Full Moon in Leo

The Lion of Saint Mark (c. 1490) by Martin Schongauer

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is bold and unapologetic in its radiant expression of self, style, substance, and strength. Like an amber caress of vivifying warmth, the Full Moon in Leo will embrace those risking the vulnerability of their creative expression. The pounding drums of the Leo Full Moon will mobilize ingenuity and inspired action in pursuit of far ranging goals in the months ahead. If you’ve felt blocked from fully implementing plans in recent months, stuck from overthinking or frozen with constraint, find ways to generate momentum with focused effort on smaller tasks that will build toward larger outcomes. As the Full Moon on 5 February 2023 will illuminate the sacred cross-quarter days that mark the turning of the season, let yourself turn toward the lodestar of your core purpose with committed dedication. The Lion of Luna longs to hear your song, witness your dance, and receive the revelation of your voice speaking the truth of your experience. It’s a sizzling syzygy that marks the end of hibernation and reflective retreat. The fiery light pouring down from the Moon will call for action and focusing the force of your will into participation with the immense changes rippling through the world.

The Leo Full Moon is separating from a jolting square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward a sobering opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. The Full Moon is also in the bounds of Saturn, increasing the influence of Saturn and necessitating confrontation with the limitations of your circumstances while Uranus simultaneously incites impulses of liberation. As Rollo May wrote in The Courage to Create, “creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations . . . forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work.” Forming a receptive relationship with the limits and forms of your life will catalyze as well as structure the creative potential available. Due to the Leo Full Moon clashing with Uranus, you may need to endure unexpected volatility and chaotic processes, yet by facing the complexity of your situation in all of its fullness, the blazing torch of the Leo Moon will bring awareness to the deeper purpose emerging from recent months of inner exploration.

The dramatic activation of Saturn and Uranus by the Leo Full Moon is the grand finale for their long-established square aspect that has dominated astrology in recent years and has correlated with immense breakthroughs and breakdowns in personal and collective events. As the final pieces of the Saturn and Uranus story fall into place under the light of the Leo Moon, you may gain deeper awareness of the lessons, losses, and overall metamorphosis you have experienced with Saturn and Uranus clashing in a square aspect since the beginning of 2021. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the periods of Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.” While we have traversed a cataclysmic collective period that has lived up to the billing of Tarnas, in our personal lives it has also brought opportunities to break free of past restraints into exciting new directions full of promise and risk. Though it’s been a devastating and difficult time period for many, there has likely been major elements of your life that have become cleared to make space for a new phase of growth to emerge now that we are finally coming to the end of the waning square between Saturn and Uranus. The Leo Full Moon will shed light on how you have been reshaped by Saturn and Uranus.

Adding to the tumultuous intensity of the Leo Full Moon, Venus in Pisces will be engaged in a heated relationship with Mars in Gemini that will enflame relationships with passionate exchanges. The waning square aspect between Venus in Pisces with Mars in Gemini will reveal key issues within relationship that need attention and mediation. Whether you experience conflict or enhanced ardor within relationship, pay attention for signs and insight into how your desires and needs are changing. With Venus in a stronger position compared to Mars, revelations may emerge regarding the values that are most important to build your life around as well as the trajectory of your creative direction. The tension between Venus and Mars can be directed toward dynamic developments in creativity and artistic performance, as Venus will also be applying toward a harmonious sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will become exact on 8 February. Listen for how Venus is guiding you toward experiencing more excitement and pleasure within your work and relationships.

In the Light of the Moon by Edward Balchowsky

Mercury in Capricorn will be increasing in speed in the light of the Full Moon, having recently reached maximum elongation as a Morning Star on 30 January. Mercury in Capricorn will be applying closely toward a creative sextile aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become exact on 6 February, the same day that Mercury will move beyond the degree where it stationed retrograde on 29 December 2022. As a result, the Leo Full Moon will serve as a catalyst for embodying whatever changes in perception and creative direction you experienced during the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn phase that lasted from 29 December 2022 until 18 January 2023. The sextile aspect between Mercury with Neptune is the third of a sequence, and so you may realize an important arc of development stretching back to 24 December 2022 and 1 January 2023 when Mercury previously formed sextile aspects with Neptune. The interplay between Mercury and Neptune has brought opportunities for exploring imagination and opening perception to new creative influences. It also may have corresponded with disillusioning experiences. If so, the light of the Leo Full Moon will illuminate the lessons that need to be learned and integrated.

Following the fireworks of the Full Moon in Leo, the waning half of the lunar cycle contains a series of pivotal aspects that will deepen understanding. In the week following the lunation, Mercury will be applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will become exact on 10 February while Mars in Gemini will be applying toward an activating sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries that will become exact on 11 February. Similar to the sextile between Mercury and Neptune forming during the lunation, both of these combinations possess a cyclical quality rooted in the recent past. Mercury stationed retrograde on 29 December in close proximity with Pluto, giving Pluto an overarching influence over its subsequent retrograde phase during the following three weeks. Now that Mercury will finally be forming its conjunction with Pluto, whatever process Mercury has been working within you since the end of December will come full circle with important realizations. Mercury and Pluto expose buried material, penetrating to the roots of dynamics and focused analysis. Their combination can also empower your voice and ability to confidently communicate whatever meaning you have been developing.

The sextile between Mars in Gemini with Chiron in Aries is also connected with previous aspects between Mars and Chiron due to the Mars retrograde period that stretched from the end of October until the middle of January. The first sextile between Mars and Chiron was on 17 September 2022 when Mars was direct and the second sextile was on 19 December 2022 when Mars was retrograde. The connection to last December with both aspects that Mars and Mercury will be making gives extra emphasis to whatever developments or difficulties you were facing around the time of the Capricorn solstice. With Chiron in the fiery home of Mars, the receptive sextile indicates that however your relationship with Mars has been sharpened and honed over the course of its recent retrograde can now be directed assertively through your work and creativity. Bring mindfulness to the ways in which old wounds were brought up to work through and how the tests and trials you passed through can now facilitate greater strength and empowerment in pursuing your core purpose.

After the Mercury-Pluto and Mars-Chiron combinations form, the following week of the waning Moon will contain two powerful alignments: Venus will form a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces on 15 February and the Sun will form a conjunction with Saturn on 16 February. Though the combinations of Venus with Neptune and Saturn with the Sun have drastically different meaning, they can come together through deep contemplation, exploring ways to bring dream into reality, and becoming aware of illusions you need to awaken from. At the same time, Mercury in Aquarius will be applying toward a coalescing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries that will become exact on 17 February. Mercury in Aquarius transmitting the fiery spirit of Jupiter in Aries can bring clarity for the creative direction to pursue in the months ahead, drawing from both the idealistic imaginal power of Venus and Neptune and the deep wisdom of Saturn and the Sun that can bring the otherworldliness of Venus and Neptune into pragmatic application through concrete forms.

Vitally, the Leo Full Moon demarcates not only the end of the Saturn’s current cycle with the Sun but also the final month of Saturn occupying its airy home of Aquarius. Saturn experienced its heliacal set into invisible darkness in the days leading up to the Leo Full Moon, placing Saturn in an underworld process of exploring deep mystery while it burns off its past cycle that began on 4 February 2022 at 15°56’ Aquarius. The days surrounding the conjunction between the Sun and Saturn on 16 February at 27°44’ Aquarius will be an ideal time to actively reflect upon what you have built and what you have had to let go of during Saturn’s journey through Aquarius. The works of Saturn take time to fully form yet can also endure as long lasting foundations of support. Let the light of the Leo Full Moon illuminate what needs to be emptied and shed from Saturn’s present cycle, revealing the essential meaning that can be deepened and developed within the cycle to come.

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An image of triumphant victory, we see the strident champion being honored by an adoring crowd as well as a wreath of laurel.  As laurel is of the nature of the Sun just like the gold medals pursued by competitors, there is potential within the second face of Leo for not only expression of soulful radiance and creative power but also reception of honors for it. Fittingly, Jupiter rules the second face of Leo, revealing the potency found within this decan for achievements that bring acclaim. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Six of Wands often correlates with becoming celebrated in public, yet the good fortune and powerful luck associated with this arcanum and decan is not based upon the moral quality of the recipient. Indeed, the image of blind Fortuna spinning her great wheel is resonant with this decan, as Chang wrote that “the Wheel of Fortune is fundamentally amoral.” Moreover, since acclaim and fortune will not necessarily last whether earned or unearned, the second face of Leo emphasizes the need to align with the constantly changing nature of life and fortune with its ceaseless upswings and downswings.

Some of the traditional images for the second decan of Leo emphasize the amoral quality of fortune found within this face. In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the second face of Leo has “the image of a man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head. [He has] the form of an angry and threatening man. In his right hand he has drawn a sword, and in his left a round shield. [This image] has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, of vile men, and over occasions of lawsuits and battles.” In Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius, the image for the second face of Leo is a “Naked man, sceptre in right hand, whip in left, crescent moon upon head.” Ibn Ezra as well as the Picatrix also fashioned images of a man crowned with myrtle holding a bow and arrow. The Yavanajataka gave the image of “a bold woman with loosened hair. She is on a mountain peak, proud in taking away the wealth of others . . .”

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  Yet similar to the amoral traditional images found within this face, Coppock wrote that the pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, declaring that “great works do not guarantee any greatness of character.” Coppock further noted that the second face of Leo can guide us toward realizing what elements of our public persona are out of alignment with our inner integrity, or instead how we may need to embody more humility within experiences of recent praise or glory. Coppock made the point that “recognition of one’s virtues does not dispel the reality of one’s vices,” since many images of the decan in traditional text show it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan.” Coppock declared that the promise and power of victory is so strong in this decan we must guard against becoming blinded by the solar light of success.

In contrast to other images found within traditional text, the great goddess Isis resides in the second face of Leo according to the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Isis became syncretized as the goddess containing all goddesses in the Hellenistic era, and just as she weaves many traditions together in her history, so does she weave a web of love through times of trauma to bring about an eventual retrieval and integration of wholeness. Isis in connection with the second face of Leo highlights the courage needed to resiliently persist on inner journeys to reanimate whatever aspects of your essential self have become fragmented. Similar to how Isis was able to re-member and re-animate her beloved Osiris, explore how the light of the Leo Full Moon illuminates desires and gifts that had become dismembered within your inner darkness and can now be regenerated through your creative work in the world.

Yet when doing the inner work needed to bring about empowered capacity to pursue ambitions, we need to remember the warnings found within the second face of Leo regarding the perils of power and privileged positions which also bring opportunity to harm others as much as they bring opportunities to reward ourselves with public acclaim and status. The strong influence of Jupiter upon the second face of Leo requires the generous and devotional qualities of Jupiter to remain in right relation with heart-centered focus. Under the light of the Leo Full Moon, may we commit to creative expression that inspires and uplifts others, sustaining alignment with the integrity of our core values.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! On the Oak tier in our monthly classes we are exploring the fixed stars, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

May, Rollo. (1975). The Courage to Create. WW Norton & Company.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Saturn in Pisces – WSAA Lecture on 9 February

Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

I will be giving my talk Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea for the Washington State Astrological Association (WSAA) on Thursday 9 February 2023 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm in Pacific time.

I will be speaking in person in Seattle at the Puget Sound Yacht Club where WSAA regularly meets. If you are not in the Seattle area, the lecture will also be simulcast on Zoom, with the Zoom room opening online at 7:15 pm. Information on how to register and attend are in this link:

https://waastrologers.org/events/saturn-in-pisces-between-the-devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea-lecture-with-gray-crawford/

I previously gave a talk on Saturn in Pisces for the NCGR in Philadelphia last November – this talk for the WSAA will be a revised and renovated version that will contain some new and different ideas and connections than the previous version. Here’s a description of the talk:

Saturn’s entrance into Pisces on March 7, 2023 will bring a sea change in collective and personal events, as the star of Kronos will begin sharing the same mutable water as Neptune. Marking the end of the Saturn and Neptune cycle that began in 1989, Saturn will spend an extended period of time in close proximity with Neptune in Pisces before eventually forming an exact conjunction with Neptune in the first degree of Aries on February 20, 2026.

This talk will explore the meaning of Saturn transiting Pisces as well as Saturn’s cyclical relationship with Neptune that has correlated with dissolution of old orders and the emergence of idealistic movements. We’ll discuss the potential of Saturn sailing through the oceanic expanse of Pisces and what we may discover washed up on shore from its tides.

I hope to see you there!

Aquarius New Moon

La Belle au Bois Dormant by Gustave Doré
Audio recording of article on the Aquarius New Moon

Aquarius New Moon

The ponderous gaze of Saturn is responsible for the care of both sides of the border between Capricorn and Aquarius. The star of wily Kronos calls both celestial landscapes its home, yet there is a meaningful division between the nocturnal sign of the Goatfish and the diurnal sign of the Water Pourer. Capricorn has more focus upon initiation attuned with the familiar structures of civilization and cultural traditions that bring enduring meaning and guidance. Aquarius beckons beyond the walls of containing systems, receiving inspiration free of the dictates of conventional society, inviting inquiry into the unfamiliar and journeys into the unknown. Collectively we are in a period of time that holds a potent Aquarian quality necessitating the release of the way things have been and entrance into a strange, emerging reality. Airy whirlwinds of decentering, fragmentation, and fracturing are necessarily part of the Aquarian process that is also procreative with innovation, intellectual sharpness, and collective awareness for how personal actions impact wider humanitarian concerns.

The Aquarius New Moon on 21 January occurs one day after the Sun’s entrance into the sign of the Water Pourer, with the exact union of Sun and Moon occurring at 01°32′ Aquarius. The monthly new moon initiates a thirty day period of Selene cycling through all of her phases. Yet the zodiacal degree of the Aquarius New Moon is close to the inception degree of two larger cycles of time: (1) the twenty year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn that began with their conjunction on 21 December 2020 at 00°29′ Aquarius, and (2) the one-to-two-year cycle of Venus and Mars that began with their conjunction on 6 March 2022 at 00°01′ Aquarius and will become regenerated at their next conjunction on 21 February 2024 at seven degrees of Aquarius. The lunation also foreshadows the ingress of Pluto into Aquarius on 23 March 2023, the first time that Pluto will shift from Capricorn into Aquarius since 1778. The nexus between the Aquarius New Moon with these larger cycles of time brings larger implications to the present trajectory of developments, facilitating deeper understanding for how our life story has changed within the immense collective changes that have taken shape since 2020. It’s an ideal lunation for gaining clarity on the alignment between your values and integrity with the state of your relationships, work and purpose. How do you need to take more risk and courageous initiative to build momentum toward fulfilling your most essential desires? Where do you need to become more grounded regarding your dreams, and what pragmatic strategies can help you manifest your vision?

With Uranus in Taurus stationing direct the day after the lunation at 14°56′ Taurus, sudden revelations may arise that overturn past narratives and reveal new insight into both your past as well as your future direction. In some cases the catalytic events corresponding with Uranus stationing can quickly shift perspective into deeper understanding of present circumstances and issues, in other cases the volatility of Uranus can suddenly swing storylines in ways that feel more disruptive than cohering. However, with Mars having stationed direct recently on 12 January and Mercury having stationed direct recently on 18 January, the intensification of Uranus during the Aquarius New Moon is most likely to serve as a propulsive push forward in growth. There is a wave of uplifting support behind the Aquarius New Moon for emboldening new plans and projects that require courageous action and initiative in the month ahead, due to the Aquarius Moon applying to an invigorating sextile with Jupiter in Aries and a flowing trine with Mars in Gemini. Yet with Mars, Mercury, and Uranus all engaged in a prolonged process of generating forward movement, it will be best to proceed with slow and steady mindfulness rather than impulsively rushing ahead.

Aquarius is the sign of the outsider and heretic, the willing exile who separates themselves from dominant cultures so they may live more freely on their own terms according to their own principles and values. The Aquarius New Moon can help coalesce understanding for aspects of past societal conditioning that need to be shed or examined more closely due to stifling the full expression of authentic creativity. As part of recentering upon deep soul desires, an Aquarian process of decentering may need to take place that applies critical thought toward analyzing the diverse factors at play within relationships and work. While it may be necessary to detach from certain emotional dynamics in order to gain clarity, it will be important to refrain from becoming overly rational so that we perceive from the heart rather than a dissociated mental state.

There are a few additional factors that mark the Aquarius New Moon as a significant turning point. It’s considered to be a “super moon” due to being at the perigee of the Moon’s orbit when Luna is as close as possible to Earth in orbit. However, this will not be a typical super moon because the Moon will be closer to Earth than it has been in 992 years, resulting in abnormally high tides that can also serve as a symbol for emotional high tides flooding awareness. Furthermore, the Aquarius New Moon will be at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a confrontational square aspect with the North Node of the Moon in Taurus and South Node of the Moon in Scorpio. This also means that the Aquarius New Moon is midway between the eclipses from three months ago (the Scorpio Solar Eclipse on 25 October and the Taurus Lunar Eclipse on 8 November) and the eclipses three months from now (the Aries Solar Eclipse on 19 April and the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse on 5 May). Finally, the Aquarius New Moon is out of bounds in southern declination, appearing lower in the sky than normal.

