Tales of two gardens:
A few years ago, I inherited an old, derelict raspberry patch in the yard outside of my apartment. I weeded it, applied compost and mulch, pruned and tied it, and hauled water to it twice a week. It was peaceful there for a while, but then some bulldozers moved into the empty lot next door. I enjoyed the fruits of our collaboration for one season - the raspberries, the sun, soil, rain, and me - before moving to a quieter part of town. Eventually, the bulldozers expanded their territory, and went right over those raspberries, leaving them to collaborate only with memory and the agents of decay as a new high rise arose from that little plot of earth.
Back in my punk youth, some friends let me live in a van parked behind their house. When I asked what I could do for them in exchange, they said, "Plant us a garden." So I pulled out some grass and weeds, turned some soil, bought some seeds, and planted a garden. No one else seemed to care much about the garden, although everyone seemed satisfied that it was there. I watered and weeded it for a few weeks, and then took off on some adventures, leaving the garden to its own devices. After I left, no one took care of it for a while until someone noticed some produce poking through the weeds. Intrigued, he entered the garden, pulled out what he thought were weeds, picked what he thought might be greens and beans for dinner, and watered it. From then on, people cared for that garden, and planted it afresh each year.
We collaborate with nature. We put in our time, care, and effort, but the weather - in all its natural, human and urban forms - is unpredictable. It may give life or death. It may make our work sweet and gentle with abundant crops, or it may make us toil long for small rewards. Nonetheless, we must plant our seeds, and see what comes of it. And no matter how our garden grows this year, the weather will inevitably change.
Winter Solstice & Sun in Capricorn: 12/21 - 1/20
Winter solstice is new year's day for planet Earth and the inhabitants thereof. It is the yearly equivalent of the new moon - the day the sun dies and is reborn. Astrologically and energetically, this day is more potent for intention-setting than both January 1st and the spring equinox on March 21st, when the seeds of your intentions will be sprouting into form. Winter solstice is exact at 8:48 PM PST, so then or thereafter is the powerful time for intention-setting.
While the sun transits through Capricorn, we have access to the patience, persistence and purposefulness of the great Sea-goat. This being has the wisdom and experience of so many stratas of life - from the depths of the sea, all the way up to the mountain top. Capricorn, despite its reputation as a power hungry stick-in-the-mud, is a powerful and magical sign. And that's just what we need to push through the dark days of the year. That experience and wisdom can show us what intentions to set at this pivotal time of rebirth.
A chart cast for the 2015-2016 winter season shows half the planets in earth signs, a grand earth trine with a quintile between the Moon and Neptune. This indicates we will be compulsively motivated to manifest tangible results this season, and to bring our dreams into reality. We will work hard - or work hard at escaping our work, depending on one's disposition. Only time will tell if our dreams are realizable or the stuff of fantasies. My advice is plant anyhow, and see what happens. Otherwise your unrealized dreams may haunt you.
What seeds will you plant?
What happens when dream seeds mingle with earthly soil?
Can you plant your seeds with both devotion and a nod to the whims of the weather?
Square Dance = Crossroads
Two underlying tensions will color this entire winter season, obliging us to make choices although the outcomes feel more uncertain than usual. Uranus & Pluto have tightened their longterm square, inspiring us to make bold leaps into courageous liberation while patiently attending to longterm overhauls. Meanwhile Saturn and Neptune continue to befuddle us with an urgent need to manifest our beliefs into tangible structures while the very firmament upon which we stand and the materials with which we build dissolve in our hands and beneath our feet. The feeling is not unlike trying to leap from a deep pool of mud onto a cloud. And yet, we're all going to jump, aren't we?
Full Cancer Moon: 12/25 at 3:12 AM PST
This full moon, so close to the solstice, and squared by the asteroid, Vesta, bids us connect with the fire within, although we will also find ourselves drawn irresistably into the world of food, family (Cancer moon) and responsibility (Capricorn sun).
What do I need?
What am I striving for?
How are my needs & strivings interrelated and mutually supportive of each other?
On the evening of 12/25, Uranus stations direct. Take a look at what was happening for you in late July, when Uranus stationed retrograde, to see what will get a jolt of electricity as the inventive planet of radical change and liberation moves forwards once again.
Mercury Retrograde: 1/5 - 1/25
Mercury enters the shadow of its retrograde right around winter solstice. That's when you start pricking up your ears, and listening for the hints of what you'll be revisiting over the course of the retrograde cycle. That's also when you start backing up your communication devices and fixing any outstanding issues in your transportation vehicles.
Before I tell you anything more about Mercury, let's all take a moment to grab our calendars, and write the words, "Practice being an ostrich" on the little squares for January 5th through 8th. Those will be potent days, and you just might want to hide your head in the sand. If your life will not allow for such activities, good! Then you can keep your eyes and ears wide open, pay attention, and learn some things you just wouldn't be able to comprehend at any other time.
On January 5th, Mercury stations retrograde, the sun conjoins Pluto, and Venus squares Neptune. On January 7th, the sun squares Uranus, and Jupiter stations retrograde. On January 8th, Venus conjoins Saturn.
What it all means:
The sun will activate that longterm (active 2010-2020, strongest 2012-2016) Uranus/Pluto square, making those transformational issues all the more pressing. But the sun also illuminates and brings awareness, so you can receive some renewing insight this week if you're open to it. Venus will activate the year-long Saturn/Neptune square, making those accomplish/dissolve issues more pressing. It being Venus, there is a potential to find some sense of balance or grace in the midst of this odd friction. With Jupiter stationing retrograde, we will be reviewing our beliefs, especially as they relate to our skills and how we are of service, through early May of 2016.
And finally, Mercury retrograde:
Mercury will retrograde from early Aquarius back through mid-Capricorn. This will effect how we perceive our communities and our status in the world. We'll also have cause to rethink the systems of our lives and our society, and check to make sure that we are indeed climbing our appropriate Capricornian mountain. When in doubt, you may find the following questions to be a handy litmus test:
Is this working? If not, can it work?
What does this gain me?
How do I want to be remembered once I'm gone?
By the way, this is the first of four Mercury retrogrades this year. Normally, we are blessed with three of these cycles per year, but we have extra time for rethinking in 2016. Surrender to that: Learn how to see what you tend to overlook, and hear what you tend to cover up with the white noise of busy-ness.
New Capricorn Moon: 1/9 at 5:31 PM PST
This is the new moon in which we retreat into our bones...
What is the skeleton of your life - the structure that underlies the motion and noise?
If you are dreaming deep in the Seagoat's sea, what is your dream?
If you are making the Seagoat's alpine ascent, have you stopped to make sure you're climbing the right mountain?
Next month's post will cover how to wrap up the Mercury retrograde loose ends, and also how to take advantage of a brief spell of planetary downtime. Thanks for reading. Here's wishing you time and space in which to enjoy the warmth and light of your own inner fire.