December 2016: Wild Cards

December 2016: Wild Cards

Though there are a number of unique moments this December, the bulk of the month’s events orbit around the potent configurations between Saturn in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries. Together they form one large complex, each of their relationships forming one side of a triangle. In order to break this larger pattern down, we first need to examine the three relationships which comprise it.

Jupiter Sextile Saturn: Temperance

The first of these pairings is the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn. The angle between the two planets is a sextile, which signifies a friendly, supportive relationship. Not only are these two planets in signs friendly to one another, the two also have a “mutually received” relationship, meaning each is happy to listen to and work with the other’s advice.

This positive connection between Jupiter and Saturn offers the potential to build Jupiter’s ideals into Saturn’s structures. Jupiter’s optimism helps counter Saturn’s pessimism, and vice versa, their contrarities the proper recipe for an balanced perspective. What is possible between Jupiter and Saturn here is coherence between ideals and methods, destinations and vehicles.

The third member of this configuration is Uranus, a planet not so prone to compromise. Uranus is Aries, as it has been since 2010. While Jupiter expands and uplifts, and Saturn condenses and grounds, Uranus radicalizes and disrupts.

Saturn Trine Uranus: Some Improvisation Required

This December, Saturn and Uranus form their first perfect trine. Though the trine (120) is usually a happy angle through which energy is easily exchanged, Uranus and Saturn do not generally play together well. While Saturn stabilizes, Uranus disrupts. Where Saturn looks to history, Uranus points to the future. Saturn demands order, and Uranus chaos. Uranus’ trine with Saturn thus challenges our plans and expectations by throwing black swans in our path. The distant planet slips wild cards into our deck, making it difficult to count cards and project probable outcomes. The plans we make must therefore be resilient, capable of incorporating unexpected changes. Our goals may remain the same, but we will benefit from being flexible about which path we take to their completion. The Saturn-Uranus trine punishes rigid protocols and rewards malleability.

Jupiter Opposite Uranus: Dynamic and Static Equilibrium

While there is a relatively friendly-ish trine between Saturn and Uranus, Jupiter and Uranus find themselves in stark opposition. The two make a perfect 180 for the first time on the 26th of this month.  While Jupiter in Libra reaches toward the middle-ground, Uranus in Aries points toward extremes. Revolutionary Uranus in Aries wants none of the compromise and concord that Jupiter in Libra advocates for. Uranus interferes with Jupiter’s pacing, turning plans for steady growth into rapid and unstable mutations. Jupiter in Libra’s equilibrium is compromised and tested by the volatility Uranus brings. It could be said that this opposition calls for balance, but really it calls for a comfortable oscillation between balance and imbalance.

It is worth noting that although each of these aspects speaks clearly for the first time during December, all three of the planets will persist in their respective signs for much of 2017. The dynamics which December hosts provide an introduction to stories and themes which will continue throughout much of the coming year.


Mars’ aspects during the first week of December light up Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, whose configuration forms the skeleton upon which the meat of December’s story hangs.

On December 1st, Mars completes a trine with Jupiter, providing a reasonable boost of enthusiasm and and optimism.  Early on the 3rd, though, Mars sextiles Saturn, whose sterner quality promotes not enthusiasm, but discipline and industry in the face of tasks you might rather avoid.
After disengaging from Saturn, Mars moves on toward a sextile with Uranus in Aries, which is complete on Tuesday the 6th. While Jupiter uplifts Mars and Saturn focuses and restrains it, Uranus catalyzes and intensifies the red planet. There is a a very active energy boost here, a bloom of fiery plasma. Mars’ sextile with Uranus also seeds the atmosphere with an ambient willingness to push past or ignore boundaries and expectations. Although it can be directed in a favorable manner, there is an inherent instability and aggression to the energy which demands a bit of caution.

Mercury Enters Capricorn: Goat’s Eye View

In the midst of Mars’ meetings with Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, Mercury changes signs, entering Capricorn on December 2nd.
In Capricorn, Mercury shifts the conversation to positioning, plans and obstacles. Mercury in Capricorn presides over structural intelligence, as useful for architecture as for strategic sequencing. In the Goat’s sign, the Messenger acts as a guide to things-as-they-are and as they were. The future is more difficult to see through the Goat’s eyes, although the present, as a culmination of the past, is easier to comprehend.
The messenger plans an extended stay in Capricorn this year, as the Goat’s sign is the site of Mercury’s next retrograde. This retrograde, which begins on December 19th, will last until the first week of the new year.

Venus Enters Aquarius: Outsider Art

Venus enters Aquarius early on December 7th, the same day that Mars and Uranus complete their dynamic, if unstable, sextile.
In Aquarius, Venus highlights beauty of the unorthodox and intelligent sort. The song of rebels and exiles echo through her strange gallery, and the works of the avante-garde hang upon its walls. Venus in Aquarius’ ambiance can be a bit alienating for those not familiar with the route which leads from the head to the heart.

