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The Magic of the Winter Solstice Chart

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_049.jpgWe looked at the chart of the Winter Solstice, 2012 from a mundane (world affairs) standpoint a couple of weeks ago, and this post will interpret the same chart, but from the viewpoint of the magician or spiritual seeker who is looking for clues about how to utilize the energy of this quarter to grow and transform. The Capricorn Ingress chart (another name for the chart of the Winter Solstice) can be consulted for personal insight as well as mundane, and set against one’s birth chart in the same way I set it against the chart of the USA. (If you have not read my first post on this chart, you might want to do that now, because it gives insights into and explanations of the chart’s structure that I will not repeat here.)

As we move through the difficult challenges of this transformative time, it helps to look closely at the current astrology so we can learn how to ride these waves of change into an evolutionary future, instead of a bleak, painful, or destructive one. In the same way that a farmer must consult the weather before choosing what work to do during any given day, week or month, it is useful for magicians to consult the astrological weather to determine what magical work will be most likely to meet with favorable results. More importantly, the cycles of the planets provide spiritual lessons that are uniquely suited to the time, and, if we look at them against the backdrop of our own birth charts, we will find those lessons personalized for us.

You might want to cast the chart for the moment of the solstice (12/21/12 @ 11:12 a.m. GMT — adjust for your time zone) in your location, then put that chart in a bi-wheel with your natal chart, and look in which houses of your birth chart the planets and the angles of the solstice chart fall, as well as any natal planets that are closely aspected from the solstice chart. This will tell you what issues and areas of your life will be activated. (If that last part just went right over your head, don’t worry. I will bold my conclusions, so those who don’t want the astrological techniques can skip through.)


We know that — particularly given the current square of Uranus and Pluto — profound transformation is on the menu for everyone, at varying levels of intensity during this time of the turning of an age. Magicians ask for transformation, we seek it -- though we don’t always revel in it when it happens. We step into rituals, we do our workings so that we can bend, shape and change ourselves and the reality we experience. As we work with our own lives, we shift reality in a more positive direction for others by doing our personal magical work well and carefully. Like a single plucked string on a guitar, each of us affects the resonance of the other strings around us — our skill and intention can turn discord into music. We steady others by staying grounded and centered ourselves. We provide direction to those who have none by knowing our own goals and working towards them. We give hope through clarifying our own vision, support growth by growing ourselves, and spread compassion by nurturing it within.

The planets and their aspects indicate the energetic weather under which we plant, plow, weed, harvest, plan, or let the land lie fallow, as we tend the garden of our life. The solstice and equinox ingress charts give great insight into the upcoming weather, and can be a helpful guide for the magician/gardener. In this post, I’m going to focus primarily on the Yod aspect in the Winter Solstice chart, but there is a lot more to be gleaned from that chart, so if you know any astrology, do take a look for yourself.

The primary aspect in this chart is a Yod that involves Saturn in Scorpio sextile and in mutual reception with Pluto in Capricorn. Both planets are inconjunct Jupiter in Gemini, which is retrograde and in the sign of its detriment (opposite the sign it rules). Saturn and Pluto together signify the magical adept, who must have clear goals, discipline, depth, and the courage to face the Mysteries. Jupiter is the principle of expansion.

Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, rules Scorpio, along with Mars, which is the classical ruling planet of both Scorpio and Aries. Both are in Capricorn in this chart, and so both are in mutual reception with Saturn. Mars is the planet that denotes courage. In Aries, it gives the courage to face life. In Scorpio, it gives the courage to face death. And we will face death, not only in the circle of our own friends and family, but in the world as well. We see the influence of Pluto in Capricorn square Uranus in Aries in the increasing incidents of mass violence, and in the death and devastation of storms, typhoons, famines and war brought front and center on televisions and computer screens everywhere. The Lord of the Underworld is in the sign of the Ruler, and the Ruler himself, Saturn, is in the sign of the Mysteries.

Why is Saturn the Ruler? Because the adventure of Consciousness in time and space is defined — ruled — by its limits. Time and space are the edges of the reality-canvas on which we create our lives, and Saturn, the furthest planet we can see with the unaided human eye, is the planet that symbolizes those boundaries. Our limits rule us, but they also call to be transcended. Yet, the more we transcend them, the more we need Saturn’s gifts of responsibility, discipline and attention, so that we can expand the boundaries of our lives wisely.  Once, we needed to be within spear or arrow distance of someone to kill them. Now, we can wipe out entire cities with a single bomb. How do we handle this responsibility? How do we each, individually, use our power in the world as we work to make changes in our reality in accordance with Will? An adept steps up to take and carry responsibility.

If Saturn delineates our human limits, Pluto urges us to move beyond them. The mysteries of life and death, the evolution of the soul, the sharing of ourselves with others, through sex, or shared values, or ritual — all these are under Pluto’s purview. In Capricorn, it establishes the authority of each individual within the matrix of society and culture, and teaches us to use the power of the Mysteries responsibly.

