December is a month of turns and switches, ups and downs with extreme movements thrown in to continue the volatility of these times.

December begins with three planets in Fire Signs, two planets in Earth Signs, three planets in Air Signs, and two planets in Water Signs. There are two planets in Cardinal Signs, five planets in Fixed Signs and three planets in Mutable Signs. Six planets are in Positive Signs, four planets in Receptive Signs.

December starts with a Grand Cross by Sign in the Fixed Signs with the Taurus Moon opposed Venus in Scorpio and square Mars in Leo and square both Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius. We may want to move forward, look to investing in our future, present ourselves in a regal manner, all the while concerned about our resources and whether we have the time, energy and monies to afford a personal makeover, whether the personal makeover is to our person, our wardrobe, our home or our planned intentions.

The Mars opposition Jupiter Neptune influence this month could have us buying into the irrational exuberance and acting in ways that might appeal to our vanity but may disregard due diligence. Jupiter conjuncts Neptune exact on the 21st and everyone is likely to be looking more at the possibilities than the true reality with some of its prickly issues and minor infractions that could trigger collateral damage like a domino theory effect whereby one stumble could set off a series of problems. But why worry about such liabilities? We are far more interested in looking at the world through rose-colored glasses and accepting the media spin akin to Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions’ 1963 song ‘it’s all right’:

“Say it’s all right (it’s all right)
Say it’s all right (it’s all right)
It’s all right, have a good time
‘Cause it’s all right, whoa, it’s all right”

This Jupiter Neptune conjunction has gone on for much of this year, its influence felt initially at the end of March, exact on May 27th, exact again on July 10th and exact this third time on December 21st. Although the Jupiter Neptune influence will be on the wane as we come into the New Year, we can still convince ourselves during this month of December to say ‘it’s all right’.

December also begins with Mercury sextile Neptune exact on the 1st but still feeling the impact of the Mercury square Uranus, exact on the 30th of November. We can easily believe what we want to believe and assume that unexpected surprises [e.g. Dubai threatened default] are but mere blips on the screen that have no significant impact on the larger picture. Got to love those rose-colored glasses.

The month starts with Uranus turning direct, ending its five-month retrograde cycle. Synchronicity and serendipity are back in the picture and we may be far more amenable to radical changes to our daily routine and even to the ways we do things and the things we intend to do in the future. Uranus will continue its transit of Pisces, briefly entering Aries at the end of May 2010 into early August, before moving back into Pisces, eventually ending its transit of the Mutable Water Sign in 2011. Health reform is in the picture with a greater use of technology to streamline medical recording and of biotechnology to address medical issues.

There is an increase in spirituality and a compassionate sense that we are all in this together and that the brotherhood and sisterhood of humanity had better get its act together. Where a problem arises is the information and disinformation about important situations that are being presented from the subjective and biased viewpoint rather than an objective and solution-oriented perspective.

Venus exits Scorpio on the 1st and enters Sagittarius, creating a Stellium of three or more planets in the Mutable Fire Sign as Venus joins the Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius. Foreign affairs and concerns foreign to our daily life experience could impact us and demand our attention. We might want to broaden our reach, expand our parameters and widen our scope, all the while realizing that some things are out of our control and that surprising situations are likely to arise unexpectedly without a moment’s notice. If we could only stop the world, get off, and figure things out in a calm and collected manner. But that’s not the way it is during these times. So much is coming at us, things changing dramatically, forcing us to be on our toes and make decisions based upon our perceived understanding of what is going on, all the while that startling and significant shifts are happening; that the idea of being able to take time, use reasoned judgment and have all the important particulars in mind is far beyond present reality.

Go with the flow, be flexible and adaptable to circumstances as they shift and change to maintain balance and continue to progress through these dodgy times.

The Gemini Full Moon on the 2nd could throw some monkey wrenches into the spokes of our wheels. We might feel as if we have to continue our juggling act non-stop, as if there is not enough time in the day to complete everything we wish to accomplish. The more we can streamline our operations, utilize time management skills and not feel overwhelmed by our lives, the better able we shall be to keep up the pace, even when that pace demands different steps and different rhythms at different times.

Mercury moves into Capricorn on the 5th ending the Sagittarius Stellium. Our thoughts are far more focused, structured and concerned about practical reality rather than wish fulfillment with a blank canvas as a backdrop.

Around the 7th, things could get a little dicey. Mercury conjuncts Pluto and also squares Saturn. While our ability to concentrate and focus is laser-like, we might not like what we see or come up with. Some of the hype, even the frosting, regarding mundane reality and geo-economic conditions that has been rallying to the sounds of ‘happy days are here again’ suddenly may become transparent and we might realize that there are still some major economic and financial problems that have not been addressed, much less resolved. Whatever is occurring during this timeframe, it is essential that we not fall into depression or feel that our backs are against the wall with no way out. It is essential that we keep in mind the saying from the wisdom teachings that we never get more than we can handle.

