Aspects and Planetary Trends in 2017
The Play’s The Thing
One great way to understand astrology is by seeing it as the drama of life, being acted on a stage. The planets of our solar system are characters in the play. These characters are universal archetypes, of the sort you have seen a million times in stories for adults and children (The Lover, The Hero, The Innocent, Death, The Magician, The King, Mother Nature, The Healer, The Trickster and so on).
Have you ever been in love and felt like your passion touched the universal? Have you ever won a battle, felt like a hero and known that your battle was won for all humanity? Have you ever been wounded, cut to the quick, and known, for an instant, the suffering of all beings everywhere? This is archetypal experience.
Like every human being, you contain all these universal archetypes. Sometimes they are active and other times they wait in the wings for their moment. The characters are eager to be experienced by human beings. Each one has something it is trying to say, teach or accomplish, using your human experience to do it.
The year of 2017 has an interesting set of dramas in it. Now imagine yourself in a grand theater. The lights are dimming. There is a spotlight on center stage. You are about to meet the characters.
Meet Pluto. Pluto-type characters might be: Death, Dracula, The Magician or Sorcerer.
Pluto says: “I’m the agent of transformation. Whatever I touch dies and is reborn. Most people find this to be an uncomfortable, even painful process, because they don’t like death. But the butterfly doesn’t care that it once was a caterpillar, does it?”
Here’s Neptune. Think of Neptune as the Fairy Godmother, the Dreamer or the Visionary. Sometimes Neptune appears as a ghost from beyond the grave or the spirit of an ancestor. Neptune says: “I represent the worlds of spirit and the unseen. Things in my realm cannot be measured, yet when people have an experience of me, they know it, even though it cannot be proven. When the spirit leaves the body, everyone agrees the body is dead, but no one can say what has gone.”
Up pops Uranus. Uranus tends to appear as a force for change and progress. He’s the Experimenter, the Revolutionary, the Voice of the People. Uranus says: “I’m the rule-breaker, the radical. I bring revolution and sudden insight. I descend upon you with the Eureka!-Aha!-lightbulb-going-off-over-the-head experience. I alter your perspective so radically that you can no longer see things the old way and you have to change.”
Now Chiron steps forward. He’s limping, because he’s a reminder that everyone has a broken place inside, and that as human beings, we are an uneasy union of the animal and the divine. Chiron is The Broken One, The Walking Wounded, the Healer and every character who has ever touched greatness through suffering. Chiron says: “I’m the wounded healer. I remind you of old, stuck pain from the past. This may sound painful, but it’s actually an opportunity for healing deep, ancient wounds and recovering your human birthright. My gift is accelerated evolution.”
Now it’s Saturn’s turn. Saturn is the Elder, Judge, the Police, the Old Guard, the Traditionalist. In more modern terms, he’s the CEO, the Corporate Executive. His life is lived in bottom lines. Saturn says: “I’m the heavy. I remind you of all the things you should have done and been. I make you feel guilty, but behind that is a powerful drive to succeed and accomplish great things. I won’t be satisfied until you are the best you can be. Think of me as your own personal drill sergeant.”
And finally, Jupiter takes the spotlight. Jupiter is the Sage, the Storyteller, the Explorer and Adventurer. He’s also the Perennial Student and the Seeker, always on a quest. Jupiter says: “I’m all about growth and expansion. I know what greatness you’re capable of and I fill you with the hope and confidence to begin it. I’m the one who encourages you to make the promises Saturn forces you to keep. I play good cop to his bad cop.”
Each planet has a simple, pure nature but rarely gets to express itself purely, because whatever sign it happens to be in will limit and shape its expression. The sign a planetary character is in is like a costume he is wearing. The costume may constrict or enhance his movement and he may or may not be comfortable in the costume he finds himself in. Each character has a costume that belongs to him, but he is not necessarily always wearing it and may be wearing a costume that belongs to a very different character (imagine the Hero wearing the Mother’s apron, or the Lover dressed up like the Businessman). Some characters will wear a given costume for many years at a time, deeply exploring its comforts and discomforts, while others will pass through signs quickly, changing their costume every year for new ones.
The six planets I’ve listed above are passing through six signs this year: Aries, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn and Pisces.
Aries is a bold, adventuresome Fire sign. An appropriately Arian costume would be a military uniform or a superhero outfit. Impulsive Aries wants to get things done—or at least started, so any planet in Aries is dressed for active duty, armed, streamlined and ready to go. The Aries costume belongs to the planet Mars (another way of saying it is “Mars rules Aries”).
In 2016, Uranus is wearing the Aries costume. Uranus is the Radical and the Rebel and in Aries he is primed for action, so imagine this rebellious planet bringing startling, shocking new changes in a typically Arian way—direct and to the point. Uranus in Aries says “Change is coming—get out of my way! New ideas are bursting forth and I don’t care what the results are. Live for the moment! Re-invent yourself!” Expect the unexpected while Uranus wears the Aries costume. Uranus will be in Aries until 2018.
