Current Transits for December 2007

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


Jupiter Octile Chiron, 12-3
Juno enters Sagittarius, 12-8
New Moon at 17Sa15, 12-9
Jupiter Conjunct Pluto, 12-11
Jupiter enters Capricorn, 12-18
Saturn Retrograde Station at 8Vi34, 12-19
Vesta enters Aquarius, 12-20
Full Moon at 1Cn49, 12-23
Ceres Direct Station at 9Ta40, 12-28
Mars reenters Gemini, 12-31

An online ephemeris for the month is available.

General Outlook for the Month

Quite appropriately for the last month of the year, December is rather transitional in nature. By that I mean that we're starting to tie up the loose ends for some of the big astrological stories of 2007, while preparing for new energies on the horizon. In particular, the Pluto-Galactic Center conjunction that has dominated many of the past month's newsletters is winding down, except for some critical "aftershocks" the next two months. I've often noticed that "big aspects" don't come to an abrupt end, but have echos for many weeks after the last contact as other planets come along and "retrigger" the main aspect. During December, a number of planets pass through the "keyhole" in the sky between Pluto and the GC, starting with Jupiter early in the month. This is a time to assimilate these subtle influences yet again, in a quieter and gentler fashion than before. Big energies need time and repetition to internalize completely. After the keyhole comes the Sagittarius-Capricorn border and there is a stampede of planets into Capricorn the last half of the month. This is a preview, of course, for when Pluto moves into Capricorn on Jan 25, one of the defining cycles that dominate 2008. Such a rapid shift from fire energy to earth energy is almost certainly going to get noticed in our lives -- it's like falling from the sky and hitting the ground. Cap is a very practical sign, where theory meets physical reality and has to be made to work properly. There's plenty of other influences to keep us busy as well, so December is certainly no slouch of a month, especially the second half. Clean up loose ends, make certain things are working well in practice and not just in a blue sky sort of manner, start looking to the future. It's time to come down to earth.

There's plenty to talk about in December. The list includes 2 "big aspects", 4 sign changes and 2 stations.

Jupiter is octile Chiron on the 3rd, a quick single pass aspect. Given how fast this aspect comes and goes, it may not make much of an impact on most people. It should be mostly felt as bringing up "relationship issues" for some of us, not the personal, one-on-one type, but the more general social connections we have with the world at large. There's a question of trust and acceptance that comes up now, a sense that people and situations you normally wouldn't worry about aren't quite what they seem. If you get a sense that people are accepting you more or less than you generally expect, or that you are getting subtle mixed messages from them subliminally, this aspect may be part of the picture. Such uncertainty is not usually a part of Jupiter's typical optimistic nature, but Chiron has a tendency to hit us where we're most emotionally vulnerable. Take note of these feelings without blowing them out of proportion. In rare cases, there may actually be something to be concerned about, but more likely this is simply your own insecurities talking. The trick is in telling the difference between these possibilities. Start by being honest with yourself about what is going on inside yourself first. When you're on a firmer footing, you can handle the "outer world" part of the problem more competently.

Juno moves from Scorpio into Sagittarius on the 8th, starting an extended 11 month stay in this sign due to an upcoming retrograde cycle in 2008. She's quite a tease as she moves to the last degree of Sag before starting to back up (on 2008-4-18, at 29Sa39) and won't move into Capricorn until 2008-11-1. Juno is the Queen of Relationships, the personal kind this time. Essentially, she wants to feel that when she gives her love to a partner, that she will be treated fairly and as an equal. Any hint that she's a second class person in the relation or that she's being taken advantage of will quickly raise the hair on the back of her neck. It's been tough on Juno while she's been going through Scorpio, since all the emotional cross-currents of this sign make it easy to feel or imagine that the worst is happening. The picture is different in Sag. Time to lighten up! First of all, this is a time to loosen up any powerful or clingy emotional bonds you have with others, especially a need to control or "get even" with them. If anything, giving others wide freedom within the relation is the most supportive approach the coming year. It also requires that you stand up, gently but firmly, for your own freedom. Good relationships should support people in their growth, not hold them back. OK, so it sounds like people have "commitment issues" these days, but that's only the flip side of needing to hang onto others too much. Balance on this spectrum of such issues is the key, and it appears we have a long time to figure this out. April could be a pivotal month is this process, as Juno is standing still close to the GC at that time, another clue that we need to take our relationships to a whole new level. Give people some space! They are your fellow travellers in life, not your emotional property.

