Welcome to January 2015. This month takes its name from the ancient Roman god Janus, who had one head with two faces, one that looked back to the past and the other that looked forward to the future.
This image gives us a perfect metaphor to inspire the early days of January, when we often feel drawn to review the past as we set plans for the future. It also reminds us this is a perfect time to begin thinking about the astrological year ahead.
Several major energies will be in play during this astrological year 2015, along with some big changes in planetary placements that will affect us all. In general, 2015 promises to restore our hope after the past few difficult years. It also will lighten our spirits with gentler, more constructive energies--and lighten our burdens and clean out our lives (and closets) with a big emphasis on the change-savvy, "out with the old" mutable signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.
This article gives you the key dates and details you will need to stay in harmony this year:
. The Sun's movement into each sign: "when to do what"
. The Moon's monthly full phase: when emotions run high (but breakthroughs are possible)
. Mercury's retrograde periods: when communication goes awry (but new insights arrive)
. Major movements for the other planets: when we undergo major changes (but get new opportunities)
Read on for all the details and see how you can make the most of astrological year 2015!
Get Ready for 2015
With the Sun in hardworking, strategic Capricorn until January 20, it's a good time to get organized and prepare for the year ahead. Here's how to begin your personal astrological planning for the coming calendar year.
Look over your 2014 calendar, diary, or journal to see how you spent your time last year.
Set aside time to meditate about the past year. Consider how you have grown, what you have learned, and how your life is different now than it was one year ago. Also consider how well you expressed your highest nature and when you fell short of your ideals.
Think about each zodiac sign and month and how well you expressed its energies.
Now think about 2015, especially your hopes and dreams for yourself and your loved ones. Write down your heart's desires for the coming year. Also consider the larger world of your friends, colleagues, and community as well as your country, all humanity, and our planet. With good will in your heart, write down your highest ideals for all these areas as well as ideas on how you can help your ideals come to pass.
Mark your calendar for the astrological year 2015: note all the important Sun, Moon, and Mercury dates listed in the later sections of this article. Also jot down the other planetary movements in store for 2015.
Set aside time each month to meditate on that month's astrological energies. For example, what sign will the Sun occupy? When is the Moon full? Will Mercury be retrograde? Will one of the other planets be changing signs? Think about how you can make the most of these energies.
Make the Most of Each Month: "Follow the Sun"
One of the best ways to stay in harmony with astrology energies is to "follow the Sun" by paying attention to the Sun's location as it changes signs each month. Focusing on the Sun empowers us by aligning our lives with the astrological signs and nature's seasons so that our efforts remain in harmony with cyclical rhythms. This is the energy that tells us "when to do what" because it literally "shines a light" on the energies we're supposed to work with. So if you focus on each sign in turn throughout the year, you'll move smoothly through all your essential 2015 tasks (and the entire zodiac) by the end of the calendar year.
How to Follow the Sun
As the Sun enters a new sign each month, think about how you want to work with its energies (and how you want to build on your efforts with this sign in earlier years). NOTE: Pay special attention to your identity and how you "shine your light" when the Sun moves through your own sign.
Here are the dates for the Sun's entry into each sign through the end of 2015, based on U.S. central time:
Capricorn: December 21, 2014
Aquarius: January 20, 2015
Pisces: February 18
Aries: March 20
Taurus: April 20
Gemini: May 21
Cancer: June 21
Leo: July 22
Virgo: August 23
Libra: September 23
Scorpio: October 23
Sagittarius: November 22
Capricorn: December 21
Tune in to the Moon: Enjoy the Full Moon
Each month, we experience a full Moon. During these powerful times, emotions may run higher, and we may have especially meaningful experiences and insights that can help us resolve issues or harness new inspirations.
You can benefit from the Moon's beauty by going outdoors to gaze at this satellite of Earth whenever the Moon is full and the skies are clear in your area. Also, take time to notice how you feel in the days around each full Moon and jot down whatever insights and inspirations you receive so you can act on them later. The day of a full Moon as well as the day before and the day after offer especially powerful opportunities for spiritual efforts, so be sure to make time for prayer and meditation at this time each month.
Pay special attention to your feelings, memories, and nurturing as well as mothers, children, and emotional security whenever the Moon moves through your Sun sign and especially when it is full in your Sun sign.
Watch Mercury: Notice When the Messenger Planet Goes Retrograde
When Mercury is retrograde, we often experience slowdowns, obstacles, errors, and other challenges. Typically, these issues affect areas ruled by Mercury, such as communication, travel, commerce, contracts, computers, electronics, and gadgets. Retrograde periods offer an excellent time for all tasks involving "re" such as reviewing, redoing, rewriting, and reworking.
