Leo Lunar Eclipse

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Lunar Reflection by Remedios Varo

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Life constantly brings change, yet eclipses always demarcate a period of accelerated change with synchronous endings and beginnings.  New relationships, attractions, experiences, and work opportunities appear seemingly out of nowhere with full force of manifestation, surprising us with their dramatic entrance into our surface reality.  Eclipses are also mysterious portals that hold profound shifts in the enfoldment of our destiny, as many of the changes signified by an eclipse are happening under the surface and not immediately observable in the surrounding period of the lunation.  We stand at the crossroads during eclipses bidding farewell to aspects of identity that can require grieving, while simultaneously welcoming exciting new experiences and relationships that need to be integrated into one’s life.

Lunar Eclipses occur when a Full Moon lines up with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail that has been used in Hermetic arts for ages.  The dragon devouring itself mirrors the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflect the ability to purify material attachments.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse on 10 February 2017 is the first of a series to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius that will extend until January 2019.   During a lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our Earth upon the face of the Moon, turning it blood red during a total lunar eclipse.  This first Leo Lunar Eclipse is not total, but is instead classified as penumbral.  This stems from the fact that although the eclipse is fairly close to the North Node of the Moon, the eclipse is happening at 23º Leo while the North Node of the Moon is at the beginning of Virgo. The visual effect is that the shadow cast by the Earth onto the Moon by our Sun is not going to cover Luna in a total red glow, instead only projecting a diffuse outer shadow on the Moon that will be faintly noticeable.

The meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma. The influence of Leo furthermore brings an electrifying jolt of fiery creativity, actualization, and instinctual self assertion into whatever areas of our life the eclipse impacts through its aspects to our astrology charts.

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Toward the Tower (1961) by Remedios Varo

The diffuse penumbral shadow projected on the Moon signifies that while the eclipse heralds the eventual shift of the lunar nodes into Aquarius and Leo months from now, our work with the nodes in Pisces and Virgo is not yet complete.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Solar Eclipse coming on February 26 are the final two eclipses to occur with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  As a result there will be an immense bursting of collective illusions forcing humanity to become wide awake to the discrepancy between fantasy and bare boned reality.  Eclipses have been occurring in Pisces and Virgo since the first Pisces Solar Eclipse in the series that occurred on 20 March 2015.  Idealized illusions and ghastly fears of the past have haunted collective events like ghosts weighed down by ball and chain, but in the storm of these final eclipses the chains of bondage will be blown open, releasing the delusive apparitions for all to see clearly.  The North Node of the Moon in Virgo continues to call us to embrace the moment with full awareness of everything occurring, whether we feel attraction or repulsion, and to discern choices that will bring greater fulfillment through service to the greater good.

The activation of Aquarius and Leo by the eclipse while the lunar nodes remain in Pisces and Virgo bring up innumerable issues concerning the current state of being for humanity within the complex networks of global civilization it has created.  While the archetypes of Pisces and Virgo can involve a sense of guilt over how our actions impact others, the shift of the nodes into Aquarius and Leo bring awareness to how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms.  The North Node of the Moon activated by Leo brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself.  Leo is also a loyal, heartfelt sign of solar power that will protect loved ones and fight for what it believes is good and noble.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is ideal for creative collaborations in art and activism and for embodying greater passion for life in all mundane responsibilities.  Six months from now we will experience a second set of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo with the lunar nodes also in Aquarius and Leo, and so the storylines being set in motion now will experience further dramatic developments at that time.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is especially potent because the opposition between the Leo Moon and Aquarius Sun crosses over the opposition between Uranus in Aries and Jupiter retrograde in Libra so that both ends of the oppositions form a harmonious sextile and trine to one another.  Uranus in Aries is sextile the Sun and trine the Moon, while Jupiter is trine the Sun and sextile the Moon.    As a result the tension between the Sun and Moon as well as Uranus and Jupiter have mediating aspects of stability that can help open awareness to opportunities that go beyond previously defined boundaries, and further support taking direct action with whatever surrounding resources are available to make inspiring visions and ideas take form.  The eclipse bears gifts for those willing to work with dedication and persistence, as sudden insights and revelations will emerge in the process once a commitment to sustaining effort has been achieved.

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Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle (1961) by Remedios Varo

Saturn in Sagittarius also holds harmonious aspects within the eclipse, as it is trine to Uranus and the Moon, sextile to Jupiter and the Sun.  Although Saturn has separated from its square aspect with Neptune that dominated 2016, its effect in the collective is still felt through the alternative interpretations of reality the masses are fighting over, with people struggling to recognize the difference between the factual and the imaginal.  Neptune in Pisces remains an influence on the eclipse through being widely conjunct the South Node of the Moon, as well as through connecting with Uranus in Aries through the shadowy aspect of contra-antiscia that was also in effect throughout 2016.  As a result one can draw a triangle with fire connecting Saturn with Uranus and the Leo Lunar Eclipse, with Neptune claiming a strong presence in the shadows cast by the flowing, harmonious exchange of fire.

For anyone with angles (ascendant, midheaven . . .), planets, or other key aspects of their chart in the final decan of the fire signs (20 – 30º of Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), the Leo Lunar Eclipse marks the point in time in which many karmic knots within life will begin to become unravelled with the gravity of necessary fate.  As the strands formerly held tight release, potential arises to weave the threads back together into a more colorful, vivacious form that can be embodied with self confidence and courage.  As a lot can change rapidly in the wake of eclipses, its important to keep in mind what one can control and what one has to surrender to not being able to control.  The raging fire contained within the Leo Lunar Eclipse can be channeled with purpose and discipline into strategic directions that can create opportunities to express inspiration, spirit, and passion.   Within the innumerable global conflicts occurring, anger can become so overwhelming that it debilitates one’s ability to make healthy choices.  Yet an inner inferno can also be injected into productive actions intent on building worthy creative works and solidifying support for both inner desires and social causes aiding others.

Mars in Aries is hosting both Venus and Uranus in his domain, applying toward a square with Pluto at the eclipse.  As the lunar eclipse releases and we head toward the darkness of the coming Solar Eclipse in Pisces, Mars in Aries will assertively blow up the tensions between Pluto, Jupiter, and Uranus, in particular re-triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus that dominated astrology between 2011 and 2015.   The many heated global conflicts already occurring will reach new levels of discord as Mars burns his way across the space of the Ram, some unavoidable whereas others will require discernment regarding which ones to engage in with personal energy.  Collectively we can all observe how many traditional structures we had gotten used to counting on have been crumbling apart through the years of the square between Pluto and Uranus-  the current transit of Mars in Aries will amplify the dismantling.  In the personal realm, the highly catalyzed and empowered Mars is available to support both well structured work opportunities as well as taking risks in life toward goals one previously did not believe possible to achieve.  Mars in Aries is also willing to fight to defend loved ones, and so adds to the fiery atmosphere of the eclipse in which combatants may be drawn into conflict over desire to protect whatever is held dear by the heart.

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The Escape (1961) by Remedios Varo

In the nights surrounding the eclipse, Venus can be seen in all of her majesty burning brightly next to Mars in Aries.  Venus is known as being in her detriment in Aries, a misunderstood classification that does not mean Venus is weak, but does mean she is away from her own home in the place of Mars.  Since Mars is close by in his own home, the Venus Evening Star is full of fiery martial force and passion yearning to be expressed with direct ardor.  Potent creative collaborations are possible with resonant partners able to harmoniously receive and reciprocate.   In relationships that have felt stuck or weighed down by unresolved issues, the martial combination of Venus and Mars in Aries can create conflicts that dislodge blockages and open up opportunities to mediate solutions through direct communication.  As Venus is now within the shadow of her forthcoming Venus retrograde that will begin on March 4, paying attention to arising concerns within relationships and addressing divisions between the needs of the self and others will help prepare us for the coming relational changes when Venus stations and turns away from Mars in retrograde motion.

While Venus and Mars are shining bright in the transfiguration of twilight, Mercury is illuminating the shift of hues at dawn as a Morning Star.  Mercury in Aquarius is forming a harmonious sextile with Venus at the eclipse, and as the forthcoming lunar cycle wanes Mercury will progress into an additional supportive sextile with Mars in Aries.  Mercury in Aquarius can bridge divides between the formerly known and the unknown on the horizon, helping to facilitate initiation of inventive visions for the future.  Mercury in Aquarius is a blessing with regard to the fiery emphasis of the eclipse as it can help with listening to the clamor of dissenting opinions and devising ways to navigate conflicts while staying true to personal integrity and principles.  In collaboration with partners or within group dynamics, Mercury in Aquarius further supports attuning to the underlying issues in need of attention in order to bring about a productive outcome.  The accord between Mercury, Venus, and Mars adds to the innovative and creative potency available to access within the Leo Lunar Eclipse.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse illuminates the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image a warrior is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onrush of six attacking wands. He is standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet his stance and face suggests someone putting his whole being into his struggle with extraordinary determination.  The image evokes the necessity of standing one’s ground against an onslaught from the masses or an angry mob, bringing the idea of what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, for a banner “bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty” unfurled symbolizes the sort of inspirational principle which transcends egoic concerns and animates a “spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign.”  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the third face of Leo’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit.  Coppock described the power of the third decan of Leo as a steadfast courage that rises to combat outside forces and protect beloved realms against external and internal threats, especially when resources are low and the odds are stacked against success.  Though Coppock praised “the solar-martial fire that moves broken limbs” found in the third face of Leo, he also warned:

Like any form of fire, divine or otherwise, there is danger. Though belief in a principle may give one the strength to hold on while all hope is lost, it is no guarantee that one’s cause is right. While this face may abound with images of noble heroes defending the right, just as many tyrants grace its halls, unwilling to yield their thrones, no matter the human cost.

Mars rules the third face of Leo, and Mars is extremely strong at the eclipse in its own sign of Aries and co-present with both Venus and Uranus. The third decan of Leo is impacted in an extraordinary manner in 2017 by eclipses, for there will be an incredibly intense Solar Eclipse in the third face of Leo coming in August 2017.  As a result the lessons we learn regarding the themes of the third decan of Leo now will return to us tenfold later in August to further wrestle with.  The overused adage of fighting fire with fire brings the question of how much conflict and destruction are worth inflicting over the issues we feel enlivened to defend and battle over.  While the power of our animated heart can lead us to resiliently contend and combat threatening forces beyond the point of exhaustion, it will also be worthwhile to discern our bodily limits and when rest and caregiving of our incarnated form is necessary.  The many fiery collective conflicts that will arise in 2017 are heralded by this first Lunar Eclipse in Leo, so gaining clarity over what is worth fighting for as well as how to best nourish and sustain our inner fire and fleshy form will be essential.

References

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

Aquarius New Moon

Crow Screen, Asian Art Museum

Japanese crow screen on display at Seattle Asian Art Museum

New Moon in Aquarius

It feels natural for children to build tree houses of secluded protection, build contained castles out of bedding, or discover a place of protected privacy away from external influences.  In between boundaries and borders of form a self contained light stirs and seeds illumination, guiding from within rather than from the expectations of others.  For many people time alone or with few intimates can feel so fruitful with freedom and insight it leads to an embrace of alienation from the collective consensus.  Yet an isolated hermit is capable of bearing waters of key messages and resources for those in need to receive, and so the dance of duality calls for a return to publicly share the meaning found on divergent paths.  The Aquarius New Moon this week supports finding balance between nurturing seclusion and braving the discord of disseminating meaning within consensus power structures to effect change and aid those struggling to find support.

The New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017 launches us into a catalytic month of eclipses, for the Full Moon that follows is a Lunar Eclipse in Leo which then releases into a Solar Eclipse in Pisces at the end of February.  All planets are direct and absorbed in costume and character, ready for the curtain to open on the unprecedented drama that will defy preconceived notions.  Fear may arise with recognition that anything can happen for good or ill, yet a grace of constant perseverance may be embraced that is wide awake to possibilities with careful attention to the small and necessary tasks of the present.  There is an activating gale in the blackness of the Aquarius Moon to harness into determined work and innovative collaboration.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn, a nesting for the New Moon which provides nourishing protection to guard against the toxicity of collective conditioning in order to center vision on radical intention.  From roots that tap into streams of past philosophies and arts, the outward branching of being in Aquarius discovers the future in synthesizing old strands of story and science with current influences and evidence.  Aquarius possesses the fortitude to be alone if necessary to be authentic, as well as the facility with networking to weave strong connections between reciprocal resonance across gulfs of time and space.  To make the most of Aquarius we need to embody our values and principles that do not align with the expectations of cultural conditioning, opening our heart to radiate full presence rather than detaching with disassociation. The Aquarius New Moon is opportune for prioritizing goals based upon intrinsic value rather than accord with societal norms.

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Giorgio de Chirico (1913) The Anxious Journey

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Aquarius New Moon with its closest aspect being a separating square with Venus in Pisces and Chiron, linking now with 15 April 2017 when Venus will station direct following its retrograde in square to Saturn and in conjunction with Chiron.  Venus with Chiron in hard aspect to Saturn can open old wounds for catharsis as well as bring acute awareness to whether or not heartfelt desires are supported by structural foundations in our life.   The tension between Venus, Chiron, and Saturn can be transmuted into empowering exchanges with others or from one’s inner creative matrix.  This is not a temporary transit of passing influence, however, as its link to the upcoming Venus retrograde means that current events and issues will have a storyline that arcs into vital developments in mid April.   Because of the link between the New Moon, the upcoming eclipses, and the subsequent Venus retrograde, our current trajectory has events of immense magnitude on the horizon we have no way to currently account for. However, whatever we are receiving from current experiences can be used to reformulate and modify plans and strategies for the future, with the hard stress between Sagittarius and Pisces meaning that clarifying whatever is being stirred up within our emotional body can be used to realign intentions and goals to make more of an effective impact.

As the Moon waxes through its new moon phase in Aquarius, it will form harmonious aspects with Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, providing support for objectifying thoughts and feelings rooted in practicality and a stark assessment of bare bones reality.  We can discern a path forward with a vision bound to immersion in the details of the present moment, keeping awareness attuned with both subtle and seismic shifts in our surroundings.  There is also extraordinary power within these aspects for collaboration with others of shared passion, and a rapid expansion of development within collective movements united by a shared cause can ensue. Those engaged in creative arts and sciences initiating or developing a project have support for experimenting with expansive and inventive work that can become more solidified in April when Venus stations direct in alignment with Chiron and Saturn.  The current astrological movement can facilitate ingenious breakthroughs that will only come once we are actively engaged in the process of work.

The sextile between Saturn and Jupiter in Libra as well as the trine between Saturn and Uranus in Aries signifies greater support for groundbreaking risks than normal for both individuals as well as consolidated power structures.  Those seeking to control civilization (Jupiter in Libra) always want the liberty (Uranus in Aries) to take what they want for their own benefit through conditioning the public with belief systems that justify (Saturn in Sagittarius) acts of oppression and coercion.  The recent eruptions of large scale social protests can become further enflamed and expanded within these astrological aspects, leading into inevitable clashes and confrontations with opposing forces equally intent on achieving objectives.  Within the clamoring of conflict, the Aquarius New Moon contains support for purifying thoughts and feelings from how collective influences have attempted to manipulate minds with fake news and alternative facts.  There is potent yang, outwardly directed force within the Aquarius New Moon for direct action, and so it is well worth the time to become as clear as possible about intentions and where to prioritize investment of energy.

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Landscape with a Rainbow (1881) by Alexei Savrasov

Mercury in Capricorn has returned to unite with Pluto at the Aquarius New Moon, reaching the same degree of Capricorn it previously stationed retrograde on 19 December 2016.  As a result the storylines stemming from the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and mid December 2016 are now able to be more clearly understood, with events during the week leading into the New Moon sparking distillation of meaning. As the Moon waxes into the crescent bow of Artemis, Mercury will separate from Pluto and apply to a square with Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra.  Mercury will be sparking surprising change and revelation, unveiling what was previously hidden, and catalyzing effort from sharpened perception.  There will be massive conflicts and confrontations erupting in correspondence with these aspects and so careful awareness will be needed to discern how to most effectively participate and move with the flow of current.