As a result, there is an extreme quality to the Aquarius New Moon. It’s both extremely close in orbit as well as extremely low in the sky. It demarcates a crossroads where multiple storylines, perspectives, and experiences intersect. A time for envisioning the path forward while taking accountability and responsibility for your past. A time for identifying and embodying the values that are deeply rooted in your core purpose, while focusing on developing the relationships and work that are in true alignment with your principles and integrity. The extremity of the Moon can incite extreme urgency to break free from confining circumstances, yet it will be wise to take on the slow thoroughness of Saturn that can sift through potential options to discern the most effective course of action.

The brilliant intellectual gifts of Aquarius being stimulated by the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Saturn all occupying Aquarius can be a boon for analyzing issues and brainstorming solutions, yet we also need to be aware of the shadow side of Aquarius that can become fixated upon a dogmatic sense of right action. In spite of Aquarius having acclaim for community building and focusing on collective needs, Aquarian activists can stubbornly insist that others conform to their self righteous conception of what’s best for the greater good. With the Aquarius New Moon activating the lunar nodes, it will be important to focus on deep listening, holding the tension of differing perspectives, and allowing internal conflicts to have the space to work themselves out so that guidance may emerge from your deep wells of inner wisdom.

Two Candles by Gerard Richter

While the Sun and Moon are forming a conjunction at the second degree of Aquarius, Venus and Saturn will be forming a conjunction in the final ten degrees of Aquarius. There is a solidity to the Aquarius New Moon due to Saturn being at home in Aquarius, and yet the solidness supplied by Saturn will be more creatively receptive than usual due to Venus applying toward a close conjunction with Saturn. The synergy between Venus and Saturn can facilitate creative visions taking form with tangible results, though the influence of Saturn may mean that there will need to be extended time devoted toward working through a solution to any arising challenges. Venus combined with Saturn also calls for greater maturity within relationships and committing to the relationships aligned with your values. Venus wielding the scythe of Saturn will clear the ground of relationships out of alignment with your integrity, bringing awareness to the issues that can be worked through in relationship or instead are unworkable and demand severance.

During the waning half of the previous lunar cycle, Venus passed through a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on 14 January, reactivating the disruptive influence of the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated astrology in the past two years. The world has been reshaped while the tension between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius has been in effect since 2020, but now that we have arrived at their final activation we have lived through our own transfiguration and are in better position to make productive changes with their groundbreaking influence. The upcoming Leo Full Moon on 5 February will trigger both the irritable and innovative sides of Saturn and Uranus, making the forthcoming lunar cycle the grand finale of the Saturn Uranus story. With Venus and Saturn combining during the start of the lunar cycle, hone in on the heart of what you wish to create by cutting away excess and distractions so that you can maximize your use of time while focused upon what matters most to you.

The union of Venus and Saturn is also happening near the projected degree of the fixed star Deneb Algedi, the star in the tail of the Sea Goat constellation. Venus and Saturn will also be visually close to Deneb Algedi in the sky, appearing slightly to the northeast of Deneb Algedi. Venus and Saturn combining near Deneb Algedi evokes the mythology of the ancient deities Enki and Inanna. Inanna has associations with Venus and Deneb Algedi was called the star of Ea and has been linked to Enki, the Sumerian god of water, wisdom, crafts, magic, law and creation. Enki was known for bringing life to land by creating natural habitats and vegetation, and in the story of Inanna’s descent to the underworld, Enki is the only deity who took action to rescue and revive her. When Inanna was hanging lifeless on the meathook of her sister Ereshkigal, it was Enki who created and sent two beings to appease Ereshkigal and restore Inanna with the food and water of life. Deneb Algedi will have a protective and restorative influence upon the conjunction of Venus and Saturn that can help in making decisions based upon ethical considerations and personal integrity. Their combination adds to the potency that the Aquarius New Moon possesses for coming to terms with recent changes and challenges by claiming your personal authority to act with integrity, focusing upon building a strong foundation that will support the continued expression of your creative actualization.

Sparrow Hawk by Pablo Picasso

Uranus stationing one day after the Aquarius New Moon means that Uranus will be saturating the astrological landscape with its liberating, awakening, innovative, and experimental archetypal force. However, Mercury will also have an intensified presence due to stationing direct a few days before the lunation on 18 January. The Aquarius New Moon is also in the bounds and triplicity of Mercury, making your mindful recovery from the recent period of Mercury retrograde in Capricorn integral to the dynamics of the Aquarius New Moon. Pay attention to signs and synchronicities in your daily travels as well as the symbolism of your dreams at night for any messages that Hermes has to share regarding lessons from the past month of Mercury retrograde and issues to focus on during the lunar month ahead. The intensified presence of Mercury barely moving forward may feel challenging in terms of leaping forward with progress, yet Mercury will have a potent force to apply toward mental pursuits and communication.

Although Mercury is barely moving during the Aquarius New Moon, it will soon begin picking up speed while applying toward an extremely inventive trine aspect with Uranus that it will complete on 29 January. This will be the third exact trine aspect between Mercury in Capricorn with Uranus in Taurus, the first occurring on 17 December when Mercury was direct and the second occurring on 8 January when Mercury was in the middle of its retrograde journey. Reflect upon any bright ideas and innovative work that came to mind in mid December that you continued to develop in mid January but has remained in need of further work to solidify or bring to completion. The week following the Aquarius New Moon will be extremely fertile for making significant strides with all manner of mercurial work, including any form of communication or commerce.

With Mercury in the exaltation of Mars picking up speed in the week following the Aquarius New Moon, and Mars in the airy domicile of Mercury also beginning to finally gain traction with forward momentum, the additional stationing direct of Uranus on 22 January will mean that all of the planets will be moving direct in motion, supplying an immense thrust of forward momentum we can utilize with our work. There will be an extended period of time to work with all of the planets moving direct in motion, as there will not be another planet shifting into a retrograde phase until Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus on 21 April. While the Aquarius New Moon marks the time of the Chinese New Year that welcomes the Year of the Yin Water Rabbit, there is ample astrological support for giving the Aquarius New Moon the quality of initiating all of us into a new year of growth.

Within the tumult of archetypal tidal forces expanding forward in the week following the Aquarius New Moon, Venus will be shining brightly as an Evening Star and will enter her exaltation of Pisces on 26 January. Venus entering Pisces will bring a boost to artistic, creative, musical, and imaginative pursuits, further enhancing capacity for making significant strides in creative development. Venus in Pisces can also supply a safe haven of sensual pleasures and intimate connection within surrounding storms. If current events or personal experiences become overly stressful and anxiety provoking, look to Venus and her love of pleasure, music, games, food, and other creature comforts to temper nerves and restore creative agency. Notably, as the Moon waxes toward fullness on 4 February, Venus in Pisces will form a waning square aspect with Mars in Gemini that will mark a key turning point within relationship and creative process. Thus the awareness gained during the conjunction between Venus with Saturn during the Aquarius New Moon will be important to apply toward the ways in which we notice our values and desires changing as Venus approaches her square with Mars in the following two weeks.

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius is in the first decan of Aquarius, associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords, we see a swordsman pridefully watching his conquered rivals walk away, leaving him solitary in a freshly cleared domain. Venus and Saturn are the rulers of the first decan of Aquarius, yet the presence of Saturn is much more immediately recognizable in the image of the Five of Swords than Venus. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets about the decans and tarot described how Venus involves both “the sweet refuge of the familiar” as well as the “allure of the possible,” and how the Five of Swords concerns risking the familiar, abandoning comfort, embracing hope, and traversing the passage between the known and unknown that is “fraught with peril.” Chang also wrote that the Five of Swords “can be a card of longing, sharp and bittersweet . . . the double-edged sword that fans desire without satisfying it; it creates avid interest without the opportunity to pursue it.” Chang advised that the Five of Swords can indicate “impossible expectations and uncharitable thoughts directed at yourself or others,” but whenever we take the risk to leave the familiar in order to better ourselves, we embrace the Five of Swords.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first decan of Aquarius, calling it “a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” a place where “there are discoveries to be made and profit to be had on the periphery.” Coppock noted that many images in older texts for this decan “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside,” whereas others reveal figures “whose labor results in both beauty and financial reward.”  Coppock further linked the meaning of the Five of Swords to this face through the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” gained when breaking free from the orthodoxy of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic.” In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card reveals how some relationships become necessarily sacrificed when entering exile away from societal norms, while new vivifying relationships will also arise in alignment with the liberated sense of Self that emerges in the process of becoming.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice, Dike, as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Coppock in 36 Faces linked Dike appearing here with “the abandonment of relationships which do not live up to Lady Justice’s high standards.” With Venus and Saturn, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius, forming a conjunction in Aquarius during the Aquarius New Moon, we can pay attention to how the sword of Justice cuts through to the heart of matters, allowing the scales of Justice to weigh the relationships that deserve our full devotion versus the ones that are misaligned with our soulful essence and personal integrity.

If you feel lacking in relationships aligned with your purpose and values, following through on intentions to embody your values and express your purpose will help in drawing resonate relationships within your sphere of relations, even if it necessitates taking the risk to the leave the comforts your present circumstances supply. Whenever we leave the security of the familiar to strike out towards the promise of the unknown, fears of conflict and the possibility of losing important relationships can keep us confined to unfulfilling circumstances. The Aquarius New Moon is an invitation to consider the life and relationships you can create by fully stepping into creative actualization of your most cherished values and deepest desires.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! On the Oak tier in our monthly classes we are exploring the fixed stars, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Full Moon in Cancer

Moon over Musashino (1909/10) by Kamisaka Sekka
audio recording of Cancer Full Moon article

Full Moon in Cancer

The Moon keeps close to us through eternal flux, constantly changing phases, waxing and waning in light. The Moon pours down the influences of the wandering and fixed stars, carrying and transmitting their messages and meaning. Reflection is the Moon’s method. Rather than generating light like the Sun, the Moon reflects the nourishment of divine light back to us. We learn of our affinities and feel our many associations through the swift movement of the Moon, gaining awareness of the relationship between our mind and body with the multitude of all life, including the multiplicity of ancestors who feed into our being. The peak light of the Cancer Full Moon takes place every year within the watery, nocturnal domicile of the Moon, zodiacal terrain where the Moon fully activates the realms of memory, imagination, dreams and the unconscious. The Cancer Full Moon on 6 January 2023 possesses a dynamic potency for descending into inner realms of intuition in order to reascend with revelatory insight. The silvery light of the Moon will illuminate the cracks and crevices of inner psyche, helping us shed and release old patterns so we may clear ground for the nourishment of new ideas and a renewal of vitality.

The Cancer Full Moon has an intense relationship with Mercury. Mercury and the Moon are the two key messengers within astrology. In combination they bridge the irrational with the rational, picking up messages from the unconscious to interpret and translate through our conscious awareness. During the exact timing of the Moon opposing the Sun on 6 January, Mercury will be simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with the Sun that will bring about a reanimation of Mercury on 7 January while the Moon remains full of light. It’s an electric atmosphere for reception of revelation, amplified by Uranus in Taurus possessing harmonious aspects with both the Moon and Mercury. Mental and emotional material will be highly activated. Depending upon circumstances, there may be a need to respond to major eruptions in storylines or mediate the turning of one’s own mind into rumination of memories, thoughts, and feelings that need to be worked out. It’s a fruitful time for both solitary contemplation as well as deep dialogue within intimate relationship. Finding ways to animate feelings such as through physical exertion, writing, or artistic expression can deliver important insights to integrate.

The Full Moon in Cancer is separating from a square with Chiron in Aries and a sextile with Uranus in Taurus while applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, a trine with Neptune in Pisces, and an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. Black Moon Lilith, the lunar symbol revealing shadowy material in need of integration or release, is also in Cancer and forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. Utilizing practices for mindfulness can help deepen awareness of subconscious material rather than becoming dissociated or projecting inner issues in destructive ways through external relationships. Creatively, the days following the lunation can be powerful for research and writing, especially when needing to brainstorm and generate new ideas or ways to renovate ideas already under development. With the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn amplified during the first week of 2023, make space to reflect upon your use of time, your health routines and habits, the interplay between rest and work, and the ambitions to prioritize in the year ahead that are aligned with your larger dreams as well as the nourishment of your most soulful needs.

Athenian tetradrachm representing the goddess Athena

The Full Moon in Cancer is also applying closely to a conjunction with Pallas Athena retrograde in Cancer and a flowing trine with Vesta in Pisces. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described the daimonic, angelic influence of asteroids as mediating the personal and collective, guiding us through emotional crises that bring about a metamorphosis attuned with the whole of creation. George theorized that the asteroids possess a cyclical and nonlinear nature similar to the cycles of change that the Moon is constantly setting in motion, so that “the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going, ” the “new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche,” serving “as agents in the transformative process of individuals.” As we continue to traverse an extraordinary period of collective crisis, it’s worth considering the meaning held by Pallas Athena and Vesta and how they can assist with the regenerative changes needing to be made.

I have not conducted extensive research to develop a meaning for Pallas Athena retrograde in contrast to direct motion, but one idea that comes to mind is that perhaps her Athena Nike quality obsessed with victory in the moment could give way to her more prophetic side that is less focused upon engaging in battle and more open to biding her time while divining the full scope of circumstances and developing strategies for future success. In myth, Pallas Athena and her glimmering gray eyes possess an “in-betweeness” like Hermes that can utilize disguise, deception, subterfuge, and cunning dialogue in her quests and heroic mentoring, attributes that fit well with her forming an opposition to Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. Pallas Athena can scan the personal and collective environment for root causes of ills, devising practical solutions that lead to the building of forms that facilitate success within civilization. The combination of Pallas Athena with Vesta creates a laser focus that can penetrate into the heart of a multitude of issues, whether we are invested in matters of health, creativity, the arts, or political change and activism.

The watery trine between the Full Moon and Pallas Athena retrograde in Cancer with Vesta in Pisces emphasizes the importance of creating sacred space for contemplation within a boundary of protection. With Pallas Athena retrograde also in aspect with Chiron in Aries, any techniques that can enhance mind-body connections will be extremely helpful, including the use of guided visualization. If you’ve been dealing with excessive stress recently, create an immersive environment of imagination in which you can experience restoration and realignment with your deepest dreams and desires. Allow for solutions to emerge from imaginal realms and relationships with spirit, discerning how to make practical use of received messages. The aegis armor of Athena may need to be cast aside temporarily, as well as attachment to societal status and ambitions in order to gain the necessary understanding of issues involved in present challenges. Pallas Athena on the prowl is known for her invulnerability, but her retrograde configuration with the Cancer Full Moon and Mercury retrograde in Capricorn indicates that letting down her guard to access the profound inner wisdom of her mother Metis and grandmother Tethys will deliver the vision and insight needed for ultimate success.

Pallas Athena and Herakles (480 – 470 BC)

Less than a week after the Cancer Full Moon, Mars will station direct on 12 January at 8°08’ Gemini. There will be a burning intensification of all things Mars that will become progressively louder each day following the lunation. Fitting for stationing in the sign of the Twins, the glowing redness of Mars will be situated above the bright redness of the royal star Aldebaran in the night sky. The burning, sacred eye of the bull, Aldebaran’s alliance with Mars will amplify the potential for gathering resources and honing strategies. If possible to wait for implementing plans of action, let yourself recover from whatever fiery process of internal transfiguration you have experienced since Mars stationed retrograde in Gemini on October 30. With the cunning presences of Pallas Athena and Mercury illuminated by the Cancer Full Moon, focus on integration and allowing for inner insights to deepen. The end of January following the Aquarius New Moon on 21 January will be ripe for direct action and riding a tidal wave of forward momentum.

In contrast to Mars and Mercury, Venus will be moving in direct motion while increasing in brightness and visibility as an evening star. Venus in Aquarius will form a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Gemini on 9 January during the same time that Mars is stationing direct. During the Full Moon in Cancer, Venus in Aquarius will be separating from a creative sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries and applying toward the trine with Mars. Venus in Aquarius possesses intellectual and artistic brilliance that can enhance whatever grand plans for future adventure that Mars is presently incubating. Venus in Aquarius can detach and dissociate from overwhelming emotions to gain a cool comprehension of complex interpersonal dynamics, analyzing the most artful and productive path forward.

3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate the second decan of Cancer associated with the Three of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The merry image of dancing women evokes the three graces and signifies creative collaborations as well as reception of pleasure. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Walled Garden” to the second face of Cancer, adding an element not obvious from the image above: the need of protection to create a nurturing space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance. Mercury and Mars are the rulers of the second decan of Cancer, as the cunning creativity of Mercury needs the fierceness of Mars to secure a container within which the magic of Mercury may manifest desires.  