The new moon occurs on the 9th just about the time that the first storm is falling apart, which explains a great deal about this chart. The chart is filled with loose configurations such as a T-square, several Yods, big fan-shaped patterns, etc. that bleed into each other, but still there is no overarching pattern that ties all this together. Instead of looking like a powerful waveform, the graph is weak and scattered, with peaks of energy all over the place. The new moon fails to speak with a single voice.

Let's start with the strongest planets, the Sun and Moon square Uranus. As a planetary energy, Uranus is a maverick that demands freedom, breeds chaos and lives by his intuition. This gives a very jittery, irritating tone to this chart, a feeling that life is a bit nuts and unexpected the next few weeks. While this complements the Sagittarian Sun and Moon in some ways, squares are never easy to handle. Neptune adds a further "other worldly" mood to the mix that is quite difficult to pin down. And then there's the tangled group of planets centered on Mars and Saturn, another of the big themes this month. I'd throw in Ceres and Chiron to this group. The entire structure is being triggered by Mercury (which is moving out of orbs and leaving the group) and Venus (just entering the group). I suspect this complex pattern is rather difficult and challenging to handle, since Mars and Saturn are both malefics (planets that are generally trouble makers for us). Jupiter will be going over Pluto in a few days, but they are otherwise rather isolated from the remainder of the chart. Frankly, with all this going on, it's pretty tough to get any consistent messages from this new moon. It doesn't sound all that easy to work with such energies, given all the challenges in this chart, but I don't think we'll really know what's going on for a week or two, when the next storm comes along. Be patient -- the ground is still shifting beneath us...

Jupiter is conjunct Pluto for a relative fast, single pass contact on the 11th. This follows the conjunction of Jupiter with the Galactic Center on the 5th, so this period is one of the many "keyhole passages" in coming weeks that I mentioned. This conjunction is the start of a 13 year cycle, so its effects may be rather long-lived. It's also important to notice that all these bodies have marked spiritual overtones, so this new cycle may have a big influence on our future growth. Pluto and the GC are both on the esoteric path, spiritually speaking, a path of total overhaul and rebirth that few take on willingly and tread successfully. With their energies so much in the air the last year, I think some people have been shoved onto this path involuntarily, sometimes without knowing what is happening. You'll know if you've been chosen by the level of chaos and breakdown you've experienced in your life, by how your path has veered in a funny direction not of your (conscious) choosing. I think Jupiter is coming along now to downshift this powerful influence, to make it more palatable to the masses. As a spiritual force, Jupiter deals with the more mainstream and in-the-open parts of our spiritual lives, the "broad highway to heaven" instead of Pluto's narrow path. This is a time to start taking those vague lessons you've learned in recent months and figure out how to incorporate them into everyday life and your interactions with others. Jupiter's warmth and optimism is also a good antidote for the sometimes obsessive or paranoid outlooks that Pluto is famous for when he's not in top form. In short, we're starting a decade plus of learning that our spiritual lives and our everyday lives are one and the same. Reach out to others with warmth and enthusiasm -- we're all in this together...

