The belt of the Zodiac embraces the Earth like a mighty circle of stars and is important to us because it’s only among this region of stars that we find the Sun, Moon and planets in their orbits.
The Milky Way is also a mighty circle of stars that seems to wrap itself around the Earth, but because the the Milky Way is not on the same plane as the Zodiac, it appears to us that their paths cross one another . At Solstice this year, these crossing points will be uniquely activated by Sun and Moon. The green line in the image above is called the “ecliptic” and it marks the apparent path of Sun, Moon and planets through the Zodiac.
The Sun will arrive at its Solstice moment at 5:23 pm on Friday, about 25 minutes after it sets. At Solstice the Sun appears as far south of the celestial equator as it can get, and then it seems to stand still for a few days before beginning its return north. At Winter Solstice the Sun is in front of the the stars of Sagittarius, one of the two regions where the Zodiac crosses the Milky Way.
This year, the Moon will come to Full phase the day after Solstice, which means it’s opposite the Sun, in the region of Gemini stars, which is the other point where the Zodiac crosses the Milky Way.
This axis from Gemini to Sagittarius marks the points of the year’s mid-day and midnight, representing the greatest extremity of the year, and standing perpendicular to the moments of balance marked by Equinoxes.
The fact that this year this axis is being activated simultaneously by Sun and Moon strikes an interesting mood for the season, and suggests that now more than ever an inner stillness in harmony with the Solstice Sun is called for.
Hear my radio segment on Solstice Sun and Full Moon on Interlochen Public Radio at this link.