And what are the Mysteries? They are not what we do not know, but what we cannot comprehend with our rational minds, or communicate to others. There is a reality that exists outside of our ability to reason — which is not to say that reality is inherently unreasonable, just that we are unable to grasp it in its entirety, in the same way that a Neanderthal would be unable to grasp the reasoning of quantum mechanics. Yet, we are part of the greater Consciousness, of the larger reality of existence, and so can experience and partake of what is beyond our understanding, if we have the courage to encounter what exists beyond logic, without losing our grounding in the rational, Newtonian details of our everyday lives. An adept has the courage and insight to walk out beyond the world of the reasoning mind in order to create within that more expanded world, and then return.

Together, these two planets signify the adept, the magician, because they are about creating change (Pluto) in accordance with Will (Saturn), through self-discipline and personal authority (Saturn), along with the courage and insight to transform. (Pluto). Perseverance and focus shading into obsession can be indicative of this combination as well, along with a need to manifest power in the social realms.

In the Winter Solstice chart, both Saturn and Pluto are in a inconjunct aspect with Jupiter, which signifies breadth of vision, and the human need to search for truth. The inconjunct is a restless aspect that asks for adjustment, compromise, flexibility and realism, but can make it difficult to see the possibilities, and bring a stubborn resistance to change. In Gemini, Jupiter’s sweeping, majestic search for Truth comes up against immediate demands for facts and details, and a need for a more narrowly-defined truth. This can bring anxiety into focus as cherished ideals are given “real” world tests, and it becomes hard to see beyond the details.

This Yod, or “Finger of God” aspect offers challenges to growth for anyone with a magical/spiritual practice. The finger, in this case, is pointing at Jupiter, and that is where we look for the steps we can take towards growth over the next three months or so.

  • First, we can review our magical/spiritual goals, questioning whether they are still relevant, and in line with our core beliefs and values. For instance, if someone has a goal to “grow spiritually” (a common, but rather vague goal that begs to be better-defined) and another goal to “become wealthy”, yet also holds a belief that “money can’t be spiritual”, then that person needs to change either their goals or their beliefs. This is a fairly obvious one, yet most of us still cart around residues of beliefs that we picked up in childhood or adolescence which are woven into our emotional/mental structure, yet may be in direct conflict with other beliefs we have come to hold as we have grown — for instance, “money is a neutral form of energy exchange in the physical realm”. Identify these outworn or conflicting beliefs, consider them intellectually, discard and/or integrate them, then do ritual to remove the last traces of them from your subtle bodies.
  • Next, consider the role that fear and anxiety plays in your life, and see if you can shift that energy by keeping your mental focus in the present or on your most expanded aspirations and beliefs. Anxiety and fear are generally the result of living in the past or future instead of in the present, and they sabotage your magick and your health. Identify your fears and anxieties. Look at them in a more practical light — is there a good reason for you to hold these fears, or are they simply based in some old inner drama? Then start or renew a meditation practice, and learn to quietly let thoughts go, keeping your focus on the present. Finally, in ritual, turn your fears over to your guides or gods, and remember the larger reality in which you live. Many fears and anxieties drop away as we see the larger landscape.
  • Finally, look at your relationship to the society we live in. Where does social authority restrict you, where does it support you, and where does the structure of society — the organizations, the roads, the communication networks — oppose or enhance your personal spiritual goals and core values? Where do you take responsibility for the society you live in? Revisit your core values, and consider how your broad visions may be getting bogged down in the details of everyday life. How do you reconcile this? How do you bring your vision in line with your everyday life, and expand your everyday life to meet your vision?

We are, I believe, living at the turning of an Age. We will be called on repeatedly to make decisions, some of them difficult, some joyous. Sometimes, we’ll need to make those decisions quickly, to act decisively. Taking the time to consider our stance on some of these larger questions before we need to make a snap decision means that, when the moment comes, we are more likely to make those decisions based on our true values and beliefs, not on our fears and anxieties, and we will have set magical energy in motion to encourage better outcomes. The turning of an Age asks for our full attention as magicians. This season’s chart asks whether you are ready and willing to do the work of your dreams and visions, to combine mysticism with practical manifestation, to delve into the Mysteries, and build on them.

May all the bright blessings of the Solstice season be with you.

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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


  • Wendy L. Callahan
    Wendy L. Callahan Friday, 21 December 2012

    Everything you say, particularly the steps at the end and conclusion, goes quite well with precisely how I decided to end this cycle. For our Solstice, we are performing a Yule ritual centered around a Tabula Rasa - assessing the past year, and what we want in the new one. I feel like 2012 was a call to truly live our values and beliefs, and let go of fear or anxiety. That, I hope, will be the focus of 2013.

    Blessed Be!

  • Diotima
    Diotima Friday, 21 December 2012

    Thanks, Wendy! Hope your ritual goes well, and blessings of the Solstice to you.

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