Spirit at the Crossings VIII
The 2015 Winter Solstice
The Winter Solstice has played an important role for people throughout the ages, in cultures worldwide, as diverse as the ancient Egyptians and Celts, pre-Christian Romans and Hopi, to name but a few. It is a significant time of ritual, reflection, and renewal. It is also an excellent time for individuals to set their own intentions for the coming year, much like the traditional “New Year resolutions,” only with the energies of the planets behind them.
The Winter Solstice, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs when the Sun reaches its southern most point in the sky and then halts for three days and rises to begin its northern trek. (Of course, in the Southern Hemisphere, the procession is reversed.) In a sense, it denotes the Sun’s annual re-birth. In essence, the Winter Solstice represents the internal and figurative battle of Light and Dark, not unlike the Jedi Knights fighting Darth Vader in “Star Wars.”
Astrologers often will study the chart of the Winter Solstice to catch a glimpse of what the astrological portents for the coming coming year suggest. Since it is the Planet’s first (birth) chart, I have chosen to locate it at Greenwich, England, as this is the location of the first moment of the World’s “clock” for any given year. Here is what that chart looks like, along with some observations on what the astro-lingua suggests to me about the mundane events of 2016 and, most importantly, the Spiritual potentials in the chart:
(A note here on my use of the “Whole Signs” chart: While there are perhaps dozens of House systems that
may be used by astrologers to erect a chart, I have found that Whole Signs give me the clearest possible
“character delineation” of the person or event possible. And it is, after all, the spiritual character of this
moment with which I am most concerned in this reading.)
Setting the Context
Ah, context. Yes, let’s take a moment to look around at what’s going on on this sacred planet, our beloved Mother Earth. Doesn’t it just about always seem, nowadays, that the World is on the perpetual brink of some catastrophic event? It is, indeed, a time of “wars and rumors of wars,” economies around the world are teetering, terrorism is a watchword on everyone’s lips, climate change is upon us, and here in the United States, yet another season of full-throated political bombast in full swing and rising to a fever pitch. It’s a veritable tinderbox, just waiting for the right match.
Yet there is hope, coming from another, perhaps unexpected, quarter. Google Trends tell us that “Spiritual Awakening” is a steadily ascending and world-wide trend. It would seem that people around the globe are looking towards Spirit for comfort, aid, healing and direction, and now, more than ever. But more about this later.
Energetic Planetary Patterns Galore
(As a side note, regarding the planetary patterns in this Solstice chart, I find that they are quite similar
to those found in that most complex of all possible chart configurations, the Harmonic Concordance Grand
Sextile chart of November 8/9, 2003. Here’s a side-by side image of the two.)
Getting down to brass tacks (Or when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.)
The data presented herein is based on what astrologers call “Mundane” astrology. It is the most ancient branch of astrology, initially practiced for the benefit of nation’s Pharaohs, Kings, and rulers. It is based on the study of how heavenly cycles reflect the worldly affairs and behaviors of groups and nations. In this ancient practice, the Ingresses have a traditional reputation as the most important descriptor of mundane events.
Looking at the chart perhaps the first thing that one may notice is that it contains what Marc Edmund Jones named a “Locomotive” pattern. This type of pattern is one in which the basic 10 planets are pretty evenly spaced throughout the houses, except for 2 to as many as 4 consecutive “empty” houses. Those basic 10 planets represent the major focuses and expenditures of energies depicted in any chart. The dozens of chart points, Arabian parts, and asteroids (here excluding Chiron) are ignored.
In this pattern, the ‘lead’ planet (clockwise) and its house will be of special significance. For this Winter’s Solstice chart, Jupiter is that planet. Here the empty houses are the 8th, 9th and 10th, all above the horizon and all related to events in the outer, non-personal world. The consecutively empty houses and signs can indicate areas of vulnerability which require special attention. Now the empty 8th is ruled by Mercury, and as we will see, Mercury is pretty active in the chart, as is the Moon, which governs the 9th, so I’m not so concerned about them.
