December 2002 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
The Star of Bethlehem
in the Eyes of the Magi
Holiday Recipe Swap
Walking Softly
Upon the Earth
Metamorphosis Writing
Contest Final Entries
Sun In Hindu Mythology
The Secret of the I-Ching
December Star Watch
Conscious Community
Interactive Calendar
Book Review
Newsletter committee, writers, & contact info
Index of All Articles
Volume 1, Number 4

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

December Star Watch

by Terri Smallwood

Welcome friends to December, the month that brings us the shortest and darkest days of the year, the official beginning of winter and the end of 2002. This time of darkness and endings is balanced by the festive themes of light and renewal that have woven themselves through countless religions and holiday traditions celebrated in December, and by the renewing promise of a new year. December presents the bridge between Sagittarius and Capricorn, in the form of the winter solstice, which happens this year on December 21.

The Romans marked the solstice with a holiday called Saturnalia, a festival to honor Saturn with an exchange of gifts that were representative of the bounty of the Saturn-ruled early days of Rome, before his son Jupiter usurped him. In true saturnine fashion the strongest theme of the holiday was the nostalgic feeling of longing for the good old days. These two giant planets are also linked though another seasonal story. Astrologers have long speculated on the astronomical significance of the Star of Bethlehem, the star that was said to have marked the birth of Jesus. The topic of Jesus’ birth chart has generated much speculation (for more information see The Star of Bethlehem in the Eyes of the Magi in this issue), but one group of astrologers look to 7 B.C., when there was a rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Pisces. Pisces is the sign that ruled the past two thousand years leading up to the Age of Aquarius, and it is also the sign most commonly associated with the mystical and compassionate spirituality embodied by Jesus. The relationship between Jupiter and Saturn is further strengthened by the connection between the signs they rule: Sagittarius, the philosophical Archer and Capricorn, the ambitious Goat.

Over the past few months we have examined the signs in terms of the evolution of consciousness and its relationship to the zodiac. We began in September at the half-way point, a place of balance between Virgo and Libra, and the place where consciousness changes from a strong involvement with the inner self to experimenting with the role of self in relationships and the outer world, which is the challenge faced in Libra. In Scorpio, this highly social energy is taken a step further and is experienced as the Scorpion desire for merger, either as a strictly physical experience or when viewed from a higher plane, a desire for union with the deeper mysteries of the life force itself. These mysteries are continued in the experience of Sagittarius as a desire for an expansion of consciousness that goes beyond the occasionally narrow confines of home and family. Sagittarians carry with them the expansive jocularity of their ruling sign Jupiter, and have the nature of a truth-seeking philosopher. In esoteric astrology, the Sagittarian is described as the “one-pointed disciple” who aims arrows of Light that illuminate life’s secrets. Capricorn is portrayed as the “Dweller on the Threshold,” the point of the zodiac where the Soul accepts its responsibility to serve others, and its responsibilities to atone for personal karma. Capricorn native Martin Luther King Jr. explains it very eloquently when he says, “I’ve been to the mountaintop and I have seen the future.” Sagittarius the Archer aims his arrows high into the sky and watches them arc out of sight, while Capricorn the Goat, with his determination and strength, actually makes the long climb heavenward.

Capricorn is the last of the cardinal signs and, along with Aries, Cancer and Libra, is possessed of strong leadership capabilities, and a competitive nature that enjoys being first at the finish line. The earthy nature of Capricorn means that the sign is gifted with a natural perseverance that makes it very likely that he will win the races he undertakes. With a pragmatic outlook and a respect for authority and tradition, Capricorn is associated with big business, heads of governments and fatherhood. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn and, as such, is also associated with the concept of karma. Capricorn understands more than any other sign the occasional necessity to suffer in the short term to achieve a long-term goal. In essence, this is what Saturn asks each of us to do when approaching our karmic debts. Saturn, as the Lord of Karma, is the planet that demands all of us to be responsible for our actions. The rewards of accountability are great. It has been said that “Saturn cannot follow Man,” meaning that the key to freedom from our karma lies within ourselves, and that beyond our human experience there is a state of being that is not bound by the repetitive cycle of lessons that marks life on the physical plane. The restless need to achieve something of value, the strength of will, the honesty and focus that characterize Capricorns are the gifts bestowed by their ruling planet, and useful traits for all of us to embrace as tools to accomplish the balancing of our own karma.

However, as useful as the gifts of Saturn are, it is easy for Capricorns to take their obligations too seriously, and if not careful they can begin to portray the negative aspects of this sign: pessimistic, dour, miserly and insatiably ambitious with a voracious appetite for material goods. Capricorns who exist mainly on this plane can also distance themselves from the experience of love and appear to be cold, uncaring and aloof. Fortunately, Capricorns are also gifted with the ability to become younger in appearance and outlook as they age, so for the Capricorns who become pessimistic and discouraged by the difficulties of life at an early age, there is often a chance later on to rediscover the mystic beauty of life on the more spiritual planes.

