What is it about 2013 that makes its astrology distinctive? In a word, water. That means a year of exploring the nuances of, and the existence of, emotion, empathy, and intuition. If you've ever wanted to take up photography, painting, music, or filmmaking, now is the perfect time.
The Asian year of the Water Snake begins this month, which accents the Western astrology perfectly (more on that closer to the event). Over the past few years, there has been a gradual accumulation of planets in water signs, calling attention to corresponding issues with actual water on our planet.
To those with strong water sign charts (for example, Sun, Moon, or rising sign in one of the water signs Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces), the world feels a little more like home when there are planets in those signs. There is space and a kind of invitation to open up the emotional spectrum, and to feel ourselves, one another, and existence itself.
We are constantly interacting with material objects, electricity, data, money, ideas, concepts, paper, metal, and machines that burn fuel flying across the sky and speeding across the countryside. How much time do we spend with water? Let's see, 10 minutes in the shower, 10 minutes doing the dishes, and an extra 15 minutes chatting by the water cooler. Water is the missing element in most of our lives. We live in a kind of desert.
My old friend Be'jamin once said the world is divided between those who drink water and those who do not. Those who do are in the minority. Pepsi in any form is not water. Smart Water isn't either.
Rising Tide, 2010 to Present
Over recent years, planets have been moving into water signs. As happens with water, the tide rises slowly and steadily. It's now about to come to a crest. But let's take the story back a few years.
In 2010, Chiron began its ingress to Pisces, which started things off. That is Chiron for you—leading the way. (Well, Uranus had been in Pisces for six years prior, but that wasn't very watery; it was like a hot tub with a short circuit.)
The very day that Chiron ingressed Pisces for the first time, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded. We watched for 90 agonizing days as crude oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. Chiron will be in Pisces through 2018-2019, and is a constant reminder to take care of the oceans, lakes, and rivers. However, it's never really clear how to do this, since the problem comes from industry. Fighting industry, its lawyers and its scamming environmental consultants, is never easy, but we all have to participate in the old heave-ho that will be necessary to set things right. Every product choice, indignant phone call to customer relations, and public meeting in your community counts, as does doing what you can personally.
Neptune, a watery blue planet named for the god of oceans (and earthquakes) began its ingress into Pisces in 2011, completing that ingress in early 2012.
Meanwhile, Uranus left Pisces with a bang in March 2011. I mean several bangs, starting with an earthquake and tsunami, followed by multiple reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station exploding and melting down, and then spilling vast quantities of radiation into the air, the ocean, and the groundwater.
It's fair to say that the combination of Uranus in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius was not good for water: through these transits, hydraulic fracturing became all the rage. This is a process of gas extraction that consumes millions of gallons of water per gas well, and leaves the Earth and groundwater contaminated with many toxic chemicals—all to do what solar or wind energy could do more cheaply and cleanly.
In October 2012, Saturn ingressed Scorpio for the first time since the early 1980s. This is providing some stability to the planets in Pisces. Chiron and Neptune give us more water and more awareness of the feeling level of existence. Saturn is here to help keep that yin energy in balance, and also help dredge out the territory deep at the bottom of things.
In human consciousness, the Saturn in Scorpio factor brings up the theme of emotional maturity. Oh, that thing! It's about learning to have some modicum of boundaries around our feelings, some sense of containment. We are said to live in a society where yang energy is out of balance—our aggressive, competitive, and warlike society.
Just as strong a case can be made that we struggle with emotional stability and maturity. That people are not encouraged to grow up is a problem. That there are so many constantly refreshing sources of instability is an even worse situation.
Saturn in Scorpio is the territory where sex meets the emotions—the hormone drive, hormonal cycles, the deep emotional need to connect sexually in a way that's not merely physical, or a merger of DNA. Saturn in Scorpio is here to help us dredge out these channels. They are so cluttered with emotional discharge it's amazing anyone knows what they feel.
There is a big problem with ignorance around sexually transmitted infections, which is a form of passing around karma through sex. Saturn is saying: wise up, grow up, and get a grip.
We also face a significant problem of hormone pollution. Everything you consume that has touched plastic (including cans, which are plastic-lined), as well as many, many other products, contain hormonally active chemicals. Then there are untold millions of people consuming hormone birth control and discharging it into the public waterways.
In many areas of the United States and other countries, there are just nine short steps between what you flush down the toilet and what comes out of your kitchen faucet. The sewage per se is the last thing we need to worry about; the problem is the contaminants, such as the drugs and, in many places, PCBs at the bottom of riverbeds. PCBs are a form of liquid plastic that was used through most of the 20th century and which still finds its way into nearly everything. They are hormonally active chemicals, like every pesticide, dioxin, and most heavy metals.