Venus’ ingress into Aquarius puts our evening star in the same sign as Mars, which may mollify the red planet a bit, adding a bit of pastel to its harsh crimson. For the next three months, Venus will eat away at the distance between herself and Mars, only to abandon the chase in March. Venus will be in Aquarius until January 2nd, when the bright planet enters Pisces.


Between the 9th and the 11th, the Sun in Sagittarius sextiles Jupiter, conjoins Saturn and trines Uranus, lighting up the trio for a second time.
The Sun in Sagittarius sextiles Jupiter in Libra on the 9th, right before conjoining Saturn. The Sun-Jupiter contact is light and bright, and may momentarily offset some of Saturn’s heavier beams. The Sun-Jupiter aspect will serve to remind us what we aspire to, what reward or improvement might come out of the long endurance that Saturn requires.

Early on December 10th, the Sun conjoins Saturn at 18 Sagittarius. The Sun’s annual conjunction with the slow planet is like an x-ray exam, revealing the hidden bones of our situation. It is a yearly check up, asking us to examine how well we’ve dealt with the challenges issued. It is a somber aspect, but good for extended reflection and long term consideration.

As Saturn has been in Sagittarius since 2015, many of these issues highlighted by the Sun-Saturn conjunction are not new. We have been dealing with them for a few years now. Yet with Saturn entering Capricorn during December 2017, this conjunction is the last that the Sun and Saturn will make in Sagittarius for nearly three decades. While some might protest at another year of Saturn in Sagittarius, it is also another chance to get it right, to integrate the lessons available and get the better of history.

After conjoining Saturn, the Sun in Sagittarius moves on to a December 11th trine with Uranus in Aries. While Sol’s contact with Jupiter advocated for optimism, and with Saturn, pragmatism, the Sun’s trine with Uranus is more extreme. Radical solutions and out-of-bounds perspectives radiate from Uranus’ quadrapolar body, scuffing the line between inspiration and delusion.

Full Moon in Gemini: Paths and Destinations

The Full Moon in Gemini on December 13th lingers on the complicated configuration between Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, shining lights both silver and gold upon the trio. In Gemini, this Full Moon asks that we bring our thinking to bear upon the multitude of possibilities, pathways and obstacles. This is a very mentally active lunation, and you may be driven a little crazy trying to correlate everything into a single coherent vision. Yet it is exactly this labor which the Full Moon energizes. Put off decision-making for a second, and let your mind wander down the different pathways available. Let the perspective each trajectory offers inform you. Coherence will grow out of exploration.

Mars Enters Pisces: Net and Trident

Mars enters the deeps of the Fishes’ sign during the wee hours of the 19th. In Pisces, Mars weaponizes the imagination, leading both to fussilades of poetry and deluded cavalry charges. Be thoughtful about which dreams you fight for while Mars is in Pisces, as the lines between imagination, inspiration and illusion are fuzzy at the best of times. When in doubt, err on the side of compassion. Mars will be in Pisces until January 27th, when it enters fiery Aries.

Mercury Stations Retrograde: Long Walk Back

Only hours after Mars’ ingress, Mercury stations retrograde at 15 Capricorn. The messenger’s long walk back will last until January 7th this time, and will entail the classic mixture of do-overs, miscommunications, deep ruminations, trips to down memory lane, problems with digital devices, and travel issues.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

It is curious to note that both Mars’ ingress and Mercury’s station occur only hours before the American Electoral College is due to announce its verdict on the recent election. Mercury’s station suggests the possibility of a reversal or delay, while Mars’s ingress, not usually a factor in such matters, is tied to this election by the fact that the red planet’s previous ingress was during the night of the election itself. Mars and Mercury’s actions on the 19th are certainly significant, though what exactly they augur is unclear.

The Sun Enters Capricorn: Anchor

The Sun enters Capricorn early on December 21st, marking the Solstice. The north will have its long night, and the south its enduring day. The solstice is a point of maximum polarization, where celestial yin and yang, night and day, are at the point of their greatest inequality. The solstice is one of the four great pivots of the year, and from this point day and night will amble slowly back to equality.
The solstice marks the Sun’s entrance into Capricorn. In the goat’s sign, the shines its light down, upon and into the ground we stand on, however firm or shakey. The Sun’s time in Capricorn is good for grounding, although some may find its gravity unpleasant. The Sun will be in Capricorn until January 19th, when it enters Aquarius.

The Lightning Path

Shortly after the Sun’s solstice entrance into Capricorn, the configurations which have provided the month’s drama tighten, making their dynamics abundantly clear. The last week of December is packed with volatile configurations, suggesting that 2016 has at least one more wild card in its deck.

On the 24th, Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries complete their first perfect trine, making clear the tension, as well as the possible synergy, between structure and innovation, order and chaos. A few days later, on the 26th, Jupiter and Uranus make their first perfect opposition, revealing the tension between the moderate and the extreme, the radical and the compromising. This configuration is further energized by Uranus’ direct station, which occurs only a few days later, early the morning of the 29th. Much clusters during these days- breakdowns and breakthroughs, surprises fair and foul, sudden reversals and lightning-stroke insights.

