Our calendar year closes out in Capricorn season, which always seems to arrive like a douse of earth thrown into the still-simmering sparks of Sagittarius fire. Tis the season to get real–to reflect on the year behind us and build new constructs based on that insight. Capricorn is a sign focused on utility; the season’s keyphrase “I use” is a reminder that we don’t exist to merely revolve around the sun, we exist to forge a better future for ourselves and our loved ones.
WELCOME TO CAPRICORN SEASON!
Capricorn’s mythological origins are certainly interesting. In some stories, this astrological sign was borne from the myth of the goat–which either belonged to the nymph Amalthea or was her–who nursed Zeus as a newborn, purposely raised away (and hidden) from his father’s eyes. As a sign of his gratitude, Zeus broke the goat’s horn and offered it to the nymph, promising her whatever her heart desired from it (from this myth also emerges the notion of the “horn of plenty”). In others, the constellation of Capricorn was hung in the sky to honor the god Pan after he recovered Zeus’ “sinews” from the monster Typhon, afterwards transforming himself into a fish-goat in order to escape.
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We associate the sign of Capricorn with the material world; for instance, Capricorn is often thought of as the sign of wealth earned through hard work, seemingly in direct contrast to the effortless gains given by a mythical horn of plenty. This assumption is incorrect–the horn of plenty was given because it was earned. (Remember that enterprise can be defined both as a business and as a difficult undertaking.) Both Amalthea and Pan risked life and limb to aid Zeus; not because they expected veneration, but because they believed in this new reign which was meant to be better than the one that came before it.
Here is the crux of the matter: Capricorn is synonymous with institutions. This point is made poignant by the mythology of Pan’s triumph over Typhon, described by Hesoid as “terrible, outrageous and lawless.” This is a sign that champions order over chaos. Capricorn seeks to protect itself and the systems which keep it safe. It relies on institutions because what is an institution if not a set of rules, borne out of logic? Natives of this sign trust their mind more than their hearts, perhaps because the safety of institutions is such that we can turn over our responsibilities (to ourselves, to each other) in favor of detachment. Don’t blame me, said the Capricorn, blame the system!Camila Rivera
This season is ripe with opportunities to question ourselves about the systems in our lives–personally placed or externally implemented. Are they still serving their purpose? Have we outgrown them? More importantly: are they just, caring, kind? We cannot lose sight of humanity in favor of tightly held notions. The only thing we really have is each other, the rest is confetti.
Today, December 21st, marks the arrival of the winter solstice. For some, it marks the longest day of the year. In our Western hemisphere, it marks the longest night. With the new moon in Capricorn on December 23rd, these in-between-days can be considered the start of the new year. Use the winter solstice as a time of reflection and give gratitude to all that has been given to you this year, and all that has been taken away. Take inventory of your life and plan for the future. Set (realistic) goals for yourself because–as humans–our evolution is defined by our growth through struggle. When the new moon arrives, use it to manifest your hopes and dreams for the future into a tangible reality. In Capricorn, this will look a lot like creating a thoughtful down-to-the-details type of plan and building habits (systems!) which will support you as you create your new reality.
Mercury, retrograding in Capricorn on December 29th, sort of rains on our holiday parade. For those traveling: triple check your info! When Mercury is retrograde, especially in Capricorn, the devil is in the details. Avoid signing papers or making any decisions about property matters during this retrograde. Instead, focus your attention inward; take this opportunity to contemplate on the message you’re broadcasting in your work. Remember, though all careers are work, not all work is centered on careers. Think of the work in your life (your friendships, your romantic engagements, your relationship to your community) and exercise honesty in contemplation about the areas that are lacking in tenacity or discipline.
I know the act of self-examination can be daunting; it is painful to realize the ways in which we might have disappointed ourselves or others. Especially in Capricorn, a sign of self-preservation, we can be met with resistance. But like Michelle Obama (a famous Capricorn) once said: “Instead of letting your hardships and failures discourage or exhaust you, let them inspire you. Let them make you even hungrier to succeed.”