“When the Grandmothers from the four directions come to speak, a new time is coming.”
It is amazing to my ears to hear discussions of patriarchy being aired in mainstream culture: for so many years these were confined to ‘radical feminism’! The generalised denigration and abuse of women was just the way it was. And then Jupiter went into Scorpio and Weinstein came tumbling down. Scorpio’s ruler, Pluto (dispositing Jupiter in Scorpio), has been travelling through Capricorn since 2008 and is at the bottom of this unravelling of the fabric of power and of a certain register of Capricorn that is right at the forefront of our collective mind at the moment: authoritarian, patriarchal, status-seeking, exploitative and ruthlessly materialistic.
Pluto’s journey through Capricorn is taking a demolition ball to defunct expressions of the sign’s energy. And as Capricorn rules the structures, traditions, conventions and systems of authority and governance that bring order at the physical, social and political levels of our lives (e.g. public life, the ‘apparent world’) Pluto’s work is literally making headlines as it dismantles obsolete expressions of Capricorn. Plutonic energy expels toxicity from any system, and so it is currently exposing abuses of power and status, and all the associated rottenness of that.
But of course, there are many registers to our experience, and they express a variety of ways in which we may potentially receive and understand experience. We need now to be alert to a different register of Capricorn, one stripped of its patriarchal overlay. There’s an urgent need to re-dream Capricorn. The sign belongs to the Earth element, always associated with ‘feminine’ energy (downward moving, grounded and receptive). Earth is definitively about nourishment, support and sustainability. Pluto’s exposure of Capricorn’s shadow simultaneously unveils its more life-affirming underlying archetype, which is that all life depends on relationship with Gaia, planet Earth. While our connection to the planetary body in general and to place or land in particular may seem remote to many it is, as it always was, fundamental to survival. Our understanding of this connection now stands in need of renovation – it needs to become conscious, lived and felt. Or, more simply, honoured.
Right now Capricorn’s ruler, Saturn (turbo-charged in its own sign) is, like Pluto, travelling through Capricorn, moving inexorably towards 2020 when they will meet. It is 500 years since they last met here and this time signifies the powerful seeding of a massive new cycle of growth. There will be three major planetary conjunctions in 2020, two of them in Capricorn (Saturn–Pluto and Jupiter–Pluto). We are now living through the falling away of old cycles, a hiatus before the beginning of the new; this is a powerful time for establishing a new resonance with which to work and focus intent. And during 2018, as Jupiter sextiles Pluto from Scorpio, there is great assistance to do just that (as expressed, for example, by the #metoo movement) and to alter the register of our experience; but we have to do the work of re-dreaming Capricorn.
Pluto is creating space for a more authentic order of authority to be established, and it is this resonance of Capricorn that we need to identify now. The energy of Capricorn, being earthy and retracted, belongs to the land. The indigenous traditions of our island home in Britain have been harshly and systematically interrupted, but the wisdom (or dream) they grew out of still exists within the land and within our bones; it may not be in our habit to relate to it, but this wisdom is accessible through ritual and meditative connection. Capricorn has become identified with the ‘power over’ model of human relations and with the very force of authority that seeks to interrupt indigenous authority/wisdom/connection and this is what is falling away now as the glamours of ‘power over’ and of human separation from the body of the Earth begin to dissipate under Pluto’s spell.
Some astrologers in North America engaged in finding a new resonance for Capricorn are calling it the Circle of Grandmothers, referring to a Native American prophecy, “When the Grandmothers from the four directions come to speak, a new time is coming.” The Circle of Grandmothers ‘are the teachers looking back at the previous seven generations, gleaning knowledge about what has worked and what hasn’t, informing them as to what is needed in the present to sustain the next seven generations’ (Holly Alexander). Old age and its wisdom are under the rulership of Capricorn, and the authoritative place of wise elder women in first-nation cultures suggests a corrective to our youth-loving, male-dominated authority structures. There is a desperate need for a reinstatement of eldership in our communities.
In British mythology an archetype associated with the authority of cosmic order is the goddess Arianrhod, one of the great mothers named in the Mabinogian, where her story is one of being tricked into giving her power to her son by stealth. The Mabinogian stories are renditions of ancient myths recorded in patriarchal times, narrating the very passing of feminine power to masculine agency. Silver-circled Arianrhod is a celestial goddess whose cloak of stars is the celestial sphere, turning and turning around her as she, like an axis, holds heaven and earth in right relationship. Her heavenly spiralling energy is found at the core of all forms, evident in bone, seashell, DNA. She is both very distant and inmost: most remote and most intimately known, as confirmed by the Law of Correspondence. This axial feminine archetype brings us a sense of connection, an order of being, that exists between starry lives and our own embodied human existence. She holds together distant star and the shape of the human hand painted on the rocky wall of a cave, and declares their necessary relationship, even their interdependence.
As a great mother of the starry heavens connecting the most distant with the inmost, Arianrhod resolves the polarity of Capricorn and Cancer. Arianrhod’s dark and holding night surrounds us with powerful, fruitful gentleness, in a place of umbilical connection and safety. Nourishment by the mother in Cancer and empowerment by the father in Capricorn are not in reality separate experiences but part of an archetypal human wholeness. Both communicate that we are securely and lovingly held, in inner and outer life. There is no need for fear. Indeed, fear belongs to the misapprehension that we are alone, disconnected, separate. The womb-like wintry darkness of Capricorn can be hard for the personality to handle. Not knowing, not seeing the way, no growth being evident are troublesome for us when we are disconnected and out of touch with support; but when we connect with trust to all that holds us, the mystery of the dark is beautiful and richly nourishing, the seeding space deeply valuable. And this is where we are right now.
In this darkness we can either freak out or seek connection with that axial power that holds the worlds together! This power holds us in right relationship with the worlds, each other and all our relations, past, present and future. It is in this place that we must now patiently work with our connection to Gaia, to initiate modes of authority that serve the whole circle of life.
Astrology Circle (working with meditation, sound and ritual) timed to coincide with Jupiter’s second sextile to Pluto will take place on Sunday 15th April in Ashburton, South Devon. Please contact me if this interests you.