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Emblem for Cum severitate lenites (Even in harshness there is mercy) by Henry Peacham (ca. 1610)

A cathartic drench is gathering in the air to finally release at the end of February in a Pisces Solar Eclipse united with the South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   The atmosphere of the Aquarius New Moon is saturated by premonition of the eclipses forthcoming in the month ahead, yet it is the celebrated calm before the storm offering a time to become grounded about goals and a plan for manifestation.  Mars is at the final degree of Pisces at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, empowered by the fact that both the final decan of Pisces as well as the first decan of Aries it is at the cusp of entering are both ruled by Mars.  Both Mars and Venus are Evening Stars, and their balsamic conjunction can be seen brightening the night void of any moonlight.  With Mars and Venus remaining within a hard aspect to the scythe of Saturn at the New Moon, we can gain sense for old relationship patterns we have been living from that no longer are working for us.  Adjustments to how we have been giving and receiving in relationship can be made, new attractions followed and initiated, but due to the upcoming Venus retrograde there is much more to be worked out in the close of the current cycle between Mars and Venus that will not be fully realized until October 2017 when Mars and Venus finally conjoin together in Virgo.

As the Moon waxes toward the Lunar Eclipse in Leo on February 10, Mars will enter its home sign of Aries  soon after the New Moon followed by Venus on February 3.  The shift of Mars and Venus from Pisces to Aries in the coming lunar cycle signifies a speeding up of experiences as well as an injection of amplified assertion to act from instinctual responses.  The influence of the impending eclipses activating the South Node of the Moon in Pisces bring release and purification as well as potential for profound disillusionment that can be quickly turned into angry reaction due to the movement of Mars and Venus into Aries.  The fire of Aries can be harnessed to fuel empowered responses to wherever we feel injustice and oppression are occurring, yet the Aquarius influence of the New Moon suggests discerning the choices for action that can best sustain impactful effort over the longterm rather than into eruptive outbursts that lead only to burn out.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face 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 haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.   It is a strong individualistic image of resolute pride.  In the Thoth deck the Five of Swords card is called “Defeat” and features swords arranged in a downward pointing pentagram within frenetic, jagged lines.  Here the meaning of the Five of Swords links with negative thought patterns that keep us bound to old wounds or trapped in a self-defeating cycle.

In his book on the decans in astrology 36 Faces,  Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first face of Aquarius, describing it as a decan of purposefully living as an outsider in exile to conventional society.  Coppock linked the meaning of this face to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the traditions of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society.  Yet at the same time, leaving consensus culture opens the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self, as well as enables creative actualization aligned with spirituality more so than material rewards.

The first face of Aquarius is ruled by Venus, bringing further significance to the separating square between Venus and Saturn at the time of the New Moon.  While Venus in her exaltation of Pisces has been lauded for her desire for union and harmony, in truth Venusian decisions to choose one over another can create strife and brings a weight of necessity to the eccentric yearnings of Venus.  The New Moon in Aquarius invites us to discover the wisdom of unorthodox perspectives, values, and relationships yet requires awareness for how our actions and choices can cause separation with others.  The gift of Aquarius is its capacity not only to foster knowledge of essential truth that goes against the dictates of dominant culture, but to transmit meaning with heartfelt creative expression that can warm and empower others.  As Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Moon, Saturn, and Mars in Aquarius, once wrote:

The practice of artistic seeing first had to overcome itself to the point where even in the midst of what is terrible and apparently repulsive, it beholds only being that is valid along with everything else that is.  Just as the artist may not choose what he wants to behold, he may not turn his gaze away from any form of existence.  A single instance of refusal exiles him from the state of grace, and he becomes utterly sinful.

This act of lying-down-with-the-leper and sharing all-of-one’s-warmth, including the heat of one’s own heart during a night of love:  all of this must have been part of the artist’s life as an act of overcoming to reach his [her] new state of beatitude.  Behind this kind of devotion holiness begins with small things first:  the simple life of a love that has persisted and that has joined itself to everything alone, inconspicuously, and wordlessly without taking any pride in it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2005). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer.

Cancer Full Moon & Cardinal Cross

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The Golden Pill (2015) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Full Moon in Cancer

The Full Moon in Cancer on 12 January 2017 has a forceful intensity capable of dislodging us from wherever we have been stuck within rapid currents of release.  The first lunation of 2017, the Full Moon unleashes the tension between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will dominate the coming year.  The year ahead will bear the scars of Uranian lightning strikes as well as the enlivening heat stirred up from within that heals old wounds and liberates us from our past.  Collectively it’s a pivotal time in which the freedom granted by the Internet and it’s potential of freely flowing knowledge has been corrupted by mass manipulation of messages at levels previously unimagined by those with a thirst for power and influence.  Yet the vibration of Uranus can also disengage us from external conditioning influences, taking us within to discover our voice drawn from our deep well of soul.

Jupiter in Libra facing off with Uranus brings inspiring catalysts through relationships, but simultaneously asks us to own how we project into them, integrating the gifts stimulated through merging with others without losing sense of our center and core.  A back and forth can develop bridging vivifying relational experiences with space allowing the inner freedom able to receive what we need and release the rest.  However, because the Cancer Full Moon creates a cardinal cross, meaning that the polarity between the Sun and Moon forms a square to the polarity between Uranus and Jupiter, the volatile mix between all four cardinal signs can create disorientation over multiple paths of interest to follow at the same time.  As a result discernment is needed in terms of the next step to take in every moment, losing attachment to whatever we had convinced ourselves the subsequent step would be.

Cardinal signs initiate and instigate to create change and movement.  While cardinal signs set things in motions, they also involve a curious component of control. Perhaps it is the cardinal capacity to create change which leads each sign to want to compensate by attempting to control the outcome.  Change is difficult for many as it brings the unexpected, yet the year 2017 the Cancer Full Moon heralds will encourage releasing attachment to expectations in order to flow with the fiery twists and turns eluding control.   Creating a blueprint of goals while clarifying priorities will be important, but plans need to be written in pencil and open to continual modification.  Each step taken requires the presence of mind to receive and allow for the next step to take shape beyond preconceived notions of what that step would be.  Through openness to what we discover in each moment, allowing for the unexpected discharges of Uranus, we can free ourselves from both external and internal conditioning.

The shadows of control within the cardinal signs can be found in the modus operandi of each sign. In Aries where Uranus is holding space, we claim our needs through selfish assertion of our desires.  In Libra where Jupiter resides, we manipulate relationships through attuning to the needs of others in a way that ensures, or so we think, they will correspondingly do what we want them to do for us.  In Capricorn holding both Pluto and the Sun, the control is around claiming power in time and space so we can make sure we are responsible for what is happening rather than surrendering to someone else.  In Cancer where the Full Moon falls, control comes from the ability to draw on emotional intelligence to manipulate outcomes.  Trying to exert control in these ways will lead into a spinning out of distracted fragmentation within the Full Moon’s torrential force.

The cardinal cross is the interface between self and other and how we navigate and utilize form.  Primarily, all four of the cardinal signs possess profound gifts for finding one’s path and creating the forms necessary to fertilize and nurture essential growth.  Releasing control opens the lunar capacity of Cancer to receive subconscious content that will replenish and clarify conscious choices.

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Origins (2012) by Marlene Seven Bremner

The Cancer Full Moon not only creates a grand square with Jupiter and Uranus, it also re-activates the square between Pluto and Uranus that dominated astrology between 2011 and 2015.   Primal feelings that feel overwhelming under the light of the Full Moon also carry a valuable message buried under their density like hidden treasure.  There is support to dig deeper and receive a more penetrating perception of underlying unconscious dynamics than previously realized.   In other cases the electrical charge of the Full Moon catalyzing Jupiter and Uranus can allow for a purging of toxic feelings that need release.  To paraphrase the harmonizing of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris in “Return of the Grievous Angel,” you will see your devil and you will see your deep blue sea.  Subconscious contents unearthed will become a resource helping to balance and center within the dissolution and shattering of surrounding collective structures.

Joining Uranus through conjunction are the dwarf planets Eris and Ceres, with Ceres finally beginning to separate after stationing direct in conjunction with Uranus last month.   Ceres invites us into the abyss of surrender that ultimately leads to greater understanding and regenerated strength.  When Ceres in her story of losing her daughter was paralyzed in mourning, at the crossroads of her struggle appeared Hekate from the void to offer counsel that eventually led to her resolution.  Similarly the Cancer Full Moon will serve as a guiding torch directed by Hekate for those willing to listen to inner guidance.  Ceres in Aries offers active, loving care that fosters mutual independence and empowerment in outer relations.

Another guiding light within the Full Moon is Mercury, now direct as a Morning Star and arising at dawn to herald the rising of the Sun and our awakening from sleep.  Mercury is at the threshold between Sagittarius and Capricorn at the peak of the Full Moon, and as the lunar cycle wanes Mercury will move forward through Capricorn.  Like the colorful cock celebrating the return of solar heat, Mercury will be up at the crack of dawn, alert to daily priorities and curious to discover the path that will lead to desired goals.  Due to the recent Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, this will be the third time that Mercury has crossed over the first fifteen degrees of Capricorn since the beginning of December 2016.  Replenished from its time in the retrograde underworld, Mercury has freed the space needed for revitalized authority in navigating life as it approaches a conjunction with Pluto during the waning Moon cycle.

Venus in Pisces is closely applying to a conjunction with Neptune while separating from her previous union with the South Node of the Moon.   Venus in her exaltation of Pisces may express the full range of her boundless sensuality, a euphoria heightened through her union with Neptune that can elicit feelings of unconditional love and acceptance for loved ones.  With the South Node of the Moon having passed over both Venus and Neptune, there has been a purifying release of old relationship desires and patterns possible.  Signs and symbols illustrative of the love story we have been living for what feels like ages may have appeared, giving us the gift of being able to create a new story through our deepened awareness.  Recent experiences of disillusionment in relationship can serve as a necessary awakening to what we need to cultivate for ourselves in relationship and nurture from within ourselves to avoid external dependencies.

Both Venus and Mars in Pisces are Evening Stars who can be seen together in the transfiguration of twilight, distilling insight into our past relational desires through their balsamic relationship.  Mars in Pisces is applying to a conjunction with Chiron at the Cancer Full Moon as it also begins to form a square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Last year brought a series of eclipses aligned with Chiron as well as a pivotal Mars retrograde that was bound with Saturn, and so Mars is in position to dredge up whatever remains unresolved from key 2016 storylines.  Mars will form an exact square with Saturn as the lunar cycle wanes into its last quarter square on January 19, an important phase of initiation connected back to the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius that occurred on 24 August 2016.

Whatever was torn down last year has cleared the space for new forms to be built and fortified now.  Saturn demands accountability and discipline but not limited thinking.  In fact, the aspects surrounding Saturn in Sagittarius will support manifestation for those with far reaching vision and passion who are also willing to put in the hard work and effort necessary to bring immaterial ideas and plans into material form.  These are not transits that support playing it safe or doing things the way they’ve always been done.  This is a time to risk working and living for the animating aspirations, hopes, and dreams you may have previously held back from pursuing with full force for one reason or another.

Cups04

4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Cancer, associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Moon rules the third decan of Cancer, bringing added potency to the lunation.  In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 115-6). Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.  Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter. Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain. Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled. This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless. (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the goddess Hekate with the third face of Cancer. Hekate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  For ages Hekate has been available to call for regenerative power, as described in the following excerpt from “The One Who Waits at the Crossroads” by Soror Basilisk:

When one is at a crossroads, Hekate is there to show the options.  The crossroads is also an initiatory ground zero . . . one disposes of unwanted remnants there and this can apply to the unwanted remnants of the Self.  With that in mind, attitudes, beliefs, outworn and outgrown patterns of behavior and thought can be shed.  The whole of the Self can be completely destroyed and rebuilt anew.  Hekate, mad as she is, wise as she is, can be trusted to guide and clear the mind.

The Cancer Full Moon brings a revelatory clearing, a release which will open space and freedom for the unknown to arrive in the next two lunar cycles involving eclipses tightly connected to the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus.  In the shedding of the past an intensification of our essence will be felt and able to be transmitted with love into our personal works of passion as well as our relationships and greater community.

References

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

Hekate:  Her Sacred Fires. (2010). Compiled and edited by Sorita D’Este. Avalonia.

New Moon & Mercury in Capricorn

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Y.G. Srimati (1980) Mahakali

New Moon in Capricorn

The New Moon in Capricorn on 29 December 2016 pulls us underneath the surrounding soil of society, penetrating into the underlying dynamics at play in the tearing down and building up of forms.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn is united with the New Moon one degree away, and earlier on the same day during the darkest dark of the Moon, Mercury retrograde is exactly conjunct the Sun.  We enter the blackness of the New Moon as Mercury is purified and regenerated at the heart of the Sun, stripping and cleansing us from egotistical attachments to material forms and ambitions dictated by societal conditioning rather than intrinsic motivation. The Sea Goat symbolizing Capricorn not only yearns to climb mountains of accomplishment, but also is drawn into the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying reality where it can tap into the roots of form, churning visions of what to manifest from subconscious senses.  Over attachment to external validation for achievement and effort as well as the completed form of endeavors can lead the saturnine Sea Goat into melancholic malaise, yet its melancholic nature can be continually rejuvenated through full participation in the moment of creation, absorbed in its enhanced capacity to bridge the immaterial with the material and bring imaginal ideas into manifestation.

The New Moon in Capricorn is ruled by Saturn in Sagittarius that is in a waning, last quarter sextile with Jupiter in Libra, a last quarter square with Chiron in Pisces, and a disseminating trine with Uranus in Aries.  In the week preceding the New Moon, Saturn formed its first of three exact trines with Uranus that will occur in the next year:  there will also be one in May 2017 as well as another in November 2017.  Jupiter expands what Saturn gives form to, and with their contraction and expansion in harmonious aspect, it is the far reaching visions of Jupiter and Uranus that are in dynamic tension within these aspects.  To paraphrase Dane Rudhyar, Uranus is a galactic interface that shatters our Saturn structure and when this happens we may be thrown into delusions of grandeur unless we utilize Jupiter to balance our shifting perceptions and their lunar impact on how we are functioning within our changing form.  The exact trine between Saturn and Uranus suggests that through taking the responsibility to be self aware of these potent forces moving through us, we can seize the opportunity to bring ideas into form that can emancipate us from previous limitations within our circumstances.

The square between Saturn and Chiron is exact at the New Moon, bringing feelings of how we not only identify with our bodily form and mind, but also attach our identity to the societal roles we play, forms we create, and ways in which we must conform our identity to fit into collective conventions.  There is a sensitivity and rawness to the wounds of identity we carry throughout our life, beginning from the times as a child we felt judged, shamed, or invalidated by parents or teachers for expressing ourselves.  As adults feelings of vulnerability can come up when our inner feelings feel confined or unaccepted by societal norms, and often attachment to roles of status, privilege, power, or wealth can be seized to  mask and assuage feelings of insecurity over feeling unable to express one’s true nature.  With Uranus in trine to Saturn, from a place of inner security we can claim the authority to allow whatever has been dormant to be reawakened, discerning a mode of expression to share and embody more of our wholeness with others.  In this way we can find fulfillment in the forms we create and must watch pass away, rather than depression over not having our expectations and needs met by our achievements that were not aligned with our inner nature.

It is significant that Saturn has finally crossed the threshold into the third and final decan of Sagittarius, where it will remain for there rest of its transit through Sagittarius in the year ahead.  Saturn rules the third face of Sagittarius and so has special strength to bring about its significations not found in the first twenty degrees of Sagittarius.  In his book on the decans 36 Faces, Austin Coppock ascribed the image of a “Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius, describing it as a place where our spirit and will force take us beyond the comfort zone and boundaries of our body, including “circumstances in which the vehicle must be sacrificed in order to achieve the will.”  The 10 of Wands card in tarot is also associated with this decan, as it signifies the unification of mind, body, and spirit applied to a dedicated goal as well as the overwhelm of taking on too many responsibilities that can be adequately managed with available time and energy. The aspects between Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn signify expansive, liberating opportunities while also bringing the possibility of over reaching if we are not attuned to the moment.  Through releasing attachment to expectations and focusing on receiving and working with whatever is showing up through our full participation in the present, we can better access the fruitful potential of these transits.

