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Winter Solstice 2012: Faith Gets a Reality Check

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_046.jpgI know little about the Mayan Calendar — just that this Winter Solstice is supposed to mark the end of a major cycle in that calendar. I know a little more — but not much — about the alignment of the Sun with galactic equator and the Dark Rift of the Milky Way, also purportedly on this date, though it is my understanding that the astronomy of this alignment is difficult to measure with any precision within years, much less days. While I do not doubt that we are at a time of profound, historic shift and change for the human race, I personally do not think that the turning of an age can be accurately said to happen on one particular day, even as a pivot point. A mountain cannot pivot on the head of a pin.

So if you were looking for end of the world, or even end of the age predictions, you won’t find them here. I’ll be interpreting the Capricorn Ingress Chart, the chart for the moment of the Winter Solstice, in the same way I interpreted the Libra Ingress Chart  — as a look ahead at the next three months using standard Western astrology, and staying within the bounds of our solar system. As usual, I have cast this chart for Washington, DC, which reflects the meaning of the chart for the entire USA.


And a very interesting chart it is! Take a look at it here, and at a bi-wheel with the USA’s chart here. While we needn’t worry about the end of the world, I suspect we’ll be taking a good long look at the state of the electric grid, and/or the Internet, and/or communications satellites, and probably the publishing industry as well, over the next three months (until the Aries Ingress at the Spring Equinox), as well as having a vigorous national discussion on the role of faith and ideology in government, with accusations of fanaticism, corruption, deception and dogmatism being flung hither and yon like soft dirt flying from under a dog’s paws. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s look at the Solstice chart itself, first. As usual, I will bold my conclusions so that those of you who aren’t interested in the astrological details can skip them. For those of you who are interested, let’s go!

Here are the high points about this chart you will want to consider:

  • The planets are mostly clustered in the eastern half of the chart
  • Mercury is tightly conjunct the Ascendant, in the sign of its detriment (Sagittarius)
  • Mercury and the Ascendant are opposed Jupiter, also in the sign of its detriment (Gemini) and retrograde in the 6th house of civil service, labor, and the military,
  • Jupiter rules the Ascendant
  • Mercury and Jupiter are in mutual reception (each in the sign the other rules)
  • Venus, ruling the Midheaven, is also in opposition to Jupiter, conjunct the Sun’s position at the recent Lunar Eclipse, and disposed by Jupiter.
  • Jupiter is at the apex point of an aspect pattern known as a Yod, or the “Finger of God”, with Saturn and Pluto (I discuss this in detail below)
  • Saturn and Pluto are in mutual reception
  • The Sun is conjunct Pluto and square Uranus
  • Uranus is oppose the Midheaven, conjunct the Aries Moon, and closely trine Venus
  • The Moon is closely trine Mercury and the Ascendant
  • Mars, exalted in Capricorn, makes no Ptolemaic aspects to another planet, making it something of a wild card. It is also sesquiquadrate Jupiter.

(To get some more perspective on all this, you may want to read what I’ve written previously about Jupiter’s current retrograde, here, and the Saturn-Pluto mutual reception, here)

Now let’s look at the big picture.  Jupiter, the planet of faith, optimism, expansion, and the “higher mind” is quite prominent in the chart. The fact that it is retrograde and in the sign of its detriment shifts the expression of its energy, but does not materially weaken it, because it is the chart ruler and closely interwoven with almost all of the other planets. In Mundane astrology (the astrology of world affairs) Jupiter represents the laws of a country, as well as its values and belief-systems, including religion. It also rules philosophy, philanthropy, higher education and publishing.

Jupiter, in this chart, is also the focal planet of a configuration known as a Yod. This aspect happens when two planets are in sextile (60 degree) aspect to each other, and both are inconjunct (150 degrees) a third planet, the focal, or apex, planet. The inconjunct is a restless aspect, one that requires much in the way of adjustments, the sextile is a flowing, harmonious aspect, and the Yod points a finger at the focal planet, emphasizing its role in the chart in a challenging way through pressure from the sextiling planets. (I've drawn the aspect in the chart so you can visualize it)

In this case, the sextiling planets are also in mutual reception, signaling that they are working strongly in tandem. “Power” and “structure” are the words that best describe Pluto and Saturn, respectively, and we can assume that the power structure of the one percent is operating smoothly, with the best government that corporate money can buy. Much of the structure is hidden, underground, but it is being challenged by the planet of truth and law, which, in this chart, is also the planet of the people, since it rules the Ascendant.  This particular Yod is remarkable for the narrow orb of aspect between the planets. All three planets are at 8 degrees of their respective signs, with a scant few minutes of difference between them. It’s a powerful aspect in this chart. It will test our faith in our government, in our laws, and in the structure of our society.

