Daniel Sowelu looks at the stars for january 2008

THE FIRST impression I get looking at the 2008 chartis that of big wheels turning, whether we call themkarmic or collective. Deep powers in the unconsciousare moving to awaken, purify and rebalance ancient karmas,to clear the way for the reclamation of the very essenceof our spirituality and the healer in us, personallyand collectively. Like the recent Jupiter/Pluto conjunction,which is still very much in play, deep and far-reachingchange is upon us, driving powerful growth and expansionon all levels, and bringing inevitable challenges.

There is also much that is wonderful in this chartand despite the trouble we're in on the planet, thereare obvious reasons for hope. The Sun is conjunct Jupiterin Capricorn, the latter in turn conjunct Pluto in thelast minutes of Sagittarius. Any Sun/Jupiter contactrepresents big, glorious energy systems that are tremendouslygrowthful and light-filled, driven by grace and thepervasive benevolence of life, love and the gods, howeveryou see them. Pluto adds depth, power and the guaranteethat none of this change is going to be superficial,requiring the letting go of old patterns, beliefs andidentities. Deep structural alterations are in motion,the power of which can be harnessed on any level - psychological,spiritual or material.

At home, we will experience the best of this: the miningand property "booms", the change in government,and the responses to global warming are all externalexpressions of a positive energy cycle that will continueall year at least. We would do well to use this energyto make changes on the home front, on inner and outerlevels, to secure the foundations of our lives, andto give our families greater freedom and support. Andto encourage personal and emotional development, aswell as in the material. To overemphasise the latterwould be a grave mistake, for as good as any Sun/Jupiteris, the combination also has a reputation for excessand waste, higher inflation and interest rates, andthe inflation of egos and expectations.

There are a number of warnings in the chart about beingvery aware and discriminating in how we use this abundantenergy. Multiple squares from all this energy in Capricornto a Libran Moon points out that if we overemphasisematerial or ego driven advancement, we will compromiseand even damage our relationships, and put the feminineoffside, within and without. Whoever said that "thetrue measure of a society was how well it treated itsunderprivileged" would be a little concerned, lookingat this chart. It calls for vigilance, responsibilityand an ongoing reassessment on the emotional impactsof our actions and choices. Fortunately, the Capricornplanets also have strong multiple trines to Saturn inVirgo, which positively reinforces the constructiveaspects of the Sun/Jupiter/Pluto threesome, while puttingsome healthy braking on its excesses. History and mythologyare full of examples of what happens when humans takethe grace and abundance of the gods for granted.

The other major warning, and the toughest challengeof the chart, is oppositions from Capricorn to Marsin Cancer conjunct Medusa in Gemini.

If the state of the planet is a reflection of boththe goddess and the feminine, clearly we are in troubleon multiple fronts and these oppositions will magnifythem. In the Australian chart, Mars and Medusa are thehighest points, making it a little too easy to be complacentabout the rest of the world when things appear to begoing well here. To do so would invite some nasty backlashesand constitute a lost opportunity on multiple levels.What we do with our rage and anger from all sourceswill either make or break us as individuals and as acivilisation. The owning and healing of such empowersus and gives our actions more clarity, effectivenessand Shakti (spiritual power).

The most extraordinary aspect of this year's chartis the gathering of Chiron and Neptune in Aquarius withthe North Node of the Moon. Anything conjuncting theNorth Node represents opportunities for owning ancientparts of self, seeking new expression, individuallyand collectively. In this case, it's an awesome combinationof the mystic and the healer, which incorporates thearchetypes of the visionary, alchemist, shaman and magician.On a personal level, it speaks of extraordinary openingsspiritually and profoundly exquisite experiences ofhealing right down to the very soul level. The qualityof Shakti moving through our chakras, nervous systemsand emotional bodies will have a quality unknown tomost of us in this life, especially with Chiron exactlyon the North Node, all the way from June to October.

It is also an invigoration of the psycho spiritualgenius within, calling for greater levels of faith andtrust in our own unique levels of knowing and ability,however alternative, intuitive and eccentric their sources.If these are not ready for manifestation, they will,at least, become more apparent within, strengtheningour belief in the visions of the soul, of the potentialfuture. If ever there was a time to welcome true spiritualmagic into our lives, it is this year.

Daniel Sowelu (BSc DipEd) is a therapeutic astrologer,primal therapist and group leader in his 21st year ofprivate practice.