But the 10th, well that’s another story. All those lines, and not a one of them pointing to the Sun, its ruler, which means that he Sun, the most powerful of the planets, is unaspected. Very unusual, says me. Now an unaspected planet can go either way; having a tendency to be either internalized or externalized – there is rarely any compromise. When ruled by the unaspected Sun, well, there’s just no one minding the store. The Sun AND the 10th house are both significators of Presidents, Prime Ministers, Judges, any persons of distinction and/or authority figures. What this can mean in our example is that the events suggested elsewhere herein may well be beyond the control of such personages. But a quick look at the Solar Map of the Sun’s path sees it passing just East of Cairo and West of Israel, Lebanon and, wait for it…Syria. Oh my! I din’t know about you, but having that powerful, somewhat wobbly, unsupported Sum rumbling around in that particular area of the World doesn’t sound so great.
Patterns, Patterns Everywhere
In addition that Locomotive pattern, there are no fewer than five other significant planetary pictures (patterns) in the 2015 Winter Solstice chart: two Kites, one T-Square, one Grand Trine, and one Mystic Rectangle.
Two Opposing Kites
An analysis of each Kite yields a “piece of the puzzle” here. We will see that all but the Mystic Rectangle employ many of the same planets, notably the inclusion of Mercury as a key component. So let’s begin an exploration of these patterns with the Kites.
Lynn Koiner has written a truly excellent piece on the Kite Pattern which I highly recommend for its detail and depth of analysis on the subject. Formed by four planets, and despite the appearance of the seemingly “magnanimous” Grand Trine within these two patterns, they do carry some worrisome implications; power and control issues, disasters, irritations, compulsive behaviors, blocked energy, hostilities, attitudes and resentments. All these may be projected onto others. And not for nothing, but our two Kites cross each other, as in a mid-air battle between two “Chinese fighting kites.”
Now I’d like to direct your attention specifically to the planet Mercury at 18° Capricorn in the chart. Its association by what astrologers call “aspects” (the many blue, green and red lines) to other planets in the chart, brings it into a high focus here. It is found at the bottom of the chart, just to the left of the 6 o’clock position, bracketed by Pluto (14° Cap) on the left and Pallas Athena (also at 18° Cap) just to its right. Astrologically speaking, that’s a pretty strong Conjunction. So let’s start there, considering that this is but one point in a chart loaded with indicators.
In its own right, androgynous Mercury is associated with intellectual capacity, the thought process, comprehension, learning abilities, and all associated activities. It is the planet of communication and exchanges and, by extension, of the contemporary World’s chief means of communication, the Internet.
When Retrograde, it indicates a period of all sorts of mis-communications, computer problems and forgetfulness. But in this chart, Mercury is “out-of-bounds.” When any planet exceeds 23°27’, North or South of the Celestial Equator, this term applies. And sure enough, our “Messenger of the Gods,” at 24°17’ South declination, is indeed out-of-bounds. Many astrologers suggest that such a condition is a key factor in the spectacular successes, and equally spectacular catastrophes associated with matters relating to the planet, and an “extreme” expression of that planet’s energy within the sign it occupies. Capricorn, the “Sea Goat,” is referred to as a “dual bodied” sign. The upper part of the symbol is represented as a goat, the lower as a scaled fish’s tail. Metaphorically, it is the Zodiacal sign that reaches the highest of heights (goats live at the highest altitude of all animals) but it can also plumb the depths of the deep. This OOB Mercury, trapped between Pluto and Pallas, can get either get lost in pessimism and abandon any semblance of the structure and order that normally characterizes this placement or even be wildly eccentric and break is bounds, either high or low.
