“Do not lay up for yourselves ecstasies upon earth, where time and space corrupt, where the minutes break in and steal. No more lay hold on time, Jonas, My son, lest the rivers bear you away.” 1.Thomas Merton
While this New Year begins in Northeast Pennsylvania with rain and fog, we are in the earthy domain of Capricorn nonetheless, and it’s New Moon occurs January 2, at 1:33 pm ET.
Capricorn is the Sea-Goat and is ruled by Saturn. It’s the 10th House and sits at our mid-heaven or apex of the astrological wheel. This is where we step up, stand out, and reach our highest potential. But we don’t get there by flying. We climb, one heavy foot after another, uphill.
Saturn is the Greek God Cronos or Time and the Roman God of Karma and planting (you reap what you sow). He’s restrictive and constrictive – an authoritarian force that gives us will and discipline but with a heavy hand and cosmic gavel.
Capricorn is work, but not just work. It’s loving work, in the light. In the shadow, it’s all work. My moon is in this sign. The first time I had a reading which focused on this aspect, I cried; it so affirmed what had felt like a psychological defect or fated character flaw. While both those may still be true, at least it was in the stars, and not just me.
Lest we think we’ve reached a place even more demanding than Scorpio’s Hades, this sign too is not without its gifts. Here we have the drive and determination to forge ahead and establish authority and reputation. This is our highest potential, but it requires perseverance and hard work.
Saturn also commands tradition, legacy, and governance. A synonym search on governing includes rule, control, organization, risk management, decision making, sustainability, policy. Saturn is the only planet with an outer ring like a fence or boundary, and it can be challenging wherever it is in the sky or a chart. Saturn is the father, and I have this planet in my 4th House of home. Saturn is also the march of time which, for most of us, seems to speed up as we age with a sense of relentless pressure that we’re somehow running out of it.
We have been under hard aspects of this sign and planet, along with other heavy hitters, through 2020-21 and even before. Pluto, the planet of death and transformation, is in Capricorn from 2008 through January 2024. Most of us remember the economic crash that occurred the first year of this transit. This is Pluto’s destruction, and the institutions and structures that have come under the gun since are Saturn’s domain. The Saturn/Pluto conjunction in Capricorn in January 2020 was the pandemic’s start, and all that has ensued may be more dangerous than the virus itself. Last year, Saturn squared Uranus, the planet of disruption and awakening, 3 times. Social unrest and violence are all significant features of this confrontation for Saturn represents the past/old and Uranus the new/future. Finally, of note is the first Pluto return of the United States which will be exact on February 22, 2022. The numerology is significant. Six 2’s speak to the Zodiac’s 2nd House (which rules money and earthly resources) and the symbolism of 2 itself, which is both communion and opposition, depending on your perspective.
Speaking of perspective, 2020 brought me Cynthia Bourgeault’s masterful teaching on the Imaginal Realm and how this bandwidth of spiritual resource flows to and from us. 2. This past year ended with a 5 day Advent Retreat under her wise and holy guidance. Part spiritual descent and part lecture, she taught about Jean Gebser’s epoch “The Ever-Present Origin.” 3. First published in 1949 and the inspiration for much of Ken Wilbur’s work, the book describes the structures of consciousness. Most specifically, we are in decline of what has been the Mental structure, the predominant force of the last ~ 2500 years. The first sign of this destructuring is temporicity, or what Gebser calls “the irruption of time.” This is Pluto (death) in the sign ruled by Saturn (time).
In its most profound expression, felt by those who move from grievous loss to the eternal sanctity of love, time comes back to meet us. Past, present, and future are not linear and separate but converge. At its most challenging, time is a distortion, becoming fixed and rigid. As measurement or a product of rationality, it is limited. Rational doesn’t mean intelligent, for the root of rational is ration which means to cut and divide. One of the more troubling aspects of this is divisiveness itself. As Cynthia Bourgeault describes in a recent BLOG about Gebser’s theories and the pandemic’s current climate:
“As these six months have ensued, I have become increasingly aware that vaccine resistance is not simply a darling of Fox News and MAGA diehards. A significant number of well-educated, deeply spiritual people in the circles I travel in, including colleagues I highly respect, have advanced equally strong vaccine resistance—remarkably, for substantially the same reasons.
It is not my intention to get dragged into a dogfight about who has the better argument. Part of the anguish of the situation is that it’s fundamentally impossible to determine. If Gebser’s theory is correct, one of the telltale markers of the death throes of the Mental structure of consciousness is that truth atomizes into silos; everyone has their separate information feed, and there is no longer a common database on which to make informed judgments. The splintering is what’s on our evolutionary plate right now, and the healing of that splintering will come only as the next structure of consciousness takes robust hold.” 4.
It’s providential that we begin this year with the New Moon in the sign ruled by time. This may be what’s before us as we attempt to begin anew while watching continued ravages, whether accurately portrayed or not.
Next month, The Time Marcher meets The Great Awakener – Saturn and Uranus ruling together in Aquarius. At their best, the stabilization needed to move beyond. At their worst, well, we’ve all lived it, so there’s no need to describe.
Whether the alignments are hard or harmonious, the paradox and ultimate message of all great thinkers is the same. All things exist together. Two opposing statements can be factual simultaneously. The only requirement for healing or wholeness is the ability to hold it all in compassion and not anger.
The most compelling point is that this ever-present origin, beyond time, is God and we are it’s manifestation – God knowing itself. It matters not because it’s happening around us or to us, but because we are it’s happening.
I hope to bring more of these teachings into my work and writing this year. I, too, believe we are experiencing the pains of a dying time which are always present in any creation/destruction cycle, and that bearing them with both endurance and grace is possible. I also believe that bearing them, giving birth to them, is what we’re here for.
Or, in the timeless words of Rilke, “To live everything.” 5.
“The Sign of Jonas.” Thomas Merton.
“Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm.” Cynthia Bourgeault.
“The Ever Present Origin.” Jean Gebser.
“Letters to a Young Poet.” Rainer Maria Rilke.