Current Transits for December 2004

Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...


Pallas enters Libra, 12-2
Juno enters Aquarius, 12-3
Ceres enters Scorpio, 12-10
New Moon at 20Sa21, 12-11
Mercury Direct Station at 10Sa27, 12-20
Mars enters Sagittarius, 12-25
Full Moon at 5Cn11, 12-26
Saturn Opposite Chiron, 12-27

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

There's a pretty big change between last month and this one. The Grand Quintile action I talked about so much lately is much less noticeable now, while the trine aspect between Jupiter and Neptune on Nov 29 seems to dominate nearly every big pattern in December. Get to know this trine energy -- we're going to be seeing a lot of it the next four weeks! Further, there's some punch and clarity in these new patterns. We haven't seen Koz Alerts (waveforms with strengths above 500) like this since September. Despite all the activity, however, there isn't much in the way of traditional astrological events to consider. Maybe it's a Mercury retrograde conspiracy or something. This is probably a time when emotions dominate over reason, which may not be all that bad during the holiday season, but I'd put off any hard mental work until later if I were you. There's a huge emphasis on the sign Sagittarius around mid-month, tapping into the deeper energies of Pluto and the Galactic Center. Remain in touch with the spiritual overtones of these "holy-days" as you go through your day. I've found this time to be a very powerful influence in recent years, if only you take the time to be quiet inside. Something new is trying to be born these days.

There's not much in the way of regular news in December. We have Mercury's station on the 20th and (yet another) Saturn-Chiron opposition on the 27th. Mars and 3 of the asteroids change signs during the month. Mainly, though, we seem to be coasting on the Jupiter-Neptune trine energies of Nov 29 still.

Pallas moves from Virgo into Libra on the 2nd, where it will be until 2005-3-31. Due to an upcoming retrograde cycle, it backs into Virgo for a return engagement at that point, followed by another bout of Libra from 2005-6-26 to 2006-9-19. Obviously, Pallas is having some trouble dealing with this Virgo-Libra stuff and needs to spend some extra time here. One of the ways to think about Pallas is that it's the part of the mind that thinks and perceives in whole patterns or gestalts, the part that sees the essential nature of a situation and acts accordingly. Here we have two slightly different ways of seeing that need to be balanced out. Virgo is the more mental of the two, with a marked utilitarian bent, while Libra leans more to the aesthetic side of things. Virgo asks whether something is useful and pleasing, Libra is concerned with whether it's beautiful and promotes harmony. This takes on some interesting overtones where relationships are concerned. Virgo can be very practical and matter of fact about her connections with others, while Libra wants the relation to go smoothly and without emotional friction. Pallas can be somewhat estranged from her emotions to begin with, so making the relation "go smoothly" can be a bit of a fetish. Libra is known for being somewhat detached with others, often managing the relation from a distance instead of being deeply involved with the other person. Sometimes a little skirmish is good. It stirs things up and clears the air, although it may upset our Pallas a lot in the process. The coming months are a good time to touch up your living quarters and make things a little prettier, as long as you don't go overboard. After all, Pallas is also known for her artistic streak. If you are involved in social causes, Pallas in Libra stimulates your feelings of justice for the underdog. Just remember through all these changes that you still need to answer to Virgo's practical streak. It's always moderation...

Juno moves from Capricorn into Aquarius on the 3rd. It will be here until it moves into Pisces on 2005-2-11. Juno in Aquarius is also good for some unique and unusual arrangements in the relationship realm. Juno loves being in love and being someone's partner, but she has some rather strict demands in the process. It's important to her that she be treated fairly and with respect, recognized as an equal partner. With Aquarius, it also means she wants a wide latitude to do what she wants and go where she wants to go. The usual or stereotypical ways for couples to behave mean little during this placement, since Aquarius is prone to be iconoclastic in many ways. She doesn't care for any strings that tie her down or hold her back, because her freedom is important to her right now. Give your partner as much room as you can and be willing to make new compromises on the practical arrangements. This need for freedom may be short-lived or it may be more long lasting, but freedom plus the certainty that you are still loved and accepted is a very enticing combination just now. Just remember that relationships are a two way street. If you're feeling confined or held back by your partner, maybe you need to say something. The nice thing about Aquarius is that the emotions are secondary, so problem areas seem less volatile these days. It's easier to change the "rules of the game" with your partner when the little things aren't blown out of proportion. Just keep your heart open -- there's such a thing as too much distance.

