It's my favorite time of year in New Orleans. Other people might prefer Carnival or festival season, but for me it's the pretty lights and cozy Gemütlichkeit that descends on our city as soon as the temperature drops. In my native Germany, this cultural agreement translates into friendliness and warmth. Even now I can almost taste the freshly baked pretzels, warm mulled cider, and spicy gingerbread hearts that were sold at every corner kiosk during the holidays. I can remember lighting candles on the advent's wreath every Sunday and sitting in my grandparent's small living room where family and neighbors gathered.
In astrology, the time from Thanksgiving until the Winter Solstice is when the sun moves through the constellation of Sagittarius. According to mythology, Sagittarius was not a centaur but actually a satyr (half man / half goat) who lived on Mount Helicon with the nine Muses. Gifted in the arts and sciences as well as the hunt, Sagittarius was a wild and lusty fellow with little care for manners or authority. Unlike other half beasts, however, he was known to be kind and benevolent towards humans- even taking a few under his wing as students. Apparently the Muses so loved him that they asked their father Zeus (aka Jupiter) to place him among the stars. He is depicted with four legs because of his affinity for horses, and his arrow is aimed at the sky, a symbol of transcendence.
The archetype of Sagittarius perfectly captures the vibe of the season for me... or rather, how I want to feel this time of year. There is so much to be grateful for, yet the holidays can feel far from light. Relationship, health, or financial stress, not to mention shorter days and cold weather can cause depression and feelings of isolation for a lot of folks. It's important to reach out, stay connected, and prioritize self-care. Also, remembering what's going right rather than what's missing can help if you're feeling the blues. While I never endorse spiritual bypassing, a little optimism can go a long way under Jupiter's influence.
Recently Jupiter entered Sagittarius as well which hasn't happened since 2006. Think of where you were 12 years ago around this time. Whatever story was happening then is cycling back around as part of a 12 year continuum. I remember exactly where I was and how the choices I made that year have affected my life in big, SOUL fulfilling ways. Now is the time to envision how to deepen any significant commitments or changes we started at that time.
It bears mentioning that when Jupiter, the planet of expansion and opportunity, travels through its sign of rulership, we get a a double whammy of this expansive energy so pay attention to how you're being summoned to level up. There will be plenty of opportunities to receive divine "downloads" if we're open and receptive. We can also adopt a more Sagittarian attitude by learning a new skill, by spending more time in nature, through travel that expands cultural awareness, and by expanding our tolerance and acceptance of others. Be curious. Take a walk on the wild side, and let yourself roam into uncharted territory. The universe will reward you.
In my spiritual practice, the Winter Solstice is when I reflect on what I've learned and how I've grown over the year. It's also a time to release anything that feels complete, and one simple ritual is to write things down and feed the list to a fire (even a candle will do). Close with a prayer or just a "Thank You" to bless the ending.
This Solstice is extra special because we have a full moon at 0º Cancer with a helpful sextile to Uranus. Our best bet is to stay open-minded and flexible, trust spontaneous bursts of intuition, expect the unexpected, and practice acts of generosity by giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, especially family. With Venus finally out of her retrograde shadow, things are moving along, but in times of big change, the more grounding practices you have the better.
Soon the sun will begin to shine a little longer each day, ever reminding us of the continuous spiral that is life. As always, thank you for allowing me to be of service. One of the main reasons I love my job is because of the people I get to work with. Wishing you all the very best this holiday season and good health & prosperity in the coming year.