Planetary Illuminations for December 2013

Planetary Illuminations12/1 Sun square Chiron
12/2 New Moon 10 Sagittarius 7:22 pm
12/3 Mercury sextile Mars
12/4 Sun sextile Ceres
Mercury enters Sagittarius
12/6 Mercury square Neptune
12/7 Mars enters Libra
12/10 Mercury trine Mars
Mercury square Chiron
12/12 Jupiter trine Saturn
12/15 Mercury sextile Ceres
12/17 Uranus turns direct
Full Moon 25 Gemini, 4:28 am
12/18 Jupiter square Ceres
12/21 Winter Solstice 11:00 pm: Sun enters Capricorn
Venus turns retrograde
12/24 Mercury enters Capricorn
Sun sextile Neptune
12/25 Mars opposite Uranus
Sun sextile North Node
12/26 Mercury sextile Neptune
12/27 Mercury sextile North Node
12/29 Sun conjunct Mercury
Mercury square Uranus
12/30 Sun square Uranus
Mercury sextile Chiron
Mars square Pluto
12/31 Mercury conjunct Pluto
Sun sextile Chiron



The challenging alignment between Uranus and Pluto continues to be the biggest single astrological factor experienced by humanity today. I am keeping a summation of this cycle in the sidebar of my blog to help newcomers catch up. In early November we experienced the fourth exact alignment (there was one earlier alignment that came within one degree of exactitude in 2011 but the cycle began in earnest in 2012).

Mars will enter Libra on December 7th and for the remainder of December and into the first week of January Mars will “translate” the Uranus/Pluto alignment, triggering the breakdown of any place in which we are stuck or unable to let go, and encouraging the transformation that will help to carry us into greater awareness and perspective. This kind of change is not easy, but it is a necessary phase in our development as individuals and as humans.

The Mars trigger may create some havoc over the holidays. When Mars opposes Uranus the aggressive urge (Mars) is radicalized (Uranus) and we can become more reckless and irritable than usual. When Mars squares Pluto our need to assert ourselves (Mars) can become quashed by Pluto’s dominance, creating a buildup of anger or rage. There can be power conflicts and enhanced irritability that may spill over into family gatherings during that time period.  Read more about that here.

Mars will remain in Libra until July 26, 2014, but the greatest tension will be felt in April and May as Uranus and Pluto tighten into a tight aspect that is one again triggered by Mars. Jupiter in Cancer also gets into the act, forming a Grand Cross that will likely bring about exuberant expressions of reaction and change.

We also will see Venus turn retrograde in mid December and will remain retrograde until January 31, 2014. Venus only turns retrograde every eighteen months or so, and while it is a relatively benign event it can have an important effect on our relationships. The retrograde motion of any planet causes us to tend to look backwards, so Venus retrograde periods oft en brings opportunities to revisit people from the past and incorporate them into our current lives in new ways. Watch for more news about Venus retrograde at Astrological Musings.

Jupiter has been within range of a harmonious trine to Saturn since last summer, which has probably been a factor in the continued buoyancy of the stock market. Jupiter represents the expanion principle and Saturn the principle of contraction, and when these two players are working in harmony the material world tends to find balance. Abundance and hard work come together for great rewards. Jupiter and Saturn are moving into position to form an exact harmonious trine throughout the month that will culminate on December 12th.

Finally, Uranus will change direction on December 17th after a period in retrograde motion. When a planet changes direction, it slows down to a crawl and is virtually stationary in the sky. During that time its influence is quite powerful, and throughout December Uranus will shine like a laser, stimulating us to find new ways of living our lives in a more authentic way.


The first week of December brings the Sagittarius New Moon on the 2nd. Sagittarius represents the kind of faith that brings confidence and abundance, with a general sense of good will and adventure. Like all New Moons, the Sun and Moon align in concert and beam to us the unadulterated Sagittarian light of positive energy and a desire for expansion. Under the Sagittarian New Moon we resist confinement and responsibility – we yearn to be free. This New Moon forms a challenging square to Chiron (deep wounds) that can bring up sensitive areas to be healed before the Sagittarian expansion and freedom can truly take root.

