SOLSTICE GREETINGS!  Are you ready to chill out, warm up and snuggle in with family & friends?  Winter is officially here and now’s the time to slow down, regroup and get back to the basics.  The Sun’s entrance into CAPRICORN on December 21 marked the beginning of the new season, the Winter Solstice, and the shortest day of the year.  From this point on, we’ll be getting more daylight hours, as the planetary weather pattern has now shifted (the Sun appears to have reversed directions and is now headed northward).  Since the beginnings of civilization, the ”return of the light” has been a time for celebrating the sacred, as well as the profane.  Religious traditions, ancestral customs & family ties are honored and renewed.  A cardinal, earth sign, CAPRICORN is associated with form, structure, rules and regulations; the emphasis this month is on discipline, integrity, responsibility, parental & financial obligations and long-term commitments.

During the past SAGITTARIUS month (“eat, drink & be merry”), we stretched out our pocketbooks & our waistlines; now we need to tighten our belts and conserve our energies.  Sobriety is in, excess is out!  The challenge now is to re-establish normal routines, shed those extra pounds and make a reality check of your current lifestyle.  With patience and persistence, much can be accomplished now!  The focus is on taking care of business ‒ put your financial affairs in manageable condition, prepare for taxes, review insurance coverages, reduce debts, handle any legal issues or deal with city hall.  You might lighten your load by cleaning out the closets & recycling outworn possessions; at the same time, you may pick up some major bargains at garage sales & department store clearances – ‘tis the season to be frugal.

Considering that Saturn, the ruling planet of CAPRICORN, is currently in SAGITTARIUS (since 12/23/14), it would be helpful to hold a positive attitude, renew your faith and explore realistic ways to expand your horizons.  Practice what you preach!  You could discover a different and more enlightened approach in dealing with old patterns with the Saturn/Uranus trine on December 24.  It’s highly likely that you’ll experience a very loving, peaceful Christmas Day with Venus making three harmonious aspects ‒ to Jupiter, Saturn & Uranus.  It would be a sweet time to catch up with old friends, share a family meal or enjoy some decadent desserts.  Expect some unexpected visitors, travels, changes in plans or perspectives, or profound insights with the edgy Jupiter/Uranus opposition on December 26.  There could be some major surprises or confrontations on the international scene with this aspect.

Mercury carries on in practical CAPRICORN, where it’s been since December 2.  And it’s been in retrograde since December 19 – a 3-week cycle of retracing steps and clearing up old business, but not a time for starting something new or buying a car, computer or electronic equipment.   So instead of taking yourself too seriously or getting caught up in negative thinking, make a realistic assessment of what needs to be done and pour yourself into productive endeavors.  The force is with you!  The timing for implementing any new structure, commitment or discipline arrives with the New Moon in CAPRICORN on December 28 at 10:53 pm PST – cement it with intention!  You’ll receive a “planetary assist” at the same time as Uranus turns direct after a 5-month retrograde cycle.  Let the magic begin!

The escape urge will be heightened on New Year’s Eve (with the Mars/Neptune conjunction); you could party yourself into oblivion – or use your imagination to visualize a happy & fulfilling year ahead.  Make healthy choices in how you bring in the New YearVenus leaves AQUARIUS on January 2 and joins both Mars & Neptune in the sign PISCES.  A caring, compassionate spirit will characterize friendships and social alliances during this transit. This is a good time to get better acquainted with co-workers, find a gym buddy, adopt a pet, join a meditation group or take dance lessons.  Treat your feet to massages, drink bone broth, go to the movies and look for meaningful ways to be of service to others.  Mercury temporarily retrogrades back into SAGITTARIUS on January 4, encouraging a more optimistic, forward-looking outlook for the upcoming week.

The turbulent Sun/Pluto conjunction (purge & plow ahead!) on January 6 activates a dynamic, week-long cardinal T-square with Jupiter & Uranus (lots of action)!  Mercury turns direct on January 8 – things get back on track and can now move forward.  Release some old limitations on January 10 with the Sun/Uranus square, and set a new project in motion with the Mars/Pluto sextile.  Don’t overload your social calendar on the 11th (with the Sun/Jupiter square).  The emotionally-intense Full Moon in CAPRICORN & CANCER culminates on January 12 at 3:34 am PST.  Make sure to meet your own needs while taking care of the needs of those close to you! Mercury returns to CAPRICORN on the same daybe realistic and face the facts.  The Mars/Saturn square peaks on the 19th, ending a week of frustrations & bringing this hard-edged CAPRICORN month to a fitting close.  Change is on the way!  Here’s wishing you & yours a loving Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa – and a very Happy New Year!!

© 2016 Diane Elizabeth Clarke