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STARS NEW YEAR 2023-24

script of a talk by Fatima Godinho on the 21th of January 2024

MIDNIGHTS NEW YEAR´S PICTURE

basis of the Holy Nights: the difference between the lunar year and the solar year. The lunar year is 12 x 29.5 days = 354 days, 354 + 12 = 366 days  

THE MOVEMENTS OF THE PLANETS DURING THE HOLY NIGHTS

You might remember that last year Jupiter and Mars dominated the night sky, and we had the unusual view during the Holy Nights that all the planets were above the horizon [and all within one half of the sky] and then setting one after the other. The Moon was just New on the 23rd and during the Holy Nights, moving around 12 zodiacal degrees each night, passed each of the other planets and it reached Full Moon right at the end, 6th Jan, Epiphany Day!

This year is different. The planets are still all within one half of the sky [except the Moon], and that is because the slow moving planets are still in this half, and in our time the Sun at this time of the year is always down here, in the constellation of the Archer, with Mercury and Venus relatively near, but Mars has joined them this year. Mars was conjunct the Sun in the middle of November, and it was actually lost in the sun’s glare for all the second half of last year! The Moon started the Holy Nights almost Full [27th, 2 days after Christmas] and had last quarter on the 4th. It moved from Bull to Libra. 

Bright Jupiter dominates the evening sky and at midnight was still above the horizon, and so was Uranus, although not visible with the unaided eye. Neptune, Saturn, and Pluto were already below the horizon. 

At midnight of New Year’s Eve, we had the beautiful picture of the waning Moon rising in the East, in Leo, and bright Jupiter low in the West in Aries. With the Sun in the Archer, they made a beautiful fire triangle, which can be seen as a gift and blessing of the spiritual forces of warmth.   

Let us look closer at what happens down here, near the midnight Sun: Mars and Mercury are close to each other, near the beginning of the Archer and both making an angle of 90 degrees, called a square [challenging aspect] to Neptune [cusp between Aquarius and Pisces]. Venus is a bit behind, in the first degrees of Scorpio and making a trine [120 degrees, a harmonious aspect] also to Neptune, as well as an angle of 60 degrees to Pluto in the beginning of Capricorn [sextile, harmonious] and 90 degrees to Saturn in the beginning of Aquarius. 

These 3 planets, Venus, Mercury, and Mars, are the central players in this picture [and, together with the Sun and the Moon, they are the only ones that moved during the Holy Nights]. And they are very close to the most intense and challenging area of the zodiac: between the sting of the Scorpio and the point of the arrow in Sagittarius! [modern astronomy has discovered that a 13th constellation, Ophiucus, Serpent Bearer, related to Asclepius, God of medicine, also intersects the zodiac in this area…]

Why is this the most intense area of the zodiac?

The Archer is the constellation where we struggle to overcome our animality and discover what it means to be fully human! [image of centaur, half animal/half human]. Sagittarius is a constellation of the Will, movement, our muscles and how we project our will into the world, from an arrow, used by the first hunters, to a rocket in space nowadays. The virtue that Steiner gave for this constellation is: Control of Speech becomes feeling for Truth. This issue of speech and truth has been taken to a new height/depth nowadays with the development of AI, especially this latest ChatGPT version, which can compose texts that look very convincing, but they are artificial, not made by any human being and quite often inaccurate, with no relation to truth whatsoever!

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE TRULY HUMAN, nothing less is at stake in our time, with such challenges facing us now as ChatGPT and transhumanism, the fusion of man and machines. How can we overcome both animality and machine-like tendencies?  WHERE IS HUMANITY AIMING THE ARCHER’S ARROW NOW? The arrow of the Archer is also pointing to the centre of our galaxy, where modern astronomy says there is a massive black hole and Astro Sophy says there is the Central Sun…

In the sting of Scorpio, we have the deepest descent into matter and the encounter with Death and Evil and through that encounter we are pushed, so to speak, against the wall and learn how to be more authentic and distinguish the essential from the non-essential. And that is very much the role of Pluto, the ruler of Scorpio. Pluto usually has quite a bad press [mention J Hilton] but in its positive aspect it is very much the planet of authenticity and overcoming superficiality. We’ll come back to Pluto later…

