New Moon in Capricorn
Capricorn is zodiacal terrain that holds the duality of civilization and the wilderness. The wildness of Capricorn demands survival skills and sharp strategy, while its affinity for societal systems emphasizes cultural conditioning influences we must interface with. It’s the only zodiacal sign where Saturn and Mars are both glorified and fortified, a place of courageous initiative as well as cutting contraction. The New Moon in Capricorn on 23 December is fertile with creative visioning and pragmatic grounding, possessing the serendipity of cloaking the turning of the seasons in black, moonless night. The fertile darkness of the lunation will be aligned with the solstice when the Sun stations at the extreme of its declination, a time of extreme darkness giving way to the return of light in the northern hemisphere. It’s the darkest time of the year with the longest nights in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reaches the nadir of its lowest declination while it rises and sets in the same place for several days; in the southern hemisphere the Sun pauses while at its greatest height in declination during the longest days of the year. In the spirit of transitional Janus, we may simultaneously reflect upon the growth of the past year while turning toward the bright beginnings of new goals and resolutions for the year ahead.
The Capricorn New Moon occurring during solstice means it is on the World Axis, the axis mundi centered upon zero degrees of the cardinal signs in the tropical zodiac. Moreover, Jupiter is further activating the Aries Point by occupying zero degrees of Aries, while Ceres is at 1°09′ Libra and Uranus is at the cross-quarter of fifteen degrees of Taurus. The first degrees of Aries and Libra are the nodes of Earth, the intersection of the celestial equator with the ecliptic that defines the zodiac. Activations of the Aries Point focalize manifestation of archetypal forces through the World Soul into worldly events, and so the planetary combination of Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Ceres will combine their influences so that issues around justice, wealth, food supplies, labor movements, freedom, faith, grief, and purification will come into prominence within current events. In our personal lives, we will have amplified support for opening to reception of abundance in the year ahead and enlarging the scope of vision to engender plans and strategies for burgeoning creative directions.
In addition to Jupiter boosting the beneficence of the Capricorn New Moon, Venus and Mercury will also be present within Capricorn and glowing brightly in the night following sunset. In fact, all of the visible planets will be visible in the darkening sky following sunset in the days surrounding the lunation. The star of Aphrodite will be especially emboldened with resilient hope and creative ripeness, as she has recently emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and will be continuing to increase with brighter and brighter light in the months ahead. Venus is receiving the liberating and innovative force of Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine aspect, accentuating our capacity for breaking free into new storylines freed from restrictive patterns of the past. Venus and Mercury will both be separating from trine aspects with Uranus while applying toward creative sextile aspects with Neptune in Pisces, with Mercury forming an exact sextile with Neptune on 24 December and Venus on 28 December. With Venus and Mercury carrying a Promethean torch to light the way forward, their combined presence in Capricorn will kindle new ideas for creative development while also enhancing capacity for devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions.
The Capricorn New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn is in a solitary place of forming no major aspects with other planets besides separating from its longstanding square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that has been the dominant astrological influence during the past couple of years. Saturn is six degrees away from Uranus on the day of the New Moon and will be almost ten degrees past Uranus by the end of the forthcoming lunar cycle. The tension between Saturn and Uranus during the past couple of years has been the driving force behind systemic collapses, movements for change, and the overturning of old and familiar storylines and structures in our personal life. Within their friction is the consolidated contraction of Saturn that slowly builds enduring structures, set against the accelerated vision of Uranus that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. Although their disruptive influence is ultimately on the way out during 2023, there will be a final activation of Saturn and Uranus during January and February. Utilize the stillness of the solstice and the darkness of the New Moon for reflection upon the ways in which your life has been reordered and reshaped by Saturn and Uranus since the end of 2020, and how you can utilize the final months of Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius to solidify the foundations and structures of whatever changes have taken shape.
During the forthcoming lunar cycle Saturn in Aquarius will be nearby the fixed star Deneb Algedi in the tail of the celestial Sea Goat (the Capricorn constellation). Saturn’s proximity to Deneb Algedi will bring additional emphasis to envisioning ways of generating greater wealth and material manifestation, as well as how to protect and preserve resources that have already been acquired. Deneb Algedi is a fixed star often associated with the ancient creator deity Enki aka Ea who dwells in subterranean water. A trickster and wise magician, Enki reorders the conventions of civilization from the depths, transfiguring the landscape so that the resources needed to fuel civilization can grow and take root. As Deneb Algedi also connects with the law and order of conventional society as well as the metaphysical principles of natural law, Saturn’s presence with the Sea Goat’s starry tail will call attention to where we need to free ourselves from conventional conditioning in order to claim the authority for steering our lives forward from a place of authentic desires and presence.
The month following the Capricorn New Moon will place extra focus on Capricorn, with Venus forming conjunctions with Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury undergoing a retrograde passage that will keep the star of Hermes within the confines of Capricorn until 11 February. There is a mercurial quality to the lunation as the Capricorn New Moon is in the bounds of Mercury while Mercury is at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star, the point of its solar cycle in which it begins to slow down in preparation for stationing retrograde. Mercury will ultimately station retrograde in Capricorn on 29 December while forming a conjunction with Venus only three degrees away from Pluto. Venus will then form an exact conjunction with Pluto on 31 December. The union between Venus and Mercury will be particularly powerful due to Mercury stationing retrograde on the same day, facilitating penetrating insight into the underbelly of your relational dynamics and creative processes. There will be a deep well of unconscious forces to investigate that can uncover meaning that had been buried in subconscious recesses as well as insight into your relationships with power and societal conditioning.
