Dec. 1 – 10
Mercury retrogrades into the late degrees of Scorpio on the first of the month, and Venus (now direct) enters the early degrees of this sign again on the 2nd. This pattern brings us back to themes of Venus’ retrograde in this sign throughout this past October. What did you learn about yourself and your relationships this fall? As we near the end of the 2018 Season of the Retrograde, you can take some small steps to put insights into action. Small choices, like a few words of self-love or a decision to wait before speaking, can have ripple effects in your life. Holding your tongue in the first few days of December will be wise, as we are sensitive to the wounding and healing power of words.
Mercury stations direct at 27 Scorpio at 4:21 pm EST on December 6th, marking the final retrograde of 2018! Yes, Venus and Mercury will both be in shadow until later this month, but we can at least begin to move forward with less resistance, after about five months of more-or-less constant reflection and waiting. We can focus more of our energy on removing obstacles with Jupiter, in his lucky position in Sagittarius.
After Mercury’s direct motion, we begin a new lunar month with the new moon at 15 Sagittarius, at 2:20 am EST on December 7th. This moon squares the exact Mars-Neptune conjunction that’s happening at 13 Pisces. Mars and Neptune together in the sign of the dreamer sing of fantasy, illusion, delusion, fiction, deceit, escapes, spiritual journeys, and false gurus. The dark moon, in Sagittarius, challenges us to play with the imagination well – truthfully, without deceiving ourselves or others. Sagittarius likes to ask big questions, so it’s a moon of metaphysical and creative exploration. Ruled by Jupiter in Sagittarius, the overall tone of this lunation is one of imaginative expansion. An enjoyable start to the lunar cycle, as long as we don’t go overboard with drink or drugs.
December 11 – 22
Mercury, in direct motion, returns to Sagittarius on December 12th. Since we are still in the shadow of the retrograde (until December 24th), we can finish the things that were waiting to be done while Mercury was retrograde and process the insights we’ve gleaned since November 16th.
Venus exits her shadow period on December 17th. Thus ends our most recent Venus retrograde cycle, which has taught us a lot about the shadow-side of our relationships, our attitudes to sex, death, and the taboo, our self-love, and our ability to receive. As we wrap up this year, we can take all of our hard-won wisdom from the second half of 2018 and plan to use it for growth in the new year.
Note: I don’t put much emphasis on Mercury’s shadow periods, because Merc Ret is such a common occurrence, happening 3-4 times per year. With a cycle that happens that frequently, we’re just living life as usual—sometimes with quiet periods, sometimes with tech issues, sometimes with smooth roads ahead. I don’t see a reason to block out nine weeks of your life for a standard three-week cycle. Consider that if we allow for all of Mercury’s shadow periods, we spend half to three quarters of every year in the Mercury retrograde zone. In this case, we might as well switch to putting our emphasis on Mercury direct, since it would be out of the norm. Venus and Mars retrograde are less common. For that reason, I pay close attention to all three parts of their retrograde cycle (pre-shadow, retrograde, post-shadow), because the insights will resonate for a full 1.5-2 years.
As we head into the third week of December, aspects from the sun in Sagittarius to Chiron in Pisces (Dec. 19th) and Uranus in Aries (Dec. 20th) speak of the holiday season paradox: joy and stress. Take care with yourself and others, and remember to take pleasure in the things that matter most to you. On December 21st, the sun moves into Capricorn, marking the Winter Solstice. This is the longest night of the year and the return of the light in the northern hemisphere: the days will get progressively longer from now on. Our Solstice this year features Mercury and Jupiter together in the sign of Sagittarius, giving us a great deal of optimism, exuberance, and warmth as we celebrate the sun’s return. Venus trine Neptune gives this day a romantic glow as well.
We have a full moon at 1 degree of Cancer on the Solstice weekend, on December 22nd at 12:48 pm EST. This one is rather unaspected, aside from a couple of out-of-sign aspects to Uranus and Chiron. In the sign she rules, at her fullest, with little influence from other planets, Luna is undiluted. This is pure emotional, intuitive, nurturing, creative, mysterious energy. Emotions could be overwhelming with this one. At the same time, divination and other uses of intuition will flow well. Gather your loved ones close for the holidays – it’s a very family-oriented Solstice, and that of course includes chosen family members, who may be in need of a holiday “home.”
December 23 – 31
Mercury leaves his shadow period on December 24th, officially, really, finally ending 2018’s Season of the Retrograde. In the week before New Year’s, Mars moves closer to Chiron in Pisces, making an exact conjunction on the 29th. With Mars and Chiron here, we are once again challenged to acknowledge collective wounds, feel how much they hurt, and engage in the ongoing process of healing. These two remind us that healing has much more to do with walking into darkness to meet the shadow than working with the light. Mainstream culture is obsessed with happiness and positivity, and mainstream spiritual culture reflects that obsession with ideas about lightworking. Let’s balance some of that with the less appealing, but necessary, shadow work.
On New Year’s Eve, Mars moves into Aries, the sign of his rulership, as if to say, Charge! Mars in Aries means action, now. Here he speaks of bravery, leadership, and vitality. This can be a hot aspect, even warlike, if we aren’t acting consciously. However, we can choose to activate the divine masculine here. Mars in Aries can be the steward of the earth, initiating growth and vitality in our lives just as the first shoots of grass push through the ground in Aries’ season, at the spring equinox. In this way, our New Year’s has the flavor of new beginnings, after a long year of endings. Happy Holidays and a Blessed New Year to all!