the great conjunction & winter solstice for writers
Today is busy (the Winter Solstice! The Great Conjunction!), but the tl;dr of this newsletter is… don’t feel like you actually have to do anything immediately at this moment. If you’re feeling pressure, or like you’re going to somehow “miss out” on the astrology, take a deep breath. In. And out.
Also: ICYMI, registration is open for my new course, Astrology for Writers: How to Make Your Writing Work For You! As of today, it’s open to the public, but as a newsletter subscriber, you can continue to sign up with the Early Bird rate ($100 off) using the discount code solstice.
Happy Solstice. On the darkest day and the longest night — after which the sun begins to return to us — we reflect.
Today is technically the start of winter, but to me, it is also the soul of winter. People tend to regard winter as the darkest season, forgetting that it is during autumn that everything falls away, that the days turn to night so quickly. It is in the cold, once everything has truly been laid to rest, once the messenger god Mercury has drawn a snow-covered blanket over the world, that we are tucked in and can begin the real work of the season: The process of coming back to ourselves.
It is deeply capitalist, as the brilliant astrologer Diana Rose Harper recently reminded us all on Instagram, to feel the need to “harness” or utilize every single astrological moment. I feel similarly when it comes to talking about the seasons. Perhaps it’s because I was born on the solstice and am myself a child of winter, someone who comes alive to myself when the rest of the world bemoans the quietude; perhaps it’s because I grew up in farm country rural Iowa and know the value of letting a field lie fallow.
I lie like land used up, Mary Oliver once wrote early in her career — something that has always struck me as an innuendo, but also, perhaps, creative exhaustion.
Winter’s value is not merely found in things “growing” beneath the snow, the most capitalist interpretation possible of a season in which the air itself becomes colder, denser with molecules, literally slower moving. Rather, winter invites us to be more deliberate and reflective, to integrate the lessons of the year as the world around us comes to a seeming halt. The birds have migrated south, the trees have shed their leaves and gone to sleep — sit and have a cup of tea, won’t you?
Nothing and no one is in a perpetual “growth” season. So much simply cannot grow year-round; things need time to take a break and regroup. You do, too. If autumn asks us to notice death and decay — however distracting with its beautiful changing colors — winter asks us to consider the benefits of hibernation and stillness.
The light comes back: This is winter’s promise. The season encourages mindfulness, to observe the incremental increase the sun gives us each day.
The winter solstice marks the start of Capricorn season. (Happy Birthday, my fellow Capricorns!) Take a moment with that. The stereotype of Capricorns is that they embody the archetype of the CEO, or at least the workaholic — as folks who are obsessed with career and money and every capitalist stereotype you can fit into that box. Even within traditional astrological interpretations, these stereotypes find easy purchase. Capricorn is the cardinal earth sign, an initiator who wants to build things (like an empire, something even I say far too often). Capricorn rules the tenth house, so often associated with career. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the purported “boss” of the zodiac.
And yet, our season is the start of winter. As the world is pausing. As nature’s growth has slowed.
Ultimately, this season is about reflecting on the value of time. Nothing worth building happens overnight, and rest is, in fact, an essential part of the cycle. You have to be prepared to survive a winter in the frigid cold. You have to have people who will help, because it really does take a village. Being willing to take charge does not mean running into things all foolhardy; that’s a pretty surefire way for accidents to happen in winter where I’m from — where below-zero weather is the norm; where raging ice storms can take out electricity for miles and miles for days at a time; where one of my most vivid childhood memories is watching my dad wipe out on black ice and slam his head into the ground; where some years, we had more than one animal on our acreage who simply did not survive the winter, no matter our best efforts.
Time is the one resource no amount of money can create more of. Whether you call her Time or The Horae or your dyke-daddy Saturn, she is a random but deliberate mistress who, consequently, demands the best of us all.
This is what we learn when Capricorn season descends. The pace is steady; the intention is consistent. Sometimes, you’re building. Sometimes, you’re composting. Sometimes, your body is just trying to keep itself warm.
For everything its season.
So, the stars. December 21st also marks The Great Conjunction between Jupiter, our healer-teacher, and Saturn, our daddy-taskmaster. The planets are meeting together in the sky for the first time in 20 years, and are both in an air sign (Aquarius) for the first time in 200 years. This is the beginning of a new cycle on both personal and collective levels.
But, as with so many cycles in life, sometimes we don’t see that one has begun until it’s in the rearview.
I want to invite you to take the pressure you may be feeling in this moment to be feeling something “new.” That isn’t how things work with big cycles like this. You may have just finished a really big cycle. This may, in fact, be your reset button, or your downtime. Alternately, this may be a springboard for something coming up in a little while. Or this may be primetime. It depends!
Give yourself some grace. Let the internet noise fade. Focus on your breath, your body, your own life, your own path, and what comforts and discomforts you feel you are being called to notice and address.
Consider the alignment an initiation and an invitation. Like the winter solstice, it’s slow: While The Great Conjunction is a grand title that sounds stripped from the headlines, don’t expect any big bangs or sudden, eclipse-like cleanses of your life. This is more like tectonic plates shifting. Saturn brings the slow-moving structure. Jupiter brings the healing medicine. They are going to be spending the next year in detached, intellectual Aquarius, a systems-oriented sign that also wants to fuck the system.
