Vedic Astrology Forecast: December 2023
Mercury Retrograde, Neptune Direct, and other Major Astrological Shifts in December
Can you believe that the year is almost over? As I worked on this December 2023 astrology forecast, I realized that this month should be a bit less challenging than November. This is because planets will move into more favorable positions during the next thirty days.
Although Venus and Saturn may bring challenges during the first half of December, the astrological conditions should improve as we move closer to the end of the year. In particular, the winter solstice and the end of Jupiter retrograde will usher in some uplifting and magical energy as 2023 draws to a close.
Read on to learn what's in store for the world during the month of December:
December 1, 2023: T-Square Between Moon, Venus, and Pluto – You Might Feel Tense and Frenetic
We will begin the month of December under a stressful t-square in three cardinal signs. The t-square will be formed by the Moon in Cancer opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with both forming volatile square aspects to Venus in Libra at the apex. This combination can reflect a tense, hard-driving, or frenetic energy which could lead to carelessness, as well as power and control issues. Fortunately, this is a short-term combination because the Moon will quickly move out of the t-square.
December 3, 2023: Venus Square Pluto – Some Intense Astral Weather May Occur
Venus at four degrees of Libra will square Pluto at four degrees of Capricorn on December 3. This aspect will be within an effective orb of influence from November 29 to December 7.
The square between Venus and Pluto can be a trigger for seismic events, terror attacks, and storms, as well as political dramas, wars, and conflicts.
Speaking of wars, the last time Pluto and Venus squared off in this exact area of the zodiac was during the American Revolutionary War in November 1775. In personal terms, you might experience turmoil in a relationship or financial matter while this aspect is in place.
December 6, 2023: Neptune Stations Direct – Compassion and Inspiration
On December 6 at 8:23 AM EST, Neptune will station direct at zero degrees and forty-one minutes of Pisces. Neptune has been retrograde since June 30, 2023. If you have chart points from zero to around five degrees of the mutable signs (Pisces, Virgo, Sagittarius, or Gemini), then Neptune’s transit would have the greatest influence on you.
The higher nature of Neptune in Pisces is mystical, idealistic, compassionate, and inspired, but its lower nature can be dishonest, delusional, escapist, and even criminal. During Neptune’s retrograde period, its negative qualities tend to become more pronounced. When it transits in direct motion (as it will now until July 2024), Neptune may boost compassion, spiritual connection, and practical idealism.
Neptune will be transiting in Pisces until February 2037, and will continue to retrograde in Pisces for about five months every year. Neptune began transiting in Purva Bhadrapada nakshatra in 2017, and this will continue until 2025. This nakshatra spans the edge between Aquarius and Pisces.
Although it embodies the power of purification, Purva Bhadrapada also can exhibit an iniquitous and destructive quality in its less evolved nature. Neptune’s transit in Purva Bhadrapada nakshatra has some influence on the mass societal decay and unrest that the world has been experiencing in recent years.
December 6, 2023: Saturn Transits in Conjunction with the Moon in the United States Birth Chart and Trine to Venus – Highs and Lows
Through the month of December, Saturn will transit from seven to nine degrees of Aquarius. Saturn will conjoin the Moon in the United States chart at seven degrees of Aquarius on December 6. This same conjunction occurred earlier this year in March and September. The December 6 conjunction will be the third and last time this conjunction occurs during the Sade Sati transit.
The transit of Saturn over the Moon in the United States chart is the most intense point of the Sade Sati period. I previously wrote an article about this cycle, which will remain in place until 2028. Sade Sati occurs when Saturn transits through the astrological house before the Moon’s house, the house which the Moon occupies, and the house following the Moon’s house.
Sade Sati is considered to be a time of karmic reckoning and tremendous pressure. In astrology, Saturn can be astringent and discouraging. In contrast, the Moon represents the nourishing and fulfilling nectar of life. Thus, there are more than the usual kinds of hardships, obstacles, or losses during Sade Sati, and especially in the period when Saturn is transiting right over the Moon.
In the case of the horoscope for the United States, this transit reflects the severe socioeconomic difficulties being faced by many American citizens, who are represented by the Moon in Mundane Astrology. However, there may be a bit of relief in store as Saturn will also form a lovely trine with Venus in Libra (an exact aspect on December 5). This may indicate some positive vibes to soften or counteract some of the more severe Saturn-Moon dynamics.
December 9 to 12, 2023: Balsamic Moon and Jupiter-Venus Opposition - Stay Balanced!
