The Astrology of December 2023

The Astrology of December 2023

Sea-goat's Solstice

and the Double Station New Year

Benefic Enclosure

Words you won't be reading very often for the next few months. Sorry to have to say. So, soak these ones up!

Days featuring benefic enclosure have moments where conditions in the sub-lunar world go from good to great, from great to grand, from something worth remembering to something worth writing home about. You see the wonderful pattern?

Overall, the month of December has us reassessing the material meaning of our personal philosophy as Mercury moves retrograde from 8° Capricorn all the way back to 22° Sagittarius as we ring in the new year.

Transit Highlights

  • Mercury Retrograde
  • Jupiter stations direct
  • Venus square and then later sextile Pluto, opposite Jupiter and Uranus, trine Saturn, and sextile Mercury
  • Mercury sextile Saturn and Venus, then trines Jupiter a couple of times
  • Neptune and Chiron station direct too

Long Term Cycles

(movement of the superior planets through the terms)

Oh the (in)dignity!

Pluto in the Terms of Mars:

Typically Pluto spends months and sometimes the entire year moving through just a single term. In 2023 Pluto has changed signs twice, and is gonna do so a few more times in 2024.

This month Pluto is moving to the beat of Mars. Thinking theoretically, that should be intensity, corruption, and obsession playing out with the tools of violent aggression... like war, the military, etc. Since war, violence, and militaries are (sadly) ever-present features of human activity, we can hardly pin them to the place of Pluto's terms alone.

Neptune in the Terms of of Mars:

Neptune in Pisces has seen a long building interest in metaphysics, spirituality, as well as a maddening dissolution of firm facts. In the terms of Mars, Neptune's faculty of imagination is turned toward the bloody world of strife and competition. That's the negative side. At least for your trusted astrologer's own rigorous self-study has revealed a surprisingly pleasant set of facets to the Mars-Neptune story: taking action on dreams.

Neptune is the planet of dreamy imagination. Mars is the planet of vigorous ambition. While putting those two hands together doesn't necessarily yield beauty and wonder– it absolutely can.

Neptune remains in the terms of Mars until early-April.

Uranus in the Terms of Jupiter:

Uranus is another one of the planets that can spend many months in a single term. In this case Uranus spent July 7th - October 20th in the terms of Saturn, but has spent every other day this year in Jupiter's, including the all of December.

Saturn in the Terms of Venus:

Saturn continues to move through Venus's enormously large terms of Pisces. We'll likely continue to see arts & culture reflect the somber and morose Saturn vibe as all that melancholia manifests through the instruments and ambassadors of Venus.

Jupiter in the Terms of Venus:

The Ju-ju(piter) train is slowing to an anticipated arrival at the station degree of 5° Taurus – also in Venus's terms. Growth, expansion, education are mobilizing for more Venus!

Mars through the Terms of Sagittarius:

Mars will move through most of Sagittarius over the course of the month, essentially giving us 5 different variation of Mars in Sagittarius energy to work with.

From the beginning of the month up until the evening of December 10th Mars will be traveling through Jupiter's terms of Sagittarius. The two aren't able to see one another, but they do exchange triplicity. There's the most tenuous of alliances here where righteous indignation meets prodigious endurance, or where competitive strategy and patience align.

December 10th - December 17th

At 7:07 pm PST, Mars enters Venus's terms of Sagittarius brining almost half the sky inside her boundaries.

Mars in the terms of Venus is a boon to the artforms that require the use of tools that are sharp, violent, hot, or which make use of metals. From needle-arts like felting and embroidery to jewelry making – if you work in any of these mediums, take advantage. (Especially the 10th - 13th when Venus is in her own terms as well.)

December 17th - 23rd

At 3:54 pm PST, Mars enters Mercury's terms of Sagittarius. Mercury will already be retrograde in Capricorn by that time. If Mars is furious affection and it's made lofty and philosophical in Sagittarius, we might expect to be motivated to take a stand, or eager to explore the higher purpose of a thing. In Mercury's terms of Sagittarius, that urge to learn can become exacting and precise. Though with Mercury retrograde it's likely that we may rush ahead, skim superficially, or jump to conclusions.

