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Astrology Highlights for Dec. 18-24, 2023: Nowhere to Go But Up

The Archway

The week begins with the second in a series of three Mercury trines to Jupiter (Dec. 18, 2023, 6:28 am PST, 05º21’ Capricorn-Taurus; the first was on December 7, and the final one rolls out on Jan. 19, 2024). Mercury and Jupiter in earth signs are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and tackle big projects, with sheer grit and determination marking the road to success.

Mercury’s Sabian symbol is 6 Capricorn, Dark archway with ten logs at the bottom. With those ten logs at the bottom of the archway for extra material, we have the supplies we need to get the job done. And Jupiter’s symbol, 6 Taurus, A bridge being built across a gorge implies that new pathways of communication are opening up with those who could be helpful to us.

Since Mercury is still retrograde, building could be delayed, but this is a good time to double check your plans and approach.

Leap of Faith

Neptune gets bad press for causing confusion or deception. But first of all, Neptune doesn’t “cause” anything; and second, like all the planets it symbolizes positive as well as negative qualities.

This First Quarter Moon in Pisces (Dec. 19, 2023, 10:39 am PST) conjoins Neptune, with both square the Sun. Does this signal a week of bumping into furniture and forgetting everyone’s names? I mean, there could be some of that. The First Quarter phase urges us to take action, but that can be a little bit tricky under foggy, Pisces/Neptune conditions.

Then again, what Neptune times lack in clarity, they make up for with faith. And leaps of faith are all the more effective when we’re guided by Neptune’s intuition and vision.

Drawing the Curtains

Venus opposes Uranus this week (Dec. 20, 2023, 11:04 pm PST, 19º39’ Scorpio-Taurus). Venus’s Sabian symbol is 20 Scorpio, A woman drawing two dark curtains aside, and Uranus is on 20 Taurus, Wind, clouds, and haste. It’s time to open up the curtains and let in the light, to help us identify what it is that we really care about, what we value, and what brings us pleasure.

But when we open up those curtains, our view is of the wind, clouds, and haste of turbulent, unpredictable Uranus. Things are moving quickly. Everyone around us seems to be rushing. And we might look at all that and think, “That’s a little too much. Maybe I should close these curtains again.”

Take a breath. You don’t need to move any more quickly than you’re ready to. But this opposition aspect highlights the importance of at least opening ourselves up to new possibilities and new ways of looking at things, and to engage a little more with the world and its wildish elements.

Nowhere to Go But Up

At the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere, as the Sun enters Capricorn (Dec. 21, 2023, 7:27 pm PST), it reaches its lowest point in the midday sky. Energy and spirits can be low. We’re headed for the finish line, and as we look back over the calendar year, we may be tempted to chastise ourselves for what we haven’t accomplished.

At the Capricorn Solstice, there’s nowhere to go but up. Over the coming months, the Sun will begin its gradual ascent, eventually reaching its highest point at the summer solstice.

Fittingly, we make resolutions at this time of year. To what heights might we climb in the year ahead? Meanwhile, it’s dark and cold, and we light fires and candles and plug in sparkling lights to remind us that it won’t be this dark forever.

I think many of us are feeling the need for some light at this Solstice. Things have felt pretty dark for a while, and it’s really nice to be reminded that everything is part of a cycle, and that the light is on its way back.


The Sun and Mercury make a conjunction this week (Dec. 22, 2023, 10:54 am PST, 00º39’ Capricorn) on the Sabian symbol 1 Capricorn, Indian chief demanding recognition. This, of course, is the Sun’s Sabian symbol each year as it enters Capricorn. It’s good symbolism, because earning and demanding recognition is a big part of the Capricorn story.

I’m a bit mad at this Indian chief, though, because I keep wondering: Is it the same one from that symbol, Scorpio 29: Indian woman pleading to her chief for the lives of her children? Coming across against that Sabian symbol in recent weeks, as planets were moving from Scorpio to Sagittarius, I felt sad every time I saw it. But then again, we don’t know how that story turned out. Maybe the chief was just and kind. However it was resolved, for good or ill, the chief receives his recognition at this conjunction.

Likewise, this aspect brings recognition for each of us – if not from the world, certainly as we recognize in ourselves who we are and what we have achieved. Sometimes we’re a positive force for leadership and authority, and other times we let Capricorn’s merciless side get the best of us. As the Sun comes together with Mercury, it’s the time to look within and decide: Is this the story I want to tell about myself? Is this how I wish to be recognized?


Missing Arrows

I once served on a board of directors with a delightful Sagittarian who consistently brought to the table an endless supply of big, marvelous ideas. While he openly acknowledged that following through on them was not his strong suit, his invaluable contributions played a crucial role in propelling the organization forward. After all, follow-through isn’t much use with inspiration.

While Mercury moved through Sagittarius between Nov. 9 and Dec. 1, you may have found your mind overflowing with big ideas. Once Mercury entered Capricorn (Dec. 1) and you settled down to work on a few of them, perhaps there was a nagging feeling of having overlooked something. As Mercury retrograde revisits Sagittarius (Dec. 22, 2023, 10:17 pm PST through Jan. 13, 2024), see if you find any arrows that fell out of your quiver the first time around, gather them up, and pass them off to Capricorn for finishing in the new year.

The Impasse

The Sun makes a sextile to Saturn this week (Dec. 24, 2023, 9:28 am PST, 2º37′ Capricorn and Pisces) on the Sabian symbols 3 Capricorn: Human soul receptive to growth and understanding, and 3 Pisces: A petrified forest. A sextile aspect represents an offer or an opportunity that can bring rewards if we choose to take it. And this particular sextile suggests that a willingness to listen and understand could create movement in an ongoing emotional impasse.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen petrified wood. It looks like stone – and it’s difficult to make your way through something that hard. If you’ve been estranged from someone who matters to you and have been feeling that you want to reach out, to try to cut through the stony forest that divides you, here’s your chance. Just remember that the key to progress lies in really listening, with your heart as well as your ears, rather than simply restating your own point of view.

Writing and images © 2017-23 by April Elliott Kent

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