The Capricorn New Moon falls on Tuesday, January 16th at 6:18pm PST and at 9:18pm EST. With Saturn, the ruling planet of Capricorn, having just moved into its own sign for the next three years, as well as Pluto, Mercury, and Venus currently in the sign of the sea-goat, the feeling of the Cosmos during this New Moon is quite in alignment with this mythical figure.
“Why the sea-goat?” you might ask. This web-hoofed creature is one that represents Cap’s ability to endure and persevere no matter what the challenge. For the sea-goat is the only sign in the zodiac that is able to survive and thrive in two mediums: both on land and in water. And this unique feature of its symbolism carries with it a depth of meaning. No other sign is so willing to challenge herself to work toward a goal in clear and strategic ways than Cap. Once she sets an intention, she has the staying power and fortitude to make that intention a reality. If it takes 30 years, she’s unfazed. Better to have purpose and time to work toward it than to be aimless and directionless. This is the deep need of Capricorn, and she’s utterly driven by her larger objective. Indeed, if there were no challenge or “great work”, she’d lose her purpose altogether. Cultivating patience along the way, she knows how to put one foot in front of the other, over and again, climbing the mountain with persistence and fortitude.
As my teacher would say, Capricorn is the least lunar of all the signs of the zodiac. Lunar energy invites us to feel, to sense, and to get out of our heads and into our hearts and bodies. For example, we don’t go out to look at a Full Moon and immediately feel compelled to make strategic life plans or grocery lists! Rather, we look at the Full Moon and become utterly moved or awed by its beauty and the sense of magic it holds. Yet Capricorn energy is not as susceptible to this “lunacy” as its opposite sign, Cancer would be. But this doesn’t mean it’s not effected in its own way. It just means that practicality will likely play more of a role in this moon than it would in any other of the New Moons. For practicality is at the heart of Capricorn. While Cap isn’t the sign that needs to be led by its emotions, it IS the sign that needs to be led by its inner ethics, morals, and values, creating a life that is a direct reflection of these important virtues. In a word, it is the sign of integrity. Dictionary.com defines integrity as, “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty,” as well as, “the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished.” These words express Capricorn’s need to marry her outer world with her inner world, creating a life that is synonymous with what’s held deep inside. These are some of the most important aspects of Capricorn, inviting us to reflect during this New Moon…What do I deeply value in my life? What values do I honor so much that my life becomes a beautiful expression of them? If there’s any dissonance here, what steps can I take to create more alignment between these values and their outer expression in my life?
In a way, Cap’s energy and its ruling planet Saturn can be likened to an old man version of Vishnu. Saturn is Father Time, after all! We’ll get to the feminine aspect shortly, but for now, let’s remember that Vishnu represents the preserving aspect of the Universe. He is about maintaining orderliness, structure, and integral values. In the two epic stories of India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Vishnu is said to come into the world as an avatar, taking form as both Ram and Krishna, respectively, in order to “hold the fort down” and keep human reality from turning to utter chaos. He carries with him this unshakeable ability to uphold the dharma, or Universal Order/Law in order for humans to remember their ability to contribute to a meaningful and purposeful whole. Vishnu reminds us that when forces of discord and disharmony come into play in our own lives, returning to our core values and the true nature of who we are and what we hold dear is necessary and course-correcting. Becoming so clear in these values that we’ll stand for them when things get super challenging inwardly, outwardly, or both, is aligning with the steadfastness of Capricorn. And while this may not be an emotional endeavor (one of the Moon’s associations is deep emotions), it does require heart and soul, very lunar aspects of the self indeed.
