The good news is that 2023 will be different!
The last few years have had, more or less, a singular dominant theme–the Saturn Uranus square first presented itself March of 2020 when we were first introduced to social distancing and sheltering in place, and is still a thing now. This is going to change! March 8, 2023, the Saturn Uranus square will become history. Later that month, Pluto will move for the first time into Aquarius, after being in Capricorn since 2008. By early summer, both of the “good planets,” Venus and Jupiter, will be in the fixed signs of Leo and Taurus, where their ability to describe things like abundance, luck, comfort, and attraction are sorely needed.
I think it’s a good idea to start preparing for 2023 now. Preparation is one of the things that astrology is really good for! And we have been enduring an extremely long stretch of one kind of pressure, so we all might feel a little stuck. Lastly, the forces will change next year, but they won’t exactly mellow, and they do build in some key ways on what you’re facing now. So, here are the three things I want folks walking toward with calm foresight:
Reality Will Get Less… Real
We’ve been living through years of Saturn, a/k/a “The reality principle,” flexing his muscles on his own turf, in a more or less constant relationship to Uranus, which is that planet spinning on its side just out of view with the naked eye singing “I Gotta Be Me” at the top of its lungs. One way this has manifested is three years of intense stress testing of all the things we depend on. We’ve lived through institutional breakdowns and betrayals, social isolation and distancing, the great resignation, labor and food shortages. On a more personal note, we’ve all faced significant limitations and restrictions over the last few years that have forced us to make choices that are more authentic.
Life got very real, and that is going to change. Saturn will move from its own sign of Aquarius into Jupiter’s sign of Pisces, which is all about the way everything is interconnected. And as it gets out of a conversation with Uranus, the planet that reveals what’s authentic and true, and starts hanging out with Neptune, which describes things like illusion, confusion, hype, fantasy, disinformation, and lies… as well as things like transcendence, spiritual growth, and enlightenment. Saturn and Neptune will be hanging out together, first in Pisces and then in Mars’ sign of Aries, for the next five years. At the collective level, things are going to get confusing. The kind of disinformation that controls people could proliferate. Governments, corporations, and other structures that consolidate power could become much less transparent about their actions, or even literally dissolve.
This will be messy for the collective, but it has the potential to be a great transit for individuals! Saturn and Neptune coming together in an individual life could mean an intense deepening of spiritual practice, an increase in rigor applied to one’s search to understand consciousness or address suffering, or another type of substantive and real spiritual awakening. It might also describe a softening of dogmatic beliefs or an increase in compassion, even when compassion is difficult. All of these things would be so, so helpful.
I think the best way to prepare for this transit is to make sure you are in the right company. Neptune describes spiritual work because spiritual work is elusive! A lot of things come up that feel like they are the thing you are looking for, or the thing you should be doing, when in fact they are illusions getting thrown up into your consciousness by your ego. In Buddhism, the term for this is makyo, but periodic detours into false consciousness are a feature of any contemplative path. When you work with other people on yourself and the way your consciousness just seems to generate suffering, you can be held accountable, and grab someone’s hand when you stray. The next five years will be a great time to continue to rely on a spiritual practice that is grounded in a community, realistic, rigorous, and highly accountable. But it won’t be a great time to begin a search for a spiritual community, or go it alone. If you count yourself as “spiritual but not religious,” maybe figure out how to find community anyway. Making the leap from reading astrology content to being a part of a spiritual community that is incrementally working to increase compassion and decrease suffering is the number one way to prepare for the year(s) ahead.
The Limitations We’ve Faced Will Become A Power Source
The part of your life described by the sign Aquarius has been getting a serious reality check for the past three years. That pressure to take responsibility for that part of your life is not going to simply lift as Saturn moves on. Instead, it’s going to deepen and intensify for the next… oh… almost 20 years, on and off, in a way that will ultimately generate a lot of power. Pluto describes all the parts of you that you do not want to admit are you, like the angry, afraid, or destructive parts. And it also describes the way those shadowy parts of you have a way of coming up and biting you in the butt, over and over again, until you can show them some love. Lastly, Pluto describes the way that this process of taking compassionate responsibility for all of yourself can make you into so, so, so much more than what you ever dreamed you could be.
Whether or not this will be a big deal to you depends on the configuration of your individual chart. But if you know you have a lot of planets or your ascendant in the fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius, you might want to sit down now and write down what you’ve learned from the limitations you’ve faced over the past three years. Fixed rising signs have likely been taking a lot of responsibility or facing strong headwinds in career; marriage; family and home; or identity and health. Ask yourself now, as the last big push of Saturn in Aquarius is just beginning, what that brought up in you, and what the continued work might be. What are the deep insecurities, traumas, and shadowy parts of yourself that are lurking in the corners of the last few years? How might you start to bring a little love and tenderness to them now?
By bringing a little love and light to the shadows now, you will simply set an intention to deepen your sense of who you are, not solve or fix who you are! First of all, you're not broken. And Pluto describes a total process of destruction, rebirth, and healing that will take decades. All you need to do is bring loving awareness to what that shadow material is now, so you’ll be better set up for the next and last point.
The Relief Will Be Decidedly Plutonic
I want folks to get acquainted with the shadows now because both Venus and Jupiter will be coming to the fixed signs of Taurus and Leo the summer of 2023, bringing blessings, love, luck, and fertility. And they will both walk right into a hard conversation with Pluto, a/k/a the lord of the Underworld, in Aquarius, whom we have just discussed. Then Venus will retrograde all summer, and you can think of any Venus retrograde as Venus’ periodic descent into the Underworld.
The symbolism here seems abundantly clear. Really good, growth-oriented things are coming, in the parts of our lives that have been undergoing deep, substantive change for a long time, to those of us who can handle discomfort and insecurity, own their shit, and face the parts of themselves that they would rather not admit they have with a brave and tender heart. Pluto and Jupiter coming together could signify powerful and explosive growth! It could also describe not quite being able to handle the changes that have come over the past three years yet, and having something blow up in your face because you lost it. A Venus retrograde can be a time to deeply and singularly commit to love–the most memorable Venus retrograde I have ever had was all about caring for a newborn. It can also be a time when you learn that you aren’t being compassionate, or are forced to revisit unloving decisions, or fight for love–that same Venus retrograde in Gemini was marked by Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by the police. In this last big push of 2022, you might want to take a minute and ask yourself how your relationship to yourself and others changed. What relationships deepened, and which ones fell away? What are you proud of, and what are you fearing or struggling with in yourself? What did you learn about love? What are you avoiding taking responsibility for?