The New Moon in Capricorn arrives December 29 just before 2:00 am EST, which means overnight on December 28 for time zones close to EST. This is a time for planning, for setting goals and making resolutions. We look to this New Moon for signposts telling us what might be ahead.
Capricorn is cardinal Earth, the no-nonsense sign that ushers in winter. The Sun entered Capricorn at the Winter Solstice December 21. Ruled by Saturn, Capricorn is pragmatic, practical, hard-working, and traditional. Also stubborn, sometimes narrow minded, and very interested in making sure all official rules are followed.
This sounds like good energy for making plans in the tradition of New Year’s Day. Don’t we want to be practical, work hard, and follow the rules? Yes, we do, but this New Moon will ask questions like “Which rules? According to whom? And do those rules even work?”
The New Moon, at 7 Capricorn, trines the North Node of the future, and sextiles the South Node of the past. This axis of the Nodes of the Moon is also known as a dragon. This Moon touches both its head and tail. The intentions we set at this New Moon will affect more than just the next few weeks. We’re being asked to look at where we are on our life path.
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We’re heading into a new calendar year. The first month, January, is linked to the Roman god Janus, who ruled transitions and gateways. At the threshold of the year, this is exactly what the Capricorn New Moon does as it aspects the Moon’s Nodes.
This is a thoughtful New Moon. It sits within the ongoing Mercury retrograde and amplifies its energies. When Mercury stationed retrograde on December 19, he was conjunct Pluto, adding depth and Shadow to his re-work.
Mercury stands close to the New Moon. In Capricorn, he’s more careful and hard-headed than usual. Mercury want to be sure, especially when it comes to practical details. Are all working parts clean, oiled, and in good repair? Are all knots tightly tied? Is every lock locked that needs to be locked?
On the other side of the New Moon, we find Pluto, also in Capricorn and close enough to have a say in how this plays out. He is the god of foundations and deep roots. Pluto asks whether the underpinnings of every enterprise are sound and stable.
Well, he does more than ask. He starts hammering on them to find out. If we have secure foundations, he can bestow wealth and power. If we don’t, Pluto’s style of “questioning” can lead to collapse.
So one quality of this New Moon is a level of depth and intensity beyond what Capricorn would normally carry. Another is a restless unpredictability that will ask a lot of questions and push hard against the traditional rule-following Capricorn is known for.
Saturn, ruler of this New Moon, sits at 21 Sagittarius, part of another set of aspect patterns clustered around 20-24 degrees. First is the trine with Uranus, Ceres, and Eris in fiery Aries. These three troublemakers (as Saturn might see them) or radical free thinkers (as they might see themselves) are not going to accept any edicts handed down from on high without asking lots of questions. Hard questions. And they don’t feel a need to be especially polite doing it. In fact, they generally prefer asking unexpected questions when someone else has the mic. Trying to escort them from the room doesn’t usually go very well either. “Disruptive” is the operative word here.
Between Saturn and the Uranus–Ceres–Eris group, sits Venus at 24 Aquarius, sextiling both. Venus prefers harmony to conflict, but values fairness above both. In Aquarius, her ideals are high and her commitment to them strong. In a contest between traditional authority (Saturn) and radical individuality (Uranus), she will look for an equitable solution that matches her own ideals.
Meanwhile, Jupiter in Libra (which is ruled by Venus) sends a trine to Venus while opposing Uranus, Ceres, and Eris. He also squares Pluto. Jupiter makes everything bigger, but whose side will he come down on? Maybe he will expand everything, exaggerating all positions and arguments until everything feels larger than life.
Chiron the wounded healer is also part of this arrangement, sitting at 21 Pisces. He is squaring Saturn, challenging traditional authority to consider its potential to be wounded, and create wounding. He also forms an awkward inconjunct to Jupiter, presenting a similar challenge: We think of expansion and growth as good things, but are they always? Chiron challenges us, ultimately, to consider how we react. What hurts? Why? What’s the trigger? What can we learn? How can we grow through this experience?
Before we leave this examination of patterns, let’s return to the South Node. This is the place of the past, of karma that is ripening, of what we bring with us into this lifetime. The South Node is not alone at this New Moon. Neptune, who has been here for a while, continues to cloud our perceptions of the past. And now Mars is here as well. He is not especially comfortable in Pisces, as the direct action he prefers is not going to be happening. Yet here he is, so what can he do?
As always, it’s all about our choices. If we’re lost in the glamour of a “Golden Age,” Mars might find a way to wake us up––or could react to preserve that golden dream by pushing away new ideas, probably with passive aggression. If we’re sorting out what is of value in the past, in order to preserve it, Mars can help us act and not only dream.
How can we take this complex set of patterns into account as we craft wishes and intentions for this New Moon so close to the New Year?
Usually, we look at patterns to help choose what kinds of wishes to make. Perhaps some area of life is indicated, creative work, or finance, or health. This New Moon offers a different kind of framework. This time, we’re given a way to set intentions, instead of guidance on the content.
We’re asked (pushed, actually) to examine every area we might consider as a goal, plan, or wish. Are the foundations of each goal solid? Are there weaknesses that need to be addressed? Do our plans reflect our highest ideals, our most radical convictions? Will our wishes stand up to being exaggerated, enlarged, stretched?
At this New Moon, we’re asked to go beyond single wishes and isolated intentions. When we consider all the things we might wish for, what is the overall pattern? Is that structure both strong and flexible? Is it based on a firm, solid foundation? Are there hidden flaws that will bite us later?
With the help of Mercury retrograde and Pluto, as well as all the other players in this New Moon, we have the chance to look beyond the trees to consider the whole forest. Sometimes the old, the worn, the outmoded, the past-its-prime, needs to be honored and then cleared. Where are we getting that “been there, done that” feeling so characteristic of the South Node? That’s where the brush clearing needs to happen.
When we get the deadwood out of the way, new paths can emerge. New seeds can sprout because they have a chance at the light, air, and nutrients they need. Mercury stations direct on January 8 and emerges from its shadow on January 28. Consider this New Moon as one guidepost, an important one, in a longer period of deep reflection and self examination. If we dive into this opportunity, we can emerge with a clear, strong plan for the way ahead.