Today’s prompts are less, do this right now and more, ideas to begin working with and to continue to return to throughout the next year. If it feels good to work with them, by all means, do so. But if you aren’t feeling it today or this week, don’t fret.
The universe loves a slow burn.
Writing Prompt Horoscopes for The Great Conjunction
For more insight and reflection, look back to your calendar and notebooks to see what you were doing in March-July 2020, when Saturn took its preview dip into Aquarius.
Aries & Aries Rising
What commitments are you wanting to make, review, and renew to your communities, particularly ones related to writing and creativity? How have the last few years’ emphasis on your career and public roles set you up to make these changes? Which networks no longer inspire your motivation or your desire? Conversely, what feels healing about the potential of working with others toward common goals, hopes, and dreams?
Taurus & Taurus Rising
How is what you’ve learned about the structure of your long-term plans and publishing projects now being called forth to apply more broadly to your career, public roles, and even professional legacy? What commitments feel intellectually stimulating and aligned with your values? What structures feel brittle and in need of breaking? What feels potentially healing or medicinal about your role in this?
Gemini & Gemini Rising
What intentions, desires, and new commitments are you hoping to manifest when it comes to publishing, higher education, teaching, and long-term plans, more broadly, within the next three years? How have the last few years’ lessons about collaborations and shared resources informed your plans and chess moves? What major beliefs (about yourself, the world, etc.) are changing and shifting beneath your feet? What feels healing about this process, or the prospect of it?
Cancer & Cancer Rising
What new ideas are being awoken when it comes to your collaborations? How is your role when it comes to shared resources and the projects you develop with others shifting? What debts, inheritances, and taxes (or issues surrounding them) need to be addressed, tidied up, and put into a structure that works for you rather than against you? Where and how does this restructuring of thought processes feel potentially healing and medicinal? How has the work you’ve done on partnership over the last few years helped build up to this moment?
Leo & Leo Rising
How has your relationship to your work and your body changed over the last three years, and how are you now ready to bring those individual lessons into your collective partnerships? Whether you’re looking for an agent, developing a relationship with an editor, or thinking about working with a co-writer for the first time, what kinds of contractual professional partnerships do you want to invite into your life over the next few years? What personal partnerships support, inform, and perhaps even intersect with your professional life, and what structures are required to support the depth of the commitment required? What healing medicine are these connections receiving?
Virgo & Virgo Rising
What seeds are being planted when it comes to innovating your daily work life, particularly as it relates to your health and wellness? What have you learned over the last few years around your creative life and pursuit of play and pleasure — and, perhaps, self-denial, restriction, or even burnout? How are you being called to introduce healing and medicinal attention to your calendar and the general balance and flow of your everyday structures and commitments? What nourishment do your days (and your body) require?
Libra & Libra Rising
What new ideas and intellectual endeavors are stimulating your creative or artistic life? What passion projects are desperate to burst through the earth as new buds, bringing their medicine? How is this inspiring you to get in touch with your own inner child, with your playfulness and joie de vivre? What did the last few years’ lessons on building a family and a home that reflects your values set you up for this new journey? What feels healing about this?
Scorpio & Scorpio Rising
Is there anything as complicated as home, family, and cultural heritage? The good news: The next few years pull focus on how you get to recreate, reshape, and build structures that reflect your values when it comes to the family and home you’re creating. How can you take what works for you and leave the rest? What themes around the foundations and history of your life are present in your work? What feels potentially medicinal about the prospect of working more with this?
Sagittarius & Sagittarius Rising
What aspects of your writing life are ready for a refurbish, a reboot, and a new structure? What new ideas are you ready to integrate into your daily routines and rituals in a way that reflects the life you are building? What feels healing and medicinal about your vision for what your everyday could look like? Do close friends or siblings and extended family factor into this? How is the work you’ve done on money, budgeting, and value over the last three years impacting your goals for your writing practice and communications?
Capricorn & Capricorn Rising
Congratulations on graduating from having Saturn move through your first house and over your Ascendant! How are you taking what you’ve learned over the last three years about how you move through the world — about your confidence and sense of responsibility and self-mastery — into how you manage your personal finances and assets? How are you ready to confront and restructure your relationship to value? What feels healing about the prospect of doing this?
Aquarius & Aquarius Rising
Are you ready for a glow-up? One is coming. How have the last three years of deep-diving in your psyche and the parts of yourself you rarely show others prepared you (and your behind the scenes projects) to emerge into the world? Nobody talks about how messy emerging from the cocoon is — how is that going for you? What medicine could you use in this moment when it comes to ideating on what aspects of your self, appearance, persona, and/or identity are shifting? How are you moving into a new kind of self-confidence? What mastery are you ready to embrace?
Pisces & Pisces Rising
After an incredibly social few years (which probably included a fair bit of restructuring your friendships and community commitments), you’re ready for a bit of privacy. What behind the scenes projects are calling your name? What aspects of your hidden life need to be sifted and sorted through — not all at once, but eventually? Are there secrets to be rooted out or losses to be sat with? What unconscious patterns could serve to be a little more conscious? What kind of creative juices are you ready for your psyche to spend a few years steeping in?