The Balsamic Moon phase begins when the Moon is within 45 longitudinal degrees behind the Sun, about three-and-a-half days before the New Moon. During this lunar phase, we may feel drained of energy. It's a good idea to rest, reflect, heal, cleanse, let go, and recharge.
However, there is a contrary energy playing out now through the opposition of Jupiter in Aries with Venus in Libra. This aspect will be exact on December 9, but within an effective range of orb from December 8 to 12. The Moon will be conjoined Venus, as well. This means it is a good time to enjoy fun social events.
Although you may feel social during this time, you should be extra careful to avoid overindulging. You need to be especially mindful because the Balsamic Moon is not very forgiving. In other words, physical and emotional vulnerabilities may be triggered during this Moon phase. These sensitivities may increase as the world moves toward the Scorpio New Moon of December 12. So it’s important to keep this in mind and remember to stay balanced.
December 12, 2023: New Moon in Scorpio and Jyestha Nakshatra - Heavy and Challenging Energy
The December New Moon will occur at twenty-six and a half degrees of Scorpio on December 12 at 6:32 PM EST (11:32 PM UTC).
The Scorpio New Moon can activate shadow themes revolving around obsession, violence and fear, defense and security, aggression, depression, death, sexuality, rebirth, finances, control, and personal power. The North Node Rahu will trine the New Moon (Sun + Moon), amplifying intuition but also activating emotional intensity.
When not in harmony, Scorpio can be dogmatic, fundamentalist, rigid, stubborn, or narrow-minded. With Scorpio’s emphasis here, some may tend to feel stuck, tight, or heavy in body and mind. You should focus on exercising, enjoying nature, and most importantly, crying, laughing, and softening your heart.
The New Moon will occupy Jyestha nakshatra in the Aquarius navamsa, so offering charity or service to others would also be a great remedy at this time. Jyestha themes have to do with shelter and protection, so donating to a homeless shelter and food bank would be especially auspicious. This is a great time to rise above obstacles, confront illusions and evil, put your foot down, assist your family (especially elders), and strengthen your self-discipline.
December 13, 2023 to January 1, 2024: Mercury Retrogrades in Sagittarius - Time for Adventure and New Beginnings
Mercury will station retrograde at 14 degrees of Sagittarius on December 13, 2023, at 2:10 AM EST (7:10 AM UTC). Mercury will station direct at 28 degrees of Scorpio on January 1, 2024, at 10:08 PM EST (January 2 at 3:08 AM UTC). You can use the World Time Buddy to convert these times to your own time zone if it is different.
As Mercury passes through Sagittarius, you might feel creative, spontaneous, and adventurous. That said, Mercury in Sagittarius can also be blunt, disorganized, impulsive, and irrational. During this transit, and especially when Mercury is retrograde, you will need to balance this energy in order to use the power of Mercury in Sagittarius in a positive, life-affirming way.
For details about the Mercury retrograde period, please see my previous extensive articles about this transit: Mercury in Sagittarius and the Upcoming Retrograde Cycle, Part One and How Mercury's Sagittarius Transit and Retrograde Cycle Could Impact You: Part Two.
December 16, 2023 to January 14, 2024: The Sun Transits in Sagittarius
On December 16 at 5:28 AM EST, the Sun will begin its month-long transit in the Sagittarius constellation. During this period, from December 18 to 23, the Sun will transit in conjunction with the Galactic Center of the Milky Way Galaxy, which occupies an area extending from about two to seven longitudinal degrees of Sagittarius.
The Galactic Center is the rotational center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Known in the Vedic tradition as Vishnunabhi, the Navel of Lord Vishnu, it is the source of cosmic light and creative power for the whole Milky Way Galaxy including the solar system in which we live. Our Sun, the light of our world, is recharged and rejuvenated through an “energetic upgrade” when it transits here, just in time for the New Year ahead!
From December 15 to 17, the Sun will transit through the gandanta, the one-degree rashi sandhi (sign cusp) on either side of the constellations of Scorpio and Sagittarius. This is one of the most intense, emotionally sensitive, and transformational areas of the whole zodiac, where the element of water merges into the element of fire. As the Sun transits here, we need to be especially mindful of our surroundings, our thoughts, our intentions, and our actions.
Generally, we may start to expect more inner peace, hope, and optimism once the Sun moves past the gandanta and through Sagittarius, which is ruled by the Sun's great friend Jupiter. Jupiter is the expansive and jovial planet of grace, wisdom, abundance, and generosity. The Sun comes into Jupiter's sign just in time for a joyful holiday celebration.