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Y.G. Srimati (1945) Shiva Gangadhara, “Bearer of the Ganga”

The trine between Saturn in Sagittarius, the ruler of the Capricorn New Moon, with Uranus in Aries is amplified because Uranus is stationing direct, in fact exactly stationing direct only a couple of hours after the New Moon. Oftentimes Uranus stationing can bring an unexpected shock or an upsetting event, yet the catharsis of released emotion and thought can break us free from a past repetitive pattern we realize was underlying a network of troubling issues.   Uranus stationed retrograde on 29 July 2016 at 24.5 degrees of Aries, and through the course of its retrograde journey the landscape of our personal and collective life has been changed in ways we could not have imagined six months ago.  With Uranus now stationing in trine to Saturn and in sextile to Jupiter in Libra, the revelations we receive can be worked with and transmitted into the visions, forms, and structures of our daily life.  As a lot of unconscious energy can be freed up and felt with Uranus stationing, especially in aspect to Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto, it important to integrate and be responsible for how we project our internal realm into our external realm.  For example, realizing the qualities you admire in another are actually dwelling inside you, awaiting activation instead of needing to be given over to another to embody for you.

Though the square between Pluto and Uranus is no longer exact, Uranus is stationing less than four degrees away from a square with Pluto.  As the Moon begins to wax through its New Moon phase, it will conjoin Pluto and then form a square with Uranus as it stations direct, as well as a square with Jupiter in Libra.  Collective events have been heating up with destabilizing and shattering effect, and we can in part correlate the intensity in astrology to the re-activation of the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus.  While plutocrats and rulers of hierarchical power structures can be witnessed consolidating and restructuring their grip on power and wealth through the haze of current events, on a personal level there is incredible power available within these transits to rebuild one’s life from the ground up in a manner that will enable one to more naturally experience joy and passion in daily work and activities.  The Capricorn New Moon is incredibly potent with regard to setting intentions that also carry a clear path of follow through we can hold ourselves accountable to.

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Y.G. Srimati (1944) Apsara with Harp

Venus in Aquarius is a key player in the current movement of our cosmic symphony, forming harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.  In Aquarius, Venus can be in her own space with clear boundaries allowing her to decondition from external influences and mass manipulation.   Venus in Aquarius is in position to not only help us feel more deeply however we are not aligned with consensus norms, but also help guide us toward a sense of not only the inner values we want to express but also light a path toward embodiment.  Venus in Aquarius is also in square to the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio, an unconscious balancing point connecting our ego consciousness with whatever has been cast off or kept outside awareness in the subconscious.  The Capricorn New Moon supports opening our awareness to unconscious contents without judgment, accepting inner feelings and sensations we may have previously been in denial of.  With increased awareness of whatever is circulating within, the blackness of the Capricorn New Moon can germinate growth from a purified, regenerated presence open to the fullness of the moment.

In addition to the guiding light Venus offers as an Evening Star, the invisible Mercury retrograde in Capricorn is also in position to weave together meaning from our experiences that can course correct our current trajectory.   Mercury retrograde is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is also applying to a trine with the North Node.  Through increased awareness of our shadow and subconscious as well as applying discernment toward external influences, there is amplified potential to make new choices that reflect our current state rather than the expectations placed on us by authority figures or collective conventions.  Mercury retrograde in trine to the North Node of the Moon promotes patience and acceptance of the flow moving through our life, making sure to tend to whatever issues are calling our attention even if it feels like something from the past we want to move on from.  Accepting Mercury retrograde means accepting our intuitive process of following the signs appearing in our daily life pointing toward what needs to be focused on or developed.

SL.31.2016.1.19

Y.G. Srimati (1961) Vishvarupa

The New Moon in Capricorn as well as Mercury retrograde are both forming a sextile with Neptune in Pisces, Mars in Pisces, and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  2016 has been a year in which Mars has played a pivotal role, and so it is fitting the red planet finishes the year absorbed within the inner visioning of Pisces and Neptune and being purified through its contact with the South Node.  These aspects draw inner drives deeper into the foundations of our beliefs and vision, inviting influences from our imagination to fuel our intentions and action.  Dreams and desires we have been attached to in the past that are no longer in alignment with our current growth can be dissolved and released in the blackness of the New Moon.

While there can be potent inspiration and epiphany found in the strong interplay between planets in Pisces and Capricorn at the New Moon, there is also a trickiness within these aspects that require honest self reflection to direct us away from delusion toward discernment.   In the collective these aspects can correlate with violence and warfare rooted in dogmatic belief systems that have been in conflict historically, as well as people absorbed in an illusion of the present based upon nostalgia for a time that no longer exists.  Navigating these aspects while taking the responsibility to make choices rooted in self awareness will open us to the creative potential available.

2 of Pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

The New Moon falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image is fitting for the link between this New Moon and the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde, as the figure is mercurial and embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 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 that ancient texts such as by Ibn Ezra ascribed the image of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the potential of the first face of Capricorn to not only set material forces in motion but also guide and steer them in order to help us find new work, new sources of wealth, or a new location in which to live.

The power of the first face of Capricorn to shape reality is fitting in terms of its ruler being Jupiter.  Jupiter in Libra at the Capricorn New Moon is in sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius, in opposition with Uranus in Aries, in square with Pluto in Capricorn, and in a trine with its ruler Venus in Aquarius.  With Uranus stationing direct in opposition, Jupiter can coalesce profound revelation into the roots of our circumstances, while Mercury retrograde in the first face of Capricorn along with the New Moon offers guidance into how to direct burgeoning insight into choices and action that will bring meaningful change.  It’s paramount with this New Moon to be completely awake with an active intuition receptive to all signs and movements circulating throughout both our external and internal world.  Whatever unexpected experiences or intensity is sparked in our external relationships, the Capricorn New Moon offers potent force to tap into our emotional, physical body and while ruminating through the activated energy, integrate the newfound revelation into embodied presence ready to make responsible decisions directed from our heart.

References

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

Y.G. Srimati. An Artist of Her Time. Arts Summary blog.

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius

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Grey Tree, Lake George (1925) by Georgia O’Keeffe

At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are flowers;
in their vase of mud
they are nourished by silt…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are the hearts
that greatly suffered for living life…
And then the rocks
and the grey beasts…
The pipes of the sewers,
blowing out poison…
The rings thrown away
by misunderstood lovers,
feet that a propeller cut off from their trunk…
And the cursed fruits of sterile wombs,
the innocent abortions that no one loved…
The vomit of the big city…
At the bottom of the Seine,
it is there…
Oh, lenient Seine where the cadavers go,
oh, bed with the sheets made from silt,
river of losses without beacon,
nor haven,
singing a lullaby to the morgue and the bridges,
welcoming the poor one,
welcoming the woman,
welcoming the drunkard,
welcoming the crazy one,
mixing theirs sobs to the sound of your blades,
and carrying their hearts among the rocks…
At the bottom of the Seine
there is gold, rusting boats, jewels, weapons…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are dead bodies…
At the bottom of the Seine
there are tears…

— Kurt Weil, “Complainte de la Seine,” translated from French by Sean Mabey

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Capricorn

In the quickening of shadows at sunset, Mercury disappears in a flash, shifting from an evening star into the invisible realm of the underworld where Hermes guides souls.  After Mercury stations retrograde and transitions from being a visible evening star into an invisible planet moving slowly in retrograde, the variable nature of Mercury transmutes into an alternate realm of perception requiring an alert intuition and a patient mind open to changes of plan and revelation of previously concealed insight.  Though Mercury retrograde carries the projection of a scapegoat in popular culture in which all mishaps and mayhem are attributed to the whims of Hermes, there is vital meaning to be found in the experience of Mercury moving retrograde through our zodiac.  Mercury retrograde periods can destabilize and force issues to the surface we may rather not deal with, but truth reveals that whatever arises for us to face during times of Mercury retrograde are necessary for us to gain awareness of and respond in a way that nurtures self-development and growth.

Mercury stations retrograde on 19 December 2016 while forming a close (but not exact) conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  Mercury stationing, standing still only one degree behind Pluto in the days leading up to and following its transition into retrograde motions dramatically amplifies the charge of issues that emerge to surface awareness through daily  conversations and commerce.  It is further significant that Mercury does not complete an exact conjunction with Pluto, but rather pulls back at the last moment in a tight balsamic conjunction.  Mercury pulls away from Pluto and will re-enter Sagittarius at the beginning of January 2017 where it will station direct conjoining the zodiac degrees associated with our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately complete a conjunction with Pluto and begin a new cycle with Pluto on 29 January 2017, a time period in which we will be able to coalesce deeper understanding into all the various affairs that transpire in the next few weeks of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury moving back and forth in balsamic relationship with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of our foundational beliefs, like a miner dredging through earth in search of buried gold.  Events associated with Pluto also involve compulsive attraction in addition to subconscious triggers that repel us, and yet with reflection we can discover that both what we are drawn to as well as repulsed by holds key insight into our underlying development of meaning.  Mercury retrograde delights in fields of gray in-betweeness, and combined with Pluto any rigid black and white mental constructs one has been fixated upon may dissolve in the confrontations of thought that will come.  Though we may initially resist and defensively argue against perspectives threatening beliefs we have wound our sense of emotional security around, through reflection and an open mind the Mercury retrograde can facilitate integration of a new perspective regarding ourselves or our world that will rejuvenate our inner feelings of soulfulness and purpose, helping us discover a path forward that is more fulfilling than the one we had been previously been set to follow.

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Deborah Turbeville Montova, Italy, 1978

The beginning of Mercury retrograde is intensified through its conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, opening a subconscious portal into exploration of the constructs of time and space we apply to phenomenal reality.  Capricorn involves the maturity and responsibility cultivated through facing and dealing with natural cycles of change,  and so there is compelling synchronicity that the beginning of Mercury retrograde occurs at the time of the Capricorn Solstice, the peak period of darkness in the Northern Hemisphere and of light in the Southern Hemisphere.  Regarding Pluto in Capricorn’s relationship with natural laws of change, Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology taught that structural change comes from crystallized and outdated levels of reality that require a breakdown of collective forms to bring about growth.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will thereby bring opportunities to claim one’s inner authority and ability to express one’s individuality within the seismic societal shifts erupting around our planet.

We know that our societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos designed to create a stable whole, yet we sometimes forget to reflect upon how our conformity to societal norms can limit our experience of essential growth in the moment.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize elements of societal norms and rules, breaking open and purging numerous taboos. Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn compels us to realign our conformity to societal conventions that have been blocking our authenticity. While we are able to co-create reality, if we want to make a direct impact on society we also need to discern a method of successful integration so that an audience may receive our shared values and meaning.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective events and mutating norms, Mercury retrograde may guide us into inner awareness of modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

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Victor Brauner (1947) The Surrealist

I slide my face along to the mirror
sideways, to see
that side-smile,
a pale look, tired
and sly. Hey,

who is glancing there?
Shadow-me, not with
malice but mercurially
shot with foreknowledge of
dread and sweat.

— Denise Levertov, Looking-glass

Since Mercury stations retrograde in the home of Saturn and will station direct in the home of Jupiter, its retrograde phase has intense resonance with the harmonious aspects formed between Saturn in Sagittarius with the full phase opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will complete its first exact alignment during the Mercury retrograde.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus involves the nature of beliefs we are conditioned to project upon reality, as well as the process of liberating from past influences in order to find a meaningful vision of life to live from.  For ages, human beings have been developing belief systems around trying to control and regulate, in a Capricorn manner, the interactions of humans within societies and the natural world.  Yet we also hold subconscious (Uranus) memories that extend into the nomadic time period of humanity that predated the development of agricultural civilizations. This necessitates at times for our experience of the Uranus archetype to come into conflict with the myriad consensus belief systems in place focused upon the way human beings should interact with one another in society. When our vision of life fueled by the knowledge we are gaining from our personal experience (Jupiter) comes into conflict with the norms dictated by consensus belief systems (Saturn and Capricorn) we arrive at a crux in which we can feel judged and ashamed or instead individuate with self assertion in the direction of the vision being felt within.

At the same time that Mercury stations retrograde in Capricorn, Mars enters Pisces and begins its movement toward the transiting South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   On a collective level the movement of Mars across Pisces in this section will correspond with numerous eruptions of violence and trauma connected with religion, politics, and other belief systems that have been in conflict with one another for centuries.   On a personal level, this same transit brings the opportunity to go within and reflect upon our own shadow and those aspects of ourself we like to pretend are not really there, aspects often conditioned by the belief systems of our culture.  As Fyodor Dostoyevsky (born with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius in square to his lunar nodes) wrote in The Brothers Karamazov, “what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself.”  The Mercury retrograde will bring numerous opportunities for powerful self awareness that will lead us into opportunities to make choices within a presence rooted more firmly within our wholeness.  Facilitating this process will be Venus in Aquarius, as Venus will move into a harmonious sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and Uranus in Aries, as well as a stabilizing trine with Jupiter in Libra.

If you have been reading my writing on the Mercury retrograde transits this past year, you may remember with the Taurus retrograde in May 2016 I wrote about its link with the Hathor asteroid, and that in the Virgo retrograde in September 2016 I wrote about its link with the Sekhmet asteroid.  The current Mercury retrograde in Capricorn has a link with the Isis asteroid #42, as Mercury is conjoining Isis in addition to Pluto when it stations retrograde, with Mercury at 15º03′ and Isis at 14º47′. Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology, and so has connection to the transiting lunar nodes of Virgo (North Node) and Pisces (South Node). Mercury’s rulership of Virgo further connects with Isis, as both Mercury and Isis can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web unifying seemingly disparate points of focus. Isis further links to Virgo’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.   Isis is Love, the quality of our consciousness that proves we are all connected, just like the stars above us, the minerals of our Earth below us, and our neurons and other cells inside us.  Isis weaves the web of love through times of trauma and dismemberment of our parts, our physical body parts and our etheric soul fragments, in order to bring about a healing and retrieval of our wholeness.

mercury-philosophical-italy-15th-century

A form upon the quilted
overcast, gleam, Sacre
Coeur, saltlick
to the mind’s
desire-

how shall the pulse
beat out
that measure,
under devious
moon
wander swerving

to wonder-

hands turn
what stone to uncover
feather of broken
oracle-

— Denise Levertov Threshold from O Taste and See

Mercury in Heart of the Sun

The Inferior conjunction of Mercury occurs when it forms an exact alignment in between the orbit of our Earth with our Sun, bringing Mercury retrograde and the Sun into an exact conjunction.  Called cazimi or being in the heart of the Sun, this rebirth of Mercury will occur on 28 December 2016 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  In fact, later on the same day that Mercury retrograde unites with our Sun, we will experience a New Moon in Capricorn. When Mercury retrograde enters the heart of our Sun, we experience a purification of Mercury and how we interpret and convey meaning in our life.  In the time leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun, we may sense a release and death of outmoded constructs, perceptions, and habits.  As Mercury retrograde begins to slowly separate from the Sun as we next experience a New Moon in Capricorn, we will find ourselves in an opportune moment to form intentions and resolutions for the calendar year of 2017 and what we want to share and integrate into the world and our daily lives.

There are numerous powerful astrological transits occurring at the same time, such as Jupiter and Uranus in an exact opposition, with Saturn in sextile to Jupiter and in trine to Uranus.  In addition, Venus in Aquarius will be in range of harmonious aspects to Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, and Mars in Pisces will be in between the South Node of the Moon and Neptune, conjoining both.  This is a beautiful moment for complete and utter honesty with oneself and reawakening from whatever dreams and illusions we have had about our life we now realize do not align with our current reality.  There is tremendous energy involved in all of these aspects that can be utilized to bring visionary ideals into manifestation in the material world, but to do so requires a full presence attuned to what is actually occurring rather than what we wish was occurring.  It also involves taking the responsibility intrinsic to Capricorn in every moment in how we respond to what we are receiving from life.

matta-space-travel-star-travel-1938

Roberta Matta (1938) Space Travel

Silent friend of the many distances,
feel how your every breath enlarges space.
Amid the rafters of dark belfries
let yourself peal. Whatever feeds on you

is taking strength from such fare.
Know every path through transformation.
that one experience at the core of your sorrow?
If drinking is bitter, become wine.