December’s transits gift each of us with the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the spiritual planes; first, with a solar eclipse early in the month, then later when two long-terms transits come to exactitude.

The solar eclipse happens on December 4, and like all eclipses it is a moment in time that focuses the energies of the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. The path of the eclipse begins in the Atlantic Ocean and crosses the southern end of Africa, the Indian Ocean, and ends over western Australia. Astrologically, it happens at 12 degrees of Sagittarius and makes several loose aspects to the outer planets. The Sun, Moon, Pluto and Mercury are widely conjunct in Sagittarius that day, and are opposite Saturn in Gemini, sextile Neptune in Aquarius and trine Jupiter in Leo, giving us a powerhouse of fiery energy, flames fanned higher by the addition of some air.

Path of the solar eclipse of December 4, 2002

Eclipses, especially solar eclipses, are moments when the light of the Sun is blocked from the Earth. Considered harbingers of change, eclipses have traditionally been viewed by astrologers as extremely difficult transits, especially if the eclipse is located on a sensitive point in your chart. Modern astrology also aligns eclipses with the need to change, but doesn’t necessarily recognize change as an inherently bad thing. It is worth examining your chart to see where the eclipse falls and then meditating on how you can best facilitate the change that it is asking for in your life. Even though it is not always obvious, eclipses tend to bring forth events and feelings that reinforce the direction our lives were already moving in prior to the eclipse. A proactive approach to learning the lessons of the eclipse can assist you in making the most of this strong and unique energy.

A proactive approach is actually recommended when facing any transit, and is an attitude that especially harmonizes with the karmic lessons that are given to us by Saturn. Saturn plays a strong role in December’s transits, beginning with the opposition to the eclipse and then again on December 16 when it trines Uranus.

Saturn trine Uranus is a deeply spiritual transit, combining the structuring energy of Saturn with the revolutionary energy of Aquarius. While it might seem logical to assume that these two forces would actually work against each other, the energy of Saturn and Uranus combine remarkably well. Saturn seeks to consolidate and stabilize, and works well within the structure of tradition. Uranus seeks to reform and revolutionize, and operates outside of conventional norms. The trine brings this energy together beautifully, granting us the ability to restructure traditions and habits that might not be relevant to our current lives, while sparking new and inventive ideas that are based on a firm foundation. It is possible to use this transit to gain insight into the deeper workings of karma and the universe, by evoking the powerfully intuitive nature of Uranus as it combines with practical and common-sense approach of Saturn.

Another strong aspect that has been influential over a long period of time, but becomes exact this month, is Jupiter in Leo trining Pluto in Sagittarius. Similar to the Saturn / Uranus trine in that it encourages reform, it does so differently, acting though the fiery nature of Leo and Sagittarius. Pluto seeks to regenerate by transforming, and benevolent Jupiter encourages the process, but protects us from the often painful results of Plutonian transformations that occur as a result of other aspects. This transit signifies a strong creative power at work and can bestow a great deal of success on those who have it aspecting personal points in their natal charts.

Christmas this year is marked by the conjunction of Venus and Mars in Scorpio, both of which are being squared by Jupiter. A square from Jupiter, however, is not as serious as a square from a less benefic planet, especially when the almost equally fortunate Venus is involved. This aspect is exact on December 25 and should make Christmas Day feel especially festive and gay. Family relationships that may have been strained in the past should feel restored today, as people gather and share in convivial feasting and gift giving, both activities that truly reflect the bountiful generosity of Jupiter. The only caution for this day is to be warned that the combination of Venus and Jupiter does have one downside - overindulgence is common with this transit, and excesses of fatty foods and alcohol mean that the day could end on a bloated, sour note. Fear not! Mars is directly behind Venus and squares Jupiter on the 27th, providing us with a burst of physical energy sure to reenergize all but the most dedicated Christmas gluttons. This purposeful and goal-oriented energy is a perfect way to end 2002. The energy of Mars combines with lucky Jupiter to make the last few days of December good ones for focusing your thoughts on your plans for the year to come. Resolutions made under this purposeful influence have an excellent chance of coming to fruition in 2003.

The year ends on an intense note, as the Moon in Sagittarius will be exactly conjunct Pluto at 11:59 p.m., E.S.T. on December 31. This transit can indicate extremely passionate and strong feelings that arise from deep within your unconscious mind. Look to the house that the conjunction occurs in and any aspects it makes to your natal chart to see what area of your own life this transit is asking you to examine. For those of you planning to spend New Year’s Eve with your current flame, this transit can provoke passionate and intense experiences with the opposite sex, and could make this night a pivotal point in your relationship. A good relationship will probably be blessed by an evening of deep emotional revelations and sharing; however, this level of self-aware examination may well be too much for a rocky relationship to endure. Either way, expect a memorable night!

Wishing you and yours the best of the holiday season, and a bountiful 2003.


For a detailed listing of this month’s transits, see
the December Interactive Calendar