Sun in Capricorn III — Tolma

January 10, 2022 at 1:57 am EST, the Sun enters the third decan of Capricorn — the one Austin Coppock shorthanded as The Throne. It’s the last decan of the Zodiac administered by the Sun, and it’s both the solar power’s ceremonial throne room and chief administrative hub for the kingdom of the sky. Yet it’s ruled by Saturn as the lord of Capricorn, the austere and severe ruler of the outer darkness — a sunny and bright throne room, where ugly and severe decisions are made ‘for the good of the realm’.

In ancient times, these decisions would be of the nature of “should we let the pig live another three months, or slaughter it now for bacon, hams, sausages, and pork chops?” Today it’s the challenge of “should we keep schools open, or let COVID-omicron run rampant?” The choice in ancient times was about starvation for humans or starvation for the pig; today it’s about the risks for the present vs. the risk of the future.

Nor is the Sun well placed in this chart. He’s under the earth, giving the sky to the Moon and her sect of planets (and they have largely abandoned the public realm for the darkness under the Earth. He’s also in a place of besiegement, between retrograde Venus and grasping Pluto, where he faces the contest between love and accumulation — between having stuff, and having love. It’s not accidental that the news right now is full of stories about the ways in which our attention has been stolen — by social media, by advertising, by numerous channels of public and private communication. Both stuff and love require constant communication and connection, but in different ways. Right now, stuff is winning, and the result is that love may feel alien and alienating. Yet ultimately it’s a more desirable relationship.

In Hellenistic thought, this decan is ruled by Tolma, or Daring, sometimes translated Courage. In Goetic Common Sense, Frater Archer defines it as a kind of reckless lunacy or cruelty, a willingness to rush in where others fear to tread. In Neoplatonic thought, Tolma is the virtue (or the vice) that allows one to stand apart from the unity of the One, or of the oneness of all being, and be one’s own entity. Tolma is sometimes characterized as the virtue of the gods, and the vice of mortals — something which honestly belongs to the mindset and attitudes of immortal godhood, but has no place in mortal life… except when it does.

Tolma appears not to be a goddess, nor a god neither, but rather a force, or perhaps an expectation. How can one be an individual, without some degree of separation from others? Yet humans by nature are social creatures, as the pandemic has shown — we cannot be wholly apart from others, because our mental and intellectual and emotional health depends upon connection to others and participation in community. It may be for this reason that Tolma is a virtue for the gods — who naturally stand apart from the unity of the One, by nature having a distinct and powerful presence — and yet a vice for mortals, who when they stand apart from their community are both in a state of excited curiosity, and yet also in a state of risk. But the notion of daring as a vice for mortals and a virtue for the gods (“do as we say, not as we do”), suggests that we benefit from leaning into risk, and away from caution. There may be something of that in this season, this ten-day period: engage with the world, even if it scares you: greatness comes after risk, not because of undue caution.

Planetary Positions

The chart of January 10, 2022 is a night chart, with all the planets below the horizon and all of the planets on the right-hand side of the nodal axis. This makes the internal life, and the home-based lives of readers, far more important than the external world. Turn inward at this time, and investigate both the internal mindsets of the self; and the state of home and the more intimate parts of life. All of the planets on one side or the other of the nodal axis, a configuration called The Belly of the Beast, suggests a time of challenge and terror in which straitened circumstances and internal worries prevent much direct action — even as Tolma encourages you to daring! The presence of the Lot of Fortune and the Midheaven in the tenth house means that you cannot afford to ignore career matters completely — but the Moon in Aries (and the Third Mansion), invites you to follow your gut instincts around setting your daily schedule and overall plans.

The Ascendant in Scorpio makes this a relatively fixed chart, with conditions holding for a full ten days. The Ascendant is in the decan called The Jawbone, associated with Mars as chief administrator; but Mars’s inconjunction in Sagittarius makes Venus the temporary authority here as most-prominent of the triplicity lords. Her sextile position from her chariot in Capricorn grants a mild favor, inviting you to spend time talking with your intimate friends and close family, but not to be too isolationist even in plague-times.

