Xmas Sag header

Astrologically, December is really a play of two acts – the first part being very social and jolly, as is befitting of the festive season and the Sun’s travels through upbeat Sagittarius; whilst the second part, marked by the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn and the winter solstice, is much more solitary and hermit-like, as we leave the parties behind and turn inward in order to consider our resolutions for the coming New Year.

It therefore seems fitting that in the lead-up to Christmas, we can look forward to a number of highly beneficial, in some cases, exciting aspects, involving sociable Venus, jolly Jupiter and dynamic Uranus, all of which should offer plenty of reasons to celebrate and socialise.

After Christmas, however, it is probably better to stay at home as the flow of travel and communications becomes temporarily snarled up by a number of challenging Mercury transits. The mood turns contemplative as we approach the New Year, thanks to the Sun’s sextile to sensitive Neptune on the 29th. The latter transit is contemplative and dreamy, urging us to rest from the daily grind and consider our position in relation to the larger scheme of things. The latter aspect should also help us to reconnect with what is truly important, whilst also bringing a renewed sense of hope about the future – no bad thing after the recent trials and tribulations brought about by Neptune and Saturn in November and December…

Be sure to keep an eye on my Twitter and Facebook updates for more detailed daily astro-insights as the month unfolds, as well as news of an exciting new product launch! In the meantime, let’s look at what else to expect from the heavens during December…

Lunar Phases

NEW MOON IN SAGITTARIUS – 11 Dec 2015, 10h30 GMT

This December, the New Moon will take place at 19 degrees Sagittarius, which in terms of Sabian symbolism, is associated with moving home or moving on in some way. Mark Edmund Jones connected this degree to the image of PELICANS MOVING THEIR HABITAT, which Lynda Hill interprets as being about coming to ‘the realization that conditions are changing’ and that, as a result, ‘you may need to move to a new situation that can provide a better way of life with more nourishment.’ James Burgess goes further, stating that we do no serve ourselves well if we continue to stay in situations that are no longer acceptable or which do not help us grow or flourish:

Any willingness to settle for less than enough is born of fear or lack of gumption. Like these pelicans, we may have to move our habitat in order to re-establish ourselves whenever our circumstances no longer seem profitable.[1]

So, at this time, you may need to ask yourself some searching questions about your present circumstances, whether they be relationships, domestic arrangements or working or living conditions. If, in some way, you feel you are stagnating or ‘settling’, you may need to admit that the time to move on has arrived.

Interestingly, the Full Moon will be making a T-square with Jupiter and Chiron, which does rather suggest the potentially painful process of having to let certain relationships or situations go. What’s more, Mars and Pluto will be in difficult aspect to each other – an extremely tense transit that will be active during the first two weeks of December, so do be on your guard against potential terrorist attacks and freak accidents.

More positively, the New Moon will be trine to Uranus, which is suggestive of good coming out of bad, or indeed, of a strong desire to be true to yourself, even if this means giving up what is familiar or taking the path less trodden. However, this too can have its benefits. Albert Einstein once said that: ‘The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before. This seems to chime with what Burgess has to say about the spirit of this degree. Comparing it to being a pioneer or frontiersman, he says:

‘The refinement, and evolutionary growth, of our character and soul, will never occur without living outside the comfort zone and on the frontier of our awareness.’

This is Sagittarius as the explorer and adventurer, urging us to seek out wonder and new horizons, and to heed the calling of our souls and cast aside fear of the unknown, even if this is a scary prospect. However, this needs to be done honourably and with integrity – we are not talking simply about just taking off unannounced or being insensitive – and here it is fitting that in the Full Moon chart, the Moon is conjunct the part of the Honourable Acquaintance – a lot that has kept popping up since the Spring Eclipses in March/April 2015, suggesting an important ongoing theme for this year. It would seem then, that together with the drive for greater authenticity being promulgated by Uranus (which incidentally turns direct on 26 December), one also needs to find ways of being truthful and honest without hurting others – a distinct possibility, if the T-square involving Chiron and Jupiter are anything to go by.

