We have a few significant cosmic events to look forward to this week. The planet Saturn, which has been transiting through Scorpio since November of 2014, will move into Sagittarius on Thursday January 26th. Sagittarius is inherently more optimistic and generous than Scorpio, so we may feel things lighten up a bit as the planet of harsh realities changes signs. Saturn will retrograde back into Scorpio on June 20th and then will return to Sagittarius on October 26th until January of 2020. Another planet changing signs this week is Venus, which will move into Pisces on Friday January 27th. This is good news for lovers and artists because Venus is “exalted” in Pisces, meaning this is its strongest position in the zodiac. Normally Venus transits through a sign in three weeks, but it will remain in Pisces for four months because it will be retrograde from March 4th until April 15th. Venus goes retrograde approximately every 18 months, and during this time it is closer to Earth than any other time so its influence is felt more strongly. This should provide a welcome relief from last year’s planetary climate, when Mars was close to the Earth and we were recording record high temperatures as well as record high tempers and the most contentious political campaign in American history. Speaking of Mars, the planet of war also moved into Pisces this past Saturday and currently sits just 6 degrees from Venus. If you look into the western sky an hour after sunset you can easily spot Venus, the brightest “star” in the sky, and then find Mars, much fainter and with a slight reddish tint, just up and to the left. Venus and Mars together in Pisces through the end of February will put a spotlight on relationships and heighten our “urge to merge”.
On Friday January 27th we have a New Moon at 14 degrees Capricorn in Shravana nakshatra. Shravana means “to listen” and is symbolized by an ear. The presiding deity of Shravana is Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe. When it comes to preservation, whether it is of resources, knowledge, traditions, relationships, or dharma, the first thing that is required is listening. It is only through listening that we learn. My sincere wish is that in the next four years our new president will spend less time talking and more time listening. Speaking of listening, if we listen carefully this Saturday morning we may hear the rooster crowing to announce Chinese New Year—the Year of the Rooster. The twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac correspond to the twelve signs of the western zodiac. The twelve- year cycle is based on the orbit of Jupiter, which spends approximately one year in each sign. The Rooster is associated with the sign Virgo. Jupiter is currently transiting Virgo and will continue to do so until mid-September of 2017. Jupiter in Virgo gives us an orientation towards practical concerns in life like health, work, and service towards others. In western astrology Jupiter in Virgo is in the sign of its detriment because Virgo’s concern for detail and precision conflicts with Jupiter’s expansive nature. This inherent conflict can lead to overwork and exhaustion unless we learn to delegate responsibilities and enlist the cooperation of others, or scale down the scope of our endeavors. It should be a good year to combine vision with practicality.