Welcome to 2023! This year has some major astrological shifts that are going to have things feeling and looking very different than they have for the past couple of years. It’s a year of ingresses: several planets make key ingresses that will really change the dynamics that we’ve been experiencing up to now.
The year is also very front-loaded in terms of astrological transits, with the majority of the big transits occurring in the first half of the year.
The cycles that we’ve been under since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 are shifting into a new phase. That’s not to say we’re totally done with that story (unfortunately) but the most intense part is definitely past. Things are about to get really different – and really weird. (Also: this is a very long post, so get comfortable!)
Before I get into the details, I want to mention a few predictions/comments right away. I think the two biggest questions on most people’s minds are: are we still in a pandemic and will we get world war?
The answer to those questions, insofar as I can see it through the astrology, is no. I think the Covid pandemic is essentially over, at least as far as the most acute phase of lockdowns and restrictions. I think we will see a new phase of health-related restrictions that are going to come into place – or try to come into place – over the next few years. This will likely be tied to efforts to roll out digital IDs in western nations, which includes all forms of your personal information – medical, financial, etc. However, if and when another pandemic arrives, I don’t think it will occur in the same way as the Covid pandemic.
I just don’t see widespread lockdowns and travel restrictions to the same extent that we have had over the last three years. This is largely thanks to the further separation of Saturn from Pluto. The astrological signature of the Covid pandemic was the Saturn-Pluto conjunction at 22 Capricorn on January 12, 2020. This was a historic transit, as it also involved Mercury, the Sun, Jupiter and the Nodes/eclipse cycle. Just look at this chart of the exact conjunction:
This is a very rare pile-up of planets, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction itself is also a very rare event that occurs only about every 30 years or so. It’s a generational shift, and as this conjunction separates, the intensity of all the bad stuff that it brought will fade. Clearly, the current Saturn-Pluto cycle is about plagues and illness, and we’ll undoubtedly see more iterations of that over the next few decades. (The next Saturn-Pluto conjunction is at 14 Pisces on Jun 15, 2053.)
I think the next phase will be fallout from what happened during the acute phase of the pandemic from 2020-2022, including (but not limited to) the impacts of the widespread use of mRNA vaccine technology as well as gain-of-function technology.
However, as Saturn moves out of his own sign and into Pisces in March 2023, he loses a lot of his ability to maintain total order and control. This will come as a welcome relief. More on that below.
The second concern, about a world war breaking out, is not something that I see likely to happen. Not in 2023, at least. I have looked back at the space weather for the start of both WWI and WWII, and both of those occurred right around a major Saturn-Pluto event. WWI started just a couple months before the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Cancer, which marked the start of a war cycle signified by this conjunction. WWII started just about a month before an exact Saturn-Pluto square across Taurus and Leo – the closing square of the Saturn-Pluto conjunction that heralded the start of WWI.
Because we are well past the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, which very clearly signified the Covid pandemic and not a world war, I am not expecting a big global conflict anytime soon. I will be watching for further pandemic-related developments at the Saturn-Pluto squares and opposition in coming years.
That said, there will undoubtedly be war in various places in the world – there always is. And it might feel like a world war where everyone is involved, because of how interconnected we are on the internet. The news cycle moves at such a rapid pace now and we’re all hearing about all the major events in real time, so it really does feel like things happening across the world are happening right there in your living room.
They aren’t, however. It is very unlikely that bombs will rain from the sky in most places in the world. Keep this in mind as we move forward.
Now that I’ve gotten those two things out of the way, let’s take a look at the astrology of 2023. I have arranged this chronologically, so let’s start at the beginning of the year.
In January 2023, don’t rush to make any new plans, goals or resolutions for the coming months. In fact, feel free to take the first two weeks off. Okay, okay – I know that’s not possible for most. (I certainly wish I had taken off these two weeks, alas.)
2023 starts off confusing, volatile and generally unproductive. This will shift towards the end of the month. Mars is continuing his retrograde journey through Gemini and Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn, having recently stationed at the very end of 2022. As Gemini is ruled by Mercury, having the ruler of Mars’ retrograde also be retrograde means things are going to be totally muddled and confusing during this period of time.
