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Hygiene, not simply cleanliness but physical and mental and emotional purity, is the theme of the next ten days. As time allows itself to change from being December 30 and transforms into December 31 at 12:38 am, the Second Decan of Capricorn begins, and carries with it the steadiness of winter and the darkness of midnight.
The ancient Greeks of Alexandria, in their syncretistic way, assigned this decan to Hygeia, the daughter of Asklepios/Asclepius, the physician-deity. Honored as the goddess of cleanliness and rest, there were sacred springs all over the Mediterranean world dedicated to her (I visited one of those springs once, now a fancy hotel, in Palermo in Sicily — once the Greco-Roman city-state Panormus). Washing and cleanliness as an essential component of health should be an important part of your experience and practice in the next ten days — think of it as cleansing away 2020 and preparing yourself with ritual purity for 2021. The incense of Hygeia is colophonium, the pre-amber resin produced by many kinds of pine tree, whose scent lingers heavily in the air like columns of a spirit-temple, and carries a rich woodsy fragrance long after the fire burns out. We may well remember that Asklepios had temples constructed to him, where patients did dream work in order to find effective cures with the assistance of the temple priests. But the first sanatariums for rest and relaxation, and for recovery from long-term illness, belonged to Hygeia. The first spas and thermal pools belonged to her, too, and the bathhouses where you’d scrape off the detritus and gunk of the previous week, month or year… those were hers too. Maybe you owe yourself the most luxurious, generous bath you can imagine and manage with your current plumbing, as one year ends and another begins?
Ironically enough, this second decan of Capricorn belongs to Mars, while overlapping with the terms/bounds that belong to Jupiter and Venus. As the Sun passes through this third of Capricorn, Saturn’s domain, it’s thus going to activate or vibrate with the energies of all the outer planets: the boundary-setting rigidity of Saturn to shut out distractions, the heat of Mars to open the pores and redden the skin, the expansion of Jupiter to relax, and the ease of Venus to luxuriate in the warm moisture of the heated pool. Mercury’s talkative and scintillating nature doesn’t enter the conversation at all here.
Yet we must remember also that Austin Coppock called this decan The Pyramid, and in the decanic reading of the pips of the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, this is the Three of Pentacles. This is a place of hierarchy established: the bathhouse owner or the high priest of Hygeia expects coin in the pocket or donation box, and the servants bring the client hot towels and fresh water; massages and personal attention cost extra. You want a room with a view of the mountain at this spa? Be prepared to pay in advance. The construction of this domain also requires three-fold expertise: the money manager has to know the balance sheet, and the spiritual advisor must come with a general outline of the program of health and well being, before the architect or builder can construct the necessary infrastructure that makes the bathhouse into a holy place in the middle of an otherwise-wild world.
All these themes are energized by the duodecimas of Capricorn’s middle decan, the ones that recapitulate Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo: First we must luxuriate in the magnificence of the bath, where we breathe out the practical worries and breathe in the divine energy — literally exchanging the air of care and strain for the airs of relaxation and ease. Then we must let ourselves sink into the mothering waters, before emerging as our renewed and fiery selves.
The Ascendant is in Libra, making Venus in Sagittarius the ruler of the chart. She is cadent in the third house, signifying her attempts to bring families and neighbors together; yet conjunct the South Node signifying Less, she is likely unable to bring this result to fruition, due to the legacies of death and illness that attach to her current reunification projects. At 17° Libra 10′, the Ascendant is in the Cardinal Air sign, in the middle decan Two Links of Chain, the term of Jupiter, and the duodecima of Aries — we may expect initiating efforts to ‘hook up’ or ‘reconnect’, to celebrate, and to have a social bonfire or two. Remember, that these events are still governed by Venus, though, who is ill-placed to deliver happy humane experiences without also bringing the death’s head along with her.
