Discipline for the Ambition: Supportive and Structured Embodiment for Capricorn Season

Welcome to Capricorn season!

Welcome to the place in the year, and the place in your chart, where we can cultivate the discipline for the ambition. 

Capricorn season carries the blessing of dedication. Dedication can be a powerful force for our lives, for others and for the world around us when it comes from the heart and is infused with spirit.

The Sea-Goat: Climbing great heights while being rooted in the sea of emotions

For years I didn’t realize that the myth of Capricorn was that they are a sea-goat. Did anyone else think they were simply mountain climbing goat? Imagining a creature with a goat head and a fish tail was, at first, challenging – but then again, it’s myth for goodness sakes, so anything is possible. To me, the fish tail shows many things, but foremost is how Capricorn is connected to the emotional body, and how their climb up the mountain has to be guided by emotions.

I often see emotions as part of our guidance system, in fact I refer to emotions as the “emotional guidance system”. This system shows how much alignment (and the quality of that alignment) there is between the heart and the mind. Emotions are more complex then this simple quip, for sure, Sometimes they are downright murky. Murky or not, basic or complex, emotions guide us in our journey of seeking (and embodying) wholeness.

So during this season, you might feel the Capricorn fishtail as an emotional radar, reminding you that “yes, this feels good” or “no, this doesn’t feel good” and everything in between as you take steps up the mountain of following the call of your ambitions.

When Capricorn comes around, we are now able to do the work we need to do to actualize the big dreams inspired by Sagittarius season…or at least get the ball rolling in the right direction. With a dose of practicality, those aspirations come into reach.

Healthy responsibility and daily ritual can help to root our dreams into the sea-nourished Earth. We can climb to great heights by putting one foot in from of the other, again and again.

It’s no coincidence that our society is obsessed with New Year’s resolutions and goalkeeping at this time of year. In Sagittarius season, we were inspired to dream big and connect with our passionate inner explorer. In Capricorn, we ask ourselves to lay the outline of actionable steps as we are taking them.

Ruled by Discipline-loving Saturn

Capricorn is ruled by constrictive and concentrating Saturn, Lord of Nose-to-the-Grindstone and Task-Master extraordinaire. There’s no shortcuts when working with the energies of Saturn or Capricorn. There are “the things to do”, and there are “the way to do them”, and it most likely involves a decent amount of repetitive, thoughtful work.

Instead of trying to innovate our way around the tasks at hand (save that for Aquarius where it will be worlds more effective), we can develop structures that help us succeed. If we take the time (that is such a Saturn phrase) to create predictable routines, like how we batch our work and chores, how we move our body and when we eat, it can help build our strength and keep us continually and predictably nourished.

The Key to Capricorn: flowing smoothly within routine, sacrifice, and duty

Routine can’t be the end-all, be-all. If we get stuck in the overactive sense of duty, before long we feel like we are sacrificing too much happiness for the sake of success. Or we sacrifice ourselves for other people’s success or happiness. It’s just as important to cultivate flexibility and fluidity within routines to keep us from getting stuck.

Remember that Cap is the Sea-Goat. The ‘sea’ part is the part of Capricorn that is connected to it’s “why”. 

For what reason do you create and work and dream in the first place? 

Earthy Capricorn is a builder. We may have taken a feeling from others, or a belief from a wound and an entire universe was built around it. The foundation of our mountain of achievements may contain some beliefs that do not ultimately serve who we want to be anymore, or how we want to go about achieving it, or, are created in ways that our bodies can no longer sustain.

Or, because Capricorn has that iron strong sense of duty, perhaps we sacrificed a part of ourselves in the process of making a life, and realize we want to reconnect with a deeper and more real sense of purpose.

From the sea comes the feelings which flow from our body, our being and our heart. Flotsam and jetsam float around the sea of feelings, too. Like the feelings of others which don’t fully belong to us. Like the burdens and struggles that have taken a life of their own and multiplied like the enchanted buckets of water from the Sorcerer’s’ Apprentice from Fantasia. Emotions or thoughts created from larger cultural or ancestral beliefs flow through us, too (the embodiment meditation below will help us address that).

