Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!
~ Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Dec.02, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
Dec.03, 2003, 12:22 PM GMT
Dec.03, 2013, 11:22 AM AEDT
At this time of year, many of us have "visions of sugar plums" dancing in our heads.
In Western culture, dominated by Christianity and the traditions of Christmas, it's not easy to miss—or escape—the massive push to join in the gaiety.
The weeks of preparation for Christmas festivities are full of optimism, celebration, partying, good food and libations.
This is a time full of messages of hope and joy, peace and renewal. This is symbolized by the birth of Jesus of Nazareth on whose teachings the Christian religion is founded.
To those who relate to and revel in these messages, this is usually a time of great idealism, excitement and the warmth of spirit, emotion and social connection.
To anyone not caught up in the groundswell, the atmosphere of "sweetness and light" can feel gushingly sentimental, watching others overcome with near-hallucinogenic expectations of perfection.
If not already cynical, it can push some people to become that way out of sheer defensiveness. Scrooge becomes the patron saint of Christmas anti-euphoria, with his ability to resist the hypnotic trance of Christmas ecstasy. "Bah! Humbug!"
A couple of thousand years ago, followers of a god named Mithras celebrated rebirth in much the same way as the followers of Jesus do today. Mithras was an early Roman god of the sun, who was born around the time of the winter solstice and then experienced a resurrection around the spring equinox. Sound familiar?
~ Patti Wigington, The Legend of Mithras
This specialness of this time of the year is not exclusive to the Christian religion. There are many religions and spiritual traditions predating Christianity that also practiced similar customs, honoured similar stories and celebrated the seasons in much the same way as Christianity. From Mithras to Saturnalia to Diwali to Hanukah to Yule to the more recent Kwanzaa, this is a very significant time of year. And all are or have been celebrated with a display of lights in the darkness.
In the case of Christmas, the key is the December Solstice and the changing of the balance between day and night. This is the season when the Northern Hemisphere experiences the time of longest nights and shortest days, as we approach the Winter Solstice (exact on Dec.21). In the Southern Hemisphere it is the opposite – shortest nights and longest days, approaching the Summer Solstice (also exact on Dec.21).
Either way you look at it, it is a time of stretching ourselves to our limits and acknowledging the greatest potential of our environments. Those South of the equator are enjoying the peak of their season of abundance, as new growth achieves fruition. In the North, we are reaching maximum darkness where the balance between light and dark will begin to shift gradually back toward times of greater light.
Western culture has largely emerged out of the North Hemisphere, Europe in particular. As a result, many modern traditions at this time of year echo the northern environment of the cold, dark, winter season and its imminent transition into a warmer, lighter spring season. In modern European Pagan traditions, the turning point of the December Solstice is called Yule, and in fact, many modern Christmas customs have evolved out of ancient Pagan practices.
All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator
for all I have not seen.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The importance of this time of year, especially for those living far north of the equator, is not trivial! People could die during those frozen winter months due to the harshness of the elements, insufficient nutrition and other environmental factors. Even today for many of us, persistent cold and darkness can cause our bodies to slow down (just ask a hibernating bear) and our minds to become depressed (SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder).
When facing months of this kind of existence, it can be tempting to get started on the winter blues early. The hugely hyped promise of Christmas and other December holidays can alleviate this for a while, which coincides with the Sun being in optimistic Sagittarius. We're busy making cookies and holiday treats, visiting friends and imbibing in "Christmas cheer" (and not driving home afterwards, please!). We're shopping for gifts, imagining the joyous faces of friends, family and children as they open wrapped presents that we have picked out for them. And we're decorating our homes and workplaces with pretty lights, trees and sparkly things.
In general, we may be thinking about the New Year and what we want next year to bring to us. It's important not to get stuck focusing on the coming cold darkness—whether that is played out in your immediate northern environment or just thinking about all the things in the near future that could go wrong. In this time of year we tend to anticipate the return of the light which inspires a reassuring sense of hope and a vision of better times to come. Literally and/or figuratively, darkness will become light once more. Bad times will resolve and become easier. What is old, stale, stuck or broken will become new, refreshed, free and whole once more.
This shows the archetypal roots of Sagittarius, and especially while the Sun travels through that sign. It is a time of optimism and celebration of what we believe will be the best that is to come. This is the faith and hope that can sustain us as we face the impending time of greatest darkness and difficulty, literally or figuratively. Archetypally, we have survived the transformative struggle in Scorpio and now experience the release and freedom of rebirth. We made it! Time to celebrate!!
This is shown in the Sagittarius New Moon chart not only by the Sun and Moon conjunct in Sagittarius, but also in their trine aspect (120°) to Uranus. Freedom, release and a belief in better times is the name of the game, baby! We're facing months of frozen tundra? Bring it on! Feeling sad knowing there are people who can't afford toys for their kids or food for their table? Be generous! Give to the food bank, donate to a local Christmas toy drive, volunteer for a charity and do what you can to help fill in the gaps.