In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the fertile capacity of the second face of Cancer for bringing “wealth, cheerfulness, joy, and love of women” are shown through the images of “a man dressed in beautiful clothing” and “a man and woman sitting at a table playing.” The 13th century Picatrix gave the gifts of “games, wealth, joy and abundance” to the second face of Cancer, describing the image of a beautiful woman wearing a crown of green myrtle while delicately holding a water lily and singing songs of love and joy. Similarly, the 12th century philosopher and astrologer Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described the image of a beautiful women wearing a myrtle crown who has pleasant speech and desires music and wind.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces made the astute insight that “the great secret” of the second face of Cancer “is the power of right incubation.” In relation to present transits this is a perfect fit for the retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury happening during the Cancer Full Moon, the two rulers of this face. Coppock connected the co-rulership of Mars and Mercury as signifying “the protective, guiding power of the mother goddess” that can cultivate gardens where “rare pleasures bloom.” Similar to how the Moon has both a dark and light side, Coppock discerned that the connection between the mother goddess with the second face of Cancer is that “while we may find pleasure in being coddled, the wise mother orchestrates challenges that her children might become heroes and heroines.” Coppock described how this is illustrated by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribing the ancient Greek hero Heracles to the second face of Cancer, as “though on the surface Heracles is a symbol of masculine potency, his entire story, from before birth until after death, was orchestrated by Hera, the mother.”

The mother goddess making her home in the second face of Cancer is shown in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis, as it pictured the body of a vulture with the face of the great goddess Isis wearing a crown. Furthermore, Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, possibly around 50 CE) gave the image of “Woman, entire body winged as if flying, plaited wreath upon her head” to the second face of Cancer.

These winged feminine images evoke the story of Isis searching for her dismembered lover and twin Osiris by transforming into a kite, a winged raptor that feeds on the dead like vultures. The relentless courage of Isis to locate and reanimate Osiris was necessary to give birth to their new storylines of Osiris becoming lord of the underworld and Isis becoming the mother of Horus. Under the light of the Cancer Full Moon, feel into how the trials by fire you have endured over recent months have proven essential in shaping your personal growth and the new skills, talents and opportunities emerging for you to develop in the new year.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic. 

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986).  Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

The Faun Musician by Pablo Picasso
  • Mercury enters shadow zone: 12 December 2022 at 8°08’ Capricorn
  • Mercury at maximum elongation as evening star (becoming slower than Sun): 21 December
  • Mercury stations retrograde: 29 December at 24°21’ Capricorn
  • Mercury inferior conjunction: 7 January 2023 at 16°57’ Capricorn
  • Mercury stations direct: 18 January at 8°08’ Capricorn
  • Mercury at maximum elongation as morning star (becoming faster than Sun): 30 January
  • Mercury leaves shadow zone: 6 February at 24°21’ Capricorn

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

Mercury delights in questioning categorization and fixed concepts. It’s the only planet that refuses to be limited to singular categories, as it can be benefic or malefic, nocturnal or diurnal, masculine or feminine depending upon the surrounding influences it mixes with. In popular astrology Mercury is often described as linear and logical, yet the ease with which Mercury can interface with the irrational and nonlinear, such as in the interpretation of dreams and omens, reveals how its affinity for deconstruction and destabilization is an essential element of its capacity to bring about primal reordering. When Mercury shifts into its retrograde phase, the star of Hermes makes its home in the liminal, in threshold experiences of leaving one state to enter another. Mercury retrograde delivers transitions and twists in storyline, teaching pivotal lessons from unexpected circumstances. With Mercury stationing retrograde in the final days of 2022, it’s fitting that Mercury will play a major role in ushering us across the threshold into a new year.

Mercury will station retrograde on 29 December 2022 and embark upon a twenty day journey of backtracking from 24°21’ to 8°08’ Capricorn when it stations direct on 18 January 2023. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from eight to twenty-five degrees of Capricorn, he will excavate material that we need to deepen our engagement with, returning our perception to issues we need to release, rework, or reintegrate. Yet the retrograde of Mercury is not limited to review and redo, as the star of Hermes will deepen development in areas of focus as well as reseed vital ideas and inspiration to enliven work in the season ahead. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification, we will experience renewal on the other side once Mercury has returned to visibility and direct motion in the morning sky. Mercury first crossed 8°08’ Capricorn on 12 December and will not move beyond 24°21’ Capricorn until 6 February, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

Of course, the reverse direction of Mercury is an illusion stemming from Mercury orbiting in between the Earth and Sun while retrograde. With Mercury’s presence intensified due to being as close to Earth as possible in orbit, the slowness of its backward motion produces a churning quality that can dredge up issues that had been hidden from awareness. With Mercury retrograde in an earth sign, messages and material carried by our body and bodily senses that we have been mentally neglecting will rise into awareness. Due to Venus forming a conjunction with Mercury on 29 December while Mercury is stationing, followed by Venus forming a conjunction with Pluto on 31 December, there will be a wealth of deep-rooted material held within the body and inner recesses of psyche to uncover and explore. The connection between Venus and Pluto will activate longstanding relational patterns, with the ghosts of past relationships emerging within the present relational circumstances we find ourselves within.

There is an important connection between the alignment of Mercury, Venus, and Pluto at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 with the previous alignment of Mercury, Venus, and Pluto that took place at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. While the planetary combination is repeating, the solar phases of Mercury and Venus are opposite. Last year Venus was retrograde while Mercury was freshly visible in its evening star phase, whereas this year Mercury is retrograde while Venus has recently become visible as an evening star. While there may be specific relationships from last year that have mirroring issues emerge again to address, there is most likely a connection taking place between major relational patterns we needed to address at the end of last year that will be emerging again in new forms. We may realize ways in which we have experienced significant growth while also recognizing aspects of ourselves that will be requiring more inner work.

The Mercury retrograde passage in Capricorn that began in 2023 marks the first of three consecutive Mercury retrograde periods in 2023 that will take place wholly in earth signs. Last year we gained a taste of Mercury retrograde in earth signs due to the retrograde periods ending with Mercury stationing direct in each of the the three earth signs after spending most of its retrograde phase in each of the three air signs. Taking note of lessons learned from last year can help in orienting to the meaning of Mercury being retrograde in the areas of your natal chart occupied by the all three of the earth signs in 2023. A fascinating aspect of Mercury retrograde during 2023 is that the first three retrograde periods of the year in earth signs all feature Mercury in either a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus or being in close proximity to Uranus. The innovative and liberating influence of Uranus upon Mercury retrograde during 2023 will create opportunities for breaking free from past patterns and making the changes that can accelerate creative development.

In addition to paying attention to information found within your body and its connection with your mind and expression, the fact that Mercury will be retrograde in all three earth signs during 2023 will make it important to analyze and review practical structures and routines in your life as well as the infrastructure and organizational systems you utilize in your work. Capricorn is the cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn that also exalts Mars, and so Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can help initiate the fundamental changes that need to be made within personal structures of all sorts, from exercise and nutritional considerations to the ways in which you manage time and space. Take stock of habits getting in the way of efficiency or that are needlessly wasting time that can be purged or reformulated during the retrograde motion of Mercury. Discipline is pleasing to Capricorn, and so it will be an opportune time for getting daily plans and routines adjusted and set in place that you can commit to following through within the year ahead.

Mercury retrograde in the nocturnal, cold, dry, and earthy sign of Capricorn has a strong skillset for sorting through and separating factors at play to diagnose the reforms needing to be made. The melancholic quality of Capricorn may influence Mercury to take on a downcast quality at times, brooding over anxieties and worries, but the imaginative nature of Capricorn combined with Mercury forming three sextile aspects with Neptune (on 24 December before stationing, 1 January while retrograde, and 6 February while direct) can also create opportunities for imaginative exploration that can help in re-dreaming your vision for what to produce in the new year. The cold and dry quality of Capricorn will also be tempered by Venus forming a conjunction with Mercury at the beginning of its retrograde passage, signaling that Mercury’s descent into the underworld while retrograde can facilitate a pivotal renewal of our creative potency and agency.

Mercury will not only be retrograde in the earthy domicile of Saturn, it will also be ruled by Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius. The powerful influence of Saturn combined with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will emphasize our relationship with collective influences such as societal conditioning from systemic structures. Societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos, yet we can forget at times how our habitual conformity with certain societal norms can keep us stuck in limiting patterns we wish to break free from. Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize our perception of societal norms and rules, heightening awareness of ways we have been restricting our authentic expression, As we deepen into a process of revelation, the flowing trine aspect that Mercury retrograde will eventually form with Uranus in Taurus on 8 January will unveil a more vibrant presence and creative expression to take on through our work. The mature and responsible nature of Capricorn can facilitate Mercury retrograde guiding us through a process of taking greater accountability for the work we desire to manifest and embody through our contribution to our wider community.

Pan (1899) by Mikhail Vrubel

We drive and are driven. / But time’s stride– / think of it lost / in the ever-remaining.

All that’s hurrying / will quickly be past; / only what lingers / grants us credence.

Boys, don’t fling your courage / into the thrill of speed / or attempts at flight.

All that is is at rest– / darkness and morning light, / flower and book.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, #22

Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will invert norms in ways that bring awareness to social conformity and taboos. A subconscious portal into exploring our constructs of time and space will open so we may renew our relationship with phenomenal reality. In Capricorn, the star of Hermes takes on the likeness of his goat-horned and hoofed progeny Pan who can shepherd us through a journey into our vast inner multiplicity that mirrors the multiplicity of stars above. As Mercury descends from visibility as an evening star at sunset at the end of 2022, the new year will begin with Mercury shepherding us through its invisible phase in which it serves as psychopomp to our own underworld journey.

The association of Pan with the scapegoat is relevant, as unrecognized inner material emerging into awareness can be projected onto an Other of one sort or another. Intersecting with societal oppression, the collective discharge can often be projected through the lens of collective constructs around ideas of race, gender, or other forms of identity, taking on the ugliness of racism or sexism. When facing inner conflicts around taboos or aspects of ourselves we have been denying, we can utilize Mercury retrograde in Capricorn for coming into greater acceptance of our diverse inner nature and multiplicity of identities rather than projecting what we don’t want to look at about ourselves. In addition, feelings of scarcity or not having enough can become heightened due to the combination of collective economic uncertainty and the emphasis on Capricorn, so there will be a need to take personal accountability and transfigure anxieties into creative production generated from inner strength rather than out of fear or control.

There will be a likelihood of harsh words and wounding projections due to the powerful interplay between Mercury retrograde in Capricorn with Mars retrograde in Gemini in the beginning of 2023. There is a mutual generosity of Mercury being in the exaltation of Mars while Mars is in the domicile of Mercury. Though you may think of Capricorn and Gemini as being averse to one another due to them sharing nothing in common (nocturnal-cold-dry versus diurnal-hot-moist), their aversion is mitigated due to Capricorn and Gemini being signs of equal ascension that share the same speed as well as being contra-antiscia to one another. Planets in exact contra-antiscia form a midpoint at zero degrees of Aries, bringing the diversity of their differences together into a potent marriage of manifestation in the world.

Mercury will become exactly contra antiscia with Mars on 3 January when Mercury is at 21°21’ Capricorn and Mars is at 8°39’ Gemini. Moreover, since Jupiter is close to zero degrees of Aries, Mars and Mercury will form an exact midpoint with Jupiter on 1 January 2023. As a result, the first few days of 2023 possess a potent planetary picture of Mercury-Jupiter- Mars. The effects of this combination will be multivalent, ranging from extremes of destruction in current events to incredible creative production in our own personal sphere. Due to both Mercury and Mars being in retrograde phases, it will be an especially fruitful time for gathering resources and doing renovation that builds a stronger foundation for our visible work to emerge later in the year.

The powerful interplay between Mercury-Jupiter-Mars will occur at the same time that Mercury will be entering combustion to burn off excess under the beams of the Sun. The image of Temperance from tarot can be helpful during this time, as we will need to undergo a process of purging that acknowledges excess in order to bring about a restoration of balance. With Jupiter at the midpoint of the contra-antiscia dynamic between Mercury retrograde and Mars retrograde, we can experience a powerful initiation into a new stage of growth and development. Yet to realize the potential available we will need to take note of our areas of excess so we can become focused more clearly upon what needs to be purged and consumed by the flames of the Sun as Mercury approaches its solar conjunction on 7 January.

Orpheus, early 16th Century

O come and go. You, still almost a child, / with your spell transform for an instant / the dance figure make it one of those pure / constellations in which we fleetingly

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused / to full hearing only when Orpheus sang. / You were still swayed by those ancient chords / and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock / before it followed where your hearing led. / You still knew the place where the lyre / rose resounding–; the undreamt-of center.

For it you practiced those beautiful steps / and hoped one day to turn toward / total happiness your friend’s face and stride.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus #28

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on 7 January 2023 at 16°57’ Capricorn, a day after the Cancer Full Moon that will take place on 6 January. As a result, the light of the silvery Moon in her watery domicile of Cancer will fully illuminate the reseeding of Mercury in solar light. The regeneration of Mercury occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible morning star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.”

Although the inferior conjunction of Mercury is typically felt in hidden, interior spaces, the regenerative conjunction between Mercury with the Sun on 7 January will pack a louder punch than normal due to it being illuminated by the Full Moon in Cancer while also forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will take place on 8 January. The more we can let go of excess and outdated patterns in the lead up to Mercury’s inferior conjunction, the better we will be able to receive the emancipatory messages of Uranus in Taurus. This can be a powerful time for research and writing, especially when needing to brainstorm and generate new ideas or ways to reorganize and reconceptualize ideas already under development. It can also be a potent time for creating sacred space to nurture our imaginal, tender connections with the interconnectedness of all.

Mercury’s inferior conjunction will be just over one degree away from the fixed star Vega, a fixed star currently projected onto the ecliptic at 15°37’ Capricorn. Mercury will be within a degree of Vega’s ecliptic degree when forming its flowing trine with Uranus on 8 January. Vega is one of the brightest stars in the entire sky and has ancient significance in skylore. As the brightest star in the Lyra constellation it possesses a direct connection to the birth story of Hermes told in the Homeric hymn, an amazing synchronicity as the star of Hermes becomes reborn at this time. After Hermes was born in a cave, his immense curiosity soon led him to journey outside where he encountered the cattle of Apollo, stealing them and marching them backwards to conceal his theft in a manner mirroring the retrograde motion of the planet named after him. But stealing cattle was not all that Hermes was up to on his first journey into the world, as he also encountered a tortoise whose shell he transformed into a lyre. Once Hermes was confronted by Apollo for stealing his cattle, he sang a song with the lyre and gifted it to Apollo, enchanting the Sun god in the process.

Enchantment is central to Vega. Ptolemy linked Venus and Mercury to Vega, a further sync with the conjunction of Venus and Mercury in Capricorn initiating us into the stationing of Mercury retrograde. Bernadette Brady described Vega as bringing “creative, mysterious skill which can be used for artistic, spiritual expression or in a negative reading as a tool of deception,” with a presence that gives “charisma and the suggestion that one has been touched by the other world.” Vega is one of the fifteen Behenian stars long associated with astrological magic, possessing magical properties that amplify creativity as well as bringing protection against demons and nightmares. It’s deceptive, creative, and protective capacities are an exact match for the hidden powers of Mercury that become alive when it passes through its regenerative conjunction with the Sun, especially when also forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus.

The otherworldliness of Vega can also be found in its mythic associations with Orpheus who played the lyre so beautifully that the music was said to enchant all of life, everything from animals to stones. Orpheus was even able to enchant the guardians of the underworld, permitting him to journey into the underworld in order to retrieve his beloved Eurydice. In addition to the ability of Orpheus to travel to the underworld and back again mirroring the psychopomp capacities of Hermes as well as the symbolic underworld journey that Mercury retrograde guides us through, there is additional chthonic associations with Vega through the image of the vulture. Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy listed the vulture as a magical image for Vega, and Vega has also been viewed culturally as the brightest star in a constellation featuring the form of a vulture rather than a stringed instrument. Vultures play a vital role in the life cycle through feeding upon the dead, and in another ancient myth it was the form of a kite (a bird of prey that also feeds on carrion) that the goddess Isis took when resurrecting her beloved Osiris from death.

Altogether, Mercury forming a conjunction with Vega as it passes through its conjunction with the Sun and trine with Uranus signifies the immense creativity that can become regenerated and activated during this time. Listen for the song to sing or play your creation into being in the world.

Pan, 1st Century BCE

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer? / When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress? / And this heart, always the gods’ possession, / when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle / as Fate would have us believe? / Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise, / in the roots– later on– stilled?

Ah, the spectrre of transience, / through the guilelessly receptive / it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving, — / the abiding Strengths assume / that the gods have some need for us.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, #27

After Mercury becomes regenerated by the Sun, the middle of January will be dominated by the intensification of Mars stationing direct on 12 January at nine degrees of Gemini. With Mars barely moving in the airy domicile of Mercury, it will gather and focalize energy to solidify new movement. If you have been unable to gain traction on all of the new creative directions you have been inspired to pursue since Mars stationed retrograde on 30 October 2022, the week surrounding the stationing of Mars can be a potent time for committing to making it happen. Amazingly, around the same time that Mars stations direct, Mercury will also become intensified through its heliacal rising, becoming visible again as a morning star heralding sunrise. The divine presence of Hermes will be strongly alive and mediated by Chiron – for Chiron in Aries will form an exact square aspect with Mercury on 11 January, while Mars stations in range of a received sextile with Chiron. There may be an old wound to work through in mid-January that will ultimately prove to be an essential aspect of your work to come.

