This December is a tale of two phases. The first half of December is off the charts with extreme actions, knee-jerk reactions and various twists, turns and spins. We may not know whether we’re coming or going, but we could find ourselves being pulled in different directions like a bizarre tug of war.

Or to borrow the lyrics from Freddy ‘Boom Boom’ Cannon’s 1962 hit Palisades Park:

‘My heart was flyin’ up like a rocket ship.
Down like a roller coaster.
Back like a loop-de-loop.
And around like a merry-go-round.’

This song immortalized the long-gone amusement park that perched on the cliffs of the Palisades of New Jersey overlooking the Hudson River and the upper West Side Highway of Manhattan in New York City. The song was written by Chuck Barris, who is perhaps best known for his various game shows in the 1960s and 1970s including ‘The Gong Show’.

This early December could rival the talent of The Gong Show contestants and by mid-December, we might want to hit the gong and let the first half of December recede away into memory.

December begins with three planets in a Fire Sign, five planets in Earth Signs, one planet in an Air Sign and one planet in a Water Sign. There are four planets in a Cardinal Sign, one planet in a Fixed Sign and five planets in Mutable Signs. Four planets are in Positive Signs, and six planets are in Negative Signs.

We begin the month with two Stelliums of three or more planets in one Sign. One Stellium is in Sagittarius with the Sun, Mercury and Mars in the Mutable Fire Sign. The other Stellium is in Capricorn with the Moon, Venus, Jupiter and Pluto in the Cardinal Earth Sign. With Sagittarius and Capricorn so powerfully impacted we could assume that we would be feeling upbeat, optimistic and confident but also grounded, focused and pragmatic. And to some degree we are likely to be feeling that way.

In looking at the Elements and Quadruplicities, however, we can certainly see an imbalance. The emphasis upon Fire and Earth reflected in the two Stelliums can be like a scorched earth policy, taking no prisoners and going for broke. The lack of Air and Water takes away both the thinking processes and the E.Q. [emotional quotient]. We could be like steamrollers but without having fully considered the implications or the true meaning of our actions. We may want action, any action, and there lies the rub. With the Quadruplicities heavily concentrated on the Cardinal Sign and the Mutable Signs, we are lacking fixity, and stick-to-itiveness. We can start some thing up then suddenly shift and change. Flexibility and adaptability are key during these volatile times but this first half of December would seem volatitus extremus, or extreme volatility.

Watch for people pontificating, coming up with the right answer in theory but having no clue regarding proper implementation. Hope of a ‘promised land’ may be held out but getting through the muck and the mire in the interim could prove devilish and beguiling.

The month begins with our eighteen-month challenge of the Saturn Uranus opposition in full force. The chart of December 1st reveals a bowl pattern of chart, with that bowl becoming a bucket with either Saturn or Uranus being the handle to the bucket. Each of us may find that tug of war of which I wrote above being the pulls between our responsibilities, our obligations, our commitments and our past; and the pulls of our desire for change, to be free, liberated and able to express our individuality. Let the games begin! But we do need to be wary in our actions and that in this tug of war someone doesn’t bang the gong.

While we have this bowl / bucket pattern of chart to begin the month, with the Saturn Uranus opposition being a major trigger point, Saturn trines the Capricorn planets of the Moon, Venus and Jupiter. Uranus sextiles the same three.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And this Santa Claus can adeptly juggle the old and the new, taking care of business while stretching into new terrain. And for la crème de la crème, the 1st gives us the two good guys of the zodiac, Venus and Jupiter, in a warm embrace, conjunct one another with the Capricorn Moon conjuncting them both to add the cherry on the top. We can be feeling good about our prospects, energetic about our capabilities, and even assuming that the nightmare of recent days, weeks, months, is fading like a vague memory. La-de-da.

While we start the month on a high note, the month then hits some flats and sharps towards the end of the first week of December.

Sorry, sports fan, but the initial flurry of activity and good cheer can suddenly be dampened. We could blame it on the rain / snow / weather conditions, but the fault lies not so much in ourselves as in the stars, as the planets transiting through Sagittarius hit off squares to first Uranus and then Saturn.

Not being a parade-rainer, I didn’t want to add that the beginning of the month also has a T-Square in the Mutable Signs with the planets in Sagittarius by Sign squaring both Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces and, of course, our interminable [or eighteen month] opposition between Saturn and Uranus.

We may feel like we’re back to the Mad Hatter routine of being late for a very important date, all the while that we’re juggling our chock-a-block schedule with added inconveniences of unexpected meetings, get-togethers, necessary errands, ad infinitum.

The 5th and 6th seem intense with Mercury square Uranus and the Sun conjunct Mars on the 5th, followed on the 6th by Mercury square Saturn and for a possible mental escape, Mercury sextile Neptune. Mercury square Uranus is my least favorite aspect for flying, or more specifically air travel. During this time, we could experience miscommunications, glitches with our computer and Internet connections, general misunderstandings and problems or delays with travel. No matter, we may want to press ahead and feel that brawn and forcing our way will solve the problem, sort of like the old days when the television would go on the blink and one would hit the set in various locations as if that nudge or knock would fix it and clarify the picture.

On the 7th, Venus exits Capricorn and enters Aquarius. Our desire for change can now include our friendships and relationships. Either our ways of interacting need to shift and become more exciting, interesting, quirky and changeable or we’re likely to look elsewhere for new compadres and comadres.

