Michael Barwick


Insight for Every Purpose under Heaven

Happy Birthday Capricorn!

Capricorn, the Sea GoatThis year the transiting Sun entered the tropical sign of Capricorn on December 21, 2018 at 5:22 pm Eastern Standard Time. If you’re a Capricorn, your birthday season has arrived! A very joyous birthday greeting to you and all the best in the coming year.

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During the month of Capricorn, it’s the high holiday time in much of the world in addition to being your birthday. Everyone’s busy busy busy. So much to do. Will people even have time to remember your special time?

The truth is that Capricorn is an important sign. Entry into it marks the Winter Solstice in Northern Hemisphere, the time when the world begins to experience a slow emergence of the light: the days get longer from here, even though the full cold of Winter has just begun. It’s easy to see why this annual event suggests the birth of the light into the world, with celebration and gratitude for all of the good gifts in creation.

Great for the world, but winter’s here and everyone’s occupied. Unsurprisingly, I’ve heard Capricorns complain it’s a lousy time to have a birthday. Some choose something solitary to celebrate. Others make celebrating their birthday a bonus event to the usual holiday mayhem and the really important people make it a priority to attend…

As they should! Who but the Capricorns have the valuable pragmatic powers that can truly make the world a better place? Who can plan, organize, systematize, implement, manage, and attain objectives the way they can? Our lives would be much more chaotic without this 10th sign of the Zodiac. They can bring so much order to a disordered world.

Of course, “can” is the operative word. The question is one of taking responsibility – a key driver in Capricorn psychology.

Assuming responsibility for something will give you more agency to apply your gifts and get things done, but what about play time? Just because you can run the world doesn’t mean you should have to do it 7-24.

Capricorn is often described as a hard-working serious sign, and the sign’s ruling planet is Saturn, who is often described as a somewhat grim teacher of tasks. But as they say, adulting is difficult. Capricorns often need to play just as hard as they work. Remember Christmas’ antecedent holiday, the Roman Saturnalia, occurring of course as the Sun transits the sign on December 25, was a big party of gift-giving too. In myth it is said that when Saturn (the Greek Cronos) ruled the world, it was a golden age for humankind.

As an earth sign, Capricorn typically appreciates many sensual delights, quite seriously of course when it’s appropriate. Work hard, play harder!

When it comes right down to it though, like much else in the Capricorn experience, whatever you want for your birthday this year, you’ll probably be needed at least in part to organize it!

Capricorn Considerations 2018

The truth is that these are challenging times for Capricorn and all it represents. There’s increasing evidence that as a species, we are continuing down the path to destroying our planet. It’s an open secret that our civilization in its current form is unsustainable and that the richest are looking for ways that they can somehow escape the debacle when (not if) the whole system crashes. The Earth is the biggest structure that supports us and the life forms we know: there is no plan B, yet we persist in much of our collective behaviour even as some are trying to get nations to make agreements to avert catastrophe or at least lessen the harm.

Why we are where we are is because of how the world has been organized: many of these institutions are being challenged as well and vile corruption at the highest levels is there for all to see in nearly every field. Why not believe what feels true rather than take the word of an expert who has their own interests perhaps driving their opinion? Professionalism is a Capricorn virtue, but it’s useless if all expertise can never be trusted, or in fact, it is denied existence.

From an astrological perspective then, it is indeed interesting to note that the two heaviest planets are currently moving through the sign of Capricorn.

Saturn, traditionally considered the “Greater Malefic”, joined Pluto, “the Transformer” in Capricorn in December last year and will be in the sign until 2020.

Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008, a year whose economic meltdown we may yet see a replication of given that some nations have chosen since to undo the controls on their banks that were put in place to prevent such an economic event from happening again. Pluto stays in Capricorn until 2023.