Capricorn is known as the sign of the elder, sage, or sophos, an archetypal energy described by Carl Jung. (More on this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wise_old_man .) And in order to become elders, great role models in society who are virtuous and kind, we are invited to move through life in ways that develop wisdom, lest we become old fogies. This phrase is in the dictionary, I might add! The old person no one wants to hang out with is an example of how NOT to Capricorn or to Saturn. The old person everyone wants to spend time with is just the opposite: how to work with these energies so well that even with an aged face and body, others want to hang with these beautiful beings because they sense wisdom and truth pouring from them. Think Gandalf or Merlin…beings who contribute to society because they’ve taken the time and energy to develop themselves in honorable and inspiring ways. This isn’t easy, which is what makes it so valuable; if it were the easy path, everyone would do it! And it’s also what makes the wise old man or woman more rare. The relationship with Father Time (Mother Time) is clear; this person has taken her time in life to move through hardship and challenge, yet she hasn’t let it harden her or make her rigid. In fact, she’s learned to laugh in spite of these challenges, embodying both fortitude and grace. And while Capricorn may not be a sign that immediately evokes “grace,” working with its energy well is meant to bring the person on the journey to a refinement of sorts. This refinement isn’t elitist or superior — that’s not what’s meant here. Rather, it’s a way of engaging with life so skillfully that a person become elder moves through the world with awareness, clarity of purpose, and presence of being. Hence, a refined approach to life.
In readings I often liken Saturn to Dhumavati, the Crone Goddess of Disappointment and Sorrow. Sometimes when I talk about this with people they laugh uncomfortably, and other times they nod in complete understanding of what I mean. Saturnian times are invitations to a wisen-ing, maturing process. They remind us that how we’ve been doing things is not going to work anymore, as we’ve outgrown the place in our charts and lives where Saturn is transiting. And again, as the ruling planet for Capricorn, this is an important facet of our exploration here. A feminine part of this process of growing old, and hopefully wise, is facing the disappointment that might come with these life transitions. Our culture wants us to look like we’re 30 or 35 until we’re almost dead — not a positive or feasible endeavor! So facing this process of growing old with a bit of Capricorn’s practicality and Dhumavati’s ability to face sorrow and what we must let go of is important. For in the letting go of an old version of ourselves, who we once were and can no longer be, there is wisdom, truth, and acceptance. Rather than fighting against reality, we learn to go with it, moving with both grace (yes!) and poise, and hopefully a bit of piss and vinegar too, when appropriate. Dhumavati reminds us that there is a different kind of beauty in facing and embracing disappointment, which leads to a release of the old version of ourselves, and space is made for a more enlightened and delighted version of who we are to be expressed. The scene in Fried Green Tomatoes comes to mind, when Kathy Bates blissfully rams into the car over and over again of the younger women who rudely took the parking spot she’d been waiting patiently on. This scene is a little overkill, but a lovely comedic example of the “older” woman who’s claimed her place as a matured but still playful individual who can go with life’s flow and have a little fun with it too. My teacher reminds us that true elders can be identified by the twinkle in their eye, even though their bodies may look more aged and withered than they once were. This twinkle is what reminds us of the wisdom that’s carried deep within.
Capricorn is also known as the master of solitude, one who spends the necessary time on her own so she doesn’t become overly concerned with others’ approval of her own goals and objectives. Cap needs time to herself, regardless of whether she’s a partner, sister, mother, auntie, teacher, etc. It’s important that the sea-goat carve out alone time so she gets recharged necessarily and has the energy she needs to share when it’s time. So taking space to oneself during this New Moon is a good idea — time to reflect, contemplate, and sit quietly, as well as time to create goals and strategies for moving toward the goals that are both inspiring and practical. Nothing sits more heavily than the overwhelm that comes with working toward unreasonable and far-fetched objectives! Because Cap can be sensitive to the feeling of weightiness, or heaviness of responsibility, even more important to be real about what can be accomplished from a connection with the deep core values within.
During this New Moon time, remember that, “slow and steady wins the race,” if life can even be called that! Slowing down and taking some solo time to get clear on intentions and aspirations and how to work with them well are awesome Cap-inspired endeavors. No goal is too large if it’s wanting to manifest itself, yet being realistic about this manifestation will help the process unfold with integrity and grace. If you feel so called, look to some elders who inspire you to live your life more skillfully, and remember your important part of upholding the dharma that is our Universe. What you have to offer is valuable, and the tried-and-true wisdom of “good things come to those who wait” is applicable here! The word “intention”, or sankalpa in Sanskrit, refers to coming back to something over and again for an extended period of time. So if it doesn't happen next week, it’s not a bad thing. Long-term objectives are often underrated these days, but as we know in yoga, the process is the point. No mountain is too high, but do give yourself time to cultivate the necessary wisdom along the way. It should be fun sometimes too, even for the “old sea-goat”.