Jupiter moves from Sagittarius into Capricorn on the 18th, beginning a year long passage through this sign that lasts until 2009-1-5, when it finally reaches Aquarius. (Notice that the Sun and Mercury are passing through the keyhole around this same time and will be joining Jupiter in Capricorn in a few days.) Technically speaking, Jupiter in Cap is not that great of a placement, as the contracting or crystallizing effect of the sign counteracts the normal expansive qualities of the planet. Jupiter is being asked to forego his more free-wheeling approach to the world and knuckle down to some hard work for the greater good. There's something very practical and disciplined about Capricorn. It's no longer possible to bask in the "big picture" version of looking at the world (Jupiter's typical mental attitude), but you have to actually pay attention to the nuts and bolts as well. The end result of all this is that the sense of brotherhood and social connections we feel is stepped down from being just an attitude, ideology or visionary concept, and becomes part of our everyday lives at a very physical plane level. I suspect that one of the issues impacted here is the way people affect the material world around us. Whether the issues are environmental influences, global warming, our politics, our economic choices, just the way we warily look at each other on the street, all our actions affect the world and others around us, sometimes in ways we fail to comprehend fully. This placement is about taking responsibility for such actions and attempting to make sure our impact on the world is as clean and high-minded as possible. With each decision we make, we are contributing bit by bit in creating the world we have to live in. Idealism turns out to be a very practical matter, when viewed through this lens. Of course, not everyone is going to be operating from this ideal. In fact, I suspect that the "same old" will continue unabated, the egotism, the "I've got mine!", the calculus of costs and benefits that color many relationships. The only difference is that it may not work as well in the coming year as we've come to expect. You can't have everything cost free anymore. Capricorn and its ruler Saturn often are associated with the notion of karma, that your actions have consequences that come back to you. The birds are coming home to roost and we can't escape. Curiously, accepting such a burden of responsibility can be very liberating. It's easier to pay upfront now than pay the karma later.

Saturn reaches its retrograde station of 8Vi34 on the 19th, starting a 5 month period of reverse motion. It continues to back up until 2008-5-2, when it stands still at its direct station of 1Vi40 and then resumes normal motion. Speaking of karma, here's the Ol' Taskmaster stopping us in the hall for a few months of extra credit. Saturn's retrograde cycles are generally times to put in some hard work and get some area of your life back in order. You can usually tell what this area might be by checking your own birthchart: which house in your chart contains this retrograde zone (1 to 8 Virgo). The affairs of this house need a lot of attention for a year or two. It's almost as if "karma comes due" much quicker than usual in this area -- if you're not doing the right thing here in Saturn's estimation, the situation will go south on you right away. After a few raps on the knuckles like that, you'll eventually get the correct idea. In particular, since this is Virgo territory, there may be themes related to the skills and knowledge you bring to work and to life in general, a need to tuck your ego back in the closet and face your responsibilities to others, maybe even some health problems in extreme cases. Take notice when you hit these speedbumps in your path -- you need to make some changes! Not everybody appreciates how good a friend Saturn is, since he's often the bringer of unpleasant news. But he's impeccably honest and fair with us, a perfect mirror for our actions so that we understand ourselves better. Friends like that are rare. Take the kick in the butt he's dishing out in coming months in the spirit in which it's intended...

Vesta enters Aquarius on the 20th for the next 3 months, until it moves into Pisces on 2008-2-17. The last time I wrote about this placement was in February of 2004, during the primaries of the last presidential election cycle. We seem to be stuck in a rut here, since the guts of this year's primaries fall in the same placement! At a more mundane level, Vesta is often associated with security issues. In Capricorn, as it is currently, this is primarily an economic issue -- are my material needs safe and assured? Aquarius is a different matter, since this sign is more ideological in nature. This starts to get into a more internal or psychological meaning of Vesta, the need for integrity and being true to your inner nature, as well as the need to build a strong inner foundation so you can tap into this integrity. Aquarius loves nothing better than to create a better world in his own image. For all its progressive tendencies, he can be a bit dictatorial about how things are supposed to be. You need to move beyond more rigid or formulaic versions of your utopian world. Vesta's answer to this is to reach deep inside herself and find the best solutions within. Of course, she must be impeccably honest with her inner muse, since her power flows from the inside out. The effects this has on the elections is apt to be subtle and drowned out by the campaign noise. But it may be possible to discern a shift in the rhetorical themes. To date, much of the speechifying has been against things, preying on people's fears and insecurities. At some point you need to talk solutions, if you aren't going to bore the voters into tuning you out, and grand plans are Aquarius' area. People may be more attracted to leaders who are actually thoughtful and offer plans that resonate well with their core values. The phonies won't be so successful. Just be sure these plans are practical and humane, things that Aquarius can forget to include. Let's hope the good ideas come out before the nominations are already locked up...