Moreover, Mercury will station direct less than a week after Mars on 18 January at 8°08’ Capricorn in an exact quincunx aspect to the degree and minute where Mars stationed direct. It will be extremely important to practice mindfulness during this time, paying close attention to any signs or omens in dreaming or waking life that reveal important lessons or insight into the choices you need to make. It will also be important to pay attention to triggers of conflict and restrain from creating additional conflict needlessly through words or behavior. At the same time, this can be a profoundly rich time for creativity and embarking upon new directions. Those involved in research or writing projects can discover deep wells of focus to apply to their work. 

Less than a week after Mercury stations direct on 18 January, Uranus in Taurus will station direct on 22 January. Combined with the New Moon in Aquarius on 21 January that demarcates the Chinese New Year of the Yin Water Rabbit, the week following the stationing of Mercury will bring an extraordinary turning of the tide and a massive shift into generative forward motion. After Uranus stations direct on 22 January, all of the planets will be moving direct until the end of April when Mercury will station retrograde once again in Taurus. In the week following the Aquarius New Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will complete its final square aspect with Chiron in Aries on 27 January with Mars three degrees away from an exact sextile with Chiron. Pay attention to how the tests and trials of the past month have led to newfound strength and courage to face adversity and push forward with your goals and growth.

Matching the forward momentum of this time, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a morning star on 30 January. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates another threshold to cross, as it initiates us into the phase of Mercury speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. With Mars in Gemini also beginning to generate more forward momentum, this will be a key period to take direct action on whatever you have been developing.

Interestingly, Mercury will complete its final sextile with Neptune in Pisces on February 6, the same day that it moves beyond the place where it originally stationed retrograde. A few days later Mercury will finally complete an exact conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on 10 February before leaving Capricorn to enter Aquarius on 11 February. These final major aspects for Mercury in Capricorn will take place around the same time as an extremely potent Full Moon in Leo on 5 February that will be forming a square aspect with Uranus while applying toward an opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. The Leo Full Moon will be the final major activation of the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated astrology during 2021 and 2022.

As a result, two of the longstanding transits that will be ending in 2023 – the transit of Pluto through Capricorn and the square between Saturn and Uranus – will both be stirred up as Mercury finally finishes its passage through Capricorn. Of course, the new year will not bring the final end of Pluto in Capricorn, as Pluto will only be in Aquarius from 23 March until 11 June, and we will continue experiencing Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Though you have already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008 in relation to Pluto’s transit, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has reshaped your life and perception. May Mercury help us receive and integrate the lessons and meaning we need to learn.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic. 

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

2023 Astrology Forecast

2023 Astrology Forecast

I recently joined Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast to talk about the astrology of 2023. You can watch the YouTube video here:

With Saturn entering Pisces, Pluto entering Aquarius for the first time, Jupiter moving from Aries into Taurus, and the lunar nodes shifting from Scorpio and Taurus into Libra and Aries, we can expect many new stories to emerge in the year ahead that will offer opportunities to make significant progress on the goals and work we have been developing during the past few years of extraordinary collective change. The astrological alignments of 2020 aligned with the world changing in unprecedented ways, and were followed by two years of immense astrological volatility in 2021 and 2022 that were dominated by the friction of Saturn and Uranus clashing in a square aspect. While the world will continue to go through a period of great volatility that will extend through the decade of the 2020s, I feel that 2023 offers a quality of time that can help with recovery and adjustment to the ways in which the world has been changing while also offering increased opportunities to be creatively productive.

Melissa and I spend most of the first hour giving an overview of the year’s biggest transits, followed by a breakdown of each quarter of the year. Altogether it is three hours and forty-five minutes long, with a thorough overview given for each section of 2023.

There are timestamps in the YouTube video for the following:

00:07:53 Overview

00:55:44 Capricorn Solstice / Aquarius / Pisces Seasons

01:36:47 Aries Equinox / Taurus / Gemini Seasons

02:33:22 Cancer Solstice / Leo / Virgo Seasons

03:00:04 Libra Equinox / Scorpio / Sagittarius

03:25:30 Capricorn Solstice & Final Days Of The Year

If you prefer to listen on Sound Cloud you can use the following link:

New Moon in Capricorn

Aurora Borealis (1882) from The Trouvelot Astronomical Drawings
Audio recording of article

New Moon in Capricorn

Capricorn is zodiacal terrain that holds the duality of civilization and the wilderness. The wildness of Capricorn demands survival skills and sharp strategy, while its affinity for societal systems emphasizes cultural conditioning influences we must interface with. It’s the only zodiacal sign where Saturn and Mars are both glorified and fortified, a place of courageous initiative as well as cutting contraction. The New Moon in Capricorn on 23 December is fertile with creative visioning and pragmatic grounding, possessing the serendipity of cloaking the turning of the seasons in black, moonless night. The fertile darkness of the lunation will be aligned with the solstice when the Sun stations at the extreme of its declination, a time of extreme darkness giving way to the return of light in the northern hemisphere. It’s the darkest time of the year with the longest nights in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reaches the nadir of its lowest declination while it rises and sets in the same place for several days; in the southern hemisphere the Sun pauses while at its greatest height in declination during the longest days of the year. In the spirit of transitional Janus, we may simultaneously reflect upon the growth of the past year while turning toward the bright beginnings of new goals and resolutions for the year ahead.

The Capricorn New Moon occurring during solstice means it is on the World Axis, the axis mundi centered upon zero degrees of the cardinal signs in the tropical zodiac. Moreover, Jupiter is further activating the Aries Point by occupying zero degrees of Aries, while Ceres is at 1°09′ Libra and Uranus is at the cross-quarter of fifteen degrees of Taurus. The first degrees of Aries and Libra are the nodes of Earth, the intersection of the celestial equator with the ecliptic that defines the zodiac. Activations of the Aries Point focalize manifestation of archetypal forces through the World Soul into worldly events, and so the planetary combination of Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Ceres will combine their influences so that issues around justice, wealth, food supplies, labor movements, freedom, faith, grief, and purification will come into prominence within current events. In our personal lives, we will have amplified support for opening to reception of abundance in the year ahead and enlarging the scope of vision to engender plans and strategies for burgeoning creative directions.

In addition to Jupiter boosting the beneficence of the Capricorn New Moon, Venus and Mercury will also be present within Capricorn and glowing brightly in the night following sunset. In fact, all of the visible planets will be visible in the darkening sky following sunset in the days surrounding the lunation. The star of Aphrodite will be especially emboldened with resilient hope and creative ripeness, as she has recently emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and will be continuing to increase with brighter and brighter light in the months ahead. Venus is receiving the liberating and innovative force of Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine aspect, accentuating our capacity for breaking free into new storylines freed from restrictive patterns of the past. Venus and Mercury will both be separating from trine aspects with Uranus while applying toward creative sextile aspects with Neptune in Pisces, with Mercury forming an exact sextile with Neptune on 24 December and Venus on 28 December. With Venus and Mercury carrying a Promethean torch to light the way forward, their combined presence in Capricorn will kindle new ideas for creative development while also enhancing capacity for devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions.

The Capricorn New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn is in a solitary place of forming no major aspects with other planets besides separating from its longstanding square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that has been the dominant astrological influence during the past couple of years. Saturn is six degrees away from Uranus on the day of the New Moon and will be almost ten degrees past Uranus by the end of the forthcoming lunar cycle. The tension between Saturn and Uranus during the past couple of years has been the driving force behind systemic collapses, movements for change, and the overturning of old and familiar storylines and structures in our personal life. Within their friction is the consolidated contraction of Saturn that slowly builds enduring structures, set against the accelerated vision of Uranus that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. Although their disruptive influence is ultimately on the way out during 2023, there will be a final activation of Saturn and Uranus during January and February. Utilize the stillness of the solstice and the darkness of the New Moon for reflection upon the ways in which your life has been reordered and reshaped by Saturn and Uranus since the end of 2020, and how you can utilize the final months of Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius to solidify the foundations and structures of whatever changes have taken shape.

During the forthcoming lunar cycle Saturn in Aquarius will be nearby the fixed star Deneb Algedi in the tail of the celestial Sea Goat (the Capricorn constellation). Saturn’s proximity to Deneb Algedi will bring additional emphasis to envisioning ways of generating greater wealth and material manifestation, as well as how to protect and preserve resources that have already been acquired. Deneb Algedi is a fixed star often associated with the ancient creator deity Enki aka Ea who dwells in subterranean water. A trickster and wise magician, Enki reorders the conventions of civilization from the depths, transfiguring the landscape so that the resources needed to fuel civilization can grow and take root. As Deneb Algedi also connects with the law and order of conventional society as well as the metaphysical principles of natural law, Saturn’s presence with the Sea Goat’s starry tail will call attention to where we need to free ourselves from conventional conditioning in order to claim the authority for steering our lives forward from a place of authentic desires and presence.

Pan and Fortune (1793) by William Blake

The month following the Capricorn New Moon will place extra focus on Capricorn, with Venus forming conjunctions with Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury undergoing a retrograde passage that will keep the star of Hermes within the confines of Capricorn until 11 February. There is a mercurial quality to the lunation as the Capricorn New Moon is in the bounds of Mercury while Mercury is at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star, the point of its solar cycle in which it begins to slow down in preparation for stationing retrograde. Mercury will ultimately station retrograde in Capricorn on 29 December while forming a conjunction with Venus only three degrees away from Pluto. Venus will then form an exact conjunction with Pluto on 31 December. The union between Venus and Mercury will be particularly powerful due to Mercury stationing retrograde on the same day, facilitating penetrating insight into the underbelly of your relational dynamics and creative processes. There will be a deep well of unconscious forces to investigate that can uncover meaning that had been buried in subconscious recesses as well as insight into your relationships with power and societal conditioning.

Since Pluto will exit Capricorn to enter Aquarius next year on 23 March 2023, the potent activation of Pluto by Mercury and Venus will make the month ahead an opportune time for contemplating the many ways in which your life has changed since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008. During 2023 and 2024 we will experience Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until finally entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Pluto’s archetypal meaning includes death and rebirth experiences as well as the wealth and treasure that can be retrieved during underworld journeys. Pluto signifies our inner subterranean realm, the deep soul patterns circulating in our unconscious that often drive our instinctive reactions without our awareness. Pluto is also connected to desire for power, dynamics of power and control, and power struggles. When we resist the transformative change of Pluto for security reasons we can experience upheaval and breakdown, but as we surrender to its process of decay and regeneration we may experience a purification in which we burn away old restrictions and evolve into a more potent vitality. Though you have likely already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has brought about pivotal confrontations that have reshaped your life and perception.

Fortunately a powerful ally and mentor for exploring the shadowy realms of Pluto will be stepping forward: Chiron. Chiron will have a more amplified presence than normal due to stationing direct at 11°56′ Aries on 23 December, the same day as the Capricorn New Moon. Moreover, Chiron is occupying the fiery domicile of Mars while engaging in a receptive sextile aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini. As Chiron slowly begins to generate forward momentum in the weeks following the Capricorn New Moon, Mars will finally end its retrograde passage and station direct in stillness on 12 January 2023. Chiron in myth and astrology mediates the division between wilderness and civilization, helping us gather the guidance of our ancestors and the resilient resources found within the recesses of inner psyche. Residing in his shadowy cave on the outskirts of society within a wild landscape of medicinal plants and mountainous terrain, Chiron is the wise hermit who trains the alienated in cultivation of the unique qualities they can share as part of finding a role in community. Whatever difficult issues, tests, and wounds have been stirred up by the retrograde passage of Mars, the stationing of Chiron can help in attuning to the deeper lessons and wisdom to retrieve from the turmoil and challenges.

With Jupiter also co-present in Aries along with Chiron, the Capricorn New Moon also serves as an initiation into the buildup of Jupiter slowly approaching a conjunction with Chiron that will take place on 12 March 2023. There is an excellent article written by Brian Clark about the Jupiter-Chiron cycle and their conjunction in Aries in 2023 you can read here. Amongst many other themes, Brian Clark deduced that the start of a new cycle between Jupiter and Chiron in 2023 will highlight mundane issues centered around educational changes, medicinal wisdom, indigenous reconciliation, refuge for the displaced, and natural and psychic wilderness.

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The New Moon in Capricorn will rise in the first decan of Capricorn associated with the Two of Pentacles image illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a juggling magician set against a backdrop of sea change embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Fittingly for a decan focused upon shaping material fortune, the first face of Capricorn is ruled by both Jupiter and Saturn. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that Jupiter’s rulership of this face is shown through the metaphysical lesson of the Two of Pentacles: “the only constant is change.” Chang wrote that while the Two of Pentacles portends that nothing will be remaining the same, its connection with the first decan of Capricorn also signifies that there will be opportunities opening up to take advantage of for new growth and experiences. As we bring the volatile year of 2022 to a close, the New Moon in the first face of Capricorn is a boon for gleaning the new goals for growth we can gather from the many changes we experienced during the past year.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn, stating it “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.”  Coppock analyzed the attribution by the 12th century philosopher and astrologer Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new sources of work and sustenance. Coppock further illuminated that since “the figures which roam this decan can root deeply into what soil they find themselves in,” using discernment in choosing which location to lay down roots within is critical. If we wish to utilize the capacity of Capricorn for building a sturdy foundation that will support the development of enduring structures, we need to be mindful where we choose to begin construction.

While Coppock cited the image of a headless man holding a sword found in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis as the inspiration for his image of “A Headless Body,” it’s further interesting that it also directly connects to the image for this decan found in Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE): “Body of a man without a head, dressed in a scarab skin wrapped around his chest, small water urn in right hand, left hand stretched out upon thigh.” While the image of scarab skin in The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius fits well with the scarab-faced deity Khepri in Egyptian religion who represents the rising sun, creation, and the renewal of life, the fact that the figure is also carrying a water urn reveals the purification and spiritual regeneration that can be experienced during the solstice when the Sun enters the first face of Capricorn. Like the headless Ketu associated with the South Node of the Moon, the headlessness of figures associated with the first decan of Capricorn also reveals the extraordinary power of this face for attuning with the spirits of material forms.

Moreover, the “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial.  Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity,  and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious.  With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through disciplined spiritual practice.

The capacity of Asclepius to monitor synchronicities in waking and dreaming life for deeper meaning will be especially helpful to cultivate with Mercury stationing retrograde in Capricorn within a week of the New Moon. We can expect another great wave of change to take place during 2023 due to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all entering new signs, and so the New Moon occurring in the first decan of Capricorn is ideal for envisioning how to be co-creative with the changes underway. May the stationing of the solstice Sun during the darkness of the New Moon in Capricorn aid you in dreaming the creative life you wish to embody in the year ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Full Moon in Gemini

Moonlit Night on the Dnieper (1880) by Arkhip Kuindzhi
Audio recording version

Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini possesses extraordinary mental deftness. It’s the sign of the Twins and the back and forth. Gemini is paradoxically a place of the binary and duality as well as the perspicacious perception that discovers non-dualities within the conflicts of duality we suffer. Gemini is prone to fragmentation yet also discovers unity within the multiplicity of fragments its questioning breaks open. Just like the Twins symbolize symbiosis in the womb that becomes differentiated into separate paths emanating from a shared source, Mercury’s rulership of Gemini reveals its capacity for mediating polarities and considering the nuances in between opposing perspectives. Gemini delights in languages and sounds of the sacred, finding pleasure in transmitting their complex meaning through handiwork such as writing, weaving, and sculpting material forms. While Full Moons in Gemini tend to be an especially active time for mental pursuits and social engagement, the mental wattage of the Gemini Full Moon on December 7 will be excessively amplified due to the Moon closely applying to Mars retrograde in Gemini.

The darkness of the night will be set against the glowing orb of the Moon and the brilliant redness of Mars, as Mars will be in its brightest phase and as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mars to be. As the Sun sets in the west, the Moon and Mars will rise together in the east. Yet just as we will be able to witness Mars in its peak redness within the blackness of night, there will be a lunar occultation of Mars (in some locations) that will temporarily consume our visual sight of the red planet. The Moon’s disappearing act with Mars is a potent sky omen that speaks to the deeper meaning of Mars reaching its solar opposition phase. I find resonance with the perspective of astrologer Adam Gainsburg who has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as initiating us into a radical commitment to our authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs. The Full Moon in Gemini will spotlight how to direct the fiery impulses of Mars into forms and expressions that can serve the needs of your community or audience.

Gemini like its ruler Mercury has affinity for the crossroads where one path separates into a choice of options. As we come to the end of 2022 and the season of increasing darkness in the northern hemisphere, the illumination of the Full Moon in Gemini will provide penetrating insight into the changing nature of storylines from the past year and the choices which need to be made on the direction to follow in the year ahead. Though Gemini is known for becoming scattered and becoming burdened by too many interests and potential paths to pursue, the close application between the Full Moon with Mars will provide a burning intensity that can cut to the heart of the matter and the core values and desires that need to be honored in any decision. There may be a need for meditative and other calming practices to mediate an increase in mental anxieties provoked by Moon and Mars adhering to one another, yet when channeled into work, art, and creativity the amalgamation of Moon and Mars can bring an immense activation of drive and resilient tenacity in making forward strides and significant development despite whatever obstacles we may be facing.

