By Joy Vernon

January: Looking Toward the Ideal

© 2016 by Rex Van Ryn, Steve Dooley, and Andy Letcher. Published by Weiser Books.
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New Year’s Day brings an abstract, slightly disengaged Moon in Aquarius. The Moon is known for being emotional and intuitive, but when in analytical, idealistic Aquarius, she becomes detached, almost dissociative. Although weak when expressing personal desires, this lunar placement is highly effective for far-seeing overviews that benefit from that remote, emotionless, judgment — and right now these qualities are offered a helping hand from Jupiter in harmonious Libra.

The tarot card is the Seven of Swords, which shows a figure tiptoeing away from a war camp, precariously balancing five swords while two are planted securely behind him. The card is titled the Lord of Unstable Effort and signifies stealing or deception. The effort is unstable when directed toward selfish goals, but impartiality breeds success when the whole community is taken into consideration.

Since Mercury has been retrograde since December 19, and continues so through the first week of the year, the first day of January nicely reflects its namesake, Janus, who looks both back with Mercury and forward toward the Aquarian ideal. The day ends with a Moon-Venus conjunction reminding us to follow principles that inspire our heart.

On January 3, Venus enters Pisces, the sign of its exaltation. Finally released from the Aquarian abstraction, Venus is free to love fully and unconditionally, empathically meshing with all around her.

On January 6, fair-minded Jupiter in Libra and rebellious Uranus in Aries will challenge the Sun and Pluto in corporate Capricorn. This is the time for action and productivity.

Mercury goes direct on January 8, releasing its stranglehold in the areas of communication, travel, and commerce. The Full Moon in Cancer on January 12 re-invigorates the productive Sun-Pluto conjunction. For a day, the four cardinal signs are motivated to start things that will be enduring. Luna is not only in her home sign of Cancer, but also in the ten-degree section she rules, symbolized by the tarot’s Four of Cups, which illustrated here asks us what emotional stability we need to expand our territory and grow to the next level.

This same day sees Venus conjoining Neptune in Pisces, a deeply intuitive meditation on love and connection.

Happy birthday, Aquarius! The Sun enters innovative Aquarius on January 19. The tarot card for this sign of optimistic humanitarianism is the Star, representing navigating towards goals, receiving the flow of the Universe, and developing the soul. The English Magic Tarot Star card, inspired by the Thoth Tarot lineage, shows a magician harnessing and directing the energy of the stars toward his willed purpose.

This same day sees Saturn putting the brakes on Mars. Mars gets his aggression from being hot and dry, and the watery sign of the Fishes cools him off so he can put his energy to productive use. The tarot card is the Ten of Cups, a family celebrating under a rainbow. Mars’s spring-time urge towards germination is being challenged by Saturn in Sagittarius, the tarot’s Ten of Wands, a man hunched over the heavy task of carrying an armload of wood. Saturn, the zodiac’s taskmaster, wants to drill down to find and complete progressively more detailed tasks before giving the green light, much to the frustration of antsy Mars.

Mars moves into Aries, his home sign, on January 27. The tarot card is the Two of Wands, representing independence in partnership.

On January 27, strict Saturn can point out practical problems that dampen the dreamy Venusian romance. Venus is received by Jupiter who is sojourning in even-handed Libra, and who also rules Sagittarius, Saturn’s current sign, so the fair and balanced compromise wins out.

The New Moon in Aquarius starts things that reach fulfillment at the Full Moon in Leo. The Aquarius/Leo polarity revisits the energy from January 1, the emotionally objective universality of Aquarius, now looking forward to integrating the confident recognition of the individual in Leo.

February: Blowing Reveille

© 2016 by Rex Van Ryn, Steve Dooley, and Andy Letcher. Published by Weiser Books.
Used by


On February 3, Venus leaves her beloved Pisces for Aries, whose competitive nature brings out an aggressive edge. Venus in Aries is
fearless in striving toward her goal, but might bulldoze over the unsuspecting to get there. Venus goes retrograde in early March for about six weeks, and, having moved back into Pisces, comes to a stop precisely connected to Chiron, the wounded healer, perhaps giving her a chance to correct any wrongs she’s committed before she again moves forward.

The largest planet, Jupiter, begins a retrograde cycle on February 5 in the tropical sign of Libra, not moving forward until June. Jupiter has a twelve year cycle, and the last time it was retrograde in Libra was February through June 2005 (also, January-June 1993, and January-May 1981). Reviewing your journal for those periods shows patterns that might be repeated now.

Mercury enters Aquarius February 7. It’s moving quickly now and will only be in that sign for two and half weeks. You might find deep talks are less confessional and more theoretical. Aquarius encourages Mercury to hit those heady philosophical heights.

The Full Moon in Leo falls on February 10. Leo shines a spotlight on our accomplishments, so if your New Moon ideas seemed too out there to share, now you will find conviction to put them on display. This is also a Lunar Eclipse, the first of a series that will occur in Leo and Aquarius, asking us to explore ideas of self vs. community over the next two years.

Valentine’s Day pits a Libra Moon, balanced partnership, against Venus and then Mars in independent Aries. If you’re in a relationship, one or the other of you might ask how to fit personal goals into your collaboration. If you’re not in a relationship, there will be no time for Joni Mitchell or streaming Netflix — you’re too busy planning your next exciting solo adventure.

Happy birthday, Pisces! The Sun moves into the sign of the Fishes on February 18. Leaving intellectual Aquarius, we now enter a time of deep, boundless emotion. The tarot card is The Moon, representing intuition, mysticism, mystery, and evolution.

On February 22, Mars, the planet of aggression and ambition, at home in the liberated sign of the Ram, butts heads with power hungry Pluto, whose true nature is veiled by a tight connection with the mysterious Moon. Over the next few days Mars will activate the tsquare between Pluto, Uranus, and Jupiter discussed in January, bringing his assertive nature to this go-getting cardinal configuration. In this case, bold individualism and naked ambition have a behind-the-curtain puppet master pulling their strings. Be aware of who might be secretly influencing you — or who you might be manipulating.

Loquacious Mercury enters silent Pisces on February 25, giving the planet of graceful speech two and a half weeks of quiet introspection. Use the time to sink deeply into poetry, dream work, nostalgia, and intuition.

The February 26 New Moon Solar Eclipse resolves the Pisces-Virgo installment of eclipses, which saw fact facing off against fiction. Most people will choose the blue pill because this New Moon conjunct Neptune, the sleepy blue giant, concludes that ignorance is
bliss. The red planet Mars, conjoined to Uranus the rebel, blows reveille, inciting the charge against the plutocrats. Do you heed Mars’s call or let Neptune hit snooze?

This could make for an outrageous celebration on Fat Tuesday! Moon conjunct Venus in Aries lowers inhibitions and promotes an exciting, fast-moving intimacy. Mars and Uranus urge you to try something new. And the Sun and Neptune, only a degree apart in
Pisces, create a blurry haze on this feast day. This combination can crank up the usual wild atmosphere typical of a modern Mardi Gras bacchanal. Even for stay-at-home types, the crescent Moon in adventurous Aries might lure you into the night. If this revelry isn’t your thing, consider directing the energy towards something new and exciting or a personal passion.


Joy Vernon

With twenty-five years’ experience, Joy Vernon brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional images. Joy works as a reader at Isis Books. To see how this month’s astrology affects you, please visit to schedule an appointment