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Capricorn New Moon: Merit Badge

In the Northern Hemisphere, the New Moon in Capricorn falls during the season when the Sun’s midday zenith is at its lowest point in the sky. As astrologers, we often describe those born with the Sun in this sign as natural executives, built of grit, integrity, and ambition. But something we don’t often mention is the source of Capricorn’s ambition – the uncomfortable feeling that we, like the winter sun, are a vast distance from the heights we wish to reach.

To crack open a new wall calendar or desk planner on January 1 is to delight in the feeling of endless possibilities. You may begin the year unemployed, unhappy in relationship, uncomfortable with your body; but by year’s end, who knows? You could be ecstatic in your work, blissful in your relationships, trim and healthy.

The popular joke is that by the end of each year, our lives usually look pretty much as they did at its beginning. Victims of our own weakness, or of some psychological blockage we haven’t yet fully unraveled, we find ourselves back at the beginning – the lowest point in our personal sky – by December’s end. Perhaps we’re too often guilty of envisioning the desired outcome, but not the process of achieving it.

The cold Capricorn season reminds us how far we are from where we’d like to be. But if we listen closely, it also provides a formula for reaching the promised land: Choose your objective, break it down into bite-sized chunks, and work away at it steadily, diligently, and honestly. Most of us understand this. Why, then, do we so seldom end the year differently than we began?

Maybe it’s because we don’t listen carefully enough to Capricorn’s tone of voice. It’s a tone that means business and does not allow for any excuses, any softness. The world is your oyster, Capricorn intones; but it is also harsh and impersonal, and you are low and small. If you wish to claim your oyster, there can be no screwing around. You have to make it happen. Instead of looking for shortcuts to your goal–fad diets, easy money, plastic surgery–you have to do the work. You have to do it. And if you try to fake it, you may reach great heights–but the fall from grace will hurt that much more.

Allow me to share a humiliating personal anecdote to illustrate my point. As a child, I was a girl scout. I don’t know what those girls get up to these days, but when I was one of them we used to earn merit badges that demonstrated skill in a particular area. You fulfilled a page full of requirements and got your badge, which you then got to sew on your girl scout sash for all to see.

Oh, I loved those badges. I can still remember how they looked, their embroidered depictions of campfires and sewing bobbins. I wanted all of them. I ended up with lots and lots of them, probably more than anyone else in my troop.

Because I cheated to get them.

Sigh. Also, :: facepalm ::. With my untamed Saturn in Capricorn, I was a budding, pint-sized Richard Nixon.

Luckily, I had a mother who had enough insight into my character and, miraculously, enough love for me that she gently but firmly brought me into compliance with the better angels of my nature. She didn’t make me give the badges back, but she personally saw to it that I performed every requirement on each badge’s list. (Except the one for sewing, which I gave back. I never could get the hang of sewing.)

A friend with several Capricorn planets of her own complains that today’s parents are too gentle with their children for fear of injuring their self-esteem with a harsh word. “You know how you build self-esteem?” she’s fond of saying. “You do things, and you do them the right way. That’s how you build self-esteem.” That’s how my mother built my self-esteem, all right. Badge by stinking badge.

Since my failed career as a girl scout, I’ve done plenty of things that I’m proud of. Every one of them was almost impossibly difficult. If something isn’t difficult, I’m afraid it holds little appeal for me. That’s why I’m an astrologer – an absurdly difficult profession for me – and not a musician, which came as easily as breathing. It’s why my poor clients hear more about the squares and oppositions in their charts than about the trines and sextiles. Because for me, succeeding against impossible odds offers an exhilarating payoff that an easy life simply can’t offer. When you’ve done something you really aren’t sure you can do… well, that’s one of the best feelings there is, and you can’t cheat your way into it. I thank Saturn in Capricorn, and my marvelous parents, for teaching me that.

Here’s a modest suggestion as this new year gets underway: don’t draft a whole list of resolutions. Choose just one really important one. Make a list of twelve requirements – one for each month of the year – that you must complete in order to fulfill this resolution. Check them off, one by one, month by month; don’t skip any of them. And on December 31, 2017, you’ll have earned that merit badge.

