First of all, I would like to wish everyone a happy, peaceful Solstice and Yule, a Merry Christmas and hope blessings and prosperity are awaiting you in 2020!
The Sun enters Capricorn on December 22nd at 04.20am GMT. It’s officially the longest night and the start of Winter here in the northern hemisphere, darkness overshadows light – but now the darkness has also peaked. The balance shifts and the journey commences back to equilibrium, then onwards to maximum intensity of the Sun’s power at Summer Solstice. The Sun ceases his descent into darkness, pauses for a few days, then each day after gradually climbs slightly higher and stays a little longer in the sky. In the southern hemisphere it’s the reverse – the longest day of the year and Summer Solstice.
Winter Solstice marks another turn in The Wheel of the Year, known in the pagan calendar as the festival of Yule, celebrating the Sun being reborn – the birthday of the Sun! A celebration of the return of the light, hope and optimism for the future, the promise of warmth and growth. It’s a time to be thankful and display gratitude for what we already have and what is yet to come, as even though not yet visibly discernible we can be certain that creativity and vitality are stirring within the earth. We can harmonise and flow, connect with this rhythm of life, by peacefully reflecting on ourselves, the past year and making plans for the future.
Fascinatingly in ancient Rome the festival of Saturnalia also took place around the Winter Solstice. Initially on December 17th but later extended to December 17th – 23rd, the Romans celebrated the festival of Saturnalia in honour of Saturn as the god of agriculture. Saturnalia was a very popular festival, in contrast to our view of Saturn, to the Romans Saturn not only worked hard he could also put equal effort into partying! Saturnalia was a time of feasting, gift giving, all laws and formalities were relaxed, slaves were granted their freedom for the duration of the festival and could even enjoy experiencing a role reversal when being served meals by their masters – overall a time of fun, frivolity and wild indulgence!
The Sun’s entry into one of the 4 cardinal signs marks the unfolding of a new season. In the northern hemisphere this is, Aries – spring equinox, Cancer – Summer solstice, Libra – autumn equinox and Capricorn – winter solstice. In the southern hemisphere this is reversed, meaning the Sun entering Capricorn is their summer solstice.
The word solstice originates from the Latin words for “Sun” and “stand still”. The winter solstice, for us in the northern hemisphere is when the Sun reaches its lowest point south, then begins to move north.
This point is measured in declination, which determines the distance north or south of the celestial equator (Earths equator projected onto the heavens), rather than the east-west movement along the ecliptic (the path the Sun appears to travel around the Earth). Throughout the year the Sun undulates between the Tropics which mark the furthest point north, the Tropic of Cancer (around 23 degrees 26′ North) or south, the Tropic of Capricorn (around 23 degrees 26′ South) that the Sun reaches. At the equinox’s – Latin for “equal” and “night”, the Sun is at the celestial equator and 0 degrees declination.
The chart for the winter solstice – the Capricorn ingress – sees the Sun square Chiron in Aries, drawing attention and reminding us of the pain, anguish and sorrow that many people, all over the world, are currently experiencing and enduring.
Possibly some healing balm is offered up by Jupiter trine Uranus, which the Sun who is conjunct Jupiter and trine Uranus joins forces with. Jupiter whilst in his fall in Capricorn is also in some systems considered ruler of the 1st decan, his influence here can deliver fortunate material benefits. So potentially sudden (Uranus) out of nowhere, lucky flukes or twists of fate (Jupiter) may arise that lead to enhanced (Jupiter) freedom (Uranus) position or meaning (Jupiter) in life.
Venus in Aquarius is square Uranus in Taurus. As they are both visitors in signs the other rules – in mutual reception – they are likely to find ways to compromise rather than clash. However this aspect still suggests a parting of the ways in relationships or a financial disentanglement (Brexit comes to mind obviously) but perhaps with more of a fair, unselfish, emotionally detached manner than would usually be expected.
Venus in some systems rules the 1st decan of Aquarius, and her power is strong here. Venus and Uranus could also indicate speaking up about issues that impact humanity or cause suffering, equally there could be an attraction to eccentric, experimental ideas.
Mars is sextile Pluto, this aspect is exact at 14.32 GMT on Solstice day. Mars in Scorpio – the sign he co-rules with Pluto – is strong, with a cool focus, Pluto adds intensity and they combine to make a hugely potent force. Together they energise and motivate, set out to accomplish the transformations that Pluto demands and Saturn is determined to set in stone.
Winter Solstice is a time of new beginnings – the Sun is reborn – this is further emphasised in 2019 by the start of a new eclipse cycle with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 26th. Change is certainly in the air – and set to occur – further emphasised by Uranus’s participation in proceedings. Without a doubt, with the Sun, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto and Ceres in Capricorn and Uranus in Taurus – all earth signs – the material realms and worldly affairs will be subject to adjustment and alteration.
Top Image by Eberhand Grossgasteiger