Chinese New Year

The next New Moon of the year is the second after the winter Solstice and marks the Chinese New Year of the Rat. Traditionally this is a year of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to embark on something or make a fresh start. Being well prepared and resourceful is the key if you want to see your efforts yield a good return.
The Chinese calendar, like the Hebrew calendar is a combined solar/lunar calendar which calculates its years to coincide with the tropical year (approximately 365.24 days) and its months coincide with the lunar months (approximately every 29.5 days) At least a quarter of the worlds population follow a lunar calendar to mark their festivals, holidays and holy days.

This New Year New Moon is particularly significant as it coincides with an eclipse. A total solar eclipse is when the Moon is exactly between the Sun and the Earth and we see the Moon block out the light as it passes in front of the Sun. We see the shadow of the Earth pass across the Moon as it blocks out the Sun’s light during a total lunar eclipse. The partial solar eclipse of 7 February is only visible in Australia and Antarctica but the total lunar eclipse of 21 February should be visible in Western Europe. Even if we cant see it the effect is still felt globally.
Solar eclipses are very powerful New Moons and are known to herald significant endings and beginnings. With Pluto at 1 degree Capricorn, it promises the emergence of new power figures on the world stage, and a sense of authority as we assert ourselves in our world. The ancient rule is that the effect of a solar eclipse lasts as long as the eclipse itself lasts in hours. Events that are triggered usually take six months to unfold, so you can expect the process of change to continue to emerge for at least this long. Anyone with anything important in their natal chart around 18° of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius – especially Aquarius/Leo) might want to pay particular attention to this eclipse.
This New Moon in particular and all the eclipses of 2008 are strongly influenced by Neptune’s presence. Neptune brings the dissolution of structures and represents our idealistic drives. It can also signify the disillusion that comes from having unrealistic expectations or finding out you’ve been deceived. We find that the mundane world is not satisfying our deeper needs which can lead to confusion or disorientation until we find a new meaning in life. To overcome this we need to re-establish a firm basis founded on something more reliable or trustworthy before we can move on.
Traditionally eclipses shut old things down creating space for new things to appear. The Rat Year suggests a time of common sense frugality and innovation born of necessity so expect new rhythms of activity based on a broader vision of what is truly valuable, practical or a priority in years to come.

The next New Moon (Solar eclipse) is at 18° Aquarius on the 7 February at 3:45am and the next Full Moon (Lunar eclipse) is at 2° Pisces on the 21 February at 3:31am

New Year Astrology

The New Year emphasis is on creating better habits, making resolutions for an improved lifestyle or using our time more beneficially. Now we get a chance to feel our efforts are appreciated, at least the ones which are designed to benefit others will be! When the Moon opposes the Sun, Full Moon, this month it does it from the Sign of Leo whilst the Sun is in Aquarius. This contrasts the need for our personal and individual creative expression with the principles of teamwork, co-operation and group projects. This gives us a supportive environment for working towards goals that benefit our friends, social group or community (local and global). At the same time our individual genius and creative efforts are recognised and supported by the community around us. To further this theme, Venus, the planet of appreciation and personal values, moves into practical Capricorn on the 24th. With this influence we are likely to feel that things of lasting value and which take time to achieve are certainly worth striving for. The mood may be less romantic or glamorous and our focus is on self-improvement instead of self-indulgence. This entry into Capricorn is followed by Pluto on the 26th signifying the start of a 15 year cycle. During this phase we will see a restructuring of major institutions and a change in the balance of world power. On a personal level the changes will be through a process of breaking down those inner barriers which have prevented us from accessing the ability to take responsibility for our role in society. On the 28th Mercury turns (as observed from earth) to travel backwards until mid February. This happens in Aquarius which suggests we could experience technical hitches and delays in telecommunications. Whilst mercury is in this phase we should take the time to review our relationship to the society we live in and ask if our contribution is equal to what we expect back. On the 30th, Mars, the planet of action finally begins moving forward after back pedalling since November 15th. Projects that have been on hold may at last slowly begin to unfold. Yet whilst Mercury’s is retrograde, it may take another three weeks before the wheels are really rolling along smoothly and we get back up to speed.