When it comes to the sky, here are the things we know for certain to be true: We know that birds are allowed up there and humans are not (suspicious). We know that the sky acts as the sort of sacred lid to the world, and also that it contains the atmosphere and the air, the same air that our friends and pets and enemies and exes and far-flung family members whom we may or may not get to see for the holidays this year all breathe.
When it comes to space, we know almost nothing, maybe .00001% of all the things, although scientists will do basically anything to convince you otherwise. But on Monday, December 21, 2020, one of the rare, knowable things is happening: Saturn and Jupiter are getting very, very close to each other.
The planets are always out there spinning, sometimes near to each other and sometimes far away. But Monday’s phenomena is what’s known as a conjunction, and it’s very special because it means that to people on Earth, Saturn and Jupiter will almost appear to meet in the sky. Tonight, if you looked up into the night and tried to find them, you could almost reach out into the inky blackness with one finger and cover up both planets up at the same time.
Saturn and Jupiter do this every 20 years or so, but this time is extra rare because it will be the nearest they’ve been to each other in nearly 800 years. Tonight, Saturn and Jupiter will be the closest together they will ever be in your lifetime, unless you know something that I don’t.
Here on Earth, it’s been a very long, very sad year, so it will probably not shock you to learn that people are trying desperately to divine some sort of meaning from this celestial event. Astrologers believe that Jupiter is a planet of growth, luck and miracles, and that Saturn symbolizes anguish, disappointment and enmity; when crossed, the logic goes, those energies manifest as a sort of large-scale cultural reset — a chance to reconfigure what we believe is possible about our dreams, and how to bring those dreams to life in the physical world.
The “great conjunction,” as it’s being referred to, also happens to be taking place on the Winter Solstice — the longest night of the year, when the Northern Hemisphere is tilted as far away from the sun as it can be — which has its own special spiritual significance in terms of renewal and growth.
Whether you believe in science or astrology, the thing we will all be able to see with our own eyes starting tomorrow is that December 21 marks a return to the light. Little by little, the days will grow longer, the burden will grow lighter, the birds will return from wherever they get off to all winter (very suspicious). No matter what season of life we’re in currently, may we all send up a little prayer and channel Saturn and Jupiter’s closeness this winter, if only in spirit.