‘Tis the season of looking back and reflecting on the year we’re leaving behind. We’ve probably all seen many end-of-year lists popping up on social media, and in the same spirit of retrospection I wanted to share my biggest takeaways from the past year. And I wouldn’t be the astrology nerd I am, if I didn’t structure these takeaways according to the biggest transits I’ve gone through the past year or so (astrology transits usually don’t neatly fit into the Gregorian calendar).
Transits aren’t only a great technique to use for astrological prediction, they are also incredibly helpful to better understand the past. In many ways, this is actually a much more useful approach to transits anyway. When we’re going through the thick of it, it’s hardly always possible to make sense of what is actually going on. The meaning-making and connecting the dots of certain events usually comes after the fact, when you’ve gained some distance from whatever happened. There’s a brilliant quote by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, that illustrates this “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Astrological transits help us understand backwards. They provide an archetypal context to events or experiences that maybe seemed unclear or just plain chaotic at the time. And understanding the past more clearly and deeply brings integration, freedom, and healing. It’s the best foundation for looking ahead at what’s next, too. I strongly believe that new choices and plans will be more impactful and empowering once you’ve properly reflected on where you come from in the first place. It makes our goals and intentions more realistic and helps us stay embodied in the here and now.
In most of my Cosmic Cycles consults, I start with an acknowledgment of and reflection on transits that clients have recently lived through. I often hear back from clients how validating it is to start there and how it helps them move forward with more clarity. My books are open, if you’re curious about exploring your own past, present and future.
Here’s what I’ve learned in 2023:
I can do hard things
Finishing up my Saturn return
I won’t beat around the bush. The start of the year was hard. At the beginning of 2023, I probably hit rock bottom in terms of my mental and physical well-being. My then barely 1 year old son was having a terrible time at his daycare, I was still hardly sleeping at night, was getting sick every two weeks… it was a real shit storm. But being a mum, business owner and also working part-time at the university meant I didn’t really have the luxury to give up all of my responsibilities. As it turns out, there are no breaks in parenting.
While my partner and I luckily did receive help from my parents and a friend who helped us meal-prep, this experience did teach me set better boundaries and make priorities. And while in the past it has been tempting to wallow in my feelings (thanks, South Node in Cancer), my Saturn return has taught me to start owning my shit. It has also taught me that I can do hard things. And I don’t have to let myself be weighed down by them either. I learned to accept that sometimes, life feels miserable, but that’s not the end of the world.
If there’s anything that Saturn teaches us, it’s a more innate understanding of time and the idea that it’s both finite and limitless. Things pass and they also return again. Being able to experience those tough first months of 2023 and living to tell the tale (on much more sleep, by the way), has been incredibly empowering.
Some bridges need to burn in order to build new ones
Transiting Pluto opposite my Sun
Pluto started a two year long opposition with my Sun back in 2022, and I’ve only recently had the final hit of this life-changing transit. While there’s still a lot about this transit that I’m trying to unpack (Pluto operates underneath the surface, after all), one thing is crystal clear to me: I am not the same person I was before 2022. I can see what my life was like before, and maybe sometimes feel some grief or nostalgia about that, but I know for a fact that the ship of my past has sailed.
Of course, becoming a parent has been a massive transformation and one that obviously ties in with this once-in-a-lifetime transit of Pluto. I am now, forever, a mother, and that has shifted everything in my life: my values, priorities, even my daily habits and rituals (hello, Pluto in the 3rd!). The fact that this transit coincided with my Saturn return made a lot of sense to me as well. In the past 2 or 3 years, I’ve said goodbye to people, things and habits in my life that no longer align with who I want to be.
It has become much easier for me to let things decompose, because I know that whatever I let go of turns into fertile ground for new things to emerge. Having gone through this transit, I feel like I understand the concept of regeneration on a much more embodied level.