The Sun, Venus and Mercury move through a given term in anywhere from just a couple days up to just shy of two weeks (at the very longest). Though their movements through the terms matter, there are too many to cover here.

Check out the weekly Skyvibe Serial forecasts for more.

Lunar Cycles

Fortnightly Lunacy

New Moon at 20°40' Sagittarius

At 3:31 pm on December 12th, the Moon links up with the Sun late in the sign of the Centaur – in the latter bestial half, in case you were wondering.

Full Moon at 4°58' Cancer

The Moon swims in home waters waxing to fullness opposite the Sun in early Capricorn on December 26th at 4:33 pm.

Weekly Overviews

Week #48: November 26th - December 2nd

Friday the 1st

Mercury enters Capricorn

The tricky talented and trick-tongued Mercury saunters into the Sea-goats brackish hood. But not for long. Mercury is preparing to station retrograde, heading all the way back to into Sagittarius.

Saturday the 2nd

Mercury at 1° Capricorn sextile Saturn at 1° Pisces

This is the first of several such sextiles the two will form over the course of the next two months.

Week #49: 3rd - 9th

Sunday the 3rd

Venus at 28° Libra square Pluto at 28° Capricorn

This is the final winding down of the Venus-Pluto Capricorn flavored cycles. Next year, when Venus and Pluto meet in the sky it will be in Aquarius.

If you're following Pluto with consideration of AI – especially as it pertains to the arts– in mind, then trends concerning the proliferation of 'AI'-enhanced art tools and the initial development of data-set "poisoning" pixel products will be of particular interest.

Theft of art has always been an issue. From exquisitely crafted but forged fine art to shameless unattributed reposted of the new dank meme, it's doubtful that trend is going to change. Particularly as we move to an increasingly information-cum-social-capital based economy. When people's time and attention are the final financial frontier, anyone who can sell someone else the promise of capturing that time and attention has the potential to shake the money tree.

Pluto in Capricorn is on their very last leg in the land of the Earth signs. By the end of 2024 they'll make a very-long-term move and join the scouting party for the Age of Air.

Monday the 4th

Venus enters Scorpio

In Scorpio she has triplicity by day, and her own decan in the final 10° of the sign. The Scorpion is a nocturnal sign - Venus is a nocturnal planet. While visceral passions aren't the preferred tools of Venus (those would be embodied pleasure) there's certainly at least a sliver of an overlap in the venn diagram of significations for those two signs.

Tuesday the 5th

Venus at 1° Scorpio trine Saturn at 1° Pisces

Remember above, in long term cycles, where we pointed out that Saturn is in the terms of Venus? We'll, Saturn is also in the triplicity (by day) as well as in the exaltation of Venus– meaning Saturn is very responsive to the pleasantly flowing contact coming their way.

Saturn provides form, structure and longevity, where Venus brings aesthetic, harmony, and pleasure.

Artists: this ought to be a favorable moment for working on long-term projects, or taking an inspired idea and giving it flesh and bones.

Wednesday the 6th

Neptune stations Direct

Neptune is one of those planets that spends half the year moving one direction or the other. Given Neptune's significations have to do with imagination, image, and media, it's debatable whether the retrograde really causes those to work in ways that are at odds with themselves.

That said, those who want to learn about the planets through direct observation would do well to take note of any shifts in the transparency of media reporting, in the clarity of imagination or inspiration, and in the ability to enact compassion with a healthy dose of boundaries.

Thursday the 7th

Mercury at 6° Capricorn trine Jupiter at 6° Taurus

This is the first of three times that Mercury and Jupiter will line up by trine between now and mid-January. With our attention to minutia at a maximum and our understanding of the material reconfiguring, the big transiting aspect of the day suggests its time to learn how to work with what we've got. Whether that's balancing a literal checkbook, syncing apps to get those years-ends underway, or figuring out where exactly the bottom line is. Skies say you'll be piecing the puzzle together for the next several weeks– so there's no rush to find an answer, just to establish a process that keeps you correctly assessing realities facts.

