December 2023

black clockface on a stone building showing five minutes to 12

The year is going out with attention to practicalities, costs and meaningful connections – and a more retrospective than usual air.

Thoughts and conversations turn to the bottom line from the outset, with Mercury entering Capricorn on day one. No matter how many holidays dot the calendar, attention is on goals, working hard, and considering responsibilities, all of which Saturn, planet of adulting, quickly supports.

Late November’s sociability also gives way to seriousness, and to more private and selective activity as well. Relationships, financial dealings, and creative projects gain laser focus (and cut back) when social director Venus squares Pluto, agent of inevitable change, and then enters his Scorpio realm December 3 and 4. As with Mercury’s shift, Saturn is on board, bringing commitment or structure to something of importance.

The communication mode and the flow of relationships are simpatico until just before Christmas. Ideas proliferate and settle in to benefit both when Mercury and Venus link with Jupiter and then each other December 7-11, largely coinciding with Hanukkah. Dream big; ask for what you want, and you might get it, or something close.

Optimism with a dose of nostalgia (and holiday films) hits a peak December 12, with the bright-spirited Sagittarius New Moon squaring dreamy, otherworldly Neptune.

The event leaves a retrospective vibe in its wake. Mercury begins his final retrograde of the year December 13. It lasts until New Year’s Day and takes him from early Capricorn back into Sagittarius, which he re-enters December 23.

The first 10 days of the retrograde present tangible trip-ups and do-overs. These mushroom especially December 18, when Mercury revisits his collab with Jupiter in the month’s first week, and may stabilize when Saturn offers containment again December 21 (echoing his assistance at the month’s start).

The final stretch, from Christmas week on, reviews the scope (or lack of it) of our outlooks. Watch for opportunities to address situations you avoided or did not take adequately seriously.

Learn more in my Mercury retrograde guide at OMTimes.

A flurry of powerful activity precedes the Sun’s entry into Capricorn December 21, which marks the solstice. Relationships and desires are feeling the need for change – or challenged by the prospect of it – or frustrated by it not being within reach – with Venus opposite Uranus. Sudden developments are requiring adjustments in tactics and approach, with Mars inconjunct Uranus. Cleaning or firming up practicalities and goals is on offer from Mercury’s sextile to Saturn.

And underneath it all, there’s a sense in our very bones that a huge chapter is on the way out, and that our holiday celebrations are in their current configuration for the last time. The cause is Pluto hitting the very last degree of Capricorn for the next-to-last time in our lives. He’ll stay there, continuing to deconstruct and reconstruct institutions and foundations, until he moves into Aquarius late in January, and returns for a brief, final visit early next September.

We quickly know our position. Clarity comes from the Sun/Mercury conjunction December 22; Saturn drops a grounding cord within our reach, via a sextile from the Sun December 24.

Nostalgia, tenderness and an abundance of affection and sentimentality flow on Christmas Day, as Venus trines her higher counterpart in love and inspiration, Neptune.

The tender touch continues with the Cancer Full Moon December 26, highlighting issues of nurturing, home, family and traditions and, from a link to Jupiter, offering awareness and appreciation of aspects that have stood the test of time.

Nostalgia and escapism stay in the air as well, pumped up by squares from Mercury and Mars to Neptune December 27 and 28. Inspired action is high, with mind and motivation fusing from the inner planets’ conjunction.

These three aspects are delivering real-world examples of form following thought bordering on the magical. Watch where your mind goes; your drive is following right behind.

The end of 2023 has us homing in on our heart’s desires and deciding to go for them, as Venus sextiles Pluto and enters Sagittarius December 29. We turn to adventure and exploring the new. That feels eminently and imminently possible when Sagittarius’ ruler Jupiter stations direct December 30.

May 2024 bring a long held wish come true.