This month’s Skyvibe is written by wonderful Astrologer and Sydney Astrology School colleague Joanne Rixon… enjoy.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven

There is a lot happening in the sky during the month of June as the inner planets, Venus and Mercury, are making aspects to most of the other planets. These aspects are exact for only a day, and while they may be significant to those whose personal charts are impacted, their energies are fleeting. It would appear that the most significant event in the astrological calendar is that Neptune pauses in his tracks, ponders for a couple of days, then decides to retrace his steps a couple of degrees until late November, when he turns direct again.

The whole month has a very Gemini flavour, which is as it should be as the Sun is residing in this sign. The energies are something like a busy newsroom where information is traded in headlines: “Venus has a fling with Uranus!”; “Venus has a new Taurean dress!”; “Now she is flirting with Mars!”; “Venus has a misunderstandings with Jupiter and Saturn!”; “Mercury has a confrontation with Saturn!”. There is a lot of busyness in the business of the planets.

But while our focus is directed outwards at the energies at play in the sky we are forgetting that one of the most significant astrological events occurs in June, one that happens twice a year to the most important planet in the Solar System – the one beneath our feet, our home, the Earth. On Wednesday 21st June at 2.24pm precisely (AEST), the Sun will leave Gemini and enter the sign of Cancer. In the Southern Hemisphere, this is our Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year.

The word Solstice derives from sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). It is the day when the sun appears to momentarily stand still in its journey from south to north (or vice versa) relative to the celestial equator and change direction. The latitude where this takes place in the Northern Hemisphere is the Tropic of Cancer and in the Southern Hemisphere it is the Tropic of Capricorn. After the winter solstice the days get progressively longer as the sun rises a few minutes earlier and sets a few minutes later each day. It is literally the rebirth of the Sun, the source of light and life.

Google “Winter Solstice” and you will see lots of references to the Northern Hemisphere winter and Christmas. Traditionally the festival of Jul or anglicised Yule, was celebrated on the Winter Solstice. In days gone by, mid winter was a time when it became very apparent whether there was enough fuel to keep the life-giving fires going through the long dark winter months and if there was enough food to sustain the whole community through to spring. If there was not, the oldest and the weakest were sacrificed to safeguard the survival of the group. If you had done sufficient work to stockpile food and fuel during the warmer months, then you were rewarded with survival through the winter. Very Saturn in Capricorn!

With the advent of Christianity, Yule became Christmas, and through adjustments to the calendar the date was moved from 21 December to 25 December. Saturn was given a red suit and his name changed to Santa, dispensing presents to all good boys and girls. The focus moved from celebrating the rebirth of the Sun to the birth of a Jesus, and the Saturnian true meaning of the Solstice was lost.

So, what does this mean for us who dwell in milder climes down here in the Southern Hemisphere? Our Saturn/Santa rides a surfboard and we extend the hours of sunlight by adjusting the clock and calling it Daylight Saving. Our Yule festival occurs in the middle of summer, so none of this applies to us, right?

Think again. Our winter solstice occurs when the Sun moves into Cancer, the sign of nurturing and being nurtured, of home and security, of all the things that make us feel safe and cherished. What could be more appropriate for a Winter Festival? We don’t need to fear winter, there is no threat that we will perish in 20 below temperatures. Snow is a cause for celebration and fun, to be shared and enjoyed. It is time we reclaimed our Winter Solstice and restored it to the place in the calendar it deserves.

On 21st June, take a few minutes to reflect on “home” and what that means to you. Think about this planet we call home and the wondrous journey it makes year in, year out, around the life-giving Sun. Take the time to cocoon yourself inside, make the house cosy and warm, indulge in comfort food to nourish your body and soul, curl up with a good book or watch your favourite movie on the telly. Connect and reconnect with the people and things that make you feel safe and secure. The Danes have a word for this, hygge, which is pronounced something like “hug”. So on 21st June, give your nearest and dearest a big hug, then give yourself a hug and know that tomorrow the Sun will appear just that little bit earlier and set just a little bit later, and whilst it might get colder in July and August, every day is bringing more light and sunshine into our lives until it is once again Spring and the Equinox. And if you have the means and the inclination, give something to those who do not have some place to call home, those doing it tough on the streets. It may not be Christmas, but the Solstice is a good time to help out our brothers and sisters in need.