During this time, we can sit with the emotions that are our motivating factors. Yes, some of them may not be ours. And some of them are ours but based in lack, fear, inadequacy or wounding and also need to be examined and listened to before transformation.

Capricorn season brings with it an extra ability to face obstacles. Any and all responsibility we take for ourselves and our feelings are blessed now. We can take authority for how we feel, we can step into sovereignty for our feelings, not others, not our ancestors, not those of society.

We can seed the foothills of our mountain with the type of nourishing, replenishing inspiration we crave, and we can steward the tide pools below to be full functioning ecosystems, cleared of the detritus from the shipwrecks of old. 

Capricorn Season Support for Our Bodies

During the earthy yet high-climbing Capricorn season, we can lend extra support for the bones from which our foundation is built, extra care for our teeth (the hardest and most external of our bones) and the large weight-bearing joints (especially the knees) that help us move about in pursuit of our dreams and in duty of holding up the structures of our daily life.

Whatever we do with structure, routine and dedication will have extra resonance with the Capricorn time of year. This applies to our health, too. When it comes to eating, self-care or exercise, schedule those tasks into your daily calendar to help them become real (and if you want to start using a planner, now is a great time to do so).

Health-tending is a part of our support structures. Capricorn is in it for the long haul. Tending to the body then becomes a means to success and goal meeting.

Now is a great time to implement a commitment of “Body First” into our days. “Body First” is simple and exactly how it sounds: before sitting down to work, first tend to the body. 1-10 min of stretching, relaxing, exercise, walking, dancing, PT (physical therapy), self-massage BEFORE getting on your computer or smartphone will go a long way in offering protection from the potential strain those activities carry have while we sit, work and concentrate. 

Even if you aren’t doing a lot of work on a device, sitting in a desk, or doing labor, you can do what I do and tend your body before doing caregiving tasks or even cooking or cleaning. Before I change a diaper, I do a tiny bit of core and back supportive PT. Before leaving the house for a walk with my family, I drink water and take a supplement. Before reading books for bedtime, I take three grounding breaths to help switch my nervous system from sympathetic to parasympathetic tone.

Because of it’s Saturn rulership, sometimes Capricorn season can highlight where we are too contracted in our bodies or otherwise.

We can ask ourselves: How is my range of motion? How is my flexibility? Where do I feel stuck in my body?

Are you too stuck in your routine? Where do you crave – or need – more routine? A routine can help achieve goals because if provides structure, but if those routines oversteps their boundaries, they become constrictive.

Weight bearing exercise is great for Capricorn season, as are range of motion practices like Qi Gong or Tai Qi or dance. If you practice yoga, make sure you are moving in all directions, at all levels. Have routine, but bring 360 degrees of movement into that routine. 

Pay special attention to the knees (and elbows) at this time. Knees often malfunction when the pelvis is wonky and the feet or ankles are stuck, and they are also prone to inflammation, arthritis and they tend to accumulate the waste products of the inflammatory cascade. If this is something you are inspired to address, now is a good time.

Even if you’re not into exercise per se, this is an excellent time to get moving doing earthy activities like tending your yard or garden (yes, even in the winter) or walking with friends or to run errands. Long hikes and swims are also good ways to bring Cap into the body at this time.

Capricorn season is often a busy time. We have a lot of stuff to do, a lot of goals to reach and a lot of steps to make them happen. Feeding ourselves in inspiring ways can take the back burner because we need to meal plan, get the ingredients, cook it, eat it, clean up efficiently. 

When preparing food is taking the back burner, I say USE the back burner…of your stove, that is. A pot of long-cooked broth, soaking and cooking beans, or a crock-pot of meat for you meat-eaters can keep you nourished while your busy doing tasks.

Just as routine can become constrictive, it can also become devoid of spirit if it becomes automatic. On the other hand, it can be really supportive to have nourishing food rituals.

