New Moon in Libra

griffins

ca 1st – 2nd Century

New Moon in Libra

Darkness surrounds every New Moon, as the Moon withdraws its reflected light to be reseeded by the Sun. With the Moon shrouded in black each month as it approaches its revivifying solar union, we are invited to silently recenter within the mysterious liminality of an old cycle ending while another begins anew. It’s a time fit for feeding ancestors and engaging in cleaning and clearing, opening awareness to whatever next wants to emerge while we tend to what came before. A sense of initiatory descent will be especially palpable during the New Moon in Libra on October 16, as we will need to incubate our knowing intuition to navigate through the rocks and hard places surrounding the lunation.

The New Moon is separating from an opposition with Mars retrograde in Aries and applying toward a demanding square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, with the Sun in its fall in Libra. The New Moon is also separating from a catalyzing square with Pluto in Capricorn and applying toward a discordant opposition with Eris in Aries. The syzygy in the sign of the Scales will be measuring how we have been impacted by the weight and gravity of the past year that began with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as well as the disorienting eruptions that have shattered expectations during the past couple months of Mars volatilizing Saturn and Pluto.

The Libra New Moon demarcates our movement beyond the midpoint of the Mars retrograde period as well as Saturn slowly beginning to separate from Pluto for good, yet simultaneously brings us down into the depths of  all the trouble they have stirred up. Innumerable injustices and instances of oppression and corruption have been exposed creating an impossibly large list of problems in need of solutions. Rather than exhausting yourself by spinning out in too many directions at once, the New Moon in Libra beckons to find nurturance in chthonic caves where wells of restorative cleansing may quench excessive inflammation. Necessity demands cultivating a strength that will sustain instead of drain.

The New Moon is near the degree of the fixed star Spica, the Spike of the Virgin whose light represents the wheat held by the Winged Goddess of the Virgo constellation. Bernadette Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind,” as Spica is a source of brilliant, extraordinary talents and skills. The Coptic people of Egypt named Spica as “Solitary,” which goes well with the New Moon being in the exaltation of Saturn. Though the lunation is surrounded by difficulty on every side, by engaging with the slow, thorough contemplation of Saturn we may receive the gift of realizing the circumstances we need to separate ourselves from and the hardships we need to endure that will be worth it in the end.

Spica is not the only sign of a goddess speaking, however, as Ceres in Aquarius is stationing direct in Aquarius in a flowing trine aspect with the New Moon. Ceres will station direct on October 18 at 28°36′ Aquarius after having been retrograde since it previously stationed on July 6 at 12º49′ Pisces. Ceres in Aquarius will form a supportive air triangle with the New Moon in Libra and the North Node in Gemini that can facilitate vital guidance emerging from purging what needs to be released. Ceres in Aquarius grieves and rages against all the oppression within societal systems she perceives with her piercing intellect. As Ceres stations and speaks out, we can realize essential aspects of our soulfulness through the purgation of emotions that can be likened to the threshing of grain governed by Ceres that reveals the essential vitality hidden in the shedded husk.

Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote that as goddess of fruitfulness, Demeter (aka Ceres) is most closely aligned with the phase of the hero’s journey in which the hero returns from the other world with the elixir to bring into their home community. To Addey, the hero under the influence of Demeter “is no longer serving his own perfection but the universe’s perfection,” operating “essentially” and “from his very being” rather than out “of mundane conquest.” Spend time listening during the Libra New Moon as Ceres stations, so you may discover what elixir you are gathering to ultimately return with from the sequence of intensifying transits that will bring 2020 to a close.

Justice Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Justice from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Venus in Virgo rules the New Moon while applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces and a trine with Jupiter in Capricorn. The benefics, Venus and Jupiter, being in trine yet each also being in its own fall is a telling signature for the lunation requiring descent into a deeper sense of whatever circumstances you find yourself within. Venus in Virgo is also heading toward forming a square with the transiting lunar nodes, bringing her critical eye to the northern bending of the lunar nodes where she can survey whatever is out of balance and in need of repair. Exalted status symbols are no concern for the star of Aphrodite during the Libra New Moon, as she will be bringing her attention to those in marginalized communities and those in need who have been neglected or ignored.

Neptune in Pisces is casting a mystifying fog over the Libra New Moon through which Venus in Virgo may discern the path we need to take. The false glamorizing of celebrities, hypnotic manipulation of social media, and all the rest of the inessential dross spilling out from the culture of the times will need to be filtered and processed by Venus so we do not become distracted from the heart of the matter at hand. Venus in Virgo may also transmit imaginal insights through its interfacing with Neptune that may surface in dreams or the emergence of omens on our daily path, since Venus is in the domicile of Mercury and Mercury recently stationed retrograde while forming a harmonizing sextile in Scorpio.

Paul Klee Sibyl

Sibylle (1934) by Paul Klee

The other major source of propulsive volatility underlying the Libra New Moon comes from Mercury retrograde in Scorpio applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus that will become exact on October 19. The oscillating wattage between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus before that. We can expect more unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans as they finally complete their opposition. Yet we can prepare by remaining open to the kind of jolting awareness Uranus can bring to longstanding patterns that allows us to finally break free from their grip on us.

Since Mercury stationed retrograde only three days before the lunation, the star of Hermes is full of mischievous tricks to play and oracular messages to deliver.  The first waxing crescent light of the forthcoming lunar cycle will unite with Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, bringing greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention during the following week when Mercury will enter its invisible, underworld phase of putrefaction. The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more Mercury will take on the quality of the Sun’s calcining fire that dissolves what is stuck and opens deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. 

Whatever messages we receive from the opposition between Mercury and Uranus will be important to pay attention to, for the Moon in the forthcoming lunar cycle will wax into fullness on October 31 during a Full Moon in Taurus that will be conjoining Uranus.

Four of Swords

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a funerary knight in prayer under a stained glass window of “PAX.” This image also evokes balancing through meditative silence within a sacred space of solace. Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure is in position of re-balancing body and mind like someone laying down to incubate. The funeral atmosphere with the single sword below the figure also evokes cutting away the inessential and false so we may embody more fully the genuine legacy we are meant to leave behind once we depart to the ancestral realm. Fittingly, the stabilizing and providential presence of Jupiter and the psychopomp nature of Mercury are the rulers of the third face of Libra.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to the third face of Libra in his book on the decans 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with the “gyroscopic stability” of “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” as “its secret resides in the eye of the storm, calm and clear as the chaos of desire and fear whirl about.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” that co-exist in the third face of Libra along with the equipoise of the Four of Swords image.  Coppock suggested this face reveals the lesson that “the center of balance is always moving, and those who would walk this face must follow the center, however erratic its motion may seem.” Ultimately, Coppock concluded that those who properly traverse the third decan of Libra can “see through the eye of the storm,” discovering equilibrium and sanctuary in even the most chaotic of circumstances.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Known as a goddess who enacts retribution upon those full of hubris, there are diverse stories of her origin that place the parentage of Nemesis in the primordial (Oceanus as her father in some stories, Nyx as her mother in others) as well as her being a sister to the Fates. Nemesis is a divine force of restorative balance, redistributing fortune to correct for what has come disproportionally out of balance and punishing those who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence in the decan of the Libra New Moon is a warning that repercussions may be striking those who have been hubristically acting out, while also emphasizing the need to tend to whatever has become out of proportion in your life. Let the Libra New Moon guide you to the excess that needs to be trimmed and the outworn parts of yourself ready to be molted and shed. You will want to lighten your load to be more responsive to the many momentous events that will be erupting during the lunar cycle ahead.

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References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

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

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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

Spica. Constellation of Words.

Warnock, Christopher. (2010). Mansions of the Moon: A Lunar Zodiac for Astrology and Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio and Libra

Ships in the Dark (1927) Paul Klee

Someday, at the end of the nightmare of knowing,
may I emerge singing praise and jubilation to assenting angels.
May I strike my heart’s keys clearly, and may none fail
because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings.
May the tears that stream down my face
make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping
bloom. How I will cherish you then, you grief-torn nights!
Had I only received you, inconsolable sisters,
on more abject knees, only buried myself with more abandon
in your loosened hair. How we waste our afflictions!
We study them, stare out beyond them into bleak continuance,
hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas they’re really
our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only
a season —: they’re site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury retrograde in Scorpio

As night and its unknowing darkness envelopes us on October 13, Mercury will be cloistered in their cave of pungent roots, fungi, and herbs stirring a cauldron of mysterious brew hung with an iron hook over fire. Mercury has outdone themselves, really, as it’s a concoction into which we may pour all of our laments of loss, grief, vulnerabilities, and fears, cooking and transfiguring their essence into medicine. As Mercury tends to the dissolution, swirling it into a spiral with their spoon, we will be offered a taste.

Mercury will station retrograde on October 13, 2020 at 11°40′ Scorpio, pulling us into a twenty-one day period in which the star of Hermes will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on November 3 at 25º54′ Libra. Uranus and Saturn will be in the role of threshold guardians, as Mercury will begin its retrograde in an opposition with Uranus and will end it while in a square aspect with Saturn. Mercury will thoroughly inspect the zodiacal terrain from twenty-five degrees of Libra to twelve degrees of Scorpio in natal charts, digging up material in need of release, rehabilitation, rejuvenation, or reintegration. Mercury first crossed 25º54′ Libra on September 23 and will not finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio until November 19.

While 2020 has been dominated by the grave lineup of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn, 2021 will be fundamentally shaped by three shattering square aspects formed between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius on February 17, June 14, and December 23, 2021. Mercury’s retrograde journey through Scorpio and Libra will bridge the astrological themes streaming from this year into next, since it will begin by triggering issues related to Uranus and then penetrate into the core dynamics of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter. Mercury is at home in liminal states of being in between, and while retrograde will guide awareness into exploration of the issues that require deeper attention so we may more fluidly pass from the way things have been into the way of what is to come.                     

Mercury transitions from being visible in the evening twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase into an invisible phase for most of its retrograde passage, re-emerging into visibility at the end of its retrograde phase at dawn. In between Mercury descends into the darkness of the underworld to be regenerated by the Sun, reseeding our consciousness with new ideas and a refreshened presence. The apparent backward motion of Mercury is due to it orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to its closest proximity with us in orbit. We thus experience an intensification of Mercury during its retrograde phase, as its descent calls for a purging and purification of our mental constructs and the way we process and communicate information and ideas.

Mercury retrograde has a reputation for trouble that it will play at full tilt this time around. Crucially, Mercury will not only station in opposition with Uranus, it will also be under rulership of Mars retrograde in Aries in its full phase with the Sun. This means that after the Sun sets and Mercury shares its final light as an evening star in the few days after it stations retrograde, Mars will be arising over the eastern horizon in its brightest phase of fiery redness and proceed to glow down upon us all through the night. Since Mars will be operating at an extremity of symbolic heat, we can expect the three week period of Mercury being retrograde to be more disruptive and disorienting than normal.

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity will be the kind of medicine we will need to digest. Yet we must also bear in mind that Mercury will utilize sleight of hand trickery while dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The building square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that Mercury will bridge during its retrograde journey is a waning one, signifying that across our global collective the clash between Saturn and Uranus will demand a radical altering of how we perceive and approach the dismantling of societal systems underway. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize the experience of Mercury retrograde for sifting through the unraveling of our inner multiplicity, reintegrating fragmented aspects of ourselves that essentially need to be returned, finding new angles of perception in problem solving in the process.

While we are often called to revisit old issues while Mercury is retrograde, the influence of Mars combined with the hard aspects Mercury will make with Uranus, Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter over the course of its three week retrograde passage has the potential to dredge up core patterns that feel like they have been festering in the deepest recesses of our subconscious for ages. Rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to re-engage with something from the past, ask what the spirit of the presenting issue is bringing as an underlying lesson. Allow the star of Hermes to guide awareness to the old issues that need to be laid to rest, the repairs and reparations that need to be enacted, and the emptying of what needs to be released in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments at the end of 2020.

Walpurgis Night 1935 by Paul Klee 1879-1940

Walpurgis Night (1935) Paul Klee

And so we press on and try to achieve it,
try to contain it in our simple hands,
in our brimming eyes, our voiceless heart.
Try to become it. Try to give it— to whom? Best of all,
to hold on to it all forever . . . Ah, but what can one carry across
into that other relation? Not the art of seeing,
learned so slowly here, and no event that transpired here. Not one.
The pain, then. Above all, the hard labor of living,
the long experience of love, —all the purely
unsayable things. But later on,
among the stars, what then: there the unsayable reigns.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury typically will spend about two years being retrograde in the same element- since March 2019, Mercury has been shifting retrograde in water signs. This will be the final Mercury retrograde in a water sign in the current sequence, as Mercury will be retrograde in the air signs of Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra in 2021. During the past two years the periods of Mercury retrograde in water signs have plunged us into the depths of emotional undercurrents so we may excavate buried treasures of insight. It’s wise to slow down and allow for dreams, synchronicities, and omens to work through us when Mercury is retrograde in water signs, and that will be especially the case while Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until it returns to Libra on October 27.

