Here's some of the important astrological news this month ...
New Moon at 9Sa31, 12-1
Mercury Direct Station at 24Sc44, 12-3
Chiron enters Aquarius, 12-5
Jupiter Octile Pluto, 12-7
Mars Direct Station at 8Ta14, 12-9
Ceres enters Capricorn, 12-11
Full Moon at 23Gm47, 12-15
Jupiter Square Saturn, 12-16
Sun Conjunct Galactic Center, 12-18
Venus Retrograde Station at 1Aq28, 12-24
An online ephemeris for the month is available.
Just when you thought the holidays were here and it's time to relax. December is pretty much the month that won't quit -- it's all storm. Even the so-called transition periods between the strongest action have Koz Alerts when the waveform creeps above 500 units. Get used to the term Grand Cross. There's a powerful and very persistent Cross pattern that hangs around all month long and literally pounds on us the entire time. The planets involved are mostly slow moving outer planets that affect us at a very deep level for long periods. Even Mars, which is standing still on the 9th again, is in the "slow moving" category. In short, this is apt to be a very busy and stressful month. Be sure to slow down and take some time for yourself. Unfortunately, even the holiday spirit can get to be a rat race if you're not careful. The weekend around the 18th should be particularly interesting. That's when the Sun goes over the Galactic Center each year, only this time, Pluto is also involved. I've noticed over the years that this period seems to have an otherworldly quality to it, befitting the energies of the GC as a highly spiritual center. With Pluto creeping up to the GC over the next year (it crosses the GC 3 times in 2007), the effects should hit us even deeper and more intensely than usual. Consider it a test run for 2012, if you will. Get ready for a very challenging month!
By any measure, December is a busy month. My list includes 3 stations (Mercury, Mars and Venus), two sign changes (Chiron and Ceres), as well as 3 significant aspects. Of course, the real story is the ongoing saga of the Grand Cross.
Welcome to the world of the Grand Cross ! As you can tell by the waveform, this is a pretty spectacular configuration. The backbone of the new moon chart is Mars in Taurus opposite Jupiter in Scorpio , both square Saturn in Leo opposite Neptune in Aquarius (curiously the weakest planet in the chart), a Grand Cross. Pluto and Ceres are nestled halfway between Jupiter and Neptune, joined by wide octiles -- this zodiacal position is extremely active all month. The new moon and all the rest of the major planets fit into this basic framework. Voilá, instant Koz Alert! We're going to be seeing a lot of this pattern in December and January.
With this much activity packed into one chart, it's hard to call this situation in advance. However, Crosses are notorious for creating difficult and challenging situations that have a mind of their own and seem to run away with you. With all four arms of the Cross in fixed signs, there's a feeling of pressure building up, straining to a breaking point. It's best to keep your ego out of the picture, as people are stubborn and fixed in their ways. If you push them too hard, they are certain to push back. Many of the planets in this pattern are the kind people like to hate, because they make demands on us and often frustrate our desires and efforts. There's a sense of karma coming due, of lessons that need to be finally realized. If you find your situation spinning out of control, stop and take a good look at yourself. Very often, it's just that you are acting in a wrong headed manner and the universe is in the mood to assert some boundaries on you. Restrictions are a sign to back off. The coming month is likely to be intense and stressful. Pace yourself and try to maintain some quiet and repose within. Direct these energies to building for the future. But take it slow and steady. It's rough enough without making it even worse for yourself.
Mercury is standing still at its direct station of 24Sc44 on the 3rd. It's been in reverse gear since Nov 13, when it stood still at 10Sa56. Mercury, of course, is the thinking and symbol using part of the psyche, the story teller that tries to examine and understand everything. Often, he is wildly successful, but there are other times when the thinking mind really misses the mark. You see, all stories are only an approximation to the complexity of the real world, so there are always important details and ideas that are missing from our stories. When Mercury is in reverse motion, as it has been the last 3 weeks, our understandings of the world are most apt to fall flat on their faces. This is a time when misunderstandings and miscommunications abound, when decisions are made that later appear to be quite mistaken. From a more spiritual perspective, this is a good time to see past the tyranny of the thinking mind, how it fools us into believing we know more than we do. The world of words and symbols is very seductive, but it does separate us from the world and from ourselves by getting us to live too much in our heads. As Mercury stands still again and then slowly starts to move once more, you may feel like your brain is coming out of a fog and gradually returning to "normal". Enjoy the return of your faculties, but don't take normal for granted. It's a profound lesson.
