“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.” — John Steinbeck, East of Eden
This year February is, in many ways, the unofficial energetic start to the New Year. At the start of the month, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, the Sun and Mercury (Retrograde) will all be in Aquarius. This will remain the case until February 18th, when the Sun moves into Pisces.
Aquarian energy will, for the most part, dominate 2021. What is Aquarius all about and why is everybody talking about it?
Aquarius, although it is also known as The Water Bearer, is actually an Air sign, a Fixed Air sign. Air relates to the social aspects of our lives: our intellect, ideas, the way we communicate with one another and spread information. Fixed signs are just that: fixed. They’re stubborn, unyielding, determined and forceful. Aquarius deals in the realm of ideology. It’s less interested in the personal, more interested in the collective. In the highest form, this looks like progression, equity, future-oriented, wide angle lens humanitarianism. In its lowest: rigidity, and worse, intolerance.
Venus represents our values, relationships and finances. Saturn, our lessons. Jupiter, expansion, the Sun, our vital life force and Mercury, our mental and verbal processing and communication. What makes this so remarkable is that it is activated by a square to Uranus. Uranus, the planet of radical change and rebellion, rules Aquarius and is currently in another Fixed sign, Taurus. Although Taurus is Earth, not Air. And so this creates tension, which creates crisis, which then, in turn, can foster growth. February 11th sees a New Moon in Aquarius. And Saturn, the planet of karma, will square Uranus exactly on February 17th, the first of three squares (the other two occur on June 14th and December 24th). This denotes change and upheaval.
As Pema Chodron, the Tibetan monk has written, “If you are interested in security and certainty, you are on the wrong planet.”
The last time Uranus made a transit through Taurus was 1934-1942. In America, we saw the Great Depression, the creation of the New Deal and World War II. Europe was consumed by totalitarianism, which rose from, among other things, insecurity wrought from World War I and financial hardship.
We see similar themes arising now, with increased nationalism and the rise of white supremacy, in addition to conglomerates’ and Big Tech’s nearly unfettered powers, which have ballooned dramatically in recent years. If 2020 did anything, it smashed through our perceived notions of stability and laid bare just how fragile and out of balance our world had become.
Astrology is cyclical. History repeats itself. What we are looking at isn’t new, though the details have changed, marked by technological advancements unimaginable 100 years ago.
The outer planets, ranging from Jupiter, which takes 12 years to transit the Zodiac to Pluto, which takes 247 years, reveal sweeping historical trends. Uranus will remain in Taurus, shaking up the financial, farming, environmental and beauty sectors, until 2026. The last time Pluto was in Capricorn, where it now is, the Declaration of Independence was signed. Starting next year, from 2022-2024, America will experience what is known as its Pluto Return, which is sure to bring great transformation, Pluto being the planet of death and rebirth. The last time Pluto was in Aquarius, which it will again transit in 2024, France had its Revolution and mobs of people stormed the gates crying: ‘Equality, Liberty and Fraternity’. If we pull the lens back far enough, we see a very clear theme emerging.
Aquarius is a paradox. It is both starkly individualistic and wholly uninterested in the personal. What this energy invites, rather, is discourse related to principles, ideologies, belonging, tribalism, open-mindedness, and freedom.
The hyper focus on achievement for achievement’s sake is receding. What this month and, therefore year heralds, is a higher perspective, not divorced from historical knowledge, but firmly rooted in awareness of its precedent.
I’m often asked, as an astrologer, if I believe in free will. And my answer is always the same: that energy is neutral until directed. Which is to say, we have a choice. But that choice is layered in psychological and cultural conditioning, borne from bias. We cannot help it. To claim pure objectivity is innately false. We do not exist in a vacuum. Nor do we exist apart from history. We exist in it and with it. And yet, the more we consume information and ideas that confirm our own, the farther from one another we get.
The question before us is: What are our rights as individuals? What are our rights as a collective? What values do we hold as sacred and true? What principles define us, as individuals, as communities, as a people? And what does it mean to be free?
Danielle Beinstein is a psychological and intuitive astrologer based between New York, Los Angeles, and New Zealand. She currently offers one-on-one sessions as well as her monthly online membership and courses program, The Cosmic Compass. You can find more on both offerings at daniellebeinstein.com, and for more regular astrological musings, make sure to follow her on Instagram.