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Advent and the joyful expectancy that fills it lead us up to the Winter Solstice. The first day of winter is magical because it marks the return of the Sun. It's also the start of the coldest, hardest part of the year. And while the light is definitely increasing, the fact that we're freezing our asses off is much more obvious. The shift into Capricorn is a heavy-duty reality check, and even though the holidays distract us momentarily, the truth is that at this point in the cycle we get back to square one. Saturn is the archetypal ruler of Capricorn. All the old etchings of Saturn depict him as "The Grim Reaper"-the guy who shows up when death is at the door and reminds us that we're mortal. The bottom line is that we're all going to die someday. Dying may be the harshest reality we face, but life and death go hand in hand, and every ending is a doorway to a new beginning. If you have doubts about this, keep your eye on the Sun. Through some sort of miracle it comes back to life on the longest, darkest night of the year.
Back when the Christians took over they had to wean the Pagans off their habit of celebrating the Winter Solstice, so to ease the transition they told everyone Christ was born on December 25. The Christians knew that the Pagans celebrated the return of the Oak King on December 21, and they figured that whoever they converted would be happier about it if they had a suitable replacement for their King. So the conquerors hoodwinked all the locals into thinking that the star of this new show was distantly related to the Oak King by starting the rumor that Jesus was born right near the Solstice. Jesus was actually a Pisces. But the former Pagans went along with the program because they were naïve and because they would have been slaughtered if they didn't.
All that aside, the real cause for rejoicing in mid-December is the fact that the solar light is returning. Between now and the Vernal Equinox every day will contain one more minute of sunlight.
I am pretty sure that when they repackaged the Winter Solstice rituals, they invented New Year's too. And poor us! Since then we've had to live with the insanity created by this ruse. Before our hangovers are even gone we have to get happy about turning over a new leaf! Though it may be appropriate to begin thinking about what's next, at the coldest, darkest point in the year, someone please tell me, who's got the energy for it? With the IRS breathing down our necks, ten extra pounds on our hips, and three feet of snow on the ground, crawling back under the covers with what's left of the holiday chocolates sounds more attractive to me.
You'll be happy to know that I'm not here to crack the whip or tell you to get on the ball. Pep talks aren't my thing. And I've learned over time that the more you try to control things the less control you have. Any effort to whip yourself into shape only feeds the idea that you're out of control. And if there's a thought form that says you're out of control, guess what? You will be. Life at this point in the year is more about hibernating, and if you make any attempt to resist what Nature is obviously calling you to do you'll flunk out this semester.
When I think about Capricorn I picture an uptight businessman in a three-piece suit. And on the surface Capricorn is all business. It's a very male frequency, totally in charge and in control. If this is so then why the hell is Mother Earth in a coma right now? Why is she sleeping under a blanket of snow when the archetypal influences that currently rule her are into taking care of business? In 3D, everything exists in relation to its opposite. Capricorn's polar opposite is the sign Cancer, the Woman-Mother who nurtures and protects. She doesn't force her will on anything and is more concerned with giving birth and making love than with squeezing into her pantyhose and running off to work. The reason Mother Earth sleeps through the winter is because she needs the rest. Duh! She has no strength for outer things, and she's in tune enough with who she is to just say, "F-it!" when she wants to.
We're no different than the Great Mother and could learn a lot by following her rhythms. Whatever we need to be doing outwardly isn't going to fly if we don't have a really healthy inner connection. So, I highly recommend curling up somewhere with a good book and a cup of tea whenever you feel like it. Don't worry too much about your ability to manage external pressures this month. Even the animals know enough to hibernate when it's cold out. Crawl back under the covers. Sleep as much as you can. Feed yourself when you need to and nurture the little baby girl inside you. The reward you gain from slowing everything down will yield incredible results. And whatever you birth inside yourself will be the foundation for all the wonderful things that come to life because you took the time to do it.
Excerpted from The Old Girls' Book of Dreams by Cal Garrison Copyright © 2003 by Cal Garrison
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