It feels…difficult to speak on really anything at the moment. A right-wing “insurrection” that was fumbling but inevitable after the progress we made this summer and the wins in Georgia. A display of White Supremacy that does not surprise, but is no less difficult to contend with. And I’m white! I cannot imagine what my comrades of color, the Black community especially, must be feeling right now, or worse, if this is just business as usual. My heart goes out to you and I am reminded that I have much work to do towards contending with and dismantling my own place within the system of white supremacy.
What else is Capricorn season for but considering the structures we have built up to support us? We saw this with the Capricorn full moon, at the height of the BLM uprising this summer. And we see it now. Who do these structures actually support? Do they hold us up or hold us back? How effective can it really be to plaster over a foundation that is rotting from the inside? Cap’s ruling planet Saturn can feel like the oppressor when we only see the intricate systems in place to raise up the ruling class and suppress dissent (well the inconvenient kind). But Saturn does not approve of even the smoothest running bureaucracy if its intention is suffocate all but the smallest ratio. In those cases, he can show us just as surely how to dismantle as how to build.
Saturn teaches us that structure and foundation can gives us a container in which we can more easily learn to grow and thrive. Yes, he does not coddle. Yes, I have referred to him as the Universal Dom (and no we don’t get a safe word). But when we let go of our resistance to structure and stability, it doesn’t have to hurt so much.
The beautiful duality of Saturn is that she* is Mother and she is Death. She is the beginning and the end. When free-flowing divine energy is given Form, it is also given an expiration date. So in one fell swoop, we give up our immortality for a chance at the great Game of Life.[Binah, seat of Saturn on the Qabalistic Tree of Life] is the archetypal womb through which life comes into manifestation…It must be remembered, however, that life confined in a form, although it is enabled thereby to organize and so evolve, is much less free than it was when it was unlimited…Involvement in a form is therefore the beginning of the death of life…Form disciplines force with a merciless severity. ~Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
And yet, as anyone who once thought they could thrive best in chaos knows, without the boundaries and discipline that Saturn teaches us, we leave ourselves vulnerable, unmoored, lost; we can quickly lose sight of our path and purpose (if we ever had it) and forget the gift that this life truly is. Balance between Force and Form, freedom and boundary, growth and constraint, is the ultimate goal. The irony that the oppressive structure that is the Catholic Church (and Christianity as a whole) turned Saturn into Satan is not lost on me. After all, Capricorn’s Major Arcana card is The Devil.
The Devil is one of those cards considered wholly Malefic, which is truly unfair and a vast oversimplification. Yes, it sheds light on the ways in which we have become beholden to our addictions and roles we play in our own axes of oppression and negative behavior patterns. But the gift of that light shed is profound; once made conscious, we can now work to breaking those patterns for good. And acknowledging the ways in which we secretly take pleasure in the pain.“Saturn is a heavy planet, I won’t lie, but heaviness isn’t negative if you don’t let it crush you. or Heaviness provides the pressure under which we can transmute our coal into Diamonds. or Heaviness is comforting like a weighted blanket when you don’t yet know lightness. I think they can all be true. The Devil card is ruled by Capricorn, a sign I admit even I have misunderstood and unfairly maligned on occasion…The shaming I’ve felt from (or projected onto) Capricorns I’ve encountered in my life just add to the Devil’s challenge: Let shame cage you or find a way to revel in it and make shame into something fun. Or something like that.” ~me, in an instagram post on Saturn
And as my favorite herbwitch Alexis J. Cunningfolk reminds us, “even if Capricorn folks may sometimes come off as strict and judgmental, they are often far more restricting and judging of themselves on a level that most of us will never (thankfully) attain.”
This New Moon in Capricorn on the Tuesday night (1/12) gives us the space to consider these notions. Where in my life do I need more structure? Where am I feeling a little too held back by preconceived notions? Which of those notions are mine and which are learned programming from unwell homes or internalized oppressive systems?
I recently learned that my North Node is in Capricorn, which means that this is both the direction my life is moving and the energy I’m called to embody if I wish to fulfill my goals and potential. I have spent my life resisting what I saw to Capricorn traits: rule-following, straight-laced, practical, self-serious, and BORING.
But in reality, Capricorn contains and deeply spiritual element, as well as a wry trickster. As a healer told me recently, the Capricorn climbs the mountain and builds the scaffolding to nourish and support the spirit residing within. Capricorn reminds us that in order to reach the most dizzying heights of magick and Divine Communion, we must first keep our minds stable and our stomachs fed.
Where are you neglecting your form trying to better nurture your force? Where can you bolster your daily practice, or create one outright, to better cope with the upheaval that has become our country’s norm? And where can you inject some softness to balance the cold hardness that can seep into Saturn’s teachings?
But don’t forget, cannabis, opium, and belladonna are all Saturnian herbs ;) So I promise, there’s fun to be had in Daddy Kronos’ realm.
