Low-Down Archives December 2008

December 2008

For the New Moon Cycle in Sagittarius :
November 27/28 to December 27, 2008

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Nov.27 – NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS (05:49 of Sagittarius)

NEW MOON in SAGITTARIUS

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Nov.27, 11:54 AM EST

London, UK:

Nov.27, 11:54 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Nov.28, 10:54 AM AEDT

"What's a New Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience SAGITTARIUS energy in your life.

Pluto went into Capricorn yesterday. Uranus is stationary Direct today – 45 miniscule minutes before the New Moon is exact. Alongside the Sun and Moon, we have Mercury and Mars also in Sagittarius, and all of them, are tightly conjunct within less than 3 degrees. Venus is conjunct Jupiter, Saturn is opposed Uranus, and Jupiter is still tightly trine Saturn and sextile Uranus.

Who but Sagittarius could put on such a grand and exciting show! Let's take it scene by scene.

Just when you think the plot will be pointed toward Capricorn, with Pluto having JUST moved there, we have about six hundred planets (give or take a dozen) in the previous sign of Sagittarius. Huh?? What does this mean? Well, transitions are funny things. When you take a step through a doorway, only one foot gets there first. All eyes are on that foot because it's the cutting edge; it's out front; it's the arrow that points your way to where you're going. The other foot is still behind you in the place from whence you came. It may not seem as exciting or interesting, but it is performing an essential function—it's pushing you off so that you can continue moving in a forward direction.

"What the Hades is she talking about??" you might ask. Think of those Sagittarius planets as the toes on the foot that is behind, and collectively they are giving you a push! Mars pushes you through courage, daring, self-confidence and inspired action. Mars also gives you the bravado to carry it out and keep moving, even if you're not completely sure of yourself.

Mercury is not at its happiest in Sagittarius, being in its Detriment. Nevertheless, it contributes the meaningful reasoning and understanding that allows you to put things into a broader context. This quality is essential to keep you from either getting lost in the details or getting buried in a lack-luster view of the reality around you. However, you may have to stretch your mind and imagination further than usual to accomplish this.

The Sun-Moon conjunction in Sagittarius sets the imagination loose to envision the potential that lies ahead. It's possible to foresee a rosy future that is grand, exciting, hopeful, enriching and inspiring. However, expansive Jupiter (the planetary ruler of Sagittarius) is currently feeling a bit claustrophobic in Capricorn, and is also in a stressful aspect to the Sun and Moon (semi-square: 45º). That means there's also the potential to envision the worst through a cynical, skeptical, understated or bitter lens—and perhaps to target others with blame for your predicament.

What's compelling is that both perspectives have some truth in them. The trap is in thinking that the truth lies in only one side or the other. There is therefore a risk of getting caught in swings between extreme optimism and pessimism, trying to figure out which one is the "real" future. The "real" answer is: a bit of both and more in between. There's also a danger of seeking refuge in the "worst case scenario" in order to avoid the disappointment of finding out that the reality falls a bit short of the "best case scenario." Sometimes disappointment can be harder to deal with than outright hopelessness.

Pluto is freshly into Capricorn, at just one eeny-teeny-weeny minute of arc—that's 1/60th of one degree in a sign 30 degrees wide. Pluto hasn't even had time to take his first breath yet in this new sign. After the wide open skies of Sagittarius, Pluto is waiting for his eyes to adjust to the more enclosed space of Capricorn. He's not well aspected in the New Moon chart, suggesting that, although an important player in the New Moon drama, he's not a very lively one.

Saturn is the handle of the New Moon chart

Adding to the strong Capricorn theme is Saturn in Virgo (Saturn being Capricorn's ruler), which is the "handle" of the New Moon chart. That means it's over on the other side of the zodiac, away from all the other planets. Saturn tends to be a loner at the best of times, and this placement emphasizes that. It is therefore important to master the Saturn energy if the rest of the chart is to function well. Saturn in Virgo requires discipline, commitment to excellence, and the flexibility to do whatever needs to be done to accomplish your goal. It doesn't mean you have to be perfect (although neurotic guilt might tell you otherwise), but it does mean you need to roll up your sleeves and be prepared to take a serious, grounded and results-oriented attitude toward whatever you need to get done.

Saturn's trine to Jupiter has passed its last exact pass (see Nov.21) but is still within less than a degree of that final pass. The faith, confidence and wisdom of Sagittarius, harnessed by the discipline, responsibility and organized systems of Capricorn, provide a strong, useful and meaningful resource for you to see your way through whatever challenges, problems or projects lie ahead. Saturn is also in quincunx aspect (150º) to idealistic Neptune right now, so you might find it tricky to gauge how much optimism and confidence is too much, tipping you into fantasy and making promises you can't keep.

Saturn is also in opposition to Uranus, but not just any Uranus—a very stationary Uranus! When a planet stations (turns and changes direction along the arc of the zodiac), its energy is very intense! It's like running your finger through a candle flame: do it quickly and it's an interesting experience—do it slowly and you really feel it! (Read more about stations.)

