[The Astrology Podcast] Significations of the Twelve Houses – Part 1December 3, 2019
Astrology of Tuesday, December 10th 2019December 10, 2019
Jupiter entered Capricorn on December 2nd, 2019. The big planet will be in the Goat’s sign until December 19th, 2020, just over a year.
Jupiter does not simply appear in Capricorn. It ingresses after a whole year in Sagittarius. This transition is an important one, as it takes Jupiter from one of its preferred signs to one of its least favorite.
Jupiter is powerful and comfortable in Sagittarius, one of the two signs it rules. In Sagittarius, Jupiter inspires faith, strengthens the spirit, and offers opportunities for material and magical gain. Divine potency is on display, offering wins and opening our eyes to the edges of the possible. Yet these moments may leave us with inflated expectations.
In Capricorn, Jupiter shows a very different face. Where Jupiter in Sagittarius offers us a glimpse of the heights, Jupiter in Capricorn shifts the focus drastically earthwards. Jupiter is in its Fall in Capricorn. In the sign of its Fall, a planet walks terrain contrary to its mission and indifferent to its gifts. This environment not only impedes Jupiter’s strengths, it also highlights the shortcomings of the planet’s approach.
The mountain pass through Capricorn is especially difficult this year, due to the presence of Pluto, Saturn, and the Dragon’s Tail there, the trio which distributed a goodly portion of 2019’s suffering. Jupiter’s movement into Capricorn thus puts the do-gooder planet in the heart of the year’s hardest configuration. This is both a good and a bad thing. It is good because it inspires solutions to the Saturn-Pluto-Tail problems. It will also be felt as a boon to people with an abundance of Capricorn planets in their charts. The downside is that trying to solve the deeply rooted issues that Saturn, Pluto, and the Tail indicate will take all of Jupiter’s energy, and more. That means that instead of adding positives, Jupiter will be busy negating negatives. In practice, it means that magical work with Jupiter will be significantly restricted in its efficacy.
The people and fields that Jupiter naturally influences may experience the same difficulty as their patron planet. Would-be sages must show that their wisdom is not merely suited for idle summer moments, but vital and necessary even in the frigid heart of winter.
Though it will be trial for clerics who promise utopia, Jupiter’s time in Capricorn will be a boon for those creeds which are traditional, conservative, established, or very concerned with the material world.
The Price of Stone
Jupiter faces a heroic trial in Capricorn, as do all planets in their Fall. The planet of big vision, divine favor, and good cheer is tested mightily by the hard realities conjured by Capricorn. If Jupiter brings us visions, then Capricorn challenges us to prove them, to bring earth, stone, and sweat into accord with inspiration.
What exists solely in the mind is pure— it has had to make none of the compromises necessary for enduring manifestation. And yet it is that very possibility of reification that makes it such an exciting thing. Inspiration is wonderful, but nothing substantial was ever built without organization and effort.
In addition to the struggle with exhaustion and boredom which becoming-real requires, we must also contend with influences which threaten to corrupt our original intention. The great musician is offered the chance to become a pop sell-out, perverting art into commodity. The successful politician is offered power and wealth to set aside the well-being of their constituents, degrading service into hypocritical predation. The list of temptations goes on. The more you’ve built, the higher a price you’ll be offered to sell your soul. The real is a dirty place, and if we’re going to make good here, we can’t forget it.
Jupiter is the planet of teachers, priests, and gurus. It is therefore helpful, when trying to understand Jupiter’s work in a particular sign, to ask ourselves who this year’s teacher is. Which preacher’s sermons are most likely to hit home? Here are two teachers, one a legendary human, one an animal, which each have an abundance of Jupiter in Capricorn lessons.
The first teacher we look to is Solomon the King, the biblical patriarch around whom a host of stories swirl. Though canonical texts have much to say about Solomon, it is the apocryphal ones we are most interested in, particularly the 1st-2nd century Testament of Solomon. The Solomon of the Testament is not just a King, but also a magician, exorcist, and demon-binder extraordinaire. Much of the Testament recounts how Solomon, blessed with power by God, bound a litany of ornery and dangerous spirits to his will and purpose.
That purpose was the construction of the legendary First Temple of Jerusalem, a holy task he himself had lashed himself to. He did not bind them to merely to serve his lust and hunger, but instead to a meaningful and spiritual project which benefitted more than just himself.
That Solomon’s tale focuses on the construction of a Temple is especially apt, as it is easy to see the distorting influence of power in the formation of religion. It is one thing to keep the signal clear when it was one person giving a sermon on a mount, it another thing entirely when that teaching is embedded in a globe-spanning network of property and influence. Solomon both succeeds and fails at handling this task, and thus serves as both embodied ideal and cautionary tale.
