The Mars Effect | Monthly Forecast | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
The Mars Effect
Eric Francis Coppolino
Close to midnight on Wall Street, Kingston, New Year’s Eve, 2011.

When the lighted ball drops over Uptown Kingston on New Year's Eve, the astrology of 2014 will be in place and waiting for the first standout astrological feature of the new year: the Capricorn New Moon on January 1.

Let's start with the party and then go to the astrology. This will be the second annual New Year's street festival held Uptown. The first time out was a beautiful event, a true success, not needing to make any allowances for being a new event. Between the efforts of local entrepreneur Maria Phillipis (owner of Boitson's restaurant who organized the outside party), Teri Rossin and her brilliant crew at Backstage Studio Productions (aka BSP Lounge, which handled entertainment), and many business owners who helped out, the festivities came off flawlessly.

This year the theme will be an old-time formal soiree. Whether you come in full dress or come as you are, you will see many of your friends and neighbors dressed in their very finest, most creative outfits, designed once again to evoke an early 20th-century aesthetic. I am not especially into fashion, though I thought this was a lot of fun.

Cafés, bars, some restaurants and BSP will all be open extra late. There will be parking in the lower municipal lot off of Schwenk Drive, though you might want to make a reservation for dinner someplace and come out a little early. Please designate a driver and plan a safe route home, off the beaten path if you can, in advance.

From what I can reckon, this is an outdoor New Year's Eve party that's exactly opposite what you would get at Times Square in Manhattan. You will know people, the crowd will be a modest size (measured in the hundreds, not the tens, of thousands), there will be places (with bathrooms, even) to hang out indoors, and you will be close to home. You can enjoy the festivities and even sit down if you want to.

The Capricorn New Moon—and the Cross
Unlike most years, the astrology of the next year of our lives begins exactly on January 1. It's unusual for the civil calendar to align exactly with astrological ephemeris, though this alignment is a message for us about 2014.

On New Year's Day is the Capricorn New Moon. This event is a hologram containing the story of the next few seasons, because it aligns with the long-standing 2012-era aspect, the Uranus-Pluto square. This is generational astrology that is influencing very nearly everything, ranging from global events to the most intimate affairs of your private life.

The New Moon is part of a grand cross in the cardinal signs Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. These may be the four highest-energy signs,

The Uranus-Pluto square (which I've been writing about in Chronogram at least since May 2009, to give you an idea of its significance) involves two slow-moving planets, and most of the time it disappears into the environment. A square is two planets arranged in a 90-degree meeting—one of the highest-tension aspects that there is. We get it as the sensation of "everything, all at once," of weeks so concentrated that they feel like a month of activity happened, of months that go by so fast they feel like eight or nine days, and the sensation that there is simply no way to get control.

Those who are not fully on the ride may feel like life is blowing by them; like they are left on the shore as a rushing stream of events goes by. Those who are on the ride may be feeling like they've never participated so fully in so much experience. Those who are hesitating may have no concept of how to get involved, or how to have an impact, or how to even make contact with those who are doing so. Pay attention and you will find your opening. Don't judge your role—just live it out.

Uranus and Pluto together are like a mix of revolution and evolution. They can spur incredible upheavals. Yet they can also be subtle, dropping back from awareness and acting more like an invisible part of the environment, but influencing everything nonetheless. They have a long arc of influence, arriving in stand-out phases of history that most people don't notice until they're over.

Remember that Uranus and Pluto can only be seen with special equipment, such as telescopes or space probes. In a sense, we have to go to them. Astrologically, that property means they represent a nonordinary state of consciousness.

When other planets come into the alignment—especially the more visceral bodies closer to the Earth—they tend to bring the Uranus-Pluto aspect into the foreground, as if they're giving the aspect some tangible substance to work with. The ordinary and the nonordinary fuse together and create something new: original ideas, previously unseen points of view, experiences that shape and change our lives, events that transform our culture.

There is always a mix of creative and destructive in these aspects; and there is often a choice what side of that equation to choose.

All of this shows up in the Capricorn New Moon chart, and that particular astrological pattern develops through the first week of the year, gradually ramping up the energy, preparing us for the coming four seasons. The New Moon is symbolic of new beginnings and is the turnover of the basic heartbeat of both nature and astrology. On New Year's Day this is a clue that we're actually about to encounter something different.

The New Moon pattern consists of the Moon and the Sun in Capricorn closely conjunct Mercury and Pluto. This has a touch of the ominous, and has the power to call awareness to a profound depth—the kind of thing that most humans usually avoid. Of itself, the Capricorn group is a call to question the nature of the family, corporate, and government structures that strive to control our lives and our every thought.