Uranus is at its most intense (and most stationary) when it is mere minutes before the New Moon is at its most exact. Although the New Moon is in Sagittarius, Uranus is likely to dominate the energy field of this lunar cycle. Uranus is known for its sudden eruptions, surprises, explosions and liberating release at the best of times, and is even more-so when stationary. If Uranus is making major transits to your natal chart, the station can feel like another pass of the transit. In this case, Uranus is going Direct, so it can be a time when the essential truth of your situation is revealed (which has evolved under the transit over the last 9-10 months). You might be moved to make a crucial decision. You might receive a revelation. You might feel like you're being smacked upside the head with the truth and can no longer ignore it. Whatever it is, it likely will set something in your life moving in a new direction.

The Saturn-Uranus opposition is gradually separating after its spectacular debut pass on Nov.04, when it ushered in a radically unique US election as well as a global economic crisis. That crisis, as well as the ripple effects from the election, will continue to unfold over the next 2 years (during which this transit makes a total of 5 passes). In the New Moon chart, Saturn-Uranus provides the parameters of the quest ahead: the inspired, revolutionary break away from tradition and old structures, on one hand, versus the need to solidify the conventional foundation to support all that change and renovation, on the other.

Balancing these two extremes is the tricky business at hand, reflected not only in the Saturn-Uranus opposition but also in the Sagittarius-Capricorn dichotomy. Too much of one will threaten the health and effectiveness of the other and risk a reactionary swing to the other extreme, which will only destabilize the transition. Upheaval is expected and usually healthy during times of change—polarization for the sake of reaction isn't.

With Uranus unusually strong right now, any solution to this problem of balance must include room and opportunity for something new to emerge. Yet, with Saturn being the "handle" of the chart, it is just as crucial to maintain a stable foundation that can support all that change. The balance point could be as narrow as the point of a pin.

Whether you find yourself locked into impulsive, defensive or protective reactions you can't seem to control, or whether it just feels like you're trying to juggle flaming torches together with concrete bricks, it may help to talk about it with a friend, advisor or consultant. A personal astrology reading is an excellent way to get some perspective and coping skills that are tailored to your individual needs.

Nov.28 – Venus sextile Uranus (18:44 of Capricorn/Pisces)

Relationships, finances, resources and pleasures could benefit from spontaneously trying a completely different approach. If these areas of your life have been getting a little stale or too routine, this transit could shake things up a little...just enough to make things interesting and breathe some fresh air into your familiar routine. Unexpected income could come your way, or you might discover something you just can't resist buying, or you might have an opportunity to make new social connections. The upside of this transit is that it's possible to break free of old habits and enjoy spontaneous interaction. The downside could come in the form of impulse purchases that are beyond your budget, or behaving a bit recklessly or making snap decisions that you can't live with later. This energy is best used to break free of what restricts you, without shattering the foundation you're standing on. 

Nov.28 – Mercury conjunct Mars (09:13 of Sagittarius) (Nov.29 in UK, AU)

Spontaneous or impulsive words may come flying out of your mouth under this transit! If you've been struggling to keep opinions or observations to yourself, you might find it hard to keep them quiet, especially if you feel strongly about the situation. You might see things as more "cut and dried" than usual. Although you might feel frustrated if things don't happen in a direct, quick, straightforward way, it can also be a good time to make decisions and move forward with plans. On one hand, this can have a positive effect because it can give you courage to speak your mind and assert yourself candidly and honestly. On the other hand, you might also come across as abrupt, cranky, argumentative or even downright hostile, especially if you've been stuffing down anger or resentment for a while. This transit represents a new beginning in how you can handle self-assertiveness, communication and decision-making. By "listening to" your impulses, passions and urge to speak your truth, you can get an idea how your "inner voice" wants to emerge -- and how to do that without annihilating the other person. ;-)   

Nov.29 – Venus trine Saturn (20:52 of Capricorn/Virgo) (Nov.30 in UK, AU)

Stability in relationships and finances characterises this transit. You have increased ability to be disciplined about spending and to invest the hard work to maximise your earnings. Your ability to grasp the solid, realistic facts will help you choose wisely in your investments of both money and interaction with others. Commitment and structure are easier to achieve and embrace than change or taking risks. Self-worth can benefit now because you are less inclined to give in to mood swings. However, if you are prone to depression, you might want to be careful you don't become so grounded and stable that you lose touch with your sense of hope and potential. It is a good time to make concrete progress in matters involving beauty, love, harmony and balance. Keep your pleasures simple and humble for maximum benefit. 

Dec.01 – Venus conjunct Jupiter (09:13 of Sagittarius)

Romance is in the air, harmony is reflected in everything around you, and love and beauty abound! This can be a time of sweet mercy, pleasure and peace, both personally and in relationships. It can also be a time when your ability to attract money, resources and rewards into your life are especially strong. You might consider indulging in a lottery ticket! Or maybe treating yourself to some creature comforts, like a massage or a double chocolate brownie or anything that gets the endorphins flowing! Unfortunately, this can also be a time when you are prone to over-indulge in pleasures or overestimate your resources. By all means enjoy this lovely feel-good energy, but it's also wise to keep your "addictions" in check. Don't entirely disregard your diet, your budget or your realism in relationships. 

