January is a month that could see people concerned about actions of governments, corporations and other institutions. The matter of our personal resources may be a significant concern as we question our obligations, responsibilities and whether we have the resources to take care of what needs to be done. There could be a sense of nose to grindstone as we start the month, and we may have to put some of our plans and hoped-for intentions on the back burner as we deal with our daily, mundane concerns.

The month begins following the Lunar Eclipse on New Year’s Eve, the 31st of December of last year. The T-Square operational at the time of December’s Lunar Eclipse is in play as we start the month. The T-Square is in the Cardinal Signs and indicates a tendency to initiate and launch new projects but possibly without enough due diligence or the consideration of possible implications and ramifications and perhaps even lacking in both follow-through and adaptation to any changing variables. It will be important to note indications of the Cardinal Sign T-Square for we shall be doing the dance with a Cardinal Sign T-Square through the mid-year of 2012 as Pluto continues its transit of Capricorn, squared by Saturn going through Libra and with Uranus entering Aries to square Pluto and continue its opposition to Saturn first begun in November 2008 when Saturn was transiting Virgo and opposing Uranus in Pisces.

Change is afoot and not merely as a momentary transition but rather as a long drawn-out process through the next two and a half years. We shall have to ask ourselves whether the changes we initiate, or changes initiated, are productive for our future, much less our present. Or are the changes knee-jerk reactions to a volatile time of destabilization whereby the changes are throwbacks to old ways and old patterns no longer functional for this period in time? Or, at the other extreme, are the changes merely radical shifts from the past yet ill-conceived due to a perspective reactive to past practices rather than inspired by future possibilities and changes that are furthermore poorly executed?

We start the month with one planet in a Fire Sign, four planets in an Earth Sign, three planets in Air Signs and two planets in Water Signs. Six planets are in Cardinal Signs, three planets are in Fixed Signs and one planet is in a Mutable Sign. Four planets are in Positive Signs and six planets are in Receptive Signs.

January starts unbalanced. We have a lack of Fire. We have the Stellium of three or more planets in Capricorn with the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Pluto in the Cardinal Earth Sign. There is the Cardinal T-Square with the Capricorn planets opposed the Moon in Cancer and square Saturn in Libra. The Saturn Pluto square, later this year creating a T-Square with Uranus in the Saturn Pluto mix, is reinforced. Mercury is retrograde. With all these planetary configurations operating, it would only be a wide-eyed optimist who could say that is all is right in the world. Not.

The early part of the month might seem like a scene out of a Keystone Kops romp. We might be looking at new beginnings, starting things up but the pace may be staccato-like with a start – stop scenario, with us moving fast forward ahead only to be delayed by past situations or other people’s dysfunctionalities [not to mention our own]. We might be far more interested in what could be rather than what is. Hucksters, spinmeisters and inspirationalists may try to convince us that things are back on track, and now the right track, and that actions taken will lead us to the promised land. If we buy into the image and the appearance without due diligence, then we could easily over-leverage ourselves and neglect some of the pending problems that eventually may have to be addressed.

Not to be a parade rainer, I would also suggest that the backdrop is only that — the backdrop. If we are aware of the energies operating, maintain awareness and mindfulness, adopt flexibility and adaptability as our modus operandi, then we can successfully and productively make it through the muck and the mire of these volatile times. But they do continue to be volatile times.

One of the interesting facets of this month is the energy configuration on every Wednesday, a day often referred to as the hump day of the week as it comes in the middle of the ‘work week’ and once over it allows us to slide towards the weekend. Every Wednesday this month the Saturn Pluto square is engaged by the Transit of the Moon — on the 6th, the Libra Moon conjuncts Saturn and squares Pluto; on the 13th, the Capricorn Moon conjuncts Pluto and squares Saturn; on the 20th, the Aries Moon squares Pluto and opposes Saturn; and on the 27th, the Cancer Moon opposes Pluto and squares Saturn.

Hump day this month could prove to be a day of ‘hitting the wall’. It certainly is likely to raise the question as to whether we have built upon rock, or built upon sand. We may find ourselves haunted by issues of the past, matters we thought completed that rear their ugly head for us to look at and re-address. Traditional institutions could be under assault, especially if they are not primed to deal with the present realities and future needs. Authority figures may be questioned regarding their competence, integrity and interests.

Especially as we come towards the latter part of the month, technological advances that provide greater creative self-expression may be announced and might also create a greater divide between the power brokers and the individual. The call to ‘question authority’ might be heard ever louder with many people choosing to dissociate themselves from the control of government and institutions and develop more of a network of kindred spirits through the new technologies. This characteristic is recently evidenced in the peoples revolt in Iran.

As Gil Scott Heron proclaimed in his 1970’s poem and song: The Revolution will not be televised. But it may be broadcast on blogs, camera phones and other formats for individual expression. The revolution is the individual creative self-expression finding outlets and emphasizing its personal talents and individual expression provided by this Information Age and the new technologies.

The Mercury retrograde influences the entire month of January. Even though Mercury turns direct on the 15th, we are in the ‘shadow’ of Mercury retrograde through the rest of January and into early February, as Mercury retraces its steps to the degree when it first turned retrograde last month.

We all well know the possible consequences of a Mercury retrograde. Akin to Murphy’s Law whereby whatever can go wrong could go wrong, we have to be especially diligent and vigilant during Mercury retrograde. Communications can be off. Misunderstandings and miscommunications could prove strong. There may be difficulties with travel and transportation. Already during this present Mercury retrograde, travel restrictions have been instituted as a result of the alleged attempted bombing of an Amsterdam to Detroit airline flight. There could be further problems with travel, transportation, communications, understandings and agreements with various computer and Internet glitches thrown in. In previous writings, I have indicated some of the screw-ups that have occurred during a Mercury retrograde. Even those people who have absolutely no interest in Astrology might raise an eyebrow to messed-up situations occurring and may question whether Mercury is retrograde.