At the same time, all of nature is spiraling inward now as we move toward the winter solstice, the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, which will occur on December 21/22. Once we pass the still-point period that spans three days after the solstice, the light will be reborn, and the days will slowly begin to grow longer.
Until then, we may feel more tired than usual. This means that it’s extra-important to get enough rest in these darkening days, and focus on releasing the old to make room for the new energies coming in with the rebirth of the Light.
December 17, 2023: The Transiting Moon Conjoins Transiting Saturn – A Somber and Introspective Time Heading Toward the Solstice
Every month, the transiting Moon conjoins transiting Saturn. In December, this event will occur on the 17th. The transiting Moon will also conjoin the aforementioned Moon in the United States birth chart (this is also known as the monthly Lunar Return).
The energy this day may feel more somber and introspective than usual. If your natal chart is impacted by this conjunction, you might even feel fatigued or depressed. If so, you should remember that this is a short-term transit that will pass soon.
During this time, all of nature is spiraling down toward the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. This is when we also are meant to turn deeply inward as we move toward the rebirth of the light.
December 17 to 28: Mercury Combust - Caution Advised
Mercury will transit close to the Sun (within 12 degrees) from December 17-28. This is known as the combustion of Mercury. During this time, you should be extra mindful when you communicate with others and also be aware that this is a signature for dangerous storms, both literal and figurative. You should also carefully manage your own state of mind. This is because combustion can have an aggravating, anxious, or impatient quality which can lead to accidents or other mishaps.
December 21, 2023: Venus Opposes Uranus – Be Ready for a Surprise
On December 21, 2023, Venus at 25 degrees of Libra will oppose Uranus at 25 degrees of Aries. This event will occur about eight hours before the winter solstice. Some whose natal charts are closely influenced by this transit might be in store for a shock or surprise related to a relationship or financial matter.
A windfall could be in the works for those who are fortunate, but for others it could be a risky time financially. In terms of relationships, stay steady within yourself and don’t rock the boat or take chances. It's important to remain calm because Venus will be in the fiery and sometimes combative Vishakha nakshatra, while Uranus will be in the violent, extreme, and intense Bharani nakshatra.
December 21, 2023: Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere - Time to Celebrate the Shortest Day of the Year!
Winter solstice will occur in the northern hemisphere on December 21, 2023 at 10:27 PM. This will be on December 22, 2023 at 3:27 AM UTC. Use the World Time Buddy to convert to your time zone if different.
Winter solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. At this time, the Sun reaches its southernmost point in its seasonal declination cycle. After the winter solstice, the Sun will appear to stand still for three days and then slowly begin its northward movement. During the three-day standstill, we will experience a “spiritual rebirth,” i.e., the rebirth of the light.
According to classical Muhurta (the electional system of Vedic Astrology), we are advised to avoid calculating a Muhurta (auspicious date election) for three days before, the day of, and three days after the solstice. If possible, you should not establish or begin anything of material import at this time. This would include matters like moving into a new house, starting a new business, having an elective medical or surgical procedure, making a significant investment, or getting married.
If you begin projects during this time, they may not give you successful long-term results. This is because the Sun’s energy is unstable during the solstice. We need the Sun to be firm and strong when we set anything new and important into motion, as the Sun rules the vitality and longevity of all matters.
As always, you should consult with your Vedic astrologer if you need to begin important matters around the time of the solstice. Your astrologer can also help you obtain astrological remedies if you must begin new projects during this difficult time.
Although it's not a good time to begin new events, the solstice is an ideal period for introspection and celebration. Stay tuned for an upcoming article about the solstice and more details about this sacred time, including the solstice horoscope, one of charts I like to analyze for the New Year.
December 22, 2023: Mercury’s Interior Conjunction - Pay Attention to Omens, Oracles, and Messages from Spirit
During its combustion cycle on December 22, Mercury will be in its interior/inferior conjunction, also known as cazimi (when it is exactly conjoined the Sun). Around this date, we may tap into some important guidance that can help us metaphorically plant seeds for something new to develop. What is revealed at this time is likely to emerge around Mercury’s direct station on January 1-2. Now is the time to listen and pay attention to omens, oracles, and messages from Spirit.
December 24, 2023, to January 18, 2024: Venus Transits in Scorpio - Time to Face Those Fears and Increase Your Strength
On Christmas Eve, Venus, planet of the heart chakra, will transit into the mystical, passionate, devoted, and deep-feeling Scorpio constellation. Venus will remain in this sign until January 18. This is a wonderful period in which to face your fears, penetrate deep into the heart of prayer and meditation, and cultivate physical bodily strength and vitality. Although this is a generally positive transit, it's important to remember that it has previously been associated with intense seismic eruptions, both of the literal and figurative varieties. So it's important to be cautious during this time.
