What the 2021 Winter Solstice Means for Your Zodiac
The longest night of the year approaches, along with tension between Saturn and Uranus. Are you ready for the big changes this will bring?
Will everything change before the year’s end?
December 21, 2021, marks the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. Known as the winter solstice, this is the time when darkness takes up as much time as it can before finally giving way to the increasing daylight of spring. Many cultures celebrate this day with their own unique winter solstice traditions. It happens at virtually the same time every year, but depending on what’s going on with the planets, it can bring a very different set of circumstances. According to astrologer Emily Ridout, the positional relationship between Saturn and Uranus is what’s going to impact the zodiac signs most this year.
“This whole year, there have been a series of Saturn square Uranus [alignments],” she says. In astrology, when two planets are “square” to each other, they are in conflict. “Saturn rules structure and authority. Uranus rules surprises and the quest for unbridled freedom.” The tug-of-war between authority and freedom, structure and breaking down structure, will come to a head during the 2021 winter solstice. Some aspects of your life may fundamentally shift, and it will be up to each zodiac sign to decide how to deal with that. It may be painful for some, but Ridout believes it represents an opportunity for growth.
“Positive growth sometimes looks like the burning of Rome,” she says. “A great example is if you are in a relationship that doesn’t suit you. In order to get to a relationship that does suit you, you have to go through this painful period of a breakup.” But keep your chin up, because if something or someone leaves your life during this time, it is likely ultimately for the best. The question is: What will you do next? Once you figure that out, choosing the right New Year’s resolution can help you get 2022 off to a good start.
Aries (March 21–April 19)
According to Ridout, there will be two major factors that play into how Aries handles the winter solstice. One is that the sun will square Aries. “This is a challenging aspect,” she says. “It’s showing Aries how to release control in order to move forward.” The second is that the comet Chiron, known as the “wounded healer” of the zodiac, will be transiting Aries. “This is going to give them a moment to realize the crisis they will put themselves in if they only do things the way they’ve always done them,” Ridout explains.
The winter solstice will ultimately be a time for you to reconsider your traditional, headstrong approach to situations. You’re used to being the leader—the one who always calls the shots. Now, it’s time to think about how much that’s really worked out for you so far. Are you forcing your way of thinking on others? Are you burning yourself out? These are questions you will have to ask yourself. Your rising sign may also help you understand yourself better.
Taurus (April 20–May 20)
Uranus is in your backyard right now, Taurus, so this solstice will affect you greatly. While that may be a bit unsettling, the sun will actually be in a very auspicious position relative to your sign. So while there will be destabilizing aspects, the sun will also give you an opportunity to recover. “This is a good time for [Taurus] to reflect and see things more clearly,” Ridout says. “Accept reality as it is, not as [you] wish it were. Taurus is a naturally steady sign, so think: How can I be steady in the midst of shifts?” If a relationship falls apart or you stumble a bit at work, you will be able to find a lifeline if you put your mind to it. (Or at the very least, find a way to de-stress.)
Gemini (May 21–June 20)
Unlike fixed earth sign Taurus, Gemini is a mutable air sign that is much more comfortable with change. People of this sign will really be feeling the sense of freedom that Uranus is bringing to the table. “It’s a really freeing moment,” says Ridout, “because they’ve had their own difficult transits in the last year.” Translation: Now is your time to live it up! Release and relax. Your life does look different than it did a year ago, but realize that’s not a bad thing. “Have fun for what it is now,” Ridout advises, “not what it used to be in your glory days.” Maybe you’ll be grabbing dinner and drinks with your best friend instead of clubbing in a sparkly outfit until 3 a.m. That’s OK! There are different ways to have fun in different phases of your life.
Cancer (June 21–July 22)
In this time of change, it is understandable that Cancer will want to seek comfort in familiar people and things. But Ridout urges those born under this sign to open their minds and accept that good things may come from unlikely sources: “Even if you don’t have your things and your people around you in a particular moment, a stranger will do you a kindness. You’ll realize you’re safe and protected no matter where you go.” That’s a comforting thought! Be open to the possibility of new friendships, or even someone from your past who may make a surprising appearance. Here’s the best way to celebrate the holidays, according to your zodiac sign.
