“Peace on Earth, good will to all,” goes the usual holiday blessing. But this year on the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21), the stars themselves join in the well wishing.

What’s the Winter Solstice?

The turning of seasons are marked by the Earth’s “four corners” — the frame formed by the solstices and equinoxes.

The solstice occurs when the sunlight hours are at their extremes. The Winter Solstice is the moment when, in the northern hemisphere, the day is shortest and the night longest.

(For those in the southern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice is actually your Summer Solstice, when the day is longest and night shortest. But since the astrological/astronomical language was invented in the northern hemisphere, you’re the partner dancing backwards. But you’re clever, so you can do it.)

A World Celebrates

Since the dawn of history and before, human cultures have joyously encouraged the Sun at the Winter Solstice to end the darkening days and return light to the world.

In Sweden they called on the Sun goddess Lucina. The Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah with candlelight. Christians celebrate Jesus’ birth with the return of the Sun after its three darkest nights.

Astrologically speaking, the Winter Solstice coincides with the Sun’s entrance into the Saturn-ruled winter sign Capricorn. The ancient Romans celebrated Sol Invictus, the rebirth of the Unconquered Sun, with a seven-day carnival called Saturnalia, with cakes, wine, singing and gift exchange.

Peace on Earth

Astrologers also look to the charts of the solstices and equinoxes as a sign of what’s to come during the next season.

This Winter Solstice the planets align in a most fortunate pattern called a Grand Trine. Grand trines are formed when three (or more) planets form a harmonious equal-sided triangle in the heavens.

This grand trine occurs in the earth signs — Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.

Thus, the heavens symbolically proclaim: “Peace on Earth” on the darkest night of the year.

And, like the three astrologer-Magi of old, the grand trine appears bearing gifts for all to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun.

So what do the planets herald?

The Moon shines brightly in Taurus. Here in Taurus she’s at her best — feeling safe and sensual. Her needs are met, and she’s willing to share her good fortune with others. Her gifts are pleasure and comfort.

Clever Mercury gets down to business in pragmatic Capricorn. Mercury’s natural distract-ability is tempered in the winter sign of Capricorn. He’s slower and more willing to be present and attend to the details. The gifts he brings are simplicity and mindfulness.

And not to be forgotten, jovial Jupiter is moving through discriminating Virgo. Now Virgo isn’t Jupiter’s favorite way station — he prefers grander accommodations than the Virgin’s efficiency apartment. But, like the ideal personal assistant, Virgo keeps Jupiter’s extravagant plans focused and actionable. Here Jupiter bestows grounded vision.

Also not wanting to miss the occasion, a few other planets join in the celestial caroling. Pluto in Capricorn adds a basso profundo note. As god of the underworld, he adds depth to our decision-making, reminding us that at the deepest levels, it’s our choices that create realities.

Venus also lends her grace to the occasion. Unfortunately, she’s a bit distracted these days (trading spaces with feisty Mars — she’s in his house Scorpio while he’s in her Libran abode).  Nevertheless, if you can set aside the drama, she’ll remind you that all things are easier when approached with love and a light heart.

In 2015, the Winter Solstice is exact on Monday, Dec. 21, at 11:49 p.m. Eastern U.S. (GMT -5).