Capricorn's 3rd Decan Influence: "Self-Sacrifice" (Jan 10th - Jan 20th)
Self-Sacrifice is a Trade-Off
Capricorn's third decan influence is the lesson of "self-sacrifice", meaning "sacrifice of one's desires as for duty or the good of another." With New Year's resolutions still fresh in mind, we may have sacrificed something recently, but for what greater good? Is that good still worth serving a few short weeks after we resolved to make a change? Are we keeping ourselves from something we need right now? How much are we already giving up that we don't even realize? In this month of examining the line between use and abuse, let us examine how self-sacrifice can be of functional use to us.
We Can't Do It ALL!
Where Do You Want to Get To?
A Bleeding Heart
...is a medical emergency! The idea of "self-sacrifice" conjures at best the complete exhaustion of our time and resources for the benefit of another, and in our movie-loving culture most likely a dramatic cinematic display of kamikaze pilots.
To properly use the tool of self-sacrifice as a means to empower ourselves, enhancing our capability and functionality, we must align our sacrifices with the goals we desire to achieve. First let us understand first that it is not useful to just mindlessly respond to the every want and whim of others. Self-sacrifice is a spectrum, and we must find our place on that line between serving our own impulses and serving the impulses of others. Somewhere along that spectrum lies the option to serve not impulses at all, but plans. To ground our decisions, actions, and our decisions for action, we must define the actual, tangible changes we wish to make in our daily lives. Simply, clearly, singularly defined. Without this goal, this focal point, self-sacrifice is a meaningless concept. Only when we know where we're going do we find any benefit of staying on the path to getting there. Self-sacrifice keeps us on this path - without it we are free to wander, and to be led by others.
Capricorn's 2nd Decan on "Faithfulness" (found here) teaches us to narrow the list of services we offer to others down to ones we can accomplish reliably, and if we're wise about it, enjoyably. The whittling away of the services we no longer lend our energy and resources to IS self-sacrifice! By caring for and having mercy upon ourselves, we sanctify what we do. We clear our minds to pay more attention to the task at hand. Our work has more quality. We are less distracted, less stressed, increasing our enjoyment of what we do. Self-sacrifice is an act of caring for the self. We clear what no longer serves us in our quest to be capable and functional in our reality, and in turn become more skilled creators. We become more patient creators, and enjoy our moments more. I know it's not what most of us were taught, but it's ok to not be able to do everything all the time. That's usually a job credited to the creator of our choosing. But if we become better creators, more skilled, less stressed and we exude love and joy while we're engaged in action, we become creators for the creator! We are a very real link in this process of ever-changing reality. We are the eyes and the hands and the thoughts that can alter THIS reality while we are in it, and ONLY while we are in it. To recognize what we are skilled in and not waste our focus worrying about the rest makes us more useful, more capable, in altering our reality in line with our higher guidance.
So putting an end to energy draining situations, having mercy on ourselves and taking delight in the things we do are all signs we are healthy, capable beings. The creative forces of this universe can work through us more efficiently, and I don't know whose God, Higher Power, or even just sense of self isn't pleased with that. While we are here now, we are to have joy. Let's quit whipping ourselves and awaken to the glory of the power of creation - it's trying to get you to get up and dance the dance of life, to co-create with creation itself, to live a happy, satisfying life, right now!
"I'll Be Right There, I'll Be Right There..."
The Sacred Act of Sacrifice
Capricorn's decans, "thoughtfulness", "faithfulness" and "self-sacrifice" are tools we can use to help make decisions without having to dissect our morals and examine our souls each time we need to choose action. They are guiding lights, coaches, and time savers. The first two guide us through justifying our actions, and "self-sacrifice" gently nudges us into acting upon our rationale. By presenting options for action, self-sacrifice is a wise muse disguised as restriction and angst. But if we befriend the concept, we can discover the power, the potentcy, the results we achieve by guiding, actively driving, all our energy along the path to our dreams.
The wise know self-sacrifice as a sacred act. Humans have used the idea since ancient times. Tiwaz is the Norse rune for sacrifice, and refers directly to sacrificing the individual for the well-being of the whole. Self-sacrifice plays an active role in religion, usually fasting or giving up something for a period of time to show respect and honor for a deity and their associated workings. We consciously direct our attention and redirect our energy during a time of fasting and self-sacrifice. By giving up one thing, we clear a space for something else. Self-sacrifice clears the ground for better things to come. It clears harsh and dysfunctional ideas from our mental chatter, if we so choose to sacrifice these. And it graces us with broader, gentler ideas to guide us and to guide our awareness through our days and through our lives.
Capricorn, Wintertime, and Nauthiz
Now, it's hard for us to decide to "give up" something and stick with it, especially if that something has become habit. In part, this is because we see a very limited scope of our sacrifice. Usually something we enjoy, or love, is just all of a sudden gone. That doesn't sound enjoyable at all. Who would want to do that? Since when did self-inflicted misery make our daily lives better?
Capricorn's contemplative lessons fall on us (at least here in the northern hemisphere) in the literal dead of winter. The ground is frozen, the trees are sleeping, mammals hibernate and the sun goes to bed early. With colder temperatures and shorter days, there is only so much we can do during this time of year. There are only so many results that could rationally materialize during this, the slow resting season. While we wrestle with the idea of sacrificing some of our wants for a greater purpose, let us not neglect the wants we are forced to give up during this time of year, and give them credit for the self-sacrificing non-happenings that they are. Though it absolutely requires change, maybe self-sacrifice doesn't have to be as hard as we make it out to be. For there are better times for some actions over others, and change is already happening all around us, moment to moment, everyday. Perhaps sacrificing our desires in the service of another goal isn't something we necessarily need to DO, but something that we would do well to RECOGNIZE as it's already happening.
Nauthiz is the name of the Nordic rune for "restraint". Sometimes pictured as a bare stick stuck in the frozen ground, nauthiz teaches us that action is not always an option. We may not be at a point where we can act, like how the leafless tree is depleted of its energy to live actively and vibrantly, at least for now. We may not have the resources we need to make action happen, like how sap slows and water is frozen in the winter. Circumstances do dictate our capability and the effectiveness of our actions. And as a result, some actions are options while others are not depending on those circumstances. So self-sacrifice happens to every one of us, everyday. The power of focusing our attention on and guiding our actions towards a goal is not just for the highly disciplined. The power that comes from self-sacrifice is a result of becoming more and more aware of where your attention and energy can flow, in the current circumstances, and taking advantage before the opportunity to invest in the changes we desire have passed.
All Still in a Winter Wonderland
Planning Comes Before Planting
When we sacrifice a desire, or a want, or an action with a higher ideal in mind, we don't just lose a vice. We create a space for something new and we gain whatever we fill it with, even if it is just the relief of wisely sacrificing habits and thoughts that no longer serve our goals. That space will be filled, by our wispy impulses, our solid realizations, or our rooted goals. We decide what goes in that space by how aware we are. We must recognize the pairing of loss and gain - they always come together.
What are you already sacrificing? What would you like to purge? What would you like to gain? In this final week of Capricorn, when the light is low and the pace is slow, we find the opportunity to rearrange our decision making habits to be something we are calm, capable, and confident in, so they need not cause us worry. By examining how we decide our actions, we can become confident enough in them that the mere choice of what we do is no longer an issue, and we free ourselves to begin actually acting, actually manipulating reality around us, a conscious participant in the wave of universal creation. Our energy can be spent outward, our power and effectiveness grows, and the results are potent and amazing.
Rest up, organize, and prepare to act - the growing season is fast approaching, and the time to act will soon be here!