2018 is going to be quite a year! Not always easy, and in fact often conflictual, but despite the heavy vibe of both Saturn and Pluto–the planetary big, bad wolves–being in the often- overbearing sign of Capricorn, there is an idealistic…dare I say it?…even romantic energy to this year. It’s a year to be practical, to apply high ideals to visible, everyday life. It’s time to manifest.

There are no less than five–count ‘em, five–eclipses in 2018, all but one of them in Fixed Signs, portending major shifts and continuous drama. It is also worth remembering that 2018 marks exactly fifty years since the incredibly heavy year of 1968, so this is the Chiron Return to that tempestuous year.

The Chiron Return brings up past wounds so they can be healed, and in 2018 Americans will be remembering the terrible assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, plus the unruly protests against the Vietnam War and the revolutionary atmosphere in the streets.

A sense of society coming apart existed then alongside noble achievements such as space shots which brought the first complete view of Earth from the Moon. A retrenchment occurred politically, and the law-and-order candidate, Richard Nixon, was elected president.

History, it’s said, may not repeat itself, but it rhymes. And 2018 will closely rhyme with the energy of 1968…but it will be a fight for the future, not the past. The past has come up and bitten us, socially and politically, in recent years, and 2018 represents a certain change in the tides, even while other oppression continues apace. But the energy is with the futurists.

We are about two-thirds of the way through the long transit of Pluto–the destroyer and regenerator–through Capricorn, the sign of government and Big Business. Pluto represents power per se, and with the Trump administration giving Big Business everything it wanted in the form of less regulation and massive tax cuts for the wealthy, the plutocrats are riding high.

This year will be no different, particularly with Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, now in its own sign. This is a very conservative and cold-hearted energy that will peak with the exact conjunction of these planets in early 2020. This says that the rightward shift of energy toward money and power will continue until November, when it may be suddenly upended.

The midterm elections find Uranus–planet of upsets, sudden change, inspiration and chaos–in a precise square to the Nodes of the Moon as they retrograde from Leo/Aquarius into Cancer/Capricorn. In short, the midterms look like a Blue Wave is coming; in fact, a tidal wave of revulsion against the reactionary powers-that-be. I expect the House of Representatives to turn Democratic, and maybe the Senate as well.

Jupiter entered Scorpio–the sign of sex, shared resources, and metaphysical insights–in October, 2017, and as soon as it did, the “Me, Too” movement sprang up in response to sexual abuse issues with well-known cultural figures. Jupiter expands everything it touches, so it’s actually a good year for probing into spiritual mysteries, having intense experiences, exploring one’s sexuality, and making shrewd financial investments.

Neptune, the planet of creativity and spirituality, not to mention personal illusions, is now halfway through its transit of its home sign of Pisces. Water Signs are emotional, sensitive and intuitive, and as Jupiter makes a lovely, harmonious trine to Neptune throughout the year, an underlying current of idealistic love opens the heart of society. It culminates in the wee hours of August 19, but the whole year offers a creative and heart-opening energy that can be used to counter- balance some of the tough energy coming from other quarters. This speaks of romance and creative/spiritual inspiration. Write poetry, dance or make music or films this year. It’s time.

This is why I call 2018 a year of practical idealism–we can work to apply our heart’s desires to our everyday life and make a real difference, whether personally, socially or politically. This year favors the idealistic and those willing to make the sacrifice for what they truly believe.

The year begins with an extraordinary nine weeks without retrogrades. When Uranus makes is direct station on January 2, there are no retrogrades until Jupiter’s station on March 10. This rare time period where every planet is direct creates an opportunity for a lot of forward momentum in our lives. So it’s virtually clear sailing for initiating projects and moving forward with long-held ideas.

Still, for all that, Mercury, Venus and Mars all make retrogrades this year.

Mars retrogrades for ten weeks, from June 26–when it stations at 9 degrees Aquarius–until August 27, when it turns direct at 28 Capricorn. Mars doesn’t cover a lot of ground during its retrograde, but those twelve degrees are important in one’s chart. This is a time when Mars’s usual aggressive energy is somewhat curtailed, so it’s best to take a wait-and-see approach to matters now. Avoid conflict, and don’t let passions or anger get out of control; but stewing about it won’t help, either. The best thing to do is focus one’s energy and give up expectations of immediate reward. Things may come back around once Mars turns direct, as it will in that all-business sign of Capricorn in late August.

Venus, the lover of Harmony, Beauty and, well, Love, also has a six-week retrograde period this year. Generally, Venus has about a 12-month cycle that covers all 360 degrees, but every eighteen months or so, we have a Venus station. So this year, due to the retrograde, Venus covers only 214 degrees, and its backward motion occurs in October and November, starting at 10 Scorpio on October 15, and finishing with a direct station at 25 Libra on November 16. These “star points” return to about the same degree every eight years, and are considered lucky.

