The zodiac is a brilliant story of development divided into 12 parts. Each has its place and its purpose. Signs of the same element -- Fire, Earth, Air and Water -- and signs of compatible elements -- Fire with Air and Earth with Water -- support one another. Signs of the same mode -- Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable -- conflict with one another, forming stressful 90-degree squares or 180-degree oppositions. Both flow and friction have their purpose, the former reducing stress and the latter providing contrast. The specific relationships between pairs of signs are activated when occupied by planets. Such is the case of Aries and Capricorn with their series of seven squares between Uranus and Pluto from 2012-2015.
Understanding the choices and challenges we face during this period comes in part from our comprehension of the relationship of Aries and Capricorn. There is, of course, much to be learned about Uranus and Pluto, which have been discussed here before and will be again before this series of transits is complete.
Aries and Capricorn are season-starting Cardinal signs that symbolize two different kinds of leadership. As the first sign of the zodiac, Aries represents the impulse to act. It is spontaneous, immediate and unconcerned with what others think. Whether people choose to follow in the path blazed by this pioneering sign is not its concern. Aries is always about the present, so it is unbound by the past and equally disinterested in the future. It is about freedom and individualism disconnected from cultural values, making it a powerful driver of discovery and innovation.
Capricorn, the 10th sign of the zodiac, is highly aware of the world in which it lives. Its actions are preceded by careful thought and planning, unlike impulsive Aries. The individual is less important than the society in which one lives, where one is bound by laws and subject to consequences. The structures upon which it is based form the institutions that control so much of any culture. Capricorn leadership is built upon the past and is concerned with continuity as well as shaping the future. Its rule-based reality contrasts starkly with individualistic and anarchistic Aries.
The challenge of these times is to reconcile the differences between individual freedom and social order. Persistent Pluto in Capricorn reflects concentration of power and the will of institutions to control the culture. The increasing income gap between those at the top and the middle and lower classes is one expression of this. The monopolistic tendencies of corporations and governmental and religious consolidation of authority are other examples. Rebellion against order, both as healthy acts of liberation and wanton acts of destruction, play the Aries part in this story.
The Aries-Capricorn square can also be seen as a conflict between youth and age. Young people need to explore and blaze their own trails while older ones usually prefer order. We know, of course, that young people eventually become old and that the contrasts between them are about modes of expression rather than essential differences. We’re all individuals, and yet we all exist within larger communities. Humans flourish with the newness of discovery and the safety of social order.
Perhaps, then, we can diminish the conflict of Aries and Capricorn by recognizing the value of each of their roles to avoid the stress that comes from pitting one against the other. Taking note of where we switch roles depending upon the circumstances increases tolerance. Appreciating innovation and allowing the uncertainty it engenders while accepting order and the security it provides helps us to overcome this division, making us whole and increasing our chances for survival and growth.