Some Thoughts on Capricorn

We rise by kneeling

Janus, the Roman god of transitions, gates, and time, was depicted facing in two directions, a fitting symbol for Capricorn, which spans two calendar years and thus is both a sign of conclusion and of a new beginning. This two-way vision is expressed in the keynote of Capricorn—Lost am I in light supernal, yet on that light I turn my back. No new spiritual cycle, it seems, can be achieved without effort, strain and struggle to overcome the counter forces which would impede such striving. The goal which ignited the aspiration of the seeker in Sagittarius becomes, in Capricorn, a test of commitment and of striving in order to reach the summit of the mountain top. Aspiration is recognized as insufficient on its own and the realization dawns that the spiritual will is also needed. Striving in Capricorn is not for the purpose of escaping the woes and tribulations of Earth, but to serve as a light-bearer to those who follow.

Does this powerful drive to strive towards the summit seem to conflict with the need for humility? In astrology, Capricorn is said to rule the knees, and the ability to kneel is essential on the Path of liberation. “We rise by kneeling, we conquer by surrendering, we gain by giving up”, it’s said. In Alice Bailey’s writings, we’re told that only when one learns to kneel in all humility and to offer one’s heart and life to the soul and to human service, is it permissible to pass through the door of initiation. Humility is one of those spiritual virtues that is often misinterpreted. Esoterically understood, humility is “that adjusted sense of right proportion which equips its possessor with a balanced point of view”, the writings of Alice Bailey tell us. Humility must always accompany a spiritual self-respect which forbids one to stand anywhere upon the Path except in one’s rightful place, she wrote. Then one knows what one can contribute to strengthen the group effort and how to sustain one’s fellow servers.

Capricorn represents or presents a point of transition made possible by the process of crystallization. For reasons deeply buried in the human psyche, it seems that times of flux and change often evoke a reciprocal response of resistance. We can see this working out in the world today, when the desire to restore the old order or to renew past ideals is creating, on the part of some, resistance to change and a fear of the new but unknown. The inpouring spiritual forces are coming into conflict with this tendency to crystallize and to hold on to familiar forms, producing necessary but disruptive effects. Knowing the cause of this disruption helps us to understand why destruction through crystallization can be a beneficent process when it releases the indwelling life from old worn out forms.

Perhaps this is why Ken Wilbur said “Spirituality does not console the world, it shatters it.” When crystallization reaches a point of greatest density, it can generate the conditions which bring about a shattering. It makes it impossible to hold on to the things of the past and, when successful, releases the indwelling life. An analogy might be the skill of the diamond cutter who knows where to strike the blow to the point of cleavage in a gemstone which will release the maximum degree of light refraction. And so it is that spiritual energies work. They strike where the cleavage holds the most potential to release the light.

The world today, when the forces of cleavage seem to be achieving their maximum potential in dividing human beings and nations from one another, may be at just such a point of shattering. In times of transition and an incoming new age, such as now, the esoteric teaching tells us that the shattering effects of crystallization are best avoided through the cultivation of pliability and adaptability. “Cultivate responsiveness to the newer vibration”, we’re told, “for in love of all that breathes comes astral pliability”. Let us work in meditation to strengthen this recognition in human consciousness.



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