Winter officially begins on December 21st, but most people have been getting that winter vibe for weeks now. The desire to focus inward, to reflect and reassess before responding, is the current feel.

The sights and sounds of winter surround us, but above us, the influences of the planets truly give us the depth and awareness that helps to explain our emotions and thoughts, so we can plan and prepare our choice of actions. Knowing the astrological energetics and influence gives us a head’s up for the season ahead.

That’s why I had my seasonal conversation with my favourite karmic astrologer, Marielle Croft ( the other day - before the actual Winter Solstice. I knew it was time to dive deeper into the astrological perspective of winter 2021. 


JONNI: Personally, I love the season of winter, Marielle. I know eclipse season is behind us now, but there’s something else equally powerful and potent this winter holds for us, isn’t there? 

MARIELLE: Indeed, Jonni. The star of the show is a powerful conjunction Venus-Pluto in Capricorn. 

Usually, Venus will spend only one day over a particular degree so its influence is likely to be light and often quite pleasant.

But this time, it is marked or highlighted more dramatically because this conjunction occurs as Venus is stationary (appearing as if not moving), hence deeply planting the energies of this conjunction, carrying it into Venus retrograde cycle.

JONNI: And what will that feel like?

MARIELLE: Well, although Venus is the planet for pleasure, affection, sweetness, beauty, enjoyment of life, this time she is in the serious and dutiful sign of Capricorn. In other times, Venus here would follow its natural rapid pace. The influence would be more frugal, valuing quality over quantity, faithfulness to loved ones, and even feeling responsible for them if they need support. So, basically, Venus in Capricorn tends to be mature - even for a child, actually, who may act more responsible than its age, or feel more at ease with people older rather than peers.

JONNI: So, why would it be different this time?

MARIELLE: Venus begins her retrograde cycle from December 19th/20th to January 28th, 2022. The usual sweetness of Venus is now transformed into heavy hearts and, for some, perhaps even discouragement.

When a planet changes direction to get into its retrograde direction or to resume its forward one, the planet will remain on the same degree for several days instead of just one day, as in the case of Venus now.

We’ve spoken many times about the nasty manifestations of Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto is very extreme in general, and is responsible for the intense polarizations that exist in the world, particularly more severe since the pandemic which is also brought about by Pluto. 

There are groups passionately ‘in favour’, and groups passionately ‘against’ a variety of topics or situations in the world now. Typical Pluto. This planet’s style is to create chaos before putting forth a totally new order.

JONNI: And so now that sweet Venus has landed on Pluto, what then? 

MARIELLE: They both share 25 degrees in Capricorn. We call this a conjunction. Pluto, the dark master of hell, and the sweet graceful Venus of pleasure will not provide much fun ahead, that’s for sure. Actually, this grey atmosphere is already quite visible in the world now. It’s as if a dark cloud descended upon us, lately.

JONNI: Oh, yes. We see the effects in the external representation, for sure. 

MARIELLE: Yes, first it was disappointing that at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in November, the world leaders didn’t come to a significant agreement to move us towards a genuine reversal of the situation. 

JONNI: Agreed. And all our weather issues too...

MARIELLE: Exactly. In the past few weeks, we have seen an extraordinary rainfall in British Columbia, Canada, causing flooding and landslides, collapsing roads, and causing people to be deprived of receiving basic life supplies. Not to mention farmers losing their animals, their fields ruined, their homes a complete disaster, and in lots of cases, a total loss.

And very recently, more than 30 tornadoes on the same day created tragic destruction in Kentucky and other American states. 

Such tragedies are not new, but they’re increasing in severity. Year after year, people are facing challenges that will eventually cause their good spirits to struggle, losing their joy and experiencing some degree of moral fatigue.

JONNI: Not to mention the ongoing COVID pandemic.

MARIELLE: Yes, the pandemic doesn’t seem to go away either with the virus mutating, and mutating again, for how long… Perhaps until we get used to living with it.

All this is to say that this Venus retrograde cycle seems to carry a load of greyness. Even though we are approaching the traditional celebrations of this time of the year, joy and making merry may not be as easy.

JONNI: Yes, I’m not the only psychologist who’s been talking about a general psychological fatigue all over the world. So, from your astrological perspective, what do the planets indicate?

MARIELLE: Capricorn is the most patient of all the zodiacal signs. It’s paramount that people remain patient and resilient. 

It’s true that for some, the situation really is dire. This is an invitation to all of us to lend a helping hand, to be kinder, more patient, tolerant, supportive, and respectful. These are not just words, but rather a state of consciousness.

