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Winter Solstice 2008

Winter Solstice 2008

As I write this article here in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, the nights are growing ever longer, darker, and colder. The Winter Solstice fast approaches. This is a very special and mysterious time of the year. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere it marks the longest night of the year. Symbolically the collective night-force is at its peak as we enter 0 degrees of Capricorn. The individual, represented by the ‘day-force’, must yield to the greater whole, but this is also the leverage turning-point where the shift occurs, and gradually over the next six months the day-force will gain in strength until we reach it’s peak at the Summer Solstice around June 21st.

Mundane astrologers study this Winter ‘Ingress’ chart to understand more fully what lies ahead for the larger state in the coming year. Here in the United States of America the Solstice chart for our capital, Washington D.C. occurs on December 21, 2008 at 7:04 am EST.

The most obvious and striking note in this year’s chart is the conjunction of Pluto with the Sun at 0 degrees of Capricorn. Something major is compelling our nation’s identity into an intense transformative change. Pluto is anything but a ‘light weight’ in spite of the fact that it has been demoted by a few scientists to non-planetary status. Its passage through the final degree of Sagittarius these past few months has synchronized with an enormous descent from the fiery, expansive bubble that described the financial world for the past several years into the domain of Capricorn, which is anything but fiery. It is rock solid earth. It is symbolic of mountains, stones, and edifices built to promote institutions and the State. It is a slower, more ponderous energy compared with Sagittarius.

Pluto together with Capricorn are rather compatible bedfellows. Pluto sits quite alone way out there at the rim of our solar system where very little of the warming rays of our Sun disturb its dense and icy existence. Capricorn comes at that darkest time of the year when one must work hard to survive the cold winter yet ahead in much of the world. Together they seem to indicate a time of contraction and consolidation of power within the collective institutions that over-see and govern the affairs of humans. The seeds of this change can already be seen as the nearly 15 year passage of Pluto in Sagittarius has just ended. The free-wheeling type of capitalism that accompanied it is now getting reined in and increasingly controlled by governments who formerly supported de-regulation. Tighter and tighter controls on all levels are likely to come.

Pluto will be in Capricorn for 17 long years. As it slowly moves deeper into the sign a certain process unfolds that is very much like anything Plutonian. First there is the likelihood of intensity and contractions, much as a mother experiences during labor. With Saturn getting into the picture by 2009 and 2010, the squeeze will likely be severe. We won’t begin to see the possibility of a ‘birthing process’ of transformation until Uranus gets into the configuration somewhere around 2012. Uranus symbolizes liberation and tremendous release, but not without a certain degree of struggle.

Another symbolic process is the way in which Pluto strips things to the bone. Since we are talking about Capricorn, it will be the larger institutions themselves, including governments, that gradually get stripped to their bottom-line truth. If anything is lacking in integrity, it will gradually be revealed. Pluto is always ruthless in exposing the core of anything. If the core is rotten, it will be revealed. This process of Pluto allows for a break-down and then a rebuilding to occur until the transformation is complete.

How is this period of time likely to impact those of us who are just trying to live our lives as individuals? It seems prudent that we be prepared for a long period of contraction. No outer planets will be in Fire signs for a very long time. Fire likes to play, expand, and take risks. Sobering as this time will be for many, it will also be important for people to bring their own fire and light into any given situation.

This Solstice time of the year is so beautiful at night with all the festive lights twinkling brightly on trees, rooftops, pillars, and posts. People have been celebrating the ‘Return of the Light’ for centuries in one form or another. This is an age-old honoring of the cyclical nature of time, and supersedes anything transient. So perhaps just think of these next 17 years as one huge long Winter Solstice! We humans are incredibly resourceful and have survived the most ghastly and inhuman of conditions. Just look at the peoples of Siberia, Mongolia, Norway, Iceland, Alaska, and other frigid parts of the globe where long, inhospitable winters have demanded human strength and resiliency to survive. These folks can be some of the most cheerful, warm-hearted, and hospitable of souls. It is the light of one’s heart, after all, that keeps brightness shining from within.

When I was in Dublin, Ireland in October of this year I gave a workshop on ‘Sustaining and Building More Light During Times of Darkness’. Here is a summary of some of the ideas we discussed:

Look at your own Natal Chart to see where you have planets in Fire signs. Look, also, at your Sun, Mars, and Jupiter for more clues as to how to generate your own Fire.

There are many levels with which to do this:

The Earth/Physical level: light candles, build fires in your fireplace or woodstove, paint the walls of your home warm colors, wear reds, oranges, and yellows. Be sure to exercise out-of-doors, especially when you can get some sunshine to warm your muscles and keep your blood circulating. Eat spicey foods.

The Water/Emotional level: laugh and get playful, exchange lots of warming hugs, choose to be around warm-hearted people, bliss-out with your lover, get in the pioneering mode and forge ahead with something.

The Air/Mental level: keep a positive attitude, the mental attitude of “We can do this” is the best under any circumstances. Exercise your problem-solving aptitudes. Read books that up-lift and inspire.

The Fire/Intuitive-Spiritual level: keep your faith strong and alive by exercising it, just as you do your body. Know that your faith can move mountains!

Can you think of other ways to keep your fire-light strong and burning?

Two other themes are clearly visible in this year’s Solstice chart. There are a great deal of planets in Air signs, including the Moon in Libra. Lots of ideas may be generated, and a great deal of circulation of those ideas through all sorts of avenues, including the new digital ways of communicating. Earth/Air combinations are excellent for problem-solving. Solutions will come as people connect and exchange ideas and then follow through with practical implementations. Sure, some of these ideas may not jell. They may stay ‘up in the air’ with no grounded form, but all the coming Aquarian amassing of energy will continue to experiment until the right solutions are found.

Sustainability is certainly going to be a major theme as the planet faces global warming, population increases, and dwindling non-renewable resources. The element of Air symbolizes the generating of ideas that will move us into the future. The element of Earth will keep us grounded and pragmatic in implementing these plans. Remember, Capricorn is the planning sign of the zodiac. Planners will be greatly needed who can use Aquarian vision in seeing ‘the big picture’ to project us far into a more interdependent and sustainable future here in planet Earth.

The third important note of this chart for America, at least, is the Sagittarian Ascendant with Mars in Sagittarius rising. This energy is crossed by Saturn in Virgo. Hard work will be demanded, but the Fire is there to jump-start initially this year. This Solstice chart matches the natal chart of the United States that I work with. Archetypally, America is now needs to mature and transform in an enormous way. With a new Leo president at the helm perhaps the fiery approach so native to this Cancerian country will be sustained. Leos are pretty good at keeping their own fire strong through thick and thin. Let’s hope Obama has what it takes to keep his vision alive and applied through what appears to be a very long and arduous journey ahead.

December 19, 2008  2 Comments
Categories: Astrology | Tags: ,


1 David { 12.23.08 at 2:55 pm }

Happy Solstice & Holidays!

2 Marie O'Meara { 01.24.09 at 4:30 pm }

Loved reading this and it made so much sense. Here’s to Hope and Action.


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