More powerful than Venus are Mercury (sharing the second decan The Pyramid with the Sun) and Pluto (in the third decan The Throne), besieging the Imum Coeli (“Bottom of the sky”, Latin) in Capricorn in the fourth house. Each approximately equidistant from the Bottom, these two planets — one of Expertise and one of Privilege, besiege our dreams and keep us confined at home trying to untangle the knots of economic disparity and the practical challenges of the legal mandates to stay at home in the pandemic. We’ve read the stories of government leaders, Secretaries and Ministers going on holiday or visiting their vacation homes, of COVID-deniers getting their vaccines well ahead of the doctors and nurses and first-responders that have risked their lives for months. We also see crowds of people already refusing the vaccine despite their eligibility. And there are also (fortunately rare) stories of people developing complications from taking the vaccine despite many assurances of its safety. Without a vaccine, it seems impossible to fulfill our dreams; yet many fear (and some, the more-morbid or the more-apocalyptic among us, also hope) that this is the wrong vaccine for the plague that we face, or that it is the right vaccine for this illness but the wrong one for the next iteration of the illness…. our dreams and nightmares are besieged by these two problems: 1) that the experts are wrong, and that the powerful are out to trick us into getting vaccinated; or 2) that the experts are right but that the privileged will get it before we do. The Sun shines on this mess without giving clarity to which of these ideas is correct; in the next twenty days, he will visit and revisit both realities in more detail — and you will still likely be stuck at home.
In the fifth house currently expressed as Aquarius, Saturn and Jupiter vie for a leadership role in the first decan called The Mark of Exile. Both planets prefer the daylight. While Saturn was in Capricorn, we often met him as though he was an early bird, at home — but at 10:30 or 11 pm, long after his bedtime hours. Today, for the first time in this column, it is though we are greeting him in his own driveway at 6:45 am with a cup of coffee, his morning paper and a doughnut in hand for him. He’s more disposed to give you your way and provide goodness to you — but he’s still advocating limitations on your pleasures, boundary-setting for your children, and constraints upon your lifestyle. Are you living apart from others? Masking up? Social Distancing? Saturn advocates for all of these. At the same time, Jupiter is widening the distance between the ruler of the sign and his own nature. He’s a long way away from being able to provide happiness and joy, ease and mercy. But he is no longer so thoroughly under the thumb of Saturn’s glum and grim hand: moments of gracefulness and lenience are likely to emerge more and more frequently in the months ahead.
In Pisces we find Neptune, the dispersing and widening force, in Pisces’ middle decan The Net. In a recent piece, I likened Neptune’s power to the way in which public attitudes to marijuana have gradually overruled existing laws (while not overriding their use as a tool of Black incarceration). American drug policy has largely failed because at least a third of Americans prefer cannabis to the laws prohibiting its use — and depending on location, another 30-60% of the population wants marijuana users to be left alone and kept out of prison. The result is the gradual acquiescence of the laws to the reality of the situation. In the sixth house, Neptune signals a similar kind of ongoing dissolution — the dissolving of the cordon sanitaire or isolation protocols that have kept COVID-19 numbers down. Down?!? I hear you say. The US had nearly 235,000 new cases just yesterday, and 3,800 new deaths, and nearly 350,000 people have already died!! And I can only respond, “Yep, and in a plague situation your choices are ‘none’ or ‘everyone’: there’s no in-between, especially when you’ve got inundating Neptune in the all-encompassing Pisces in the sign of sickness.” We don’t appear to have hit the high point of the pandemic yet — which means that roughly half of the people that are going to die of COVID-19, haven’t died yet.
In the seventh house of our partners and important Others in our lives, we find the Lot of Fortune (in the decan of The Double Bladed Axe) and Mars (in the decan of The Burning Rose) each roughly equidistant from the Descendant (the decan of The Crown) or western horizon. I don’t mean to alarm anyone; yet I’ve noticed an upsurge in the number of “apocalypse team” inquiries. It’s not time to man the barricades or seal the bunkers (and that time may never arrive) — but your peer-partners, the people in your quarantine bubble with you and your closest life-mates, are the greatest sources of luck and good fortune in your life right now… and the cause of your greatest difficulties and challenges. This turmoil is going to last another week yet but should begin to resolve before January 9, provided that you’re actively working to reduce the challenges and increase the opportunities for success.
