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Highlights for Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2022: An Unruly Land, Harpo Marx, and Spirit Made Visible

An Unruly Land, Harpo Marx, and Spirit Made Visible

Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone.

The unruly land

For most of my life, Aquarius has been a foreign land to me. Born with several planets in its opposite sign, Leo, I somehow couldn’t identify with the strong desire for independence and the unconventional nature of Aquarius – despite having my chart ruler, Jupiter, in that sign, and my entire life providing testimony to Aquarian traits.

As I grow older, I can more easily locate Aquarius on my inner landscape: the bracing snap of dry, frigid air, the glint of an ice skate’s blade hovering over a frozen lake, and a friendly, distant wave to fellow skaters. I recognize it in the sudden, violent protest that lets loose in me when I feel walls closing in, and in the itchiness that comes from having gone too long without time alone.

Aquarius’s contradictory nature reflects the tectonic clash of its two rulers: Saturn, the traditional ruler, lord of impermeable boundaries and fixed opinions; and Uranus, unrestrained and unpredictable. Often, Aquarius is interpreted by warmer natures as chilly and unfeeling; and when I’m in touch with that side of myself, I have to admit that there’s some truth to that. The Aquarian nature doesn’t dare try to fit in, for fear of losing the qualities that make it unique. It’s the resistance we feel to being typecast or pigeonholed, and the absolute refusal to compromise our beliefs. There is something hard and detached in this sign – but it’s unruly and wild and beautiful, too.

This Aquarius New Moon (Jan. 31, 2022, 9:46 pm PST – Feb. 1 most everywhere else) is in a tight conjunction with Saturn, and square Uranus. We’ll find the Saturn side of our Aquarian selves planted on an immovable surface, daring the world to unseat us. And near at hand will be our Uranian natures, poking us with lightning bolts, determined to propel us onto new and unexpected paths.

Something real

The calendar year began with Venus retrograde, soon joined by Mercury retrograde (Jan. 14). So it’s been a less than auspicious moment for bright new year’s resolutions, even by the usual dismal standards of such things.

But Venus turned direct on Jan. 29, joined this week by Mercury moving forward (Feb. 3, 2022, 8:13 pm PST), and the tide is slowly turning. If we’ve done the work of the past six weeks or so – the inward-facing work of reflection and self-knowledge – we now have a much better sense of what it is that we want, what it’s worth, and the mindset needed to bring it to fruition.

This year, each of Mercury’s retrograde periods begins in an air sign and ends with a direct station in an earth sign. Take an idea, the merest wisp of a concept, and drag it away to your retrograde lair; by the time Mercury turns direct, you’re ready to turn it into something real.

That said – if you need to make a significant purchase, hire help, or sign on a dotted line? I’d allow another week for the dust to settle and the celestial Wurlitzer to wheez into action.


When I was a young teenager, I experienced a brief but intense infatuation with Harpo Marx. I know it sounds funny; his mute, anarchic wackiness wasn’t exactly the stuff of most girlhood crushes. But I loved it whenever a Marx Brothers movie would come to halt while Harpo played the harp. His hyperkinetic body became still, his face lost its mugging clownishness, and he played and looked like an angel.

I was reminded of Harpo by the Sabian symbol for Mars at its sextile to Jupiter (Feb. 4, 2022, 5:37 am PST) this week: 9 Capricorn, An angel carrying a harp. Mars, the planet of doing and of action, is disciplined, serious, and well-practiced in Capricorn; and as it connects with Jupiter in music-loving Pisces, there’s a chance to use the best qualities of Mars and Capricorn to make beautiful music indeed.

Spirit Made Visible

As many readers know, my late father, a textbook Capricorn, was a farmer. He was never happier than when he was riding a tractor, tilling the soil in neat rows. He loved the dirt, the heat, the humidity, the bugs, all of it, and when he came home for dinner he was exhausted and as tranquil as a Capricorn ever gets.

I don’t mean to romanticize hard labor. But one thing’s for sure – humans aren’t designed to sit still indoors for hours every day under artificial light. We may enjoy what we’re doing during those hours, and may not even consider ourselves very physical beings; but our bodies beg to differ. Just think of the glow of well-being and relaxation that follows a vigorous workout.

As the Sun makes its annual conjunction with Saturn this week (Feb. 4, 2022, 11:04 am PST), we may feel confined, regimented, achy, tired, or disgruntled – especially in the day or two leading up to the exact aspect. The physical body can be an uncomfortable, Saturnine container for the bright spirit of the Sun, especially when it’s suffering from disuse. But the Sun’s union with Saturn reminds us that our bodies are spirit made visible, that it’s a privilege to be alive, and that we owe it to our bodies to give them as much use as we give our minds.

Writing and collages © 2022 April Elliott Kent

Hear more about this week’s planetary happenings on my podcast!

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