Within every problem or issue is an answer and a solution.

The 7th through the 9th could be somewhat difficult, but the difficulty aggravated only if we see the immediate and not consider the long-term.

Let’s keep in mind the idea of karma — that every action has a reaction and that whatever we set into motion has to work itself out.

And yet we might also realize the power of choice. That when the going gets tough, people can fold and capitulate becoming victim to circumstances, or the tough can go shopping as bumper stickers sometimes express, or we can use tough situations as an instigation to get up, resolve to deal with the situation, address the situation by considering the best practices approach and then effect a successful conclusion to the situation. Our choice. Always our choice.

The mid-part of December can have us navigating unexpected matters arising, all with an eye on what we want to do in the future. Holiday gatherings can be great fun and there can be a realization that fun does not have to come with a high financial cost. On the contrary, we might realize that we can do more with less, that our holiday parties are enjoyable primarily for the social interactions rather than the food, drink and excesses.

The Sagittarius New Moon on the 16th accentuates this time of holiday spirit. People seem far more creative, willing to put aside their daily concerns, and enjoy the possibilities that this time of year speaks to.

An upbeat attitude continues on to right before Christmas. Mars does turn retrograde on the 20th and will continue to retrograde through much of the winter season. Our energy may not be as strong as we might like it to be. We could also find that leaders and authority figures are having a difficult time asserting their power and impressing their right actions.

The 21st offers us the Winter Solstice and the beginning of the Winter season as the Sun moves out of Sagittarius and enters Capricorn creating a Stellium of three or more planets in Capricorn as the Sun joins Mercury and Pluto in the Saturn-ruled Cardinal Earth Sign.

The Winter Solstice can be especially pleasant, even though a little unrealistic. Venus sextiles Neptune and Jupiter conjuncts Neptune at this time. We might feel as though our lives are becoming far more idyllic, a case of irrational exuberance setting in, as we focus on what could be and possibly negating what actually is. Certainly our sense of better days is enlisted and we may find ourselves enjoying the best in our friends and social interactions. If ever there were a time of sugar plums dancing in our heads, this period would certainly be one of those times.

Let’s enjoy ourselves, focus on what we can do with our lives but while we might have our head in the clouds, let’s also keep our feet firmly planted on the ground.

Christmas Eve, the 24th, and Christmas Day, the 25th, reinforces the Saturn Pluto square operational into 2012, as the Sun conjuncts Pluto on the 24th followed by the Sun square Saturn on the 25th.

While Christmas Day and the Winter Solstice speak of the birth of the light in the midst of greatest darkness, we too can embrace the energies of these times as being indicative of a stripping away of the non-essentials, the superfluous and extraneous. Releases and eliminations, ghosts of the past and outstanding issues may all surface during this period. We might feel a little raw, but it would be important to keep in mind that the stripping away may be a deathing to the old but also prepares for the birthing of the new.

In Carlos Castaneda’s last book, The Active Side of Infinity, he talks of the importance of recapitulation — going back over events and situations in the past in order to clear ourselves of their influence for our present and more importantly for our future.

This latter part of December provides us a similar recapitulation, a recapitulation that will continue on for us, both as individuals and as a collective society, into 2012 with the Saturn square Pluto operational and Uranus thrown in the mix to shake things up and make us aware of the paradigm shift in which we are engaged.

Also on the 25th, Venus enters Capricorn reinforcing the Stellium in the Saturn-ruled Cardinal Earth Sign as Venus joins the Sun, Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn. The structure of our lives, the format by which we live, are areas that may be highlighted as we all breathe a sigh of relief with the upcoming closure of 2009.

On the 26th, Mercury turns retrograde, a rare fourth Mercury retrograde cycle in its annual transits more commonly associated with three Mercury retrograde cycles. This Mercury retrograde ends the year, begins the new year and continues on into mid-January of 2010.

The Saturn Pluto square is engaged again on the 28th and 29th as Venus conjuncts Pluto on the 28th and squares Saturn on the 29th.

Reconnections and reunions or thoughts of people from our past may have us considering those contacts we wish to maintain and those people we wish to jettison into the dustbin of our memory banks.

The Cancer Full Moon on the 31st, the second Full Moon, another rarity that gives rise to the saying ‘once in a blue moon’, is also a Lunar Eclipse. This Full Moon accentuates the Saturn Pluto square configuration and asks, even demands, that we consider what is really meaningful to us and what is merely the dross of our past.

We might wish to see 2009 behind us but our resolutions for the new year should take into account the Saturn Pluto square and later the T-Square of Saturn, Uranus and Pluto that goes on into 2012. With the power of these energy configurations in mind, we should stay aware that the paradigm shift between life as we have known it and the uncharted waters of our future has only just begun.

December… joyous celebrations amidst the paradigm shift…