Capricorn Solar Eclipse: the Holly and the Axe

Gawain_and_the_Green_Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Once upon a Christmas time in Camelot, the court of King Arthur was filled with feasting, fellowship, carousing, and carolling. The noble knights of the Round Table were gathered along with the most lovely of ladies, surrounded by the most lavish of Yuletide decor, with the luminous Queen Guinevere and King Arthur at the center. As the revelry settled for the first sumptuous serving of supper to be served, a massive, mighty, and mountainous man appeared in the doorway, eclipsing the merrymaking with awe and amazement in all- for this fearsome figure was “entirely emerald green” in every detail of his handsome features. All of his garments were green, with green flowing hair and a green bushy beard growing down his body- even his horse was pure green in color, with a green mane groomed with gold that had been tinseled, tied, and twisted with beads and chiming bells. “His look was lightning bright / said those who glimpsed its glow. / It seemed no man there might / survive his violent blow.”

Yet the green knight wore no helmet nor armor, held no sword nor shield, “but held in one hand a sprig of holly – of all the evergreens the greenest ever – and in the other hand held the mother of all axes.” The green knight demanded audience with their sovereign, and asked King Arthur to gracefully grant his wish for a game of guts. The green knight called for one present to step forward and strike him with his axe one stroke and then be struck by him in return. After King Arthur gripped the axe while the green knight calmly awaited his attack, the King’s virtuous nephew Gawain intervened and took responsibility for the daring deed. Gawain swore an oath that after striking the green knight with a blow he would be struck in return in twelve months’ time by the green knight, and then proceeded in one clean stroke to cut off the green knight’s head. As the separated head rolled across the floor, the blood covered and headless green knight stoically snatched it off the ground as he swung himself into the saddle of his steed. He held up his severed head which opened its eyelids to stare straight at Gawain and spoke a reminder of the vow he had made to receive his blow the next New Years dawn.

The late fourteenth century chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight goes on to tell the magical tale of Sir Gawain’s journey to fulfill his oath made to the green knight, a quest that serves as a mysterious test of his mettle, faithfulness, virtue, and courage. Those in pacific, mountain, and central time zones will experience the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the night of Christmas, while those in other time zones will experience the blackening of Sol’s light on December 26, 2019. In any case, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse occurring four days after the Solstice is a dramatic initiation into a tumultuous year that will feature another Solar Eclipse at the Cancer Solstice and will end with the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of 2020. The rise and fall of collective fortunes that will correspond with the extremely volatile astrology of 2020 will test the character and determination of each of us, calling forth our heroic capacities, tender compassion, and creative potency. It will be a year necessitating that we engage the world as active creative agents and receptive responders to those in need, allowing ourselves to be reshaped through participating in the changes to come.

Druids_Trilithon_by_Blake_relief-etching_British_Museum

by William Blake

“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”  — Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Since ancient times across many cultures, eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing 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 that seeds new forms, the dark void of eclipses function as a fertile matrix which can suddenly unleash shifts in storylines we had not been prepared for. Realities that had been hidden from our perception can arise forcibly into our awareness, and in the weeks surrounding eclipses there can be an intensification of forms and relationships entering and leaving our lives.

Since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse is aligned with the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, there will be an emphasis on the sacrifice of making the changes sacred, releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, cleansing, resting, meditating, and letting go will be favored. As the dissolution of the eclipse loosens the binding of the innumerable strands of historical and cultural conditioning bound up within and without, we may reforge our presence and knowing when immersed in stillness, just as the Sun recently stood still at the Solstice.

The December 25/26 eclipse is the second and final solar eclipse to occur in Capricorn during the 2018 – 2020 period of the transiting lunar nodes occupying the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The previous Solar Eclipse in Capricorn was on January 5, 2019 and there will be one more powerful solar eclipse along the Cancer-Capricorn axis six months from now on June 21, 2020. While you may be familiar and used to working with whatever themes in your life have arisen with the eclipses and nodes moving through Cancer and Capricorn in your nativity, a new chapter filled with new storylines will commence as the Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiates a lunar month in which the midpoint features a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12.

In part due to Capricorn being the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it was associated in ancient text with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the immortals and ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Capricorn as the southern gate that “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Capricorn is the nocturnal home of Saturn, inwardly directed zodiacal terrain that favors creation through contraction and pulling back to make empty space for new growth to germinate and take root. As Saturn approaches its exact conjunction with Pluto in the next three weeks, even those wishing to focus on external achievement are likely to become grounded by the gravity of graveyards and confronted with personal issues and lessons that need to be accepted and addressed rather than resisted. Make whatever space is needed to contemplate the darkness within, listening for the message you need to receive rather than your preconceived notion of what you want to hear.

