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Posted January 8, 2008

Planetary Currents for 2008
by Mary Plumb

Although this forecast is specific for 2008, I want to begin with a few of the long-term cycles that are part of this year’s story. Tem Tarriktar and others have written about the ongoing septile aspect between Neptune and Pluto and the parallels between our time and 1937–40, its most recent appearance. Since the planets vary in speed and direction, there are repeated exact Neptune–Pluto septiles from 2001 through 2011. (If we extend the orb to one degree, the septile period extends from November 1997 through February 2016.) As Tem wrote: “The septile aspect is considered by various astrologers to be connected to fated events, breakthrough discoveries, the use of overwhelming force, projection of shadow material, compulsions, and the dispossessed elements of society.”[1]

I have also been taken with Robert Wilkinson’s concept of this aspect as the “grand irrationality.”[2] Since the aspect is based on 51.7, an irrational number, Wilkinson elaborates on the idea that things make no sense during this time. Larger forces of destiny are at play, and the compulsive and irrational elements of existence are strong. I don’t have much to add, except to concur: I see evidence of “grand irrationality” everywhere, from talking with clients and friends — to the phenomenon of “fake news” shows (such as Jon Stewart’s) having a firmer grasp on what is actually happening than the networks and conventional media — to the titles of recent books such as Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad by Frances Moore Lappé, and Living on the Ragged Edge Workbook: Finding Joy in a World Gone Mad by Charles R. Swindoll.

The other long-term trend that I want to include as a pervasive influence in 2008 is the ongoing mutual reception between Uranus and Neptune. Since Neptune is in Aquarius from 1998–2011 and Uranus is in Pisces from 2003–2011, they are in each other’s signs from 2003–2011. Neptune speaks of illusions, dreams, enchantment, beguilement, and inspiration; Uranus signifies accelerated change, sudden awakenings, innovation, technology, revolution, and utopian ideals. Uranus also signifies independence; and Neptune, the quest for spiritual experience. We are seeing many teachings designed to awaken direct personal (Uranus) contact with the ineffable or nameless (Neptune). Adyashanti, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji, and others in the lineage of Ramana Maharshi are only a few currently popular teachers of various methods of direct experience.

Another example of the Uranus–Neptune possibilities for awakening through enchantment is the “ecstatic impulse” of Rumi, the 13th-century Muslim saint and mystic who has been a top-selling poet in the United States for the past several years.[3] (UNESCO, in fact, named 2007 The International Year of Rumi.)

The Uranus–Neptune mutual reception suggests spirituality combined with technology as well as fantastic and revolutionary expressions in media. Although not specifically a technical term, the notion of Web 2.0 has taken hold during these past few years. This refers to the emphasis on Web-based communities and services, such as social-networking sites, blogs, RSS feeds, which essentially aim to facilitate sharing between users, often in real time.

The combination of science (Uranus) and subtlety (Neptune) is also visible in the growth of such fields as “brain mapping,” part of the larger field of neuroscience. For example, recent discoveries have linked specific physical locations in the brain with the feelings of optimism and a propensity for altruism. There have been other findings in neuroscience over the past few years that allow the measurement of refined states, including the “distinctive human capacity to link the self to others.” “Mirror neurons” are parts of the brain that register empathy, leading to “near consensus that we are exquisitely tuned to one another’s experience and that mirror neurons help us to experience each other viscerally and directly.”[4]

These ideas and other similar ones are inspirational manifestations of the mutual reception of Uranus and Neptune, wherein the capacity to experience altered or delicate states of being may in fact be enhanced, as is our ability to perceive the fundamental unity of all life.

I wanted to set a broader perspective for the 2008 forecast, as the calendar year begins and ends with Mars and Pluto in hard aspect — a rather stern omen for what lies ahead. Mars and Pluto are in opposition on January 2 at 29º Sagittarius. Since Mars has been retrograde since November 15, 2007, this is the second opposition between the two planets in this series. On September 21, 2007, the aspect was at 26º Gemini–Sagittarius, and on March 7 they will oppose each other at 1º Cancer–Capricorn. Overt displays of violence, power, or rage are obvious possibilities with Mars opposite Pluto and will undoubtedly be present in some arenas. But the combination, though always immensely strong, can be far subtler. Taking action that is motivated from a compelling desire to change or transform an aspect of life that has become deadened is another view of this combination of planets. A deeper investigation may be to notice how and where force is applied and to what end.

Since an opposition plays out through other people, we may have to deal with someone (or something) outside of ourselves that stirs up our passions, or we become aware of someone who is out of control or angry at us. If we see a force or obstacle before us, a change of attitude may be possible, with the first aspect in January, since this opposition is in the last degrees of mutable signs. The rest of the year’s challenging aspects between these two planets will occur after Pluto is in the earliest degrees of Capricorn, and matters may not be as flexible then. So, if it’s appropriate, take the chance to back down, back away, and invest in loss, as the Tai Chi masters say.

