Astrology Nov 22nd – Dec 1st (♐️I): Obstacle Cartography

Astrology Nov 22nd – Dec 1st (♐️I): Obstacle Cartography

The Sun enters Sagittarius on the evening of November 21st, and rises in the first decan of the Archer’s sign on the 22nd. The first decan of Sagittarius is historically represented with images of speed and mobility. According to the Yavanajataka, in this decan we see “A man whose bow is drawn and whose speed is as violent as a horse’s.” Centaurs gallop through this decan, arrows fly through it, and chariots speed across it.

Yet speed is of no use without a destination, and the swift flight of the arrow has no value without a target to strike. Thus the mighty horses, fearsome chariots and piercing arrows found in this face require a meaningful goal, a place worth travelling to, a bullseye worth hitting. It must therefore also be a place of swift revelation and target acquisition. As I wrote in 36 Faces:

The essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal. The necessary movement may be of a mental, spiritual or physical nature, and the vehicle must therefore be suited to the realm.

Though the first decan of Sagittarius is explicitly connected with speed, the celestial events which take place this year signify very much the opposite.

Mercury spends this 10 days slowing in preparation for it’s December 2nd retrograde station. Not only does Mercury’s apparent motion slow, the normally swift planet also spends the decan in conjunction with Saturn, the planet explicitly associated with leaden immobility.

Thus Mercury flies forward, only to run into a barrier, a psychic wall. The swift revelations which come this year may thus be images of obstacles and impediments rather than open highways. While frustrating the desire for swift progress, a blockade-vision is itself a blessing, as to see a limitation clearly is to be half-way to overcoming it. As awareness surrounds and penetrates blockages, it digests them.

And there is plenty to digest. We are now less than one month away from Saturn’s exit from Sagittarius. The leaden planet has been in the Archer’s sign for almost three years, and Mercury’s upcoming station atop it is nothing if not an opportunity to reflect on the challenges which it issued over that time period, how we’ve answered them, and what we’ve learned in the process.So let us pace the wall and contemplate it, mapping its boundary and surveying it for cracks.


Neptune Stations Direct

The first celestial event of note occuring during this span of days is Neptune’s direct station in Pisces on the 22nd, which brings an end to its annual four month retrograde period. Though it is not the most dramatic influence, some will hear the roar of a distant sea, and feel the tides of imagination start to surge forward again.

Mercury Trine Uranus

But before making conjunction with Saturn, Mercury trines Uranus first, on the 25th. This aspect brings swift realization and revelation. If Mercury is the light-bulb, then it is Uranus which provides a surge of invisible current to power it. The intensity of Uranus’ charge may well blow out fragile fuses, but not before a moment of brilliance. During the surrounding days, look for disruptions to normal pathways to reveal alternate routes.

Mercury Conjunct Saturn

After trining disruptive and liberating Uranus, Mercury conjoins oppressive Saturn. The conjunction is perfect on November 27th, but will be active well into December. Obstacles and barriers appear, daunting us with their sheer mass. Mercury’s conjunction with Saturn turns the mind toward obstacles and set-backs. Though the vision of the barrier may at first appear daunting, Mercury leads us to gaze upon it with good reason. In order to breach the wall, we must stare at it long enough for our anxiety about it to subside. We must become calm to accurately assess the nature of the barrier.

So let us lay patient siege to the the walls of our limitations. Though tall, they can be scaled. Though thick, their cracks can be exploited. Though heavy, they can be tunneled under. Only a fool charges them, and we are not fools. So let us camp and observe, for within that fortress resides a spark of our potential, kidnapped and held hostage. But thick walls lie between us and that longed-for reunion, so dig in, and prepare for a month-long campaign.

Venus Enters Sagittarius

On the very last day that the Sun is in the first decan of Sagittarius, December 1st, Venus strides into the Archer’s sign, trading the gothic stylings of Scorpio for a huntress’ cap and bow. It is not beasts she hunts in Sagittarius, though, but excitement and glory. Venus in Sagittarius revels in epic tones, the spectacle of suprahuman excellence and action-packed aesthetics. Her ride through the sign wakes sleeping spirits and kindles their fire. Venus’ ingress into the Archer’s sign brings the number of planets in Sagittarius up to four, tipping the elemental balance even more strongly toward fire. Venus will be in Sagittarius until December 24th, when she enters Capricorn.

Mars Opposite Uranus

Also waiting for us on the last day of the decan, December 1st, is Mars in Libra’s exact opposition with Uranus in Aries. Although it is not exact until the 1st, it is active for several days previous, especially on the 30th.

While Mercury absorbs the electricity which Uranus emanates like a lightbulb eats current, Uranus’ spark has a more explosive effect on Mars, whose stores of gunpowder and gasoline are vulnerable to such voltage. The power surges catalyzed by Mars’ opposition with Uranus facilitate moments of empowerment, as well as explosive freak-outs. Avoid incendiary topics unless you want a fire storm.

