The natural inclination to withdraw from external stimulus arrives with the North winds upon the cusp of autumn and winter. As this year has proven to be anything but “normal,” it is quite possible that we could even overlook this very personal invitation to reflect. Join Joan of Sparc for a winter solstice reflection as we pause, review the past year, and reset for the wild ride ahead.
Just because we may find ourselves in lockdown or hunkered in doesn’t mean we won’t be seeking to distract ourselves. For many, our senses are nearly numb with controversy and the holidays will look vastly different than in previous years.
Instead of falling prey to any patterns of worry or loneliness, be vigilant as a flame and seek the joy that is alive within you.
Despite the resiliency that can be experienced within the momentum of holiday cheer, collective mourning draws our attention to the loss of a faraway land called yesterday while suspicion of the undercurrents and motives of governing powers are brought into question from all sides. It is true. This isn’t just a hygge-cozy-dreamtime-magical winter solstice reflection free of stark truths. Rather, we are invited to take powerful inventory in order to reset and prepare for the continuous rivers of change ahead.
A Year in Review: 2020
2020 marks a paradoxical gateway of grand proportions. As challenging and heartbreaking as this year has been for so many, so great is the potential for radical growth and a shift in the global perspective. Astrologers have long awaited with a daunting curiosity to experience the unfolding of the beginning of this decade.
For those who can read the language of the stars, the message has been blatantly clear: change is upon us and it won’t be comfortable.
2019: The Beginning of the End
Initiated by the eclipse cycle rounding out the end of 2019, we basked in the glory of an auspicious solar eclipse new moon on Christmas day. This propulsion of love from that motherly Cancer moon created a strong foundation from which we would enter into the ominous full moon lunar eclipse of January 10th, 2020 in Capricorn. Two days later, Saturn, Lord of Karma, precisely met Pluto, Lord of the Underworld, testing every aspect of said foundation. And, as they say in many healing circles, this was an epic catalyst for “getting well” or purgation.
This is again in the vein of paradox—the camera obscura of life where nothing is as it seems. What did it mean for us as a global community to purge?
Unexpectedly for some, we got sick and the shadows of our pride, greed, falsities, racism, lack of strategy, inability to listen, void of compassion, etc. were illuminated in the clash of the planetary titans, Saturn and Pluto. Their conjunction was a reverberation of transformation that will carry us into the future.
The work is just beginning.
2020 Brought Rebellion
We continued with Pluto and Jupiter weaving back and forth across Capricorn this year with three powerful reunions, indicating amplification of the death cycles that bring rebirth. Power, and the abuse of it, has been a theme we’ve had to traverse collectively. Various battles came to light, were brought into the streets, and fought for by many beating hearts of civilians who lived into an epic rebellion of the status quo.
Mercury had its way with us during intensified retrogrades, only rubbing salt in the gashing wounds of the moment. Both Venus and Mars followed suit for a bittersweet reality check upon our relationships, finances, and motivation for being.
The feminine and masculine power dynamics within us all have been exposed—and those who are keen to see the truth, have witnessed their own internal imbalance of these forces of nature.
2020 Ends With a Great Conjunction
Now we are coming to The Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter at zero degrees Aquarius. These two come together every 19-20 years and are initiating a dance through the airs signs beginning December 21st, Winter Solstice. The energetics are shifting, yes, and we have been feeling this shift for some time.
This cycle of Aquarian nature indicates the power of the global community unified through technology and the cerebral facet of connection. Intellect is the keyword—it is where conversations, battles, and relationships will primarily seed.
Saturn’s nature is that of contraction, focus, and structure while Jupiter is the great amplifier and exemplifies expansion. Together they pulse and reach into the furthest realms of humanity and personal psyche creating a force to be reckoned with. As powerful as the meeting of these two threshold guardians between the personal and the transpersonal spheres of planetary archetypes is, this does not indicate the beginning of the Age of Aquarius.
The Practice of Looking Back
Taking time to retrace our internal and external steps over the course of 2020 could provide an exotic foray into what feels like someone else’s life. Perhaps we’ll ask, “Is this really me? Did I truly experience that? And who am I now?”
Self-inquiry may take on an entirely new meaning to us as we buckle up to discover the path we’ve trodden—the unconscious as well as the conscious parts—in order to blaze a path ahead.