“Down in the underworld where western logic comes from, where the roots of earth and water and fire and sky merge into a single whole, the entire world as we think we know it with all its imaginary distinctions and divisions disappears. Everything we cling on to, everything we hold important, is gone.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Kazuki Yasuo black sun

Kazuki Yasuo Black Sun

“All around him, for as far as he could see, lay a rough land strewn with rocks, with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass. Colorless, with no light to speak of. No sun, no moon or stars. No sense of direction, either. At a set time, a mysterious twilight and a bottomless darkness merely exchanged places. A remote border on the edge of consciousness. At the same time, it was a place of strange abundance.”

— Haruki Murakami (born with Sun and Jupiter in Capricorn) from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage

Jupiter in Capricorn is closely conjoining the eclipse by one degree, and so is seeding the eclipse with its growth-inducing influence and significations. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse marks the end of Jupiter’s synodic cycle, as it will enter the heart of the Sun on the following day to be regenerated with the creative potency of the Sun’s stellar light. It is therefore an old, elder Jupiter ready to fall into death and rebirth that is meeting with the Solar Eclipse, another indicator that promotes investing time in reflecting on the lessons you have learned and the beliefs you have shed in the past year. Like Pan, the wild nature deity who is part of Capricorn’s constellational mythos, Jupiter in Capricorn can function as our shepherd through the fertile darkness of the eclipse, reshaping and organizing our consciousness while attuning with the flux and reordering of Nature and the natural cycles of change coming into form around us. Inspiration may be found through engaging with the constraints of our circumstances rather than through pushing for expansion.

At the same time that the Moon is conjoining with the Sun and its own South Node in Capricorn, Jupiter is also approaching a conjunction with the South Node of Jupiter in Capricorn while Saturn and Pluto are also coming together in close proximity with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This means that the orbital arcs of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be pouring down across the ecliptic at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, saturating our collective field with the putrefaction of the entire archetypal arcs of their past cycles. Not only can we no longer escape our past history at this time, it will be also be a vital responsibility to acknowledge the multiplicity of historical streams of oppression and resiliency feeding into the rising river of collective crises flooding across global civilizations. While we will be motivated to look toward a future of new intentions as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, we also need to look backward for what can be learned from not only our own past but from the legacy of our ancestors as well.

“Our modern democratic age has manufactured a personal spirituality to meet everyone’s needs which is absolutely guaranteed to be calm, sweet, peaceful, polite, positive, comfortable, reassuring, unthreatening . . . But this happens to be almost the exact opposite of the ancient understanding – which is that spirituality and the sacred offer the profoundest challenge to our complacency, as well as presenting the most radical threat . . . truth was seen as something extremely painful, even impossible, for most people to bear.

Truth, or alêtheia, had its own mythology that confronts humans with the grim but glorious reality of what they are “from the beginning”: unimaginably glorious because of their boundless inner potential and unthinkably grim because of the overwhelming responsibilities such a forgotten potential brings.

This is why it- or she, because Truth often appears as a goddess- was always intimately involved in the superhuman effort to stop that process of forgetting. Her role, above all, was to preside over the supremely urgent task of remembering not what happened yesterday or even last month but what happened in the distant past that shaped this present moment and will also produce our future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

kali_shiva

Kalighat painting (19th Century) of Kali dancing on the corpse of Shiva

Saturn in Capricorn rules the eclipse while applying toward a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 12, two days after the forthcoming Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Though the close balsamic phase between Saturn and Pluto has been a pivotal influence during the past year, there will be a deeper level of impact felt as they finally complete their long anticipated union. The multivalent significations unleashed in collective events during hard alignments between Saturn and Pluto (conjunction, square, opposition) were deftly described by Richard Tarnas in his tome Cosmos and Psyche. Tarnas described periods of historical darkness and gravity requiring moral courage from individuals in the face of severe collective events full of the “morally problematic aspects of human existence” and “the end to naïveté and inflated privilege.” Tarnas also gave a compelling list of artistic masterpieces produced during Saturn Pluto alignments representative of its archetypal meaning, such as The Trial, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, 1984, The Stranger, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Crime and Punishment, The Waste Land, The Grapes of Wrath, The Rite of Spring, Heart of Darkness, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As shown in these artworks, during periods of Saturn Pluto we must encounter the dark underbelly of civilization and a reckoning with humanity’s aspirations for power.