When one is experiencing sorrow and challenges, a word of kindness and empathy can go a very long way. Negative judgments could feel so cruel for one who is exhausted. We can make an effort to observe and try to understand how it feels for others to live in a situation that is theirs whether it’s good or challenging. 

JONNI: Yes, empathy is in high demand right now!

MARIELLE: The most positive influence of this Venus retrograde cycle would be the re-education of our heart toward becoming more invested in our community. 

In the old days, people knew their neighbours by name. It’s probably timely to revive a sense of attention toward people around us, to reach out, to return to a sense of support and collaboration. It doesn’t have to be a crisis that brings us to it. We can live like this even when everything is simple and happy.

So, Capricorn represents the structures of our culture. We can recreate a culture of connection and a new sense of belonging to our community. We can commit together to making the world a better place. We don’t have to wait until leaders lead us into it. That takes way too long. We can do it ourselves. 

We can create a working solution to improve climate change. We can create new ways to make our communities more alive and creative, rather than isolating and lonely for many people. 

JONNI: I feel the power of Capricorn in your words, Marielle. And I know it as the truth.

Now, we have Mercury Retrograde this season as well. I always put it in my iCal. What are those dates exactly, and can you elaborate on the influence of this particular retrograde at this time?

MARIELLE: Yes, Mercury will be retrograde in overlap to Venus retrograde, also conjunct Pluto at times. Just when you think you’ve reached the limit, apparently there’s still room for more!

Mercury will be retrograde from January 14th to February 3rd, 2022, overlapping the degree 25 where Venus did turn retrograde, conjunct Pluto. There seems to be a very important message in it that wants to really be heard. 

JONNI: Oh, that’s interesting. What message is it trying to convey?

MARIELLE: Surrender, be present, co-create with life’s energies. 

With Mercury retrograde, what you experience most is delays: delays in receiving what you expect or need, delays while travelling which can make it complicated getting to your destination (or back home from it), delays before businesses can function fully because some items are not being fabricated or are interrupted by lack of supply, etc.

When the world goes in slow motion, it gives us an opportunity to adapt and reconnect with ourselves all over again. Growing anger and frustration is the worst way to direct the energies available to us. If you can’t help the situation, you need to surrender. 

Time will help. Time can bring new opportunities. The art of living in collaboration with the forces in presence is another of the gifts of this Mercury retrograde.

Of course, Mercury is always concerned about communication as well. During the retrograde cycle, double-check your communications to avoid misunderstandings. Avoid signing new contracts or investing money if possible. What works well is studying, reading, doing research, preparing, completing projects.

JONNI: Check, check, and check.

And then Mars. You call Mars the trigger planet. And Mars is making a move that has a profound effect on things. Can you talk about that?

MARIELLE: Yes, indeed. When a situation is stagnant or is ripe for a shift, you can count on Mars to trigger things and make it move to the next step.

On January 24th, Mars will go into Capricorn as well. On its way through Capricorn, it’ll eventually get into a very intense conjunction with the above-mentioned Venus & Pluto. This seems to be the timing for a breakthrough after the long lingering atmosphere of Venus, and then Mercury as well, both retrograde. 

With Mars, a shell will be cracked so the energy can finally find expression or direction. Is it really the expected light at the end of the proverbial tunnel? Perhaps! Hard to say for sure, as things may move abruptly rather than harmoniously. All in all though, there is movement forward, new options, new possibilities.

JONNI: Hallelujah. And with all this going on, there’s a new moon coming up too. All moons are different. How would you describe the effects of this one?

MARIELLE: On the subject of breakthrough and new beginnings, one thing to note is that the day when this triple Venus-Pluto-Mars conjunction occurs at 27 degrees, on March 2nd, is also the New Moon in Pisces! 

At last an atmosphere of empathy, deeper connection, a gentle breeze of a humanitarian flavour! An appeasement! 

Some actions seem to take place that are more efficient. It’s as if a sense of direction finally takes place, creating genuine hope for the near future.

JONNI: I’m circling March 2nd in my calendar. Brilliant - as always. Thank you for making sense of the Sun, Moon, and planets and their orbits in the coming months. For giving words to their energy. It’s dearly appreciated.

MARIELLE:  Thank you so much for the opportunity to share in such important, though not always easy times. 

Best wishes to you, Jonni, and to all our readers. Looking forward to our next conversation around the Spring Equinox. Warm regards to all.

JONNI: Yes, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. 

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