New Year's Horoscope for 2011

(January 1, 2011)  With the coming of a new year brings another astrological opportunity to foretell the future.  I don't claim to make a comprehensive set of 2011 predictions here; that is beyond the scope of this short article. Instead, I offer an analysis of the New Year's Chart and assess its patterns for any clues for the upcoming year. I have found this chart to a useful tool in forecasting, even if it is often fairly general and impressionistic. But what it lacks in comprehensiveness, it more than makes up for in simplicity. It's all there in one convenient chart. Astrological purists may protest that this chart has no astronomical correspondence (e.g. eclipses, lunations, etc) and it also has no specifically Vedic credentials. True enough, but there is an enormous symbolic significance to the stroke of midnight on December 31/January 1 every year, and one that increasingly involves the whole of humanity. If there is any connection between the cosmos and consciousness, it should manifest in charts such as these that bind the calendar to the human spirit.

The New Year's chart for 2010 had a tight Saturn-Pluto square aspect across the 1st and 4th houses. At the time, I thought this might pertain more to a reorganizing of social institutions and social structures, especially as it pertained to the economy. While there was some changes in the Eurozone and the EU as the debt crisis claimed some early casualties and spawned the introduction of a bailout fund, most of this aspect appeared to manifest more physically in the form of the unusually large number of natural disasters in 2010. The 4th house represents land in general and its affliction here by Pluto and Saturn suggested destruction and damage. The Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010 killed over 200,000 people. This occurred when the Saturn-Pluto square was triggered by retrograde Mercury when it conjoined Pluto. The US gulf oil spill in May was another major natural disaster that also reflected this tense Saturn-Pluto energy.

In the 2010 write-up I noted the close Mercury-Rahu conjunction that occurred in close aspect with Mars. At the time, I thought this might manifest as technology "that goes awry" in some way, and causes some kind of conflict. I noted how this might be more revelations like the Climategate email scandal at the end of 2009. In retrospect, I think the WikiLeaks story in late 2010 encapsulates these planetary influences quite well. Julian Assange's efforts to release leaked diplomatic cables online (Mercury) caused an enormous amount of embarrassment (Rahu) and conflict (Mars) and revealed how vulnerable large organizations have become in the wired world. The possibility of breaches of security and secrecy is very much in the spirit of Mercury and Rahu since Mercury is concerned with communication and technology and Rahu seeks to upset the existing order of things.

With the Moon conjoining malefic Ketu in the 10th house, government was the object of significant opposition and change in 2010. In last year's article, I suggested that this would mean significant change in leadership and policies. While there were some major changes in the US and UK, I'm not quite sure this Ketu influence bore fruit as I thought it might. In the US, the Republicans took control of Congress and forced Obama's Democrats on their heels late in the year. In the UK, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats swept the ruling Labour Party out of power and began a strict austerity program to deal with a difficult fiscal situation. Meanwhile, many European governments had to cope with the internal contradictions of the EU and the prospect of bailing out its weaker economies in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal.

And the economic recovery continued to sputter along in Western countries as the various government stimulus plans have so far prevented the dreaded double dip recession. This was largely in keeping with the optimism of the Jupiter-Neptune conjunction in last year's chart as well as the close proximity of Venus to the Sun. Since both of these combinations are positive, there appeared to be enough good planets to preclude anything too serious on the economic front. And in many countries, especially in Asia, the economy bounced back strongly, albeit with a disturbingly high amount of inflation. That is perhaps a reflection of Neptune's idealism with the irrepressible optimism of Jupiter -- too much of a good thing?

January 1, 2011 00.00 EST Washington, DC

Outlook for 2011

The New Year's chart for 2011 looks less obviously dramatic than last year's, although there are definitely some powerful aspects. Saturn is still in sidereal Virgo in the 1st house and therefore may extend the general state of caution, if not malaise, for much of the year. This is likely to reflect continued uncertainty in the economy and the sense that we are 'just muddling through'. The economy as a whole looks mixed at best. On the plus side, Venus rules the 2nd house of wealth and assets and it is well placed in its own sign of Libra and receives an aspect from benefic Jupiter. That may well prevent any worse case type economic scenarios from taking place.