With Ceres, Mercury, and the Sun also conjoining the coming together of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, it is clear from current events how their significations are combining with Saturn and Pluto around themes such as environmental destruction and the plundering of natural resources for human consumption, grave moralistic questions concerning the use of technology and its interface with global power structures, women’s reproductive rights, as well as coming to terms with historical oppression of women and many other identities and cultures by those representing dominant cultural identities. As the volatile force of eclipse season will be mixing with the union of Saturn and Pluto, although the collective crises we are facing feel overwhelming we also have the opportunity to take responsibility for doing our part in reshaping the world that will be taking form between now and next year when Jupiter and Saturn move through their conjunctions with Pluto to initiate their new cycle in Aquarius on December 21, 2020.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who was born with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, recently gave a powerfully penetrating acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature that evoked the quality of time we find ourselves in:

“The climate emergency and the political crisis in which we are now trying to find our way, and which we are anxious to oppose by saving the world have not come out of nowhere. We often forget that they are not just the result of a twist of fate or destiny, but of some very specific moves and decisions―economic, social, and to do with world outlook (including religious ones). Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.

That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize for Literature speech on 12/07/19 translated by by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones

2 of pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Capricorn Solar Eclipse falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a  juggler dancing while holding the ouroboric motion of two pentacles, against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change, embodies the capacity of the first decan of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Tarot author T. Susan Chang recently posted an insightful article on the first face of Capricorn, calling it “The Difference Engine.” Chang described one of its lessons being that since “the only constant is change” we need to find the opportunities available to make our own luck, but that simultaneously it also offers greater ease communicating with the past and with ancestors while reconciling “the turn toward light and life in the midst of the darkest hour.”

Fittingly for a South Node Solar Eclipse taking place in this face, Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn. Coppock stated that the first face of Capricorn “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.” Coppock analyzed the ancient attribution by Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new work of art or sources of sustenance.

The “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the ancient Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, is a compelling figure in relation to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, for he embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial. Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity, and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious. With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through the type of disciplined spiritual practice which pleases the ruler of the eclipse, Saturn in Capricorn.

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn, and since Jupiter is not only transiting through the first face of Capricorn but is also closely conjoining the Solar Eclipse, the meaning of this decan will be noticeable in personal and collective events. Walking with the tender awareness of Asclepius for not only the interconnectedness of our surroundings but also the visions of new forms we can churn from subconscious depths will be a way to navigate the chaotic changes that will be rippling through our global collective. Since periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning correspond with an intensification of collective scape-goating and projecting dark, unrecognized material onto others, the capacity of Asclepius for exploring one’s shadow and accepting one’s inner multiplicity through contemplation of dream images as well as passing omens and synchronicities will be vital skills to develop.

The connection of Asclepius to the first face of Capricorn is further interesting in the context of Robert Hand’s work demonstrating that through precession of the solstices that the Capricorn Solstice point in recent years has passed through the hand of the Serpent Holder (a figure often connected with Asclepius) in the Ophiuchus constellation that is holding the Serpent. Hand has connected the meaning of this alignment in current events with ecological disasters and crises in which nature rebels against human attempts to tame or control it for power and resources. Hand has stressed this alignment indicates the critical necessity for coming to terms with climate change and human consumption of natural resources for energy.

While there are no easy answers to fix the myriad collective issues demanding attention, individually we can each take steps to nurture reservoirs of inner strength to draw upon when needed in response to difficulties or when devising creative solutions. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiating our entrance into the new decade of the 2020s serves as a fitting omen for the new year bringing to a close an old way of being while intimations of a reordering to help shape comes into greater awareness. As the Solar Eclipse conjoining the South Node suggests letting go of old patterns, we can shed and release any beliefs we have been holding or actions we have been taking that are not aligned with our values and do not serve the greater good.  Make the time and space to explore your inner darkness, listening for the gifts you possess to cultivate and share with the wider world. Be open to connecting with creative collaborators with whom you can combine skills and strengths while mutually supporting one another. Claim the courage to creatively actualize more of your potential in 2020 and help make the changes you wish to see happen.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page.  Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

become_a_patron_button

References

Armitage, Simon. (2018). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Revised edition. Faber & Faber Ltd.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Hand, Robert. (2014). The Precession of the Capricorn Solstice and the Importance of 2017 to Humanity. The Mountain Astrologer. October/November 2014 issue.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014). Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.  Alfred A. Knopf.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs  (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

 

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907) The Past

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?

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Marc Chagall (1915-19) Anywhere out of the World

“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.

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

from the Clavis Artis (18th Century)

“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.

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

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.

References

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.