We’re closing in on the winter solstice, with shorter days and longer nights, and the desert nights are more clear and starry than ever.
As we’ve mentioned here before, we are 3/5ths of the way through a pattern of five oppositions of Saturn and Uranus:
* on 11/04/08 at 19 Virgo (Saturn) -Pisces (Uranus)
* on 2/5/09 at 20 Virgo-Pisces
* on 09/15/09 at 25 Virgo-Pisces
* on 4/24/2010 at 29 Virgo-Pisces
* on 7/26/2010 at 1 Libra-Capricorn
Transiting Uranus galvanizes whatever planet or point it is aspecting, and whatever house it is passing through in your birthchart. It asks you to overhaul and transform these areas, particularly where you may have been clinging to traditions, habits, fears and restrictive conservatism about them.
The more “trapped” you have felt here, the more acutely you may feel this Uranian call to progress and freedom. To work well with these transits, you must use the Uranian virtue of *being fully yourself*–not someone else’s idea of you, and not a living symbol of “the Revolution” at the expense of your own identity. Transiting Saturn asks you for a realistic and objective assessment of what is and is not working about whatever planet or point it is aspecting, and about whatever house it is passing through in your birthchart. It asks you to use the Saturnian virtues of good reality-testing and shrewd consistent effort to make a concrete, practical change of whatever isn’t working for you.
Reflect on these oppositions, and remember you don’t have to figure it out yesterday. Two more partile oppositions are still ahead. Don’t stall in a way that could end up hurting you (too much Saturn), and don’t rush blindly ahead without thinking things through (too much Uranus) about what structures you might want to keep or change rather than just tear down.
Uranus went stationary direct (started moving forward through the zodiac) on Dec. 1st at 22 degrees Pisces. We feel the effect of the station, which increases that planet’s energy, through Dec 27th when it enters 23 degrees of Pisces. Therefore, everyone on the planet is feeling extra Uranian juice (see above for explanation of Uranus) in the places where the transiting opposition falls in our charts.
The transiting Saturn-Uranus opposition is further qualified by the action of transiting Pluto, which is in early Capricorn and in the process of squaring transiting Saturn three times. The first square occurred at 1 Libra on Nov 15th. The second is on Jan. 31, 2010, at 4 Libra. The third is on Aug 21, 2010 at 3 Libra.
Transiting Pluto tends to ask us, as a group, to become aware of the shadow side of the sign through which it’s transiting. (It recently left Sagittarius, whose shadow sides include the potentials for religious fanaticism and self-righteousness, for unchecked, overreaching growth, expansion and greed, and for difficulty in limiting one’s options, whether they’re real or perceived. Can you see some parallels to recent world events?) Capricorn’s shadow sides include the potential for abuses by the patriarchal mindset and by authority in general, for overly controlling behavior, and for narrow-minded focus on the goal and the bottom line despite what means are taken toward that end. As a group, we are being asked to see how those shadow expressions of Capricorn can challenge the reality (Saturn) of how we build (Saturn) and negotiate (Libra) healthy relationships, fairness, equality, moderation and aesthetics (all Libra), and what the actual value of those things is in our lives. As individuals, that dynamic is operating in your life wherever the early degrees of Capricorn and Libra fall in your chart, and also where those degrees make aspects to the rest of your chart. The transiting Sun-Pluto conjunction on Dec 24th at 3 Capricorn will intensify the transiting square for the holidays.
Mercury turns retrograde (backwards) on Dec. 26th at 22 Sagittarius, and direct again on Jan 15th at 6 Capricorn. Personally I think we still feel some of the retrograde effects, although they diminish, until Mercury leaves the degree in which it went retrograde and enters the next degree. In this case that will be on Jan. 19th. When Mercury is retrograde, what it rules tends to go “backwards” or experience reversals or confusion. Mercury rules communications (including the Internet…), schedules, transportation, contracts, commerce, teaching, learning, etc. It also rules how your mind naturally operates — right brained or left brained? learning best visually, aurally or by doing? able to multitask or needing focus? etc. It also rules the Trickster archetype. Double check all relevant details during Mercury retrograde — your personal Trickster may get involved in your “forgetting” something. And be willing to experience methods of communicating or learning that aren’t your preferred way. You can also use this period to review, edit, study, etc., something you’ve already written or are trying to learn. If you have planets around 22 Sagittarius and/or 6 Capricorn, and if you have Gemini or Virgo rising (making Mercury your Ascendant’s ruler), you will likely feel Mercury retrograde more acutely than the rest of us will.
Join Steven for an extended look at the planet Mercury. Extending the ideas from his Purifying the Three Poisons lecture, you'll learn how to work intentionally with Mercury energy. As always, Steven describes both the high-functioning Mercury as well as the low, so that you can identify the patterns and steer things in the right direction.
Includes a look at the astronomical nuts and bolts, high and low response to the planet, Mercury and omens, natal Mercury retrograde, and the planet's developmental focus. Also included are detailed examples and extended discussion of Mercury in each of these signs: Aries, Sagittarius, Cancer, Pisces, and Taurus.
Mars turns retrograde on Dec 20th at 20 degrees Leo, and turns direct on Mar 10th at 0 Leo. Again, when a planet is retrograde, what it rules tends to go “backwards” or be felt more internally than usual. Mars rules our inner warrior, who goes after what we want and who protects us. It also rules all situations to which we react with an extra flow of adrenalin. Counting to 20 rather than 10 can be a good idea with Mars retrograde; so can doing more looking than usual before you leap. On the other hand, don’t let the retrograde period squelch your inner warrior: if you really do need to assert yourself or set boundaries, do so. If you’re a dancer or an athlete, it’s probably better to review your current routines or skills than to launch into new ones. Stations for the retrogradation are Dec 17-24th, and for the direct motion from Mar. 5-15th.
Thoughts for the Solstice The holiday season is upon us. Often it’s stressful: arranging for time off, seeing people and making trips about which we may harbor some mixed feelings. Many of us don’t care for the commercialization of the season. Extraverts may enjoy a string of parties, yet most of us aren’t fond of the pace and the rush.
It’s ironic that we are so often asked to speed up at this time of year, since our natural rhythms and the cooler weather incline us more to quiet down, go within and seek a bit more solitude than usual. To reflect on the past year and to set goals for the next, in that Capricornian tradition of New Year’s resolutions.
We human primates don’t hibernate the winter away as some animals do, but it could certainly behoove us to slow down more, especially at the solstice. When there’s more dark than light in a 24 hour period, the activities more symbolically connected to the dark should naturally carry more weight than they do during the rest of the year. Reflection. Meditation. Inner work. Rest. Conserving energy. Ruminating on our storehouse of experiences and setting it in order. Yes, the solstice marks a celebration of the *returning* of the light — but *the dark is still greater than the light until the spring equinox.* If you can slow down and just be and just breathe from time to time, even for a few minutes, during the holidays and on until the beginning of spring, then you’ll be acting in accordance with a rhythm more naturally suited to us during this time. And it’s good for all of us to act according to our human nature when we can, living as we do on this Earth with its seasons and their cycles.
We wish you peace and grace for the holidays and the coming year.