Mercury combined with Pluto is so penetrating that it holds the potential to go deeper into this issue than ever before. It's not enough to challenge corporate entities by staging protests. It's necessary to address their internalized, miniature versions that inhabit our families, our intimate relationships, and our inner lives.

Opposite the Capricorn Full Moon group is Jupiter in Cancer. The largest planet and its 67 natural satellites are holding emotional ground and providing a kind of counterweight, facilitating some stability while these questions come up. Jupiter in its position in this chart feels like it's gathering emotional intelligence, which will emerge later in the year. At this stage Jupiter (which will be retrograde) seems to be in learning mode, opening up inwardly and making a bold reminder that while it's sometimes okay to keep your feelings to yourself, it's necessary to have feelings, to notice them (which means to notice yourself), and to use your experiences to help you expand inwardly.

There's also the sense that some collective feeling is brewing, something that will not begin to express itself directly till late winter.

Uranus, part of the Uranus-Pluto square, is in Aries. This is an exceptionally restless placement, searching for identity, busting with erratic creativity that is calling for some containment and focus, and going through potentially violent feelings. There is a drive for freedom in this placement that could be expressed through pointless, violent militancy; or it could be expressed as the kind of art created by someone truly self-inventive.

That could be a challenge to find; my take is that Uranus in Aries has most people caught in the thrall of glamour, technology, and the fascination of narcissism. Emerging from that into a free space will be a revolutionary act.

Mars Retrograde in Libra: The Prime Mover
There is one sign and one extended event remaining to describe on the cardinal cross, and that is Libra. Libra will be occupied by Mars beginning December 7. Mars will be retrograde between March 1 and May 19, and then finally leaves Libra and enters Scorpio on July 25. Mars spends nearly eight months of its current two-year orbit in Libra, about 11 weeks of that time retrograde.

Mars retrograde seems to contain an inherent contradiction, in that Mars is action oriented; retrograde motion is a kind of retreat, though it's also inwardly seeking in a way that Mars generally is not.

Libra, where this will happen, is a sign ruled by Venus. So there's another seeming contradiction here; Mars will be way out of his home territory, with a couple of compromises placed on him. Though this might be challenging if taken unconsciously, it could be helpful as well.

We will have Mars in a field of experience where Venus is much more comfortable. This could be some form of gender or gender-role questioning, a role reversal, or the immersion in an experience that provides a different point of view where sex and relationships are concerned. You could see this as men being put into the roles of women and having to find their way.

We are talking about Mars, the planet of desire and the energy of "go get it," and Libra, the primary sign associated with relationships. Mars (which on one level represents an individual) will be in an unusual position, which you could view several ways. One is that whatever Mars represents will be put in a position to be in a more conscious relationship to itself. The inward-seeking property of the retrograde emphasizes the point.

You could also look at this as an inquiry. "What do you want from your relationships?" is an obvious image. "Are you in the right relationship?" is another.

We humans tend make a lot of assumptions when we relate to one another, and we tend not to ask so many questions. This transit is about asking the questions that will penetrate those assumptions.

Mars retrograde in Libra goes to the level of what happens to our society, not just to us as individuals. For the Capricorn New Moon on January 1, all the planets I've mentioned so far will be in aspect to Mars—it'll be opposed by Uranus; to one side squared by Jupiter; and to the other side squared by the Moon, Mercury, the Sun, and Pluto. These aspects are all connection points to much larger nodes, events, or preexisting patterns of change. We may see some shocking, massive events in society associated with Mars passing through the Uranus-Pluto square.

Because of the direct-retrograde-direct pattern of motion, Mars will make three sweeps through the Jupiter-Uranus-Pluto configuration: one centered in late December and the first week of January, one centered in the last week of April (with a focus on April 24, the most powerful chart of the year), and then a third in the last two weeks of June. Whatever this astrology represents lasts through the first half of the year and, for a number of reasons, well beyond. The emphasis on personal relationships rises to the level of understanding how society works—that the vastest public experiences stem from our most intimate connections with one another. The ways in which society is out of balance are reflections of the ways in which we struggle in our partnerships.

This is an invitation to do your part. Get clear about the meaning of the people in your life. Don't take them for granted. Don't take your relationships for granted. Listen to the people you care about, and speak in a way that encourages them to listen to you.

We need balance, though nobody is going to hand it to us. We must find it with one another. It will not be enough to pray for peace. We will need to work it out with one another, with kindness, fairness, and devotion.

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