Ceres shifts from Libra into Scorpio on the 10th. This is a long 10 month stay, due to an upcoming retrograde cycle next year, so Ceres doesn't enter Sag until 2005-9-23. Here's a placement to counterbalance some of the other dispassionate influences this month. Ceres in Scorpio practically eats and lives on the emotions. Here's a time to explore and understand more the healing power of being close and intimate with someone else, to feel the depth of a true emotional bond. In my opinion, the role of rationality in our culture is quite overblown, while the emotions are unfairly relegated to second place. Reason is clever but sterile, while feelings are what feeds the soul and makes life worthwhile. The problem here is one of balance, as is often the case. Some people are intensity junkies, overheating the life of the emotions simply for the "kick" it gives them. The worst thing that can happen to such people is to have a calm day. They'd rather create a big storm of feelings and commotion in their world than have to face the subtle pleasures of the middle path. Unfortunately for the people around them, such outbreaks of passion are rarely enjoyable and can lead to much misunderstanding and hurt feelings. Remember the aim now is to feed each other with the emotions, not overpower them. Try to avoid creating unhealthy entanglements. When the heart is clear, love flows effortlessly and without hidden strings. Everyone is better off in the end.

The Pluto storm is still raging (a bit more quietly now, thank you) at the time of the Sagittarius new moon. In fact, with the new moon nestled snuggly between Mercury and Pluto, there's little doubt about which energies are dominant. But I'm also thinking about an unseen partner a few degrees farther along, namely the Galactic Center (GC). All told, the coming lunar month could get rather strange at times.

In very broad psychological terms, Sagittarius can be thought of as belief systems that color our experience of ourselves and the world. It also represents the urge to transcend those belief systems in order to expand your own horizons. Mercury and Pluto are symbols for very different levels of the psyche. Mercury is the thinking mind, the chatterbox in your head that gives you a sense of this is who I am. In large measure, ego awareness extends as far as your verbal framework will take you. After that comes the vast ocean of the unconscious, the parts of you that operate without your awareness or permission. This is the realm of Pluto. How interesting to hang the new moon, our very sense of identity, right between these two extremes! Many astrologers have considered Pluto's stay in Sagittarius (1995 to 2008) to be a time when beliefs are exaggerated, become obsessive and show their dangerous shadow sides. In short, the fundamentalist streak we see in all its varieties. I think we're reaching the stage in this 13 year transit where we need to start thinking about how to avoid the worst consequences of our blindspots and prejudices. I say this because Pluto is "fast" approaching (well, fast for Pluto) the GC, a zodiac position widely regarded as the next stage of consciousness for humanity. Chiron's trip over the GC in 2001 was quite a ride and I'm expecting the 2007 conjunction of Pluto and the GC to unleash some powerful (and hopefully not fearful) spiritual influences into the world. We're already feeling the warmup acts for this conjunction and the intense emotional atmosphere we experience now is only going to get more intense. There is a spiritual path beyond beliefs of all kinds, especially the blind faith variety. It requires transcending beliefs, moving beyond the limitations of our stories, releasing the compulsive need to be right, to know everything, to be in control. Note that the Sun is currently passing over the GC about Dec 18 each year, a date that is uncanny for spawning critical events in the world. I've often experienced this time to have a dreamy, other worldly quality that transcends mundane life. Just something to start considering, although there is less time to waste than we think...

Mercury is standing still on the 20th at 10Sa27, about to resume normal direct motion. It's been in reverse gear since Nov 30, when it stationed at 26Sa45. It's always a pleasure when Mercury reaches its direct station and starts to move again. Mercury is the thinking mind, the part of the mind that uses words and symbols to make sense of the world. It's all the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, what we believe, how the world works, etc. And the more we tell these stories, the more we believe they are actually true. Unless, of course, the universe decides to trip us up and throw a curve at us that our stories can't explain. It's easy to blame the world for being crazy or not making sense at times like these, when the real problem is that our stories are too small. This is a lousy time for any endeavor involving clear thinking or communication, because you can simply expect the brain to skip an occasional beat. It is much better to stand back from yourself and simply watch the "inner conversation" that goes on in you head, noting where it understands things successfully and where it falls flat. There are usually hidden assumptions about ourselves or the world that float to the surface when our stories fail us. These hidden expectations cause us to misjudge situations and jump to wrong conclusions. The value of Mercury retrograde cycles is that it's potentially much easier to debug your thinking now than it is when your mind is cruising along more skillfully. We all have blindspots like this -- maybe you've run into some of yours the last 3 weeks. Have a good laugh at your own expense (it keeps the ego in check), change your story line to more closely reflect reality, vow never to take yourself so seriously and move on. Cheer up -- the mental fog is lifting soon!