Just don’t ask me to sew it on for you.

© 2013, 2016 April Elliott Kent







25 comments to " Capricorn New Moon: Merit Badge "

  • dear april,

    I like your suggestion. I’m not only going to follow it; I’m going to report back to you as we approach 2018.

    many blessings,

  • Victoria

    What an inspiring, eloquent and accessible post. Thank you for the insights, the great story and the courage reflected in its telling. (Girl scout badges weren’t my thing, but I’ve cheated in a plethora of other ways. And like you, I never appreciate anything I don’t have to work a little–or even a lot–to get.)

    Your mom sounds amazing. As a Gemini, I often clashed with my Capricorn mother. But the older and more mature I become, the more I appreciate and miss her. Your post has inspired me to resolve to channel her energy and spirit in a direct, focused way in 2017. She would love the idea of a one-item list with 12 requirements on it.

    Thanks again for this and every essay you provide. I wish you a happy (or better yet, fulfilling, ha) 2017.

    • Thanks, Victoria! My mom was pretty great… Taurus with Venus in Pisces. Her Virgo Moon insisted on high standards, but she delivered her lessons with humor and love. I feel lucky. I’ve also been blessed with some formidable Capricorn teachers in my life, and their lessons have been some of the most important of my life! Warm good wishes to you for 2017, as well.

  • april, course correction

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  • Aimee

    I’ve never met another soul that admitted to cheating to get girls scout badges! That is my husband’s favorite story about me! And I didn’t give back the sewing badge, but since I couldn’t sew, I taped all of those glorious badges on my sash. LOL! Probably a big reason I love to can in the summer – I like to call them my little jars of accomplishment! Thanks for a great laugh from a kindred spirit!

  • Caryl

    This sounds like a good idea, April. Please keep writing…I enjoy reading what you write every month.

    Happy New Year to you and yours,


  • Trish

    I too was a Saturn in Capricorn (and 4 other personal planets as well) Girl Scout with nearly all possible badges, but not even with my Gemini Asc would the thought of cheating to get them occur to me. I wanted to do all those things, and I wanted to be accomplished. Fast forward a few decades and I am still racking up accomplishments. But I agree that self-esteem comes from accomplishment, I have never questioned mine.

    • I wonder why you felt the need to share that comment?

      • Trish

        Because most Capricorns are not at given to cheating their way through life; they actually enjoy doing the work. A Capricorn, if anything, is someone who calls out flakes who haven’t done the work because, as you learned early on, Capricorns usually can’t get away with cheating, so they don’t allow it in others.

        Nixon’s Mercury made him nervous and insecure, but he didn’t get to the White House without doing the work. He advanced methodically until he was VP for 8 years, and then lost two elections in a row: the presidential election of 1960 and the California governor election in 1962. Others might have given up after that, but he ran in 1968 and won. The irony of his insecurity is that the Watergate scandal wasn’t necessary to win the 1972 election, but his insecurity got the best of him.

        • Well, I didn’t come close to suggesting that all people with any planets in Capricorn were prone to “cheating their way through life.” Quite the contrary. I gave an example of one a small human with Saturn in Capricorn who learned a lesson, and one Sun in Capricorn man who, despite being tenacious and doing the work, stands as the acme of executive corruption and a tragically failed Capricorn. And yes, I feel compassion for sweaty, insecure, ambitious Nixon and his awful mistake – just as I feel compassion for that struggling little six year old and her childish error in judgment. I’m grateful I had a mother who corrected my course without breaking my spirit. I’ve never forgotten those lessons.

  • I really enjoy your articles! I have a Cap moon and Cap mercury (Aquarian sun). I agree that doing things the right way is strongly instilled in my character (both a blessing and a curse). I don’t necessarily think today’s parents are too gentle with their kids, though. Many of the things my parents demanded me to do the right way inhibited my self-expression as a child and that inhibition lasted well into adulthood. It has taken me a lifetime to accept and honor my way of doing things as the right way for me. Every parent makes mistakes, they are only human. But I strongly believe allowing kids to follow their own path, with gentle guidance, and make their own mistakes, is the best gift a parent can give to them.

