December’s Great Conjunction and other celestial events

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TWH – The month of December has been and will continue to be highly active when it comes to celestial and astrological activity.

Image credit: ParallelVision from Pixabay

For straight-up stargazers and skywatchers with no interest in astrology, December offers a number of events that include meteor showers and the visibility of most of the planets in our solar system that includes the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the evening of the Winter Solstice.

When it comes to astrology this month has already offered some celestial events that tend to have a lingering effect. Perhaps one of the most notable events that has already occurred was the total solar eclipse on December 14, which was also conjunct Mercury.  Eclipses in general can have an influence for roughly six months according to astrologer and author, Diotima Mantineia.

On this particular eclipse, Mantineia said, “I think one of the most important things to note about this eclipse is that it occurs in Sagittarius, a visionary sign ruled by Jupiter. Normally, Jupiter would be the Lord of the Eclipse, but in this case, Mercury is, since it is within only 3 degrees of the eclipse. Mercury struggles a bit in Sagittarius – it’s in detriment (the sign opposite the one it rules), which can turn its strengths into weaknesses. Meanwhile, Jupiter is still in Capricorn in the eclipse chart, and in fall (the sign opposite the one that is its exaltation), which also affects how it expresses itself.”

She went on to explain what the influence of eclipse might be, “I suggest this one will bring out some of the more difficult qualities of both Mercury and Jupiter/Sagittarius – arguments, deeply held and often violently-expressed opinions, information used to bludgeon instead of enlighten. We need to take care to keep our communications clear, to express our opinions with at least civility, if not courtesy, to hold in our hearts the vision of the future we want, not the one we fear.”

Another aspect to eclipse is that occurred in the southern hemisphere and in astrology is referred to as a South Node eclipse. Which Mantineia notes “generally tend to indicate losses of some kind.”

She also highlighted some of the other effects, “The South Node eclipse can cleanse what needs to be cleansed, but often that cleansing is kind of like Hercules diverting a river to cleanse the Augean stables. It can be very destabilizing and even destructive. That destabilization is likely to be mental and emotional as much as physical.”

Astrologer, tarot card reader, and author Susan Levitt pointed out yet another influence of an eclipse, “An eclipse is an absence of light when the shadow is seen, meaning that what is hidden can come to the surface.”

The influence of a solar eclipse is quite a lot all on its own, but for December this year, the main event is the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

Saturn, top, and Jupiter, below, are seen after sunset from Shenandoah National Park, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Luray, Virginia. The two planets are drawing closer to each other in the sky as they head towards a “great conjunction” on December 21, where the two giant planets will appear a tenth of a degree apart. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls) – Public Domain

Astrologer, Stars by Joseph explains exactly what that means physically and visually, “Astronomically, the ‘great conjunctions’ of Jupiter and Saturn occur when these two planets ‘meet’ in the sky. From our earthly perspective, they will appear to be seemingly ‘on top of one another’ creating a unique visual spectacle.”

From an astrological perspective Stars by Joseph explained it this way, “Jupiter and Saturn make conjunctions in roughly a 19.6 yearly average cycle, where they will meet each other by the same Zodiacal degree by longitude, but don’t appear to be ‘on top of each other’ in the sky (aka ‘parallel by declination’ in fancy astrology lingo) as we will observe in this special conjunction occurring on Monday, December 21, 2020, at 1:20 pm EST, about 8 hours after the moment of the exact solstice (occurring at Sun 0º Capricorn on December 21, 2020, 5:02 am EST).”

One of the significant factors of this particular Great Conjunction (GC) is that it takes place in Aquarius and is the first of a series of GCs to occur over the next 200 years in an air sign.

Mantineia explains the cycle, “The 200-year cycle consists of many Great Conjunctions (which is any Jupiter Saturn conjunction, occurring every 20 years or so) that all occur in the same element, not in the same sign. In the case of the last 200 years, that element was Earth. This every 200-year-or-so (there is some wobble at the beginning and end of these cycles) change of the Great Conjunctions from one element to another is called the Great Mutation.

“The 1981 GC in Libra (an Air sign) was part of that wobble. Then the next GC, in 2000, was in Taurus (an Earth sign). It was the last GC in an Earth sign we will see for almost 800 years (4 Elements x 200 years per element).”

Stars by Joseph agrees with this explanation, and said, “Since 1802, Jupiter and Saturn have met with one another in only the Earth signs of the zodiac, specifically Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. One recent exception is in the years 1980-81, when they met in Air sign Libra – these slippage periods often precede a full “mutation” element change. Prior to the Earth sign conjunction cycle about to conclude, these two planets met in only Fire signs.”

But what, exactly does it all indicate, and what can the astrology tell us?

First, an examination of the properties of the planets involved is required.

“Jupiter and Saturn in mundane (worldly) astrology are concerned with cultural, societal, and governmental tides of affairs, and their shift from one element to another marks important symbolic and societal thresholds,” Stars by Joseph told TWH.

In some ways Saturn and Jupiter can seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, but they also share a number of similar qualities and can work hand-in-hand.

