Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
Pallas Direct Station at 9Ar19, 12-6
Full Moon at 16Gm19, 12-8
Saturn Quincunx Neptune, 12-14
Mars enters Aries, 12-16
Mercury Retrograde Station at 12Cp34, 12-17
Sun Conjunct Galactic Center, 12-19
Vesta enters Capricorn, 12-20
New Moon at 1Cp07, 12-23
Uranus enters Pisces, 12-30
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
After all the crazy energies of November, it's good to get some time off. December is much more sluggish than November, at least until the last 10 days or so. The first half of the month appears rather low key, with very few aspects of importance to mention. Since aspects are the fuel that runs the astrological engine, it may feel like there's not much going on or that the universe is not supporting your activities adequately. Take it easy during this time, especially if you're feeling stressed out these days. The last half, on the other hand, is a series of potent storms that are triggering some extremely deep acting influences on our lives. One of the most critical is the final entrance of Uranus into Pisces on the 30th, culminating the 9 month cycle of transition as Uranus wobbled back and forth across this border. This is a shift with far reaching effects, though it is quite difficult to foretell what will happen in advance (Uranus is like that most of the time). Another potent event is the annual passage of the Sun over the Galactic Center on the 19th. This won't affect everyone, but the more sensitive among us may be experiencing a few days of being in another world. In short, 2003 is coming to a rather climactic ending, so get ready to hit the ground running as we head towards the new year.
There is only one "big aspect" to discuss this month, namely Saturn quincunx Neptune, but the Sun's passage over Pluto and then the Galactic Center also rank as highly significant. There are two stations to look at and three planets change signs. Of the sign changes, the most important is when Uranus slips into Pisces for a 7 year stint.
Pallas reaches her direct station at 9Ar19 on the 6th, ending 3 months of reverse gear. She went retrograde on Aug 22 at 28Ar43. Pallas retrograde periods are often a time to focus your creative energies on a project of some importance to you. You need to withdraw from normal life in order to reach deep into yourself and pull some gem to the surface. Since Pallas is mostly an intuitive-mental planet, this can take the form of some research work or writing, although she also has an artistic streak to her as well. As we're at the direct station now, it's time to bring your work out into the open for all to see. Hopefully, your creation is something that vividly captures a part of you that is not usually seen by others or that pushes the envelope in your specialty area. Let's see what you came up with!
The full moon chart is a peculiar mixture of intensity and light-heartedness. The T-square (consisting of Juno, Sun, Pluto, all in Sagittarius, are opposite the Moon and square Jupiter) has some powerful relationship drives, but none of the signs (all mutable) make for much emotional depth. The tendency is to want to remain light and aloof, not becoming deeply enmeshed in your feelings. Perhaps this is cautiousness, an aversion to being hurt as in previous encounters. Perhaps it's simply because you want the companionship without the hassles that go with commitment. It's alright to want a different kind of relationship, one less prone to emotional storms, than before -- not every friendship needs to reflect the depths of human relatedness. But that Pluto with the Sun is intriguing. Pluto draws us to the very thing we try to deny. There's a power of the inner self that comes through Pluto, a power that the ego is unable to avoid or foresee. Look for the strange attractions you have to others, the ambivalent feelings they bring out in you. Try to avoid situations that are impossibly complicated, where moving too far is an irresponsible thing to do. But mostly, keep things light. A good laugh now and then keeps you away from many troubles.
Saturn is quincunx Neptune for the second time on the 14th. The first contact was on Sep 5 and the aspect wraps up on 2004-6-24. This aspect is one of the more influential ones spanning this fall to next summer. If you throw in Jupiter, it forms a giant Yod that promises to make some critical overhauls on the world scene the coming year. Saturn, the Cosmic Curmudgeon, is currently backing up in Cancer, a sign of home and family connections. It's not exactly his favorite topic to discuss, crimping his style as he tries to move out in the world on his own terms. He's not big on emotions and loving relations. There's also a tendency with Cancer to become entangled with issues from the past which can weigh you down and restrict your freedom to act. Neptune in Aquarius is a much more progressive, forward looking placement. It's the indication of being focused on a shining future built on an ideal or visionary foundation. Unfortunately, the quincunx connection is known for bringing two forces together without allowing them to mesh smoothly. There's something out of synch about this aspect. A lot of issues in the world today could be characterized as the struggle between being caught up in an oppressive past and the optimistic attempt to break through to a brighter future -- just turn on the news! The Middle East situation is obviously the poster boy for this theme, but you can see this energy being expressed in many venues. The sextile of Jupiter and Saturn that's also going on these days is a very constructive aspect for building new social or governmental situations, but Neptune seems to raise the ante for us to a very high level. We are building the structures that will determine our futures for some time to come, for better or worse. Choose wisely, going deep within for your answers. Yods don't allow any "do overs" if you make the wrong choice.
Mars moves from Pisces into Aries on the 16th. Aries is "home turf" for Mars, while Pisces is more of a bottomless pit -- this transition is like a free "Get out of jail" card for Mars. Due to his recent retrograde cycle, our Warrior God has been stuck in Pisces for 6 months now (since Jun 16) and he's ready to break out. He's the essence of will-power, after all, and the sacrificial, egoless sign of Pisces just doesn't suit him at all. Well, Aries is all "me first!" and totally action oriented, so Mars should be much happier in coming months. It's a great time to get active and focus on some work that you want to accomplish. The only downside to this placement is if you need to work with other people. Mars in Aries in not exactly Mr. Sensitivity, so it's easy to step on other people's toes and not even know it. While Pisces tends to dampen and dissipate your energies and drive, now you'll find yourself in overdrive. Get busy! Tailwinds like this don't come often. Mars moves into Taurus Feb 3.
