Twenty twenty-three is underway, and by the time you read this article, Mars and Mercury will have stationed direct — giving us a second start to the year. The first half of the year brings a profound shift in astrological themes, some of which we will explore here.
In the spring, eclipse season will start to merge the final series of eclipses with the nodes on the Scorpio-Taurus axis, with the Aries-Libra eclipses that we’ll see in the next two years. We will have a solar eclipse at 29° Aries squaring Pluto on April 20 and a lunar eclipse at 14° Scorpio opposite Uranus on May 5. In the midst of this, we will have Mercury retrograde in Taurus from April 21 to May 14. During this time, we revisit the themes of the past three years and may see some final changes or disruptions that end this chapter of our lives with a bang. We may find that we are doing too much and feel drawn to a period of rest that ultimately makes our life pace more sustainable.
Jupiter is currently blasting through Aries, throwing everything against the wall and not even waiting to see what sticks before moving on to the next action. Jupiter in Aries doesn’t care if you’re already overwhelmed with the many things you start excitedly, because it’s already firing up another 20 things that it has no intention of finishing. Jupiter in Aries is a rocket ship with questionable structural integrity because there is a great rush to finish the ship and get to the blasting-off point — which may or may not land well. But that was never the point. The heavily fixed squares and eclipses of the past few years have been slow and restrictive, and Jupiter’s full transit through Aries is a raw, cathartic explosion of just “give it a shot.” Jupiter’s last dip into Aries in 2022 was also co-present with Mars from May 24–July 5, and Mars said “no” to a lot of Jupiter’s ideas through its tendency to negate or end growth. Nobody is telling Jupiter no right now, and if anything, Mars’s sextile to Jupiter from Gemini is now saying “yes” to every idea on the table.
Jupiter will power all the way through this sign until it ingresses into Taurus on May 16, where it will remain until June 2024. And while Jupiter in Aries lives as if consequences don’t exist and it can have whatever, whoever, whenever it wants, there will be another story to tell as soon as Jupiter enters Taurus. There, it will immediately square Pluto and begin to cook up a conjunction with Uranus that will not be exact until April 2024. Jupiter in Pisces dreamed of new realities for us; Jupiter in Aries will see us take action toward them, and Jupiter in Taurus will ask us to make those new realities sustainable. Its immediate square to Pluto will also ensure we see the whole picture, not letting ourselves get carried away by what seems to work in the immediate sense, but also accounting for the more difficult, inevitable repercussions that will take more time to surface. We will need to be ruthlessly honest about how our beliefs impact others since Jupiter is connected to our principles and social groups and our home, the Earth, is the domain of Taurus.
Jupiter in Aries brings us the fight for individual rights, an emphasis on personal growth, and a potential for increased conflict based on differing ideologies. Justice for the individual may be at the expense of those with different beliefs. The desire for progress may simply be for progress alone, without a deeper purpose, but it may also feel easier to initiate new social connections just for fun. Jupiter in Taurus asks us to get real about our life and the world around us. This transit knows we can’t just be in it for ourselves, because individualism and ideologies need to be sustainable in the long run. We may find that most of our experiments from the winter and spring are impractical and don’t actually improve our lives. This can be grounding for those of us who are overly optimistic or have high-minded ideals; for those who struggle with hope, it can help integrate harsher realities into new possibilities.
One of the noteworthy shifts this year is Saturn’s ingress into Pisces. Saturn will cross this threshold on March 7 and remain in Pisces until spring 2025, when it ingresses into Aries. Saturn has lived by its own rules since late 2017 when it moved into Capricorn, and then into Aquarius in 2020, its other domicile. Saturn in Pisces will have to answer to someone new, no longer governing its own decisions as it has these past five years.
Saturn will need to ask Jupiter for permission to do what it needs to do, and Jupiter will only grant permission in Pisces’s waters if Saturn is able to soften its edge. Our world has become highly divisive these past several years, with resources strained and tightened, crumbling ideologies and structures gripping onto their remaining walls, and a dissociative kind of dehumanization, especially from authorities who are meant to steward the people with care. This is Saturn making its own rules, pursuing its own goals without a thought for others. Yet, Saturn may have also helped us build new world views, prioritize our decisions, and take responsibility for our commitments to others.
As Saturn moves into Pisces, we may begin to feel the effect of these past five years. We will make time to grieve the losses we couldn’t attend to in the moment because we simply had to pick ourselves up and keep going. Rather than clenching down on what we feel we know, we may have the courage to say “I don’t know” more often, and allow ourselves the vulnerability to learn or to try it out. As Saturn asks Jupiter permission to grieve, to not know, to get lost, and find our way, Jupiter’s charge over Pisces can show Saturn that without loss we do not feel our hearts open and grow bigger. Without learning, we become stuck, tight, and dry. Only in the unbearable, beautiful, and terrifying space of the unknown can we find hope, and dream of a different kind of future.