Stirred Not Shaken

Meanwhile, Mars spends the last week of the year conjoining the Dragon’s Tail (26th) and then Neptune (31st). Additionally, Mars makes a special contra-antiscia to Uranus on the 31st. This series of touches puts Mars in position to ignite a number of matters. The depths are churned by Mars’ actions here, and although there is a real potential for ugliness, there is much to be learned by observing what rises to the surface.

The Pillar

While a variety of configurations volatize the last week of the year, the Sun, Moon and Mercury attempt to ground us out. The 28th holds not only the New Moon in Capricorn, but also a conjunction of the Sun and Moon with Mercury, the cazimi at the heart of each Mercury retrograde.  There is thus a moment of deep and resounding clarity hidden amidst an otherwise hectic set of configurations. While the other planets write their messages in the dynamic languages of lightning, fire and crashing waves, the Sun, Moon and Mercury stand quiet and strong, a pillar around which the rest whirl.


[icegram messages="9737"]


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
[icegram messages="9742"]
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. Soulart Siren 6 years ago

    Bless your soul ?

  2. Sikander 6 years ago


    Thanks for the astrological head’s up on December. I’ve been wondering about the hard aspects between Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter when it comes to $ spells in general.

    I’m not an astrologer, I know basic stuff just to help me with my election timings and to dig into my microcosmos following my birth chart, in order to fix the flaws.

    My intuition tells me that Uranus-Pluto-Jupiter doesn’t favour spells targeting financial operations such as those of the stock exchange, corporate investments, partnerships that seem too good to be true and and so on.

    Am I on to something with this, or should I focus more on blocking my thoughts so that I can hear my inner voice more clearly?

    Thank you!

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      I think you’re right that the Jupiter-Uranus configuration isn’t going to be good for most financial operations due to the wild cards it tends to hand out. At the risk of parroting Gordon White, I would say that if you’re going to work under that configuration, think of projects that will benefit from volatility rather than be hamstrung by it.

      Work to obtain and maintain inner clarity, in my opinion, is along the lines of hygiene. Ideally, it becomes so regular that we don’t even think about it.

  3. Sikander 6 years ago

    Thank you for your answer.

  4. Thank you for another brilliant literary roadmap of the hidden regions. Your column is a joy.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Thank you!

  5. Spike Neuberger 6 years ago

    Isn’t it just MINDBLOWING that the the movements and juxtapositions of planets and objects in space affect our
    tiniest of emotions and actions?!?! Astounding that ancient humans were able to figure that out, and develop
    astrology as we know it! How close-minded must one be to not at least ponder the notion that we have, and had, help
    and guidance from some evolved force. Thank you, Austin, and all in this field for your dedication to this science!
    We are PRIVLEDGED to be incarnated in this pivotal time.
    Yours ascending, Spike. (spike neuberger on YouTube)

  6. Sikander 6 years ago

    Me again. One more question on the hard aspects between Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto. Can they be controlled or at least tempered using Saturn? Especially the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus, since they make good aspects with Sarurn. But I guess their aspects with Pluto could also be controlled/tempered because Pluto is in Saturn’s domicile.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Saturn is certainly in position to mediate, although that does lay extra stress on the planet. The Jupiter-Saturn relationship is an easy solve, I think, but as I noted above, the Uranus-Saturn connection is a difficult one even under excellent circumstances. We can liken the situation to being friends with two people who are arguing. You may get along reasonably well with both, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you can solve their disagreement.

      • Sikander 6 years ago

        I know exactly what you mean, especially when current Saturn is conjunct my natal Uranus 🙂 Thanks again. Blessings!

  7. Jen 6 years ago

    The way I see it, any contact with Saturn is difficult – even the easy aspects such as the trine – because there is this sternness and sobering, bare bones exposure with whatever is touched, and a call to get serious, dutiful, and certainly not playful. That being said – it can be a good thing that Uranus is managed a bit, yes? – even if in a disruptive, on and off way. Plans, disruption, back to the plan. I think that even though Saturn is all about the present built on the past, in the sign of Sag he is involved with setting goals so perhaps a little more friendly in this way with the future oriented Uranus? With Jupiter applying in the sextile, a little easier since there is some optimism that is not being clamped down but rather, made purposeful? We have made gains, how does that fit into a responsible plan kind of thing. Best to befriend Saturn – and remember the reward part if you can. Thank you Austin for the great summary for December, Yours in Truth

    • Sikander 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  8. Jen 6 years ago

    Typo alert for Virgo “This December emphasizes the opposition between Jupiter and Saturn.” Saturn s/be Uranus I believe.

    • Author
      Austin Coppock 6 years ago

      Good catch- thanks for the eyes.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.


December 2016: Wild Cards

Thanks for sharing! Would you like to connect with Austin on Facebook or Twitter?
Send this to a friend