Mercury will be visible in the liminal hues of twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase, transitioning around October 18 into its phase of invisibility in which it facilitates purging and shedding.  The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more the cauldron of Mercury will feel the Sun’s calcining fire that can dissolve rigidity and open deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. From the stationing of Mercury on October 13 until its conjunction with the Sun on October 25, let the watery nature of Mercury in Scorpio pull your feelings into the places that need release and resolution within.  After the New Moon in Libra forms on October 16 and the waxing Moon shares its first crescent light while conjoining Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, it will be possible to gain greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention. 

As Mercury disappears into darkness it takes on the role of Chthonic Hermes, the psychopomp who was given souls to guide by Persephone. Mercury will descend into the underworld while forming an opposition with Uranus that will become exact on October 19. The emancipatory and jolting wattage oscillating between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus. On the most simple level the extended interfacing between Mercury and Uranus will bring unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans. Combined with Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be a deeper side of soulful and ancestral patterns becoming volatilized that will feel disorienting but can lead toward fundamental growth and development.   

While it’s best with Mercury retrograde in a water sign to go with the flow, the fixed nature of Scorpio can lead to being stuck on compulsive feelings or consumed with trying to maintain control in getting our way. The lightning strikes from Uranus will force release and surrender to the currents, and while we may have to experience strife we may also listen to what message the sleight of hand of Mercury is delivering through the tumult. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.  Make space for rest and time for descent into incubatory darkness so you may better attune to the inner guidance needed.

the green candle jorge camacho

The Green Candle by Jorge Camacho

With all its eyes the animal world
beholds the Open. Only our eyes
are as if inverted and set all around it
like traps at its portals to freedom.
What’s outside we only know from the animal’s
countenance; for almost from the first we take a child
and twist him round and force him to gaze
backwards and take in structure, not the Open
that lies so deep in an animal’s face. Free from death.
Only we see death; the free animal has its demise
perpetually behind it and before it always
God, and when it moves, it moves into eternity,
the way brooks and running springs move.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Eighth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Chthonic Cazimi

Mercury will become reanimated and reseeded by its conjunction with the Sun on October 25 at 2°48′ Scorpio. Known as its inferior conjunction, Mercury aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there is enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence,” as Hermes discovers fortune through “accidental happenings” and windfalls that he crafts with “intelligence and the art of living,” shaping every find into “a theft that is put into better use.” Wherever you find yourself in your journey on October 25, invite Hermes to help you make inventive use of your circumstances. Indeed, Kerenyi illuminated that the journeyer in communion with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world.” This “middle domain” of Hermes has resonance with Mercury at the point of its chthonic conjunction with the Sun because, as described by Kerenyi, “a person in this volatized condition has access to everything.” It’s a moment to enter the primordial in the present.

When Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light on October 25, its ruler Mars will remain retrograde but will have finally finished forming exact square aspects with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. We may draw from the absorptive potency of Mercury in Scorpio to soak in all the feelings that have been stirred up by Mars catalyzing Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, grounding into a deeper sense of our circumstances. Open your awareness to the seeds of new ideas and visions germinating within your inner darkness.

Victor Brauner origin of the word

Origin of the Word by Victor Brauner

But suppose the endlessly dead were to wake in us some emblem:
they might point to the catkins hanging
from the empty hazel trees, or direct us to the rain
descending on black earth in early spring.-

And we, who always think of happiness
rising, would feel the emotion
that almost baffles us
when a happy thing falls.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury Station in Libra

Mercury slides backwards into Libra on October 27 only eight minutes before Venus enters Libra. This brings a major change in tone that switches the focus of Mercury from Mars retrograde in its fiery home of Aries to Venus in its airy home of Libra, with both Mercury and Venus gaining increased essential dignity on the same day (Venus entering its own domicile and Mercury entering its own triplicity). Mercury will also be in the exaltation and triplicity of Saturn, and will test this relationship immediately by applying to an intensifying square aspect with Saturn. The square between Mercury and Saturn is a double edged scythe, as on one hand there could be rejection to contend with while on the other hand there could be a solidification and harvesting of insight and results.

As the tension between Mercury retrograde in Libra and Saturn direct in Capricorn builds to a peak, there will be a cathartic Full Moon in Taurus on October 31 that forms an almost exact conjunction with Uranus. Notably, the Taurus Full Moon combines the monthly polarity of the Sun and Moon with the yearly opposition between the Sun and Uranus retrograde, the heart of the retrograde cycle of Uranus when it is closest to Earth. The lunation’s alignment with Uranus can bring the electrified spark needed to finally change a deep seated pattern as well as incite far ranging vision that brings a sudden reformulation of whatever we have been planning and working on. The mysterious, nonlinear realm of memory and dreams will be invigorated with activity.

A day after the Full Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus, Mercury retrograde in Libra will form an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 1. As Mercury retrograde in Libra clashes with Saturn under the full light of the Moon, we may encounter extremes in current events as well as interpersonal encounters, bringing a need for balancing within experiences full of tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. Fortunately, the timing of these transits with the Samhain holiday can make for potent rituals, spiritual experiences, and communion with ancestors that can bring pivotal guidance. 

As Mercury slows down to station direct on November 3 while forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, the star of Hermes will also be returning to visibility as a Morning Star sharing its light amongst the birdsong that comes just before sunrise. In the United Sates of America, Mercury will station direct in the vicious political climate of Election Day that will likely be full of conflicting reports and contested results. Mercury will make major pronouncements during the first week of November in global events, and likewise in our personal life we will receive an influx of new vision and an activation of imaginative ideas.

After Mercury stations direct and begins moving forward in Libra, it will form its third exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 7. The final square between Mercury and Saturn brings to completion a process that began on September 23 when Mercury and Saturn formed the first square in the sequence. The meaning found in the relationship between Mercury and Saturn across this time brings to mind the description given by Liz Greene regarding Carl Jung’s understanding of their interplay in her book The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus. Greene wrote that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.”  One aspect of the realm where Mercury and Saturn may meet is in the imagination, and so it will be worthwhile spending time incubating within the living symbolism of whatever emerges to glean the deeper significance for your life.

Mercury will return to the dark waters of Scorpio on November 10, the same day it also reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star and begins to move faster than the steady course of the Sun. At the same time, Venus in Libra will be forming an opposition with Mars in Aries as the red planet begins to slow down to station direct. The tension between Venus and Mars will intensify the entrance of Mercury into its explorative solar phase that Gary Caton has compared to the rubedo phase of alchemy, as it demarcates the period for manifesting the inspired ideas and revivified presence gathered during the period of Mercury retrograde into our daily routines and reality. Make space for deep listening and delving into your relational dynamics with others, taking note of the underlying patterns and crafting ways to create healthier, mutually supportive dynamics.

Altogether, the period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra will play a crucial role in transitioning us into the finale of Mars retrograde in Aries and comprehending whatever emerges. It will also provoke a vital reorientation to the issues that need our attention in the final stretch of the year as we approach an eclipse season and the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21. After traversing the boggy landscape of Scorpio where we will experience decomposition of past issues, Mercury will retrieve the golden scales of Libra that we may utilize in recalibrating whatever new growth is becoming fertilized. Moving back and forth between the dissolving water of Scorpio and the intellectualizing air of Libra can facilitate the understanding of surrounding relational dynamics we need in order to navigate the social unrest and disruption to societal power structures that will be taking place.

Angel! O take it, pluck it, that small-petaled herb of healing!
Create a vase, preserve it! Place it among those joys
not yet open to us; in a delicate urn
let an ornate inscription praise it: “Subrisio Saltat.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Fifth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

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

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

NORWAC 2021

norwac header49

NORWAC 2021

I will be speaking as part of an exemplary gathering of astrologers at the 2021 Northwest Astrological Conference that will take place from May 27 – 31, 2021. There is presently an “early bird” discount for registration in effect until November 30, so if you plan to attend it will be most affordable now. Due to the pandemic it will be a virtual conference and you will have the opportunity to view all of the recordings of the lectures for two weeks following the end of the conference.

My talk is entitled “Oracular Light: Heliacal Rising and Setting Planets.”

Description: This talk will explore the meaning of planets arising in light after being invisible (heliacal rising) and planets making their final appearance before descending into darkness (heliacal setting). We’ll examine the importance and nuances of their interpretation in natal astrology, including how they make a crucial statement regarding one’s purpose and calling in life. We’ll also discover how to utilize secondary progressions to determine pivotal time periods in the life of those born with a heliacal rising or setting planet.

Link for Speakers

Link for the Schedule

Link to Register

Full Moon in Aries

Morning Fantasy

Morning Fantasy (1904) by Mikalojus Konstantinas

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 1, 2020 will pour a fiery ferment into our lives and stories, inflaming the tension that has been building in the past month. Since the middle of August, Mars and Saturn have been engaged in grinding conflict that has exacerbated impasses, amplified anger, and provoked outrage over abuse and misuse of power. Mars and Saturn are at centerstage of the Full Moon, with Mars retrograde in Aries raging against the stalwart stationing direct of Saturn. The timeless endurance of Saturn will persevere through the onslaught of martial heat, yet matters will be dismantled and irrevocably altered by the frenzied fire from Mars. While longing has been thwarted in many ways during the dissolution, we can remain rooted in our desires that continue to be reshaped into new dimensions.

The Full Moon is in a place of extreme fire, as Aries is the home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The influx of fire will demand fuel to consume, waste and inauthenticity to be burned off, kindled inspiration to be shared, and faith in our intuitive knowing to be followed. The peak light of Selene adorned in the flames of Aries will illuminate our turn into the final quarter of 2020, yet it is not merely the end of a year we are approaching- it is the closing down of two centuries of Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in earth signs and a reckoning with all of its troubled ghosts. The tumultuous storms of 2020 have exposed innumerable injustices across society, amplifying awareness of long-standing issues of systemic oppression in need of remedy and reparation. The recent clash between Mars and Saturn has magnified difficulties and brought experiences of foreboding toil for many, but these same forces that cause separation can also motivate ferocious determination to resiliently embody and activate our core values.

Pivotally, the Full Moon is separating from a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Chiron can facilitate being present with problems, allowing symptoms to guide discovery and reveal the underlying issues in need of attention. As Melanie Reinhart has spoken of Chiron’s gift in mediating ancestral relationship and healing, there is a larger perspective to integrate concerning how our temporary personal issues are seated within vaster patterns of intersecting ancestral wounds and burdens, as well as ancestral blessings and resources of strength and resiliency to draw from. It will be worthwhile to pull back from busyness to ground into nurtured space of reflection in the wake of the Full Moon. Within a protected space of rootedness not unlike an imaginal cave of Chiron, allow yourself to see through present dilemmas into the larger tapestry of soulful patterns and stories at play.

Paul Klee red house

Red House (1929) by Paul Klee

The Full Moon is in the fiery red home of Mars, placing the extremity of heat inflicted by Mars during its retrograde phase front and center. Mars is separating from a square with Saturn and applying toward a square with Pluto that will be intensified due to Pluto stationing direct on October 4 at 22°29′ Capricorn. Pluto stationed retrograde on April 25 at 24°59’ Capricorn and since then has been instigating a radical realignment between our internal metamorphoses and the shattering of societal systems that have corresponded with Pluto initiating new cycles with Saturn and Jupiter. From the Full Moon until Mars completes its square aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be a release from the constraints of Saturn and an upwelling of volcanic desire as Pluto takes on the role of blacksmith within the forge of Mars.

The stillness of Pluto stationing direct will saturate the astrological landscape with the chthonic fertility of Hades. As the underworld ferryman emerges to demand offering from Mars, so will we need to examine our inner soil and the seeds germinating within its silent darkness. Look within for guidance rather than to external forms of security, for the volatility incited by Mars across civilization will necessitate finding faith within the deep harbors of psyche rather than the societal structures being dissolved and reforged. The strife and discord within collective events will be rampant with purgative force as Mars additionally will form a conjunction with the dwarf planet Eris on October 4, the same day Pluto stations direct.

While conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto have long been known in mundane astrology to incite collapse and polarized conflict in global events, the irrevocable dismantling of long-standing societal structures that has corresponded with their conjunction in 2020 has been magnified in intensity due to Saturn and Pluto uniting in close proximity with their own south nodes. The archetypal meaning of the entire orbital arcs of Saturn and Pluto crashing down across the ecliptic has been in effect during the past year, and as they both station direct together while Mars crashes into them they will unleash a final flood of accumulated toxicities and oppression built up from ages past.