Pluto transits get a bad rep. In my own client work I often find a lot of fear comes up about Plutonian themes. Maybe it’s my own comfort with the darker side of life (I am a Scorpio rising, after all), but I’ve found this Pluto transit to be mostly empowering. It has helped me develop the courage and depth to become a somatic coach and counsellor, and to not only bear witness to my own unconscious material but that of my clients too. If anything, this Pluto transit helped me step into my own power and embody leadership (the Sun rules my 10th house) in my own unique way.
Pleasure is a practice
Transit Saturn opposite my Venus & Venus retrograde in my 10th house
The official end of my Saturn return wasn’t the only Saturn transit I had this year. After Saturn entered Pisces, I received several hits of Saturn to some of my personal planets. Yup, early mutable is a bit of a hot spot in my birth chart. While I won’t go into all of them, my experience with Saturn opposite my natal Venus was one transit that definitely left a mark. One of the hits happened to coincide with the already very loud Venus retrograde in Leo in my 10th house. It’s safe to say Venusian themes were high on the agenda this year. A welcome contrast to those gnarly first months.
The opposition of Saturn to Venus started in the spring, when I got back on the skincare routine I stopped around the time I was pregnant. I’ve always been very Venus in Virgo (read: indifferent) about beauty and fashion, but in the spring of the past year I looked in the mirror and concluded that motherhood had done a massive number on me. I realised that if I wanted to feel good about my appearance, I had to actually put in the time and effort to take care of myself. Over the course of the summer, I renewed my commitment to Venus, by investing in new clothes, make-up, and hair products. On a non-material level, I started a pleasure activism practice as a way of centering my life around pleasure and self-care.
All of this is and will always be a work in progress, but that’s exactly the point. Sometimes Saturn transits are not about limits and restrictions, but about building new foundations and routines. Saturn both confronts us with reality and gives us the tools to change it if we’re unhappy with how it looks.
Intention is the key to success
Transit Saturn opposite Mars & Mars cazimi on my ascendant
In many ways, I consider myself to be a bit of a loose cannon. Even though I’m a Scorpio rising, my mutable placements call a lot of the shots in my life. In practice, that means that I prefer to go with the flow instead of sticking to a long-term strategy. That’s just what works best for me on a day to day basis. But with all the Saturn stuff going on this year, including an opposition to my natal Mars, I’ve also come to the conclusion that a bit of strategy goes a long way. If I want to reach my goals, I need to start thinking forward and planning backwards. In other words: I’ll need to be a bit more focused.
The transit of Saturn opposite Mars helped me restrategise and restructure how I operate in my business, and this trickles down into my personal life too. While Saturn-Mars transits often bring a lot of frustration and inability to move forward, I’ve found it very helpful to have Saturn put the brakes on my otherwise restless Mars. It meant that I had to return to the drawing board and use the slowness strategically. There are a lot of exciting ideas and goals I have for Innerverse, some of which require a lot of planning and preparation. So what I’ve been doing is create workflows for all my consults to streamline my prep work, transition to a new project management tool, and work with a business coach. In short, I’ve become much more focused (and that Mars cazimi definitely helped!).
What I’ve learned so far that “intention” is the keyword that honours both my need for consistency and my need for flexibility. Connecting with what really matters, another Saturn theme, helps me develop the strength and motivation to work towards my goals at my own pace.
Looking ahead to 2024
In 2023, I’ve gone through some major shifts. Saturn was definitely at the core of a lot of personal growth I’ve experienced. So much of what I’ve been doing came down to commitment, discipline, and slowing down in order to move forward. The lessons that Saturn brings aren’t always easy, but the hard work usually pays off in the end.
Looking ahead to the future, Saturn’s timing couldn’t be more perfect. There are some… interesting-looking Uranus transits between 2024 and 2027, and I suspect there will be many, many changes in my life. Having worked on a stronger foundation for both my business and self-care practices will surely help me stay grounded when Uranus is, once again, shakes up my life. And while I do believe that the astrology is always astrologising even if we’re not aware of it, it does help to know what’s coming next so you can be much more intentional with the time you have.
If you’re curious about exploring what 2024 has to offer (and integrate the lessons you’ve learned in 2023), I invite you to book a Cosmic Cycles consult with me.