Editor’s note: This article was previously published in Wellbeing Magazine in Australia.
Astrology is grounded in an understanding of the seasons, and the ways in which nature, along with all life, changes as core qualities like heat, moisture, coolness and dryness shift through the year.
These four core qualities originally defined the essence of all things. Each planet and season is a combination of two of these four primary qualities. A planet or season is either hot or cold, and then it’s also either dry or wet.
Spring is a season of heat and moisture; it combines the qualities of hot and wet. The hot influence raises things up, while the wet quality encourages growth.
Summer is a hot and dry season, where the moisture of spring gives way to dryness. If spring came with lots of moisture (aka rain), there will be abundant growth and ripening of fruit and flowers during the high heat of summer.
Autumn is a season defined by the qualities cold and dry. The cold quality slows things down, and we see this in nature as plant growth slows and, by the end of autumn, stops altogether. Dry has a separating influence, which can lead to things hardening and pulling apart. Autumn is considered the most difficult season on the human body, as these qualities can contribute to unease. Cold and dry are the qualities associated with the planet Saturn and the melancholic state.
Winter continues the cold influence that began in autumn, but changes from dryness to moisture, so that winter is a cold, wet season. It’s associated with the phlegmatic humour – no surprise since winter is often cold and flu season, when our bodies can suffer from an excess of moisture from the cold, which leads to congestion and runny noses.
Seasons, Solstices and Equinoxes
The seasons are set by the Sun’s relationship to Earth, which changes as the Earth moves through the sky. Twice a year the Sun appears extremely high or low in our sky. These are the times of the Solstices, which occur around June 20 and December 20 each year. (The exact time and date shifts a little each year but is usually within 24 hours of this date.) The solstice happens as soon as the Sun enters the Zodiac sign of either Cancer (near June 20) and Capricorn (near December 20).
Solstice seasons also begin on this date, which in Australia means winter begins on June 20, when the Sun enters Cancer. Summer begins on the December solstice, near December 20, when the Sun enters Capricorn. The solstice dates are the same in both hemispheres but the seasons would reverse.
Summer and winter are seasons of extremes, when the climate reflects the extreme closeness or distance of the Sun from earth. Energetically, these are also seasons where extremes take over, and the tendency to overdo things is high.
Spring and autumn are seasons where movement is possible, as the Sun charges through the sky, changing direction and striving for a new goal. In spring, the Sun rises in the sky, warming and lifting all it touches. This brings new growth in nature and encourages you to turn your heart towards inspiration and plans for progress. Autumn sees the Sun coming down from its high, encouraging a slower pace and inspiring you to complete things that have already been started.
Spring and autumn are equinox seasons, which begin when the Sun is at one of its two midway points on its annual journey. The equinoxes occur near March 20 and September 20 each year. In Australia, the March equinox brings the start of autumn, and the September equinox brings the start of spring. In the northern hemisphere, the seasons still change on these dates but in reverse.
Equinox seasons are those in which nature strives to adjust and re-balance from the previous solstice season’s extreme. In spring, the goal is to warm up, move forward and grow, to make up for the sluggish nature of winter’s low point. In autumn, it’s time to slow down, reassess and complete unfinished projects. While summer’s heights might be a distant memory, autumn is a time of getting back to basics, and getting grounded again.
Planets and Seasons
Each planet is naturally aligned with the essence of a specific season. This planet will be more accessible during its time of year, and the planet’s qualities and goals provide celestial inspiration for what to focus on during its corresponding season.
Spring and summer share the hot quality, and encourage activity, decision making and forward movement. These are the seasons where being out in the world, and dreaming big, is encouraged.
Autumn and winter share the cold quality, which encourage rest and reflection. They share an introspective quality, and highlight the power of looking within.
|Spring||Hot, Wet||Jupiter, with Venus|
|Summer||Hot and Dry||The Sun and Mars|
|Autumn||Cold and Dry||Saturn, with Mercury|
|Winter||Cold, Wet||Moon, with Venus|
Spring: Jupiter and Venus
Jupiter is the planet associated with growth, progress and opportunity and is the main planet associated with spring. Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system and when Jupiter is active, plans and projects can flourish. Jupiter is connected to learning, as well as abundance and support, which is part of why spring is a wonderful time to begin a new initiative, or to take action to pursue your dreams.
Travel and learning are special Jupiter interests, so taking your big annual trip in the spring can help ensure you gain maximum inspiration for the next 12 months. Study, teaching, writing and publishing plans can also get a boost from Jupiter’s strong influence during the spring months. Jupiter is also the planet of luck, so this is a great time for risk taking as you’ll have celestial support on your side. Jupiter is also about generosity, so give freely of your wisdom, support or wise words to others during the spring too.