Mantineia outlines both their differences and similarities, “They do have very different characters. Jupiter makes everything bigger. It brings rewards, vision, expansion. Saturn restricts and compacts – it builds structures that will last and demands work for the rewards it hands out (and it does bring rewards, but it’s more like the business success it took years of work to make manifest vs. winning the lottery.)

“But it is also important to note their similarities.” She said  “They are both planets that structure civilizations.  For instance, both Jupiter and Saturn have a lot to do with law. Jupiter rules law and legal matters, philosophy and religion. It considers the big picture, and creates legal structures that will help shape a just society.”

Mantineia added “Saturn is concerned with enforcing laws, maintaining order, building structures and organizations that contribute to the stability of society.  It also is in charge of tradition, of holding on to what we have already learned, so we do not need to constantly re-invent the wheel.”

In other words, together they have the potential to usher in new and thoughtful ideas on how we move forward in a way that is more tangible with Saturn providing an actual framework on which to construct that ideology.

The temptation to view this first GC in Aquarius as the beginning of the Age of Aquarius might feel overwhelming but Mantineia points out the fallacy of this, “The Age of Aquarius is a Great Age, which has to do with the precession of the equinoxes and a 26,000 year cycle. It is not related to the Great Mutation. Besides, there’s a lot of disagreement over exactly when the Age of Aquarius starts.”

Sunrise from the International Space Station – Image credit: ESA/Alexander Gerst –  CC BY-SA 2.0

Songs and theoretical thinking aside, Stars by Joseph had this to say about the shift to GCs happening in the element of air might indicate, and the different influences various air signs could have.

“From 2021 through 2219 with the Air-sign Jupiter-Saturn cycle, we can anticipate all things ‘Air’ becoming even more heightened and developed. The constellation Aquarius depicts a human figure pouring not water but a ‘stream of consciousness’ down from the heavens.”

“Many astrologers consider Aquarius as an avatar of the Internet age, and we may only see this global worldwide communication network become even more pervasive in our lives. What the sci-fi futurists have been imagining is surely coming – where at some point we will take these ‘machines’ and start inserting them into our bodies, as we continue to insert ourselves and our consciousness onto and into the machines. Worth noting – the first Saturn return of the first message sent on the public internet occurs on January 10, 2021 (World Wide Web began: August 6, 1991, 4:00 pm CED, Geneva).

“With Gemini, the communication, sales, and marketing genius of the zodiac, and with it’s negative aspects, the two-faced liar, we will need to be on guard in the battles of words and ‘facts’ in the bombardment of information overload. What is truly true, and what is purely falsehood? Already, software can generate magazine-quality images of people who are entirely fictitious.”

“With Libra, noteworthy as the only non-human and non-animal sign of the zodiac, is a measuring device that asks us, are we really in balance? With ourselves, our neighbors, and our environment? Or are we going overboard and tipping the scales too far? Libra in its highest form is concerned with matters of equity, fairness, and peace, and we can only hope that the shift into Air fully brings about meaningful changes in human equity, and our relationship to mother Gaia.”

Susan Levitt’s insights echoed similar themes and reflect the current ability we all have thanks to technology to connect with people in far-flung places and a focus on community, “Aquarian energy seeks universality. It rules the 11th house of all humanity. People will be more open to new ideas, and that includes goddess spirituality and Paganism. And when people network about pollution on planet earth, they’ll find wise counsel in earth-based spirituality from all cultures. This bodes well for Paganism.

“Aquarius is the air sign of the connection between us all. Aquarius brings focus on communication, information, and technology. With technology, you can connect with a pagan in brazil about altar ideas for a water goddess as easily as you can discuss it with a local Pagan. So people with Pagan interests but who are isolated can reach out and find support, and not feel they are the only one who is awakened to pre-monotheistic or pre-colonial understanding and interpretations of natural phenomenon.”

After a year that has been filled with uncertainty, Mantineia offered some encouraging advice when it comes to the future and what the shift to air might hold, “To work with these remarkable planetary patterns, to let them help shift and change your life into one that delights you instead of dragging you down, it’s important to have and hold a vision of the world you want to live in, on both a personal and social level. Without a vision, we may be working hard, but we’re just slogging along. With a vision – one that inspires us – our work is touched with magic and brings real accomplishment.

She also reminds us that a little self-examination is in order. “It’s also crucial to think about the rules we live by – not just external laws, but our own internal beliefs and directives. Are those rules/beliefs/inner directives in line with our core values? Do some contradict each other? How much are your rules influenced by social pressures and childhood conditioning? What is it that *you* really want and believe in?”

As with both Levitt and Stars by Joseph, she seeing an increased focus on community and not only how we define it, but also we enact

“Finally, we are going to see a shift in our attitude towards community. Some groups will barricade themselves behind walls of othering and intolerance, but many will realize or remember that humans work best when we work together. Our great brains and our ability to cooperate are our evolutionary superpowers. We need to evolve emotionally and psychologically to do what we are capable of – create a world where we all have an opportunity to reach our full potential.

“This Great Mutation in Air brings us some objectivity and perspective, and tremendous opportunities for change. There will be crises and challenges, but if we communicate with each other and share ideas we will find solutions that work.”