Thus Mars retrograde is not only forming a square with Saturn and Pluto but also the nodes of Saturn and Pluto, placing it at the unfathomably cathartic place of volatilizing Saturn and Pluto from the southern bending of their own nodes. As a result, we have arrived at a crucially important opportunity to confront societal issues that have been festering and plaguing people for centuries and detoxify their intersection with us as individuals. The Full Moon in Aries will illuminate the importance of claiming responsibility for our behavior and intention, being accountable for the wider collective impact of our individual action. As the tension between Saturn, Pluto, and Mars erupts, we may discover the courage needed within our depths to protect those who are vulnerable and stand up for the world we wish to see rebuilt in the years ahead.

Image 71 from the Red Book

From Liber Novus by C.G. Jung

Vitally, Mercury will be at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star during the Full Moon in Aries, demarcating the threshold of Mercury beginning to slow down before stationing retrograde in Scorpio on October 13. Mercury in Scorpio will be making a sequence of three oppositions with Uranus in Taurus between now and November 17, with its first exact opposition occurring on October 7 and its second occurring on October 19 after shifting retrograde. Mercury and Uranus facing off will make the already volatile astrology even more chaotic, but there will also be enormous creative potential unleashed between Mercury and Uranus for reception of revelations and liberating yourself from whatever needs to be shed and released.

Mercury will be under rulership of the fiery instigator Mars, making the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio especially disorienting and purgative. With Mars retrograde already dislodging stuck patterns, Uranus being opposed by Mercury in the dark watery climate of Scorpio will amplify capacity for absorbing atmospheric undercurrents and penetrating under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter. The watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also a place in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that ultimately produce fruit. While we will need to allow for unexpected commotion that can upturn plans, the simmering tension between Mercury and Uranus can also reveal insights buried in the boglands of Scorpio that will prove to be potent catalysts of profound growth.

2 of Wands

2 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 1 Decan

The Aries Full Moon will rise in the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a conquering figure holding a globe, piercing the expanse of the horizon with his gaze is fitting for a decan steeped in will power, as he seems intent on enacting his vision upon reality and expanding his influence. The ambitious confidence and assertion present in the image connects with the fact that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile and face rulership over the Aries Full Moon. 

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to the first decan of Aries, as it has a long association with fierce figures such as in the Liber Hermetis where we discover a man “standing on feet like claws” and “holding above his head a double-sided axe with both hands.” Coppock rooted the symbolism of the Axe in it being “the primordial splitter” that creates the division necessary for growth, as “cosmologies begin with the sundering of the One.” Indeed, not only did the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs identify the mythic Aidoneus with the first face of Aries, so did the ancient philosopher Empedocles identify Aidoneus as one of the four fundamental elements at the root of creation.

While Coppock described the Axe as a magical tool essential for the use of the first face of Aries in “breaking bonds which no longer serve” and bringing “subjective order to the world” through “taming the environment,” he also noted it is a face of raw, unfiltered, and untamed willpower that can evoke the “tyrannical spirit of the infant.” As it is a decan focused upon “the will pressing reality to conform with its pattern,” its strength lies in the personal power of an “unrestrained will” and “the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.” Yet Coppock also warned of “a tendency in this decan to try to do too much with force alone,” quickly accumulating karmic debts and destructive opponents.

The Aries Full Moon will ignite the fiery, raw individualism of the first face of Aries, and so we need to consider how and why we intend to wield its penetrative potency externally and internally. While the martial ambition found in this face can be linked with empire builders who wish to amass immense power and control, its primordial fire is also what brings the inspiration and foresight required to throw off the shackles of colonizing empire and insist on liberation. However, fighting fire with fire amidst the incendiary astrology of the next month can risk unleashing devouring flames that burn out of control and lead to severe destruction. Considered responses and thoughtful initiatives are advisable within our external relationships, yet within our inner furnace we may more freely direct the fierce flames of the Full Moon to melt down entrenched patterns, fluidly reforging a revivified presence.

Nowhere, Love, will World exist but within. Our lives
pass in transformation. And all the while the outside realm
diminishes. Where once a solid house endured,
some abstraction shoves itself into view, completely at ease
among concepts, as if it still stood in the brain.
The Zeitgeist is building vast reservoirs of power, formless
as the thrusting energy it wrests from everything.
It no longer recognizes temples. Furtively we hoard
what the heart once lavished. Where one of them still survives,
an object once prayed to, revered, knelt before—,
it’s already reaching, secretly, into the invisible world.
Many no longer see it, yet without the gain
of rebuilding it greater now, with pillars and statues, within!

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Seventh Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

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

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References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Virgo

 
paul klee the gate of night

The Gate of the Night (1921) by Paul Klee

New Moon in Virgo

The New Moon in Virgo on September 17 draws a season to a close, initiating us into the final season of 2020. While the heat of Summer transitions into the crisp coolness of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the lunation demarcates the end of Winter and the dawning of Spring. It’s a time of seasonal balancing, with the amount of light and darkness we experience in a day temporarily reaching an equilibrium on the Libra equinox which will occur five days later on September 22. The darkness of the Virgo New Moon is ideal for centering within one’s inner light, sensing surrounding circumstances with full awareness. 

The Virgo Moon is separating from a trine with Pluto and applying toward a trine with Saturn in Capricorn, providing an opportunity to slow down and ground into deeper presence with whatever challenges and difficulties we have been contending with. After completing a trine with Saturn, the Virgo Moon will form a quincunx with Mars retrograde in Aries as the slowly moving red planet intensifies in the tension that it will continue to build with Saturn for the rest of September. The astrology of the next couple of months will not be getting any easier, and so we need to lean into any trouble brewing with discernment rather than trying to escape from problems through denial or distraction.

The strength of the Virgo New Moon is found in the dark caves and black stones of Saturn. The trine from the lights in Virgo with Saturn in Capricorn may feel melancholic due to the tumult of current events, yet the pondering contemplation of Saturn will be what we need to cultivate in the forthcoming lunar cycle. We need to engage with the side of Saturn open to the mystery of the unknown and willing to reflect upon the fullness of the moment, rather than being overly defensive, rigid, and righteously insisting on control or trying to force what we want to have happen. As Saturn begins to slow down en route to stationing direct on September 29, we will be most effective through deep reflection in decision making and taking the time necessary rather than rushing.

Mercury in Libra rules the New Moon and is forming an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Mercury is in the bounds of Jupiter and on the superior side of the square aspect, enabling a thorough questioning of our beliefs about what has been happening so we can make adjustments attuned with the reality of the moment rather than wishful thinking. Mercury will next form a square with Pluto on September 20 followed by a square with Saturn on September 23 as it simultaneously moves into a tense opposition with Mars. With Mercury in the exaltation of Saturn, we can combine the nuanced flexibility of Mercury with the reflective depth of Saturn to come to terms with how we need to handle whatever volatility is being stirred up by Mars retrograde in Aries.

the third shape kay sage

In the Third Sleep (1944) by Kay Sage

The New Moon is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. This means that we are at the midpoint in between eclipse seasons, as the Sun last formed a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon when there was a Solar Eclipse on June 21 and will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon when there is a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Like the view gained from climbing mountainous peaks, the Virgo New Moon offers a far ranging perspective to help mediate whatever turning points in narratives are arising. Since Mercury and Jupiter, the rulers of the lunar nodes, are colliding in an exact square there is likely a significant twist in your story occurring that will need your undivided attention.

Furthermore, Neptune retrograde in Pisces is five degrees away from a square with the lunar nodes at their southern bending. The square between Neptune and the lunar nodes will be slowly getting tighter during the rest of 2020, with Neptune forming an exact square with the lunar nodes in January 2021. Neptune is more than halfway through its retrograde phase that stretches from June 22 to November 28, having formed an opposition with the Virgo Sun on September 11. With the Virgo New Moon separating from Neptune, the lunation contains more of a movement away from the mists of Neptune rather than into its otherworldly fog. It will be especially important to sift through any lessons learned from recent experiences of disillusionment to help in reorienting toward a more realistic assessment of your situation.

The Philosophia Hermetica

from The Philosophia Hermetica (1790) by Federico Gualdi

While the incendiary heat of Mars retrograde in Aries is only at its beginning stages, the week following the Virgo New Moon will bring a critical juncture of Mercury moving through square aspects with Pluto and Saturn into an opposition with Mars on September 24. A balance will need to be struck between opening to new desires being stoked by Mars while patiently working through whatever obstacles and tests are being set in place by Saturn. It’s a period for laying the foundation of long-term goals rather than grasping for short-term gratification. Yet despite setbacks, it will not be a time to forsake our most authentic and essential desires but rather to allow them to be reshaped and reforged by the crucible of Saturn and Pluto. 

In addition to forming a square with Saturn on September 23 and an opposition with Mars on September 24, Mercury also will be crossing into the “retrograde shadow” degrees of its upcoming retrograde motion that will occur from October 13 until November 3. As it will be an especially volatile and disruptive retrograde phase for Mercury, it will be wise to begin sensing what challenges are coming your way and what needs to be remedied while Mercury is still visible in its evening star phase. Mercury colliding with Pluto, Saturn, and Mars in sequence can be helpful for noticing what is beginning to come out of balance so you can begin rethreading whatever is fraying before it becomes torn apart. 

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 3 Decan

The New Moon in Virgo arises in the third decan of Virgo associated with the Ten of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Fitting for an image of a family enjoying the fruits of their ancestral legacy, the third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Venus. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of “the pensive nature of the elder” in the Ten of Pentacles card with a fundamental question this face asks about wealth: “What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?”

Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third decan of Virgo, writing that “the spirit gazes upon its inevitable separation from matter here, contemplating the consequences of its brief union.” A decan of decay and death, old texts such as the Picatrix and Liber Hermetis contain images of mummification, while Abraham Ibn-Ezra pictured a woman praying with leprous hands. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” It’s a decan that asks us to come to terms with the legacy and value we wish to leave behind for our future ancestors, a face of learning to embrace the moment due to the death that awaits all of our loves in the end.

Doubling down on the long game during the Virgo New Moon, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo. Hestia is a sublime guide for the New Moon, as she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the essential value we wish to invest into our relationships, work, and community. Hestia is the devoted one with roots in a legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath for the living force of creation. Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service that does not abandon.

Fittingly for Hestia being associated with the third face of Virgo, Venus in Leo is applying toward a conjunction with Vesta in Leo during the New Moon in Virgo. Earlier in the year there was a conjunction between Venus and Vesta on May 15 when Venus was retrograde in Gemini, and so we may now re-center within our core values that have been reforged since then.  Compared to the other planets engaged in tense aspects, Venus will have smooth sailing through Leo as it heads toward forming a trine aspect with Mars at the end of September. The essential values passed down to us from our ancestors that we wish to pass on to our future ancestors deserve our full commitment and embodiment within the darkness of the Virgo New Moon.

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

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References

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

 

Secondary Progressions Course

secondary progressions course title card

Story Cycles: A Course in Secondary Progressions

I’m excited to announce a six week course on secondary progressions beginning on November 7 and running through December 12, 2020.

Secondary progressions are known as one of the most important cycles of personal development in astrology, especially in terms of exploring the trajectory of our life narrative and predicting key turning points in our story. In case you are unfamiliar, secondary progressions are based upon the symbolic correspondence between our experience of one solar day and one solar year. This is based upon the ancient concept of the part equaling the whole and how bringing awareness to the part can illuminate the whole.

With secondary progressions we are engaging a symbolic equivalence between our experience of a solar day with the Sun rising, culminating and setting with our experience of a solar year and the Sun moving through all of the signs of the zodiac along the ecliptic from our geocentric perspective. As a result, when calculating a secondary progressed chart for someone turning thirty years old, you are essentially casting a chart based upon thirty days after their birth.

Regarding our overall life story, tracking and reflecting upon secondary progressions can help with figuring out what part of someone’s life story they are in right now. From the vaster whole of our entire life narrative, we can come into deeper relationship with what part or chapter of the overall story we are in. As a result, secondary progressions can be potent for reflecting upon past experiences as well as helping you in writing the next chapter of your life.

The natal chart is a living symbol of the moment we are born into, yet it’s common for people to conceive of their natal chart as something static with fixed aspects between the planets. Rather than the frozen moment of our birth, secondary progressions tap us into not only the moment of birth but where that moment is moving within all of the cycles between planets. For example, you may be born with a waxing crescent Moon in your natal chart but through secondary progressions you will live through all of the phases of the Moon.

