Every morning a new beginning and every evening its end. We are cyclical creatures at the whim of a cyclical universe. Spring comes and before you know it winter has arrived.
Oh yes, winter has arrived.
On December 21st when the sun ingresses into Capricorn. But this day is not just the beginning of a season it’s also the beginning of the month according to the moon, for it will renew itself just hours after the sun does.
Capricorn initiates us into a season, like all four cardinal signs do (Aries-spring, Cancer-summer, Libra-fall, Capricorn-winter). It packs a practical, pragmatic, problem solving punch like no other sign. Dogged by a glum, serious, stoic, dower and Eeyore-like reputation Capricorn is all kinds of misunderstood. It’s not like those qualities aren’t present at times or even that they aren’t themes in the life of a sea goat (its symbol is half goat and half fish/serpent), but Capricorn is so much more than just another Debbie Downer.
Capricorn rules the time of the year where (in the Northern Hemisphere) the light of day has grown the shortest. Its inception heralds the return of our life-giving light and our source of creative warmth; the sun.
A solitary sea-goat, Capricorn has the strength of character to move independently, go it alone and get the job done. Such a penchant for self-reliance makes Capricorn no fool in business. Marked with a definitive need to test its own limits of self-restraint and self denial, Capricorn has a relationship with reality and the material realm that can only be described as masterful. Capricorn controls its environment so that it can work efficiently, diligently and without interruption. This sign knows the rules so that when it breaks them the consequences are also known. Capricorn weighs every outcome and strategizes accordingly.
Not fond of overtly emotional displays of affection, Capricorn can come off as aloof and cool to the touch. It’s not that this sign doesn’t love as deeply as any other, it’s just that the need to shout it from the roof tops doesn’t exactly come as second nature. Its ruler, Saturn, is a planet known for its fondness of boundaries and in the ancient system aaas thought to be the planet farthest from the light of the sun making it a natural enemy to our source of warmth and light. This can leave Saturn folk (Capricorn, Aquarius and those with a strong Saturn signature in their chart) feeling like its style is contrary to life, growth and self-expression.
Given that Capricorn is mountain-goat master with fine deep-sea diving flippers, this sign can both scale the heights of the outer world or dive down to the depths of the inner one. When Capricorn has grown weary of chasing after the societal accolades it so easily can achieve it’s real journey is to look within for the warmth it needs and the light that is generated internally. Because this time of year signifies the return of the light, the sign that embodies this occurrence has a deeply embedded spiritual understanding. At the darkest moment we need to either believe that light will return or we find it within.
The Winter Solstice itself is akin to a new moon (the darkest part of the moons cycle) as it is the beginning of the emerging light of the sun to become full and brilliant at summer solstice. This year, just hours after the Winter Solstice there will be a new moon giving us the rebirth of the sun and moons light all at once.
Before we get to feel and experience the return of the solar power in our lives we must first enter its longest night. From here until there the light grows steadily dim. Heartened by the light of nation and global wide protests it’s not a stretch to say that as a nation, as a world shaped by white-supremist, patriarchal colonization, we are facing a dark night for this weary world’s soul.
This too is a cyclical process. One that has happened before. We are standing on the shoulders of many cultures, peoples and movements of resistance that came before this one. And just like any cyclical process we build from the place that we stand in by continuing to bring consciousness to both our external reality and the internal impact of it. We can use this light, these beginnings to galvanize, energize and awaken to the multiple possibilities of people, ideas and faiths in motion.
This moment can be the very thing that we need to mobilize our most meaningful work in the world. When we have the whole in mind we become part of the collective and connective power of life. We were made for this moment and it is meant for us.
In the Judaic tradition this is a time of remembering miracles via the participation of bringing light into our homes, our front windows and our world every night for 8 nights. Hanukkah is a sacred act of preparing, opening and aligning our physical reality with the internal and eternal source of energy and light that infuses all of life. To remember this is a miracle. And that miracle is ours to remember.
Welcoming the light of the solstice back is no different (and it’s no mistake that they fall so close together) and cultures the world over have marked this occasion with everything from feasts to wild parties where those enslaved would become the masters of those who enslaved them for a night (perhaps we should bring an extended version of that back). In the Romain festival of Saturnalia people practiced all kinds of ways to loosen the binds that Saturn was famous for (Jews call this Purim but that’s another tale for another time of year).
To say that this is a time to remember to bring the light back into our lives is not to turn away from what is difficult, in fact difficult is where the light is strongest most times. Conflicts create sparks and sparks lead to roaring fires. Remember that we are dealing with Capricorn energy which does not shy away from difficult work or roads that look to be a challenging route.
24 hours before the Winter solstice, Venus, planet of relationship, connection and culture is going to be conjunct Pluto and square Uranus. This is another installment of the Uranus/Pluto square, followed by the same movements of Mercury on December 25th. It’s not a super-settled holiday season but goddess forbid that we settle now. There is so much more work to be done, we just have to take of ourselves and each other in the doing of it.
Saturn needs to be taken note of during this time of both the suns ingress into it and the moons renewal here. The ringed ruler of realness will move into Sagittarius for the first time in 30 years on December 23rd. The planet will be hovering in the last degrees of Scorpio on the Winter Solstice. Scorpio deals with fears, deeply submerged psychological complexes and all the parts of self that are difficult to digest, accept and deal with. When any planet is at the end of a sign it signifies a time of difficulty. It can be as if the planet is itself struggling to break free of the bonds of that signs significations, like it needs to find a way out, pass a test or break free. No birth comes without contractions and no contractions are without at least some contractions.
A miracle is the act of going beyond the boundary of our lived experience, of our known reality, of own own personal and collective Saturn. May the miracle of this season be about us breaking the false boundaries between us. May it be about a movement of solidarity towards building a collectively fortifying future. May we use Saturn’s ingress into Sagittarius, the philosophical boundary breaker and wisdom seeker, to reform, restructure and retrain our eyes to see through each other’s.
May the return of the sun’s light bless you and inspire many great acts of courage and kindness in us all.
The Winter Solstice will occur on December 21st at 6:03 pm EST
The new moon is Capricorn will occur on December 21st at 8:35 pm EST