Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New Moon in Capricorn

This morning saw the Capricorn New Moon (exact at 02:17, if anyone was up at that hour).

This is a great time for setting good, strong goals.  There’s a business-like quality to Capricorn, remember, and with it being an Earth sign, it’s practical and level-headed.  At the same time it’s also a Cardinal sign, so it’s not afraid to get things going, to start new enterprises. It’s also a good time to show leadership, if you find yourself in a situation where this would be useful. 

If we think about the mountain goat-aspect of Capricorn, we can see how this new moon could be a good time to be tenacious and determined when we meet obstacles standing in the way of us reaching ‘the top’ – whatever our objective happens to be. 

Capricorn also has links to time, through its rulership by Saturn.  We might consider long-term goals and objectives at this New Moon, as well as setting our intentions around business or career.  The Capricorn Full Moon falls on the 28th June, just after the Summer Solstice. What might we want to achieve in the next 6 months?



It’s also connected to integrity and reputation, so keep that in mind too! Remember, on the ‘shadow’ side this could appear as greed, in terms of material ambition.  

Friday, 12 January 2018

Capricorn in the Minor Arcana: The Four of Pentacles

Moving on from the Three of Pentacles and that sense of initial completion – the result of patient, disciplines planning – we come to the Four.  We’ve progressed from the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter, in the Two, through the determination and drive of Mars in the Three, into the power of the Sun – all in Capricorn. 

Four of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
The Sun in Capricorn conjures up a sense of creative energy being “coloured” by discipline and tradition – a single-mindedness, perhaps, working towards a well-defined target. Whatever that target or goal is, it’s going to be about being able to express ourselves and our creativity, but in a responsible way. On the downside, pessimism and cynicism can stand in the way of progress.  We might also find ourselves overly concerned with ‘how things look’, or wanting to hold on to what we have.  Either way, the Sun in Capricorn can represent a strong commitment to the material things in life – be they possessions and/or resources.


Four of Disks (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
We see this in the Four of Pentacles, which often symbolizes a fear of letting go, especially in terms of material things.  We may need to be reminded that although nothing is lost if we hold on to what we have, we may not gain anything either – we run the risk of stifling the flow of energy, instead of letting things run their natural course. The expansion that Jupiter promised in the Two could be hindered through our fear of ‘what might happen’ – the ‘what ifs’.


In the Thoth Tarot, the word that Crowley chose for the card is ‘Power’ – the strength of the Sun in a strong, steady, determined Earth sign. It’s grounded. Just look at the image – a fortress, firmly anchored in four corners. Squares are solid, stable, powerful structures; it’s hard to move them, so there’s a sense of protection here, but also of rigidity. The solidity of the structure reflects our own integrity, but also reminds us of the danger of inflexibility and the inability to compromise.

Four of Coins (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot
In Margarete Petersen’s Four of Coins cards we also see the square-bounded enclosure, reminiscent of the Crowley version: providing structure, or (on the shadow side) boxing us in.  

The serpent (seen in both the Thoth's and Petersen's Two of Disks) is back, too, forming a complete enclosed area too - an ouroboros, constantly re-creating itself. The solidity of the structure and the strength of the ouroboros reflect our own integrity, but we have to remember the danger of inflexibility and the inability to compromise.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Treasure held safely
within strong walls - but is it
still accessible?


The Four of Pentacles is also linked to the final ten days of Capricorn – from the 10th of January to the early hours of the 20th, when we move into Aquarius...


Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004.
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.



Saturday, 6 January 2018

Capricorn in the Minor Arcana: The Three of Pentacles

Three of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Druid Craft Tarot
Today we move on to the Three of Pentacles, which - in the system I use - is linked to Mars in Capricorn (as well as the middle ten days of Capricorn).  Mars brings a different energy to Capricorn, compared to the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter in the Two of Pentacles.  Mars in Capricorn, astrologically, is looking to expand and grow through hard work. That fiery Martian/martial energy is still there but it asserts itself cautiously and in a disciplined way. The ambition is still there, too, as is the decisiveness, but in Capricorn – the initiating, practical cardinal Earth sign – the focus is on careful planning. Patience, not a quality we might usually associate with fiery Mars, comes into play here. The sure-footed mountain goat makes its way slowly and steadily, picking its path carefully but with determination.