Now in this night of fire and excess
be magic power at your senses’ crossroads,
the meaning of their strange encounter.

And if the earthly should forget you,
say to the silent loam: I flow.
To the rushing water speak: I am.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct in Sagittarius

Mercury moves backward into Sagittarius on 4 January 2017, stationing direct on 8 January 2017 at 28º51′ of Sagittarius in range of a conjunction with the zodiac degrees linked to our Galactic Center.  Philip Sedgwick has written that astrological connections with the Galactic Center facilitate the release of old memories that have been inhibiting growth and development, creating an emptiness of inner space that can welcome new, invigorating emotional experiences that will spur progress in life and the reception of new insight.  Mercury will remain in Sagittarius until 12 January 2017 when it re-enters Capricorn.  Mercury stationing and then slowly moving direct in the home of Jupiter amplifies the potential of the Mercury retrograde phase to uncover a more fulfilling vision of life to embody and share.  Fascinatingly, Pluto in Capricorn is also highlighted at the time of Mercury stationing direct, as the Sun will be conjoining Pluto.  To reach the full potential of these aspects it will be necessary to take the responsibility of claiming one’s inner authority to make the choices available that support and resonate with one’s inner values.

At the time Mercury stations direct, Venus will have entered Pisces and will be conjoining the South Node of the Moon and Neptune. Venus exalted in Pisces will nurture the capacity of our sensual nature to enter the flow of life and not only envision a reality in which we may behold our soulful desires, but also alter reality to bring about manifestation of our deeply felt values.  It is also a period in which the stationing direct of Mercury may jolt us with a shock of awareness regarding illusions we had been carrying about relationships, or unveil an epiphany into an underlying relational pattern we have been unconsciously perpetuating that now needs to be let go in order to cultivate healthier, growth-oriented relationships.

Mercury will return to the zodiac degree it stationed retrograde in Capricorn around the time of a New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017.   Interestingly, with regards to the previous mention of Mercury stationing in conjunction with the Isis asteroid, there will be a union of the Isis and Osiris asteroids that brings an added level of healing our wholeness on the same day.  Two days after the New Moon, Mercury will finally complete its exact conjunction with Pluto on 29 January 2017.  As Mercury begins a new cycle with Pluto as we  enter the month of February, we will be able to receive a more complete understanding of the full ramifications of events associated with the Mercury retrograde.  Through utilizing Mercury retrograde to both nurture our inner security and take the responsibility to act from our inner authority, we will be guided into understanding of how to integrate our essential vision of meaning and individuality within our greater society in a way that will make a tangible impact.

References

Arts Summary blog post about Deborah Turbeville’s photographs. (2016)

Complainte de la Seine translation.

Green, Jeff. (1985). Pluto: the evolutionary journey of the soul. Llewellyn.

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

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

Full Moon in Gemini

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Remedios Varo (1956) Roulotte

Gemini Full Moon

The Full Moon in Gemini on December 13 illuminates not only experiences since the Sagittarius New Moon on November 29, but catalyzes insight into events across 2016 due to being square to the eclipses that occurred in Pisces this past year.  The Gemini Full Moon is in square to both the degrees of the Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces that happened on 8 March 2016 and the Annular Lunar Eclipse in Pisces that occurred on 16 September 2016, suggesting a deeper layer of meaning can now be received regarding related personal and collective experiences.  Gemini compels us to loosen dogmatic viewpoints, release our attachment to the philosophies and beliefs we derive our sense of security from, and explore how we can reconnect and weave meaning from the multiplicity of life occurring in the moment.  Gemini facilitates not only witnessing and communicating about life, but distilling underlying meaning that unifies elements that appear disparate on the surface.  Gemini is not only about expansive curiosity in our outer environment, but also involves deep exploration of our psyche and inner life.  The Full Moon in Gemini holds powerful aspects for going within our emotional bodies and exploring the way our subconscious is projecting into our outer relationships and viewpoints, taking responsibility to be aware of how the shadow elements we tend to deny about ourselves are at play.

The Gemini Full Moon is in square to Chiron in Pisces, with Saturn in Sagittarius conjoining the Sun.  Saturn in Sagittarius is close to forming a last quarter square to Chiron, a cycle that goes back to the mid 1960s when Chiron and Saturn last came together in Pisces.  The square forming between Saturn and Chiron is occurring at the same time that the opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries is tightening, with Saturn in Sagittarius forming a trine with Uranus and a sextile with Jupiter.  Identity is vital to consider within these aspects, and Chiron is a figure from myth who had to overcome abandonment issues over his identity as a centaur.  To reach the transpersonal realm of Uranus beyond Jupiter and Saturn that Chiron bridges, we must face our identity issues and open our presence beyond the ego conditioning of how our identity fits within society and the myriad projections others are constantly making from their own unconscious they do not claim any responsibility for.  Focusing within on what we truly value and want to create will help guide us in the choices to make and actions to take at this Full Moon, as there are extremely supportive aspects for liberating breakthroughs that are simultaneously grounded and capable of being manifested in the material realm.

Mercury in Capricorn rules the Gemini Full Moon and is approaching a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  Mercury is an Evening Star that has now reached its maximum elongation and is preparing to station retrograde, and in fact will station retrograde before it forms a conjunction with Pluto.  On the threshold of beginning its descent into the underworld, Mercury in Capricorn with Pluto can open perception beyond the consensus definitions of linear time and space and the type of logic fixated on causation.  Synchronicity is always at play, yet this Full Moon ruled by Mercury holds aspects suggesting the importance of paying attention to the full scope of messages in your surroundings.  Mercury in Capricorn supports being accountable and responsible for your perceptions and the manner in which you convey the meaning generated to others, honoring your own boundaries while being respectful of the boundaries of others.

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Deborah Turbeville November 24, 1980

The Sun in Sagittarius is conjoining Saturn and at the beginning of a new cycle with Saturn the week of the Full Moon.  You can look to the aspects made in your chart by twenty degrees of Sagittarius to analyze how the new cycle between Saturn and the Sun is impacting you, but in general it brings a more serious and determined quality of Saturn into the normally lighthearted and flowing energy of a lunation involving the polarity of Gemini and Sagittarius.  Saturn is bringing solidity and grounding to the visionary quality of Sagittarius, a willingness to put in the work, discipline, and commitment necessary to manifest goals.    There can also be a heaviness and depressive sense of limitation surrounding anything that is currently not working effectively, but with Saturn also in sextile to Jupiter and trine to Uranus there is support for making dramatic changes and modifications focused on improvement and problem solving.   The Sun separating from Saturn in Sagittarius calls us to claim our inner authority to act from our core values with the integrity to patiently work in accord with our highest standards rather than try to cut corners, take shortcuts, or manipulate information to make things look better than they actually are.

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Roberto Matta (1951) La Mela

The Full Moon in Gemini is a gateway into the first exact opposition between Jupiter and Uranus in their current cycle, as in the dark Moon of the forthcoming waning lunar cycle Jupiter will form an exact opposition with Uranus on 26 December 2016.  The opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries, with Saturn in Sagittarius forming a trine to Uranus and a sextile with Jupiter, is one of the dominant aspects of astrology in the year ahead.  We are only at the beginning of getting a sense of what these transits will mean for us in our lives, and although there are already signs of potential meaning there is  such an unexpected, shocking quality to Uranus that becomes strikingly catalyzed through an opposition with Jupiter, that its impossible to know fully what to expect given that experience can rapidly shift and change with sudden developments that come seemingly out of nowhere.  In the tension between the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus, it will be fruitful to make space away from relationships in order to attune within to everything being activated from external sources.  There is dynamic inventiveness found within these aspects to express into all manner of creativity that needs channels of release that will support its flow, rather than projecting it at walls of resistance that will only block and repress it.

As Jupiter begins to form its exact opposition with Uranus, the dwarf planet Ceres is also present with Uranus.  In tandem with the supportive aspects with Saturn, the path to accessing the full creative potential of the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus involves nurturing and taking care of our own needs so that we do not need to become overly attached in codependent relations in which we expect others to fulfill us.  The more we can resist projecting expectations and instead be present in the moment with all that we feel within, the more we can access the liberating dynamic of Jupiter and Uranus that is capable of taking us beyond previous limitations and barriers we had imposed upon ourselves.  It is possible to maintain commitment in relationship while also giving oneself the freedom and space to make breakthroughs from within a secure sense of self stabilized from nurturing one’s own needs.

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Mariage d’Amour…Mariage de Raison (1927) Erte

Venus in Aquarius has the dignity of decan at the Full Moon, for she rules the first face of Aquarius. This gives Venus greater strength and an ability to decondition from external circumstances in order to enjoy one’s unique sources of pleasure and harmony.  Venus in Aquarius has now entered supportive sign-based aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus,  and as the aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus become exact later in December, Venus in Aquarius will also form harmonious degree-based aspects with all three.  Venus in Aquarius holds a mirror that clarifies and objectifies our relationship dynamics, shedding light on our shadow and the way we project unconscious dynamics into our relationships.  Whether you view Saturn or Uranus as the ruler of Venus in Aquarius, Venus will be making a sextile to both in December.  Venus being in the home of Saturn is compelling in terms of making a commitment to embody one’s authentic inner values, being responsible to maintain personal integrity in all relationships.

Venus and Mars are both in the sign of Aquarius at the time of the Full Moon, in their balsamic phase.  As a result, the Gemini Full Moon that forms a trine to Mars in Aquarius illuminates a distillation of the past Venus and Mars cycle that goes back to 2015 in which there were three conjunctions of Mars and Venus in February, September, and November.  Inner reflection can reveal insight into the most significant relationships that have come in and out of our life since the beginning of 2015, as well as how the new relationships being developed now integrate our newly arising needs and values.  In the upcoming time period,  Venus will station retrograde in Aries in March 2017 before she reachers her conjunction with Mars (though Venus will get very close to Mars in Aries in February 2017), and then Mars and Venus will begin to separate and leave the balsamic phase (meaning moving more that 45 degrees apart) over the course of the Venus retrograde.  Eventually, Mars and Venus will unite and begin a new cycle in Virgo in October 2017, around the same time we will experience the final exact opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries.  While the Jupiter and Uranus opposition will correlate with extraordinary changes and inventions in collective events, in our personal lives theses same transits will also support breaking free from old relationship patterns we have outgrown.

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10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Gemini, associated with the Ten of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Her illustration of the Ten of Swords took on new meaning for me when I read Austin Coppock’s book on the decans, 36 Faces, and realized that since ancient Egyptian culture is the source of the decans in astrology, it is significant that Egyptian as well as the Hellenistic astrological tradition viewed Cancer as the first sign of the zodiac in astrological arrangements. For example in the Thema Mundi, the chart said to represent the birth of the universe, it is Cancer that occupies the first house and Gemini that occupies the twelfth house. Therefore, if we conceive the zodiac as beginning with the Cancer Solstice, or the first decan of Cancer, it means that the third decan of Gemini would be the end of the cycle, the final of the 36 faces of the zodiac.

Thus the image of a dead man with ten swords plunged into his back resonates with surrendering to the end or death of a cycle. While the card’s image contains dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky revealing the new beginning of a cycle to come.  Austin Coppock linked the death found in this image with the necessary death or sacrifice of one of the twins of Gemini:

It is important to understand the precise nature of the death which occurs here properly, for it is not the self-sacrifice of Jesus, nor the cognate immolation and rebirth of the Phoenix. The third decan of Gemini sees Castor fall, Cain slay Abel and Set slay Horus. It is the climax of a story of polarity. The death which occurs here reduces a warring pair back to a stable unity . . .

For by the third decan of Gemini, dualities have permutated far beyond the shades of grey previously explored. The ultimate extremities are present here, taken to the point that they cannot truly coexist. Day and night must split time- they cannot take place simultaneously. Good and evil must do the same. In the end, the conflicting wills of the body and spirit cannot be wholly equilibrated. While the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices- judgments that must be made. To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed. Though such burnt offerings are a necessary inevitability, it does not spare those who walk this face difficult decisions (p. 98-99).

As the Sun rules the third decan of Gemini, it is fitting that the Sun in Sagittarius at the time of the Gemini Full Moon has passed from ending an old cycle with Saturn into beginning a new cycle.  In the brilliant light of the Full Moon in the sign of the Twins, we may let go of old self constructs, releasing old identities in order to open to the truth we discover in the moment.   The Sun with Saturn in Sagittarius supports facing current adversity with determined consistency, honesty, and principled resolve to lead by example.   Leading by example also includes supporting the work of others and helping to protect and shelter whatever we find valuable yet vulnerable in an early stage of development.  As Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote in a letter:

We have to be committed not to miss or neglect any opportunity to suffer, to have an experience, or to be happy; our soul arises refreshed from all of that.  It has a resting place at those heights that are difficult to reach, and it is at home where one can advance no further:  up there we have to carry it.  But as soon as we put it down for dead at those extreme spots it awakens and takes flight into skies and celestial depths that from now on belong to us.

I confess that I consider life to be a thing of the most untouchable deliciousness, and that even the confluence of so many disasters and deprivations, the exposure of countless fates, everything that insurmountable increased for us over the past few years to become a still rising terror cannot distract me from the fullness and goodness of existence that is inclined toward us.  There would be little sense in approaching you with good wishes if each wish were not preceded by this conviction that the goods of life arise pure, undamaged, and, at their very bottom, desirable out of upheaval and ruin.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2005). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer.

New Moon in Sagittarius

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Bed 1 (1990) by Fernando D. Guibert

Sagittarius New Moon

The New Moon in Sagittarius on November 29 weaves transitions between the astrological dynamics that have dominated 2016 and the coming themes of 2017.  The New Moon is square to both Neptune and the transiting lunar nodes, in the same degrees of Sagittarius that Mars previously stationed retrograde in April 2016.  The Sagittarius New Moon also forms a square to the Solar Eclipse in Virgo that occurred in September 2016, and the Solar Eclipse in Pisces that will occur in February 2017.  The blackness of the Sagittarius Moon draws us inward to accept the circumstances of our life and everything that has correspondingly been stirred up from within during this past year.  Many unexpected things have happened during a year of incredible mutable activation in astrology, and as we let go of what we had expected and open to what has now arisen, a new perspective will begin to coalesce and clarify the meaning of all the changes that have come about in 2016 so far.  The intuitive capacities inherent in Sagittarius support witnessing and observing all of our inner feelings and coming to a sense of fresh vision and meaning that will bring inspiration in the coming months.  There is a whirlwind of transpersonal, outer planet activation in tandem with the Sagittarius New Moon that makes exploration of our unconscious and everything we have been keeping out of conscious awareness imperative.

The New Moon in Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter in Libra as Jupiter has initiated its first square with Pluto in Capricorn and is en route to form an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Jupiter in Libra is also in trine with Mars in Aquarius, and both Mars and Jupiter are in sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius.  These are incredibly potent and catalyzing surrounding transits for Jupiter that not only taps Jupiter into subconscious motivations and soulful desires, but also presents Jupiter with harmonious aspects to ground and manifest vision into tangible projects and results.  These aspects support opening awareness and communication, being willing to accept nonlinear perceptions and insights that transcend the normal confines we limit our consciousness to.  Instead of merely projecting the contents of our psyche being activated, it will be helpful to sit with, embrace and live with all of our desires, taking the responsibility to be accountable for our own feelings.  There is potent power available within these transits that can be utilized to bring one’s creative gifts into the surrounding world as well as support and protect the livelihood of others we care about.

