The Entrance to an Unseen Land
Dates and times are given for U.S. Pacific Time zone.
No place to go but up
At the winter solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Sun enters Capricorn (Dec. 21, 2021, 7:59 am PST), reaching its lowest point in the midday sky. Energy and spirits can be low. We’re headed for the finish line, and as we look back over the calendar year, we may be tempted to chastise ourselves for what we haven’t accomplished.
At the Capricorn solstice, there’s no place to go but up. Over the coming months, the Sun will begin its gradual ascent, eventually reaching its highest point at the summer solstice.
Fittingly, we make resolutions at this time of year. To what heights might we climb in the year ahead? Meanwhile, it’s dark and cold, and we light fires and candles and plug in sparkling lights to remind us that it won’t be this dark forever.
I think many of us are feeling the need for some light at this Solstice. Things have felt pretty dark for awhile, and it’s really nice to be reminded that everything is part of a cycle, and that the light is on its way back.
A new continent arising
The last of three squares between Saturn and Uranus arrives this week (Dec. 23, 2021, 11:16 pm PST). All year, the heavens and earth have struggled to find a peaceful resolution between Saturn’s traditions and rules, and Uranus’ demands for personal liberty. The peaks of intensity came at their exact squares on Feb. 17 and June 14. But show me a day this year that hasn’t been dominated by this struggle.
Neither planet is right or wrong, but they’re wildly different. When planets are square each other, both their voices have to be respected. Their job is integration; through their friction, they need to come up with something new that’s different from both of them. How can we change what needs to be changed without throwing out everything that’s come before?
The aspect has been affecting each of us. Somewhere in our birth charts, Saturn in Aquarius has been duking it out with Uranus in Taurus. The louder the call for change and liberty, the stronger Saturn’s arm of restraint – and so it goes, in circular fashion. It’s not just arguments with family over holiday dinner. It’s an unease within each of us. What do we save and preserve? What’s left when the wrecking ball is finished?
This is the last exact aspect between Saturn and Uranus, but the story isn’t over. They’ll travel close to each other throughout 2022; in fact, on Oct. 1 they come within 37 minutes of arc of another square. I take hope from their Sabian symbols on that day. Saturn is on 19 Aquarius, “A forest fire quenched.” And Uranus will be on 19 Taurus, “A new continent arising.”
It takes an enormous amount of friction to create the kind of earthquake that raises a land mass. That’s what’s happening here. In the end, let’s hope the fires are extinguished, and that the new continent we’re creating is one we will enjoy living on.
What Venus is all about
Lovely Venus, still retrograde, makes the second of three conjunctions with Pluto on Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 2021, 4:02 am PST; the first was on Dec. 11, the last comes on March 3, 2022).
It seems we’ve been complaining about the commercialization of Christmas ever since Mary went into labor (even the Wise Men had to bring gifts). The shining television beacon of my youth was A Charlie Brown Christmas, which had the old blockhead feeling bummed out about the seasonal focus on shiny gifts and elaborate light displays. In the end, in response to Charlie’s plaintive wail about the meaning of it all – spoil alert!- Linus stands alone on a stage and quotes scripture about the true meaning of Christmas.
Now, we loved this program growing up. LOVED it. I was four years old when it first aired, and I doubt I missed a viewing until I was in my thirties. And yet… in my memory, we were VORACIOUS consumers, carefully inventorying the gifts under the tree with our names on them.
I still love that program, though I’ve never been religious. Over the years, we’ve occasionally sent out cards and decked the halls in some modest way (owning cats has always placed Christmas trees out of reach). But it’s nice and peaceful, having opted out of gift-giving for the most part, not traveling anywhere, and just sitting in front of the fire with the cats.
Because that’s what we value. And particularly this Christmas, with Venus and Pluto staring each other down over what’s really important – and what the depth of the solstice season of the year means to us – I encourage you to spend this holiday season doing what truly satisfies your heart. Because that’s what Venus is all about.
The entrance to an unseen land
The Libra Last Quarter Moon (Dec. 26, 2021, 6:23 pm PST), at 5.32 Libra, is on the Sabian symbol, The ideals of a man abundantly crystalized. It seems we’ve made up our minds as to what we’re aiming for, even if we’re not quite there yet. This is the final critical point in the lunar phase family that began on Sep. 28, 2019, at the Libra New Moon. The journey since has been about figuring out exactly what’s ideal – our ideal partner, career, home, future. I know I’m a lot clearer about some things since that long ago New Moon. Are you?
The ruler of this Last Quarter Moon is Venus, which makes its latest conjunction Pluto earlier in the day. That’s a Venus that’s retrograde and tangling with the most intensely focused and unstintingly honest of all the planets. Oh yes, we know what the future should look like. We are starting to know what we want.
So…what’s next? The Sun is on 6 Capricorn: A dark archway and ten logs at the bottom. The archway marks the entrance to an unseen land, and the logs can either stand in our way to getting there… or we can use them to build what we want there.
A common hymn book
The heart may be somewhat disillusioned as Mercury sextiles Neptune (Dec. 26, 2021, 1:29 pm PST), but the mind saw the truth all along. Mercury in Capricorn has some advice to offer us as we move toward the new year ahead. Advice like the classic sign posted behind the counter of a small shop: “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” Or, “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!”
Neptune is the ruler of faith – but faith works best when it’s hung over a well-reasoned, clear-eyed framework. We have to use common sense, learn what we can about a situation, and reason the matter through before we grant ourselves the luxury of faith. In all of this, Mercury in pragmatic Capricorn excels.
But as Neptune reminds us, reason isn’t everything. I’ve studied astrology fairly diligently for nearly half a century, and it’s proven a reliable guide to understanding myself and others. But that’s not why I love it. I love it because it supports my faith that the universe is meaningful and that there are connections between what happens in the heavens and what takes place on earth. These aren’t things that can be proven, but that doesn’t matter. For all the astrological techniques and theories I’ve explored over the years, faith is the underlying factor that makes sense of it all for me.
As Mercury and Neptune harmonize, there’s an opening in the wall that separates faith and reason, and a common hymn book that lets them sing together in the choir.
Writing and collages © 2020-21 April Elliott Kent
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