It sure would be nice to announce that 1981 was going to be great.

It sure would be a pleasure to say things were going to improve over last year.

I can't.

Frankly, I look for 1981 to be generally rotten, fraught with potential disaster and a whale of a struggle. Oh, there will be a couple of points of saving grace, but not all that many, at least till the final part of the year.

It all began on New Year's Eve with the first of a series of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions. The second will be on March 4, and the third on July 24.

Jupiter -- huge, benevolent and comfortable -- conjoining Saturn, equally hugh but oppressive and somber. Neither wins this cosmic struggle, but the battle bodes problems.

These conjunctions occur about every 20 years, and for the past 120 years brought with them what some astrologers have called the Curse of the Presidency. Beginning with William Henry Harrison, who took office in 1841, no president whose term held a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction lived to complete that term. What does this say for President-elect Ronald Reagan?

It says one of the few good things of the year: I feel that the curse may be lifted, at least temporarily. Since 1842 the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions have occured in earth signs; our current series occurs in the air sign Libra.

I expect President Reagan to live through his term. There is no doubt, however, that the first year of his presidency will be extremely trying. The war planet, Mars, will be very prominent, and the threat to world peace very great.

There are two areas so volatile that the slightest miscalculation could bring disaster.

The Middle East, where for centuries the seers have predicted the Battle of Armageddon. If the war between Iran and Iraq isn't ended soon, perhaps by the solar eclipse of February 4, it will spread and involve two more nations, then two more. After that, who knows? As a result of this, of course, oil from the Persian Gulf almost ceases to flow, adding to the potential of a mighty confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over the dwindling supplies.

With oil topping the list, civilian shortages will cause the eruptions in the second of the world danger spots -- Middle Europe. Shortages of food, clothing and oil will make life so unbearable in this area that the Soviets will have to send troops to control not just one, but perhaps six separate nations. If they succeed, the time would be right for them to sweep into Western Europe.

There are other trouble spots for the United States. Problems of energy and ideology will arise with both Canada and Mexico. In fact, relations with Canada will sink to the lowest they ever have been, and we could see the arming or closing of parts of the common border. This type of disagreement will mark the breaking down of traditional alignments and the information of new, pragmatic ones.

As for the nation's economy, it might get better as we swing toward a war footing. Chrysler might go into receivership but be kept running to produce tanks; jobs may be created to halt food riots in major cities.

Nothing good in sight?

Yes, indeed there is.

This will be a year for independent thinkers. The moon, Venus and Mercury all make favorable aspects this year, helping those with the ability to hold back the tides of destruction.

This is a year for enormous scientific breakthrough. Any brainpower not needed for military matters should provide great advancements in synfuels, the advent of college training at home though a computer network, a rekindling of interest in outer space projects and perhaps the first implantation of a totally mechanical heart in a human.

Now let's look at the individual signs and give some guidance to those independent thinkers. Aries:

March 21 to April 19. Relationships with others will figure prominently in your horoscope this year. You must be sure, at least for the first half of 1981, to be a leader, and a solver of problems for those around you.

Your interplay with others will be your chance for success in all fields: love, marriage, business, social and transportation.

Your bigggest problem may be your inherent independence. You feel that you can move mountains this year, in personal and business life alike. Just be careful: You could outrun your family and your friends and find yourself cut off and unable to function correctly.

As the year starts, be dynamic. Take advantage of your super-bright ideas; they could halp shape the rest of the year.

Summer travel plans will fall through. Even with careful planning, domestic matters will crop up that will make an absence, even a short one, a bad idea. Console yourself with the fact that there will be travel time later.

At midyear you could be ready to start an important project. Pick your people well, and once chosen, trust them and delegate authority to them. Move slowly ahd don't be too aggressive. This is a time that you can become irritating and force people away from you. You should be extremely careful in your handling of "less important" workers; they can make you look good.

By year's end, your career continues to need concentrated and determined work. Avoid unnecessary travel or distraction and keep plugging away. Be sure to let others help you when they want to. In the last days of 1981, the career strain should ease and there can be some mixing of business and social. Taurus:

April 20 to May 20. Work hard, noble Taurian. This is a year of career activity for you.