Though the Gemini Full Moon is an incredible alignment of both the Moon and Mars cycles coming together at the same time, it’s not unusual – for comparison, you can reflect upon past times this has occurred such as the Full Moon in Sagittarius conjoining Mars retrograde in Sagittarius on 21 May 2016, and the Lunar Eclipse conjoining Mars retrograde in Aquarius on 27 July 2018. Some of what sets the present alignment apart is it occurring in Gemini with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces in the tenth place from Mars, giving Jupiter a superior influence over Mars. Furthermore, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from Neptune and applying closely toward a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter that involves mutual reception, due to Venus occupying the fiery home of Jupiter and Jupiter occupying the exaltation of Venus. James Hillman in The Myth of Analysis captured some of this meaning when he wrote that “Those twins, compulsion and inhibition, are familiar enough in all creative efforts where one is both driven and blocked, enthusiastic and critical, on fire and fearful . . . Demon and daimon are one; if we suppress the compulsion, we lose touch with the guiding voice of the daimon . . . At the deepest level of fear an eros appears . . .” The synergy between the Moon and Mars may not be pleasant, and could bring distressing fears to the surface. Uncovering the daimonic eros emerging out of your recent trials and tribulations will provide the lodestar needed for navigating out of the storm.

Saturn in Aquarius is in position to provide stabilizing support, as the Gemini Full Moon is applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn that can help with centering upon one’s core purpose and walling off the distracting noise of the nonessential. Moreover, Mercury in Capricorn as the ruler of the Gemini Full Moon is also in a place of pragmatism due to occupying the nocturnal and earthy home of Saturn. Mercury excels in holding the tension of paradox, probing the meaning that weaves together differences, and questioning the certainty of righteousness in order to tease out the insight necessary for a deeper engagement. In Capricorn, Mercury is particularly adept at devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions, making decisions in a grounded manner that recognizes the reality of what will work while staying aligned with the required integrity. As the Full Moon peaks in light, Mercury in Capricorn will be on its own without any immediately applying aspects, giving the star of Hermes space to contemplate the recent messages it received from its fiery conversation with Jupiter in Pisces on 5 December. In contrast to Venus becoming enflamed by the Moon, Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter, Mercury in Capricorn is in a cool, solitary place of contemplation that will facilitate separating the wheat from the chaff.

dating c. 520 – c. 510 BCE, depicting Herakles wrestling Triton

Mars has spent the first half of its retrograde phase locked into a battle with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces that has ranged between chaotic confusion and creative inspiration. As Mars reaches the alchemizing midpoint of its retrograde movement during the Gemini Full Moon, Mars is beginning to gain significant separation from its last square aspect it completed with Neptune on 19 November. With Neptune stationing direct on 3 December in the week before the lunation, Mars and Neptune will now be moving in different directions away from one another until they much later come back into one final square aspect on 14 March 2023. Though the combined presence of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces is still holding an influence over Mars during the Gemini Full Moon, the flowing trine aspect between the Gemini Full Moon with Saturn in Aquarius can facilitate discernment regarding whatever deep wells of imaginal material have been stirred up by Mars clashing with Jupiter and Neptune. The cutting intellectual blade of Mars retrograde in Gemini can be utilized to slice through beliefs, ideologies and illusions you have been adhering to without question. Whether you have disillusionment or inspired idealism to sort through, allow the presence of Jupiter and Neptune together to bring the underlying truth of your experience to the surface.

While the Gemini Full Moon is applying toward a trine aspect with Saturn, Mars is gaining further separation from the exact trine aspect it formed with Saturn on 28 November while applying toward a resonant sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries. Mars separating from a trine with Saturn and applying toward a sextile with Chiron while in the heart of its retrograde phase signifies initiation. Mars will form an exact sextile aspect with Chiron on 19 December 2022 at the same time that Chiron will be stationing direct on 23 December. The sextile between Mars and Chiron that will be slowly building from now until the Capricorn solstice is potent due to the activation of Chiron’s presence through stationing while Chiron is also being received by Mars into its fiery home of Aries. The reception between Mars with Chiron brings a critical test and training that has the ultimate expression of Mars for the greater good in mind. The interplay between Saturn, Mars, and Chiron may bring up painful wounds and difficult patterns to awareness, yet the harmonious reception between Chiron and Mars indicates there is something important about your relationship with Mars that is being sharpened, honed, and developed.

Reflecting upon the previous sextile aspect between Mars in Gemini with Chiron on 17 September 2022 may give insight into the process underway for you with Mars and Chiron, as well as issues that came up around the Full Moon in Aries that was conjoining Chiron on 9 October. For example, you may have gained increased awareness of patterns stemming from past wounding and alienation that have been creating important matters to work through in relational dynamics. Or issues involving the intersection between societal systems of oppression with one’s identity and core purpose, and whether you feel you have the agency to pursue what you want to create in life. Do you feel disempowered due to a sense of futility in the face of obstacles, or are you acting as an agent of societal institutions rather than following your genuine desires? Let Chiron coax a more empowered expression of Mars in your life.

Chiron ultimately functions as a mentor archetype, shown through both his mythology and astronomy. In myth, Chiron was a wise centaur who fostered and trained heroes. In astrology, Chiron’s eccentric orbit that weaves in between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus symbolizes how it facilitates a deeper connection with our nonconformist side that does not fit easily into conventional society. Chiron in Aries combined with Mars retrograde in Gemini will bring opportunities to recover whatever you have felt you needed to abandon about your essential purpose to fit in with cultural expectations. What have you been sacrificing about yourself in order to meet the material demands of society? Who are you serving with your power?

The application of the sextile between Mars and Chiron will extend through the rest of the time period that Jupiter will be occupying its watery, nocturnal home of Pisces. Jupiter will exit Pisces to enter Aries on 20 December, a day before the Capricorn solstice. Jupiter will not be in another one of its domiciles until entering Sagittarius in 2030 and will not be in its exalted sign of Cancer until 9 June 2025. Utilize the final days of Jupiter directly expressing its procreative life force through Pisces to envision the life you most dearly wish to create, allowing your imagination to run wild. The activation of the Aries point by Jupiter at the same time as the Capricorn solstice will make it a powerful time for dreaming on the darkest day of the year, conceiving the plans and projects you can take direct action on in the year ahead.

During the waning half of the lunar cycle, in the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere, Venus and Mercury will be adorning the evening twilight with their light. The return of Venus to visibility as an Evening Star is especially powerful, as it marks the end of her long underworld journey of invisibility that lasted from September through November. The renewal of Venus into visible light will ignite a revived embodiment of desires that can guide decision making. Whatever was emptied and purified during the past three months of Venus traversing the celestial underworld can now be transmuted into dynamic creativity and renewed values. By December 10, both Mercury and Venus will be traveling together in Capricorn for the rest of December, creating a supportive astrological atmosphere for generating creative possibilities as well as refining options into focused goals you can develop strategies to achieve.

The waning Moon during the solstice on 21 December will add to the potency of the fertile darkness that will contain all five visible planets in the sky following sunset. Mercury will be at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star during the solstice while separating from a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus it will complete on 17 December. Meanwhile, Venus will be applying closely to a liberating trine aspect with Uranus that will become exact on 22 December. With both Mercury and Venus carrying a torch of Promethean fire, we can experience an emboldened pursuit of innovative creative directions. Combined with Jupiter occupying the first degree of Aries, it will be a powerful time for reflecting upon the changes and growth you have experienced during the past year while turning toward the new year to envision what you wish to create.

9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Gemini Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Gemini associated with the Nine of Swords arcanum illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Nine of Swords involves an image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols. The image for the Nine of Swords takes on new meaning when considering that Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to this face. Coppock described the second face of Gemini as being a place of mediating “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul.” The obsessive, negative thought cycles shown in the Nine of Swords through this lens reveals an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world,” to Coppock, “the moments of despair” which can occur within the “irreconcilable places” found within this decan. Yet to Coppock there is a great gift to cultivate in the second face of Gemini in terms of recognizing how each side of dualities like love and war perpetually turn back into one another through the “arts of union and separation.” Coppock concluded that whoever “accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

Fittingly for a hermaphroditic decan, the second face of Gemini is ruled by both Mars and Venus with numerous ancient texts ascribing images of dualistic forms. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs attributed the ancient goddess Cybele to this face, whose creation story involves an original hermaphroditic form. The Liber Hermetis described a double faced man holding a bow and arrows, treading on rabbits with both feet. Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described another man holding a bow and arrow, but one whose head is bound in lead with an iron helmet featuring a silk crown, who is enjoying “ridicule and mockery” while walking around a garden playing music and picking flowers. While the Picatrix described an eagle-faced man also with bow and arrows, iron helmet, and silk crown, the Yavanajataka described a graceful black woman in bright garments who delights in the arts, singing and storytelling and who is pleased to be holding a lyre.

The storytelling and songs contained in the image from the Yavanajataka are mediums through which the complexity of the second face of Gemini can be expressed, as the artistic artifice of storytelling can create space for the tension between dualities to reveal insight and revelations. In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the capacity of the second face of Gemini for mediating dualities is shown through the form of a trickster figure: “In the second face [of Gemini] rises a man who holds in one hand a [shepherd’s] pipe and has the other curved and digging into the earth. [This image] signifies infamous and dishonest actives, such as jesters and tricksters, and signifies labors and laborious searches.”

The Gemini Full Moon conjoining Mars in its own face of Gemini will amplify the symbolism of the second face of Gemini. While this can be an extremely cunning, strategic, and cruel placement for Mars, Agrippa’s image of a trickster digging one hand into the earth reveals a higher calling for Mars that can also be found here. In the Orphic hymn to Ares, Ares is petitioned to turn his fury and weapons into the procreative production of Demeter that discovers abundant riches within the earth. With the star of Ares in his peak light aligning with the peak light of the Moon, consider how you can transmute the tenacious frenzy and passion of Mars into useful creativity and brilliant insight that is grounded in practical application.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – there are new additions such as videos and guides for electional astrology charts, including astrological magic elections.

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 References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Hillman, James. (1978). The Myth of Analysis. Harper Colophon.

Sagittarius New Moon

Greek, 460 – 450 BC

Sagittarius New Moon

Sagittarius kindles the fire that warms the spirit and sparks the inspiration needed to persevere through challenges. Sagittarius ignites the burning motivation needed to take action and set things in motion just when we’d thought all had been lost. The Sagittarius New Moon on November 23 brings a welcomed boost of celestial fire to apply toward the bigger picture of what we wish to develop and accomplish in the months ahead. It’s the first lunation to follow the incredibly intense eclipse season that featured a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio followed by a Lunar Eclipse in Taurus. Eclipses in fixed signs bring long term changes and with the eclipses activating the tension between Saturn with Uranus, the changes that have been taking shape during the past year of eclipses in the same sign as Uranus have been especially unsettling and destabilizing for many. The New Moon in Sagittarius arrives just in time to help adjust to the plot twists that have manifested in the past month while re-configuring long-term goals and plans in accordance. The fiery Sagittarius Moon is applying to a conjunction with Venus and Mercury closely together in Sagittarius, providing an ideal lunar mixture for deepening into a renewal of values and desires that can fuel our work with resilient, procreative force.

The Sagittarius Moon will unite with Venus and Mercury at the very beginning of its lunar cycle, producing a richly creative time for gathering ideas that can be implemented into form and set into motion. The influence of the mutable fire of Sagittarius will accelerate the pace of events while also possibly dispersing our focus with too many issues or choices to handle at once. However, being the fiery, diurnal home of Jupiter, Sagittarius is a place where Venus and Mercury can join forces in applying their fused artistic and creative capacities to focused goals. Whereas Venus can accentuate sensual perception and mixing of relational dynamics, aesthetic arrangements, and creative options, Mercury can help in distinguishing options, blending influences, and making decisions. While it’s an exceptionally inspirational mixture of influences, we need to be mindful of the quick sharpness of Sagittarius that can set off wildfires with the enthusiastic speed with which it can gallop ahead without pausing for reflection.

Providing a presence of hopeful resiliency is Jupiter stationing direct at 28º48′ Pisces at the same time as the Sun and Moon unite on November 23. Jupiter stationing in stillness will deliver the numinous presence of life giving Zeus more strongly into the world in the days surrounding the Sagittarius New Moon. Jupiter stationed retrograde at 8º43′ Aries on July 28, and so it will be fruitful to consider the ways in which you have grown or needed to release matters during the past four months. Marsilio Ficino in Three Books on Life wrote that “no star supports and strengthens the natural forces in us – indeed all the forces – more than does Jupiter, nor does any star offer more or more prosperous things.” Ficino elaborated that although the bodily forces of attraction, retention, digestion, and expulsion are all aided by Jupiter, that the star of Zeus is especially beneficial for “the power of concocting or digesting and of generating, nourishing, and growing, because of his airy and abundant moisture and his ample heat which moderately dominates the moisture.” With Jupiter stationing in its own domicile, no matter how dark the night of your soul appears, search for the ways in which you are being guided toward a renewal of nourishment, growth, and meaningful vision.

While the moderate heat of Jupiter can enliven the cold, nocturnal water of Pisces, the wet and downward-trending nature of Pisces combined with the temperate moistness of Jupiter and the oceanic vastness of Neptune can also lead one to become temporarily lost in a maze of psyche, imaginal meandering, and external stasis that will requiring passing through a phase of confusion and disorientation en route to recovering deeper truth and purpose. Jupiter stationing direct only six degrees away from Neptune in Pisces brings the renaissance of their conjunction on April 12 back into effect for one final passage from now until December 20 when Jupiter will enter Aries. As I previously wrote about the passage of Jupiter through Pisces in 2022:

“. . . the inwardly directed nature of Pisces allows for extraordinary insight and inspiration to be found through exploration of our boundless inner realms. In contrast to Sagittarius, the fiery domicile of Jupiter where it swiftly gallops with outward enthusiasm, the nocturnal water of Pisces slows down the pace of Jupiter and invites inward exploration that can enable us to sink into embodiment of our soulful essence. The waves of Jupiter in Pisces can wash over and weave in between the places where we have been fragmented, coalescing a presence that can bring together parts of our inner multiplicity that have become disconnected. By taking our time and acting with the flow of surrounding natural cycles rather than trying to force things to happen, Jupiter in Pisces can create an experience of abundance that allows us to feel more expansive with less by aligning us with our authentic nature and values.”

Jupiter in Pisces stirring our internal, watery unconscious can create a downward spiral in need of mediation, yet within its oceanic domain the star of Zeus is more than capable of revealing profound treasure. More so than the luxurious treasure of the material realm, the immaterial prowess of Jupiter in Pisces can deliver the treasure of our own essential nature and creative potential. Jupiter will remain in Pisces through the waxing phase of the present lunar cycle and most of the forthcoming lunar cycle until entering Aries on December 20 during a waning Moon in Scorpio. The weeks following the Sagittarius New Moon with Jupiter generating forward movement in Pisces will be ideal for coalescing insight from whatever visions and deepening of purpose you have gathered during 2022 in order to develop plans for how to implement them into your life. Jupiter will be making it clear which dreams of vision have traction and can be developed into strong foundational structures and which ideas need to be washed away by oceanic tides.

Morrígan as a crow

Mars retrograde in Gemini has been playing tricks and causing disruption now that it has picked up speed in its retrograde motion and passed through its second volatile square aspect with Neptune in Pisces on November 19. Although Jupiter in Pisces is traditionally labeled a purely beneficial influence, as we know human nature can become morally corrupted and utilize the nourishing growth of Jupiter for excessive enlargement of power, overconsumption of resources, and invasive conquering stimulated by misguided notions of manifest destiny. Mars retrograde in Gemini will be remaining in a whole sign square aspect with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces, though at the same time Mars will be slowly backtracking away and creating greater space between them in the lunar cycle ahead. The catalyzing of conflict, tension, and friction within mutable signs by Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune has created an atmosphere of pivotal transition that comes with great uncertainty, and so we may have had to face issues of unreliability in the places we had come to depend on, or faced personal conflicts of self-doubt and confusion. Ultimately, Mars retrograde in Gemini will be forcing change. With Mars intensifying in strife in the weeks ahead it will feel uncomfortable and unsettling at times, yet we can also allow for Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces to open up a larger picture for us within which we can place the temporary conflicts of this time to gain perspective on the ways in which we need to make changes in our lives and develop new creative directions.

There will be a heated buildup of tension and activity between the Sagittarius New Moon and the Gemini Full Moon on December 7, for the upcoming Gemini Full Moon is not only forming a conjunction with Mars, it is also creating a lunar occultation of Mars. The Full Moon temporarily obscuring the sight of Mars is an incredible celestial alignment due to it being the peak moment of both the Moon’s cycle and the retrograde phase of Mars. As a result, the illumination of the Gemini Full Moon will plunge us into the initiation that comes at the midpoint of the retrograde journey of Mars when the star of Ares is closest to us in orbit and at its brightest red coloring in the night sky. As the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east; as the Sun rises in the east, Mars will set in the west. Adam Gainsburg has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as being a period for making a radical commitment to one’s authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs. As the Moon’s peak light overcomes Mars in the night sky, we can gain insight into the transmutation of deeper mission in life, and greater clarity into how to act on our larger personal vision. 

