To my preferences, yesterday was one of the most beautiful autumn days one can experience.
In some ways, the day had tinges of all four seasons. The morning was crisp—not quite wintry, but certainly fallish; the midday sun was warm allowing one to wander about without sleeves; and the sunset was nearly as early as possible.
Due to an interesting artifact of the earth’s movement in the solar system, the sunset is already getting later each day even though we have not yet reached the solstice. The shortest amount of daylight is, of course, on 12/21, but the earliest sunset happened around the end of November and the latest sunrise won’t occur until right around January 10th. Our daylight is shifting toward the evening ever so subtly.
In any event, the details are hardly noticeable during this time of year. The change in daylight is much more apparent near the equinoxes because the rate of change is greater. Yet, given the mild weather here of late, the days have felt longer. We had an earlier and longer bout of cold here in December up until this week, so the onset of mild weather felt more like spring than anything…at least until 5:30 when the sun went down!
Astronomically, the day was a treat. Venus, not quite at its greatest elongation, is still quite high at sunset, and given its distance to the earth, is very bright! If you could zoom in on the planet, it would look like a crescent moon.
Just before Venus disappeared to the west, we got to see the gibbous moon rise in the east with Jupiter flanking its left side. As I was driving home last night and traveling primarily east, the two hovered before me—bright in the clear December air.
Now on to a bit of Astrology. A couple of days ago, we had our last major moon of the year: a full moon in Gemini. The next major moon is our New Year’s Day new moon in Capricorn, which occurs just after 5:00 am CST on 1/1/14…when some of you will be just stumbling into bed! What’s most interesting about this is that I believe the entire planet will have just moved into the new year by then. [It gets dicey near the date line so I am not sure if the latest time zone is 5 or 6 hours past CST.] In any event, it’s safe to say that the Capricorn new moon is quite precisely ringing in the new year this time.
Before we get there, we of course have the winter solstice of 2013. This occurs on Saturday, 12/21/2013 at 11:11 am CST. And, less than five hour later, Venus stations retrograde just shy of the last degree of Capricorn (at 28o 59’).
Now, let’s not lose sight of these coincidences. The Venus station pretty much initiates winter, and the new moon initiates 2014. Furthermore, both of these events occur in the sign of Capricorn! Lying between the two is Pluto, and he has a few tricks of his own. In fact, as the calendar flips, it is going to be a bit crowed in that part of the sky. Consider the following plutonian events hovering around year-end:
- 12/30/2013: Exact Mars-Pluto square at 11o 13’ Libra-Capricorn (7:21 pm)
- 12/31/2013: Exact Mercury-Pluto conjunction at 11o 14’ Capricorn (5:25 am)
- [1/1/2014: Exact moon-sun conjunction (new moon) at 10o 57’ Capricorn (5:12 am)]
- 1/1/2014: Exact moon-Pluto conjunction at 11o 16’ Capricorn (5:42 am)
- 1/1/2014: Exact sun-Pluto conjunction at 11o 17’ Capricorn (12:56 pm)
Keep in mind that the clock and the calendar are man-made artifacts. They are not the same in all places, and have been changed over the years. The transition from Friday to Saturday and from 2013 to 2014 does not happen all at once. It takes a full 24-hour day for the shift to occur.
But Astrological alignments are instantaneous. Man may have created the signs, the boundaries between them, and the scale of measure (degrees and arc-minutes), but the alignments happen at exact moments regardless. They are literally out of this world, although perceivable from it.
So what we have here is a synchronization between human time and stellar time. Kind of feels like there is a significance here that is yet to be determined or understood.
And there’s more. At the start of this post, I mentioned Venus and Jupiter. They last aligned (in opposition) on 11/28/13. From 12/21/13 through 1/31/14 both will be retrograde. And, as I mentioned before, when Venus stations direct at the end of January, she will nearly conjunct Pluto and nearly oppose Jupiter…and only 36 hours after the two exactly oppose each other. This time, the boundary in human time is between the months of January and February—more synchronization.
But I’m getting a bit ahead. January 31st is six weeks away. In six days, it is Christmas.
I named this post Ghosts of Christmas Past because of the Venus retrograde. The last time Venus went backward was just before summer started in 2012. Surely you remember the Venus Transit everyone was talking about that June! Well, the last time Venus was retrograde for Christmas was eight years ago. Venus stationed retrograde on 12/23/2005. Truth be told, I can barely remember that time period.
Venus retrograde, more than any other, is purported to bring people from our past back around. Don’t be surprised if you run into an old flame at a New Year’s party, or receive a holiday greeting from someone you hadn’t heard from in years!
Capricorn is not the most romantic part of the Zodiac. And, in the solstice chart I cast for Austin, TX, Venus sits in the 11th house, the house of friendships and acquaintances. This Venus retrograde might be more about old friends than old loves.In this solstice chart, note that Neptune sits less than a degree below the eastern horizon – a poignant position for sure! The 11th house is also the house of dreams (as in aspirations) and Neptune is a ruler of dreams (as when we are sleeping).
And let’s not forget that Mars figures prominent in this chart as well. First, he, within orb, forms a T-Square with Pluto and Uranus, an aspect we’ll have to deal with significantly in 2014. Second, he sits in Libra in the 7th house, the house of relationships. Third, he remains in Libra from now until mid-summer 2014 since his entire retrograde will fall within that sign.
Dreams. Aspirations. Relationships.
Sounds to me like the Universe wants us to resolve relationships from the past in order to more properly build up to our hopes for the future.
One last aspect of the solstice chart I wish to consider: moon in Leo in the 6th squares Saturn in Scorpio in the 9th. 6th / 9th house combination is about work and education. Saturn is good at dishing out lessons…eh-hem…and in Scorpio, they are hard to ignore. With the moon in Leo, we are sure to react!
I see it like this:
We are happily celebrating the holiday season…when out of nowhere, a ghost from our past appears. In that moment, we are stoic in our expression. But inside we reel. Memories flash before our eyes, accompanied by berating thoughts about our feelings. The moment lasts but seconds or minutes, but the impression goes on. For days or even weeks, we revisit the scene and the memories it conjured. We wonder why we feel what we feel, and what it all means.
…and then my foresight grows dim.
Venus retrograde is first up and lasts 6 weeks, but then Mars retrograde gets started and lasts 2 ½ months. In between, Mercury does his back and forth dance once again. And look at the dates!!!
- Venus Retrograde: December 21 through January 31.
- Mercury Retrograde: February 6 through February 28
- Mars Retrograde: March 1 through May 19
They do not overlap and any one month only contains one of the three. However, only 5 days pass between Venus’ and Mercury’s, and only 26 hours pass between Mercury’s and Mars’! And in both cases, the calendar flips from one month to the next in between…yet more synchronization between stellar time and human time.
The personal planets are going to have their way with us over the next six months within the continuing background intensity of the outer planets. Sounds like more opportunity for growth, eh?
And let’s not forget where this post began. Beauty abounds…in the past…in the future…and in the present. We can remember it from the past, imagine it in the future, and behold it when it is right in front of our eyes. I’m actually making a note to do more of all of that. Maybe that will be my New Year’s resolution:
Remember, Behold, and Imagine…More Beauty.