Venus is a moist planet, and, depending on her relationship to the Sun, can be cold or hot. This means Venus is active generally in the latter half of winter and the first half of spring. Venus is about love and beauty, so the first half of spring – from the September equinox to early November in Australia – is a great time for beauty and pampering rituals. You probably already do this a little, in terms of pre summer beach preparation perhaps? But this is also a lovely time of year to refresh your love life, either by looking for a new partner if you’re single, or taking time to have fun and enjoy extra quality time with your existing partner.
- Book a fun adventure or weekend getaway
- Make pampering, and beauty or grooming rituals, a regular part of life
- Sign up for a course
Summer: the Sun and Mars
Summer is literally a time to shine, as it’s the season of the Sun. The Sun represents leadership, royalty, and sticking to a steady course. As summer rolls around, it’s a good time to take charge and refocus.
The Sun is also linked to luxury, and things that are of a high quality, so don’t skimp out on yourself during the summer. Instead, select a few five star indulgences and space them out through the season so you can luxuriate in living it up while the Sun rides high in the sky. The Sun is one of the most steady, consistent planets, and maintaining a stable routine is also helpful during the summer. Creative energy peaks under the Sun’s influence, so take time to develop your artistic side, or enjoy the creative output of others, like through shows, exhibitions and performances.
Mars is the other planet linked to summer, as both the Sun and Mars share the hot, dry qualities. Mars can go to extremes though, (the Sun is the more balanced or temperate summer planet), and so summer comes with a little caution, especially against trying to push beyond your limits.
While testing or challenging yourself to find new ways to shine is great, taking things to extremes can cause illness and stress. With so much heat during the summer time, cooling activities, like swimming, meditation and reading, can help you slow down and stay calm.
Physical activity is great to help burn off any excess Mars heat. Consider medium intensity exercise, or opt for short bursts of high intensity training. High intensity workouts for extended periods in the summer are not ideal as this can trigger an excess of heat, leading to exhaustion or depletion of your vital forces. Instead, set yourself a challenge at work or in your personal life that you can focus your energy on.
- Learn or develop a creative talent
- Be bossy – at home or at work- and clearly ask for what you want
- Splurge on a five star experience
Autumn: Saturn and Mercury
Autumn is for slowing down, and for mental work. The main planet of autumn is Saturn, who can help you focus on long term plans. Slow and steady wins the race this season so instead of racing ahead, pause and reflect.
Mercury, the other planet associated with autumn, is linked to the mind, thinking and communication. This means you’ll need to feed your mind in autumn. This might inspire you to take a course, sign up for a workshop or splurge on books. Time spent listening to your favourite podcasts, and learning about info or skills you need to achieve your long term goals is time well spent.
It’s normal to experience some melancholy during Saturn’s season. If you feel a bit flat or uninspired, take quiet time alone to explore what’s missing. Autumn is the time for reflection and adjustment, as Saturn draws your attention towards the foundations in your life. I often describe Saturn as representing the four pillars of life. These pillars can be a little different for each of us, but they usually include work/career, family and home, personal life, including love and friendship as well as health and vitality. If even one of those pillars isn’t quiet firm enough, you can feel unsupported or on shaky ground. Your task is to observe, notice what’s lacking and then formulate a slow, practical plan for lasting security and stability.
Under Saturn’s influence you may have to make a confronting but necessary choice. In autumn, you have Mercury on hand to help with communication, so this is a great season to get some of those ideas or worries off your chest. Spend extra time talking with loved ones, or consider seeing a counsellor or other healing practitioner. Saturn represents the past so slowing down and asking deeper, more reflective questions can help you overcome the past and break away from limiting habits and patterns.
- Write out your fears or worries, then burn them and watch as they blow away in the smoke
- Change your thoughts to change your life
- Connect with and calm your mind, through gentle exercise (walking, Pilates) and through meditation
Winter: The Moon and Venus
Winter is for nesting, and spending time at home. The main winter planet is the Moon, which is all about home, family and your living situation. If you’re not 100% comfortable with your home, then what needs to change can become clear now. If you love your home, now’s the time to add comforting touches to make your home more relaxing. You might decorate, especially in the bedroom or living room. Food and family (or friends who feel like family) are highlighted so host loved ones for a meal, or make meal times with family a priority.
Your body can be sluggish during the cold, damp winter, so adding heat through warming foods and spices, along with gentle exercise is important. The Moon is one of the main planets of health and wellbeing, highlighting the importance of self-care and looking after your body during the winter.
Venus, goddess of love and beauty, starts to show her influence in the second half of winter, from early August in Australia, which is a great time to reconnect with or refresh your beauty, grooming and pampering rituals. You might splurge on a facial or massage, or add a new piece of artwork to your home. Love, dating and relationships will also be important, so as you spend time nourishing what matters during winter, extend that to your special someone, or take action to meet someone new if you’re single.
- host friends or family for a slow cooked meal at home
- nourish your body with quality oils
- update your bedding and soft furnishings like throw rugs and pillows
- let go of anything you have outgrown
May tuning into the planets inspire you to honour the seasons and craft a life that’s aligned with the cycles of the sky.
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