December 26, 2023: The Full Moon in Gemini and Ardra Nakshatra - Intense Times
The December Full Moon will occur at ten degrees and forty-six minutes of Gemini on December 26 at 7:33 PM EST (December 27 at 00:33 AM UTC).
The Full Moon in Gemini in its higher expression symbolizes creativity, versatility, communication, travel, fun, and intellectual, artistic, and literary pursuits. Yet, there is also a lower expression as the Full Moon occupies Ardra nakshatra, which is ruled by Lord Rudra (Shiva), the God of the Storm. This placement suggests that the days around the Full Moon will bring stormy weather, cleansing, catharsis, renewal, disorder and upheaval, and ultimately, a great change ahead. The Ardra Full Moon is an opportune time for confronting problems and releasing the past. Mantras, prayers, and pujas dedicated to Kali Mata and Lord Shiva will be especially potent and beneficial.
December 26-29: Mars Transits in the Scorpio-Sagittarius Gandanta, Conjoins Mercury, and Squares Neptune: Stormy Weather and a Discouraging Time for Some
Mars will move through the tumultuous gandanta (one-degree cusp) between Scorpio and Sagittarius from December 26 to 29. During this time, Mars will conjoin Mercury, meaning that both will be transiting in the intense gandanta together. This means we might expect severe storms, floods, travel disruptions, transportation issues, accidents, and excessive aggression and violence in the world.
Mars and Mercury will also square Neptune in early Pisces during this same period during the last week of December. This challenging aspect can further emphasize the above-mentioned issues, and can point to a very depressing or discouraging period when the world may seem darker, sicker, and more confusing than normal. There is great potential for scandals to erupt, as well as mass deception and confusion.
December 27, 2023 to February 5, 2024: Mars Transits in Sagittarius - A Mixed Bag
Mars will transit in Sagittarius from December 27, 2023, to February 5, 2024, and will have moved past the dangerous first pada (section) of Mula nakshatra by January 1. After this, Mars will be moving very fast to fulfill his agenda in Sagittarius over the next five weeks.
Mars in Sagittarius in its higher manifestation represents an interest in religion and spirituality, courageous action, and the ability to set goals and fulfill them with enthusiasm, joy, and purpose. In its lower expression, Mars in Sagittarius can be impulsive, deceitful, scattered, reckless, and self-indulgent, and may suggest issues with gambling, debt, and just generally, a no-holds-barred attitude.
Mars in Sagittarius is also a signature for political fanaticism and ideological extremism, so let us watch what unfolds around this time in regard to the typical Machiavellian political process in America.
While Mars transits in Sagittarius, it is in a trine and exchanging signs (in mutual reception) with Jupiter in Aries (known as Parivartana Yoga in Vedic Astrology). This means Mars is in the sign of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the sign of Mars, which gives dignity (strength and auspiciousness). This aspect can bring some good fortune for those whose charts have the Ascendant, Sun, or Moon in the sidereal signs of Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius.
For these water and fire signs, the mutual reception between Mars and Jupiter combines the action, focus, and power symbolized by Mars, with the grace, optimism, and growth represented by Jupiter. Also for these signs based on the houses ruled by Mars and Jupiter, this combination forms various kinds of raja yogas (combinations for power and purpose).
This may give a boost of luck, confidence, and determination to assist in fulfilling goals. This will start to manifest by January 1, after Mars leaves the Mula gandanta and Jupiter stations direct. It will be in place until Mars leaves Sagittarius on February 5. (Note that this transit will be especially great for Bitcoin!)
December 30/31, 2023: Jupiter Stations Direct - A Sense of Mental Expansion, Renewal, and Hope, Just in Time for the New Year!
Jupiter has been transiting retrograde since September 4, and will station direct on December 30 at 9:41 PM EST, at 11 degrees of Aries. This will be on December 31 at 2:41 AM UTC. Mercury will also be slowing down at this time toward its direct station which will occur on January 1-2. As both Jupiter and Mercury are the planets that represent our brains and intelligence, we will surely be feeling a sense of mental expansion, renewal, and hope—just in time for the New Year!
As you can see, we should end 2023 on a very positive note. As magical energy washes over the world, we should celebrate our triumphs in 2023 and look toward new beginnings and ever more peace, success, and fulfillment in 2024!
May Love and Light prevail. May Divine Wisdom reign supreme. May it transform the darkness; and heal the realms where shadows dwell. (Anthon St. Maarten)