All we are not stares back at what we are.
~ W.H. Auden
Naturally, for every ray of light there is a shadow. Every sign has its luminous side, and also its shadow side—the part of its energy that is everything the sign is trying not to be. And yet, trying to lose that negating side is as futile as trying to escape your own shadow (which may be where the term came from).
If the shining side of Sagittarius is a belief in hope, release and freedom, then the shadow side is about that lightness being driven by an even stronger belief in hardship, cynicism, despair or imperfection. If Sagittarius believes in the ability to expand beyond your boundaries, then the shadow side is convinced those boundaries will always win the battle in the end.
The bright side of Sag has faith in the inherent goodness of all people and the ability to rise above our imperfections, but the shadow side is convinced of the inherent sinfulness of Man, in the persistence of those imperfections and/or our inevitable failure to conquer them. Sag seeks a code of moral guidelines that will enable us to cope with suffering, improve our lives and fulfil our potential, but the shadow side of that is forced, rigid moralism that serves more to reinforce a belief in our own suffering, inadequacy and failure than to transcend it.
In other words, instead of seeing the best in each other, we tend to see the worst. The Sagittarius shadow often shows itself as a tendency to blame and condemn others for the difficulties in their lives, rather than to stretch our understanding toward a compassionate truth that will shed light on the frailties and flaws that is part of our shared human nature. Or we might think we're seeing the best in others but we may mostly be trying to project our own best potential onto them instead of being open to their own unique potential. For instance, we might make a misguided attempt to help those in need by trying to impose on them the solutions that make sense to us, rather than supporting their ability to discover or develop their own.
As another example, when we try to "help" someone, it can sometimes send the opposite message. Rather than "I feel for you, so I'm going to tell you what would be good for you to do," the sub-text message is often more like "I can't bear to watch you suffer, so I'm going to fix you in a way that works best for me" or "I don't think you're capable of figuring it out for yourself, so I'm going to tell you what to do."
Our intentions may not always match the effects of our actions, and with Sagittarius' expansively optimistic view of things it is especially important to keep checking on what our own motives are to catch times when we think we're doing one thing but it's coming out a different way.
A traitor may betray himself
and do good he does not intend.
~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
This pretzel-like path of intention versus action is shown in two ways in the New Moon chart. First, the Sun and Moon are in tight semi-sextile aspect (30°) to Pluto. The semi-sextile can be tricky. On the positive side, it can join similar energies and provide an opportunity to expand our awareness and inspire new understanding. On the tricky side, it can also look like there is a commonality or compatibility between two different energies (the planets involved, as well as the signs) when there really isn't any beyond the surface appearance.
At its best, this twist of fate could generate something unexpectedly good. Pay attention! Uranus trine the New Moon can bring surprising insights and opportunities, which you might miss if you are too focused on what you think good fortune will look like.
At its worst, since this involves Pluto in Capricorn, it could allow the more controlling, dogmatic, rigid side of Sagittarius to emerge. At its best, though, this combination could encourage a more transformative, authentic side of Sag to come out. For example, it might make it easier to "take the high road" when faced with a moral dilemma, choosing a more productive long-term solution that expands the growth potential of all concerned, rather than falling back on quick answers that might work in the short run but fall apart in the long run. On the other hand, short-term surface "fixes" could work well with the semi-sextile, as long as they don't have long-term consequences that could create more problems than they solve down the road.
The other aspect in the chart that reflects the intentions-versus-actions quandary is the Chiron square to the Sun-Moon conjunction. With Chiron, especially being in Pisces, what you aim for is not always what you wind up with, and at its worst the result can be a difficult burden to bear. This combination speaks of sacrifices that might have to be made in order to reach a higher or farther goal.
This could involve the need to accept delayed gratification, or learning to be satisfied with something less appealing or different from what you were hoping for. Like a child waiting for Santa Claus to come, it doesn't mean you'll only get a lump of coal in your stocking, but it might mean you get a stuffed toy instead of a real live puppy. Or, you might get the doggie bed, leash, brush and chew toy, but have to still work toward getting the puppy. Or, you might get the puppy but discover that you have to find time to walk, feed, brush, play with and take care of it, which you don't really have to spare in your busy schedule. Something's got to give.
A powerful star, [Antares'] presence in your chart will imply that you will go to extremes, intentionally or unintentionally. Success will come, as this is one of the Royal Stars, but only through continually putting your efforts to the test and honing them through the fires of experience. The danger is that you will seek drama simply for the thrill, and if this happens, it can lead to the loss of all that has been gained.
~ Bernadette Brady, Brady's Book of Fixed Stars
The Sagittarius New Moon is conjunct the fixed star, Antares, which is a major star "in the heart of the Scorpion." (Remember, the tropical zodiac signs are not aligned with the constellations due to precession. Therefore, although Antares is located at 09:57 of Sagittarius in the tropical zodiac, for our purposes, it actually occupies the constellation of Scorpio.)
