The Year Ahead, 2013

Every year, in September, I get out the planner – the astrological planner, that is – and draw out the year ahead. Month by month I itemize the major aspects, note when eclipses occur and when Saturn meets Pluto (not half as pleasant as when Harry met Sally, I can promise you) and gradually, the configurations begin to reveal a picture. Not a precise one – more like an impressionist’s painting - and it is from here that I make my forecasts.

For the last few years, since 2007, actually, the picture has not changed much. The reason being that Pluto and Uranus, both of which move incredibly slowly, have been locked in a tense alignment, periodically aggravated or improved by the movements of planets such as Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn.

No sign has escaped the effects of this planetary pressure-tank, no one person, no one nation, although some have had it a lot worse than others - take Syria for instance, which has had this configuration focusing on key parts of its horoscope since 2010. And if you’ve lost your job, ended your marriage, seen your life change beyond recognition or battled with a life-threatening illness, you can be sure Uranus and Pluto have been in there somewhere.

It’s only natural that we should seek assurances that things will change for the better, and soon.

I can tell you straight off the bat things will change for the better, but – and here’s the bad news – it’s going to take more time: until 2016 at least. However, there are ways to work with the planets we’ve got, and our first job is to understand that we have a part to play in helping turn this term of trial into a term of triumph. It’s not just down to the government; it’s not Angela Merkel’s job alone, and whoever’s in the White House doesn’t have a magic wand.

It is a very simple philosophy but it works. If we want our world to change, we have to change ourselves. And in this case changing ourselves means throwing out the scripts that we’ve been working from for years, and creating new ones. New relationship scripts; new financial scripts; new health scripts; new life-scripts. It’s all in the mind-set.

Let me back-pedal for a moment. What Uranus and Pluto do as a couple is preside over the collapse of old structures and the formation of new ones. The trouble is this isn’t a seamless process. A part of life comes tumbling down but there isn’t a readymade replacement. During the last five years we have been witnessing the demolition part of the exercise, and not seeing anything new and good coming out of the rubble. Just a lot of confusion. But, sure enough, solid and workable structures will emerge. We are feeling our way towards them. Indeed, were they instantly to appear before us, we would fail to recognize them and we certainly wouldn’t be ready to embrace them; we simply haven’t done the work.

It is precisely the same with our personal life-crises. Getting through to the other side of them takes time and work. And we are always changed for the better because of them.

Clearly, what happens in Europe will have an impact on the rest of the world – and there is no way in this astrological climate that the eurozone will remain intact: there will be exits, turbulence and market collapses. Events in far-flung countries, and certainly in America, will also have an effect on us, but it is up to each of us as to how we weather the storm. Ideally we should use its very energy to launch us into a new and better phase of our lives.

We may call these years the Age of Austerity, which it is, but it is also the Age of Enterprise. When something is taken away from us, whether it be a job, a person, a lifestyle, it becomes an opportunity to find resources we didn’t know we had. Out of crisis comes growth.

How many heroic stories do we hear about people who triumphed over their circumstances? Every paralympic athlete has pushed and pummelled and powered his and her way to glory, and against all the odds. And there are countless tales of the extraordinary in the lives of ordinary people that we never hear about. Yet those who turn their lives around aren’t super-human; what they have in abundance is heart, and, more importantly, they just keep going; they never lose sight of their targets.

Change demands courage. But when we’re fearless, we acquire strength; and when our energy changes, shifts occur in our external world.

If I’m interpreting the signs correctly we are by no means out of the woods. 2013 is another tough year. So, if you’re reading this and thinking “I wonder if...”: stop thinking ‘if’ and start moving. You won’t be better off waiting another two years to implement those big changes: it will be twice as difficult in 2015, and you’ll be two years older!

Now, if I am beginning to sound like Cassandra, let me assure you that I expect 2013 to produce its fair share of fantastic and heart-warming events too. We will have happy times and good-news stories in spite of Uranus and Pluto, although in truth it will be because of them.

If we could scoot forward a hundred years or so, we’d see what a spectacular time of opportunity we are living through - after all, Uranus and Pluto ushered in the Renaissance - so, even if we cannot see solutions to the pressing problems of the times, every day we move nearer toward them.

There are astrologers who would avoid telling it how it is, but I’m not one of them. However, my intention is not to throw a cloak of doom and gloom over the New Year but to inspire us to make those brave moves that could change our lives radically for the better.

I’m up for it. How about you?

Penny Thornton

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