Capricorn-Cancer: The linear and cyclical time-keepers of the zodiac
Updated: Jun 2
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been quite obsessed with time and its efficient/productive use - never quite achieving my aims and the crossing off of everything on my lengthy to do lists. This is in part the Capricorn side of me, wanting to set goals and a structure to help get me there. Nothing wrong with that per se, that’s a really useful energy, unless it goes into controlling overdrive. It took me an amusingly long while to realize that my fascination and venture into astrology actually had to do with time, too, but with an increased focus on its quality rather than solely quantity. And more specifically, the cyclical quality of time rather than its linear progression.
Astrology deals in the quality of time, especially cyclically: what is the time ripe for at a given moment?
This past Capricorn season, which started from the winter solstice Dec 21, I’ve been pondering my own relationship to time and how I use it to structure my life. Whereas Capricorn and its ruler Saturn deal with linear time, their polar opposites, Cancer and the Moon, represent cyclical time: among others, the ebbing and flowing of the tides.
About 2/3 of our bodies consist of water, so it is no wonder a lot of us feel the monthly-ish lunar cycles physically. During the darkest phase, the new moon, we might feel considerably less energetic than during the full moon phase, when intensity peaks - for better or for worse. This cycle is obviously useful to pay attention to and accommodate for when scheduling our everyday lives: for example, the new moon might not be a great time to have an important meeting or event, but a time to take it easier than usual. I’ve noticed my menstrual cycle physically aligning itself with the lunar cycle - an additional reason for more downtime and retreat during a new moon.
Progressed lunar cycles are an astrological timing technique, a way to expand the 29.5-ish-day lunar cycle into cycles of 29+ years in our lives. These progressed cycles go through the same phases as the regular lunar cycle does: from a new moon phase of planting new seeds, through waxing phases to the peak of a full moon and then waning back again. The eight phases of the cycle can be seen below.
Each person goes through these phases at unique times, depending on the relationship of the Sun and Moon at the time of their birth (so we can’t say, for example, that every 42-year-old would be in the same phase of the cycle, unlike with some planetary returns). For me, understanding what phase in the progressed lunar cycle I’ve been in - “what it’s been time for in my life” - has been super helpful and has allowed me to let go of a lot of internal pressure to make everything happen at once. In recent years, I’ve been at the very last phase of this close-to-30-year cycle - a phase which has been specifically about low energy, withdrawing, reflection, rest, retreat, and so on.
I’ve definitely felt this lower energy, and need for withdrawal, yet as a social person been extremely worried about myself - I’ve felt like I’ve been emotionally retiring from life in my early thirties! My worry stemmed in large part from not understanding that I’ve been living out a cyclical process that needs to flow to the end in order to begin again. Because I thought of it as a linear development, I tried to fight it for a long time. And I’ve guilt-tripped myself a lot along the way, with harsh goals and jam-packed days, trying to just try harder, and exhausted myself even more.
Now I understand that even though I’ve entered into a new moon phase just a couple months ago, I’m still really early on in this new 30-ish-year cycle. So I’m trying to adjust my expectations around how ‘far along’ I could possibly be right now or in the near future. And I’m learning what it actually feels like to enjoy being right where I am, now, as opposed to ‘waiting’ to be further along already. I continue to sleep a lot and work very little, for example - however, things are flowing quite nicely and big shifts are taking place.
What time is it for in your life?
This has all been an interesting ongoing internal ride with the web of unhealthy beliefs around time and productivity that I’ve still uncovered in myself. Exploring cyclical time has been a way of easing my grip on my inner linear Capricorn, and therefore making more space to grow into my more intuitive Cancer (which happens to be my ascendant). My Capricorn continues to provide a safe and practical container for my creations, but my Cancer gets to be more involved, too. The journey continues.
P.S. If you’re curious about exploring what time it is in life for you now and in the near future, check out my webshop for the astrological consultation including a progressed lunar cycle and solar return reading. May this new year be filled with flow and living in the moment.
P.P.S. If you'd like to know more about the progressed lunar cycle, I warmly recommend checking out The Astrology Podcast episode on the topic, with astrologers Catherine Urban and Chris Brennan.