On December 21st we enter the season of Capricorn, which marks another turning of the great wheel of the year as the Winter Solstice. This longest night of the year that heralds the renewal of light; from here on out our days in the northern hemisphere get longer, the nights shorter. Christmas is a celebration built around the solstice and symbolizes the coming of the light through the darkness.
I came across this photo of the lighthouse and was struck by its symbolic resonance to Capricorn, the zodiacal sign that marks this annual return of light. Lighthouses help sailors navigate through difficult waters. They are also fixed points of surety, land. So too is Winter Solstice a lighthouse in the great seas of the year. No matter the storms we have endured, the confusing fogs that we have tried to feel our way through, the cyclic rhythm of life continues. Darkness increases and drinks its full, giving way to the light, which too will grow until bright in its fullness and enter the darkening. Each year on winter solstice we are connected to this rhythm, which is within us too.
In medieval and renaissance astrological symbolism, Capricorn was the water goat, a creature who is equally attuned to elemental earth and water. Its earthy qualities include mastery, patience, quiet authority, concern for structure and order (these are Saturn qualities too, as he is the planet or god that rules Capricorn). And fortitude–have you ever known a Capricorn who wasn’t strong? The water in Capricorn comes through its big picture point of view, which is related to intuition, a fluid, water-like quality of perception. The lighthouse grows out of the stony outcropping, and gazes out over the vast sea, strong, steady, calm.
I also can’t help but remark on how the shape of the winding walled pathway to the lighthouse is like that of the glyph for Capricorn and Saturn.
Looking at this stony path over the sea that leads to a beacon in the blue night, I see all these qualities. And the light.
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