Hello to readers in Brooklyn!
It’s a serious month, the second serious month of a deeply serious year, and the planets on day one of February 2022 reflect that gravity. As I like to remind readers, you don’t need an astrologer to know which way the wind blows. You don’t need a meteorologist, either. All you need do is watch the news, any news, even Fox (or maybe especially Fox) to know that we are in trouble. How to handle that trouble is the task at hand this month, and for the next many months, as we attempt to find solutions to the many issues bearing down on us.
February is also a volatile month in an already too-volatile world. For those who have already decided that the world has lost its mind, February might seem like a good month to hide under the covers. Unfortunately, the only problem with that choice is you might want to save it for March, April, or any other month this year when denial will appear as the only reasonable response to the madness. You could say, and I will say: we’re doing the Time Warp dance again and again and again. Madness does take its toll. You can jump to the left, put your hands on your hips, and then jump to the right, but there is no way out of the mess we are in. So best to get comfortable, but don’t fall asleep—too much is happening all at once and you’ll need to be aware of what’s going on so you can make informed choices about how you want to respond.
February presents us with the first exact United States Pluto Return on February 20, and all month long the inexorable pull of that dynamic event dominates all other astral activity. You may not immediately recognize the presence of Pluto but that lack of awareness doesn’t lessen its influence. Pluto signifies death and rebirth—something has to die so something else can be reborn. We’ve been under the thumb of Pluto for the last several years, which is one of the reasons the world looks as if it is falling apart—it is. Pluto’s influence has been wearing down and deconstructing systems—individual and collective—that no longer authentically express the values of the American idea. We will be under Pluto’s influence for many months and years ahead, which means we can expect more institutions to crumble under the weight of having outlived their usefulness. Pluto only tears down what is no longer relevant, and as it does, we often experience that transformation as a loss of the tried and true.
In many ways it is both terrifying and thrilling to be alive in the age of such profound transformation. But that doesn’t make the effect of Pluto’s power any easier to bear. Try to be aware and alert to your feelings through this process. Notice what is no longer authentic for you and notice what you resist releasing. For Pluto, the dissolution of what was is as important as the creation of the new reality, and while that dissolution is uncomfortable in its uncertainty, it is also exciting to envision what’s next. Try to find a positive view about the future, and as you do, be aware that what you envision is part of what we are collectively birthing. If you think that kindness is a more important value than power, make it a point to live a kind life. Kindness has its own power, but you have to value others to fully experience its benefits.
Week One: February 1 – 7
February’s serious air is attributable to several astral interactions:
At the stroke of midnight on February 1, there is a Moon/Sun/Saturn conjunction in Aquarius and 46 minutes later that Moon becomes a New Moon, the emblem for new beginnings. But don’t get too giddy about the new beginning, even if it is the start of the Lunar New Year. Saturn saturates the air with seriousness and all the celebrations in the world won’t override its sober strength. Saturn is a co-ruler of Aquarius—it used to govern Aquarius before Uranus was discovered. For those familiar with astrology, it is hard to imagine Aquarius being as sober as Capricorn, but Aquarius is a Fixed Sign and as all Fixed Signs do, it holds fast to its beliefs and opinions, often refusing to budge. And yet Uranus, which is now considered the significator for Aquarius, is believed to symbolize invention and innovation—it’s one of those astrological conundrums that we just have to live with, yet continue to contemplate because it doesn’t actually make sense. (Similarly, while I hold fast to the idea that the planets are not causal, I totally support not buying new technology (if you can) during Mercury Retrograde—go figure.) From a positive point of view, the New Moon in Aquarius on February 1 promises innovation. Coupled with the structural gifts of Saturn, it’s possible to ground some of those innovative ideas in reality.
But don’t be in a hurry to get things done immediately. February opens with the last three days of this year’s first Mercury Retrograde. Mercury goes Direct close to midnight EST on February 3, so let’s just agree that it’s over on February 4. When Mercury makes a “course correction,” it slows down a couple of days before and after the “turn around”; this is the Mercury Retrograde 3-day rule, so don’t expect anything to be moving quickly until at least Monday, February 7. Those three days tend to go against common sense: Mercury is moving forward, why am I still stuck in the mud? Over the weekend, it will seem as if circumstances are slowing down the already slow pace, reducing the tempo of daily routines even more than the retrograde itself. The best way to handle this sluggish pace is by continuing to be patient with yourself and others as Mercury takes its time establishing a new stride.
One more thing: Mercury goes direct in a conjunction with Pluto, which translates into a need to think things through as thoroughly as possible before taking action. And that won’t be so easy because Neptune, the symbol for imagination, sextiles that Mercury/Pluto conjunction, and Neptune is almost sure to infuse many of your ideas with a healthy dose of imagination, making it a little harder to maintain mental clarity.
Uranus in Taurus squares that Moon/Sun/Saturn conjunction, which makes whatever pace is established erratic. Uranus is the planet of surprising plot twists and when it squares off with the Moon and the Sun, emotions vacillate from one extreme to another, as do aspirations. Add Saturn to the mix and we are back in the process of dismantling the status quo—Uranus is busy challenging what is by introducing inventive new ways of doing the same old thing. Anticipate being antsy and restless even in the midst of all that Saturnian seriousness.