You can expect all the usual hallmarks of a Mercury retrograde – tech issues, communication breakdowns, travel delays – but with some added martial flair. So, when your computer messes up or you get stuck in traffic, you’ll be extra mad about it. Take particular care with your interpersonal relationships during the first two weeks of January – it’ll be all too easy to get into pointless fights about something (or nothing, as is often the case with pointless fights).
This is a great time to channel those retrograde energies into reviewing your previous year and daydreaming what you want this year to bring. Though again, don’t worry about coming up with definitive plans just yet. And please, for the love of all that is good and holy, don’t do any major travelling or make any major purchases just yet.
On a geopolitical level, I am not expecting any outbreaks of conflict while Mars and Mercury are both retrograde, but the time period around mid-January might bring some big events. This might also be related to a market event, though I also think March is a time where the financial markets are likely to get really rocky.
Key dates for Mars and Mercury:
- Mars stations direct at 8 Gemini on January 13
- Mercury stations direct at 8 Capricorn on January 18
March 2023 is a major turning point that marks the conclusion and beginning of several important astrological cycles. Here are the key dates:
- Saturn ingress Pisces: March 7
- Pluto ingress Aquarius: March 23
- Mars ingress Cancer: March 25
Pluto moving into Aquarius gives us a sneak peak of what the next two decades may bring, as Pluto spends a long time in each sign and will be in Aquarius until 2043. Pluto also takes one or two years to fully move into a new sign, and that’s the phase we get in 2023: Pluto will grind back and forth over the Capricorn-Aquarius axis for the next two years.
Pluto’s entrance into Capricorn in 2008 heralded the Great Financial Crisis. Pluto took that whole year to go back and forth over the Sagittarius-Capricorn axis. The bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers (widely considered the official start of the Great Financial Crisis, though those dominoes had been lining up much earlier) occurred on September 15, 2008 after Pluto had slipped back into Sagittarius for a few months.
Pluto’s transition years between two signs can often bring some pretty momentous things, including but not limited to war and the precursors to war, revolutions/coups/government leaders being deposed, breakthroughs in science and technology (like vaccines, electric lights, commercial aircraft and computers), and social unrest.
The story of Pluto’s journey through Capricorn was the destruction of all our Capricornian institutions: finance, government, healthcare, elder care, military, prisons. The public’s trust in our institutions, particularly government and healthcare, has been shattered (for damn good reason).
I’ve been wondering if Pluto may give us another financial crisis as a parting shot on his way out of Capricorn. Regardless, 2023 is certain to bring further volatility and shake-ups in the realm of finances.
Aquarius is a fixed air sign ruled by Saturn. In this sign, Pluto will shift from breaking down our institutional structures to breaking down our social structures. Over the next two decades, we are going to see the destruction, transformation and/or renovation of our social structures – family, friends, social groups, communities.
Some of this will be necessary, maybe even good. As one example, I think we’ll see a pretty sustained return to multi-generational living situations, something the West has largely abandoned in recent decades, as it becomes more and more untenable for each generation to afford living on their own. Also, elder care homes are another Capricorn institution torn down by Pluto’s transit through Capricorn, and many people have realized, and rightly so, that abandoning our elders in homes – especially during a pandemic, when those homes became literal prisons – is maybe not the best way to treat them.
I will do a separate post exploring Pluto in Aquarius in more detail. For now, just know that the period of March to June 2023 gives us a teaser of Pluto in Aquarius, which will become an overarching influence for the next two decades.
March 2023 also brings two other major shifts: Saturn into Pisces and Mars into Cancer.
Let’s talk about Mars first. When Mars enters Cancer on March 25, it marks the official end of his retrograde cycle through Gemini. Mars will begin to pick up speed which is good, because Mars likes to go vroom. The rest of 2023 will see Mars in direct motion, zipping through the signs every few weeks.
That ingress of Mars into Cancer on March 25 might feel uncomfortable since Mars is really not happy in that sign. However, it will still bring some relief to all the Mars in Gemini issues that you may be experiencing. As someone with Sun, Venus and Mercury in Cancer, I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but it’s still better to get him out of this retrograde nonsense. You might feel more vulnerable or emotionally strained, but it will be different from the “head on fire” vibes of Mars in Gemini.
