Venus transiting the wheel of the zodiac invites us to find beauty in each of earth’s seasons. Loving winter doesn’t come easily to some of us, but Venus’ transit of Aquarius (Jan. 2, 2023, 6:09 pm PST, through Jan. 26), opens up the pleasurable heart of this dark, chilly season.
I came to Southern California when I was very young, so I remember only a handful of Midwestern winters. I was a little kid who didn’t have to cope with icy winter roads or think about how to make ends meet between growing seasons on the farm, and so winter lives in my memory as a series of beloved vignettes: sunlight glinting off icicles on the edge of the roof, piles of fluffy snow, sliding around on a frozen pond.
Winter hadn’t the lush, tactile pleasures of summer or spring, or the romantic crispness of autumn. It was a hands-off season, appreciated at a remove, with mittens and thick socks protecting us from nature at its most menacing. Yet I hold the memory of those young winters with a ferocious delight.
Part of their beauty was the companionship of huddling together at the end of those long days of snowplay, luxuriating in the heated living room, playing board games and watching tv. But the stronger memory of winter’s beauty was the gorgeous quiet and solitude of being outside by myself, watching the earth sleep.
Venus in Aquarius shows us the stark, unadorned beauty of both conviviality and holy solitude. And as Venus sextiles Jupiter (Jan. 4, 2023, 1:07 am PST), embracing both sides of Venus in Aquarius is the key to a new adventure.
The Sun in its Capricorn season shines most brightly on individual ambitions. This is the time of year when we contemplate what we intend to build, achieve, and create in the coming calendar year – by and for ourselves.
But being a happy human requires that we balance the supremacy of the individual with the human need to feel part of a group. Twice each year, when the Sun trines Uranus (Jan. 5, 2023, 8:43 am PST), harmony momentarily reigns: we like who we are, and others like us, too.
It’s a brief transit, but instructive. Seeing only through the solar lens of individual ambition is limiting, isolating. Here’s a day or two for joining in the reindeer games and enjoying simple pleasures. The world needs its leaders and innovators, but we all need one another, too.
Lately, I’ve taken to writing these weekly thoughts in bed, scribbling them in longhand with my purple Sharpie on the back of used paper. I’m doing that right now, with an assist from Violet, who’s lying on my side and grabbing at the pen as it flies across the page.
In the first days of a new year, in the middle of the Sun’s ambitious Capricorn season, this Full Moon in Cancer (Jan. 6, 2023, 3:08 pm PST), Capricorn’s opposite sign, is just made for writing in bed with a cozy cat. Cancer symbolizes home, the safe cozy place where we retreat from a harsh world, and our nurturing relationship with the creatures who share that place with us. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a farmhouse in the country, an apartment in the city, a camper van, or a yurt. If your home shelters and protects you, if you feel safe and nourished there, that what matters.
This is the Full Moon each year that holds up a mirror to Capricorn’s worldliness. We see boldly and clearly whether we’re working as diligently to create a happy home and family as we are to earn money and get ahead in the eyes of people who we don’t know at all.
Mercury never travels further than 28º from the Sun, and turns retrograde when it starts pushing that limit. Like a little kid attached to its parents by an invisible leash, it races back toward the Sun with news of what’s just ahead. Some of it’s important, some of it isn’t. “There’s a big white dog about two blocks up the road!” and “The Wilsons are painting their house red!” spills out alongside “There’s a group of scary looking guys hanging around the bodega!” It’s not really Mercury’s job to sort out the important from the trivial; it’s all just news.
When retrograde Mercury reconvenes with the Sun by conjunction (Jan. 7, 2023, 4:57 am PST), we get to ask ourselves whether any of its news is important to us, and how much energy we should put into preparing for what lies ahead. Meanwhile, Mercury continues on its way backward through our recent journey, looking for missteps. Did we forget to pay a bill? Overlook an important page on the document we signed? Neglect to make a service appointment for the car?
What needs to be addressed? Start with the things that will put you in a better position to deal with what you know is around the corner – the white dog, the Wilsons, the guys at the bodega. Then handle what’s obviously going to be helpful whatever comes your way. Pay the bill. Get the car serviced. And take some dog treats along with you.
Young people born just a few years before me were encouraged – forced, sometimes – to learn to play a musical instrument. Many homes had a piano, and generations of young people dutifully practiced their scales and learned simple pieces. They might never have enjoyed playing, any more than other young people enjoyed the skills they reluctantly acquired – cooking, say, or overhauling a car’s transmission.
But let’s imagine a boy who, having acquired some proficiency with the piano, one day puts away the sheet music and begins working out the chords of a popular song. Within an hour, he’s playing it pretty fluidly and with real pleasure. And in that afternoon, he’s suddenly happy about those hours of practice that were so boring at the time. Because now, they provide the means for him to play something that excites him.
This is what it can be like when Mercury, planet of skills, unites with Uranus, planet of inspiration and excitement, in a harmonious trine (Jan. 8, 2023, 3:23 pm PST): it’s one of those moments when preparation meets inspiration.
Writing and collages © 2017-2022 April Elliott Kent