Antares has a powerful, sometimes volatile reputation, as does Algol which we saw aligned with the Full Moon in Taurus (Nov.17). Bernadette Brady paints a potent picture of Antares having great potential but not easy to handle constructively. Similarly, the work of Elsbeth Ebertin (published in Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation) describes "mental alertness, strategic ability, and courage" as traits gifted by Antares. This seems to echo and reinforce the warning to watch how you use the very persuasive, perhaps even compelling ability that could be within reach during this lunar cycle. A little can go a long way, and the effect could be other than what you were intending.
My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others.
Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
~ Bob Hope
This combined energy puts an extra spin on whatever vision you invest your energy in. Therefore, choose your investment wisely. Aim to expand your higher understanding that can lead you to a universal view of love and compassion. If you get snagged in a net of blame, resentment or discouragement, take some time out in order to disengage your actions from the feelings until you understand better what's going on. Give yourself some love, support and forgiveness (and maybe for the other guy too, if you can).
Now: think about something that reminds you who you are in your best moments. Spend a few minutes bringing into your awareness a vision of yourself in those best moments. What do you look like? What does it feel like inside your body? What does your voice sound like, including inside your own head? What sounds do you notice around you?
Then: know that you are that same person now—even when you're all tied up in knots of anger, blame, intolerance or discouragement. That part of you is always there, whenever you're ready to reach out and connect with it again. Then let that natural, higher impulse guide you in your next move.
Fear behind you,
Life before you,
Faith befriend you,
Prayer becalm you,
Truth be with you,
Love become you,
God be in you.*
(*This be for you. Repeat until chanting for others; then begin again.)
~ author unknown (if you know who wrote this, please contact me)
There is a potential now to find the courage to speak your mind and say what needs to be said, if you focus consciously on doing so. In fact, your ideas and words may come so quickly and easily that it's hard to stop them from tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to evaluate the best way to say them. Communication is probably easiest and most effective when it's direct, concise and quick, although it might also be a bit blunt or pointed. If you need to confront someone about a difficult situation, this transit can provide courage and clear words to help you do that – although perhaps a bit too forceful when a more delicate, sensitive touch is called for. It is a time when you might find the nerve to take risks, or to defend yourself if the need arises (especially verbally). This is a good transit for creative problem solving and trying on decisions to see if they fit.
Communication, ideas, thoughts and perceptual "spark" become expanded in Sagittarius. Your mental focus tends toward a philosophical and spiritual outlook that seeks the highest truth in the broadest context. However, it's not always easy for the conscious mind to assimilate and digest such a vast territory of knowledge, or to find the higher meaning in mountains of raw information. You might feel a bit overwhelmed by trying to take in such a panoramic view of your world, but the gifts from doing so are abundant and inspiring! To get the most out of this transit, try learning something new that expands your horizon. Or pick a situation in your life and imagine that you're looking at it from a mountaintop – what do you see from way up there that you can't see when you're closer to the ground? Just remember that whatever visions and insights you get from doing this, these are SOME of the truths to be found, but not necessarily the only truth. Leave room in your new understanding to remember that every mountaintop shows a slightly different view and that this doesn't make one mountain right and the others wrong.
Your mental focus may be a bit clouded, confused or lethargic right now, as your conscious mind struggles to grasp the formless, limitless expanse of the Universe and the unconscious. You may experience some disillusionment or disappointment, in your observations or communication with others. However, what is flowing under the surface of events right now is the need to dissolve away the crust of old expectations that blocks your view from seeing a greater Truth. If you're feeling off-balance, try to listen more than you talk, so that you can be receptive to your inner sensitivity. Left-brain analysis might be difficult to work with right now unless you balance it with a lot of right-brain intuition. You may have to let go of a rigid mindset, or give up what you think you understand about a situation in your life, in order to open yourself to a new perspective that is difficult to define but is ultimately in the best interest of your spiritual growth.
This is a time when aggression, anger and directness may have to be expressed gently, diplomatically and gracefully. Libra is not the most comfortable sign for Mars, since his typically sharp-edged and forceful nature becomes blunted and filtered through Libran softness and tact. It's a bit like dressing Star Trek's "Worf" in a tutu. However, when these energies combine and work well together, what can emerge is the passion to fight for justice and fairness. This is "the fisted hand in the velvet glove," and can create situations in which you must respond more like a charming but crafty ambassador than a brute force boxer. On the other hand, with force, aggression and directness somewhat blocked or unavailable as options, it may be difficult to respond decisively or purposefully to conflict and challenge. You need to rely more on your wits than your impulses, and strive for a win-win solution than a clear victory.
