Although December brings the longest night of the year, we have no shortage of celestial light this month. All the planets remain overhead as the sun sets. Mercury and Venus re-emerge in the evening sky, but hover low on the horizon, just visible at the edges of the sun’s rays and setting shortly after our central luminary. Saturn and Jupiter, which have been slowly separating following their spectacular conjunction one year ago this month, are prominent in the evening sky. Saturn’s brightness wanes as it appears lower in the western sky with each sunset. With Jupiter’s relative position to the sun forming a right angle, it reaches the apex of its arc across the sky as the sun is setting. Mars steals the show, however, currently at its most radiant as it forms an opposition to the sun at the start of the month. Remember, the planets appear in the night sky before all but the brightest stars. The evening twilight is an excellent time to see the planets in relation to one another, without interference of the constellations. If you’re having trouble distinguishing the planets, use the moon to guide you. The moon will pass by Jupiter (and Neptune) on Dec. 1 (then again on the 28th/29th), Uranus on Dec. 5, Mars on the 7th, Mercury and Venus on Christmas Eve, and Saturn on the 26th.
As we reach the year’s end, many of us are reflecting on the events of the preceding months and looking forward to a fresh start in 2023. In many ways, this has been a transitional year, tying up the loose ends of long-standing aspects and giving us a glimpse into what is approaching. Beginning with Venus retrograde, and ending with Mars retrograde, in 2022 these two transits have been further emphasized by the eclipses occurring in the signs of their rulership — Taurus (Venus) and Scorpio (Mars). Much of what we’ve learned over the past 12 months has illuminated the shadow side of our cravings, comforts, passions, and pursuits. The information we’ve gained is instructive as we consider our New Year’s resolutions. At the year’s turning, Jupiter moves into Aries. Although a vision burns within us, Mars (ruler of Aries) is retrograde in Gemini (ruled by Mercury, also retrograde), seeks to dispel any self-sabotaging attitudes and behaviors before moving ahead toward manifestation. Keep in mind a broader cosmic shift is upon us. In the coming March, Saturn moves into Pisces, and Pluto into Aquarius. Our faith will be tested, as id competes with superego. Use these dark months to rest and gestate. By spring something new will be ready to emerge, and your patience with the process will pay off. Endeavor to repurpose this energy into a more useful fuel.