by Joan Kiley
Welcome December! The final month, the darkest month, and for me, the favorite! December 2013 has a lot of complex astrological activity, some of it rather intense, but we may have a bit more enthusiasm to cope with it all, especially compared to November! The month started with the Sun at 9 degrees Sagittarius, squaring Chiron in Pisces and trine to Uranus in Aries. Retrograde Jupiter in Cancer was active, being trine to the Moon, Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio and opposing Venus in Capricorn.
These aspects tell me we do have memories of past behavior/experience to wade through, emotional content to own and release this month, but especially in the first weeks. In other words, time to forgive and move on where you can. I don’t say that in a light way, mind you, for not every resentment has reached “maturity.” But many have. There is much to let go. And we’ll have an increase in our energy to cope. It will feel liberating to lighten our load and release whatever we can.
On December 2nd the Moon joined the Sun for the New Moon in Sagittarius, so we had the opportunity to envision where we’d like to be at month’s end, almost like making a New Year’s resolution, but at the beginning of December. Sagittarius has an optimism about it we need to take advantage of, especially when Jupiter (ruler of Sag) is also in play with Venus and Saturn! Practical values (Venus in Capricorn)! What do we really want? What are we willing to take responsibility for (Jupiter trine Saturn)?
Mercury joined the Sun in Sagittarius on December 5, to help lighten our attitudes. It moves quite rapidly to a trine with Uranus. With both Mercury and its higher octave, Uranus, in fire signs, our intuition is highlighted. Uranus is almost stationary the entire month, slowing for a station direct at the Full Moon. But while it sits at about 8 degrees 40 minutes Aries, it forms small but significant aspects, semi-sextiles, to both Chiron and the South Node of the Moon. We don’t talk about these aspects much, but given that they remain solid for the entire month, it seems important to point out how much our intuition and memory can be focal for us during this time. Pay attention to synchronicities, dreams, and links to the past. They could be helpful in the letting go process we are embarked upon.
Mars moved into Libra on December 7, encouraging us to act in a balanced way, in order to bring about justice and fairness. The movement of Mars into Libra is significant, because it means that it will be moving toward an opposition with Uranus in Aries. At the same time retrograde Jupiter in Cancer is moving back toward an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. These two oppositions, happening simultaneously, will result in a very significant Cardinal Grand Cross later in the month.
On December 9, an exact grand trine in water signs, between Jupiter, the Moon and Saturn tells me that if we seek reassurance within, we will find it. We’ll feel more emotionally secure in the decisions to let go of negative emotional baggage that may have been much more of a burden on ourselves than we’d realized.
We have a Full Moon in Gemini at 1:27 AM PST on December 17. If you have plans to socialize, just know that a Gemini Moon will bring out the talkative types. Having the Moon opposite Mercury in Sagittarius will make it a double whammy, only the two won’t be in sync. If you are in the mood for such, make those plans, by all means. However, if you are in a more quiet mood, decline the invitations, watch a movie, or sit with a book by the fire.
The squares in Cardinal signs are lining up, but are not yet in a Grand Cross. Nevertheless, with a Full Moon we can truly “feel” the tension. Mars is square Pluto and opposed Uranus. Uranus stations direct at 9:40 AM PST, that same day, December 17, highlighting its fiery quality. With Mars in Libra, relationships are emphasized. Mars wants something, and may decide to be argumentative, even explosive, if its needs are not met. Hopefully, the Jupiter opposing Pluto can slow down the curve, but don’t count on it. Just be prepared by taking some me-time, so that you are poised, at peace with yourself, and willing to walk away if need be.
During the early weeks of the month, Venus begins to slow down, in preparation for her biannual retrograde period. On the Winter Solstice, December 21, Venus stations retrograde at 28 degrees 59 minutes Capricorn at 1:54 PM PST. I mention the degree because this is the degree to which she will have to return before she slips out of her shadow period after stationing direct. Venus is retrograde until January 31st but remains in her shadow period through March 4. She entered Capricorn on November 5, so this is a full four months, a long period for Venus to remain in one sign. Thus we know there are lessons for us to learn while she’s there.