At the beginning of 1981, let your cautious, practical mind guide you. Don't rush into career changes that may arise.

During the first quarter of the year, there will be the first of several opportunities that will come to your occupation this year. You may be offered an advancement or some new position, something you have sought or at least thought about in the past. Don't rush into acceptance.

This new job or advancement could mean your working with people you don't like, who could keep you from doing the job you had expected to do. It might also mean more responsibility than you were expecting or than you wish to shoulder at this time.

Think things out carefully. It may be better to wait for the next opportunity, which should come later in the year. If you are forced into a quick decision, enlist the aid of a cherished relative who can provide advice and stability to you.

The spring should bring you some relief from problems with close associates, a marriage partner or business partner. It will be a good time to revitalize a marriage or romance, and shore up some business associations. It's a time to make new friends, and a time to enter into associations that will be long-lasting and mutually profitable.

Midyear calls for caution in matters of health and in your dealings with others. Remember that people have come to know you as cautious, friendly and pleasant: It will be very tough for your friends and companions if you give in to a tendency now to become harsh, authoritarian and troublesome with the people around you. These actions can turn people away from you and, in fact, make them want to work actively against you. Hold your tongue!

The last part of the year is a time to get expert help with a health matter. It's important that you exert your Taurian calmness and not go off half-cocked on some fad diet or self-treatment. For example, don't overdose yourself with vitamins to help you stop smoking. Don't trade one bad habit for another -- the second could be worse.

At year's end, prepare for long-term investments. You wil happen onto some "deals," but hold them at arm's length. Speculation is not best. Prepare for the long run. Gemini: May 21 to June 20. Everything in pairs and everything a super high, super low or super happening this year for split-personality Geminis.

It's a year apply yourself to your natural artistic ability and be creative. It's a year with great romantic potential. Perhaps most important, it's finally a year when you should find some relief in two of the most troubled spots in your life -- health and working conditions.

On the other hand, these rewards will have to be earned. They must be earned in the most difficult way: You will have to be calm, deliberate and conservative in your dealings. What could be worse than that for Geminis, who love to move out, be quick on the decision and never stand still?

The time for artistic creation is now. The first part of the year is right for you to become involved with a project you have wanted to do for a long time.Not two or three projects, mind you, just one: Stick to it and it can bring you satisfaction and acclaim.

The first half of the year is also the time for romance. Be yourself; let your sunny disposition come forth and you will have popularity as never before.

At middle and end of the year, by thinking clearly and making the correct decisions, you can help improve things in your occupation. If more responsibility is given to you, take it in good grace. Concentrate on helping ease the problems of your job.

In the fall, you will have to make some important economic decisions. Don't try to be a financial wizard and go it alone; get the help of some close friends and advisers who can help you. Use their knowledge to help.

By year's end, you should be making up your mind to improve your health. Good; fall is the time to do it.

All this sounds fine, but there is a charge: The payment? Self-control and careful attention to doctor's orders. Cancer:

June 22 to July 21. This will be a year in which things you have talked about, perhaps planned for but maybe tried to put off, will come to pass.

Triggered by the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction, stern and serious activity in your personal life, home and family matters is a major consideration for the year.

Yet, the loyal children of Cancer are better able to cope than perhaps any others.

The first part of the year will involve service to your family. It could mean caring for a relative who has no one else to turn to, or becomming involved in the affairs of a younger relative who has been acting on bad advice.

Strangely, though, aiding someone in your family could bring a certain personal success. You may meet new people who can offer sound advice and even financial aid.

By early spring you begin the year-long tug-of-war between your career and your personal affairs.

Be especially careful at this time not to let bickering and petty arguments in your personal life cause distractions and lack of concentration in your job, which would be a severe blow to your reputation.

By midyear things become more stable, so you can get out more socially. Don't try to make up for lost time and accept every invitation. Instead, go to those places where you can meet people you can be at ease with. This will help your personal struggle and in fact, aid with career matters, too. Don't hesitate to mix business and pleasure. Such encounters can be mutually beneficial.

Your financial activity should peak in the fall with moderate success.

In the last 10 weeks of the year, your activity increases tenfold. You feel alert and able to control all situations. You find people lining up for your help in solving their problems. Help where you can. p

There is also the possibility of a highly romantic interlude at this time. Be prepared to take advantage of it or turn it away.

