2023 Overview: Initiation, Integration & Innovation
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After a significant 3 year cycle for humanity, 2023 feels like a ‘bridge’ year before we move on to the next major cycle that starts in 2024.
If humanity is to start down a very new pathway, which we have long been destined to do, we can’t do that overnight. There are cycles within cycles within cycles, each playing their part to prepare us for what lies ahead. Within those cycles we get glimpses of potentials to inspire us forward, and we get snapshots of shadows, alerting us to things we need to be aware of.
If we call 2020-2022 years of Initiation, 2023 is a year of Integration, all laying the groundwork for 2024 and beyond: years of Innovation. Of course, nothing is as black and white or as strictly segmented as that – we weave between all of these themes all the time, personally and collectively. But if we had to give these periods of time energetic headlines, that’s what they feel to be.
Saturn in Aquarius was the predominant astro-influence from March 2020-March 2023, highlighting very different, polarized expressions of these influences, ultimately asking us: which do you choose?
Saturn can be the authoritarian Father, represented by over-reaching governments and institutions. Saturn also challenges us to grow up, to step into our next level of adulthood, to own our autonomy and take responsibility for our lives. Aquarius represents humanity and freedom. It is also associated with advanced technology, AI and the digital world. These things can be used as tools for control by those in authority. They can also be used responsibly as tools for greater freedom and expansion. For 3 years we were confronted by all of these Saturn in Aquarius themes in extreme ways, from lockdowns, mandates and QR code check-ins, to freedom marches and human rights movements. On a collective level, with the next 20+ years awaiting our answer, we were being asked: which expression of Saturn do you prefer? Which version of Aquarius do you want?
Our first Saturn Return at age 28-29 often comes with some sort of initiation regarding our next level of adulthood. Saturn’s journey through Aquarius presented an initiation into our next level of adulthood for humanity as a collective. For a lot of people, and in this case for humanity, this ‘initiation’ often only happens after we realise our Father* is too dominating and we break free to gain our own independence. Or we realise on deeper levels than before that our Father for one reason or another isn’t there for us, has never been, and will never be, and so we have no choice but to strike out on our own. It can be a painful yet empowering time. *“Father” might be your literal father, a father figure, your family, community, culture, religion or society of origin, it can represent the systems, structures and authorities whose rules you have abided by or been expected to abide by. During your Saturn Return, even if you had a very positive, healthy relationship with your father, your ‘initiation’ would still have involved a ‘time for next level of adulthood’ theme in some way.
Saturn is associated with restriction, yet also with the growth and lessons that inevitably come from that. Even though for a while there, especially 2020-2021, we may have done less externally - gone out less, travelled less, seen friends less – we were quite busy internally. Many people received an accelerated inner growth process, awakening to certain realisations that otherwise would have taken much longer to dawn on us. The things we needed to know, learn or experience were compacted into a relatively short time frame.
This Initiation process was, and still is, like a wave moving through humanity. There are many who are yet to feel its impact. This is what I meant by ‘it’s not as segmented as that’ - some will feel this wave only this year. It’s like when a massive tsunami wave rolls in from the ocean: first it’s only the furthest ships and boats out to sea that can feel it, and even then the up and down motion may be relatively slight. Next the surfers can feel it, perhaps feeling a combination of exhilaration and fear at this wave that they find themselves riding.
Eventually it crashes onto the shore where the majority of people are, and that’s when the wave starts having its greatest, most visible impact: forcing people to respond, (to confronting truths), collapsing structures, (old systems) demolishing the old (former illusions) and leaving a lot of rubble in its wake. As difficult as this process is, from that rubble the new arises. It takes time, and there is grief to process, but the new always arises eventually.
It sounds very dramatic, but remember this is happening in a kind of slow motion – accelerated yes, but still slow motion. We might feel like we’re living in a movie more than ever these days but it’s not all happening in 2 hours or even 2 years for that matter. We need time to acclimatise, time to adjust, time to integrate the profound awareness and awakenings that these waves bring us.
