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December 21, at 5:02 AM EST, marks the transit of the Sun in to the first decan of Capricorn. Austin Coppock called this face A Headless Body, and recognized its association with Jupiter — the jollity and frivolity that in modern times climaxes at Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and Boxing Day, roughly halfway through the Decan. Ending just about 23.5 hours before the year ends, the First Decan of Capricorn is an odd time — a period of feasting and celebration in the dark of the year. Jupiter is in fall or exile in Capricorn, and yet for these first ten days of the sign, the lord of merriment makes his banqueting house available to the Sun — a festive season in the dark and cold, when the days seem to stand still.
The Greeks of Roman-era Alexandria gave these ten days to the honor of The Headless One, a god or intelligence or spirit associated with mortal life and the divine’s presence in matter. Akephalos, or “without head”, was indefinitely tall but saw the world through the eyes in his feet — blind in the heavens, he saw only earth around him. This is, in a sense, the natural state of the soul. We see the world through our feet or through our flesh rather than through our spirits: our eyes see the material world and not the spirit world. We can only behold material reality, and not the realms of the emotions, the intellect, or the the more-rarefied-still realms of divine essence. The feasting time of The Headless One invites us to partake in material reality: food and drink, sex and drugs, sensuality and pleasure, generosity and kindness, entertainment and enjoyment. Live and laugh and love, declares The Headless One, for tomorrow you may die. Love most of all, and love generously, for the material nature of love in the material world is not replicated on any other plane of existence, at least not as we understand it.
In the Descending, or Chaledean, cosmology, this decan is ruled by Jupiter: the expansive, generous, merciful and kind planet of growth and extension. When we consider how the waistline of Santa Claus expands over generations of advertising, and the greater-and-greater abundance of his generosity (first a few coins in a stocking, then full-blown but small and carefully wrapped presents, up to bicycles and electronic gizmos [why is an electronic thing always a gizmo, anyway?] — the lord of jollity, indeed the Lord of Joviality, does present us with numerous options for entertainment, for surprise, and for doing good things for others. The wild, unconstrained giving of this time of year echoes from the days of Saturnalia in the Roman Empire all the way up to the present moment.
Well. Maybe not the present moment. For the first time since AD 1404, Saturn and Jupiter are both in Aquarius and could be found at Christmastime in the night sky, readying for their conjunction (which occurred on 16 January 1405). If Jupiter is the planet of expansion and jollity, then Saturn is the planet of limitation and stern duty— and if ever there were a Christmas when those two forces were in strong tension, it is this one. COVID-19 stalks the world, most especially the US where the virus is uncontrolled. Three vaccines are being rolled out, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna, with the Oxford vaccine waiting in the wings still — there’s the expansive possibility of hope, but that hope is not yet evenly distributed. Instead the forces of limitation and boundedness still urge us to wear our masks, to keep our faces covered in grocery store and marketplace, and frankly to stay home as much as we are able to do. The urgencies and exigencies of the season, though, invite us to do exactly the opposite: to gather with and feast our neighbors and friends and family, to exchange gifts after shopping until dropping, and to eat and drink all sorts of food prepared by unknown hands in less-than-sanitary conditions. Ideal circumstances for a true pandemic — whether you’re intent on spreading it or containing it, you must obey either Jupiter’s dictates to have fun, or Saturn’s to know your place and keep to your bounds; and yet you have both to contend with and obey in the next ten days. What a conundrum!
The four duodecimas of the first decan of Capricorn speak to this dilemma: it starts in the wilds of Capricorn and then progresses to the watchful servanthood of Aquarius, before continuing with the expansive and all-consuming nature of Pisces and then ending in the fire of Aries. Capricorn plays with a dark humor in the dark of the year; while Aquarius stands ready to serve and play at mastery of the world; Pisces tries to understand and touch everything and meet everyone; while Aries goes alone toward a new destination. In a Christian context, these two and a half day duodecima-periods play out in a rough-and-tumble way with the frenetic last-minute shopping between the Solstice and Christmas Eve morning; the family-oriented days of Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day, and the morning of Boxing Day; the softer days after Christmas but before work resumes; and finally the fiery planning before the raucous celebration of New Year’s Eve. This isn’t the only read on these days, by any means, but the dominant culture still expresses on a macro scale what’s happening at an astrological level.