We all need find our own balance within this. I know I certainly do. I tend to be all or nothing with nourishing food rituals, and over the turn of the year I plan on making a few more batches of broth and nourishing soups.

Capricorn season is also reminding me to be consistent about my eating times and meal planning overall.

Traditional foods and self-tending

With Capricorn, we turn to look at our own traditions for guidance and wisdom. If you know your ancestry or any of their traditions for self-care, cooking, or how they moved their body, now is a good time to step into those veins of customs because they could offer us even more support than normal.

Capricorn time resonates with tradition. When we turn the radio dial of ourselves to the channel of our people or our own ancestral customs, the messages we hear from that channel are louder, clearer and are even more helpful than normal.

Do you have any holiday food traditions? My family makes Gula Ator, (which simply means “yellow pea”) as an after Christmas soup. It’s a brothy Swedish soup made with whole yellow peas, not split green peas, and flavored with marjoram. I would love to get my hands on some of those whole yellow peas and make a batch this year.

Do you know of any home remedies that your family used in the past? Chances are that they just might be cold and flu type remedies, since that is something people traditionally treated frequently within the home with ingredients they had at hand.

A remedy my grandma remembers her mother and her mother’s family using is onion syrup, and I would love to make a batch myself too – though I’d probably add in some thyme, fennel and anise and vinegar to make it an oxymel.

Making a mustard plaster is also a favorite old time remedy of my grandmas. Mustard plasters are great medicine for bronchial infections, and although I’m hoping my family won’t need it this year, it will be something I use if we do need it.

Taking the time to make things official or conduct rituals or rites are also especially helpful during this time of year. Some of the most powerful and long lasting rituals that I have done are the ones around Dec-Jan.

Of course the Solstice is a potent time of year for ritual, but I have found that this time of year is the best time for connecting the property I reside upon, making offerings for land spirits or ancestors of the land, house clearings and “beating of the grounds” (walking around the edge of where you live for protections and upholding of the creative heartfelt ideals for what you intend to take place in your home). Even the basics of ritual like casting a circle, calling in directions or simply lighting a candle seems more effective and powerful to me during this time of year.

This is an excellent time to connect to the land you live on. In addition to practicing land acknowledgment of the Indigenous people who first lived where you live, making a donation to the living Indigenous people of that land is a ritual worth establishing during the season of gift giving. 

Sorting our External – vs – Internal Motivation

Is there any better time to create commitment rituals with your core values and feelings as the motivating factor than now? I think we have extra clarity during the time of the Sea-Goat to create a connection to both the heavens above and the sea below to truly connect to our internal value rather than our external value or physical accomplishment. 

It’s true that external accomplishments can’t be avoided in our capitalistic world. We work, we get a paycheck. We preform a task, we get a reward. Earring a paychecks doesn’t seem like a reward, but as far as our brains are concerned, preforming an action for a result activates the reward-punishment neurological circuits.

But if we can start our goal-setting from a place of intrinsic motivation rather than extrinsic, then we can consciously separate our value from the achievement of the external accomplishments. 

Why all the talk about extrinsic-vs-intrisic motivation? Since becoming a parent, I have done a lot of reading and research about the punishment-reward circuits, and after reading about how, as researcher and author Alfie Khon put it, we are “punished by rewards”, I can’t not pretend that external achievements are as valuable as our culture says they are. Nor can I pretend that “withholding rewards” is not a form of punishment.

As adults we all know this: how we feel about ourselves and how we connect to others and the earth is more important than getting gold stars on our homework, being told “good job!”, or getting 100 hearts on a social media post.

But yet society operates that way, and we are a part of it, which is all the more reason why becoming and remaining internally motivated in an essential practice.

And just as important, we can be fully in and consciously use the reward-punishment circuitry if we want to or need to, we can just take our self-worth OUT of that equation forever. Nobody wants to be invisible or work for nothing. In fact, honoring our own efforts can go a long way in tending the soul.

Imagine saying this to yourself: I see you, I see what you created and I am proud of you.

Now compare this to: I am only valuable if __________. My worth is equal to _________. If I am good I will be rewarded with ________. Because I don’t work hard enough I will miss out on ________.

