Winter Solstice 2018

A Season of Complex Opportunities

Audio Version: For the audio version of this newsletter, click on the following link:




As this year ends and the dawn of the New Year is upon us, we look to The Winter Solstice chart to get clues as to how to prepare for not only this season, but for the year ahead as well. The winter season begins with the Sun moving into Capricorn December 21st at 2:23 PM on the West Coast and 5:23 PM on the East Coast. With Saturn, Pluto and the South Node also in Capricorn, we can see this sign’s dominant influence in the heavens now, and it will continue to get stronger through 2020, when Jupiter will join this powerful group. 


This can be felt as the pressure of responsibilities, to get your act together, get organized, focused and accomplish something. Be productive. Although this might sound like a season of all work and no play, there are many other influences in the Solstice chart showing this to be a season rich with opportunities, as well as complex with diversity. 


There is also a Jupiter/Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius in the Solstice chart, fueling optimism and the adventurous attitude of looking at life as a field of opportunities. This can be felt as a call to travel, explore, adventure, learn, or even write about new realms of experience. Jupiter is going to stay in its strongest sign Sagittarius for the year ahead. This positive mental attitude of Sagittarius will help you stay undaunted by all the serious responsibilities the Capricorn influences will be reminding you of. Sagittarius encourages us to move beyond existing boundaries—put on the explorer’s hat, and see what else is out there.


We are just returning from a wonderful Sagittarian experience of a trip to Cuba that our son Forest gifted us. I like the experience of getting outside of our country to see life through a different lens, and Cuba was certainly a different lens. The Cuban people live in an entirely different political and economic reality that creates a rather stark existence. Yet stripped of all the possessions we are familiar with, the beauty of open hearted humanity was abundant.


One particularly poignant story illustrates this: One day, Laurie and I went out for an explore, walking the neighborhoods and taking in the local sights, sounds and interacting with the locals as best we could, since very little English was spoken. Along the way, Laurie noticed kittens playing in a yard next to a wire fence. As she kneeled down to play with the kittens, the women sitting on her porch came over, opened the gate and invited us into her yard. We introduced ourselves and Ramona invited us into her house to see her other cats and kittens—she had 13. She took us through her 3 room house, room by room, revealing more of her tribe of kittens. She took such delight in our interest.


Her house was clean and bare of all beyond essentials—literally. Old, clean and stark. 


I noticed the one item in her house that provided an artistic touch—a large beautiful conch shell, and I asked her if she had found it at a local beach. Seeing my interest, she immediately gave it to me and insisted I have it as a gift!


What to do? I felt terrible about taking the only enhancement in her house, and yet I couldn’t refuse her genuine offering. To say I was blown away only half describes my experience—my heart was also flooded with the sheer joy of our common humanity.


(If you are interested in reading more about our trip, I have written a longer blog with more pictures posted on my website, Davidpond.com)


Mars, Neptune,and Chiron in Pisces. The watery realm of Pisces is also a strong influence in the Solstice chart, making it difficult to proceed with goals in any type of straight line manner until January 1st. The fire of Mars is pretty much extinguished while it is in the watery realm of Pisces, making it difficult to take direct action, or leaving you feeling somewhat dazed and confused. As Mars moves into its own sign of Aries at the start of the New Year, the pilot light will stay lit and the feeling of being fired up to take direct action will return, but until the end of the year, the path of the dreamer, artist, poet, dancer, spiritual dream weaver is favored over assertive, aggressive paths. Venus is in Scorpio, in supportive harmony with the Pisces planets, which favors the romantic aspect of life as well.


Head’s up: Although imagination (Neptune) coloring action (Mars) is the fuel for the inspired artist, action being influenced by imagination also leads to the notorious blind spot such as…imagining things are the way you want them to be; seeing potential that just isn’t there; or rising above and avoiding issues that really need to be dealt with. This is not to predict any of these blind spot issues, but to give the heads up to question how your imagination could be influencing your choices until January 1st. 


Full Moon in Cancer. The Moon is in late Gemini, an Air Sign, in the Solstice chart, immediately moving into Cancer and the Full Moon the next day. While in Gemini in the Solstice it chart, it brings all four elements, Fire (Sagittarius), Earth (Capricorn), Air (Gemini) and Water (Pisces) into play this season. This provides a great deal of support to live a rich, full rounded life, if one is not overwhelmed by a sea of distractions. 


The Full moon in Cancer on the day following the Solstice awakens the need for personal, emotional fulfillment to balance the worldly ambitions of Capricorn. To have a full personal life as well as a full worldly life of responsibilities is the balance. If one side or the other has been ignored, its needs will skew the balance and demand attention. 


The Full Moon occurring immediately after the Sun changes signs becomes an interesting and rare pattern throughout the season: Just as the Sun enters Capricorn on the December 21st, on the very next day there is a full moon in Cancer. As the Sun Moves into Aquarius on January 20th, the very next day is the Full Moon in Leo. And once again, just as the Sun Moves into Pisces on February 18th, there will be a full Moon in Virgo the 19th. During Full Moons, you want a full life, not sacrificing one aspect of life for another, and that becomes a theme throughout the season. Fullness comes from balancing your needs for a personal life with the fulfillment of your worldly responsibilities. A full life is a complex life—embrace complexity!


South Node and Eclipses in Capricorn

The South Node joining the Sun, Saturn and Pluto adds complexity to the Capricorn theme. The transiting South Node is our collective karma indicating where we need to let go of old ways of relying on external authority and over-focusing on worldly success. Just as there is this tremendous consolidation of planetary power occurring in Capricorn, we are all seeing the problems that come from the success at all cost mentality and from deferring to external authorities. 


There will be three solar eclipses this year, all occurring in Capricorn: January 5th, July 2nd and December 26th. Like the South Node, eclipses bring past karma to light and in Capricorn, leaders in business and politics will continue to have their hidden agendas revealed, further eroding our faith in the patriarchal system of justice and fairness.


The transiting North Node is where collective soul growth can occur and is now in Cancer, the sign of mother, and the care of the home, family and the personal side of life. Collectively, a core issue this brings up is of homelessness and how it is a growing issue in our country. One of the things I admired about Cuba is that there was no apparent homeless problem that we witnessed in our limited exposure. We did not see people sleeping under doorways, and we were in the heart of Havana. Even with the scarcity of resources they live with under the embargo, they still have managed to care for everyone’s housing needs—an issue we haven’t solved, but hopefully will address with the North Node in Cancer.


Uranus Retrograde in Aries till March 6th Uranus is in a very favorable trine to the Sun, suggesting it is a very favorable time to implement your innovative ideas for moving forward in your life. There are times that our innovative ideas just don’t fit with reality, but this is a time that you want to trust your flashes, insights, and sense of suddenly knowing the solution to something you have been struggling with. 


Although this is favorable news in our individual lives, since Uranus retrograded back into Aries in early November, the market has been very unstable, even losing considerable ground. Uranus goes back into Taurus March 6th and back into harmony with all the Capricorn planets, suggesting the time when we might expect the market to improve and move forward again.


All of this may sound like being pulled in many directions at the same time—and that is what is going on astrologically. So pray for simplicity, but embrace complexity this season. May the holiday spirit of giving and receiving touch your appreciation of our common humanity.


May you have a soulful solstice,

David.