Yes, you read that "until" date above correctly – Mars stays in Libra for over 8 months! That's because it will go retrograde, entirely in Libra, from Mar.01.2014 to May.19.2014. So kick back, think beautiful thoughts and get ready to learn how to use your Mars (aggression, assertiveness, sexual drive, physical energy, independence, desire and ambition) in Libran ways (balanced, balancing, counterbalancing, artistic, beautifying, interactive, strategic, compromising, win-win, win-lose, lose-lose and dualistic).
Unusual ideas, flashes of insight and seeing unexpected possibilities are all part of this transit. You may find it easier to be open-minded right now, especially about insights that have eluded you. Your ability to see beyond your usual horizon of perception can bring visionary brainwaves, as well as a fun sense of humour. You might be inspired to experiment with something new or do something out of character. You might have an impulse to break free of old habits or constraints. This can be a very liberating transit that opens your mind to new possibilities and ideas. However, be careful that you don't become so liberated and spontaneous that you become erratic, hyper or reckless. Words may come tumbling out of your mouth before you've had a chance to consider their wisdom, or you might find yourself talking non-stop and interrupting, creating a bit of awkwardness in those around you. On the other hand, you might also find the clarity and vision that gives you the words to speak your truth with new conviction. It's a great time to do some writing or other form of self-expression, especially if it's spontaneous or involving technology.
Your mental focus and perceptions may feel a bit strained right now. You could find yourself locked in a struggle of indecision that stems from a "glass half empty" versus "glass half full" dilemma. It may be difficult to stay objective and evenly balanced in your perspective, but by working with this you could also find a new mental focus that gives you increased clarity. It might be tempting to sink into cynicism as a way to deal with what seems like a no-win situation. On the other hand, this transit could bring your mental perspective to a kind of "healing crisis" that forces you to get a better grip on the ideas, communication and frame of mind that have been problematic for you. Instead of reaching for extremes (hoping this will clarify the path in front of you), it will help more if you can take a few steps back to allow all the conflicting and out-of-sync elements to coexist together – creative paradox. If you have been in denial about something, this could be a turning point that allows you to grapple with the complex reality of your situation.
The expansiveness of Jupiter works cooperatively with the concise structure of Saturn in this transit. Its peak effects can be felt for up to about a week to 10 days before and after the exact date (above). This transit can bring adventure and caution into a healthy balance. You have the confidence and imagination to envision bright possibilities in your life, while also having the grounded realism to make the plans and do the hard work to make it happen.
If you have been making plans to create, build or reach for a goal in your life, this is a time when you may be able to make substantial progress. You have access to vision that can see beyond obstacles, insight to deal with problems, enthusiasm to sustain your efforts, and faith in the process as it unfolds.
It is also easier to be responsible, stable and predictable without limiting your options or potential. There's a slight possibility that this could backfire somewhat, by giving you the strength to push through your vision or opinion with such force that others find it overwhelming. Or, you might feel so reassured and confident with the way your life is unfolding that you take it for granted and don't apply any real effort to help it along ...and then wonder why it didn't bring as much as you thought. Make a point of putting this energy to productive use!
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
~ Marcel Proust
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Dec.17, 2013, 4:28 AM EST
Dec.17, 2013, 9:28 AM GMT
Dec.17, 2013, 8:28 PM AEDT
New information and ideas cause havoc.
They disturb the status quo and throw established expectations into turmoil.
They can take the road you're on and yank it up in the air, and by the time it comes back down you could be pointed in a whole new direction—whether you want to be or not.
New ideas can be like putting a new lens on your camera. You see things differently, and the old familiar way of looking at things is nowhere to be found.
They create ripples of change in the fabric of your life. It's kind of like updating your software – it may not work on your computer's current operating system, so you have to upgrade that as well. And now your other programs won't work on the new operating system, so you have to upgrade those as well. So while you're at it, you might as well get a new printer too, right? And hey—isn't there an awesome sale on laptops and iPhones after Christmas...?
One idea leads to another. And new ideas lead to more new ideas and eventually to reframing everything you thought you knew about anything. Nothing is quite the same ever again.
New ideas are like a virus.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
~ André Gide
This Full Moon in Gemini is a lot like that.
Gemini is all about ideas, information and awareness. But the essential nature of these things being what they are, this Full Moon is likely to stir things up and disrupt life to some degree.
The Moon is in quincunx aspect (150°) to Venus in Capricorn. This implies that it is your values and priorities that could suddenly seem like they just don't fit with your perception of what is happening in your life. Where did all those nice expectations go? What is really expected of you in order to earn the accolades you desire?
In Western culture, this is the time of year when we talk about this jolly mythical Santa Claus and how he gives whatever is wished for—only to those who are deserving. But what does that really mean? A more objective second look might show that (a) to be deserving means living up to someone else's expectations and has very little to do with your own priorities; and (b) if you don't get your shiniest wishes granted, does that mean you are undeserving, unworthy or just a rotten kid?
