An End to the Darkening


The darkest day of the year, Winter Solstice, arrives on Tuesday (Dec 21) here in the Northern Hemisphere…

… and just at the moment we're really missing more generous amounts of daylight, the seasonal turn begins to build us toward brightness again, gradually bringing it back bit by bit each day.

This year's transition hits us with a fuller emotional poignancy, coinciding with a lunar eclipse in the final degree of Gemini (exact early a.m. Tue) that's also tied in with the Mars/Pluto-flavored Mercury retrograde. And if that didn't pack enough astro-dynamism into the moment, Venus will also be finally clearing the shadow from her recent retrograde (Oct 8-Nov 18) and tracing new ground for the first time in months.

Together, these aspects paint a picture of culmination… almost as if several concentric ripples of response, to events of the past couple weeks and of the last few months and of the several-years' startling historical developments, are simultaneously climaxing in a multiplicity of feelings.

Wrapped up with solstice symbolism, our awareness of this sheer multitude of complications and complexities—and the undeniable incompatibility of one version of the story with the next, all of which may carry their relative truths yet each lacking any comprehensive relevance—reaches an apex of dissonance. We find it nearly impossible to continue entertaining so many conflicting sentiments at once, nor to continue enabling the circumstances that breed them. We crave simplification; convergence. What distracting storyline must be snipped, for coherence's sake? The approaching New Year presents the 'begin again' opportunities.

The particular zodiac position of this eclipse (29 Gemini), linked by opposition to the mysterious Galactic Center, will always be an astrological reminder of 9/11 to me. (The Moon was between 28 and 29 Gemini when the first plane hit.) And so it is a powerful reflective experience to recall how profoundly different life was, for all Americans if not many other global citizens, before the events of that fateful day. For me, the shock to my consciousness it provided was what ultimately tipped me toward pursuing astrology as a full-time career. I lost an innocence that day which will never return. While I always assumed a certain degree of corruption existed in the governmental and corporate authorities that administered the lifestyle I took for granted, from that day forward, I have never recovered from the lurking (or, in some cases, blatant) awareness of malevolent authoritarian forces actively working against my individual interests.

I don't mean to be a downer… though perhaps the act of affirming that, yes, we've been collectively coping with some 'downer' realities is part of this eclipse's call. At the same time, we needn't sit idle as the psychological effects of this collective evolution (which often include painful collisions with collapsing institutions, and with the desperate despots clinging to their leadership slots) dovetail with the individual events of our own lives, which present enough challenges in themselves. Some of the 'darkness' has been foisted upon us, hijacking the narrator's voice away from our grip, distracting us with news (and personal fallout) that overshadows the tone of the tale as we might tell it. Dare I say, some of this has been done intentionally, to keep us afraid and too emotionally scattered to organize a solid resistance.

But no matter the unfavorable circumstances imposed upon us, the responsibility to assert the rightful interpretative mindset remains ours. That is, we must decide for ourselves what is important, and what's mere propagandist noise. We must choice to associate with people, organizations and experiences that leave us uplifted, or else succumb to the alternately disempowering or toxic influences. We must focus our energies and efforts on the goals we select. Otherwise, we become passive victims of some conception of Fate that's always screwing us over, somehow or another. (And there will always be evidence for that reading.)

As Venus completes her grand adventure through Scorpio, we are only just now wrapping up some the interpersonal intensifications and upheavals that first began stirring back in September. Despite whatever tradition or politeness might dictate, we oughtn't continue on with relationships which create excessive discontent in us. Maintaining them merely stifles our passions, and we can't afford that.

Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius helps us jump to these simplifying conclusions, if only by 'accidentally' putting the words in our mouths before we have the wherewithal to stop ourselves. Though we may curse Merc-retro for his hiccups and hassles, he can also be a best friend to us by disrupting our ability to conceal our real thoughts beneath careful covers. (Of course, he's probably more the kind of friend you love to hate.)

Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, still within range of conjunction, ask us to put our full force behind the ambitions we most strongly strive to fulfill. Their placement directly adjacent to the Moon's node, the astro-factor that turns a full moon into a lunar eclipse, identifies this as an extremely critical moment for attuning our willful desires to long-ranging plans. First steps: Recognizing and releasing the dark; clearing the residue.

This is the great significance of this week's solstice eclipse: We spy the first rays of burgeoning light shining on us from the future. But can we see accurately enough to know how best to use them for own our self-designated purposes? If our glasses remain spotted with remnants from countless unrelated emotional stories from the past (or from someone else's dramas), our vision is impaired. Choose to look at the scene from the perspective of what matters most to you.

2011 kicks off with a corresponding solar eclipse on January 4, perfect for setting intentions for the upcoming year and far beyond. Venus finally leaves Scorpio and enters Sagittarius on January 7, which should lift some of the lingering interpersonal weightiness.