When I write it this way, it doesn’t see like we go around blatantly saying this to each other or ourselves. Oh, except we say it to children all the time. It’s the basis of school and discipline. And we were all children once! Those circuits are alive (and really active) in adults, too.

I bring this up because it all goes back to keeping our motivation for our ambitions and dreams truly in service in a way that resonates with the heart and are infused with spirit.

It all comes down to reclaiming that we are all worthy because we simply are. We don’t have to do anything to be rewarded worthiness. And nothing can take it away.

My goals and dreams became a lot more nourishing and clear when I felt worthy no matter what. Feeling worthy and thinking that you are worthy as is everyone else is are two different things. It’s a challenging thing to sort and requires continual dedication, but unconditional worthiness for all is worth fighting for.

Capricorn Season Self-Enquiry Journal Prompts

This month’s journal prompts are all about sorting out our commitments, duties, and responsibilities, making goals for our achievements from a place of our WHY and in service of our values, and about how we can put our body and emotional-mental-spiritual nourishment first, because we are often running at peak capacity during Capricorn season as we get down to work or partake in holiday traditions. 

Capricorn Free Association

Start with a free association writing or speaking about any of these Capricorn keywords that call out to you for 1-2 mins each:

  • ambition
  • goals
  • determination
  • service
  • highest potential
  • duty
  • daily rituals
  • commitment
  • mountain
  • seashore
  • tradition
  • constricted
  • value
  • struggle
  • stiving
  • humor
  • authority
  • add any other Capricorn-esqe words you’d like

What words called out to you? Notice any themes in the keywords your picked, or within the free association that followed.

Yearly Goals and Ritual of Intent

Around New Years, there is a lot of cultural focus on making goals for the year ahead. I personally think this is a good time to do so, but only if that truly resonates with you.

Goal making can feel contrived and constrictive when outside forces make you think you about what you should do to fit ideal cultural standards. We all have heard these false messages – especially the long-stale ones about losing weight, getting fit, making money or finding a mate.

  • If you feel like it: write out your yearly goals in any way you’d like, and create a ritual of intent (if you wish).

When my first born turned two and I was newly pregnant and entirely exhausted, I was part of an online class that encouraged us to write out yearly goals. It was so painful for me because I had no idea what was in store with my life. My only goal was to have my baby and try to take care of us all, and even that seemed like a struggle.

The instructor reiterated that without a few simple goals or intentions we can feel lost.

Even though I had no idea what my work like or my health and vitality would be like, I challenged myself to sit down with how I wanted to feel. What moments did I want to have? What was most important to me? In the end, it turned out to be an inspiring letter to my future self. It was definitely NOT about a list of external goals and for that I am thankful.

Working with Time and Space: Capricorn New and Full Moon Opposition

Each sign has a New Moon and Full Moon are about 6 months apart. I’d like to encourage you to use the oppositional forces of the yearly Full and New Moons to assist the use of time and space as a type of guide to help anchor you in the past, present and future.

A simple way to do this is to consider where you were 6 months prior and where you’d like to be 6 months from now.

  • What have you accomplished in the last 6 months (since the Full Moon in Capricorn, which was on July 16th, or simply since July)? Note the external accomplishments as well as the internal or those that are hidden, personal or internal.
  • If you can, look at a calender and see what you were doing on the day exactly 6 months ago. What was your world like then? What was the weather and earth like? How were you feeling? With your current perspective, what would you tell your former self about what they were going through then?
  • What are your goals for the next 6 months? Write out your true WHYs for those goals: what values and feelings drive you onward and upward?
  • What did you hope you’d achieve by now but haven’t? How does that make you feel?

Working with the half-year mark in ritual and self-cultivation has been a pivotal component of my own healing and stepping into my medicine. Last July I was meditating about the last January and the January coming up and what shall enter my meditation but some sparkly snowflakes? This has been a powerful practice and sometime I will talk more about it.

