Marking time by tracking the motions of the Moon and planets against the background of the stars has been part of every culture. Babylonians, Egyptians, and Mayas used zodiacs thousands of years ago. This circle of stars, which has sometimes been called the Girdle of the Goddess, seems an appropriate way to frame the year. The ancient Triple Goddess–Maiden, Mother, and Crone–can likewise be linked with seasonal cycles. Goddesses of dawn and new beginnings can be aligned with spring, goddesses of birth and mothering with summer, goddesses of the harvest with autumn, and goddesses who preside over death, portals, and the wisdom of age that comes with experience, can be matched to the dark time of year in the northern hemisphere.
Sacred Feminine symbols such as birds, trees, serpents, and spirals are found almost universally in cultures around the world. While writing Goddess For Every Day I had a “shower moment.” As the hot water poured over me I had a sudden awareness and profound influx of guidance. With a sense of awe and recognition I wondered if there might be an alignment, or correlation, between these Sacred Feminine symbols and the familiar twelve zodiac signs? I rushed out of the shower and quickly dressed. Returning to my computer I typed the sacred feminine symbols and was awed to see the zodiac signs align with these feminine symbols in what seemed to be a magical and mysterious way. Because Goddesses For Every Day chronicles feminine power, and is also aligned with the zodiac, I chose one of these symbols to represent each zodiac sign and called the result the Goddess Signs©. Because these puzzle pieces seemed to fit so perfectly, I wondered if this might be an ancient and ancestral memory from another life.
The twelve Goddess Signs© are: Aries, the Cretan Axe; or Labrys; Taurus, the Tree of Life; Gemini, the Honey Bee; Cancer, the Clam Shell; Leo, the Cobra; Virgo, the Sheaf of Wheat; Libra, the Dove; Scorpio, the Spider; Sagittarius, the Bow & Arrow; Capricorn, the Spinning Wheel; Aquarius, the Spiral; and Pisces, the Chalice, or Grail.
This article begins a twelve-month journey through the year, beginning with Capricorn, Winter Solstice, and the annual return of light in the northern hemisphere. Along the way we’ll also meet a few of the goddesses who are included in the 366 days of the year in Goddesses For Every Day.
Capricorn – The Spinning Wheel
“Threads of destiny are spun by choices and deeds.” from Goddesses For Every Day
The Goddess Sign for Capricorn is the Spinning Wheel and represents wise Crones who have dominion over the dark time of the year and the threads of Fate. Crone goddesses are weavers of Fate, measuring time, endings, the dark of winter, and the wisdom of old age. Weaving, looms, and spinning wheels are the domain of these wise elder goddesses who pronounce destiny, measuring and cutting the threads of our lives. While the energy of Scorpio spins threads out of the substance of the goddess’s belly, it is in Capricorn, the sign of form, that the threads take shape and are woven into the tapestries of our lives.
In Greek myth the three Fates are Clotho, “spinner,” Lachesis, “apportioner,” and Atroposy, “cutter.” They are the daughters of Nyx, “night,” who was an ancient principle who stood at the very beginning of creation. She is an enigmatic figure whose children also include Hypnos, “sleep,” and Thanatos, “death.” It might be said that life on Earth is a state of sleep, or unconsciousness, until we wake up or death finally takes us. The famous story of Sleeping Beauty popularized by Walt Disney, and retold in the recent movie Malificent, shows the symbolic power of the Spinning Wheel and portrays the goddesses of Fate in different ways.
Hekate is an ancient pre-Hellenic goddess whose parents were Titans. She rules crossroads, especially where three roads converge, and she is a guardian of the Gates of Immortality. Sometimes Hekate is shown with three faces, looking at the three aspects of time—past, present and future—at once. Ariadne is another very ancient goddess from Crete who watched over the Labyrinth. The journey to the center of the Labyrinth was a profound path of initiation that included a ritual death and rebirth. The Dark Mother, Kali Ma, is a beloved Hindu goddess of India. Her name comes from a Sanskrit word that means “time.” In Hinduism this great goddess is a trinity of Maiden, Mother, and Crone, and as such she partners with the three great Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
Capricorn and the Spinning Wheel anchor the Winter Solstice and combine the principles of Cardinal Earth. In Capricorn matter organizes itself into perfect forms. Capricorn represents the crystallization of matter into the Grandmother principle of discipline and is the opposite sign to Cancer, the nurturing Mother. Capricorn’s energy is governing and conserving, focused on achievement, integrity, recognition, and responsibility. Capricorns are fueled by tremendous ambition, and their lessons stem from learning the motive which underlies their drive to climb. Capricorn is the tenth sign and represents the stage of the spiritual journey where our aspiration turns toward the cold, clear mountain air of our spiritual nature. Capricorn represents the principle of ambition, whether it is directed outwardly in the world of accomplishment or turned inward toward the spiritual path.
We do indeed spin the threads of our own destiny and weave them into the tapestries we call Fate. We are not victims, we are choosers. We are wise when we choose consciously and in a common sense manner. As any builder or weaver knows, “Measure twice and cut once.”