Dec.02-20 – T-square aspect configuration (Mars-Mercury-Sun to Saturn-Uranus)

T-Square: Sun-Mercury-Mars to Saturn-Uranus

This long-term group transit lasts through much of the current lunar cycle (Nov.27-Dec.27, starting at the New Moon in Sagittarius) and therefore dominates much of the activity and energy during this time. This aspect figure acts as a lightning rod for the struggle that the Saturn-Uranus opposition brings. On a global level, this could manifest in the world's attempts to stabilize the current economic crisis, bringing more challenges to solve, new solutions to try and daring knowledge to be learned and applied. On a more personal level, it is likely to heat up problems, conflicts, challenges and ambitions. Your motivation, faith and knowledge may be tested during this time, but it's not just about passing or failing the test—it's about what you are learning while you are doing it. Strive to make choices and take action based on your best principles and the highest truth that you know. In other words, follow your personal integrity.

This energy is especially sharp on Dec.12 when the Moon aspects the T-square, turning it into a Grand Cross. 

Dec.03 – Mercury sextile Chiron (16:53 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.04 in UK, AU)

Your mental focus and communication could get an injection of healing energy under this transit, as long as you are prepared to put some effort into getting it. Your spirits can become uplifted now, from seeing a light at the end of the tunnel or from finding a light that guides you along the path in front of you. It will not, however, make the tunnel or the path go away; you'll still have to walk the walk. But your mental perspective can become more accepting of inconsistencies and frustrations under this transit, which can alleviate a lot of stress and make the journey a bit smoother. Mental struggles and critical "self-talk" may find some reconciliation and acceptance that brings peace of mind. You have an increased ability to find the right words and understanding to help others with their problems, by providing insightful feedback. To get the most out of this transit, aim to find a mental outlook and communication style that can tolerate contradiction without having to eradicate one in order to justify the other. 

Dec.05 – Mercury square Uranus (18:46 of Sagittarius/Pisces)

Flashes of insight can show you new clarity but you might not like the answers you get, since they could disturb your logical perception of what's what. You might get some news or learn come information that shakes you up in some way. This isn't necessarily bad, since this may be necessary to open your mind to something you've been resisting. There's a Higher Truth here that wants to be told (by you or to you), but the way it's phrased can make a big difference in the reaction. There is a risk of "shooting off your mouth before your brains are loaded," as the saying goes, and impulsive or reckless communication and ideas could create more problems than they solve. It will probably help to listen inside yourself first to discover what you really need to say, and then figure out how to say it in a way that doesn't cause unnecessary damage. Strive to shine a light of truth without blinding anyone with it. 

Dec.05 – Sun conjunct Mars (14:09 of Sagittarius) (Dec.06 in AU)

This transit gives you energy to burn! However, that energy could be productive or volatile, or even both. You are likely to be a lot more motivated and enthusiastic about whatever you do. But you could also be more impulsive, distracted and erratic too. Anger can flare quickly, and if you don't try to control it or hang onto it, it can pass just as quickly. Sexual energy or desire may be high now, which can be fun to take advantage of, but could also get you into trouble if you don't use some good judgment about who, when or where to act on that desire. This transit represents a new beginning in how you use and work with your energy — physical, emotional, spiritual and motivational energy. It can be a great time to initiate new goals, or to set plans into motion. It may be easier to stand up for what you believe — to assert yourself, to confront someone or to express yourself in ways that you had previously been inhibited. It takes practice and awareness to learn to tell your genuine impulses (that reflect and express who you are) from unconscious motives (that may be passive-aggressive, manipulative or hostile). This transit could give you an opportunity to observe both sides of this potent energy. 

Dec.06 – Mercury square Saturn (21:12 of Sagittarius/Virgo) (Dec.07 in AU)

Your thoughts, ideas and communication need to become structured, rational and discreet, although this may not be easy to achieve. You may have to work extra hard to get your point across now, since others might be resistant to your ideas or may not be familiar with the basic concepts. It is a time to be clear, objective and down-to-earth in your communication and thinking, but equally important to do this without going overboard and becoming rigid, autocratic or over-cautious. If you find yourself stuck in a "glass half empty" frame of mind, you might be sagging under the weight of melancholy ...Or, it might mean you are coming to terms with some hard realities and decisions and feeling the gravity of the implications. But also check to be sure you're not taking yourself and your situation too seriously. By applying your best efforts, this can be a very productive time, especially with anything involving communication, writing, organising or logic. 

Dec.06 – Mercury sextile Neptune (21:49 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.07 in UK, AU)

Your mind is very open to imagination, dreams and compassion under this transit, with a little applied effort and focus. This can be a very creative time, when ideas flow like a magical river. It can also be easy to get caught up in yearning and fantasizing about your hidden wishes, although it is possible to channel this into creative expression. (e.g., writing poetry, dancing, wistful music, singing in the shower, whatever!) The possible disadvantage is that you might want so much to reach a state of inspired intuition, magical outlook and effortless communication, that you are willing to be deceived rather than fall short of what you are hoping for. Listening sympathetically to others' problems may come easily now, and you are more likely to get a compassionate response from others about your own problems. However, it may also be difficult to draw clear and firm boundaries with others, since you are more susceptible to the emotional gravity of others. It is ultimately a time for optimism, hope, creativity and intuition, although it's wise to keep at least one foot on the ground. 

