The Capricorn Solar Festival
Subtle Meanings of the Full Moon in Cancer 2007
Malvin Artley, our regular esoteric commentator examines the subtle meaning of the Full Moon in Cancer for 2007. This is Capricorn's Full Moon, as the Moon is Full in the sign opposing the Sun. The Full Moon of Capricorn (the full moon at Cancer 12°48') takes place on the 3rd of January at 13:59 hrs GMT. Even though this Moon occurs at the beginning of January 2007, this is the Capricorn Solar Festival for 2006, as the Sun enters Capricorn at the Solstice and due to the modern calendar, this crosses the beginning of the new year.
I trust that all of you had a great Christmas and that you are looking forward to the New Year's celebrations tomorrow evening. How does the old saying go? ”A change is as good as a holiday.”(?) Well, the events of the past few weeks have certainly proven to me that the saying is true, and I have seen its efficacy many times over the years.
I was ready for a change this Christmas. Something inside me cried out for a change of scenery, of life, for something completely different. So, I decided that this year I would drive across to Melbourne over Christmas with a friend of mine.
The open road has a certain appeal when one wants to clear one's head. We left early in the afternoon and it was a good drive, but in the evening we decided that we would stop on the way at one of the little towns and villages that dot the map along the Prince's Highway, rather than drive all the way into Melbourne.
We were tired, worn out from Christmas preparations and ready to eat, but as we pulled into the town the main road was blocked off. Strange. We looked up ahead, but we couldn't make out exactly what was going on. There was a large steel structure across the road, by all appearances. The police cars were blocking the way into the town center and there were detour signs around the obstructed main street. The truckies weren't too happy about it and the local neighborhoods on the detour route were suddenly greeted with large road trains flying past their homes. It wasn't exactly a good omen for a stop-over. We were open for anything, though, and undeterred by a little 'road interest'.
So, we followed the detour around and eventually found a hotel. Once we were settled into our respective rooms, we went out to find a restaurant and maybe a little entertainment afterward. We were not to be disappointed. We hopped into the car and off we went. The parking fairies (you have to be in good graces with the parking fairies if you live in a metro area) found us a suitable resting spot for the car. Once the car was parked, we got out and started to walk toward the center of town, wanting to find out what all the fuss was about. Then we began to notice that everyone else in the town seemed to have the same idea that we had. As we got closer we could see what looked to me to be a large piece of farm equipment laid out across the main road. That was all I could make out in the dimming light and long shadows. I thought there had been an accident or that the thing had somehow gotten stuck or broken down. It was certainly painted in the colors of a piece of farm machinery – green and safety yellow. Being a city fellow, I didn't know any better. We had parked along the detour route and we, along with everyone else, were dodging the trucks as we all migrated toward the town center and the eventual satisfaction of our curiosity.
Finally, we spotted a hotel with a restaurant and got up the courage to ask one of the locals what was going on. The guy we talked to was very personable and friendly. You meet wonderful people wherever you go, but there is something about folks in country areas that is especially welcoming, and I was about to get a taste of life in the outback. Finally, after due enquiry, my piece of 'farm machinery' actually turned out to be a carousel that had been set up in the center of town. What a let down! I was disappointed, because I am always interested in machines, and carousels aren't exactly as interesting as a large product of mechanical engineering – at least to me. The kids of the town felt differently about it, as I was soon to see. I would get over it, though. So, why was there a carousel in the middle of the street? Yep, you guessed it – the town of Kaniva was about to have its annual Christmas street party, and we were just in time for the festivities! I would have to make do, I guess. You'll have to forgive a man who works on machinery for a living. One's consciousness tends to get fixed in certain grooves after a while, but it goes to show how our day-to-day concepts of life color our awareness of realities that are presented to us. My sense of community and aesthetics was about to be enriched (truly).
Kidding aside, it was a grand affair. One of the local bands had set up in front of one of the storefronts and soon the strains of classic Erich Clapton echoed through the streets. The pubs were jammed with locals soaking up the atmosphere and a few 'spirits' as well. There were kids everywhere, a few food stalls were set up, teenagers were making furtive attempts at romance, gangs of younger boys were running around with water pistols and my friend and I eventually treated ourselves to a 13 oz steak. It's hard to beat an outback steak. And then, by 10:00 (that's PM, that same night), it was all over. The streets were silent, the carousel was a lonely specter in the center of the town and the kids were all at home in anticipation of Father Christmas in a couple of days. Life was good. So, we returned to our rooms, wiser about the local machinery and customs, bellies bulging with steak and chips and in anticipation of the impending arrival of Father Christmas ourselves – and our trip ahead in the morning. Incidentally, if you want a café latte in Kaniva, at least, you generally get pointed to the coffee urn. Us city folk can be a bit presumptuous and ignorant of country life. It is a good life, though, and full of wonderful people.
