With the Sun culminating in Capricorn, and Mars conjoined Neptune in Capricorn, there is a sense of divine motivation or divine discontent in the air. The irrationality and chaos of life is close at hand, as well as the overwhelm. We might be feeling alternatively inspired to rise up from the chaos on the wings of spirit, contributing something to the world, making something of our lives, following our genius beyond the horizon, and then exhausted by the struggle, fatigued by an unshakable feeling of irrelevance, and caught in the wheels of the same never ending patterns. When the Sun moves through Capricorn we’re often being asked, over and over again, to accept the circumstances of our lives exactly as they are. We don’t blame the past, and we don’t see ourselves as having “risen above the past,” either. We don’t begrudge or blame anyone for “making us this way,” and we don’t smooth talk our way around who we are with others. As the sign of the “initiate,” Liz Greene often says that Capricorn’s first task is “readiness.” The word “ready” has an etymological connection to both the words “in place” and “plain.” To be “in our place” and to be “plain” is the sign of readiness. To be who we are without qualifications or complaints about the past. There is something in this imagery that brings to mind the standing before a judge, father, or elder of some kind. “Ready” to carry the cross of our family, ancestral, karmic or cosmic burdens. The word “legacy” also has an etymological relationship to an “envoy or group sent on a mission,” as well as an appointment or inheritance given through a will.
Sometimes during Capricorn season we mourn the circumstances of our lives and we get an ego about them one way or another. But it’s important to remember that our readiness for the path of our destiny, our legacy, doesn’t require that we clear away the rotten past or that we redefine it or whatever else. Rather, it requires of us that we get a clear sense of who we are, without blame, qualification or inflation, and stand in the plainness of it. This is the place of the initiate…voluntarily imprisoned, accepting of the work, and over time, by constantly renewing this sense of “plain and in place,” our limitations become the spikes, curves, and colors of a primordial sea-shell. We become the new shape of an old story.
By contrast, Mars and Neptune in Pisces brings to mind an even farther out cosmic sense of the same themes. Mars/Neptune in Pisces is a bit like the image of a warrior rushing into a hopeless battle, knowing full well that she will die. Knowing that the battle is ultimately meaningless, knowing that one is about to become a victim of forces tremendously bigger than oneself, but summoning the courage to charge forward anyway. With Pisces there is always a sense of belonging to forces that are unspeakably bigger than ourselves. For some this becomes a normal sense that infuses within a person tremendous intuitive and creative gifts, as well as compassion and empathy for suffering. For others it becomes the weight of oblivion and chaos or irrationality, constantly foiling the individual’s efforts to rise above it and constantly drowning any sense of fixed autonomy or ego. Rather than feeling like a victim of the past (like Capricorn is prone to do), Pisces can feel like a victim of reality itself. Like something about reality is inherently victimizing and then victim blaming, like constantly adding salt to already open wounds. Many Pisceans will try to escape this difficult aspect of their sign by over intellectualizing. They will cling to various dogmas or doctrines about the nature of reality or the purpose of suffering, or even the nature of the sign of Pisces itself, that helps to ward off the terrifying face of oblivion that is an incredibly important part of the Piscean mythos. The path of the mystic, like the legacy and ‘initiate’ work of Capricorn, similarly requires a standing “plainly in place.” The difference is that the Piscean version of “plainly in place” is more like transcendental meditation or emptiness than it is about our history or personal circumstances. The readiness required of Pisces is nothing more than a straight spine recognition that we are being lived by forces tremendously bigger than we can possibly comprehend, while at the same time being a willing, non-complaining, participant in their movements, even when those movements dismember us. This is the path of the mystic or the saint.
When we combine the Capricornian calling with the Piscean calling in the sky right now, we are getting a vivid picture of who we are, no complaints or qualifications, as well as the forces that have greater control of our lives than we could ever imagine or dictate. We are getting clear as to what our work is, the sacrifices we are being asked to make in order to take it to the next level, as well as the background of both cosmic significance and complete insignificance. We know what this work will likely require of us, and we know what will likely be taken away from us along the way.
There is also excitement here, as well as bliss. If we can just remember to stop and recognize the starry cliff we’re standing on, for even just a moment, there is a memory rising. The reminder of an old promise made between ourselves and something so big we can’t help but smile, so long ago it doesn’t matter when. Could it be any other way?
Prayer: Here we are. Overwhelmed. Lived by forces who speak our names. Ready.
Image by courtesy of Gabriel C, at creative commons image licensing