It can be super beneficial to work with a retrospective journey to open new pathways of awareness and memory. Below are nine recommendations for a heart-opening winter solstice reflection:
1. Prepare Your Space
Although many insights can come and go in the spontaneity of life, for this exercise, you’ll want to create a sanctuary for yourself protected by time and mood. Set the tone with a candle, maybe clear the space with herbal allies or incense, and a journal for writing if you choose. Perhaps allot an hour or more to truly offer this inquiry to yourself as a gift.
Easier said than done at times, especially in the midst of a holiday frenzy and a pandemic. Deep breathing and actively scanning the body with your breath as a guide can begin to open up newfound passages of freedom from tension allowing you to receive more of your vitality for the work.
Begin with a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Continue the process of deep relaxation and begin to observe your thoughts and emotional state.
4. Start Where You Are
To go on any journey we must first know from where we are beginning. In the first few moments of your meditation acknowledge the deep present moment. If you can’t submerge yourself quite yet, begin by noticing this moment now.
5. Go Retrospect
Once we are oriented in the present moment, we can gently begin to move back in time, starting with earlier today, this morning, and into last night and yesterday to get us started. The currents of time will reverse as we travel back through the steps we have already taken, keeping alert to our actions, thoughts, feeling body, words and conversations, and external circumstances.
We begin the flow of past exploration and at any given moment, we will catch ourselves on a memory. This is rich material for observation and worthy of our contemplative attention. Here we can begin to ask questions to simply learn more about ourselves and our habits, tendencies,, and abilities. Let’s stay curious and kind.
7. Find Compassion
This work is not to accumulate any more contraction or blame upon ourselves or towards others. This is high-level introspection to cultivate new awareness as food for our continuing growth and transformation. We will see our errors and perhaps others’ shortcomings as well. If you find yourself getting caught in an eddy of criticism, bring your breath into your heart. Remember that each of us is learning and often clumsily making our way through the mire of our mistakes and unconscious moments.
8. Give Thanks
Let’s not take any awareness we receive from our conscious efforts for granted. If you have taken the time with intention to carve out this practice for yourself out of your day, there is so much to be thankful for when receiving gems of insight.
9. Take Note
Inner work can be like a dream. It is helpful to write down our observations or materialize our understanding in some way. Carl Jung would often draw mandalas, vivid imagery with colors, to articulate the unspeakable.
Looking Ahead: Written in the Stars
Most likely, you’re feeling some reprieve in the closing out of 2020 as in a “Thank God that is over…” attitude. Well, my invitation to you is to align with more of an attitude of encouraging stamina. 2020 could have well prepared us for an even deeper layer of the reveal. We all know what isn’t working for us personally from our day-to-day participation in society as it is—from business to finance to food and health.
The incoming transits of this year are potently geared towards assisting us in a renewal of sorts, so be prudent and vigilant as you navigate the changing tides.
The Rebellion Continues
Jupiter and Saturn ushering us into an Aquarian cycle of their nature will probably churn the fertile grounds of protest and the abolitionist mentality on an even grander scale. #metoo, #blacklivesmatter, and other hashtag armies of 2020 are the pioneers of further rebellion ahead. Technology will aspire to enhance our freedom simultaneous to our burgeoning struggle to reclaim the freedoms we have already ignorantly abandoned in the name of said technology.
Structured Saturn positioned in eclectic Aquarius meets rebellious Uranus transiting through the very grounded sign of Taurus with three mighty radical squaring encounters during 2021. We can anticipate a form of electrical shock to the very systems through which we currently orient our daily lives. How we eat and from where our relationships to money, and how we cycle through the waves of financial gains and loss will be forefront and vying for our attention. Those relationships are indicators of our personal system of values which are undergoing the microscope of our internal scrutiny.
How we show up for ourselves and our families is how we show up for the world. And the world needs us.
2021 Will Not Disappoint!
At least if we are speaking of an epic odyssey requiring each of us to embody our hero and heroine archetype. If it wasn’t fast and furious enough, the first of the squares between Saturn and Uranus occurs during the presidential inauguration to kick off the year with a bang. Lest we forget, yet to be determined is how the eclipse seasons will unfold. We will continue forward in the Gemini/Sagittarius (formative/higher mind) axis as well as the Taurus/Scorpio nodal throughline that points to great shifts in our deep energetics, financially as well as sexually—both of which can be integrated through our spirituality.
Winter Solstice Reflection: Take Time For Yourself
There is much on the horizon and from our position within the fulcrum between 2020 and 2021, we have equal access opportunities for vast perspective in all reaches of direction. Enjoy your reflections and take some time for yourself to enter into a penetrating winter solstice reflection, you deserve it and it will support you as a resource for the journey ahead.