Integration is a time to take stock, look around, start to comprehend what’s happened, think about what that means and process all the feelings that we go through us as a result. We are no longer who we were pre-initiation. We are not yet who we are going to become. It can feel a bit as if, collectively, we are without an anchor. Globally, more people than ever no longer trust their government, political leaders, media or other figures and institutions that they formerly relied upon to guide and inform them.
As we start to think about what that means for us as a society, there can simultaneously be a sense of freedom and empowerment, yet also disillusionment, overwhelm, betrayal and grief as the realisations dawn: what do we do now?
An unfortunate big part of this Integration time is the reality of the rising excess deaths in multiple countries. I wrote about this here in December, with the figures continuing to rise in 2023. Excess deaths mean excess grief for the loss of our loved ones, in the many forms that grief comes including shock, anger, denial and depression. How will the loss of so many more people than usual impact us as a society? Impact the jobs and roles they held? Impact the families and communities they were a part of? This particular wave is yet to crash on the mainstream beach in terms of the collective recognising how widespread it is but it is coming – the numbers and the graphs are very clear about that.
Love, support, connection, compassion,
authentic communication, kindness and empathy
will be KEY for getting through this aspect of the Integration phase
(which will extend well beyond this year alone)
We have choices to make along the way as collectively we decide what our future will look like. We had to have the wave of Initiation because otherwise we may have been lured down an Innovation pathway that isn’t in our best interests. We have to have the wave of Integration so that we can move into our future in a grounded, embodied, wise and aware way.
In astro-terms, Saturn in Aquarius was the trigger for Initiation. Saturn in Pisces will influence our Integration. Pluto in Aquarius will be front and centre with Innovation.
The collective wave of Integration has started,
a natural consequence born out of the wave of Initiation.
This ultimately paves the way for the wave coming: one of Innovation,
ushering us into a completely new chapter in our evolution.
Saturn in Pisces: March 7 2023 – February 14, 2026
After 3 years of Saturn in Aquarius, Saturn enters Pisces for the next few years. Look back to Jan 1994-April 1996 to see how this transit affected you last time. As each planet enters a new sign it generates specific themes not only for the collective, but also for each of us individually.
Look at your natal chart: Which house/s does 0-29 degrees Pisces cover? Do you have any planets or an axis point there? That will give you clues as to which area of your life is entering a “grow up” phase where you feel like you’re stepping into the next phase of adulthood (regardless of your age), taking on a new level of responsibility, experiencing more stability or, sometimes, restriction.
If you are experiencing restriction (things taking forever to manifest or bring to completion, feelings of lack in a particular life area or you keep getting a ‘no’ or ‘not yet’), look into what the underlying purpose, message, silver lining, lesson or opportunity of the restriction might be. Saturn is all about discipline, reward and responsibility. Restriction isn’t necessarily a ‘block’. If you can view it as temporary, ask: What is this allowing me to experience/appreciate/learn now? What is this potentially allowing to open up in the future?
Onto Pisces. Pisces is the dreamy, creative, spiritual sign ruling writers, poets, artists, spiritual teachings, metaphysical pursuits, visionaries, the sublime and the supernatural. Pisces can be very idealistic to the extreme – sometimes wearing rose-coloured glasses, seeing the illusion of things rather than the reality. From 2023-2026, reality-savvy Saturn walks through Pisces like a building foreman: Do you have a dream? What are you doing about it? What is your plan? What are your goals? What action steps are you taking?
If you have had a long-standing dream or vision,
but haven’t had the time, energy, discipline, motivation,
resources or knowledge to bring it into reality
- now is your time.
The spiritual/metaphysical arena will feel more grounded with studies, research and new discoveries backing up what has previously been predominantly thought of as ‘alternative’ healing. Holistic avenues can merge more easily with traditional approaches at this time, so that we get the best of both worlds.
