Gangsta’s Paradise ~ New Moon in Capricorn ~ January 12th, 2021

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

The night of January 12th, 2021 brings the first New Moon of the year at 23 degrees Capricorn. Every New Moon represents the start of a new cycle and an initiation of growth. In Capricorn, expect the kind of growth that can only emerge from great adversity.  

This is a place in the zodiac that exudes melancholy, solitude, and is open to the presence of God. In this place, everything you have suffered over the last year may seem to arise in one great agonizing wave. But it is from the ache of grief that a new strength of character will be born. 

After the holidays, you can feel exhausted by the Sun in Capricorn’s struggle against the force of gravity. Meanwhile, the Moon in Capricorn feels abandoned, deprived of all warmth and nurturing. In this part of the zodiac, pain runs deep, but no tears are wasted. Everything must be reserved for the climb.

This New Moon in Capricorn is conjoined to Pluto at approximately the same degree where the Saturn/Pluto conjunction occurred one year ago in January 2020. 

This is the valley of the shadow of death, traversing into the darkness of the collective unconscious. At the beginning of 2021, the world seems to hang in the abyss. The future you dream of feels as cold as the light of a distant star. 

Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the gangsta’s paradise

There has been no satisfying apotheosis to last year’s troubles. Instead, the pandemic has melted into a technocratic civil war in the United States. Like a hellish tape-loop, the cycle of greed and violence undermines progress, materialism begets nihilism, and human life is no longer valued.

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. 

Been spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the gangsta’s paradise

No family or community has been left unshaken by the malicious spirit of division. And now with the full arsenal of Big Tech censorship fighting to uphold the wet dream of world domination, it is easy to feel despair. 

This New Moon in Capricorn knows that spirit alone can sustain you when nothing else will. And it is often at the breaking point of despair when a strength you never knew you had emerges.

There’s no better soundtrack to evoke the bleak and wizened feeling of this Plutonian New Moon in Capricorn than the iconic song, Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio. 

In 1995, Gangsta’s Paradise was not just a hit single: it was a sensation. Like the New Moon in Capricorn it is deep, melancholy and wise. Its ghostly strings and its prayerful lyrics make Gangsta’s Paradise forever poignant, reaching far beyond its time and place. 

Inspired by very real conditions in Compton, California, the very first line brings you straight into the dark heart of a young man’s despair.

“As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death

I take a look at my life and realize there’s nothin’ left”

The eschatological light of Psalm 23 is denied. Kneeling under a streetlight, a 23-year old man has serious doubts that he will even live to see 24. In the spirit of Capricorn, he faces the void with enough coolness to guide the listener through the rest of the hell he’s living through.

Fool, death ain’t nothin’ but a heart beat away

I’m livin’ life do or die, what can I say?

The nature of his reality becomes increasingly intimate and familiar, as the microcosm of his nihilistic, money driven world reflects the macrocosm of institutional power. 

Power and the money, 

money and the power

Minute after minute, hour after hour

Now the lyrics expand the Gangsta’s Paradise far beyond the borders of Compton. These lines reveal the psychology of the people in the highest positions of power, describing the motivations of every member of Congress as well as the heads of most global corporations and banks. 

Tell me why are we so blind to see

That the ones we hurt are you and me?

In the final stanza, Coolio confronts these people in power, rejecting their assessment of his need for their education

They say I got to learn

 but nobody’s there to teach me. 

If they can’t understand, how can they reach me.

He astutely describes how the state first makes thieves and then punishes them, to paraphrase Thomas Moore. And the punishment for impoverished black men in the 90’s was very deliberately designed. 

“Gangsta’s Paradise” was released in 1995, shortly after the enactment of The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Signed into law by President Bill Clinton and authored by none other than President-Elect Joe Biden. 

Keep spendin’ most their lives livin’ in the gangsta’s paradise

Biden’s Crime Bill endorsed the tyrannical view that exceedingly punitive systems of policing and incarceration are necessary to advance public safety. In reality, this brutality only perpetuates racial discrimination, destruction of family, and cycles of abuse. Cruelty begets cruelty.

Biden recently apologized to win some votes in the election. But back in the glory days of 1994, he bragged that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party was armed with “60 new death penalties,” “70 enhanced penalties,” “100,000 cops,” and “125,000 new state prison cells.” Last but not least, there was the“three strike” provision that made felons out of people convicted for minor drug crimes, including marijuana.

Tell me why are we so blind to see

That the ones we hurt are you and me?

It was a brutal strategy that deliberately targeted black and brown communities. And Biden made it very clear that he did not care saying:

“It doesn’t matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth… It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society. I don’t care why someone is antisocial. I don’t care why they’ve become a sociopath. We have an obligation to cordon them off from the rest of society.”

Two and a half decades after “Gangsta’s Paradise,” the value of the story it tells has only grown.  And it reminds us to remain critical of the people who claim to be worthy to lead. They still don’t care.

The Plutonian depths that this New Moon dives into demands this brutal honesty. The narrative of power enforced by the very platform I’m writing this on demands that we respect people who have abused their power for decades, committing heinous acts of inhumanity, minute after minute, hour after hour.

Tell me why are we so blind to see

That the ones we hurt are you and me?

This New Moon in Capricorn gives you the strength of character to deny the power of anyone who does not represent your values or serve the public good.

What makes a genre like hip-hop great is the power of the cultural references and samples embedded within its immersive soundscape. The power of the sample is that it invokes, like a hologram, its source material into the unconscious mind. It’s like a switch goes off and a subliminal music box starts playing the master source somewhere beyond the realms of ordinary consciousness.

So, while it seems that Coolio initially denies the light of Psalm 23 in his opening stanza, he simultaneously invokes its power, triggering a liturgy in the unconscious that heals the grim portrait of urban life and political corruption depicted through the rest of the song.

Psalm 23 is easily the best known chapter in the Book of Psalms. It is recited in both ancient and modern liturgical traditions. Psalm 23 is sung during Shabbat in the Jewish tradition, recited as Eucharist blessing in the Eastern Orthodox Church, read as a funeral rite in the Church of England and commonly used during ritual cleansing in the African-American Hoodoo tradition.

It is encouragement in times of trouble, but more than that, it is a declaration of victory.

If “Gangsta’s Paradise” is your roadmap for the Plutonion New Moon in Capricorn, then may the words of Psalm 23 be your guiding light through the Valley of the Shadow of Death.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.