I often wonder about the effects of all of this hormone pollution on our behavior and the ways in which we interrelate, which are so dependent on hormones and pheromones. I wonder about how much of the gender anarchy that's so popular now is fueled by toxins on the parts-per-billion level. For years I have been proposing that there is a behavior problem with these contaminants.
Now, that turns out to have some validity. A recent retrospective of prior studies associates reduced lead rates with lower rates of violent crime. The researchers looked at every other social or economic explanation for the trends they could think of—and it turns out that lead is the probable culprit in unexplained, wide-scale violent behavior. We can only wonder what the thousands of other chemicals are contributing to planetary insanity, as well as the political madness that is swallowing all common sense and reason.
One vision I would offer for Saturn in Scorpio is coming to terms with this issue, both as an environmental pollutant and as an emotional pollutant. How many people do you know who suffer from some endocrine disorder? Common ones include endometriosis, diabetes, thyroid problems, pituitary disorders, and obesity (often undiagnosed as a hormonal issue).
Saturn in Scorpio is calling for awareness—and for a kind of purge. Do you know the sources of hormone pollution in your diet? Do you consider things like high fructose corn syrup as one of them? What about the hormones present in milk and meat? It's time to get a grip on these issues.
One other not-so-minor point: Scorpio is associated with jealousy and possessiveness, and all the dramas that often ensue from there. Of all emotions, I think jealousy is the one that (suitably) people are the most covetous of; it's treated like an entitlement. I would say more people feel entitled to be jealous than feel entitled to be happy. This is not serving anyone's creative, constructive, or loving purpose.
Saturn in Scorpio is going to push the issue, which has a first cousin—the truth about the sex we want, the sex we actually get, and our whole history. Most of this is left out of the relationship discussion, which is convenient until it is not so convenient at all.
Clip and Save: More Water in 2013
That's just the background! In mid-2013, Jupiter joins Saturn, Chiron and Neptune in the water signs, as it ingresses Cancer. By July and August, there's an impressive lineup in Cancer, which brings the water issue to the most personal level. That's the dimension of home, nourishment, and the choice whether to nurture ourselves and those around us.
Cancer is about the most tangible level of actual human feelings. Yes it has the intuitive dimension, but really it's where feelings come home to the gut level, the bosom and maternal instinct. I would propose that this is about a reconsideration of how and whether we take care of ourselves, our families, and those we say we love.
What is the balance of giving and receiving in your life? What are your motives to share or to express your needs? Can you discern a need from a desire? Mercury ingresses Cancer on May 31, where it stays through Aug. 8 (more on that in a moment). Through nearly all of the month of June, Venus is in Cancer.
Meanwhile, Jupiter ingresses Cancer on June 25, a few days after the Sun does. It's there for about one year. This is the faster-acting piece of the grand trine—Jupiter spends just a year in Cancer, and when it shows up it will be accompanied by several other quick-movers passing through this sign.
Mars enters Cancer on July 13, where it stays through August 27. So through Northern Hemisphere spring and summer, there will be a rather impressive grand trine in the water signs, involving the following planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars and Jupiter (all buzzing around in Cancer), as well as Saturn, Chiron and Neptune. If you count times when the Sun and Moon are in water signs, all of the traditional planets will be part of that grand trine for part of the year.
There's one more fun thing to consider: every time Mercury is retrograde, it will be in a water sign. Indeed, during the retrograde phase it will not leave the water sign it's in—that is, it doesn't dip into the neighboring sign.
The Mercury retrograde beginning February 23 is exclusively in Pisces (Venus, Mars, Neptune, Chiron and the Sun will also be there). The one beginning June 26 will be exclusively in Cancer. It will be joined by the Sun, Mars, Vesta, and Jupiter. The one beginning October 21 will be exclusively in Scorpio, joined by the Sun, Saturn, and the North Node.
Okay, that's a lot of water. This is coming from someone with about 10 water placements in my natal chart, depending on what you count, and it still feels like a lot of water. The meta theme here is that it's time to connect with the truth that we are beings made of water, with feelings attuned to water, which flow like water.
We need to nourish our bodies with water, and take care of the Earth's limited supply of fresh water. And it's time to imbibe those forms of watery creative expression, and tune into the "psychic" or intuitive realm—which will be coming through more distinctly (that's a topic deserving of another article). Water is the medium of intuition. Imagine that all water resonates with all other water.
There are no secrets and no point trying to keep them. Sooner or later, anyone aspiring to a more spiritually grounded life figures this out.