The South Node and Mars are found in Sagittarius, prompting financial worries and large bills as the month that follows the winter holidays closes in around us. The South Node will soon pass into Scorpio on January 19, putting the place where the shit-hits-the-fan into the supercharged steam-heat. Mars is peregrine at his current placement, but trine to Aries, bringing the risk of fever to daily activities — but this can be the fever-pitch of fear, or genuine illness. Learn to distinguish between the two.

The third house hosts a stellium of Venus retrograde, The Sun, and Pluto, with the Sun in the besiegement position. The Sun is in the throne room here, since this decan is called The Throne — but his queen Venus has turned away from him, and his most greedy treasurer and finance minister, the malicious Pluto, has taken advantage of the situation. Money-lending and credit management would seem to be most important matters in the ten days ahead, and holding a reserve — of food, of good money, of clothes, of warmth — seems advisable. At the same time, don’t be greedy: recognize that there’s a need to share your wealth iwth others. The world wealth comes from an Anglo-Saxon word, weolth, which implies that true wealth comes from sharing what you have.

In the fourth house, we appear to approach the MercurySaturn conjunction — but looks can be deceiving, for a Mercury retrograde will intervene before their meeting with Saturn becomes exact. The herald-planet’s conjunctions with the old curmudgeon are often a signal of harsh truths or realities exposed to the light and seen for what they are. Thus, this retrograde suggests harsh truths hidden a while longer, and an ongoing three-card monte or shell-game to hide the truth. Clarity will not be emerging at this time — expect ongoing confusion, even active deception, in home and family matters. At the same time, don’t get paranoid: the presence of the Imum Coeli here should remind you that your existing family — whatever that means to you — is your heart’s home. Sometimes deceptions, or the shielding of harsh realities, is done out of tender care: don’t assume malice where compassion is the rationale for an ongoing illusion.

In the fifth house, Jupiter and Neptune hold the first and third decans of Pisces, creating a bifurcated set of circumstances — Jupiter is in the business of figuring out solutions to our desire for entertainments, or connections to our children; while Neptune is dreaming a new way of relating to our pastimes and progeny, one which accepts fewer boundaries and limitations. Both are also n the business of resolving problems, but it’s worth remembering that the problems they’re solving are unlikely to be pandemic-related.

The Moon in the sixth house intrudes slightly on the Sun’s dominion. In this place she’s neither well-placed nor skillful — but the third Mansion is a place of great favor for her, where she is prone t granting many boons and gifts. It’s a good time to negotiate with a boss or supervisor — not for a raise, but for a shift in schedule or an adjustment in duties or responsibilities.

Uranus retrograde in the seventh house puts considerable upheaval into the lives of Others who are close to us, most notably spouses and business partners. Partnerships of course are under a great deal of stress at the moment, and this is unlikely to change for several years — quite possibly a decade. Periods when Uranus is in Gemini has historically been times of great tumult for the United States — the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and the US entry into World War II. April 2026 sees the start of another such period in US history, lasting until August 2032. Notice and patch the cracks in the relationships that matter to you now, and the next decade will go much more smoothly for you.

The North Node in Gemini switches to Taurus on the 19th of January, bringing more of everything to the realm of fixed earth. This is likely to take the form of more disruptions and more upheavals, but also more decision-making required of the Others in our life at least in the short term. For now, it bestows a gnostic hunger on us — a desire to know what’s really going on, what the current circumstances really are.

As already noted, the Lot of Fortune and the Midheaven are both in the tenth house, highlighting our expertise in our chosen careers, but delivering only a temporary reward “for the duration of the emergency.” Don’t count on any verbal promises offered in the current ten day period related to future career expectations or job promotions. As past US president Ronald Reagan quoted Mikhail Gorbachev, “Trust but verify.” Get it in writing, and if they won’t write and sign it, don’t trust it as a lasting promise.

Horoscopes by Rising Sign

Horoscopes of Decan I of any sign are free to the public; Decans II and III are available to the $3/month tier and above on Patreon. Thanks to the graciousness of @buddyblanc of Tumblr in buying me coffee for January through, these horoscopes are free to all readers.

