The Astrology of 2017

Each year, I look ahead at the important astrological influences to guide my planning. These are the general influences for the collective, as opposed to a more precise forecast as done using the birth chart. Even though this is not an individual forecast, it is still extremely helpful to be aware of the cosmic weather. It is like the ocean we’re all swimming in, and it helps to pay attention to which way the tide is turning. When we are conscious of the energies at play, we can adapt and work with them rather than unconsciously working against them.

I use this information for myself in very practical ways. For example, if I’m scheduling trips, I try to avoid the three-plus Mercury Retrogrades that are sure to fall within each year. Or, if I am planning on introducing a new service or product in my business, I note if there is a Venus Retrograde in the coming year, because Venus is connected to finances (hint: there is a Venus Retrograde in 2017, detailed below). I also pay attention to the bigger overriding themes indicated by the connections between the outer planets (aspects). The knowledge of these larger themes helps me to prepare mentally and emotionally for the time ahead. And on the physical level, I might choose to do some things and not others -- in my business or my personal life -- based upon my knowledge of these themes.

Here is a simple outline of the major influences for 2017. This list is not all-inclusive, but features the most prominent planetary events with my bare-bones notes as to how to work with the energies this year. I hope you will find it useful!

(If you’d like a more detailed and personal overview of your year ahead, you can schedule that here).


Mercury Retrogrades

Mercury Retrogrades happen 3-4 times a year, roughly every 3 ½ months for just over 3 weeks each. We begin 2017 in the midst of a Mercury Retrograde which begins on December 19, 2016.

What to avoid:

Travel, signing contracts, major purchases (especially vehicles), marketing launches, mergers, important communications

Best uses of the energy:

Revising previous writings, redoing something, rethinking a strategy, taking down-time, going slower, simplifying and streamlining procedures, waiting for ideas to percolate

The exact dates for Mercury Retrograde:

Dec 19 - Jan 8

Apr 9 - May 3

Aug 12 - Sep 5

Dec 3 - Dec 22

Venus Retrograde

Venus Retrograde happens about once every 1 ½ years, and lasts for 40 days.

What to avoid:

Getting married, initiating a relationship, beginning business partnerships, signing partnership contracts, major purchases, beautifying procedures (such as plastic surgery), marketing launches, mergers

Best uses of the energy:

Going within, re-evaluating existing relationships, discerning the worth of your possessions, letting go of material things that no longer reflect your tastes

Exact dates for Venus Retrograde:

Mar 4 - Apr 15

Planetary Patterns

The following aspects are framed in terms of their shadow expression and their optimal expression. We can make choices regarding how we use the energies of these planetary combinations. The more we consciously choose toward the optimal expression, the less likely we are to fall into unconsciously expressing the shadow possibilities.

The Uranus-Pluto Square

The last close pass of this aspect is occurring as we begin 2017. While it is no longer exact, it is still powerful. This pattern has been in range since 2010, winding down by 2018. Here’s a short excerpt of what I wrote about this pattern in an earlier post:

"The Uranus-Pluto square is about upheaval and revolution, surprising events, chaos, and the breakdown of entrenched structures. The general feeling of unpredictability in the air can make everyone anxious. But our collective assignment under this Uranus-Pluto square is to consider: Where do we need to revolt against our own habitual behaviors and mental patterns in the service of authenticity? The process of answering this question may make us grumpy. But this alignment is prodding us to take a look."

The shadow expression:

Pointless conflict, rebellion for rebellion’s sake, impulsive behavior, “throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” power struggles, selfishness, lack of empathy

The optimal expression:

Righteous anger, constructive change, revolution, letting go of outmoded structures, grieving what is already dead, letting go of what needs to go


Will be closest late Jan-early Feb, in range from Dec 2016 - early May 2017.

(For more about the Uranus-Pluto square, you can also check out this post from November 9th.)

Saturn Trine Uranus

This influence extends for a year, and is in play as we begin 2017. Saturn is about discipline, structure, and commitment. Uranus is about revolution, breaking ground, and innovation. With these two planets working in harmony this year, there is an opportunity to make changes more easily within our careers, and to find inventive approaches to old problems.

The shadow expression:

Emotional detachment, forgetting common sense, losing touch with practicalities, letting un-grounded ideas go too far

The optimal expression:

Innovation, breakthroughs, technology supports productivity, career shifts, opening to fresh perspectives, harmonious change to old structures

Dates: This aspect is in influence all of 2017. Exact: Dec 24 2016, May 19, Nov 11.

Saturn Square Chiron

Saturn Square Chiron is also in influence for all of 2017, and is underway as we start the year. Saturn again is about discipline, structure, and commitment. Chiron is about mentorship, healing, and the “wounded healer.” Because of Chiron's mythic connection to childhood wounds, Chiron patterns sometimes involve Inner Child work. I am calling this planetary pattern “The Inner Child Meets the Inner Adult.” Some tension will be involved between the Child within vs. the archetypal Parent within that pushes us to “grow up.” We need to strike a balance between meeting the needs of our Inner Child and attending to the responsibilities of life as dictated by our Inner Adult.

The shadow expression:

Avoiding responsibility, agonizing over old hurts, letting resentment brew, self-punishing behavior, over-sensitivity, escapism to avoid pain, martyrdom

The optimal expression:

Recognizing the need to heal, no-nonsense attitudes toward self-care, letting go of the past, taking appropriate responsibility, taking an objective view of one’s challenges, volunteering, mentoring

Dates: In influence all of 2017. Exact: Dec 28, 2016, Apr 30, Nov 2.

Jupiter Square Pluto

This aspect is in play for about 9 months total, and began in November 2016 (first peaking during Thanksgiving week). Jupiter is about optimism, adventure, and finding meaning. Pluto is about going within, confronting fears, acknowledging the darkness (within and without), and healing wounds. Jupiter magnifies what it touches, and right now the presences of Pluto is strongly felt all around us. Jupiter’s presence offers the opportunity to face normally-insurmountable fears, and to become more integrated as we do so.

The shadow expression:

Dwelling on our fears, only seeing the negative, cynicism, over-asserting one’s power, narcissism

The optimal expression:

Overcoming fears, opportunity to heal wounds, deep psychological insight, asserting power to help others

Dates: In influence Nov 2016 - Aug 2017. Exact: Nov 2016, Mar 30, Aug 4.

Jupiter Opposes Uranus

This aspect is in play for about 9 months total, and is already in play as of December 2016. Jupiter again is about optimism, adventure, and finding meaning. Uranus is about revolution, breaking ground, and innovation. This can be a time of technological breakthroughs, new inventions, and previous inventions being taken to the next level. In one’s life and career, this energy can be used to take advantage of innovations to make life run more smoothly. On the downside, we need to beware of technology taking over our lives to the point of dysfunction (even more than it already has). An opposition represents the need for balance.

The shadow expression:

Technology overwhelm, over-ambitious and under-planned revolutions, disruptive political events, focus on “the next thing” instead of appreciating the present (attention deficit)

The optimal expression:

Breakthroughs in technology, using technology in the service of meaning-making, revolutions that serve the greater good

Dates: In influence Dec 2016 - Oct 2017. Exact: Dec 26 2016, March 2, Sep 27.

I'll be writing in more detail about each of these patterns as they play out in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned!

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