One of the reasons for that ongoing trouble with a partner is the presence of Uranus retrograde in Taurus in the 8th house. This is the decan of The Plough, promising upheaval to all your shared plans with business and romantic partners, especially when it comes to making long-term intentions or setting course toward distant objectives. How does one maneuver toward the future when food, health, gardening savvy, and questions of management of shared resources and time are all in question? Resolving these questions about distribution of labor and the handling of one’s hoard of supplies and wealth, are all going to be up in the air. In a recent essay about the Serviceberry, Robin Wall Kimmerer offers one kind of economic advice for a new century, “I store my meat in the belly of my brother.” It could be that you are called to a new web of interconnections for your well-being — but you cannot go there without a partner’s support, understanding, and alliance.
The North Node in the ninth house suggests an urgency or hunger for new education and travel opportunities; the opposition to Venus suggests that there’s more coherence and more unity in remaining close to home, or seeking instruction from teachers instead of self-directed learning.
Finally, the Moon rides high in the sky, just a little bit past full, at 22° Cancer in the third decan The Overflowing Cup and the Ninth Mansion, “The Glance” or “the Lion’s Eye”. The Moon in this decan promises good career opportunities and occasions for your recognition and honor… a far cry from some of our more-recent columns career promises. However, the Mansion indicates an equal amount of disempowerment and frustration of ambitions. It may be useful to compare the two traditional images of these signs — Pamela Colman Smith painted the card of this decan, the Four of Cups, as a man receiving a cup of honor to go with three more in a row before him — to those who already have much, much more will be given. However the image of the Ninth Mansion is that of a eunuch covering their eyes — the unrooted and the broken are expected to further inconvenience themselves and for the sake of their would-be masters and leaders.
The overall shape of the chart’s aspects form a series of strong squares between the fourth and seventh (putting pressures on relationships versus home/family life), the fifth and eighth (your pastimes and children, vis-a-vis shared resources), and some opposition between career and home life (home disrupting career goals, and career empowerments and disempowerments impinging on home environment). The one favorable sextile appears to exist between Jupiter and the Lot of Fortune, indicating a favorable ‘date night’ for you and your spouse, or a potential new contract for you and a business ally. This is a poor chart for setting your own strategies in motion, but may be more useful for slowing down the initiatives of opponents and rivals.
Horoscopes by Rising Sign
Starting in January, Patreon subscribers at the $3 tier and above will have access to the Horoscopes for second and third decans on time, and the horoscopes will be free for all readers after a waiting period.
Libra: The crap may tend to diarrheic outflows when it comes to your HOA-obsessed neighbor enforcing the rules, or your persnickety aunt repeatedly expressing dissatisfaction with her Christmas present. A new career option may present itself, but only if you’re willing to stay blind to improprieties; home affairs hold back advancement anyway. Recognize what good fortune you have in your partner and consciously mend fences after any argument.
Scorpio: An educational opportunity is a chance to collect another relevant certification, particularly if it builds on some kind of legacy from your academic endeavors, or hybridizes the theoretical and practical. A sibling might have wanted a better gift from you: did you spend enough money on her? You may need to move soon, and that means jettisoning what doesn’t serve you… or packing it neatly enough that you can get back to work easily. Are you respecting your significant other’s current labors, and are you taking care of them properly?
Sagittarius: Pay a little less attention to how it looks right now, and belabor the content a little more carefully than usual: you need a second pair of eyes looking over your shoulder and coaching you. Money matters are clearing up after two years of challenge, but keep the focus on supporting home-life effectively for the moment. A mix of generosity and stinginess suffuses family interactions. A blow-up at home with your significant other may be unavoidable, but can still be patched up. Your health may be rocked by setbacks; adopt long-term direction, but don’t insist on speed in new year’s resolutions.
Capricorn: You have big dreams for your house and home, and it may be time to take on one of those projects that you feel weighs on your self worth. Some creative alone time is needed; but so is your support of a partner or significant ally’s career path – you may need to turn a blind eye while they pursue next actions, or risk a serious argument. Approach financial matters with a conservative mix of stinginess and generosity: be reasonable but set parameters that include continued social distancing wherever possible.
Aquarius: You don’t have to be miserly about happiness, but take a cautious attitude toward new side-projects. Review what’s currently in the hopper or waiting for your next step, and work on finishing an old thing rather than jumping to something new. If something new is unavoidable, plan it out in more exhaustive detail: dream big, but include an acknowledged challenge or skill-building point: don’t find the easiest or most familiar route, but pick something that requires you to stretch your existing abilities on one or two fronts. A family member creates a point of success, even as a neighbor picks a bone of contention (or vice-versa — but acting with regal generosity may head off the complaint, so don’t wait for the second shoe to drop. See if you can identify the complainant before the grievance appears).
