Celebrating the Summer Solstice
For thousands of years, people all over the world have celebrated the first day of summer also known as Midsummer Day, St. John’s Day, Litha or the Summer Solstice. Sol + stice derives from a combination of Latin words meaning ‘sun’ + ‘to stand still.’ As the days grow longer, the sun rises higher in the sky until it seand Slavs celebrated this important celestial occasion with dancing and bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy; the Chinese associated the summer solstice with the earth, femininity and Li, the goddess of light; the Druids celebrated the solstice as the wedding of heaven and earth, while in Britain, pilgrims still gather each year at Avebury and Stonehenge to watch the dawn sun rise above the great standing stones.
This year the Australian summer solstice falls on the 21st December, a time to relish the fullness of life and raise our energy to create abundance and manifest dreams. Happy Summer Solstice to all Livingnow readers!
Sun in Sagittarius – vision, adventure and freedom
From 22nd November to 21st December, the sun travels through Sagittarius, an intuitive fire sign noted for its vision, adventurous nature and love of philosophy. Sagittarius is the ninth sign of the zodiac with keywords ‘I seek’ and ‘I expand’ and those born under the sign of the Archer often struggle to integrate their animal nature with their more lofty human side. Sagittarians seek expansion on all levels, mental, physical, emotional and spiritual, and can usually be found travelling, studying and exploring life’s big issues. They love to share their wisdom and are often talented writers or teachers. At best they are intelligent, honest, generous and inspirational. Negatively, they can be tactless, selfindulgent, coarse and hypocritical. Some Sagittarians are drifters, constantly in search of new horizons and ever more exciting adventures. Most Archers eventually realise that true freedom comes from commitment and dedication to a personal vision, rather than from the outer world. In medical astrology, Sagittarius rules the liver, hips and thighs and sacral regions of the spine. When Sagittarians are out of balance they can suffer from sciatica, hip diseases, rheumatism and weight gain. The Sagittarian colours are purple and deep blue. Sagittarius’s greatest lessons are commitment, moderation, tact and learning to deliver what they promise.
Mercury is the fastest moving planet in our solar system, orbiting very close to the sun. In Roman mythology, quicksilver Mercury with his magical winged sandals and helmet was the Messenger
of the Gods, carrying messages between gods and humans and those who dwelled in the underworld. In astrology, Mercury is the planet of communication, helping us put our thoughts into words; plan our daily activities; interact with one another and explore new ideas and information.
Every four months, Mercury appears to slow down, change direction and travel backwards for approximately three weeks. Astrologers refer to this period as ‘Mercury Retrograde’ and this month, from 19th December to 8th January, Mercury will be travelling backwards through earth sign Capricorn. When Mercury is retrograde, our unconscious and intuitive sides are particularly active and the best laid plans often come to a halt as events take on a life of their own. We are asked to go within (to the underworld or unconscious) and meditate and reflect, rather than pushing forwards with life in the outer world.
Mercury retrograde can be a time of frustration and misunderstandings when things keep going wrong or breaking down. If this happens to you, take it as a sign to be more conscious of things you’ve been ignoring or are perhaps unaware of. You may also need to complete unfinished business that’s preventing you from moving forward. Mercury retrograde brings hidden information to the surface, forcing us or helping us to see the truth. As Mercury travels backwards through Capricorn, ask yourself: “How can I be more authentic, responsible, accountable and productive?”
December full moon
The December full moon falls on the 14th in air sign Gemini (22-23°). The Sabian symbol for this full moon shows three fledglings in a nest high in a tree. These young birds symbolise the Divine Trinity and, in particular, the integration of the creative power of the spirit. As the moon reaches fullness, she forms a mystic rectangle with the sun, Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter producing enormous potential for the creative and constructive use of your own unique, natural talents.
December new moon
The December new moon falls on the 29th in earth sign Capricorn, the time of year when we reflect on the past and wonder what the future might bring. This new moon is full of ideas and promise, but achieving dreams and goals requires hard work and dedication. Cast your mind back to this time last year and reflect on how far you have come, then set your intentions for 2017. With Mercury still retrograde, you will instinctively know what is most important.
December moon Calendar
Launch projects at the new moon, bring them to completion in the period from just before the full moon to the third quarter phase and wind them down and reflect on developments in the week before the next new moon. Important events such as parties, conferences and weddings are best held close to the full moon or when the moon is in the same sign as your sun (or star) sign. ■
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Stella Woods is an astrology teacher and consultant. Contact Stella at email@example.com or www.stellastarwoman.com or www.facebook.com/stellastarwoman Visit www.livingnow.com.au/column/ astrology-stellar-stuff for Stella’s online column.