Happy and peaceful holidays to all as we celebrate our traditions!

As an Astrologer I always acknowledge the astronomical beginning of winter known as the Winter Solstice. This year it is on 12/21 at 10:27 p.m., eastern time. Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year but also marks the astronomical New Year because it is also when the light begins to grow stronger again as we move towards spring by the slow increase of daylight.

Last year’s Solstice Chart had Mars at the pinnacle of the chart in Taurus and opposed to the debilitated Moon in Scorpio. The Moon is the indicator of emotions, the mind, and the general population. Mars being retrograde in the 10th house of the Solstice Chart was powerfully placed. The events of the year certainly showed the strength of this Mars. It has been a difficult year and it seemed, at times, as if decency itself had left the planet.

This year’s Solstice Chart is more positive and shows people pushing back in a positive manner. The Moon is placed in Aries which is a friendly sign for the Moon. It is conjunct the great benefic Jupiter and Mars makes no spoiler aspect to the conjunction. Additionally, this conjunction is placed in the powerful and benefic 9th house. Mars is happily placed in Scorpio and the only aspect he makes is to Saturn. Mars can try to unsettle Saturn but he’s not going to be successful. Mars trying to rattle Saturn is like a toddler trying to upset a wise grandparent. Saturn is at home in Aquarius and in the 7th house of partnerships, legal matters, foreign policy, and politics. Saturn aspects the Moon/Jupiter conjunction in the 9th house (the other house of legal matters which bodes well for the rule of law being relevant again). This energy bodes well for those who would like to see some sanity return to our society and for people who are looking for less anger and less power in the hands of those who care for nothing except themselves. Of course, there is much to be done, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Solstice chart that shows such promise for regular human beings.

I’m writing this on planet Earth and there are always challenges to life on planet Earth. The holidays can be times of great tension and, for many, even the pain of old emotional wounds. This holiday, despite the promise of a better year, is going to be affected by retrograde Mercury combust the Sun in Sagittarius. By Christmas day the Sun will have moved beyond Mercury and will have a separation of approximately 9 degrees. This can indicate that, provided we keep our wits about us, the expectations of discord or exhaustion might not manifest on Christmas, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s Day.

It is important to remember that Mercury retrograde can lower our physical stamina while, at the same time, can stress out our adrenals and nervous system. Be honest about expectations, budget, and time restraints so that you don’t burn out trying to fulfill some type of Hallmark movie fantasy. It’s better to enjoy a simple meal in a good mood than a lavish feast that you’re too exhausted to enjoy. Additionally, Venus is at home in Libra and in aspect to the Moon/Jupiter conjunction, which is good for creativity of all sorts, especially music, and being able to enjoy the company of others.

Mercury retrograde can be a good time for introspection and healing if we choose to take advantage of the energy. Mercury will resume forward motion on January 2nd and choosing to work with the energy during the holidays can help to ease back into routines without exhaustion or disappointment. We are a society that is moving, perhaps, too quickly all year and that can lead to us forgetting that we are part of nature’s cycles. Mercury being in apparent retrograde motion on the day of the Solstice chart is a reminder that winter is meant to be a time of quiet and restoration. Retrospection and a bit of inner quiet is a good way to start off the year of 2024.