Crucially, Mars retrograde in Gemini will be applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that will become exact on November 28. As Jupiter in Pisces begins to gain forward momentum in the week following the Sagittarius New Moon, Mars and Saturn will be open to exchanges with one another that can facilitate a separating from what needs to be shed or released from the past, while simultaneously making solid and steady progress in the development of goals. As we come into deeper relationship with what dreams or visions have emerged from the recent season of astrological chaos, the flowing trine between Mars and Saturn is ideal for applying discipline toward our life, cutting away excess, and focusing our energy and time into the work and relationships that truly matter to us.

8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Sagittarius is in the first decan of Sagittarius associated with the Eight of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of eight staffs sailing swiftly across the sky above a flowing river evokes a focus on fast movement that is fitting for the Sagittarius New Moon and its forthcoming waxing phase. Mercury is the ruler of the first face of Sagittarius, revealing the necessity of managing and mediating a multiplicity of developments while applying the speed of thought to passionate goals. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets described the Eight of Wands as signifying the movement of goods, thoughts, and ideas as well as taking quick action on insightful revelations. Change wrote that the speed of Mercury combines with the “great range to shrink distances and shorten times” of Sagittarius to enable fast action that can be deadly accurate. As a result, the fast moving powers of the first decan of Sagittarius stress the importance of creating the internal space necessary to ensure we are acting from our own integrity and are aware of then consequences of our actions.

In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the swift directness of the image for the Eight of Wands is directed toward warriorship: “In the first face of Sagittarius rises the form of a strong man armed with a coat of mail, holding a naked sword in his hand: the operation of this is for boldness, militancy, and freedom.” Austin Coppick in 36 Faces combined the militancy of Agrippa’s image with the velocity of the Eight of Wands image into the symbol of “The Poisoned Arrow” for the first decan of Sagittarius. Coppock described “the speed of an idea or vision, the velocity of imagination” as being the chief meaning of the first face of Sagittarius, writing that “the essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal.” Yet Coppock also stressed the importance of realizing how our thoughts can be manipulated by external sources, noting that the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the daimons of plague to the first face of Sagittarius. Coppock noted that “the secrets of propaganda” and other viruses that can “infect the psyche” and hijack our bodies are also amongst the spirits of the first face of Sagittarius. Coppock elaborated that since the “energy patterning of this decan is linear and ruthless,” that manipulative propaganda can strike like an arrow show with violent precision at a target.

As we live in a time period in which so many people attached to their phones and other devices of Internet streaming also means that more people than ever are vulnerable to manipulative propaganda, the Sagittarius New Moon is a call for remembering our essential integrity and how our mind, body, and emotions are vulnerable to infections from external sources. For the first face of Sagittarius not only contains the perils of spirited propaganda, it also provides habitation for the spirit of our own inviolable soul. Indeed, Austin Coppock stated that while we can become infected by the enthusiasm of external propaganda within this face, we can also encounter “the ideal self, the half divine hero . . . composed entirely of spirit fire” and from whom “a story unfolds – a quest, a target, a driven myth.” May the fertile darkness of the Sagittarius New Moon lead you to encounter the mystery of the essential myth most aligned with your creative destiny.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Ficino, Marsilio. Three Books on Life. A critical edition and translation by Carol Kaske and John Clark. (1998). Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

NORWAC 2023

NORWAC 2023

I will be speaking as part of an exemplary gathering of astrologers at the 2023 Northwest Astrology Conference (NORWAC) that will take place from May 25 – 29, 2023 in the Seattle, Washington area. For the first time ever, NORWAC will be an in-person conference while simultaneously streamed online, providing access to those who would like to attend virtually from anywhere in the world. There is presently an “early bird” discount for registration that will last until December 1.

My talk will take place on Sunday, May 28, 2023 and is entitled The Moon in the Four Elemental Roots.

Description: “The Moon experiences different affinities, sensations, associations, and other lunar qualities when placed in earth, water, air, or fire signs. We’ll dive deep into the symbolism of each of the four astrological elements and how they distinctly color the expression of the Moon in natal charts. We’ll also explore the way in which lunar phases modulate the expression of the Moon within each element, depending on if the Moon is in a waxing, full, or waning phase.”

Register for the conference here, and to read more about attending the conference virtually on-line or in person.  See the full schedule here and a list of speakers here.

I hope to see you there!

Saturn in Pisces Talk

by Gustave Courbet, born with Saturn in Pisces

Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

I will be giving a talk on Saturn in Pisces for NCGR in Philadelphia next Sunday, November 20 from 2 – 4 pm in Eastern standard time. It will be online via zoom and the suggested donation is $10.

It’s called “Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.”  Here’s a description:

Saturn’s entrance into Pisces on March 7, 2023 will bring a sea change in collective and personal events, as the star of Kronos will begin sharing the same mutable water as Neptune. Marking the end of the Saturn and Neptune cycle that began in 1989, Saturn will spend an extended period of time in close proximity with Neptune in Pisces before eventually forming an exact conjunction with Neptune in the first degree of Aries on February 20, 2026.

This talk will explore the meaning of Saturn transiting Pisces as well as Saturn’s cyclical relationship with Neptune that has correlated with dissolution of old orders and the emergence of idealistic movements. We’ll discuss the potential of Saturn sailing through the oceanic expanse of Pisces and what we may discover washed up on shore from its tides.

Here’s a link to register:

I hope to see you there!

Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

Red Sunset on the Dnieper (Dnipro) by Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi

Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 8 has carried a big reputation long before its manifestation. For starters, it’s a Total Lunar Eclipse in which the face of the Moon will become completely veiled by red shadows. Secondly, it is igniting the friction between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius that has dominated the astrological landscape since the beginning of 2021. The clash between Saturn and Uranus has correlated with systemic disruptions and collapses across global societies, while within the personal sphere many have experienced drastic and immense changes in life direction. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse will loudly open the final chapter of the Saturn-Uranus story with a bang. The eclipse at 16º00’ Taurus will be applying closely to a conjunction with Uranus retrograde at 16º56’ Taurus, with the North Node of the Moon nearby at 13º24’ Taurus and Saturn occupying the ninety degree angle of 18º48’ Aquarius. Adding to the volatility of these aspects is the tricky presence of Mercury, who will be adding a large dosage of regenerating spice into the mixture due to forming a reanimating conjunction with the Sun at the same time as the eclipse.

One of the reasons astrologers predicted 2022 would be an extremely volatile year was due to not only one, but two total lunar eclipses occurring in hard aspects with Saturn and Uranus. Total lunar eclipses do not happen every year, and in fact after the Taurus Lunar Eclipse there will not be another total lunar eclipse until 14 March 2025. While new moons and full moons set the rhythm of events on a monthly basis, eclipses carry a larger charge of impact that can last at least six months long, with total eclipses tending to have the most jarring influence. One way astrologers forecast the length of an eclipse’s impact is by how long the light is consumed by shadow, and so it’s also significant that the Taurus Lunar Eclipse has an unusually long duration of totality of around 85 minutes. Moreover, the eclipse occurring in a fixed zodiac sign further magnifies the interpretation that the eclipse will mark turning points in storylines that will have long term ramifications.

Saturn facing off with Uranus demands change. However your life has changed in the past couple of years, the eclipse setting off Saturn and Uranus will demand coming to terms with the larger implications of your choices at the same time new developments and information will require digestion and integration. As we have witnessed over the course of the past couple of years the process of Saturn and Uranus at times can involve a slow buildup of tension that eventually erupts with a propulsive release, at other times striking unexpectedly with the force of lightning while instantly changing everything. Saturn involves consolidated contraction that can build enduring structures at a slow and steady pace, whereas Uranus operates with accelerated vision and movement that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. If there remain places within life where you have been resistant to letting go of past dynamics that have kept you from fully stepping into a more vibrant and exciting path forward, the Taurus Lunar Eclipse can serve as the catalytic astrological influence needed to jettison you forward into the new direction.

With the Sun and Mercury combined together in Scorpio near the South Node of the Moon, and Venus not too far away in Scorpio, it will be important to make space for reflection and contemplation of the past patterns and dynamics that have led to present circumstances. The chaotically creative combination of the eclipsed Moon with its North Node and Uranus can be exciting yet can also lead us into becoming overwhelmingly swept up inside the collective storms that will be sweeping through current events. The inward nature of Scorpio being catalyzed by the contraction of Saturn calls for a turn within and focus upon the depth of the in-breath rather than rushing toward the release of the exhale. With Mercury rushing at full speed into the heart of the Sun in Scorpio, the star of Hermes is calling for a descent into embodiment of one’s essential character in order to act and speak from one’s core values rather than being rashly reactive to the unsettling winds of change that will be blowing through collective and personal events.

Mercury is the ultimate mediator of polarities within astrology. While Mercury has a disruptive side that will show up in events aligned with the eclipse, its capacity for mediating polarities can also facilitate important internal growth and development. It’s superior conjunction with the Sun is unusually significant due to it occurring within a few degrees of its own node, with Mercury descending across the ecliptic from north to south in latitude. Mercury aligning with the Sun near its own node means that it will truly be in the heart of the Sun during the eclipse. Within external events we can expect that significations of Mercury such as communication, technology, commerce, and the media will be major themes within the big eclipse stories that will be emerging, an obvious example being the longterm implications of the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk. Yet with Mercury experiencing the purifying, reanimating, regenerative renewal of its solar conjunction at the same time as the eclipse, turning our attention within can help us attune to the seeds of new ideas that will play pivotal roles in our future development. We can also shed the influence of past conditioning on our thoughts and perception more readily. Consider what thought-forms and opinions you hold due to being told you have to think that way, or due to wanting to conform with or be accepted by others. Mercury in Scorpio is in position to help you cut through to the heart of your present state of being.

Whether or not your external life has dramatically changed during the past couple years of Saturn facing off with Uranus, the internal changes you have experienced will be essential to reflect upon. In what ways have you been releasing yourself from past conditioning and attachment to past sources of security? The emancipatory presence of Uranus will be extreme within the eclipse, and while this will correlate with unsettling news and changes in many cases, it can also shake us free from where we have been stuck. Due to the Sun forming an opposition with Uranus at the same time as the eclipse, Uranus will be as close to us as possible within its orbit. Listen to what messages Uranus is sharing amidst all of the tumult for how to become more engaged with your authentic presence and follow a more creatively fulfilling direction forward. Before being able to follow the path illuminated by Uranus, however, the eclipse will also bring up the old issues and emotional material in need of resolution.

Bison in red ochre in the Cave of Altamira, Spain, from upper Paleolithic era (36,000 BC)

Eclipses come in families connected with the Saros cycle. The origin of their ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse is part of the Lunar Saros 136 family that have all occurred at the north node of the Moon, with the most recent eclipses in the family happening on 28 October 2004, 17 October 1986, 6 October 1968, and 26 September 1950. The origin eclipse in this family occurred on 13 April 1680 and involved a conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Aries that was in a square aspect with Pluto, as well as a square aspect between Jupiter in Taurus with Neptune in Aquarius. The combination of Mars, Uranus, and Pluto seeding the origin eclipse gives this family a theme of disruptive, volcanic force that fits well with the turbulent aspects within the Taurus Lunar Eclipse. The contact between Jupiter and Neptune in the origin eclipse also adds further weight to another significant aspect within the present eclipse: Jupiter and Neptune together in Pisces forming a square aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini.

After the Taurus Moon passes through a conjunction with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn, it will move into a sextile aspect with Neptune retrograde in Pisces followed by a trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn and then another sextile aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Pisces. More impactful than the sextile between the Taurus Moon with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces, however, is the square aspect between Mars retrograde in Gemini with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. Within a week of the recent Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, Mars stationed retrograde in Gemini on October 30 and so Mars has barely been moving during the strange vortex of time that occurs in between eclipses. Mars stationing at a standstill is always incredibly dramatic, as Mars stations retrograde less frequently than the other planets and the stationary status of non-movement is at odds with the action oriented nature of Mars. Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked. The simultaneous friction between Mars with Jupiter and Neptune can be disorienting and amplify frustrations due to difficulty in focusing.

Mars stationing retrograde requires adjustment and although it can coincide with difficult feelings and experiences, it is an extraordinary agent of change in our lives. Mars may not be moving much by zodiacal degree during the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, but we will nonetheless be experiencing an intensification of its heat in ways that can shatter our complacency and unleash new desires that pierce our defenses and call us to shift directions. Moreover, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the South Node of the Moon are all transiting through the nocturnal, watery domicile of Mars and so the red planet will be claiming a powerful role of influence in the week ahead until Venus leaves Scorpio for Sagittarius on November 15, Mercury does the same on November 17, and the Sun follows them into Sagittarius on November 22. With all of the Scorpio placements activated during the eclipse, deepening into whatever processes of putrefaction, purging, and shedding you are experiencing will provide the compost needed to nurture whatever new fiery desires of Mars emerge.

The more we can become clear about our goals and what we wish to create in the month ahead, the better we will be able to make use of the abundant creative potential available through Mars activating the combination of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces is an immensely imaginative combination. However, we can be in danger of merely daydreaming with Jupiter and Neptune or becoming drawn into internal processes to such an extent that we have difficulty expressing their imaginal insight through material forms. The positive side of an intensified Mars volatilizing Neptune and Jupiter is that we can become activated to bring creative visions into form. Setting goals and making space to focus on the steps required to achieve aspirations will help us be focused and productive rather than distracted and dispersed. A helpful aid in focusing on work will be the flowing trine aspect between Mars retrograde in Gemini with Saturn in Aquarius that will continue to build with intensity until becoming exact on November 28. The harmonious aspect between Mars with Saturn will be helpful for making significant strides in our most meaningful work.

Though there is a positive side to the tension between Mars retrograde with Jupiter and Neptune, we need to be wary of becoming blinded by our beliefs under their influence or acting like a self-righteous crusader against perceived evildoers. All of us live in an illusion in one way or another, the difficulty being that we typically have no idea that we are living in an illusion and instead become critical of those acting in ways that go against our own illusions and beliefs about reality. Jupiter and Neptune combined in Pisces can become overly inflated about beliefs, with the intense heat of Mars leading us to persecute and attack others who appear to go against our beliefs. Rather than being dogmatic or fixated in your beliefs, be curious about asking questions and make it a point to practice active listening skills so you can relate to where others are coming from instead of projecting on them where you believe they are coming from. Though many portray Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces as fostering delusion, their combination can actually reveal deeper truths about reality when we are willing to experience disillusionment and pierce through our self illusions.

Roses in a Vase (1881/83) by Georges Seurat

Venus in Scorpio rules the Taurus Lunar Eclipse while under the beams of the Sun and separating from a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. Venus is still traversing her underworld journey due to being in her invisible phase with the Sun, and so with both Venus and Mercury being too close to the Sun to be visible, there will be ample support available for internal processing and descending into hidden depths and places of psyche to attune with the ways in which our internal landscape has been shifting. Venus formed her superior conjunction with the Sun on October 22, and since that time we have been in a process of incubating the new sense of values and desires that will be emerging. Venus will not become visible as an Evening Star for another month, and so the changes brought by the eclipse will help facilitate greater awareness for the ways in which we have been internally shifting. Venus is in the third decan of Scorpio that she rules during the eclipse, and her dignity within the third decan of Scorpio is ideal for deepening into the depths of desires to bring about regeneration. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces wrote that the essence of the third face of Scorpio involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire. Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires. Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

Mercury and Venus will remain in Scorpio in the week following the eclipse while in their invisible phases and forming flowing trine aspects with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces. Venus will trine Neptune on November 10, Mercury will trine Neptune on November 12, Venus will trine Jupiter on November 15, and Mercury will trine Jupiter on November 16. As you lay to rest whatever old desires need to be fully let go, listen deeply to whatever new creative desires and ideas flow into your awareness as Venus and Mercury pass through their harmonious aspects with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. If you are experiencing difficulties in connection with events that erupt with the timing of the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, do your best to make some time and space for creative brainstorming. With Jupiter and Neptune in the exaltation of Venus, Venus in particular will be able to receive the imaginative revelations of Jupiter and Neptune in ways that can open up exciting new avenues of creative development.

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Moon will become eclipsed in the second decan of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money. The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane. Like in the prayer of Saint Francis, there is receiving found in the giving and giving found in the receiving, with the image of the scales further signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity found in the process. Through inner harmony transmitted within collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm. Despite whatever difficulties we face with the Moon becoming eclipsed in the second face of Taurus, focusing on the mutual support available within our relationships will be a key to navigating any unexpected challenges that arise.