*To be clear, I only use gendered pronouns for planetary energies for ease of communication, often in alignment with what is widely consider a planet’s receptive/active (“feminine/masculine”) qualities but sometimes arbitrarily, because our subconsciousness respond better to personification and metaphor. Don’t read too much into it.)
Now, if you want to get bone-deep on strengthening the structural foundation of your own body, check out the Full Moon in Cap guide, where I profile the silica-filled, skeletal tonic Horsetail. But for this moon, we’re looking at the fuzzy lung-healing Hag medicine, Mullein.
Mullein also helps us to open ourselves up to grief and begin to process and move through it. This year has held so much grief as we watch the world we knew crumble and hundreds of thousands of people die as those in charge seem to barely notice, let alone care. So much grief that I would assume everyone has had to put a cap on it, put at least some of it away so that they can move through their days without drowning in it. We humans are so great at compartmentalizing that it can be difficult to then access that grief, letting it fester and begin to hold us back, sometimes remaining unknown as the source of our discontent. Smoking mullein or drinking its tea gives us not only the key to that little place, but also the courage to open the door and the ability to regulate just how much we address at any given time.
Like its partner in nerve soothing, St. John’s Wort, Mullein has also been hailed as a protector from “evil” or unwanted spirits. In The Odyssey, Odysseus uses Mullein to protect himself from Circe’s charms. One way to tap into this power is to burn Hag’s Tapers, wherein the tall Mullein stalks covered in yellow flowers are dried, dipped in wax, and burned as makeshift torches. A teacher of mine described a night not long before Samhain, where they and a friend sat surrounded by three of these torches, speaking of their ancestors and beloved dead. Every now and then a taper would burn blue for a moment. They felt as if the Mullein was a bouncer at this gathering, burning blue each time a spirit was turned away unwelcome, keeping their space safe and healing. Mullein can teach us to grow and maintain boundaries that allow us to do this ourselves.
Smoky Lung Tonic
This strong, soothing concoction is called Smoky not because it tastes so but because I formulated it back in 2018, when the Columbia Gorge was on fire and raining ash onto SE Portland. I couldn’t barely go outside without coughing (this was before I knew what an N95 was)! So I whipped this tonic up, using 5 powerful lung supporters, expectorants, and cough suppressants, with detoxifying Burdock root, which I’ve heard was used by Londoners during the Industrial Revolution to decrease the burden of pollution on their bodies.
And to be clear, by detoxifying, I mean it supports the bodies own detoxing systems of the liver and lymphatics. Plus it’s anti-carcinogenic! Warning, this is not a pleasant tasting brew. This is Medicine at its bitterest (thanks horehound!) and it’s best taken like a shot with a honey chaser (yes, even with the added honey). You can find dried herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs.
2 pts Mullein leaf
2 pts White Horehound leaf
2 pts Elencampane root
1 pt Angelica root
1 pt Burdock root
1/2 pt Licorice root
1/2 c raw honey per quart
Since this is a very root-heavy tea, you can make this one of two ways.
1)Make an overnight infusion!
Mix up your tea in the usual way (see most other guides) and cover 1/4-1/3 cup of the tea with a quart of boiling water and leave to steep for 4-10 hours. The extra time allows the constituents in the tough roots to infuse out.
2) Make a decoction then an infusion!
Take all of the roots, say 1/4 cup, and put them in a small saucepan, with a quart or so of water. Simmer those for 20-30 minutes, or until the water reduces by 1/3 or so. Then take them off the heat and add the Mullein and Horehound and another 1/4 cup or so of boiling water and let sit for at least 20 mins.
Whichever method you use, make sure to strain it very well, through double-layer cheese cloth, or a coffee filter. Those fuzzy little hairs that cover mullein leaves are no fun if they get caught in your throat and do not help with coughing at that point. Once it cools to a temperature you can comfortably hold it but while it’s still warm, stir in the honey.
Keep the quart in the fridge for no more than 2 weeks and take and oz or two 3 times a day while the air is smoky or smoggy, or if your asthma flares for any reason. I like to make a batch and then freeze it in an ice cube tray so I have it on hand. You can also combine the ingredients and add alcohol or vinegar to make a more easily preservable extract! I still recommend adding honey. Alright Lovelies, I’ll leave you with that! I hope you can use this moon to get clear on what needs to change so you can grow in the right direction. Maybe our lives are like lil bonsai trees! Sure. Either way, remember to be soft with yourself so that you can safely be firm as well :)
If you want access to the full Ritual Guide, which includes and full Mullein Plant Profile, a guide for establishing consistency and commitment in your magickal practice, and an exclusive Tarot Spread for finding Structural Balance in your life, check out the Patreon and subscribe or upgrade to the High Priestess Tier for $10/mo!
In Love and Magick,