The faster moving Saturn will conjoin Pluto in January of 2020. They are difficult enough separately and considerably harder together. Historian Richard Tarnas describes important Saturn-Pluto alignments as coinciding with “especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction: eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all marked with sometimes lasting traumatic effects.”[i]

From his historical analysis of the Saturn-Pluto and other cycles, Tarnas concluded that the expression of the symbolism precedes an exact alignment in the cycle. The planets merely have to be 15° apart. Saturn came to within 15° of Pluto at the beginning of 2018.

Tarnas’ 2006 description of the quality of our time as anticipated by the movements of these two planets has actually been front-page news in many parts of the globe this past year. Many people of all sorts of political considerations are concerned about what appears to be a contraction of democracy and an undermining of its institutions in service of corporate interests at best, and perhaps at worst, competing foreign powers.

The Moon’s Nodes (where the orbit of the Earth around the Sun and the orbit of the Moon around the Earth intersect meaning eclipses always happen when the Sun and Moon align near them) slip backwards through the Zodiac almost every 19 years. Being always in opposing signs, they have shifted into the Cancer/Capricorn axis bringing to Capricorn in 2019:

  • Two solar eclipses (one in the middle of the sign on January 5 and one at the beginning of the sign on December 26)
  • One lunar eclipse (July 16 near the end of the sign)

All this Capricorn focus suggest the reckoning in the Capricorn domain will continue through this year and for some time to come. Fake news may deceive many, but reality itself cannot be fooled. Capricorn is about what is the case, not what one would wish it to be because it happens to feel better. The truth cannot be obscured forever.

If I am a Capricorn, what does this all mean for me?

Making individual predictions for an entire year based on a single factor in a person’s horoscope is never entirely satisfactory because every person’s horoscope includes multiple factors and is distinct, guaranteeing that all things are never equal for all persons born under the same sign.

Nevertheless, her are some useful things to consider for 2018 if you are a Capricorn:

If the factors in Capricorn make a connection with your Sun (or any other planet you might have placed in the sign for that matter), the themes of taking responsibility (Saturn) and/or seeing ugliness for what it is so that it can be purified and re-born as something new (Pluto) will be important for some time in terms of solar affairs such as:

  • Men in general
    (Note: the Sun is classically considered masculine in comparison the the Moon, which is considered feminine. Because of our more fluid times regarding gender roles, whether this distinction is still accurate is controversial in the field)
  • Fathers/father figures/fathering
    (Note: Again, classically Sun is a symbol for father and Moon is a symbol for mother, but these designations are not universally held to be true by all astrologers.)
  • Your boss
  • Your profession
  • Your personal identity
  • Your individual will
  • Your drive for autonomy and independence
  • Your sense of purpose and future aspirations.

You may be pressured to take on more responsibility and feel limited by your circumstances or have to confront the hidden trash that your nose is telling you really must find and let go of. Others may try to push you around. Pluto may lead you into the underworld to understand and manage your own darkness or the darkness of others. How you use your power is very important at this time: if it’s not truly for the benefit of all, you may be called out on it and/or face considerable resistance.

The eclipses are somewhat random: the astrological tradition typically tends to see them as negative and potentially catastrophic; my experience is that they are typically more drama than trauma on a personal level and although maybe a little bizarre or jarring at the time, recovery is quick although where they happen in a person’s full horoscope can suggest more personal interpretations regarding which department of life needs to be noted.

In conclusion, yes things look grim in many ways, but typically Capricorns keep their cool under the most difficult of circumstances. Bleak and difficult astrological conditions like the ones I have described above are opportunities to do the real hard work of change. And for Capricorns, there’s the big life project that all of it could fuel: the endless drive towards deeper self-mastery. It’s all a test of character.

Capricorn’s classic representation as the goat with a fish’s tale symbolizes the potential self-sufficiency under any conditions the sign is capable of. From the deepest ocean trench to the highest mountain peak, Capricorns are able to thrive and put their disciplined talents to good use for themselves and others. Difficult conditions exist to be conquered if you choose! `

[i] Tarnas, Richard; Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (Toronto: Penguin Group Canada, 2006), 209.