No sooner had the Thanksgiving leftovers been stowed away than my Facebook feed erupted in verbal fistfights about the language of the holiday season. Evidently, “Happy Holidays” is no longer a gently inclusive expression of good will, but the opening salvo in a new Crusades. And forget about “Xmas” as well, warned an indignant friend who demanded we “keep Christ in Christmas!” (I refrained from pointing out that the “X” in Xmas actually stands for Christ, because when someone is perched atop that high of a horse, facts might unbalance them and cause a nasty spill.)
Personally, I use Xmas prodigiously—not out of disrespect for others’ beliefs (I don’t celebrate Christmas but have no beef with those who do), but because it’s short and snappy. But since someone brought it up, I’ll state for the record that I don’t enjoy Christmas or Xmas. The vapid Christmas music and insipid holiday-themed movies, the unbridled spending, the hysteria of Black Friday and small business Saturday and cyber-Monday, and especially, turning what should be a season of kindness and joy into a philosophical battleground…whatever you wish to call our December holiday season, I call it exhausting.
I bring all this up, I suppose, because Saturn is getting ready to move in to Sagittarius (December 23). When a big, slow-moving planet lumbers into a new sign, it awakens new territory—in this case, the land of beliefs. Petty arguments about holiday greetings are examples of Sagittarius’ shadow side, the calcification of personal convictions into something ungenerous and exclusionary. Society still carries the scars of Pluto moving through Sagittarius from 1995 to 2008, when religious bickering and political bludgeoning took an ugly turn from which civility has never quite recovered. It would be a shame if Saturn moving through this sign reignited ancient grudges, encouraging the transfer of old opinions to new stone tablets. (more…)