Time Out: The Astrology of December 2018


December highlights Elemental opposition between Fire and Water, and that translates, astrologically, into a severe square between between Sagittarian Fire planets (at the time of this writing, I’m referring to the Sun and Jupiter) and Piscean Water (Mars, Neptune—Pisces’ ruler—and Retrograde Chiron) that will serve as the dominant energetic pattern for most of the month. We also have the cosmic paradox of fiery, ego-identified and assertive Mars, the ruler of Aries, unhappily slogging His way through the Neptune-ruled Piscean star-soup every day this month until the night of New Year’s Eve, when fireworks truly begin to ring in the New Year with a bang as Mars will be entering His home sign of Aries. But for the first 30 days of the month, alas, Mars is skewered by Neptune’s trident, floundering in confusion, low energy levels (possibly even low libido), and even physical sickness. (I’m actually combatting pneumonia as I type these words; I was diagnosed with it on Thursday and am now in Major Arcana Hermit mode at home.) Mars in Pisces loses impulse and direction.


Adding to the Watery Elemental force is the fact that the month begins with Retrograde Mercury having backed into Scorpio’s harsh currents on December 1, and on December 2, the first night of Hanukkah, beguiling Venus also dips back into the familiar waters of Scorpio. So much of the energy will feel exactly like it did during Venus’ protracted Retrograde period in Scorpio (October 5-November 16), and now with Mercury’s analytical focus shining a spotlight on these dark waters, we’re going to be given remedial lessons on power dynamics in relationships, the abuse of power, sexual abuse and trauma, obsessiveness and jealousy/possessiveness, and what it means to assert one’s (sexual) autonomy. This is Underworld terrain, and its concerns very much go against the grain of the commercially enforced cheerfulness marketed to us this time of year for the holidays.

And, one more prominent note on the Fire-Water opposition, this month will bring us a Fiery New Moon (in Sagittarius, early in the morning on December 7) and a Watery Full Moon (on December 22 in Cancer, the Sign ruled by the Moon). So much of this push-pull dynamic and the Sagittarian desire for real-world expansion and adventure contrasted with the Piscean pull towards cultivating a rich inner life translates into moving. Very. Slowly. It’s deliberate. The Cosmos is asking us to sit quietly with what we perceive to be setbacks in the “real world.” For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere getting ready to welcome the official start of Winter at the Winter Solstice on the 21st, our task, as much as we may not like it, is to follow the pattern of Nature and take a cosmic Time Out. Slow down. Reflect. Dream. Build your emotional foundation. Hibernate. Act slowly and steadily. Set your intentions/do your goal-setting at the time of the Sagittarius New Moon, but allow your intentions to germinate in the garden of your soul. Don’t put plans into action until the very last day of the month, when Mars breaks free from His Piscean prison and announces it’s all systems GO as He bursts headlong into the Cardinal Fire of Aries and is home again. It will be an amazing way to welcome 2019!

Key Planetary Transits and Aspects for the Month

I’ve already mentioned how December begins with Retrograde Mercury’s re-entry into Scorpio while Venus Direct begins Her transit of Scorpio, giving us new takes on old experiences from October and November, when the Sun and Venus Retrograde were in Scorpio. Halloween version 2.0 as we get ready for Yule? Sure, why not?

Mars Conjunct Neptune in Pisces Squaring the Sun and Jupiter in Sagittarius

On the other Water “front” (see what I did there?), we have a stellium of planets in Pisces: Mars, Neptune, and Retrograde Chiron. Mars at 10° of Pisces will be conjunct Neptune at 13° of Pisces. While the conjunction will be exact on December 7 (both planets will overlap at the 13° mark of Pisces), its effect can be felt from December 1-17.

A Mars-Neptune conjunction can bring about feelings of irritability and frustration over feeling incapable of doing anything “useful.” Mars represents the individual Will, while Neptune favors non-differentiation and is all about self-sacrifice and martyrdom. This may be a good period of time for doing either solitary or group spiritual work or secular volunteer work, work done in service to others on the Earth plane or to Ultimate Reality, but this time period also brings with it a strong caution regarding falling prey to willful deception from others as well as self-delusions. Physical energy levels tend to be extremely low at this time as well and one manifestation of this conjunction is illness in the form of infections marked by high fever (I can attest!). Practice radical self-care. People struggling with alcohol or drug abuse can be sucked back into a rip-tide of addiction, so be mindful of their struggles and offer help.

This conjunction alone is a powerful and tricky thing to navigate, but it’s happening in the context of a square to the planets currently in Sagittarius, which include the Sun, Jupiter (Sagittarius’ ruler), and, on December 7, the Moon for the Sagittarius New Moon. Pisces and Sagittarius as Signs square each other, or form a geometric pattern of a 90-degree angle to each other in the Zodiac; this pattern is interpreted as being one of conflict and tension between the principles represented by the Signs or planets in question.

Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 3.31.59 PM

Image courtesy of Planetwatcher.com

When we’re talking about Neptune and Mars in Pisces squaring the Sagittarius Sun, Moon, and Jupiter, we’re looking at the high probability of experiencing impatience (Mars) with perceived restrictions imposed by everyday life, and becoming preoccupied with escapist fantasies (Neptune). Our grasp of what can and cannot be done with our lives will be tested at this time, and it is very important that we come to terms with actual limitations. We may develop an overconfidence (Sagittarian Sun) in our abilities, taking on too much (Jupiter) responsibility or engaging in risky behavior, and we can become unusually gullible (Sagittarian Moon) at this time, especially when flatterers (Neptune) exaggerate our sense of self-importance.

At its most benevolent, this particular square involving these planets can make us starry-eyed idealists. But when discord ensues from plans going awry/things not working out the way we imagined them, the crash-landing in Reality can have severe consequences. Again, many will succumb to the temptation to lose touch with reality altogether, whether through escapist fantasies, or through religious ideals of a world-denying nature, or through the vehicles of alcohol and narcotics. This square’s lesson: Do not allow yourself to engage in behaviors that become excuses for not dealing with the world.

Visionary Sagittarius New Moon: December 7 (1:20 a.m. CST)

crescent moon_1853110__340

Aside from occurring in the context of this harsh square to Mars-conjunct-Neptune in Pisces, the Sagittarius New Moon will also serve as a witness to Mercury stationing Direct at 27° of Scorpio. Thus we can be blessed with clarity for the intentions we’d like to set for the new lunation. Given all the visionary energy afoot, not just from Elemental Water (Pisces, Scorpio) but also from Sagittarius’ own Mutable Fire Powers of Belief, this will be a very potent time to create your wish list for 2019!

Mercury Enters Sagittarius: December 12 (5:43 p.m. CDT)

The fleet-footed Messenger of the Gods begins His transit through the Mutable Fire of Sagittarius on December 12 and forms a benevolent aspect known as a trine (120° geometric relationship) to Retrograde Uranus in Aries. This aspect can bring an “anything goes” energy, usually a stroke of insight (genius!) seemingly out of nowhere, or a surprise offer of some kind. E-commerce gets a boost. However, once in Sagittarian terrain, Mercury joins the stellium of planets that are engaged in the square to Mars-conjunct-Neptune in Pisces, so mind the cautions from before and be careful not to engage in delusional thinking or fall prey to deception from others.

Mercury Direct in Sagittarius helps us formulate our philosophical and religious beliefs and engage in “big picture” thinking. Travel planning will becoming an enticing activity.


Sextiles That Lend Stability: Venus with Saturn and Mars to Pluto

A sextile is a benevolent astrological aspect (60°, or one-sixth of the Zodiac) between two or more planets. Mid-month, we’re going to have two sextiles that lend an air of much-needed stability and practicality due to their Earth Sign associations.

First, on December 16, at 8:26 a.m. CST, fair Venus in 9° of Scorpio will sextile serious Saturn at 9° in His Earthy home sign of Capricorn. This aspect can show you, in a positive way, the duties and obligations that you have to live up to in your relationships. It’s an excellent time to communicate needs and expectations and discuss things frankly with a focus on realistic attitudes, fairness, strong commitments, and the big picture.


Early the next morning (12:57 a.m. CST) on the 17th, ambitious Mars at 19° of Pisces will sextile powerful Pluto at 20° of Capricorn. This is a potent time to assess the big changes you’ll need to implement in your life to accomplish your goals, or to improve existing plans. It’s a time of clarity that comes from understanding yourself at a very deep level. And if you feel the physical energy to do so, this is an excellent time to engage in transforming your body through strength training/weight lifting. Muscle rebuilding can literally happen with profound results, despite Mars’ transit in Pisces. This aspect is all about wielding the proper use of power for self-transformation.


The Sun in the Final Degrees of Sagittarius: December 19-21

Before exiting Sagittarius, the Sun will square Chiron in Pisces (stationed Direct as of December 8) and trine Retrograde Uranus in Aries on December 19 and 20, respectively. The Sun’s square to Chiron may force us to revisit old and powerful emotional wounds that may surface at this time. It would be a good time to make an appointment with a therapist to help you process what comes up.

The Sun’s trine to Retrograde Uranus is another Cosmic Wild Card moment; anything can strike from left field: an unexpected financial windfall, news from a long-lost person, new discoveries about yourself and the world around you, or a sudden desire to start a new course of study. This trine, while positive, can have a strange effect on the nervous system, so feelings of restlessness and even mania can be triggered. Have fun but don’t get too carried away.