What might we learn from Venus, the planet of love and beauty and values, in the sign of Saturn, the planet of structure and limits and inhibition? Hmmm, at first glance, that doesn’t sound like a very comfortable combo. Looking a bit deeper, however, we can see some rather timely possibilities. In many places in the world, including our own U.S., the feminine has been getting quite a beating lately, at times quite literally. Perhaps a strong Venus in Capricorn could put the earth under her feet, the strength of knowing and keeping boundaries into her relationships (NO means NO, etc), and make the executive function come alive in her dealings with work and finances. We could see women in leadership roles make the headlines. And remember, we all have Venus strong in our being, we all have a need for love, and we all have a need to be clear on what it is we value.
Venus has a shadow side as well, and Venus in Capricorn could bring that out in spades. We might see how hierarchy and power affect us in relationships in less than attractive ways. We might see an over-emphasis on money to the detriment of kindness and compassion. There might be a focus on tit for tat, a keeping score, rather than giving for giving’s sake. And we might see confusion about, or an undue connection between love and money.
A look at where Capricorn is in your own chart, by house and any planetary connections, will definitely give you much more information about this Venus retrograde period, and how it may affect you personally. Remember Cancer is its opposite, and both Aries and Libra square it, so anything in those signs could be strongly affected as well.
As we well know, December brings with it the official onset of Winter. The Winter Solstice occurs at 9:11 AM PST on December 21, when the Sun enters Capricorn. At that moment, the Moon in Leo is square Saturn in Scorpio, while Mars in Libra opposes Uranus in Aries, and both square Pluto in Capricorn, forming a potent T-square. If this picture tells us anything about what Winter has in store for us, it could be a difficult winter for many, but one that brings about deep change that will benefit us all.
There will be a lot of stubborn holding to old emotional patterning, despite being hammered with evidence from all sides that it isn’t such a great idea and will likely lead only to more difficulties. There could be breakthroughs, or breakdowns, in communications or negotiations that could bring about innovative solutions to long-standing problems. Relationships, both personal and professional, are likely targets for change. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (Socrates)
On December 24, Mercury joins the Sun, Pluto and Venus in Capricorn. This puts the mind into a more serious and practical frame, perhaps better suited to solitary tasks like snow shoveling than the more likely holiday gatherings with the in-laws. Yet Capricorn is no more of the “Bah! Humbug!” sort of temperament than any other sign. It’s just that the archetype is quite businesslike in it’s approach to life, so even in merrymaking, will like to think there is something practical to be gained by participation.
The Moon joins Mars in Libra on December 25, which could either mellow out that T-square with Uranus and Pluto or put it in high gear. Just to be on the safe side, try mixing something unusual into your holiday traditions, so you provide an outlet for any lurking urges toward rebellion. Put some actual physical activity into the day, so that there is little pent-up energy waiting to burst.
From December 26 through the end of the month, Mars will be square to 3 planets in Capricorn, not just Pluto. Plus Jupiter will be opposing those same three planets in Capricorn, not just Pluto. Jupiter will also be in a waxing square to Uranus. This makes for an enormous amount of tension in the chart as we approach the New Moon in Capricorn, just hours past midnight on New Year’s Eve. We call this formation a Cardinal Grand Cross, meaning all the cardinal signs are activated as planets in those signs form a large square formation with oppositions between the corners. It is not exact, far from it, but it is a preview of what we will get later in the spring of 2014, when we’ll have an exact Grand Cross at 13 degrees of cardinal signs.
Cardinal energy wants to initiate, move, be active. The squares and oppositions keep the energy in a kind of “stand-off.” It’s like a volcanic mine field, with sudden bursts of energy or action, but much bubbling underneath. Could be very exciting, as in innovations for good. Could just be more “drama of the insignificant” as Congress kowtows to corporate dollar signs. Just be on your toes, especially if you have planets or angles in the cardinal signs. Know that you are to be part of the continuing great “’shift” in consciousness of these years we are living in. Your role is an important one. Better to flow with it than to resist it.
May the best of the power of Solstice be with you.