But the other money house, the 11th house symbolizing income, tells another story. The 11th house contains the sign of Cancer and is ruled by the Moon. The Moon is debilitated in Scorpio in this chart and what's worse it is in an exact quincunx aspect with Ketu and an exact semisquare aspect with Saturn. While neither are considered full strength Vedic aspects, the lack of orb in both of them is reason enough to expect some economic problems in 2011 that could generate major changes (Ketu) and losses (Saturn). The Moon is also significator for the public in general so this will tend to reflect a sense of dislocation and reserve. More positively, the Moon is also aspected by Jupiter in this chart, so that may again mitigate some of the damage wrought by both Saturn and Ketu.

In terms of natural phenomena, the 4th house is afflicted by the conjunction of Pluto, Rahu and Mars. This suggests that we may again see a higher than normal number of earthquakes and volcanoes in 2011, although perhaps not as many as we saw in 2010. Mars (violence) is squared by Saturn (destruction) here so there will likely be considerable loss of life as a result of these events. The October-November time frame may be most noteworthy in this respect due to the Sun-Saturn conjunction and Mars-Rahu aspect.

The situation of Mercury is interesting in this chart because it receives the fulls strength 3rd house aspect from Saturn and is also in a partial aspect with Mars. That is a very afflicted condition and suggests that communication, technology, and transportation will be areas of suffering and disappointment in the year ahead. We can therefore expect more WikiLeaks-type intrigues or perhaps computer hacking that causes internet shutdowns or even some incidents of cyberwarefare. All are very possible outcomes with Mercury, Mars and Saturn in alignment. April may stand out in some way in this regard as Mercury will retrograde opposition Saturn at that time.

And as in 2010, Ketu stays in the 10th house in the 2011 New Year's chart. Ketu is a force for change and discontinuity, so there may be increased pressure on government and leadership for 2011. With the 10th lord Mercury also afflicted by Saturn, there is a good case to be made for more significant changes in government and their policies around the world. This is not an election year in the US, but it still may signify some new approaches to problems, perhaps involving the economy.

On a more positive note, Jupiter is in close aspect with Uranus in Pisces in the 7th house. This conjunction will likely bring forth major technological innovations that will make a significant contribution to the world. These innovations may be disproportionately associated with liquids (Pisces) and social interaction, especially between nations (7th house). The fact that this conjunction occurs in the 7th house may also see new or strengthened international alliances that prove to be successful in their efforts. So the overall picture is very mixed for 2011. The strength of Venus and the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction would appear to provide continuing positive energy to provide hope and optimism for the future. And yet the difficult position of the Moon and Mercury is more worrisome and suggests that there will be major challenges in the economy, communication and transportation.


New Year's Chart 2010

(Posted January 1, 2010)  With the start of 2010, here are a few general ideas about what the New Year may bring.   For New Year predictions, I like to refer to the New Year's horoscope, that is, the position of the planets at the stroke of midnight on January 1.  This is a simple, easy way to get a snapshot on some emerging themes for the year ahead.  It will not provide any specifics, but it is a fairly efficient way to get a general overview on the coming twelve months.  Some might object to the use of a chart that doesn't reflect any particular astronomical reality in a way that eclipse or conjunction charts might, but the New Year's chart does nevertheless provide interesting insights into the year ahead.  For example, the New Year chart for 2008 (See bottom below) showed that trouble was brewing with the close opposition aspect between Mars and Pluto (conflict, power struggles) with Jupiter (wealth, wisdom) also in close proximity.  While this combination did not explicitly say "financial crisis", the presence of Jupiter signifying wealth suggested that some disruption of the financial system was possible.  Certainly, those planets inclined towards a fairly pessimistic outlook for 2008, especially when considered alongside Saturn in the 12th house of loss in aspect with the Sun.  The Mars-Rahu aspect may have suggested a significant new development in leadership as we witnessed in Barack Obama's election given Mars' 10th house occupancy ( the house of government) and Rahu's penchant for breaks with the status quo. By contrast, the 2009 New Year (see middle below) chart seemed much more positive on the Mercury-Jupiter conjunction ("good news") and the happy conjunction of the Moon with Venus.  This is pretty much what one would expect to see for a chart that suggested a year of economic recovery and hopefulness that was embodied in the first year of the Obama administration.