Considering secondary progressions is important because the nature of one’s present secondary progressions will significantly alter interpretation of transits and any other timing technique you are using. It also brings a different perspective from solely focusing on the natal chart, transits, and timing techniques.

In addition, since the lunar phases of the Moon and the solar phases of each planet are essential to pay attention to with secondary progressions, as an added bonus you will gain knowledge regarding the synodic cycle of each planet with the Sun through this course.

“Story Cycles: A Course in Secondary Progressions” will occur weekly on Saturdays from 10 am until 12 pm in Pacific standard time. I will cover a different aspect of secondary progressions each week in this two hour class through a live Zoom meeting that will be recorded for all participants to download, whether you can attend it live or not. There will be supplementary material given as well as homework assignments.

There will also be a one hour session on Tuesdays from 6 – 7 pm in which I will answer questions from course participants through a Zoom meeting. This session will also be recorded for all participants to download and view at your convenience.

Total cost: $300 (payment plans are possible: contact me at consultation@graycrawford.net to discuss options)

Course Schedule:

  1. Saturday, November 7 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • The Sun in Secondary Progressions. We will cover a general introduction to secondary progressions and the meaning of the Sun within secondary progressions. Special attention will be given to the movement of the Sun by secondary progression across different houses of the natal chart with examples.
  2. Saturday, November 14 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • The Moon in secondary progressions. We will cover the meaning of the Moon within secondary progressions, it’s timing, and the significance of it changing house and sign as well as element and modality. Special attention will be given to the progressed lunar phases created by the relationship between the progressed Moon and the progressed Sun. We will explore the meaning of each progressed lunar phase with examples for discussion.
  3. Tuesday, November 17 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Live question and answer session covering the Sun and Moon
  4. Saturday, November 21 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • Mercury in secondary progressions. We will cover the meaning of Mercury changing house and sign in the natal chart as well as element and modality. Special attention will be given to understanding the synodic cycle of Mercury and the progressed solar phases involving the relationship between Mercury and the Sun. In particular we will explore the meaning of Mercury stationing retrograde, it’s retrograde phase, and stationing direct by progression.
  5. Tuesday, November 24 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Live question and answer session covering Mercury.
  6. Saturday, November 28 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • Venus in secondary progressions. We will cover the meaning of Venus changing house and sign in the natal chart as well as element and modality. Special attention will be given to understanding the synodic cycle of Venus and its meaning within secondary progressions. We will also explore the meaning of Venus retrograde in secondary progressions.
  7. Tuesday, December 1 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Live question and answer session covering Venus.
  8. Saturday, December 5 (10 am – 12 pm)
    • Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto by secondary progression. We will cover the meaning of Mars and the planets beyond Mars in secondary progression. We will explore the synodic cycles of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and the significance of them stationing retrograde or direct by progression. We will spend more time on Mars than the planets beyond Mars due to Mars being more dynamic by secondary progression due to it moving faster than the planets beyond it in orbit.
  9. Tuesday, December 8 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Final live question and answer session
  10. Saturday, December 12 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • Final project presentations and final summary. This class will be an opportunity for participants who wish to present a final project about what they have learned regarding their life story through reflecting upon their experience of secondary progressions. Time will be given for feedback and questions about each presentation.

To register and pay for the course you may pay through the “pay button” below, or send me an email to consultation@graycrawford.net to set up payment with me directly.

Story Cycles: A Course in Secondary Progressions

Six week course on Secondary Progressions taught by Gray Crawford.

$300.00

There will also be a discount for the course provided for those who support my work on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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Mars Retrograde in Aries

Jorge Camacho

by Jorge Camacho

“Cruelty has a Human Heart,  /  And jealousy a Human Face;  /  Terror the Human Form Divine,  /  And Secrecy the Human Dress.  /  The Human Dress is forged Iron, /  The Human Form a fiery Forge,  /  The Human Face a Furnace seal’d,  /  The Human Heart its hungry Gorge.”

— William Blake, “A Divine Image” from Songs of Experience

Mars Retrograde in Aries

Mars has long been associated with division and separation, catalyzing action, movement, and conflict through eruptions of fiery heat. Mars enters a phase of extreme heat when retrograde, and this will especially be the case in the next few months as Mars will be retrograde in its fiery home of Aries where it operates with directness and strength. For those who are not smiths with a working forge, we can imagine the transformative capacities when working with a forge, transmuting materials into a new, useful creation. As the flames of Mars intensify, we may also light a torch to be carried into the expanses of inner depths to illuminate not only what we desire to create from our forge, but what materials we need to gather for our operation.

Mars stations retrograde on September 9, 2020 at 28°09′ Aries and will station direct on November 13, 2020 at 15°14′ Aries. Ultimately Mars will move back and forth from fifteen to twenty-eight degrees of Aries three times from July 25, 2020 until January 2, 2021. However, the stretch of time from the stationing retrograde of Mars in September until the stationing direct of Mars in November is distinctly different than the other two periods of time that Mars traverses these degrees. As a result, whatever significance the second half of Aries has in your natal chart will be the subject of internal and external confrontations that can lead to vital renovations.

Mars moves through the midpoint of its synodic cycle with the Sun during its retrograde, and so it can be helpful to consider whatever was being set in motion at the root of the current cycle. The present cycle of Mars was seeded by its conjunction with the Sun on September 2, 2019 at 9°40′ Virgo, and became visible in its heliacal rise as a Morning Star around October 16, 2019 at approximately eight degrees of Libra.  In the past year we have gone through many experiences exploring the meaning of the current Mars cycle, and as Mars slows down to station retrograde we are invited to pause in consideration.

During its retrograde phase, Mars transitions from being a Morning Star visible in all its scarlet glory before dawn into becoming a bright red star glowing all through the night. As Mars deepens into its retrograde, it will rise in the east into visibility closer and closer to the liminal transition of twilight. Mars is part of the nocturnal team in astrology, and so delights when it is shining down brightly from the heavens while the Sun is journeying through the darkness of the underworld. Mars also comes closest to us in orbit during its retrograde phase, altogether making it an extremely potent period for Mars.

As a result we need to come into relationship with an intensification of Mars in the coming months, which means working with volatility, change, and the relentless passion that can overcome us when working hard and taking action as well as the ensuing burnout. Mars brings awareness of instinctual drive, emerging desires, and how they align with our purpose through action and making things happen.  Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked.

The typical feelings of infuriation over being restrained when Mars stations retrograde will be extremely exacerbated due to it stationing in a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. In fact from August 15 until the beginning of October, Mars and Saturn will remain in a colossal conflict with each other within three degrees of a waxing square aspect. The fiery force of Mars that can melt down solidified structures and bonds will be confronting the supremely solid presence of Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn. It will be necessary to monitor energy levels, resting for regeneration as needed and letting go of goals meeting so much resistance that they are exhausting us and inhibiting our capacity to optimally respond to life.

Ideally we can sustain a slow burn approach that allows for periods of recuperation so that we can take advantage of the opportunities to initiate productive growth. There is similar symbolism in Saturn sealing off an alchemical vessel, with the fires of Mars separating the constituent elements contained within so they may be recombined in new forms. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology:

“Nature subdues nature by means of fire. Heat dissolves the cohesion of a substance; that natural desire to hold to itself as it is. Heat separates the metal from the ore body and can calcine the metal into a more workable condition. In the only-natural state, the substances resist change. They intend to stay as they are and have been for millions of eons, buried and hidden away. Yet the innate urge toward perfectibility welcomes the fire. Hence, they rejoice also in their submission, allowing themselves to be smelted, hammered, and extracted from their home ground. Resistance of any thing is given with its essential nature . . .

Nature does enjoy its natural state and resist change, yet it also struggles against its predilection for stasis, subduing itself and making change possible. Nature sophisticates itself, dividing its ambivalence into two aspects – the unchanging and the changing. It is therefore folly to attempt to change the unchanging . . .

What changes and what does not change? What stays the same and what becomes different? In philosophical terms, the existence changes, but the essence remains unalterable.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 35

As Mars stations retrograde it slowly turns the separating and dividing function of Mars inward, stoking our inner flames and initiating a process of realignment with our most deeply felt desire and purpose. By embracing the corresponding constriction upon external martial flow and the magnification of inner fire, during Mars retrograde we can make breakthroughs instead of suffering breakdowns. Like telling our stories to one another around a great collective bonfire,  we enter a liminal phase of changing the way we tell our own life narrative, shifting the trajectory of cyclic patterns at work. You may begin to notice the meaning of past experiences transfiguring in the flames, releasing you from ways you have been restricting or confining yourself to a particular story about yourself.

Mars moves retrograde less frequently than the other planets, so the relative novelty of its retrograde phase is an additional signifier of major changes that arrive in correspondence. Some people seem to be more profoundly impacted by Mars retrograde periods than others, and some people also seem to be more strongly impacted by Mars retrograde in certain signs than in other signs. Mars moves retrograde in Aries less frequently than some of the other signs- the last two times we experienced Mars retrograde in Aries were in 1988 and 1941. One way to sense how Mars retrograde periods impact you is to reflect upon your experiences during the past Mars retrograde periods.  Below is a list of the Mars retrogrades periods that have happened since 1999:

  • June 26 – August 27, 2018: stationed retrograde at 9º13′ Aquarius, stationed direct at 28º37′ Capricorn.
  • April 17 – June 29, 2016: stationed retrograde at 8°54′ Sagittarius, stationed direct at 23°4′ Scorpio.
  • March 1 – May 19, 2014: stationed retrograde at 28° Libra, stationed direct at 10° Libra.
  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24° Virgo, stationed direct at 4° Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20° Leo, stationed direct at 1° Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13° Cancer, stationed direct at 25° Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24° Taurus, stationed direct at 9° Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11° Pisces, stationed direct at 1° Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30° Sagittarius, stationed direct at 16° Sagittarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13° Scorpio, stationed direct at 25° Libra.

Mars

Mars from The Gods Who Preside Over the Planet (1528) by Master I.B.

“Astrologically, Mars characterizes the instinctual and affective nature of man. The subjugation and transformation of this nature seems to be the theme of the alchemical opus.”

— Carl Jung, Alchemical Studies

Carl Jung in Alchemical Studies referenced the writing of the 16th century Paracelsian alchemist Adam von Bodenstein who conceived “Ares” (or Mars) to be the “prime nature of things” that determines “their form and species,” with Jung declaring that as a result Ares or Mars can be considered to “be taken as the principle of individuation in the strict sense.” Jung further described Ares as the “preconscious, creative, and formative principle” that gives life, purifies, and transforms. In Jung’s Liber Novus or The Red Book, a pivotal chapter involves Jung meeting “The Red One” whose garments “shine like glowing iron,” and clearly embodies attributes of Mars. Liz Greene aptly summarized the impact of the Red One as bringing Jung into contact with a “vitally important yet previously neglected unconscious potency necessary for the fulfillment of Jung’s personality.”

Jung’s meeting with the Red One in Liber Novus follows a period in which Jung’s narrator was feeling stuck and unsure of what he wants and where  to go. The Red One shatters and brings new life not unlike the Tower card of tarot that is also associated with Mars; in fact, Jung’s narrator is standing guard on a high tower when he observes the Red One approaching from a distance. Similarly, the stationing of Mars in Aries may feel like a call to change course or the approach of vivifying presence that can penetrate our defenses and make us vulnerable to an infusion of new desires from a contrary source.

Aries is the diurnal home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The fiery cardinal sign, Aries is the optimal zodiac sign for pioneering new territory and initiating decisive movement, but it is not known for its staying power. The tension, friction, and contraction that will be felt as Mars engages in its fraught aspect with Saturn will make the first month of Mars being retrograde a time for taking considered action that takes account of external variables and internal energy levels. If we make sure to look before we leap and cultivate patience and resolve in enduring difficulties, we will be able to make some steady progress but may need to oscillate between periods of action and contemplative inaction. It will be a period for work that leads to long-term rewards rather than short-term results and gratification.

In world events, Mars retrograde in Aries will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, shaking and shattering structures and systems of the status quo as it collides with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. The astrology of 2020 has involved the ending and beginning of cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto that has forced confrontations with underlying issues of systemic oppression and inequity that have been festering across society. In particular, the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn that is ending is drawing to a close a two hundred year era of conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in earth signs that began in 1802, and so part of the martial conflict will center on societal issues that have plagued the past couple of centuries such as colonialism, racism, sexism, and the impact of the industrial revolution on economic and environmental systems.

