The stars cooperate for the start of a contemplative winter season. In the foreground, the planets offer warmth with a little hint of holiday magic. In the background, the planets are working on a long-term restructuring of security and authority systems that push us toward safe and meaningful work. We can either let these pressures ruin our holidays or allow them to make the sweet moments all the more precious.

Winter begins as the sun enters Capricorn. Mercury conjuncts celebratory Jupiter in Sagittarius and encourages an international taste to our celebrations. Our beloveds may need time alone, but we may flicker in and out of connection. The usual social rituals could feel less important this year, while quiet spiritual ones run deeply. Depression may waft in and out but can shift to allow a quiet moment in which to count our blessings.

We’re called home for the holidays as the moon enters domestic Cancer over the weekend. On Christmas Eve, a celebratory Leo moon adds enthusiasm to our gatherings, which helps us open our hearts to extended family. A sprinkle of fairy dust arrives on Christmas Eve as Mercury squares intuitive Neptune.

The moon enters industrious Virgo the day after Christmas, which helps us return to work. The Virgo moon encourages us to inventory our lives and assess what positive changes we want in the new year, but let’s keep that to ourselves. Go gently on the heart.

Friday, Dec. 21: The mood is generally positive, though scattered, as creative Venus trines imaginative Neptune under a twinkling Gemini moon. We can see the magic. Winter begins as the sun enters Capricorn this afternoon. Honor the deep quiet of the solstice early in the evening as the moon squares Mars.

Saturday, Dec. 22: Home calls us as the moon enters domestic Cancer. Keep demands light; people get crabby under insensitive expectations. The full moon in Cancer this morning heightens existential homesickness and highlights any tensions between family and work. Watch comfort eating and focus on coziness.

Sunday, Dec. 23: A grand trine between the moon, Venus, and Neptune idealizes what warms our hearts. To help hearts glow, get the art supplies out, sing a few songs, and make others feel at home.

Monday, Dec. 24: The moon in Leo allows the festivities to begin. Play with reindeer. Make a holiday miracle for others. Let’s reach for something magical, whatever our path. If people need attention, don’t resist; be present for them and they calm down quickly.

Tuesday, Dec. 25: Morning is potentially lovely and communication flows easily as long as we give each other room. Later on, tension between the extroverts and introverts can grow as the Leo moon squares Venus in Scorpio. Don’t try to make anybody jolly. Let everyone find their own rhythm of connection and alone time. If resentfulness or awkwardness builds, take a break and reconnect later.

Wednesday, Dec. 26: Get some work done today. Check in with ongoing practical possibilities. Build the Christmas toys. Avoid the tendency to work out anxiety by attempting to fix another person’s problems without their request.

Thursday, Dec. 27: Don’t get too serious too soon. The sun approaches conjunction with Saturn and intimates grave issues, new responsibilities, and tasks ahead — but they’re not here yet. Renew through interconnections and self-care. Confusing conditions this morning as the moon opposes Neptune this morning can leave us fuzzyheaded. By the evening we may be more perceptive and able to find a solution. ◀

Contact astrologer Heather Roan Robbins at roanrobbins.com.