“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “ Another Christmas has come and gone, and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books” ―J. K Rowling.
Another Christmas has come, packaged with nostalgia, wrapped in the comfort of custom, tied up with tradition. Paper hats and crackers, fir trees and festive extravagances, redolent with the smell of our grandmother’s brandy-soaked pudding.
Without a backward glance, Saturn moves into its own sign of Capricorn on December 20th, and will remain in Capricorn until March 21—22nd 2020. There’s something about this ingress that feels sure-footed and determined to get ahead with the task at hand as Saturn moves resolutely to unite with the Sun on the solstice on December 21st. Venus joins the Capricorn line- up on December 25th in a statement of celestial artistry redolent of boardrooms and cigars, power dressing, getting down to business.
There’s a serious overlay to our earthly festivities this December as we face into the practicalities of facing into a period of increasing austerity and hard facts.
We’re living in a time where chunks of polar ice fall into the sea, Californian homes and forests burn, deadly drones dive from dark skies and Big Brother is watches every move we make. Collectively, personally, the very bed rock of our existence is being cracked open by greed and the admonishment to “consume” without any notion that all of Life is interconnected. “We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature,” wrote poet John O’Donohue.
Andrew Harvey, author of The Hope: A Guide to Sacred Activism comments grimly, “the world we are creating is an ADD-ridden flat land.” And Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice-president for user growth at Facebook, writes “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth.”
Traditional astrologers associate the archetype of Saturn with limitation, adversity, restriction. Saturn is the celestial accountant who asks us to take stock of our lives, and who brings a timely reality check. Perhaps, for some of us, a stoic acceptance of those things we simply cannot change.
Saturn was in Capricorn during the Great Depression of the late 20s and early 30s, again as Fidel Castro marched to power in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and once again as the intractable Iron Curtain shattered in 1988.
Saturn is associated with law and order, and over the coming months we may see defenses mobilised, stronger bulwarks against anarchy and chaos. The draw bridge goes up to protect a new order. In myth, Saturn, Chronos, devoured his offspring. The symbolism is chilling. Alice Walker writes, “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Through our own rigidity, resistance, through fear and defensiveness, we may devour and disown our power and creative potential to birth something new.
The United Kingdom’s 1801 chart has the Sun in the sign of Capricorn, and as society there has become increasingly fragmented, the anxiety unleashed has manifested as the blight that is Brexit as the super-rich become the new kings and queens sealed from the common people in glittering Shards, riding the waves in enormous yachts.
Saturnian control, restraint, self-possession, and persistence, are boring and unwelcome guests in solar world where we’re shining like the sun, always having fun, where every day is a “nice day.” Daphne Rose Kingma writes, “The power of persistence is required especially when we’re dealing with intense, emotionally devastating circumstances or bunches of hugely difficult things that have stacked up all at once. When you’re facing a diagnosis of Graves’ disease, a taxi accident, and the imminent death of your sister, and your boyfriend has just moved to Japan, you will definitely need to call on persistence.”
Saturn has an affinity with the archetype of Capricorn, and if we choose, we can use this energy wisely to manifest goals, to firm up commitments.
We may have to vigorously tame our thoughts, release hoary old habits, rusty old grudges that keep us trapped like the Tin Man in armour that crushes our hearts. We may need to examine our lives scrupulously and ask if we are adding more aggression and self-centredness into the Field, and take ownership of our sloppy behaviour. We may need to pray for the courage to put our soul in charge of our life.
“We may not be comfortable, but we will be awake and aware and fully alive,” says Prema Chodron, author of Taking the Leap and When Things Fall Apart.
Perhaps, it’s in silence of this holy night, as we unwrap yet another practical pair of socks in the presence of our loved ones, that we can be open to embrace the energy of this sacred moment as our Sun stands still.
“And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand Utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory,” activist Howard Zinn declares.
As we seriously commit to making our world a better place, the wise words of Carl Sagan envelop the zeitgeist of Saturn in Capricorn these next years, “better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.”
Perhaps, it’s in silence, in the dark of the moon this solstice that we can be fully awake and in tune with the interconnectedness of all living things. In the pause, in the gap, in the space between the ceaseless chatter that we can be open and touch the energy of the moment.
Through the dark clouds that gather, we can glimpse the silver lining.