Pluto, the God of the underworld, relates to transformation, destruction, creation, regeneration, healing, renewal, power struggles and upheaval. I have often used the analogy of Pluto being like the rear edge of the rudder of a ship. That “edge” of the rudder is pretty small in comparison to the rest of the ship, deep and hidden beneath the waves- but powerful enough to steer it. It is also very potent, as implied by its connection to the atomic age (Plutonium) and deceptive representative of things hidden from outer perception; political undergrounds, espionage, and the underworld (eg: the Mafia, Zetas, and Oriental Tongs).
Pallas Athena is mythology’s Warrior Princess. Sprung from her father Zeus’ head, full bodied and fully armored (and giving him a truly terrible headache), she is the goddess of wisdom, warfare, strength, strategy, courage, skill, civilization, female arts, weaving, justice and the ability to recognize patterns and to arrange and re-arrange things.
Astrologically speaking, that’s a pretty strong Conjunction and, like most things astrological, one that can bode either good news or ill. Considering that it is so prominent, by the multiple aspects, let’s look at the not so hot omens.
Pluto and Pallas , mythologically, are related and therefore can be seen as working well together. So for the negative qualities of theses astro-cousins we can say that they could compliment each other as powerful hidden forces, bringing warlike, destructive elements to the moment. Adding an out-of bounds Mercury to the mix can produce a spectacular, catastrophic FUBAR element to the World’s communications network, manifesting – in a worst case scenario, such as a significant and malicious cyber attack. In the third house, also associated with communications, the indications are that it would come from “close to home,” making it all the more sinister. Now that would be a pretty nasty “ill,” no? So you just might want to hold on to those archaic, hard copies of your phone books.
But what about that Grand Trine?
Grand Trines have a reputation for being positive and creative aspects. However, this wonderful reputation is not wholly deserved. While they can indicate a harmonious flow of energy, bringing blessings, gifts and talents related to the planets and houses involved, because of the apparent unearned ease with which they arrive, they are often accompanied by inertia, passivity or indolence. In other words, they need a swift kick in the pants, from the harder aspects to goad their gifts into action. And lo and behold, that is just what we have here: this Grand Trine in the Earth signs, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, does indeed have two stimulating Oppositions which appear, via the Kites, one between Jupiter and Chiron, the other between the Moon and Venus. But for now, let’s just stay with the Grand Trine elements.
Jupiter (mighty Zeus to the Greeks) generally has been associated with good luck, bounty, optimism, a sense of humor, good will, mercy and growth (including mental and Spiritual growth). However, the more negative manifestations of Jupiter include blind optimism, excess, overindulgence and the irresponsibility resulting from blind optimism, not ill will, that it can display. In any mundane reading, Jupiter relates to the religious and judicial world, national or state religions and religious figures as well as to the judicial system and prominent judges (the Supreme Court) and to the wealth of nations, banks and bankers.
The Moon, in mundane astrology, denotes the common people, women generally, crowds, and all matters of a common or public nature. Its position will show where the public’s attention falls. Here the Moon falls in the 7th house relating to foreign affairs, relations with other countries, whether friendly or hostile, political or commercial.
Now adding that Pluto/Mercury/Pallas conjunction, the apparent ease of this Grand Trine might well expose the indolent World to a major financial collapse brought about by the aforementioned attack on the global communications systems. Additionally, the World’s people, again in a mundane chart, are indicated by the planet ruling the Ascendant and with a Scorpio Ascendant, jointly ruled by Mars and Pluto, well the nasty and unexpected effect would be felt by all of us.
And now the T-Square
Here our Planets are Mars, Uranus and, once again, that Pluto/Mercury/Pallas conjunction. Let’s begin with Mars, in Libra in the 12th house. Mundanely, Mars governs the military, soldiers, war, terrorist attacks, industrial disputes, strikes, conflicts, arson and incendiarism. Nasty dude, that.
In the 12th house position, Mars represents prisons, criminals, spies, secret enemies – at home or abroad, secret societies and occult religions. In Libra which, relates to foreign affairs generally and to war as well as treaties, the often bellicose Mars is in the right place to stir up trouble for the planet from that deepest of houses, extenuated by that sign’s potential for dithering.
