The Astrology of December features Mercury, Mars, Saturn and Pluto with the last gasp of the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune also making an important appearance. Mercury retrogrades on the 26th – with all the usual symptoms of missed communication and mechanical failures – making the last part of December and all of January a useful time for reflection and introspection. Mars is also featured by retrograde this month, a fairly rare occurrence. He turns retrograde on the 20th, and leading up to this date moves much more slowly in the heavens, becoming for the moment a slow-moving, almost an "outer" planet. It is theorized that the speed of a planet has a relationship to its astrological impact, so this month is a perfect time to test that idea. From the New Moon of December 16th to the end of the month Mars moves only a total of three degrees: two degrees forward and one degree back. Once into January he starts to pick up speed, but he is still moving backward! This means that outer motivation and the urge to go out and accomplish things will be turned inward throughout the last ten days of the year and on into March of 2010. From mid-December onward we might expect to see our motivation slowed and our outlook more serious. This is especially true for anyone with planets in their chart within a few degrees of 19 in a Fixed sign – that's Leo, Aquarius, Taurus and Scorpio. Since Mars makes an aspect to Uranus when he stations on the 20th, there is also the possibility of rash and ungoverned action during the last half of the month, and we will do well to keep our impulses in check. Mars also opposes Chiron over this period, so that it is possible that we could now see further into dysfunctional patterns of assertive and ego-oriented behavior perpetuated by ourselves and by our culture, including fears of self-assertion stemming from our early conditioning.
With Jupiter and Neptune currently aspecting Chiron by conjunction we will find also the possibility of redemption and of transcending of these wounded places.
The Jupiter-Chiron-Neptune conjunction becomes quite close during the first half of the month especially, putting us in mind of how far we have come in dealing with the spiritual issues that we face as a society, and how far we still have to go. Jupiter is conjunct Chiron exactly at the very beginning of the month, namely at the time of the December 1st Full Moon. Since Eris and Mars are also in this picture we might want to beware of being overly reactive all during December.
Then by the December 16th New Moon which aspects the triple conjunction, we find Jupiter occupying the midpoint of Chiron and Neptune, a mere degree from each, bringing back the configuration that was also active last May and June. There is optimism in this configuration, and also the recognition that whatever spiritual path we are on is our own, and that we simply cannot blend in with consensus thinking or naïve assumptions about the way our dreams might have worked out. As a culture, we are joyful to an extent at this time, and hopeful for the possibility of a recovery, but we are also saddened by the thought that we can never go back, that we are irrevocably past a certain kind of innocence.
The eclipses of December 31st and January 15th are powerful, and represent a useful time for looking back over the first ten years of this new century. This is due to the retrogrades of Mercury and Mars, and also due to the Saturn-Pluto square that continues in full swing all through December. This square is powerfully activated at the time of the Quarter Moon of December 24th, and also by the eclipses of December 31st and January 15th. With Mercury and Mars both retrograde at this time, there is likely to be more reflection than action, but it will be a time of profound reflection indeed. Then, and all through this period, we are being made profoundly aware that something is changing, and changing utterly, in the structure of our lives and of the life of the surrounding culture. This represents another unfolding phase of what has preoccupied this country and indeed the entire world since 9-11. Then too, a certain kind of innocence was lost, that time in a cataclysmic event which forever changed the parameters of our lives. This end-of-year time in 2009 is when the reality of this event and our response really sinks home, and when we might begin to navigate the transformed territory that is left behind in its wake.
This end-of-the-year period is also a time when the rubber truly meets the road with respect to the transformation that we are all experiencing. It might be said that the time has come to face the music. The First Quarter Moon of the 24th is one climax of the last ten days of the month, but another comes when Mercury retrogrades on the 26th, the day after Christmas, making it not such a good time to get things done, and just when being productive is perhaps needed most. The entire lead-up to the New Year is somewhat frustrating, with the New Years Eve eclipse and Full Moon on the morning of the 31st likely to be even more so. This New Years is therefore an excellent time to stay home and reflect on the profound journey that you personally and we as a culture are in the midst of. It is a good time for ritual; not a good time to party like it's only 1999.
