Welcome back to Astrology for the Seasons – a monthly blog series where I explore the wisdom that each astrological season can offer us. I started this series to experiment living in alignment with the lessons and insights of each astrological season, as a way to strengthen mental, emotional, energetic or all-around health. Everyone has the influence of every single zodiac sign somewhere in their astrological birth chart – although we each have an abundance of some energies more than others – still, the spirit of each season ignites, as well as has meaning and resonance, somewhere significant in our lives.
Happy 2017! What better way to ring in the new year than with a love letter to Capricorn Season. Capricorn plays hard and works hard, like December holiday parties and January strict budgets and routines.
Capricorn is Father Time. A ticking clock always reminding us of this thing that is infinite, yet so scarce. Capricorn is our mortality. Our bodies, our bones, our aging, the small distance between the beginning and end of our physical manifestation on earth.
Capricorn is always preoccupied with the anxiety of time: how much we could lose, how much we have left, how much we don’t have to waste. Will I make enough money, pay my bills, eat and live well? Will my body make it through the long-haul? Capricorn is the season we think hard about the qualities, intentions and goals we want to bring forth into the new year. A season we ask the question and make the commitment to ourselves: how will I best put to use the time I have left in front of me?
The Capricorn spirit is all about the Adulting. But in a peculiar way, it’s a sign that grows backward. People with strong Capricorn energy in their birth charts (or strong Saturn energy, Capricorn’s ruling planet), often come from difficult early-childhood experiences where they had to grow up too fast. They needed to be responsible for too much, too young – whether that’s for their families, their parents, their siblings, for work or for money. It’s as Capricorns/Saturnians grow into adulthood and old age that they grow younger: they find more stability, more innocence, more flow, more mellow, more youth.
Capricorn is the spirit of a Grandmother, and the wisdom that only comes with age. I think of my own Grandmother with her soft, wrinkled, brown hands, her worry lines that turned into laugh lines. She had a very difficult childhood, but at the end of her life, she carried with her a knowledge, playfulness and self-acceptance; an inner peace that could only be cultivated from living a long and full life. These were not qualities she communicated to me with words, but I felt them deeply in her presence.
The last four signs of the zodiac circle (Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) are all concerned with forward momentum and the future, albeit with very different agendas. Sagittarius is about visioning our highest ideals and hopes for what could be possible (read more about Sag here in last month’s column!). Capricorn is the hard work and every day effort it takes to physically manifest that vision. (More about Aquarius and Pisces in future columns!)
Sagittarius has a grandiose vision of the future, and wants that future NOW. Sag will hop on a rainbow unicorn and fly right to the top of that mountain, if that’s what it takes. Sag wants the rush, the adrenaline, the adventure of doing the impossible.
Meanwhile, Capricorn is sitting here saying: Dudes. You know that flying unicorns don’t exist right?
If you want to get to the top of the mountain, you gotta climb. First you gotta do all your research and make sure you have the right skills, tools and equipment. Maybe take some classes, try out climbing in a safe, controlled environment with a fluffy mat underneath to catch you when you inevitably fuck up and fall.
Then, you have to start at the bottom. You gotta be that guy who knows nothing, and even if you won’t show it on your face, you’re freaking terrified. You take one step. See how that feels. Take another step. Oh, it feels different, gotta adjust. And you keep going. Little by little, day by day.
Meanwhile Sagittarius got bored and ran off to frolic in an enchanted forest with faeries or some other impossible shit. (Pisces probably joined them too.)
Capricorn is the not-at-all glamorous task, the painfully simple process of taking care of yourself. Advocating for your own health and your own version of success, when nobody else is going to do that hard work for you.
I can’t help but think of my Dad and his Capricorn Moon. He also had a hard life growing up, and took many financial responsibilities early on in life. I always knew him with these Capricorn qualities: serious, no-nonsense, sometimes hard and hard to know, a lot of times emotionally unavailable. Underneath his hard edge, my Dad was as soft and loving as a puppy, and he always put his family ahead of himself. In the same vein I think of Capricorn as one of the most vulnerable signs underneath a tough exterior, and one of the most devoted.
The symbol of Capricorn holds this dichotomy: the Sea Goat. The head of a goat climbing a mountain, and the tail of a fish flapping in the water. I think of the Sea Goat’s tail as representative of Cancer – the sign that is directly opposite to Capricorn. Both Cancer and Capricorn are concerned with family, caregiving, and providing – although they take completely different approaches. Cancer is the parent who cuddles their baby to sleep when they’ve had a nightmare. Capricorn is the parent who is out working long, hard hours so their baby actually has a bed to sleep in.
Capricorn is the parent who teaches you the hard lessons. Like, you know when you’re a kid and you’ve been riding a bicycle with training wheels for a while, and you finally want to take that leap onto a two wheeler? Capricorn is the parent who holds the back of your seat while you’re learning how to balance – and they promise you they won’t let go – but when they see you can do it on your own, they do. And you’re fuckin’ riding a bike! Then you turn around and realize they broke their promise to you. And you’re shocked. SHOCKED!!!