Solomon offers a model of holiness which differs significantly from the asceticism of saints and other sacred renunciates. The saint deals with the demonic by removing themselves from contact with the world and engaging in purificatory disciplines. Solomon, on the other hand, cannot withdraw from the world without failing in his appointed duty. So he deals with the wild spirits within and without by chaining them to a worthy cause.
Though demons and desires are not one in the same, there is a meaningful overlap in the relationship we have to each. We can separate ourselves from them, as the ascetics and renunciates do. Yet we can also confront and organize them, like Solomon. The lust for praise, for example, can fuel a wide variety of pathological behaviors. Yet, when properly connected to good and valuable work, it can motivate worthy accomplishments. A horse does not have to be a model of virtue to pull a wagon.
Though the story of the Testament of Solomon focuses on the titular hero’s amazing demon-binding rampage, it is important to note that the whole story begins with a successful exorcism. The Testament shows us that contrary spirits can be bound to sacred purpose, but only once we have separated from them. From a psychological perspective, we may find a way to make our more egoic passions work for us, but we first we have to extricate ourselves from complete identification with them.
Solomon’s challenge was an ordeal of purposeful construction, which is exactly the kind of task that Jupiter in Capricorn is due to distribute this year. If you end up face-to-face with a set of blueprints, do not hesitate to draw inspiration from the wizard-king Solomon, whose methods, successes, and failures are all equally instructive.
Upon Great Wings
Solomon is a suitable Jupiter in Capricorn teacher, as far as legendary humans go, but it does not behoove us to limit our selection of gurus to the human. Among animals, Jupiter has long been associated with big, impressive birds, most specifically the majestic eagle, feathered regent of the wide skies.
While Jupiter is in Capricorn, though, it operates in Saturn’s territory, and so we must look for wisdom and opportunity within the harsher sphere of the scythe-wielding greater malefic. Death and decay are natural Saturnian significations, and the copresence of Saturn, Pluto and the Dragon’s Tail in the same sign strongly reinforce said themes.
The majestic eagle does not have lessons appropriate to such a place, and so we must look to darker birds. The Saturnian birds are many, but they have one queen— the vulture.
Like the eagle, its cousin, the vulture is a huge bird. It is the largest flying scavenger on Earth. Like the eagle, it soars and drifts far above the terrestrial world, scanning for food and danger. But while the eagle hunts, the vulture does not kill. Instead, it waits for death, showing Saturnian patience and certainty. Vulture is patient because vulture is wise, and knows that whether it comes early, late, or perfectly on-time, death always arrives.
Where others see failure, rot and despair, vulture sees treasure and opportunity. Vulture sees value where others see garbage. Vulture picks through your trash for recyclables. dumpster-dives through the bins of luxury grocery stores for rejected feasts. Vulture is an aghori, a cemetery practitioner, performing worship on a corpse-seat, unconcerned that others do not see the sacred in its practice.
Garbage-collector, vulture takes care of waste. Purifier, vulture keeps your streets from overflowing with sewage. An alchemist, vulture exults in the putrefactio, transforming toxins into medicine. Yet this dumpster-queen is also a historian. Vulture knows what the dead buffalo ate the day before. Vulture knows where the bodies are buried, and where the hidden mausoleums lie. Vulture remembers the sound of dead languages, and where the forgotten texts languish.
Vulture teaches the way of thriving in the midst of decay. Learning to find the treasure hidden in trash is a key when you live in a world full of landfills. In Nassim Taleb’s terms, the vulture is not merely robust, but thoroughly anti-fragile. Vulture and Black Swan are the best of friends, and the great scavenger’s stock portfolio reflects this.
While vulture does not shy away from the getting its beak dirty, it does not live on the ground, but instead spends most of its time in the sky. Here we see the lift, lightness, and the broad perspective of Jupiter. Like its cousin the eagle, its default is a broad survey of the landscape. The vulture does not get mired in every little tragedy or drama. If there is too much trouble in a given situation, the vulture is happy to take wing and look for better opportunities.
Instead of shrinking from them, the vulture has embraced the inevitability of endings. This acceptance empowers the vulture with both knowledge of the past and clear vision of the future. As we are currently at the conclusion of a long cycle, the wisdom of the endings-which-precede-beginnings is sorely needed.
Take the vulture as teacher. Soar and survey. Do not recoil from the end of what has run its course. Peer through the vulture’s eye. Each finale is a buffet of beginnings.
Gurus of Reversal
Solomon and vulture both show us, in their own way, how to transform negatives into positives. Each teaches a reversal. Solomon turns spiritual opposition into aid. Vulture turns material decay into life-giving opportunity.
These strategies are appropriate for Jupiter’s situation in Capricorn in 2020. The big planet is in contrary territory and must contend with multiple malefics while it is there. What good fortune comes of this will be, in no small part, a result of our ability to see the treasure hidden in trash, and to yoke contrary forces, within and without, to sacred purpose. So slip on Solomon’s magic ring and spread your dark feathers wide— there’s work to be done.