Happy New Year, everyone.
Though I say that more in hope than expectation. 2008 is the year that no-one is looking forward to. Even superstition gives little consolation. The astrologer Shelley Von Strunkel, writing in The Times, warns that this will be the "year of reckoning". Not because of the credit crunch, though. Or house prices. Or terrorism, or global warming, or political instability.
No. It's all down to Pluto.
It’s been in Sagittarius for the past decade, inviting us to face deep and complex inner issues – a few have taken up the offer, but most have preferred the distractions of glamour, gadgets, luxury brands and increasingly absorbing online worlds. Pluto symbolises truth, toxins – and transformation. Its move into the exceedingly practical Capricorn on January 26 begins the actual process of reckoning. From that point on, there will be no turning back.
So there you have it. We have been ignoring Pluto. Probably not too surprising, since it turned out not to be a planet at all but rather a superior sort of snowball, so insignificant it makes the moon look positively Jupiter-like in comparison, just one among many pieces of space junk out there on the outer edges of the solar system. Last August, the International Astronomical Union voted to boot Pluto out of the official list of planets; though as a sop to its many fans they agreed to re-designate it as a "dwarf planet". There's a much bigger dwarf planet called Eris.
And now it has its revenge.