Fortunately/Unfortunately, Capricorn Season is often like this. It sucks, but it’s what we need. It’s hard, but it’s right. It’s simple, but it’s never easy. It’s growth, but it’s growing pains.
When we’re in the midst of a growth spurt, no matter what age we are, there is a part of us that never feels ready enough to be a grown-up. We still have our fish tail wagging between our legs, endlessly waiting for someone to take care of us. Someone else to make the world less scary, hold us in their lap, sing a lullaby and rock us to sleep. Capricorn understands this. Capricorn also knows you won’t be happy as a baby for the rest of your life. Capricorn knows you need to figure out some stuff on your own, even if throw an IDONTWANNA tantrum. Capricorn will sooner choose the loving and often thankless job of letting go of your bike seat, because they won’t stand in your way.
Often times, things get cut out of our lives and we don’t understand why. People leave, we’re suddenly much more alone than we were yesterday. We feel betrayed and rejected and abandoned. There is a sadness to Capricorn Season, a loneliness. Like ice hanging off winter tree branches in a snowy, quiet park. Capricorn Season is an invitation to make better friends with your sadness and your loneliness. Be present with the hard lessons instead of fighting them. For myself, 2016 was exactly this Capricorn shit: some of the hardest things I’ve ever been through, and the most I’ve ever been myself.
The Capricorn word that brings all these themes together is boundaries. Although boundaries can sometimes be confused with rules. At some point in our lives we may have had to establish strict rules for ourselves, in order to survive trying, unsafe, or violent circumstances. As time goes on, though, sometimes we can forget to check-in and ask ourselves if those rules are still relevant. Are they still useful? Or have we outgrown them? This season you can ask yourself – are you living by rules or boundaries?
Boundaries are nothing but the difference between what is and what isn’t okay with you in this moment.
Boundaries say: right now, this is who I am, this is who I am not. This is what I can and can’t offer. This is what I will and won’t do with my body. This is what brings me joy. This is what makes me want to throw up. These are my physical, financial, emotional and spiritual reserves, and I choose to live within my means.
Boundaries are different than rules because they are always changing and always in flow – because we as people are always growing and discovering different parts of ourselves. The more we expand, the more we find out who we are, the more we can say no to who we are not. The more we say no to what we are not aligned with, the more we can say yes to what truly matters for the long-haul.
To Capricorn, boundaries are sacred. Boundaries are the physical manifestation of our spirits. The solidification of our emotional and spiritual truths.
I’ve stopped thinking of boundaries as something I need to “create” or “establish.” Rather, I think of my boundaries as a sacred part of myself to remember, and to always return to. A part of myself I don’t have to fight for, but that I can just be.
This season, instead of setting your boundaries, remember them. Don’t think of your limits as cutting things off, or cutting things out. Rather, flow within your reserves, no matter how big or small they may be in this moment, even if they are not as expansive as other people’s expectations. Feel how nourishing your own waters can be.
What I’ve learned from the venture from 2016 to 2017, is that Capricorn is one of the ultimate signs about love. It doesn’t look that way on the surface. More commonly, Capricorn is associated with loss and not having enough. The anxiety around loss of money, loss of health, loss of life.
But what I know is that there is no loss without love. And there is no love without loss. Capricorn knows this too. When we experience loss, the depths of our grief is only possible because we’ve loved so deeply. When we open our hearts to love someone or something, we must also face the risk of losing them.
We must face the Capricorn reality that all ties break eventually. All relationships and situations change. Our bodies are born, and one day they finish. Even in a lifetime commitment – Father Time never stops ticking. And every body has a day that says, your time is up.
And yet, the most beautiful, strangest and strongest love is to know this, and to make the choice to love anyway. When we love enough to say: I will be here when you’re a mess, when you’re sick, and even if I have to watch you leave. And I know you choose me too. When we love enough to say: I am aware that losing you would shatter me, but that doesn’t hold a candle to how much your love will change me, nourish me, and make my life worth living.
Sometimes we forget, we have already made this lifetime commitment to someone the day we took our first breath. Ourselves. For whatever reason, your soul chose your body, chose this particular moment in history, and chose this lifetime. ‘Til death do you part. Even though you know that one day you will have to leave the love of your life, too. You.
I had the honour to be witness to the intensity of this curious, devastating and beautiful entanglement of love and loss, when I saw my Grandmother leave her body in 2012, and my Dad leave his body in 2016.
Both of them, lying quiet in their hospital beds, I saw them reach the top of the mountain. I saw them remember every single step it took to get there. I saw them take in that glorious view. I saw them smile and breathe in that wind, I saw them warmed by that sun. They didn’t tell me with words, but I knew they were looking back on their lives, and they felt everything. Every mistake they made, every gift they gave. Every pain and every triumph. Every lost and found word. And in this place, I saw everything fall away but forgiveness. In this place, I felt a peace reverberate through them for the world they left behind to keep. For the people who loved them most.
And with that, you get the final lesson of Capricorn. When you spend your life getting to the top of the mountain, that journey can never be taken away from you. It’s yours. You belong to every moment, and every moment belongs to you. Loss disappears. You are everything you ever were and ever will be.