Dear Planet Waves Reader:
The Sun is now in Sagittarius. This is such an interesting time of year, but we tend to miss the spiritual qualities because our lives are so focused outwardly — shopping, preparing for family gatherings and going a bit nuts with year-end duties, depending on what business you’re in. In the Northern Hemisphere the days grow shorter at this time of year, drawing us inward: but everything seems to be focused on others and on the world of activity. Perhaps if we could follow the calling within, the problem of holiday depression that so many people face would be far less severe.
As the Sun moves through Sagittarius, it’s also moving toward a solstice. This is the last four weeks of the days getting shorter (here in the north), something that begins at the summer solstice and which I am sure that few people think about at that time. So there is that sense of the last bit of time compression as the days grow to their shortest. This is compounded by the addition of standard time, which lops an hour of daylight off of the end of the day when the days are already short — I’ve never quite followed the logic of that.
Then there’s something else going on: the Earth and Sun are aligned such that we pass by two different galactic points during the next few weeks — the Great Attractor around Dec. 8, and the Galactic Core around Dec. 18. Both of these are dark matter points that I believe are associated with the time compression phenomenon this time of year. As the Sun passes the Great Attractor, there will be a New Moon on Dec. 5. This is conjunct Pholus, the second centaur planet (the first was Chiron). Remember Pholus? Small cause, big effect? We need to watch how the situation in Korea works out (please see related story below).
The Galactic Core, for its part, functions like a homing device. I believe it’s where much of our spiritual yearning is focused — toward the center of our island in space. Here on Earth, we are far from the core, between two of the spiral arms of our galaxy — not only are we remote from the center, we’re located on a back road. No wonder it gets lonely here.
Now, as for the holidays themselves: try to keep your plans flexible. The year ends with a bit of mystery and complexity, and information from astrology may help you keep things simpler than they might ordinarily work out. This is one of those examples when astrology functions as a source of vital information.
So far it’s been a year that few people will forget: the grand cross in the cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) shook up the world, ranging from the BP oil spill to the Tea Party. These same transits may have picked you up and spun you around a bit, though the peak of the grand cross has finally passed.
Yet we have one last astrological adventure before the relatively clear skies of mid-January: a combination of simultaneous factors between now and Jan. 4 that include the Mercury retrograde, a solstice and two eclipses. I’ll take them in order, offering some advisories that are tailored to meet the needs of busy human westerners.
I know there are many people who wish they could entirely sit out the holidays, and I would encourage you to do that if you want to, and if social conventions permit. Remember, too, that you can customize your socializing, such as by moving Christmas to the Eastern Orthodox version on Jan. 7, the long-forgotten holiday Epiphany (when, according to the story, some really cool astrologers arrived at the birthplace of Jesus).
Okay, on to our story. Mercury is retrograde between Dec. 10 and Dec. 30. This covers the holiday shopping season, Christmas and (because Mercury changing directions actually shakes things up for several days) takes us right up to New Year’s Eve.
If you’re one who participates in the custom of buying gifts, I suggest you put more thought than money into the endeavor. Stick to simple items, for example, things made of wood, paper or cloth rather than electronic products. Books and crafts are two examples. I am collecting things like handcrafted soap and good old astrology books to share with friends. (Here is a potential gift-giving guide, called Everything Old is New Again.)
Eclipses, meanwhile, are falling at the end of the year and early summer. They drift through the seasons on a nine-year cycle. They have been occurring in Cancer and Capricorn and are now moving toward Gemini and Sagittarius. The current eclipses (Dec. 21 and Jan. 4) as usual promise to raise the intensity level of existence, and create a threshold into the next phase of our lives. But their proximity to the solstice points adds that much more energy to the mix. In December we have a lunar eclipse (the Sagittarius Full Moon) on the eve of the Capricorn solstice, one that you won’t need an astrology chart to notice. This is followed by a solar eclipse on Jan. 4 (the Capricorn New Moon), which is when you can think of 2011 as actually beginning.
