Moonletter January 2023

By Ben Belinsky

Welcome to the Moonletter for the forthcoming mooncycle beginning on 23 December 2022 with the new moon in Capricorn and spanning the full moon in Cancer on 6 January 2023.


New Moon in Capricorn – 23 December 


The new moon is just after the winter solstice on 21 December and Jupiter moves into Aries the day before. Jupiter in Aries speeds everything up so we’re looking at a period of acceleration between this December and next May. It will be “A Short Ride in a Fast Machine” to steal a title from John Adams. Get your brakes checked and make sure your advanced driver’s license is up to date. The area of life that accelerates depends on your own personal chart but just to say that Jupiter is the planet that connects us socially so expect social life to pick up. In addition, the Aries position of Jupiter is well known for pushing frankness into tactlessness, which could cause friction given the tense angle between Jupiter and the sun and moon over the Christmas weekend.

But just a minute! There’s something missing in the new moon chart – a completely disconnected Saturn! This planet is the ruler of Capricorn and it deals with accepting limits and taking responsibility. With this energy disconnected, it could mean a very insecure time for some folk, leading them to search for something solid to hold on to, while those with a strong Saturn in their charts may be asked to play the role of ‘responsible parent’ and take on stuff that isn’t theirs. So, know what’s yours to carry, and what isn’t; what you’re prepared to help others with and what gets returned to sender.

Full Moon in Cancer – 6 January 2023 

At the full moon, the sun and moon are taking a curve ball from Uranus in the sign of Taurus, the sign that is associated with finances. This suggests that the Uranian disruption could lead to a new and creative way to deal with money matters. There’s also a heavy angle from the centaur Chiron in Aries, the sign that deals with personal identity, so our sense of who we think we are could be challenged by circumstances. The balance point of this set up is in Libra, itself the sign of balance, so some retuning of relationships may be required to restore harmony.

Then on the 12th of January, Mars turns direct again in Gemini. It’s been running retrograde since the end of October, suggesting that it’s only possible to make small steps forward. When it turns direct, it should allow things to pick up speed and that combined with Jupiter moving into Aries, it looks like a busy time coming. But as far as Mars is concerned, things won’t be completely freed up till March when Mars moves out of shadow of its retrograde period. See this site for more detail.

Plus, there’s a Mercury retrograde period from 29th December to 18th January. This is in Capricorn which deals with government and bureaucracy so patience will be required if repeated reminders don’t work. Then a few days after Mercury turns direct and communication eases up, we’re into the new moon in Aquarius and the beginning of the Chinese year of the Water Rabbit. Should be a lot less fraught than the fast-flowing year of the Tiger we’re in at the moment. More on this next time.

A peek at the year ahead 

Three major (slow-moving) planets change signs in 2023. These represent major changes in the background energy and deal with deeper matters than the everyday swings and roundabouts of the faster moving planets. These changes of sign are noteworthy because they don’t happen very often.

Jupiter, having moved from Pisces into Aries this December, races through Aries and is in Taurus by 16th May. We’ve already looked at that in the new moon section above.

Saturn leaves Aquarius on 5th March and heads into Pisces for the next 30 months. The karmic planet in the karmic sign.

And on 23rd March, Pluto starts its back-and-forth between Capricorn and Aquarius over the next two years finally settling into Aquarius in November 2024.

Let’s take these one by one.

For the last two and a half years, Saturn has been in Aquarius – the sign ruled by Uranus, the disruptor. Saturn acts as a limiter and its effect has been to damp things down a bit. Saturn acts by putting an area of life under pressure and if it ain’t real, it will collapse. However, once something has been ‘saturned’, it is solid and it will endure. For example, if a relationship has gone through and survived a period of pressure, it stands a better chance of lasting. If it didn’t survive, it was ‘Just one of those things’ (Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald et al.) In financial terms, Saturn has been giving a bit of solidity and groundedness to Aquarius’ fascination with the new financial stuff like NFT’s.

As Saturn leaves Aquarius, the brakes may be off the whole Aquarian agenda (see below for detail) and as Saturn moves into Pisces, the sign ruled by Neptune, Neptune’s tendency to create illusion (including conspiracy theories) could be given a reality check and compassion could become the basis for a more responsible lifestyle.

To those born with Saturn in Pisces, “Hi guys, you’re heading into your Saturn return. Make good use of it. You will learn to value Saturn’s transits as major life lessons. Check this article here.” It’s similar for those born in the mid to late sixties. This should be a time to get a clearer sense of where you’ve got to in your life and what is necessary to move forward.


Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008. Remember that year? The financial crisis that brought down some ‘too big to fail’ financial institutions and led to years of austerity. Then there was the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn in January 2020, coinciding with the outbreak of the pandemic which is still causing all sorts of problems with the economy and consequences for business. And then there were the world leaders that we could have done without: Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, Orban, Xi and others. And you won’t be surprised to hear that Capricorn rules governments, business and finance.

So, with Pluto, we’re looking at a slow-moving outer planet and by slow-moving, I mean it takes 248 years to orbit the sun and seems to bring out the demons of whatever sign it is transiting. But fear not, gentle reader. Pluto’s action is like that of a homeopathic remedy, bringing the poison to the surface where it can be identified, dealt with and cleansed. For in Greek and Roman mythology, Pluto (aka Hades) was the lord of the underworld, who dealt with what was hidden beneath the surface.

Pluto the planet was discovered in 1930, not yet 100 years ago and still hasn’t made a complete circuit of the zodiac since its discovery. So, its transit through the sign of Aquarius will be its first while we have been aware of its existence and influence.

This means that we can only speculate what the long-term effects will be, what can we expect from the next 22 years while Pluto is crossing the part of the ecliptic which we associate with the zodiac sign of Aquarius? Let’s look at three areas to keep an eye on:

  • advances in technology,
  • community action,
  • humanitarian causes,

Pluto, as we have said, works deep to bring out the demons, in this instance the destructive aspects of advanced technologies. There are a number of genies that have been let out of the bottle. We have been dealing with them mostly in a conciliatory manner. Now we might have to confront them directly. For example, the downside of Artificial Intelligence. We have to remember that AI is only as good as the material we give it to learn from. What about the dangers inherent in chatbots that interact in a conversational way? Maybe it’s time for us to work out the impact of social media as Pluto in Aquarius puts the focus on small groups and networks rather than large corporations. Plus, do you care who owns your genetic data? Do we really need the Metaverse? And will Quantum computers mean the end of computer security? C’mon now Ben, people have been waxing paranoid about new technologies since the discovery of fire. There may be some upsides, you know like nuclear fusion finally coming on stream and solving the energy problem …

Regarding community action … Over the last 15 years while Pluto has been trucking resolutely through Capricorn, we have seen the demons of politics and business brought to the surface. Now, there’s nothing inherently evil about policy making, leadership and doing business. To use a Capricornian term, the problems are systemic. The cancerous growth of corruption and incompetence is obvious in in many countries, while in others there has been a definite swing towards the far right as if a return to strict control and strong leaders was a sort of palliative. So, it’s now up to local communities to take charge of their own destinies, where we look after and learn from each other rather than waiting for the people at the top to do it for us. While Capricorn is into closed hierarchies and top-down management, Aquarius is about networking within flat structures. This includes greater local accountability, a more decentralised approach and a more efficient circulation and distribution of resources. I’ve explored some of these issues in the article on the Aquarian economic paradigm.

In addition, Pluto in Aquarius could challenge the whole basis of identity politics. The Aquarian ethos isn’t about promotion of difference in order to validate identities. It’s about the acceptance of the individual as individual, regardless of any group they consider themselves or are considered to belong to. Whether this is ultimately liberating or oppressive, unifying or divisive remains to be worked out over the coming years.

But first Pluto has to move out of Capricorn into Aquarius. And since planets appear to go retrograde this will be a bit of a back-and-forth process over the next couple of years.

We shall be tracking these changes and commenting on the shifts in power as this journey progresses.

Meanwhile, wishing you a peaceful Christmas and all the best for the coming year.


smiling hand-knitted angel in the branches of a Christmas tree
Photo by Andy Cat on Unsplash

Key Dates this month:

20-DecJupiter enters Aries
21-DecSun enters Capricorn – Winter Solstice21:49
Pagans and Wiccans celebrate Yule
23-DecNew moon in Capricorn10:18
Chiron turns direct in Aries
24-DecChristmas Eve
25-DecChristmas Day
26-DecJewish festival of Hanukkah ends
29-DecMercury turns retrograde in Capricorn till 18 January
01-JanNew Year’s Day
06-JanFull moon in Cancer23:09
Christians celebrate Epiphany
12-JanMars turns direct in Gemini
18-JanMercury turns direct in Capricorn
20-JanSun enters Aquarius08:31
21-JanNew Moon in Aquarius – Year of Water Rabbit begins20:54
22-JanUranus turns direct in Taurus

All Key Date times are GMT



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