The Moon is the ruler of the second face of Taurus, adding to the potency of the Moon in her exaltation becoming eclipsed. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the second face of Taurus as involving “Mysteries at the Threshold,” in part due to the major arcana of the High Priestess (Moon) and Hierophant (Taurus) having symbolic association with the second face of Taurus. Chang noted that the Six of Pentacles card involves both “an act of benevolence that visually echoes the Hierophant card,” while the High Priestess is also involved in the image of the Six of Pentacles as “the spirit that moves one to generosity.” Chang further wrote that the Six of Pentacles reveals the importance of taking the opportunity that arises within a window in time, “a moment in weaving when the warp threads have separated just enough for the shuttle to fly through.” Chang advised that drawing the Six of Pentacles can indicate finding “harmony between your inner and outer selves,” accepting and creating “material opportunities, for yourself and others,” as well as finding “the sweet, cross-quarter magic of the present moment.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus, advising that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides . . . Passion is necessary for continuing fructification, but those raw powers must be tempered by means of an ordered effort.” Coppock’s description of alchemical effort fits well with the transit of Mars retrograde in Gemini forming an activating square aspect with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces during the eclipse, with Mars also applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that will support the ordered effort needed to bring the fruits of Jupiter and Neptune into form.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai in the decan where the Moon will be eclipsed suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time for action performed in the right way. Rather than reacting rashly to challenges or trying to rush ahead too fast in pursuit of desires, keep in mind the long game as you listen to what your situation demands and respond from your core values of integrity.

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References

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by S.M. trzaskoma, R.S. Smith, and S. Brunet. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Solar Eclipse in Scorpio

Ring of Hatnefer ca. 1492–1473 B.C.

Solar Eclipse in Scorpio

Eclipses shroud the Sun’s radiant light with the black of night, momentarily turning the blue skies of daylight into darkness. The closer the eclipse occurs to the transiting lunar nodes, the more fully the shadow of the Moon covers the solar sphere and extinguishes its light. The Scorpio Solar Eclipse on October 25 is over ten degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Scorpio, and so will partially obscure the Sun with a sliver of solar light remaining observable not unlike the shape of a crescent Moon. The Scorpio Solar Eclipse will initiate us into an extremely volatile eclipse season that will culminate with a Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 8 aligned with Uranus. While eclipse periods are known for demarcating major turning points in narratives, the eclipse season beginning with the Scorpio Solar Eclipse will be especially tempestuous and tumultuous.

An obvious symbolic theme involves the eclipsing of the exalted by the fallen. The Moon in its fall of Scorpio will eclipse the Sun with its shadow on October 25, followed by the Moon becoming eclipsed in its exaltation of Taurus on November 8 while uniting with the electrifying influence of Uranus. There could be an influx of people and topics holding exalted positions of cultural significance falling in status, or people and topics that have been undervalued within society or are associated with countercultural qualities gaining attention. We may also become drawn to critically examine and shed values and beliefs we have been conditioned by society to exalt, or release identities we have been conditioned to take on in order to achieve greater success within the surrounding culture.

The Solar Eclipse at 2º00’ Scorpio is applying closely to a conjunction with Venus at 2º39’ Scorpio, as the star of Aphrodite is barely beginning to separate from her regenerative conjunction with the Sun. The reanimation of Venus by the Sun on October 22 marked a point of renewal in our relationship with Venus, but we may need to traverse a period of liminal mystery regarding the way our values, aesthetics, and desires are in process of transmutation due to Venus being so closely bound to the warping impact of the eclipse. Significations of Venus such as the arts, creativity, music, relational dynamics, and sexuality will be major aspects of events occurring with the eclipse, and with Venus and the eclipse aligned with the South Node of the Moon we may have old memories and feelings deeply stirred by experiences of Venus. Experiences of nostalgia through music or other forms of Venus, for example, can bring significant memories in need of digestion, integration, or release as part of the regeneration underway. There may be a need to circumambulate memories as part of the rebirth that will be unfolding in the weeks ahead. Yet we will need to be mindful of not becoming stuck in a quagmire of past patterns that restrain us from embracing the changes needing to move us now.

The eclipse stirring the waters of Scorpio can amplify regenerative processes when we penetrate deep into dynamics, dissolving the places we have become fixated or stuck and allowing for a more essential form to coagulate out of the dissolution. The boggy environment of Scorpio can create incredibly intense trials for us to traverse, yet just as bogs have played a traditional role of supplying fuel, so can the cathartic emotional experiences propelled by the Scorpio Solar Eclipse ultimately catalyze new found strength in the months ahead. Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also nourishing aquatic terrain that feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that will eventually produce fruit. Just as Scorpio natives are known for keeping to themselves, we may not be able to articulate the chthonic churning we are experiencing until the deeper meaning of eclipse experiences become clearer in the weeks ahead, allowing for the conservation of energy in the meantime.

Cleopatra the Alchemist (10th Century)

The synergy between the Scorpio Solar Eclipse with the South Node of the Moon in Scorpio, known as the tail of the dragon, fits well with the alchemical ouroboros image of a dragon devouring its own tail. Eclipses are typically times of endings and beginnings simultaneously weaving together, even more so when volatilizing the nocturnal waters of Scorpio. Myth reminds us that creation always emerges out of destruction, eros out of chaos, and that the arising of creative new forms also necessitate the dissolution of the old. The strong influence of the South Node of the Moon in Scorpio during the coming month of eclipses means that the way forward will require returning to the patterns of the past that need to be more fully laid to rest so that their putrefaction can more fully fertilize new growth. Any space that can be cleared during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle can also help in finding a flow with the propulsive changes likely to erupt in correspondence with the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 8.

The Scorpio Solar Eclipse is in the home of Mars, while Mars in Gemini is dramatically slowing down in speed to station retrograde less than a week after the eclipse on October 30 at 25º37’ Gemini. With Mars slowing down to a standstill there can be frustration over not making forward progress, yet simultaneously there can be a burning inner fire calling for change and movement. As Mars stations retrograde it slowly turns the separating and dividing function of Mars inward, stoking our inner flames and initiating a process of realignment with our most deeply felt desire and purpose. While the retrograde movement of Mars can ultimately help bring release from past restrictions and set powerful change in motion in the months ahead, it’s intensified presence due to stationing in the week following the eclipse will require centering and taking a step back when becoming overheated to attune with the deeper shifts beginning to take shape. With Mars turning retrograde in the mutable, double-bodied sign of the Twins, we may be pulled in several directions at once and so will require discernment in where to focus and how to best utilize available time.

The closest aspect forming with Mars during the eclipse is a flowing trine from Mercury in Libra that will become exact on October 26, a day after the eclipse. With Mars in the airy home of Mercury their harmonious aspect will magnify mental activity that can be utilized in creative brainstorming and intellectual pursuits. Those dealing with difficulties will also need to be mindful of taking steps to calm nerves so as not to become excessively anxious. Mercury is moving fast in its invisible phase under the beams of the Sun, and so there will be a hidden quality to information exchanges that will require time to fully illuminate in meaning. Mercury will move quickly through a square aspect with Pluto on October 27, enter Scorpio on October 29 and then trigger the degree of the Scorpio Solar Eclipse on October 30, the same day that Mars stations retrograde. As a result there will be significant developments occurring at the end of October related to whatever storylines are developing with the eclipse.

Another indicator of monumental turning points in narratives occurring at the end of October is Jupiter changing signs and returning to its watery, nocturnal home of Pisces. Three days after the eclipse, Jupiter will return to Pisces on October 28 and rekindle the boundless imaginative potential of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces coming together again within seven degrees of one another within the same sign. While the resilient hope of Jupiter becoming strengthened will be an asset in persevering through difficulties and inspiring others to do the same, there will also be increased friction, confusion and conflict to manage due to Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces coming into range of a square aspect with Mars. In particular, the contentious square aspect between Mars in Gemini with Neptune in Pisces will be slowly building with intensity over the next month until culminating in an exact aspect on November 19. In contrast, Jupiter in Pisces will not come closer than four degrees away from an exact square aspect with Mars.

Mars and Neptune are commonly viewed in astrology as difficult archetypal forces to bring together in combination, as the boundless and unifying imaginal force of Neptune brings obscuring fog to the focusing of Mars, making it trickier for Mars to cut through options into focalized action in some cases, over inflating the hubris of Mars in other cases. Liz Greene in her book on Neptune wrote that “Mars-Neptune inherently avoids any overt expression of the will because of Neptune’s longing for fusion,” yet also described how they can come together effectively in the arts and the therapeutic field, as well as in fields requiring collective inspiration such as politics and the military. To Greene, the shared aspirations that can come from Mars and Neptune are necessary to bring hope within our world of suffering, writing that “we would have a sadly impoverished world” without Mars and Neptune, “for there would be no artists to bring us our Dionysian ecstasy, nor imaginative leaders, teachers, scientists, or healers to help us achieve our collective dreams.”

Yet after Jupiter returns to Pisces on October 28, it will join forces with Neptune to create a more potentially productive dynamic with Mars in Gemini. During the Scorpio Solar Eclipse, Jupiter will be on the cardinal axis at zero degrees of Aries within the fiery home of Mars, infusing its fiery resilience into whatever trials we may be facing. Jupiter’s retreat back into its watery home of Pisces will considerably slow down its pace and allow us to sink into circumstances so we may deepen understanding of the meaning and growth taking shape for us. Jupiter and Mars can be an incredibly productive and visionary combination, and so the presence of Jupiter with Neptune in Pisces can be helpful for bringing imaginative visions and inspiring ideas into form when expressing our creativity.

While there is great creative potential possible with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces clashing with Mars stationing in between volatile eclipses, we will also need to descend into a dissolution of longstanding beliefs, passing through a disorienting phase of fluidity before we are able to differentiate and clarify the deeper meaning we are receiving.  We can utilize the friction between Mars with Jupiter and Neptune to cut through the places we have deluded ourselves, allowing our experiences to reveal deeper truths and insight that bring about a reorientation to our reality. Embracing the states of emptying and not knowing that can be facilitated by the eclipse will invite and allow for the profound to enter our lives.

Black Circle by Kazimir Malevich

The polarity of signs activated by eclipses and the transiting lunar nodes tell a story over the course of eclipses moving back and forth within the signs of the North and South Nodes of the Moon. Consider the meaning of the natal houses in your birth chart containing Taurus and Scorpio, and reflect upon the trajectory of storylines that have developed across the timespan in which we have had eclipses in Taurus and Scorpio: the Total Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio on 15 May 2022, the Solar Eclipse in Taurus on 30 April 2022, and the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on 19 November 2021. Occurring within the fixed signs of Taurus and Scorpio, these eclipses will have long ranging impact. Fixed signs can be resistant to change, but once they set change in motion they catalyze enduring effects.

Eclipses also come in families known as the Saros cycle. The origin of their ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The Scorpio Solar Eclipse is part of the saros 124 eclipse family that originated with a partial solar eclipse in the southern hemisphere on 6 March 1049 at twenty-two degrees of Pisces; all of the eclipses in this family have occurred on the south or descending node of the Moon. Interestingly, at the time of the origin eclipse in 1049 there was also a close conjunction between Venus with the eclipse in Pisces. Venus at the time was moving direct into her superior conjunction with the Sun which occurred less than a week later at 27º28’ Pisces. The difference between this origin eclipse and the present one is that in the 2022 eclipse Venus already completed her superior conjunction three days before the eclipse, rather than having her regenerating union with the Sun occur after the eclipse as happened in 1049.

Bernadette Brady in her book Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark gave the name of “6 South” to the eclipse family of the Scorpio Solar Eclipse, connecting her interpretation with the fact that there was an opposition between Pluto in Aquarius with Mars retrograde in Leo during the 1049 origin eclipse, as well as that the conjunction between Venus with the Pisces eclipse was at the midpoint between Uranus and the lunar nodes. Brady declared that this eclipse family “is about being forceful and taking power” to the extent of even having “a manic flavor about it, with great force or strength manifesting in the relationship area.” Brady also said there can be “sudden events” within relationship, “like falling in or out of love, or sudden sexual encounters.” With Venus being closely aligned with the Scorpio Solar Eclipse, and Venus ruling the subsequent Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus that will be conjoining Uranus, one possible manifestation could be sudden shifts within relationship. However, for those within relationships possessing enduring bonds, rather than a relationship suddenly ending there could be significant changes within inner desires or within other realms of Venus such as artistic expression and inspiration.

Brady’s description of this eclipse family being connected with the seizure of power has obvious associations with numerous current events unfolding around the world. The gravity of the various crises erupting within world events can be further shown by the intensified presence of Saturn in Aquarius during the time of the Sun’s light becoming eclipsed by the Moon. Saturn stationed direct three days before the eclipse on October 22, saturating the astrological landscape with its significations of authority, tests, pressure, rejection, containment, structuring, and deep contemplation. The intensification of Saturn during the eclipse makes its longstanding square aspect with Uranus in Taurus even more powerful, amplifying the potential for sudden changes in storylines that completely change the course of events. The shattering influence of Uranus upon Saturn can dislodge the places where we have been stuck, forcing Saturn to release its grip so that new vistas of expansive opportunities may enter our minds.

Moreover, in between the Scorpio Solar Eclipse and the Taurus Lunar Eclipse on November 8, Venus, Mercury and the Sun in Scorpio will form harsh square aspects with Saturn and volatilizing opposition aspects with Uranus. The fact that the Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus will be conjoining Uranus and forming a square aspect with Saturn means that we can expect an acceleration of change picking up speed in the weeks following the solar eclipse. With Saturn in Aquarius forming a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, we can draw upon the stalwart capacity of Saturn in Aquarius for stepping back from overheated conflict to contemplate and analyze the strategy needed to address developing difficulties. Saturn in Aquarius can support us when we to stand our ground alone, yet we will ideally be able to form alliances of support with those aligned with our values who can engage in mutually beneficial relationship with us. As old systems and structures continue to fragment in the wake of the tension between Saturn and Uranus, there will be opportunities to form alliances with those who share our ideals for the kind of world we wish to create together.

5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The Solar Eclipse in Scorpio falls in the first face of Scorpio associated with the Five of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is full of desire and despair, as a figure cloaked in black stares with fixation upon three spilled chalices. Yet the remaining two upright chalices suggest the possibility of quenching the thirst of desire elsewhere, regenerating the cycle of desirous pursuit and sudden loss all over again. There is also a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, evoking the flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice due to the river as well as the person always changing. It is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with the loss of what we desire most of all. As T. Susan Chang has written, “by facing the 5 of Cups, we learn what matters most in life and resolve to fight for it.” Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the first face of Scorpio. 

In Henrich Corenelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, translated by Eric Purdue, the image for the first face of Scorpio reveals the destructive side of desire: “In the first face of Scorpio rises a woman with a good face and condition, along with two men beating each other.” Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Jawbone” to the first decan of Scorpio, declaring hunger as its chief concern. Coppock synthesized the ancient textual images of this face around the constantly circulating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, satiation, the loss of what one desires, and the competitive violence that can be constellated when pursuing desires. Coppock concluded that within the first decan of Scorpio “we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being,” yet by coming into relationship with it “we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.”  

Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE) revealed the image of the first decan of Scorpio to be a man with a bull’s face and four wings who is girdled, carrying a small water urn in his right hand and a sceptre in his left. Containment of this powerful figure by a belt evokes the image of Aphrodite’s girdle that has been associated with her many charms of desire, and in connection with the emptying release of the Scorpio eclipse the water urn could connect with the experience of purification and regeneration that will ultimately occur in relation to our attractions and desires due to Venus in Scorpio being within a degree of the eclipse.

Fascinatingly, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed a different representation of desire to this face: the Numphai (Nymphs), feminine nature spirits who reside in sacred streams, springs, groves, and grottoes. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces speculated that the attribution of the nymphs to this face relates to them being shown as objects of desires for mortals and immortals in mythology. Combined with the desirous nature of this face, the presence of the nymphs also brings to mind the ecstatic Dionysus who often ran freely with wild nymphs and whose all consuming desires incited dismemberment and rebirth. Yet perhaps most of all, the presence of the Nymphs in the first decan of Scorpio represents the eros of spirit incarnating in matter and the infusion of the worldly matter surrounding us with divine spirit and desire.

Returning to the image of the Five of Cups, the flowing river in the background can also be viewed as a habitat of nymphs that contains the medicine we need for coming to terms with the endless cycle of desires present in the first face of Scorpio. Like Psyche who repeatedly leapt into rivers during her quest to unite with Eros, we must follow desires through their mysterious initiations and reckonings of soul in order to have a fully lived life. In commentaries in the appendix of Liber Novus, Carl Jung described Eros as a force of “dissolution and movement” that runs counter to the “ordering and insistence” of Logos. Jung declared Eros to be “a principle that contains a commingling of all the fundamental activities of the soul,” stating that it “is not form-giving but form-fulfilling . . . it is not the bed and direction of the stream but the impetuous water flowing in it.” Rather than insisting on the control of ordering and paddling against the forceful currents of collective events that will be rushing with speed in the month ahead, find ways to enter the stream of flowing life force in ways that will allow for fulfillment of your purpose.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Greene, Liz. (1996). The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption. Weiser.

Full Moon in Aries

scarab ca. 1550 – 1480 BC

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 9 will bring the rapid rushing and instinctual speed of the fire element into personal and collective events. Aries is the fire sign ruled by Mars that can foster decisive action and burning desires that lead to swiftly moving pursuits and instantaneous action. With the Sun and Venus in Libra forming an opposition with the Moon in Aries, however, there will also be an amplified polarity activated between Aries and Libra that can lead to powerful insights following a period of active contemplation. There is always much more happening under the surface of Libra than appearances suggest, as it is a sign possessing extraordinary prowess in thinking through matters and weighing the balance of numerous factors at play within any dynamic. The propulsive power of the Full Moon in Aries will speed up the tempo of events and push matters to a head in need of a decision, yet we can utilize the artful mentality of Libra to discern the best choice to act on. The Aries Full Moon will initiate us into a month of monumental turning points occurring in storylines, with the two weeks following the lunation ideal for making progress on plans and preparing remedies for any arising difficulties. The next lunation to follow will be a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio on October 25 that will open up a tumultuous and extremely volatile eclipse season.

