Solar Eclipse in Capricorn
“. . . those historical layers in ourselves which we have just overcome and left behind, or which we think we have overcome. It is like the paradise of childhood from which we imagine we have emerged, but which at the slightest provocation imposes fresh defeats upon us. Indeed, our cult of progress is in danger of imposing on us even more childish dreams of the future, the harder it presses us to escape from the past.”
— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections p. 244
Our ancestors for as far back as it seems we can imagine have honored the impact of eclipses. Anyone who has witnessed firsthand the blackening of the sun can attest to the otherworldliness conjured by our solar light becoming consumed by the multiplicity of night. When I witnessed the total solar eclipse in August 2017 that was visible in my homeland, Venus, normally shrouded by the rays of the sun, became unveiled in all her brightness at the midheaven of mid-day. Indeed, the quality of light during a solar eclipse is unlike any other, invoking a fertile matrix being opened within a dark void of the sky. Realities that have been hidden from our perception arise forcibly into our awareness, whether their source is from our unconscious or within external dynamics we had been unable to observe due to the glare from our subjectivity.
Similarly, in astrology eclipses are known as times in which we experience an intensification of forms entering and leaving our life. Since the partial solar eclipse in Capricorn occurring on January 5 or 6 (depending on your locality) is the first of a series of Capricorn eclipses, it will bring an amplified introduction of new themes into our life while we simultaneously need to let go of numerous aspects of our old attachments and identity. Themes of release and purification will be especially emphasized as the eclipse is occurring at 15º25’ Capricorn on the side of the South Node of the Moon at 26º43’ Capricorn. We will have eclipses occurring in Capricorn and Cancer from now through the first half of 2020, and so one way to prepare is to become acquainted with the houses and aspects of your natal chart that will be effected.
Due to Saturn in Capricorn ruling the eclipse less than four degrees away from the syzygy, an immense theme of discharge will involve your relationship with Saturn in Capricorn and concepts such as discipline, hard work, contemplation, mastery, authority, death, the dead, and the enduring. Your relationship with Pluto in Capricorn is also paramount, as the eclipse is applying toward a conjunction with Pluto and is close to the midpoint of Saturn and Pluto. Moreover, the eclipse is occurring within seven degrees of the south nodes of both Saturn and Pluto, with Pluto closely conjoining its own south node. To paraphrase some of Dane Rudhyar’s ideas on the planetary nodes, we are experiencing the essentiality of Pluto affecting our individual roots within civilization, both the putrefaction of plutonic toxicity as well as the creative empowerment that comes from claiming our inner authority within the collective chaos.
As a result, it will be advisable to reflect and meditate upon your interface with Capricorn, Saturn, and Pluto. How are you feeling about your current ambitions, responsibilities, and how you have been measuring up with results? What aspects of your goals do you need to let go of in order to be more nurturing toward yourself? What patterns of behavior and perception do you need to purify or release in order to be more effective in pursuit of your aspirations? What do you need to release, remember, or regain from your past, or honor and bring back as a resource from your ancestors? Instead of focusing upon ambitious, external, worldly ideas of progress, are you instead being called to focus within your inner depths?
“The dragon, or serpent, represents the initial state of unconsciousness, for this animal loves, as the alchemists say, to dwell in “caverns and dark places.” Unconsciousness has to be sacrificed; only then can one find the entrance into the head, and the way to conscious knowledge and understanding. Once again the universal struggle of the hero with the dragon is enacted, and each time at its victorious conclusion the sun rises: consciousness dawns, and it is perceived that the transformation process is taking place inside the temple, that is, in the head.”
— Carl Jung, “The Visions of Zosimos” from Alchemical Studies
From ancient times eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon being its head and the South Node its tail. Like the ouroboros imagery of a dragon devouring its own tail in alchemy which mirrors the dissolution of nature seeding new forms, eclipses can also enhance our capacity to purify material attachments. Especially due to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse emphasizing the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, the emphasis will be on spiritual sacrifice and releasing fixations, entering the mysterious unknown. As the eclipse loosens the binding of the nodal knot, we may weave together new growth from the intersection between our past, present, and future.
In addition to Saturn and Pluto playing enormous roles within the dynamics of the partial solar eclipse, Uranus is also holding a strange, impactful influence as it is stationing direct at the same time as the solar eclipse while forming a square to the transiting lunar nodes. Uranus at the southern bending of the lunar nodes is also forming a quincunx with Venus in Scorpio, which is notable due to the long opposition between Uranus and Venus that fertilized new meaning from September through the end of November. As Uranus stations direct in Aries for the final time (a transit that has been building since 2010), there is a fiery aspect of your inner light and vision wishing to break free and liberate you from any fear of fully committing to manifesting it. The barriers you feel are in the way, all your reasons for making excuses to not do it, will be obvious. Uranus wants to know what you plan to do about it anyway.
Uranus is also in a 7th harmonic aspect to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse through a bi-septile. It’s not the only 7th harmonic aspect within the eclipse, as there is also a septile between Venus in Scorpio with Pluto in Capricorn as well as a tri-septile between Mercury in Capricorn with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. My first astrology teacher Rosie Finn has described the 7th harmonic as an otherworldly descent of the strange and mystical, a dissolving of boundaries that creatively enables us to transcend everyday reality. With Uranus stationing while squaring the lunar nodes, this could feel more like the bizarre blasting into our life. By opening to letting go of some old attachments, we will clear space for something new to alter our sense of what is possible.