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Frida Kahlo (1939) The Two Fridas

Heart of the Scorpion

The New Moon in Sagittarius is conjoining the royal star Antares, known as the Heart of the Scorpion.  Antares has been a vital astrological factor in 2016, as Mars stationed retrograde at the same degree as Antares in April 2016, and in August 2016 both Mars and Saturn conjoined in our night sky near Antares.  In combination with the recent Full Moon in Taurus that was aligned with the degrees of Scorpio that Mars stationed direct in June 2016, the transition from the previous Taurus Full Moon into the Sagittarius New Moon has reawakened the meaning of the Mars retrograde of 2016 that was aligned with Antares, introducing important new information and events that reshape what we have learned from our experience.  Antares brings an intensity that will make the lessons we need to accept and learn from impossible to resist at this New Moon.

Bernadette Brady in her book on fixed stars wrote that Antares was associated with Yima (aka Yama), the god of the dead, by the Persians.  Correspondingly, Brady wrote that Antares naturally catalyzes purification through “a cleansing life-and-death experience,” and evokes desire to seek the deepest depths of intensity in life.  The Sagittarius New Moon aligned with Antares opens potential to purge and burn off past issues and complexes that have been weighing us down over the course of the past year.  Feeling within our body and inner recesses, there is healing to be found in receiving the truth of what life is now offering us instead of struggling to change what has already come to pass. The asteroid Juno is also conjoining Antares and the Sagittarius New Moon, signifying that important realizations are available through our relationships into what we need and want in the relationships we make lasting commitments within.

Antares has had a long association with Mars and Jupiter in astrology going back to the time of Ptolemy, and has also been associated with a fierce fighting spirit.  All four of the Royal Stars of Persia warn against hubris, and in Antares the downfall traditionally has been seen as obstinate attachment to headstrong martial force that leads ultimately to unnecessary destruction.    Yet since Antares also signifies strong mental sharpness and strategizing, the resiliently tough correspondences of Antares can also be used to strengthen the resolve of one’s inner warrior, as long as consideration is taken to not be overly self righteous, stubborn, and egotistical.

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Remedios Varo (1942) Magic Grotto

Venus square Uranus

Venus in Capricorn takes center stage at the Sagittarius New Moon, tightly applying to a square with Uranus after having initiated a new phase with Pluto during the waning of the Moon that led into the New Moon.  Venus in Capricorn formed a conjunction with Pluto at the same time that Jupiter in Libra formed a square with Pluto, dredging up deep relational patterns while uncovering liberating insights regarding what we want and need in relationship.  To fully embody and realize the meaning from contact between Venus and Uranus, we need to allow ourselves to become catalyzed by contact within our relationships as well as create space for ourselves to observe what has been stirred up within in order to receive the corresponding inner knowing.

There is support within all of the surrounding astrological transits to expand the parameters of Venus in our life, not only gaining awareness for what we value and what will bring us pleasure, but also sensing how we can move beyond previous limitations to find outlets for its expression and manifestation.  With Uranus impacting Venus so strongly, there is an unexpected quality in which we will discover Venusian meaning from unlikely sources.  Instead of judging where our sense of Venus is coming from, be open to embrace the message because there is likely to be a significant unconscious quality that had been previously barred from conscious awareness.

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Georgia O’Keeffe (1944) Black Place II

Saturn and Neptune

As the Moon begins to wax at the initial stages of the forthcoming lunation cycle, it will pass over a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Each subsequent day the Sun will get closer and closer to a conjunction with Saturn, eventually forming a conjunction on December 10.   The Sun will form a square to Neptune the day after the New Moon, and so the Sagittarius New Moon re-activates the square between Neptune and Saturn that has been a dominant theme of 2016.  While there has been extraordinary disillusionment on collective and personal levels in correlation with the square between Neptune and Saturn, the resulting dissolving and dislodging of formerly solid structures is opening new pathways and potentials with which to reorient and restructure.

The Sagittarius New Moon is best utilized by honestly accepting our present circumstances and allowing ourselves to observe and learn from what the present moment of our life story is teaching us.  Being in denial will be even more toxic than normal at this New Moon.  The Sagittarius Sun approaching Saturn is an opportunity to make a thorough review of our life and what is working well versus what needs modification.  Aiding an ability to grasp a far reaching overview of our present circumstances is Mercury in Sagittarius having recently separated from a trine with Uranus and Ceres in Aries at the New Moon.

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8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The first face of Sagittarius holds the New Moon and is associated with the 8 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The 8 of Wands card contains an abstract image of velocity found in angularly jutting wands, and the associated meaning of the card involves the speed of thought and imagination applied to a passionate goal.   Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Poisoned Arrow” to 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,” as the “fire that enters the mind enflames it, purging the grosser levels of being as it descends” (p. 193-4).   Coppock wrote that the Moon in the first decan of Sagittarius desires a philosophical and spiritual quest that will bring personal meaning, and accordingly requires goals and targets that will unify energy in alignment with one’s vision for life.

Fittingly, the first face of Sagittarius is ruled by Mercury, signifying its rapid pace. During the coming lunation cycle Mercury will become one of the most significant astrological factors, as Mercury will enter Capricorn and approach a conjunction with Pluto before stationing retrograde on December 19.  Until then, Mercury will be available as a discerning Evening Star capable of digesting meaning from the experiences of each day.  Evening Star Mercury in Sagittarius and Capricorn will be able to perceive insights from within our bodies, our dreams, and by grounding our perception into the surrounding forms of our material world, synthesizing important realization.  As Mercury slows down to a standstill as it approaches Pluto, our perception will be able to delve into the depths of our desires, and yet whatever careful plans we have made will need to become open to the shifting that Mercury retrograde brings.   Align intention at the New Moon in Sagittarius with whatever brings you the greatest meaning in life, with understanding that the coming lunar cycle will be bringing numerous unexpected events and experiences not capable of being planned for at the moment.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

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

Mars in Aquarius

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Mars in Aquarius

“Just as all people have shadows, every society and nation, too, has shadows. If there are bright, shining aspects, there will definitely be a counterbalancing dark side.

“At times, we tend to avert our eyes from the shadow, those negative parts, or else, try to forcibly eliminate those aspects. No matter how high a wall we build to keep intruders out, no matter how strictly we exclude outsiders, no matter how much we rewrite history to suit us, we just end up damaging and hurting ourselves . . . You have to patiently learn to live together with your shadow and carefully observe the darkness that resides within you.”

— Haruki Murakami, novelist with Mars in Aquarius, in speech given after receiving the Hans Christian Andersen literature award

Born with Mars in Aquarius conjoining Mercury, author Haruki Murakami recently gave voice in an award ceremony to the dire need in these collective times to live with and explore one’s inner shadow.   Mars in Aquarius has an ability to gain objective clarity regarding inner desires perhaps more so than any other placement for the red planet, bringing greater awareness of our shadow, or whatever aspects of our psyche our persona has cast off from consciousness.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green viewed the archetype of Aquarius as having the evolutionary intention of objectifying the nature of reality at any level one focuses upon through detaching from one’s subjective emotional reality. This doesn’t mean detached dissociation, but rather that Mars in Aquarius can penetrate into the nature and structure of any dynamic and gain understanding of how to catalyze necessary growth.  Here, growth is separated from consensus, mainstream, culturally conditioned influences, and is rather rooted in the ineffable realm of soul.

When we think of Mars in astrology, the consensus mindset does not picture Aquarius, and yet there is a singular quality of Mars we can value and learn from in the sign of the Water Bearer.  Aquarius is not known as a natural place for Mars through the essential dignity of traditional astrology, as Mars only has dignity in its Egyptian bounds between 20 and 25 degrees.  This gives Mars the feel of an outsider in Aquarius, and a unique environment for Mars to operate within that brings a martial force like nowhere else.  Mars in Aries and Scorpio are known as strong placements for Mars where the red planet can be its plain self, pure and simple.  Mars can also be fierce, hot, courageous, and protective in Aquarius, yet also has a strange mix of objectivity, humanitarianism, experimentation, and determination we do not quite find in any other sign.

Aquarius is hot and moist in temperament in traditional astrology, meaning it disperses outwardly and seeks cohesion, has flexibility and strong capabilities in mutating.  The fixed nature of Aquarius brings greater persistence and perseverance to Mars than it finds in the other Air signs, and so Mars may be slower to get going at the outset in Aquarius but can sustain itself over long periods of time and resiliently foster stability in the work it directs itself into.  Since Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, Mars in Aquarius is able to set itself apart from mainstream thought and mutate in accordance with thinking, writing, philosophy, the arts and sciences, and other expressions of consciousness with kindred spirits of soulfulness.

While Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn in traditional astrology, many forms of modern astrology consider Uranus to be its ruler. In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green wrote that Mars in Aquarius “reflects an instinct to experiment with different ways of being,” desires “to create an essential courage in other people to break free from the status quo,” and unpredictably “desires progressive transformation leading to an ever-increasing realization and definition of its individuality.”  However, whether you use Saturn or Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius, in both systems Mars in Aquarius holds the desire of the Water Bearer to carry and share the enlivening water of consciousness that will nourish humanitarian impulses to cast off oppressive conditioning, opening desire to the alchemy bridging one’s heart and inner mind.

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Ganymede by Michelangelo

Eagles resonate with Mars in Aquarius in part because of their capacity to soar beyond barriers with focused and penetrating vision, matching the loyal, persistent, persevering, and stabilizing qualities Mars can discover in a Fixed Air sign.  Eagles like Mars in Aquarius also value interdependence in relationship, as the eagle’s nest is a home in which both partners pull equal weight while having the freedom to independently take action within committed bonds of relationship.  The eagle is also a crucial figure in the myth of Ganymede associated with Aquarius.  Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own. In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens.

Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius. Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body. Astrologer Jason Holley presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC). His talk “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness” explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result.  In terms of bringing Aquarius into greater wholeness, Holley stressed the importance of activating the polarity of Leo to create a growth cycle of rupture and repair.

To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Aquarius and Uranus that activates the nonlinear field of multiplicity and leads to either: (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into self, expanding our self-concept while we continue to embody our self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience difficulty experiencing full connection with others. Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance and escape. However, if we are instead able to integrate and embody how we feel different from the surrounding consensus, we can re-enter the world with an openness to possibility that leads to fulfilling experiences that expand beyond the norms of consensus reality.  The task for Mars in Aquarius is to integrate and embody its far-flung and extraordinary insights into its mundane, ordinary life and relationships with full presence.

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Aquarius by Johra Bosschart

“If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals.

“We have no hope against the wall: it’s too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us – create who we are. It is we who created the system.”

–Haruki Murakami, novelist with Mars in Aquarius

Haruki Murakami is as a perfect example of a writer with Mars in Aquarius who has created fictional worlds illuminating the complex undercurrents of individuals within the collective, drawing upon influences from writers of many diverse cultures.  In his personal life he has enjoyed marathon running befitting the fixed nature of Aquarius, and his creative output took time to development yet has been sustained at a deep level for a long period of time.  Murakami has described a crucial shift in his work from being “detached” to being “committed,” moving from early worked focused upon individual darkness to the darkness found in the collective society.

As I searched for other examples of celebrities with Mars in Aquarius in preparation for this article, time and time again I was struck by the unorthodox, powerful, martial force of each individual.  It is a mistake to take the fact Mars is an outsider in Aquarius with no essential dignity to mean that Mars here will struggle to manifest desire; in fact, it could be argued that the unique atmosphere of Aquarius brings out an important aspect of Mars we cannot find anywhere else.  For example, is it really that strange that the individual many associate most with the idea of a masculine genius, Leonardo da Vinci, was born with Mars in Aquarius?  In addition to the visionary da Vinci, the individual who forever altered our conception of our solar system, Nicolaus Copernicus, was also born with Mars in Aquarius.

In terms of creative output, one of the most ideal manifestations of Mars in Aquarius is the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was also born with Saturn and the Moon in Aquarius.  Rilke resiliently worked hard on his writing over long periods of time, being willing to go into isolation in order to contain his lucid insights within word choice and rhythm that expands the consciousness of anyone who reads his work.  Rilke not only travelled extensively beyond his native land to find his muse, he drew upon diverse mythic and spiritual influences in order to weave a unique tapestry of meaning that continues to bring sustenance and comfort to individuals within modern culture.  Rilke also lived in a time before the internet, yet sustained numerous intense, intimate relationships through letter writing all around the world.  This speaks to the capacity of Mars in Aquarius to transmit eros across all barriers of time and space, tuning into the frequency and vibration of resonant souls at great distances.

There are numerous other consciousness expanding individuals born with Mars in Aquarius, such as George Gurdjieff and numerous groundbreaking psychologists able to objectify human nature such as James Hillman, Rollo May, Alfred Adler, and Carl Rogers.  James Hillman in particular is a strong example of the passion and heated intensity that Mars in Aquarius can bring to philosophical discourse and abstract conceptualization.  Individuals with Mars in Aquarius sense the underlying importance of the philosophical worldview one embodies and its impact upon humanity, the natural world, and our world soul, and are willing to fight about it intellectually.

Among current famous figures, one of the most striking examples of Mars in Aquarius is Michelle Obama, the current First Lady of the United States of America.  Michelle Obama has an energy that lights up a room with clear energetic bravado that also emits a friendliness that has made her an extremely popular figure.  Michelle Obama is also known to become passionate about social justice causes, and at key points has delivered speeches addressed at uplifting women, racial minorities, and others facing oppression in modern culture.  During the most recent presidential election her mantra of “they go low, we go high” that became so widely quoted is also fitting for the nature of Mars in Aquarius.

Hip Hop culture contains numerous famous figures with Mars in Aquarius that displays the distinct and unusual energy found in the signature:  Tupac Shakur, Missy Elliot, will.i.am, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg all have Mars in Aquarius.  One of Tupac Shakur’s most famous songs, “Keep Ya Head Up,” is a perfect Mars in Aquarius anthem that ingeniously deconstructs the misogyny and racism of culture through the purposely designed aesthetic of infectious pop music.  Shakur’s lyrics are absolutely brilliant and his delivery smooth, every single word penetrating further into the complex dynamics of cultural oppression and their impact on the individual:

Actors with Mars in Aquarius possess a masculinity difficult to describe and uniquely their own, such as Gary Oldman and Adrien Brody.  Cary Grant created an otherworldly acting persona that seemed as natural playing an Angel in The Bishop’s Wife as when he was playing human beings.   Other actors and actresses with Mars in Aquarius include Ian McKellen, Winona Ryder, Scarlet Johansen, Jane Fonda, Jamie Foxx, Emma Watson, Lauren Bacall, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Justin Theroux, and Mae West.  There is a clear erotic quality involved in all of these individuals that also involves an intelligent edge of sharpness.  Two former musical stars turned successful actors, Mark Wahlberg and Justin Timberlake, also project a masculine star power that is idiosyncratic and makes them continue to remain singular, compelling personalities within popular culture.

In sports, it is quite compelling that perhaps the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., was born with Mars in Aquarius as well as one of the greatest figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi who also cooly destroyed all competition.  An interesting sport that contains numerous all-time greats with Mars in Aquarius is tennis, which combines the fitting attributes of stamina while attacking with abstract strategizing:  Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, and Stefan Edberg all were born with Mars in Aquarius.

In the realm of film, directors with Mars in Aquarius fittingly have brought some of the most distinctly avant garde expression and experimentation to cinema:  Sofia Coppola, Francois Truffaut, Lars Von Trier,  Ridley Scott, Joel Coen, Luis Bunuel, David Cronenberg, and Ang Lee were all born with Mars in Aquarius.  In comedy, we again find a list of some of the most unorthodox talents such as John Cleese, Andy Kauffman, Chris Farley, Eddie Ezzard, and Eric Idle.  Writers with Mars in Aquarius include Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut, Tennessee Williams, Victor Hugo, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Merton, and William Wordsworth.  There is also famous children’s television personality Fred Rogers, whose role as Mr. Rogers and once again, incredibly unique expression, nurtured the development of countless childhoods.

Two current figures that illuminate not only the visionary, future-oriented qualities of Mars in Aquarius but also its shadow of becoming overly fixated upon a philosophical worldview at all costs are Julian Assange and Elon Musk.  In both of these individuals we find the capacity of Mars in Aquarius to work at the leading edge of technology and push the envelope with driving force aimed with future-oriented vision.  Yet at the same time, both individuals possess a hubris that has led to public downfalls at times due to an unwillingness to make compromises or let go of their fixation upon their belief in what they are doing is serving a purpose for the greater good.

Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green has written that Mars in Aquarius “will gradually create an entire lifestyle reflective of its instinctual feeling of uniqueness,” and this same capacity held by natives with Mars in Aquarius may be seized by all of us when Mars transits through Aquarius.  Not only can we take steps to creatively actualize our inherently unique gifts while Mars is in Aquarius, we can also encourage others to express their distinctive inner qualities that defy societal norms and conventions.  Currently the transit of Mars in Aquarius is forming numerous harmonious aspects:  a trine to Jupiter in Libra, sextile to Mercury and Saturn in Sagittarius, and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  There is no time like the present to not only express your essential gifts within the world but also to band together with others of shared passion in order to create positive shifts within systematic structures of our global collective.

beau-vandendolder-flock-of-birds

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

References

Green, Jeff. (2009). Pluto Volume II. Wessex Astrologer.

Haruki Murakami cautions against excluding outsiders. The Guardian. 1 November 2016.

Murakami asks that people learn to live with their shadows. The Asahi Shimbun. 31 October 2016.

Mercury Retrograde Class

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Mercury Retrograde Guidance

I’m excited to announce I will be teaching another class on Mercury Retrograde at New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, OR this coming December!  The Mercury retrograde in December will begin with a conjunction to Pluto, and will delve back all the way to the end of Sagittarius where the star of Hermes will station direct in the home of Jupiter.  This will be a powerful Mercury retrograde phase and we will create space and time in class to discuss its potential impact on class participants.

When:  Saturday 17 December from 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where:  New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, Oregon

1338 NW 23rd Avenue / Portland, Oregon 97210

Cost:  $15, purchase tickets at New Renaissance Bookshop

Description:

Mercury Retrograde periods are not a time to fear. Rather they offer us unique opportunities for personal growth. Discover the alternate realm of perception Mercury Retrograde provides us for uncovering the essential aspects of the Self. Explore the meaning of the swiftly moving planet of mental connections and discernment under Olympia astrologer Gray Crawford. Gray will dispel popular misconceptions of Mercury Retrograde to reveal how Mercury can mutate into its subterranean role as a Guide of Souls during its retrograde motion.

new ren books

Taurus Full Moon 2016

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A Lake by Moonlight by Joseph Wright

Full Moon in Taurus

In Taurus we discover our capacity to surround ourselves with a sense of beauty, comfort, and stability.  When lacking material resources or in fear of threats to our survival, we have a choice to succumb to fearful paralysis or instead draw from our fathomless inner reserves in order to nourish ourselves and ground into the roots of our present.  Taurus is the inner home of Venus, the exaltation of the Moon, and a living image of our zodiac containing the essential value within we can foster and then share with others through acts of love, creation of arts and sciences, and collaborative efforts that increase the welfare of our surrounding community.  The Full Moon in Taurus on November 14 is ruled by Venus in Capricorn, bringing additional meaning of taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions, being accountable to embody and live from our inner integrity.  The past year has brought a steady stream of shattering world events that have caused many to fear impending doom.  The full light of the Moon in Taurus is a moment to illuminate the current opportunities available to bring greater solidity and stability into your daily life, as well as to liberate your will force in service of the greater good for all.

Writing in the United States of America, it is impossible within the current vicious, divisive political atmosphere to ignore the fact that many are currently panicked about the future few years of this country, just as innumerable other people around our planet whose nation is in even more dire circumstances have reasons to fear for their future.  The Taurus Full Moon connects into some longer term planetary cycles I will discuss that reveal the importance of fully embodying and living from our inner values in order to contribute to the collective shifts coming in the years ahead.  However, as Taurus is a fixed sign, it is likewise vital to deeply question the current state of your values and whether or not the perspective you have been fixated upon is truly for your own best interest as well as the greater good of all.  The need of Taurus to feel secure leads to obstinate attachment to the way things have been, yet the light of this Full Moon in Taurus arrives in a period of collective dissolution calling for radical change.  No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, we possess imagination to envision a more fulfilling tomorrow, creativity to transfigure elements of our struggle into cathartic work of quality, humor and compassion to find solace with others.

The Scorpio Sun is conjoining both the mean and true nodes of Black Moon Lilith at the Full Moon.  There is a vast collective shadow perceptible further exacerbated by Neptune being tightly bound with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  Abuse and degradation of women, oppression and persecution of anyone labeled an “other” outside of societal “norms,” greed and avarice in the material realm at expense of safeguarding surrounding nature, all of this and much more has been flooding collective events.  The resolution found through Black Moon Lilith is in embracing and accepting ourselves four our own authentic nature in spite of societal judgment or cultural conditioning.  Black Moon Lilith bound to the Taurus Full Moon can coalesce understanding into how to reclaim and assert ourselves in the face of oppressive cultural forces, creating a life that enables us to discover our inner happiness, desires, and spirituality.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016)

Venus in Capricorn rules the Full Moon, on her way toward a union with Pluto as the Moon wanes into darkness in the forthcoming cycle.  Last month we experienced a conjunction between Mars and Pluto that awakened new desires we can now feel more sensually alive within, as the full feeling nature of Venus is more tactile, earthy, and deeply felt in the body in Capricorn.  In romantic relationships the waning half of the lunar cycle supports erotic depth and cathartic release, while in mundane and work related relationships we can feel more ambitious drive and the need to responsibly implement plans of action.  While passions can become enflamed as Venus and Pluto approach each other, their placement in Capricorn stresses the importance of honestly asserting one’s needs without fear of judgment or rejection.  This  will be the balsamic close of the cycle between Venus and Pluto that began in early February 2016, and so there will also be a sense of wrapping up deep relational issues from the past year while opening to regenerated depth in the coming cycle.

Within the context of the collective disillusionment of Neptune tightly conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, the coming together of Venus with Pluto is an opportunity to be completely accountable to bring your sense of harmony and unity into manifestation in the face of external disharmony.  Realms of art, writing, and social activism will be fertile arenas to pour and shape energy into creative forces that will not submit to oppressive systems of power and instead subvert and inspire active change.   The self-determination of Capricorn is healthier and capable of creating greater stability when coming from a place of inner emotional security, rather than wielding power or control as compensation for emotional issues.  As Venus approaches Pluto, each of us needs to dive into and face our own shadow without denial, rather than only projecting rage at the shadow of collective events that trouble us.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

In addition to Venus being at the beginning of a new sign at the Full Moon, Mars is freshly in Aquarius in sextile with Mercury also at the beginning of Sagittarius.    Mercury in Sagittarius has not quite come out from under the beams of the Sun at the Full Moon, but in the waning half of the coming lunar cycle will emerge with an important message for us to receive as it forms a sextile with Jupiter in Libra and a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius.   The current sextile between Mercury and Mars is highly visionary in quality, as Mars in Aquarius has a persevering drive to set future-oriented vision into motion while also having more objective clarity than Mars normally has.  Mercury in Sagittarius is fast and radiant in expression, and though its coming conjunction with Saturn will bring more of a sobering seriousness, it simultaneously being received by Jupiter through a sextile will make this a fertile period to not only receive a vision but take direct action in implementing it into reality.  There is also strong Mercurial vision available into our relationships with an eye toward what is developing on the distant horizon.  Jupiter in Libra is entering a period of becoming strongly activated by multiple surrounding transits, and so clarifying what we want in our relationships will make the direct expression of Mercury in Sagittarius able to transmit our needs and desires with immediate spirit.

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Into the Darkness by Judy Chicago

Jupiter + Pluto + Saturn

This Full Moon ushers us into a period of Jupiter in square to Pluto and Jupiter in sextile with Saturn.  Jupiter is being initiated by Pluto, as it hits the square with Pluto prior to forming its sextile with Saturn.  It is paramount to realize these are last quarter, or waning aspects between Jupiter with Pluto and Saturn that involve reorientation and turning away from past beliefs while undergoing a process of disillusionment and decomposition.   The current cycle between Jupiter and Pluto began in 2007, and we reached the opposition point of their cycle in 2013 and 2014.    While we could interpret the current square through the lens of visionary forces of justice with Jupiter confronting the manipulative, controlling, and judgmental forces of Pluto power structures, this is only one small side of a much vaster whole.  On personal levels we need to claim the responsibility to create the life we want to live instead of repress and restrict ourselves to fit into conditioned roles we feel enslaved to perform.  Often people are afraid to quit soul sucking jobs for good reason, such as needing to be responsible for loved ones, but we are also being called to strike a greater balance in terms of liberating our ability to go after what will bring us greater fulfillment and harmony.  We must confront our inner judgement that restricts us from opening to greater love and abundance in relationship, allowing old limitations of belief to evaporate.

In terms of the ripening last quarter sextile between Jupiter with Saturn, there is a fascinating aspect that the Full Moon happens to be at the degree of the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that began their current cycle in May 2000.  As a result, the Full Moon appears to be illuminating important collective events which will be continuing to resolve until the end of 2020 when Jupiter and Saturn will begin a new cycle in Aquarius.    There is a window of vision into this 2020 threshold available now:  where do we want to be as individuals and a collective then, and what in turn do we need to be accountable to do in our lives now to make that happen.  There is mutual reception between Jupiter and Saturn since Jupiter is in the exaltation of Saturn, and Saturn is in the home of Jupiter.  This is not a time to be passive or hold back from going after what you want, but rather is a time for decisive action and movement that can be a step-by-step or nonlinear process.  The important element is making clear choices to align with supportive surrounding structures and relationships or to bolster one’s own inner resources, and to boldly begin moving in a new direction without becoming overly fearful of the old way dying.

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Ceres & Uranus in Aries

There has been a lot of speculation into the meaning of the newly discovered dwarf planet Eris being aligned with Uranus in Aries in the past year, and this duo welcomes a third in the flowering of the Full Moon:  Ceres retrograde in Aries.  You may remember that at the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere earlier this year, there was a conjunction between Ceres, Uranus and Eris:  now Ceres has moved back retrograde to join Uranus and Eris once again.  Ceres in Aries is a fierce protector and nurturer who does not want to foster co-dependency or enable people to keep themselves within helpless, needy relational patterns.  Ceres in Aries wants to foster relationships rooted in equality and interdependence, wants to embolden your courage to be yourself fully in the face of any cultural conditioning, and wants to nurture a sense of freedom and independence relationally while maintaining a supportive, attached presence.

The combination of Ceres with Uranus and Eris in Aries makes it easy to think of the myth of Ceres in which she becomes so enraged over the abduction of her daughter by the lord of the underworld that she refuses to produce growth, food, and the creative force of nature on our planet.   Ceres in Aries united with Uranus brings the lesson that anger and rage over traumatic experiences can ultimately be redirected and channeled into activism and productive work that will nurture and feed the souls of our surrounding community.  This is not an easy lesson, yet the willingness to grieve and lay our souls bare in a dark night of the soul ultimately brings profound spiritual revelations and understanding through the release of pain.  Ceres combined with Uranus now on a collective level brings echoes of past collective traumas into our personal experience of current collective traumas, yet there is also strength we can find in the knowledge that for ages upon ages others before us have faced even more difficult circumstances than we currently find ourselves within.

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7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Taurus associated with the Seven of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  For what it’s worth I’ve always loved getting the 7 of Pentacles card in a reading, even though it signifies delayed gratification.  To me it’s a card that suggests a process is at work, a harvest full of delicate ripeness is on its way, which requires patience and nurturance but also involves a savory climax to come.  Applied to the full light of the Taurus lunation, the illumination we receive can be integrated into a long range perspective that will carefully tend to and nurture the needs of our endeavors and relationships so that they may ultimately bloom in healthy wholeness.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces brings up the shadow side of this meaning of the 7 of Pentacles, noting figures of “toil, destruction and poverty” reside in this face due to everything that can go wrong in between the germination of a seed and its ultimate flowering and fruiting.    Coppock noted that forces of destruction such as “floods, drought, and pestilence” will destroy what we have carefully planted, and that a lesson of this decan is that “sometimes catastrophe befalls us through no apparent fault of our own” (p. 81).    As Saturn is the ruler of this decan, it is fitting that the positive virtues of Saturn, such as “wisdom, patience, humility and foresight are the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face” (p. 81).  Coppock concludes that as this is a face which entails confronting catastrophe and disaster, it is also a place from which we can call for support from higher powers and worthy allies.

Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius has brought unexpected shifts and endings befitting the mutable nature of the Centaur, and the danger is that our inner fire can become stifled through Saturn’s attempts at control and exclusion in defense.  Mercury is now on its way toward a union with Saturn at the same time Jupiter forms its mutually receptive sextile, aspects that can open and expand the parameters of Saturn beyond previous limits.  As Saturn has now made it halfway through the sign of Sagittarius, we are at the cusp of Saturn breaking into new degrees of Sagittarius not previously traversed as it also approaches a trine with Uranus in Aries that will open the boundaries of Saturn wider.  This is a time to contain the visionary nature of Sagittarius within the protective boundaries of Saturn and face the coming challenges with the support of resonant alliances.  There is incredibly important work in need of doing in the world right now, and we would not all be here together in this moment for it to be any other way.  Saturn in Sagittarius is not looking to support complaints and grievances, but rather spirited vision bound to disciplined, resilient effort.

References

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

Scorpio New Moon

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Scorpio

Just feeling human
the way a cloud’s a cloud
tinged with blue or
walking slow across the sky or
hastening,
but not a Thursday cloud
formed for the anxious glance of Thursday people,
simply a cloud, whose particles
may fall Tuesday, just as well,
on anyone’s spring hair, on any
taciturn winter buds it chooses
and no one say no. Human,
free for the day from roles assigned,
each with its emblem
cluttering the right hand,
scroll of words in the left.
Human, a kind of element, a fire,
an air, today.
Floating up to you I enter, or you
enter me. Or imagine
a house without doors,
open to sun or snowdrifts.

— Denise Levertov, “Today” from To Stay Alive 

Water flows inexorably and like our desires will dissolve blockages in the currents of its path.  Scorpio like all water signs in astrology is inwardly directed, magnetic, receptive, and capable of allowing life and events to take shape according to natural cycles instead of focusing upon speeding up the timing.  The watery nature of Scorpio symbolizes its capacity to tap deeply into the psychic and emotional content of its environment, as well as its ability to merge and transmute with external relationships and sources of power.  Scorpio is distinct among the water signs, however, in its fixated nature and its association with the heated, aggressive, divisive, and willful force of Mars.  The apparent paradox of a cold and wet sign such as Scorpio being home to Mars, a planet whose temperament in astrology is considered to be excessively hot and dry, becomes clear when contemplating concepts such as yin and yang.  There is a line in Zhāng Jièbīn’s Lèi Jīng which can be translated as the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire.  This relates to what we can also find in the symbolism of the yin and yang image, in which yang is found within yin, just as yin is found within yang.  Scorpio as the nocturnal home of the nocturnal planet Mars in astrology signifies the deep essence of our fiery nature we can discover within.

Astrologers have written excessively about the symbolic resonance of Scorpio with the season of Fall, and while this association with the depth and fertile darkness of Scorpio fits, the issue remains that in the Southern hemisphere the season of Scorpio is at the fullness of Spring.  The important concept here is that Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning that it supports stabilization, even if the stability of the Scorpion differs from mainstream conceptions of being stable.  The seasons of Spring and Fall are extremes of life and bloom, death and decay, that we experience in between the season of equinox and the season of solstice.  Although these seasons are associated with the “Fixed” signs, they are temporary and transitory like all of the changing nature of our material world and we must witness their loss and passing like everything else.  The persistent, persevering nature of Scorpio and its ability to penetrate into the emotional and psychic undercurrents of its circumstances is one of the sign’s greatest strengths.  However, its fixed nature is the source of the Scorpion’s shadow we are familiar with, in that fear of losing the source of one’s desire leads to controlling behavior that can ultimately drain the vitality out of their connection.  The lesson we experience in Scorpio is in letting go and having a healthy level of non-attachment with our desires. This does not mean being detached, but rather embodying the intimacy of Scorpio without the fixated obsession of manipulating the object of one’s desires.