Pisces is also associated with addiction and ‘escaping from reality’, whether via drugs, alcohol, over-identifying with ones spiritual identity to the detriment of ones human experience, or some other dependency. Saturn helps us to ‘come back down to Earth’, get our heads out of the clouds, check ourselves, and ask ourselves the questions:
What is it that I’m looking for?
Why do I feel as if something is missing?
How can I find it in a healthy way, not a destructive way?
The challenge with Pisces is balancing the two extremes: on the one hand having other-worldly, visionary ideals, and on the other the potential for sinking to the depths of depression when confronted with the hard reality of certain situations. We are straddling these two extremes as a collective right now, and particularly as an awakened, aware community. One aspect of awakening has us believing in, or wanting to believe in, a new world, a new way, a new reality. Another aspect has us seeing through the illusion of the world we have been raised in, uncovering more of the truth beneath the surface and behind the curtains. We want to find a way to embody these aspects of awakening in positive ways, otherwise we can risk being in a permanent limbo waiting for the new world to appear, or permanent disillusionment, despairing that we are beyond hope.
The evolved version of Pisces, and the positive influence of Saturn travelling through it, is to set our sights firmly on the new world, but not in a ‘cross fingers, hope for the best and close my eyes to anything bad that’s happening’ kind of way. Instead, surge forward with spiritual maturity, taking responsibility for your piece of the puzzle. Absolutely shine a light on the darkness but don’t let it suck you in to its whirlpool. Don’t set up camp there. Embrace your visions, and throw out anchors to ground and embody them.
With Saturn in Pisces, we realise as the Hope prophecy says:
“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
Which takes us to……
Pluto in Aquarius
· In 2023, after 15 years in Capricorn, Pluto starts his move into Aquarius
· Pluto will, at first, be in Aquarius briefly from 24 March 2023 –11 June 2023.
Pay attention to themes that are strong during that time
· Pluto then retrogrades, moving back into Capricorn for the rest of the year
· From 22 January 2024 Pluto officially goes into Aquarius until 20 January 2044.
We’ll have 20 years where the following themes will be extremely strong:
freedom for humanity
freedom from authoritative oppression/repression/control
social and global transformation
collapse of old systems/birth of new innovations
a movement toward more local, self-sufficient communities
a rebirth of sorts when it comes to how we see ourselves as a humanity
(eg we find out new paradigm-shifting information about our global history/origins,
we go through major changes with either the borders of certain countries
or how we view borders)
advanced technology/AI/digital systems and their relationship with power:
using them as tools of empowerment vs abusing them as tools to have power over others
a focus on what ‘being human’ means: who are we, where do we come from,
the topic of technological and AI ‘enhancements’ in humans,
those who want to stay as an organic human vs those who want to be ‘enhanced’
Power: the planned global re-set by the current and past power elite,
vs the higher divine plan and the power of humanity
Pluto moves slowly, only revisiting each sign every 248 years or so. The last time Pluto was in Aquarius in 1778-1798 the world experienced:
The French Revolution - 1789-1799
The American Revolution - started 1769, turning point was 1778, ended 1791
The Industrial Revolution – moving from
local communities that revolved around farming and handcraft,
to mass production, machines, large industry,
and a major growth in inventions and technology
A core theme of Pluto in Aquarius is freedom and power to the people, or people power, which can manifest in various ways: People rising up, rebelling against the system, grassroots organisations transforming society, and on the shadow side of people power: people being used as power (poor working conditions in factories, or as slaves). For a very long time the world has been heavily influenced, and some believe completely controlled, by a shadow plutocracy, where unelected, wealthy elites have power over local/national/global policies and agendas. With Pluto in Aquarius, that stranglehold of power reaches a climactic crescendo where the attempt to take it to the next level of widespread totalitarianism results in:
· Mass revelations showing the true faces of power behind the official masks
· Mass pushback as people are confronted with the potential of completely controlled lives
· Mass transformation of society as former power structures crash, collapse or dissolve, with new systems rising from the ashes
This is why the Saturn in Capricorn ‘Initiation’ phase was so important: it gave us a very clear preview as to what can happen when governments over-extend their reach into our daily lives and movements, when technology is used to track and trace us, when digital identities become green cards for entry into a supermarket.
