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Winter's Wonders

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


b2ap3_thumbnail_snowy-day-in-the-woods.jpgThe chart cast for the moment of the Winter Solstice — when the Sun enters Capricorn — is predictive for the three months ahead, and when the chart is cast for the capital of a country, it is predictive for that entire country. As we spiral in towards the next solsticial shift — from dark to light here in the northern hemisphere, and from light to dark in the southern — we are caught up in planetary energies that demand change, and change often demands the destruction of the old before the new is birthed. It is the light within us — our inner Sun — that gives us the vision, energy, courage and strength to build anew in a world in which hi-tech warfare, critical levels of environmental pollution, catastrophic climate change and resource depletion promise a future very different from our present. The challenges are clear, and the Solstice chart offers us insight into the personal and spiritual strategies we can use to meet these challenges with grace, compassion, and courage.


Much of what I have to say about this chart will be applicable globally, but some information will be specific to the United States, since I am working from a chart cast for Washington, DC. (The balance of this paragraph will be for astrologers, so the rest of you might want to skip to the next one.) The solstice chart for DC is here, and a bi-wheel with the USA chart is here. The first thing that jumps out is the Aries Point angles (which tightly aspect the USA’s MC/IC axis), and the Sun closely conjunct the MC. Pluto is in a wide conjunction with the MC as well, in the tenth house and at the focal point of a T-square with Uranus opposing Mars across the Ascendant/Descendant axis. We also see Mercury and Mars in detriment, and Venus in Capricorn ruling the second and seventh houses, stationing in the eleventh house, unaspected, and turning retrograde only a few hours later. It’s also stationing on the USA’s second house natal Pluto. The Leo Moon, ruling the fourth and fifth houses and in the fifth, is tightly square Saturn in Scorpio in the eighth, ruling the MC, and the Moon is also quindecile Neptune, which is strong in its own sign of Pisces. Bringing a bit of ease to this difficult chart is a trine between Jupiter and Saturn, and a sextile between Sun and Neptune. There are also some interesting midpoint pictures: Uranus = Sun/Jupiter (yay!), Pluto = Saturn/Neptune (ouch!), and Venus = Moon/Pluto and Saturn/Uranus (oooh, intense!).

This chart has a lot to say about courage, about relationship, and about manifesting spiritual ideals from Consciousness into the vast cauldron of Time and Space. We want to look closely at Capricorn and its ruler, Saturn, to understand the lessons and the blessings inherent in this chart for the always-magical moment of the Winter Solstice. Capricorn rules manifestation, structure, authority, and tradition. With the Sun on the Midheaven and Pluto in the 10th in this sign, questions and challenges of leadership will be prominent in the coming months, and power will be openly displayed like a peacock’s tail in response to the revolutionary discontent promised by the Uranus-Mars opposition. Anarchic forces will challenge established power structures, and long-standing traditions will be aggressively questioned. This can happen on a national level, but don’t be surprised when the same anarchic forces make their presence known in your office power structures, or your family relationships.

What are your beliefs about power and hierarchy? Do you hold any conflicting beliefs about them, like: “Hierarchy is controlling and repressive of my free and independent spirit” right alongside a belief that: “We need hierarchy because it imposes necessary controls on people that can’t be trusted to behave properly unless rules and regulations are in place.” Questions we can ask ourselves during this time would include: “Which structures in my life are supporting me, and which are holding me back?” and “Where do I need to take a stand in my life, demand change, and fight for personal autonomy?”

Venus, the planet of relationship, art, money, values, and aesthetics, is strong in this chart, and will be in Capricorn until early March. This suggests that issues around women in leadership roles may be prominent during this quarter, and we’ll see the financial consequences of prior legislative decisions. I also expect some fascinating national conversations around art and values and some contentious ones around money and sexual mores. Culturally, we will see expressions of beauty and art taking a practical turn, and there will be a materialistic vibe that could manifest in a number of different ways —  over-consumption, hoarding, careful financial planning, fraud, social-climbing, sex as a commodity. We are also likely to see a more practical tone in relationships — a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” mentality. Reciprocity is important in relationship — just be careful that it doesn’t trump empathy.

The rulers of the fourth (Moon) and tenth (Saturn) houses are in a difficult square aspect, and one way this will likely manifest is in questions about government management of public lands, resources, and the environment. Another is an intensification of the ongoing conflict between the two political parties. The Moon is traditionally the planet of the “common people”, and with her placement in look-at-me Leo some of the people will be loudly demanding recognition of the concerns of the 99%. Others will probably be demanding entertainment and distraction —  bread and circuses.  With Jupiter Rx in Cancer in the fourth, a highly emotional level of patriotism is to be expected, and we may well see bizarre or extreme acting out of beliefs, especially as Jupiter moves closer in aspect to the Uranus-Pluto-Mars configuration.

A few things about this chart — the Leo Moon, the prominent Sun at the MC, Mars ruling the Ascendant from Venus-ruled Libra in the seventh among them — lead me to think that we might see some heroic popular figures emerge on the national scene who will trigger the people’s discontent, force national conversations on difficult subjects of beliefs and values, and generally serve as a crystallizing force for the swirling, nebulous currents of popular dissatisfaction with the status quo. This can be a good thing, but it’s also important to watch our projections, and be careful that we are not giving away our personal power.

The probability of financial and/or environmental crises is high during this time, and realism and maturity may be in short supply, particularly in the halls of Congress. In our personal lives, we’ll want to embrace innovation, but also be cautious with our resources. It’s a fine line to walk, so keep up your meditation and magical practices —  they will help you find the stability and expanded awareness that are required to make wise decisions with long-term consequences. Uncover your inner Sun, and let it shine. As we emerge from the time of the nurturing darkness, we are asked to create, affirm, and establish new life. Think carefully about what you will bring into being in this new year. The energy of the times demands change, and your work is to direct it in ways that are beneficial to yourself and others. Step up to the challenge, don’t try to hide — if you do, you’ll just get stepped on.

“My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times.” — Clarissa Pinkola Estes

That’s all for this year, folks. Have a blessed Solstice, and a happy New Year.

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Diotima Mantineia began studying astrology in 1968, taking classes from Zoltan Mason in New York City. For the next 22 years, she practiced astrology only for herself and her friends, continuing her studies while watching an increasingly humanistic, psychologically oriented, modern astrology blossom through the work of leading astrologers such as Noel Tyl, Liz Greene, Rob Hand, Marion March, Stephen Arroyo and Howard Sasportas. In 1986, Diotima began her study of Wicca and started reading Tarot, discovering that she is a gifted intuitive. In 1991, she began practicing both astrology and Tarot professionally. She majored in plant and soil science both in college and grad school, and grows much of her own food and "materia magica" on her land in the mountains of western North Carolina. Diotima’s personal spiritual path is rooted in the Western mystery traditions, the principles of Yoga, and a profound connection with the natural world. Wicca gives structure to her spiritual journey, and she utilizes shamanic practices for healing and to live in harmony with Nature. Over 15 years of studying Chinese martial arts has given her a deep appreciation of Taoist thought which has strongly influenced her magical and personal philosophy. You can find her at


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