Rather than starting anything new or launching a new project or product, you can make the most of Mercury's retrograde by slowing down, noticing your thoughts, and observing how you and others communicate. Also notice what new information comes to light, both during and at the end of the retrograde period; often, helpful data surfaces that makes it much easier to make better decisions and move forward more effectively after the retrograde ends. In addition, retrograde times are excellent for starting to meditate, making time for inner reflection, and enjoying solitude.
Here are the dates for Mercury's retrograde periods in 2015:
January 21 - February 11
May 18 - June 11
September 17 - October 9
Tap in to Long-Term Trends: Flow With the Other Planets' Changes
Besides the Sun, Moon, and Mercury, be sure to watch for a few other major planetary changes and energies that will be in force during astrological year 2015. Here are highlights of the planets and dates so you can mark your calendar and make the most of these new energies.
Saturn: From Scorpio to Sagittarius and Back (and Back Again)
Saturn entered deep, intense Scorpio on October 5, 2012, ushering in some of the most difficult energies of recent memory. Saturn is the grown-up of the zodiac, and in Scorpio this planet forced us to face our worst fears, our ugliest truths, and our most appalling weaknesses. Because Scorpio is a water sign, the past two years simply felt terrible for many people, especially those born under the sign of the Scorpion and under the zodiac's other fixed signs: Taurus, Leo, and Aquarius. Having survived this often dark period, we emerged from the tunnel less than a month ago, on December 23, 2014, when Saturn entered Sagittarius.
So now Saturn will demand that we streamline and grow up in all things Sagittarius, including higher education, religion, beliefs, and philosophy. This stern planet asks us to be mature and act with integrity, and it withholds rewards until we fulfill the responsibilities brought to us. As a result, Sagittarians likely will see pleasure take a back seat to duty; all the other mutable signs also will feel the stress of this draining energy and be forced to integrate Saturn's lessons in some important area of life.
Saturn will give Scorpio and the other fixed signs a final test starting June 14, when it returns to Scorpio for three months. All of us likely will see themes from the past two years resurface at this time for final tweaks and reality checks before Saturn moves back to Sagittarius on September 17, where it will remain until December 2017.
Mercury Retrograde: Up in the Air All Year
Mercury, the ancient messenger for the gods who had wings on his sandals and helmet, loves to flit about quickly and share information. Three times a year, this information sharing turns inward, when Mercury goes retrograde and appears to move backwards in the sky. At this time, data comes to us in surprising ways, and ordinary communication faces disruptions to help us think differently.
In 2013, all three Mercury retrogrades occurred in the water signs, a difficult placement for the light and airy messenger. Last year, all three retrogrades began in water signs and then moved back into air signs, where Mercury feels most at home. This year, all three retrogrades will occur fully in air signs: Aquarius, Mercury-ruled Gemini, and Libra. This will contribute some needed lightness to our lives and may even spark an upsurge of interest in comedy and other sources of humor, as Mercury is a quick thinker and at its best in air signs.
During this year's three retrogrades, take this special opportunity to observe how you think, what you think, and how your mind influences your life. Mercury is giving us a grand opportunity to re-focus our thoughts on idealism, unity, and fresh ideas, so make the most of 2015. This is a time when your thoughts truly can change your life in wondrous ways, if you let go of negativity and resolve to put your mind squarely on what you truly love and deeply desire.
Spring's Awakening: Big Shifts in Late March, Early April
We're nearing the end of a long cosmic tunnel that snatched us into seeming darkness starting in June 2012, when the first of seven intense squares between Uranus and Pluto hit us with life-changing energies. This is the defining energy of our times, and if you look back over your life since 2012 you'll likely see plenty of dashed hopes and disappointed dreams, along with tough but ultimately beneficial changes. The last of these seven showdowns happens March 16, right in the thick of some other major planetary shakeups:
. A total solar eclipse occurs March 20 in the final hours of the astrological year, giving us a chance to close out, consciously, our annual tour of Pisces--and the entire Piscean Age--as we push the reset button on what's no longer serving us and prepare for a fiery, fresh start later that day when we move from the sign of the Fish to the sign of the Ram.
. The Sun enters brash Aries March 20, just hours after the eclipse, bringing us a new sign, a new season, and a brand new astrological and spiritual year. If we make the effort, this day also can bring us beyond the dying Piscean Age and straight into the new Aquarian Age--a shift that each must choose and take with purposeful intent. See The Aquarian Age is Here: An Aquarian Manifesto
for more details and to prepare for your personal step past this epochal cosmic portal.
. The Sun's entry into Aries also brings the March equinox, one of four annual "power days" arriving at the equinoxes and solstices. Since ancient times, sages have redoubled their spiritual efforts on these special days to bring in new energies for constructive change on earth and within humanity. You can join this circle of spiritual service by setting aside time for prayer and meditation at the equinox to welcome in Aries's fiery beauty and abundant new beginnings.
