, groups or existential dilemmas could be resolved much more easily with some love, caring, and healthy detachment.
Have I been lobotomized or am I in a parallel universe?
~ Steven Magee
Venus and Saturn are not only conjunct, they're also closely parallel. In fact, the day after the New Moon they are so close that they will appear as if they were one star. Best visible in eastern North America just after sunset, if the weather cooperates, they will be quite a sight, hovering just above the sliver crescent of the New Moon. (More information on this visual event at TimeAndDate.com, bottom of the article.)
Venus and Uranus are also contraparallel. And the Lunar Nodes are parallel the 3 of them. Saturn and Uranus were contraparallel from February to May in 2022 (1:30 orb; exact in March), and come close from August 2022 to January 21, 2023 – coincidentally the date of the New Moon in Aquarius! Once again Venus unites them, being at the declination midpoint between them. And the Nodal Axis also spans Saturn/Venus and Uranus.
What does it all mean? These parallels fortify the reiteration of the Saturn-Uranus square, bringing the two rulers of Aquarius back to the negotiating table, this time with Venus at the helm. Venus in Aquarius understands the importance of closeness combined with lots of breathing room. Intimacy with the freedom to come and go. And love that is just as strong for all of humanity as it is for one special person.
Venus therefore offers a potential compromise that can ease the tension between the Aquarian rulers, especially now that they've gained some distance from each other. In other words, if you can't love someone for themselves, then call on your love of humanity in general – they're a human being, you're a human being, so frame them in that context and appreciate them as a fellow sentient entity.
Mars is now finally direct (yay!!!) but remains Out-of-Bounds until May 5. So, it might feel a bit like Mars is still retrograde for the next 4 months, but although the effects are similar, there is a difference. Retrograde Mars energy tends to become internalized, which can build up energy like a pressure cooker and get released in bursts.
By comparison, OOB Mars tends to act rather independently, even contrarily, and urges us to explore that assertive, forceful, passionate and direct energy in a way that goes beyond the norm. At its best, this can inspire you to pour your energy into a cause or project that fires up your spirit. However, it could also nudge you to release that energy in the form of anger, impatience or even violence.
So, even though Mars is now no longer retrograde and OOB, and therefore probably a bit easier to handle, his more extreme and potent side is still around. For best results, treat this energy mindfully and with integrity.
The Aquarius Moon is also Out of Bounds, which puts an "out there" spin on the New Moon and its 4-week cycle. The OOB Moon lasts for a few days, and can be a time when you feel the need to take a wee break and withdraw from public life. It's a good time to tend to your self-care or just giving yourself some space.
If you're not comfortable with seclusion or detachment from others, this could be a bit of a difficult time when you feel kind of alone or frustrated because you might not be able to connect with others the way you want to. On the other hand, the OOB Moon can be a good time to step back and gain a bit of perspective about what's going on in your life. It also gives you the chance to explore where your heart leads you, beyond your usual familiar feelings and needs. It might also be an opportunity to consider how well your relationships are working and if something needs to change so that you get your needs met.
The Moon and Mars are tightly contraparallel – a mere 11 minutes of orb. This creates a link between these two OOB energies, so that when one is activated it could set both of them off. For example, if you're feeling isolated, alone or a bit lost (Moon), you might become easily triggered into anger, depression or blame (Mars). On the other hand, if you have the opportunity to connect with someone in a fresh, easy-going way – perhaps a meeting of the minds or a mingling of souls – these two planets could provide a unique bridge between you.
The Moon and Mars also have a wide trine aspect to each other by longitude (zodiacal position), at just over a 7° orb but applying (growing closer and therefore building in potency). Trine aspects tend to remove the obstacles so that the two energies can interact more easily. This sounds good and often is, but it can also open the door to difficult experiences too. On one hand it could make it easier to express yourself creatively or passionately, but on the other hand it could also make it easier to let loose and clobber someone who's bugging you, perhaps verbally or hopefully not, physically.
Sabian Symbol for Aquarius 2: An unexpected thunderstorm.
This wonderful image expresses how the "weather" can change suddenly. Life can be calm, familiar and stable, and then in a flash there is upset, discomfort and chaos. Depending on what preceded it and what you hope will come after it, the storm/change may be distressing or exciting; an upheaval or a relief. The unexpectedness of the change is often taken as a disturbance that could be alarming or threatening. Or it might be felt as a delightful surprise.
This Symbol implies the release of something that's been building up for some time, like muggy, humid weather that finally breaks into rain that clears the air. It might also cool down a situation that's too hot, like the many wildfires that consume forests and spew smoke and ash into the air.
Whether it feels like a good or bad thing, this symbol suggests a release of some kind at the New Moon in Aquarius. It might clear the air or it might only last a short time, but it suggests there could be something different and dramatic about to happen. This seems to resonate with the stationary Uranus in the New Moon chart, so watch for surprises, sudden changes or a release of pent-up tension.
