Once again, it’s hard to know where to begin delineating and describing December’s astral weather—the sky is busy this month, and while the first two weeks are the busiest, underlying the hustle and bustle of seasonal festivities is a potent, negative interaction that keeps spoiling the fun. November was rough, especially as we endured one pernicious planetary interaction after another. December (at least on the surface) doesn’t appear to be as aggressive, yet it nevertheless unfolds with a stinging intensity as we move inexorably toward the third and final square between Saturn and Uranus that occurs on December 24. Sorry to be a messenger of woe, but the 2021 holiday season isn’t all that jolly.
The source of December’s sour signature is a monthlong build-up toward the final Saturn/Uranus square of this year, which is also the final square in a cycle that began in 1988 with three conjunctions at the final degrees of Sagittarius (the was on February 13, the next occurred on June 26; the final conjunction was on October 18, 1988. It’s always helpful to remember that the start of a cycle sets the agenda for the entire cycle and the final square within that cycle tends to reveal information about the whole interaction—no phase of any cycle exists in a vacuum. A quick look at what was happening in 1988–89 could prove insightful as we try to make sense of what is happening now. As I often remind readers, the past creates the present just as the present creates the future, and understanding where time intersects is always a valuable endeavor.
But before we do, we should know our players: Saturn represents the status quo—it is the structure of all things, from the spine of a human being to the spine of an idea. It holds things together and therefore also signifies order that is expressed through authority—government and all the other organizations that hold things together. Uranus symbolizes the principle of change. It signifies revolution and holds high the banner of innovation and invention. But Uranus isn’t necessarily only an anarchist—Uranus is the ancient sky god who throws its lightning bolts of illumination into stagnant waters to provoke upheaval and stimulate progress. So when Saturn and Uranus interact in any configuration, the power of their combined influence challenges the status quo as it simultaneously provokes change. The reaction to that challenge and the ensuing creativity can often be quite extreme.
Soon after those conjunctions in 1988 we saw the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989; we also witnessed the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union. Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990.
Within the range of the first waxing square in 1999, the Columbine High School massacre occurred. The Euro was introduced as a currency. Putin replaced Boris Yeltsin as president of Russia. Napster was also founded in 1999. And we all made it through Y2K.
There were five oppositions in the middle of this 1988 cycle, the most important one being the first that occurred on November 4, 2008. (The others took place on February 5, 2009, September 15, 2009, April 27, 2010, and July 27, 2010.) That first opposition is the significator for the cycle because Barack Obama was elected President of the United States on the day it was exact, and never was there a more perfect example of a challenge to the status quo and the changing of the old guard than the election of a black man to the most important office in the land. We’re still dealing with the reactions to that shifting paradigm.
Currently, we are in the final waning square of the entire 1988 cycle. (A new Saturn/Uranus cycle begins on June 28, 2032 at 28° Gemini and it’s interesting to note that the new cycle will begin almost exactly opposite from where the current cycle began in Saggitarius in 1988.) All month long we are in the final square, which is also a significator for the entire cycle. While it cannot be divorced from current events, almost all of which are indicators of the failure of the status quo to hold, it’s interesting to note that this is a square between the co-rulers of Aquarius. Saturn was the traditional Ruler until the discovery of Uranus, which was then assigned to Aquarius. At the moment, Saturn is in Aquarius, the Sign of an egalitarian value system and Uranus is in Taurus, the Sign of resources. Square represents a clash of purposes. Saturn wants to hold onto what is, whereas Uranus wants a values shift, especially what’s best for the Earth and all of her inhabitants.
We know there is a need for a more egalitarian society—something many of us have known for quite some time—but the disparity was brought into sharp focus through COVID-19 and what it revealed about the inequality that has always been there. And when you add in that we are moving straight into the United States Pluto Return on February 20, 2022, this final Saturn/Uranus square is sure to highlight anything we might have missed as well as anything that needs to shift—now. This is true for both the collective and the individual dimensions of daily life—there’s no return to regular routines anytime soon because those routines have to morph into their next phase, and that is going to take time.
A Solar Eclipse on December 4 turns the first week of December upside down and inside out. It’s a busy week with a lot of astral activity; there’s too much to go into and none of it is as important as the eclipse. When the Moon overshadows the Sun, feelings dominate the environment, which makes it all the more important to anticipate that emotional reactions are likely to run high, especially as new information comes into focus on a variety of issues, individual and collective. Some of those may include more disturbing details about the insurrection on January 6 and about Mr. Trump and his Gang of Hungry Ghosts.
Neptune Direct begins on December 1 and as it makes its course correction it trines Mars in Scorpio, supporting the urge to merge with those you love and supporting empathetic interactions with your fellow travelers.
Venus Retrograde begins on December 19 and lasts until January 29, 2022. Venus goes retrograde in a conjunction to Pluto, an interaction that’s likely to enhance romantic inclinations, turning infatuations into obsessions. Be careful who you kiss under the mistletoe. You may just be fooling around, but the other person may be far more serious.
