Astrology Dec 12th – 20th (♐️III): Chop Wood, Carry Fire

Astrology Dec 12th – 20th (♐️III): Chop Wood, Carry Fire

The Sun rises in the third and final decan of Sagittarius for the first time this year on December 12th. Traditions provides us with difficult images for this set of ten degrees.

Exhausted, a man trudges through the 10 of Wands, his mind stretched between his burden and his destination. He is Frodo alone, climbing up Mt. Doom’s steep slope. It must be done. A different figure, wearing a golden cap, slays a man. He’s come too far to stop now. Finally, another rides a horse until it collapses. The message must be delivered. Lives depend on it.

As I wrote of this decan in 36 Faces: “It is unsurprising that we find Saturn named ruler of this face in most texts. The slow planet’s power brings limitations to the surface, and heaps obligations on those who its rays fall upon. Yet other texts call the Sun the ruler of this decan, for rays of will shine fiercely here.”

A primordial goddess, Necessity, here holds sway. When we look back, we see her behind us, hot on our heels like a wolf, red-eyed and baleful. Yet she also beckons from just over the next hill, glowing gold and warm, her arms wide to congratulate and embrace. We just have to get there.

These images appropriately appear in the 10 days before the December solstice, being the end of a season, and almost the year. Yet there is more to it this time, as 2017’s final decan of Sagittarius holds within it Saturn’s final days in the Archer’s sign. The leaden planet has been in Sagittarius since 2015, but moves into Capricorn on the 19th. With Saturn’s transition, we enter a long winter — one which will last through the end of the decade. We make the transition from one three year Saturn season to another.

Thus, we are now at a transitional point, the Janus-faced juncture between one time and another. One face looks forward in anticipation and fear, the other looks back, seeking wisdom into what has already occurred. The planets’ alignments facilitate this. Mercury and the Sun conjoin in the final decan of Sagittarius on the 12th, focusing thoughts on how we got here, and the New Moon in Sagittarius on the 17th is closely conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius, opening the skies for contemplation on Saturn’s last days in the sign.

So we come to the end of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius. How did you fair on its frantic, exhausting obstacle course? What battles did you fight? What bridges did you burn, and which did you cross? What wands did you manage to acquire and carry through the last 3 years?

The coming season doesn’t need wands and arrows, it needs firewood. It doesn’t need fiery spectacle, it needs a hearth. Maybe they aren’t wands you’re carrying, but logs, wood for the winter. They hide the promise of fire within them, each one a quiet, portable increment of Summer light.

It is a long winter we’re due for, and like any slow thing, it will come on slow, as well. It may take much of 2018 for folks to notice the snow falling, the winds shifting. But if you pause for a second, you can smell it in the air, you can hear the silence coming. There’s still time to stock the cabin, and make sure the livestock are fed and warm.


Mercury Conjunct The Sun: An Arrow of Light

On December 12th, retrograde Mercury and the Sun conjoin at 21 degrees Sagittarius. Here, with Mercury between the Sun and the Earth, the swift planet acts as a magnifying glass for the solar light, allowing that radiance to penetrate deep into the details of ongoing matters. This moment is the dead-center of Mercury’s retrograde, and provides an opportunity for piercing clarity. Do not merely look at problems, look through them — see what lies beyond. This conjunction is not necessarily an auspicious time for action, but it is an excellent one for contemplation and conversation.

Mercury Conjunct Venus: A Hemaphroditic Moment

A few days after union with the Sun, on the 15th, retrograde Mercury conjoins Venus in Sagittarius, bringing the heart and mind together for a brief conference. This conjunctio helps bring emotional coherence to the reconfigurations which Mercury’s retrograde has called for. It also provides a nice, albeit temporary, boost to creative work.

The New Moon in Sagittarius: Here We Are

The New Moon in Sagittarius brings the lunar cycle to an end on December 17th. This lunation sees the Sun and Moon align right next to Saturn in Sagittarius, only days before the slow planet makes its micro-epochal ingress into Capricorn. The New Moon is always a night best suited to contemplation, but this one is doubly so. It has a quiet and serious ambiance, perfect for reflection on just how far you’ve come and what you’ve endured since Saturn entered Sagittarius 3 years ago.

Saturn Enters Capricorn: What The Goat’s Strange Eyes See

On December 19th, Saturn enters Capricorn, the sign in which it will spend the rest of the decade. Cold, heavy and austere, Saturn in Capricorn builds mighty fortifications, comes down hard on the unrepentant, and teaches of secrets thought lost to dusty tombs. Look for an extended article on Saturn in Capricorn to arrive as the slow planet steps into the Goat’s sign.

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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
Taurus: The Bull
Gemini: The Twins
Cancer: The Crab
Leo: The Lion
Virgo: The Virgin
Libra: The Scales
Scorpio: The Scorpion
Sagittarius: The Centaur
Capricorn: The Goat
Aquarius: The Waterbearer
Pisces: The Fish
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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.


  1. T. Giroux 5 years ago

    Your writing is eloquent and brilliant as usual.

  2. Rob 5 years ago

    here fresh from Rune Soup, what would be your doom metal recommendations for the 2018 Saturn in Capricorn bassline?
    (And i mean that literally, as a Capricorn sun sign….)
    Gorgeous insight and mood weaving as always.

  3. Carl 5 years ago

    Try Saturnalia Temple.

  4. Eric 5 years ago

    I was totally thinking I need to banish the 10 of Wands the other day…this last second cramming is exactly my life with a crazy demanding work and school schedule, finals week while working etc…

    I’ve literally gained 2 wands, a bronze diadem with Labradorite, bronze pauldrons, a brass circlet, (the ability to metalsmith), palm torches, a pyromini (flash paper fireballs), Oathkeeper Keyblade, a 3D Scanner (Xbox One Kinect), a long board (lost in the war/SUV hit and run), an amazing colorful and magickal HQ, a job where I work with lances staves swords and horses, (I look like an old school tarot card at work), a battle ready high carbon Sting, and a HTC Vive (Cerebro)…oh, and an old friend and I made up, and returned to me my Fire Staff.

    And after amassing all these arms and gear and equipment, Saturn is finally leaving the sign it holds in my natal chart…everything has literally felt like a crazy rushing adventurous war, but in the sense of Frodo climbing the mountain, rather than some fantastic quest. It’s finally coming to an end of sorts? I’m not sure I remember how to not always be ready for chaos, feeling like a hound is at my feet or a trap might appear any second, on guard and simply at peace and focused….

    Anyways, thanks for helping clear things up…I’m not a crazy fuck up, things have just been that intense.

  5. Nickie 5 years ago

    This is my first time visiting your site. It is now bookmarked. I’ve listened to your astrological predictions on Rune Soup over the past year or so. Your accuracy is staggering. And the insightful bits that come out during general conversation are engaging and lovely. Thank you.

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Astrology Dec 12th - 20th (♐️III): Chop Wood, Carry Fire

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