Chiron enters Aquarius for good on the 5th, after a 9 month dance across the border between Capricorn and Aquarius. When the slow moving outer planets change signs, it is usually a long, protracted affair like this, moving across the border and testing the waters, slipping back for some last minute clean up work in the old sign, then moving in for the long haul finally. Chiron tends to play an initiatory role in our lives, opening us up to new possibilities within ourselves, but only after dealing with the hurts, rejections and lack of support that stifle our efforts. Facing Aquarius, it's as though the area of idealism and standing up for a cause are up for revision. Aquarius is the fellow with the big plan for saving the world. But there's always a dark, unseen side to the most noble of visions, a side psychologists call the Shadow. I sometimes describe the shadow side of this sign with the motto "Everyone should be free to be just like me!" The trouble with one size fits all solutions to problems is that what feels right and good for you may not appeal at all to the next person. Even in our better moments, our vision is clouded, one sided and all too often self-serving. Perhaps the best route to freedom may entail trying to impose it less and making fewer impositions on the other. It's a tough way to live, second guessing yourself all the time and questioning your own decisions, but it does tend to be more honest in the long run. We may all agree on the vague vision of brotherhood for all, though the devil is in the six billion definitions of the slogan. Platitudes do not raise consciousness. Only hard spiritual work can achieve that. We've got about 4 years of that ahead of us. Chiron will start its dance across the Pisces border on 2010-4-20.
Jupiter is octile Pluto on the 7th for the first of 3 such contacts. The remaining contacts will be on 2006-5-31 and 2006-7-24. We are nearing the end of the current 13 year Jupiter-Pluto cycle (it lasts from the last conjunction on 1994-12-2 to the upcoming conjunction on 2007-12-12). Even though we are two years from the end of the cycle, these last few aspects are a prod to examine the experiences of this period and distill down the lessons they've taught us. Jupiter is a social planet, the influence that enables us to reach out to friends and neighbors all around us and join in the social network that enhances all our lives. Generally, this is a good thing for us, but it comes at a price. In order to get along smoothly, people wear a mask in public, a simplified version of themselves that enables people to interact in a generic fashion that "greases the gears" between us. As we get sucked into being social creatures, one of the crowd, we become the mask and lose ourselves. That's where Pluto comes in. Pluto is an individualist in a very uncompromising sense. Pluto demands (he never asks) that anything inauthentic in your life be released. He strips off the social veneer and reduces us to our raw humanity. It may not be a pretty process (it's much nicer to be in the bleachers than on the playing field where Pluto is concerned), but it leaves you more perfectly yourself than before. It may sound a bit strange to the ear, but I think the new age term "higher self" is probably appropriate for Pluto's role in our lives. With an octile, these two parts of our lives are at odds in a subtle way, under the radar it seems. I guess what Pluto is pushing us to do is reassess the ways we behave in our everyday encounters and get us to be more real and honest. That's a scarey prospect for Jupiter in Scorpio, but once a critical mass is reached in society, it promises to transform daily life. Balance these two competing urges, but stay true to the fact that you really have no reasonable choice but to be yourself. If you keep forgetting that, I'm sure Pluto will be happy to remind you. You've been cautioned...