The Scorpio New Moon on 30 October 2016 is conjoining Mercury while in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  It’s ruling planet Mars is exalted in Capricorn and separating from a square with Uranus.  Significantly, in the past lunation cycle Mars moved away from a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then formed a last quarter square to Uranus in Aries.  During this period Mars has been out of bounds by declination, and in fact has been out of bounds since August 2016.  Mars out of bounds is wilder and more rebellious, which dramatically exacerbated the catalytic square between Mars and Uranus that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding the New Moon.  At the time of the New Moon in Scorpio, however, Mars is finally at the threshold of leaving its out of bounds status.  The Scorpio New Moon supports accessing ambition from within that has been limited by past restrictive patterns of thought and emotion.  Any recent jarring, explosive experiences can be used to untether us from how we have held ourselves back.  The desires emerging with the Scorpio New Moon call for nurturing and cultivation, and allowing ourselves to be guided by unleashed instincts and impulses.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The trine between the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune in Pisces gives emphasis to the imaginal realm of Neptune that has been in harsh aspect to the hard reality of Saturn in Sagittarius over the past year.  The darkness of the Scorpio New Moon invites allowing dissolution to occur while opening to the feelings emerging from within.  Neptune in Pisces is conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, and will become increasingly close to the South Node of the Moon over the course of the next month.  In the collective unconscious there has been old conditioning beliefs and dreams exposed that the luminaries uniting in Scorpio can cleanse, and as we purify ourselves from the corruption of external conditioning misaligned with our authenticity, the resilient fecundity of Scorpio can aid in realigning with distilled essentiality.

The Scorpio New Moon supports nurturing belief that our cherished dreams and visions are possible to manifest, no matter how many wounds and barriers we have struggled through over the past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune.  With Mars in Capricorn finally emerging from its recent contacts with Pluto and Uranus, there is activated drive and will force available to inject into building the ideal life we wish to live step by step, action by action.  Unfortunately in our global collective, the wildness of Mars empowered in Capricorn and triggered by Pluto and Uranus has coincided with horrific destruction, violence and warfare in world events, leading many to experience a dark night of the soul.   Nonetheless, we can draw from the potency of Mars in the final decan of Capricorn to persist with determination on our own path, utilizing the mutable placement of Saturn in Sagittarius to shift and mutate structures as needed to accommodate the unavoidable change happening.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo forms a sextile with the Scorpio New Moon, signifying an ability to discern purified choices resonant with our arising vision of meaning.  The North Node of the Moon is further bound to the Scorpio New Moon through its ruler Mercury forming a sextile to the North Node and a conjunction with the New Moon.  Mercury in Scorpio is at beginning of its synodic cycle with the Sun at the New Moon, and further in trine to Neptune and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces. There is a deep presence to be found within the volatility of Mercury, and though it may feel difficult to articulate the full extent of our perceptions it will be worthwhile to make space to descend into internal streams of sensations that may only be able to be transmitted through nonverbal and extrasensory mediums.  As the Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Taurus that will arrive on 14 November, Mercury will remain invisible from the sky as it swiftly moves through the entirety of Scorpio, capable of soaking up and translating the emotional undercurrents surrounding us.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

And virtue? Virtue lies in the heroic response to the creative wonder, the utmost response.

— D.H. Lawrence

Although not in actual aspect to the lunation itself, one of the most powerful elements of the Scorpio New Moon is the new phase conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius (the last conjunction of Venus with Saturn was on 8 January 2016 at 12 degrees of Sagittarius).  Venus combined with Saturn pulls us into the bare bones of reality and demands we become serious and committed to developing the foundational supports for the vision of what will bring us pleasure and a sense of harmony.  Saturn and Venus together is also about allowing to decay and putrefy whatever needs to now become decomposed to allow for change and new birth.  In his essay on Saturn entitled On Senex Consciousness, James Hillman in his typically verbose style illuminated numerous connections between Kronos-Saturn and Aphrodite-Venus, such as Saturn’s link to fertility and agriculture, prosperity and materialism being a feminine mirror to the earthiness of goddesses.  Hillman also connected the Saturnine trials that result from Venusian affairs, and the difficult feelings that can come from a meeting between Saturn and Venus:

The hidden connection between falling-in-love with the dazzling seduction of foam-borne Aphrodite and the seed and scythe of old senex is not easy to discern.  But how else account for the terrible cruelties, the vicious eat-or-be-eaten fights that break out of the most translucently lovely love affairs?  And, when Venus departs, Saturn returns with brooding melancholy, devastating loneliness feelings of ugliness- even psychic crippling or suicide.

— James Hillman, On Senex Consciousness

The new phase between Saturn and Venus beginning at the time of the Scorpio New Moon is not about debilitating cycles of feelings and thoughts, but rather is about taking complete accountability for one’s presence within one’s myriad relationships in the world.    Saturn together with Venus points to the karmic effects of feeling drawn toward and deciding to commit to a desired person or outside source.  By choosing one to focus upon, there is a resulting detachment or rejection of others necessitated by our decision to commit exclusively.  The Scorpio New Moon asks us to choose wisely, to align and merge with those most capable of receiving and understanding us, deciding to collaborate with those most able to support us with interdependent and balanced equality.  Saturn and Venus want us to seize life and create opportunities for peak experiences whose impact will continue to reverberate within.  Saturn is containing a volatile Venus, as Venus will have recently crossed the threshold into being out of bounds by declination at the New Moon.  The wild side of Venus will be further amplified by it forming a trine to Uranus as the Moon waxes in light, remaining as a rebellious out of bounds planet all the way through the upcoming lunation cycle.

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The first face of Scorpio holding the New Moon is associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first glance, with a figure full of despair staring with fixation upon three spilled, empty chalices on the ground. However, upon closer look we notice that there are still two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope.  In fact, the two remaining cups could be deeply fulfilling despite the grief over losing the other three cups. We can also notice a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing in the ancient flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. As a result, this card 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 death and the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces synthesized the images found in ancient text associated with this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, the satiation of desire, the loss of what one desires, and the competition and violence that surrounds pursuing the desired. Coppock concluded:

In this decan we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being. The object of desire always skirts the edges of this face while its inhabitants give chase. Some gain the object of their desire, some fail. All come to know hunger again. Though this may seem a particularly tortured decan, it is merely one which exposes a hard truth. Confronting the cycle, we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio, and since Mars is in the third decan of Capricorn ruled by the Sun, while the Sun is in the first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars, there is mutual reception through decan between the Sun and Mars at the Scorpio New Moon.  This brings more of a connection between the Scorpio New Moon with the square formed by Mars in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries.  While a square between Mars and Uranus can bring unexpected, shocking loss, it can also spark incredible individuating growth through the toil of adversity.   Mars in hard aspect to Uranus can also bring revelation into the cycle of desires we have been circulating.  Through facing our desires fully without denial, we develop awareness for which desires to continue pursuing and which desires are not in our best interest to regenerate.  The Scorpio New Moon beckons the release of attachment to whatever desires are not manifesting in our life in the moment, while embracing all elements of our actual reality with full presence and passion.

References

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Hillman, James. (1970). On Senex Consciousness. Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.

Wilms, Sabine. (2016). Randomn Thoughts on “Water is Yin, Fire is Yang.”  Happy Goat Productions.

Mercury cazimi in Scorpio

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Storm Cloud, Lake George (1923) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Mercury at the heart of the Sun in Scorpio

Mercury forms its superior conjunction with the Sun on 27 October 2016 at 4°42′ Scorpio.  The superior conjunction occurs when Mercury is moving swiftly through the zodiac on the far side of the Sun in orbit, aligning with Earth in a straight line with regards to the degree of the zodiac.  The superior conjunction of Mercury always occurs when Mercury is moving direct, in contrast to the inferior conjunction of Mercury that occurs when Mercury is retrograde and slowly moving in between the Earth and the Sun in orbit.  While Mercury retrograde in conjunction with the Sun corresponds with an intensely deep, subterranean turn within for insight, the superior conjunction of Mercury in contrast signifies a blazing flow of illumination that can bring about an epiphany of realization as long as we do not become overwhelmed in our flight of mind like an over eager Icarus.

Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio brings penetrating awareness into the underlying emotional dynamics of our present circumstances.  Mercury has more difficulty in water signs in terms of being able to clearly articulate all of its perceptions, as Mercury in water signs picks up on feelings and messages that go beyond words.  Poetry, music, art, and other creative forms of expression enable Mercury in water signs to convey more of the meaning it receives, and sometimes a look or knowing presence is all Mercury in a water sign needs to do in order to transmit profound insight.  Emotions take center stage with Scorpio, and while the water element allows Mercury in Scorpio to dissolve blockages and merge with external sources, its fixed nature can make it stubborn, unbending, and controlling.  When Mercury in Scorpio lets go of needing to ensure it securely has whatever it desires within its grasp, it gains the non-attachment needed to take full advantage of its ability to discern between those who are being honest or dishonest and not only unveil the personal truth of its situation but directly communicate its truth to others.

Mercury at the heart of the Sun in Scorpio can be especially powerful in terms of picking up essential information about our relationships due to the surrounding astrological aspects today.  Mars, the ruler of Scorpio is in Capricorn and applying to a square with Uranus, signifying that unexpected shocks as well as liberating revelations could enter awareness.  Venus in Sagittarius is especially active, having recently formed a square with Neptune in Pisces and a mutually received sextile with Jupiter in Libra, and now applying to a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius.  All together, these surrounding aspects are exposing any fantasies and over idealized perceptions we have been fixated upon in our relationships.  By being willing to embrace our honest feelings about our present relationships, the Mercury cazimi in Scorpio can not only help us penetrate into our essential truth and feelings but also help us directly communicate whatever we need to state about our needs and desires to those we are in relationship with.

The last time Mercury was at the heart of the Sun was during its retrograde in Virgo on 12 September 2016. This was a potent inferior conjunction of Mercury in between eclipses that also formed a catalytic square with Mars in Sagittarius.  Following this inferior conjunction, Mercury stationed direct and reappeared at dawn as a Morning Star, a phase Mercury has remained in since then up until now.  The superior conjunction of Mercury marks the transition of Mercury shifting from its Morning Star phase into its Evening Star phase.  Whereas the Morning Star Mercury is active with curiosity and ambitiously focused upon goals in worldly affairs, the Evening Star Mercury is more reflective, discerning, and attuned with how our bodily senses integrate messages from our environment.  Mercury will not be visible as an Evening Star until around 23 November 2016 when it forms a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius and sextile with Jupiter in Libra.

The exact alignment of Mercury with the Sun, known as being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, is special because although Mercury is not visible in the sky its entry into the heart of the Sun places it in the throne of our Solar Light, strengthening all of its Mercurial significations.  Mercury is traditionally considered to become invisible or “under the beams” when it gets fifteen degrees away from the Sun- this happened on 6 October 2016. Once Mercury gets within eight degrees of the Sun it is considered “combust” and somewhat weakened in its ability to manifest its significations due to it undergoing a purifying, regenerative near death experience in the symbolic flames of the Sun.  Mercury went combust around 15 October 2016 at the time of the Full Moon in Aries that was conjoining Uranus.  Since that time our Mercurial perceptions have been going through a period of having past patterns burned off, and while this doesn’t mean we haven’t been able to communicate or interpret meaning effectively, it does mean that getting in touch with the concept of Mercury finishing a cycle can help one flow better with the energy similar to being aware of the difference in experiencing a Dark Moon as opposed to a First Quarter Moon.

The first mention of Mercury being at the heart of the Sun was in the era of Hellenistic astrology, and astrologers such as Rhetorius of Egypt declared that the significations of Mercury become greatly strengthened once it is within one degree of the Sun.  Later astrologers in the medieval period asserted that Mercury needs to be within 16 minutes of the Sun by degree because 16 minutes is one half of the Sun’s apparent size of 32 minutes. On a practical level I have found that the one degree boundary works well in defining a window in which Mercury is strengthened, but if you want to get most exact about it focus on the time period in which Mercury is within 16 minutes of a conjunction with the Sun (in the Pacific time zone, this will be roughly between Midnight and 7 pm on 27 October 2016). Mercury at the heart of the Sun is a magical moment in its synodic cycle, a time of the rebirth of the Mercury archetype in our life.  We can receive vital realization or new conception concerning our present state of being, so making the space during the cazimi time period to center,  ground, and attune within is a fertile, fruitful choice today.

georgia-o-starlightnight

Starlight Night, Lake George (1922) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Mercury within 16 minutes of the Sun in Scorpio for cazimi effect:

Pacific standard time  * 12 am – 7 pm *  27 October 2016  [exact 9:44 am]

Eastern standard time *  3 am – 10 pm * 27 October 2016  [exact 12:44 pm]

British Summer time * 8 am (27 October) [exact 5:44 pm] – 3 am (28 October)

Central European time * 9 am (27 October) [exact 6:44 pm] – 4 am (28 October)

Australian Eastern Standard time  * 5 pm (27 October) – 12 pm (28 October) [exact 2:44 am]

Aries Full Moon + Uranus

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Isadora Duncan at the Parthenon (1920) Edward Steichen

Full Moon in Aries

Her magnificence unfurled from a darkly clouded horizon, the radiant light laid bare in the rising of the Full Moon heralds insight and illumination every month when Luna reaches the peak of her cycle.  Yet the Full Moon in Aries on October 15 or 16 (depending upon your location) will electrify thoughts and feelings beyond the norm as it is united with Uranus and is also a perceptually larger “Super Moon.”  Super Moons were defined by astrologer Richard Nolle as New or Full Moons within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth, and besides being simply bigger in the sky they have also been found to impact tides more dramatically.  Events speed up in alignment with this dramatic lunation, and since Uranus awakens with a jolt, there will be no hiding from whatever is unleashed.  Any aspect of our life in which we have been asleep, unmindful, or in denial will receive an accordingly large dose of revelation.  September was full of intense astrological transits dredging up buried material: two potent eclipses intertwined with Mercury retrograde in Virgo, and the final exact square between Saturn and Neptune that had been building over the past year.  There is deep-rooted force from Mars united with Pluto underneath the swift flames of this lunation that brings catharsis and power to face arising challenges with accountability.

The Full Moon aligned with Uranus is a breakthrough marker on our astrological calendar that ushers us into a time period in which Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus will be in a relationship enabling rapid growth and development.  The end of 2015 and first three quarters of 2016 were dominated by a square between Jupiter and Saturn, a square between Neptune and Saturn, and Uranus in Aries being generally isolated to Jupiter while in a sign based trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Jupiter and Saturn are important to always consider in tandem, as Jupiter expands growth within the form and structures dictated by Saturn.  As a result, this past year involved deconstruction and falling apart of old relationships and supports, with mixed results in the attempt to reorient life in a more enlivening and authentic direction.  Uranus is the planet that can explode the boundaries of Saturn in order to facilitate the vision of Jupiter moving beyond previous limitations.  As Jupiter in Libra forms a sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius with reception, and Saturn begins to slowly move toward an exact trine with Uranus that will come at the end of 2016, the containment of Saturn is energized with mutable activation opening portals to perception of how to manifest emboldened vision free of past limitations.

Those who have strong aspects of Uranus to planets in their birth chart are familiar with the necessity of working with the nonlinear field of Uranus that has commonly been likened to the dispersion of energy released from a strike of lightning in a thunderstorm.   This doesn’t necessarily make this lunation easier for those who live everyday with a hard aspect between Uranus and their Moon, Mercury or Venus, but it does mean that whatever coping skills you have developed in relation to dealing with Uranus strikes will be helpful.  Uranus can throw one off kilter into rebellious, freedom seeking behavior that is not in our best interest or the highest good, and so with Uranus it is beneficial to find outlets of release to actively engage with and transmit its primal vibrations.  For example, pouring energy into a collective cause/movement you feel passionate about, discharging tension through vigorous exercise or balancing movement, focusing one’s energy into development of a project, creation of art or music, or cultivation of personal writing are some ways to let Uranus move through you into something productive you care about.

