The Year of 2007
by Henry Seltzer
This is a special edition of my monthly website column where I will give an overview of 2007 and a brief look beyond. In the January 2007 column I alluded to the coming years of increasing difficulty as well as their potential as a turning point – like the Chinese symbol for "crisis" being an amalgam of danger plus opportunity:
In these next five years, from 2007 to 2012, we will see all the major outer planets change signs, and re-align in the first square configuration of Uranus and Pluto that follows their conjunction of the sixties. Pluto will enter Capricorn in 2008, Uranus will enter Aries in 2010, squaring Pluto, and Neptune will first enter Pisces in 2011 and then re-enter in 2012. These changes of sign indicate world transformation of significant magnitude, as who would doubt in the light of what we have already seen so far. For starters, Pluto in the sign of Capricorn will transform the corporate power structure and bring out the worst of it and also the best of us in response to that worst, as the fourteen-year prior transit of Sagittarius has done for religious zealotry. A wonderful sage, Ellias Lonsdale, has said that the fourteen years of Pluto's transit of Sagittarius will look like more of the same business as usual for the entire time, while at it's end we will see that everything around us is transformed utterly, and we are living in a new universe. We can begin in these final years of Pluto in Sagittarius to get a glimpse of what he was talking about.
The most significant news in early 2007 is the Saturn opposition with Neptune. This configuration has been building for some time now, and reaches its last two moments of exact in the first half of the year. Saturn wants to adhere to the reality of the situation, and Neptune wants to escape it, so these energies are not naturally at home with each other. Their blending may produce some weird hybrids. The last major time that Saturn was opposed to an outer planet it was Pluto, and we had 9-11. This opposition is a very different kettle of fish. The Saturnian archetype in combination with the Neptunian represents a bringing down of wild fantasy into disappointing real world practicality, or else a raising of reality-consciousness to the full possibility of the numinous occasion. But even in the relative downer of the first way of looking at it, there is an opportunity represented, if we only know how to take it, since wild fantasy is essentially non-productive and escapist, and benefits is some ways from combining with a more practical and even a more cynical stance. The outpouring of compassion and sympathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was a reflection of the forming alignment, as is the current wide-spread disillusion with the Iraq war and compassion for the destruction of property and human lives there. There is also an entrenched attitude of defiance on the part of the powers that be at this time, and we are likely to see the continued polarization of these two different sides, of compassion for victims on the one hand and of hardening attitudes and real-politik denial of possibility on the other, as especially the first half of the year unfolds.
The Saturn – Neptune opposition becomes pronounced in February, with the lunations of February 1st and 17th touching it off, and its moment of exact with Saturn coming at the very end of the month. The next and last exact hit of the opposition takes place in late June, although the waning influence of the configuration may be felt through the end of the current year and perhaps through the spring of 2008.
After Saturn completes the last pass of the opposition with Neptune, it briefly trines Pluto for the summer months of July and August. This aspect follows in the footsteps of the famous Saturn – Pluto opposition of 2001, and is a repeat of a pattern from last November. The trine is obviously mellower than the opposition, but carries the same combination of archetypal energy; the structure must somehow be radically transformed. Other accompanying transits from August are detailed below.
Along with Saturn – Neptune and Saturn – Pluto, the other major planetary archetypes appearing in combination in 2007 are Jupiter and Pluto. Their conjunction is exact by year's end, but is being felt in at least a subtle way throughout the year of 2007, and serves to emphasize the transformative nature of this time. Since Pluto is also coincident with the Galactic center and about to enter the tropical sign of Capricorn the emphasis is at least doubled, indicating a time of vast change within individuals as well as collectives, and capping a pivotal year of transition.
Another important astrological event taking place this year is the Venus retrograde, along with her Heliacal Rise as the Morning Star. This happens about every nineteen months, and takes place this year from July 27th to September 8th. This period of time was important to the ancient Mayans, when they related it to lawlessness and lack of confidence in rulers. The symbolic journey through the underworld represented by retrograde Venus disappearing from the evening sky (Venus as "Evening Star") to reappear 2 weeks later with her Heliacal Rise as the Morning Star was associated with the embarrassment of the ruler and his being brought down to Earth. Over an eight-year period, the degree of the Heliacal Rise of Venus repeats five times, and forms a five-pointed star in the Zodiac, occurring in very nearly the same Zodiacal degree every eight years. Looking back to the summer of 1999, the ruler that was embarrassed then was Bill Clinton. Now, in this year's time frame, there are again calls for the impeachment of a sitting president, although for quite different reasons. This year's Helical Rise of Venus takes place on August 25th, in late Leo, and highlights her symbolic passage through the underworld. Her conjunction with the Sun is symbolically another important Venus time, and takes place a week earlier, on August 18th.
The retrograde period of Venus and just afterwards might also be thought of in modern terms as a time for looking into the concept of right relationship and the underlying motivation for relationship and of our social connections in general. Since the degree of Venus' Heliacal Rise on August 25th exactly opposes Neptune, symbolizing the compassionate sense of oneness with the rest of humankind, this is a time when ideally we might think of the human family as well as our own.
In addition to the Venus retrograde, there are also the usual retrogrades of Mercury to be bothered and enlightened by, and one of Mars that happens at year's end. The Mercury retrograde periods of time for a given year, extending from Mercury's retrograde station through a three-week period of backward movement and then into a period of time spent in the "retrograde shadow" that lasts another couple of weeks or so are usually three in number. The Mercury retrograde period of time is characterized by communication and mechanical breakdowns and things needing to be re-done. Perspectives change from before to during the period to afterwards, and there is an opportunity for reflection and re-direction of our energies. In 2007 the first of these Mercury retrograde periods takes place on February 13th and lasts until almost the end of March, with a direct motion on March 8th. Mercury subsequently turns its back to us in June and again in mid-October. The dates are from June 16th until July 23rd, with a direct motion on July 9th, and from October 11th until November 17th with its direct motion on November 1st.
Toward the end of the year also, Mars retrogrades in Cancer, starting on November 15th, and lasting past January, 2008. Mars in Cancer represents the impulse for nurturing and can indicate an attenuation of our aggressive urges, and with the retrograde even more so. We all might be taking a good hard look at ourselves during this end of the year period, deciding what we could do to better nurture ourselves and wondering at the underpinning of our impulses of aggression and attack-defense. At that time also, Jupiter is beginning to conjunct Pluto in the final degrees of Sagittarius, a motion that completes in mid-December. It seems that we are in for an adventurous Fall period, beginning as early as the end of August when Venus changes status and continuing right through the end of the year and on into February, when Pluto enters Capricorn, a momentous event all unto itself as indicated earlier.
These are indeed exciting times to be living through, when the pressure is on us, to break us or to re-make us, and our will to survive in style (and to discover what that means) is sorely tested. All this against the backdrop of the turning of the ages. As we move gradually closer to the ideal of Aquarian brother- and sister-hood, it could be the making of us a human family.