December Lunar Eclipse and Planetary Retrogrades

by Joan Kiley

Joan Kiley AstrologerDecember is a complex month. It blew in with lots of aspects, reminding us that as we head toward the Winter Solstice this is a time of letting go of the old and preparing for the new. The month began with potent energies including the Sun squaring Mars, Venus conjoining Pluto, and the Moon conjoining Neptune. With Mercury deep in its retrograde motion and conjoined the North Node of the Moon, we may have found ourselves feeling a bit spun out of control, even as we may have felt directed in a way - the “way” just not yet articulated.

We need to be reminded that the ending of this year is no ordinary year-end. It is the one that will usher in 2012, the year ancient Mayan tradition says is the ending of a major 5,125 year cycle at the Winter Solstice 2012. Astrologically, 2012 is the beginning of a 3-year Uranus/Pluto square, with seven (yes, seven!) exact conjunctions of these two powerful planets between 2012 and 2015. This phenomenon is unseen by anyone alive today. History tells us that alignments of these two planets are characterized by social upheaval, progress, and likely revolution (with Pluto in Capricorn—it will be in the areas of societal structure, including government, financial, military, etc). Events we’ve seen during the approaching squares have proved history will be repeated.

It is now three weeks past the 11/11/11 portal. We are midway between the last partial solar eclipse and the total lunar one on the way. We’ve been opened to new energies, but perhaps unsure if we’ve really released the old energies thoroughly enough to identify and utilize the new ones. Maybe we’re not so sure we were ready and/or willing to let go at all…. not to worry! Major shifts (and this one is MAJOR) in consciousness are processes, like transformation. Make time to let go of the old, no longer useful ways of being. Make time for the feelings of loss or relief or even “what have I done?” And finally, make time to adjust to the new ways of being and leave room for some time of confusion.

Confusion nearly always accompanies new beginnings. To quote M. Scott Peck, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” The impetus to step out of our ruts and start operating in different ways, truer ways, comes with Uranus/Pluto square energy.

Right now, the personal planets are also urging us toward the same reform. Going inward, and stepping out of our thinking and communication ruts is exactly what is reflected in this Mercury retrograde. The Venus + Pluto conjunction wants us to look closely at our ways of relating to people, to our finances, to what we value, and then to face the truth. The Sun/Mars square gives us the courage to act.

All aspects of ourselves are processing these energy changes— our mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical selves. That’s why we may feel actual physical discomforts, have unexplained maladies with quick comings and goings, or variations in energy or sleep patterns.

December 2011 Total Lunar Ecplise

The Moon, moving through the early zodiacal signs the first week of the month, comes to maximum fullness in Gemini at 6:36 AM PST on December 10. This is also a total Lunar eclipse, AND it is the day that Uranus begins direct motion again on the Aries point! Whew! Expect a power surge of energy where the eclipse falls in your chart. If Uranus is also making direct contact with your chart stay aware of where you are directing your energy, and make sure your impulses are in line with your long-term goals.

The eclipse is the second of two total lunar eclipses (when the moon passes through the earth’s shadow) in 2011, the first having occurred six months ago on June 15. There will be no more total lunar eclipses until 2014! This one will be visible setting over northwest North America. So West Coasters may get a view if the fog and clouds cooperate!

Planets Moving Forward

Uranus is the first of three planets to go from retrograde to direct motion this month, on December 10. Mercury stations direct on December 13, but remains it its shadow phase until January 1. Jupiter, associated with religious and spiritual matters, goes direct on Christmas Day, just 24 hours after the New Moon. All of these planets happen to be resonating with Chiron, the wounded healer archetype, and each other, as they go direct. This brings a deeply spiritual current of energy into the last weeks of the month.

With the direct motion, there are new ideas ready to come into being associated with events which have wounded or hurt us in the past, and the subsequent ways we have chosen to repress, ignore or repeat those patterns as we age. This is applicable not only to individuals but to nations and communities of religious or cultural origin. It is an opportunity for acknowledging our shadow and taking steps to transform it. Rather than clinging to the status quo and perpetuating that which is no longer useful in the world, let go and start moving forward. The waxing trine between Saturn and Neptune, which grows closer as the month proceeds, can help facilitate spiritual healing.

The Sun’s entrance into Capricorn on the Winter Solstice, at 9:39 PM PST December 21, adds to the resonance of the moment with Chiron, Uranus, and Jupiter at early degrees of signs. We begin the Earth’s turning toward the light with dynamic energy poised for changing our perception of reality and the manner with which we live. The onset of Winter has Saturn and Jupiter within three degrees of opposition, and despite being out-of-sign, the power of the dynamic cannot be ignored. Expand/contract. Maintain the status quo/push the envelope. Call attention to your relationships with others/your relationship with self. It’s a dance, but ultimately, the foundation of all relationships is based on the one we have with self. Emerging insights may provide assistance in being your own best friend.

The New Moon in Capricorn arrives Christmas Eve at 10:05 AM PST. This New Moon is within 5 degrees of Pluto, an additional premonition of the deep substantial changes to come. The symbology of Christmas in the Christian religion is well suited to this New Moon energy. New beginnings (New Moon), embodiment in physical form (Capricorn) of a new vision for humanity, coming out of the dark womb of the Winter Solstice.

The final week of the month is highlighted by the Sun/Pluto conjunction as well as the Saturn/Neptune trine. Look for news stories with an emphasis on social injustice, and practical offerings that can bring relief.


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