Thus began my Christmas holidays, and there were many more pleasurable twists in the journey ahead for me, but those might find their way into other letters. I felt renewed from the trip and gained a different perspective on certain aspects of my life as it is at the moment. Upon arrival back in Adelaide it was business as usual, though, and life resumed its standard pace-but with a difference due to the perspective gained on the journey. With that in mind, we have moved into the spiritual interlude of the year (with the Sun's ingress into Capricorn) and into the season wherein people begin to gain perspective on the year ahead and to hopefully make a firmer resolve toward achieving the goals they have set for themselves in life. My little interlude over Christmas did me a world of good. Since this is the final letter from me for 2006, I think it would be safe to say that most of us will be glad to see the back side of this year. When I was at uni (university), I had a classmate whose favorite saying was “Glad to see your back.” (instead of 'you're' back) Basically, it is an insult and meant that he was happy to see the person referred to take their leave of him. That is certainly how most people I speak with refer to 2006 as a year. It is not that I mean to start this letter on a sour note or to end the year that way, but emotionally, it has been a difficult year for many. On the other side of things it has been a period of great realization, spiritual growth and the unburdening of the Soul from the binds of the past, so it has been a very good year, spiritually considered.
The Kingdom of Souls
When the Sun enters the sign of Capricorn thus begins the most inward point of the year. In the northern winter the spiritual kingdom – the Kingdom of Souls – enters into its deepest meditative phase. It is a time of sabbatical from outer work and a period of the most intense spiritual focus. In a season wherein we are all supposed to be in retreat, most of us are in a frenzy of activity – buying gifts, catching up with friends and family, rushing to and fro getting the final preparations in order for the 'big day' – doing everything but what our higher Selves would like us to do.
For those who are more sensitive to the call of the Inner Voice, such activity and outward, material focus makes one feel ill-at-ease and like what is expected of us from those close to us is wrong and an imposition, which it is from the inner perspective. Really, from December throughout most of January is a time of great spiritual opportunity and a period wherein a closer contact can be made with the Teachers on the inner planes than is possible at any other time of the year, except for the three major spiritual festivals (full moon periods) of April, May and June.
Fishers of Men
During the Capricorn interlude the Teachers cast their eye out upon the sea of humanity and they look carefully for signs of Life, if you will – for those people who have made real progress during the previous year and whose Light has increased significantly. In other words, during the winter interlude, and if we are under instruction by a spiritual Teacher, we are assessed as to our progress during the year. It puts one in mind of the Christmas Carol “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”. We are checked to see if we have been 'naughty or nice' and whether or not we are ready to take the next needed steps ahead in our development. It is also a time wherein the Teachers take on new pupils, at least on the inner planes, because if a person has 'lit up' spiritually, so-to-speak, during the preceding year, then they are approached by Teachers on the inner planes if the time is right (if the karma of the person involved dictates such). Thus, the Capricorn interval, especially, is a time of great opportunity, of choice and of fulfillment if we are ready. This whole scenario just described harks back to the old saying “When the student is ready, the Teacher appears.”
What greater gift could we receive for Christmas? We may not take any note of it on the outer planes (in the physical waking consciousness), but it eventually filters through into our outer awareness. Conversely, if we have 'stepped backward' in our progress, then corrective measures are induced on the inner planes during this period that will work out in the year(s) to come in the outer life. We are often not conscious of those steps, either, but we experience them as compressive and limiting experiences later on.
Ascend to the Mountain Top
This brings us to the rulers of the sign Capricorn itself. Each sign has three rulers: the orthodox, with which we are all familiar, the esoteric, which rules over our inner development and the archetypal or Hierarchical, which governs the archetypes each sign represents. Saturn rules Capricorn at the orthodox and esoteric levels. Saturn is the planet of 'getting what we are due'. At one and the same time, it represents ambition and achievement as well as restriction and loss. In the ambition and achievement phase of its working, Saturn allows us to 'ascend to the mountain top', which is an archetypal symbol of the sign. It presents us with opportunities for work, struggle and final achievement if we are able to master the requisite tasks. We are always tested upon such matters during the winter months. In the restriction and loss phase of Saturn's workings we are given opportunities to learn. We are stopped in our tracks in some way and made to look at our lives in order that we can take corrective measures. This is where the idea of New Year's resolutions comes into our consciousness.
Nowhere do we see our progress during the year better indicated to us than through our intimate relations during the Christmas period. It is one of the most joyful times of the year, as well as one of the most painful. There are countless stories of broken family relations at Christmas, of arguments, hard feelings, separations and 'missed steps' or opportunities between intimates during a time of year when we are supposed to display all that is best within us. Sometimes such confrontations and crises are meant to move us on from destructive and abusive relationships when we cannot do it consciously or any other way. Other times such conflicts arise because we do not see past our own issues and take the necessary corrective measures. In other words, if we do not look inward and find the root of what is causing the conflict, then we set ourselves up to repeat the same scenario over and again until we get it right – until we finally gain the essence of the experience. Saturn governs the essence of experience. On the whole, most people find Christmas to be a joyful time of year (that is to say, the entire period from December through January). The true gift of the Christmas season is that it shows us where we have achieved and where we could perhaps do a little more work. We should be careful in our assessment of such matters, however, because the most obvious answer is not always the correct one. On the whole, we could rightly say that if the choices we make during the Capricorn interlude take us upon a path that will lead us to greater spiritual potency and freedom in the New Year, then we have chosen wisely and correctly.
In Part Two of this article, Malvin discusses the astrological features of this Capricorn Solar Festival, noting the way the esoteric and the exoteric rulerships of Venus and Saturn interact. He also examines the meanings of the degrees.
Click to go to Part Two of the Capricorn Solar Festival.