Today is the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year but also the day that marks the return of the light. For many, it’s the actual New Year, the physical foundation for all the seasonal celebrations of light, a transitional threshold between what was and what will be that’s been ritualized for thousands of years all around the world. Our ancestors built great monuments to align with this astronomical event. From Newgrange in Ireland to Stonehenge in England to Chaco Canyon in New Mexico (most unique among all discovered solstitial markers thus far) to the Goseck Circle in Germany to Tulum and Chichen Itza in Mexico to the Karnak Temple in Egypt to the Cerro del Gentil pyramid in Peru—enormous and almost unimaginable effort was made to mark this annual passage of the Sun.
In keeping with those monumental traditions, modern cultures have made similar efforts to establish enduring rituals and celebrations acknowledging the power of the sun’s light and its life-giving force. From candles on Menorahs to candles (and later lights) on Christmas trees to yule logs, and yes… to the unbelievable inflatables and dramatic scenes on houses and lawns—we imitate the return of the light, thankful for its warmth and hopeful that our rituals can align us with the Sun’s seemingly eternal cycle.
This year that craving for alignment with the durative fire of the Sun feels keener. Our planet, and all its inhabitants (including humans) as well as all the progress we thought we had made toward creating a more inclusive, more conscious global society now seem precariously perched on the edge of extinction. For those who didn’t vote for Mr. Trump, the world seems especially bleak—these seem truly to be the darkest days. But they are not. There have been many periods of dark days, and not just in the distant past, periods of darkness in recent history where we thought the light had failed, but it had actually endured.
2003 was also a dark year—it was the year we invaded Iraq and as Amr Moussa, the Arab League chief warned, a strike against Iraq would “open the gates of hell.” And it did. It was a war based on misinformation. Ultimately, it cost hundreds of thousands of lives and that’s not counting the survivors and their families who still suffer the wounds of war.
In 2003, I wrote about the despair of that hard year:
The seasonal songs of joy and peace are too starkly contrasted by the casualties of war…. 2003 was a hard passage for this planet and its fragile riders, and uncertainty about the future still lingers in the heart and mind.
No matter what politicians or historians tell about the causes of war, war begins at home. If we can justify violence against children, we can justify violence against nations. If we commit acts of cruelty against others or ourselves by our thoughts, words, or deeds, we can extend the same harsh judgment toward other cultures. The need to be right becomes brutal insistence; long-standing grudges turn into vendettas, and when retaliation is seen as the “normal” human response, it becomes a rationale for unspeakable acts. If the collective is a collection of our individual responses, then war is a reflection of our need to legitimize rage. As the Dalai Lama recently said, “War is legalized violence.”
And yet we survived those years and continued to grow, and while the current confrontation with our shadow seems even more overwhelming, it is not. The interplay between light and dark has always been part of life on planet Earth. Perhaps it is the fiber of a mysterious evolutionary process that grows our souls through suffering.
This week—solstice 2016— the sky continues to signal the possibility for significant tipping points, and just like last week, those tipping points are best understood as “anything goes.” The source of this unpredictable atmosphere is the ongoing Jupiter/Uranus opposition, an interaction that leans toward a seesaw effect and the potential to swing wildly to extremes. Saturn continues to be the good news (and how ironic is that?) as it sextiles Jupiter and trines Uranus. Although Saturn is in Sagittarius, a Fire Sign, and Fire Signs aren’t known for groundedness, Saturn never loses the full effect of its sobriety, and that consistency translates into much-needed practical, common sense.
Mercury Retrograde started on Monday, December 19 and ends on January 8. We know the drill—and for those who don’t, here’s the gist: Expect delays and detours in all areas related to communication and travel. Make patience your constant ally and use this timely wisely by reviewing and reflecting on what’s already in motion.
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we’re under the influence of a combination of Venus/Jupiter/Uranus and yes…Saturn…a gigantic planetary bundle with the power to turn festivities more than a little romantic, especially if there is mistletoe. Be prepared for unusual encounters of the kooky kind, and because Uranus always signals eruptions of the odd and the eccentric, expect just about any kind of close encounter—even UFOs.
The day after Christmas the first Jupiter/Uranus opposition is exact and separating, and as the planetary tension generated by this opposition releases, so will human tensions, and situations you’ve done your best to control are likely to become chaotic. Exacerbating the chaos, on December 29 Uranus goes direct. Yes…the planet voted most likely to screw around with technology is making a “course correction” in the midst of Mercury Retrograde, a combination that’s more like a techno monkey wrench than any other. There’s nothing to do to prepare, other than keeping your patience pills handy.
