As a child, my interest in astrology was probably seeded by my fascination with calendars. I loved studying them, especially the Jewish calendar my father brought home at New Year's in the fall. Each week, I'd take note of the several minutes' difference in the timing of sunset and candle lighting, and the length of the days and nights expanding and contracting with the seasons.

While our western calendar is arbitrary, with the first of the month rarely coinciding with the sun/moon cycle, the Chinese, Muslims, Native Americans, Hindus, and those who practice Earth-based religions all join the Jewish calendar in orienting to the cycles of the moon. Each month when the sun and moon come together, there is an opportunity for renewal, a new beginning. How cool is that?

For three months now, the new moon has occurred at the first degree* of the (astrological) signs: Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn.

Now it's Aquarius' turn.

But before we go into the specifics of this new moon, and its highly creative potential for your life, a little about the sign itself:

In his book, "The Zodiac and The Soul", astrologer and former President of the Astrological Lodge of London, C.E.O. Carter, referred to Aquarius as embodying 'the principle of Cosmic Solidarity from which arises the virtue of brotherliness'.

Yes, Aquarius, the eleventh sign of the zodiac, brings a refreshing breath of honest fresh air all the way from outer space to the staid and formal energy of Capricorn (Dec 21/22-Jan 19/20)While Saturn-ruled Capricorn's agenda is primarily one of worldly ambition achieved with discipline and structure via strict adherence to convention, Uranus-ruled Aquarius rejects the stuffiness of worldly 'status'. Seeking new meaning and progress it shrieks: "Time for a revolution, any good ideas?"

When the planet Uranus was discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel, three revolutions were under way: The American Revolution, The French Revolution and The Industrial Revolution. All over the world, humanity was awakening to many new possibilities including freedom as a way of life.

* Each of the 12 signs occupies 30 degrees of the full 360 that comprises the zodiac belt. And each month, when the sun and the moon "conjoin" at the same degree, a new lunar cycle begins. That is what is meant by a 'new moon.' This can occur anywhere from 0-30 degrees of the sign. The full moon occurs 14-16 degrees later. And as the days grow longer or shorter, the new moon cycle adjusts itself degree-wise during the course of the year. Since October 24th, the new moons have all occurred between 1 and 2 degrees of the sign. After the Spring Equinox, the days will start to lengthen, thereby shifting the degree at which the next series of new moons take place. So: The next new moon will be at 1 degree Pisces, but after that, it's 0 Aries, and after that a (solar eclipse) new moon at 29 Aries.

Further study of Uranus revealed it had an irregular 98° tilt (earth's is 23°) -- that it, in fact, orbits on its side! So it follows that Aquarius' reputation is unconventional, eccentric, and off-kilter.

Aquarius rules electricity, thunder, innovation, the unexpected, and 'the masses.' In modern times, its rulership has come to include television and the internet. Not surprisingly many of television's foremost personalities are Aquarian: Oprah Winfrey, Ted Koppel, Tom Brokaw, Ellen DeGeneris, James Spader, Bill Maher, Brett Butler, Chris Rock, and Vanna White (nightly turning the collective's 'Wheel of Fortune'), to name a few. The sign boasts many inventive and revolutionary types as well: Thomas Edison, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Vanessa Redgrave, Abraham Lincoln, and Angela Davis.

Though quirky, Aquarians are extremely popular. Aquarian Presidents FDR and Ronald Reagan were two of the most popular Presidents in U.S. history. Why? Politics aside, most Aquarians seem to instinctively know that 'We're in all in this together' and naturally exude that sensibility. Though Reagan's politics did not necessarily reflect a mass sensibility, an important part of his 'Great Communicator' persona was his ability to project a vision of a unified America. Every sign of the zodiac has its most exalted state of expression and its 'shadow' or down side. The astrological joke about Aquarians is that they love humanity but don't like the people.

So does this week's new moon suggest a furthering of that sentiment?

Yes, but with a twist:

In the chart of the new moon (Jan 21 @ 4:05 PM EST), Mars and Pluto, the planets of raw primal energy form a benevolent aspect to one another indicating a month of inspired motivation and good follow through.

Venus and Uranus also form a flowing aspect to Saturn, implying a graceful but grounded moment of cooperation between the arts & sciences and business. And in keeping with this year's theme of 'cultural creatives', there is a rare alignment (BiQuintile 144° aspect) between both the planets of faith, Jupiter and Neptune. Alignments of this sort (quintiles of 72, 108, 144 or 216) have to do with alchemy, creativity, and the ability to manifest such qualities beyond your wildest expectations. Mozart and Einstein both had Jupiter in a quintile aspect to Neptune in their charts. In the coming weeks, this unusual planetary position effectively says to us all (for better or worse) if you can dream it, you can make it happen. And finally, Mercury, the planet of communication, moves beyond the shadow period of last month's retrograde on January 25th, we will each feel that 2004 has in fact kicked in, and we are freed up to leave the past behind and to chart new territory.

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