The January 4 Solar Eclipse, at the 14th degree of Capricorn, is the last eclipse in that sign until January 6, 2019. Recent eclipses near this degree of Capricorn were lunar eclipses in July of 2000, 2001, 2009, and December 2009; and a solar eclipse on January 4, 1992. This eclipse picks up the thread of a conversation that was also taking place during those years, a thread that knits those moments from the past into the fabric of the present.
See if you can remember the major concerns of your life at those times; where were you shaking out the rugs of your life and headed in a new direction, whether by choice or by force?
Ebeneezer Scrooge, the central character of Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," begins the tale as the acme of a negative Capricorn archetype — miserly, cold-hearted, and alone. A series of ghostly visitors appear to show him the error of his ways, and by the end of the tale, he’s been transformed into a kindly, generous, loving citizen of the human race. The moral of the story is that a man with no family or loved ones can never be truly rich, no matter how much money he has — but also, that redemption is always possible.
Like Scrooge’s ghostly visions, the cycle of Cancer and Capricorn eclipses that began in 2009 has awakened us to the value of maintaining warm bonds with our loved ones (Cancer), and reminded us that worldly success (Capricorn) is only worth having if it serves a purpose beyond our own glorification and enrichment.
The chart for this eclipse shows the New Moon and Mars in Capricorn, all square Saturn in Libra. Capricorn’s drive for individual achievement is in direct conflict with the forging of equal partnerships, represented by Saturn in Libra. Transiting Pluto is conjunct the Moon’s North Node at this eclipse, and as always when Pluto is on the scene, there’s the danger of self-defeating behavior – in this case, seizing power and authority to the detriment of relationships.
What's needed to check these tendencies are the strong and dissenting voices of those who know us best - whether it's because they love us, or because they've traveled the same road themselves.
In Scrooge's story, this voice comes from his late business partner, Jacob Marley, who is the first ghost to visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve. Marley has been dead for seven years – seven, as we know, is a significant number in astrology, related to Saturn and representing a moment of awakening. Despite his vast wealth, Marley died alone, and through his appearance to Scrooge he hopes to redeem his old partner from a similar fate.
In this eclipse chart, Saturn in Libra is a Jacob Marley figure (Saturn rules business, and Libra represents partners), contesting the single-minded ambition of the Capricorn with a single question: What good are achievements if you have no one to share them with you?
Even when it's been pointed out to you that your ambitions are having a bad impact on your relationships, or that you’re becoming stony and inflexible, it can be hard to correct your course. This is symbolized well by the Sabian Symbol for this eclipse degree:
An Ancient Bas-relief Carved in Granite Remains
a Witness to a Long-Forgotten Culture
The Sabian Symbols are 360 word pictures, one for each degree of the zodiac, channeled by psychic Elsie Wheeler. Astrologer Lynda Hill, a specialist in interpreting the Sabians, notes that this symbol can represent the longevity and stability that lend structure to society, but also self-defeating attitudes that have etched themselves into our lives and are difficult to erase. We can feel stuck and frozen, as though no growth is possible and nothing can change.
There’s a bright spot, however: The sabian symbol for Saturn’s degree at this Solar Eclipse is,
A retired sea captain watches ships
entering and leaving the harbor
Hill associates this degree with disconnection from the past, turning to domestic pursuits, and quietly reflecting before moving ahead to new experiences.
The message of this eclipse, then, is to examine your self-limiting beliefs and attitudes, the ones that make you feel stuck and hopeless. With the guidance (and perhaps the "tough love") of the Jacob Marleys in your own life, confront the ghosts of your past, your present, and your future… and then, as Scrooge did, disconnect from them. It’s time to pick up anchor and move ahead, toward another turning point.