Urania's Well: Astrology for Changing Times

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Fire up the Cauldron: Working Magic at Solstice

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_cooking-cauldron.jpgWe have some important planetary shifts happening within hours of each other on the Winter Solstice, which makes it a a powerful time magically, but be ready to run with some wild energy. Here’s what’s happening: on December 21, Uranus stations direct (changes its apparent direction of movement in the sky) at 5:46 PM (all times EST). The Sun shifts into Capricorn, marking Solstice at 6:04 PM, and then at 8:37 PM we have a New Moon — which is, of course, right on the degree of the Solstice.  Saturn is at the final (critical) degree of Scorpio, getting ready to move into Sagittarius on the 23rd. And, of course, the square between Uranus and Pluto is still very close to exact. Whew! But this confluence of planetary energy gives us a variety of options in working magic. (You can find the chart for the Solstice here.)

The Winter Solstice marks the time when the Sun reaches its most southern point in the sky — the Tropic of Capricorn. It is the time in the Sun’s cycle that is analogous to a New Moon.  This powerful day gives us an opportunity to work on a Dark Moon and Sun in high-minded Sagittarius for deep inner work or to eliminate something from our lives. Or we can wait to fire up the cauldron until everything has shifted, the Sun has returned, and the newly-born Sun and Moon have joined the other planets in practical, manifesting Capricorn. In the New Moon chart, five planets are packed into the first fifteen degrees of Capricorn. That is some earthy energy we can put to use for building, manifesting and organizing, as well as setting clear boundaries. It’s intensified by Uranus prodding us for growth and change as it is standing still in the sky.  A planet stationing (direct or retrograde) marks an intensification of the planet’s energy, and unpredictable, electrifying, break-the-rules Uranus always makes a pointed statement.

Remember that every magical working is marked to one degree or another by astrology, and has a “birth” chart for the moment the working begins. Starting a working directly at times of shift —  New and Full Moons, Solstices and Equinoxes, planetary stations — can give your magic some extra oomph. That said, I do not obsess over getting the “right” planetary alignments for my own magical work, which tends towards either the spontaneous and informal, or long-term working altar setups. Spontaneity has its own magic, and experienced magicians tend to intuitively choose appropriate times for their workings. But if something is important enough to justify planning a ritual, then it’s a good idea to check the astrology, just as you’d check the weather if you were planning an outdoor event. When we look ahead and know the times they are a-changin’ astrologically, then we have a great opportunity to plan a working that can use that energy. This Solstice gives us a chance to hit the reset button and make some major alterations in our lives.

Personal Lessons

The Cardinal Ingress charts (charts of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the four moments during the year when the Sun reaches zero degrees of a Cardinal sign) are predictive for at least three months ahead. We are looking at a Solstice chart cast for Washington, DC, so the angles and houses will be specific to the USA, but the planetary relationships are globally applicable, and I’ll focus on them in the personal section. Now, let’s take a look at what we can divine about the next three months from this chart. First we'll consider what the chart of the Solstice offers us on an inner level, and then I’ll take a look at it from a predictive perspective for the country.

One of the things astrologers will notice right away about this chart is that a number of planets are in “mutual reception” — which means that two planets are each in a sign the other rules. When there are a lot of mutual receptions in a chart, as here, it’s kind of like a good band — they are tight and focused, and play off of each other’s strengths. So we have Mars and Uranus working together to fight for social justice, while Saturn and Pluto demand that foundations be dug deeply, to withstand the tests of time. Mars also co-rules Scorpio, and Saturn co-rules Aquarius, which means Mars and Saturn are also in mutual reception, giving this particular band a penchant for brutally hard work and the stage presence of a steamroller.

On a personal level, this means we might want to focus on being emotionally flexible enough to bend with circumstance, to handle change and surprises with grace and our full attention and awareness of the values by which we strive to live our lives. These patterns also suggest a real need for self-discipline and practicality, and the ongoing demand of the Uranus-Pluto square to awaken to power, both collective and individual. Keep up with your meditation practices!

Saturn, the Taskmaster, is strong in this chart. (Astrologers: note its disposition of five planets, two mutual receptions, trine to MC, square Neptune, critical degree) This suggests we might want to look closely at the sources and effects of authority in our lives. To whom do you give authority? Who wants to have authority over you? Is there an inner, soul-level, spiritual authority that you claim as your own? It’s also worth looking at your knee-jerk reactions to authority, and searching out any conflicting or simply wrong beliefs you might be carrying around about what authority looks like and how one should react to it. Between Saturn, Uranus and Pluto, we are going to be hearing a lot of riffs on “You are not the boss of me” — and replies of “Oh yes I am”. Power struggles are inevitable, both personally and culturally. Take a close look at your personal sources of power, and how they line up with your values.

