Winter Solstice and a Sun/Saturn Sextile 

For the week of December 14-20, 2011.

It's pretty much a "Bah! Humbug!" week, as the planets align in a variety of configurations that refuse to allow visions of sugarplums to interfere with the need to complain about all that's wrong with the season. As a little friend of mine who will be nine this week said recently, "Oy vey." We're headed straight into the darkest days of the year and it's going to take a mighty effort to play well with others. The good news is that it's not all bad news: For those who are willing to make the effort, it is still possible to hold the banner of goodwill high above the need to whine and whimper. But it will require the courage to stand proudly in altruism, impervious to the criticism of others less inclined toward an optimistic or generous heart.

Several sources contribute to the collective dyspepsia. First, a Venus/Saturn square generates the potential toward dissatisfaction, particularly in relationships. This square feeds jealousy, in all its pernicious manifestations, particularly the kind of sexual jealousy that can lead to premature separations. Breathe deeply and be aware that jealousy always has its roots wrapped around issues of fear, insecurity, and a general lack of self-confidence. Also keep in mind that this general tendency toward suspicion and distrust is not limited to romantic interactions. Friendships and professional associations are also challenged by this square. Rather than acting out, use any uncomfortable feelings as a way of gaining greater self-awareness. Remember: Being joyous for another only increases your own happiness.

The next source of astral irritation is a square between Mars and the Moon's nodes. The friction created by this interaction is known to spark quarrels that can ignite into full-blown disputes. Put aside your need to be right, if just for a couple days. Not every immediate fight is worth the long-term animosity it might engender.

Third, a wide opposition between Jupiter and Saturn is likely to produce a pessimistic air, especially when it comes to economic conditions. Expect the workplace atmosphere to be a little thick, as everyone feels the tension of having to provide a happy holiday spirit in the face of uncertainty about the future.

The good news is that a Sun/Saturn sextile lends a stabilizing force to the week. This positive interaction is in keeping with the seasonal trend toward introspection; even if the astral indications weren't skewed toward Scrooge, you might be inclined to withdraw under the covers and hibernate. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are only days away from the winter solstice, which celebrates the return of the light, and the promise that the days will once again grow long and warm. But until that time, perhaps our energy would be best spent aligning with nature, and like the trees, pulling our energy deep into our roots, in preparation for another year of growth.

If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that, too.

ARIES Try not to let the Christmas Grinch steal your momentum, and refuse to indulge negative thinking, especially your own. Certain stuck areas are finally starting to move and you'll be more than pleased with your progress.

TAURUS Try not to let yourself get entangled in disputes, yours or others.' And if involvement is impossible to avoid, make every effort to come to a reasonable compromise that serves everyone's best interests.

GEMINI Make your mantra "Make love, not war," and you'll find the perfect attitude to apply to any situation that threatens to squander your energy by dragging you onto a battlefield. It's a time for peace on Earth — especially your Earth.

CANCER Even if you don't want to engage in conversation, you won't be able to completely disappear. There are certain things that need to be said to certain people, and you may be the only one with enough clarity to be direct.

LEO You can worry about your financial situation or you can start to understand it as an indicator of how energy flows in your life. When you are feeling positive, there almost always seems to be enough to share.

VIRGO Resistance is futile, and trying to hold back what you are feeling will only create a stomachache. Express your opinions, share your ideas, and let the world know how you feel.

LIBRA Try not to brood over the careless or thoughtless behavior of a close friend or significant other. If you have to blame anyone for your condition, blame it on the stars. They won't mind bearing the brunt of your frustration.

SCORPIO There's no need to let friction with co-workers turn into a full-scale battle. I'm not suggesting you allow yourself to be bullied. I'm simply advising you not to be a bully.

SAGITTARIUS Channel your energy into your career and you'll be pleased with the outcome. This is not an avoidance technique; it's simply the best way to drive positive results from the current levels of intensity.

CAPRICORN While some of the recent changes could make you more than a little uncomfortable, in the long run some of these shifts will prove beneficial. Rather than fume with impatience, take a deep breath and let the situation unfold in its own time.

AQUARIUS You're going through tremendous upheaval, and it's almost too much to cope with. While this process is intense, you are learning to handle an extremely difficult situation with both skill and style.

PISCES Significant others present a serious challenge to your authority. I'm not suggesting you go into dictator mode, but I am advising you to hold your ground, firmly and with confidence.

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