Mercury is standing still on the 17th at 12Cp34, about to start 3 weeks of reverse motion. He'll go direct again at 26Sa16 (near the GC) on Jan 6. Ah, "Mercury Retrograde!" How people love to hear those words (not!). When Mercury, the thinking mind, backs up, it feels like your mind has entered a fog bank. It's hard to think clearly, make decisions, communicate anything important to another person, even to make sense of day-to-day life. You get to experience first hand all the limitations of rational thought, which is given much more credit in this world than it deserves. We use our thinking mind to make sense of life, to put our experiences in convenient boxes that allow us to "capture" reality. Under normal circumstances, this ability to capture the world in thought and word works well enough that it's an extremely useful tool. When Mercury is backing up, however, we get to see how flimsy and fragile this understanding can be. The world is always going to be bigger and more intricate than we can imagine. We just need to be reminded of that fact every now and then, just to keep us from getting cocky. I would wrap up any important mental work before the 17th and not start anything new until well into January. Mercury retrograde isn't bad, but it is humbling and inconvenient. (P.S. -- back up your hard drive!)
The Sun goes over the Galactic Center (GC) at 26Sa53 on the 19th. I've been reading about the GC a lot lately as I've been researching a piece on precession for my web site. Hidden deep in the gas clouds in the center of our galaxy is a giant black hole, millions of times more massive than our own Sun, or so the astronomers say. Just as the Sun represents the central point of the personality in "normal" astrology, the GC seems to point to a deeper center of the psyche or soul that we are only dimly aware of most of the time. There are certain "leading edge" people among us, however, that can reach into this dark hole and come up with insights that benefit us all. Science and technology people seem particularly gifted in this regards. The prime example is the Wright brothers' first airplane flight 100 years ago, the day before a new moon on the GC. The issue of spaceflight is also connected to this center, according to many researchers. Lately, I've noticed critical political events around Dec 18, including the vote in the Republican House to impeach Clinton in 1998 and the meeting of the Electoral College in 2000 that put Bush in power on shaky legal grounds. Events connected with the GC are often larger than life, because this is a part of the psyche that transcends mundane life. It's our connection to the universe at large, far beyond our concerns here on our puny Earth. Coming a week after the Sun conjuncts Pluto on the 12th (another deeply upsetting influence), this should be a "time out of time" that feels quite otherworldly. If you're prone to flights of fancy, this is a good time to check in with your imagination and see what it's telling you. Postpone cares and concerns to another day -- sacred time demands your attention.
Vesta slips from Sagittarius into Capricorn on the 20th for about 3 months. I tend to think of this as a very positive, but low key placement, since there's an earthy quality about both Vesta and Capricorn that makes them compatible. Vesta likes to be an introvert, to withdraw from the world and be with herself. She finds solitude very empowering, since it puts her back in touch with her deepest roots. I suspect this is a good time to get some practical issues in order so they don't demand much of your focus. It frees you up to go within. Power and authority, in a spiritual sense, comes from within. It's part of who you are, not what you do or the titles you bear. It comes from unwavering fidelity to just being yourself, no frills, no fanfare. You may not make a big splash in the world like this, but people around you can easily see and respond to this quiet dignity. On the downside, don't make too much of a virtue of being a hermit. Vesta can get obsessive about withdrawing sometimes, even when being engaged is called for. Ideally, she knows how to come and go quietly, as needs around her and her inner calling dictate. She enters Aquarius on Feb 14.
The new moon is just one day after the winter solstice, a time that traditionally deals with the renewal of the light. With Vesta very close to the new moon, this inner light may be more important than usual. It's vital to look within and make sure you're still fully alive inside. As years roll on, it becomes all too easy to slide on by, act like "one of the boys", and eventually lose the spark of your uniqueness. There comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself and be your own person. Remember that Mars is in Aries now, so there's no excuse for holding back. Hanging onto this light will be a great comfort in the times ahead.
Finally, Uranus moves into Pisces for good on the 30th. We've been tracking this entrance since Mar 10, when it first entered Pisces. After backing up into Aquarius again on Sep 14 for some clean up work there, Uranus is back knocking on the Pisces door. This time when it enters, it's for a 7 year showing. I must admit, after studying this placement for about a year now, I still don't have many concrete notions as to what it means. Partly this is the nature of the energies. Uranus is the unpredictable and the unexpected, those life lessons that hit you from left field. Pisces is extremely mystical and otherworldly, an energy that can't be pinned down. So the confusion is perhaps to be expected. There's also something very transpersonal about both of these symbols, as though we're being drawn away from looking at ourselves as individuals and are being forced to view our paths from a great height, without feelings of attachment. Pisces calls us to great sacrifice and service which we need to perform in a matter of fact way. If you're thinking about how much sacrifice you put out, you've only managed to fall back into ego again. (Curiously, I've noticed that the babies born with Uranus in Pisces often become the soldiers that die in American wars at the US Uranus return in Gemini.) I sense that there's a great spiritual transition ahead of us. Even if you've been doing the greatest spiritual work in the world already, you're apt to feel like you're just getting started. That may be discouraging at first, but it's simply a recognition of how much soul potential we have. Lay down any expectations of what is on your path -- it's one less thing you'll have to relinquish later on. Uranus' next transition into Aries starts 2010-5-27.