The Solstice happens on December 21, signaling the return of the light and a new solar year. It’s hard for many of us to accept that the winter solstice is the source of all our seasonal festivities—the days will start to get lighter, but it isn’t until late January that we’ll really start to notice the longer days.
The Saturn/Uranus square is exact and separating on Christmas Eve. My prayer is that there will be an absence of violence everywhere on the planet so that all our fellow travelers can experience peace, if only for a moment.
2021 has been an extraordinarily long year of extraordinary strife. It’s not easy coping with change, especially when the shifts have necessitated giving up so much of what was once normal. Mental health can often be determined by how well we cope with uncertainty, and learning to live comfortably in a world that we cannot control is certainly a challenge for all of us. So do your best to embody the message of the festivals of light—be kind and compassionate to your fellow travelers and model the best attitude you can. We are all in this together and we need each other more than ever.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
It is definitely a question of values—what matters to you versus what matters to others—and holding fast to your priorities won’t be all that easy given that you’re posing a challenge to the powers that be. The best way to handle it is to lighten up. This is not the same as abandoning your principles; it’s a strategy that will allow others to consider another point of view without feeling pressured.
Taurus April 20-May 20
The Saturn/Uranus square could manifest as an identity crisis as you attempt to figure out how you want to be seen, especially at work. There’s nothing cavalier in your quest to find a career persona that’s congruent with your values and simultaneously features your expertise. Just remember to include an ample portion of humility so you can stay open to creative possibilities that could inspire you to modify your vision.
Gemini May 21-June 21
The friction between Saturn and Uranus stimulates doubt—personal and professional—about the positive outcome of your endeavors. It also triggers free-floating doubt about the course of the collective in general. Do your best to stop negative thinking and try to replace the habit of seeing what’s wrong with a habit of honestly assessing your situation, free from the need to control the outcome. It won’t be easy, but you are learning to trust.
Cancer June 22-July 22
The Saturn/Uranus square deepens your longing to belong to a community that expresses your deepest concerns about how to live in the current state of upheaval. Allow yourself to safely search for groups of like-minded fellow traverlers who are interested in cultivating peaceful interactions even if members disagree on certain issues. If you put your concern for harmony at the top of your list, you will attract others who share that same value.
Leo July 23-August 22
It’s all about relationships, personal and professional, individual and collective (yes, your relationship with the world), and it is focused on shedding attitudes and behavior that no longer serve. This isn’t about a divorce or even a temporary separation. This phase is about discerning how you relate to others and to yourself. Make time to study your patterns and you might be surprised by how much of what you do is done out of habit and the desire, conscious or not, to distance yourself from problematic interactions.
Virgo August 23-September 22
The Saturn/Uranus square has the power to impede your ability to sort through details and focus on organizing necessary information. The best way to handle the friction generated by this clash is to avoid taking on more than you can handle and then to prioritize your goals so that you can create a viable strategy for success. Most of the action will display itself where you work but be careful not to put yourself at risk by sharing more than necessary with coworkers.
Libra September 23-October 22
As fractious and uncomfortable as the Saturn/Uranus square might be, it does have the power to boost your creativity. Allow yourself to experiment with innovative methods, even and especially if some of those methods challenge how you’ve always done things. It’s time for a change and if you’re listening closely to yourself, you might discover how hungry you are for a change in how you do lots of things, but especially how you express yourself creatively.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
Your inclination is to hunker down at home, where you feel safe and sound, rather than wrestle with the Saturn/Uranus turmoil. While some of your personal turmoil is a result of friction with significant others, a larger portion of your angst is self-generated. There’s no need to blame yourself for your situation—self-judgment doesn’t remedy anything. What’s necessary is the determination to transform what’s keeping you mired in a critical worldview.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
We know you love to talk—no other Sign is quite as loquacious—but the fractious interaction of Saturn and Uranus could provoke long periods of silence as you attempt to sort through your perceptions and make sense of your situation. Try not to let coworkers tempt you into making sweeping generalizations. Stick to the details—just the facts—and let those details inform your opinion even if no one else agrees with your point of view.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
How you handle the clash between Saturn and Uranus depends on your self-confidence. Most people see you as extraordinarily self-possessed, but little do they know that you question your abilities a lot of the time. Give your internal interrogator a rest and instead be confident that your instincts are wholesome and your desire to make a difference in the lives of others is authentic. It’s a lot easier to believe in yourself than to constantly question your motives.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
It’s important to sieze the moment—Saturn in your Sign is heightening your capabilities and putting you in the leadership role—and own your accomplishments. Move out into the world proud of who you are and inspired to take on the next phase. You’re likely to run into opposition, especially from those at home, but never mind. Just keep putting one foot steadily in front of the other and trust your ability to make those dreams real.
Pisces February 19-March 20
The Saturn/Uranus square could stimulate the desire to simply blurt out what you are feeling regardless of how others might feel about what you are saying. I’m not suggesting you hold back the truth, but I am cautioning you that sometimes saying too much—even in the name of truth—can have a negative effect on you and those you love. So try to think and breathe before you speak so that you can sidestep the temptation to use your words as weapons.