The first month of Mars retrograde will be especially incendiary in relation to Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as Mars will form a square with Saturn on September 29 and with Pluto on October 9, with Saturn and Pluto within three degrees of one another in Capricorn. These jarring aspects will be inescapably striking due to Saturn and Pluto stationing at the same time, with Saturn stationing direct on September 29 and Pluto stationing direct on October 4. With Saturn and Pluto ending their retrograde phases and stationing direct, we will be coming to terms with however we have been questioning external systems of power and the way we wish to operate within society.

Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche highlighted the tendency of Saturn Pluto alignments to constellate mass projections of subversive elements within the populace upon an other or scapegoat, projecting whatever is deemed heretical or inferior, whatever we are in denial about ourselves. Tarnas stressed the shadowy complex of Saturn-Pluto is further matched by a compensatory empowerment of repressive and reactionary forces that utilize authoritarian methods. Rather than enacting cruelty on a scapegoat with all of the insidiousness you are projecting upon the other, be curious about whatever aspects of your inner multiplicity are being stirred up. Explore the deeper meaning of the stories you are drawn toward, the people you are attracted as well as repulsed by. Discern how the volatility can lead you toward considered and constructive action rather than reactionary impulsiveness.

We can use the catalyzing influence of Mars to claim more of our inner authority to make the changes we wish to see happen. There will be a need to be protective of others and to forge resiliency and courageousness out of whatever conflict emerges, yet it will also be important to not become stuck and rigid with defensiveness.  Allow whatever aspects of yourself are being shed to fully putrefy and provide compost to nurture whatever wants to emerge from within. Mars retrograde in Aries will provide the burning fires of Eros needed to forge bonds of fellowship as well as motivate a honing of whatever skills we need to cultivate to perform the role we need to play within the great changes taking place.

michael_maier_atalanta_fugiens_emblem_22

Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

“Do not act out; do not hold in. A paradox. And a double negative that suggests a via negative, a de-literalizing cancellation of both commandments. A mercurial escape from the exhausting oscillation between them. Instead of holding in or acting out, act in. Cook in the rotundum as one vessel was called, referring both to a container and to the roundness of the skull. Hold the heat inside the head by warming the mind’s reveries. Imagine, project, fantasize, think.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 37

An extremely inflammatory Full Moon in Aries on the first day of October will demarcate the transition of Mars from completing its square aspect with Saturn into engaging fully with its square aspect with Pluto. Mars will bring a more energizing and activating impact at this point due to it increasing in speed and movement as well as leaving the bounds of Saturn (25° – 30° Aries) to enter its own bounds (20º – 25° Aries). From the Full Moon on October 1 until Mars completes its aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be an intensification of desire and ambition as Pluto stokes the flames of Mars.

Yet it’s also wise to invite consideration of the dwarf planet Eris, as Mars will unite with Eris at 24°07′ Aries on October 3. Astrologers are still researching and coming to terms with the meaning of Eris in astrology, but there does seem to be resonance with her mythology which has connection with the Strife that Empedocles stated was at the root of creation along with Love. Homer in the Illiad said that Eris is the wrathful sister and companion of Ares, while Hesiod in Theogony said that Eris is the daughter of Nyx (Night) and the mother of kakodaimones (evil spirits) who plague humanity. Hesiod also said that while there is one kind of wholly blameworthy Strife, there is another who is praiseworthy in her capacity for stirring up hard work and productive competitiveness that leads to important creations.

Peter Kingsley in Reality noted that the force of Love is idealized without question, but that the force of Strife described by Empedocles can bring awareness of the illusions and deceptions brought by Love. Kingsley wrote that Strife can lead one toward ultimate freedom despite all of its associated difficulties:

The situation is starkly simple. If we let it have its way without cooperating, then Strife will manifest as violence and destruction all around us. But if we are willing to cooperate, we can consciously channel its energy instead into destroying ourselves- our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the ways things are. For what can be so difficult to realize is that the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality

The strife stirred up between Mars and Eris will have a direct impact on the ruptures emanating from Mars and Pluto. Mars clashing with Pluto can stir up potent ambition that can lead to extreme frustration and anger when facing restrictions or obstacles that impact your ability to manifest aspirations. There will be a need to be cautious of becoming so strongly driven and competitive that you become enmeshed within destructive power dynamics with others. Yet Mars and Pluto can also bring an indomitable tenaciousness in pursuing goals against all odds. By patiently building toward your goal and accepting the circumstances of your current stage of development, you will cultivate the flexibility needed to release yourself from repressive influences, adjust to changes of necessity, and draw from the depths of Mars and Pluto in ways that weld together your desire, purpose, and resolve.

Both Pluto and Mars have ancient associations with the underworld. Pluto is named for the Roman lord of the underworld, and similarly in astrology signifies our inner subterranean realm of circulating unconscious patterns that drive our instinctive reactions. In contrast, the planet Mars was known as the underworld deity Nergal in ancient Mesopotamian astrology. Michael Baigent in From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia wrote that Nergal was “lord of both the fires of hell and the heat of the fierce summers which destroyed both man and crops.” Nergal was the god of plague, fevers, and pestilence who forced his way into co-rulership of the underworld with Ereshkigal, becoming a god of the grave and judge of the dead.

We may feel dragged down into the chthonic and volcanic fires of Mars and Pluto in moments, yet the intensity of their heat will be capable of simultaneously reforging your will force. There may be tests of your ability to claim your personal power and a need to release yourself from dynamics that have been excessively repressing or restricting you.  When we resist the cathartic change brought by Pluto for security reasons we often experience breakdown, but when we surrender to its process of regenerative decay there can be a fiery purification of old restrictive patterns that sets the stage for us to give birth to a more potent vitality.

The mysterious meaning of the plate from the Gundestrup Cauldron above has been interpreted in many ways by scholars, including as an ancestralization ritual. Michael Enright proposed it depicts an initiation rite in which the large, divine smith on the left is quenching the warriors on the lower level in a vat so that they transition from being  “hot blooded adolescents into the cooler and more relentless realm of responsible adulthood” shown in the regal figures on the upper level. Just like a blacksmith dips spear and sword blades into quenching liquid so they become harder and more durable, so the initiate’s “nature undergoes a metamorphosis in the vat such that he can then be accepted as a rightly made adult.” There are echoes of the legendary Cú Chulainn whose battle frenzy burned so hot he had to be quenched three times in order for him to operate within society.

Mars will plunge us into the initiation that comes at the midpoint of its retrograde journey on October 13 when it forms an opposition with the Sun in Libra, with Mars at 21º04′ Aries. Mars at this point of its retrograde phase will be as close to us in orbit as it gets within its entire cycle, and it will also be glowing as bright red as possible in the night sky. As the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east; as the Sun rises in the east, Mars will set in the west. Adam Gainsburg has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as being a period for making a radical commitment to one’s authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs.

The same day that Mars forms an opposition with the Sun, Mercury will station retrograde in Scorpio under rulership of the star of Ares. Since Mercury will be stationing retrograde within range of an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, the middle of October will be exceedingly volatile and ripe with potential for sudden revelations, breakthroughs, and breakdowns. Mercury will remain retrograde in Scorpio until October 27 when it returns to Libra. With Mercury retrograde being ruled by Mars retrograde, let the tricks of Hermes guide you toward whatever needs to be released or reevaluated. While the delays and disagreements in communication that can come with Mercury retrograde periods will be activated, it can also be an extremely potent time for shedding what needs to be laid to rest while more deeply refining your purpose.

As Mercury in Scorpio takes on its chthonic psychopomp role in the middle of October, Mars will finally complete its square aspect with Jupiter on October 18 with Mars retrograde at 19°27′ Aries and Jupiter at 19°27′ Capricorn. Jupiter being in a superior square to Mars will amplify the potency of the Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio happening simultaneously, with intimations of new visions erupting from the cracks of the tectonic shifts that will be happening in world events. As Jupiter in Capricorn will be entering its final stretch of bringing to a close the old era with Saturn, the square between Jupiter and Mars can help in separating the inessential from the past that needs to be left behind while centering within the essential we need to cultivate and carry forward.

Venus in Vulcan's forge

Venus in Vulcan’s Forge (1546-47) by Leon Davent

“There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking of is not at the mercy of history’s rule, nor is it a passive surrender to the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one–an activity that occurs most naturally, most often in the reading/writing world we live in. Accessible as it is, this particular kind of peace warrants vigilance. The peril it faces comes not from the computers and information highways that raise alarm among book readers, but from unrecognized, more sinister quarters.”

– Toni Morrison, The Dancing Mind speech when accepting the 1996 medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Before Mars stations direct on November 13, it will form an opposition with Venus in Libra on November 9, with Venus at 15°21′ Libra and Mars at 15°21′ Aries.  The tension between Venus in Libra and Mars in Aries as Mars is beginning to station direct will bring to fruition something that was catalyzed on September 4 when Venus in Cancer formed a square aspect with Mars in Aries when Mars was beginning to station retrograde. With both Venus and Mars empowered within each of their own domiciles, there will be an amplification of whatever volatile tension has been building within relational dynamics.

Furthermore, once Mars stations direct on November 13 at 15º14′ Aries, Venus in Libra will begin engaging in a series of square aspects with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn. Venus will square Pluto and Jupiter on November 15 and then Saturn on November 19. Combined with Mars stationing direct, we will have opportunities for aligning whatever purpose and meaning we have forged from the fires of Mars with the needs of society so that our efforts will make a worthwhile, effective impact in our wider community.

The hard aspects between Venus and Mars that bookend the retrograde movement of Mars points to the role each of us will be playing as active creative agents during this key three month period of 2020. As we come to an end of the earth era of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in order to firmly establish ourselves in an era of air at the end of December, our capacity to wield technological innovation to empower our agency will be key. Yet the influence of Venus in Libra at the finale of Mars retrograde illuminates the need for actively deep listening within the agency we cultivate, as well as using our creativity courageously in the face of systemic oppression. Rather than insistence on the self serving, we will need to align with what will serve society for the greater good.

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

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References

Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Penguin Arkana.

Enright, Michael. (2007). “Ritual and Technology in the Iron Age: An Initiation Scene on the Gundestrup Cauldron.” Myth in Early Northwest Europe. Edited by Stephen O. Glosecki. ACMRS.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

Jung, CG. (1967).  Alchemical Studies. Translated by RFC Hull. Bollingen.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

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

Full Moon in Pisces

the great impossible

The Great Impossible (1961) by Kay Sage

O you tender ones, step now and then
into the breath that takes no heed of you:
it will part as it brushes your cheeks
and then tremble behind you, united again.

O you who are blissful, you who are whole,
you who seem the beginnings of hearts.
Bows for arrows and arrows’ aim, through tears
your smile will glow more eternal.

Don’t be afraid to suffer- take your heaviness
and give it back to the earth’s own weight;
the mountains are heavy, the oceans are heavy.

Even the trees you planted as children
have long grown too heavy; you couldn’t bear them.
But the breezes . . . and the spaces . . .

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Full Moon in Pisces

Some years are more pivotal to the course of history than others, some periods of time so fertile with potential that the reverberations of choices and actions create a more far reaching impact than others. Astrologers predicted in advance that this would likely be such a year due to the epochal symphony emanating from the astrology of 2020, and the trajectory of world events that have unfolded have left no doubt that this is the case. The Pisces Full Moon will unleash a flood of feelings related to how we are situated within the currents of collective change and upheaval, how well we are following our path and purpose, and to what degree we are claiming the role and place through which we may serve others through the cultivation and sharing of skills and resources. 

The Pisces Full Moon on 1 September 2020 is applying tightly toward a stimulating sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus, while it is also being received by a harmonizing sextile aspect by its ruler, Jupiter in Capricorn. The Full Moon is also heading toward a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces that it will form on September 2 after completing its sextile with Jupiter. The silvery light of the Pisces Moon will beam forth from the Virgo Sun like the Hermit’s lantern, seeping into the underbelly of our overarching plans and visions. Pay attention if you are guided to change course or make modifications to your goals, but also allow the watery inspiration of the lunation to reveal the resources and support you have within reach that have been previously unseen or unrecognized. 

There is also a supportive, mutual reception between the Full Moon and Venus, as the Full Moon is in the exaltation and bounds of Venus and is heading toward a flowing trine aspect with Venus, while Venus is in the watery home of the Moon. Yet the pleasurable reception between the Moon and Venus must be tempered by the ponderousness of Saturn, as Venus is applying to an exact opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. Venus is taking us into the chthonic roots of the alignment between Saturn and Pluto, as Venus is separating from an opposition with Pluto as it faces off with Saturn. What we desire and wish to create must be set against the titanic clashes across civilizations and dismantling of societal structures that have intensified during the past year of Saturn and Pluto ending and beginning a new cycle together.