The biggest transition this year is Pluto moving into Capricorn (Chart 1) on January 25 for the first time in 247 years. People born December 20 through 23 will have Pluto cross their Suns this year, and their lives will not be the same. But slowly, as Pluto winds its way through two or three degrees per year, each and every Capricorn will have their world turned upside down — until March 2023, when Pluto leaves that sign and goes into Aquarius.

Pluto, likened to volcanic activity, brings situations to a crisis. What has been hidden is asking to be transformed, transfigured, reshaped, and revised from the inside out. Capricorn symbolizes structures, business, government, and all that we rely upon for stability. Much has been written about this combination in terms of upheaval in power centers and financial markets, and it will surely be a memorable year in those areas.

With such a daunting picture on the world stage, in the age-old manner of propitiating the gods, I’d like to consider a more personal view. Perhaps, as Pluto moves into Capricorn, we as a collective are entering a new field of chaos or, in some way, a different experiment with chaos (Pluto), whereby as individuals our integrity, sincerity, and sense of responsibility — all qualities of Capricorn — become exquisitely tuned instruments that help us to keep our perspective in challenging situations. Pluto in Capricorn suggests an overarching awareness of the critical (Pluto) nature of the time (Capricorn) and our own relationship to power. Power may mean our capacity to act. The language of astrology can sound quite dramatic, so it is helpful to remember that life unfolding is an organic process — ultimately, Pluto will serve to remove structures that are entirely ready to be removed. Pluto rules death, and something dies so that something new can be reborn.

Perhaps, with Pluto in Capricorn, we’ll all have a view from the top of a mountain and can get a glimpse of what real power and authority look like. As I wrote last year at the end of my 2007 forecast, “The root hum (contained in ‘human’ and ‘humble’) is derived from the Latin humilis, meaning ‘low’ (from humus, earth), which is etymologically akin to the Greek chthon, meaning ‘earth,’ and chamai, meaning ‘ground.’”[5] This year’s planetary emphasis on the earth element may give us a chance to transform our inner order and understanding of power, and our quiet or discreet actions may make more of an impact than we realize.

Pluto moves into Capricorn on January 25, stations retrograde on April 2 at 1º09’, and goes back into Sagittarius on June 13. Pluto then stations direct on September 8 at 28º30’ Sagittarius and then re-enters Capricorn on November 26.

Jupiter semi-squares (45º) Neptune on January 12 (5º38’ Capricorn – 20º38’ Aquarius). (Chart 2) Acute situations may arise that challenge our faith or sharpen our perception of subtlety so that we can see clearly into something that we have been deluded or deceived about. This aspect occurs just once, and it is the last aspect between the two planets in this cycle that began in January 1997 at 27º Capricorn. Their next conjunction is in May 2009 at 26º Aquarius.

January 21 brings the first of 2008’s three trines between Jupiter in Capricorn and Saturn in Virgo. Earth, of course, represents physical substance and basic needs; we use earth’s easy trines by recognizing the value of simplicity and keeping our awareness in the moment or on the task at hand. What is important will be obvious, and we may not have the time nor the energy for nonessentials.

Jupiter is associated with faith and opportunities, and his gifts will be strengthened when we are practical and willing to work hard. Saturn is in an earth sign, after five years of water and fire; Saturn in Virgo will support us now in gaining tangible accomplishments. Jupiter trining Saturn throughout the year also implies that cultivating patience, moving steadily, gaining self-control, and taking a reliable and responsible approach will bring inner strength and will help all of our endeavors. The trine on January 21 is at 7º37’ Capricorn–Virgo; on September 8, at 12º32; and on November 21, at 20º19’.

Although the trine is sustaining and harmonious, the overlapping cycles will bring a few jolts between Jupiter and Saturn this year as well: On March 18 and June 25, the two planets will sesquiquadrate (135º) each other. Patience could be temporarily overturned; we may have a sense of urgency or see the limits in one of our long-term projects. This will be especially true in June, as dauntless Uranus has gone as far as he can for now and stations retrograde at 22º39’ Pisces on the 26th.

Mars turns direct on January 30 at 24º Gemini; Mars was at this degree on September 16, 2007 before it turned retrograde on November 15 at 12°27’ Cancer. Some people may return to events, actions, or decisions made in September with an older, wiser eye. Although Mars is moving forward, once it goes direct it is still slow and doesn’t enter completely new territory until April 6, when it actually enters a new degree along the ecliptic: 13° Cancer. This may seem like extreme fine-tuning, but if you watch degrees closely in charts or have planets or sensitive points at 12º–14º of cardinal signs, the influence may be noticeable.

Mercury’s three retrogrades in 2008 are all in air signs: on January 28, at 23º53’ Aquarius; May 26, at 21º32’ Gemini; and September 23, at 22º50’ Libra. Neptune and Mercury are in close relationship this year: Mercury has just passed its conjunction with Neptune at its station in January; Neptune stations retrograde on May 26 at 24º16’ Aquarius on the same day that Mercury does; and at the September station, Mercury has just trined Neptune. Mercury’s retrogrades throughout the year will therefore enable our access to imaginative, poetic, or visionary thoughts, marking these times as helpful to artistic or meditative states but more difficult when a firm profit–loss statement is needed.