During a Venus retrograde old romantic interests may return to our lives, or there may be opportunities to revisit previous artistic endeavors or financial interests. It’s not necessarily a good time to start something fresh, but completing a circle or reaping the results of previous effort in these fields of interest is in alignment with this Venus energy. When Venus turns direct,  in mid-November, greater happiness can accrue.

Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods, turns retrograde three times in 2018: March 22–April 15, in the sign of Aries; July 25–August 18, in Leo; and November 16–December 6, in Sagittarius and turning direct in late Scorpio. We all know what Mercury retrograde portends–a time to watch your words, as miscommunication is rife. Computer breakdowns, accidents and general glitches are abundant. Another good time to just breathe and stay cool.

There are two eclipses early in the year, and three during July and August. A Lunar Eclipse on January 30, at 11 degrees Leo, sets up a year of drama and going bold. Lunar eclipses are felt more emotionally (it’s a Full Moon, after all), and this one is good for expressing what you really have in your heart.

An accompanying Solar Eclipse occurs February 15, at 27 Aquarius. This is a very futuristic and cerebral energy. Expect an announcement of some technological device or revolution in community living during this time. As an aside, this eclipse conjuncts Donald Trump’s 7th House cusp, the place of partners as well as open enemies. If he is going to fire the special prosecutor, this might be the time. Expect more indictments, and possible health concerns, as the eclipse is technically at the end of his 6th House of health and work.

There is a rare occurrence of three eclipses in a row in July and August, meaning that the energy is concentrated and intense from the Sun, Moon and Earth being aligned for an extended period.

A Solar Eclipse at 20 Cancer occurs on July 12-13, not that far from the Cancer Sun of the USA’s 1776 birth chart. Summer gives no respite from domestic politics, but the emphasis in Cancer hints at a preoccupation with homeland security, healthcare and family matters. It’s a good time to think of how to create more sensitivity and nurturance in your life.

The following Lunar Eclipse occurs on July 27 at 4 degrees Aquarius. The USA’s Moon in the July 4, 1776 chart is also in Aquarius, with freedom and individuality within community being the trademark of Aquarius energy. The Moon in a nation’s chart shows the temperament of the people, and this eclipse hints at demonstrations and mass movements. In many ways, it’s the people vs. the king, or leader, represented by Leo. Trump has Leo rising.

And wouldn’t you know, the final Solar Eclipse of the year is at 18 Leo, in Trump’s 12th House of past karma and self-undoing. I think he could actually be indicted. Do I see him out of office? I think it’s unlikely, but not impossible; these eclipses hit him hard and electoral reversals are not far off. For the rest of us, this Solar Eclipse in Leo is about bringing it when it comes to leadership and creative self-expression. Let it shine!

There are several big sign changes which create different energetic terrains this year. Uranus, that sudden change-agent, moves on May 15 from the impetuous sign of Aries to the more sedate sign of Taurus. This means that the upheavals and inspirations associated with Uranus take place in the sign associated with finances, stability and artistic expression. The economy may change direction quickly due to upsetting factors.

Money in general becomes more of a point of focus until 2025. Bitcoin and other revolutionary coinages have their day in the Sun. Coupled with all this is a greater concern for the Earth (Taurus is the natural ruler of our planet), which means the environmental movement explodes, probably as a result of upsetting events. But if there were ever a time to create a new, fresh approach to our planet, the next few years is it. The necessity of it has never been greater.

Uranus makes its retrograde station on August 7 at 2 degrees Taurus, then retrogrades back into Aries on that fateful Election Day of November 6. It finishes out the year in the sign of the Ram before re-entering Taurus on March 6, 2019. During this coming August, Saturn also makes a harmonious trine to Uranus from early Capricorn, with both planets being retrograde. This is an opportunity to re-make past failures with fresh and innovative ideas.

Jupiter also speeds its way through the deep and mysterious sign of Scorpio, moving through almost all of it until March, then backtracking and moving direct again in July, emerging finally on November 8 in the enthusiastic, exploratory sign of Sagittarius. This is a good year to contemplate the mysteries of life, and find some answers to questions you’ve always had This year is a no-miss time for connecting with people and life on a deeper level.

The Nodes of the Moon (North Node being the future, South Node representing the past) also move in their usual retrograde motion from Leo/Aquarius into Cancer/Capricorn, on the aforementioned Election Day of November 6, while in an exact square to Uranus. Besides being a harbinger of huge change electorally, this portends a year-and-a-half’s emphasis on home and family, personal security and career ambition, healing and traditionalist values.

The USA’s Sun-sign being Cancer, this will probably mark a renewed surge toward remaking our national traditions. With the energy moving swiftly toward the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in January, 2020, this will be an intense but fruitful period for those who are aligned with the keep-the-best-from-the-past-but-lose-the-rest mindset of this time. Expect political fireworks.

In the midst of it all, 2018 can give us nurturance and healing from our wounds if we hold our ideals up in front of us and follow where they lead. Just focus, and the rewards will be great.