Transits to the U.S. Chart
Last month as we discussed the New and Full Moons of November and December, it seemed obvious that just as there had been many troubling news stories surfacing around this beginning and mid-month time period in recent months, in November too further revelations would follow. These stories center around the various hypocrisies that are currently going down in American (and Western) society. Are we hard at work fixing the environment or just talking? Are we a nation that bails out the poor and those not covered by health care or are we perhaps (dare to say it) a nation built mostly for the rich these days that bails out Wall Street first? Then there is the military presence that could build up in Afghanistan (and that continues in Iraq) and that has been discussed for many weeks now. Is our military presence in these regions designed to help the people there and protect us from terrorists or to help ourselves to important resources? Time will tell, but it does seem like the lessons of Vietnam were only imperfectly learned...
Last month the 2nd and the 3rd – around the time of the Full Moon – provided these stories...
From National Geographic:
Unless humans act now, seafood may disappear by 2048, concludes the lead author of a new study that paints a grim picture for ocean and human health.
According to the study, the loss of ocean biodiversity is accelerating, and 29 percent of the seafood species humans consume have already crashed. If the long-term trend continues, in 30 years there will be little or no seafood available for sustainable harvest. See National Geographic.
In other news from the November 2nd Full Moon period, Hamid Karzai was declared the winner of the Afghan election. This story has been brewing for months, but the subtext was the election leading up to the proposed run-off, which was declared fraudulent by the world community. Karzai's opponent feared the same for the run-off, hence his resignation, allowing Karzai to coast to undisputed victory. Nevertheless Karzai's ascension was hailed as legitimate by the U.S State Department. Sec. Of State Hillary Clinton had this to say: "With respect to Afghanistan and Dr. Abdullah's decision, I think that it is his decision to make. Whatever went into that determination is obviously his choice. But I do not think it affects the legitimacy."
Other news stories from this November 2nd Full Moon period were regarding the financial sector:
Goldman Sachs Secretly Bet on the US Housing Crash
An investigation by the McClatchy Newspapers has found that banking giant Goldman Sachs made secret bets on an imminent housing crash while selling off billions in soon-to-be-worthless securities. In 2006 and 2007, the bank reportedly peddled more than $40 billion in securities backed by at least 200,000 risky home mortgages, but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in US housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting. See The Consumerist.
Meanwhile the December 10th issue of Rolling Stone , release in mid-November, came out with an article that accused President Obama of staffing his Treasury and related departments with former Goldman-Sachs directors and associates, listing a total of 14 names from Treasury, NEC (National Economic Council) and State.
And of course the biggest story involving the military this past month also emerged in its first week, namely the shooting that left 13 dead and 30 wounded on Ft. Hood. The shooting took place on November 5th.
In the wake of the November 16th New Moon, we expected to see similar stories, such as:
Gates Blocks Release of Torture Photos
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has blocked the further release of any photographs depicting abuse or torture of foreign prisoners, saying their release would endanger American soldiers. Federal courts have repeatedly rejected the government's arguments to block the release of the photographs, but Congress voted last month to give Gates new powers to keep them private. See Democracy Now.
US Military Suicides at Record Level
A top US military officer has confirmed Army suicides will reach a new record annual high. General Peter Chiarelli, the US Army Vice Chief of Staff, said Tuesday the number of soldiers to take their own lives in 2009 has already matched last year's record of 140. The figure does not include an additional seventy-one soldiers who killed themselves this year after leaving active duty. See Democracy Now.
And – on November 18th
Wall Street Headed for Record Profits in 2009
New government figures show Wall Street is on pace to have its most profitable year to date. On Tuesday, the New York Comptroller Office said Wall Street profits are set to exceed the record set three years ago, before the onset of the nation's financial meltdown. The four largest firmsóGoldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chaseótook in $22.5 billion in profits through September. The top six banks set aside $112 billion for salAries and bonuses over the same period. In a statement, New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said, "The national economy is slowly improving, but Wall Street has recovered much faster than anyone had envisioned." See also The Huffington Post, and The Rolling Stone.