The pull between the new, the different, testing the waters and expressing our individuality, all under the guise of change, evolution, self-development, even enlightenment can be ramped up again on the 10th when the Sun squares Uranus. And this energy can crescendo, bellow [?], and go over-the-top with the Gemini Moon on the 12th. Yee-ha!

The 12th can be one off the wall energy. Not only do we have a Full Moon [waaaaahhh!], but this Full Moon has a Mutable Sign Grand Cross with the Gemini Moon opposed the Sun and opposed Mars and square Saturn and square Uranus. In addition, Mars squares Uranus, the Sun squares Saturn and Mercury enters Capricorn where it conjuncts Pluto.

With this Full Moon, it might be wise to batten down the hatches, have eyes in the back of our head, and maintain a very, very low profile. People can be off the wall around this time, with explosive actions, belligerent attitudes and urging someone, anyone, to knock the chip off their shoulder. Don’t go there! I wouldn’t.

The 12th is one of those days to keep one’s head down, be ever vigilant and be extremely cautious. Accidents, actings out and other A-type accounts can be prevalent, so let’s try to stay out of harm’s way. Could this be one of those days best to stay in bed and pull the covers over one’s head? Perhaps not to that extent, but I repeat that a low profile would be a wise course of action today, all the while keeping one’s antennae up and working with peripheral vision.

In the midst of all this craziness, we do have a ray of brightness — Neptune. Possibilities of better days ahead, having faith for the future and a case of wish fulfillment can take the edge off what seems to be going down. Got hope?

The 15th provides the final blow of this dance of the Sagittarius-transiting planets squaring Uranus and Saturn with Mars square Saturn. As though the energy has just been too much, we may feel like the wind has been knocked out of our sails.

And then…

The second half of December seems ever more calmer, far less intense, less anxiety-provoking, less victimized by the slings and arrows of outrageous actions… Maybe we’ve just gotten inured to all the crazies, but the energy does start to chill out. Much of it is due to the fact that the Sagittarius-transiting planets are exiting the Mutable Fire Sign that has repeatedly triggered the Saturn Uranus opposition. Mercury leaves Sagittarius and enters Capricorn on the 12th, followed by the Sun at the Winter Solstice on the 21st and culminated with Mars entering Capricorn on the 27th.

While the Winter Solstice on the 21st offers the signature for the Winter, and a chart and signature you can read about in my seasonal e-letter for Winter, it does have the influence of the Sun Pluto conjunction exact on the 22nd.

Now is a time for us to do a serious inventory-taking, bringing completion and closure to the past year and outstanding matters that we do not want to bring into 2009.

2008 in numerology has been a one year, a year of new beginnings, a traumatic year for many, when old supports, old programs, old securities no longer supported, no longer worked and no longer provided security. With the Sun Pluto conjunction we can take a cold, hard look at our ambitions, our goals and devise a best practices approach to deal with the ever-changing landscape of our circumstances and our conditions.

The 24th and 26th have the first of the Capricorn-transiting planets favorably impacting Uranus and Saturn. While the first half of the month gave us the squares and T-Squares to Uranus and Saturn as these planets transited Sagittarius, we now go from the adverse to the favorable as these Capricorn-transiting planets provide a sextile to Uranus and a trine to Saturn. This configuration continues through much of January.

The first Capricorn transiting planet to sextile Uranus and trine Saturn is Mercury, first with the sextile to Uranus on the 24th, followed by the trine to Saturn on the 26th. Our thought processes can be insightful and revelatory. As if the adage ‘ask and you shall receive’ were playing out, solutions to problems can become evident and can be put into motion. We can determine alternative approaches and structure our actions in a way that can be productive and highly successful during these ever-changing times.

The 27th has the Capricorn New Moon with a Stellium of three or more planets in one Sign being the Cardinal Earth Stellium with six planets in Capricorn: the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Jupiter and Pluto and with Mars just having exited Sagittarius to enter Capricorn. The end of this month allows us to get things in order and to become serious about navigating the swirling currents. This New Moon has Venus conjunct Neptune in Aquarius. Our relationships with loved ones, friends and close associates can be close to ideal. We may realize the importance of our connections, of our interactions, of our friendships. This New Moon also feels the influence of the Mars Pluto conjunction exact on the 28th. We can be impassioned, even intense, in regard to our goals and our ambitions. But we may also have to eliminate certain outmoded concepts and desires that are no longer appropriate.

We can become a lot more focused, concentrating on how we can realize our plans through being resourceful and taking a conservative approach.

The expansionary times of the late 1990s and the 2000s, when Pluto was going through Sagittarius and ratcheted up excess, are behind us. The programs that worked then may no longer work in the present, much less the future. At the same time, if we will take a realistic appraisal of the situations and conditions around us, we can move into a highly effective and successful period in our lives.

We end the month and the year with Mercury conjunct Jupiter on the 31st. We can feel good about our possibilities in this coming new year, especially if we see life clearly and not through rose-colored glasses or wistful expectations of what had been or might have been.

The year also ends with Saturn turning retrograde, a cycle that goes on for the next four and a half months, into mid-May. Things may take longer than we like, but any delays might be important filtration processes by which we can be certain that we are not re-creating our past but rather looking at the changing environment and considering how best to proceed, step-by-step.

December… borderline realities…