Dec 2017
Golden Moment

2017 has been a preternaturally long year.

The remarkable degree of strife and instability being felt right now, even by denizens of the relatively cosseted First World, is compelling us to come up with a response that’s equally extraordinary.

We’re being dared to meet thus world moment with a degree of understanding to match.

To do so, we have to dig deep within our creative capacity. We have to call upon our unique mind/body/spirit skill set. We have to live through the center of our charts.

It’s either that, or go under.

Neptune in Pisces

Fittingly, these few weeks before the Solstice are a mixed bag.

There’s a transit upon us that’s so all-pervasive, we may have forgotten it was happening: Neptune in Pisces (2012-25). Remembering it’s there can help us understand the sense of overwhelm, the state of queasy destabilization, that characterize this era.

We have become so used to the coping mechanisms that have arisen during this transit — among them, information addiction, work overload and the opioid epidemic – that they have come to seem normal.

As individuals, we have a better chance at responding creatively to a transit like this (see below), than groups do. Collectively, we humans are more likely to manifest its shadow side.

For eight years we have collectively been floundering under Neptune, the planet of chaos, at peak strength in Pisces, the sign of its rulership.

Longest Arm of the Cross

Moreover, we are still being rattled and roiled by the Cardinal Cross, a.k.a. the Uranus-Pluto square, now in its final phase.

As December begins, Mars is still opposing Uranus: the second part of the one- two punch whose first hit was the Mars-Pluto square (covered in November’s Skywatch).

This latest go-round of the Cross started with the reminder that we have to dismantle (Pluto) long-expired relationship patterns (Libra).


The series winds up (Nov 30-Dec 1st) up with an explosive burst (Uranus) of ego (Mars) that will forcefully drive the point home.

The Mars-Uranus opposition has a bad rap. This is because most of us are identified with our immediate desires (Mars) most of the time; in which case unexpected challenges (Uranus) to our sense of self provoke our anger (which may express passive-aggressively [Libra]).

Or we may attract anger from others.

But this transit can be harnessed productively, if we see it for what it is: the winds of unstoppable change urging us forward. If we step outside our ego, we may surprise ourselves by boldly and appropriately responding to an unpredictable turn of events.

Hunger for hope

Every year, a strange frenzy seizes the American public for a few weeks. It begins with Thanksgiving and culminates on December 25th, after which, along with the exhausted pine trees at the curb, it finishes up on New Year’s Eve. (See The Mystery of the Winter Solstice).

But this year, the pre-Christmas transits suggest an unusual cosmic agenda. As if responding to humanity’s hunger for hope, they express a wistful sense of purpose. We may have started to feel it around the Neptune station (11/22).

Amidst the sense of danger that has loomed during 2017, and despite the commercial hysteria that attends the season, there is a blessing in the air. A trine between Jupiter (idealism) and Neptune (vision) peaks the first week of December (details at the end of this article).

Melting into Oneness

Human societies in these turbulent times have been fracturing like spilled jigsaw puzzles. From Spain to Burma, every societal category — racial, economic, religious, sexual — has seen its adherents polarized one against the other. History will remember 2017 as a year of painful division.

But the collective intelligence has ingenious ways of balancing itself. In times of extreme partisanship, we feel an instinctive craving for commonality. As this year of exaggerated distinctions winds to a close, along comes a transit that expresses the ultimate sameness of all human beings.

Valedictory trine

Jupiter governs the idealism that fuels social progress; Neptune governs the vision of total unity. The water element refers to spiritual intelligence, which is linked to emotion but is not personal.

December’s trine is a golden moment. It offers no guarantee, just the possibility, of an easy, all-embracing mindset; a spirit of unification. Those with natal planets around the eleventh degree of water signs will probably feel it most strongly.

But every one of us is a potential recipient of its benediction, depending only upon how open we are to it.

The Archangel Michael by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569)
Collage by Joe Webb
Photo of Horseshoe Bend, Colorado River