December 17th marks the occasion of Roman Saturnalia, and more than most years, there is particular cause for the reversal of wisdom and the opening of license here as the period we are headed into is one more Saturnian usual as planets seem to proceed into the Cold and Dry one’s time with ice skater synchronization. Even the word is befitting. The organization of being in sync with Saturn, old Kronos himself— who rules over time, and so it is in a way an organization of time, so that cycles sync up, and so we find ourselves well prepared. Interestingly, it is often one of Kronos’ nemesis who is attributed to foresight, that being Prometheus, where as Kronos seems more in line with Epimetheus, being one that tends to look into the past and with the log in hand dictates the recorded results that precedent the ages, demanding that we learn from our mistakes and improve.
Today, classically Saturnalia, the territory of Capricorn remains empty save for the spectre of the Underworld who waits at the 18th degree and beckons us in, signaling to the abundance of Sagittarian planets through the antiscial mirror. Currently heavy energy and signification of the Centaur prevails: travel, foreignness, the exotic, the truth, the ideal, philosophy, synthesis of human and animal nature, motivational, optimism, “fly with the eagles.”— the poster reads or uttered by a motivational speaker “We just got to get this done, we got to see the bigger picture from new heights like an eagle on high, we’ve got to be as strong as a bull and as fast as a horse to finish this project and achieve our goals.” etc etc. This is very latter Sagittarius which has to do with the final push at the end of the long haul.
As Venus progresses into the third face of Sagittarius she attracts us to passions of epic proportions; the love of facing insurmountable adversity, passionate or in love with legendary crusading; if its not epic its not appealing.
The New Moon occurs at 1AM, so essentially this is late Sunday night. There may be some roughness to the feeling of this lunation, as Luna is in a Saturn ruled decan and comes conjunct Saturn only hours after meeting the Sun, proceeding into detriment in Capricorn. A feeling of needing to rise to the task and a need to meet demands is presented with inflexible restrictions and then brought down to the earth, the reality of the matter, where the only way to proceed is through tangible, animalistic instincts, as in a crisis situation. This quickly exhausts all resources, drains stores of energy but must be prolonged perpetually irregardless as there is no alternative to survival. Although, the Mansion which hosts our New Moon speaks of strengthening buildings, increasing harvests, making and holding profits, and traveling safely through the countryside, as well as separating wives from their proper husbands. Sounds like the situation of “we did it, we succeeded but it nearly killed us and we all can barely stand each other now, but at least we accomplished what we set out to do.” Agrippa says one name of this Mansion, Albeldach means “a defeat”, which sheds some paradoxical light on the experience of accomplishment at all costs. Consider all the forementioned as a seed form for this Lunation, but also, being final Lunation before the solstice, and the one that inaugurates Saturn’s return to rulership and the Sun’s stroll into Capricorn as well as the annual Sun-Saturn conjunction or “New Saturn”, just as Saturn returns to his domicile; making a very “New Saturn” also a “Saturn’s Back”. All of this current Sagittarian energy mirrors into and reflects back from Capricorn territory through antiscia, so there is a heavy near future and distant past dynamic that is feedback looped back into itself in multiple ways. We don’t get much time to enjoy Saturnalia, so tell your boss to screw, get wasted and demand some money from royalty while you can; unless you are a boss or aristocrat, then, fuck you, give me a thousand bucks.
The freshly waxing yet still dark Moon conjoins Saturn on the final degree of Sagittarius at 8am. We find ourselves in preamble preparing to perceive the desire to meet expectations and complete tasks, when suddenly we slam into inescapable commitments to do so. This is not a “jovial” or “jolly” aspect, but with Mars in Scorpio simultaneously, this looks like a lot of whip-cracking ourselves to get shit done and live up to our projections before our superiors or dominators do so for us. This can manifest as a kind of a literal self-cursing: “I will not leave this room under any circumstances until this ship in the bottle is finished.” “I will not rest until all political prisoners are set free.”
As the Moon conjoins Pluto at 10pm, Luna, gaining a sliver of light comes face to face with Hades and peers into the void of the Underworld, ‘The Rape Of Persephone” comes to mind. This could easily trigger a feeling that the recesses of corruption in society are far too deep to sound, which sets a very moody ambiance, and like wicked clockwork, that of a macabre cuckoo maker, Saturn enters Capricorn an hour later at 11pm. This marks Saturn’s returns to his domicile after almost twenty four years; but that was since he left Aquarius last in January of 1994; the last time he made this ingress into Capricorn was in November of 1988 (though he had dipped in previously in February of that year before turning retrograde). Saturn is his most conservative in Capricorn, and the harsh laws of nature are primary; often fasting, rationing, limitations and sanctions become necessary. My guess is this will not be in favor of the flamboyant anti-ecological bunch we politically call “conservatives”, but the inception of uncomfortable yet necessary restrictions on resources and pollutants, such as fuel. In six years we may not be any longer able to freely burn as much fuel as we can afford, for example, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this was a literal result; each individual only allowed to consume a set amount per person. This is another permutation of the word, not conservative but conservation. Saturn’s return to his earth sign, which is his yin domicile, may look at the state of the world since 1991, and receptive to what he sees, decide there is to be some reckoning. This is also a typically more minimal, gritty and somber period for art and entertainment, and may be especially so as Jupiter is currently in Scorpio. A quick look at art, music and cinema from 1989 reveals death, darkness, the black and white, decaying cities and ecological concerns as forward in the material. The starkness of the first Tim Burton Batman, the black and white artwork of Nirvana’s Bleach, Christopher Walken in King Of New York; concurrent with Exxon Valdez and the falling Berlin wall.
