December 21st brings much excitement this year! (I know, as if we haven’t had enough excitement already…) So let’s get started…
In the Northern Hemisphere December 21 marks the longest night of the year – also known as the Winter Stolstice. Darkness has reached its peak and will soon give way to longer days. The rebirthing of the sun. For our ancestors who lived by the seasons this was a time of rest and renewal. Crops had been harvested and enough food “put by” to last through the (often brutal) winter. Nowadays, the twelve days of Yule – which begin December 21st and last through January 1st – can be a time of symbolic renewal. Everything about Yule honors light, life, and hope.
- Yule Log
The familiar custom of burning the Yule log dates back to earlier solstice celebrations and the tradition of bonfires. The Christmas practice calls for burning a portion of the log each evening until Twelfth Night. [source]
- Evergreens symbolize renewal. Hang garlands of spruce, fir, cypress, pine, or juniper around doorways and windows. Burn pine branches to purify and heal. Make your own evergreen wreath.
- Another evergreen, holly, was also used to decorate doors, windows, and fireplaces. Its leaves represent the Holly King and because of their spikes were believed to ward-off unwanted spirits.
- Mistletoe was revered by Druids for its magickal properties. It would be carefully cut from sacred oaks to ensure it never touched the earth, for if it did it was believed the plant would lose all its magick power.
- Long before electricity candles were used to keep the night at bay. Red, green, gold, and white candles are traditional colors of Yule.
- Burn frankincense, mistletoe, or sage incense.
- As some scholars connect Yuletide celebration to the Wild Hunt, it’s not surprising that celebratory feasts included hunted game such as pig and venison. Nuts, berries, fall/winter vegetables, dried fruits, and gingerbread rounded-out the meal. And let’s not forget Wassail: a mixture of ale, honey, spices or mulled apple cider. Here’s a recipe for Wassail punch. (A quick and easy way to mull-up your wine is to steep hot red wine with mulling spices. I use ready-made spice bags.)
- Ritual: Write down things you wish to leave behind in the coming year then (safely) burn the list while you visualize those things fading from your life.
- Ritual: Light some incense and grab a warm drink (Mulled wine, anyone?) With your footsteps, create a spiral in a clockwise direction. As you’re doing that, you’re literally aligning yourself with the pattern that the universe is creating. [source]
- One more: A little Winter Solstice Ritual the whole family can take part in.
The Great Conjunction
The biggest astrological event of our lifetime occurs on December 21, 2020. Jupiter conjuncts Saturn in the first degree of Aquarius – 0° Aquarius 29 to be exact. Astrologically, a conjunction is formed when two or more planets enter the same zodiac sign at the same time and at the same degree. This causes their vibrations to combine and work together. Although conjunctions are commong, when they involve cetain slower-moving planets they become much more rare and much more intense. A Great Conjunction only happens when Jupiter and Saturn align.
What makes the December 21, 2020 Great Conjunction so amazing is that it’s happening at 0°, which signifies a completely new beginning AND it’s the closest conjunction since 1623 (which was also in the sign of Aquarius).
A Christmas Star
On December 21, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will appear to hover in the fading twilight – visible around the world. In the Southwestern U.S., these two planets will be low in the sky about a half-hour after sunset. They are aligning so close to one another that to the naked eye they will appear as a single, glowing star – the first visible “double planet” in 800 years! Because of this and the timing of the event, many are calling this a “Christmas Star.” (Some have even speculated that the so-called “Star of Bethlehem” was a Great Conjunction that occurred c. 7 BCE.)
EarthSky has been posting photos taken from around the world of Jupiter and Saturn, showing their progression towards this once-in-a-lifetime-event.
Watch the Great Conjunction LIVE online
via The Virtual Telescope Project
So what does all this mean? Let me break it down by entity first, and then tie everything together. Ready? Let’s do this!
Wheel of Fortune
Fate and destiny. Change and movement. Expansion and momentum. The end and beginning of a cycle. Developments, continued growth, and success. Unexpected gifts or opportunities. Enterprise. Creativity. Wholeness. Personal vision. Faith, humility, and acceptance.
Known as the Great Benefic, Jupiter symbolizes growth/expansion, healing, prosperity, good fortune, and miracles. It inspires us to grow, expand, and take risks; but can also expose our flaws and weaknesses. In addition, Jupiter governs wisdom & higher truth, the law, and higher education.
Shadow side: Disappointment, withheld feelings, lack of opportunity, extremes of fatalism.
Colors: Darker shades of blue, violet, and deep purple.
Stones: Lapis Lazuli, sapphire, and amethyst.
Incense: Copal, nutmeg, sage, red sandalwood, and pine.
Jupiter’s influence may be brought into any magickal workings that deflect Saturn’s chaotic and destructive energies.
Pure harmony. Completion and wholeness. The end of the quest. Synthesis between earth and spirit. Divine unification. Absolute peace and happiness. Fulfillment. Emotional pleasures, sexual love. Tranquility, luxury, security. Discovering our true self and our purpose. Self-identity. The cosmic plan of creation.
Known as the Great Malefic, Saturn symbolizes contraction, restriction, structure, discipline, and authority. It is sometimes referred to as the cosmic taskmaster and always represents the cold-hard reality of a situation.
Shadow side: injustice, dogma, lack of insight, prejudice, preconception, stagnation, indecision, irresponsibility, obstinacy, false judgements, holding on to the past, and refusing to accept that the past is gone.
Stones: Jet, obsidian, onyx, and smoky quartz.
NOTE: Both planets deal with large-scale issues of authority and leadership but in different ways. (Power struggles?)
(Ruled by Saturn)
Crystallization of inspiration. Spiritual insight. Wishes. Liberation, fulfillment, and promise. Imagination. Peace and tranquility. Calm and perfect faith. Rejuvenation. A unity of thought and spirit. Carefree, optimistic. Union with the Everlasting. Following our star. Living in the perfect present moment. Siren songs and haunting beauty.
An Air sign, Aquarius symbolizes social change, humanitarian efforts, justice for all, progressiveness, independence, and idealism, freedom. Aquarius governs innovation, technology, and surprising events. Note: Aquarius is ruled by Uranus (originally Saturn).
Shadow side: Detachment, rigidity, aloofness, lack of empathy, and unpredictability.
Colors: Aquamarine, electric blue, and violet.
Stones: Amethyst, garnet, turquoise, jade, labradorite, and aquamarine.
Incense: Sage, lotus.
The Sabian symbol for Aquarius 0° is An old adobe mission. “It is almost inevitable that we will, at some point, be called upon to defend and protect what we think of as home, family and community. […] An aware person is tested to remember their own true spiritual state at all times…In a world of deceit and illusion, where nothing is ever completely fixed in time, this presents a prodigious challenge.” [source]
2020 sees the end of a 200-year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in Earth signs, with the focus being on material security and a resistance to change. This could explain society’s “obsession with material things, conquering land, and money“. We may be entering the Age of Aquarius where we will shift our focus to the collective and humanitarianism, creating new forms of group consciousness, cultural change, innovation, and reform. This Great Conjunction also marks changes within ourselves, for this is where true change in the world begins.
Set intentions. Focus on the positive. AIM HIGH and fly like an Eagle. Act honorably. What we do as we enter this new era – individually and collectively – will set in motion that which will be actualized over the next 20 years.