Aquarius is also associated with advanced technology and AI. The warning here is: with any advances in technology that promise us greater freedoms, we want to make sure that this ‘freedom’ truly empowers the people, and isn’t in fact social control or masked totalitarianism disguised as freedom (Eg social credit systems, 15 minute cities etc)
Humanity is now at a destiny point, where our evolutionary impulse is activating the need for shackle-free expansion, truth-centred awareness and heart-centred freedom. While more than one choice of reality can certainly co-exist, at this point in our evolution attempts to control humanity within the reality they choose is reaching its expiry date.
We did not come here to continue to be controlled, and we definitely didn’t come here to experience the never-ending amplification of control. There is a climactic point coming. To a degree we have been living through a slow-motion version of that climactic point over the last 5 years or so. Yet, the universe always has a few mysteries up its sleeve, wild cards that we can’t possibly predict.
The below timeline of USA’s Pluto Return is from the 2018 Energy Report. As you can see, big changes take time to unfold. That said, due to a combination of our advanced technologies and higher frequencies, change happens much more rapidly these days. We can interact with more people in a day than our ancestors did in a lifetime. We can go through more therapy, emotional clearing and ancestral healing in a year than our past generations did combined. It might sound intolerable to think that our next phase of change will take 20 years, but the next 20 years will likely feel like 200+ years of change compacted into that time.
USA Pluto Return
1773 Pluto in Capricorn 21 Degrees
Boston Tea Party protesting British Parliament’s tax on tea
Pluto returns to this degree: 2019
1775 Pluto in Capricorn 26 Degrees
American Revolutionary War begins, the 13 colonies fight for independence from the British Empire
Pluto returns to this degree: 2021
1776 Pluto in Capricorn 27 Degrees
Declaration of Independence, 13 Colonies asserting themselves as a new nation - the United States of America
Pluto returns to this degree: 2022
1778 Pluto enters Aquarius 0 Degrees
The turning point of the Revolutionary War. Up until then it was still thought that Britain could win. France joins US as allies.
Pluto returns to this degree: 2024
1783 Pluto in Aquarius 8 Degrees
The War ends, US Independence recognized.
Pluto returns to this degree: 2028
1789 Pluto in Aquarius 17 Degrees
US Constitution and Bill of Rights (first 10 Amendments) submitted
Pluto returns to this degree: 2034-2035
1791 Pluto in Aquarius 20 Degrees
US Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted
Pluto returns to this degree: 2036-37
All Planets Direct
From 23 January – 21 April this year all planets will be direct. This 3 month period will be an excellent time to get moving on things that have been stuck on pause.
Which green light have you been waiting for?
Very interestingly, on 23 Jan Uranus was the last planet to go direct, doing so on 14 degrees Taurus.
On 21 April, Mercury ends the all planets direct period by turning retrograde on 15 degrees Taurus.
Out of curiosity, I opened up my Sabian Symbols book by Lynda Hill to read the meaning of those 2 degrees. The synchronicity with the themes named so far is incredible:
14 Taurus: “‘On the Beach, Children Play while Shellfish grope at the Edge of the Water’ speaks of peaceful coexistence amongst beings on different levels of evolution”
This matches the analogy of the wave of Initiation, where some people are out on boats and ships and others are surfing, while most are on the beach yet to receive the impact of the coming rise in tide. Children playing on the beach invokes images of innocent people, going about their business, not yet aware that change is coming. The tide brings with it a loss of innocence and illusions as “sandcastles get washed away.” There is also an acceptance we need to have – some people might never be touched by the wave. Some may choose to live (energetically speaking) far inland; some due to prior knowledge and experience, others due to avoidance or denial. Everyone has a right to experience life and reality in their own way, on their own terms.
15 Taurus: “‘A Man with a Silk Hat, Muffled against the Cold, Braves a Storm’….unable to avoid the difficulties that have arisen.”