The Aries Full Moon at 16°33′ Aries  is separating from a conjunction with Chiron and an opposition with Venus while fully illuminating the opposition between Chiron in Aries and Venus in Libra that will become exact on October 10. Chiron retrograde in Aries will oppose Venus in Libra at fourteen degrees of each sign, creating opportunities for deepening awareness of numerous issues occurring within our relationships, particularly the way in which our own inner patterns connected with past wounding and alienation have been creating important matters to work through in our present relational dynamics. Attuning with whatever issues arise with the opposition between Chiron and Venus can further deepen our relationship with the underworld journey Venus in Libra will be experiencing in October. Venus in Libra is at the end of her Morning Star phase and approaching a liminal rebirth with the Sun on October 22. Her present phase invites engagement with processes of release and renewal, laying old relational issues to rest, being present with difficult emotions that emerge, and undergoing a purgation of old matters that can help bring purification when Venus unites with the Sun.

The Full Moon is also separating from a conjunction with Jupiter retrograde in Aries. With the full Moon illuminating the sign of Aries, it’s an ideal time to reflect upon the passage of Jupiter in Aries that will be coming to an end during October. Jupiter has been residing within the fiery, galvanic sign of Aries since 10 May 2022 and will return to its nocturnal home of Pisces on October 28. Jupiter being co-present with the Full Moon in Aries can help in coalescing growth-oriented insight from whatever tension becomes triggered by the opposition between the Sun and Venus in Libra with the Moon and Chiron in Aries. We may gain realization of inner patterns and issues that are getting in the way of us reaching the next stage of our external development or embodying our authentic creativity through our work and relationships in the greater world.

It’s likely that deep seated internal patterns and issues will be rising to the surface of awareness due to Pluto stationing direct at 26°07′ Capricorn on October 8, a day before the lunation. Pluto stationing and changing directions will bring the gravity of the distant lord of the kuiper belt much closer within our visceral senses, with the significations of Pluto saturating collective and personal events with its influences. While previously hidden information especially concerning power plays and power dynamics may be revealed, within personal spheres there will be a necessity of coming to terms with feelings and information that’s been veiled within our inner darkness as Venus and Chiron oppose one another at the same time. We may also feel a surge of empowerment and a drive to claim more of our personal power and agency within situations in which we have previously resisted asserting ourselves or repressed our full engagement. Pluto will call us to peel back the way we have been conditioned to view our motivations to deepen awareness of the true desires operating within the depths of our being. Though this will not be the final time that Pluto stations direct in Capricorn, the direct motion of Pluto this time around will take it all the way through Capricorn into Aquarius for the first time next March 23, making it an especially potent turning point for Pluto.

The productive potential of the Aries Full Moon can be found in the way it is separating from hard aspects with Jupiter and Venus and applying to harmonious sextile aspects with Saturn in Aquarius and Mars in Gemini. These harmonious aspects between the lunation with Saturn and Mars are ideal for problem solving and dissecting dilemmas in order to figure out the next course of action as well as make productive strides forward in spite of any challenges we are facing. It will be a good time for making distinctions between options and separating yourself from paths and circumstances that are not aligned with the work you need to be doing in order to focus on the tasks at the heart of what matters most to your core purpose.

Moreover, after Mercury enters Libra on October 10 there will be a predominance of planets in the air element, making it an ideal period for becoming inspired, engaging creative influences and bringing together ideas, and taking direct action on behalf of your idealistic vision for whatever you wish to create with your life. In the waning half of the lunar cycle there will be an air triangle forming within the zodiac that can coincide with getting into a flow of many ideas coming together: the Sun in Libra will form a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on October 11, Venus in Libra will trine Saturn in Aquarius on October 13, the Sun in Libra will trine Mars in Gemini on October 17, Venus in Libra will trine Mars in Gemini on October 18, and Mercury in Libra will trine Saturn in Aquarius on October 22.

Mars by George Pencz

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Aries Full Moon and will be receiving the Moon into its fiery home through a creative sextile aspect that will promote action and assertion. With Saturn in Aquarius also in range of a trine aspect with Mars and a sextile aspect with the lunation, the Aries Full Moon will illuminate the major dynamics of any difficulties we are facing so we can become more aware of what needs our focus and where we need to take decisive action. However, there is also a complicated and tricky relationship with Neptune in Pisces that Mars must face: Mars in Gemini will form a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces at 23°21′ of each sign on October 11. The applying friction of the square aspect between Mars with Neptune makes it an overriding influence over the lunation, and so we will need to be mindful of becoming overly idealistic and self-righteous with our beliefs so that we do not needlessly amplify conflict through the illusions of dogmatic perspectives. Moreover, since Mars will station retrograde on October 30 at 25°37′ Gemini, the catalyzing square aspect that will be forming between Mars and Neptune during the Aries full moon will endure across the entire month ahead as Mars will ultimately form a second square aspect with Neptune on November 19.

As a result, we will need to find the balance between the life-affirming inspiration and idealism that can be kindled from the heat kindled between Mars clashing with Neptune versus the kind of delusion that clouds critical thinking that comes from dogmatic belief systems. As we prepare to enter an extremely volatile eclipse vortex at the end of October, it will be imperative to apply critical thinking skills to question not only others, such as information sources in the media, but to also question our own belief systems. Mars is incisive and can cut through matters, and while Neptune can bring a misleading fog to perception, it can also open up new vistas of perspective that we have been unwilling to accept within our conception of reality. There will be numerous ideological wars erupting around the world as Mars and Neptune create friction together during the next month, yet we can also utilize their tension to cut through the places we have deluded ourselves, allowing our experiences to reveal deeper truths and insight that bring about a reorientation to our reality.

The square aspect between Mars and Neptune does not need to be illusory and instead can be utilized in extraordinarily creative ways. Entering a period of accelerated collective change can lead to creative breakthroughs in our personal lives, and the astrological aspects during the waning half of the lunar cycle will support applying energy and focus to our creative pursuits. Injecting spirituality, archetypal forces, imagination, fantasy, the ancestral realm, or any other way of embracing more of the interconnected field of reality into our creativity can help give avenues for Neptune to stream through whatever we are applying the heat of Mars to in our work. The square between Mars and Neptune can also unify mass groups of people aligned together through social justice protests, especially with Mars in Gemini also forming flowing trine aspects with Saturn in Aquarius as well as the Sun and Venus in Libra. The mass protests in Iran over the oppression of women are one of many examples that will be able to continue building momentum like the breaking waves of storms at sea.

Mercury by George Pencz

Mercury: from Virgo to Libra

The Full Moon in the element of fire can also help distinguish and separate insight that has accumulated from the recent retrograde phase of Mercury, as Mercury will be picking up speed due to having reached its maximum elongation as a Morning Star on October 8. During the time of the exact Full Moon, Mercury will be at 28°41′ Virgo in its own exaltation and domicile as it’s simultaneously picking up speed, bringing numerous opportunities for analyzing and integrating whatever changes and transmutational processes occurred during its retrograde phase last month. Mercury moving increasingly faster can add to the atmosphere of volatility, disruption, and contention, yet the curious activism of Mercury moving fast as a Morning Star will be helpful in mediating polarities of tension, asking questions that will elicit the answers we need, and making the adjustments necessary to move into a more dynamic phase of life.

As I previously wrote about in my article on Mercury retrograde in Libra and Virgo, an essential aspect to track has been the three trine aspects Mercury formed with Pluto in Capricorn as well as the three opposition aspects Mercury forms with Jupiter in Aries. As the Moon reaches peak illumination in Aries, Mercury will be separating from its third and final trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn (previous ones were on October 6 while direct in Morning Star phase, September 27 while retrograde, and August 22 while direct in Evening Star phase) and applying toward its third and final opposition with Jupiter in Aries. Mercury will enter Libra on October 10 and then complete its third and final opposition with Jupiter in Aries on October 12. Pay attention to storylines that have developed across the three oppositions between Mercury and Jupiter on September 2, September 18, and October 12 and how the final opposition ties the meaning of experiences together. We can expect major movements in the storylines of current events that have been developing across this time, and in our personal lives we can utilize the tension between Mercury and Jupiter to take account of additional factors that can help in synthesizing meaning from whatever ideas or work we have been developing.

The amplification of the air element that will follow Mercury entering Libra on October 10 can make the two weeks following the Aries Full Moon an intellectually stimulating time with vast potential for generating and synthesizing ideas, yet the instability of the air element also stresses the importance of flexibly shifting with the larger changes taking shape in the collective. With the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Libra in flowing trine aspects with Saturn in Aquarius and Mars in Gemini, the overabundance of information circulating could become overwhelming and anxiety provoking. Engaging in reflective and centering practices can help with being productively focused on the tasks that need completion while remaining motivated by larger inspiration. It can be a powerful time for research and gathering many strands of information together to form effective strategies for whatever problems we are facing. It will be easier than normal to become distracted by the swirling cacophony of crisis and change that will be sweeping through collective events at an accelerated pace as we approach the end of October, yet it can also be an extremely generative period for growth and creativity when we are able to make the space to focus on our work.

Venus by George Pencz

Venus in Libra

Venus in Libra will be entering the heart of her underworld journey during the rest of October as she approaches her superior conjunction with the Sun on October 22 at 29°26′ Libra. The superior conjunction, also called the exterior conjunction, for Venus occurs when Venus is on the far side of the Sun from us in orbit, moving direct and fast in speed. In contrast to her inferior/interior conjunction when retrograde in which Venus is as close to us in orbit as possible, the distance of Venus can make the underworld process of release and renewal she experiences when approaching her superior conjunction less gut wrenching than when she is retrograde. Nonetheless, as Venus is at the end of her Morning Star phase it will be important to apply mindfulness as we engage in a process of releasing and emptying old relational and aesthetic patterns in preparation for the reanimation of Venus by the Sun on October 22. During the weeks surrounding the purifying solar conjunction of Venus, pay attention to ways in which you are shedding old values, needs, and desires as well as the ways in which your sense of aesthetics and relational dynamics are transmuting.

Before experiencing her rebirth, however, Venus will pass through a trine with Saturn on October 13, a trine with Mars on October 17, and a square aspect with Pluto on October 19 that will accentuate the process of underworld purgation she is passing through. Moreover, at the same time that Venus will be in the heart of the Sun on October 22, Saturn will also be stationing direct at 18°35′ Aquarius. The stationing of Saturn in Aquarius has a great deal of synergy with the superior conjunction of Venus not only due to the wide trine aspect between them, but also due to Venus and the Sun being in the exaltation of Saturn. Moreover, Mercury in Libra will also be forming an exact trine aspect with Saturn on October 22 which will be extremely potent due to Mercury being in the exaltation of Saturn as well as the airy domicile of Venus at the same time she is experiencing her rebirth. Altogether, these harmonious aspects between Mercury with Saturn stationing makes it an incredibly fertile time to seize for making a pivotal turning point in your creative and intellectual life, opening to whatever new styles, desires, inspirational lineages and influences emerge to grab your attention.

Arielle Guttman in her book Venus Star Rising about the monumental significance of the Venus synodic cycle highlighted the extreme significance of the Venus superior conjunction we will experience on October 22 that has far reaching implications beyond the present moment. It will be the first union between the Sun and Venus in Libra since 1879 and will initiate a new era of solar conjunctions for Venus in Libra that will occur over the course of the next century. Venus forms a five pointed star of “Venus star points” within her eight year synodic cycle, and the star point renewal we will experience on October 22 has been in Scorpio ever since 1926. However, four years from now in 2026 there will be one final Venus inferior conjunction in Scorpio on 24 October 2026 before the full transition into the Libra star point takes effect in October 2030. Guttman wrote that the eight-year transitional period from 2022 to 2030 “will be an eight-year period of tumult and uncertainty, such as those that often occur when there is a major shift,” and further shown by the 2022 superior conjunction forming a square aspect with Pluto, which she described as “the mastermind of transformation (death and rebirth).”

Indeed, the last time we experienced a transitional period in between Venus star point sign changes was when the Taurus star point transitioned into the Aries star point from 1929 through 1937. This period involved the stock market crash, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, and the buildup to the second world war. The previous time before this that we experienced a transitional star point period was when the last Libra star point transitioned into the Virgo star point from 1875 through 1883. This period encompassed the “Long Depression” from 1873 through 1879 that had been known as the “Great Depression” until the economic depression in the 1930s claimed the title. Clearly this is one further astrological indicator that the numerous economic issues occurring around the world that have been exacerbated by the global pandemic and warfare will be taking us into a period of great economic uncertainty and volatility.

Fascinatingly with regard to the history of the USA, the last time we experienced a transition between the Venus in Scorpio and Venus in Libra star points was in 1771 during the buildup to the Revolutionary War. This also happened to be yet another transitional star point period that involved the transition from the Scorpio star point into the Libra star point from 1771 through 1779. As Pluto was also in Capricorn then at the same degree it is today, this overlap between the Venus star point transition and the Pluto cycle considerably amplifies the significance of the Pluto return the United States of America has been experiencing. Taking this larger cyclical context into account broadens the scope and significance of the numerous ideological battles occurring around the world, particularly those involving the oppression of women as Venus has a long history in astrology of having significations connected with women’s issues. We are in the middle of monumental societal changes and when caught up in the difficult crises and trauma occurring in the present it can be difficult to have a sense of the much larger societal shifts that they are part of.

In our personal lives, the initiation into a new Venus star point in Libra can correlate with innovations, emerging desires, and new creative directions related to any of the significations of Venus. It can be especially fruitful for anyone engaged in the creative arts due to the strong link between the arts and humanities with Venus in the humanitarian sign of Libra, but there will be many other ways in which we will be able to notice changes taking shape in our lives in correlation. Moreover, simply having Venus close to the Sun in Libra up until October 23 can bring greater ease and opportunities for pleasant social interactions and gatherings during a time period that otherwise involves a lot of volatile astrological factors building with intensity. Making space and time for the pleasures of Venus will be an antidote to the troubles of the times during the waning half of the lunar cycle.

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Aries associated with the Three of Wands minor arcanum illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. As the second face of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find an image of solar sovereingty with a heroic figure overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Similarly, numerous ancient texts attribute images to the second face of Aries that depict resources and rulership. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Three of Wands goes with “faith in the good efforts you have already made,” investing “in well thought through acts of benevolence,” and “mak[ing] your own rules, and liv[ing] by them.” The sovereignty of being able to create your own world according to your own rules fits well with the fact that the Sun is the ruler of this decan in both the descending and triplicity rulership schemes, the only decan in which the Sun is the ruler for both.

In Henrich Corenelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, translated by Eric Purdue, the second face of Aries is clearly shown as being rooted in sovereignty: “In the second face of Aries rises the form of a woman, dressed in red garments on the outside and under them white. She is stretching out her foot. This image is made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and great dominion.” While the color red is a match for the sign of Aries and its ruling planet Mars, it also can symbolize the living of a passionate life with embodied eros through acts of creation. In alchemy the color red is associated with the rubedo or reddening alchemical phase that is not only known as the “crowning” stage of the opus, but also involves the incarnation and embodiment of freshly enlightened consciousness into the blood and flesh of the body. The woman stretching out her foot further shows the expansiveness inherent in this decan that can nurture a stretching of forms through creation into new territories of development.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second face of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody.”  Coppock wrote that the potent capacity to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist.”  These associations with the second face of Aries work well with the Full Moon in Aries initiating us into a period of accelerated collective change, as it will be vitally important for individuals to claim their authority and agency in creating their own world as part of helping to reshape the larger world in life affirming ways.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs attributed Persephone to the second decan of Aries, an interesting association as she is also a noble figure who bridges the world of the visible and invisible, the goddess who rules the underworld of soul, death, release, and resurrection. The association of underworld sovereignty can also be gleaned from Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE) as she revealed an image for the second face of Aries associated with another guardian of the underworld: the dog. George translated the image for the second decan of Aries as being a figure with the face of a dog, sceptre in right hand, disc in left hand, robed to the ankles. Whether or not this dog faced sovereign is associated with the underworld, Persephone’s presence with the Aries Full Moon calls us to honor being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death.  While we must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, Persephone also signifies our capacity for discovering newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear. An image of underworld sovereignty is further fitting for the period that follows the Aries Full Moon as Venus in Libra will be traversing the underworld en route to becoming enthroned in the chariot of the Sun on October 22.

Under the spotlight of the Aries Full Moon, allow yourself to envision the creative realm you can create and inhabit through the wielding of your own sovereign gifts and talents. Not only will claiming this agency bring about a renewal of life force within your own personal sphere, it can also provide uplifting inspiration for others to do the same.  

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Guttman, Arielle. (2019). Venus Star Rising: A New Cosmology for the 21st Century. Sophia Venus Productions. First edition, second printing.