At this New
Moon and Winter Solstice, we celebrate change: a time when the sun takes a pause from its path in the sky, like the space between breaths; and a moment of stillness, for regrouping, before we advance forth again. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is low and the solstice marks the time when the days begin to gradually stretch out again (albeit by one minute/day), reminding us that each moment counts. My Papou (grandfather), who was in his element during the long, warm days of summer and tending
to his vegetable garden, noted this truth every solstice. The implication was: it may be dark now, but today we get one extra minute of light.
The New Moon (exact yesterday, Dec. 23rd) is in the sign of
Capricorn, which sparks our ambitions and longterm goals. It can also cause feelings of defeat or discouragement when goals are not realized -- but if I know one thing about the mountain goat (and I do! - I am one), we don't give up easily, no matter how futile things may seem (and, boy, can they sometimes). Giving up, simply, doesn't seem to be an option for children of Saturn (Capricorn's ruling planet). A line from Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot comes to mind: "You must go
on. I can't go on. I'll go on."
During Capricorn season, you may feel a bit like the character from Beckett's play: I can't go on, I'll go on. Capricorns, luckily, have a knack for seeing the
humor in life situations - a dry humor cultivated over a lifetime, and a trait that may be rooted more in survival than anything else. Despite any feelings of life weariness you may currently feel, you may also be in the process of reconnecting with your ambitions, devising new plans and goals or, perhaps, revamping something that didn't quite work in its former state.
Beckett is also famous for his "fail better" line ("try again, fail again, fail better"). Although this line may not have originally been meant as inspirational, it highlights that failure is an important part of life that bears its own, let's say, interesting kind of fruit (can you hear my Capricorn humor?), whether or not
it leads to recognizable or worldly success. We may only deem our failures worthwhile if they transform into big wins, but perhaps there is something redemable in them either way. These are the two faces of the mountain goat (Capricorn): failure and success.
With so many planets in Capricorn at this New Moon, failure and success are themes you may be revisiting, along with the patterns that lead you there. Can you look at the things that didn't work out as you had hoped or intended in a different way (I know, that's annoying) ... even if it is just to laugh at it? It is important to shift feelings and emotions around failures, or perceived failures, because we can only move on from
experiences and emotions when we have accepted and integrated them. Feelings of failure or disappointment that get stuck or stagnate in the body/mind can cause trouble.
Capricorns are said to carry the
weight of the world on their shoulders. When, many years ago, I had my first Astrology Reading, the man reading my natal chart looked at my shoulders and smiled: they were raised up by my ears in full-on Capricorn fashion. He told me, jokingly, he could spot Capricorns from a mile away by looking at their shoulders.
If you are feeling tension or pain in your shoulders or upper back it may be a signal to release what you are carrying on an emotional level. Slow, stretchy yoga poses and movements, accompanied by steady, consistent breaths, can help to relieve some of the tension. You can start with jaw stretches, gentle neck stretches (side to side), shoulder rolls. You may want to interlace
your hands behind your head, leaning your head into your hands and opening, gently, your elbows. Side body leans may feel nice, as well as Cat/Cow and modified wide-arms Cobra rolls. Really tune into your body and breath as you move. I will work on recording and posting a short video for releasing upper body pain.
Just like the slow but steady lengthening of each day that my Papou liked to point out, Capricorn energy spurs us to get back to work with the knowledge that our efforts, although tedious, may result in something akin to those long, blissful summer days. Failure can (and often does) contribute to something meaningful that you are unaware of at the time. And, if it
doesn't pan out the way we'd hoped ... well ... there's always humor.
For those of you I haven't connected with in a long time, I teach yoga Sunday mornings at 9:30 EST on Vivaya, an online platform for
yoga and wellness (click below). I'd love to see you!