Pisces: You’re all over the map these days, and you’ve turned into a super-spreader all by yourself. I hope it’s not COVID you’re spreading, but something resembling holiday cheer, or finishing up a range of work-related projects: one of those things is not like the others. Treat solo time with a mix of generosity and Scrooginess (or Grinchiness? Maybe let your heart grow only 1.5 or two sizes, instead of three): you can shout “Bah! Humbug!” as you put decorations away, but it’s time to set bigger plans in motion. Some of those should involve friends, but you really need to get your creative ass in gear. A partner (business or romantic) is the likely cause of a windfall — and a hit to your finances; try to find reasons to be thankful for both.
Aries: On the surface, you’re the most fortunate person in town. Underneath, there’s a seething rage of a storm, kicked up (apparently) by disorderliness in your bank account and wallet. You know how to put this house in order, and (of course), no one else will do it for you. That will mean spending time alone, and seeing how the finances touch a lot of other subjects. Who among your friends needs some time without your company? Who’s a ‘cheap date’? Have you really spent enough time in your home office, accumulating hours and demonstrating your usefulness to your boss? Are you really getting that accreditation, or are you letting the video-course play on autopilot (this is going to be on the test, by the way)? Plan accordingly.
Taurus: Mortality may be nipping at your heels this week as you wrangle with doctors, medications, and real-world concerns trespassing on your fun. There’s this interlude ahead where your pastimes and responsibilities may genuinely collide, though, and where what you learn on your own takes on greater significance for your household. A sibling’s health issues brings some issues to the surface and requires you to manage your wealth more carefully.
Gemini: You have a hunger to learn some new skills on your own right now, and that should be fed. It’s both a duty and a hobby to learn some new skills. But there’s an equal responsibility to share what you learn with others, and that’s where the gaps in your knowledge are likely to show. A partner’s resources are about to be significantly committed toward family and home, and there may be some ugliness that comes out of this undertaking. Time is one of your greatest and best resources, and there are people expecting you to use your time wisely on their behalf at home. That may feel like being of genuine service… or it may feel like a disempowering chore. If you don’t want to help them, that’s fine — but be up-front instead of passive-aggressive about it. A friend may become a lover… or an enemy… in the next ten days. Just remember that it doesn’t have to be either/or; it can also be “neither.” You will set the terms of the engagement here, and disengagement is an option. Be cautious about letting new people into your bubble.
Cancer: You are in a position to make your name in your chosen career path in the next ten days… but you may also trap yourself in a position where you have great responsibility and yet no power to actually take action with. Analyze the situation you’re stepping into with additional care, and recognize that individuality or innovation is likely to bring more trouble than they’re worth. If work is a drag, take some time to put your home in balance: it may need bathing and cleansing just as much as you do. A partner (spouse or business) is planning to act on a big dream; there may be a call for marshaled resources resulting from it. Be prepared to set boundaries while also allowing for exploratory funding.
Leo: Solo time is likely to bring rewards, but it’s just as likely to be blindly unproductive. You need a mix of intellect and feral luxury at home to bring forth the next piece of your big work. You may see holiday fun for New Year’s Eve and Day as a bright opportunity, but it’s also where difficulties appear from your invited intimates. Your partner may be just as happy to pull up the drawbridge and relax with you in your collaborative castle in the air. Exhibiting symptoms? Don’t go out, do get checked… and be prepared to argue with a partner or comrade about in-person learning or travel when it comes up.
Virgo: You may have to fly solo for New Year’s Eve this year. It’s a good time for dreaming what you want to come into being, or giving your distractions a chance to grow into sidelines or avocations. Some promising financial news is on the horizon, although some difficulties may appear on the fringe or boundaries with your neighbors. Weakness in health can expand into better overall health-management — but don’t extend your network of allies too far or too fast. Some advantages and conveniences will come your way, but you may have to contend with some passionate folks to keep them. A big project hits a few setbacks, but work through them: the resulting final edition will be much stronger as a consequence.
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.