There is so much suffering in the world right now. Most pointedly, as the war in Ukraine slogs into its tenth month, people are facing sub-zero temperatures with no heat, water or essential supplies. Bombs are falling. Yet both sides have ruled out a Christmas truce as soldiers battle it out in bloody trenches.
Pope Francis echoed our collective distress when he broke down crying at a recent feast day for the Madonna. He prayed to Her on behalf of Ukraine, “that martyred land, which is suffering so much.”
In spite of holiday festivities, this can be a somber time of year. During these long, cold nights in the Northern Hemisphere, darkness reigns supreme. Yet the Winter Solstice is at hand, when a spark of new light appears. On December 21, the sun appears to stand still, or rise and set in the same place. This is a sign to take a time-out, go within and reconnect with nature as we prepare to leave the old year behind.
Now we step into Capricorn, sign of the mountain goat, who patiently ascends the summit to its goal. Capricorn and its ruler, Saturn, are associated with suffering, but also with the strength to persevere and build something new. The Capricorn New Moon (December 23, 2:16 p.m. PST) calls us to take a hard look at who and what are hurting, and do what we can to improve things. This New Moon, falling closely on the heels of the Solstice, squares Jupiter, newly returned to Aries after a brief foray back into Pisces. Jupiter, planet of basic social functions and the drive toward a fuller life, operates in twelve-year cycles. It is now at the cardinal point of zero Aries, blazing a trail through the sign of the warrior through mid-May.
According to astrologer Mark Jones in a recent lecture for NCGR San Diego, this is an excellent time to make an inner commitment to a twelve-year vision quest. Though we’re in a contemplative season at present, Jupiter in Aries wants the seed for your vision to be planted now. Think long-term; your patience will be rewarded. Not only does Capricorn prefer to take its time, but Mars (the action hero) is still retrograde until Jan. 12. And, Mercury (the messenger) will be backward from Dec. 29 – Jan. 18. So, it’s wise to commit to your vision at the Solstice-New Moon, but implement it slowly over time.
The Sabian Symbol for the New Moon at two degrees Capricorn is Three Rose Windows in a Gothic Church, One Damaged by War. Here’s how James Burgess in the Sabian Mysteries interprets this symbol:
“Commemoration creates our sense of belonging and is a binding force of community. The artist who first made a window that was able to evoke feelings of inspiration and beauty was dramatizing his sense of life through his handiwork. This subsequently impacted upon appreciative observers. In the same way, each of us has a responsibility to bring to an exalted expression anything we find of high significance in our lives. What happens subsequently – whether seen by just a dozen or a million observers, whether preserved and protected or damaged by bombs – is not relevant. Two of the windows survived the attack. Things which are raised up by this special quality of communal attention are those that sponsor pride in the vision we share – typically, how we decide to serve humanity.”
Rather than focusing on what has been lost, look for the beauty in what has survived – and what you can help create for the future. Spend some time in quiet contemplation at this Solstice-New Moon, tuning in to the Earth, and ask what role she’d like you to play over the next twelve years. And if you’ve been feeling a bit damaged yourself, it’s worth remembering that a broken window actually lets in more light.