Predicting The News

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

The Uranus-Pluto square is very close to exact, which entrenches it for the next three months (the Spring Equinox chart will do the same) so we will continue to see its signature in the news — active, sometimes violent rebellion against oppressive, brutal authority, the empowerment of the individual, profound awareness of material realities and limitations, breakthroughs from limitations, demands for freedom, and the perceived need for enforced order and organization. The militarization of police, endemic racism and misogyny, the use of torture, the ongoing destruction of our shared environment, civil unrest and restriction of civil liberties — all of these are challenges that reflect the Uranus-Pluto square, and each challenge embodies the opportunity for profound and often sudden changes — for better or worse, so make your choices carefully.

It is also worth remembering that Uranus (along with Mercury, which is conjunct Pluto and square Uranus here) rules computer and communications technology, so the Uranus-Pluto square will be very much in evidence in those areas as well. There will continue to be power struggles in virtual reality, including issues of net neutrality, hacktivism, doxxing, cyber-warfare, and freedom of information. The opportunities for freedom, collaboration and teamwork through technology will be extensive as well.

b2ap3_thumbnail_mlkquote.jpgIn the Solstice chart cast for the USA, we see a strong emphasis on the labor force and civil service, including the military and the police. The concerns of justice and the people (as opposed to the government and business) are emphasized which suggests that the current upsurge of protests against police racism and militarization will continue. As in the 60s, Black Americans are — will they, nil they — again forced by circumstance into taking the lead in addressing social justice issues that affect us all. Because, make no mistake, racism, like misogyny, is a cancer of the soul that sickens not only those who suffer from it, but everyone around them. You might also remember the words of pastor Niemoller when he opined on the cowardice of German intellectuals in the face of Hitler’s rise to power. Again I suggest you make your choices carefully in the months ahead. They will have long-term consequences.

I also see strong suggestions of various environmental upheavals, and the price of oil will continue to be a major factor in foreign policy decisions. Concerns about sexual violence will also continue to be front and center, and there is a likelihood of violence against children — sexual as well as physical and emotional — making the news.

The law, both in philosophy and its application by the government, will be front and center in the national consciousness, and I think that business law will be of particular concern.

It will be a year of profound changes. If you’d like to know how this year’s astrology is likely to be reflected in your own life, contact me to set up an appointment for a consultation.

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 www.uraniaswell.com


  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard Tuesday, 16 December 2014

    Thank you so much for this. Not being an astrologer, I sometimes find all this information confusing. Grateful for your clarity.

  • Diotima
    Diotima Wednesday, 17 December 2014

    It's always a relief to know I have not descended too far into unintelligible jargon. :-) Thanks for the feedback!

  • *d.*
    *d.* Tuesday, 30 December 2014

    I was looking this post over again & was stuck by Mars in the 8th house. Isn't that a thing? Violent death or some such? It is in malefic Saturn's sign, and looks semi square to both the Moon, chart ruler/general symbol of "the people", as well as the Midheaven. Worrisome?

  • Diotima
    Diotima Wednesday, 31 December 2014

    Yes, Mars is in the 8th house, and semi-square both the Moon and Sun. Moon does rule the people -- twice in this chart, for it also rules the Ascendant -- another indicator of the people. The Sun rules the 2nd house of resources, and, of course, both the Moon and Sun are in the 6th, the house of public servants -- including the military and the police.

    Certainly "violent death" is one interpretation of Mars in the 8th, and with the stellium in the 6th house, the topic of violent death and the police -- both as victims and perpetrators -- has been much in the news, as one example. But there are a number of different ways that aspect could manifest -- not all of them "malific".

    First, consider that Mars is in Aquarius, a highly rational sign that tends to put the brakes on Mars' tendency to fly off the handle. Mars also co-rules the 8th house, and is strong there -- which makes it more likely to show its positive side of pioneering action, enthusiasm, strength and the "fighting spirit". It is also strengthened by being in sextile to, and in mutual reception with the co-ruler of Aquarius, Uranus. So it can work out quite well for some people.

    For instance, if you put this chart over the chart of President Obama, you'll see that Mars in the ingress chart is approaching Obama's natal ascendant, and Saturn on his Scorpio MC. I had read some fairly dire predictions about that, but Saturn brings rewards and recognition to those who have done the work Saturn always demands, and the news over the last week or so has been full of articles about how well he is doing with the economy -- even outdistancing Reagan. See, for instance, here -- http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/29/opinion/paul-krugman-the-obama-recovery.html?_r=0 -- and here -- http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2014/09/05/obama-outperforms-reagan-on-jobs-growth-and-investing/.

    (I will leave for another time the discussion of the relative health of an economy that ignores the cancer at its foundation -- and the foundation of any economy is nature and the environment.)

    We have a choice about how we use these aspects -- as individuals and as a country. Both Saturn and Mars -- the so-called "malific" planets -- bring strength, structure, action and determination that will be much needed in the years ahead.

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