Leo (July 23–August 22)
The Saturn-Uranus square is pushing all of the zodiac signs to rethink the ways they normally go about their lives. For Leo people, Ridout says, “it’s asking how they can shine in circumstances that aren’t of their choosing.” Charismatic and likable, a Leo has energy that stands out in a crowd. But during this winter solstice, you may be put into an uncomfortable situation. The question becomes: How can you turn an uncomfortable situation into one that allows you to shine? Maybe you’re used to being the class clown, but you’re being asked to take a more serious lead on a project. Figure out how to rise to the occasion and move past your fears.
Virgo (August 23–September 22)
“The winter solstice always has good energy for Virgo,” Ridout says. This time around, you’ll be in for a double dose of good luck because the sun is in a favorable position for you. Ridout advises that you take this opportunity while you have it: “Make things the way you’d like them. Make your voice heard.” If you’ve been thinking about asking for a raise, go for it! If you’ve been too nervous to ask out your crush, now’s the time. Uranus can bring some pleasant surprises for you, and your zodiac’s power color can help put you in the right mindset. “Just don’t force perfection,” she warns.
Libra (September 23–October 22)
As with Aries, the sun will also square Libra during the 2021 winter solstice. That can cause tension and challenges. “It’s time for them to remember that the high highs and the low lows are not necessarily synonymous with truth,” Ridout says. “Take things with a grain of salt. Trust your experience.” Libra provides balance in the zodiac. Stay true to that inner nature and weather the storm with grace. Don’t let other people’s extreme emotions throw you off course. Libra, FYI, also happens to be one of the most polite zodiac signs.
Scorpio (October 23–November 21)
People or things that have typically played a large role in your life may not for much longer, Scorpio. However, while another sign may be disturbed by this kind of shift, you might actually find it to be a bit of a relief. “This can feel like a time of coming home to yourself,” Ridout says. “When structures dissolve, [Scorpios] wind up remembering who they are.” If a friendship goes sour or a side hustle falls through, you may very well discover that you’re better off without it. The loss of one thing may open you up to a better opportunity and leave you feeling more connected with yourself than you were before. If work is the issue, make sure you know your sign’s top career strengths.
Sagittarius (November 22–December 21)
For Sagittarius, the winter solstice will be a time for decisive action. If you’ve been wanting or wishing for something for a while, the wait is over. “Now is the time when they can do things for themselves that others didn’t do,” Ridout says. “Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to hand you what you want.” If you’ve been trying to schedule a weekend trip but your friends keep flaking out on you, take the trip yourself. If you think you deserve a promotion, talk to your boss about giving you more responsibilities at work.
Capricorn (December 22–January 19)
“If anyone with the Capricorn sign has felt like there’s been a weight on them in recent years, look at the big picture,” Ridout says. “See hope in anywhere you had been focused on the problem rather than the solution.” Basically, what needs to change for you, Capricorn, is your perspective. You may have had some bumps in the road, but it’s time to stop sulking. When the winter solstice passes, more light will begin to fill each day. Your outlook should also brighten up. Being positive isn’t always easy, but it’s time for a glass-half-full approach. Zoom out, take stock of what’s important, and be grateful for what you do have. Be the positive force you wish to see in your life.
Aquarius (January 20–February 18)
As the innovator of the zodiac, Aquarius is uniquely equipped to deal with this push and pull between austere Saturn and rebellious Uranus. Figure out which institutions in your life are working for you and which ones aren’t, and resolve to build a new way forward. “Understand some boundaries are [supportive], while some boundaries are meant to be broken,” Ridout says. “You want to build a home, not a cage.” For instance, if you’re part of a local organization whose message you believe in but you don’t like how it’s being run, it’s up to you to introduce the necessary changes.
Pisces (February 19–March 20)
“They are getting ready for a big influx of energy in 2022,” Ridout says of Pisces. In the new year, Jupiter and Neptune will both be in Pisces, introducing an era of extremes. It will be a very transformative time. Whether it ends up being positive or negative, though, will be up to the choices you make, says Ridout: “For Pisces, this is a time of getting ready, opening to new possibilities, and not getting too entrenched in old vices or old patterns. [They should] prepare themselves with clear eyes for what they actually want.” Start thinking about the big questions, like what’s really important to you, what your goals are, and where you want to be in the next few years. You may also want to look for a new hobby that’s perfectly suited to you.
- Emily Ridout, astrologer