The Ascendant, Venus, and the South Node all share space in Sagittarius — the first two in The Poisoned Arrow decan, the last in The Bridle. Our conscious selves are in a state of abatement right now; if we grew up in Christmas-celebrating households, we may find ourselves on autopilot this time of year, connecting and attending to customs and traditions of beauty and adornment and celebration that are not truly our own. Desiring to be united in the spirit of the times, we may be engaging in habits that haven’t motivated our own end-of-year traditions in several years or more. Yet our ability to connect to those who are in our orbits, so to speak, is more challenged than usual — we may find our sense of self is up in the air and not well-served by present circumstances, and that it’s hard to pull ourselves on-track for the exigencies of the season.
This theme, of the unconscious ruling our conscious acts, is reflected in the chart of today, where all the planets visible and invisible are below the horizon. The dominant mindset of the present moment is taking and making the private realm enjoyable or pleasurable by any means necessary, and leaving the public realm alone. Still, there is a deep longing for the others, as indicated by the North Node in the seventh house: we are being urged to some kind of hybrid solution that solves the challenges raised by the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction; we hunger for a both-and solution when the reality must necessarily be either-or.
Three signs — Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces — each contain more than one planet at the moment, giving Saturn an unusual amount of dominance in this chart. Saturn can be thought of as an early-bird sort of planet; in Capricorn, he was an early-bird met at 11:30 at night. Now that he’s in Aquarius, he’s a workaholic early-bird met on the job-site 30 minutes before opening. As a result, Saturn has command over Jupiter, who commands Sagittarius and Pisces; and he rules Capricorn on his own. This leads to Saturn’s leadership in the chart — and for the present, coronavirus will still dominate the headlines.
This places The Sun and Mercury, in the second house and Capricorn, under Saturn’s rulership. Our higher minds and our more clever instincts are indeed operating on all cylinders this week, as these two planets work in close concert with one another to change our financial state. Frequent communication — with brokers, with sales agents, with bankers — is likely wise. And yet our financial decisions are very much ruled by the limits that have been placed upon our neighborhoods and families: our ability to rise and connect with others has been adjusted by the limits of law and the boundaries of illness suggested by Jupiter and Saturn just a house away. At the same time that toxic accumulation represented by Pluto remains in the decan called The Throne at the end of Capricorn — you will get presents, and wrapping paper, and stuff you don’t need, and all sorts of new gear and equipment that you may or may not have a use for, and there may be conflict or difficulty about getting rid of anything that won’t serve you (“Aunt Mildred got you that, and you’re just going to throw it away??”).
Jupiter and Saturn are in the third house, mere hours from their conjunction at the midheaven later today (1:02 pm EST) — a conjunction that is likely to set certain patterns for the next twenty years, if not the next two hundred. Cadent in this chart, their position indicates that the next ten days are unlikely to see a great deal of change instituted by the conjunction: this is a slow-moving shift, not a sudden one. We will see no radical changes in the next ten days, and there will be an adjustment period. However, there will be a tension between the desire to spend time with family and super-close friends, and the necessity of maintaining some kind of quarantine or relative isolation. Recognize and hold to your existing protocols, whatever they are, rather than shifting mid-stream; the indicator here is that half-assing your plan, or throwing away your protocols without thinking through your options, is unlikely to end well.
Neptune, The Moon, and the Imum Coeli are all in the fourth house of Pisces, and all in various states of square to the North and South Nodes. The middle decan of Pisces The Net is home to Neptune and the IC, while the Moon occupies the 28th Mansion of the Moon, its own kind of net, and the last decan of Pisces The Cup of Blood. These are not favorable placements for easy conversation at home; this looks a lot like a series of complex entanglements around the dinner table, as you wrestle with the challenges of celebrating the season with the same-old same-old people you’ve been stuck with for months — or trying to make new celebrations without the same old folks you’ve been arguing with at holiday tables for years. Their decan The Mark of Exile speaks to this reality — are you apart from others because you care for them? Or are you wandering in lonely places because their care for you doesn’t extend to separation from them at holiday times? Or are you and your family in a period of isolation before some sort of Covid-pod reunion? Remember that Saturn holds the cards here, at least for the moment: the viral question trumps other kinds of political or economic considerations.
the fifth house of children and pastimes and hobbies holds Mars in Aries, indicating a sort of forced happiness in the company of others, and a deliberate attention paid to our activities that don’t earn money or produce wealth — but do produce happiness. Mars stands in the third decan The Burning Rose, indicating passion projects or efforts to assist kids with theirs.
Uranus in Taurus’s first decan The Plough indicates ongoing challenges in our daily work, and in our health… the seeds are being planted now for a big change, though what that change is, is difficult to say. Upheaval is likely, perhaps even normal.
