Capricorn, the sign that rules business and worldly achievement, is sometimes uncharitably described as cold and pragmatic. Not that all Capricorn people are that way, of course; far from it. At its best, Capricorn is the kindly, sensible patriarch that guides us to achievement and to being our best selves. But each sign has its shadow side, and bottom-line pragmatism is certainly the archetypal province of Capricorn. Think of Scrooge, and of Mr. Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Or the CEO who engineered an acquisition of the company where you work, and promptly discontinued the pension plan, slashed benefits, and fired ten percent of the work force. If a business practice doesn’t improve his bottom line, such a person can’t comprehend how it could possibly contribute to his success.
But the Full Moon in the domestic, nurturing sign of Cancer reminds us that there are all kinds of ways to be successful, and not all of them can be measured with a calculator. Consider my favorite eatery, a small, family-owned restaurant that has been a mainstay of our neighborhood for nearly four decades.
When we moved into our first home together, my husband and I soon joined the legions of enchilada addicts who regularly flocked to the tiny, dingy restaurant down the street. Aside from the extraordinary food, which would keep us coming back no matter what, this is the only restaurant where I’ve ever really felt at home. As long-time regulars, my husband and I are accorded the respect and affection of that status. We walk in the door and are greeted warmly and led to our favorite table; within minutes, our favorite drinks are on the table and our order has been placed for us. When we go there, we feel like family; and based on the number of familiar patrons we recognize each time we visit, we’re part of a fairly large clan.
It is, in short, an institution. In an industry that sees many more failures than successes, it’s no small feat to keep a restaurant open, let alone thriving, into the next generation. I don’t pretend to know how they do it; I only know how I feel when I go there: I feel like a person, not a figure on someone’s balance sheet.
Apparently, so do the staff, who tend to stay for a good long time. Part of what keeps them there, I imagine, are person-friendly business practices. For instance, the restaurant is closed every Sunday. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve found ourselves geared up for a tasty lunch, gotten all the way to their front door, and remembered too late that it was Sunday – el restaurante estaba cerrado. Their doors are also shut each year for the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. I’m sure there were times, especially early on, when the owner’s bottom line suffered as a result of these decisions. But to him, Sunday and Christmastime are for spending time with family, not for working.
Family, community, and tradition are the soul-nourishing province of Cancer, the essential counterpart to Capricorn’s desire for worldly achievement. Our favorite eatery has succeeded for largely Cancerian reasons: great food, a nurturing atmosphere, great location, and a younger generation that has taken an interest in the family business. We’ve watched the owner’s children grow up, and it was a bit of a shock when, a couple of years ago, they took over the business. We watched warily as they undertook a major remodel, expanding the restaurant and opening an outdoor seating area. We wondered if our favorite waitresses would disappear, or whether the marvelous uncle who cooks our favorite enchiladas would retire along with his brother. Perhaps – horrors! – the kids would even decide to keep the place open on Sundays! Would our beloved haunt still feel like home?
Well, things are a little different there now. The remodeled interior is beautiful, but unbelievably noisy, thanks to stylish concrete floors and high ceilings. Many of the older waitresses have moved on. But the new patio seating area is a dream, our favorite place in the world to sit and have a meal. One of the New Guard has become our all-time favorite waitress, and we still get the same warm attention when we walk through the door. The food is exactly the same – delicious – and you still can’t get it on Sunday, or during the week after Christmas.
A few days ago, drafting my resolutions for the new year, I found myself thinking about this restaurant and about the other businesses I enjoy patronizing. They all have a couple of things in common. First, they shared a warm, welcoming spirit that makes me feel appreciated. And second, every one of them is wildly successful by standards that would impress even the flintiest Capricorn. They include a hairdresser who is booked a month in advance; a mechanic who is so busy he had to rent a new building last year, an astrologer so brilliant and empathetic that he has a two-year waiting list for readings. They – and the Full Moon in Cancer – remind us that whatever we hope to achieve in the New Year, we will find our best and fullest success by treating the people around us with tenderness and nurturing. That’s thereal bottom line – and if we protect that, then the balance sheet will take care of itself.
© April Elliott Kent
And here’s Astrograph’s (www.astrograph.com) take on the current astrological happenings…
With Friday’s Full Moon we reach an important stage in this pivotal end-of-year period. This is an especially significant moment in time, one week after the 2012 Day and just a few days before the New Year, Monday the 31st at midnight, and featuring the perfection of the Saturn–Pluto sextile that has come along in this Winter 2012 time frame to add its weight to the on-going cycle of Uranus and Pluto. Massive transformation is the theme, as current events continue to call to our attention, and as our own instincts also reveal when we take the opportunity to tune in – as Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter puts it, to “close our eyes to see.” And the individual and societal mandate for change that we so poignantly feel actually represents our own best interest. We must, in the final analysis, allow to drop away whichever of our dysfunctional behaviors that we can identify as no longer serving our real needs.
There is in fact an enormous focus on Pluto in Friday’s chart, and as the year turns over. At the moment of the Full Moon, the Sun conjuncts Pluto within a mere two degrees, while the Moon opposes; Jupiter in Gemini makes an exact quincunx to the midpoint of Sunand Pluto. Saturn in Scorpio remains in mutual reception to Pluto and also in extremely close sextile, exact within a few minutes of a degree, thus greatly emphasizing both of these powerful planetary energies for change. Pluto in the social sign of Capricorn presages the radical transformation of cultural structures. Saturnbrings hardship and lessons to whatever sign it occupies. In Scorpio, the lessons are all about emotional connection with others around us, and within ourselves as well. Being in closer touch with ourselves at the deepest possible level is one way of conceptualizing the cultural shift that we are in the midst of now, and through to the end of the decade. When we witness the tragedy of schoolhouse assassins failing to get the emotional help that they need it speaks to all of us. And when we see social services potentially curtailed, placing the most vulnerable among us at greater risk, in order to keep the wealthiest in better financial health, it forces us to pause and consider priorities.
The Full Moon opposition from the nurturing sign of Cancer versus the Capricorn Sun brings issues of private and public, self and other, directly to our inner dialog. Jupiter, planetary archetype of spiritual faith and fundamental optimism in our choices, is also a particularly dominant factor right now. We as a society are looking ahead to the future, and attempting to discern where we are headed. And yet the social organism is nothing more than the sum of individuals. Each one of us has the emblematic power to make the choices that as a society we will live with for years and perhaps for decades to come, and the sustaining power of Spirit is working along with us to guide us through.
At the time of this Full Moon, the Moon in Cancer makes a Grand Trine in Water with Saturn in Scorpio and withChiron in Pisces so that our emotions are easily aroused and deeply motivated. Also, the Sabian Symbol forPluto‘s degree in Capricorn speaks of unfamiliar energies that we need to explore: “An albatross feeding from the hand of a sailor.” Indeed, through this Full Moon, we are getting in closer touch with our orphaned animal nature, our instinctual side. We are probing for answers to our collective dilemma where we must: on the inside. As we come though the transformationally oriented end of a potent year, we do well to remember that we have within us, by a simple shift in attitude, the ability to change and improve our world.