In Opposition to Mars, evolutionary Uranus’ in fiery Aries indicates a need to burst out on one’s own. Rioting and outbreaks of political tension can easily be an outcome of this duos’ opposition. Right-wing political ideas can become prominent, along with rising fascism and the urge towards individualism and separatism. Anarchy and anti-political reactions might be seen in large scale demonstrations and retaliatory activity. On the other hand, unexpected scientific breakthroughs, discoveries and revolutionary ideas may emerge.
But What about that Hope?
Despite the plethora of worrisome indications elsewhere in the chart, there are spiritual indications which we, as individuals and collectively, can access.
Of all of those planetary pictures, only the Mystic Rectangle does not include that Pluto/Mercury/Pallas train wreck. This is a most hopeful pattern. Mystic Rectangles develop when two Oppositions (planets separated by 180°) are Sextile (60° apart from) each other. The pattern must have also have two Trines (planets 120° apart), one each connected to one of the Oppositions. Not so lazy making as the Grand Trine, nor as tension filled as the T-Square nor as potentially hazardous as the Kite, the MR brings a well balanced mixture of blessings, gifts and motivation to make it a welcomed sight in any chart. (Indeed, the chart for the Harmonic Concordance, which ushered in a new age of Spiritual Awareness, had three of these puppies.)
The Mystic Rectangles’ players
Chiron, although not specifically a planet per se, has been found by most contemporary astrologers to act with the power of one. Often referred to as the “Wounded Healer” and/or “The Rainbow Bridge Between the Inner and Outer Planets,” Chiron is seen, in any chart, as symbolizing transformation and wholeness, sometimes as the result of a wound. It has the ability to change the way the global population perceives what’s going on. Here he is paired, via the opposition, with Jupiter. Now oppositions, to the Spiritually aware, can importantly be understood as implying a 1st/7th house energy. For the opposition can also indicate an open communication with, or bridge between, any two opposing planets. And by virtue of being part of the Mystic Rectangle’s Spiritual energies, this is one of the several hopeful elements in the chart.
We find Venus in the 1st house – and in Scorpio, perhaps the intensest, deepest and therefore potentially the most Spiritually aware of the 12 Zodiacal signs. In a mundane reading, she governs women’s issues, social factors connected to marriage and children, artists, musicians, peace and diplomatic resolutions. Her prominent place in the first house, exactly conjunct the Ascendant at 18° Scorpio, ensures that her association with the public face of “the art of Peace and Love” will factor into world events this year. Across from Venus sits the Moon, comfortable in the sign of her exaltation, Taurus. These two decidedly feminine energies bring that essential element into play, along with the preponderance of feminine signs in the chart. the Moon/Venus opposition to a positive resolution.
“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves…”
What all this says to me is that WE, as individuals and collectively, have the ability to reach for our Higher Selves in the midst of a World filled with tension, strife and complacency. Going to that place within ourselves, where the Self meets the self, we can bring calm, peace and LOVE to any moment, no matter the vicissitudes that may appear all around us.
The message is clear: When contemplating this Winter Solstice, please take some time (perhaps ritually) to clarify and anchor down your New Year goals, especially your Spiritual ones. If you can imagine them, see them in your mind’s eye and hold them in your hearts they shall come to fruition. And remember, that if Google Trends is to be believed, you are not alone.
Blessings, Peace and Love to you all in this New Astrological Year.
In a personal and public note of gratitude, I would like to express my appreciation to both Joyce Mason
and Madalyn Hillis-Dineen for their prior work under this theme. They are the giants upon whose
shoulders I have stood as I worked on my own piece above. I am proud to call them my friends.
If you wish to observe the Winter Solstice moment at your location you can go HERE for exact the exact time.
Photo Credit: TIM IRELAND/PA