Throughout the longest nights, the brightest star shines in Earth’s sky. Sirius, the fabled “sun behind the sun,” appears even more prominently than some of our neighboring planets. It is over 25 times more luminous than our sun, and twice as massive. Because Sirius is brighter than the other stars, and its movement more regular than the planets’, it occupies a powerful place in cultures throughout history. The sea-faring Polynesians used it as an indispensable navigational tool. For the Greeks, it heralded the “dog days” of summer, while for the Māori it announced the start of winter. Its conjunction with our sun was the chosen date for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Its heliacal rising (when it first emerges from the sun’s rays) was celebrated by the ancient Egyptians, as it was then the Nile flooded and fertility returned to the soil. As we approach the winter solstice, the power of the sun weakens, and Sirius takes reign, visible nearly all night long. It culminates at midnight on New Year’s Eve (of the Gregorian calendar). This single, “scorching” star unlocks a wealth of knowledge of the night sky, and there is no better time to view it than now.


There’s an added dose of sentimentality this holiday season, with the Cancer full moon landing on Dec. 26. As the sign of home and family, this moon is well aligned, encouraging us to nestle in with our loved ones and appreciate our shared bonds. However, this sign is also known for its claws, and with Mars squaring Neptune, we may feel frustrated when reality doesn’t match our ideals. The cause of this, however, may be rooted not in the actions of others, but our own misperceptions. With Mercury retrograde in the mix, a misplaced word could spoil our merriment. On the positive side, the Mars/Neptune connection can incline us to set our egos aside for the sake of the collective spirit. A trine between sun and Jupiter inspires magnanimity and munificence. As we move into the new year, a trine from Jupiter to the moon imparts a feeling of optimism as we look toward the coming year, while Venus square Saturn tempers the reveler’s typical tendency to excess.


~ Dawn Andreoni is a yoga teacher and astrologer. You can find out more about her offerings at or follow her at 


  • Dawn Andreoni

    Originally from the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dawn Andreoni has been studying and teaching yoga, astrology, and other mindfulness practices for over 10 years. She considers nature her foremost teacher, and is grateful to call such a glorious classroom as Lake Tahoe her home. Read her column The Stars every month. You can find out more about her offerings at or follow her at

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