There’s no place so identified with car culture as California. Once the fourth-largest crude oil producer in the U.S., my home state’s abundant fossil fuels and balmy weather helped birth a culture of iconic cars, highways, drive-in theaters and restaurants. Whether it was Model-T’s at the beach, Mustangs on the track or lowriders in the ‘hood, Cali folks have worshipped our gas-guzzlers since the early 20th Century.
But times have changed. Now we’re experiencing a myriad of climate disasters driven by global warming (largely caused by the burning of fossil fuels), like the “atmospheric river” currently pummeling our fair state, shutting down roads and triggering mudslides. These kinds of storms are expected to get more extreme as our atmosphere and oceans warm even further, pumping more moisture into the air.
California’s love affair with Big Oil is over. Though it’s been on the wane for a while, we officially broke up on Feb. 2, when the two largest U.S. oil producers, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, publicly disclosed a combined $5 billion write-down (adjustment to the value) of California assets. This ends five decades of oil production off the coast of Southern California, and moves us closer to fossil fuel freedom. It’s still going to take until 2035 for the ban on selling new gas-guzzlers to take effect, but we’re getting there.
How synchronistic that this split was finalized just a week before the Aquarius New Moon (Feb. 9, 2:58 p.m. PST). This lunation at 20 Aquarius, whose modern ruler is Uranus, brings visions of the future, whether inspiring or challenging. The Sun and Moon are also squared by Uranus, which can shake things up and bring surprises. Saturn, the traditional ruler of Aquarius, helps keep us level-headed as it makes a supportive sextile to Jupiter. Tried-and-true methods combined with out-of-the-box thinking are key to success. All planets are in forward motion through the end of March, so progress is bound to happen. It’s an intense time, though, with life-changing Pluto starting to find its footing in Aquarius. The California floods peaked on Feb. 5 just as Mercury (high winds) joined Pluto (destruction/rebirth). There may be other wake-up calls around Feb. 13, when Mars joins Pluto, and around Feb. 17 when Venus does likewise.
Is there something in your life that’s been over for a while, but you haven’t been willing to face it? If so, the Aquarius New Moon can help you move on. Or, you might feel ready to make a big breakthrough to achieve something you’ve long desired. With unpredictable Uranus so prominent, it’s hard to say what will happen if you step out into new terrain, but the outcome is apt to be solid, with Uranus in earthy Taurus. Dare to set yourself free to become a new version of yourself, and pursue what lights you up.
Emphasizing the themes of freedom and growth, at the Feb. 9 New Moon we enter the Chinese Year of the Yang Wood Dragon. A powerful, mythical creature who dwells outside our realm, the Dragon is associated with good fortune and going beyond our limits to achieve great things. The all-seeing Dragon also reveals how we are all interconnected, and it enjoys instigating revolutions and achieving impossible dreams (sounds rather Aquarian, eh?)
Karen Abler Carrasco of the Western School of Feng Shui says that Dragon years overturn tired routines and purge stagnant excesses, bringing revelation, revolution, and resolution. And, this is especially true of Yang (assertive) Wood (growth-oriented) Dragon years. The last such year, 1964, saw young folks taking to the streets to protest the Viet Nam War, a revolution in popular music thanks to the Beatles and Bob Dylan, and the Civil Rights movement sparking change. If you were born in a Dragon year, get set to soar! And if you’re born in a year ending in 4 or 5, your element is Wood – which accentuates your growth this year.
Abler Carrasco asserts, “This year we will see, with honest clarity, what kind of work we humans need to do to weave ourselves back into the sustaining Web of Life.” So let’s use this Yang Wood Dragon energy to catalyze positive change. There is much to be accomplished in our beleaguered world, but Aquarian teamwork and Dragon determination can turn things around. After all, it wasn’t long ago that fossil fuels were driving the California economy – and now they’re finally starting to go the way of dinosaurs!