A Cardinal Air sign, Libra is social and motivated—and socially motivated. This is the sign of attraction, beauty and partnership, and thus its costume is a gorgeous ball gown or a perfectly tailored tuxedo. The Libra costume belongs to Venus, goddess of love and beauty.
In September of 2016, Jupiter moved into Libra, so 2017 begins with Jupiter in this sign, enhancing our experience of relationship. Libra is a fun place for the Jolly Planet to be. Jupiter in Libra can bring opportunities for partnership, social engagements and mediation. It’s a great time to expand your social graces: manners, tact, charm and diplomacy. We will probably also see many opportunities for beautification and for implementation of the good design principles Libra loves so well. Add a little gorgeousness to your world while Jupiter is in Libra. You look Mahvellous!
Scorpio is a Fixed Water sign, and fully as sensitive as the other Water signs (Cancer and Pisces)—perhaps more so, despite its often tough or spiky exterior. This is the sign of the Phoenix, the mythical bird that burned down to nothing and rose from its own ashes. Death and rebirth are Scorpio’s themes, so Halloween costumes are appropriate for this sign: the wicked witch, the vampire, the skeleton, the figure of Death with his scythe—these are all images that remind us of the darker side of the zodiac. Another great costume for Scorpio is that of the sorcerer—shaper and wielder of vast, unimaginable powers. This costume is owned by Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, who takes us into our own depths.
In October of 2017, Jupiter moves into Scorpio. What happens when Jupiter the Grower wears the Phoenix’s costume? We learn that vulnerability is on the path to transformation, and that that path runs through the territory of intimacy. We are presented with opportunities to share and to relate intimately. We are invited to make risky investments—emotionally, financially, even sexually—because of the powerful synergy that can arise when we do. We have adventures in Inner Space—the emotionally fraught and delicate space where trust is necessary and healing is possible. Jupiter in Scorpio believes that at the end of every dark tunnel there is a ray of light, and a loving voice which whispers, “The only way out is through.”
In 2017 Saturn is wearing the Sagittarius costume. Sagittarius is the Roamer, the Rambler, the World Citizen, the Adventurer, the Linguist, the Explorer—so imagine a ready-for-anything traveler’s outfit that allows plenty of room for movement, or perhaps a superhero costume with a swirling cape. Sagittarius is also all about growth and expansion. This Mutable Fire sign seeks understanding through a grand view that comprehends context and lends meaning. Jupiter owns this costume.
Saturn in Sagittarius is an inherently uncomfortable placement. This is because Sagittarius expands while Saturn contracts. How does one contract while expanding? By coming up with a structured, ordered, limited worldview in which experiences have definite meaning. It’s a difficult costume for Saturn to wear gracefully and can lead to intolerance, authoritarian perspectives and legalistic generalizations (think McCarthyism). On the other hand it can also lead to powerful personal growth for those who are willing to do the work to apply their grand philosophies in the material world.
Imagine a three-piece business suit, well-tailored. Or a uniform of any kind. Any planet in the sign of Capricorn is expressing itself in a businesslike, serious way, disposing that planet toward structure and order. Capricorn is ambitious and demands that something be built. Capricorn reminds us to be self-disciplined and professional, and to be aware of our reputation.
Capricorn is the costume that belongs to Saturn, but right now Pluto, the Transformer, is wearing it. This is kind of like the figure of Death wearing a business suit. Pluto is destroying the old and birthing the new through business and discipline. Pluto in Capricorn says: “I won’t be happy until everything we know about how to run a business or government is destroyed and rebuilt. What is ‘order’ really? What is ‘structure?’ What is ‘discipline?’ I must get to the essence of these things and to do so I may have to burn away everything on the surface until what is true underneath is revealed.” Pluto will be in Capricorn until 2023—plenty of time for big changes to be made.
Pisces is oceanic, spiritual and boundariless. Imagine a Piscean costume as the garb of an Illusionist, one who spins dreams, illusions and fantasies—or the messy, paint-smeared smock of an artist, someone who manifests a vision in reality. And yet another Piscean costume might be the garb of a monk, someone who cares nothing for the physical world and has no possessions beyond a begging bowl. Neptune is the owner of this costume.
In 2017, Chiron, the Wounded Healer, is wearing the Pisces costume. Chiron in Pisces does his work gently, bringing up old wounds relative to intuition and illusion. If you’re cut off from your intuition, Chiron will show you. If you’re deluding yourself about something, Chiron will know. “Watch your dream life,” says Chiron, “That’s where I’ll be, showing you places where you are split or broken and showing you how to heal them. You’ll find wholeness in your dreams and in your spiritual practice.” Chiron will be wearing the Pisces costume until 2018.
