Winter Solstice 21st December 2016 10:45
Is it not time, that in loving,
we freed ourselves from the loved one, and, quivering, endured:
as the arrow endures the string, to become, in the gathering outleap
something more than itself? For staying is nowhere.
Rilke, First Duino Elegy
The Winter Solstice is defined by the Sun’s entry into Saturn-ruled Capricorn. Saturn is the signifier of the descent into the darkest time, when energies are most contracted. Leaves have dried and fallen as earth energies have been withdrawing; slowly the colours of growth and freshness have faded and we are now seeing the beautiful, subtle hues of the mute midwinter palette. This is an apparent point of stasis. And yet there is activity – amongst the roots and around the seeds: the new cycle of growth that will burgeon into being in spring is now being cultivated in chill and darkness. This is the time of clarifying intention and conditioning the many aspects of the new cycle of becoming that lies ahead.
For in truth, nothing stands still; “staying is nowhere”. Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius will last one more year. One more year of cautious exploration into the realm of the foreign, in search of new laws, new opportunities and new meaning. In Sagittarius Saturn is reaching out, with somewhat hedged optimism, towards others, hoping for new associations, new systems of order to replace the battered and broken ones that are evidently no longer fit for purpose. Saturn is being urged to expand, to move out beyond the known. This year has shown that the old way is no longer viable; it can’t be reinstated. The systems and structures of authority, security and state organisation signified by Saturn were under the eroding influence of Neptune over the last year. Much has been washed away by that great neptunian wave. It is natural to want to return to the status quo – but the rock we were all standing on is nowhere to be seen!
We’ve got to decide on which rock we will stand. What are principles that will uphold us in this moment of decision, for it is the principles that are crucial at this time? Saturn will empower whatever principles we espouse. What will it be: material desire, ambition, greed and separatism or desire for social justice, humanitarian aspiration and acknowledging interconnection? These are just examples. We all have these choices to make, individually and collectively.
At the time of the Winter Solstice, Saturn, its ruler, will be in a trine with Uranus, which heralds the emergence of positive force to break up further the blockages and stuckness in our conventions, systems of authority, order, security and realism (personal and collective). Uranus is Merlin to Saturn’s Arthur: Saturn may hold the sceptre but it’s Uranus that is the charismatic power behind the throne. Uranus breaks up what is inauthentic in Saturn, freeing him of the bonds of obsolete tradition, urging us all towards liberation. At the solstice moment Uranus is striking Saturn with a download of crackling intuition. The impulse is towards breakthrough and moving on from the restrictive patterns of the past. The holding places of fear and mistrust will be exposed, and it is our sense of woundedness that will hold us back. But this same woundedness, if we do not turn our heads away from it, blame another for it, or become paralysed in the face of it, will bear the gifts of compassion, healing and wisdom. There is a need for us to see what is broken in our lives and in our world and to take care of it. The trine of Saturn and Uranus, brought in with this Winter Solstice, accompanies us throughout the year, becoming exact on 26th December ’16, 19th May and 11th November ’17. This is a positive opportunity, an encouragement to change; we are granted the vision to see the innovations that are needed for the renewal of our systems and structures.
The opportunity is here; we have to do the work – ours are the only hands god has, as the phrase has it. Attempting to resuscitate old defunct forms will yield a very bitter harvest indeed by 2021. Certainly the challenges we face should incentivise us to do the restructuring work Uranus is encouraging as Pluto continues its slow trawl through Capricorn, sign of the Winter Solstice. Here it is relentlessly exposing the rottenness, toxicity and corruption in the state, its systems of authority, organisations, financial and economic matters and the fraught relationship between child and authoritative adult. Pluto exposes abuse of all kinds; its operation is drastic and traumatic. We might all wish things were other than as they are but Pluto insists we get acquainted with what’s been happening beneath the surface, beyond appearances. It’s natural to want to avert our gaze, zone out, plug in to distraction, there is a pressing need for us to wake up and be present, to feel and deal with our emotional reactions. As Don Juan Matus tells Carlos Castaneda in Journey to Ixtlan:
Lowering his voice to almost a whisper, he said that if I really felt that my spirit was distorted I should simply fix it – purge it, make it perfect – because there was no other task in our entire lives more worthwhile. Not to fix the spirit was to seek death, and that was the same as to seek nothing, since death was going to overtake us regardless of anything.
He paused for a long time and then he said with a tone of profound conviction, ‘To see the perfection of the warrior’s spirit is the only task worthy of our manhood.’
Now, into the mess of human existence comes the divine child, the light within each one of us that will grow with the waxing power of the Sun, ‘great giver of all that is’. May it be honoured.