Winter Solstice 2012

I’ve received notices of several different happenings slated to take place on December 21, 2012, including “Birth 2012: Empowering the Movement to Birth a New Era.” Many of my friends and clients have been writing to ask me what is going on with this date.

Over the years, some 2012 researchers have coordinated a Galactic Center-Winter Solstice alignment with the end of a 13-baktun cycle in a Mayan Long Count calendar. This one calendar is believed by some to be ending on December 21, 2012. Some say that on this date, a galactic beam will hit the earth for several minutes and that this galactic light will have an awakening effect on the consciousness of our planet and its inhabitants. Nobody knows for sure. It is all conjecture.

Nice thought though, right? I kind of like the idea that many people will be coming together in prayer and meditation on this day to welcome in a higher frequency of love and light. Maybe a shift in consciousness will result from just that meeting of great minds.

Regarding any such astrological alignment on 12/21/12, it is very complicated. Here is what I know as an astrologer:

First, it is important to understand a few terms: the meaning of “Winter Solstice”; the “Winter Solstice Sun”; and the “Galactic Center.”

1. The Winter Solstice refers to the date every year *around* December 21 when the Sun reaches its maximum southern declination for the Northern Hemisphere (south of the celestial equator). On the Winter Solstice, the Sun at 12 Noon is at the lowest altitude of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the seasonal tropical calendar, this is the first day of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. The Winter Solstice Sun refers not only to the Sun’s declination/north or south of the celestial equator on the day of Winter Solstice, but it also refers to its celestial/zodiacal longitude, i.e., its location along the band of the zodiac. On this day, if we cast a chart for sunrise at any given locale, the Sun and the ascendant of the chart are conjunct the center of the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, known as the Galactic Center.

3. The Galactic Center per the Vedic tradition is known as Vishnunabhi, the Navel of Vishnu, and is considered to be the source of all “light” (spiritual wisdom and power) in our Milky Way Galaxy. It is estimated that the celestial longitude of the Galactic Center is at ~6 deg. 20 min. of sidereal Sagittarius.

What is important to understand is that astronomically, this alignment on 12/21/12 is not unusual. It has already been taking place for the past three decades! Let me explain.

The Sun moves roughly one zodiacal or longitudinal degree per day, so that it moves around the whole zodiac (360 degrees) in a year. In its apparent passage around the zodiac, it comes into alignment with the Galactic Center once every year. The Sun is a disk and not a point, and as seen from the Earth, it spans a diameter of about a half inch to an inch in width. Because of this, the disc of the Sun appears to align with the plane of the Galactic Equator on Winter Solstice each year for a period of about 36 years. This close alignment began in 1980 and will end around 2016. This astronomical alignment is not specific to 2012!

However, there is something very compelling in that this 36-year period from 1980 to 2016 is the first time in ~26,000 years that the Winter Solstice Sun is aligned with the Galactic Center. In other words, it is fairly rare that the day of that alignment occurs in coincidence with the days surrounding the Winter Solstice. This only occurs for several decades once every ~26,000″ years.

Using Lahiri Ayanamsha, I have computed the following sidereal positions for the Sun on Winter Solstice in various years:

1. In 1980, the Sun was at 6 deg. 24 min. Sagittarius; it was closer to an alignment with the Galactic Center at this time than it is in 2012.

2. In 1998, the Sun was at 5 deg. 32 min. Sagittarius. You see it is moving away from the exact alignment now.

3. In 2011 (December 22, 2011 at 5:30 AM UTC), the Sun was at 5 deg. 58 min. of Sagittarius.

4. In 2012 (December 21, 2012 at 11:12 UTC), the Sun on Winter Solstice will be at 5 degrees 57 min. Sagittarius.

5. In 2016, the Sun will be at 5 deg. 54 min.

The gradual yearly movement of the Sun in relation to the Galactic Center is because of precession of the equinoxes, that is, the Galactic Center is slowly drifting backward just like the other constellations, in relation to our planet, due to precession of the equinoxes (which is caused in part by Earth’s tilt and wobble).

In 1800 on Winter Solstice, the Sun was at ~8 1/2 degrees Sagittarius. In 1900 on Winter Solstice, it was around 7 degrees Sagittarius. And by the way, not until ~2550 will we really be in the Age of Aquarius (when the Sun will be rising in Aquarius on the Spring Equinox), and at that time, the Sun will have moved out of Sagittarius and will be at 28 degrees of Scorpio on Winter Solstice!

Some say that on December 21, 2012, the Sun will be eclipsed by the Galactic Center. It is not technically an eclipse in the usual sense of the word; more correctly it is an alignment. These same researchers believe that this alignment is like a rebooting of our Sun’s connection to its Galactic Center, and so after this, we will experience higher frequencies of human consciousness.

Though the Sun is not being eclipsed on December 21, 2012, eclipses do have a place in this discussion. The Pleiades conjoined two different solar eclipses in 2012, which some believe represents the return of Quetzalcoatl. This is said to signify the coming of an awakening world and the emergence of a new world teacher.

IF all of this is true, I believe that it has already been happening and the wave of change has already crested. This is why we have seen so much amazing transformation on the planet since the 1980s, mostly through the rise of technology and communication and the fact that the Internet is enacting life’s living oneness (Indra’s Net), connecting us more as the One Being that we are, which perhaps is in process of causing an evolutionary leap in consciousness.

I recently read an inspiring Facebook post about 12/21/12 by professional astrologer Kenneth Johnson, who is also a serious researcher of ancient and modern Mayan culture. Ken has spent months with indigenous teachers in remote parts of Guatemala and is the author of Mayan Calendar Astrology: Mapping Your Inner Cosmos, Jaguar Wisdom: An Introduction to the Mayan Calendar, and The Mayan Prophecies: The Renewal of the World 2012-2072. Ken writes:

Of course, the Maya themselves have never perceived this [2012] cyclic change as a “doomsday” scenario – that was merely the projection of the Western world’s Christian apocalyptic values onto a culture…with an entirely different world view. They have always seen it – and continue to see it – as merely another important nodal point in an endless series of cycles of cosmic time. The elders of Momostenango are recommending these actions to their citizens for their private moments during the transitional days of December 20 and 21:

  • Turn off the computer.
  • Turn off the cell phone. 
  • Turn off the television. 
  • Experience the beauty of silence.

In terms of time keeping, I usually refer back to the yugas, vast cycles of time which are tracked in the Hindu tradition. Instead of the more traditional yugas, I ascribe to an alternate yuga system that was given to us by Swami Sri Yukteswar, a great saint and Vedic astrologer (and Yogananda’s guru). We are now in an ascending cycle of Dwarpara Yuga, the Age of Technology and Knowledge (per Sri Yukteswar’s reckoning). By my very rough calculations, the Sat Yuga, the Age of Enlightenment in which all beings will be living in a state of full grace and truth, is still some 5500 years in the future.

Sri Yukteswar’s yuga model can help us understand that we are eternal beings who reside within great cycles of time. I like to think that since we are in an ascending cycle, every day there is potential for progress to be made. Ironically, even in the 2012 material which is often seen as apocalyptic, we are challenged to awaken to who we are within all these larger phases of time. And even better, for those who are following a path to enlightened consciousness, one does not have to wait 5000+ years for Sat Yuga…it can happen in the eternal Now.

Love and light to all,

Milky Way Galaxy and Solstice Galactic Plane Alignment, photo courtesy of

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