2018 is a year of beginnings, although many of them may look like endings. We are introduced to dynamics which will take us well into the next decade, yet also reek of the past. It is our first of several years in a place where the past and future overlap to an unsettling degree, the historical version of the lands which souls journey between death and life again. It is lost Lemuria, sunken Atlantis, the Egyptian Duat, the Tibetan Bardo. Like all of these spaces, it floats between, somewhere across the waters.
We thus enter 2018 as we would a vast, unknown continent. There is much to explore, much to remember and much to learn. Yet one thing can be certain at the outset — this land is haunted. It swarms with the ghosts of the past. Some are eager to help us, desperate to pass on knowledge that would otherwise be forgotten. Others followed us here the way parasites follow hosts.
A Three-Part Exploration
We will begin our exploration of 2018 by looking at it as a whole, beginning with where it fits into the historical sequence. Part I will thus be an exploration of larger themes. In Part II, we will pace the quarters of the year, locating and discussing 2018’s most important configurations. Finally, Part III is comprised of some reflection on the nature of the year, a bit of advice and a substantial rant.
PART I: The Triplicity Cycle
The largest context for 2018 is its position in the 200+ year Jupiter-Saturn cycle, which comes to a definite conclusion at the end of 2020. As I wrote of this previously:
The Jupiter-Saturn cycle is one of astrology’s longest used and most reliable yardsticks for measuring history. The two planets conjoin every 20 years, providing a tool for examining history in two decade increments. But these 20 year cycles themselves form a larger pattern. For approximately 200 years at a time, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions occur in signs of the same element. This gives us 200 years of Fire, Earth, Air, and then Water. The Jupiter-Saturn cycle thus offers us not only the ability to study history in 20 year arcs, but also to look at the larger spans of history enclosed by the 200 year periods.
The two planets have been making conjunctions in Earth signs since the early 19th century, enclosing and timing the waves of industrial revolution and overseeing the transformation of our relationship to the material world that’s taken place since then. The next Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, which occurs during the last days of 2020, will be in Aquarius, an Air sign. This conjunction will begin another 200 year cycle of conjunctions in Air signs, thus bringing an end to over two centuries of meeting under the auspices of Earth.
It is worth noting that there are two methods of calculating when the Jupiter-Saturn cycle shifts from one element to another, the apparent and the mean conjunctions. By the mean cycle, which is a mathematical idealization, we entered the Air cycle in the year 2000. It is the apparent conjunction, actually visible in the sky, which shifts us unequivocally into the Air cycle in 2020. Since 2000, we have been in an unusual period where the mean and apparent cycles clash, a fact which nicely illustrates the dissonant nature of our current times.
It thus plays a complicated requiem for a pair of centuries which brought us both miraculous physical technologies and the most devastating, traumatic wars ever fought.
The countdown to the end of this cycle began in earnest with the movement of Saturn into Capricorn on December 19th, 2017. 2018 is thus, in a sense, quite literally “the beginning of the end.”
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
The next bit of longer term thinking we need to do about 2018 concerns the movement of Uranus into Taurus. Uranus spends approximately 7 years in each sign, and so speaks to underlying trends of that duration. We will deal what those will look like in a later section. For now, it is Uranus’ relationship with the other slower-moving bodies, Neptune and Pluto, which concerns us.
With Uranus’ movement into Taurus this year, we get our first taste of an outer-planet arrangement which we’ll live within until the middle of the next decade. Uranus will be in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn until 2025, when all three change signs. There is a rare synchronization between their cycles in 2025 — they all change in the same year, a most unusual thing. Not only will Uranus, Neptune and Pluto remain in the same signs until 2025, they will all be in signs of a yin or passive quality, and then enter signs of a yang or active quality. As the slow-moving outers all speak to longer-wave historical currents, that set of 3 ingresses in one year signals a massive shift, effectively and deeply dividing the 2020’s into two very different sections.
It will thus be Uranus in Taurus, Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn which will accompany us across the threshold of 2020, effectively bridging the end-times of the two-century Earth cycle and the early days of the Air one. As always, the longer the trend, the smarter it is to understand and adapt early.
Saturn in Capricorn
The most important single factor in understanding 2018 is, without a doubt, Saturn’s presence in Capricorn. The ingress into Capricorn called an end to the frantic dumpster-fire of Saturn in Sagittarius (2015-2017), and initiated a new trio of years with a significantly colder and more thoughtful quality. In Capricorn, Saturn builds mighty fortifications, comes down hard on the unrepentant, and teaches of secrets thought lost to dusty tombs. Patience, hard work and thoughtful planning are all rewarded by the leaden planet in the Goat’s sign. See my lengthy article, “Saturn in Capricorn” for an in-depth exploration of these themes.
Jupiter in Scorpio
Jupiter will be in tropical Scorpio for the overwhelming majority of 2018. Although the big planet abandons the scorpion for the archer in mid-November, Jupiter in Scorpio will contribute generously to 2018’s themes. In Scorpio, Jupiter blesses bold journeys into the underworld, gives us the bravery to examine ugly truths, and teaches the methods by which the shadow-self might be claimed and integrated. For more detail, please refer to “Jupiter in Scorpio.”