Remember last year when we all held such high and misguided hopes for 2020 as the year of clear vision and roaring good times?
Ah, the bitter laughter of hindsight. I bring you glad tidings as the dumpster fire that was 2020 draws to a close. The proverbial smoke is clearing and we have much to be grateful for and even more to look forward to.
In the Chinese tradition, 2021 is the year of the metal ox, a symbol of hard work, discipline and the lasting effects of playing the long game. This cycle is associated with ethics, decency and rebuilding. Sound refreshing? It is. But it won’t be all sunshine and gains. The danger of this cycle exists in staying yoked to outdated modalities and limiting behavior patterns. Further, flaring rage and misplaced anger are hallmarks of metal ox energy. A general rule for navigating the year ahead is count to 10 when you feel your temper accelerating and on a deeper level, to investigate the wound within you that is causing you to lash out at others. Anger can be a great tool for healing if it is wielded as a window rather than a weapon.
Speaking of windows, I am prescribing a few rituals to ensure that 2021 is as luck laden as possible. Various cultures subscribe to the practice of opening every door and window in a home on New Year’s Day to let the energy of the past out and invite the freshness of the future in. Once you have a solid cross breeze circulating, tradition holds that you should make as much “loud” as possible to raise and rid yourself of any lingering dark spirits or unfavorable juju. The baddies don’t like noise, so by all means shake your tambourine.
Astrologically speaking, the most influential aspect of the coming months will be the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, the social planets that govern collective consciousness, in the sign of Aquarius. This conjunction occurs roughly every 20 years and usually coincides with momentous change and coincidentally, presidential election cycles.
This particular union brings about a long-awaited revolution in our approach to community and social responsibility. The energies of Saturn and Jupiter are divergent if not oppositional. In terms of archetypes I like to imagine them as Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges, respectively. Saturnian Clint is the stoic, punishing dad type, playing by the rules and prioritizing the hard won over the deeply felt. Meanwhile Jupiterian Jeff is micro-dosing psilocybin and asking what animal totems came to you in your dreams last night. These planets are joined in the sign of Aquarius, the member of the zodiac perched most definitely between genius and madness. As the sign of the people and social change, Aquarius operates on the global rather than the individual level. Anything is possible under the influence of Aquarius, which leaves a large margin for both progress and destruction.
Within this astrological weather, expect conflict between those who cling tightly to patriarchal structures, outdated morality and the stagnancy of the status quo and those who advocate pushing back and moving forward. People and politics will be restless this year, but that unease lends itself well to human evolution. That word, evolution, comes from the Latin evolutionem, loosely translated as the opening of a book. I urge us all to keep this in mind as we move through 2021. We possess the framework for a finer, more humane future, but the book we open, and the story we write within it, are wholly dependent on our ability to operate with intellect rather than impulse and compassion over contempt.
Environmental issues will be of great consequence this year, particularly for the United States as a more progressive regime controls the White House. When considering what is possible when the taskmaster nature of Saturn is braided with the expansive qualities of Jupiter, I am reminded of the First Earth Battalion, a group of so-called warrior monks led by Lieutenant Colonel Jim Channon and endorsed by the United States Army.
Channon sought to employ natural psychic abilities and counterculture principles to revolutionize the military’s approach to conflict resolution. Channon’s First Earth Battalion was fictionalized in the 2009 film “Men Who Stare at Goats.” In the film the mantra of the battalion reads very much like the collective prayer we are echoing as the future dawns. “Earth, you are my life support system. As a soldier I will drink your blue water, live inside your red clay and eat your green skin. Help me to balance myself as you hold and balance the Earth, the sea and the space environments. Help me to open my heart knowing the universe will feed me. I pray my boots will always kiss your face and my footsteps match your heartbeat. Carry my body through space and time. You are my connection to the universe and all that comes after. I am yours and you are mine. I salute you.”
Hail to the Earth and hope for the future. Happy New Year.