2021 reflections and 2022 signposts

LOOKING BACK

How do you measure time?

For decades I used my many jobs to chronicle my life and remember events, like “oh that was when I worked at Tate Modern” and I’d know the dates immediately. Nowadays I use the year 2020. The epic Pluto Saturn conjunction in January 2020 split my life into two different timelines – before and after 2020. 

So, when I reflect on 2021 I cannot help but make connections with 2020.

While 2020 was a profound year on all accounts, I adored it because it gifted me incredibly intense inner life. I was plunged into my own depths and was more or less in a permanent state of soul retrieval. I was making an incredibly liberating and equally painful break from my family’s (and my in-laws’) values and expectations of me and in 2021 I could really see the results. I was delighted, as I finally felt like my own person independent of them while also not vilified or rejected by them (at least not to my face). I was now living on the fringes of their orbits, popping in only when I want to – when I have the capacity for family – without feeling guilt that used to plague me once (before 2020). 

So my 2021 was marked by this lightness in my historically most difficult relationships. That was my biggest win, thank you 2020! 

Otherwise, 2021 seemed to have been preparing me for the Taurus North Node.

What do I mean by that?

Source Pinterest

Gem/Sag is a mutable axis and all mutable signs are about transition. In the case of nodes, the transition is always from cardinal to fixed signs, and in this case from Cancer/Capricorn to Taurus/Scorpio. 

And so, looking back, what I see most clearly was me trying many different ways of being in the world and then dropping them to try another way.. Each bringing me closer to my Taurus Asc, Sun and Saturn truth. 

The first eclipse season (spring/summer 2021) culminated in my launching my Summer School of Shadows – my 2021 favourite! Very much a gift by the Gem/Sag nodes. And my first astrology school ever!

But by August I was already getting antsy and began venturing outside the roles I played since 2020.

Although still enamoured with my school and students I was plunging into experiences that were going to break my mould further and reignite my dormant identities of an artist (particularly an identity artist) and an experiences designer

By September my identities were unravelling and I needed to let all my personal 1:1 connections that I was not a friend, that one identity they were counting on wasn’t there anymore.

And then we had the second eclipse season (autumn/winter 2021) which, as many of us astrologers were saying, was a sneak preview of the nodal axis shift in 2022. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse was initiation into the nodes moving into Taurus/Scorpio and the Sag Solar Eclipse was the finale, the closing chapter of the Gem/Sag nodal axis. 

Personally, during the Taurus Full Moon I was in heaven! I felt powerful mostly because I was in a hyper-creative mode. I also had this typically warped Eclipse experience of living a version of me that hasn’t yet come into reality but I can feel it on every level and am loving it. The fragments of me that I feel are being retrieved and coming online since the Eclipse season. 

But the South Node Solar Eclipse in Sag was a different story altogether. It plunged me into a dark night of the soul episode I haven’t had since 2017, when Saturn squared my nodes and conjunct my Capricorn Moon. Its keynote was endings. Sag is in my 8th house so it’s fitting (plus it’s Sag South Node, so doubly fitting). 

To begin with – a few days before the Sag Solar Eclipse – I was feeling like I can’t go on as I’ve been going for the last, well, two years. This set off what felt like a mild panic attack. Will I ever know stability and longevity! Will I ever build something to last! But then I wondered – am I asking the right questions? The right questions came with Saturn sextiling my Venus, approaching a square to my Sun (and Pluto to my Saturn): do I even value stability and longevity? And if so, what kind?

Artist Leandro Elrich

With Jupiter approaching the square to Gem/Sag nodal axis I was questioning my own truth. What was true for me? Did I mistake other people’s truths for my own?

But it was so incredibly hard to disidentify myself from those adopted truths. Why? Because if my truth is different from yours – or from many other people – then I’ll be alone in it. Now aloneness in itself isn’t necessarily a bad predicament (not for a Capricorn Moon) but it certainly poses a question of relevance

At the same time, Venus stationed retrograde right on Pluto and near enough squared my natal Saturn. I could feel the leaden heaviness pressing on me slowing me down to the point of frozen stillness and deafening silence. I literally could not bring myself to do anything except re-read my many books on Saturn. And yet my Winter School of Saturn needed me to work on it in preparation for its start on 8 January 2022. 

What happened next was an erotic act of surrender to what is. To Saturn (‘cos Saturn is what is).

By erotic I mean allowing the heaviness – the depression – to penetrate me like a lover would and finding deepest sensual pleasure in that act. All that weight pressing on me felt like a deep yet gentle touch defining the contours of my form, both external and internal. 

