January and the New Year always invoke feelings of the need to make new starts and promises; to do better, to strive harder or to 'turn over a new leaf'. Even though time is a man-made construct, we certainly respond to the changes and shifts in gears that the New Year brings.
January is named after the god Janus, the god of doorways and gateways, and also of new beginnings. The Romans believed worshiping Janus ensured smooth endings. His temple in the Forum had doors facing east and west for the beginning and the end of the day, and between them stood his statue with his two faces looking in opposite directions. In Roman art he is portrayed as a porter, with a staff and key in his hands and with two bearded faces placed back to back.
In early Italian mythology, Janus was connected with the Sun as god of light, opening the heavens in the morning and closing them at the end of the day. When people greeted one another at the beginning of the year, they were to speak only words of good omen and give gifts of sweetmeats.
Janus rules doorways and the gift is to be able to look back and assess and revision the past. However, one cannot afford to look back for too long. To continue a backwards gaze without seeing into the future can leave us in a state of stasis - not moving. This can prove to end up being a retrograde step, particularly at this portal into the new energy of the year. 2009 is an 11 year (2+0+0+9) - a year of partnership, sensitivity to feelings and a heightened sense of spiritual purpose. An ascension year is promised particularly to those who look onwards and upwards.
The New Year has long been regarded as a critical time, a time when unseen powers are at large and the dead return to their old haunts. Hence the change from the old to the new year was heralded by loud noise, the ringing of bells, beating drums, cracking whips, rattling bamboo canes, letting off fireworks and sounding horns - all of which help to banish not only the forces of darkness, but also the old year and its evils. The forces of chaos must be defeated by the creative powers.
New Year's day was not always celebrated on the 1st January, however. In the Middle Ages most European countries used the Julian calendar and observed it on March 25. It was called Annunciation Day and celebrated as the day on which the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. Gabriel is said to be the angel of astrologers. The Sabian Symbol for the Sun on March 25 is Aries 5: A White Triangle is Seen; It Has Golden Wings.
Anything that was done or happened on New Year's day, or on its eve, was said to have assumed a fateful meaning, laying the seeds for the rest of the year. It was widely believed that one should ensure that their larders and their stomachs were full, promising a continuance of plentiful supply. Equally, one should have plenty of money in their pockets. The gifts that were given at this time had a special significance; the gift of branches from sacred trees were believed to bring God's blessings into the home. The Druids used to give Mistletoe, a plant sacred to them as a source of fertility which would ensure lots of children and cattle and a large crop.
The Sabian Symbol for the Sun on New Year's day is Capricorn 11: Pheasants Display Their Brilliant Colors on a Private Estate. This degree dovetails beautifully (excuse the unintended pun) with not only the idea of being nourished, clothed and sheltered but living in fine, privileged, and often, lucky circumstances. The Keywords and The Cautions from my book 360 Degrees of Wisdom: Charting Your Destiny With the Sabian Oracle:
Keywords: Glorious houses and estates. Lawns and gardens. Statues and birdbaths. Peacocks, pheasants, swans, etc. Enjoying the riches the environment offers. Large plots of land. Nature reserves. Game birds. Aristocracy and the ruling elite. Beauty, elegance and grace. Fabulous displays of color. Parks.
The Caution: Foolish disregard of pending danger. Feeling that one has to be "on parade" or else they will be overlooked. Issues of standing out from the crowd. Jealousy and envy through things on display. Luxury and beauty or snobbery that excludes. Showing off. "Do Not Enter" and "Keep Off the Grass" signs.
Enjoying, maintaining and tending our property can be enriching and rewarding. However, if we have too many 'things' the saying: 'Few rich men own their property, the property owns them' comes to mind.
Mercury and Jupiter are conjunct on Capricorn 29: A Women Reading Tea Leaves. This combination of factors can give a wonderful sense of cautious optimism and plans made can have all the hallmarks of wanting a better life, a better income, a more enjoyable job or career. With Mercury and Jupiter together, plans become big, bigger, biggest and can take on a life of their own in some measure. The Woman Reading Tea Leaves can pick up on what's going on by focusing her gaze on what the 'signs' are showing or saying. Signs will be all around with this degree in such high focus. Mercury quickly moves onto Capricorn 30 as parts of the various reaches of the world ingress into the new year. The Sabian Symbol for Capricorn 30 is Directors of a Large Firm Meet in Secret Conference. This degree speaks of the leaders of the world and their meetings and decisions, but, of course, it also shows the need for us to have quiet, private, confidential talks; to share our thoughts and feelings and work together for a vision of the future.
The influence of Mars is likely to have many wanting to get in their canoe and paddle like crazy. The Sabian Symbol is Capricorn 4: A Group of People Entering a Canoe For a Journey By Water. Yes, it can be all systems go with this degree, especially as the degree before it - the Karmic Condition - is Capricorn 3: The Human Soul, in It's Eagerness for New Experiences, Seeks Embodiment. This speaks of inner motivation leading to expansion and the need to bring physical substance to your yearnings, yourself, your future. This degree speaks a lot about creativity, writing and giving birth to something new. Capricorn 3 is the degree of the Sun each Christmas Day: it shows the day of the 'embodiment' of Jesus Christ. This degree has us feeling changed, different, wanting outward expression of inner thoughts and desires.
The day after New Year's sees Mars moving onto the next degree, Capricorn 5: Indians - Some Rowing a Canoe While Others are Dancing a War Dance. This degree can show a display of power, prowess and purpose but it can also show us people endeavoring to rock the boat. There may be some who are slipping away with a destination in mind while others are not sure how to react or chose to have an emotion reaction. As always, Mars will join in if the objectives of the 'war dance' are the same as his own, but if they run counter there can be a collision of forces that have different ideas in mind. Mars has had a shot in the arm from it's conjunction with Pluto in the few days leading up to January 1. He brings us a new vision of the world, one which is far more Capricornian, rather hairy and perhaps a little unruly.
HAPPY NEW YEAR - MAY ALL YOUR AFFIRMATIONS COME TRUE!