Key dates to watch for Mars:
- May 20: fixed T-square between Mars at 0 Leo opposite Pluto at 0 Aquarius and square Jupiter at 0 Taurus
- July 20: Mars at 6 Virgo opposite Saturn at 6 Pisces
- August 22: Mars at 26 Virgo opposite Neptune 26 Pisces
- October 28: Mars at 11 Scorpio opposite Jupiter at 11 Taurus
- November 11: Mars at 21 Scorpio opposite Uranus at 21 Taurus
- November 25: Mars at 0 Sagittarius square Saturn at 0 Pisces
- December 28: Mars at 25 Sagittarius square Neptune at 25 Pisces
Saturn moves into Pisces on March 7 and is the other major, overarching influence of 2023 – arguably the main story of the year. It’s also one that I’m very much looking forward to.
Saturn has been in domicile since he ingressed into Capricorn at the very end of 2017. We’ve had over five years of Saturn in his own sign – Capricorn, then Aquarius. Saturn is restrictions, limitations, blockages, death, illness, oppression. Having him in his own sign means he’s fully capable of being his best self – which means he can easily bring us all of those things he represents: restrictions, oppression, illness, heaviness. Sound familiar?
Think back to what the world felt like in 2016 and 2017. It was quite different, wasn’t it? Because we get such a long period of Saturn in his own sign, by the end of it, it’s easy to think that the world has always been this dark and depressing. That’s not the case, though you can be forgiven for feeling like this bleakness will never end.
Saturn in Pisces loses much of his power to do Saturn things, and that’s a good thing for the world in general. Sure, there will still be restrictions and limitations of various kinds, but Saturn’s ability to render them total – like, say, a global restriction on travel and widespread lockdowns – evaporates. If and when the Powers That Be do try to bring back restrictions, I don’t think they will have the sticking power that they did over the last few years.
Saturn moving into Pisces also breaks the Saturn-square-Uranus dynamic that we’ve had for the last two years, which was the constant push-pull of enforcing rules and then breaking free from those rules. Uranus will still be in Taurus, disrupting all the fixed and stable things that Taurus represents (food, money, material goods, labour) but there’s less complications with Saturn not being squared off with it.
Now, this could mean more outbreaks of civil unrest and maybe even outright rebellions and coups. Uranus in Taurus is now free to go around disrupting everything as he pleases, and Saturn isn’t there to keep him in check anymore. There is freedom on offer, but also chaos. We do need order, even when it’s not much fun, so this will be a time of people pushing back and testing the rules, and seeing that those rules have shifted – or dissolved.
If there’s going to be a major financial event in 2023, my money is on it being in either March or the fall.
Saturn in Pisces also marks the start of an upcoming Saturn-Neptune conjunction that will not be exact until 2026, but will get super close a couple of times before that. The two don’t form an exact conjunction until they are both in Aries in 2026, but we’re going to have an increasing Saturn-Neptune influence for a long time until then. Some keywords for that conjunction include confusing rules, mind restrictions, imaginal (or imaginary) structures, spiritual boundaries, intangible weightiness, disciplinary inspiration. Here’s my favourite visual metaphor for Saturn in Pisces:
April 2023 and May 2023 bring the year’s first set of eclipses. Here are the details:
- Solar eclipse at 29 Aries on April 19
- Lunar eclipse at 14 Scorpio on May 5
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll remember that the eclipses were in the Taurus-Scorpio axis throughout 2022. As you can see, the first eclipse of 2023 is at the tail end of Aries. 2023 marks a transition of the eclipse cycle from the Taurus-Scorpio to the Aries-Libra axis. Eclipses are still occurring in Mars- and Venus-ruled signs; however, they are shifting from Mars’ and Venus’ night houses to their day houses. This is due to the Nodes shifting into Aries-Libra, which occurs on July 12, 2023.
The spring set of eclipses occur in Mars’ signs, so this is going to mark a very martial period of time. Jupiter will be close by the first eclipse on April 19, so I’m hoping he will bring some temperance and perhaps good luck to this configuration – but it’s entirely possible he’ll just provide some expansiveness over whatever the eclipse brings.
That first eclipse will show us what the eclipses in Aries-Libra might signify, and I’m expecting it to be more obvious and visible. Perhaps we’ll get some revelations or justice, particularly in martial, military matters.
The lunar eclipse in May 5 is likely to be more hidden or under the surface, thanks to its location in Scorpio. I’m hoping for some conclusions or at least updates in the ongoing FTX story, which was really the predominant news story tied to the fall 2022 eclipses.