Dec.07 – Venus enters Aquarius (until Jan.03)

Relationships, material abundance and values take a step back to gain perspective, detachment and room to breathe in freedom. You may find that you want to use your finances and resources to benefit those who are disadvantaged or to support the greater good of society in some way. It can be a good time to experiment or try new things, to network with groups of people, and to take an objective view about intimacy and interaction. Relationships can take on an idealistic edge, seeking a state of equality and rebelling against imbalances that give one person advantage over the other. Having a strong element of friendship in your intimate relationships may become very important during this time, and friendships themselves could take a central place in your life. Detachment without disconnection is the ideal here. You may not be in a position to foresee future possibilities and translate desires into wishes and new hope. 

Dec.08 – Sun sextile Chiron (17:05 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.09 in AU)

This is a time when you have an opportunity to mend and heal the chronic struggles in your life. You may find new inspiration, motivation or confidence that can help rejuvenate waning enthusiasm or reconcile persistent problems, although you'll still have to apply effort to bring it all together. You might get the chance to demonstrate your ability to walk your own path in a new way. Or, you might get a peek inside the hidden shadow of your worries and discouragement, giving you new insight into how you might be unconsciously sabotaging your conscious efforts. You may have to face a bit of your own fear of failure or low self-esteem before you can get beyond these feelings and tap into the benefits of this transit — not because you are failing but because these concerns may arise in response to the new potential now available to you. By tapping into this potential for creative problem solving, you can bring some healing to whatever your situation is. 

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Dec.09 – Mars sextile Chiron (17:09 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.10 in AU)

This transit gives you the opportunity to take action that can bring some healing resolution to some ongoing problems you've been having. For example, if you've been suffering from weakened energy or chronic health problems, this transit could bring a bit of relief, especially if you're willing to invest some effort to move yourself forward. Or you might find that you have extra self-confidence to deal with a dilemma that has not wanted to go away. You might also find yourself in a position where you can help others find some relief or empowerment related to their suffering and chronic struggles. Problem solving of all kinds can benefit by taking an attitude of proactively doing what you can do, and then let go of what you can't. 

Dec.10 – Sun square Uranus (18:49 of Sagittarius/Pisces)

Your world may experience a bit of a shake-up right now, as the Universe decides it's time to make things "interesting." This is a wake-up call, designed to loosen you up from the ways you have become too habitual, stuck or inhibited. The "radical rascal" in you may be itching to come out and stir up trouble, which on one hand might be necessary but also very disruptive and possibly even destructive. Be alert to new insights and opportunities disguised as accidents or crises. Your usual sense of self and purpose may become somewhat unsettled right now, but a space is likely being cleared to make room for new growth and possibilities. If you're looking to break old habits or break free of old restrictions, this may be the time — but it could create a mess that you'll have to clean up later. Resist the urge to rebel just for the sake of doing something different, and aim instead to break free of old forms of self-expression and ideals that don’t work for you anymore. Expect the unexpected and then surf the shock-wave. 

Dec.12 – Mars square Uranus (18:50 of Sagittarius/Pisces)

Erratic action and unpredictable impulses can surface under this transit. Active energy is more available now, but it can be very hard to control its direction, speed, intensity or predictability. Under this volatile atmosphere, unconscious or suppressed emotions (like anger, frustration, fear or desire) can jump out when you least expect them. Being accident prone is not uncommon. This can be great if you're trying to release inhibitions, find courage to sprint forward or break out of an old habit. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that your actions won't turn out to be destructive, counter-productive or too much of a good thing. You might be tempted to take greater risks than is wise, but this risk-taking impulse can also break you out of a rut too. It's important to use your best judgment when faced with this kind of potent yet volatile energy. 

Dec.12 – Mercury enters Capricorn (until Jan.01)

Cheerful, adaptable Mercury travels through conventional, structured Capricorn, bringing out his analytical, focused side. This is a good time to plan your projects and map out a game plan to reach your goals. It is probably best to choose discipline over distraction. Communication, ideas and awareness may become serious, structured, grounded and manifest now. Just don’t let them become suppressed or censored. This is a great time to do some serious planning and organizing for future projects and goals. It is also a good time for analyzing and evaluating what you have been involved with during the past year or so. What have you learned? What information has come to you that has led you into new directions? What goals have you achieved, and what goals do you want to pursue now? What plan of action is required to get you from here to there? It may be a time when you can face some hard reality and tough decisions better than you normally do. Because Mercury in Capricorn tends to be serious and factual, it may also be a time when you are more prone to depression or discouragement. It will help to schedule regular breaks in your routine to get away and plug your head into a different perspective for a while.

Note: Mercury goes retrograde on Jan.11. Although it makes the Retrograde station while in Aquarius, it moves backwards into Capricorn for much of the retrograde cycle. Therefore, be alert to issues, events and themes coming up while Mercury makes its way through Capricorn now, since some of these may come back for further attention or reconsideration in January or February. 

Sabian Symbol for Gemini 22: Dancing couples in a harvest festival.

Sabian Symbol for the
Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini 22

"A barn dance" or "Dancing couples in a harvest festival."

They say it takes two to tango—and Gemini (the Twins) is just the sign to provide both of them!