There are no true objects above the horizon which are considered in this forecast, but the Midheaven and Lot of Fortune are both in the tenth house as Virgo — if you’re in a profession where bonuses are customary, one is likely to be received, given the favorable placement of Mercury to the sign that they rule. However, be aware that it may be smaller than usual due to Mercury’s presence in Capricorn, in a placement where they have relatively little power or influence to sway bosses and elders toward generosity.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Starting with columns after January 1, 2021 the main body of the column will be free to all readers, but the horoscopes will be locked behind a paywall supported by my Patreon account, and accessible to all readers at the $3 tier and above. The horoscopes for the first decan of any sign will be free, while the second and third decans will be accessible only to donors or better.
Sagittarius: As the Sun leaves your own sign, you often find that your attention drifts from your usual generous self to more material and venal concerns: am I getting what I want? Am I getting what I deserve? These questions may sit with you a few days longer as you wrestle with questions of self identity through four lenses: what you have, where you live, who you consider family, and what your projects are. Everything else can fall by the wayside, as long as you’re able to express a coherent answer to those four questions.
Capricorn: You’re able to put a bright face on ugly communications this week, and adopt a breezy attitude about gale-force news. Don’t expect everyone to stand up to the storm equally, though — and recognize when your bonus came as a result of someone else’s pink slip or furlough. your own finances may be caught in a bit of an ugly tension, and so be cautious about big plans just yet. Is it safe to meet the neighbors? You may find that the standard rules are loosened with extended contact, or give way completely from Covidian protocols to more practical day-to-day concerns. Keep your personal projects private for now, and don’t reveal your big plans casually.
Aquarius: The tension between “what are the human rules?” and “what are nature’s rules” should occupy your attention during local activities for the present — remembering that nature always bats first and last. You have some projects you’d like to carry out for the big kids in your life (are you a big kid?), but doing so involves taking some risks that maybe you’re not ready to take. Plan a bit more: drawings, diagrams, maybe a scale model, a spreadsheet list of parts. This will make you seem much more magical when you actually get this thing done… and you’ll have a sense of the overall project’s cost and management that will be hard to refute.
Pisces: Let home fill your vision of self, and think deeply and often about who you are in relation to home. Are you on your own in your neighborhood? How do the concerns about law and nature play into your neighborhood? What are the issues your friends are wrestling with around money? How are your career goals tied to who you are, and how you present your creative gifts to your employers? What financial hit are you bracing yourself to take? Answer these questions, and you’ll have a better sense of how to proceed over the next ten days.
Aries: I hope you’ve found a passion project in the last few days, and advanced it past the early stages — you’re a few days out from the “difficult middle” of this project, and mostly I want to urge you to keep going on it, rather than abandoning it to the fire or the winds. When you get stuck, ask the internet; when you feel you can’t go on, ask your friends (both the science-y types and the more wordy or legally-minded folks); and if someone gives you a nasty job at work, be sure to do it well and promptly, so you can get back to your passions. The learning you gain from this project is likely to be more to your benefit than the thing itself… as long as you see it through.
Taurus: Feeling like comfortable routines and habits are thrown out or in doubt? Expect ongoing disruptions to your daily habits and routines, and find ways to move with them rather than getting sick over them. You may experience conflict or turmoil around your solo plans. Accept that this is normal, and turn to the broader circle of your friends; reach out to a wider circle than you would ordinarily plan to, extend your circle of practical grace to a wider range of people — you need allies right now more than loneliness. The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction invites you to renew your career and reputational goals by connecting differently to your neighbors and family members.
Gemini: Are you spending enough time thinking about other people right now? It’s a worthy focus for your attention. However, I don’t mean a romantic or business partner here, though you may have to recreate that relationship-bridge a bit. No, I mean bringing some confusion to your solo time, or valiantly severing a friendship that you know has been dragging on you for years (or charging in to defend a friend who’s in trouble, frankly). When was the last time you went out of your way at work to help others, or to extend your circle of grace to them? When was the last time you took a class to learn a new skill, or chose to study with a new teacher? Your skills need freshening up. So must you refresh your obligations to other people: you have abilities that they want access to, for health and healing, for wisdom, and for drawing out the poisons in their lives; you have been shirking these duties to some degree, and you have to think about how to reactivate them… and get paid or compensated for that labor, too.