Venus is starting to explore these kinds of questions in more depth, as she slows down for her retrograde cycle that begins in just a few days (Dec.21 to Jan.31). We are being encouraged to reconsider what we believe about guilt, expectations, priorities, values and importance. In particular, how do these concepts interact with our desires and our sense of being beautiful—inside and out? If we feel undeserving, unworthy or incapable of acquiring what we want, it's hard to feel good about ourselves.
Seen from another angle, what are our feelings of worthiness and adequacy based on? Do we really feel we have earned these badges of honour, or do we simply believe we are entitled to them just because? And for us to have what we feel entitled to, does this mean someone else goes without, as a result? The Full Moon in Gemini in an awkward aspect to Venus suggests the Gemini awareness, ideas and information is partly focused on these kinds of questions.
What supports this is the fact that Mercury (planetary ruler of Gemini) is in the philosophical sign of Sagittarius. With the Moon's benefactor in the sign that loves to ask the Big Questions, the Full Moon energy is infused with burning curiosity to explore the greater implications of those priorities and values that Venus is chipping away at. Mercury is also conjunct the Sun and opposite the Moon, and so is directly involved in the creative tension that is the Full Moon – the Sun-Moon opposition.
And as if all that isn't enough, Mercury is also Out Of Bounds (OOB), from Dec.16.2013 to Jan.07.2014. It is aligned with the Earth farther south than even the Sun can go at its most southern point (which is where it is now at the December Solstice). Being OOB, your awareness and perceptions can potentially stretch beyond your usual range of thoughts, ideas and communication. This could be a great time to do some writing or other form of self-expression. Writing in your personal journal could allow you to explore who you are and where you're going in your life, and reach insights and understanding that might normally elude you.
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence.
~ Paul Simon, The Sound(s) of Silence
One of the biggest contributors to the Full Moon chart's energy is Uranus, which peaks in its Direct Station just 8 hours after the Full Moon in exact. If Uranus isn't moving (i.e. it is stationary), then its energy is likely to explode under pressure, sending out a beacon of lightning that burns a hole in our awareness. Under the Full Moon in Gemini the Uranus station has extra impact, since Uranus is often described as being like a higher octave of Mercury energy, and therefore will vibrate in harmony with the Mercury-ruled Full Moon.
Flash! Wow! Did you see that?? A new idea lights up your mind.
Flash! Holy cow, I never thought of it that way!
Flash! Oh my god, what if...??
Flash! What?? It was always this way, but all of a sudden it's something else!
Uranus has been squaring Pluto for the last hundred years—okay okay, it's only about the last 4-5 years, with the first exact square aspect being last year, but sometimes it feels like a hundred! Whenever either planet makes a station (turns retrograde or direct), its energy intensifies and the overall Uranus-Pluto square energy tends to become more intense as well.
What makes this station especially "interesting" is that Mars has just begun to form a T-square aspect pattern with the Uranus-Pluto square. This figure will remain with us until the turn of the year, when it will morph into a Grand Cross with Jupiter stepping into the 4th corner. The Grand Cross will linger until mid/late-January.
So this Uranus station is part of the initiating sequence of planetary events that kick-start the ripple effect that takes us well into next year. As Mars joins up with Uranus and Pluto, Uranus is idling on some very high octane fuel, and Mars in opposition will be in a position to launch like a rocket! Therefore, the next few weeks could be unusually volatile, erratic, electric and sizzling, which should make the coming holidays especially exciting and/or precarious.
You might feel unusually reactive, short-tempered, impulsive and fast-paced, making it a bit difficult to restrain your unruly compulsions by using your better judgment (which itself might be hiding behind a protective wall somewhere). On the other hand, you might also find the courage to take bold steps that take you out of being stuck, discouraged or inhibited, and this might be one of the best transits to happen to you in a while. Bear in mind that Mars is in Libra, so the best approach is to maintain some semblance of balance: detachment with desire, objectivity with impulsive reactions, and flexibility with the urge to control.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
~ Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird (Atticus Finch)
At the end of the day (or the year, in this case), this is a good time to expand your awareness of the ripple effects that come out of this splashy Full Moon in Gemini. Get ready to blow your mind, pry open your brain and allow yourself to see a new world out there. And all this as we go through the Solstice that leads to a New Year. Don't bother with mere New Year's resolutions. Reach instead for a New Year's revolution! Allow your mind to conjure up visions of sugar plums dancing through your head which can feed your imagination and sweeten your possibilities.
Just keep one foot on the ground as your psyche goes trekking across the universe. Jupiter is in an exact sesqui-quadrate aspect (135°) with Neptune, and what you don't want is to plan this magnificent dream of what life could be, only to find that it will take way more energy, means, knowledge, skills and time to make it happen than you have patience for.
Dream big, but remember you still have to lay the bricks that will build it.
That said, Jupiter is in a very close and cooperative trine aspect (120°) with Saturn. This will help you keep that one foot on the ground while your sense of adventure launches toward the distant horizon. The trick is to avoid thinking in a linear way, where A leads to B which leads to C and they all lived happily ever after.
