Courting the Old Sky Gods:
Celestial Navigation Report: December 2021
The Winter Solstice Chart:
December 21st, 2021. Solstice. Solar Midnight. Midwinter’s Simmering. The Sun’s moment of Deep Stillness.
The Sun’s ingress into Capricorn marks the Winter Solstice. It is this exact moment the ancients believed would be etched into the next 3 months.
And in this corner, weighing in at…the final Saturn in Aquarius-Uranus in Taurus square is prominent in the sky. We come to another round of the eternal struggle between tradition and the necessity of order with rebelliousness and the necessity of creative –and oftentimes destructive– change. Remember there is room in the psyche for most of us to play both roles of this conflict.
Jupiter is still a house guest in Saturn’s domain in late Aquarius, but very near to ending their time there. Jupiter has spent most of the last 2 years in Saturn’s signs, Capricorn and Aquarius. A mixed and multifarious bag of softening the blows, while also expanding the many debts –financial, social and psychic.
Venus is newly stationed retrograde in a Capricornian underworld within one degree of Pluto. This invites some sobering questions going into 2022. What do our soul’s really desire? What are we humans of a colonial modernity willing to sacrifice? What pleasures/comforts get placed on the altar for a more collective, fulfilling and long-lasting experience of security on planet Home?
Having finished prodding the already tumultuous realm of the Uranus-Saturn square, Mars is out of fixed, intense Scorpio and into Sagittarius. There is a fine moment of exhalation here. Mars is also conjunct the South Node, braiding together some wisdom with our ancestral inheritance and the gravity of human violence and extraction. This puts a tame and logical problem-solver in the room, yet Mars sometimes breaks what it can’t solve.
And the Moon is at Home, still bright, just past full, and now in the sign of Cancer. This Moon brings a proper and necessary sensitivity to the psychic climate of this winter. A present and caring focus on the emotional needs of those around us helps us all wax and wane our way through life in a good way. Adaptability and heart-abundance takes precedence over emotional self-absorption and enabling.
Under The Temple of the Night Sky:
December 2021 Stargazing
December begins with three planets visible in the early evening sky: Jupiter, Saturn & Venus. Just after sunset Jupiter will be visible in the southern sky. At that time it will be about 40 degrees off the horizon. That’s the equivalent of about two average-sized adult hands stretched out wide from thumb to pinky. It will be by far the brightest body in the southern sky. Just below Jupiter to the southwest, and much dimmer, will be Saturn in the SSW, about 30 degrees off the horizon.
And following the Sun into the underworld horizon will be Venus –”the evening star”– about twenty degrees off the horizon. She will be by far the brightest body in the sky, bright enough to see while there is still sufficient light out pre-dusk. Venus will be almost exactly SW just after the Sun goes down. On the evening of December 5th Venus will be at her brightest, shining at -4.7 magnitude.
Venus will set within a couple hours of the Sun, followed by Saturn setting by 9:30 pm, and Jupiter by 11 pm, in early December. These times will be slowly shifting earlier into the night as the month goes on, and the Sun inches it’s way closer and closer towards these visible nightly planets in the southwestern part of the sky.
The waxing crescent moon will be joining this trio at the end of the first week of December. On 12/6 the Moon will be conjunct Venus. On the 7th the Moon will be conjunct Saturn. And on the 8th the Moon will be alongside Jupiter.
The great ‘Summer Triangle’ is still visible in the December sky, but by now it starts off the evening pretty far into the western sky. The triangle is an asterism, not a constellation. It is composed of three of the brightest stars: Vega (in Lyra), Deneb (in Cygnus) and Altair (in Aquilla). The triangle can be used to navigate the nightly skies because it steadily points almost due south. You’ll find these stars and the constellations they belong to in between the stars that make up Draco the Dragon and Capricorn/Aquarius. As the month goes on they will also be lower and lower in the western-northwestern part of the sky.
And the real excitement of the winter sky will be found in the East as the showiest part of the starry heavens begins to rise just after sunset. The brilliant Winter Circle will be rising between sunset and 9 pm in early December. This consists of the stars Rigel (Orion), Aldebaran (Taurus), Capella (Auriga), Pollux (Gemini), Procyon (Canis Minor), & Sirius (Canis Major).
This area of the sky features many of the brightest stars that can be viewed from Earth. Sirius is the brightest star in our skies, followed by Capella (the 6th brightest), Rigel (the 7th brightest), Procyon (the 8th brightest), Aldebaran (the 14th brightest), and Pollux (the 17th brightest).
In the center of the winter Circle, and of much stellar interest, are the remaining stars of the constellation Orion including Betelgeuse (our 10th brightest), Bellatrix (the 26th brightest), and Orion’s belt (composed of Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak). Mintaka, famous to celestial navigators, rises on the horizon at exactly due East. And then there is the Orion Nebula. The nebula, also known to astronomers as Messier 42 (M42), is the closest region of massive star formation to Earth. It is seen as the middle star on Orion’s sword. Some have speculated that it may be the womb of our very own solar system.
Roses and Thorns:
The Days of Flow & Days of Trial
December 2021 Most Auspicious Days:
12/12: Moon in Aries with Mars at home in Scorpio as house caretaker.
12/15: Exalted Moon in Taurus
12/19-20: Moon at home in Cancer
12/31: Moon with Mars in Sagittarius with Jupiter in Pisces (2nd half of the day)
And The Days For Lacing Up Your Bootstraps…
12/7: Saturn conjunct the Moon
Important Degrees in the Zodiac
At any given time, there are certain areas of the zodiac that are more likely to be receptive terrain as the planets weft and weave their way around the sky. Once you know the sign and degree of these exact locations it’s easy to check your chart and see if you have any important natal placements in those timely, sensitive spots. When cross-referencing these important degrees of the zodiac remember to check your natal planets, lunar nodes, and angles (ascendent, descendent, midheaven, IC). Any strong celestial activity within three degrees of an important natal placement is worthy of your attention.
12/4 Total Solar Eclipse: 12:22 SAG
12/15 Mars conjunct Lunar Nodal Axis: 1:42 GEM-SAG
12/18 Full Moon: 27:29 GEM
12/19 Venus Station Retrograde: 26:29 CAP
12/24 Saturn square Uranus: 11:06 TAR-AQU
12/25 Venus R conjunct Pluto: 25:44 CAP12/30 Mercury conjunct Pluto: 25:53 CAP