Let’s look at this beautiful dance between Mars and Mercury here. Mars as the planet of the Will, where we are not masters yet and where all sorts of unconscious tendencies live. It is traditionally the planet of War, but in its higher aspect it is actually the planet of the Word [“…grasp the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God which you utter…” St Paul to the Ephesians] Mars is related to the development of the astral body in the human being during Ancient Moon, that went through the Fall in Lemuria. So, both the higher aspect as well as the lower aspect of the Word. Steiner said that Mars is the Great Talker in our solar system and Venus the Great Listener…

So, we see that Mars spent the Holy Nights exactly in this area of intense challenges, between the sting of Scorpio and the point of the Archer’s arrow. And then we see that Mercury, the Great Healer, who was initially ahead of Mars, went back so to speak to join Mars, and then moved extraordinarily little, always around Mars during the Holy Nights. Mercury, the messenger of the Gods/Raphael, the Healer, master of the caduceus, the companion of the human being in the process of transformation out of crisis [Tobias and the Angel by Verrocchio].

And both Mars and Mercury are in square to Neptune, a planet that makes thin the veil between the physical and the spiritual worlds. So there seems to be a call here to learn how to navigate both the heights and the depths, to find our relationship to the spiritual world, learn how to perceive the human being in its spiritual reality, but without forgetting the needs of the Earth and being grounded in our capacities for sound thinking. [like Steiner constantly reminds us in “Knowledge of Higher Worlds”.]

Let’s look at Venus now. It has been a morning star for a while, so it was the first planet to rise on Christmas day, just before the sun! Again, a beautiful picture, the forces of Venus, the planet of love and of the new Christian mysteries, opening our hearts and giving us hope for the new year, in spite of all the trials that face us, and they are not few! And Venus during these Holy Nights has been making harmonious aspects to both Pluto [sextile, 60 degrees] and Neptune [trine, 120 degrees].  

Jupiter is high in the night sky, in Aries, saying in the 12 Moods: “In face of resistance, gain!” and getting close to Uranus, it will reach Uranus on 18th April. [a lot will happen in April, as we shall see later] Uranus is the planet that facilitates wakefulness and can help us to break free from outmoded ways of thinking and behaving that hinder our progress. 

Saturn is moving through the first half of Aquarius, the Waterman, the constellation of the Angel Human, carrying the memory of our cosmic past and illuminating our path towards fulfilment of our highest potential as human beings in the future.

2. PLANETS AT EASTER

When we look at the unfolding of the year, we  see that yesterday [20.1] the Sun reached Pluto. Mercury passes Pluto on 5.2 , then on 14.2 Mars reaches Pluto, 17.2 Venus reaches Pluto. These dates  can be seen as challenges, when our soul forces will be particularly challenged by Pluto to develop more authenticity. Then between 21.2 and 24.2, for four days Venus joins Mars. One day later, on the 29.2, the Sun conjuncts Saturn in Aquarius! On 9.3 Mercury passes Neptune. On 18.3 the Sun reaches Neptune, on 19.3 Mercury passes the Moon Node and on 22.3 Venus reaches Saturn. 

Easter Sunday is on the 31 March and then in April there is a very intense planetary activity!

On the thirth of April Venus passes Neptune, 2 days later the Sun passes the Moon Node in Pisces. Then on the eighth we will have the GREAT AMERICAN TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE [more about that later]. Then on the 11th Mars will reach Saturn, on the 18th Venus will reach the Moon Node and on the same day Jupiter will conjunct Uranus [26 Ram] which only happens every 14 years, so it will be significant. On the 26th Mercury passes the Moon Node again and on 29th Mars will reach Neptune! 

The planetary dance continues: on 14th May the Sun reaches Uranus [28 Aries] and on 19th the Sun reaches Jupiter [by now at 3 of the Bull] and on the same day Venus reaches Uranus. On the 20th Mars will pass the Moon Node and on 23rd Venus reaches Jupiter.

On 16th July Mars will meet Uranus and on the 14th of August it will meet Jupiter.

By then the faster moving planets will have passed the slower ones and will move into the “empty”, Summer half of the zodiac. 

