The Astrology of December features Mars, newly retrograde, Uranus and Neptune, with the star attraction a forming Jupiter – Pluto conjunction in the last degrees of Sagittarius, signifying transformation of perspective on a massive scale, both individually and collectively. Mars has been backtracking through the sign of Cancer since mid-November, opposite to the Winter Solstice sign of Capricorn, where the Sun is currently heading. They will meet across the Zodiac in the very dynamic Full Moon configuration of December 23rd, aided and abetted by Jupiter in the first degrees of Capricorn, conjunct the Sun. The Jupiter – Pluto conjunction that perfects in mid-December also remains very active during this period.
Mars retrograde in Cancer implies that we will be looking under the covers of our familial and nurturing behavior over this entire end-of-year time that is replete with reunions. This retrograde period lasts until spring counting the retrograde shadow period, with his station to direct motion coming at the end of January. We are conjoined during this period to temper our outward urges with corresponding inward-turning self-analysis; it is better to reflect than to react. What we may find in so doing is that the root causes of our anger and other distressing emotions lies not so much in the present situation as with past conditioning. We benefit when we refrain from shooting the messenger.
In the mid-month period, the December 9th New Moon represents yet another chance for the powerful and transformational energies of the outer planets to interact with our personal lives. This New Moon in mid-Sagittarius squares Uranus, now in direct motion, and sextiles Neptune, while Jupiter and Pluto are coming quite close together in the heavens, only about half a degree apart. Relationship-oriented Venus also makes its ingress this month into Scorpio, Pluto’s sign. This is a time of sudden epiphany, and the awareness of the numinous and otherworldly side of the mundane world that opens us up to larger reality.
The Full Moon configuration of December 23rd, taking place two days after the Winter Solstice, brings these ideas together even more strongly, as the Full Moon unites Jupiter in early Capricorn with Mars, now in the very early degrees of Cancer and about to cross backwards into Gemini. The chart for New Year’s Day has these same factors still powerfully present, and in some ways more pronounced, as Mars swings into late Gemini to perfectly oppose Pluto. Mars opposite Pluto in the chart for the New Year presages that violence and the roots of violence will be on all our minds as we explore our lives, both individually and within the collective, in this extremely volatile year of 2008.
During this entire month we may well feel the evolutionary pressure mounting for massive change, as is indicated too by the current political and economic climate. In the larger picture of what we as a society have to deal with, things have been getting scary, and are likely to be getting scarier still in the years leading up to 2012. But it is an ill wind that blows no good, and what we as individuals must do is rise to the occasion. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” was never truer than it is today and will continue to be over the next few years of our remarkable collective transition.
Transits to the U.S. Chart
Last month we stated that more and stranger revelations were likely to emerge regarding the state of the war, and that the information might appear quite suddenly. Of course the most surprising news last month was the November 26th announcement – during the Thanksgiving Recess of Congress – that there will be permanent American bases in Iraq per agreement with the al-Maliki regime. Since the U.S. put al-Maliki in power, that is similar to the Bush administration making an agreement with itself. Certainly no congressional oversight was part of the plan, even though the Senate has the constitutional prerogative to oversee treaties with foreign powers. The agreement also stated that along with the bases, an American presence of 50,000 troops would be required. This reverses the attitude of many in Congress, and many all across the country, that the war be ended soon and troops withdrawn. The suddenness of the announcement has not been matched with an equally sudden reaction on the part of the American people, as yet, since the holidays are now in full swing.
This month the transits are still extreme, and may in fact presage that reaction. December’s New Moon is accompanied by a Sagittarius line-up, including Jupiter-Pluto, in the First House of the U.S. chart, which in an individual would indicate a new understanding of self coming though a powerful process of transformation. The Jupiter-Pluto conjunction also sextiles U.S. Moon and squares the U.S. Midheaven (government), while Saturn trines U.S. Eris (violent reactions) and squares U.S Uranus (sudden insight), as transiting Uranus remains trine the U.S. Sun. It’s bound to be an interesting and powerful time; perhaps even a time when the public might finally become fed up with the so-called powers that be and stage the beginning of an attempt to take back control. The most important development in all this remains the growth in consciousness, which absolutely necessary, and which in the end represents the only way out of the wilderness that we as a nation have landed ourselves in.