This Sabian Symbol ("What's a Sabian Symbol?") describes a social setting in which people gather together to have fun. Says Marc Edmund Jones: "Richness of living comes from an uninhibited sharing of everyday potentialities, together with a maximum of happy give-and-take between [individuals]." (The Sabian Symbols in Astrology)

Dane Rudhyar describes a dance between the mind and the emotions, as they join together in a rhythmical process. (An Astrological Mandala)

Lynda Hill points out that the harvest alludes to seasonal rhythms. The heart and mind can take a break and enjoy life. (360 Degrees of Wisdom)

This symbol seems to remind us to celebrate life by tuning into the natural cycles around us. We are approaching the December Solstice, part of the Wheel of the Year . And we are approaching the end of the calendar year and the beginning of a new one. If life is less than stellar right now, remember that this too will pass. If life is joyous, fulfilling, exciting or fun, then enjoy it while it's here!

 

Find out more about the Sabian Symbols in these recommended books:

The Sabian Symbols in Astrology,
by Marc Edmund Jones

An Astrological Mandala,
by Dane Rudhyar

The Sabian Symbols: The Original Symbols Fully Revealed,
by Blain Bovee

Dec.12 – FULL MOON in GEMINI (21:02 of Gemini)

FULL MOON in GEMINI

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Dec.12, 11:37 AM EST

London, UK:

Dec.12, 4:37 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Dec.13, 3:37 AM AEDT

"What's a Full Moon?"

Read more about the Sun-Moon cycles.

Read more about how you experience GEMINI energy in your life.

Pick your battles! But make sure (a) you've got your facts straight and (b) you're doing it for the right reasons. That seems to be the message of this Full Moon in Gemini. When you see a battle that seems worth fighting for, how do you do that without resorting to oppression or bullying? And how do you keep from becoming so reactive that you forget what you were fighting for in the first place? Keep it honourable, but not so virtuous that you can't live up to your own ideals.

When it all comes down to it, it will be your frame of mind that steers you through this time. Your conscious thoughts, ideas and perceptions form the lens you peer through to gather your information. Be careful that your lens isn't focused too far ahead – too far into the future, on such a big a picture that you lose sight of the next step, or on a principle so bright that everything else looks like a lump of coal by comparison. At the same time, be careful your lens isn't focused too close to you – so subjective that you can't see the situation objectively, so detailed that you can't see the bigger picture, or reacting so automatically in the moment that you miss other options you have available to you.

At the end of the day (or, more accurately, the end of this lunar cycle), you will be left with the task of processing your experience, finding the right words to describe it, exploring answers to lingering questions, and integrating your experience into your current understanding and knowledge.

So, if you feel like something or someone is holding you back from being completely spontaneous, that might not be a bad thing. Otherwise you might go overboard and wind up (over)reacting for the sake of impulses, curiosity or short-sightedness. On the other hand, you might also feel like something or someone is determined to push you—kicking and screaming, if necessary—out of your comfort zone. This, too, may not be a bad thing, since it can keep you from getting so locked into the same perceptions, expectations and awareness about things that you wind up sounding like a broken record.

Grand Cross in Mutable Signs

 All of this you can blame on the Grand Cross in Mutable signs at the Full Moon! This is a continuation of the T-square from Dec.02-20, which the Moon with to form a Grand Cross. The Sun-Moon opposition is square to the Saturn-Uranus opposition. And if that weren't enough, Mars joins in the scuffle through its conjunction to the Sun. They all bring different agendas to the battlefield. The Sun part of you wants to aim for the best outcome that will be consistent with your principles. The Mars part of you wants to take action in a direction that is righteous and has far-reaching implications (nothing ordinary here, thank you). The Saturn part of you wants to slow things down enough for you to notice, understand and attend to the finer points of fact. The Uranus part of you wants to break away from a mundane existence by imagining the best of all possible worlds (nothing ordinary here either).

That leaves the Gemini Full Moon part of you to sit back and wonder how the heck to put it all together. Curiosity is helpful (exploring the situation) because it can open your mind to new possibilities and insights, but it's not enough to bring it all into a cohesive whole. Information is helpful too (reading, talking to others, surfing the Internet) because it can give your mind the building blocks that can be put together like a puzzle, but data is not enough to give you the wisdom of how to use it.

However, the Gemini Full Moon has a number of allies to call on. First of all, the ruling planet of Gemini, Mercury, is exactly conjunct Pluto (a mere 8 minutes of arc apart) in the first degree of Capricorn. The Capricorn can help with organizing and prioritizing what is happening. Pluto helps by bestowing x-ray vision on perceptive Mercury, giving you the ability to see through the surface of what's going on and to see the deeper implications. In other words, this makes it easier to see that there's more to your situation than just a jumble of facts, events, feelings and ideas – there is a deeper purpose and meaning.

What you have to figure out is: Is that deeper meaning that (you think) you're seeing objectively true, or is it coloured by your own unconscious expectations, or is it coming from the other person's unconscious projections? This may not be as easy as you think. The Mercury-Pluto conjunction is virtually unaspected to the rest of the New Moon chart. This can make those deeper insights come and go like ghostly images in a nighttime lightning storm. Watch your dreams for clues. And be sure you do a reality check before just assuming that what you're picking up really is true in the way you think it is. If your perceptions seem to stall just when they're starting, don't worry; just wait for it to come around again.