Mars is standing still at 8Ta14 on the 9th. He's been retrograding since his station of Oct 1 at 23Ta22. Mars is will power, the ability of the intangible world of the psyche to reach out and make changes in the physical world according to its wishes and intentions. He's the guy that gets things done! He gets a bum rap these days (not everyone appreciates a warrior), but the thing to remember is our lives would be impossible without him. We all need to make our mark in the world and have our desires met. The problem with Mars is only when his efforts are divorced from a useful goal, as power for its own sake tends to lose its way. Mars makes a better foot soldier than a general, in this regard. Keep him busy if you want to tame him! Well anyway, it's rough on Mars when he's in retrograde motion, as he's been the last two months. This is a time when will power becomes won't power. There are apparently an uncountable number of ways for people to sabotage their ability to act effectively. I'm sure by now you're familiar with your own favorite sabotage techniques, since they are likely to have shown up often in recent weeks. The hardest part of Mars retrograde is mustering the discipline to get past your private techniques for stepping on your own toes and taking a more "just do it" approach to your labors. Mars working on himself -- that should keep him busy in an interesting manner! Anyway, things will be improving by the end of the month, when Mars picks up speed. Life gets a little easier.
Ceres enters Capricorn on the 11th, where it will be until 2006-2-25 when it moves into Aquarius for an extended stay. Ceres in Capricorn -- there's a contradiction for you! The Great Mother in the sign of the Father? Well, this placement is not as weird as it sounds at first. Capricorn is the zodiac sign most concerned with life on the physical plane, with the possible exception of Taurus. Ceres is about support, caring and nurturance, the connections all beings make with each other in the Web of Life. For the next few months, it's important to get your physical and material means of support in order. It's time to come to terms with life on Planet Earth. Part of this is simply monetary. But there are subtler levels to Capricorn as well. Part of what supports us and gives us a sense of dignity is a feeling of accomplishment and success. It helps to make a difference, for yourself and others. Use this time to nail down practical concerns.
The Grand Cross continues, although some of the details have changed. So after a big "ditto!", there's a couple of subplots to consider. First of all, the Sun is close to Pluto and the Moon is right opposite it, so there's a marked Pluto mood in the air. In fact, the Sun goes over Pluto later in the day. This is compounded by the presence of the GC nearby. There are very peculiar spiritual currents flowing around us. The urge to communicate and connect is countered by a more secretive, inward movement, a need to attune with a deeper truth. Pluto times are often dramatic, with archetypal themes playing out in stark, black-and-white terms. It's probably best to avoid people who star in their own soap operas, as you can be sucked into sticky situations against your will. However it plays out, don't settle for superficial outcomes. This is a sacred time coming up, so approach it with respect and don't waste your time with those that drag you down. The other curious change is that Venus has just moved into Aquarius today. She's closing in on Chiron and will soon be standing still. Your emotional life may make more sense than usual, but it's just as likely that there's a screw loose in the emotions department. It's actually encouraging if your feelings are up in the air, as it gives you an opportunity to respond to life from a fresh perspective. Otherwise, the intensity continues. There's a lot of December yet to go.
On the night of the 16th (or early on the 17th on the east coast), Jupiter is square Saturn for the first of 3 contacts (they are at 10Sc44 and 10Le44, respectively). The other contacts are on 2006-6-22 and 2006-10-25. Speaking of grand cycles, the 20 year Jupiter-Saturn cycle is one that is traditionally recognized as having a major effect on society at large. Back before the outermost planets were discovered a few centuries ago, these two planets represented the furthest reaches of the known universe. As astrological influences, this cycle ruled the fate of kingdoms. It still has much to say about the affairs of the outer world. I've been fascinated by the current cycle, since the conjunction of 2000-5-28 at 22Ta43 fell right on the Israeli Sun. The second wave of Palestinian unrest started shortly after that. Each new aspect in the cycle has driven Israel and Palestine closer together or farther apart, often timing events with uncanny accuracy, such as Arafat's death during last year's quintile. Well, here we are at the square, a critical aspect that redefines the course of this time. We already see a major shakeup in Israeli politics and the first attempts to get Gaza on its feet after the pullout last summer. A square is a moment of "crisis" or decision, a time when competing forces collide and a new synthesis must be created. Often progress can be derailed during this period, although the discord sows the seeds for further progress down the road. People need to change their perspectives and positions in order to achieve a more inclusive harmony. It's a tough transition, but necessary. Whether geopolitics or your personal life, pay attention to these influences, especially since Jupiter and Saturn are part of the big Grand Cross pattern this month. Check which houses in your birthchart contain these planets, particularly if they are near one of your own planets. We've got 10 months of hard growth ahead of us.