January 1, 2010 00.00 EST Washington, DC

This year's chart looks more negative, however, as Saturn, the planet of constraint and responsibility, rises in sidereal Virgo.  While Saturn has a good side that suggests "doing what is necessary", it is in a close square aspect with Pluto, the planet of large organizations and social structures.  This would tend to bring out its more troublesome side so that efforts to re-structure and transform the economy will be accompanied by significant measures of awkwardness and hardship.  The close proximity of Venus to Pluto and the aspect of Saturn is not helpful and increases the chances for continued restrictions and limits in economic life. This combination of planets can symbolize asceticism and renunciation so there is a chance that the economy will actually worsen through the year as people will have to make do with less.  The positive side to this pattern is that simpler pleasures and self-discipline will be more fully appreciated as consumer society undergoes significant renovation.  The worst effects of this combination will likely be muted because Venus is closer to the Sun than it is to Pluto, a possible sign that a base level of social harmony will be maintained regardless of what happens. 

January 1, 2009 00.00 EST Washington, DC


Another potential trouble spot is the close Mercury-Rahu conjunction that occurs in close minor aspect with retrograde Mars.  Rahu's effect on Mercury can be energizing in terms of awakening the intellect to unusual and unconventional solutions and this could well be reflected in further technological advances.  Predicting more breakthroughs in technology is not much of a prediction these days, but the problem here is that Mercury is retrograde so there may be something that goes awry here, as if the products of the human mind are not moving forward but are focused on questions that were previously considered resolved.  Perhaps we will see more controversy on climate change, as the hitherto firm consensus is weakened by the fallout from the "Climategate" e-mails.  That is but one possibility of course, as this Mercury-Rahu conjunction could manifest in any number of ways.  The close Mars 6th house aspect is not a full strength aspect according to Vedic astrology, but it may still manifest.  Mars is the planet of conflict so it's not unreasonable to expect some significant conflict to emerge regarding prevailing ideas or programs (Mercury).  Climate change is one possible area of conflict, but so is the economy as the various government stimulus packages are due to be unwound as the economy recovers.  Just how governments will guide the next phase of the economic recovery is something of an open question as they will have to walk a fine line between removing stimulus too quickly which could create another recession or maintaining the stimulus too long and sparking a round of inflation.

January 1, 2008 00.00 EST Washington, DC


The Moon is conjunct Ketu (South Lunar Node) in the 10th house of government in sidereal Gemini.   This combination suggests that spiritual or unusual cerebral experiences will gain the limelight this year.  The fact that this occurs in the 10th house may indicate that religious ideas will find increased resonance in governments around the world.  More generally, political leaders will undergo sudden and unexpected changes as Ketu's influence on the Moon can make for suprises and fast-changing circumstances.  The Ketu influence here means that leaders and governments are more likely to be different or even revolutionary in some way as there may be a sense that conditions demand unorthodox or radical approaches.

On a more positive note, Jupiter is conjunct Neptune in this chart and that points to the continued relevance of hope.  Jupiter's expansion and Neptune's idealism make a potent pairing in the sky so no matter what happens in 2010, there will be continued reservoir of hope and optimism about the future.  This influence should prevent some kind of worse case scenario from unfolding in the economy, although it may not be enough to forestall a "double dip" recession.  Both Jupiter and Neptune are also associated with the higher realm of human experience, so there may be greater interest in metaphysical and religious matters.  Given the supernatural aspects of the Moon-Ketu conjunction, it seems likely that religion and spirituality is likely to have a higher profile this year.

Overall, the best thing one can say about this chart is that it is "mixed", although I think that is being generous.  2010 looks like it will be more difficult than 2009 was in many respects, including perhaps the economy.  At the same time, there are enough positive planetary influences there to spur humanity on through the darker periods as challenges will be met with equal portions of resourcefulness, ingenuity, inspired leadership and faith.


N.B. Given America's continuing dominance in the world -- for now, at least --  I locate the chart for Washington, DC, although one could recast the chart for one's home country for a more specific local reading.  It should be noted, however, that the New Year's horoscope doesn't change much no matter it is located.  Invariably it will have sidereal Virgo rising, such as in Sydney, Australia where the first degree of Virgo rises to Washington where 14th degree of Virgo rises. The Moon also changes its position a few degrees depending on where the chart is cast, although this variation is fairly small.  The rest of the planets do not shift appreciably.