Together, we dream of a different future with Saturn in Pisces — one that is not committed to, or limited by, the way we currently experience reality. This future lives in the realm of possibility, and Saturn gives us the bones and soil to make it real. But we cannot build something new for ourselves if we don’t first imagine it, along with many other possibilities that may never come to be. Saturn in Pisces grieves the losses we have had, but acknowledges that endings are not a final state of completion; they are foundations for a creative process, for something new to begin. Ecological recovery becomes a creative process we engage in with the Earth, rather than a state of controlled preservation. Relationships become imaginative, vast, open possibilities, rather than a disappointing series of compromises. Communities become spaces where we recognize our similarities and our humanness far more than our differences, and where the awareness of the differences calls for deep compassion.
Throughout this transit, Saturn will chase Neptune through the sign, but they won’t actually meet until both enter Aries in 2025. Time will be stretched, an unfinished project, where we can continue to pursue these open states of possibility, making them, in Saturn’s language, real through the small, slow moments in our day; piece by piece creating a sum far greater than its parts.
The other incredible astrologically significant event in the first half of 2023 is Pluto’s ingress into Aquarius for several months before it dips back into Capricorn for the rest of the year. Pluto will visit the first degree of Aquarius from March 23–June 11, stationing at 0° on May 1. Not only will this offer us a foreshadowing of the next 20 years, but the station will also bring to the surface themes from the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in December 2020, which took place at the same degree. This preview period will be like a vast mycelium network, stretching back into the past to expose more of the Great Conjunction’s significance, while also reaching into the future of the two decades to come. In Aquarius, time becomes a different experience as this sign doesn’t experience time as linear with a before, a middle, and an after — but rather as simultaneous, wherein everything past, present, and future co-exists.
Our journey through Pluto in Capricorn since 2008 has allowed us to recognize the destructive nature of hierarchy in our world. The transit brought to light challenges around sustainability and food systems, the shortcomings of globalization, the gross disparity in global class structures, wealth hoarding, and a heartbreaking acknowledgment of our ecological crisis. In North America, most of our populace has not stewarded the land with integrity and our actions have profound repercussions, as do our actions toward the Indigenous communities who have worked very hard to steward the land.
In mythology, Pluto’s underworld domain is not a place that anyone visits willingly. We arrive there against our will, taken by force, or having lost the odds in an agreement where we must now face the consequences. Something must be sacrificed in order to enter the underworld, but something profound is gained at the return from that journey. Only Pluto remains there. We humans are only meant to visit for a time, to lose something in the process, to face a dying season, and then to emerge and face the light of day once more. Every time Pluto transits a new sign, we prepare to face a new dying season. Something is always lost in Pluto’s realm; the slowness of Pluto’s orbit and the length of its transits bring a deep, inevitable change. This can turn our whole lives upside down, but leave us in a new life we did not even realize we longed for.
As Pluto foreshadows its entry into Aquarius this year, we see a world already divided by beliefs. While Aquarius generates a high-minded idealism that is intended to promote progress and the betterment of humankind, these ideals can become so divorced from reality that they are impossible to live by. Hades literally wore a helmet of invisibility; Pluto will always show us the hidden aspect of whatever it touches. This transit will foreshadow the hidden repercussions of our dissociative cultures. While ideals can create an integral roadmap to live by, if they are too rigid they can also be destructive by dehumanizing or alienating those who don’t adhere to our views.
The first half of this year denotes a new stage for Pluto, but during the whole second half of the year, Pluto will square the nodes when it returns to Capricorn. Without jumping ahead beyond the time frame of this article, we can hold in our minds an understanding over these next few months that we will return to where we are now, later on, with a greater sense of urgency to complete the themes of this chapter. This will be a last call for anything still unfinished when Pluto makes its first short visit into Aquarius.
Illustration: Nasturtiums (1905) by Odilon Redon
Aerin Fogel is a Toronto-based astrologer, core pattern reader, and tarot reader. She has been working professionally with clients through one-on-one readings, workshops, and lectures since 2012. Aerin has been a speaker on The Astrology Podcast, and at Kepler College, ConVocation, Canadian Astrology Conference, and Astrology Toronto (for which she is also a board member). Aerin was an occult consultant on The Craft: Legacy as well. She specializes in an integrated, holistic trauma-informed healing perspective through natal chart readings, synastry, family charts, and more, merging modern psychological perspectives with traditional techniques. Aerin is also the Founder and Artistic Director for Venus Fest, a Toronto-based music festival, and plays in her band Queen Of Swords.