Jan 2018
Water, Water, Everywhere

This will be a year dominated by the water element, literally and symbolically.

Water will be on our minds: externally, in terms of the environment, and internally, in terms of our inner reservoir of feelings.

Grand Trine

The new month, and the new year, begin with a Full Moon in Cancer. This assures us of plenty of drama as 2018 begins.

Does not this brightness produce…an effect of light which frightens one, rejoices another, and agitates all?

— French psychiatrist Jean-Etienne Esquirol (1772-1840), on Full Moons

But the greater significance here is the way the Moon slides into position with other planets in the sky.

The Cancer Moon on New Year’s Day, together with Neptune in Pisces and Mars/Jupiter in Scorpio, creates a Grand Trine in water.

This is the birth chart of the calendar year. It suggests that 2018 will steer our attention into our emotional depths.

Neptune in Pisces

It’s a focus that Neptunian souls are already well aware of. Ever since Neptune went into Pisces (2012 to 2029), those attuned to the oceanic mind have been steeped in their own sensitivity, more receptive than ever to whatever is happening with the mass mood.

There’s been no lack of evidence of Neptune’s dark side. Its manifestations include the opioid epidemic, mass drownings in the Mediterranean Sea, the chaos eroding the world’s governments.

In the collective psyche, we can chalk up to Neptune’s shadow the sense of overwhelm we all feel, awash in a media onslaught that never lets up.

We may be less aware of Neptune’s revelatory potential. Certainly it is harder to identify, and trickier to describe. Spiritual understanding is not on everyone’s radar.

Cosmic purpose

But the true purpose of this thirteen-year transit is to reveal the underlying unity of all things, by increasing our empathy and deepening our intuition.

Like its shadow side, the higher side of Neptune is suspicious of life in the material world.

The transit can inspire a search for ego transcendence, or simply the desire to escape the tackiness of daily life. In one way or another, it has been loosening our ties to the earth plane for six years.

This astro joke from The Mountain Astrologer (Dec/Jan 2018) sums up the quandary:

Neptune, prone to paranoia, visits a therapist.

Neptune: There’s something following me!

Shrink: That’s your body.

Hands of a clock

Neptune’s long, slow passage through Pisces is the background influence in this month’s Grand Trine. If this month’s Trine were a clock face, the Neptune part of the transit would be the hour hand.

Against this backdrop is Jupiter, which went into Scorpio in October. Jupiter’s transit, twelve years long, is reinforcing Neptune’s lessons. It piques our interest in the intelligence of emotions, especially those that are taboo or repressed.

In this month’s Trine Jupiter is analogous to the minute hand of a clock.

Mars and the Moon

Mars, in Scorpio for only a couple of months (12/9 – 1/27), is analogous to the second hand of the clock. Its role in the Trine is to accentuate even further the issues water governs, especially underground activities.

If there were a clock hand that moved faster still, it would be the Moon in this analogy. The lunar cycle, culminating on New Year’s Day, provides the final ingredient in the triad by adding Cancer, the sign of its rulership.

This is the most personal of the water signs: the one that brings everything closer to home. This suggests that, on the literal level, domestic and real estate matters will be highlighted; and, on the psychological level, our defense mechanisms will be harder to ignore.

Keep these and other water themes in mind, during 2018: in January in particular, and during its first week especially.


Ocean photo by Warren Keelan
Eye image thanks to Alan Olckers
Photo portrait by Hiroshi Nomura