The post-eclipse New Year dawned here in sunshine and snow, but the New Year is not an astrological marker, more of a collective and individual psychological one.  As such, it is a powerful time.  So in a way it is nice to note that there are only two aspects this week, both minor ones, so this blog may be short (something I always aspire to).  It gives us a chance to clear our mental decks and get into our own stride, and start the New Year in more thoughtful mode, without hassle from the more challenging aspects (unless for instance you are in the midst of a personal Pluto transit).  Does it mean there will be no news this week?  We shall soon enough find out.  So it may be a quiet start to the year, but it won’t be a quiet year.  It will be a year of extremes (again) with Jupiter conjunct Uranus in one corner, and Saturn square Pluto in another corner…The two aspects we have both involve the Retrograde Mercury, so it will be a chance to examine how Mercury Retrograde affects the two individual conjunctions, whether there is indeed a retro effect (e.g. harking back to the past).  Tomorrow (Monday 4th) the Sun is conjunct Mercury.  Certainly, those arriving fresh from a break to the coal face of the Office will be greeted with a backlog of paperwork, or just work if the Office is paperless.  The Sun and Mercury seem in a rush to collide as today the Sun is at 12 degrees Capricorn, and Mercury at 16 degrees moving backwards, and travel at twice their normal speed to meet this rendezvous tomorrow at 14 degrees.  What’s the rush?  There may be hastily arranged meetings tomorrow, working lunches, coffee breaks missed, brainstorming and information overload.  If you have an extra day off, it may be important to try to clear your thoughts, meditate, and write, broadcast or blog.  I once wrote 12 zodiac poems on a Sun conjunct Mercury in Capricorn.  Capricorn can organize a lot of thought into one system, so interesting work could be achieved tomorrow.  Writing is the theme of this week, and any babies born this week could have a gift for writing or oratory.  For the second aspect which occurs is Mercury conjunct Venus at 13 degrees Capricorn on Tuesday (5th).  Mercury conjunct Venus  in a birth chart is often the mark of a writer  who writes (Mercury) with feeling (Venus).  Arthur Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and J.K. Rowling all have this conjunction natally.  So if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to start your novel that you always knew you had in you, give it a go on Tuesday.  But it is also a good time to catch up on reading, if you don’t feel it is quite time yet.  Also this week make the most of social connections, while Jupiter is still in Aquarius, for it will soon move to Pisces (18 January) where its influence will be more subtle and inward-looking.  I am hosting a dinner party (inspired by back-to-back episodes of “Come Dine with Me”), hoping to bring back the art of conversation and bring together friends old and new.  The strange thing about Jupiter this year is that it will zip through Pisces in double-quick time to arrive for a rendezvous with Uranus at the beginning of Aries in the summer.  Make a move to snatch some quality time with friends this week or next, between novels.