Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Winter Signs

A Quiet Contemplation of Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces

Article © 2013 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

If you covet your alone time and replenish yourself with things such as meditation, quiet reading, or writing your innermost thoughts in your journal, you are an introvert. If you charge your batteries among people, the more the merrier, you are an extrovert. Vive la différence

I call these distinct orientations Innies and Outies.  Some of us are a bit of both, but the true test is the battery charger. If the last place you want to go is to a party when you’re tired and need replenishment, you are an Innie. If you avoid crowds like a computer virus--Innie. Can’t stand to be alone for very long, even when you’re blue? Outie.

These perspectives have a lot to do with managing winter.

The Innie 500
Extreme introverts usually have no problem identifying themselves as such. All their lives they have been called shy, wallflowers, reserved or withdrawn. People more in the middle of the two extremes, but who are introverts by the recharge test, often don’t realize this fact about themselves until later in life. I know many people, myself included, who tested in their younger days as extroverts on the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory.  Later, as they individuate and express who they really are, they are surprised to go from an “E” to an “I.” The Inventory tests your preference on four personality pairs:
  • Extraversion or Introversion E or I
  • Sensing or Intuition S or N
  • Thinking or Feeling T or F
  • Judging or Perceiving J or P

The reason some introverts ever tested as extroverts is because the Western world rewards extroversion and most introverts adapt their behavior toward outgoing to reap the rewards of their culture. Go-getters get the job, not those who are a man or woman of few words who enter the interview in a calm, meditative state. Americans, especially, love people with big personalities.

The majority of introverts become very adaptable, feigning extroversion to survive. This switch of orientation is rarely asked of extroverts—unless they become inner seekers and learn the value of stillness and listening to their own thoughts. The great gurus and avatars tell us every truth we ever need to know is within us.

Going within is the reason for winter, the most introverted season of the year.

Annual R&R
Winter asks us to slow down, regardless of whether we’re Innies or Outies. It’s a time everyone needs to recharge, even if society doesn’t support it—and even if you’re an extrovert with little experience directing energy inward. I’m not saying you need to quit your job or go on a retreat from Winter Solstice till Spring Equinox; however, a retreat sometime during these three months isn’t a bad idea, and creating at least mini-retreats during this time is crucial to remaining a well-functioning human being.

It occurred to me that the winter signs would have some hints about ways we can do that in an optimal way, complementing the Sun’s movement through each sign during the dark months of the year.

Winter into Spring is not just the name of one of my favorite New Age albums by George Winston; it’s a good tagline for the winter signs, as it grounds us clearly in the process Capricorn through Pisces represents, going from most dark to the cusp of increasing light—from slowdown to “springing” into new activity. Here are some thoughts on how this works.

Capricorn.  (Dec. 21, 20012 – Jan. 18, 2013.) As the Cardinal sign that “opens” for winter in the carnival of animals in the sky, a Goat greets us as we plunge into the darkest night of the year. It’s a great time to learn more about the mythology of Capricorn. You’ll learn about Pricus, father of a race of sea-goats who live near the seashore. They are intelligent creatures who think, speak and are said to be favored by the gods. (Hear that, Caps? You’re smart and lucky!)

Chronos, the god of time, created Pricus. Chronos is also Father Time, the old man dressed as Death as another year passes and the baby New Year is born. I’ll leave it up to you to read the full tale in the link, but it has to do with manipulating time. When the Sun is in this sign, every January 1, we change calendars to a new year. It’s a great time to ponder where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing with the days, months and years you’ve been allotted—and if the sand is more on the bottom than the top of your hourglass, a time to prioritize and ponder if you’re going to get done everything you set out to do this lifetime. Touching base with time is very therapeutic and important to pairing your purpose with progress.
My New Year ritual includes a systematic review of the year that just passed. Capricorn (my Moon) loves organization, structure and getting serious about things. As an Innie, I keep a journal, writing down dreams and observations throughout the year. I relish New Year’s Day, when I review the previous year’s journal. It is often revealing about where I’ve been and where I’m headed. I’m often too busy in the doing to understand the nuances of what I’ve been through and how much I’ve grown. This annual review is the literary equivalent of my height recorded periodically as a kid in pencil on the pantry door. I recommend this or any other kind of evaluation of where you stand in time against what you want to accomplish, modified by asking yourself the most important final question, Am I happy? Happiness trumps any amount of shoulda’s.

Aquarius.  (Jan. 19, 2013 – Feb. 17, 2013) This time of year suits extroverts, since the sign of Aquarius is friendly, communicative and loves groups. As the middle month in the winter cycle in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the best time to take a bit of a break from the slowdown to celebrate love on Valentine’s Day and to think about your friendships and community relationships. Both Outies and Innies do this best by being with people, then taking some contemplative time later to ask if your friendships and community are serving you well—and how you’re serving them. This would be an ideal time for looking at synastry between your chart and your closest friends. The same works for groups. If you volunteer for a charity, it had a start date (usually when it filed its nonprofit papers) and a birth chart. Same with your neighborhood or community. When was your city incorporated? Are these friends and communities of various kinds in your life still a fit? Are there areas of stress that need repair?  Sometimes the detached, astrological viewpoint can be a guiding light for making changes during the livelier months of the year, if you reflect on them during the most natural season of downtime.

Pisces.  (Feb. 18, 2013 – Mar. 19, 2013) When the Sun is in Pisces, it’s “the dark of the Sun,” parallel to the dark of the Moon—the last weeks before the darkest season of the year fades and life bursts forth into the light of spring. It’s a time of endings and dying. This is perhaps the most important time all year for quiet and rest. It is the end of the cycle of the natural year which is born anew on Spring Equinox. Think of the Pisces Fish and go underwater.

This is a time to contemplate your emotions, sensitivities, dreams, and whatever brings you bliss—meditation, prayer, music or silence. What ingredients do you contribute to the cosmic soup? How do you lose yourself in others or because of them? How are you doing with saying those necessary noes? And what does it feel like to be lost? Let yourself be directionless and egoless for a while; allow yourself time in the fog. You’ll pick up all kinds of information on intuitive levels that you’ll bring with you into spring. It can be a true balm to simply float and let information come to you from the inside out. Innies are probably already very familiar with this process. Outies may be surprised at what you’ll discover.

Late winter can be a time when we’re more prone to illness and need much more rest than normal. Plan your life to embrace this need and postpone new projects and amped up activity until late March. Relish this time of final gestation before for nature’s rebirth—and yours on the Spring Equinox.

Whenever you honor the wisdom of winter, your spring is bound to be a clean slate and a true, new beginning. This cycle of beginnings, fulfillment and endings is the continuous gift of life.

Photo Credits: Winter Sky © THesIMPLIFY -; Zodiac Signs ©  stokkete -

Postcript: The Jung Typology Test or Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, like astrology, can explain a lot about you. I’d encourage readers who haven’t already to take the test and read some of the write-ups about your configuration. I’m an INFJ. Please comment and share your four!


Kat said...

Thank You, Joyce! happy, happy, happy LOVE to wonderful thoughtful you.
Think I'll go grab my journal(s)- as I can never seem to stick w/ just one - right now and look over the outgoing 2012. Being w/ you in NOLA and walking the Treme' neighborhood was certainly a doozy of a happy memory. And Chiron Summer School too! much love, kat

Joyce Mason said...

Thanks for stopping by, Kat, and a very Happy New Year to you, too! Great memories for me, as well. Doing the Treme walking tour has sure enhanced my viewing of the HBO show! :) The best part was spending time with you. Love back!