All of this adds up to a few simple points. One is, do less rather than more. When the astrology gets like this, it’s possible to go into mental or emotional overload. Therefore, do your part to stay back from the edge. Go for fewer commitments, less travel, less shopping and overall reducing any tendency you may have to rely on obligation as a means of guidance. We all notice how many people start to act like frantic robots around the holidays; I admire the people who dare to try something new.
If you can get to a wavelength above all the buzz created by these inner planet movements (Sun, Moon and Mercury all qualify), there is another level that’s brilliantly creative. This appears as a kind of Star of Bethlehem in the form of the conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Pisces. This is an aspect associated with great meetings, technical breakthroughs and some of the most positive developments in any creative endeavor. It’s worth staying home for; Pisces is about the inner life, and this is a moment of visceral soul contact that is available to anyone.
Wishing you a brilliantly creative holiday season,
An international confrontation: Korea situation astrology
Dear Friend and Reader:
Two weeks ago, I cautioned in the subscriber edition of Planet Waves (“And What Are We Attracting?“) that we were heading for what appeared at the time to be an imminent international confrontation of some kind. “It looks like some hotly polarized, extremely exaggerated international situation that pops up seemingly out of nowhere,” I wrote in that edition. We now have a clue what I was seeing in the chart: the situation that emerged between the two Koreas on Tuesday, Nov. 23.
Accounts as to what happened vary, but the result was that North Korea began shelling a military base on the South Korean island of Daeyeonpyeong, one of several islands collectively referred to as Yeonpyeong Island. North Korea stated that it had responded after the South had recklessly fired dozens of shells into North Korean territorial waters around Yonphyong Islet. Naturally, there are two sides to the story, though it seems unlikely that South Korea would start firing shells to the north ‘recklessly’. Anyway, the result is that we have one of the worst conditions between these two nations in decades.
MSNBC is reporting that the United States’ George Washington aircraft carrier battle group is on its way to the region. U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, a former admiral who once commanded that carrier group, is saying he believes we’re deploying it to the region as much to be in a position to retaliate against the North as we are to be preventing the South from over-reacting. He said the chances of the situation escalating are “pretty darned low” if we handle things carefully and use China as an ally. China is the one country with any real influence over North Korea. (Notably, during the Vietnam War, China was working against the United States by financing North Vietnam. It truly is interesting how things change.) Sestak, a member of the House Armed Services Committee (an influential House of Representatives committee), said he believes that U.S. military resources are severely depleted by our involvement in Iraq, and that we don’t have much left to handle a military situation on the Korean peninsula if push really comes to shove.
One of the reasons I suggest we take this seriously is the astrology. [Here is the chart at full size.] I mentioned that the grouping of Mars, Mercury, Pallas and Pholus are aligned with a fixed point called the Great Attractor, as well as with a slow-mover called Ixion. In addition, all of these points align with something called the Nuclear Axis, an arrangement in the chart for the first self-sustaining atomic reaction, which is a pretty good chart for predicting nuclear situations. In about a week, we’re going to have a New Moon conjunct Pholus right on the Great Attractor and the Nuclear Axis. Pholus has a way of letting the genie out of the bottle. And it points to effects that have causes going back several generations, and that are associated with drunkenness of one kind or another (drunk with power would qualify).
First let’s look at the ascendant — that would be the Aries Point rising — very early Aries. Now look at the midheaven — that too would be the Aries Point, via early Capricorn with Pluto right on top of the chart. This tells us we have a high-impact situation on our hands, something that could have real implications. Pluto on the midheaven is not friendly — that’s about governments obsessing over their military might and ability to control (what they think of as) ‘reality’.
Next let’s look at the position of the Moon. The Moon is in late Gemini, opposing the alignment in Sagittarius I was describing in the article. What is a bit troubling is that next week’s Sagittarius New Moon is conjunct Ixion, Pholus and the Great Attractor. Mercury and Mars have moved on; Pallas is lingering in late Sagittarius; but there is still a powerful conjunction gathered around the Great Attractor, and then along comes a conjunction of the Sun and Moon to set it off.
I’m not sure how knowing all this helps, though generally I feel that awareness is a good thing, so let’s keep paying attention.
Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for December 2010
The past year has offered a glimpse of what is possible. You’ve also seen how much can change how fast, and how little you will miss the past when it does. Mostly, though, I trust that you’ve noticed that life treats you better when you offer yourself as a direct participant rather than as a spectator. Now, there are two basic postures through which you can participate. One is defensive. The other is progressive. You’ve had a few tastes of both. Defensive is basically a mode of reacting to or pushing back against your environment, after it has moved and affected your life some way. Progressive is you get an idea about who you are, then commence an experiment or adventure seeing what it’s like to explore that idea. This is a creative way to live, in that you’re consciously self-creating who you are, then asserting that on your environment like an artist paints on canvas. I admit that few astrologers would say that any Aries lacks assertiveness. But I’m not talking about being headstrong, pushy or ambitious. I’m talking about making subtle refinements that efficiently remove any reactive postures you may have, including being ruled by the fear that you will disrupt the apple cart, disappoint others or change your world in a way that you cannot change back. I suggest you make friends with all of these possibilities, and boldly create existence from the inside out.
You seem to be on a quest to be free within your relationships. Or rather, your relationships may be on a quest to have you be free within them. There is no question that you’re involved and deeply invested in the personal and professional situations of your life. Neither is there any question that you’ve been exploring the limits of both your personal tolerance with limitations and the potential for evolving into a new version of yourself. This has presented a struggle seemingly with as many disappointments and losses as there have been gains and moments of progress. Over the next few weeks, something unusual happens. This set of circumstances ignites your passion for freedom and independence simultaneously with your drive to connect with the people around you, potentially someone specific. There is an ‘everything, all at once’ property to the moment, and you may be in a position — wittingly or not — to make decisions that have the ability to unravel your life as you know it. That is potentially a good thing; as much as you fear too much change too fast, stagnation is not a healthy state of being. I suggest, however, that you do your best to make your moves consciously. Acting on idle curiosity can be dangerous. I suggest making decisions only when you know what you want. That means being aware of what you want and keeping it in mind as a reference point all the time.
One thing does indeed lead to another, and that process will proceed in your relationships with the approximate enthusiasm of opening a shaken-up bottle of champagne. With that as our starting metaphor, I suggest you avoid making decisions when you’ve drunk any more than an Honest Tea — unless you’re in the mood for a wild ride. Though I’m not usually the writer who does the Dear Prudence column, I’m going to take that role this month. As regards any relationship or partnership, keep your long-term intentions clearly in mind, and make every decision based on those intentions. Make sure you remember that it’s you who’s running your life. Whatever may happen in your world, you have a wide diversity of possible responses, and I suggest that the best ones would include a lot of time for contemplation, and for consulting with those who have less involvement or investment than you do, be it emotional or financial. What you need is objectivity. Please, get some and have it ready when you need it; inserting strategic pauses in the action may be enough. The combination of holiday pressures and numerous factors of the current astrology (Mercury retrograde, solstice and eclipses, among others) are potentially dangerous when mixed into one vat, and you need to proceed slowly, with actual caution until early January. Then you’ll be able to make coherent decisions that work out best for you and the people you care about most.
You may have a tendency to process information with your mind rather than your feelings, and right now you need both. The astrology of December calls for balance; it necessitates a dialog, starting with yourself. Here’s what I can tell you. First, no situation is as difficult or as complex as it seems. Challenging, perhaps, and yes — it takes faith to give yourself some distance and let things work out, particularly when you think the one thing you must do is exert control. There’s a relationship situation where that just won’t work — but here is the silver lining: you don’t want control, nor would it serve you, nor would it serve anyone else involved. This is a moment when the fates will intervene on your behalf, if you allow them to. How to do that is to stand out of their way, which means your own way. There is a phenomenon of something appearing one way, then morphing into something else, so allow that process to work so that you know where people, and circumstances, really stand before you decide how you feel about them. I suggest you make a yoga of keeping your fears not only in check, but rather burning them as a source of creativity. Certain events this month will teach you what you don’t want. Others will teach you what you want. Remember, the second of those is much more important.