Working with the “Want to/Have to and Draining/Energizing” Chart

One of the most useful tools I have used for feeling in in alignment of my commitments is to plot them out into the chart below.

  • On the top of a piece of paper, write “Have to” in one corner and “Want to” in the other corner
  • Down the left side of the paper, write “Draining” towards the top and “Energizing” towards the bottom. Draw a cross to delineate the squares from each area.
  • Write your responsibilities and commitments in the different areas of your life in the chart below, from how you eat, take care of your body, your home, friends, family, relationships, work, spiritual practices, education, and so on…
  • Do you have any wiggle room to connect to your “WHY” or make rituals or intentions to help take an edge off of something is a “Have to” and “Draining”? 
  • Are is there anything from the “Want to” and “Draining” category that you can eliminate, reduce or change somehow?
  • If you could add anything into the “want to” and “energizing” area, what would it be?

The data I collect from the chart is so helpful in dealing with overwhelm. There is usually a thing or two that end up in the “Want To” and “Draining” categories that I can eliminate.

If I see I have a lot of responsibilities in the “Have to” section, then I know I need to bulk up my self-care and bring in some rituals to assist me with being a taskmaster.

And, most important for me, since creativity and play and pleasure is essential for my self care, I can try to give more priority to the “Want to” and “Energizing” categories.

When I was in grad school, I worked through this chart with a therapist. I had a LOT stuff in the “Want to” and “Draining” category. I was in a student association of integrative medicine and we worked to put on a lot of events and gatherings, and although it was fun to socialize, it was one more thing to which I had to give my energy and I was running out of steam.

Re-read that last part of the last sentence…did you catch it?

I framed it wrong for years: I never HAD to do any of it. I volunteered willingly. In fact, I was the only person in my entire school who was a part of it (it was between a number of medical schools in the city).

This seems obvious in hindsight, but I didn’t realize how much of my wiring was crossed until I worked through it with a professional. Being social and exploring my passions with like-minded were essential values for me. But being a member of this club was required. I needed to step up and accept the responsibility that I was in fact the one making it a “have to”.

I had a lot of examination to figure out how I truly felt about this club, but regardless I at least had to acknowledge that it was NOT a “have to”. That was hard for me. I was overcompensating for a lack of worth through my going above and beyond, as both a neurological habit to live in chaos and be drained, and as a way to prove myself. There is a person I know who has a disability. She recently came to the realization that as a disabled person, she has spent a life working extra hard to show her worth – and sacrificing her health and happiness all the while.

In the end I stayed in the club and had a great time throwing integrative medicine gatherings with herbal teas and botanical cocktails in abandoned warehouses and creating presentations about herbal medicine. I decided to infuse some more passion into the club, as well as bolstering my self care so I could pull it off more easily.

It’s a lot harder to figure out what goes where now that I’m a full time parent with two kids. Most of the time it feels like my chart would be filled with “wiping butts” “giving snacks” and “picking up toys” day in and day out (yeah, I’m going there).

But yet, I still try to plot the chart. It turns out that I have a lot of “Have to” and “Draining” but a) the payoff is great in the long run (kids are great sometimes) and b) I am seeing how I simply cannot do it alone.

This drives to call upon help when I am need. Which is pretty much all the time.

Every night while putting the kids to bed I pray aloud, “dear great goddess, god, helping spirits, angels and loving-kind-well-helpful ancestors, please help my children go to sleep quickly and easily. Please help them feel comfortable and cozy, safe and secure.” I don’t say this part aloud, but it is very much a part of this prayer: because I am all out of energy and I cannot do this on my own. I have nothing left to give. I need your help, pretty please and thank you!

No doubt about it: Capricorn time is ripe for the figuring out where we stand.

Lastly, I love to this one:

  • Create a commitment ritual to your intentions and goals with your WHY and your values in mind, not anyone else’s. For example, write out a card of intentions to read or say a blessing before you start your work, create content, engage in your craft or art, make a meal for yourself or your family.

Thank you for reading, you fellow self-enquiring, seasonal-living, body-tending, Astrology-lovers.

Happy Capricorn season to you all.

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