New Year, New Riddle by Henry L Johnson

New Year, New Riddle by Henry L Johnson

One of my favorite card games is Three Card Monte, a seemingly simple card game involving three cards— the Jack of Spades, the Jack of Clubs, and the Queen of Diamonds. The dealer shuffles the cards on a table using sleight of hand to move the Queen around and to misdirect the player into choosing the wrong card. It is a confidence game which became widely played around the 15th century. It is a dealer’s game, not a player’s game, where the man shuffling and dealing the cards stands to win more than the average player. It takes skill, strategy, and a careful eye to win big at Three Card Monte. That same energy will be what we need in 2023.

2023 will start on a Sunday, the 7th day of the week, which is ruled over by the Sun. The numerology (2+2+3) makes this a number- 7 year which, ruled by the Chariot Tarot card, as well as the south node of the Moon known as Ketu in Vedic Astrology. Ketu is one half of the nodal dragon, the body without a head, Rahu’s counterpart. Ketu is the planetary entity associated with the mysterious, the occult, as well as physically energetic activities: aggression, bravery, anger, and warfare. Ketu rules the past/brings up the energies from the past to the surface of the earth.

2023 is going to be a popular year for detectives (a headless body is going to rule the year? Who else shows up when a headless body appears?). The triumphant return of Benoit Blanc just days before the New Year (it’s own shadow period, really) and Sherlock Holmes entering into the Public Domain on January 1st are our first clues as to what themes we will experience in the next year. Enigmas, mysteries, games of chance, gambling— these things are essential to understanding the themes that 2023 will bring.

Most every Astrologer agrees that the Astrological/Solar New Year occurs in the Springtime, sometime in April. There are different practices and perspectives that move the date around, but for the northern hemisphere we are all in agreement that the year’s newness has something to do with the cold ending, the return of green to trees and plants, and the return of the sun’s heat to the land after month’s of chill and Saturn’s long influence. Pisces, Jupiter’s domain, brings us out of the winter into the spring time, just as he brought us out of autumn into Winter. Jupiter bolsters both ends of Saturn’s influence in the wheel of the year

New Year’s Eve is a holiday which celebrates the end and beginning of the Gregorian calendar, and plants us strongly within Jupiter’s solar purview. Every year when the clock strikes 12:00 on New Year’s Eve the ball drops, the champagne glasses clink, kisses are had, and Auld Lang Syne plays. It is one of the most intense global rituals that we all share— our celebration of the bounds of a Roman calendar, and our sentimental love for the time that we have on this earth is underscored. We celebrate with the colors Silver and Gold, calling down the powers of the luminaries, the Moon and Sun, into our terrestrial realm. We enter this Gregorian New Year just after the season of Saturnalia. In the past (that past which we will see surfacing this year) the holiday was celebrated in many ways, one of which was gambling. Gambling is one of the best activities to do if one’s mind is set on remediating Saturn. Saturn gives, and Saturn takes, and it is an act of bravery to chance what was hard won on a shot at being smiled on by the Gods in a game where no one knows the final outcome during the on set.

The Moon will be in the first Nakshatra of Aries, Ashwini. Ashwini is ruled by the Ashivnau, the Twin healers who possess divine horses. The Ashivnau show up in many early religious traditions, uniting the horse with divine healing, as well as racing and charioting. Last year when the clock struck midnight the Moon was in Jyestha, the last Nakshatra within Scorpio. At the start of both years the Moon has had a close association with the nodes and Mars, and she has been situated well within a Martian sign two years in a row. This year, though, the influence of the the Ashvinau will change the disposition of the year. Aries brings renewal, as it is the sign which ushers back in the Springtime.

On NYE the ascendent is always in Virgo, in the Nakshatra Hasta, while the descending point is in Pisces in Uttara Bhadrapada. These two points tell us what we need to know about the global mass ritual observed at midnight on the 31st, year: that an effective start to the New Year is about making a physical effort (the hands, which symbolize Hasta) and accepting that life is full of opposing forces which work on us (the twin water dragons which symbolize Uttara Bhadrapa). That a full life is something which is built by hand, but it is also a place where the realms of the unreal must be acknowledged and worked with, and that fate always throws her own dice into the mix.

A lot of people are making their New Year’s resolutions right now, and a lot of people are going to immediately perceive that they failed in matching those goals because the vibrations of the New Year often throw us off. There are statistics which claim that New Year’s resolutions only last for two weeks and we are left blaming ourselves rather than look at the reasons why this happens.

So how should we make goals? Rather than making a goal which is vulnerable to Saturn’s whims and discipline, perhaps the better move is to integrate Saturn’s plan for us as we move forward.

Saturn will be moving into Aquarius and out of Capricorn, finally, not to return for another some 28.5 years. The last degrees of Capricorn are going to carry us through the coldest, deepest part of the winter time. This is your last opportunity to evaluate the natal house where Capricorn falls, as well as how this has affected the condition of your natal Saturn.

The Sun transits into Capricorn on January 14th every year, exactly two weeks after the New Year. The Sun will remain under Saturn’s influence in Capricorn and Aquarius until March 15th, when it will transit into Jupiter ruled Pisces. Mars is still currently moving retrograde through Taurus and won’t be in an easy position for quite a while. He will still have to struggle back through Gemini and Cancer before he emerges victorious in Leo on June 30th, 2023. As well as Mars being retrograde Mercury is also moving in that same fashion— the same one that Rahu and Ketu eternally follow— separating from his conjunction with Venus in the earliest degrees of Capricorn, moving back towards Jupiter’s domain in Sagittarius. The Sun and Mercury will continue moving forward across the chart, separating for three weeks, until Mercury returns to a direct path on January 18th.

The transit I am most invested in is Saturn entering Aquarius on January 17th at 6:32 a.m.; Saturn’s return to Aquarius will kick off a Grand Trine involving itself, Jupiter, and Rahu— the planet of limitations, the planet expansion, and the bodiless theoretical planet which rules grandeur shall line up in Aquarius, Jupiter, and Aries respectively. This is finally the shake up we have been collectively waiting for. This Grand Trine conjunction has been called “The Spark” which will light the fires of future events that will unfold across time. This period will be especially beneficent to Cancer ascendents and Libra placements that have been under the influence of Ketu.

The stagnation that has been reigning for the last few years has been palpable. Despite massive global upheaval there isn’t a sense of revolutionary action or change in the air. There has been a repetitious feeling that has grown into a kind of mimetic dread over the last few years, mostly as a consequence of Saturn’s period within Capricorn. This Grand Trine is good news, but it won’t necessarily be an easy period. The road ahead is still long, and Saturn’s residence in Aquarius is going to bring it’s own set of challenges. Keep your eyes open.

In Three Card Monte you have to keep your eyes on the dealer’s hands: a close watch. The Jacks which bolster the Queen of Diamonds are like the Sphinx which pull The Chariot— and the game— forward. If you’ve failed to pick properly you must answer to one of them and leave your money on the table. The game is truly won when you learn the ticks and habits of the dealer, and no longer have to guess which card is which, when you’ve learned to actually finesse the enigma before your eyes.

As you move into the New Year I welcome you to wait to set your goals until after January 18th, but don’t expect to be committed to them until well after the Ides of March. Instead, perhaps, commit to making the most of Saturn’s Solar reign. Expect the past to come bubbling up— not necessarily as a literal visitor, but in waves of sensations of the times which have come and gone from your life, new perspectives about your experiences, the closing of old doors. Be a watcher for a while, wait to make your big moves. The universe will be shuffling the deck until early Springtime. Keep your eyes open when the dealing begins.