Neptune and Chiron form a Wedge aspect configuration to the Mars/Sun-Moon opposition. This can provide an optimistic and healing perspective despite the struggle, conflict or intensity of the Grand Cross. Neptune knows that most things will pass eventually, and Chiron knows that whatever lingers can be dealt with. Just be careful not to get so relaxed and blissful that you wind up ignoring and neglecting the more demanding issues that need tending to.

With Mars square Saturn right now, you could feel a bit like you're all ready for a big adventure, only to be grounded by bad weather. While you might feel frustrated, disappointed or perplexed by this, you just might find that there is some advantage in this (e.g. keeping you from getting stuck in the mud somewhere) or that there is something that still needs your attention "back home." In other words, if you feel held back, blocked or weighed down by responsibility, at a time when you long to be free, passionate and uplifted, check to see if it might actually put you in a better position to gain an advantage, prevent a worse situation, or deal with a problem that is interfering with your life.

On Dec.18, the Moon catches up to Saturn, which could bring the Full Moon energy and themes back into vivid focus. By the time the Moon reaches the next point of the Grand Cross, the Sun and Mars will have moved on, breaking the T-square circuit of energy. When the Moon arrives there, it will once again form a T-square aspect figure with Saturn and Uranus on Dec.25/26. This can be a time to process and integrate what you've gained and learned throughout December. If there is something left over that remains unresolved, it could make itself known at that time.

A final thought: December tends to be a high stress time for a lot of us. High expectations of the holidays combine with old family/childhood dynamics during a time of feeling pressured to spend money, perhaps beyond your financial limits. If you're feeling the fallout of the current economic upheaval, that pressure could sometimes feel like a lead weight on your back. The message of this Full Moon can be to scale down your expectations and enjoy the moments. Let your passion and drive focus on the intangible joys and rewards of the season, be that friendship, socializing and fun, or feeling connected to the Earth and enjoying the seasonal weather in your corner of the world. If you tend to be "Bah, humbug!" about the holidays, find ways to redefine what the holiday times mean and allow your curiosity and sense of humour to entertain you. And if your philosophy of life is more agnostic, atheist or undefined, find something to celebrate that is special to you and makes your life meaningful.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas (Dec.25), a Happy Hanukkah (sundown Dec.21-31), a Happy Eid al-Adha (Dec.08), a Joyful Yule (Dec.21), a bright Solstice (Dec.21), a Happy Kwanzaa (Dec.26-Jan.01) and a delightful December!

Dec.12 – Mercury conjunct Pluto (00:33 of Capricorn) (Dec.13 in AU)

Deep insights and passionate communication are possible under this transit ...although, so is speaking more forcefully than you intend to about things that require a bit of delicacy or discretion. This can be a new beginning in understanding the deeper motives and dynamics of what is happening in your life, although this could happen with great intensity or obsession. The light can finally start to go on in the darker corners that have eluded you. Although what you see there might be both illuminating and disturbing, it is ultimately something you can grow from, which can transform your mental outlook into something more meaningful and resilient. This is a time when you can start to shed and leave behind old worn out perceptions or ineffective forms of communication. You also have an increased ability to take thoughts, ideas and information and transform them into something healing ...or wounding. Choose your words carefully and mindfully. Writing down your thoughts and ideas to capture the energy of this transit can help you gather the deeper qualities.

Dec.12 – Sun square Saturn (21:27 of Sagittarius/Virgo) (Dec.13 in UK, AU)

It is necessary for you to come to grips with limitations, boundaries or expectations. If you have been avoiding some task or obligation, this transit might bring consequences from that avoidance or a warning of consequences to come. You might also encounter a situation that requires you to accept unwanted responsibility or restricts your freedom in some way. You might be faced with some part of your life being pruned back, either to rein in something that is out of control or to make room for new growth. This is likely to be more or less stressful depending on how comfortable you are dealing with responsibility, authority, limits and hard work. If you have a hard time with authority issues, you might find yourself in conflict with someone in authority under this transit — perhaps in part because your buttons are getting pushed. On the other hand, this could also be a time when you are challenged to take action or make a decision that involves taking on more responsibility. It is also a time when you may have to find better ways to deal with personal boundaries — accepting others' or learning to assert your own. You're bumping up against reality, so try to work constructively with it, not hurl yourself against it.

Dec.13 – Sun sextile Neptune (21:57 of Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.14 in AU)

Faith in the bountiful blessings of the Universe is within reach under this transit...but then, so is the fantasy that you will be magically granted anything you wish for. Although this is mostly a very positive energy, you could become so immersed in your longing for the ideal that you have trouble dealing with the less-than-ideal realities that still must be dealt with. Gaining the benefit from this transit will still require some effort. Hope, optimism and imagination are in the air, which could bring some relief from any depression or discouragement you might be feeling. Your creativity and imagination can be very inspired under this transit. Your sense of self could also get an infusion of uplifting vision, and you may experience a sense of mission, feeling that you are truly a Child of the Universe. There is potential now to lift you out of the ordinary and into the sublime — spiritually, creatively, romantically or compassionately — although this will require your cooperation to take advantage of it. Enjoy it while it lasts, but before you make changes based on what might feel like a permanent condition, remember that this is mostly a temporary influence and you will still have to live within the bounds of the physical world after it passes. Don't make overly optimistic promises now, that you will have to fulfil later when the euphoria wears off.

