This week is strongly Mercurial. Mercury the messenger – the planet of thought and communication (the exchange and processing of information) – has center stage this week.
On WEDNESDAY, Mercury will conjoin with Pluto in Capricorn, perhaps echoing the symbolism of January 8th-9th when Venus and the Sun formed a triple conjunction with Pluto while sextiling Jupiter in Scorpio (an aspect that Mercury will recreate early THURSDAY).
Later on SUNDAY, the messenger of the sky will continue in the footsteps of the Sun and Venus by squaring Uranus (the sky’s liberator, with a jarring, unexpected edge) while sextiling Chiron (an area of wounding and hurt that yields gifts as we embrace its vulnerability).
In the midst of this, we have the 1st Quarter Moon in Taurus (squaring the Sun in Aquarius) on WEDNESDAY, presenting us with this lunation cycle’s first call to action, where we may meet with some stubborn resistance. Furthermore, Mars will be at the last, 29th crisis degree of Scorpio (WEDNESDAY–THURSDAY), about to transition into Sagittarius on FRIDAY.
Needless to say, with the combination of these coinciding transits, Wednesday and Thursday in particular, will likely feel a bit intense, raw, and edgy.
With Mercury in Cap, approaching the searing dark truth of Pluto, we may be doing a lot of thinking – and having conversations about – the limitations (or the barriers and challenges) we are encountering this week. The information and words that are exchanged and processed, will surely be felt on a deep, gut level.
I am always trying to distill each sign down to its essence and gain a deeper understanding of the archetypes. One of the various exercises I have previously used to accomplish this, is to list ALL the keywords and concepts for each sign. I have then prioritized which words or concepts are most key and vital to the meaning of sign archetype – from which all the other keywords, concepts, and traits emerge.
“LIMITS” is one of the priority concepts I would highlight for Capricorn (and Saturn, Capricorn’s ruler), along with “purpose” and “responsibility”. The broad concept of “limits” encompasses other Capricorn keywords like “boundaries” and “rules“.
It is clear that limits are closely associated with Capricorn and Saturn. Under Saturn/Capricorn transits we are typically confronted with a myriad of limits. The most common types of limits we face as human beings experiencing these transits, have to do with limited time, limited control, limited freedom, limited options, and reaching the limits of personal capacity and resources (money, energy, skill, passion).
Capricorn and Saturn remind us that we are not invincible. To thrive on this planet we must work wisely within the limits of this time and space-bound Earth and our physical embodiment.
“Everything in the universe has a nature, which means limits as well as potentials… If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials… We must take the no of the way that closes and find the guidance it has to offer – and take the yes of the way that opens and respond with the yes of our lives.” (~Parker Palmer)
The advice for a Saturn or Capricorn transit is often to obey and respond to limits by being focused, self-disciplined, committed, and working hard even when – especially when – you don’t want to because the task is not particularly enjoyable.
This is often solid advice for these transits (or natal placements). However, I think this advice can run the risk of neglecting an important first step.
Perseverance and determination are often necessary to manifest our dreams in a world where it takes time and effort to achieve our long-term goals.
Honoring and respecting the world’s natural limits, along with our own individual human limits, can bring great understanding, peace, and wisdom (and significantly less environmental damage).
However, Parker Palmer also writes:
“It is important to distinguish between two kinds of limitations: those that come with selfhood and those that are imposed by people or political forces hell-bent on keeping us “in our place.” (~Parker Palmer)
This is a crucial point.
Before you abide by the rules or accept those limitations you face (also known as barriers, challenges, delays, deadlines, lack of passion or capacity), make sure you take the time to assess those limits before you continue to plod through a swamp or turn away from a closed door.
There are times when putting our head down and simply persevering, or obeying and maintaining status quo, or pulling a u-turn in response to internal/ external pressure, is not the right thing to do.
For example, Capricorn/ Saturn-types (I would put myself in this camp) are at risk of becoming workaholics. This is the danger of these placements.
These folks are acutely aware that material security and safety nets have their limits, that time is limited, that there are no short-cuts to success, and that society expects a certain standard (i.e. there limits on what types of accomplishments and expressions of self are perceived to have acceptable value and worth in this world)… and thus, through their rigid adherence to these limits, they may become slaves to time, and to their work.
Having a strong work ethic and self-discipline are beneficial traits. However, being addicted to work and productivity, can negatively impact your wellbeing and inhibit (limit) the full expression of your true Self.
Similarly, respecting authorities, elders, and tradition, has value, but these figures, institutions and structures shouldn’t be allowed to override your own inner authority, critical analysis and moral discernment.
Granted, Aquarius, (co-ruled by Saturn and Uranus) holds the position of being astrology’s rule-breaker and rebel, but the archetype of Capricorn (within us all) possesses a deep wisdom, sense of responsibility, and sharp, discerning insight and foresight into potential consequences that Aquarius does not have access to quite in the same way.
Capricorn, within every birth chart, stands at the intersection between spirit and matter.
Capricorn’s mission is to embody and express the soul’s purpose within the material world.
Capricorn’s calling is to lay the foundations and build the structures that honors our divine nature and creates portals for magic.