Think strategically about your health, and about your work. Proceed with a plan, and allow that to be the central feature in your life. You appear to be under some extra physical and psychological stress; you can handle it, if you take care of yourself. This would be an amazing time to get into the groove of true self-care, if it’s something you’ve resisted in the past. Pluto is in Capricorn for the long haul, and is about to be joined by Mars. This is giving you the energy and incentive to push it, though Mercury retrograde (in the same neighborhood) is suggesting that you not do so, and in particular that you take care of your mind. Even if you’re in a tight spot financially, try not to worry about cash — a world of opportunity is likely to open up in the spring, particularly if you keep yourself in balance now. If you count that as your primary responsibility, you’ll notice your life flows better, opening up a sense of potential that is mostly psychological in nature. That’s the kind of potential that actually works. And in this, having a plan will help immeasurably, to give you the sense that what you’re doing is actually doable — and it is. I can sum up your whole plan in the words of Don Herold, quoted in my favorite homeopathic text (Prisma): “Work is the greatest thing in the world, so we should always save some of it for tomorrow.”
Art will not only save your life, it will give you life; it will give back to you more than you put in, with the benefits extending to everyone around you. Art begins when you don’t try to impress anyone with what you’re creating. It’s all about what you do and how you feel, so don’t try to impress yourself, either. I suggest you consider any and all of your excuses for why you don’t do art as remnants or direct results of childhood trauma: examples such as having too much work, not enough talent, it’s too frivolous or best of all, too childish. Proceed on the basis of sensation. Treat any excuse or resistance that comes up as specifically the thing you get to heal as a direct reward for embarking on creative experience — and experience is the key concept here. Taste some of that; lure yourself with how good it feels. You have enormous energy pent up in the creative-erotic angle of your chart, and it’s wanting to come out now, in force. I suggest that whatever you do, that you work with something kinesthetic: such as clay, paper maché or even finger paint. This will provide direct contact with what you’re doing and let you feel the shapes take form. This will keep the creative energy flowing from your mind to your body through to the thing created. Remember: no judging, evaluating or critiquing. Feel, and feel the child in you coming to life.
Let’s take a moment and review the recent Venus retrograde (spanning from early October through late November). I know the current astrology has morphed into what may seem like bolder adventures, and the rare retrograde of your planet, partly in your sign, may already feel like a thing of the past. Yet for you, it’s what distinguishes this year from many others in your life, and I suggest that the take-away from the past two months is a longterm project of understanding the concept of self-esteem. As I’ve suggested in longer articles, self-esteem is the spiritual issue of our day. It’s connected to mindfulness and the ability to respect yourself, to honor your authentic values, and to live like you’re a natural part of existence. Through early January as Venus makes its way across Scorpio, you get to internalize this material in a full way. You’ll have many opportunities to see the shadows in your mind as what they are, and to assert yourself against the negative conditioning of your upbringing. You’ll be able to witness the ways in which your values have been dictated by others, and distinguish these influences from the ones that you’re providing on your own terms. Nobody has or ever had the right to tell you how to feel about yourself: that is your privilege alone, and as you embrace a new depth of self-acceptance you will come into even closer harmony with the world around you.
Your mind is a filter through which you perceive the rest of reality. The rest, as in the little that’s left without your mind. You know that expression, ‘Smile and the whole world smiles with you’? It also translates to, ‘Rage and the world rages with you’, and ‘Be alert and aware and the whole world is alert and aware with you’. Now, which of these is happening? You may be experiencing a strange mix. Because Mars is joining Pluto in Capricorn this month, you’re working through a maze of material from your distant past. Any frustrations you’re feeling connect with the embodied emotions of a powerful yet powerless child who could not successfully influence the environment around him/her. The thing to remember now is that you can influence your environment, and that you don’t need to rage, compete, argue or justify yourself. It may take some extra focus to notice the lines between old influences and new ones, and to see that you’re responding to both at the same time. If you’re feeling helpless or defensive, that’s a sign that you’re not recognizing the options that you have to make a difference in your own life. Every factor is guiding you to consider those options. You don’t need to make a lot of changes; one or two bold moves might be enough. The very point where you feel the most hamstrung or frustrated is where to look the most honestly, and in the words of my mentor, Joe Trusso, “Use what you know.”