December 1st Last Quarter Moon
This has a Moon-Saturn conjunction in early Virgo, so that the sense of limitation frequently imposed by Saturn will be emotionally very present for us at this time. This is magnified for those with the Sun or a natal planet located early in a Mutable sign. Mercury also moves into Sagittarius at this time, heightening the consciousness of our situation generally. Of course, as always with Saturn, if we have done our homework and been good boys and girls over the past seven years the effect of Saturn’s large hand clamping down upon us will be less noticeable. During this beginning December timeframe, Jupiter is drawing quite close to Pluto as well, so those with planets later in the Mutable signs will begin to experience, if they haven’t already, the dawning realization that something major in their lives is about to shift.
December 9th New Moon
This dynamic New Moon of course features the Jupiter – Pluto conjunction, which becomes exact the very next day. This New Moon also squares Uranus, which is just beginning to pick up speed in terms of forward motion, so that surprises may abound, especially for those Mutable signs (again). Anyone born with Sagittarius, Pisces, Gemini or Virgo Sun signs will have plenty of soul-level activity to deal with this entire month, and very definitely during these first ten days. This New Moon also features a Sagittarius line-up, with Mercury about to conjunct the Sun and the Sun about to conjunct Pluto, a configuration that becomes tighter as the first week of the New Moon unfolds. Since this New Moon also sextiles Neptune, we will be more open than usual to the information from the other planes of existence that comes into our lives during this period.
December 17th First Quarter Moon
This First Quarter Moon, representing the testing time of trials, when the impulse generated at the time of the New Moon gets its sea legs so to speak, also features these same four Sagittarius planets in a row, with Mercury, Sun, Jupiter and Pluto drawing so close together in the heavens that little more than four degrees separates them. There is at this time a certain tension in the mix of energies, representing the necessary limits to what we can achieve. It may prove to be a very exciting time, especially as Venus in Scorpio trines Uranus and Mars approaches its opposition with Jupiter and Pluto, signifying that the relationships in our lives are up for examination and renewal.
December 21st Winter Solstice
This is traditionally an important time, and can be used to signify the chart for the year ahead, much like the New Year’s Day chart. It is an especially good time for rituals for this reason, as we collectively center our thoughts for our personal year to come. This year, the Sun is accompanied by a very close conjunction with Jupiter, and Mercury, both newly entered into Capricorn, with Pluto also nearby in Sagittarius as well, so the indications are quite powerful. This is an excellent time to set intentions for the coming year.
December 23rd Full Moon
Closely following the Winter Solstice, this dynamic Capricorn – Cancer Full Moon lines up almost exactly with the opposition between Mars and Jupiter, just a degree away. There is loads of energy for moving forward, and also some reservations that we will experience at this time as to the ultimate direction of that forward movement, since Mars remains retrograde. Generally speaking we will be more ready to share our experience with others around us at this time. Venus also squares Neptune, so that there is a spiritualizing influence, and confusion as well, in regard to our relationship goals.
December 30th Last Quarter Moon
This configuration definitely reflects the possibility of greater consciousness, coming as it does on the heels of so much volatility during December. We are one day away from the New Year. This Quarter is traditionally a time to get our mental ducks in a row, absorbing the lessons of the past three weeks since the New Moon, and of what we can and cannot accomplish in this timeframe. We may be learning the lessons of relationship, or of social activism, or of humility at this time, depending on how we react to the present moment in our lives, and on our ability to accept massive change. With a prominent Jupiter in early Capricorn, and with Venus just entering Jupiter’s sign of Sagittarius, an increase in awareness is definitely up for all of us, to the extent that we can absorb it.