In May 2023, Jupiter ingresses into Taurus. Jupiter moves swiftly in 2023 and will rip through Aries at quick speed, entering Taurus on May 16, 2023. If Aries is a prominent part of your natal chart, take advantage of Jupiter’s transit there while you can! You’ve got less than five months of it.
I am optimistic that Jupiter will bring some stability to Uranus in Taurus. Uranus has been zapping through Taurus since May 2018 (aside from a brief dip back into Aries between November 2018 and March 2019). During that time, Uranus has been increasingly destabilizing all the fixed things that we take for granted, particularly food, material goods and real estate. It’s now no longer a given that you can find what you need when you go to the store. Some things are just not available in certain places anymore. (My mother-in-law was very disappointed to learn that Bugles and several other snack foods are no longer available in Canada – and if you try to buy them on Amazon, the prices are absolutely criminal.) Manufacturing breakdowns and problems, supply chain issues and shipping delays are all commonplace now. Thanks Uranus!
These things are going to continue; however, Jupiter is going to try to help out where he can. I am hoping that we’ll see a bit of a relief from the worst of these issues from mid-May 2023 through to 2024 as Jupiter moves through Taurus and tries to calm down the worst of Uranus’ disruptions. If we get any social unrest in 2023 (and I’m betting we do), Jupiter should help to calm that down and provide some justice and unveil some truths around these matters.
June 2023 sees Pluto move back into Capricorn (on June 11), where it will remain for the rest of the year. Take note of everything that happened since March – have you noticed any Pluto in Aquarius signatures, in your own life or in the world at large? Expect those to return in early 2024.
The big story of July 2023 is Venus’ retrograde through Leo. Venus stations retrograde at 28 Leo on July 23, and will move back through the lion’s sign until she stations direct at 12 Leo on September 4.
Venus retrogrades occur every 18 months, and every 8 years they occur in the same sign(s). Think back to what happened in your life during the previous periods that Venus was retrograde in Leo, and see if you spot any patterns. These periods were from July to September 2015, 2007, 1999, 1991, etc.
Look to where the Sun is located in your chart, as well as what house Leo is in, for some insight into how this might affect you. These are periods that highlight all the Venusian things in your life: relationships, art, music, culture. This retrograde will be prominent for Leo rising people, and/or people who have important Leo placements in their natal chart.
Venus in Leo is a lady who wants to be seen and adored. Be careful not to get too carried away with too many changes to your appearance at this time, though the temptation may be there, particularly if you are a Leo rising! Overall, it actually might make for a pretty fun summer. (I’ve always had a good time during Venus retrogrades in Leo).
That brings us to the fall, and the year’s second set of eclipses in October 2023. Here are the details:
- Solar eclipse at 21 Libra on October 14
- Lunar eclipse at 5 Taurus on October 28
Just as the spring’s eclipses occur in Mars’ signs, the fall’s eclipses occur in Venus’ signs. The last one, the lunar eclipse at 5 Taurus, is the final eclipse in the Taurus-Scorpio axis for a good long time. As a Taurus rising, I am extremely happy about that!
These eclipses look a bit spicier than the spring eclipses, particularly the lunar eclipse at 5 Taurus, which will be opposite a tight Mercury-Mars conjunction in Scorpio. The Moon will be co-present Uranus in Taurus, but will be much closer to Jupiter – again, I’m hoping Jupiter has some positive influence over this lunation. Watch for a conclusion to the things that have been dredged up by this eclipse cycle since early 2022, as well as the new set of things that have come up since that first eclipse in Aries back in the spring. Maybe Sam Bankman-Fried will be formally charged at this time, closing out the FTX story.
The rest of 2023 concludes without any major astrological events. I haven’t talked about Mercury retrograde or any of the other many planetary aspects throughout this post, as it would simply be far too much to go into at once – and this post is already plenty long enough!
Thanks to everyone who read this far! I will be posting some more about some of the specific transits I mentioned (Pluto in Aquarius and Saturn in Pisces, for sure). Until then, I hope your 2023 has gotten off to a great start. And remember, even if it hasn’t – that’s OK. Things will straighten out when Mars and Mercury get back on track. We have the whole year ahead – let’s make it a good one.
If you’d like to see what the year ahead might bring you on a personal level, book a consultation with me.