The most important of all these are the 8.4 eclipse and the 18.4 conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus, which only happens every 14 years. It brings great potential for spiritual awakening but it can also be destabilizing due to the abrupt influence of Uranus. It will be active between 3.4 and 7.5. 

3. GREAT AMERICAN TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE 8th April

On the 21st August 2017 there was a Great American Total Solar Eclipse, so called because it was the first total solar eclipse whose path of totality went all the way across the US, from coast to coast, since 1918 [roughly 100 years…] It started in the Pacific coast, in the NW, in Oregon, and ended in the SE, in S. Carolina, in the Atlantic coast. 

In 2024, seven years after, on the 8th April, we will have a second Great American Total Solar eclipse, also from coast to coast, starting in the Pacific coast in Mexico, then through Texas all the way up to Maine in the NE and finishing in the Atlantic coast in Canada. The path of this one will make a St. Andrew’s cross with the first one in Illinois. In the city of Carbondale, apparently the hotels are already all booked by the eclipse chasers! Sun and Moon will meet at 22 d Pisces. [same location as the Star of Bethlehem.

Why is this important? R. Steiner says about solar eclipses: “…at such a moment all the unbridled impulses [Mars?] and instincts of humanity surge out into the cosmos…under normal conditions the evil impulses of will which are sent out into the cosmos by human beings are, as it were, burned up and consumed by the rays of the sun, so that they can injure only the human being himself, but can do no universal harm. When, however, there is an eclipse of the sun, opportunity is given for the evil which is willed on earth to spread over the cosmos.” He calls it a “safety valve” which “serves the purpose of carrying out into space in a luciferic way the evil that spreads over the earth…” [lect. 25.6.1922, Dornach, Human Questions and Cosmic Answers] 

These two eclipses are 7 years apart and when we look closer we realize that right at the midpoint between them, 3.5 years, the Great Conjunction of December 2020 between Jupiter and Saturn took place! The first eclipse occurred roughly nine months after the 2016 presidential election in the US [8th Nov] when Trump was elected. The next one will be roughly 7 months before the 2024 presidential election, where it seems now that Trump will most likely be able to run again and, god forbid but who knows, might even win again… Most likely to be a moment of special attack by the adversarial forces and a day to be particularly vigilant.

4. THE GREAT CONJUNCTION OF 2020 – WHERE ARE WE NOW?

The Great Conjunction of 2020 happened at the midpoint of these two eclipses and it happened also at the location in the zodiac where Pluto is now. [around 5 d Capricorn]

Some of you might have read the articles where J. Hilton calls our attention to the role that Pluto has been playing in current star and world events.

We are now in the beginning of the 4th year of the current Jupiter/Saturn cycle. Jupiter is now 60 degrees beyond Saturn, in Aries, the Lamb of God. [Devotion becomes the power of Sacrifice] Capacity for devotion and the transformation of ideas into ideals. Saturn is in Aquarius, the constellation of the universally human which can helps us in our current search for the truly human. And Mars is right between the sting of Scorpio and the point of the arrow of the Archer.

Let’s go back to 2020, the year of the Great Conjunction. In the beginning of the year [12.1] first Saturn met Pluto, then during the year Jupiter met Pluto 3xs [due to retrograde movement], in April, June and November. Then on 21st Dec, solstice day, Jupiter finally reached Saturn, for their Great Conjunction at 5 d Capricorn –  a constellation of awakening through catharsis, purification, after the great trials of the encounter with Evil and Death in Scorpio and the struggle to become fully human in the Archer. Courage becomes the power to redeem [virtue of Capricorn] And now Pluto has reached the place of the Great Conjunction. So Pluto has a lot to do with this Great Conjunction, and so does Mars! 

You might recall that these Great Conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn occur every 20 years, and every group of 3 forms an equilateral triangle, called the Golden Triangle. And this triangle rotates through the zodiac, and it takes 2500 years to come back to the same position. W Sucher has researched the lineage, so to speak, of each of these 3 corners of the triangle back in time to the life of Christ [and beyond]. He associates the particular corner of the triangle that relates to the 2020 conjunction to the star of the Magi and the birth of the Solomon/Zarathustra Jesus, as described in the Matthew Gospel. So we have the theme of a great annunciation, of the birth of a new impulse for humanity [ex 1901, the year of the beginning of R Steiner’s public teaching, is also part of the lineage of this corner of the triangle!]  We can ask: which new birth was announced to humanity in 2020? It seems to be related to a process of catharsis and purification and taking responsibility for what we are doing to the Earth and to each other.