Capricorn’s symbolism is half mountain goat and half sea goat.
As the mountain goat, Capricorn launches into life with the tenacity to propel it up life’s most treacherous mountain; pushing through barriers and challenges it aims for the peak.
As the sea goat with a scaled tail and fins, Capricorn swims in the infinite depths of mysticism; accessing the mysteries of the universe and tapping into the interconnected web of oneness.
Interestingly, Capricorn shares the symbolism of this scaled body part and watery immersion with the sign of Pisces, depicted by two swimming fish. These two signs have more in common than you would think, based on popular descriptions.
To work effectively with Capricorn/Saturn energy and express it at its highest potential, one must remember that Capricorn is a sea goat, as much as it a mountain goat.
The worst shadow traits of Capricorn (e.g. greedy and conniving; ruthless striving for control and power; and an obsession with status symbols) emerge when Cap-types act ONLY as earth-focused, materialistic mountain goats and neglect the soulful call and spiritual depths of their sea goat nature.
As Mercury meets with some intense, transformative, expansive energy in the sign of Capricorn when it conjoins truth-speaking Pluto on WEDNESDAY while moving into a sextile with Jupiter in Scorpio on THURSDAY – connect with that fishy tail!
Through access to the expansive sea and the cyclical nature of time, the scaled tail of Capricorn taps you into the infinite realm beyond this transient earth.
Gain a broader perspective by drawing from this spiritual reservoir of wisdom and take a good, hard look at the limits and challenges you (or others) are up against.
Where do you yield and where do you push through? When is a limit a closed door prompting you toward a more promising opportunity that is opening behind you… and when is a limit a closed door that should be knocked over with a battering ram?
On a personal level, there are a few types of “limits” that we don’t always think about when we think about Capricornian limits, such as…
- the limits of “self-imposed limits” that could be preventing the unfolding of a resonant life path (e.g. fearful avoidance strategies and overcompensating defense mechanisms),
- the limits of internal narratives that are chaining us to rigid inflexibility,
- the limits of our traditional coping strategies,
- and the limits of our independence and self-sufficiency (…that hopefully prompt us to ask for assistance when needed and welcome healthy interdependence).
FYI, as someone who just emerged from a Saturn Return, Saturn, as the ruler of Capricorn, tends to challenge these types of limits. I think it would be incorrect to think that major Saturn transits are always and solely about becoming more independent, hard-working, self-sufficient, and putting up boundaries… sometimes they are, but it depends what types of “limits” and inhibitions of the core self that individual person is struggling with at that particular time.
On broader scale, there are many types of limits that “are imposed by people or political forces hell-bent on keeping us ‘in our place’”, as Palmer says.
Martin Luther King Jr. knew this well. He is up there as one of my favourite Capricorn Suns who embodied the potential of that archetype so well. Through activism and civil disobedience, he refused to abide by the man-made limits of racism that were actively oppressing people.
I love that he has an 11th House Pisces Moon and Venus! Embodying the fullness of the sea goat symbolism came naturally to him since he was well acquainted with the zodiac’s watery, spiritual depths. His Mercury in Aquarius further expanded the scope of his vision and hope for the future of humanity:
There are so many Pisces, Capricorn, and Aquarius keywords in his speeches! The phrase “ethical commitment” and “what I ought to be“ is quite Capricornian, for example, whereas references to our interconnectedness and the assertion that equality, inclusion, and collaboration (“living as brothers”) is necessary for humanity to progress, is very Piscean and Aquarian (although arguably aligns with Capricornian sea goat wisdom as well).
He refers to natural limits of individual freedom – “this is the way it is structured” (another Capricorn themed sentence) – and speaks to the limits of our capacity to collectively thrive when there is injustice in the world.
We often think of Capricorn and Saturn in association with the need to implement and put up boundaries; in other words, imposed “limits”, which are frequently necessary in our lives and in our relationships. But don’t forget that during Saturn’s last transit through its home sign of Capricorn in 1989, the Berlin Wall was dismantled and removed – it was a man-made limit, a boundary that was limiting people’s freedom. And it came DOWN.
Don’t get stuck in a limited conceptualization of Capricorn’s response to limits, rules, and boundaries!
Whether WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY finds you out at a protest, speaking truth to power and rebelling against limits of man-made structures, ideologies and political forces (because of the way they are limiting our human potential to thrive)…
…Or whether the middle of the week finds you engaged in some intense conversations or thought processes about the personal limits you are encountering, don’t let FEAR inhibit the actions you know are right and resonant with your soul (as is liable to happen during collisions with Pluto). For some, this may mean releasing and exposing a burdensome secret that has become heavy and has limited the free expression of the soul.
The Sun and Venus are currently in Aquarius, Mercury in Capricorn will get a shot of abrupt Uranian breakthrough and liberation over the weekend after its encounter with Pluto, and Mars (symbolizing our energy, drive, and motivation) is about to launch into the expansive bright fires of Sagittarius on FRIDAY, where hope runs high and no goal is ever out of reach.
There are limits to abide by, limits to respect, and limits to honor.
Then there are other limits that need to be torn to shreds.
May the transits this week, assist you with discerning the difference between the two.
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