Our ability to imagine the possibility of bringing inner dreams and visions into reality, no matter how strange, is further emphasized by the Capricorn Solar Eclipse forming a harmonious sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Furthermore, Jupiter in Sagittarius is also applying toward a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact a week later on January 13. This will be the first of three square aspects between Jupiter and Neptune (June 16 and September 21 will be the subsequent two), one of the dominant astrological themes of 2019 that provides a potent remediation of boosting capacities for imagining possibilities that counterbalances the constrictive influence of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The dissolving, visionary influence of Neptune is mediating between Saturn and Jupiter all year, through a sextile aspect with Saturn and a square aspect with Jupiter.
The square between Jupiter and Neptune is a waning one stretching back to the beginning of their current cycle in 2009, and therefore involves a deep change in what we envision is possible and the meaning of life we live from. These aspects also indicate disillusionment striking about civilization and our place within it; though these feelings can be difficult they also allow a reorientation to a deeper personal truth. Rather than having fear or anxiety underly vision, find a place of centered empowerment from which to cast your creative intentions and dreams into the unknown future. The influence of Neptune and Jupiter make the Capricorn Solar Eclipse potent in terms of revisioning the beliefs underlying your aspirations, opening yourself to the potential of creating more of the life you want to live in a way that also involves realistic steps for fulfillment.
“The wise old man is what he is because he has endured everything the earth can throw at him but, although he can seem so thoughtful to others, doesn’t think or consider. This is the state he always abides in, which is the place of no abiding at all where spirit is united with earth. He just is the earth’s suffering, made conscious; its beauty and pain; its humanity.”
— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque
Mercury in Capricorn is co-present with the Solar Eclipse, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn and is headed toward a conjunction with Saturn. In between eclipses, Mercury will unite with Saturn on January 13, the same day as the exact square between Jupiter and Neptune. Mercury will them move on to form a conjunction with Pluto on January 18 a couple of days before the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo that ripens on January 20. Mercury is hidden under the beams of the sun during this liminal time of eclipses, doing the secret work of the subconscious by mixing together the meaning of Saturn and Pluto being enveloped by the eclipse.
It’s an alchemical role for Mercury to play, and in Capricorn while applying to Saturn there is incredible thoroughness willing to soak up the sentience of stone within the dexterous movements of Mercury. However, Mercury is also applying to a catalytic square aspect with Mars in Aries at the time of the eclipse, adding an impulsive, initiating quality to the work of Hermes. If there is a great ambition you are harboring within to manifest in 2019, Mercury is in ideal position at the eclipse to bring your attention to the hidden, underlying issues at its root. No matter your intentions, Mercury will be probing under the surface of your daily routines and effort noticing where there can be greater efficiency and effectiveness. Due to the friction between Mars and Mercury, there can be inspired communication but be careful to not needlessly provoke conflict or rush off into an enterprise before you are properly prepared.
Venus remains a beacon of bright light before sunrise, and has finally reached the final degrees of Scorpio at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse. Venus has separated from Ceres in Scorpio while forming a watery triangle with Chiron in Pisces and the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. We will have opportunities to grieve loss, soothe our old wounds, and take responsibility for our part in past dynamics, but there is a vital quality of Venus at the eclipse beckoning us into the present in order to bring value to what needs our attention in the here and now. In the forthcoming waxing of the Moon, Venus will be entering Sagittarius and then heading toward a union with Jupiter which will culminate at the same time as the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo. Venus is drawing us to engage with the type of epic vision that Jupiter in Sagittarius loves best.
Amazingly, while we will have a union of the benefics, Venus and Jupiter, during the upcoming eclipse season, we will also experience the malefic friction of Mars and Saturn forming a change inducing square aspect at the same time as the upcoming lunar eclipse. Mars in Aries forming a square with Saturn in Capricorn can demand direct ordering and coordination that enables a quick and smooth implementation of plans, and if we are not careful we can burn under its glare for not meeting expectations of optimal performance. However, with Venus and Jupiter also uniting in Sagittarius we are being asked to imbibe the integrity of our essential values and meaning into whatever we are working on, being willing to patiently wait for a more natural manifestation of form. At its best these aspects support putting in disciplined exertion to a craft or art we have filled with meaning and purpose, focusing on the intrinsic motivation of creation rather than external judgment.
Capricorn 2 Decan
The Solar Eclipse falls in the second decan of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Three of Pentacles we see a skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in a monastery. There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display. Fittingly, Mars and Venus are the co-rulers of the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort bonded with artistic vision.
Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, noting it is a place where sublime works of material manifestation are completed. Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work in collaboration with numerous resources if we want to complete our grand vision. Coppock wrote that while there is a necessity to bind our effort to the form and guidance of a blueprint, he also cautioned to take care in the “enduring consequences” created by becoming consumed by the creation of a grand magnum opus. Coppock described the need to distill ambition from hubris in order “to achieve purity of purpose,” a worthy separation to keep in mind as we tangle with the tail of the dragon in the Capricorn Solar Eclipse.
Capricorn involves the maturity and responsibility cultivated through facing and dealing with natural cycles of change, listening within for when it is time to act as well as refrain from excessive activity. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse has the unique astrological timing of initiating us into the starry themes of 2019 at the same time that the human designed calendar begins, not long after the rebirth that comes with the solstice. Though we know that our societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos designed to create a stable whole, we sometimes forget to reflect upon how our conformity to societal norms can limit our essential growth and make us too concerned with external judgment. As the sun becomes partially eclipsed by the moon, we can likewise retreat within our own darkness to reformulate how we work with time and space in creating our world.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.
Jung, Carl. (1965). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe. Vintage.
Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.