Instead, think in terms of progressive levels of evolution, where each idea, perception, decision or action can open up a new stage of possibilities. And at each stage, you will be challenged to again decide which way to go next. Allow your curiosity to guide you. Let your natural genius inform you of the possibilities. Call upon your inner wisdom to advise you of the best path to take through this forest of potential. And open your eyes and mind to the creative balance between an opportunity and its embodiment that must be maintained as you walk your path from here to there.
Each ripple is a step that creates new ripples. Be playful, be curious, be enthusiastic, be interactive.
Happy Solstice! Blessed Yule! Merry Christmas! Joyous Kwanzaa! And a very Happy New Year to all!
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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
~ T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
For about 2 weeks, Mars gets involved with Uranus and Pluto to form a T-square aspect figure. Mars opposes Uranus, which is likely to make us all feel a bit more jumpy, irritable, reactive and forceful. The more positive side of this is spontaneity, liberation and freedom of expression. However, with Pluto squaring them both, there will be implications that could amp up the intensity level of our actions and their consequences. In addition, Uranus is stationary going Direct as all of this begins on Dec.17, giving this energy an extra spin and potentially making it all the more erratic, chaotic, uncontrolled and/or impulsive.
Therefore, it's wise to keep an eye on your motives, emotions and urges during this time, since it can be all too easy to react first before you realize the implications, and then it could create consequences that you'd rather not have to live with.
Starting around Dec.24, the Sun joins them in the boxing ring, followed quickly by Mercury on Dec.25, as they both approach conjunction to Pluto. The Moon also conjoins Mars on Dec.25, adding an emotional element to that day that is likely to be felt on a very personal level—good and bad.
By the time the Sun and Mercury catch up to Pluto, it will be the next New Moon on Jan.01, giving 2013 one heck of a send-off and 2014 a wild welcome! In addition, Jupiter is at the far edges of this T-square, waiting to form a Grand Cross with Mars, Uranus and Pluto for about 3 weeks, starting with the New Moon in Capricorn on Jan.01. Rewind back to the Full Moon in Gemini, and it seems that Mars lights a match to the fuse that eventually becomes a powder keg with some very intense and expansive kick to it!
Expect this energy to keep rolling for a while. At its worst, it could feel at times like a nightmare of unwanted problems that keep coming and don't seem to have any lasting solution. This negative scenario might be fuelled by unconscious motives, unexpressed anger or unresolved disappointment. In an especially volatile situation, it might even result in violence or destruction. Therefore, it may be important to be aware of your stress level, as well as that of others around you, so that you can respond in a rational, objective, informed and perceptive way to whatever is happening.
On the other hand, at its best this can start a progressive development of fighting your way out of a stalemate, giving some potent staying power to your focused motives, intentions and ambitions. New Year's resolutions could actually have some lasting momentum to them. Plans for 2014 could be initiated with some extra rocket fuel to send them even higher and farther than you thought was possible. Personal growth can get a jump start with some extra fertilizer that gives you the courage to try new directions, explore unknown possibilities, and ultimately to gird your loins and face down some old persistent bogeymen.
This is an important T-square, which will be repeated when Mars retrogrades back into orb in early April 2014 and reunites with Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto until mid-May. Therefore, watch carefully what you are going through during this instance of the T-square (and the Grand Cross at the turn of the year), since you will get another chance to tackle the challenges from a different angle and apply some new ideas to them next year.
This T-square is closest from Dec.29 to Jan.02. Happy New Year!
Uranus now turns direct, after being retrograde for the last 4 months. This often brings a turning point in situations involving spontaneity, freedom, breaking free of old patterns, rebellion and expressing your personal uniqueness. For up to a week before and after this date, it could feel a bit chaotic or erratic—or perhaps just spontaneous and exciting. However, Uranus' ultimate agenda is to clear the way for your true spirit to manifest in your life. You may experience unexpected changes, flashes of insight, or disruption of established situations that aren't working well (which might include computers, Internet, mass media, groups, friends or future plans). This can be the awakening of a new perspective, to be brought into a clearer focus through open-mindedness and being willing to try new things.
Ottawa, Canada and
Washington DC, USA:
Dec.21, 2013, 12:11 PM EST
Dec.21, 2013, 5:11 PM GMT
Dec.22, 2013, 4:11 AM AEDT
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.
For up to a week or more before and after this date, you may experience intense energy in the areas of relationships, finances, beauty, self-worth and harmony. Similar to Mercury retrograde, Venus retrograde is a time when we go back over the same ground we just came through in order to refine, polish and adjust the affected areas in our lives.
Venus retrograde can be a time when latent problems in relationships (all kinds, not just romantic) become outright conflicts. Or, previous ongoing conflicts may take a rest and go underground for a while, as everyone regroups and reassesses what is important to them. If you have been keeping the peace at any price, this could be a time when that peace suddenly falls apart and you are faced with having to deal with old unresolved problems.