The full moon rises on the evening of the 23rd, about 2 hours before the biggest Koz Alert of the month. It's not hard to see where the main emphasis is in this chart. Pluto (late in Sagittarius), Jupiter, Sun and Mercury (all in Capricorn) are all conjunct in a tight knot; directly opposite them them are Mars and the Moon in Cancer. Most of the other planets play fairly minor roles.

The Capricorn stampede is nearly complete -- only Pluto is still in Sag and only for a few more weeks. There's a real down-to-earth quality in this chart, a move away from the glitz and glamour of the keyhole passages. This is somewhat at odds with Mars and Moon in Cancer, since emotional considerations compete with more nuts-and-bolts calculations. It's time to slow down and act more deliberately, but the heart demands its due. This is not an easy balancing act, since these two tendencies are frequently at odds with each other. We're drawn in opposing directions and each of us must resolve the conflict within ourselves. For all the hassles, however, Jupiter conjunct the Sun is a hopeful influence that spreads warmth and light upon us. The solstice holidays are a time of rebirth and renewal. Let the light be reborn within you...

Ceres reaches its direct station of 9Ta40 on the 28th, resuming normal motion after that. This ends a retrograde cycle that began with its station at 23Ta55 back on Sep 20. Ceres is the Great Mother Goddess of ancient times, the power of love and nurturance that binds together all living beings across the generations into a great Web of Life. She is the motherly love that motivates one to care for and raise up others that need your support. Taurus is the most physical and down to earth of all the zodiac signs, so we're talking about some very physical, material plane influences. As Ceres has backed up the last 3 months, we've needed to come to terms with some of these issues. First of all is the support given to each of us by our physical bodies and how we return the favor. In a sense, it's misleading to talk about "me" vs. "my body" as we typically do -- we are (among many of our possibilities) physical beings. Our approach to the health and joy of our bodies is often one of neglect, as many people live in their heads and ignore the needs and desires of the body. A similar approach is the attempt to be the master of the body, the "mind over matter" approach. The insanity of these attitudes is rather obvious, once you stop parroting your favorite story in your head: ignore the body and it will go away and where does that leave "you"? Our relationship to Mother Earth (as literal a translation of Ceres in Taurus as you can come up with) is similarly skewed. We view the material world as our property, a resource to be exploited, used up and discarded, not as the Living Mother that provides us with our own lives. If we kill off Mother Earth, the only home we have in the universe, where are we to live? It's encouraging that ecological concerns have been taking firmer roots this past year, especially with the election of a pro-environment government in Australia recently. Let's hope we keep building on this momentum...

Finally, Mars moves backwards from Cancer into Gemini again on the 31st. It will eventually go direct in this sign on Jan 30, retracing its steps and then slipping back into Cancer again on 2008-3-4. Mars retrograde is a time to examine your personal sabotage programs, the ways you step on your own toes and undermine your efforts. He's been backing up since Nov 15 in the sign of Cancer and now is moving into Gemini for the rest of this cycle. Cancer handled all the "people issues" that get in our way. Gemini is more about the skills and knowledge you need to get your tasks done, as well as the communication issues that can get in the way sometimes. This is a good time to fill in the gaps in your understanding that diminish your effectiveness. Gemini is also a good time to get some light mental work done or organize a larger project, just as long as it's interesting and exciting. Mars is impatient and likely to get bored if the task no longer feels "sexy" to him. The communication style of this placement also tends towards light banter and a flirtatious attitude to the opposite sex, so give him some outlets for these drives. All in all, it's a pretty pleasant placement. It'll be even better when Mars turns direct again...