    • Thank you, Sue Z. Parenting is such a formidable job; I never felt the call to it, and I’m sure I’d have made all kinds of mistakes! I do know lots of people whose parents disciplined the joy right out of them. It’s always sad to hear those stories. I do think there is a distinction to be made between self-expression, which requires a parent to provide breathing space for imagination and play, and rules for moral behavior, which need to be taught – as you rightly say, gently. 🙂

  • Leslie

    Fabulous advice! “I was a budding, pint-sized Richard Nixon.” LOL. You are a gift. Happy New Year!

  • Hi
    My daughter has cap. Moon and is aSag . l am a Pisces and my cap. Moon is conjunct Jupiter in sag. We have lived together for the majority of our lives and have the joy of agreeing on the basis and fundamental stuff which makes life easier to cope with the other stuff. Wev been ,especially me I think excited, happy and generally daft recently , with the feeling that this is a new start.

  • Hi
    I completely forgot that Uranus is natally opposite Jupiter in my chart , also Uranus trine Mercury , there would be a grand trine to Neptune in libra except that is 9 degree margin of exactness. Uranus occupying its position now gives me grand trine with Uranus twice,is that allowed April?
    Would this explain my daftness?

    • Hi Rhea, many astrologers feel that when a natal aspect (like your Jupiter/Uranus opposition) is replicated in the current transits, then the transiting aspect will often mark an important event or transition. I can’t quite follow what you’re saying about Mercury/Uranus/Neptune – I think you’re saying they are in a grand trine in your birth chart (I suspect though the orb is not exact, the three will respond to transits more or less as a team). If transiting Jupiter and/or Uranus are in aspect to one of those three planets, then probably the whole configuration is resonating to the Jupiter/Uranus transit – if that makes sense.

  • Karen

    April, What a great idea for NewYear resolution! I have enjoyed your posts all year and look forward to all of 2017! Thanks so much for your inspiration.

  • hi April
    Sorry I wasn’t clear, trying to describe something so visual with no glyphs to help, and one finger typing is tiresome. I have Uranus opp. Jupiter natally Gemini and sag.
    Also I have Uranus trine Mercury Gemini and Aquarius with a loose grand trine to Neptune in libra, Jupiter is now making the grand trine exact.
    Also transiting Uranus is opposing trans. Jupiter replicating a natal aspect, and sextile natal Mercury and Uranus .
    Thank you for your trouble I hope this makes things clearer.
    Thank you for the explanation, could I ask if the new beginning is in the new houses or does hark back to the origional aspect houses.
    I find it quite hard to grasp seems too big.!!

  • Leah

    Hi April – brilliant as usual! I could not say any better than Victoria has how much I appreciate what you shared; I concur about all the little cheats – too many makes it impossible to appreciate anything…
    This new moon landed right on the only thing I have in Cap: my IC…very much feeling Capricorn’s tone of voice recently!!! My mother (Pisces) lead (briefly) my (Leo) Girl Scout troop, in an experience that was the polar opposite – totally random, no accountability…no plan whatsoever, which is an underlying theme I have been up against for as long as I can remember. Thanks for shining a spotlight on this for me!
    Happy New Year!

  • Joy

    Hi April – I happened on your blog a few months ago so that is one good thing 2016 has brought me 🙂 Your moon phase insights have given me a lot of food for thought. I have Cancer ascending conjunct Uranus and though I have studied astrology for many years I am only recently looking at the effects of the new and full moons. An oversight that you are helping me repair. My Cancer daughter has a Cap moon (squaring my Moon, Sat, Nep, Sun stellium in Libra) so all insights into Capricorn as well as the moon are greatly appreciated. (My only Cap is mars conjunct Chiron so I think I may have a skewed picture) Happy New Year and Thanks again!

  • Hi
    Happy new year,
    Its raining here after a week of beautiful weather but it’s good because it will ensure the fireworks are out! New look out for 2017
    A very happy new year and especially to you April.x
    Thank you

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