On a mundane level, I also wonder if this Sabian symbol could also refer to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis. Certainly, if one examines the full oracle given with this degree symbol, it would appear so. In the Hill version, this is: PELICANS DISTURBED BY THE GARBAGE OF PEOPLE MOVE THEIR YOUNG TO A NEW HABITAT. We could read this as the chaos and mess made by war which leads people to flee their homes. If so, I wonder if Jeremy Corbyn may be forced to make a difficult choice about his position as leader of the opposition around about this time? On the other hand, it could point to environmental disaster and the mass migration of animals as a result of pollution, and with world leaders meeting for a global climate change summit for the next two weeks, this also seems to be an appropriate symbol. Paired with the New Moon, which symbolises fresh starts and new cycles, hopefully this augurs well for a new deal. Only time will tell though…

FULL MOON IN CANCER- 25 Dec 2015, 11h11 GMT

This year, the Full Moon happens to fall on Christmas day – and in a sign traditionally associated with family, food and domestic gatherings, which should hopefully bode well for the occasion!

The Full Moon will make a trine to Neptune, a planet associated with magical moments, dreams and glamour, which should hopefully mean a fairy-tale like or charmed Christmas. Perhaps this year, you’ll escape somewhere warm or exotic, or you could receive the present of your dreams. Let’s hope so, because the Sabian symbol for this zodiacal degree is AN ARCTIC EXPLORER LEADS A REINDEER THROUGH ICY CANYONS, which seems to be a continuation of the idea of frontier exploration proposed in relation to the New Moon by James Burgess above. Hill associates this symbol with the ‘risk and hard slog’ needed to get to a new or unknown destination.

Burgess puts forward a slightly different image of a MAN BUNDLED UP IN FUR LEADING A SHAGGY DEER, which does seem to carry overtones of cold/winter or having to contend with a potentially challenging environment. According to him, this ‘strange image suggests an outdoorsman with little adherence to conventionality or home comforts, and is indicative of the indomitable spirit of humanity as it faces the challenge of harsh conditions with confidence and grit.’ In many ways, this could be interpreted as the full expression of what could happen if you did heed the call of the Sagittarius New Moon and strike out on your own. You could face ‘the cold shoulder’ from others, or indeed, be forced to endure difficult, possibly even lean times. However, your only option may be to keep going so as not to ‘freeze up’ or become trapped in a situation that would ultimately prove to be stifling.

Thus, although it may be tough to begin with, you could also find such a situation liberating. Leading a simple, paired back life is often associated with spiritual growth and creative profusion – paring back the distractions of everyday life in order to make room for creative/spiritual practice and contemplation. With Neptune in the mix, it would definitely seem as though the path of the pilgrim may bring enormous inner satisfaction now, even if it means making sacrifices on a material/financial/lifestyle level. Not the most popular concept these days, but one that still holds true.

I’ll end with the wise words of James Burgess on this:

The trail-blazing instinct is writ deep and clear in the human heart. We are all pioneers on some level, and any permanent capitulation in the name of safety and pleasure is a distortion – an abuse of the principle of recuperation and rest…. Life is real and rewarding only as it can be carried on from something known to something unknown. We are fully alive only when experiencing the adventure of what is essentially uncontrollable.

Solar Phases

SUN INTO CAPRICORN – 22 December 2015, 04h48 GMT

From an astrological perspective, the Sun’s ingress into Capricorn marks the winter solstice. Traditionally, this is considered to be a liminal or turning point between the season of winter and spring when darkness begins to retreat and the light begins its return to the planet.

As such, the period from around the 23rd of December onwards is seen by astrologers as a time when the power of Saturn is considered to be strong. This is a very ancient idea, firmly embedded within astrological lore: the ancient Mesopotamians often referred to Saturn as the ‘Star of the Sun’51 or ‘Shamash of the Night,’ which seems to suggest that the inventors of astrology saw Saturn as playing a caretaker role, one that involved taking over rulership of the heavens during periods of darkness, both at night and during wintertime, when the Sun was largely concealed from view. 55 In some classical texts, the Saturnian mountain goat of Capricorn is even held to be responsible for bringing back the Sun ‘from the lower to the upper parts of its course’ at the time of the winter solstice, when the Sun reverses its dip in declination and begins to climb back up into the skies. [2]

As is fitting for a sign associated with the hardship and darkness of winter, Capricorn is considered to a serious, stoic and solitary sign. And indeed, Graham Miller, author of The Busy Pagan, describes this period as being ‘a cold, dark, inward looking time, but filled with the knowledge that we all need within ourselves for further growth. It is a period of contraction and resting before the growth of the new year.’ It is therefore a good idea to spend some quiet time on your own thinking about future plans, personal goals and social or familial obligations and considering how you could restructure your current lifestyle or work routines so that you can make better use of your time in the new year. It may also be a good time to consider where you need to set limits with regards to resources, whether this be tightening your belt financially or saying no to people who drain your energy or don’t respect your emotional boundaries.

