Kwanzaa and astrology…

The seven principles honored on the 7 days of Kwanzaa have important lessons to teach us and understanding how these principles relate to the 7 traditional planets of astrology can reinforce those lessons. 

On this first night of Kwanzaa, we initiate a 7-day long celebration of family, community and culture as inspired by the struggles of people throughout the Pan-African world. Celebrated from December 26 thru January 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which the holiday takes its name, according to its founder, Maulana Karenga.

What’s interesting about Kwanzaa is that the first harvest happens four days after the Sun and daylight rises again from the longest night of the Winter solstice.  We could say that the harvest is the reaping of the light itself.  This “harvest” of light spans over 7 days with a different candle lit on each night of Kwanzaa on a candelabra called a kinara.

Each of these candles represents a different principle important in understanding this harvest of light and its ability to transform the darkness in many communities. The principles are called The Nguzo Saba, or the Seven Principles from the Kiswahili language of East Africa.  Here’s each principle and how they’re defined, using the Kiswhaili word first, then English, followed by a definition of the principle and a proposed astrological planet to match.

Principle in Kiswahili/English


1. Umoja/Unity To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.



To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves


3.Ujima/Collective Work & Responsibility

To build and maintain our community together and to make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together Saturn

4.Ujamaa/Cooperative Economics

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

5.Nia/Purpose To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness


6. Kuumba/Creativity

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it. Venus


To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


The principles are fairly clear, but perhaps it may not be clear how the planets connect to the principles.  Let’s start with the Sun.

The Sun matches the principle of Umoja/Unity because the sun shines on us all, whether we’re fair or dark, righteous or wicked.  The Sun also represents the unified source of life in our solar system.  Like the principle of Unity, we all strive for the Sun’s light and power. 

Mars resonates with the determination to define oneself. When we take proactive steps to define ourselves, we experience Mars as assertiveness.  When we are reacting, usually from a threat, we may know Mars as anger. Best to be bold and assertive with Mars’ power of Kujichagulia.

Saturn symbolizes the push for us to evolve and to accept the responsibility of living our missions and lives in a community and society. Using the resonance of Saturn, as we participate in Ujima, we collectively grow and care for each other.

Mercury’s connection with Ujamaa may be hard to understand until one remembers that Mercury, in mythology, traditionally watches over business operations and transactions .  In fact, Mercury can expand our understanding of cooperative economics. It highlights our need to be attentive to any activity, like communication or travel, between two points or people. With two points of view, we must be keenly aware of our point while respecting the right for another to articulate his or hers differently.  When we fail to appreciate that point, we lose both economics and cooperation.

Jupiter bestows all with the purpose or Nia to find our vocation and work.  In fact, Jupiter is any activity or person that ennobles us or prompts us to reach beyond our limited boundaries and definitions to grow.  So another way to understand Nia, using Jupiter, is that it prompts us to reach–to reach our hands out to others to help and to reach for our highest aspirations. Jupiter (Nia) is what gets us to Saturn (Collective work and responsibility) and vice-versa.

Venus loves creativity or Kuumba .  Venus seeks to harmonize and create resonance and affinity between nature, people and things.  If our creativity is adding more harmony to the world around us, then it surely is in alignment with the principle of Kuumba.

The Moon represents how we embody and respond to the world around us. In fact, the first body we had was not ours, it belonged to our mothers as we developed our own bodies. So the physical bodies we now have represent Imani or the enduring legacy of what our mothers have given us. According to a teacher of mine, this process doesn’t stop at birth. He said we are always embodying new things, re-incarnating our spirits into an endeavor or aspiration like bodies of knowledge or work.  It is the collective work of our ancestors, our parents, our teachers and our individual bodies that allow us to embody a collective self and body, a legacy to pass on to generations to come.

As we contemplate the movement of these planets and the principles I’ve associated with them, I hope we can remember that we have a celestial Kinara of consciousness to light 365 days of the year. As we do this harvesting of light and consciousness, we can pull together more light in the world. We are the harvest and we’re all first.  Harambee!*

*(Kiswhaili for let’s all pull together. Said as an affirmation during Kwanzaa.)

2 Responses to “Kwanzaa and astrology…”

  1. Pat Says:

    Hi Samuel…I enjoyed the article and wanted you to know I quoted you and linked your article at the link below…Thanks

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