A Double-Retrograde, Blue-Moon, Lunar-Eclipse New Year


As we celebrate the passing of '09 into '10, the planets are bestowing an astrologically unusual New Year's.

First of all, not only is Mars still retrograde (through March) as I've already mentioned, but now so too is Mercury—it first turned retrograde on Dec 26, and remains that way through Jan 15. Mercury retrograde, of course, can turn our communications batty, our transmission capabilities unreliable and our transport detoured or delayed.

On top of that, New Year's Eve (Dec 31) brings a full moon in Cancer… which also happens to be a lunar eclipse. Eclipses are super-powered full and new moons that occur in sets of twos or threes every six months or so, creating potent segments of a few-weeks'-time (I refer to them as eclipse periods) during which the narrative developments in our lives tend to climax and/or flip us to the next chapter. Yes, we are firmly within this eclipse period and pointing ahead to a subsequent solar eclipse on Jan 14-15, when the astrological scene better fits the 'new beginnings' theme we generally associate with the turning of the calendar year.

Tomorrow's lunar eclipse is in fact the second full moon of December 2009, a once-every-2-to-3-years occurrence that is popularly known as a 'blue moon'. To be precise, there are multiple conflicting usages of the term (check out the Wikipedia article) that distinguish which 'extra' full moon is classified as the 'blue' one. But suffice it to say, the idiomatic application of 'once in a blue moon' to describe an uncommon happening is enough to let us know this is a phenomenon long considered special in the popular consciousness.

The combination of (1) two personal-planet retrogrades and (2) a lunar eclipse that's conjoined the Moon's South Node comprises a powerful 'letting go' energy that may have us glancing back toward the recent past before we can effectively look ahead. Retrogrades always convey a theme of revisiting steps already taken, with the affected planet retracing territory it had just passed through not too long before. This is our signal to return to unfinished business, to reopen cases that hadn't been satisfactorily put to bed earlier and/or to redo that which we didn't 'do right' the first time.

The lunar South Node's influence similarly draws our attention to what's led up to this present moment, highlighting where we, usually unconsciously, repeat deeply ingrained patterns of reaction and dig ourselves further into more of the same. The South Node points to the powerful karmic undertow uncannily carried by 'the path of least resistance' when we do what's most familiar—and often most regressively comfortable. When we surrender to the South Node, we sacrifice growth (and its risky rewards) for 'safe' repetition of experience.

Mars retrograde may have our assertive drives nudging us toward goals or endeavors we hadn't lately been moved to invest in, reminding us of alternatives and re-exciting our energies for that which we've neglected. At the same time, Mars is also the planet that symbolizes conflict and contestation… and his retrograde phase sometimes resurrects tensions or fights which we thought we'd put to bed. Mars's current position in Leo gives us a chance to reiterate our fullest presence, in case we were too shy or self-effacing during the last go-around. Now's the opportunity to shine light into any shadows of regret you may feel, due to having previously sold yourself short or given into someone else's overpowering ego. 'This time,' you promise yourself, 'they won't overlook me!' Of course, this 'fight' might just as likely be against your own internal tyrant… that inner voice who has demanded you suppress crucial sparks of your individuality, for inherited reasons (most of which are questionable at best) as varied as there are parents in the world who will fuck their kids up no matter what. Time to leave other people's stifling nests. Mars retrograde in Leo wants to pull you closer to the center of the action in your world, by inspiring departures of personal fancy. Feel one? Follow it.

Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn, meanwhile, pointing at a pressure to remold our dispatch-and-dissemination strategies rather than continue to parrot 'official answers' or 'long-made plans' that no longer suit the changing situation. Whenever Mercury's retrograde, we must be ready to shift our mindsets, accept the obstructions or interferences, and sometimes even eat our previously uttered words. In Capricorn, the worst snafus arrive from too thoughtlessly obeying what we're 'supposed' to do, ignoring the human factor in favor of policy, or excessively enforcing disciplines or rules with no relevant goal in mind. As such, you'll want to take care not to automatically respond with formality or inflexibility. The magical up-side happenstances of this Mercury retrograde come from awareness that rules are made to be broken, protocols bent, unreasonable standards adjusted accordingly.

Rules and protocols and standards, however, are not without their importance. And while we may presently stumble somewhat as our outdated versions reveal where they fall short, Mercury-retrograde-mischief-style, this is part of the larger process of crafting a newer, more relevant guidebook for ourselves. Capricorn is the sign of the forthcoming Jan 14-15 solar eclipse, a North Node-conjunct (and thus forwardly-directed) lunation that provides a wonderful chance for just such intention-setting work. And the further presence of Venus in conjunction to the Sun, Moon and North Node will only sweeten the atmosphere, promising a boost of blessings to those who set their eyes on a distinct goal, map out the steps that'll get 'em there, and firmly refuse to settle for giving up or petering out.

Pluto is also in Capricorn (for the long haul!)… and at the Jan 14-15 solar eclipse, he approaches a conjunction with Mercury, which stations back to direct motion mere hours later. Pluto in Capricorn is the awe-inspiring agent of deep painful transformation who's lately sunk his teeth into dismantling our institutions of authority and resource-allocation both collectively and personally. He's the guy behind the still-very-much-happening financial crisis and our intensifying mistrust of government. At the solar eclipse, it behooves us all to make new commitments for governing our own lives, both merciful and yet still requiring the responsibility and restraint to keep our long-term outlook strong.

On New Year's Eve, then, at the lunar eclipse 'blue moon' in Cancer, we might dispense with the typical looking-ahead resolutions because, according to astrology, the timing isn't quite right. We'd do best to save the resolutions for the solar eclipse two weeks later. Instead, let's put all our energies into fully feeling the year we are leaving behind… a year that has been rather difficult for many folks, financially, politically, interpersonally, spiritually. How many of us can't wait to just move on already? If we really want to advance past 2009's sinkholes and surprises, we ought to spend the first two weeks of 2010 wrapping 'em up, saying what we haven't yet said, ending the old arguments once and for all, and becoming the unapologetic (and, naturally, altruistic) stars of our own shows.