The Full Moon is also united with the mysterious dwarf planet Eris which befitting its moniker creates discord in astrology as not only did its discovery lead to the demotion of Pluto from its planetary status, but many astrologers are in disagreement over whether or not the meaning of Eris can be, or even should be, understood in astrology at this stage.  Since Uranus has been co-present with Eris in Aries for years, and now is in almost exact conjunction, the one thing that is clear is that whatever meaning Eris has is merged with the meaning of Uranus in this period.   One thing we do know is that the eccentric orbit of Eris goes beyond Pluto and at a point crosses in between the space separating Pluto and Neptune, approaching the orbit of Neptune before once again moving beyond the orbit of Pluto.  It’s orbit is incredibly inclined compared to the other planets we use in astrology, so much so that it passes through only a few of the traditional zodiac constellations (it is now passing through Cetus the sea monster).  In my own work in looking into Eris, similar to other astrologers I have noticed those with exact aspects of Eris in their chart often disrupting the consensus of a familial or mainstream cultural context, becoming individuals driven to break out of old paradigms that have dominated belief systems.  We could view Eris aligned with Uranus and the Full Moon as reflecting a tidal wave of pattern breaking force.

graves_serpent_copy

Serpent and Moon (1937) Morris Graves

Mars in its exaltation of Capricorn rules the Full Moon while applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto.  This is the close of the cycle between Mars and Pluto that began on 10 November 2014, and in the distillation of its building intensity our most compelling desires rise to surface awareness.  We can simultaneously feel ambitious while also sensing acutely the power dynamics surrounding us and anywhere we have been losing our self-authority in relation to another.  The blowout quality of this Aries Full Moon requires taking the responsibility to be assertive in pursuit of desires while being fully accountable for our behavior in the process of developing needed structures and relationships for support.  The most fruitful way to navigate will be through cultivating mutual respect and cooperation in relationship with whomever we feel a healthy draw to engage with.  The relationships in which we are out of balance in toxic or unhealthy ways will become obvious and feel intolerable to continue giving energy to.  Mars in Capricorn facilitates being cool and resolute enough to sever ties where needed, while also being receptive and energized to collaborate with those of shared resonance and purpose.

The past lunation cycle has re-connected the Pluto Uranus square that dominated the astrological climate from 2011 – 2015, as during the waxing of the Moon the Sun in Libra passed through a square with Pluto into an opposition with Uranus in the culmination of the Aries Full Moon.  While Uranus can be liberating, the unconscious realm activated by Uranus can lead us into scenes in which we must face choices mirroring past repetitive patterns. The liberating potential Uranus brings is through actively breaking free of our old mindset to make a radically empowering choice.  Issues that have held us back in one way or another in recent years may emerge again in the full light of the Moon, creating opportunities for new responses and wholistic understanding.

sonia-delaunay-2

Syncopated Rhythm, so-called The Black Snake (1967) Sonia Delaunay

Mercury in Libra is barely beginning to separate from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the Full Moon, and is one of the most exact aspects of the lunation.  In the week leading up to the Full Moon, Mercury completed the final of three exact conjunctions it has formed with Jupiter since the period of Mercury going retrograde in Virgo in September, an unusual amount of unions between Mercury and Jupiter to experience.  Mercury then moved into a square with Mars before entering its square with Pluto at the peak of this potent lunar cycle.  Mercury as a result is at the “crisis in consciousness” point of the last quarter square in relation to both Mars and Pluto as it begins a new cycle with Jupiter. Our Mercurial perception is shedding and emptying itself from old beliefs and conditioning we are not aligned with.  In the space opened up there is vital re-visioning available that will guide us toward relationships and experiences more essentially resonant.

Collective events have featured ugly discourse recently, as well as continued important exposure of individuals facing oppression within the power dynamics of society.  The union of Venus, Juno, and Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio in the build up to these intense Mercurial aspects added visceral emotional power to revelations of injustices.  Reflecting upon how we have been wronged by others and how we have wronged others, and any other messages unveiling whatever has been out of balance makes it possible for profound reorientation toward embodying a more receptive presence in relationship.  Dealing with others fixated on bigoted and biased perspectives is also more excruciating under these hard Mercurial aspects, yet the lesson seems to be about how to remain in one’s own integrity while being confronted by perspectives antithetical and offensive to one’s own viewpoint.

Mercury is combust for most of the waning cycle of this Moon cycle, becoming purified under the rays of the Sun until it reaches cazimi at the heart of the Sun on 27 October a few days before the New Moon in Scorpio on 30 October.  The insights gained into our relationship patterns can be used to burn off whatever needs to be released as Mercury heads into a union with the Sun in the week and a half following the Full Moon.

klee-theater-mountain

Paul Klee (1920) Theater-Mountain-Construction

Saturn in Sagittarius continues to be in square to the lunar nodes at the Full Moon, focusing attention on Saturn being in a harmonious sextile with both Mercury and Jupiter in Libra.  While Mercury formed its exact sextile with Saturn during the Moon waxing full this cycle, during the ensuing waning of the Moon the sextile between Saturn and Jupiter will slowly build in strength.  The structural walls of Saturn are now more receptive and open to mutating, and the union of the Full Moon and Uranus in a whole sign trine to Saturn signifies that outdated forms can now be torn down in order to erect edifices that are more attuned to internal shifts of meaning and purpose.  Significantly during the realization of meaning as the Moon begins to wane into its disseminating phase a couple of days after the Full Moon, Venus will enter Sagittarius.  Once Venus enters Sagittarius it will begin to form a mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter in Libra capable of imbibing developing forms with one’s arising sense of pleasure and aesthetics.   Take advantage of this building sextile between Venus and Jupiter from October 18 – 26, 2016.

In addition to her mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter, Venus will also begin to apply to a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius in the waning cycle of the Moon.  Venus will form an exact conjunction with Saturn at a Dark Moon in Scorpio at the end of October, and will be at the beginning of a new cycle with Saturn at the New Moon in Scorpio on 30 October.  The shift of Venus from the slowly churning waters of Scorpio into the leaping fires of Sagittarius as a result will mean the galloping pace of Venus in Sagittarius will be somewhat restrained due to the impending encounter with Saturn.  This can be a period of serious commitment to all things Venusian, bringing love and joy to the cold realm of Saturn.  In addition, as Venus forms her mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter and approaches her conjunction with Saturn, her aesthetic senses will be altered by a square to the otherworldly Neptune in Pisces.  These aspects appear to be fantastic to apply to any creative process involving imagination.

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find two figures hoisting fragrant flowers in celebration under a garland within a container of four sturdy rods, with the protective structure of a castle in the background.  Venus rules the third face of Aries and possesses dynamic charisma in this fiery decan.  Indeed, Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces noted that Eros was bound to this decan in the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to this face as it holds “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions” (p. 64). Coppock discerned that we find in the final decan of Aries “the power of art to overcome hostility,” such as the ability of a performer to transcend discord through a heartfelt performance that inspires and arouses the passions of an audience. Yet Coppock also cautioned that while the torrid potency found in the third face of Aries can bring union even in the most difficult circumstances, attention must be given to sustaining the flame of connection with less volatility so that it may last.

Integrating the meaning of the third face of Aries holding the union of the Full Moon with Uranus, there is incredible potency available to performers of all arts to beguile and enchant.  Venus is in the third face of Scorpio, which happens to be another one of the decans of the zodiac ruled by Venus.  This means that while Venus is not in the same face as the Full Moon, Venus nonetheless possesses the dignity of face that enables her to achieve success despite being in the sign opposite her home of Taurus.  As previously mentioned, there is an electrical field found in the light of the Aries Full Moon that can be transmitted into dynamic performance or any creative process.  In the light of the glowing Moon, open awareness to whatever brings inspiration and joy and find ways to share your passion so as to uplift others of resonant accord.

References

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

 

Polish Women Strike

black-madonna-of-poland

Polish Black Madonna

POET: You can seek Poland throughout the whole wide world, young lady; and you’ll never find her.

GIRL: Perhaps searching is a waste of time.

POET: Yet there is just one small space- Now, Jagusia, just place your hand beneath your breast . . . – A tam puka? (Is something beating there?)

GIRL: A cóz za tako nauka? (What sort of lesson is this?) Serce – !–? (That’s my heart!)

POET: A to Polska właśnie. (Exactly. That’s Poland).

—Stanislaw Wyspianski from his play Wesele (The Wedding Feast)

On October 3 there is a planned collective strike by Polish women to protest a proposed law that would make all abortions illegal, in any circumstance including following a rape or when the pregnancy is a medical danger.   Women can face imprisonment for up to five years for having an abortion and anyone who assists with the abortion also would risk prosecution and imprisonment under the proposed law.  Poland already has one of the most restrictive abortion policies in Europe, with abortion legally permitted only when the life of the fetus is under threat, when there is a serious threat to the health of the mother, and when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. There has been a call in response for all women in Poland to go on strike for a day, refusing to work or take care of domestic responsibilities in order to gather, meet, protest, or do charity work.  The protest is inspired by an all-out strike by the women of Iceland in October 1975, when 90% of women refused to work, cook, or look after their children for a day.  “Black protests” have been planned in over sixty Polish cities on October 3 with almost 100,000 women having pledged to strike.

How does this relate to the current astrology?  With Jupiter in Libra we are going to be witnessing a lot of protests and a return to social justice issues of oppression relating to events correlating with the tumultuous square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that dominated from 2011 – 2015.  This is because as Jupiter moves through Libra it will form a square with Pluto in Capricorn and then transfer this energy into its opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Right now in the current lunar cycle, we are at an intense trigger point that lines up perfectly with the strike by Polish women.  This is because Mars in Capricorn is applying now to a square with Jupiter in Libra, and Mars will then move forward to form a conjunction with Pluto and then ultimately a square to Uranus in Aries.  In addition, the upcoming Full Moon on October 16 will be conjoining Uranus in Aries, with the New Moon in Libra a few days ago being conjunct Jupiter in Libra and in square to Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.

While Uranus in Aries in square to Pluto in Capricorn did correlate with numerous protest movements against oppression, there was also strong Plutocratic resistance in global hierarchies of power to do everything possible to subdue and control mass protests that could potentially shatter their grip on power and influence.  In Poland last year, the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) won the Polish presidency and then in addition a parliamentary majority.  The conservative Law and Justice Party is supported by traditional nationalistic elements of the Polish populace with strong ties to the Catholic church, while their policies have outraged the liberal and progressive element of the Polish people.  In an article published recently in The Nation, the rise of the conservative Polish party was used as a warning to people in the United States of America that the same element of the American populace roused to elation by Donald Trump, similar to the British element that supported Brexit, could in future presidential elections be used by a more skilled and charismatic American politician to achieve victory.

There is incredible collective trauma in Poland hard to fathom by citizens of the United States, as Poland was partitioned and did not exist from 1795 until 1918, creating subconscious national fear.  After regaining independence in 1918, the second world war saw the indescribable horror and trauma of Hitler, Stalin, and concentration camps visit Poland.  Some have said that attempts at healing the Polish identity have led some to become overly nationalistic.  Whatever the case may be, following a successful revolution that led in 1989 to a democratic transition into the Third Republic, Poland increasingly became a player in wider realms of international policy through membership in NATO in 1999 and then the European Union in 2004.   Up until elections in 2015 there had been a strong influence of more liberal political parties in Poland that were less bound to the Catholic church and more tolerant of difference than the conservative parties that have now seized power.  Some analysts believe the shift to conservative party dominance comes from the economic policies following the democratic transition in 1989 that led to incredible urban economic development in Poland at the cost of factories and farms in more rural areas experiencing economic collapse.

In Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland’s Present historian Norman Davies wrote that in the 1990s the left wing of Poland were quicker in successfully organizing to gain power than the right wing, shocking those who thought “Christian values” would dominate the new democratic Poland.  Davies wrote, “It took some time before the Church hierarchy realized that it could not dictate political developments as in old Ireland, and that direct clerical interference would be counter-productive” (p. 428).  Polish youth were less inclined to follow church dictates blindly, and with the abolishment of state censorship in the 1990s there resulted a revolution of Polish literature shattering previous restraints and fostering open exploration of diversity.  From one perspective the recent rise of conservative political parties in Poland can be seen as a backlash at the changes seen as threats against traditional values resulting from the revolutions of the late 1980s.

polish-women-on-strike-image

Collectively in our global community we have been in a time of darkness that calls for the return of the sacred feminine.  The audacious, courageous decision by Polish women to refuse to submit and instead take direct action to shut down the system if necessary is a beautiful example of the power we all have as individuals within the collective to unite in solidarity on behalf of social justice. I am going to use only two charts to look into this strike, the first being the sunrise chart for Monday 3 October in Warsaw, the current capital of Poland:

polandstrikewarsawwrigc11

The second chart below is for Noon on Monday in Krakow, when organized strike group events are set to begin.  Krakow was the capital during the age of Poland’s kingdom and remains a powerful symbolic seat of power for Poland.  There is an article from the Krakow Post you can read here detailing the planned events for the day.  The organizers have also prepared an English language leaflet you may read here.

polandstrikekrakowwrigc9

You can notice in both charts the trigger of Mars in Capricorn applying to a square with Jupiter in Libra, with the Sun in Libra in square to Pluto in Capricorn.  You can also witness the feminine power of the black protests through the Moon in Scorpio applying to a conjunction with Venus in Scorpio and a trine with Neptune, with the Moon and Venus in Scorpio in sextile to Pluto and Mars in Capricorn.  It is further compelling that Saturn in Sagittarius is exactly on the ascendant of the noon chart in Krakow, with Jupiter in Libra on the midheaven.

I also find it significant that the true node of Black Moon Lilith is conjoining Juno in Scorpio, as this holds the symbolism of rebellious feminine genius gathered in staunch refusal to bow down before patriarchal power structures.  When we look at the chart for the Third Republic of Poland in a moment, you will also notice a recurrence of this conjunction between Juno and Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  While I don’t always pay much attention to the Vertex in event charts, I also can’t help noticing that the Vertex in the sunrise chart is conjoining Uranus in Aries, and the Vertex in the noon chart for Krakow is conjoining Vesta in Cancer- this highlights the square between Vesta in Cancer with Uranus in Aries that also has compelling feminine symbolism for the protest strikes.  I don’t have Eris in my astrology program to show on these charts that Eris is conjoining Uranus, but many modern astrologers would also find the Polish strikes to be a compelling correspondence with the union of Eris and Uranus in Aries.

Below is the horoscope of the Poland Third Republic that formed in the wake of communist revolutions and the transition to a democratic Polish government (click here for an analysis of the horoscope for Poland):

polandthirdrepublicwrigc10

This chart is fascinating in connection with the planned strikes because you can see that the current transit of the Sun in Libra on October 3, 2016 is exactly conjunct the ascendant in the chart of the Third Republic.  This also places the current transit of Jupiter in Libra on the ascendant, with the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in sextile to the ascendant of the Third Republic chart.  You can also notice that the current transit of Pluto in Capricorn is conjoining the IC, Saturn, Neptune, and the Sun in the chart, as well as that the current transit of Mars in Capricorn is applying to a conjunction with the Capricorn Uranus in the chart of the Third Republic.  You can also see that the current transits of Jupiter in Libra and Mars in Capricorn form a t-square with the opposition between Uranus in Capricorn with Jupiter in Cancer in the Third Republic chart.  As previously mentioned, I also find it amazing that the Third Republic chart features a conjunction of Juno with the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio exactly as takes place on the day of the protests (in this case they are further conjoining the Pluto of the Third Republic chart).

We are now hurtling toward a Full Moon in Aries on October 16 that conjoins Uranus, Eris, and Ceres retrograde, while also containing a conjunction between Mars and Pluto in Capricorn that is in square to Mercury in Libra.  In solidarity with the women of Poland, may we all liberate ourselves and refuse to submit to oppression.

wyspianski_view_of_wawel

View of Wawel (1894) Stanislaw Wyspianski

References

Davies, Norman. (2001 new edition). Heart of Europe: the Past in Poland’s Present. Oxford University Press.