On Monday December 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be so close that they will appear to form a "double planet." A spectacular great conjunction, as the planetary alignment has come to be known, hasn't occurred in nearly 800 years! The 2020 conjunction is especially rare because the planets haven't been observable this close together at night since medieval times, in 1226.
Aligning with the winter solstice on December 21, 2020, the two planets will be just 0.1 degrees apart — less than the diameter of a full moon. The planets will be so close, they will appear, from some perspectives, to overlap completely, creating the so-called "double planet" effect. So close, that a pinkie finger at arm's length will easily cover both planets in the sky.
The events we’re about to witness (Jupiter-Saturn are conjunction) happens only once every twenty years and is referred to as the "Star of Bethlehem"or the "Christmas Star.” This is due to the connection to the nativity story where the star guides the wise men to baby Jesus, which was believed by many Christians, to be a miracle. Time and time again, Astronomers have attempted to link the star to various rare celestial events, like supernovae and comets and a conjunction. But, although they look VERY close from Earth, in truth, they are really hundreds of millions of miles apart.
The Meaning Behind The Great Conjunction.
The end of one of the most transformative and challenging years in recent memory is approaching, and thankfully some of its heavier and more problematic energies are also finally shifting gears. The planet of both supportive structuring and stressful endings, Saturn is moving out of conservative Capricorn and into the cerebral, futuristic, forward-thinking sign of Aquarius (Dec. 16 until Mar. 2023). We should have each received a preview of how this shift in emphasis and mood of Saturn will appear in our personal lives back in mid-March through June, when Saturn briefly dipped into Aquarius before retrograding back into Capricorn. While the impact of the pandemic is a part of the preview of what Saturn in Aquarius will bring us, we could look beyond those events as well, to any new connections, inspirations, openings, as well as conflicts and barriers which arose in that time frame.
For all of us though, this shift in Saturn’s placement should lift the mood somewhat, as it signals the end of the hard labor of Saturn-Pluto that started in 2018. We will be moving into the afterbirth process over the next few years, as whatever has been born through the Saturn-Pluto period begins to grow and take shape. Strikingly, optimistic Jupiter follows Saturn into Aquarius on Dec. 19 where they will make a Great Conjunction on the Solstice, Dec. 21.
A Collective Shift is in the Works.
This particular conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn is said to signal a collective shift in the way we conceptualize the world, as Jupiter and Saturn will now be conjoining only in air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) for the next 180 years or so. This will likely be a gradual change but it suggests that new understandings of reality and how we try to organize it will take hold.
As the Sun stands still—the meaning of the word “solstice”—we could reflect on what the pandemic surfaced for us, and how those revelations might influence where we choose to place our faith, our life energy, our hopes and visions as well as our approach to creating security. As Jupiter’s expansive vision meets with Saturn’s structuring pragmatism, destabilizing Uranus is making a challenging square to them both, suggesting that real innovation is required now. Something truly new. Sentimentality about “the good old days of yore” is not likely to serve us well. Allowing real limitations to reveal new perspectives on our most fundamental relationships can drive innovation and, on the collective level, supports the emergence of healing new paradigm thinking, such as holistic medicine, sacred economics, and restorative justice.
Venus Lightens the Mood.
Venus has moved into Sagittarius (Dec. 15 to Jan. 8), also lightening the mood and inspiring our longing for greater freedom of movement and relationship. Planning trips for post-pandemic, or making adventures in the great outdoors may call to us. Other outlets could be connecting with foreign cultures through art and music, or opening our hearts to a new philosophical perspective. We may still have a bit of a hangover from the total solar eclipse in Sagittarius (Dec. 14) to work through. Note that whatever the eclipse churned up for us will likely be something we’re working with over the next six months.
Mars Pluto. Channel physical energy and emotions positively.
Even with these energetic shifts, the intensity of 2020 isn’t through with us yet. Mars, who is associated with aggravation, heat and conflict, continues to make a difficult square aspect with the volcanic force of Pluto (exact Dec. 23). Beware of flying off the handle at people, or otherwise misdirecting a fiercely felt will to power. Any simmering conflicts are likely to come out into the open now, though, and it could be difficult to find a way towards power-with other people (instead of trying to have power over them). Putting some space between ourselves and the situation could be helpful as it may take a month—a possibly long, aggravating month—before we can move forward together in a new direction.
Mars-Pluto wants action, and physical exertion or finding caring ways to act courageously could provide a positive channel for this energy. We might also direct it fruitfully towards activist causes, especially on behalf of the natural world or people on the margins of society.
Cosmic sightings by astrologer Erica Jones
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