The Sun passes over the Galactic Center (GC) on the 18th, currently at 26Sa55. This annual event is made more spectacular by the presence of Pluto a few degrees away. Each of these three bodies is a psychological center, in a way. The Sun is our sense of identity and individuality. Pluto rules a sense of Self that transcends normal ego awareness, a power that affects our lives from the depths of the unconscious. The GC can rightly be called a creative center of consciousness that underlies all of reality (at least on a galactic level, which should be big enough for anyone's tastes). I've often noticed that Sun conjunct GC has a peculiar, otherworldly mood for a few days. It's a good time for ritual or other spiritual pursuits, since the subtle energies all about us are so strong, they're nearly tangible. On the other hand, if you need to be down to earth and clear headed, this may not be the most useful weekend for you. Tune into this frequency, if you have the chance! Consider this year's passage a dress rehearsal for next year's event. Pluto first goes over the GC on 2006-12-29 (11 days after the Sun goes over the same point), with repeat performances on 2007-7-17 and 2007-10-26. I've been anticipating these events for quite some time. If ever there was an opportunity for a "mass enlightenment" event, where enough people make an "aha!" breakthrough at the same time to make a real difference, Pluto on the GC is an excellent candidate. Unfortunately, these Zen moments can not be rushed. Do your work early and lighten your efforts in 2007. Be quiet within and listen...
We get a rare Venus retrograde station at 1Aq28 on the 24th. She will be in reverse gear until 2006-2-3, when she reaches her direct station at 16Cp01. The most unusual thing about this station is that Venus is very closely conjunct Chiron (at 1Aq19) at the time. This is a screwy influence! Venus retrograde is even more difficult than Mercury retrograde in my book. With Mercury, the thinking mind is baffled, but you can work around that easily enough. Venus operates at a more intuitive, subliminal level than that. She rules over the basic instinct of attraction and repulsion -- either you like it or you don't! This is a basic survival mechanism, as it usually makes us gravitate towards the stuff that's good for us (or at least pleasurable), while steering us away from the mean, icky stuff. When this bottom level of instinct goes haywire, the results are much more unpredictable than Mercury in reverse. It's not a good time to trust your gut, since that's what isn't working for you. Astrology books often warn people from making big purchases for the home during Venus retrograde, since what looks good to you now may resemble a major lapse of good taste a few months from now. The same thing applies to falling in love during this period. It gives you a chance to get out of your ruts and try something new -- just make sure you don't have to live with the outcome. While Mercury retrograde is for debugging your thinking processes, Venus is for getting the bugs out of your feelings and instincts. Now, about that Chiron. Typically, Chiron represents some old, immature and underdeveloped parts of yourself that have been in the back of your psychic closet way too long. As you examine your typical ways of getting through life, ask whether they are appropriate for who you are now. The instinctive life is often created early in life and may no longer apply. This is why we make trouble for ourselves, despite our best intentions. This is a time to grow up and learn how to enjoy living.
The most powerful waveform all month occurs within an hour of the second new moon of December. Coming just before new years, this chart can be considered indicative of trends for the coming year, not just the next month. Of course, the Cross is still raging, so the "dynamic stuckness" spills over into January. The new moon is conjunct Ceres, so practical questions of how you connect with others may be up for grabs. Mercury is going over Pluto tommorrow, so a deeper, more penetrating insight into things may be sneaking up on you. There's a big Saturn-Pluto trioctile coming up on Jan 1, so take the urge to overhaul things quite seriously now. Changes are on the horizon, even if your circumstances are pretty "stuck" for now. Put your practical matters in order (assuming order is possible in this crazy whirlwind!), so when you need to move, nothing can hold you back. See you next year!