early this morning (US west) marked the winter solstice - the annual standing still of the sun; the astronomical new year. this uttermost point of the annual cycle of the sun has been a time of celebration and awe for us humans, as the life-giving warmth and light begins its return journey in the sky.
astrologically, we can use the chart of exact entry of the sun into capricorn as an event chart - a harbinger of the year to come. it can suggest the areas where this new beginning will occur for you as an individual. (you can use either your birthplace to cast the chart, or where you live now. the rising sign and house placement depend on your latitude, but the planetary contacts and signs will be the same.)
the chart suggests this is a year of new beginnings and old conflicts; jupiter and mercury have just entered new signs, the lunar nodes have shifted to aquarius/leo, and pluto is in the last degree of sag. old conflicts are represented here by the retrograde mars in cancer opposing the sun/jupiter/mercury stellium in cap.
cap is the sign of wisdom, judgment, maturity and authority. it rules government, punishment, social forms and norms. it is how societies organize themselves, the laws and limits they impose on the individual. it is a "collective" sign and as such, can indicate how an individual will interact with and succeed in the larger world. the sun in cap is about creating those forms and norms in our own life -- where we feel most authoritative, what we have mastered, how we express ourselves and what we strive for. for some solar capricorns, this comes off as overly ambitious, social climbing, or cold and judgmental. evolved caps are hard workers, seek social justice and are experts in their field; puissant is one word to describe this enlightened soul.
jupiter expands, explores, seeks meaning from new ideas and experiences. the giant planet rules philosophy, travel, higher education, religion, business and social interactions beyond one's significant other. in cap, there is inherent conflict for jupiter as its expansive nature is confronted with cap's sense of limit and boundaries. a positive expression of this is "practical solutions that result from thinking out of the box". you must work within the given limits, but go far afield in your thinking.
mercury in cap gives logical organization to your thought processes and can help you work through problems systematically. it can give you the objectivity and dispassion you might need with a knotty issue. it can also be a rush to judgment however, so let jupiter into the discussion.
mars is opposing all three of these, retro in cancer. kind of like a kid throwing a temper tantrum when compared to all these mature cap placements. but the purpose of this mars contact is to remember that our deepest security needs are real and we have to take care of the individual if the collective is to function in a healthy manner. the cold, dispassionate forms that most appeal to saturn can be very harsh on living organisms. so mars is there to bring the warmth, the care and attention, and the outrage, if needed, to ensure that the new forms and norms that this ingress suggests are ones that actually meet our needs. the opposition represents the inherent conflict between these two, and can indicate a back-and-forth approach where we overdo one end of the opposition, then flip back and go too far in the opposite direction. the purpose, however, is to integrate the two ends, to balance our need for nurturance and security with the requirements of natural limits, authority and maturity.
next post: new nodal axis.