The Tortoise

By the time the Sun rolls clear of the first decan of Sagittarius on December 1st, everything will be in place for 2017’s final month. That month, though as full of configurations as any other, nonetheless shines the spotlight on Saturn, whose conjunction with Mercury provides the defining note of December’s Mercury retrograde, and whose entrance into Capricorn on the 19th marks the end of a short era. Though events and emotions may tempt us to race or flee, the way through this period of time is not a route, but a tempo — slow and steady. Let the modest, enduring tortoise be your pace car.


Horoscopes are not a real chart reading by an experienced astrologer. They are fun and can be reasonably accurate, however. In addition to referring to your Sun sign, read from your Ascendant and Moon if you know them. If you don’t, find out! I’m a long time fan of the free chart generation software at
Aries: The Ram

The planets place a great deal of emphasis on your long term goals, and what meaning you ascribe to your path. Configurations conspire to make what halts your progress crystal clear. Do not be daunted, but take the opportunity to study the blockage, and consider exactly what it will take to clear it.

Taurus: The Bull

The Sun, Mercury and Saturn all point toward the exchanges of time, money and energy between yourself and others. The next several weeks will all entail a good look at the health of those exchanges. Consider the structure of your agreements with others, as well as the expectations set on each side.

Gemini: The Twins

The planets line up to shine a floodlight on the way you structure your intimate relationships. Whether or not things are going swimmingly, there are some dynamics you’ll be need to consider and reconsider over the coming weeks. Take a look at your boundaries. It is important they are firm enough to keep unwanted visitors on the outside, but flexible enough for good company to find their way in.

Cancer: The Crab

The planets highlight your physical health and work routine during this decan, putting together a configuration which will define much of the coming weeks. It may be that you need to merely make some adjustments, but you may also need to do a more significant re-design of the way that you work yourself. Don’t jump to conclusions or make radical changes during this decan — just observe the system in action and see how it works and what it produces.

Leo: The Lion

The planet’s configuration during this decan highlights what you’ve sunk your energy into, and what you’re getting out of it. This is not an immediate call to action, but instead the emergence of a theme which will run through the next several weeks. Just pay attention to what you’re obligated to, and consider how satisfied you are with the return you’re getting on your investment. While you’re doing this, don’t assume that you have to keep doing everything you feel like you have to do. We rarely accept the full measure of freedom, and therefore, responsibility, that we possess.

Virgo: The Virgin

During this decan the planets point toward home and family. In particular, the planets point toward the obligations you have to those you live with, as well as the commitments you’ve made to your current residence, such as mortgages and leases.

Consider how you might shift the weight of these responsibilities so that you might carry it a little easier. It might also be possible that you’ve been experiencing the weight as if it were many times heavier than it actually is. A shift in perspective may transform lead weights to tin ones.

Libra: The Scales

The planets align in Sagittarius to highlight the structure of your days and weeks. Spend this decan’s worth of days looking at how you spend your time. It’s not that you should make any emergency changes so much as that a slow, thorough review of your calendar is in order. Watch now, and take notes on the changes you’d like to make for the New Year.

Scorpio: The Scorpion

The Sun, Mercury and Saturn all point toward the manner in which you’re managing your finances. Sit with the numbers as they pile up in the plus and minus columns. Consider what your bottom line will look like in ten years if you persist in the current pattern. It’s not time to make drastic or quick changes, but instead to being contemplating what long-term changes you’d like to make.

Sagittarius: The Centaur

The planets point to the weight you’ve been carrying the last couple years, the boulder you’ve done your best to push along. Have you gotten that stone over the finish line? Consider the burdens you’ve taken on, and what you’ve gotten for bearing them. It may be time for a different set of obligations, a form of weight-training which produces a different type of strength.

Capricorn: The Goat

Planets pile into Sagittarius and in doing so illuminate a cluster of half-conscious complexes. This configuration highlights those self-defeating patterns you’ve become acquainted with over the last three years, but haven’t yet been able to wholly escape. This span of days begins a month of crucial insight that, if you choose to work implement it, can take you from mere diagnosis to actual healing.

Aquarius: The Waterbearer

During this decan, the planets spotlight the structure of your social world and the contacts, colleagues and friends which constitute it. Though you’ve made a number of alterations to its roster over the last few years, it’s come time to consider a final set of cuts and additions. Moreoever, you may benefit from thinking about the structure of your contacts as a whole. What is your strategy for relating to the world, and by what criteria do some gain entrance to your kingdom, while others are denied?

Pisces: The Fish

The planets point to your professional obligations during this decan. Their weight has likely grown over the last three years, but have you gotten any better at carrying it? Although you’ve probably grown stronger in the crude way that muscles adapt to stress and strain, there are probably more clever way which you could distribute the burden. Over this decan’s span of days, sit back and watch yourself strain beneath your responsibilities, and ask yourself if there isn’t a smarter way to bear them.

Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


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