On personal as well as collective levels, Saturn’s return to Capricorn should be a time of disciplined construction, assessment of life architecture, cautious behavior, or the punishment of breeches into excess; a more “down to earth” attitude and approach, a “reality check”, the testing of sturdiness and enduring form within our lives, harsh edits and heavy restraints, a focus on foundation and building from the ground up; monumental works, masterpieces, stark and skeletal aesthetics, the bare bones of things, attention to the quality of materials, the institution of hierarchy, the stratification and regulation of society.
Saturn is in Capricorn for three years and then Aquarius for another three, so we ready ourselves now for six years of Saturn in Rulership. Hope you have a wild Saturnalia.
Venus catches up to the 24th degree and is next to square Chiron and trine Uranus. Her volcanic passions and magnetism to precarious escapades harmonizes with seditious individuality and volatile revelation but causes friction with the act of letting go, and the emotional imagination may romanticize what it is decapitating. The pain of releasing old loves and outmoded aesthetics as paradigms shatter, or, difficulty being able to drop the revolutionary zealousness even for an instant. When the revolution achieves what it desires what do people do with their affection for passionate anger?
This hits both a contrary and complimentary note to those struck by Saturn and the Sun, and the result may be brooding and striving all at once, symphonic in the mode of Rachmaninoff.
As the Sun enters Capricorn we reach the winter solstice, one of the legitimate markers of a new astrological cycle. This is more than a typical solstice with Saturn in the house, making for a period highly Capricornian. As our vision enters the winter phase we asses, “Will we survive?” Do we have enough fire wood, stores of food, can the roof withstand the snow load, are the walls thick and the windows tight etc. Basically, have we planed well enough and built sturdy enough? Everyone’s place in the hierarchy will be organized according to this criteria. Not surprising most people meet up with family just after solstice annually to compare notes; an economic status show and tell. Of course, the original essence of solstice is other:
Capricorn and Cancer make the solstitial axis, the places where the two underworld rivers intersect, that of the Sun’s path, the ecliptic and that of the Milky Way, whose light is made up of so many souls, those of humans having lost their bodies. Zero degrees Cancer is where the Mithraic torchbearer Cautopates holds his torch up as the Sun reaches its northernmost height, and man may manifest, descending from above. At zero degrees Capricorn the rivers intersect at the most Southernly point, and man may exit manifestation and proceed to the heavens; here the torchbearer Cautes points his torch down as the Sun is low in the sky. This is when Sirius reaches its greatest Southern declination, and being the dogstar, is also Cerberus, guarding the entrance/exit to the Underworld as the boat of the Sun carries souls to the switching points between one river and another; watery crossroads, and indeed this axis is of earth-water, nocturnal and thus yin, while the equinoctial axis of Aries and Libra, spring and autumn equinox, is of fire and air, and is thus diurnal and yang. Mithraists saw Mithras as spanning the equinoctial while his torch-bearing attendees guarded the southern and northern gates on either side. This is also in part where the western occult tradition gains its Four Kings, exemplified in the zodiacal crossroads. Indeed, we later see permutations of the Headless-Rite concluding with offerings to the cardinal spirits, and elsewhere, whether in the Hermetic literature or in goetia, The Headless Spirit is associated with the first decan of Capricorn, where he anatomically presides over the knees. On solstice we may curtsy, bow or genuflect in chthonic fashion to one of the primary and most ancient spirits that man has ever known, and to the southerly direction of his correspondence, as well as to directionality in general, as Sirius arcs over from South East to South West, following Orion as the cat claws or dog nips at the breeches of the Tarot’s Fool, herding him toward conflict with Taurus, and we witness the Mithraic Tauroctony play out before our very eyes just in time for Christmas.
The fact that there is a Gate of Ex-carnation opening for ascension to heaven as the Sun descends the lowest point of zenith marks the paradoxical rising and falling of the occasion; the going up and coming down. The awareness put in your knees and feet that allow you to then scale hierarchies and stack up stones to new heights. Along with this of course is the sudden growing of light rather than lessening, and in this dynamic is the mythological birth of all manner of deities associated with light as well as gods who succumb to death and darkness across many traditions in the northern hemisphere: Osiris, Baal, Attis, Adonis, Helios, Apollo, Dionysus, Mithras, Jesus, Balder, Frey.
Once within Capricorn territory The Sun promptly conjoins Saturn at 4pm, thus beginning a new Solar-Saturn cycle. This is the inauguration of a new cycle of boundaries and restrictions, as Saturn is burned up by the Sun’s light and heat, and purified; they come together and synthesize intentions; Strict Saturn receives his orders from our Solar Sovereign. Saturn is sure to make a big splash in his own territory, but the true weight of this might not be realized until the Sun gets some distance from him and he again becomes visible in the sky. We hear the seconds click like guillotine falls. The Moon at the time of the conjunction is also in a Saturnian sign, over in Aquarius, so the sight and feel of what Saturn has in store is on our shoulders as well as on our minds.
As if in response to the big event, Mercury turns direct at 7pm. As with any direct station; travel, technological undertakings and regular communications can now resume with relative confidence, although, as Mercury is still in detriment, he will be confusing things slightly or in some cases more heavily despite his restoration of forward motion. Generally though, as Mercury retraces his steps through the territory he had previously tread prior to retrograde he is less likely to fall into traps or pitfalls that might have ensnared him the first round. In mid Sagittarius this is probably a double checking that his facts are straight before he clicks on the mic and makes his speech, even if the language is still designed to convince the crowd to support the cause. This is like a book whose argument is not objective and heavily leads the reader while still being well footnoted and with an impressive bibliography. An improvement to his first pass, but not the best spot for our Messenger; the messages he delivers are pronounced in a tone of voice that suggests a bias; but with him direct, you are at least getting your mail.