Jupiter, the ruling planet of the New Moon, is opposed by Venus at this time which suggests that we may feel somewhat confined by our relationships (Venus) for a few days. Finding spaces in our interconnectedness where we can be free while remaining centered in the heart will be a key piece to navigating this New Moon successfully. New Moons are times of new beginnings, and under this New Moon influence we find ourselves learning how to be free while remaining anchored to the people in our lives that are important to us.
A harmonious sextile from Mercury (the mind) to Mars (activity) can energize our thoughts and help us to burn through problems and challenges at a speedy rate. This aspect culminates on the 3rd but is an integral part of the New Moon. A sextile from the New Moon to Ceres helps us to nourish and nurture ourselves and those around us, facilitating the grounding process.

Mercury enters Sagittarius on December 4th, and for a few weeks the mind (Mercury) will be more expansive – more interested in philosophies and finding meaning and less interested in the small mundane details of our worlds. This will be especially true on the 6th when Mercury aligns in a challenging square with Neptune. For a day or so it may be difficult to concentrate and this is not a good time to make decisions, but the imagination will be extremely fertile and the inner doors to bliss will be easier to open.

Mars enters Libra on December 7th. When Mars is in Libra for the next six months, there can be conflict between our desire for harmony (Libra) and the need for self assertion (Mars). It will be important to pay attention to balancing our own needs with the need to find balance and peace in our outer world.

On the 10th Mercury is active with a harmonious trine to Mars, energizing and activating the mind, and a challenging square to Chiron which can make us thin-skinned and create conversational difficulties. If you can be present and aware, this can be a period (of a few days) which has tremendous potential for moving through blockages. However, any time there is a challenging Chiron situation a certain amount of vulnerability is required so that we can move through emotional reaction into self-awareness.

The harmonious trine between Jupiter and Saturn will culminate on the 12th (see the “Major Events” at the beginning of this article) but the influence of this aspect will continue throughout the month.

A harmonious sextile from Mercury (mental activity) to Ceres (nurturing and food) on the 15th makes this a good day to consider the state of our health. Are we eating foods that nourish us? Are we in touch with our body and its needs for balance?

The Gemini Full Moon takes place on the 17th, uniting the polarity of the Sagittarian Sun and the Gemini Moon. Sagittarius and Gemini both are concerned with learning, but where Sagittarius is looking for a Truth that will give life meaning, Gemini is less discriminate and seeks primarily to gather information and develop one’s curiousity. This is a very active Full Moon that encourages us to seek answers to life’s most important questions, but the lunar event itself is not very powerful astrologically.

Beginning around the 12th of December Jupiter begins to align in a challenging square to Ceres which culminates on the 18th. Jupiter dislikes the confinement of dietary and exercise regimes, and this is likely to be a time when we are very tempted to indulge ourselves in pleasurable experiences of all kinds. It will be helpful to try to maintain a connection with the body’s inner voice so that we can maintain a supportive balance.

The Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st when the Sun enters Capricorn. The chart for the Solstice can give us a clue into the next season, so watch for more news of this at Astrological Musings.

Mercury enters Capricorn on the 24th, bringing extra seriousness into the conversation for a few weeks. This is a good period for business decision, so even though we’ll be well into the holidays by then it might be advisable to start thinking about goals for the coming year.

Mars will align in opposition to Uranus on December 25th, beginning the period of stress described at the beginning of this article. However, there are several harmonious sextiles during this period which will help to alleviate some of the pressure and facilitate any changes that are required. As with all potentially difficult times, cultivating presence and observing where are adjustments are needed will help us to maximize the intensity of this holiday period.

The intensity continues into the New Year, with the period between December 29th and January 3rd being the most intense with Mars, the Sun and Mercury all aligning to face off against Uranus and Pluto. During this time, when most of us will be with friends and family, there is the potential for reactivity and stressful interactions. There are a few supportive planetary alignments that wil help to soften these exchanges, but overall it will be important to release this Mars energy constructively through heightened activity and exercise. Watching football games over the holidays is one way that families tend to blow off steam, and I suspect that there will be even more shouting at the television than usual this year!

The past few years have brought with them great energetic shifts to which we have had some difficulty acclimating. Those of us who have been more successful in allowing this new energy to reshape and redefine us will find this accelerated period easier to deal with. As with most times of intensity, resistance is futile. These are times to go with the flow and observe the changes that are happening all around us; to speak up where necessary and learn to find internal balance rather than create havoc around us in an attempt to find stabilization where none exists.
In any case, I wish you the happiest of holidays anyway – and a New Year of powerful transformation and evolution.