Dec.15 – Mars square Saturn (21:32 of Sagittarius/Virgo) (Dec.16 in AU)

The impulsive forward action of Mars meets the serious structure of Saturn. The resulting friction can often generate considerable heat in the form of frustration, argument, conflict and stress — but also productivity and results for hard work. Your efforts may seem thwarted and your actions blocked at every turn. Your sensitivity to problems with authority figures can be especially high, as well as your sensitivity to others not cooperating with your own role as an authority figure. The youthful, free spirit in you is somehow required to deal with the serious, responsible, cautious side of you, and a power struggle between the two energies can easily result. If one side wins out over the other, either depression and guilt or rebellion and obsession may result. However, you are not without power or ability! This friction can also be put to use in very productive ways. Your energy, desire and goals can be made manifest and concrete — even if possibly forced by circumstance. Obstacles can strengthen us, if we work with them instead of just fighting against them. To minimise interpersonal problems, remember that assertiveness is important, but aggression or rigidity will usually only get the other person's back up. You may find yourself in a situation where you must defend or assert your personal boundaries. Or, you might find it difficult to comply with someone else's boundaries. If the heat from this transit starts to overwhelm you, take some time out, find a safe (perhaps creative?) outlet to vent your feelings, and then find a new way to approach the problem.

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Dec.16 – Mars sextile Neptune (22:01 Sagittarius/Aquarius) (Dec.17 in AU)

There is potential for inspired action now. You could achieve a softening or soothing of the blunt force of anger, frustration, confrontation and conflict, without this resulting in powerlessness or passivity. It may be easier to move forward with your plans and intentions based on the power of faith or ideals. It's important to not get lost in those ideals to the point where you lose sight of what's realistic, but this is a time when you may be more inclined to take a leap of faith and say "Oh what the heck!" Your emotional impact on others (or their impact on you) could be greater than is intended or expected, so use this expanded energy wisely.

Dec.21 – DECEMBER SOLSTICE – Sun enters Capricorn (until Jan.19.2009)

DECEMBER SOLSTICE

Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:

Dec.21, 7:03 AM EST

London, UK:

Dec.21, 12:03 PM GMT

Sydney, AU:

Dec.21, 11:03 PM AEDT

"What's the Solstice?"

Read more about how you experience CAPRICORN energy in your life.

Happy Solar Return to all Capricorns! And Happy Solstice and Happy Yule to all of us! When the Sun enters Capricorn each year, it marks the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere (longest night) and the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere (longest day). Yule is the traditional celebration of the December solstice in European-derived cultures, welcoming the start of the increasing light. While the Sun is in Capricorn, we have the opportunity to explore our connection to the earth (Capricorn being an Earth sign) in a physical way. Whether you are bundling up to survive a cold winter, or unwinding after the summer heat, or getting down to business as the landscape blooms in "downunder" summer splendour, there is something very manifest and substantial about the experience of Capricorn. This energy calls on us to get real in whatever we are doing — to bring structure, responsibility and discipline to whatever we do. It is a time to work on our "containment." Not in the sense of suppression, but in terms of defining the boundaries within which our growth can flourish down the road, and keeping our impulses from inconveniently spilling over the edges of those boundaries. Sometimes that means cutting back in certain areas in order to focus your energy and make room for new growth. Sometimes it means having to delay gratification and reward until you reach a certain point of progress. The Capricorn rule of thumb is: if you do whatever is necessary, the rewards will come.

Dec.22 – Sun conjunct Pluto (00:54 of Capricorn)

Your sense of purpose is potentially very strong right now, as you are able to tap into a deeper level of energy and determination. Your personality is likely to be more forceful now, which can be great if you need to make a strong impression but perhaps not so great in situations requiring delicacy, subtlety or diplomacy. You have increased ability to see below the surface of things, although it may not be as easy to articulate it in a way that is received comfortably by others. What you pick up from others can also become mixed up with your own personal issues, making it hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. Paranoia and suspicion can be strong. It is possible to unearth secrets or get at the core of unconscious patterns (yours and others'), but it is important to be prudent in how you respond to this awareness. You have the ability to wound as well as heal right now, so probe into the depths (yours and others') as you would into an egg shell that you don't want to break — gently, mindfully and respectfully.

Dec.23 – Venus conjunct Chiron (17:51 of Aquarius)  (Dec.24 in AU)

Unresolved problems and old wounds in relationships and finances may be in the foreground now, with potential for a new beginning and healing. However, in order to heal something, it is first necessary to become more aware of what is out of balance, which can make a situation seem to get worse before it gets better. You have the ability to wound those close to you, as well as to bring healing, as you explore what is and isn't working in your relationships. It is also a time when your approach to finances and resources may require that you face some hard realities that may not be easily or quickly resolved, but dealing with any problems will give you the chance to achieve a new balance. This is especially true when it comes to the ways that you see your physical resources as a reflection of your self-worth, and the relationships in your life as a reflection of your lovability. These issues may become aggravated under this transit, but ultimately this is meant to increase your awareness of these issues so that you can start to heal them in new ways.