Allow whatever challenges, limitations or constraints you feel to hone your purpose, shedding or laying to rest the parts that have met a wall of resistance with no place to go. The contraction brought by Saturn has its own kind of fertility that requires patience, endurance, and openness to the mystery of the unknown at work. Venus in Cancer will most effectively meet Saturn from a place of inner security that can enact healthy boundaries capable of fluidly adapting to what is necessary while remaining grounded in the values aligned with your purpose. It’s not a time for saying yes to every opportunity, but rather having discernment regarding how to most effectively utilize your available time and space.

Amplifying the creative tension of the Pisces Full Moon, Venus will subsequently form a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Aries a few days after the lunation on September 4. The waxing square between Venus and Mars will correlate with friction between our relationship dynamics and our desires to freely pursue our goals. This phase between Venus and Mars is about establishing the new direction in our relationships that began when Venus and Mars initiated their current cycle a year ago on August 24, 2019. At this stage we can feel anger when facing limitations especially when they reflect the same old issues that have led to suffering or heartbreak in the past. There is a need to hold the tension of courageously standing up for our authentic values while mediating relationships that may or may not align with our values to varying degrees. It can also be an opportune time to collaborate with those aligned with our values as well as forming new alliances and friendships with those who share our purpose. 

The waxing square formed by Venus with Mars is especially significant due to it being the final installment of three waxing square aspects that Venus has formed with Mars in 2020. Venus  first formed a square aspect with Mars on 26 January 2020, with Venus at 16º02′ Pisces and Mars in Sagittarius. Next, Venus formed its second square aspect with Mars on 2 June 2020, with Venus retrograde in Gemini at 14º02′ and Mars in Pisces.  During the final square aspect between Venus and Mars, Venus will be direct at 27º55′ Cancer while Mars will be stationing retrograde at the same degree in Aries.  The fact it has taken almost nine months for Venus and Mars to finally finish the waxing square of their cycle is yet another indication of the immense change brought by the astrology of 2020 that has been full of incubatory creative tension and the need to confront issues of systemic oppression that impact our relationships with others.

Notably, Venus was forming a conjunction with Neptune during the first square aspect between Venus and Mars on January 26, and Mars was heading toward a conjunction with Neptune during the second square aspect on June 3. Now as they complete the final square, the Full Moon will be illuminating the ineffable mystery of Neptune in Pisces. The influence of Neptune combined with the volcanic aspects being formed by Venus point toward the necessity of confronting internal dynamics within our subconscious shadow. Neptune can connect sacrifice with spirituality in positive ways, yet Neptune can also cloud our perception with feelings of being a victim or martyr as well as a scapegoating crusader fixated on dogmatic beliefs. The dissolving influence of Neptune can be both constructive and destructive, and so rather than becoming inflated with righteousness be curious about exploring the inner and outer tensions at work in your life.

Full Moon in Pisces fountain

from the Rosarium Philosophorum

When tossing a coin into the fountain of the Pisces Full Moon to make a wish, bear in mind that your dreams have supportive resources available that go beyond the visible and measurable sources and structures in your surroundings. While being lost in wishful thinking will not be helpful, it’s also important to not discount support and guidance available from immaterial sources such as in the realms of spirit and ancestors. There is a balance to strike between realistically working with the support available versus being careful not to restrict yourself from pursuing meaningful goals and visions that are actually in reach.

Fortunately,  Mercury in Virgo is in position to provide supportive, clarifying discernment. The Full Moon will illuminate the oracular light of Mercury in Virgo, as Mercury is rising into visibility at sunset as an Evening Star in its nocturnal home and exaltation of Virgo. Mercury was reseeded in the heart of the Sun just a day before the recent New Moon in Leo, and so just as we are discovering the meaning of the present lunar cycle, so will we be receiving messages regarding what the new Evening Star phase of Mercury has in store for us. Mercury in Virgo has been cleansed and purified and is ready to help in digesting and breaking down our daily encounters into nutritive insight and medicine.  Major announcements will be made in current events.

Mercury in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune in Pisces, while the Full Moon is applying to a conjunction with Neptune. Moreover, the ruler of the Full Moon, Jupiter in Capricorn, is engaged in a collaborative sextile aspect with Neptune.  Neptune has long been viewed in modern astrology as having a disintegrative effect on our sense of individuality, with its tidal force capable of sweeping us up within collective idealism with inspired fervor. Within current events we can witness the influence of Neptune through the numerous conspiracy theories and paranoia emanating from both sides of polarized conflict. The increasing light of Mercury in Virgo can help in sifting through the numerous illusions and distractions being stirred up to ground awareness, reorient from any disillusioning experiences, and bring methodical focus to researching support and completing whatever work is required for our present process. 

Full Moon in Pisces

Finale from Sonata of the Sea (1908) by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis

Although Mars in Aries is not in a major aspect with the Full Moon, its presence will dramatically increase the emotional intensity of the lunation. The influence of Mars will dominate the astrological landscape in the week following the Full Moon, as it will be slowing down to a standstill and then stationing retrograde on September 9. Mars will form a jolting square aspect with Venus on September 4 and will remain engaged in a harsh square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn for the rest of September. 

As Mars and Saturn have already been clashing in the week before the Full Moon, you may already have become exhausted by being stretched too thin, upset by feeling rejected, or infuriated by feelings of being stifled or confined. However, the stationing of Mars can further enflame anger that has been repressed, leading us to become enraged with explosive force as our anger erupts from stagnation. The threat of increased violence is real and something we need to be on guard for- unfortunately, this threat has already been realized recently in the USA with citizens fighting and killing one another amidst protests.

At the same time, we can utilize the anger being stimulated by Mars to activate and motivate us to be assertive where we need to take action, becoming enlivened with purposeful drive and determination. We will need to be ready to remediate our defensiveness being provoked so that we do not react impulsively in damaging ways we will later regret. New life will emerge from whatever is burned down by the fiery heat of Mars, so be curious about whatever is brewing within, finding ways to bring your freshly emerging desires into your life creatively rather than destructively. Whatever energy is coming from Mars will demand movement and expression, so it will be necessary to find productive and creative outlets. 

Since Mars has ancient significations for disease and pestilence it has been a key aspect of the astrology underlying the pandemic of 2020. Yet Mars can also put us into touch with symptoms of our psyche that reveal the storyline of our present journey. Jason Holley in the 2020 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) gave a talk on Mars entitled Red Planet, Black Planet: The Initiation of Mars in which he described how the appearance of symptoms, illness, and vulnerabilities through Mars can carry the whole story we need to come to terms with to bring about our healing. We are collectively entering a period of being initiated by Mars in the next few months, and so while we know it will be messy at times and combative, we can also utilize it for reclaiming exiled or suppressed aspects of ourselves as well as more fully embodying and pursuing newly emerging desires. 

Second Decan of Pisces 9 of Cups

9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the second decan of Pisces, a face associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a pleased figure in a scarlet cap with a showy plume, signifying his passionate mind dressed with the Eros of his desires. The Nine of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, with the golden cups behind the figure signifying the resources needed to gain greater abundance being found within the unconscious and unseen realm of Spirit. The Nine of Cups has also been associated with happiness on both external and internal levels, enjoying feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  Fittingly, Jupiter is supremely powerful in this face, as it is not only the domicile ruler of Pisces but also the ruler of its second decan.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan in honor of Indra’s net with its many mutually reflective jewels, an overhanging cosmic net that has been interpreted as signifying magic and illusion as well as the interconnectedness of our universe. Coppock wrote that the luxurious satisfaction of the figure in the Nine of Cups card is the product of engaging the process of maintaining “a harmonious relationship between material and spiritual layers of life . . . [such as in] the art of following the Tao itself . . . at play in the material world but not beholden to it.” Coppock declared it to be a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals, and the way things are.”

The link between the second face of Pisces with the depths of the underlying source of our visible reality is especially relevant given that the Pisces Moon will be moving from a sextile with Uranus and Jupiter into a conjunction with Neptune. The 12th century philosopher and astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described an image of a beautiful woman sitting on a ship at sea for this decan, wishing to come to land. Similarly, Coppock described the figures of the second face of Pisces as being “anchored in the invisible, yet step forward to play important roles in the visible world.” Make space during the Pisces Full Moon to discover if there any aspects of your inner beauty that have been patiently waiting in the oceanic realm of your unconscious, ready to come to shore to be realized. 

Coppock concluded that the crux of this decan centers on fulfillment coming from the harmonizing of one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, as torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds. Seeking fortune for fortune’s sake will not bring happiness if our visible goals are misaligned with our invisible priorities. As older forms of astrology prioritize the relationships between Daimon and Fortune as well as Eros and Necessity, we must enact Daimon and Eros from our depths rather than only responding to the Necessity and Fortune of our times.  The satisfaction and joy that can be reached through the second face of Pisces comes from a deeper success that is aligned with our soul purpose and embodying the meaning of why we are here at this time. 

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the daimon Dolos to the second face of Pisces, a spirit of deception and trickery. Dolos was an apprentice to Prometheus who famously attempted to duplicate a statue of Aletheia (Truth) that had been perfectly constructed by Prometheus, yet ran out of clay before being able to complete its feet. In Aesop’s version of the tale, the duplicate statue was called Pseudologos (Falsehood) and brought the moral that something false can start off successfully, but with time the real truth will be revealed. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that the “protean” figures of the second face of Pisces can be “tricksters, liars who try to paint the portraits of their understanding and sculpt the form of their visions,” yet they necessarily fall short as “form utterly fails the profound,” and “the truth cannot be copied.” In fact, Coppock concluded that their creative acts are essential to the meaning of this face, as their “flawed copies are the only manner in which dreams can become real.”

The co-presence of Neptune with the Pisces Full Moon makes the tricky and cunningly crafty side of the second face of Pisces important to consider. We normally do not realize we are lost in an illusion until undergoing a disillusioning experience that wakes us up to the deeper truth we need to reorient ourselves around. There is also presently a deluge of conspiracy theories and false information to navigate through on social media that hold a hypnotic and manipulative effect on many. Yet with the Moon and Neptune in Pisces and the Sun and Mercury in Virgo, the silvery light of the Moon can facilitate cutting through the static of the times to the heart of what truly matters to you. Let the Pisces Moon’s light pour down upon your deepest dreams and desires, nourishing their imaginal roots so that they may bloom within your living reality.

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

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References

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

Ibn-Ezra, Abraham. translated by Meira Epstein. (1998). The Beginning of Wisdom. Arhat. 

 

Leo New Moon & Mercury

Saulelydis

Sunset (1907) by M.K. Ciurlionis

New Moon in Leo

There is an indomitable spirit in each of us. An enlivening inner fire sourced from the stars, received within the depths of our heart whenever its radiance lights us up with presence and purpose. All of us in any moment can drop attachment to linear time and enter into timeless communion with the soulful, daimonic essence that animates our full being. It may come in the bliss of staring into the sun setting over an ocean, or arise in a moment of summoning all our strength to address a crisis. It’s felt presence centers, sharpens focus, and brings the courage needed to face whatever comes our way no matter how severe.

The New Moon in Leo on August 18 supplies a furnace of centering fire to carry us forward across the difficult and treacherous astrological terrain of the next three months. The Leo New Moon is in the home of the Sun, the great star at the center of our solar system whose steadfast motion and radiant light generates life and creates the astrological cycles we use to measure our quality of time. We are entering a period of extremely volatile astrology that will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, yet with focused intention it will also be possible to determinedly create and steadily build significant work.

The Leo New Moon is separating from a trine with Mars in Aries and applying toward a conjunction with Mercury in Leo.  With Mars in the exaltation of the Sun, the recent trine between the red planet with our solar light enflamed passions in ways that could have led to flights of inspiration and the seeding of ideas to develop and implement in the coming months. Yet with Mars also closely applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Saturn, the fires stoked between the Sun and Mars could also have brought bouts of anger and conflict especially when facing constraint or negating judgment that restricted the expression of desire.

The presence of Mercury with the Leo New Moon can also invigorate debate and stir arguments, yet its proximity to the radiant Leo Sun can aid in receiving insight through contentious conversations. Mercury being part of the New Moon seeding can also increase our capacity to be flexible and make rapid adjustments to the emergence of new storylines. Mercury takes on the qualities of whatever it forms relationships with, and so the caduceus of Hermes will be ablaze with the perceptive intelligence and animating creativity of the Leo Sun. The flowing trine between Mars with Mercury and the Sun will inspire direct action in response to inspiration of all sorts, whether in the realm of artistic creation or to address the exposure of corruption and injustice.

