January launches 2016 in clouds of soft, swirling fog. It’s a fitting start, given the atmosphere that will be with us through the summer. Grab your favorite grounding stones; turn on your fog lights and internal GPS. They are in for a workout.

What is real and what is an illusion is an ongoing puzzle, and this month puts us through our paces grappling with it. The origin of the puzzle is still going strong, a shoving match between forces of structure and order (Saturn) and forces that evade and dissolve structure and order (Neptune).

Now comes a companion influence that not only amplifies vagueness, confusion and reasons to question someone’s sanity, but also makes them inescapable and personal. This one holds the promise of epiphanies, clarity and mundane, bankable answers by the end of the month. Hang on to that as the journey progresses, because it promises one weird ride indeed.

Just when our minds are on the brink of flying again, finally, we plummet back to earth. January brings a confounding jumble of snarls, glitches and malfunctions in communicating and getting around. Yes, it’s time again for Mercury retrograde, when the usual rules of operation go out the window for information flow, technology and transportation.

This year has four Mercury retrogrades instead of the usual three. The first one runs from January 5 - 25. It starts with the motivation in place to confront, dive deep and research, qualities that come in handy for this transit.  That comes when Mars, ruler of our drive, plunges into Scorpio on January 3. He kicks Mercury as the messenger slows to turn around on Jan. 5, and off we go.

He’s just getting a taste of objectivity and swift-footedness at the gateway of Aquarius when the about-face drags him back down to the methodical, practical, long-term perspective of Capricorn, on Jan. 8.  Brace to be hypersensitive to all. His return to this terrain comes with a triple whammy of practicalities:  impulses to rethink, reorganize and improve (thank Jupiter turning retrograde in Virgo on the 7th), a decided seriousness in matters of the heart and money (Venus meeting Saturn on the 8th) and the Capricorn New Moon (also on the 8th), which launches a four-week refresher course in adulthood.

For the rest of the retrograde, mishaps, confusion and deceptions will involve or lead to consequences, responsibility, ramifications and real-world costs, some of which touch on relationships and financial arrangements. Use the trip-ups as an opportunity to learn more about the structures and goals emerging from the last few years of upheaval. Be on the lookout for greater understanding and self-acceptance (even optimism!) on the 14th, new perspectives on the 20th and 31st, and profound clarity and determination on the 22nd and 30th.

It’s not all work and no play (though at times you may wonder). Venus is in happy-go-lucky mode most of the month, encouraging bright spirits and the ability to laugh at the ongoing carnival show. Desires grab the steering wheel by the 12th as wild cards and breakthroughs shake up relationships and other matters that are deeply important to us. The aftermath is personal satisfaction, the aforementioned understanding and self-acceptance, and shouting all of that to the world. (Or at least, someone closely connected to the saga.) Following that comes wanting more, more, more -- contact, socializing, love, cash, you name it -- with a light, loving touch of empathy and compassion that could yield real-world magic. (Or the treatment for a chick flick.)

Cobwebs begin clearing when the Sun enters Aquarius on the 20th. They blow out noticeably by the Full Moon in that sign on the 23rd. Tilted into new perspectives, our hearts and mode of relating put the desire for fun aside and focus on long-term value, with Venus moving into Capricorn.  We aren’t laughing so much anymore; we’re tapping a finger on the table and saying, “Ante up.” Cue “Santa Baby;” it’ll fit, no matter what the calendar says.

We may well get some of what we ask for, in tangible, reliable form. An intangible but no less valuable bonus is on the way as well. The month ends with a neat tie-in to the source of that ongoing question, what is real and what is illusion. Venus, goddess of all we hold dear, is under the command of Saturn (lord of structure, remember) and receives a helping hand on the 30th from Neptune (ruler of all ways of escaping from or transcending earthly existence). As a door opens between the cosmic overseers of earthly and highest love, real magic can show up here on terra firma. The opportunity is at hand for a dream coming into physical being. Don’t just stand there. Make like a midwife and coach it out.

Order my annual astro-overview to learn what’s coming in 2016.

About the Author

Kathy Biehl has been a professional astrologer and psychic for more than 30 years. Book a private session with Kathy at EmpowermentUnlimited.net, where you cansign up for her newsletter, listen to her weekly podcasts, and purchase her recordings. You can also follow her daily insights and whimsical photos on Facebook, and find her at the Professional Aquarian YouTube channel.

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Kathy -- the spoken forecast is going into the 2015 audio magazine folder in Dropbox. I wish you all the best for 2016!

Thank you, Kathy B!! Sending this on to the publishers, with best wishes for the start of a positively Happy New Year ahead ~ Blessings! 

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