. Two weeks later, on April 4, a Uranus-Pluto echo or hiccup comes our way with a full Moon (and total lunar eclipse) in Libra, directly opposite Uranus and square Pluto. See what last transformative energies surface for you and release what must leave your life now so you're free to enter a new era.
Venus Retrograde: Whither Love, Pleasure, Beauty--and Values?
Venus, the planet named for the ancient Roman goddess of love and beauty, goes retrograde July 25 and remains so until September 6. This period begins with Venus in earthy Virgo and ends with the love planet in fiery Leo, two signs featuring prominently this year.
Venus softens and sweetens life, but during a retrograde it feels as if her beautiful gifts are being withheld from us. That makes this a perfect time to go within to review the role that love, pleasure, the arts, diplomacy, relationships, and values play for us. During this period, people from the past may return to our lives, giving us a chance to see relationships in a new light, heal any rifts, and give thanks for the love we have enjoyed with others. Old pleasures may come to mind, and we may feel an urge to return to a hobby or art form we once treasured but allowed to lapse.
Jupiter in Leo and Virgo: From Living Large to Living Right
The signs Leo and Virgo also come to the fore with Jupiter's travels this year. Until August 11, the biggest planet in our solar system moves through fiery, noble Leo, asking us to have courage and to speak from our hearts. Jupiter expands our lives through travel, learning, wisdom, and conscious growth, but it can be a double-edged sword that expands flaws or problems or spending if we let it go out of control.
Leo and the other fixed signs (Taurus, Scorpio, and Aquarius) therefore will face challenges and temptations around "living large" until they tap Jupiter's higher, nobler energies to enlarge their inner selves rather than their possessions or bragging rights. Then, when Jupiter enters Virgo, we'll all feel motivated to bring Leo's fiery optimism down to earth by expanding our perception of health, details, and service. If we avoid ramping up Virgo's tendency to be picky or critical of others and instead focus on our own lives and needed improvements, this can be a powerful time to apply wisdom in useful ways that perfect our health, daily lives, and jobs.
If we handle this Leo-Virgo energy properly, we can make real progress toward living holistically, letting go of jobs that leave us feeling like downtrodden servants, and embracing the "right livelihood" that feeds our souls as well as our families. We also have a once-every-dozen-years chance to move much farther and faster toward our vision of perfection.
North Node Enters Virgo: Clean Up Your Act
Last February, the North Node--a sensitive point in space at which the Moon's orbit intersects the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun)--entered Libra. The North Node forms an axis with the South Node, which has occupied Aries since that time. The North Node indicates our collective destiny or way forward in order to evolve, while the South Node indicates our past and the strengths we may draw on to fulfill the destiny indicated by the North Node.
With the Libra-Aries emphasis, we have been required to draw on our skills in creating an independent identity and personality (Aries) in order to develop our skills in creating relationships and cooperation that lead to peace and harmony. Toward the end of 2015, on November 11, the nodal axis shifts, moving the North Node into Virgo and the South Node into Pisces until mid-2017. This change will add to the ongoing focus on mutable signs and the call to move beyond the Piscean Age and fully enter the Aquarian Age. It also will give us an opportunity to turn Virgo's famous ability to clean, improve, and perfect toward any area that has become sloppy, unclear, or detrimental to health.
Mutable Signs in the Spotlight: Get Comfy With "In Transition"
Every one of the long-term trends outlined here has an association with the mutable signs: Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces. In addition, Neptune has been traveling through its own sign, Pisces, since 2012 and remains there until 2025, while the powerful, healing asteroid Chiron also is moving through Pisces and remains there until 2018.
The mutable signs come at the end of seasons, giving us a clue to how to work constructively with their energies. In the coming year, be ready to change, let go, and move on. With the strong emphasis on Mercury and air signs (and with Mercury ruling two out of four mutable signs), watch your thoughts and use them consciously and constructively re-make your reality into the perfection you seek. Little things will mean a lot, so pay attention to details and small but loving gestures.
A New World Singing With Sunshine and Opportunity
No matter how difficult recent years have been, hope abides. The clouds are beginning to clear, and light is returning to our spirits and our world.
At this astrological year 2015, we stand at the transition point between a time of extraordinary challenge and fear to one of new beginnings for a grand new age. Many ancient sages said the world originally came in to being through "the Word" or even through a vibratory combination that resembles a sort of cosmic song. Take this beautiful metaphor to heart: what song will you sing in 2015? What hopes will you allow to burn brightly in your heart and bring out into the world to help usher in the new epoch? How will you use the privilege of being here on earth at this momentous time in history?
Let your ideals take shape now. And let your song ring out to help uplift the world!