However, it is also worth remembering that Capricorn is a sign that isn’t shy of hard work and is often willing to shoulder those responsibilities that other more fun-loving or flaky signs might naturally tend to avoid, so when the Capricorn Sun meets with Neptune in philanthropic and service-oriented Neptune on the 29th, you may also want to think about how you can give more of yourself, your time or your resources in 2016 in a way that benefits others, whether it is being a better provider, helping out more at home, caring for an elderly relative, running for public office or volunteering at a local charity or shelter. After the excess and hedonism of the party season, this transition should come about pretty naturally. Use this determined, strategic and prudent Capricornian energy to shift the Xmas pounds, set new career goals for 2016 and generally trim the fat off of wasteful habits or practices. And with the Sun due to conjunct Pluto in the first week of January, it is worth remembering that with power comes responsibility, so if you want to be more in control of your life, you may also need to face up to certain unpleasant obligations or challenging situations. Grit your teeth, square your shoulders and say yes to all that 2016 brings!

Planetary Events & Sign Shifts

Retrogrades & Stations

Uranus Direct: 26 Dec 2015

On Boxing Day, restless but brilliant Uranus turns direct, which may reignite within you an urge to be more independent, adventurous or open to trying new things. This is also the ideal time to launch novel technologies, social groups or humanitarian projects: if you have an unusual invention or believe in a great cause, then now is the time to stand up and get noticed for all the right reasons – social, political or environmental activism is back! It is also ideal for those keen to strike out on their own, disentangle themselves from stifling relationships, come out of the closet or just enjoy more personal freedom. One of the big themes of Uranus’ transit through Aries has been a drive for greater authenticity and a feisty, individualism that isn’t afraid of being different, quirky – even geeky – and also doesn’t care too much about social disapproval, or conservative attitudes towards difference and non-conformity. If you’ve spent the last few months tweaking plans to strike out on your own or waiting for the right opportunity to try something new, then this is your opportunity. Get ready to enter 2016 with the guts, sass and determination to be yourself, today and every day!

Planetary Ingresses

Venus into Scorpio: 5-29 Dec

Despite the wintry cold, temperatures are set to rise during December’s first week as foxy Venus glides into seductive Scorpio. Romance should sizzle and hiss for lovers, so if you’re single, then the 2015 Christmas party circuit could be the very place to mingle and hook yourself a hottie! Just be discreet if you do end up hook up with anyone at the office Christmas party and guard against courting gossip through risky behaviour – saucy rumours and sex scandals are always a very real possibility when Venus and Scorpio get together. If you want to make a fashion statement, then opt for dark red lips, spiky black heels and figure-hugging silhouettes, or references to gothic glamour and film noir. Channelling your best version of a femme fatale or darkly funny character like Morticia Addams will definitely win you admirers, so get all dark and mysterious now if you want to turn up the heat romance-wise.

Mercury into Capricorn: 10 Dec – 2 Jan

Planet of commerce, communication and curiosity, Mercury will ingress into pragmatic and ambitious Capricorn on December the 10th. As a result, you may find your mind turning to career, financial or family matters. The good news is that under this transit, you’ll be brimming with good ideas for how to impress VIPs and climb the career ladder. Long range planning and strategic decisions should also be a cinch during this transit – you’ll be less emotional about making important decisions and clearer on where eficiencies or reductions can be made to create a leaner operation.

The one thing to watch is a tendency to pessimism, depression or self-doubt. Try to focus on pragmatic strategies that are achievable, rather than mentally beating yourself up over what you SHOULD do or constantly thinking that things will go wrong. Instead, use this energy to troubleshoot potential snags and overcome obstacles BEFORE they even happen – having a Plan B in case of unforeseen eventualities is what Capricorns are great at. Power days include the 19th when Mercury conjuncts Pluto and Dec 14, when Neptune combines with Mercury to help make dreams come true. Christmas day should also be special, thanks to a trine between Mercury in Capricorn and benevolent Jupiter in Virgo. This could be a very constructive and gainful time if you play your cards right. A tasteful, less is more approach and courteous, respectful manner will both go a long way to helping you get noticed by the people who count.

For more details of key aspects and what to expect day by day during December, be sure to check out the Daily Astro-Insights on our Facebook page.

REFERENCES

[1] James Burgess, Full Circle: Commentary on the Work of Dr Marc Edmund Jones as an Introduction to his Understanding Of Sabian Symbols, http://www.jamesburgess.com/

[2] Macrobius, Saturnalia, I.22.13

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