Mars enters Sagittarius on the 25th, where it will stay until 2005-2-6, when it moves into Capricorn. Here's an interesting Christmas present! Mars in Sag pumps up your enthusiasm and drive, giving you the urge to go out and explore the world. It's better to turn your Mars into an explorer than a warrior. Not that there's anything wrong about Mars energy per se (despite all the bad propoganda he's been getting lately), it's just that you need to channel all that energy into something useful or our Warrior tends to get out of control. Sagittarius is a sign of vision and big ideas, so it should be relatively easy to find some significant goal to assign your Mars. Just make sure it's something you not only believe in, but that fills you with energy and drive, something you can really throw yourself into. Another tendency with Sag that softens Mars' negative side is its aptitude for getting distracted and sidetracked. Sag loves bopping from one interest to the next and can exhibit a severe lack of discipline and commitment if you're not careful. Generally, I think of this as a pretty good placement for Mars and one that is a lot of fun. Enjoy the romp!

The full moon chart is a lot less dramatic looking than the new moon. It's almost "comfy" by comparison. Further, all that Pluto stuff has gone to sleep for now. There are two main groups of planets in this chart. Clustered loosely around 5 degrees are the Moon, Pallas, Ceres, Mars, the Sun and Uranus; there are numerous important patterns in here, including a T-square and a Grand Trine. Centered at 13 degrees are Venus, Mercury and Neptune. The Saturn-Chiron opposition is exact tommorrow.

There's a strong, but unusual emotional tone to this chart. It coaxes us to be more caring and nurturing to others, but in a new and novel way as described by Uranus in Pisces. I must admit that I'm still having trouble making sense of this placement, even after nearly 2 years. Hopefully it's not because I'm so dense, but that Uranus in Pisces is so subtle. It's as though Uranus is bringing more awareness to basic feeling processes that normally operate in us under the radar, making us reassess things about us so basic we rarely question them. Even the spiritual overtones of Pisces are up for reevaluation. Maybe with Mars square to Uranus in the next few days, we'll be more actively in the mood to pick apart some of our beliefs. Just don't express this aspect by heated discussions with people who disagree with you -- this will most likely degenerate into a "shadow projection" argument that creates much heat and no light. Spiritual "truth" is a very slippery commodity, full of more questions than certainty, as Uranus would have us believe. If anything, the quickest road to spirit right now may be through art and music, not through the verbal brain. Follow the subtle wave of feeling within you, let it guide you to what you need to know or do. It can be tough to trust your intuition like this, but since we're in new territory these days, we need to wing it sometimes. At least the lessons are pretty easy for now...

Saturn is opposite Chiron on the 27th, for the 24th of 27 times! This extremely peculiar aspect has been repeating since 1986 (except for an 8 year break between 1995 and 2003) and won't be done until 2006. These two planets have literally chased each other half way around the zodiac and then some, so the "coloration" or emphasis of this aspect keeps changing as the zodiac signs involved change. For now, Chiron is in Capricorn and Saturn in Cancer (though the remaining contacts are in Leo and Aquarius). Saturn is about the structures in our lives, the "god givens" of our world that give it shape and meaning. Chiron, on the other hand, is a Trickster, a Shapeshifter, a power that works outside the realm of polite society. He urges us to look at our blindspots and painful vulnerabilities and see past the limitations they impose on us. At heart, he's an initiatory influence that helps us break free of the conventional world that Saturn creates. The possible areas of our lives that are affected by this aspect are described by Cancer and Capricorn. The list is quite long, including work and family, links to the past vs. present day demands, emotions bumping up against the need for practicality, your standing in the world (especially career issues), attitudes towards authority and so on -- take your pick of your favorite problem area. This is a good influence for remaking yourself and your world so you become a more effective agent of change, a time to take charge of your life. Check which houses in your birthchart contain these planets if you want even more information as to their effects on you. This is a hard aspect to nail down, especially since it drags on for decades of our lives, but I feel it's important to be more conscious about this subtle influence, if you can.