Business and money are the primary focus of the next six weeks. If you’ve been waiting for the opportunity to perk up your lot in life, you’re in the zone, though timing is everything: December is for preparation, January is for action. Obviously you’re feeling the drive and the rumblings; and we all know that the last few weeks before the holidays are not usually the best time to invest a lot of energy because everyone seems to have something else on their mind. That may be true, but you’re likely to have a series of low-key interactions with people that feel more like conspiratorial plans than like Apple announcing the newest iThing. I suggest you directly focus on creating a financial strategy. Be specific about what you want to create and how you want to get there. And I suggest you put this high on your priority list as a longterm endeavor. Here is the spiritual piece: in doing so, you’re likely to come up against the programming of past generations that we can politely call poverty consciousness. You might encounter guilt that you want and intend to create abundance. You might encounter any number of emotions, ranging from the sense of ‘not deserving’ to noticing the struggles of others, to your belief that you cannot thrive in a ‘bad economy’. This is the karma that it’s time to burn through, once and for all; you’re done with it, and it’s done with you.
This ought to be an interesting month: just about everything that can happen in astrology happens in your sign. Nearby planets are aligning with distant ones, Mercury retrograde will be dancing around and (looking ahead to early January) a solar eclipse takes place, square your ruling planet Saturn. That all must mean something — it looks like action and activity, plenty of it unpredictable. You get a series of chances for significant wins and losses, which means the potential for actual progress. This happens at the time of year when most people want to kick back and take it easy, spending a little too much time drunk and overstuffed. Not you, please. Maintain your focus, and proceed with a plan. Keep an eye on both necessity and opportunity. Manage your holiday commitments carefully, and I strongly suggest minimizing travel plans: you will save time, money and precious mental energy. What I’m suggesting overall is that you leave sufficient bandwidth available to take advantage of what opportunities come your way and to solve puzzles that may arise, all so that you can be in maximum creative mode. The shadow side of this may be confusion about who you are, a measure of inner chaos and some anger; the solution here is to keep your perspective, and maintain whatever spiritual or growth practice has served you — such as yoga, therapy, morning pages, and skillful use of your appointment calendar. And please don’t fall for anyone claiming you owe them something. Guilt is a nonstarter. Toss it back.
There’s a passage in A Course in Miracles that took me a little time to get used to, like about 20 years. That is: “You don’t ask too much from life, but rather far too little.” It’s time to start asking for more; time to recognize how much you have and how useful it is. You can now put together two seemingly different aspects of who you are into one unified person, actually dialing in solutions that come from you and your existing resources. The thing to remember is: you have what it takes, on many different levels; your current exploration is finding the point of alignment. This should be easy. If you keep your focus on who you are, you will discover what you have. And that discovery will reveal that you have far more than you think, in resources of any kind, in ideas, in community: turning this into productive energy is a matter of intention and alignment. There is an intuitive leap involved. It’s like the resources you’ve got available are right next to you and you’re reaching a little further than you need to. Your greatest success will come from putting two obvious things, concepts or people together that you might have guessed would work so effectively. The results of this alchemy take you one wide and wild step beyond what you know, beyond what is familiar and certainly beyond what you expected was possible at this time in your life.
If you’re in a phase of seeking, and finding, ever-greater clarity, then remember — everything is subject to being perceived through this lens. Be open to revising your methods, and let every development be an occasion to do so. Be open to revising your goals, but remember what the most enduring of them are, and keep your focus there. Be flexible enough that you can adapt to your environment and evolve your concept of what you want, and steadfast enough that you can persist in the face of the questions and possibilities that are humming around one authentic purpose. Look closely and you will see the silver lining to everything. Listen carefully and you’ll get clear direction about how to reach your next destination efficiently, though in a way you might not have been expecting. What the planets portend is a depth of awareness that you can apply to your worldly affairs right away, in actuality rather than in theory — remember that. This is a truly revolutionary time in your life, a fact that will become apparent after the dust settles on the wild spell of astrology that blows through late in the year. Learn to trust yourself as a daily yoga. Learn to recognize your contributions to the world from moment to moment. And remember to keep your vision close to the front of your mind. Remember what you’re creating, and remind yourself what this says about who you are becoming.