Not being a lock the door, bar the window kind of guy, I would still suggest the importance of due diligence in regard to our thoughts, our actions and our decisions. It will be essential for us to read between the lines to understand what is truly going on. We do not have to go on hiatus during the month of January but we do have to be aware and mindful with no rush to judgment.

As a sidenote, in the US the whole ‘health care reform’ bill, package, legislation — call it what you will — is being formulated under a Mercury retrograde. Although particular provisions may be known to people, it seems as though the entire package is a rather amorphous reform movement. And similar to the present US Administration, inaugurated under a Mercury retrograde, there may be certain changes, adjustments and shifts that go on that might be in sharp contrast to the initial presentations.

But, to reiterate, the key factors of these volatile times are for us to continually hew to flexibility and adaptability. We are in process of a significant transformation — on a personal level and a collective level. We are going through a metamorphosis and a shapeshifting both as individuals and as a society. There is no going back to our old formats, and we may not know what we are likely to evolve into or what the outcome of our transformations may be. What we do know is that we are not looking at re-creating our past. We might not have the playbook or the instruction manual for where we are going, we might not know our itinerary or even our destination, but we are in process of a gigantic movement.

There will be times, even this month, when we may take two steps forward, two steps back. Whatever moves we do make, it is essential that we allow ourselves to either retrace our steps or shift our direction. Now is not a time to feel that we can solely make our wishes reality. Now is a time for us to accept our role as no longer master of our universe [which, in truth, we really never were] but rather co-creator of our destiny by keeping aware of the shifting tides and working with the energies to be productive and successful in our endeavors.

Not only is Mercury retrograde through mid-January, but Mars continues its retrograde motion through Leo until early March and on the 13th Saturn turns retrograde until the end of May. With so much retrograde during this month of January, we might experience confusion, delays and a lack of vitality. We may feel, at times, as though we are merely keeping on without much enthusiasm or vibrancy.

Putting one foot in front of the other, while always being aware that a straight line might no longer be the appropriate course of action and demanding sidesteps or altered directions, could be the best that we are capable of during this month. Certainly there may be times when we feel as though we were wading through quicksand, pulling ourselves forward by any overhang, anxious that our footing might slip and we could find ourselves going down, down, down.

We are likely to be reminded of the importance of due diligence and the need to let go of our own expectations. One of the beauties of these times, during the falling away of the extraneous and superfluous, is the magic of the moment, the serendipity, the synchronicity of things occurring without our making them happen, times when things come out of the blue. There will be times this month when the sense of marvelous delights and wonderful surprises will make themselves known to us.

One period to be especially aware of is the mid-part of the month. On the 13th, as Saturn is turning retrograde, Uranus is triggered by a sextile from both the Sun and Venus. The ability to streamline our operations and our activities, the power of mind over matter whereby thought with conception can manifest into reality, could be marked at this time. While we may grieve the past, fear the unknown future, increasingly we shall witness the magic of these times, the mini-miracles whereby things occur as if coming out of nowhere.

On the 14th-15th, as Mercury is about to turn direct, there is a Solar Eclipse with the Capricorn Moon. The push-pull of the Saturn Uranus opposition can see the shift in predominance between the first half of January and the second half of January. The beginning of January emphasizes the Saturn energy of Capricorn with emphasis upon tradition, structure, authority, appropriate behavior and actions replicated by experience. The second half of January emphasizes the Uranus energy of innovation, individualism, iconoclasm, streamlined behavior and actions inspired by idealism.

A major Sign change also occurs mid-month, as Jupiter exits Aquarius to enter Pisces, a Sign it co-rules with Neptune. This movement mutes the Jupiter Neptune conjunction that has been in effect since last March and has contributed to a penchant for irrational exuberance with rose-colored glasses whereby only the positive shoots have been seen, discussed and translated into exponential equity markets advances.

With Jupiter’s movement into Pisces we are likely to see a new wave of spirituality, whether it be in the form of the individual seeker or an increase of pop spirituality and traditional religiosity to assuage the anxieties of those people having extreme difficulty with the tsunami-like waves of change. Some people will take the opportunity to set out on their own, concentrating on taking their individual journey. Other people will fall back like sheep on someone else leading them on a journey and perhaps a journey into the heart of darkness.

Jupiter’s movement into Pisces is quickly followed by Venus exiting Capricorn and entering Aquarius on the 18th, followed by the Sun making the same Sign change from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 19th.

Not only do we now have a Stellium of three or more planets in the Fixed Air Sign as Venus and the Sun join Neptune in Aquarius. We are also moving into a phase, a phase that continues into early March, when five planets are transiting the Universal Signs of Aquarius and Pisces.

We may start the month with our eyes focused down on that which is ahead of us, feeling limited by circumstances and anxious about a changing world. As we come towards the end of January we may start to look up, stare out at the distant horizon and up at the infinite heavens with an attitude of awe regarding the world of possibilities.

As Gil Scott Heron declared so many years before, the revolution may not be televised, for the true revolution and the only real revolution of consequence is the individual evolution, metamorphosis and transformation that is going on for each and every one of us.

The so-called authority figures may dither about, make their proclamations and pronouncements; but the advances in technology during this Information Age will supersede the powers-that-be and will empower the individual’s opportunity for creative self-expression in multi-formats. In the 1960’s the rallying phase for change was ‘power to the people’. In the 2010’s the reality of change may well be ‘power to the person’.

January… from the bramble patch into considering a garden of delights…