As a result, the Leo New Moon is potent for burning off distraction and dross to hone intentions so you may focus on your priorities in the months ahead. We are crossing the threshold into a several month period of radical change at all levels of society that will be marked by extreme division and polarized conflict. The fiery Leo New Moon can help in discerning the values that are most important to focus on cultivating, supporting, and protecting so that you can conserve your energy for whatever is emerging as most important for you to tend and develop.

jane graverol school of vanity

School of Vanity (1967) Jane Graverol

Mercury beginning a new cycle at the same time as the new lunar cycle is a key element to contemplate for the month ahead. Mercury in Leo experienced its superior conjunction with the Leo Sun during the balsamic phase of the Moon on August 17, the moment when Mercury is reanimated by the vivifying light of the Sun. Mercury passes through a death and rebirth whenever it enters the heart of the Sun, often called “cazimi” from a Latin transliteration of the Arabic for “as if in the heart.” The superior conjunction of Mercury is its celestial cazimi when it is moving direct at its fastest speed on the far side of the sun from us. It’s as if the star of Hermes is experiencing a heavenly communion that can clarify and coalesce whatever has become tangled in our thoughts during the past month.

The Leo New Moon therefore demarcates the shift of Mercury from being in its Morning Star phase into its Evening Star phase. Mercury will reappear in light with important messages in the twilight of sunset at the end of August in its nocturnal home and exaltation of Virgo. The last time that Mercury was reseeded in the heart of the Sun was during Mercury retrograde in Cancer on June 30, and so you may especially experience a purifying process of regeneration during the darkness of the New Moon concerning whatever ideas have been developing since early July. The forthcoming solar cycle for Mercury will be a key underlying influence to the headline grabbing battles between Mars in Aries with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, so surrender to whatever Mercury wants to burn off from the past that has been weighing you down. Once Mercury enters Virgo on August 19, set to work on crafting your reseeded vision.

The influence of Uranus in Taurus is also important to consider as Uranus recently stationed retrograde on August 15 and the waning dark Moon in Leo formed a catalyzing square with Uranus on the day before the New Moon. When a planet stations it saturates the astrological landscape with its significations, and so it will be important to pay close attention to whatever jolts of unexpected Uranian lightning strike your awareness and experiences in the week surrounding the Leo New Moon. Uranus stationed while being received by Venus in Cancer in a collaborative sextile aspect, and so you may feel especially receptive to nonlinear insights emerging from memory or having your emotions stirred by something aesthetically invigorating, exciting, or inspiring.

Uranus stationed retrograde at 10°41′ Taurus and so will be especially jarring for those with important natal placements in between seven and thirteen degrees of Taurus, Aquarius, Scorpio, and Leo. Be curious about whatever sudden revelations or unexpected experiences have caught you off guard in recent days, taking time to explore potential meaning rather than making rash decisions in reaction. Uranus will remain in retrograde motion until stationing direct on January 14, 2021 at 6°43′ Taurus.

800px-Mikalojus_Konstantinas_Ciurlionis_-_CREATION_OF_THE_WORLD_(II)_-_1905_-_6,_Varsuva

Creation of the World II (1905-6) by M.K. Ciurlionis

The forthcoming lunar cycle will contain an ever present buildup of tension and friction between Mars in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn. Between now and the beginning of October Mars will remain in range between 25 to 28 degrees of Aries due to stationing retrograde on September 9 at 28º08′ Aries. During this same period of time Saturn will remain in range between 26 and 25 degrees of Capricorn, creating an unusually long period of time for Mars and Saturn to be engaged in a volatilizing, catalyzing, and grating square aspect.  Although Mars is already slowing down considerably, there is a significant difference between it plodding forward during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle and once it stations at a standstill following the Full Moon in Pisces in the beginning of September.

Just as Mars is appearing in a vivid red shade of light in our night sky now, the star of Ares is known for its extreme heat and blazing sharpness that separates, divides, pierces, and penetrates. Mars can be a foolishly reckless instigator, a valiantly courageous protector, an intensely focused warrior in fury, as well as a pioneering alchemist making effort to be ground breaking. The normally intemperate heat of Mars in Aries reaches an extremity of scorching fire once it enters its retrograde phase, and so it’s impact upon the lineup of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter will shake and rattle the structures and systems of the status quo, forcing change even in the face of resistance.

During the waxing half of the lunar cycle beginning now,  the focus will be on the mounting friction between Mars and Saturn as they approach the first of three square aspects they will make between now and January 2021. The contraction of Saturn that will feel unbearably restraining at times for Mars will need an outlet in your life, so it will be wise to begin projects and daily regimens giving you the ability to release energy in creatively constructive ways. There is also an unavoidably destructive quality to be curious about rather than deny and attempt to suppress. Make space to explore what you sense Mars is wanting to burn down or separate yourself from that you have been attached to, but is no longer serving your deeper purpose in life.

As the New Moon and Mercury in Leo is separating from a flowing trine with Mars in Aries, there is increased capacity to act decisively at the beginning of the lunar cycle in setting things in motion to then tend and guide in response to outer events as the Moon waxes in light. As the waxing Moon approaches the fullness it will reach at the Pisces Full Moon on September 1, there will be a series of pivotal aspects made by Venus in Cancer at the same time that Mars is more intensely engaging with Saturn. Venus will oppose Jupiter on August 25, form a flowing trine with Neptune on August 27, and then oppose Pluto in Capricorn on August 30 just before the Full Moon in Pisces. The upcoming Pisces Full Moon will illuminate Venus making two especially difficult aspects, first forming a square to Saturn on September 2 followed by a square with Mars on September 4.

Mars and Venus are planets of night connecting us with our most intimate and primal desires, the feelings and passions we discover within our inner darkness away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. They are the two planets closest to us in orbit: Venus on the inner side and Mars on the outer side of our orbit around the Sun. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, and valuable, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from the intolerable. Venus in Cancer may pull us away from outer discord in order to nurture ourselves and loved ones in privacy, yet the star of Aphrodite will be traversing lunar terrain of emotions, memory, dreams, and the irrational. Listen to what is brewing inwardly and make space to reflect upon emergent material before leaping into reactive response. Attuning now to the shifts emerging will help you align with the larger collective changes rather than trying to force your way against a tidal wave.

wands07

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here. The martial figure in the Seven of Wands further relates to the asymmetrical significations of Mars in astrology through standing his ground in footwear that does not match.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed.

Yet there is also an air of empire and hegemony haunting the link of Serapis to the third face of Leo, for Serapis was utilized in part by the Greek settler culture that took over rule of Egyptian land in the wake of the Hellenistic empire initiated by Alexander. This is the other side of “The Banner” found in the third face of Leo in the form of cultural icons created by power structures to attempt to culturally assimilate indigenous and other immigrant cultures into the culture of the dominant culture holding positions of power. There have been many such icons torn down in 2020, whether in the beheading of Christopher Columbus or the dismantling of Confederate army figures and symbols from the U.S. Civil War.

As the fiery New Moon in Leo unites with the ever questioning Mercury, ask yourself what flags of idealism you are carrying and fighting for. Where or how are you blinded by allegiance to ideals or to others? How are you holding back from joining forces and aligning with a team of supporters who resonate with your ideals and can help you in co-creating them? Let the Leo New Moon connect you to the essence of your beating heart so that you may separate yourself from those attempting to manipulate your desires and align with those who share your values.

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References

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

 

2020 Astrology Recap & Forecast: Energetic Principles Podcast

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I am pleased to share a recent conversation I had with Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast you can listen to here:

I previously talked to Mel in December 2019 in a forecast episode about the entire year of 2020. Mel invited me back to discuss what we predicted in comparison to what actually happened, and then spending the rest of the time looking forward through the rest of the year knowing what we know now.

We primarily spent time discussing the period of Mars activating its retrograde phase between now and November. I hope our conversation helps give you some ideas for how to prepare for this upcoming period featuring an extreme intensification of all things Mars. The Aquarius Full Moon yesterday demarcated the beginning of things heating up, as Mars has now formed its first square with Jupiter and is on its way toward Pluto and Saturn.

If you would like to go back and listen to the epic three hour forecast episode I did with Mel in December 2019, you can listen to it here:

https://soundcloud.com/energeticprinciples/week-of-dec-30th-2019-with-special-guest-gray-crawford-the-astrology-of-2020

If you haven’t listened to Mel’s podcast before I encourage you to look through her growing catalogue of past episodes as she has brought many interesting and experienced astrologers on to her podcast. She also has her own Patreon you can support her through.

Full Moon in Aquarius

Vakaras

Evening (1905) by M.K. Ciurlionis

Full Moon in Aquarius

The Full Moon in Aquarius on August 3 illuminates the torch of the reclusive seer, the fire at the core of the hermit’s lantern, and messages received from those that have strayed far off the mainstream path. The airy and humanitarian sign of Aquarius will provide a remote space for the lunation we may utilize for incubating insight regarding the many dramatic changes taking shape in current events. While revelations may be received from the unorthodox who are removed from dominant cultural paradigms, rather than stubbornly insisting on an individualistic path we can use the silvery light of the lunation to increase awareness of those who share our intention and purpose. It’s an opportune time to deepen bonds with those we can collaborate with and mutually support through the shattering, dismantling astrological transits coming in the next few months.

In the northern hemisphere, the Aquarius Full Moon is glowing during the time of Lughnasadh or Lughnasa, the ancient Gaelic holiday of harvest festivals that occurs at the midpoint between the Summer Solstice and the Fall Equinox. Similarly, the Aquarius Full Moon is occurring at a midpoint along the timeline of 2020 astrology that is in between the volatility of the solstice eclipse season of June and the enflaming initiation of Mars retrograde in Aries that will intensify at the Libra Equinox on September 22 when Mars will be engaged in conflict with Saturn. The slow burn of Mars retrograde in its fiery home of Aries will dramatically disrupt the societal structures already being reshaped by the alignment of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, and so the Aquarius Full Moon can shed light on areas of life in need of focus to prepare for the deeper changes on the way.

Since the Aquarius Full Moon is closely separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward an activating sextile with Mars in Aries, we may experience events or insights that propel us rapidly forward or lead to a significant change in direction. It’s the third lunation in a row ruled by Saturn retrograde in Capricorn slowly moving closer to Pluto, inciting the titanic forces of gravity, contraction, division, and polarized judgment that have been constellated repeatedly throughout history when Saturn and Pluto begin a new cycle together. In many places the economic fallout from the pandemic of 2020 is being more acutely felt, and so the peak light of the Aquarius Moon can spur action in response to forces of necessity.

Crucially, Mercury in Cancer is applying closely toward a tense opposition with Saturn in Capricorn that may feel extremely constraining depending upon your present circumstances. Constructively, Mercury’s opposition with Saturn will make it obvious where we need to weigh our options to make adjustments, mediation, deals, and a rebalancing of priorities in order to mediate the pressing demands of Saturn and Pluto. In addition to inspecting one’s material conditions, it’s also an excellent time to conduct an inner exploration of shadowy internal dynamics in order to refrain from excessive projection and scapegoating of others. There will be more than enough victimization and persecutory othering going on in the wider collective without adding more fuel to the fire.

It is further significant that Mercury is setting under the beams of the Sun, sharing its final light as a Morning Star as it disappears into its invisible phase during which its accumulated debris and excess waste will be burned off under the radiating fire of the Leo Sun. The solar phase ending for Mercury now was reseeded during Mercury retrograde in Cancer on June 30, so there will be a shedding and purifying process of regeneration concerning whatever Mercurial ideas have been developing since early July once Mercury enters Leo on August 4. Mercury will be reanimated during its superior conjunction with the Leo Sun on August 17, a day before the upcoming New Moon in Leo on August 18, and so the waning half of the present lunar cycle will be ideal for releasing whatever we need to let go of in order to gain clarified focus.

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Unusual Thursday (1951) Kay Sage

While the catalytic square aspect between the Aquarius Full Moon and Uranus in Taurus can bring a sudden twist in our story through unexpected events and revelations, it may also reveal premonitions regarding larger changes that will become more significant over the course of the next year and a half as Saturn in Aquarius forms a series of three exact square aspects with Uranus in Taurus during 2021. Additionally, the Aquarius Full Moon may return awareness to themes and narratives connected with the square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus that became activated from March through June of 2020, as the waxing Moon will form a conjunction with Saturn en route to forming a square with Uranus during its peak illumination. Pay particular attention to any new ideas, projects, or goals you are feeling inspired to develop as they may turn out to become significant points of focus over the course of the next year or two.

Some of the major themes associated with the last quarter square phase between Saturn and Uranus include irrevocable dismantling and restructuring of societal systems, the necessity of invention to address whatever is falling apart, as well as finding inspiration within some ancient traditions to address present dilemmas while other traditional lineages become rejected for being outdated. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the periods of Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.”