An instructional GIF! How to fill out a personal check. A single finger with emerald glittering nail pointing to the lines (as caption text hovers) for "here, the name," "here, the amount," "here, the amount, only in letters," and "and here... the secret" (finger points to the memo line).
Who even has these anymore?

Saturday the 9th

Venus at 6° Scorpio opposite Jupiter at 6° Taurus

Jupiter is in terms which belong to Venus, inside of a sign that belongs to Venus. Venus in Scorpio is

Background image shows the Moon between Jupiter and Venus. Text reads: "Benefic Enclosure Alert! December 9th 06:23 - 07:41 AM PST"

Week #50: 10th - 16th

Monday the 11th

Mercury at 8° Capricorn sextile Venus at 8° Scorpio

Just ahead of Mercury's retrograde, the two interior planets make their widest possible aspect. This is something that can happen a handful of times in a single year, or—like we're about to experience—only once across the whole damn calendar. Though the two formed a sextile a total of four times in 2023 (including this one) the next time Mercury and Venus will be making such a clear connection is December of 2024.

Tuesday the 12th

Mercury stations retrograde at 8°29' Capricorn

New Moon at 20°40' Sagittarius

Whatever got Mercury so damn confused back in November has now caught up with us. Mercury will spend a total of 19 days retrograde and retrace a total of 16° degrees before turning right way forward again on New Year's Day.

Friday the 15th

Mars at 15° Sagittarius trine Chiron at 15° Aries

Might we finally be feeling motivated enough to bring something to a head, to speak up, to confront whatever wound or hang-up has caused us to maintain a relationship pattern or cycle that doesn't work for us? For them? At all? Or at least, not long-term?

Mars in Sagittarius wants to take a stand, and Chiron in Aries longs to heal relational wounds - especially the ones that center around confusion regarding the correct way proportion of relating and individuation.

Saturday the 16th

Sun at 24° Sagittarius square Neptune at 24° Pisces

The Sun illuminates where Neptune obfuscates. The bright light of the Sun leaves nothing left to the imagination while the fogginess of Neptune is allows the imagination to run wild. The square between the two– the one that marks the beginning of the end of the current cycle which began at 25° Pisces back in March of this year, and which resets at the next conjunction in March.

Week #51: 17th - 23rd

Monday the 18th

Mercury at 5° Capricorn trine Jupiter at 5° Taurus

The second meeting of the two this month, with a third connection due mid-January. This time Mercury is moving backwards and working to clarify confusion or locate details now known to be missing.

Wednesday the 20th

Venus at 19° Scorpio opposite Uranus at 19° Taurus

Unconventional desires or relationship dynamics? You don't say! Trying out the freaky, kinky, and downright weird is one way this aspect can manifest. More broadly we may be feeling the tension between freedom and relations.

Thursday the 21st

Mercury at 2° Capricorn sextile Saturn at 2° Pisces

Sun enters Capricorn

Today marks the Sea-goat's Solstice and the start of Winter for the Northern Hemisphere and Summer for the Southern. For all the Sun is as southerly in the sky as they get.

The sextile between Mercury and Saturn suggests a certain gritty realism to whatever story we're rewinding.

A retro clip of a woman's manicured hand inserting a VHS into a front-loading VCR.
Please be kind, rewind.

Friday the 22nd

Sun conjunct Mercury at 0° Capricorn

Mercury re-enters Sagittarius

Today marks a day for clarity, or at least clarification. Though not answers per se. That comes about a month from now when Mercury clears the shadow degrees post-retrograde.

Week #52: 24th - 30th

The final week of the year is busy with transits beyond the Moon's daily-do.