Red by Siiri V. Source Bored Panda

As for the heaviness of silence, it was a gift of deep listening. Because I surrendered I could hear my truth – my own needs and desires – and many of them were not aligned with what I’ve been doing for the last two years. What I also heard is that none of it was wrong at the time, just wrong to continue with it. 

In that surrender I decided to postpone the start of my school – something I never did before (typically I would just push through and do my shadow work when I’m not busy) – which was received well by my students, thank you! 

To receive the gifts of depression – the insights, its guidance for the next leg of our journey – we need to surrender to it. If like me you have a lot of Earth in your natal chart – or have Saturn conjunct any of your personal planets or you have them in Capricorn – you may go through depression more often than most people. 

Melancholy by Francois-Andre Vincent (1746-1816)

I have six planets in the Earth element, Moon in Capricorn and Saturn in Taurus conjunct my Asc. I am also of Slavic origins, so melancholy and existential angst have always been a big part of me. They are my cultural and familial heritage. And I always loved that side of me!

The art of living well with darkness though is not to blame it for our failures and pain but to honour it and let ourselves be nourished by it.

However, since I’ve been living in the UK (90s onwards) I found that those moods are not particularly welcome. Fast forward to 2022 I still feel this to be very much true of the West in general. The West is built on capitalism and capitalism is all about growth and averse to any “downers” that will slow or thwart that growth. And it’s right to think that the darker moods would bring it down. The only businesses that dare to work with these emotions are services aimed at curing them, eradicating them, basically treating them as if it’s wrong and unhealthy to have them.

Dark emotions give us depth.

But not many businesses – certainly not from the old paradigm – know how to create wealth by selling depth. With the exception of art businesses such as film, books, theatre, paintings, music, etc.

We crave depth, we crave to freely feel all of our emotions and particularly those dark ones (since we suppressed them for so long) but the only space we can do that publicly is in the art world. I adore art and never want to lose that space but I also desire to see mainstream businesses, including solopreneurs, darken their brands, their presence and offerings. This would not just be amazing progress but also a beautiful site to behold.

Personally, I always desired to show the world how magnificent these “negative” emotions are, how they give us gravitas and grace. I was just never that interested in Light or even Growth. I always much preferred Depth and Darkness. They are so much more fertile. And they actually have their own light: a soft warm glow.

Photo by Allison Watkins

THINGS OF BEAUTY

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LOOKING AHEAD

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Venus in Capricorn and Taurus North Node

January is a Capricorn season and these heavy duty topics are revisited, albeit reluctantly, by the collective more than any other part of the year. But this January we are particularly feeling the weight as Venus remains Retrograde in Capricorn till the end of the month. When Venus goes Retrograde she is a heavier, earthier Taurean Venus (as opposed to light footed Libran Venus) because as retrograde she turns inwards and her primary focus is the Self (instead of the Other = Libra). So this Venus is not about our 1:1 relationships but our relationship with our Self. Of course, our relationships are a mirror of our relationship with ourselves but this January we are exclusively looking inward. And that view can be dark, and we may not like it, especially if we don’t look in often enough.

Art by Aleksandra Waliszewska

Venus will be in Capricorn till 6 March so these themes will be with us well past January. Also she will be still retrograde when the nodes shift into Taurus and Scorpio so her rulership of the North Node in Taurus is particularly significant during her stay in Capricorn.

What is real in your life? What has a timeless quality? What gives you deep satisfaction? What pleasures feed your body and soul? What can you do without? What excesses suffocate you? How can less be more in your life? How can you prioritise quality over quantity?

This Venus will be a potent primer for getting into the flow of the Taurus/Scorpio nodes in 2022.

Both signs are all about the bottom line, the real, the truth we get when we strip ourselves down to our bones (Capricorn).

This Venus will be asking us how we are using our time, how well we are maintaining our containers and whether they are worthy of our efforts (do we get a return on our investment). And nothing but straight and honest answers will satisfy her. Her love is tough but it’s a toughness that is deeply pleasurable. And it’s toughness that builds our core and our spine. It is also a catalyst for truth.

If 2021 was a year that truth was a mockery, 2022 will the year we will rediscover truth. During Jupiter’s stay in Pisces we might think we found The Truth (watch our for such delusions!) but Taurus and Scorpio will be only promising us our own (very relative and subjective) truth. But that will be more than enough. In fact, all we really need.