The path that leads to triumph is long, tedious, and crooked.
~ Michael Bassey Johnson, Song of a Nature Lover
There are no opposition aspects between standard planets in the New Moon chart. So, there is less chance of getting stuck in a polarized reaction to something or someone you disagree with. This also suggests it might be more difficult to see things clearly or objectively, since the situation is likely to be more complex or complicated than usual.
The longest aspect in the chart is a very tight quincunx between Mercury and Mars (a mere 12-minute orb), forming the top of the bowl-like formation of the planets. It's a bit like trying to eat soup from a bowl with uneven sides placed on your lap – not easy to keep it stable and still!
What's especially significant about involving these two planets is that Mercury and Mars have just recently turned direct after a retrograde period. Mars was retrograde from Oct. 30, 2022 to Jan. 12, 2023, and is still technically stationary at only 20% of its average speed 9 days later. Mercury was retrograde from Dec. 29, 2022 to Jan. 18, 2023, and although not strictly stationary anymore, is still only about 40% of its average speed 3 days later.
Using a 3° orb, Mercury and Mars remain quincunx from Jan. 12 to 27, with exact passes on Jan. 17 and 20. In other words, Mercury and Mars were quincunx throughout both planetary stations, adding to the already-temperamental energy at the best of times. In addition, Neptune is at the midpoint between Mercury and Mars, which may enhance the elements of intuition, imagination, confusion and changeability.
So, if life has been feeling a bit confused, off-balance, out-of-sync, fragmented or unclear, you can blame these three scoundrels.
There's also an intriguing and rare aspect pattern that has no name, as far as I know. It has a similar structure to what Huber Astrology calls a Little Eye – a tiny triangle shape composed of two planets in sextile, and a third at their midpoint, forming semisextiles to the others. This pattern is highly sensitive, picking up on subtle energy in the environment.
This time, we have Mercury and Venus-Saturn in semisquare aspect (45°), and the Sun-Moon is at their midpoint, forming semi-octile aspects (22.5°) to the semisquare planets – all at less than one degree orb. So maybe we could call it a Little Mini-Square? The pattern has a semisquare and a semi-octile (half of a semisquare, so kind of a semi-semisquare). These are cousins in the Square family of aspects, so they carry tension, conflict, irritation and disagreement, but can also lead to motivation, impulse, decision and courage.
This pattern is likely to also be highly sensitive, although with the stressful and dynamic energy of these Square-family aspects, it's possible what you are likely to pick up most easily is conflict, friction and tension "in the air" around you. As a result, it could amplify your irritability, reactivity and impulsiveness, but might be at a subtle level that you aren't really aware of unless you are in touch with your body.
The fact that the New Moon is at the centre of the figure implies that this tricky energy could hover in the background throughout the whole lunar cycle.
And to cap it all off, this New Moon also begins the Chinese New Year of the Water Rabbit – also called the Lunar New Year, or depending on the Asian region, the Year of the Cat, popularized by Al Stewart's 1976 song of the same name. The Year of the Rabbit is considered lucky, and is associated with "longevity, positivity, auspiciousness, wittiness, cautiousness, cleverness, deftness and self-protection." (Leah Campano, Seventeen)
Overall, there's some rather volatile and excitable energy at the New Moon, from the Stellium in Aquarius, to stationary Uranus, to the quincunx between two virtually-stationary planets, to Venus grabbing Saturn and Uranus by the scruff of the neck to get them to play nice with each other.
This lunar cycle, from Jan. 21 to Feb. 20, is therefore a time to think about the changes you want to create in your life. What do you want to break free from that has kept you chained or stuck? What is unique about you that could become more visible by embracing more of that part of you? What has held you back from doing (more of) that already? And what can you do to get past that obstacle now?
Consider doing something out of character, unexpected or contrary to your usual, familiar repertoire of activities. Try on a radically different opinion and see what the world looks like through it – not to judge or to adopt it, necessarily, but to let your curiosity see what looks different through that lens.
This New Moon in Aquarius rides a wave of dramatic innovation and transformation, so grab your surfboard, your canoe or your life raft and catch the wave!
Instant by instant, the universe is recreated anew. There is no past, only memories of the past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next didn't exist when you closed them.
So the appropriate state of mind is surprise. The appropriate state of the heart is joy.
The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now.
~ Terry Pratchett
© 2023-01-19 Wendy Guy, all rights reserved. Astrological diagrams by Wendy Guy. Zodiac icon by Iiulia White via 123rf.com. Divider of lightning bolt by Visualityswiss via Pixabay.com. Photo of Pluto in True Colour via NASA. Sabian symbol image of Lightning striking the Santa Fe mountains during monsoon season in New Mexico by Raychel Sanner via Unsplash.com. Photo of rabbit by Gary Bendig via Unsplash.com