Finances also can shift direction. Income and resources might become somewhat scarce, forcing you to let go of or rethink your material focus. Or, you might find your material resources booming ...possibly along with your spending. Issues about personal appearance, fashion, beauty and charm may also become conspicuous by their absence or by their sudden importance. In general, it is a time to examine your value system and decide whether the people and things that you have cherished still hold the same high priority for you, as well as whether you are truly living according to your values.
Venus has been chasing Mars in a trine aspect (120°) since around Nov.22, but he eludes her grasp as she slows down for the retrograde station (now). Bringing your desires and action together may seem just as elusive during this time, but your efforts, dreams and intentions are not wasted—just delayed. There's more to gather together before they're ready to take shape. In January, it might seem sometimes like the potential has been lost, as Venus retrograde squares Mars on Jan.17 and becomes caught in the net of the Grand Cross with Uranus, Pluto, Jupiter and Mars. However, Mars is himself slowing down and Venus squares him again as he goes retrograde on Mar.01. More conflicts, struggles and knots to untangle, but it's just Venus combing her hair to look beautiful later. In late March Venus has moved forward enough to catch up to the trine with Mars and finally has her "good hair day" with Mars as the ardent admirer, in Venus' own sign of Libra.
Venus is retrograde in Capricorn, putting her in a rather serious mood. Etiquette is a systematic science for her that makes the whole system run smoother and more effectively. It is intended to benefit the greater whole. Being retrograde in Capricorn could lead you to rethink the role that social nicities play in your life. Perhaps you have become a little too casual or rough around the edges in the last while, and could use a refresher course in how to interact with authority figures more respectfully, for example. Or maybe you have let the rules for social order become so ingrained in your life that you don't know how to relax and get laid back as much as you need to.
Venus' retrograde question is: how much are you honouring the qualities of respect, authority, integrity, discretion and being well-prepared? It might be too much or too little. We tend to think of authority and respect as being something we owe to other people, but your own self-respect and your ability to be the authority over your own life are also important. If you respect someone else without respecting yourself, for instance, then it is based more on fear than high regard.
Integrity is another quality that could use some reflection. Although it is connected to ethics, its basis lies in our ability to be integrated between our feelings, desires, priorities and actions. Are there times when you feel one way but take action in another? This is a good time to explore how you can bridge that split. What do you really value enough to make it a priority? And how can your actions and values become more consistent with each other?
Venus goes retrograde (in whole or in part) in Capricorn every 8 years starting in 1966 until 2101. These years include: 1966, 1974, 1982, 1990, 1998, 2006, 2013-2014, 2021-2022, and beyond.
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.
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.
Your energy is likely to be rather unpredictable, fluctuating or just plain "wonky" under this transit. Your moods could swing back and forth in reaction to outside circumstances that trigger your feelings buried under the surface. In particular, anger, confidence and impulsive desires could suddenly appear and disappear for no apparent reason. If you feel your freedom is being taken away or if you think your individuality is becoming lost in the Collective shuffle, you might feel the urge to abruptly push against whoever seems to be blocking you. This can come across as arbitrary rebellion, and it may not be easy for you or others to understand where this is coming from inside you. It might be a good idea to take some time out to focus inward and find out what's really going on under the surface, especially if these reactions are starting to spiral out of control. On the other hand, this doesn't have to be a "negative" energy. You might also feel more spontaneous than usual and be willing to try new things more easily than you usually do. It can be a time to discover new courage to venture beyond your comfort zone of what's familiar. Flash arguments could clear the air, leaving the way clear to make a fresh start. Essentially, this transit tends to be a bit of a roller coaster ride, which can have you howling in protest or shrieking with excitement...or both!
This transit falls on Christmas Day, and for those who celebrate it this is likely to put an unusually lively spin on this holiday! Depending on how you channel its energy, it could have very positive or difficult results. This transit encourages spontaneity and high energy levels. At its best, this can amplify excitement and raise everyone's mood. On the difficult side, however, it can also aggravate tempers that flare quickly, give a sharp edge to impatience and lead to being over-reactive. It will help to do whatever you need to do to keep at least one foot on the ground, rooted in reality and practicality. Is it really worth taking up the gauntlet with Uncle Horace who knows so well how to push your buttons? Or, if you wind up pushing Aunt Gertrude's buttons and she gets that look in her eye that resembles a turkey carving knife, consider if it's important enough to you to stand your ground or if this would be an excellent time to go see what the kids are up to. In other words, pick your battles. Uranus is also known for surprises, so redirecting any volatile energy into humour or a fascinating discovery of new insight can also be a good trick to keep up your sleeve.