Uranus in Taurus also trines the ongoing Venus/Mars conjunction in Capricorn. This Venus/Mars conjunction lasts until mid-April, when both Venus and Mars move from Capricorn to Aquarius and eventually into Pisces, where they finally move away from each other. A Venus/Mars conjunction in any Sign represents passion, creativity, and sensuality that can manifest as strong sexual or creative urges capable of pushing past inhibitions—even customary politeness. If you get excited, be careful not to foist your affection where it isn’t wanted. Despite a tendency to go too far, this conjunction fosters love, and while it tends toward romantic love more than any other variety, it also enhances platonic love. Anticipate feeling a strong need to be connected to those you already love as well as an equally strong inclination to flirt with just about everyone you meet. A word of caution: Uranus leans toward the spontaneous, and that need for spontaneity might convince you to throw caution to the wind. As I often advise, when Uranus and Venus combine you might want to wait until the transit is over before you get married. My motto (as many of you know) is “marry in haste, repent at leisure.” The same is true about divorce. So enjoy the sensual and sexual intensity of this Venus/Mars conjunction—get lost in it even—but be sure to remember the way home, if only because Uranus can turn on a dime and what was once a wild infatuation that would seemingly last forever can quickly turn into a casual fling.
Jupiter, in Pisces, sextiles that Venus/Mars conjunction, which ramps up the intensity, making it hard to find any middle ground. Yes, Jupiter is the planet of good fortune, but it is also the planet of excess and its presence pushes hard on Venus and Mars, intensifying those passionate urges and the need to act on them.
But that’s not all: Jupiter also sextiles Uranus, which gives the entire bundle a sense of being preordained—a ‘you had to be at that coffee shop on that day at that time or you would have missed the love of your life’ kinda thing. And that sense of destiny could override common sense. I’m not suggesting you shy away from genuine feelings of love; I’m simply advising you not to get carried away. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but just log it for now because if you find yourself about to move overseas because you met someone on Match.com that you’re sure is the perfect person for you, you might be glad to find a brain worm already established in your head that will start to question your intentions and clarity.
Week Two: February 8 – 1
All of the interactions discussed above spill over into this week.
Week Three: February 15 – 21
This is the most important week of the month—and hindsight might deem it the most important week of the decade (and no, I don’t think I am exaggerating). On February 20, the first Pluto Return of the United States of America occurs, and while a lot of people may not think this is an important astrological event, it is the reason the country appears to be coming apart at the seams. I know you don’t need me to point it out; all that’s required is listening, reading, or watching the news, which seems to be incessantly focused on reminding us that our democracy is facing an existential crisis. Books are being banned; so many people think a mask mandate is the same thing as a freight car headed to a concentration camp; voting rights are being blatantly challenged by racists who are proud of their bigoted efforts; armed militia are itching for a fight they’ve been waiting on for years; the list goes on and on. These indicators (and more) are all signs that the foundation of the American government is being challenged, but more importantly, the very idea of America is being assaulted. One could argue that the idea of America—as the great melting pot and land of opportunity—has always been threatened and that it has always failed to live up to its potential. But not in every instance. We get a lot of things right.
There are many aspects of America in action that demonstrate its ideals. Those of us who are not white supremacists take pride in the principles that we try to live up to. I, for one, love living in a melting pot. Almost everyone brought up with exposure to a variety of cultures knows the benefits of that caldron of cultures firsthand.
My father, the Communist, would argue that this right-wing insurgence is a by-product of capitalism—if you can keep the masses uneducated, you can manipulate them to believe anything, even rejecting a vaccine that will save their lives. I don’t often agree with my father, but on this one we see eye to eye: education is probably the only thing with the potential to save us from ourselves. Unfortunately, it will take a very long time to educate all the people who need to learn to think on their own. Of course, a UFO intervention would also work and take far less time.
I realize I am making light of a very serious situation, but it is my way of dealing with the difficulty of having to bear witness to what the U.S. Pluto Return is revealing. Pluto always, always, always exposes what is inauthentic, and as I have written about before and will continue to harp on going forward, most of the weaknesses in our system—weaknesses we know were already there—have been laid bare. In part, that exposure is a consequence of having reached critical mass. We aren’t going back in time (even if we are doing the Time Warp, again) but it still doesn’t look like we are moving forward. The bigots are losing; they know it. They can’t stop this Plutonian shift to a more enlightened perspective, as much as they are still attempting to. Call it a tipping point, an inflection point, or simply a revolution; it doesn’t matter. We are in the midst of a huge transformation and this month, when the Pluto Return is exact, we move into the heart of that transformation, a process that will carry us forward all year and into 2023.
Week Four: February 22 – 28
The good news is that a Sun/Jupiter conjunction in Pisces begins on February 27 and that should smooth some rough edges. This is a positive interaction that fosters goodwill and kindness toward our fellow travelers.
This month, do your best not to tune out. I’m not suggesting you follow every nuance of change, but I am advising that staying present for this process is important. It will help you figure out your individual role and what steps to take next. We’ve been living in and through interesting times and we should be used to it. But this Pluto Return is bigger than many can imagine and because it’s Pluto we’re dealing with, the issues it raises are going to take a long time to resolve. Be patient with yourself and others, especially children and pets who feel the intensity but can’t put it into words.
Also try to track how you’re experiencing the intensity—all of us are experiencing the tilting axis of the Earth, but it will be beneficial to know what direction you are favoring in this great tilt. Try to keep your feet on the ground, one foot in front of the other, moving forward, living life, and seizing the creative aspect of this transformational moment. Notice who shows up—friends from the distant past or new ones who you suddenly feel aligned with. Notice how you show up for these changes; what you resent and what you delight in. Notice the limits of your compassion for others. We’re living through a great awakening that requires us to develop compassion for what we don’t understand and don’t like.
Above all, be kind to your fellow travelers. We need each other through this process and remembering what is good about each other will make it easier for all of us to make it through.