Dec.24 – Mercury sextile Uranus (19:03 of Capricorn/Pisces) (Dec.25 in AU)

There is potential for brilliance and excitement under this transit. You may be more spontaneous, upbeat and eccentric than usual. If you are used to a fairly predictable lifestyle, it is a time when you may be inspired to experiment with something out of character. If you are used to being whacky, zany and impulsive, this transit can provide opportunities to express this. You may have an increased ability to "think outside the box" if you stretch your mind a little, and there is the possibility of having an "ah-ha!" experience, when answers and realisations fall into place. There is also the possibility of being mentally restless, so that it's hard to slow down your thoughts or apply yourself seriously to your responsibilities. Your attention span may be a bit short for a couple of days. This energy can be used to consider new ideas that seemed outlandish or impossible before, and see new potential in them.

Dec.26 – Mercury trine Saturn (21:44 of Capricorn/Virgo)

It can be easier to take a logical, practical approach to problem-solving and pursuit of your goals now. Your mental outlook is likely to be calm and grounded. This is a good time to make plans and work out the logistics of how you're going to get from "here" to "there" in pursuing your goals. You may find it's time to bring closure to finished goals by distilling and systemizing what you've learned in the process of pursuing those past goals. Or, you might find you are able to draw on past achievements to assist and support your current goals and plans. It is a good transit to bring structure to your thoughts and communication. You may find it's a little easier to accept authority — yours or someone else's — and that you are able to speak authoritatively about things about which you have knowledge or experience.

Dec.26 – Mercury enters the Retrograde Shadow ("What's the Shadow?"  Read more about Retrograde Cycles.  Read more about Mercury Retrograde.)

Mercury now enters the area of Zodiac where it will later go retrograde (Jan.11 to Feb.01, 2009). During its retrograde cycle, Mercury travels through the same span of the Zodiac three times (called the Shadow). The first time through, it is going in direct motion (moving forward), then retrograde (looks like it's going backwards), and then direct again. This means there is a more involved process of development and change involved with things that Mercury influences—ideas, thoughts, frame of mind and mental focus. It also concerns the collection, exchange, analysis and organisation of information. All forms of communication are also affected—email and snail mail, the Internet, the media in general, books and magazines, as well as public transit (buses, trains, etc.) and neighbourhoods. The situations developing over the next 2 weeks (leading up to when Mercury actually goes retrograde) will likely require further research, deeper consideration and adjustments to unexpected discoveries over the next couple of months. Expect changes in your plans, increasingly disrupted communication, and new information coming to light that may not fit conveniently into your plans. It's wise to leave lots of extra time to do things, plan future projects and get to wherever you're going. If you must make important decisions during this time, try to build some flexibility into your plans to allow for later changes—or if possible, you may want to delay final or irrevocable decisions until well after Mercury goes direct (Feb.01).

Mercury makes 3 passes to two major aspects during this retrograde cycle: conjunction to Mars and conjunction to Jupiter. The conjunction to Mars (Nov.28.2008, Jan.27.2009, Mar.01.2009) is spread out over 3 signs: Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius. You will have the opportunity to mouth off in 3 different astrological languages! In Sagittarius (Nov.2008), you may have been compelled to speak your truth with passion. In Capricorn (Jan.2009), you might feel it necessary to grab hold of the facts that will give you the greatest practical advantage, or be able to be unusually productive by sharply focusing your intentions in one direction. In Aquarius (Mar.2009), you could be ready to break away from all that intense concentration and free your mind (and mouth) to see (and express) your situation from a very different perspective. It's not just about fighting for the higher truth, or working toward a practical goal. You may feel it's important to apply these things toward the good of everyone involved, or use it to free yourself from old misconceptions that have held you back.

The conjunction to Jupiter is initially in Capricorn (Dec.31.2008), which perhaps shows a determination to look on the bright side at the end of a difficult, exhausting or challenging year. The next two passes are in Aquarius (Jan.18.2009, Feb.24, 2009), which are likely to make optimism easier to attain through unusual, unconventional or just different opportunities.

Dec.27 – Mars enters Capricorn (until Feb.04)

Mars works very well in Capricorn — in fact, Mars can be quite the little workhorse! Action that pursues your ambitions, goals, projects or objectives can make serious progress under this transit. It may be easier to pace yourself and be disciplined in how you use your energy and effort now. Taking a serious, responsible attitude in your actions is likely to produce positive results, even more-so than usual. On the other hand, if you have difficulty with these qualities, and tend to rebel or fight to preserve your freedom, you might feel more like you're being strapped into a yoke and harness and ordered to plough the fields. However, the amount of serious, authentic work you're willing to put your energy into will likely pay off in kind. It can be a good time to show leadership or to make independent decisions that lead by example. Taking risks will make more sense if you prepare your strategy and map out your plan of action.

Next Update:  NEW MOON in CAPRICORN - December 27, 2008. Available by Dec.27.

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© 2008 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Image of dancing couple: painting by Pierre-August Renoir, from Wikimedia Commons.


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