Onward into 2020

By Amanda Painter

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found this to be an especially contemplative transition to a new year. I guess that’s true each time we end a decade, as we assess just how much has changed in those ten years. Yet, in moving from 2019 to 2020, I’m aware of just how much extra gravitas, pressure, awareness and restlessness I’m feeling, and its correlation to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.

Photo by Amanda Painter

Photo by Amanda Painter

Ten or so years ago, roughly corresponding to Pluto’s ingress into Capricorn, marked some highly pivotal events in my life.

Tracing the growth I’ve experienced in this last decade — and contrasting it to the general trajectory of the previous ten years — is offering confirmation that the processes of Pluto, daunting as they are, do offer gifts.

Even so, the lessons of Pluto and Saturn tend to be hard-won.

While the lessons of Jupiter (and even Uranus) can seem to fling the doors of one’s life wide open — simply leaving it up to us to stride through (not always easy, depending on one’s circumstances and baggage) — Saturn and Pluto demand more. They ask us to work for what we want. They insist that we make the difficult choice to undo so much that has always appeared solid, or a given, so that we can build anew in ways that afford us more space for who we’re becoming.

If you’ve taken the time to trace your path through the last decade, you might have noticed similar things. I’d be curious to hear how that arc looks for you, and what you can feel yourself closing in on in terms of your next steps.

To have a pair of eclipses so closely accompany this astrological meeting of two thematic heavyweights is heightening the effect — and today we reach the midpoint between the Dec. 26 annular solar eclipse (the Cap New Moon) and the Jan. 10 partial lunar eclipse and Cancer Full Moon.

At 11:45 pm EST tonight (4:45:7 UTC Friday) the first quarter Moon is exact. This is the Aries Moon squaring the Capricorn Sun.

On the one hand, I can’t quite believe a whole week has gone by since the first eclipse. On the other hand, I almost can’t believe it’s been only a week. Some parts of my life I’d like to slow down, so I can enjoy more spaciousness; other parts of my life I want to speed up.

Coordinating my choices accordingly is not always as easy as I’d like it to be. Currently my second-guessing and disorientation is serving as a reminder to keep coming back to what I desire for the future, however imprecise the vision may be. I return to the Planet Waves eclipse mantra (borrowed from a surfer’s T-shirt about 10 years ago): look where you want to be.

Helping all of us with that today is a Mercury-Jupiter conjunction in early Capricorn. This aspect combines the diligence of Mercury in Cap with the expansiveness and philosophical nature of Jupiter. Capricorn tends to be an ambitious sign; Mercury-Jupiter lends a sense of abundance, generosity, understanding and — perhaps most importantly — curiosity.

Mercury-Jupiter also suggests the broadness of mind to see existing patterns and the foresight to plan beyond them. Yet there’s still an element of mystery here — as there always is in the early steps of a new phase of the journey. My plan is to stay open to perceive what gets revealed today, and I invite you to as well.

What you notice now and in the coming weeks could make a real difference in moving forward. That difference may come in the simple sensation that life is not impossible; that the steps you long to take will meet with support by the universe if you do, in fact, take them — even if you have to dig in and scramble a bit to keep your footing.

Mars is adding some fuel to the flame of spirit that’s warming up all those cool Capricornian building blocks. Tomorrow (Friday) it enters Sagittarius at 4:37 am EST — putting a fiery, motivated planet in a fiery, friendly sign.

This is an independent Mars, the kind that wants to explore without restrictions. Because of this, Mars in Sadge comes with a reminder to beware of dissipating your energy by pursuing more things than you can actually give your full effort.

The overabundance of Capricorn planets (including Cap’s ruler: Saturn, lord of limits) suggests that dissipation should be less of an issue currently. They’re offering a strong sense of your foundations, boundaries, and most ambitious goals. You can use structure to focus the enthusiasm and physical energy of Mars — such as by planning your time; or defining clear tasks with a manageable beginning, middle and end.

Just getting started is so often the hardest part of a new project. There’s the problem of inertia, but also fears about failing. The same is true of embarking on a new phase of life — although that can also carry fears about how radically life might change if we succeed. Saturn and Pluto invite us to step toward what frightens us, to meet that fear so we can reclaim ourselves. Perhaps these eclipses serve as reminders of just how much of ourselves we already possess, and can trust.


The Saturn-Pluto conjunction is upon us: it is exact on Jan. 12. While this event will happen two or three times in the lives of most people, this particular event is a moment of convergence and reckoning for the world and for us as individuals.

Eric has completed recording RESPECT, the 2020-2021 Planet Waves annual readings, to cover the momentous astrology of the coming year-plus. You can read more about the project, and order the readings, here.

3 thoughts on “Onward into 2020

  1. Daniel

    Wonderful article, Amanda! I too was thinking yesterday of where I was 10 years ago and the also what was happening in the sky back then, looking on serennu.com. Particularly, Jupiter in Cap, and the Cap/Cancer eclipse cycle. Although it is impossible to “go back” as to relive patterns the way that I experienced life then, I wanted to be conscious of mental resistance that could be replaying old stories about what I perceive(d) to be holding me back. I see some general life circumstances holding the same types of changes. However, I know that I am building on that foundation, not starting from scratch. I have definite intentions for my growth and I see them as the next logical next step where I can creatively apply myself. This goes back many years actually, since Saturn entered my Libra 1st house. in 2010. I also remembered that there was a significant combination of planets that started in Jan 6-10 2018 involving the Sun, Venus, Pluto conjunction sextile the Mars/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio – all smack dab my natal Sun in Scorpio. This was also the height of my Uranus opposition. I know now what that time meant as I remembered the work I was doing then.

    There is no one way to do things; no definitive path to success or manifestation as outlined by anyone in our lives or in society. We can truly be, do and have anything we want. We just need to leave everyone else out of the picture, and their expectations of how things should go.

    The best is yet to come.

    1. Amanda Painter Post author

      “I know that I am building on that foundation, not starting from scratch.”

      Exactly, Daniel! I’ve engaged in a similar thought process: comparing certain steps taken years ago with certain steps I’m engaging/about to engage now, and realizing that despite outward similarities, I am at a vastly different place in my life and within myself. And I realized I can not only trust that difference, but trust my ability to use all that I’ve learned in the intervening years to guide my steps more effectively.

      Paramount in that has been my increasing ability to hear my inner “yes” and “no” clearly and act on them. That is still a work in progress, this whole “hearing my intuition and trusting it” thing. But it feels good to see how far I’ve come, and know and trust that I can continue strengthening these spiritual muscles.

      Wishing you all the best as you move forward into 2020, Daniel! It’s been good to share the ride with you here on Planet Waves.

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