Through ancestral patterns and natural alignment with the turning seasons of our beautiful planet, the winter solstice activates our human desires of companionship and festivity. As the longest day descends, we welcome back the light with family, friends and general merrymaking. It is, perhaps, the one time of the year that people make an effort to connect with others even if it is under the term ‘Christmas’. For those of us who don’t follow a Christian path, we can look the other way because the spirit of Yule is not bound to manmade labels.
But this year, it is different.
Here in Wales, as I write, emergency lockdown measures came into force at midnight. It’s another full national lockdown with restrictions on every part of life. The activities we usually enjoy at this time of year are not available. There will be no feasting and gift exchange with extended family and friends. Many countries have similar restrictions in place.
It might seem like the darkness of 2020 continues even though the light of the sun will grow stronger, little by little, until the summer solstice. Our version of normal, those pre Covid-19 times, is becoming a distant memory, being replaced with bleakness, loneliness and a deep longing to expand beyond the four walls we call home.
Yet, there is still comfort and joy to be found in the season.
On the winter solstice, the so-called Star of Bethlehem, will be visible in the night sky. It’s the Saturn-Jupiter great conjunction and it means that those two planets will appear like a bright star in the sky. I’m not an astrologer but after reading about it, it feels like a big deal (a goose-pimple, life-changing alignment). The Rising Woman website calls it ‘a profound awakening’.
On our darkest day of a year that was topsy-turvy and challenging on many levels, these planets come together to give us a once-in-a-lifetime visual. We can go out into the night or evening and look up towards the heavens.
If you do no other ritual for Yule, do that one. Be in the darkness. Look up.
Saturn and Jupiter have very different energies.
Saturn can bring about traditions, rigidity, restriction, materialism and suffering. It can turn your world inside out. It’s challenging. I remember when Saturn returned in my chart – it was like living in the Tower card from tarot. Every day, my life seemed to crumble around me, destroying old patterns and forcing me to build up again. Saturn is intense.
Jupiter is the planet of luck and good fortune. It’s expansive, tolerant and generous. If there ever were a deity to adopt for the foreseeable future then Jupiter is your guy/god. I think I will personally adopt him.
As you can tell, the planetary alignment on 21 December is interesting. Expansion meets restriction. Will it implode or explode? The choice, I believe, is up to us.
There is a certain amount of comfort to be found in the darkness – we begin our journey into this world in the dark realm of the womb. With the added government restrictions (Saturn’s influence?), this darkest part of the year feels like hibernation. It can be restful and restorative. However, we’re never meant to remain there forever. We visit for a while and then step into the light.
That’s when we need to take Jupiter’s hand and decide our personal move forward. A step that has to be made within Saturn’s rules and regulations but just enough to the edge of the path to be different. We’ve made it to the end of 2020 – not everyone did. How can you expand? How can you be generous? How can you attract more luck and blessings?
And, importantly, how can you be generous to others? It’s a difficult time and some people have found it more challenging than others. A stark reminder for me is that there is a man living in a tent under the railway bridge, just at the end of the lane near my home. I walk over his ‘home’ every time I go into town (generally to go shopping for food – a blessing not given to the homeless guy). If we want to change circumstances and situations, including on a global level, then perhaps we have to be jolly Jupiter’s earthly ambassadors. Remember, the ‘Star of Bethlehem’ is only visible if we look outside of ourselves and up. It’s bigger than the personal light we carry inside.
And I know it is not easy to think about expansion when the world has contracted. The normal New Year resolutions or similar must be made with limitations in mind but there is a blessing in that too. We can’t assume that any time forward will be free of restrictions so we have to consider personal growth rather than external experiences as how to manoeuvre into the light. We shun Saturn’s materialist influence and look for freedom elsewhere. Freedom to grow in ways that allow us to BE more rather than HAVE more.
Every day, even though it might not feel like it when you’re in lockdown, is a new start. The winter solstice this year doesn’t bring more opportunities than any other but the energy is ripe for us to use what’s been dealt and to shuffle the deck in our favour. We can’t necessarily control anything that happens outside of us – I think 2020 has shaken us out of the complacency of thinking that we can – but we can choose to find comfort and joy in the moment. It’s all that we have. Let’s use it wisely.