Cancer: The Moon is in a favorable place to grant you opportunities for a long-distance trip… as long as that trip is to family, or to “home” whatever Home means. You should weigh carefully whether to go or not… there’s a real risk that you’re going to be carrying unwanted baggage on this pilgrimage, and that you’ll spread unintended consequences farther than anyone thinks prudent. Have you been living right with local isolation protocols? Have the intended targets of your visit? The whole is affected by each part — consider all the parts of your plan to travel before committing to it. AT the same time, recognize the web of obligations that tightly joins you to that idea of home. Is this a thing worth maintaining? Or is it time to renegotiate the relationship?
Leo: You may experience a windfall or financial benefit come your way these next ten days, but it’ll also feel like you’re supposed to be somewhere else, and like you’re out of tune with your own power. This ‘disattunement’ from your own self may be followed (after the first of the year) by a period when you feel genuinely disempowered; treat any sense of alienation you have now as a brief foretaste of what may be coming. The correct response is to reach out to friends, and to attach more strongly to the things in your life that feel real. This is not likely to be a job, nor is it likely to be a house, although it may be a neighborhood. It might be an old friend, or it might be a constant pastime, or a child; or it might be a habit of work that can be maintained even through a furlough from work. The point is to pay attention to what feels real, and use that as a source of support through the challenges of about the next month.
Virgo: You’re in a time of your life when you can produce work that genuinely matters, that makes your name and your fortunes. How can you best use the time? Some of it is creating a safe and happy home life for yourself, but this doesn’t mean a redecorating campaign; you’re not going to find fame and fortune in a wallpaper store, but by living a creative life within the walls that you call yours. Maybe it involves writing a children’s book, or communicating about what makes you happy; maybe it involves restructuring your work-habits to take into account the stresses on your body and your beliefs in a juster and more fair world. Maybe it requires an all-encompassing conversation til 4am with a beloved; maybe it means cutting ties with that client who eats your time for breakfast-lunch-dinner. One way or another you have to make space for the hungers that you want to stake your truth on… and the only way to do that is to give yourself time, room, and ingredients for the meal you want to eat.
Libra: You are your networks — of friends, colleagues, resourceful allies, patrons, and clients. Which parts of those networks have you activated lately? Who are you keeping up with? How are you reaching out? To be sure — there is wealth and success in cultivating solitude for yourself right now, and you should be cautious about sharing your plans too broadly or widely. But you also need those colleagues and allies. Start cautiously, with folks that you feel fall into your most-intimate circle: start with close family members, whether of choice or blood. Widen it to the people on whom your home depends: the people who live inside it, yes, but also the garbage man and the maintenance crew on call when things go wrong. Your children’s teachers, and the elders in their orbit? Prepared to include them too? Don’t forget the ideas-people at work, or even the troublesome ex: demanding an end to unnecessary communication is itself a kind of relationship, namely the ending of one. Yes, you might need that kind of relationship, too: the “we’re closed” kind of relationship, whe
Scorpio: Events seem to be moving around you that you’re powerless to control or stop, and you’re out of sorts about how to handle them or control them. Some of it is financial: your current efforts seem to require changes in lifestyle, and that may be sustainable only by shifting residences or cutting expenses; at the very least a more … compact and internally-consistent life is called for. A review of finances and inflationary pressure on your regular budget is also called for. Home is up for review, and that means both the four walls that contain your life and the people who live under that roof. What about your habits — and your addictions? Prepared to review those too? Not everything has to go, mind you. But a thorough review is needed, nonetheless.
I now have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it continues its second year. I use Patreon funds (as well as my own funds) to support artists and artisans and thinkers that I regard as contributing to the well-being of the world. if you don’t want to become a regular patron, you can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments. You can also schedule an appointment with me using Accuity Scheduling, for a natal or solar return consultation.
I use iPhemeris for my charting software, and screenshot it to make charts. I want to thank the team that develops iPhemeris for the addition of Terms and Decans to their charts, appearing here for the first time!
I use Christopher Warnock‘s The Mansions of the Moon as the basis of my Moon placement delineations, and Austin Coppock‘s 36 Faces as the basis of much of my planetary delineations. Neither gentleman endorses me. My own book, A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight, is now available as PDF download from my Etsy website.
Any errors in these columns are my own.
If you’d like to schedule a consultation with me, you can find additional information on the Services and Classes page.
If you want to read some of my other astrologically-oriented poetry, To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions mentioned in these columns. For the Behenian Stars is a collection of hymns to the first/brightest sixteen stars. The Sun’s Paces are hymns to the thirty-six Hellenistic-era deities and ascended souls of the Greco-Egyptian Decans-calendar. While not astrological, Festae contains hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits from the calendar created by Numa Pompilius, the second ancient King of Rome.