Scorpio: Mars is inconjunct and peregrine. Neighborhood matters are challenged by disconnects between what is beautiful and what is cost effective. Aesthetic choices are cost-effective, but you’ll find that it’s hard to convince people that is so; the decisions made now won’t bear fruit until March. Venus by sextile is the most available triplicity lord: a love letter can take many forms, but it’s likely to be the thing that gets you through the week, even if it’s from a source you wouldn’t willingly choose again.

Sagittarius: Jupiter is in a sign it rules and succedent, but square. You may take a financial hit before the end of Capricorn, but there should be a counterbalancing windfall. Put up your trophies and mark the occasion with honor. Saturn is the most available triplicity lord. Older family members and their relationship to household matters brings forth harsh truths with regard to money, but mean well and will provide assistance.

Capricorn: Saturn is in a sign he rules and angular, but inconjunct. Family matters take center stage, with love and greed on display in equal measure. Certain limits on income are going unaddressed. Finding the balance point between them will be difficult, but expect the situation to go dragging on until March unless you intervene. Venus is the most available triplicity lord: there is a balance point, but there will be resistance; design a practical solution rather than one rooted exclusively in emotion. Pluto is present: any solution is going to have to deal with the existing toxic emotions as part of the solution; part of that may involve acknowledging that there isn’t as much to fulfill everyone’s hopes, as wanted.

Aquarius: Saturn is present in a sign he rules and angular. A focus on house and home will do you a great deal of good, but take care that you don’t let “your ideal vision” overwhelm the practical results. Intellectually, you know that something important at home has to give, but it’s all right to delay action a little longer — as long as you start putting pieces of the plan in place. If your intention is to end a serious or long-term relationship, though — give it more thought than usual: you are in a place where your ideals will cloud your practical judgement, and yet there are parts of this relationship that are your heart’s home. Mercury is the most available triplicity lord. A truth that goes unacknowledged results in mischance: communicate often and about everything to avoid difficulties.

Pisces: Jupiter is present in a sign he rules and succedent. Longstanding restrictions on your pastimes and pleasures are starting to lift, and a window of new opportunity appears. If you have children, this is a time for performing activities designed to secure their long-term future. Venus is the most available triplicity lord: love is more easily available in the next ten days, although some of that may not manifest in ways that are quite to your desire. Remember that love comes in many shapes and sizes and forms. Neptune is present: some of your big plans for this coming week are not going to turn out the way you want. Big dreams are often a disappointment when realized completely: scale back some expectations and you’ll enjoy yourself more.

Aries: Mars is succedent and trine, but peregrine. It’s a favorable time to begin a program of daily exercise, as long as you don’t make “all or nothing commitments” to get to the gym every day or beat your personal best weekly. Remember that bodies have an internal fire that must be cultivated with a mix of energetic and restful activities. The Sun is the most available triplicity lord but square: your closest associates at work may be engaged in some allegedly helpful backstabbing. Don’t be paranoid, just recognize what you love about your job: if that’s the money, maybe make a plan to ask for more of it by March. The Moon is present in the third mansion: Make sure you reserve some time for your own passion projects and put in some hours on getting the aesthetics right.

Taurus: Venus is in her bound in Capricorn and trine, but retrograde and cadent; and is also the most available triplicity lord. Uranus is present. Your life may feel like it’s in a bit of upheaval, and that there’s a disconnect somewhere between you and your partner; they’re likely planting seeds of future opportunity, and yet you seem to give them the horns instead of the horny. Being in charge of anything can be exhausting, and you’re not only learning the job, you’re also learning how to be in charge of the job. Not to add anything to your plate, but building a “manual” of how you do things right now, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel later, would be a good idea.

Gemini: Mercury is angular and trine but peregrine. Strong desires are matched by challenges to your authority and difficulties with your responsibilities. You think you’re doing things right, but it’s hard to know for sure. Your career is taking off — but it’s hard to know if this will work out until later in the year, and it won’t be clear for a while if the work you’re doing will be appropriately rewarded. You’re avoiding a rough conversation about your dream home, but until you have greater clarity about your responsibilities, it’s hard to know what to say. Saturn is the strongest and most available triplicity lord, but square: stop avoiding the hard conversations, use the retrograde period of Mercury to review and resolve lingering issues, and then move forward later in the year on a firmer foundation.

