Skywatch Illuminations for January 2012One of my 2012 goals is to complete the name change from Skywatch to Planetary Illuminations, and to get the reports delivered to you on time!  In the meantime, I’ve posted the January report here.  And here is an introduction for your reading pleasure:


Now that we’ve entered the “dreaded” year of 2012, what can we expect? You may be surprised to know that astrologers are yawning. It’s true that the potentially cataclysmic cycle of the square from Uranus in Aries to Pluto in Capricorn will culminate for the first time this spring (it came within a degree of exactitude last summer), and that cycle will certainly continue to create havoc in our banking and political systems.

But on a personal level, the planetary cycles of the past few years have been much more intense, with more complex alignments of planets that have stretched and pulled and reshaped our lives into new experiences that for some of us are barely recognizable. I believe that the Universe is continually striving for balance, and that these changes are necessary in order to achieve that balance – both for us as individuals, and for humanity as a whole.

Over the past few months we have seen no alignments of outer planets, signifying a quieter astrological cycle, and that trend continues this month. We do see a slowdown of the motion of Mars as it prepares to turn retrograde on January 23rd, and with any Martian emphasis there will be a heightened sense of aggression and assertiveness. As I wrote in this blog article, that can be helpful as well as harmful, and there is really nothing to fear from this Mars retrograde cycle as long as you pay attention and utilize this energy to your advantage.

Right now there is a preponderance of the earth and air elements with a smattering of fire, so the focused Mars energy as it prepares to retrograde will help to create movement of our plans (earth) and ideas (air). What is lacking right now is the element of water – feelings, empathy and sensitivity. Some of us have an overabundance of water in our charts and this will be an aid in achieving greater balance, but some of us may find our focus leading too much on the practical matters of self-achievement and perhaps not enough in the realm of compassion and emotion.


Mercury is very active the first week of the month, interacting with Mars, Ceres and Saturn indicating a focus on the mind and affairs of communication and information. Mercury is in Sagittarius right now where it tends to expand the mind and open up our brain to new ideas and new ways of thinking. On the 5th, a square to Ceres will inhibit our ability to nurture ourselves for just a day or so, but on the 7th Mercury will make a soft sextile to Saturn and encourage us to focus our thoughts and engage in the world in a purely practical manner.

This helps us to prepare for the entry on January 8 of Mercury into Capricorn, the earthly sign of success, discipline, achievement, and cold-hearted practicality. When I say cold-hearted I don’t mean in the sense of being cruel, but because Capricorn is working in the realm of practicality emotions and feelings can get in the way. As soon as Mercury enters Capricorn it forms a trine to Jupiter, enhancing our feelings of goodwill and our sense of abundance and possibilities. Mercury also squares Uranus on the 8th which forces us to consider other viewpoints and new ideas, even when they disrupt our world view. On the 9th, the day of the Full Moon, Mercury harmonizes in a sextile with Chiron, lubricating the need to work through any bumpy emotional spots on the road to success.

This potent combination of mental influences is a great ally for achieving success, especially when combined with the practical focus of Capricorn, so this is a great time for working to achieve your New Year’s goals.

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