I’ve always thought that fear is a component of the human story worth studying. I am interested in why people “other” each other, what predisposes one person to conscious prejudice and another to unconscious prejudice; of which we are all guilty parties in one way or another. Early in life, astrology became my primary tool for investigating psychological complexities at the intersection of cultural upbringing, causal events and intrinsic belief. I’m glad I have this tool; it’s a roadmap that has brought me greater clarity about why I act the way I do. It has curbed my penchant of submitting to fear. It has convinced me that the greatest crime I can commit against my own evolution is to act without intention.
Now, if you don’t have a handy practice like astrology to fall back on, you may have arrived at the conclusion that everything to do with ethics, social consciousness, politics, family unity and basic human rights has gone up in flames. If that verbiage is too hyperbolic, a cursory glance at the condition of the planet will reveal literal flames in the form of forest fires. Our Earth is reeling with sea-level rise, temperature fluctuations and mass extinctions. Tensions are at a crescendo. Things look hopeless. People are afraid. When people are afraid, they do dumb things that they typically regret. This is not a purely astrological observation.
To study fear in a birth chart, one must look at the Moon Sign. The placement of the Moon identifies the emotional body, how we internalize feelings and thus how we react when running up against stressful encounters. A Taurus Moon may eat their feelings, as Taurus qualities include sensuality and epicureanism. A Pisces Moon, known for their sensitivity, will probably put on sad music and cry about it. But sometimes, even with this framework, people act out of character. They say and do things based on some unconscious stigma, something deeper and more primal and harder to confront, because it seemingly has no basis in lived experiences.
For this, it’s helpful to consult the Nodes of the Moon. Referred to often as “The Nodes of Fate”, they mark where the ecliptic plane of the Earth, what we imagine as the band of zodiac signs, crosses the the orbit of the Moon in ascending motion (North Node) or descending motion (South Node). Therefore, they are not representative of actual planets or luminaries. These hypothetical, mathematical points are always opposite each other and they nearly always travel in retrograde motion (that is they appear to move backwards from our vantage point on Earth). That’s the technical piece.
The symbolic piece is that the South Node represents the karmic past and the North Node the karmic future. We don’t usually remember the circumstances of past lives, but . . .
The South Node shows where we fall back into unconscious, even pre-conscious, patterns and ways of thinking that inhibit our growth in the here and now. Integrating the spirit of its polar opposite, the North Node, provides a balance. We all have North and South Node placements within our birth charts, but there is also a transiting North and South Node that affects the quality of communal consciousness as it moves from sign to sign. On November 6th of 2018, The Nodes of the Moon changed signs, moving into the Capricorn-Cancer axis.
Capricorn and Cancer. Their polarity is hard and soft. Cold and warm. Business exploits and insular homelife. Stern grandfather and nurturing mother. Progress and tradition. These two signs illustrate humanity’s stage of development over the next year and a half, as well as its swan song of FEAR, should we rise to the challenge of integrating this polarity.
The South Node in Capricorn, where there’s some karmic clean-up to do, supports structure, stability and industry. Our task is to think critically about the structures we erect in the name of progress, how we negate our emotional softness in the interest of maintaining control, and how we favor the logical, pragmatic circumstances pre-defined by reigning systems; the systems that tend to oppress in the name of law and order. This sounds great, right? Challenging that which oppresses us, restrains us, keeps us emotionally aloof and afraid? We should be gunning it across the axis for the warmth and tenderness of Cancer. But because we have karma where the South Node lands, this also washes what would otherwise be considered a dictatorial atmosphere in a glow of comfort. These systems might be killing us, but they feel so familiar, so easy to coalesce to. It’s so easy to work thoughtlessly instead of think critically, to absolve ourselves of accountability under the guise of economic advancement.
As the South Node moves through Capricorn, rhetoric favors “the law” over the interests of the people. In the US, for example, the word “refugee” is fast becoming synonymous with “criminal”, though authoritarianism seems to be on the rise in general. Some will relinquish their agency because they want to feel safe, and they will sign away their rights to anyone who claims to offer protection. The last time the South Node was in Capricorn was during 9/11, the aftermath of which gave us TSA screenings, RFID chips in passports and Homeland Security. Some will relinquish their agency under the assumption that they are somehow above, separate from the rest of humankind, which is the same ethos that is contributing to the death of the natural ecosystem. When we think of ourselves as apart or as lone pillars of ideological purpose uncorrupted by the “laziness” and “weakness” of our fellow man; when we assume we live in a meritocracy instead of one that thrives off of subjugation, policing and silencing; when we refuse to change our habits of consumption even when workers are denied basic rights and the oceans are full of waste . . .
Fear. We tell ourselves that to upend and make critical changes is too much for one person. That voting won’t make a difference. That we gotta make a living somehow. Turn off your brain. Don’t think about who you’re propping up when you spend your money. Everything is exhausting. Manage the daily grind.
What we don’t usually give Capricorn credit for is its aptitude of far-sight. Its symbol is the goat-fish, and while the tenacious goat scales impossible cliffs, climbs trees, and generally ends up in high places that you would not expect to see a goat, the fish can swim to the lowest depths of the ocean (the psyche), and scope out the darkness, thriving where most creatures cannot. The combination of the two demonstrates the survival instinct of Capricorn, as well as its perseverance in challenging conditions.