Mars now enters the Retrograde Shadow—the area of the Zodiac where it will go retrograde. Similar to when Mercury goes into the Retrograde Shadow, you will start to increasingly feel the effects of the coming Mars retrograde over the next couple of months. Mars retrograde can increase—or decrease—the things to do with Mars: anger, physical energy, motivation, sexual energy, etc. The important thing to remember is that, as with all retrogrades, Mars retrograde will require the reconsideration or redoing of things to do with Mars. So, the Mars-like themes emerge in your life during this Shadow time are likely to need reworking later when Mars goes retrograde.
For example, you may feel an urgency to take action that winds up having to be reconsidered or redirected later (during or after the retrograde period). You might feel very motivated, focused and driven to make progress with plans and ideas you have been thinking about, although needing to make some changes to these plans while Mars is retrograde. You could feel increasingly on a "short fuse" due to feeling pressured or stressed. You might become more sensitive to the hostility, anger, sexual energy, frustration or defensiveness in others. This tension could become unavoidable during the retrograde period, forcing you to deal with conflicts that have been building for a while. Or, tensions might suddenly drop during the retrograde, like the calm centre of a hurricane, giving you a period of "cease-fire" in which to reconsider your position and decide which battles are important enough to fight and which ones are best left alone. Your physical energy may also increase or decrease during this time.
Mars makes a number of aspects during this retrograde cycle. He opposes Uranus (Dec.25, Apr.23.2014, Jun.25), squares Pluto (Dec.30, Apr.23.2014, Jun.14) and squares Jupiter (Jan.08.2014, Apr.22, Aug.01). April in particular is likely to be quite intense, as they all form a Grand Cross very precisely within a day of each other!
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.
During this transit, your sense of self and purpose can become merged with what you think, perceive and say. On one hand, this can make for an easy flow of ideas and communication from inside your brain to the external world. It can also increase your perceptions and observations of the world, as you file it all away in your internal database. On the other hand, you may find yourself a bit tongue-tied, as it could be hard to separate your sense of self from your perceptions and ideas enough to find the words to adequately express them. In that case, just observe and go with the flow; the words will come later. It can also be a time when it's not easy to be objective, especially about yourself and how you bring yourself to the world around you. It's like your Being automatically expresses and sets into motion the things you think, perceive and want to say. This can help you to feel like your sense of self is shining effortlessly, but if your thoughts and perceptions are in conflict with other parts of you (e.g., emotions, needs, objectivity) then it might become a time when you act a little too quickly with blinders on. Strive for balance and self-honesty before you act.
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.
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.
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.
This can be a volatile combination of energies, which can generate enormous stress and conflict, but can also motivate you go beyond your perceived limitations. The biggest dangers with this transit include obsessive control, violence in response to frustration, and natural reactions of anger being blown out of proportion into rage. However, if you are able to harness this energy and put it to productive use, it can fuel your ambitions and drive you to push past the barriers that are in your way (including your own discouragement or lethargy). There can be a fine line, though, between empowering yourself with determination and courage versus forcing the issue in a way that creates more problems than it solves. And there is a difference between being obsessively attached to the outcome versus discovering that you have more courage, strength and tenacity than you thought you did, when your back is against the wall. Sexual tension can be strong under this transit, so it is wise to use some good judgment about whether or how to act on that. Power struggles with others can become very intense, so strive to be clear in yourself about what you really want and how you can assert your interests without inflicting the emotional equivalent of nuclear war.
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.
As with Mars opposite Uranus affecting Christmas celebrations around Dec.25, these current transits of Mercury conjunct Pluto and square Mars (Dec.31) are likely to affect New Year's celebrations. Do not even THINK about driving if you've been drinking or drugging. Besides this being an excellent idea at any time, right now your awareness and judgment can easily be steeped in emotion, which is not wise if you're behind the wheel of a car.
In addition, if you're upset, angry, worried or depressed right now, it might be a good idea to go easy on the champagne and other substances, as they could just make your mood worse. However, having said that, the energy in the air right now could also bring some penetrating insight and mental clarity. The important point is to be careful about reacting impulsively in a way that you might regret later.
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.
Fiery speech, argument and hot debate characterise this transit. This could come in the form of conflict, or it might be stimulating and challenging – or both! One thing to watch out for is that you may have a short fuse for a temper, and the same may be true for others around you. It can be a time when you blurt out things you later regret, or you might finally find the courage to do something that's long overdue. The problem is that one can easily look like the other, and what feels like courage in the moment might look more like reckless haste in retrospect. Harsh words can't always be taken back, so keep a grip on your objectivity and better judgment while you're verbally fighting the dragons. Use this energy to stoke your motivational fires, and use your ideas to generate positive action. It can help to pace your mental energy like racing a horse, which can harness abundant energy to fuel your decisions, courage and resolve.
Happy New Year to all! :-)
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© 2013 Wendy Guy. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied without the author's written permission. Most or all of the quotes on this page were found at GoodReads.com. Graphics of Sagittarius and Gemini by CTEConsulting on CanStockPhoto.com. Photo of trees in winter by Eric Pruis on Morguefile.com.