As this week and next week unfold, it might be wise to keep in mind that we’ve been living in a mixed-up, muddled-up world for quite some time—maybe since the beginning of time—and certainly uncertainty has fueled all our efforts to survive. We’ve fortified ourselves against life’s uncertainties for so long, we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking we are in control. Perhaps that’s the most damaging conceit of our species.
When I remember that each and every day is a confrontation with life’s mysteries and life’s uncertainties, my body automatically takes a deep breath, as if to center itself in the truth of that realization. But that centering is never about passivity. We know Spirit through our acts—that’s what makes us change agents. But it’s time to acknowledge that we are all co-creating together—even with our ‘enemies.’ Yes…the best and the worst of us are co-creating reality together by everything we think, feel, say, and do. If we don’t realize that simple yet profound truth, we won’t be able to discover or build a new paradigm that includes even what we can’t understand, even what we hate. Wherever you have found it in your heart to integrate your personal shadow, it’s time to expand that process to include the collective shadow. Without an inclusive approach, changes don’t and won’t stick. Those of us aware of our fundamental unity need to keep that knowledge vital. When we live as one we change the world.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
The Uranian “anything goes” energy catalyzes a new approach to an old persistent relationship issue. Be prepared for a role reversal—and not just with romantic significant others. You’re in the mood to shake up all your interactions because you’re also in the mood to redefine yourself.
Taurus April 20-May 20
Pay close attention to your dreams because they have the power to provide some of the answers you’re looking for. And if you don’t remember your dreams (and that’s true for many), try a little daydreaming with the intention of allowing your unconscious to tell you a story about what’s next.
Gemini May 21-June 21
Use the Uranian energy of the week to invigorate your creativity. Write, paint, make music, dance, cook, or garden—just do whatever it is you do to express yourself. And don’t worry about the finished product. Your life is not a commercial enterprise—it’s an expression of the divine through you.
Cancer June 22-July 22
Anticipate the balance between work and home to present a few challenges, but also expect that you will find the appropriate solutions. And yes, you may have to endure significant others, personal and professional, repeating themselves one too many times, but that’s appropriate too.
Leo July 23-August 22
The Uranian intensity combined with the potential for a Mercury Retrograde madness could take its toll, but only if you stubbornly insist on only one possible outcome. Release the need for specific results, and allow life to surprise you—you might like that outcome better than your own.
Virgo August 23-September 22
It’s not the easiest time to be juggling finances, but it’s your time and you are doing your best to stay calm and clear about what’s next. Anticipate new information that will help you make solid decisions. But be patient before you leap into action—there’s plenty of time to implement your plan.
Libra September 23-October 22
Yes…it is all about relationships—again! I know you’re tired of this constant emphasis, but there’s no controlling the stars. There’s only your ability to cope with the shifts. So, take a deep breath and be prepared for surprising emotional moments, yours as well as those you love.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
You may find yourself brooding over a slew of surprising developments, especially when it comes to issues of work or health or both. So rather than expecting things to be as they should, be prepared for twists and turns. It’s hard to expect the unexpected—but you can do it.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Finding a balance between your need for personal freedom and your hunger for a community of like-minded friends could have you feeling pulled in two directions without the hope of finding either. Don’t let this polarization get you down. It’s possible to find both without compromising your dream.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
Read Cancer, above, and add this: The key to maintaining your equilibrium in the midst of so many demands can be found in your ability to communicate not only what you need, but also what you expect from others. Be clear, direct and honest about what you feel and encourage others to be as authentic.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
Expect more than a mild case of wanderlust as your desires pull you in opposite directions: On one hand, you want the familiarity of the day-to-day, yet on the other you’re craving exotic experiences in faraway places. Imagination is the only remedy for this condition: apply it liberally.
Pisces February 19-March 20
You’re being asked to find a balance between what matters most to you and what matters most to others—and this is no easy feat, because there are major differences. Take a deep breath and try to figure out what’s essential. Then be willing to surrender what isn’t in an effort to establish and maintain your equilibrium.
Ralfee Finn specializes in Transformational Astrology. For readings, call 1-212-222-3232, write P.O. Box 343, New York, NY 10025, visit AquariumAge.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2016 by Ralfee Finn