With the South Node in Capricorn, we already know how to defend ourselves from emotion, to work our lives away, to fear those who look different because societal optics register their goals and ambitions as contrary to our own. And in addition to this self-nullifying addiction to the grind, the planetary scales are currently tipped dramatically to prolonging Capricorn ideology.
For the majority of January, the Sun and Mercury will be in Capricorn. Our egos (the Sun) are attached to our work. What we say (Mercury) is reflective of our desire to build something enduring. There are always higher vibe and lower vibe aspects to any transit, and these two influences make us identify with what we’ve built, and therefore loathe to see it as anything less than permanent. This is compounded by the presence of two slow-moving planets with lengthy Capricorn transits, Saturn and Pluto. Saturn doubles-down on the emphasis on responsibility to work, and Pluto gives the atmosphere a heaviness, compelling us to look at the shadows of consumption. Both are extremely transformative influences which force radical readjustment.
What does the weight of these planets signify in combination with the South Node? Clearly, the old ways are dying. Those whose livelihoods depend on the stranglehold of systems, whether they be politicians, corporations, or even those who hold dominant forms of privilege, can sense this death rattle, and they will be slow to let that privilege go, making things, at least for the moment, harder on those without generational wealth and kyriarchical advantages. There will be abundant trials and tests over the next two years forcing us all as a human family to consider how we want to move forward and better govern ourselves. We will have to put in effort, we will have to call on clear sight, and we will have to have faith that when we move away from a crumbling structure, we will be supported, that we will have what we need to survive, even if survival ultimately looks different than what we expected. The very idea of “freedom” and what it means to be “free” will be different after this two-year period.
In many ways, the battle lines are already being drawn. Are you opening up? Is your heart breaking? Are you beginning to thaw?
One of my teachers describes the North Node in Cancer as “winter is over”. In this reality, all the iciness frozen around your heart to protect you from feeling has melted. The structures built to keep out the cold have cracked through with impossible growth, green leaves poking from fissures. The North Node in Cancer is the vision of communal summer, of welcoming warmth and letting yourself heal. We can’t heal in a vacuum; we need the assistance of our families, our communities, each other. Deep, cathartic change is coming to the way we function under the auspices of power and greed. These ideologies, even though they might be what we have been groomed to know, are untenable. Over the next year and a half, when you feel the need to isolate or detach, that is where you must course-correct by allowing yourself to be emotional and react when you feel pain or see injustice. Recognize the aspects of society that are toxic. Make changes to curtail your participation.
The illusion of the South Node in Capricorn is that we are fundamentally different. The lesson of the North Node in Cancer is to see the reality: people don’t want to hurt you, take your jobs and see you suffer. People want the ability to love freely, to nurture relationships, create a peaceful home, to rest and relax. To drink clean water and breath clean air and for their children to experience the same. To stop hustling for long enough to enjoy the beauty that is all around.
The Cancer North Node understands that learning what it means to heal when you’ve only been provided man-made medicine is a challenging process. It’s become natural to throw over the organic seasons and cycles provided to us by the Earth, our only mother, without whom we cannot exist. We can think of the North Node as a muscle that has atrophied from disuse. Just because we’re out of practice doesn’t mean it’s not strong, we just need to work on it a little every day. When you feel yourself being triggered, when fear is creeping in, take note of why it’s rearing its head. Are these feelings attached to any legitimate sources? Being brave means showing up without knowing the outcome. It’s standing up for those with less privilege than you, calling people out or in, or providing platforms to amplify the voices of the marginalized. It’s taking a leap of faith. It’s trusting your fellow man. It’s recognizing self-care as valid. It’s taking care of your mental health. It’s paying attention to your breathing. It’s sharing your knowledge, and honoring the wisdom of your ancestors, who came before you and who dreamed you into existence. It is looking at what is sustainable in the long term, not haggling for quick fixes and short-term solutions. It’s planting a seed knowing that the fruit isn’t for you; it belongs to those who come after.
The retrogrades of the past year have occurred to help us shed whatever is not aligning with our highest good. It has taught discernment. In the coming year, be discerning in asking for what you need. Verbalize it in partnerships. Concretize it in work. When you look at your relationships, ask “does this person allow me to be myself? Do they support my growth?” When you take a job, ask “who am I making money for at the top of the chain, and what are they doing to make the world more exceptional?” When you look at the products you buy, ask “who benefits from my purchases, actions or complicity?”
Remember, we’re not running away from Capricorn; there are great benefits to building lasting enterprises. But we can do better. We can integrate the high-vibe, responsible Capricorn ethos with the humanistic and protective spirit of Cancer to begin thriving. Fear is the swan song of the coming years. We don’t need it. It is the mind killer. It is an inorganic construct. What we need is solidarity, strength and commitment to protecting the vulnerable. We have to trust in the universe as well as ourselves, because we are the greatest arbiters for our own needs, and the greatest sources of connection for each other – not the things we buy, the systems we engage with, our titles, or what we presume to “own”. So consult your intuition.
Vote with your dollar and lead by example. And most of all, plant seeds. Watch them grow.