Neptune herself is also wearing Piscean garb this year, donning her own favorite costume and thus becoming the dreamiest Dreamer she can be. “What magic I can make!” says Neptune in Pisces, dancing and casting sparkles everywhere. “What dreams I will spin, what fantasies and imaginings! I will feed the imaginations of artists, visionaries and poets everywhere. Let me enchant you with the possibilities your life holds.” Neptune will wear the Pisces costume until 2025.
The Scripts They Are Playing Out
Characters in a play do not stand about doing monologues. Instead they interact with each other. In the same way, the planets do not operate in isolation and the most interesting parts of the drama of 2017 will be the ways the planets dialogue with each other.
Planets in the sky form specific relationships with each other. They assume roles toward each other and play out a script. Some of these scripts are harmonious (astrologers call them trines and sextiles) while others are stressful (squares and oppositions). And there is a fifth kind of script that brings two planets together in a neutral way, neither stressful nor harmonious, to ally themselves and have a meeting of the minds (conjunction).
Jupiter squares Pluto
In November of 2016 Jupiter, newly in Libra, formed a square with Pluto. Jupiter square Pluto can bring the highest highs and the lowest lows. Jupiter in Libra is social and wants to relate on an egalitarian basis while Pluto in Capricorn wants to build a hierarchical power base. Jupiter square Pluto runs from November of 2016 to August of 2017. Back in 2010 and 2011, the last time Jupiter and Pluto squared each other, I wrote a very entertaining blogpost thread about it, beginning here: Jupiter and Pluto Go To Extremes. That featured an excitement-loving Jupiter in Aries, not today’s diplomacy-loving Jupiter in Libra, but I think it still conveys the feel of Pluto and Jupiter in square.
Saturn trines Uranus
When Saturn the Traditionalist and Uranus the Futurist meet in the sky in a harmonious trine, progress can happen because both the past and the future are being honored. Saturn harnesses the genius of Uranus and Uranus willingly accepts the yoke because doing so allows forward movement to happen. When this trine appears in a natal chart, I like to say that such a person is capable of changing the system from within, by bringing the new but also having a sense of respect for how things came to be the way they are. This began in December of 2016 and ends in November of 2017. Read more about it here: Saturn Trine Uranus: Revolutions That Stand The Test Of Time.
Jupiter opposes Uranus
Jupiter in Libra opposing Uranus in Aries could light more than a few fires with its rebellious, revolutionary and incendiary energy. This could spell some times of strange, eccentric people appearing in the public eye, promoting ideas that range from offbeat to downright weird. It’s not a time when good judgment is likely to prevail and cooler heads may wait to put forward their ideas until this conflagration is over. This opposition lasts from December 2016 to September 2017. Read more about it here: Jupiter Opposed Uranus: An Atmosphere Of Radicalization.
Saturn squares Chiron
When Saturn the Builder and Chiron the Healer clash in the sky the results can be rather grim. While in Sagittarius, Saturn can be closed-minded, dogmatic and zealous in a judgmental way. Chiron in Pisces can play the victim and the martyr with equal ease. The two tend to argue about religious and spiritual matters. Is this conflict resolvable without bloodshed? Only time will tell. This begins in December of 2016 and ends in November of 2017. Read more about it here: Saturn Square Chiron: Colonialism And Martyrdom.
Jupiter sextiles Saturn
While in Libra this year, Jupiter forms a harmonious sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius. When Jupiter and Saturn connect harmoniously in the sky, wisdom is often the result. Jupiter expands; Saturn contracts. Jupiter promises; Saturn delivers. During a sextile connection, these two planetary principles are ready to work together and so Jupiter promises Saturn to not over-promise, while Saturn promises Jupiter to not be such a judgmental naysayer. This transit doesn’t happen in a usual 3-pass pattern—it begins with a station which never perfects, i.e. they come extremely close to a sextile, but don’t actually form one. That imperfect hit is in December of 2016 and the transit finishes with an actual hit in August of 2017.
Jupiter trines Neptune
Later in 2017, after Jupiter moves into Scorpio, he comes into a lovely, harmonious trine with Neptune. Neptune is of course the planet of spirituality, dreams, fantasies and illusions while Jupiter grows and expands everything he touches. This is likely to feel like a blissful time when dreams expand and fantasies grow. But it can also be a time when religious zealotry is supported to expand without end. Will it be a time of immense creativity or collective delusion? It’s hard to know until it happens. This begins in December of 2017 and ends in August of 2018.
I’ll be posting the further adventures, dialogues and conflicts of these characters throughout 2017. If you feel a strong resonance with one or more of these characters, it may be triggering your own birth chart (this page might give you a clue). To find out more, you may want a full reading of your birth chart (for a list of my services, look here).
To find out more about other astrological events happening in 2017, such as eclipses and pivotal days, see this: Transits in the Year 2017.
The gorgeous woodcut-style planet icons on this page were created by Betelgeux whom I found on deviantart.com and who appears to not be there anymore.