We see this in the Three of Pentacles.  Hard work – and more importantly perhaps, a lot of detailed planning – has gone into a project. There’s a sense of the initial (Capricorn/cardinal) completion; a first phase or stage has been reached. Like the mountain goat, we know that we still have some way to go before the goal - the summit of the mountain – can be achieved.  Progress is steady, and there’s concrete, tangible (Capricorn/Earth) evidence of what’s been accomplished. Mars has provided the impetus, the physical energy and the determination, required to keep us on that path.

Three of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The image in the Three of Pentacles often depicts a group of three people. In the Rider-Waite-based decks, such as the Druid Craft Tarot, it’s often a craftsman and his two clients who are shown. In others, it’s a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. Co-operation is often a theme in this card – the need to pool resources or to communicate how far things have progressed, in order to move onto the next stage.... the Four!

The 'three-ness' is less obvious in the Shadowscapes, I think...we see only two figures here. But the sense of co-operation is there - it's through their joint energy (Mars) that they are able to keep moving upwards, climbing up the wall of stone, helping each other to overcome the obstacle in their way.

Three of Disks (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
The Thoth’s version, subtitled ‘Works’ uses a triangle, the three-sided geometric figure, as its base. While not as rock-solid as the square, the triangle does represent stability or grounding (Earth), with that third point added to the two-point line.  This symbolizes the balance between action and inaction, between knowing when it’s time to do something and when things are best left as they are.  At each vertex of the triangle are three wheels, representing body, mind, and spirit, reminding us that we need to use all three in order to achieve our goals. Each wheel contains an alchemical symbol – one for mercury, one for sulphur, and one for salt – again, reminders that we need to find the right balance in order to reach the stage of initial completion.  The Martian aspect comes through in the energy that’s produced by combining these elements, while Capricorn is seen in the steady, gradual progress that’s made.


Three of Stones (trimmed):
© Wildwood Tarot
Although the Wildwood Tarot was not created with astrology in mind, I can see Mars in Capricorn at work in the Three of Stones.  The stones themselves give us the earthiness, the sense of being grounded – especially with them forming a trilithon.  The deck’s creators write about the need for an ‘open channel’ to inspiration, in order for it to be able to manifest (Capricorn) physically (Mars).  The teamwork aspect is less obvious, but could it be that the contact between figure and trilithon represents that? The figure leans against the stones, drawing strength from them, which she can draw on as she prepares to step forward, to give form to her plans.  The keyword for the Three of Stones is 'Creativity' - a ‘tapping-into-the-earth' kind of creativity. 



If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might be interested in my e-book, Astrology in Tarot, now available from Amazon.

Druid Craft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections


Monday, 1 January 2018

Capricorn in the Major Arcana – The Devil!

Happy New Year!

Carrying on with our exploration of Capricorn, we come now to The Devil – but why? What’s the link between the two?

XV Cernunnos (trimmed):
© Druid Craft Tarot
Well, goats have come to symbolize sexuality in many mythologies – for instance, Pan, the Greek goat-god, who was linked to the idea of ‘wild desire’.  In northern European traditions, we have the Horned God, or the Celtic Cernunnos, representing nature and sensuality. Throughout the ages, though, the goat has also become almost synonymous with the Devil, supposedly representing temptation and giving in to our desires.   With Capricorn being an Earth sign, the references to sensuality and physical desire can be extended to material desires. So when we come across the Devil in the tarot, we’re reminded about what’s overpowering or obsessive, the things we try to suppress or deny. It can represent not only temptation, but also surrender – and reminds us that we have the power within us to keep our feet on the ground! 

XV The Devil (trimmed):
© Haindl Tarot
Hermann Haindl’s depiction of the Devil shows both a goat, the traditional Capricorn image, and a serpent. Rachel Pollack, in her Haindl Tarot: A Reader’s Handbook (published by Llewellyn, 2005), talks about kundalini energy being raised by both creatures, through the spirals of the goat’s horns and the coils of the serpent. 

XV The Devil (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
The Devil in Crowley’s Thoth deck always makes me laugh – who can resist that wicked grin of that goat?!  Laughing at how we become imprisoned by our desires and obsessions...and those twisted horns remind me of the twisted sense of humour... There’s an emphasis here on the procreative energy, too, with a very obvious phallic symbol taking centre-stage.


