As Jupiter and Neptune join together in mid-April, the floodgates are bursting open. This is the energy that has been subtly building in the background all winter—the growing conjunction of gigantic Jupiter, king of the heavens, with Neptune: god of the boundless, uncontrollable sea. Expansion and dissipation are the keywords of this planetary pair. Literal and figurative boundaries break down, allowing for things to spread easily.
Part of the collective worldview is being influenced by compassion and empathy for the suffering of others; another part is colored by the triumph of illusion and propaganda, the misinformation spread by fantasy, lies, escapism, and avoidance. Because the ‘Big Dream’ is beckoning so brilliantly, people are willing to completely renounce their former positions.
For most of us, the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction is manifesting as an incredible exaggeration of what we’re aspiring to, making the future goals and ambitions that we yearn for that much more desirable, and the elusivity of those things that much more poignant. And for millions of refugees, it’s a complete loss of everything they’ve ever known, creating a surreal version of life out of touch with their old definition of reality.
The year 2022 is marked by this Jupiter/Neptune conjunction, even though it only occurs at the precise degree once—on April 12. Jupiter will move into fire sign Aries from May 10 through late October, a 6-month period of vigorous acceleration in courage and conviction. But Jupiter isn’t done with this Pisces/Neptune energy. It retrogrades back into Pisces just before Halloween, re-visiting these sensitive, psychic waters until the winter solstice in December.
That means that one resounding theme we’re working with in 2022 is a full commitment to spiritual principles. When it comes to humanitarian rights, freedom, religion, art, love, and self-expression: there cannot be certain rules that apply to certain segments of the population. Pisces is the great unifying element—the ocean of consciousness. What affects one, affects us all. The exhaustion, stress, and trauma of these past few years connects all of us, and if we can let go of our own internal dividing lines, the more we’ll contribute to healing. Any bits of ego identity that have grown too narrow and too hard are softening, allowing us the possibility of release. We can forgive ourselves for what we aren’t.
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The outer planets go retrograde one by one, like dominoes, through spring and summer. First Pluto on April 29; then Saturn, Neptune, and Jupiter. These are subtle, background layers of astrology, but useful to keep in mind as we navigate the months ahead. Retrograde motion ALWAYS indicates that the planet’s function is pointed inward in a more reflective, self-referential way.
Pluto’s retrograde is about deep psychological housecleaning, urging us to look at the naked truth of our personal motivations. This is a time to probe into those secretive weak spots: places where we resist constructive change, and places where we hide extreme compulsions.
Saturn’s retrograde slows down the rate of outer growth so that we can get better at what we’re doing. There’s unfinished business to take care of, and we have to work within those limits in order to graduate to the next level.
Neptune’s retrograde is the most difficult to describe, because Neptune symbolizes psychic and emotional currents. This retrograde dissolves inner structures, creating subtle twinges of discomfort as old beliefs prove unreliable or shaky.
Jupiter’s retrograde involves going inward to examine our goals and overall attitude toward the future, envisioning things with more emotional depth and less influence from external expectations.
Now for a quick outline of Mercury’s summertime flow. Once we reach Gemini season on May 21, curiosity, networking, and experimentation become more natural modes of engagement. Mercury is at the midpoint of its retrograde cycle here, forming what’s called the ‘inferior conjunction’ with the Sun exactly on the cusp of Gemini. This is when we slowly wake up to new perspectives and ideas that are stirring in the imagination, beginning to turn to a fresh chapter that isn’t clearly defined yet.
As Mercury completes the retrograde and moves direct again during June and early July, float new inspirations out there. See what sticks, and confront challenges and flaws in your plan with an open mind, willing to listen to other angles. This is the improvisational “fool” phase, so trust intuition over logic and learn as you go.
On July 16, Mercury catches up to the Sun again, forming its superior conjunction. Thinking and speaking take on more deliberate and reflective qualities from here through August 21, where we can learn from observing patterns and drawing on past experience.
And this coincides with the Saturn/Uranus square, which was the defining astrology of 2021, coming back into play. The 90-degree angle was exact three times last year, most recently around Christmas. But beginning in mid-summer, they’re coming within range of the square once again, creating a reverberation of these same themes in the world.
This outer planet struggle always correlates with historic periods of innovation, change, and unrest. Social, political, and technological reform are shaking up the status quo, which triggers a tremendous instinctive push to hold on to personal freedom. The drama takes the stage once again as the inner planets—the Sun, Mercury, Venus (all in Leo) and Mars (in Taurus)—move through the square, July 28 through August 28.
Powerful issues are surfacing that relate to Leo – the king, symbol of pride and influence. When planets transit this sign, the appetite for appreciation gets stronger. Leo wants to be seen, loved, and validated. The disruption from the Saturn/Uranus square creates extreme conflicts over honor, entitlement, patriarchal overreach, scarcity, desperation, and greed. Something isn’t satisfying. People feel thwarted or ignored, and we’re dealing with pressures that trigger deep vulnerabilities about what we deserve.
One more bit of astrology news. Mars will step firmly into the spotlight as the summer begins to face. The warrior planet enters Gemini on August 20, moving in for an extended stay. It won’t leave Gemini until March 2023, due to a retrograde cycle later in the fall. What’s important to know this summer is that Mars enters its shadow on September 4, which is the point it will back up to during its retrograde, sort of like the symbolic starting point of this journey. It’s coming back here in January 2023, so we’ll be revisiting this territory.
Whatever is requiring our assertion, will power, self-defense, and physical passion in early September is a big deal. It connects to something that we are going to have to re-work. It’s not ready to go very far forward yet because we aren’t aligning our energies properly. We may make some progress from September 4 through October 30. But once Mars stations retrograde around Halloween, we are forced to pause.
It’s not ideal for initiating new projects because momentum isn’t being channeled normally. Mars retrograde pushes irritability and forceful ambition inward, rather than outward into the environment. This can be frustrating, but it’s not meaningless. We have to look at where we’re bored; trapped in monotonous certainty and robotic modes of operation. Gemini is the sign of curiosity and lively, open-minded amazement.
The upcoming Mars retrograde in Gemini, which will close out 2022 and open 2023, is a phase of re-channeling our energy for internal clarity. We can clear out the deadening mental habits and grudges that impair our ability to truly witness the world around us without bias. We’re being challenged to come back alive to our senses, rather than mentally guarded and prepared for a fight, constantly seeing revenge for a past that cannot be rewritten no matter how we rehash it.