Mars and Pluto enter here as great players. The lineage of this corner of the triangle includes also the 482 BC conjunction, which was the death date of Buddha, and 1603, which was the date that R Steiner gave for the beginning of the Buddha’s task in the redemption of the sphere of Mars! Mars is quite active, as we have seen, in this year’s configurations. Can humanity take responsibility for the urgent healing of the Mars sphere? Can we learn to use the “sword” of the Word in such a way that it affirms the Other instead of denigrating the other, which leads usually to the physical “sword” of war being used?

Is there an objective truth? In KHW R Steiner says there is. But the human being is a complex being, of body, soul and spirit. In our body, we all have our own experiences. The same in our soul, we all have our own soul experiences, and they are all equally valid and have their place in the unfolding of our destiny. In the sphere of the spirit, we strive for freedom. Each one of us is a spiritual being with a unique individuality and the capacity to approach the understanding of the divine Truth, but this truth is manifold and we only understand each time one small aspect of it [12 points of view]. How can we help the being of the Buddha in his work of redemption of the Mars sphere? Can we learn to speak  in such a way that, instead of trying to convince the other of “our” truth,  we acknowledge the experience of the other so that together we can arrive at a wider understanding of the truth of whatever it is we are trying to understand…?

And Pluto is also there now, at the place of the Great Conjunction of 2020, urging us, with Pluto’s urgent intensity, pushing us against the wall to lead us further into the awakening of our true humanity.

Still a short word about comets in 2024. R Steiner said many interesting things about comets, in different places from different points of view, as he usually does, to keep our thinking mobile… 

Exs: “Just as the movements of the planets circling the sun correspond to the regular events in the evolution of humanity, so the appearance of a comet corresponds to an influence that runs counter to the regular events. Rosicrucian research has demonstrated that every comet exerts a particular influence on human evolution. The present comet [Halley’s] has as its particular influence an intense impulse towards materialism. Every time Halley’s comet has appeared a new impulse towards materialism has taken place” [GA 118 – The Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric]

“ On the other hand, all that happens less regularly – which certainly can be calculated but still happens less regularly – for example comets and meteors, all these phenomena are connected with what is free will in man, with what gives rise to free will in man. Mars is that body in the cosmos which enables us to use in the proper way that iron which the meteors and comets bring to us in an irregular manner. It is actually the force of Mars, together with that of the comets and meteors, which enables us to speak. Thus free will in man is produced by the Mars force and comet force. This, however, must work properly with the Mercury force within him.” [GA 351 -Cosmic workings in earth and man]

And in lectures to the priests he says: “The Apocalyptiker looks at the phenomena and he sees that favourable spiritual effects arise from one comet and unfavourable ones from another. A beast, or a comet in a cosmic sense, frees itself from its imprisonment in the earth.”

“The different comets have their different tasks, and when a comet has served its purpose it splinters” [Reappearance of Christ in the Etheric] 

“Just as we eat and thus develop energy, so the sun eats comets, so to speak, and thus develops warmth.” [From crystals to crocodiles, GA 347] 

This year, at the same time as all the planetary activity in April, we will have comet Pons-Brooks which should reach naked eye visibility then, although that’s not guaranteed, as comets are very unpredictable. Then in October/Nov [close to the time of the american elections] another comet, Tsuchinshan – Atlas should also be visible with the unaided eye.

“The Heart is the key to the World and to life.
We live in our present helpless condition
In order to love one another
And be obliged to love one another.
Through imperfection we become open
To the influence of others.
And this influence from outside is the aim
That in our frailties
Others can and may help us.
From this point of view
Christ is surely
The key to the world”.
                                       Novalis

Sources

J. Hilton – astrosophy.com

A.Thewless – Holy Nights Journal 2023-24

Star Wisdom vol. 6, Lindisfarne Books

Philip’s Stargazing 2024

Rudolf Steiner – Astronomy and Astrology – Rud. Steiner Press, 2009

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