The Devil (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
These images are quite different from the more traditional depictions of The Devil, yet the messages are similar. Juliet Sharman-Burke talks about “power and energy imprisoned”, the Devil-goat in the image symbolizing the material world, to which the figures have voluntarily chained themselves – there are chains around their necks but those chains aren’t right, and the figures’ hands are not restricted at all.  I see Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn, coming into play here – those figures show no indication of wanting to make any change, to escape the restrictions they’ve placed on themselves.  Sharman-Burke goes on to say “The Devil refers to all that is dark within your own psyche. That is why we like to think of The Devil’s abode as deep within the bowels of the earth in a place so safely removed from us that we do not have to deal with him. However, such an attitude also means that we live in fear of The Devil, and remain chained to his block of inhibition, restricted because we cannot face the truth about ourselves.”  (The Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot, Juliet Sharman-Burke, Connections 2001)

XV The Devil (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
In the Shadowscapes deck, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law gives us a much more ethereal view of The Devil, but we still see that figure seemingly imprisoned – yet not allowing herself to see that there’s an obvious way out. Rather than choose to see the beauty around her, she hides her eyes – what is it she’s so afraid of? The Devil dances above her, laughing at how easy it is to keep what should be a vibrant creature a prisoner – a prisoner of her own fears.


So The Devil acts as a reminder to free ourselves of those restrictions we placed on ourselves and surrender to earthy sensuality (which, as a double Taurus, I shouldn’t have any problems with!) and to meet those who would ‘demonize’ us and what we believe in with humour!



If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might be interested in my e-book, Astrology in Tarot, now available from Amazon.


Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Druid Craft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections
Haindl Tarot, created by Hermann Haindl, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Capricorn in the Minor Arcana: The Two of Pentacles

Of all the cards in the tarot that have associations with Capricorn (in the system of correspondences that I follow), the one that seems most appropriate for my last blog of 2017 is the Two of Pentacles, linked to the first ten days of Capricorn. Why? Because the association I use is that of Jupiter in Capricorn.  Big, expansive, benevolent Jupiter – in the cardinal, initiating, down-to-earth, practical sign of the sea-goat... Just what we need as we approach a new year: sea-change.

Jupiter in Capricorn symbolizes looking to expand and grow through hard work. Self-discipline will be required in order make progress – which will be steady but sure.  There’s plenty of optimism around, as long as the Saturnian side of Capricorn (remember this sign is ruled by Saturn) isn’t allowed to constrict that expansive faith and confidence by becoming too serious or fearful.  The faith and optimism of Jupiter here is rooted in reality and experience – while the opportunities for change and development come through reliability, sense of responsibility, and patience.

Two of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Universal Waite Tarot
So how might this play out in the Two of Pentacles?  Let’s start with a relatively ‘traditional’ depiction of this card – as illustrated here by the Universal Waite deck. Here we see the familiar figure juggling two pentacles.  Keeping things up in the air, keeping things moving, allowing for change and fluctuation.  The ships, representing fortune (Jupiter also being associated with luck and fortune), are making steady progress through choppy but not life-threatening waves.  And the lemniscate, the symbol for infinity (from the Latin lemniscus, meaning ‘ribbon’), surrounding the two pentacles in the RWS version reminds us that the only constant is change!

Two of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes deck gives us a more 'ethereal' image to work with, but the idea of juggling, keeping things moving, is still there.  The dragon or iguana or lizard, however you see it, on which the juggler stands, to me is a symbol of fire - you need to keep the fires burning in order for gas to expand (thinking here of Jupiter as one of the 'hot gas' planets).  Heat (in terms of temperature) is also part of the equation of state or thermodynamic equation...without delving too much into the science, I see this as a reminder that fire (Jupiter) is needed to make things happen (Capricorn)!

Two of Stones (trimmed):
© Wildwood Tarot
Then there's the Wildwood Tarot. Although not created with astrology in mind, we can still see the need to keep a balance between things, even when sparring! It requires a firm base to stand on, so that we feel grounded, as well as a willingness to fight to establish ourselves - that's the link to Capricorn. Through that hard work, new possibilities and opportunities open up - for both hares. 


Two of Disks (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
One of my favourite versions of this card comes from the Thoth deck. The serpent is coiled in the shape of the lemniscates, which we also see in the pattern of the juggled pentacles in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.  In the loops formed by the coils, we see the yin and yang symbols, representing balance and harmony - and both internal and external change - which will bring the stability and security so important to Capricorn.  The boundless optimism of Jupiter initiating change for the better - good fortune, health, stability, and harmony ... a great message as we move into the new year! 


Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Universal Waite Tarot created by Mary Hanson-Roberts & Pamela Colman-Smith, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections


Thursday, 21 December 2017

Capricorn and the Winter Solstice

At 16.27 pm UT today (21st December), those of us in the northern hemisphere celebrate the Winter Solstice, the solar festival sacred to the Old King and to the reborn ‘Sun Child’, whom we find in various incarnations - Mithras, the Mabon, Jesus, among others.  ‘Solstice’ means ‘sun still’, and refers to the sun seemingly being at a standstill – its turning point, the ‘shortest day’ – as well as its lowest point in the sky.  Up to now, the hours of daylight have been decreasing, the nights growing longer.  Today though, the sun ‘stands still’, the Wheel of the Year seems to stop, and time appears to hang...but from now on the light will start to increase and days will lengthen.

‘Capricorn’ ©Alison Coals
The Solstice also marks the Sun’s ingress, astrologically speaking, into the sign of Capricorn, the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac. It originates from the constellation of Capricornus, usually shown as a goat with a fish’s tale, but is also seen as a more conventional goat that we’d see on land.  

There are, as usual, a number of myths and stories behind the sea-goat. One involves Pan, the goat god. When he was attacked by the monster Typhon (so now you can guess where the name ‘typhoon’ came from!), he ran into the Nile to escape. The part of him below the water’s surface transformed into a fish.  Images of sea-goats go back to Babylonian times, with symbols for the god Enki being both a goat and a fish. The constellation of Capricorn is also sometimes called Amalthea, the goat nymph (in Greek mythology) who reared Zeus after he was saved from being devoured by his father Kronos.

Kronos was the father of the Greek gods, and was also known as the ‘father of time’, giving us the word ‘chronology’. In the Roman pantheon, he was known as Saturn – the planet that rules the sign of Capricorn.

©Animal Jam Wiki - Fandom
Capricorn, then, has links to time, as well as to structure and boundaries. In the image of the mountain goat we can see the Capricorn qualities of tenacity and sure-footedness, determination to overcome obstacles as it works its way towards to its goal.  It’s about retaining integrity, but can also be ambitious. There’s a business-like quality to Capricorn, too – it’s an Earth sign, so it’s practical and level-headed, but at the same time it’s also a Cardinal sign, so it’s not afraid to get things going, to start new enterprises. On the ‘shadow’ side, it can appear as greed, in terms of material ambition. 

Over the next few weeks, as we move through Capricorn, I’ll explore the cards in the tarot that are associated with this sign... Watch this space! 


‘Capricorn’ comes from my AstroArt series, inspired by walking the Glastonbury Landscape Zodiac. The image is a collage, using watercolour on paper.  


Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sagittarius in the court cards: quest for fire!

Last but not least, by any means – Sagittarius in the court cards. But which one – or ones?  Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards.  In the system I follow, correspondences depend on how cardinality, fixity and mutability have been assigned.  As Sagittarius is the mutable Fire sign, this gives us the Knight of Wands.

Knight of Wands (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
In the Sharman-Burke/Caselli deck (Beginners Guide to the Tarot) we see the Knight charging towards us on a horse that looks as though it’s flying through the air.  Fire is represented by the arid background, the sun motif on the Knight’s cloak, and the salamander motif on the horse’s trappings.  The mutability is in the action, but also in the pyramids, representing old knowledge or wisdom. The Knight has visited that location, and is now taking that knowledge with him, intending to spread it on his adventures – transforming, bringing change.   

Like all the knights, he’s on a quest for knowledge, which is in itself quite Sagittarian – but this one is primed for action and adventure!  The fact that he’s so confident and positive works for him; he doesn’t consider the possibility that he might fail in his quest, an attitude which often leads to successful outcomes. 

Knight of Wands (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
In the Shadowscapes deck, the Knight rides on a lion, not a horse. The lion symbolizes the strength of his feelings, his determination and passion (courage=coeur+rage? a stretch perhaps…!) as he heads out on his quest.  The foxes represent cleverness - the ability to think quickly, on his feet - while the flowers that are being trampled underfoot, unnoticed by the Knight, the lion, or the foxes, act as a reminder of the shadow side of this Knight: what might be missed through being over-confident or fool-hardy.
Knight of Wands (trimmed):
© Crowley Thoth Tarot


The Crowley Thoth tarot’s Knight of Wands is also depicted as a fiery image, full of movement.  He holds the burning torch from the Ace of Wands in his left (the creative side) hand, lighting the way forward.  Sagittarian qualities – the dynamism, the quest for knowledge, the bringer of change, the disseminator of wisdom and experiences – are clearly at work! He’s impetuous, but also carries Jupiterian courage, passion, and generosity of spirit out into the world.




Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.