Yin and Yang

It’s funny that we plan for the holidays when the sun is in bright, optimistic Sagittarius, but they arrive when Sol has moved into practical Capricorn.

I love Sagittarius. Not so much people who are born under that sign - although you all are great, too - but the time each year when the sun is in Sag. On the one hand, it really is the Yin time of year, when the days are shortest (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the light is ebbing.

Yet it is so easy to see why Sag is a bright Fire sign. There’s an optimism and hope associated with the sign. Sure, the days are dark, but we’ll make our own light! From Chanukah and Kwanza candles to Christmas lights adoring trees, houses, and streets, we kindle our own light at this time of the year, lighting the darkness. No doubt these festivals of light started as ways to both celebrate and encourage the return of the sun, who sinks southwards each day during Sag.

When the sun is in Sag, we lean in towards the holidays. We anticipate the New Year. We take a long view of the year that is ending, look forward to some (perhaps illusory) time off, and go inwards to regenerate. The earliest sunsets here in New York are right around the middle of Sagittarius, in the first week in December. After that, the light already begins to grow in the evenings, however slowly.

I always see Sag as a time to take account of things, to explore. I imagine myself sitting with a text of Neoplatonic philosophy, or maybe old astrological lore, or perhaps learning some esoteric musical scales. Many years, nothing like this actually happens, and great plans that never come to be are also Sagittarian. But Sag encourages us onwards and upwards. It is easy to see - to feel - why this sign rules higher learning, spiritual education, and gurus.

Venus retrogrades through the end of 2013 and January of 2014, coloring the holiday season. With the goddess in practical Capricorn, we may question the extent to which we are simply going through the motions of holiday festivities, whether it is office parties, family gatherings, or social meetings. In this era of Uranus-Pluto things are changing fast, and the traditions that have warmed us for so long may start to feel a little flat.

For those inclined to break the bank in order to buy gifts, Venus retrograde may help us to understand that what is a marvelous present today becomes just stuff tomorrow. The thrill of the new only lasts as long as something really is new. We love giving each other that thrill, yet we sometimes do so at a great cost for a very small payoff. Yet on another level Venus retrograde reminds us that if we don’t overspend during the holiday season, our entire economy suffers - what are we to make of that paradox?