Again we have synchronicity, this time matching the wave of Integration. Reality has come on our shore, we now have to deal with what has been uncovered, what has been revealed, what has been demolished. “Someone may not be admitting to what’s really going on, or acting as if everything is just fine.” We have to be aware of whether we are ‘just fine’ because we don’t want to face the situation, or whether we are stepping up bravely “to show determination, confidence and hope for the future, as this will encourage you and those around you.” We have to find the strength to plough on, and remember that “inner poise is more important than outer appearances.”
Year of the Water Rabbit
On Jan 22 we had the Lunar New Year, starting the Year of the Water Rabbit.
Again the theme of water: water can be gentle and flowing, and is perfect for this ‘bridge year’ as we cross from one strong cycle to another. Yet depending where we are on the ‘wave timeline’ water can also come crashing down, knock us over, make you feel as if you’re in a washing machine, wash away sandcastles and change the landscape.
Water is associated with our feelings and emotions. This is a year where you might feel more connected to your feelings, more aware of your emotions, or feel them in a stronger way. Some might be rooted in the past, or based on worries to do with the future. As much as possible stay in the present moment, feel your feelings as they come up, let emotions go through you, and let go what is ready to be let go of.
Develop your emotional awareness: What am I feeling, why am I feeling it?
Develop your emotional awareness when it comes to others:
What might they be feeling? Why are they feeling it?
Rabbit is associated with being calm, peaceful, kind, compassionate and patient – all very helpful supports for our emotional equilibrium, and excellent foundations for a year marked by Integration, for taking stock, and accepting others where they’re at regardless of where on the beach they are.
Rabbits are also creative and clever – fabulous attributes to tap into, to make the most out of the Saturn in Pisces influence: What is it time for you to do/create/invent/collaborate on?
Global Numerology: 2023 = Collective Year 7
7 Years are ruled by Pisces, and are associated with introspection, spiritual solitude, knowledge gathering and reflection. It’s quite incredible how the energetic, astrological and numerological themes for each year always inter-weave in some way. In 2023, the blanket being woven is one of Integration and taking stock.
In numerology, a Year 1 is when we plant new seeds and set intentions for new beginnings. Collectively that was 2017 when ‘cancel culture’ burst onto the world stage. It’s one thing to hold people accountable for hurtful remarks or actions. It’s another thing to end someone’s career, deplatform them on social media, or destroy a lifetime of goodwill based on an opinion that the mainstream narrative doesn’t agree with or a misinterpreted tweet. This theme of extreme control embedded itself into this new numerological cycle, and continued to intensify to the point where people didn’t feel as safe sharing their true thoughts and feelings anymore.
Year 2 is when, ideally, we nourish our soil with plenty of water, sunlight and nutrients. It may not look like much is happening, but plenty is going on beneath the surface. What we enrich the soil with at this time, for better or worse, affects the plant to come. When a primary energetic theme is an extreme new level of control, as it is for this numerological cycle, the consequence is going to be extreme pushback. In 2018 we saw the rise of the Yellow Vests in France, protesting against rising fuel costs and economic conditions. This spark lit a flame that quickly spread around the world.
In Year 3’s we start to see the first buds and leaves sprouting out, of whatever it is that we planted, and sure enough 2019 was declared the year of Global protests:
“Throughout the year, movements have emerged overnight, out of nowhere, unleashing public fury on a global scale—from Paris and La Paz to Prague and Port-au-Prince, Beirut to Bogota and Berlin, Catalonia to Cairo, and in Hong Kong, Harare, Santiago, Sydney, Seoul, Quito, Jakarta, Tehran, Algiers, Baghdad, Budapest, London, New Delhi, Manila, and even Moscow. Taken together, the protests reflect unprecedented political mobilization…
….virtually all protests worldwide quickly escalated, and began issuing ultimatums for their governments to embrace sweeping changes—or to move aside…
…. “It’s simplistic to think of these movements simply as protests,” Carne Ross, the author of “The Leaderless Revolution: How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century,” told me. When that kind of energy is mustered, he said, it’s difficult for governments to resist unless they use repression. – The Story of 2019
In a Year 4 the plant takes root, going deeper into the Earth. We are now in 2020, and governments worldwide plunge their control tent pegs into the ground, literally anchoring us into our current geographical locations. The Year 4 is supposed to feel stabilizing and protective, and for many people this was their experience. For others it felt like an affront to basic freedoms, and an escalation of governmental control responses on steroids. Simultaneously to that particular theme playing out, for many it was also a time to hibernate, retreat from the outer world, and take a ‘wait and watch’ approach.