This is also the time that your job can become difficult, and, without realizing it, you can slight family and friends. Be careful -- this kind of hurt is the deepest. Leo:

July 22 to August 21. This, mighty Leo, will not be a year for you to roar. Be prepared to just rumble, or even purr.

This will not be a year of dynamic action for you, but rather a year for getting your mind and personality together, for doing some long-range planning and serious study about the problems around you.

You must plan ahead, having faith in your own judgment and decision-making ability. This year your mighty confidence can be shaken, but you must continue to believe in yourself.

If you are a writer, now is the time to plan for that book you always wanted to write. If you've wanted to learn a new skill or craft, now is the time to plan for it. Pick your instructors wisely.

Plan, and plan carefully. Just do not allow yourself to accept some silly challenge to your esteem or ego.Plan to act, not react.

The early part of the year is open for romance for you. But again, in your close relationships you can be active but not over-zealous. Curb your tendencies to be overbearing and smug; go easy.

By spring you should be in an intensely creative period. This could well grow out of an encounter with a friend who can help you with decisions. In fact, for the first half of the year, your creative instincts are better than your financial instincts.As difficult as it may be for you, proud Leo, you should trust your self to someone else's managerial skills.

By summer, travel plans should be considered -- not only social travel, but a trip connected with your job, which can be very rewarding. But this, too, must be planned carefully. Don't charge off like a mighty lion; move gracefully like a sleek cat.

This is just not a year for you to be boisterous and boasting.

By fall, financial things are emphasized. Some of your earlier planning should start to show results. Educational planning must be considered now, so use the same careful thought in these matters, too.

Late in the year, you can assume a more active role again. Ease back into normal routines that you have been avoiding.

As the year ends, things are upbeat. You can solve some pending problems and begin a new and successful career plan.

Just remember, this is a year you should sit and plan, not jump and run. Virgo:

August 22 to September 22. There's no doubt: Money and finances are going to play a prominent role in your life this year. You will have a growing power to control your income, so that the harder you work, the more you'll earn.

The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will have strong influences on your finances. Your inclination will be to press ahead optimistically in best Jupiter fashion; but beware of the obstacles of Saturn, which can cause you annoyance and frustration.

One of the most important things to watch is "frustration spending." You must not allow yourself to rush out and overspend on gadgets and useless things because you don't have the money to buy something useful that you want.

Don't spend money on high-risk investments simply because you don't have the immediate cash to invest as you would otherwise perfer to. Remain conservative.

You super-modest Virgos may have trouble on the job because you don't stand up for yourself. This year you must do some of your own horn-blowing.

During the first quarter of the year, your associations with others will be strongly reflected in your career and financial life. People will want to become involved with your life and finances, and you must judge their intent very carefully.

This is a good time for a long-term investment in art, and you should be able to obtain good advice from a creative person. Avoid the temptation to take on a partner this spring. Don't let emotions interfere with business.

Summer is the time to move on any career plans you have been making. The Uranian influences in your life will be felt as strange and unusual opportunities arise.

Save your vacation time until it's cooler. In the fall you will need to "get away" from routines and a trip can help. Don't be afraid to use your savings; indulge yourself, but don't overspend.

The year ends on a high note. A long-standing monetary goal could be achieved, and some richly deserved recognition can be yours. Libra:

September 22 to October 22. Since last year was fairly rotten for you, have hope, this one should be better.

That powerful Jupiter/Saturn conjunction takes place in your cosmic first house. You can now move out of the shadows and into the place you like best -- the spotlight.

Once again friendly Librans can step forward, give advice to those who seek it and regain the public esteem they thrive on.

This is a year when your strength and perception are working and valued; a year in which you can play power games and successfully manipulate people.

There is, however, a second side to the coin: You can give good advice and help others, but your personal life can be a problem. You may be used by others, especially during a romantic interlude. Use the self-discipline that Saturn forces on you and keep a balanced outlook.

Saturn's influences can also keep you from achieving some special goal you have been planning for. You can, however, rebound from such problems by dedicating your time to helping others with their problems.