Since Pluto will exit Capricorn to enter Aquarius next year on 23 March 2023, the potent activation of Pluto by Mercury and Venus will make the month ahead an opportune time for contemplating the many ways in which your life has changed since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008. During 2023 and 2024 we will experience Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until finally entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Pluto’s archetypal meaning includes death and rebirth experiences as well as the wealth and treasure that can be retrieved during underworld journeys. Pluto signifies our inner subterranean realm, the deep soul patterns circulating in our unconscious that often drive our instinctive reactions without our awareness. Pluto is also connected to desire for power, dynamics of power and control, and power struggles. When we resist the transformative change of Pluto for security reasons we can experience upheaval and breakdown, but as we surrender to its process of decay and regeneration we may experience a purification in which we burn away old restrictions and evolve into a more potent vitality. Though you have likely already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has brought about pivotal confrontations that have reshaped your life and perception.
Fortunately a powerful ally and mentor for exploring the shadowy realms of Pluto will be stepping forward: Chiron. Chiron will have a more amplified presence than normal due to stationing direct at 11°56′ Aries on 23 December, the same day as the Capricorn New Moon. Moreover, Chiron is occupying the fiery domicile of Mars while engaging in a receptive sextile aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini. As Chiron slowly begins to generate forward momentum in the weeks following the Capricorn New Moon, Mars will finally end its retrograde passage and station direct in stillness on 12 January 2023. Chiron in myth and astrology mediates the division between wilderness and civilization, helping us gather the guidance of our ancestors and the resilient resources found within the recesses of inner psyche. Residing in his shadowy cave on the outskirts of society within a wild landscape of medicinal plants and mountainous terrain, Chiron is the wise hermit who trains the alienated in cultivation of the unique qualities they can share as part of finding a role in community. Whatever difficult issues, tests, and wounds have been stirred up by the retrograde passage of Mars, the stationing of Chiron can help in attuning to the deeper lessons and wisdom to retrieve from the turmoil and challenges.
With Jupiter also co-present in Aries along with Chiron, the Capricorn New Moon also serves as an initiation into the buildup of Jupiter slowly approaching a conjunction with Chiron that will take place on 12 March 2023. There is an excellent article written by Brian Clark about the Jupiter-Chiron cycle and their conjunction in Aries in 2023 you can read here. Amongst many other themes, Brian Clark deduced that the start of a new cycle between Jupiter and Chiron in 2023 will highlight mundane issues centered around educational changes, medicinal wisdom, indigenous reconciliation, refuge for the displaced, and natural and psychic wilderness.
Capricorn 1 Decan
The New Moon in Capricorn will rise in the first decan of Capricorn associated with the Two of Pentacles image illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a juggling magician set against a backdrop of sea change embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Fittingly for a decan focused upon shaping material fortune, the first face of Capricorn is ruled by both Jupiter and Saturn. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that Jupiter’s rulership of this face is shown through the metaphysical lesson of the Two of Pentacles: “the only constant is change.” Chang wrote that while the Two of Pentacles portends that nothing will be remaining the same, its connection with the first decan of Capricorn also signifies that there will be opportunities opening up to take advantage of for new growth and experiences. As we bring the volatile year of 2022 to a close, the New Moon in the first face of Capricorn is a boon for gleaning the new goals for growth we can gather from the many changes we experienced during the past year.
Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn, stating it “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 attribution by the 12th century philosopher and astrologer 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 sources of work and sustenance. Coppock further illuminated that since “the figures which roam this decan can root deeply into what soil they find themselves in,” using discernment in choosing which location to lay down roots within is critical. If we wish to utilize the capacity of Capricorn for building a sturdy foundation that will support the development of enduring structures, we need to be mindful where we choose to begin construction.
While Coppock cited the image of a headless man holding a sword found in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis as the inspiration for his image of “A Headless Body,” it’s further interesting that it also directly connects to the image for this decan found in Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE): “Body of a man without a head, dressed in a scarab skin wrapped around his chest, small water urn in right hand, left hand stretched out upon thigh.” While the image of scarab skin in The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius fits well with the scarab-faced deity Khepri in Egyptian religion who represents the rising sun, creation, and the renewal of life, the fact that the figure is also carrying a water urn reveals the purification and spiritual regeneration that can be experienced during the solstice when the Sun enters the first face of Capricorn. Like the headless Ketu associated with the South Node of the Moon, the headlessness of figures associated with the first decan of Capricorn also reveals the extraordinary power of this face for attuning with the spirits of material forms.
Moreover, the “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the 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, 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 disciplined spiritual practice.
The capacity of Asclepius to monitor synchronicities in waking and dreaming life for deeper meaning will be especially helpful to cultivate with Mercury stationing retrograde in Capricorn within a week of the New Moon. We can expect another great wave of change to take place during 2023 due to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all entering new signs, and so the New Moon occurring in the first decan of Capricorn is ideal for envisioning how to be co-creative with the changes underway. May the stationing of the solstice Sun during the darkness of the New Moon in Capricorn aid you in dreaming the creative life you wish to embody in the year ahead.
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! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.
Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.