Happy New Year!  Now is always an auspicious time to look into the significant astrological themes of the year ahead. The planetary cycles & aspects can reveal insights into the future and provide guidance for successfully navigating the terrain of 2016.  With this information, we’re better prepared to fulfill this year’s promises & possibilities!

Since each year always begins with the Sun in CAPRICORN (structure, responsibility & discipline), the focus of the first 3 weeks of the year is on taking care of business, getting organized, clearing out last year’s files and recycling outworn possessions.  Set clear intentions for what you’d like to accomplish in the upcoming year. The force is with you in setting goals & going after what you want once Mars enters SCORPIO on January 3 – it sets the stage for a 2-month cycle of ambition, action & accomplishment!

After the Sun moves on to AQUARIUS on January 20, things begin to free up and advance forward – it’s out with the old, in with the new.  The New Moon in AQUARIUS (along with the Chinese New Year of the Fire Monkey) falls on February 8. This particular year is said to be marked by ingenuity, inventiveness & high-stakes competitiveness, especially in the political, diplomatic & financial arenas.  Note: the USA was “born” in 1776, a Fire Monkey year.  Be inquisitive, clever & light-footed in order to stay on top of things!

2016 adds up to a “9” year from a numerology perspective.  This is the final cycle of nine – completion is the name of the game!  This theme repeats itself throughout the year, with the North Node in VIRGO — and Jupiter in VIRGO (through September 8).  The focus of VIRGO is on tying up loose ends, resolving unfinished business, making necessary repairs, clarifying & redefining priorities, developing & perfecting skills and putting our lives in order.  It’s the year to clean out the garage, closets & drawers!  Much can be accomplished during the Jupiter/North Node conjunctions on January 23-28 and June 20.  The Jupiter/Pluto trines (on March 16 & June 26) may provide an enthusiastic boost, whereas the Jupiter/Saturn squares (on March 23 & May 26) may require a course correction.  On September 9, Jupiter begins a new year-long cycle in LIBRA — the sign associated with the arts, friendships, social life, small groups, cooperation, collaboration, peace & diplomacy.  This is the ideal time to join up with those who share similar interests — and to make a conscious effort to create more love, beauty, balance & harmony in your personal universe.

Another major theme of this year involves the square between Saturn (in SAGITTARIUS) and Neptune (in PISCES), an aspect which is associated with unconscious fears, paranoia & negativity, contagious viruses and financial bubblesThis square made its first appearance in November ’15, and repeats this June & September.  Stay safe & vigilant, strengthen your faith & stay true to your spiritual values; focus on the positive and fortify your immune system.  Re-channel any anxieties & worries into constructive action and avoid surrounding yourself with toxic people & situations.

Saturn remains in SAGITTARIUS for the next two years.  Along with national politics, we’ll have serious conversations regarding immigration, foreign policy, international trade, global terrorism, sports, higher education, religion & ethics.  The publishing & communications industries will undergo major restructuring.  The test of Saturn in this sign is to seek truth, understanding and greater tolerance of others’ opinions, faiths & belief systems.  The key is to practice what we preach!

While Neptune is in PISCES, we can hope for more enlightened approaches to physical & mental health care, workplace & food safety, drug policy, medical/recreational marijuana, racial & gender issues and animal welfare.  These concerns will be spotlighted with the Neptune/South Node conjunction, which peaks in November around election time.  The challenge here is to tackle these issues instead of avoiding them!   Although we’re still reeling from the disruptive Uranus/Pluto square of the past few years (representing a period of worldwide social, political & economic upheaval), the Pluto/North Node trine, in June, could help us realize some realistic & long-lasting solutions.

Mars leaves SCORPIO & enters SAGITTARIUS on March 5, stimulating a communicative, expansive period.  It turns retrograde on April 17 and returns to competitive SCORPIO on May 27.  After turning direct on June 29, Mars retraces its steps back into SAGITTARIUS on August 2.  Mars conjuncts Saturn & activates its square with Neptune the last week of August (might be a good time to lay low).

A new 6-week cycle begins when Mars enters practical CAPRICORN on September 27; it joins up with Pluto and energizes its square to Uranus during the last two weeks of October.  This could bring some radical & revolutionary activity just prior to the elections, turning some established viewpoints upside-down.  We’ll be ready for real change once Mars enters unpredictable AQUARIUS on November 8 – ah, freedom from presidential politics at last!  On second thought, there’s a strong likelihood of opposition, confrontation and challenge  to the election results.  Divisiveness and agitation for reform could carry on another six weeks until December 19, when Mars finally moves on to dreamy PISCES.  Utilize the end of the year to relax, get healthy and catch up on your sleep.  Helping those less fortunate than yourself would be a good way to channel this compassionate & caring energy.  Venus makes lots of harmonious aspects on Christmas and Hanukkah, which are celebrated the same day this year.  You can look forward to a particularly sweet & loving holiday!

It’s always useful to be aware of the year’s Mercury retrograde cycles, which will occur on January 525, April 28May 22, August 30September 21 & December 19–January 8, 2017.  These are the times for reviewing, editing & repairing — but not for start-ups, new projects, buying cars, computers or electronics.  Utilize these periods instead to catch up with yourself!

 ©2016  Diane Elizabeth Clarke „