And also after the November 16th New Moon we had this story:
World Leaders: No Binding Deal on Climate Change Until 2010
President Obama and other world leaders have conceded that a binding deal to combat climate change won't be reached until at least next year. Asia-Pacific leaders, including President Obama, have backed a proposal to only reach an interim political agreement at next month's climate talks in Copenhagen while postponing contentious decisions on emissions targets, financing and technology transfer until sometime in 2010. The delay has frustrated those who feel time is running out to prevent calamitous levels of climate change. See Democracy Now.
Next month, the December 1st Full Moon once more aspects the U.S. Chart, aligning with the Ascendant and with U.S. Uranus while transiting Uranus continues to square and oppose U.S. Mars and Neptune even more closely. President Obama is scheduled to make an important announcement December 1st regarding troop build-ups in Afghanistan. Since Uranus is involved, there could be surprises there. Other sensitive dates in December include December 16th, when the New Moon squares U.S. Neptune and also from the 21st to the 24th, when transiting Pluto and Saturn in aspect to the U.S. MC will be highlighted.
With Pluto and Saturn still square to each other and Uranus about to join them, the first half of 2010 looks to be even dicier than November has already demonstrated. Fasten your seat belts, and continue to spread awareness.
December 1st Full Moon
The Sagittarius Full Moon is accompanied by the entrance of Venus into the same sign, while Jupiter forms an exact conjunction with Chiron in aspect to the nodal axis. We might be more inclined to question ourselves and our capacity for remaining wounded by the world, but we also have the ability to transcend that notion and rise above our former limitations. Saturn with Pluto all month long gives a different and more dire picture, but one that yields when we allow to simply take place the structural shifts that are demanded of us over the course of this important month.
December 8th Last Quarter Moon
This is an important configuration in which the Sun and Moon make a T-square with Uranus so that anything can happen. We may be subject to surprises at this time, and sudden enlightenment is certainly not out of the question. With Mars in aspect to Uranus also, accidents are another possibility so that it pays to be extra careful on the roads and in controlling reactivity.
December 16th New Moon
This powerful Sagittarius New Moon exactly sextiles Jupiter and Neptune, now almost exactly conjunct each other in Aquarius. This creates an impulse toward the mystical side of life rather than the merely mundane. Venus nearby is also almost trine a stationing Mars, emphasizing beauty and compassion, and the practice of right relationship with others around us. A Grand trine in Fire with Eris and Mars emphasizes growth and process over sitting back and waiting, and perhaps also indicates a propensity for over-exuberance at times during this mid-month period.
December 21st Winter Solstice
The entrance of the Sun into Capricorn is always an important time, but this year even more so, since the ruler of Capricorn, Saturn, is square to Pluto in the sky. The Sun joins Pluto in Capricorn within a few degrees and the heat of personal transformation is turned up another notch. The structure of our lives is encouraged to shift, and perhaps not very gently either.
December 24th First Quarter Moon
The Sun exactly conjuncts Pluto in this powerful configuration. Mars is also retrograde in Leo, where it will remain for months, and Mercury is about to station. These retrogrades will make things both slower and more reflective, and the emphasis on Pluto means that there will be a strong impulse for transformation also. We are stewing in our own juices at this time, turning on the spit until we come out just right.
December 26th Mercury SR
This time Mercury stations retrograde exactly conjunct the nodal axis, which is powerful in and of itself, and also in aspect to both Mars and Eris. There could be a reactive stance taken by folks at this time, and also the determination to make it happen in whatever way necessary. Since both Mercury and Mars are retrograde however, it would be well to hold your horses and await events rather than trying to push the river. Mercury straightens out on January 15th, and then finally leaves its retrograde shadow late on February 3rd. Up until that time there are better indications for reflection and introspection than for direct action.
December 31st Full Moon
This important eclipse is accompanied by another on January 15th, making this turning of the year a special time. Given the retrogrades of Mercury and Mars it is an introspective one as well. Four planets plus the North Node in Capricorn make it a practical and serious period when we must face ourselves deeply, and when relationship with each other matters more than ever.