The year's first quarter will find you the center of attention -- not of the world, but of the group of friends you choose to lead. The luster of your personality makes romance available and stimulating at this time.

Balance your career carefully. Work hard, but find time for relaxing. Be sure to pay attention to detail work or you could lose track of an important financial matter.

Spring presents you the opportunity to move in a new financial direction. Although you would rather not, now is the time for you to allow your friends to help. Don't be idealistic and stubborn; place some importance on material things.

The hot summer days are the time for you to concentrate on your career. Traveling on job matters can bring success, but beware of people around you on the job who are hostile and cause you setbacks.

The cooler days bring improvement to your social life. The right parties can introduce you to people who can help you both personally and in business.

By year's end, some of the financial situations you planned earlier in the year should begin to pay off. SCORPIO: October 23 to November 21 . 1981 charges into the life of Scorpios.As the year opens you will already be in the middle of some sort of important decision-making, the kind of decision that can have a profound effect on your life for the next several years. The Jupiter/Saturn conjunction will complicate things. There will be moments of optimism and Jupiterian confidence that send you off in one direction; then you will be struck with fears and Saturnian conflict. You won't know which way to turn.

What is this decision? It probably will have to do with relationships. It may be that you are considering going into a business partnership; you may be considering a romantic partnership.

In any event, move slowly.Think carefully and even stall a little if you can. The longer you stretch out the decision-making process, the better your chance of success.

By spring you must have your decision made and you can move ahead. You may be offered an artistic opportunity; take it. This is a great chance for you to study something you've always wanted to.

Emphasis on partnership is strong again in early summer, as are job and career matters. Once again, the concept of a business partner should be considered.

The hot days of summer are the days that you must work very hard at your job. There may be confrontations and you must devote all the time necessary to protect your good reputation.

As the days cool down, so do some of the tensions in your life. The fall is time to pick up your social activities. Get out with some old friends; perhaps rekindle an old romance. The social scene can also help ease a general restlessness that has come over you.

By the time your birthday rolls around, you should feel better and able to cope with any recurring problems in finance.

Year's end will be confusing in many respects, so keep your wits about you and stay in touch with old friends. SAGITTARIUS: November 22 to December 21 . Count on your friends, Sagittarians. This is a year in which friends can be all-important; a year in which you find yourself regaining the ability to make and hold friends.

Important decisions will be made with friends' help, and some of your most enjoyable times will come in the company of friends.

Cultivate friendships: They are one of the strongest assets you have in a year that can bring social and romantic activity and some dramatic changes to your lifestyle.

The first part of the year is drab, and the nation's economic slowdown can affect you more than most. You have several financial deals pending, but don't look for a quick or successful solution.

Keep your temper and your sense of humor, and by spring things will begin to ease off.

As the weather warms up, so does your life. This is the time for a new romantic adventure or bolstering up a marriage. You will be forced to make some important domestic decisions now, so keep a clear head.

Do some mental spring cleaning and be ready to solve pending problems and to take advantage of a partnership deal. This is a time to make new friends who can stay with you forever and be of great help.

The summer days will be confusing. New deals are offered, then pulled back. You find yourself unable to make monetary decisions or, at best, just wanting to put them off. Indulge yourself. Hastily agreed-to contracts would just cause you trouble.

The fall will find you involved in educational matters. You may be helping someone else through school, or you may decide to go back to school yourself.

The colder weather can bring you unhappiness in your personal relationships.

You can find yourself at odds with business associates and have great difficulty backing away from a disastrous battle. A mutual friend will try the role of peacemaker; listen to her.

At year's end you may decide to take a vacation to get away from some difficult problems. The vacation is OK, but remember, you can't run from problems forever. CAPRICORN: December 22 to January 20 . For all of you dignified Capricornians, this will be a year in which you must always project your natural traits of wisdom, poise and confidence.

The massive Jupiter/Saturn conjunction occurs in your 10th house -- the place of your career, fame, reputation and public image.

These giants will stimulate activity in these fields, and those of you who have to work for a living will be tried this year.

During the first part of the year, this activity begins to bubble. In the first days you feel confident and able to control all of your job situations. You find that you are able to handle setbacks as they arise, and you become favored by your employer. The favor could take the form of successful -- but short -- trips as his personal representative.