Sunday the 24th

Sun at 2° Capricorn sextile Saturn at 2° Pisces

This is the equivalent of a waning crescent Moon, to put the aspect in terms that are easier to see and relate to. The cycle that began last year with the Sun and Saturn's conjunction in Aquarius is almost complete. So too is the period of time where the Sun's conjunctions with Saturn happen on Saturn's terms (or rather, in Saturn's signs). The next conjunction, in February, will mark the first of nearly two dozen that'll occur before Saturn is in a sign that dignifies those rings.

That said, the Sun is in Saturn's house, giving us the ability to see more clearly the things that we're committed to, afraid of, and just what makes our discipline tick.

Monday the 25th

Venus at 24° Scorpio trine Neptune at 24° Pisces

Venus's trine to Neptune ought to facilitate a great time with visually based media and arts. From viewing paintings at a fine arts museum to watching your favorite trashy TV. Just because these two lean toward things produced on film doesn't mean that the other arts are out. Listen to your favorite tunes. Read a book. Listen to a great podcast or audiobook. Point is: Venus brings the pleasure and Neptune brings the immersion. On the flip side, makers of art ought to have an easier time find the Muses.

Tuesday the 26th

Full Moon at 4°58' Cancer

Chiron stations direct

Mercury at 25° Sagittarius square Neptune at 25° Pisces

The Full Moon occurring on the same day as Mercury's square to Pisces brings emotions, imagination to the fore. Mercury in Sagittarius is known for verbal hijinks, while Neptune in Pisces brought us fictionalized "truth". Light the two up under the light of the full moon and it's possible slips of the tongue inadvertently reveal our inner emotional state.

Wednesday the 27th

Sun at 5° Capricorn trine Jupiter at 5° Taurus

Mercury conjunct Mars at 24° Sagittarius

The Sun's trine to Jupiter is typically quite nice. With the Sun in Capricorn our attention is on conservation and continuation. While Jupiter in Taurus has seemed to be concerned with access to the fundamental resources like food and land - access to nature, to public and third spaces.

Mercury's conjunction to Mars is typically spicy. Often funny. With the two in Sagittarius it's likely to be riotously so. With Mercury already in the pre-retrograde shadow it would be wise to remember that once said, words can't be taken back.

Thursday the 28th

Mars at 25° Sagittarius square Neptune at 25° Pisces

Venus at 29° Scorpio sextile Pluto at 29° Capricorn

One might think that the square between Mars and Neptune would bring malicious confusion, or aggression through mystical means. But based on observation it seems, that at least on the individual level, Mars brings a will to act to Neptune's visions and dreams.

Venus sextile to Pluto puts relational power dynamics under scrutiny. Venus has a complicated relationship to Scorpio, particularly the final ten degrees. Here Venus has a special power to charm. I recommend thinking back to over the last couple of years as Venus has made annual connections with Pluto in Capricorn. Think: inherited social scripts, gendered power dynamics and social roles, their ilk, and all the things you've been doing to subvert them in the inter-personal realm, and the wider societal level.

Friday the 29th

Venus enters Sagittarius

Venus leaving Scorpio and entering Sagittarius is an odd one. Whereas, the same cannot be said for the sign of the bowed-up horse-man. Sagittarius is diurnal and fiery. Venus has a few degrees for terms - as all five classical planets do in every single sign. So, we're really looking at full on stranger in an alien landscape vibes when it comes this planet-sign pair.

Saturday the 30th

Jupiter stations direct

Jupiter stationing direct is the last big aspect of the month – and year. Abundance, fertility, growth and expansion, all begin moving back on track. Though, it'll be a couple of months before Jupiter breaks new ground in Taurus.

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Bear Ryver is a professional astrologer helping his clients hone strategies for grounded growth and embodied empowerment by bringing them back to the BASICS. Winner of OPA’s Most Promising Astrologer in 2018, Bear has lectured at conferences like NORWAC and ISAR. He holds certifications in Hellenistic, Electional, and Horary astrology, and specializes in Intersectional Astrology. He was a teacher for the Portland School of Astrology, and has volunteered as a mentor for AFAN. When he’s not talking stars, or pulling cards, you can find him climbing rocks and playing guitar.