Sunday 27 December 2015

Capricorn in the DruidCraft 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 2014 is the Two of Pentacles, linked to the first ten days of Capricorn. Why? Because the astrological 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... 

Jupiter in Capricorn, astrologically, is 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.
DruidCraft Tarot (trimmed)

So how might this play out in the Two of Pentacles, and does it work in the DruidCraft Tarot?  In this deck, we see a young woman juggling two pentacles.  In the background are two ships, representing fortune (Jupiter also being associated with luck and fortune), holding their own through the storm – the waves are rough and choppy but not life-threatening.  

Jupiter was the god of the sky, and of thunder, so he’s certainly represented in this image! The young woman’s effort to keep the pentacles in the air represents the hard-working Capricorn.

We need to keep things balanced, allowing for change and fluctuation, but it helps if we can approach this with Jupiterian playfulness, rather than with too much Saturnian caution.  Keeping things up in the air can be stressful, there’s no doubt – trying to balance work and home, for instance, the material, Earthy, Capricornian realm of the Pentacles.  We need to draw on the optimism of Jupiter – to ‘let the fun in’ – but also to have, as the creators of the deck write, “trust in the dance of life” (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, The DruidCraft Tarot, published by Connections, 2004), so that we can bring about the changes (Capricorn is the cardinal Earth sign, remember) we need in our work, our home, our lives.

So yes, I do see, in the DruidCraft, 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! 

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections 2004

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Capricorn and the Winter Solstice

At 04.47 GMT today 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.

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.
‘Capricorn’ ©Alison Coals
Kronos, of course, 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.

Capricorn, then, has links to time, as well as to structure and boundaries.  In the image of the mountain goat we can see the Capricornian 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! 

The image comes from my AstroArt series.  ‘Capricorn’ is a collage, using watercolour on paper.