There’s an adage for picking out the perfect Christmas gift that says, If you don’t know what they want, give something that you yourself would like. This rule of thumb isn’t foolproof (there’s truly no accounting for taste, nor well-meaning relatives), but in a pinch, if you think about something you would have a hard time buying for yourself, yet you also know you would use – it practically, works. I enjoy giving, but this year I would simply like to receive. Receiving the present is the one present I have a hard time buying for myself- and it’s as much of a necessity as a nice tea mug, or new pair of slippers.  The more gifts & presents I receive, the more there is to give – to reciprocate back. But to truly receive… More than presents, this year, it’s presence I want.

Saturn is a God of Necessity, and necessity calls during Capricorn New Moon when  family gatherings often feel like obligation, financial outlays that require far more belt-tightening than jolly St. Nick is  familiar with, clearly. Capricorn has its paradoxes. Just as Mountain Goat ambitiously climbs to great heights, persevering through rough spots and making painstaking sacrifices to arrive on time with presents, the glyph of Capricorn reveals that the goat (curiously) also has a mermaid tail. It appears that every two and four-legged above ground citizen needs a tail. For making sea dives into our soul.Yet, it’s a tenuous balance, being in this world and not of it.  Finding the touchstone of our heart and soul may mean de-programming from what we habitually and ambitiously ‘go after’- the successful career, promotion, car, amazing love life, because sometimes the only thing truly standing between us & a full heart, is the singleminded pursuit of desires that have grown bone calcified over time. And then Christmas arrives, and we’re swimming in what we truly need: the warming Christmas carols of heavenly song, the generosity of strangers, traditions that connect us to our roots, memory. On a candlelit evening, when in a moment of warmth and stark clarity we are filled with the benevolence & forgiving friendship of the present, a knowing about what is right & true – it’s this moment I look forward to every year. It’s the magic of the season.

Ever since I picked up my first astrology books, astrology has held me in her cosmic cradle, in a sea of metaphor and imagination, helping me to look within. But how often we forget the stars and planets actually hang in the night sky, as real as dust motes, and this week 7 of them are visible ( if you don’t have a telescope, and have an iPad you might really enjoy one of these Apps– I like Star Walk, which allows you to point your iPad in the direction of your sky and ‘see’ the constellations from your own spot on the globe). Astrology has been the sky I dive inward into, to swim in symbolic language. But sometimes words, language and abstractions  of astrology weigh me down. That’s when I look up at the stars and go for a night swim. Swimming alone, in the black massive womb of sky, no language, no thought, I find my footing again.

Capricorn realigns our earthly instincts with heavenly ones. When the inspirations that alight our soul, cosmically align with earthly life…magic happens. The recipe for this seasonal magic is simple. We possess the right earthly instincts: to see our life clearly for what it is (not what we want it to be),  the wisdom to relinquish any resistance and control in an area of life that is making life harder than necessary, and the maturity to work with the limits & resources we have. We possess the right spiritual instincts, too: all we have to do is open our heart to the Spirit of the season and allow what we discover to lead the way. Our own life has all the ingredients we need. This season, in a precious moment of solitude among friends, may your Spirit climb higher and dive down deeper. May you, with feet solid on the Earth, unwrap the magic of the present.

Image credit: Deep Sea Girl by Nicona