Year 5 is associated with change, adventure and freedom. In 2021 we realised how much we may have taken those things for granted, and grew to appreciate them more than ever as so much was still off-limits. We discovered new adventures in our own local backyards. We either craved change, or had to go through forced change – of job, career, location or relationships.
Year 6 tends to be more heart and home focused, and is more feelings-oriented than the years before. 2022 brought us excess deaths of around 18% in multiple countries, bringing with it excess grief. There were also family and friend reunions galore as finally people were able to gather, travel and connect socially and emotionally with a renewed appreciation for those things.
And here we are now in Year 7, an introspective, deeply contemplative time. The initiations and integrations will continue, as will the feelings and teachings that arise as a result. We have to remember to be compassionate and gentle, with ourselves and others.
2024 will be our year 8, traditionally a year of karma where the consequences of the cycle become very clear. A lot will depend on how one moves through the Year 7 – did we learn what we were supposed to learn? 2025 will be our collective Year 9, a year of closure and endings, as we collectively prepare for a fresh numerological cycle in 2026.
Solar Maximum continues
We have Pluto in Aquarius as of 2024, a new numerological cycle in 2026, and the climactic point of the current Solar Maximum Cycle in 2024-2026 (Solar Maximum cycles feature large numbers of strong M and X Class Solar Flares, you can read about them here and here.
These energetic influences are all part of the Innovation and Transformation phase we have been preparing for. The rocket ship has been fuelled, the mechanics checked, our training completed and by that time we’ll be sitting in our seats ready for lift-off. Time and waves being what they are, some of you have been in those seats for decades already. Some of you have already lifted off and are already exploring new worlds, creating new realities, developing new paradigms, and are just waiting for more people to join you (or not, you might like the peace and quiet!).
There are many who believe that our eventual ‘lift-off’ moment will involve no longer being here on this planet – and that is true for all of us as we inevitably all will one day pass on. As for a collective ‘lift-off’ moment though, my suggestion is to not live with the anticipation, expectation or fear of that. We don’t want to spend our lives here waiting for some event that might happen in 1 year, 100 years, 1000 years, 10000000 years, or never. Our lives here are short enough as it is. Instead of asking “When is ‘the Event’ going to happen?” it’s much more empowering to think of it as, we are right now living through the Event. We are right now living through the collapse of the old and the birth of the new. We are right now living through Revelations. We are right now living through the awakening of humanity. And right now, it’s happening faster and more obviously than ever before.
When you look back on your life, you’ll ask yourself:
What did I do during my time here?
How did I contribute?
Did I enjoy my time?
Did I find joy? Did I seek it out?
Did I help others?
Did I learn something?
What do I wish I did more of?
What do I wish I did less of?
The ‘awakening’ has created a situation where sometimes you become so aware of what’s going on that it can create a kind of despair and paralysis, a ‘what’s the point’ kind of energy. We are awakening to ‘what’s going on’, not because our Soul thought a movie trailer preview would be a good heads up, but because we are here to participate in the part of the movie where truth finally gets revealed and Humanity finally breaks free.
You get to be free now
You get to be an example of that freedom
You get to be a conscious, awake, aware soul in this movie
“I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it's going to begin… I'm going to show these people….a world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.” – Neo, The Matrix
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(c) Dana Mrkich 2023
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