Jupiter in Capricorn sextiles (60º) Uranus in Pisces three times in 2008: on March 29 (at 19º47’), May 21 (at 22º08’), and November 12 (at 18º50’). This combination may support enlightened or new waves of thought to find receptive ground — or bring sudden awareness about how we can make substantial progress in projects that are in development. The earth and water combination aids fertility and the productive growth of new ideas and ventures.

The North Node of the Moon entered Aquarius on December 15, 2007 and stays there until August 2009. Therefore, with the South Node in Leo for the same period of time, we can say that each of us individually has something special ready to share. If we need a general guidepost now, the North Node in Aquarius suggests that we connect with the larger group and give of ourselves generously and confidently (Leo). The direction is toward the bigger story of humanity and where we are all connected. This idea may be especially useful in early May, when the North Node conjoins Neptune in Aquarius. With Neptune directly in our path, confusion and delusion are real possibilities, as is the genuine experience of walking in deep trust with our fellow beings and, in the words of Rudolf Steiner, “with the ever present help of the spiritual worlds.”

Every two years, Mars and Saturn form a conjunction. Since they are also parallel on July 7, the conjunction on July 10 at 5º26’ Virgo is especially strong. (Chart 3) Resistance to forward motion will be apparent in some areas, so this is a good time to stop and look at what we are doing, especially regarding health issues. It is best to be conscious about what has naturally reached completion, or notice what is not working, and decide on a new course of action.

Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus all connect in November, which may be the most productive month of the year, in terms of physical projects and plans. Saturn opposes Uranus (Chart 4) for the first time in this cycle on November 4 (to be followed by two more oppositions in February and September 2009). Jupiter sextiles Uranus on November 12 and trines Saturn on the 21st. Saturn and Uranus place the past and the future in direct juxtaposition and indicate an urgency for the immediate, most critical issue of the moment to be addressed. Jupiter sextiling Uranus creates an easy opening to see what innovations will allow the most benefit for the greatest number, and Saturn lends a stabilizing force to all that we are trying to accomplish.

In December, all the planets are in direct motion. On December 15, Mars is in an opening square to Saturn from 21º Sagittarius to 21º Virgo; projects begun or decisions made in July at the conjunction are revised in an important way.

Mars, which began 2008 in retrograde motion in very late Gemini has gone halfway around the zodiac and enters Capricorn on December 26, before it conjoins Pluto on December 28. The year began with Mars and Pluto’s invincible forces facing us from the outside; maybe by the time of this conjunction, at the end of the year, we’ll have a different sense of our own immense yet invisible strength.

Mars’s consort, Venus, the planet of love and happiness, is in direct motion all year. She will conjoin Neptune on December 27 at 22º18’ Aquarius. (Chart 5) As a toast to the best possible Venus outcome: May all love affairs and matters of the heart proceed effortlessly, gently, and gracefully throughout 2008! And to propitiate Neptune as well: May all beings experience a moment of true love.

Saturn turns retrograde on December 31, 2008 at 21º46’ Virgo. Saturn (Cronus, to the Greeks) standing still in an earth sign on the last day of the year certainly suggests a sense of finality. Although we can link Saturn with fear and anxiety (and, indeed, the mythological Cronus was concerned with his own security), he also reigned during the Greek Golden Age. This mythic period was thought of as a timeless epoch “before the arrival of discord and war and before a ’linkage’ of heaven with Earth was broken.”[6] Like Cronus, maybe we’d do well to not think of the future, but just rest for a timeless moment at the year’s end. Chances are, we’ll have earned it!

References and Notes

[1] Tem Tarriktar, “The Neptune–Pluto Cycle and the Next Seven Years,” in The Mountain Astrologer, June/July 2004, p. 28. See also: http:// www.mountainastrologer.com/planet_tracks/pt_archive/nept_pluto/nept_pluto.html

[2] http://www.aquariuspapers.com/astrology/2006/06/the_astrology_o.html

[3] “The mystic’s current fans range from Islamic scholars to New Age enthusiasts … [Robert] Bly says Rumi fills a place in the Christian tradition left vacant when the Gnostics — Christian mystics — were discredited as heretics by early Christian religious leaders. That ecstatic impulse has occasionally re-emerged with St. Francis and some of the medieval mystics, such as St. Teresa.” http://www.colemanbarks.com/press/news.php?n=7

[4] http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/11/05/mirror_neurons/index1.html?source=search&aim=/news/feature

[5] http://www.mountainastrologer.com/planet_tracks/pt_archive/crnts2007/pltry_crnts2007.html (reference: Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary: http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/humble).

[6] http://www.12x30.net/saturn.html. Scroll down to “Golden Age.”

© 2008 Mary Plumb – all rights reserved

Mary Plumb has been studying astrology since the 60s. She has practiced as an astrological counselor since 1985 and has been the Book Review and Web Editor for The Mountain Astrologer magazine since 1993. She has written numerous articles for TMA over the years. She is available for consultations, in person in Ashland or via phone: 541.488.3048. You can read her blog www.maryplumb.com, or contact her via e-mail at: mary@maryplumb.com


© 2007 The Mountain Astrologer. All rights reserved.