Winter Solstice and the Full Moon in Cancer: December 21 and 22


The Sun enters the Cardinal Earth Sign of Capricorn on Friday, December 21 at 4:23 p.m. CST, ushering in the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s going to feel romantic and dreamy with Venus at 14° of Scorpio forming a trine to Neptune at 13° of Pisces. There is an air of enchantment and profound connections to Deities and spirits can definitely be made for the ritually inclined.

The Moon will enter Cancer at 10:28 a.m. CST on Saturday the 22nd, and will reach Her apogee of Fullness a little over an hour later at 11:49 a.m. Given that it’s at 0°, just like November’s Gemini full moon was, this Cancer full moon may very well feel like the beginning of something you’ve been wishing for. As Cancer is concerned with nurturing and self-protection, the message of this Moon is one of stepping up self-care. Cancer is a deeply personal Sign and one known for expressing strong emotion so this can very well prove to be a time of heightened emotions, especially if you’re still working through the core wounds brought up by Retrograde Chiron from three days prior. Again, how are you taking care of yourself? Cancerians often overeat / turn to “comfort food” when under stress so be mindful of emotional eating.

This is a very Watery moon, bolstered by other Water energies. In fact, Venus in Scorpio will also be forming a trine to Mars in Pisces at this Cancer full moon, so it will be an excellent time to have a heart-to-heart talk with loved ones and smooth over any problems in relationships. The emotional rewards will be great!


An Optimistic, Poetic Christmas


For those who celebrate Christmas on December 25, the holiday will feel very lucky and hopeful, mainly due to the conjunction between Mercury at 13° and Jupiter at 10° of Sagittarius, which begins on Christmas Eve. A sense of optimism, growth and expansion, and the warm glow of faith will be palpable. Mercury in Sagittarius will be forming a square at this time to Neptune at 13° of Pisces as well, asking us to forego logic and left-brain, linear thinking in favor of poetry and meditation. This square does bring the caution of deception, however, so beware of fraud and even theft at this time as well. Not all that glitters is gold. But the Moon will be in Leo at this time, and the focus will largely be, and ought to be, on having fun. Parties will be grand.


A Dynamic End to the Month

Venus at 20° of Scorpio, still in her trine to Neptune at 13° of Pisces, will be forming a jolly sextile to transformative Pluto at 20° of Capricorn on December 28 at 3:31 p.m. CST. This aspect is favorable for making changes in relationships based on a higher vibrational frequency of love OR it could mean the end of partnerships that are no longer workable. Venus in Scorpio in this sextile to Pluto has no qualms with calling something quits (Pluto ends things) in order to move on to something better (Pluto pushes us to LEVEL UP).

A Wild New Year’s Eve


Forget midnight: New Year’s Eve fireworks will begin at 8:20 p.m. CST, the moment Mars FINALLY exits Pisces and kicks off the night in high Cardinal Fire style when He enters His home Sign of Aries! As if this weren’t cause enough for celebration, the Capricorn Sun and Saturn will be conjunct at 10°, ensuring that whatever plans we decide to execute are (a) grounded in reality (you can’t get more no-nonsense than Saturn in Capricorn!); and (b) solid for the long haul! Can you think of a better way to ring in 2019 with Saturnian and Solar stability and Martian drive to get things done? I can’t!

Ah, but it gets even “juicier”! The Moon will be at 9° of Scorpio on New Year’s Eve, forming a trine to Neptune at 14° of Pisces, kicking the party vibes into very high (pun intended) gear. The alcohol will really be flowing and the unbridled zeal too potent for many to ignore, so do what Saturn and the Sun (and I!) want you to do when it comes to partying responsibly: keep your wits about you and have the sense to procure a designated driver, or BE the designated driver yourself.


A Final Word

This has been an extraordinary year in terms of planetary shenanigans. From the volatile eclipse cycle of the summer to the seemingly never-ending parade of Mars’ and Venus’ Retrograde periods, we truly had a lot handed down to us from the planets in 2018. Hopefully we underwent profound personal transformation as a result; I know I can chart the course of my own psychological and spiritual evolution I underwent in 2018. In many ways, it was the School of Hard Knocks for me. But what other Institution grants lessons so quickly and helps us graduate with honor? Hopefully 2019 will be an amazing time for all of us, a year that showers us with blessings of health, abundance, and joy, a wonderful and inspiring year to chart new courses as we set sail for self-actualization while helping empower others and heal the planet, one consciousness at a time.

As always, if you’d like me to take a look at your natal chart and help you determine the pleasures and pitfalls that may await you in 2019, please email me at jackalmoondesigns@gmail.com. I work with individuals, couples, and businesses all over the planet. Together, we can find out what the stars have in store for you!

Have a safe and joyous holiday season and HAPPY NEW YEAR!



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