As the spring begins, be open and honest at your job. If you are considering a change, don't hide it. If you continue with an honest relationship, your recommendations will be glowing.

The preoccupation with your job can cause some domestic problems. You must consider family and personal relationships as well as business matters. It will help if you strive to improve your domestic surroundings. Make the needed repairs to your home or redecorate to liven things up.

The heat of summer will bring many things in your life to a climax. You may be offered a new job, or change residences, perhaps as a part of your new job. Stay loose and keep your head clear. This may be one of the most important periods of your life.

As the summer ends, the effects of your decisions will be felt. Opportunities continue, and some of them call for you to re-learn some old skill or craft. Don't hesitate.

Colder weather calls for you to maintain your poise and dignity. You will have to tackle some hostility and back-biting. You will find yourself hit with a series of irritations and frustrations, but hang on.

The last few weeks of the year will be dynamic and full of action. Social pleasure and travel will bring great success.You will find that your thoughts and ideas are highly respected, so speak up.

You'll be amazed at how many people are listening. AQUARIUS: January 21 to February 19 .Well, Aquarians, since your age is still dawning, be of better cheer. This year will bring a little light to the sky.

You finally should get some relief from the Uranus on your back.

That planet of suddenness and change will leave your house of occupation briefly in the spring and finally in the late fall. That means some of the trials and tribulations you have been going through on the job for the past few years will end.

This is also a year of "trying again." You may decide to return to school for an advanced degree; you could be offered a new shot at a job you once held; you may decide to rekindle an old flame.

Lots of actions ahead, so keep a clear head and don't make rash decisions.

During the first weeks of the year you have an open and forgiving mind. You can look at the "big picture" better than you have in a long time. Watching people around you will help you make important decisions.

As the spring progresses, those decisions become more important, more frequent and more troublesome. Meet the challenge head-on, but don't be abrasive. You may find that some of your fundamental ideas, beliefs and actions are shaken now, so don't prejudge. You may realize that some of those ideas should be discarded.

Early summer is calm, but as the temperature rises, so does your temper and your temptation to make hasty judgments. This can hurt.

By fall you must learn to balance aggressiveness and good humor. Be practical and evaluate hazy programs carefully. This is the time for you to be very budget conscious. On the other hand, don't try to veto some pet project of your employer -- he will take such things personally, and your job could be in jeopardy.

You will probably be offered a piece of a big business deal by a friend at this time. If you trust the friend, then trust the deal.

Winter may bring the rebirth of an old romance. Go along with it; your old friend is probably sincere.

You'll face more career pressure in the final weeks of the year, so stay calm. Once this one blows over, you'll be in a great position to write your own ticket. Pisces: February 20 to March 20. Hang on a little longer, gentle child of Pisces. This is not a year of action for you -- not a year of advancement, nor a year of decline. It's a year when you must not give way to boredom or inactivity, and plan ahead for better days.

The first weeks of the year will find pleasant, if uninspiring, social activities. Go ahead and accept invitations, though, since the time is ripe for you to meet someone who can influence your career later.

If you decide to enter into a private business partnership, be sure that you exert a practical influence.

Happy birthday will be a good phrase for you, since this is a time when you are popular and encounter little friction or hositility. This is also a time to be practical in business and, indeed, a conservative investment is in order. t

Spring brings an unexpected and very satisfying recognition of an involvement in a civic matter. It is also a time for material improvements in your home. Overdue redecorating is a good idea now, and you should supervise the project personally.

This year you shouldn't plan a summer vacation. There are more things to entertain you close to home than far away. Invite friends to visit you. You are in a position to be a fine host and show off some of the changes you have made not only to home but to your neighborhood. Bask a little in your own light -- you deserve to.

In early fall, you should concern yourself with matters of health, such as exercise and diet. Be sensible and don't overdo. Keep this in the same steady pace as other activities. No crash or fad diets; a return to sensible eating is called for.

In the final months of the year, the tempo of your life picks up. You should experience activity in your career; the tempo of romantic activity also picks up and a very strong partnership is in the offing.

By year's end new and dynamic forces affect your job; unexpected changes and challenges will come to you. It's a time of expansion and growth, and a time when you must trust your own judgment rahter than that of those who would advise you.