Before we move onto comparing this chart to the USA’s, lets take a quick look at Mars, in Capricorn, which makes no Ptolemaic aspects (making it a loose cannon in the chart) is in a tense sesquiquadrate with Jupiter, and in close relationship to both Pluto and Saturn. Why do I say it’s in close relationship? Because Mars shares rulership of Scorpio with Pluto. Both planets are in Capricorn, so both are in mutual reception with Saturn. Mars has a strong esoteric affinity with Capricorn — it is exalted in this sign, for Capricornian authority blends with the Martian fighting spirit to create the efficient, rigid structures of the military, and all the powerful machinery of our technological society. Mars’ and Pluto’s presence in Capricorn, in mutual reception with Saturn in Scorpio, brings the secretive, powerful military/industrial complex strongly into consideration in this chart.

Also note that Venus, the ruler of the sixth house of the military both natally and in the transit chart, is opposed by Jupiter in the Solstice chart. For those of you who work with midpoints, also notice that transiting Uranus = natal Venus/Jupiter. There are a number of interesting midpoint structures in this chart, in fact. If you work with midpoints — and I suggest you do — check them out.

Are you still with me? Good. There’s a lot going on — it’s a complex, powerful chart, and I can only begin to touch on the meanings here. Now let’s take this chart of the Winter Solstice over Washington, DC, and put it in a bi-wheel with the natal chart of the USA. That’s this chart. Go ahead and take a look. I’ll wait right here.

Do you see it, first thing? The angles (Ascendant and Midheaven) of the transit (Winter Solstice) chart are almost identical to the natal USA chart — within a degree of each other. So we can assume that the effects of this Winter Solstice chart will be felt strongly by the whole country. You might also immediately notice that transiting Jupiter is almost exactly conjunct the USA’s natal Uranus, pulling that planet in to the transiting Yod. Jupiter is the natal ruler of the USA’s chart, and natal Jupiter is being squared by transiting Uranus, opposed by transiting Pluto. (Are you keeping your transiting and natal planets straight? It’s much easier if you actually look at the chart. The planets on the inside wheel are the natal planets of the USA, the planets on the outside are the transits at the Winter Solstice. The angles and house cusps are those of the USA.). 

So…let’s look now at the USA’s natal Uranus, since its conjunction with transiting Jupiter puts the spotlight on it. Uranus rules the third house in the USA chart, the chart of communication, transportation, and commerce, and is placed in the sixth house of civil service, oppose the Ascendant. Uranus, which rules technology and computers, is almost invariably a disruptive influence when under stress, even when the disruption is eventually beneficial, and its rulership of the third house suggests that we may see disruption and sudden events in communications, commerce or transportation networks. Uranus also rules electricity, so the emphasis on Uranus in these charts (remember that transiting Uranus is also oppose the MC in both charts) may indicate issues with the electrical grid.

The stress on Uranus, of course, comes in the form of the aspects from the planets of the Yod, particularly the inconjuncts from Saturn and Pluto. This is the reality check, the pressure on the people of the country, quite possibly from issues around failing infrastructure and class disparity. With transiting Uranus in the 4th,  widely conjunct the Moon in Aries, and Pluto conjunct the Sun in the first house, and Saturn in the 11th house (Congress) I think we will be looking at considerable discontent among the populace with both government and big business — grassroots movements from Occupy to the Tea Party to the secessionists will be having their say — and some of them will be figuring out how they have been infiltrated by people whose agendas are in opposition to the group’s. Given Jupiter’s involvement, battles may be fought in courts of law or public opinion, but with Uranus in Aries, we could see sudden, destructive events — planned or not — that highlight themes of class and economic disparity, as well as the land and environmental concerns (4th house). The Sun conjunct Pluto in the first with Venus, ruler of the Midheaven in Sagittarius in the 12th suggests that both government and big business will be concerned with the  mood of the people, and may be keeping their finger on the pulse of public opinion, and attempting to manipulate it, in ways that are…hmm…let’s just say hidden and perhaps legally uncertain. 

So what’s the lesson of this Winter Solstice chart? What do we, as a country, need to consider and create together? With so much focus on Jupiter, the ruler of both charts and the apex planet of the transiting Yod, many of the lessons are Jupiterian — lessons of overreaching and excess, of bombast and dogma, of pandering to beliefs by playing fast and loose with the facts.

How can we, as citizens, live up to the potential of Jupiter in Cancer in our national chart? We do it through generosity and nurturing, through civil debate, and with an unvarying adherence to the democratic principles on which our country was founded. We find new beginnings in grassroots organizations whose energy and idealism will challenge us to rethink and change our laws and methods of government in order to build a social structure that honors the individual so much that it would never allow a single human being to fall by the wayside. We live up to this potential by coming to truly understand the big picture of the Web of Life on this planet that is our only home, and nurturing it.

We may also learn the lessons of Jupiter in Cancer, and the lessons of this Winter Solstice, from these words of Lao Tzu: 


The highest good is like water.

Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive.

It flows in places people reject, and so is like the Tao.

In dwelling, be close to the land.

In meditation, go deep in the heart.

In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.

In speech, be true.

In ruling, be just.

In business, be competent.

In action, watch the timing.

No fight: No blame.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter Eight
(tr. Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English)

Bright blessings of the Solstice season to you all.

Until next time!

Last modified on

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


  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Wednesday, 05 December 2012

    Again, an in-depth analysis that actually makes sense to me. It's a Solstice miracle!

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