The New Year begins on a challenging note with four planets lining up in a T-square formation during January and February. This culminates in a transiting Grand Square around the full Moon on January 12. The main players in the T-square are Jupiter in Libra, Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn. Mars transiting through Aries joins them in February. The Grand Square adds the Sun in Capricorn and the Moon in Cancer. All the signs involved are cardinal, meaning that the main problem could be too much impulsive choices and actions. The way out can come from being more deliberate in planning.
I will be discussing a more complete delineation of the energy patterns for the New Year, on January 10, 2017 at Luther Burbank Center, East Auditorium from 7-9 PM. Admission is $15.
It might be a surprise that Uranus and Pluto are still squared to each other. The last exact square between them took place in 2015, but they are still in orb of influencing each other in early 2017. The challenge of that square and its consequences will probably be in affect through at least the early 2020s.
The main thrust of the T-square involves Jupiter opposing Uranus and both square to Pluto. One way out of any T-square is to focus on the fulcrum planet, the one squaring the other two. Oppositions tend to create interactive tension between the self and the outer world, in the form of people or circumstances. It can be hard to resolve, let alone control, a situation that involves others. The square, on the other hand, indicates internal tension. The problem is within ourselves, hence the way out can come from resolving different parts of who we are. In this cases Pluto is the fulcrum planet, squaring both Jupiter and Uranus. We have discussed the Pluto Uranus square at length for years. To keep it simple, this aspect requires that we engage in thorough self-examination, seeking the truth of who we are and an authentic expression of that self in all phases of our lives. The main conflict is between the need for personal freedom (Uranus in Aries) versus the need for a sense of security and control (Pluto in Capricorn). When the focus is on self-control and self-discipline we can enhance our sense of internal well-being. This frees us to be more open in expressing ourselves as unique beings creating our own realities.
Into this challenge comes Jupiter in Libra. The opposition of Jupiter to Uranus can bring expansion (Jupiter) of change (Uranus). If we are centered, this can open opportunities and possibilities that are exciting, challenging and liberating.  If we are off-center this can lead to diving into too many activities, promising more than we can deliver and feeling extremely overwhelmed and confused. 
Jupiter square Pluto has two main paths of resolution. One works in the sense of expanding our understanding of life. The other keeps us locked in stagnant, dogmatic ways of thinking. If we are centered, we can use the challenge of the Jupiter-Pluto square to research more deeply our philosophy of life. This could be in terms of a spiritual path or merely our sense of right and wrong and the integrity with which we conduct ourselves. This aspect provides the impetus to understand the essence of life itself. If we are off-center, however, this square can provide the false sense that whatever we believe must be right simply because we believe it. If others disagree they, therefore, must be wrong.
We might conclude that the addition of Jupiter to the Uranus-Pluto square enhances the potential to expand our world view, to include new exciting activities and behaviors that enable us to both perceive and act in ways that conform more to universal law and spiritual truth.
The addition of the Sun and Moon can bring both more awareness of the entire dynamic and a heightened personal, emotional expression or response to these conflicting energies. Two things are important to keep in mind. One is to remember that all the planets involved are in signs that thrive on trial and error. Beyond a certain amount of strategy and patience, this alignment is a call to action. Second, Grand Squares provide a seemingly limitless amount of energy to act in ways that can eventually lead us into areas and periods of profound creativity as well as consciousness change.
Aries: Although you generally enjoy starting things and being active, this month is a good time for you to look inward. Whether this research is about self-awareness or planning strategies for the year, this is time for a proverbial step back. Next month will be about putting yourself and your plans in action.
Taurus: Starting the year by spending more time with friends could lead to significant, perhaps even spiritual connections. Joining or starting a meditation group would be an example of this. You could also use the energy this month to engage in some sort of volunteer service.
Gemini: This is a good time to focus on one-to-one relationships. This could be in your personal life, or in terms of business partners. Conversation should involve looking ahead, planning for the future. What are the goals you would each like to achieve this year? This is a good time to brainstorm in preparation for productivity to come.
Cancer: The full Moon in Cancer on the 12th completes the transiting Grand Square. This could impel you to manifest sudden or extreme behaviors driven by emotional responses to problems or conflicts in your life. Growth can come from tuning in, getting clear about both the emotions and what is triggering them before you do anything at all.
Leo: You may feel at times bombarded with unexpected changes or demands for you to change. You also have a great deal of power available to respond to those demands. However, being clear about your long terms goals will help you to determine the right way to act rather than just acting precipitously.
Virgo: If you have been doing some internal research or planning for the future, this is the time to implement your plans. However, start slowly. Being selective about putting theory into practice requires some patience, but will pay off with some significant, even profound, actions and results by late month.
Libra: All the energy to initiate and act notwithstanding, this is a month to focus on transition in one or both of two areas. One is work. Focus on improving either your performance and/or the support you can provide others. The second is physical well-being. Take time to create a healthy, balanced daily routine that is designed to ensure long-range quality of life.
Scorpio: Putting time and energy into creative expression is a good way for you to start the year. You also might find that you are contemplating changes in relationship to your children. Growth for you this month comes from integrating discipline with compassion in activities and relationships with those you love.
Sagittarius: This is a great time to explore new interests and to express yourself in new, inspiring ways. Be careful about getting so caught in the enthusiasm of the moment to the point that others see you as pontificating. Growth can come from adding humility in the recipe for stimulating change and new beginnings.
Capricorn:  As a cardinal sign, you may start the year with abundant energy to initiate and get things done. There may be times, however, when you get so competitive in a situation that you engender conflict rather than cooperation. Avoid that trap by combining self-examination with clarity of goal.
Aquarius: The new Moon in Aquarius on the 27th can heighten awareness of your personal feelings and experience in the context of a very busy and often contentious time. Taking time for introspection at the end of the month can help clarify both your actions and their consequences from earlier in the month.
Pisces: Feelings of compassion and the desire to be of healing service could be strong pulls for you this month. Make sure, however, that you put some of that energy in your own direction as well. Working on self-love, and following that with changes that will enhance the overall harmony and quality of your life are directions to pursue this month.
Rio Olesky has been a professional astrologer since 1976. He is the author of A Manual for the Modern Mystic and Astrology and Consciousness. He offers both private readings as well as classes for both beginning and intermediate students. Rio will begin a 6 week class in intermediate astrology at SRJC on Wed. January 18 at 7 PM. To enroll in the class, call 707-527-4582. Or, call Rio at 707-887-1820.

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