One beautiful afternoon last week, I suddenly found that I couldn’t bear being inside for another moment. I grabbed a hat and headed out to the back yard. It’s a mess out there; we’ve been renovating our old garage for months (we joke that the only thing keeping it together is the termites holding hands) and half of its contents – along with thistles and weeds – have overtaken our back yard. An orderly person, I was beginning to feel desperate and panicky every time I walked out the back door. So while I was outside I decided to tackle the mess. I started pulling weeds, and within an hour I’d filled three trash cans and was sweating, tired, and completely happy.
Whenever I spend time up to my knuckles in dirt it’s as though part of me has come home. I’m the daughter of a Capricorn farmer who was blissfully happy spending hot, humid summer afternoons in absolute solitude, meditatively traversing his acres aboard a tractor. But even in the early 1960s small farms were struggling, so he also drove our school bus – “to support his farming habit,” my mom liked to say. He did whatever he had to do to make a go of his farming while supporting his family, working long hours and odd jobs. He even tried to make farmers of my reluctant brothers, who made it clear they had other plans for their futures.
I know many astrologers, artists, writers, and metaphysical practitioners, myself included, can relate to this idea of supporting our vocational “habits” with other sources of income. We devote long hours and much love to our work, usually for little money compared to what we might earn in a regular job. Many years after becoming a professional astrologer, much of my earnings still come from side enterprises such as my web design business. If someone asks me what I do for a living, though, I always answer that I’m an astrologer – because regardless of how much I earn from that work, that’s how I think of myself.
I suppose this stubborn determination to support my astrology habit is a legacy from my father. In his quiet way, Dad demonstrated that dedication to the work you love – and not how you earn your money – is what defines your vocation and makes you a success. Reading an installment of Cary Tennis’ advice column at Salon.com reminded me of this. A reader wrote in to complain that after many years of struggling to make a living as a musician, his art still didn’t support him financially. Cary reminded him that earning money from other sources wouldn’t make him any less a musician. “Maybe,” Tennis wrote, “it’s time for you to support your art for awhile.” And as my dad demonstrated, that’s true – sometimes, we have to be good fathers to our work and support our vocations, rather than the other way around.
This month’s Full Moon chart features Venus, goddess of money and love, conjunct adventurous Jupiter, sextile innovative Uranus, and approaching a trine with Saturn. If you’ve been struggling financially, or feeling like a failure because the work you love doesn’t pay enough, it’s time to shake things up a little. Maybe you’ve gotten a little bit bored with the things you’re doing or the way that you’re doing them. And maybe it’s time to take a more realistic view of money’s role in your vocational happiness.
Take a closer look, too, at your relationships. The dark side of Capricorn’s tenacity is a certain ruthless singlemindedness, and our bonds with others often suffer when we give too much to our work, sacrificing the soft, Cancerian shapes of domestic pleasure. With Venus approaching a trine to Saturn in the Venus-ruled sign of Libra, we have the opportunity to recognize which of our relationships were built on shifting, sandy soil and to embrace those that were founded on enduring bedrock.
When the Sun is moving through tender Cancer, we grow nostalgic for childhood summers, ice cream trucks, and the safety of our mother’s protective embrace. But it’s all too easy to stay nestled in her arms for too long instead of venturing out of your shell and tackling the world. At some point, Cancer’s baby must leave the tidepool and learn to fend for herself. Teaching us how to take care of ourselves was dad’s job, and the Capricorn Full Moon reveals how well those lessons were learned. Dad may have been loving, cruel, or absent; successful or a failure. But his example undoubtedly informed your values and visions about your place in the world.
Perhaps like my back yard, your vocational garden has been overrun with a chaotic tangle of weeds, or maybe you’ve been tending the wrong garden altogether. At this Capricorn Full Moon, it’s time to nurture your ambitions just as you nurture your pets, plants, and loved ones. Let us be thankful for the gifts of our Capricornian fathers and honor them by claiming our true vocations and defining our personal visions of success. Let us be frugal stewards of the earth’s bounty and steady friends and lovers upon whom others can rely. And let us tend our gardens well – pulling weeds, clearing away what isn’t needed, and being willing to get our hands dirty.