Cancer: Moon is waxing in the third Mansion, but out of sect, cadent and square. It’s said that with love, all things are possible. Love is valuable and useful in its own right, but recognize that there’s a difference between love that has been tested by obstacles, and love that is merely mirth, play, feasting, and hilarity. You need both: no true relationship survives on just one or the other form. The same can be said of career matters: if you have fun in your workplace, if you’re saving money, if you’re learning new skills — all that is good. If you’re only getting one out of three, it might be time to start looking for a new job posting. Venus is the most available triplicity lord, but in opposition: that mirth and hilarity might not be available in the next ten days, if it’s an unusual crunch-time. BUT, if it’s always crunch-time, ask yourself if it’s fixable, or if it’s time to change desks.

Leo: Sun is in his decan but cadent and inconjunct. You’re able to see a goal, and identify the steps of how to get from where you are to where you’d like to be. You have some sense of the triumph and the recognition you’d achieve by going there, and of the good fortune you’d obtain by going that route. But it’s currently quite tough to get there — some of it is tied up in a sense of a broken relationship, perhaps (not completely shattered and unfixable, perhaps, but there’s challenges in how you live together, and share resources). Some of it is feeling the pressure that comes from needing to put your butt in a seat and do the work daily (even if you’d rather be off at a party or with a new lover). Of the triplicity lords, Saturn is in opposition and Jupiter is in aversion: abandoning your goal is not likely to win you many friends, but neither is sitting down to work. Slow down, think about trajectory and direction more than speed of arrival. “The trains have to run on time” is a myth when it comes to your personal projects. Plug away at it, but don’t worry too much about deadlines.

Virgo: Mercury is angular but peregrine and inconjunct. Friendship matters are most important to you at the moment, and causing you some difficulty. You can’t get the attention that you think you want and need, and you’re overanalyzing what that says about you. Stop. It’s very likely not about you: the usual sources of your entertainments and pastimes are choked with the complexities of ‘being in the weeds’ about family matters and personal finances; your own daily schedule is a mix of ‘speed up’ and ‘slow down’ — or the old adage, ‘hurry up and wait’. Venus is the most available triplicity lord, and trine. Check in with your chosen family and intimates, and plan something fun but brief, or of long duration but low attention span: a short online game, a round of Scrabble by phone, or something similar. You’ll find that it’s a new and valuable way to connect.

Libra: Venus is in her bound in Capricorn but cadent and square. You may be putting up your relations for a few days … or maybe putting up with your relations for a few days. Whatever you think about how much you love them, you probably can’t help noticing that the relationship is somewhat skewed in some fashion: one side expresses all the love and kindness, and the other side does all the heavy lifting of communication and accounting. It’s probably time to sit this one out, rebalance the scales in some fashion, and expect a return to clear household-related boundaries. Saturn is the most available triplicity ruler, in a ruling sign and angular and trine. If you’re working from home, the start of the new year is a good time to re-set your office as an office and work space: it’s not your partner or spouse’s personal pleasure palace. that said, before you turn spaces back into home studios for Zoom calls or whatever… make sure that you make use of the pleasure palace, however grand or humble it may be.


have a Patreon account for those who want to support this column as it approaches the midpoint of its third year (I began with Leo I in 2019 ). We’re currently doing a decan walk through some Tarot, astrology, mythology, and magic. If you don’t want to become a regular patron, you can also buy me a Ko-fi in $3 increments, and any column I write after receiving a Ko-Fi donation will be open to the public.  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 Hugh Tran‘s Physis typeface to craft logos for this blog, as well.

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, as is my Almanac for 2021. I follow T.Susan Chang and the Reverend Erik Arneson for insight into Tarot. 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, “A Full Volume of Splendour and Starlight” contains these smaller collections: 

  • To the Mansions of the Moon is a collection of hymns to the angels of the Mansions 
  • 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. 
  • Festae, hymns to some of the older Roman gods and spirits.
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