During the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Uranus will station retrograde on August 15 a few days before the New Moon in Leo on August 18. As a result, the influence of Uranus will become intensified in the week surrounding August 15 especially if you have important natal placements in between seven and thirteen degrees of the fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius). It will be wise to remain flexible and ready to alter plans and goals as needed in the next couple of weeks due to the unpredictable nature of Uranus. Most importantly, by cultivating a readiness to receive breakthroughs and activate new creative directions, you will be more likely to clarify the intentions and visions that you are most authentically aligned with and which deserve your full focus and commitment.

Marso_pasaulis

The World of the Mars (1905) by M.K. Ciurlionis

While the Aquarius Full Moon is applying toward a creatively engaging sextile aspect with Mars in Aries, Mars is closely applying toward a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Mars combined with Jupiter can inspire ambitious campaigns and idealistic striving that can be further amplified by the Full Moon in Aquarius. There is a risk of being overcome with hubris through a stubborn fixation on one’s own idealistic beliefs with an unwillingness to make compromises or listen to other viewpoints. The fiery willforce of Mars can be utilized to separate ourselves from situations causing us harm, protect those who are vulnerable, and assert our desires for change, yet we must be careful that the reckless side of Mars does not lead us into causing unnecessary division and destruction in the process.

This will be the first of three square aspects that Mars will form with Jupiter between now and January 2021 due to stationing retrograde in the first week of September, and so we are entering an extended period of time involving friction between Mars with Jupiter as well as Saturn and Pluto that we will need to endure and resiliently navigate. During the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Mars in Aries will be applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that it will complete on August 13. Mars will not complete its first square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn until August 24, but the tension between them will be building in potency each day.

Though Mars is known as an archetype that severs connections with an individualistic impact, it is also capable of working toward shared goals as part of a team while also putting us in touch with the enlivening life force and passions that want to emerge into expression. Since we know that Mars will be facing off against barriers and restrictions coming from Saturn in the months ahead, we can bear in mind that there will be potential for Mars to incite a self-righteous rage that wants to burn everything down when faced with opposition. While taking a courageous stand in the face of opposition may be necessary at times, it will also be important to be curious about how our inner desires are being reshaped and reforged by the flames of Mars. By gaining clarity now regarding the intentions we want to direct the focus of Mars toward, the ideals and values we want to defend and assert, we will be better able to conserve our energy for our priorities rather than getting drawn into needless conflict that exhausts us. Mars in Aries will need to exert is force within the containment brought by the Capricorn trio of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter, yet within the pressure of their configuration important and significant work can be created.

kurt seliggman moon flower

Moon Flower (1858) by Kurt Seligman

The Full Moon in Aquarius also demarcates the final days of Venus transiting Gemini, as Venus will enter Cancer on August 7. Venus has been in the airy, mutable sign of Gemini since April 3 and so it will be a major change for Venus to exit Gemini and enter the watery, lunar landscape of Cancer. Moreover, Venus will be closely applying toward a vivifying conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini as the Aquarius Full Moon culminates. Ever since the true calculation of the North Node of the Moon entered Gemini on May 5, Venus has been occupying the same sign and so it is especially significant that Venus is finally completing its conjunction with the North Node in Gemini.

Due to the passage of Venus retrograde in Gemini from May through June, we have already experienced a necessary disordering of desires that has been bringing about a reordering of values. The passage of Venus across the North Node of the Moon as Selene shines her full light can draw awareness toward opportunities and choices available to make productive use of whatever the long passage of Venus through Gemini has opened up for us.

However, the influence of the North Node of the Moon upon Venus can also pull us into the shadows of illusory material desires and so it will be important to make space to consider whether or not the desires emerging are aligned with your authentic path and purpose or not. This is especially the case since Venus recently finished its long series of square aspects with Neptune in Pisces that took place on May 3, May 20, and July 27. The Aquarius Full Moon can bring deeper insight into the storylines that played out between Venus and Neptune, as their tension likely brought waves of confusion and inspiration to navigate. Let the lessons learned from any associated disillusionment as well as enlightenment continue to guide your choices as Venus completes its union with the North Node and heads into Cancer where it will form a series of pivotal aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, Saturn, and Mars at the end of August and beginning of September.

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6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Aquarius is in the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The six swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounded focus. Yet the swords are also staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory. The ferryman is in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury, which is fitting since Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is also a need to surrender to being along for the ride.

As the ferryman in the Six of Swords is creating a network in between shores, linking the known with the unknown, he is an apt symbol for Mercury being the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom,” as well as that the fixed nature of this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also establishing “independence between multiple worlds.” Coppock declared it to be a decan “of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles” so that one may “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them.” Like the ferryman and Hermes, those who occupy this face mediate a “steady commerce between heaven and earth” according to Coppock, allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown” as well as “the ideal and the practical.”

Furthermore, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Phobos to the second decan of Aquarius, the divine son of Ares and Aphrodite who is associated with the fear evoked in battle and war. Austin Coppock noted that as Phobos is connected with the etymology of “phobia,” its presence in this face also reveals “the fear that people have of what lies outside their small worlds.” It also brings to mind the double edged sword of fear, in that it can lead to poor choices rooted in paranoia as well as the kind of inspired action that erupts when we have our backs against the wall and the odds stacked against us.

There are many fears being enflamed around the world as societal systems continue to be disrupted by the pandemic. Just as the second face of Aquarius facilitates communication between the known and the unknown, so may we tend to the places in us that feel scared and overwhelmed regarding the unknown future. The astrology of 2020 has been serving as a bridge in between eras, and while it may feel like we are close to falling off a precipice we may in those moments gather our inner knowing that can guide our way forward. We will need to rely upon the support and transport of others just as we will also be required to lend assistance and guidance to others. Let the light of the Aquarius Full Moon quench the flames of fear so that your pathway forward may be illuminated with clarified focus.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I am currently offering a 50% discount on all natal consultations for patrons until further notice.

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References

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

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

 

New Moon in Cancer: Cronus and the Comet

egrets and crows

Egrets and Crows by Shibata Zeshin

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

— Antonio Machado from “Last Night I was Sleeping” translated by Robert Bly

New Moon in Cancer

The lunar cycle commencing with the Cancer New Moon on July 20 brings transition from the astrology of the past few months, initiating us into the major astrological themes that will be playing out in the next five months. The New Moon in Cancer is separating from an opposition with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn and applying toward an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. It’s exact opposition with Saturn retrograde in Capricorn brings us into the center of Saturn’s retrograde phase when Saturn is closest to us in orbit and in its brightest phase in the night sky. The lunation also initiates a deep encounter with the fallout from the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto that came at the beginning of 2020 and now will be intensifying again until Saturn ultimately stations direct on September 29 less than three degrees away from Pluto.

The New Moon in Cancer is the first lunation to not be eclipsed since the New Moon in Gemini on May 22, and during the forthcoming lunar cycle aspects associated with the past phase of Venus retrograde in Gemini, such as the square between Venus and Neptune, as well as with Mercury retrograde in Cancer, such as the square between Mercury and Mars, will bring resolution to associated narratives by completing the final aspect in their series. The focus of the lunation on Saturn invites unknowing to temper becoming fixated upon feeling like you have already gained clarity regarding the changes that have been developing in recent months. The scythe of Saturn may bring decisive judgment toward certain issues that are in need of harvesting or severing, but in general we are entering an extended period of collective dismantling that will require remaining open to new perspectives and insights that will shift understanding and development of plans. It’s a good time to devote work toward personal goals essential to your core purpose and otherwise allow plans to take shape and adjust to the reordering of societal systems that will be continuing to intensify in the next few months.

The opposition between the Moon in its watery home of Cancer and Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn is at the heart of the lunation. A figure who can hold the tension of the opposites between the Moon and Saturn is Hekate, a lunar goddess of nocturnal pathways (1) who was also associated with the third decan of Cancer where the lunation is taking place by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Hekate’s presence with the lunation illuminates the necessity of facing the darkness of the unknown during a collective crossroads that has been constellated across global civilizations. Hekate connects with the nurturance and nourishment of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hekate can also be viewed as the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, chthonic fertility of Saturn’s home in Capricorn.

With the inner knowing of Hekate, we can let the debris, refuse, and putrefaction of what we have had to shed and let die during recent months to serve as guidance for what wants to emerge from inner dreamscapes and imaginal exploration. Within the unstable and chaotic flux of current events that will continue to be volatilized at a rapid pace, allow awareness to open to new streams of enlivening desires cracking open from within. There may be movements of social justice and activism you become called to participate in, or inner creative directions to follow that will require making space and time to discover where they will lead you.

comet 1300

Augsburger Wunderzeichenbuch, Folio 52 (erschrocklicher Comet, 1300): text at bottom translates as “In 1300 A.D., a terrible comet appeared in the sky and in this year, on St Andrew’s Day, an earthquake shook the ground so that many buildings collapsed. At this time, Pope Boniface VIII established the first jubilee year.”

Comet Neowise

An unexpected visitor to the astrology of July has been the comet Neowise. Although Neowise was first discovered on March 27, 2020 when quarantine and social distancing measures were peaking around the world in response to the pandemic, the comet burst into visibility during July resulting in many stunning photographs of its fiery flare. During the first half of July, the comet was visible in predawn sky and then in mid July shifted into being visible following sunset. Neowise was at the end of Gemini at the end of June and then entered Cancer on July 3 and then Leo on July 18. It will enter Virgo on July 25 and Libra on August 2.  If it remains visible until August 7, it will have made it to about eleven degrees of Libra. As a result, it’s worth considering what sort of meaning the strange visitor has been bringing to the Cancer and Leo areas of your natal chart and what it may portend for the Virgo and Libra places as well.

Scientists say that comets like Neowise are covered in cosmic soot left over from the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, and so as comets approach the Sun in orbit their tails are formed by the solar heat spewing gas and dust across the sky like a flaming stream. While asteroids are rocky fragments left over from the dawn of the solar system, comets have been described as cosmic snowballs of gas and dust that unravel in a fiery tail. Neowise was named for the infrared space telescope orbiting the earth that discovered it, and it was correctly predicted that around July 3 its approach to the Sun in orbit would cause it to become a bright object visible to skywatchers on Earth.  There hasn’t been a comet this bright since 1995 and 1996, and Neowise will not be visible again for 6,800 years due to its extreme elliptical orbit that takes about seven thousand years to go around the Sun.

The astrologer Rod Chang wrote an excellent article on the meaning of comets in astrology you can read here that has suggestions for how to interpret the meaning of Neowise. It is well known that comets have long been viewed as omens of disaster in astrology, and so it isn’t exactly surprising that one would appear during a time of a global pandemic. I particularly like how Rod Chang interpreted the thawing and release of the ancient gas and dust of comets as symbolizing not only “frozen issues that ignite and grab attention, releasing from the abyss of our consciousness such suppressed emotions as fear and horror,” but also the freeing of new ideas and visions. In timing with the Cancer New Moon in opposition with Saturn, Pluto and Jupiter we can be curious about what old, frozen, and crystalized issues are being unravelled as well as what vivifying visions are being enflamed and freed from within.

Like many I had my first glimpse of Neowise at night underneath the constellation of Ursa Major. The living symbolism of Ursa Major in relation to the nocturnal appearances of Neowise is striking, for Ursa Major has long been seen as a Great Bear and Great Goddess standing guard at the central point and pole of the sky (2). Attuning with Ursa Major brings relationship with the Great Protector at the center of stillness of our world, and so as we center within our own core stillness we may also center within the many disruptive and disastrous changes erupting around the world. From this central point of stillness, open to how you can align with the wider collective changes taking shape and follow the path and vision bursting into awareness like the fiery flame of a comet.

tomorrow is never kay sage

Tomorrow is Never (1955) Kay Sage

Wanderer, your footsteps are
the road and nothing more;
wanderer, there is no road,
the road is made by walking.
Walking makes the road,
and turning to look behind
you see the path that you
will never tread again.
Wanderer, there is no road,
only foam trails on the sea.

— Antonio Machado from “Proverbios y cantares” in Campos de Castilla, 1912

The dismantled architecture of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn that is in the middle of regeneration will be further volatilized and reshaped by the fiery heat of Mars in Aries during the forthcoming lunar cycle. By the time of the Full Moon in Aquarius on August 3, Mars in Aries will be forming a square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn and will then move into forming a square aspect with Pluto it will complete on August 13. By the time of the New Moon in Leo on  August 18, Mars in Aries will be within two degrees of an exact square with Saturn in Capricorn. Due to Mars moving direct and Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn all moving retrograde, these will all be mutually applying aspects that will catalyze events dramatically. The impact of Mars can incite hard work and determined effort towards goals as well as lead to further shattering of societal systems and structures.

It is notable that Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn are all in the exaltation of Mars while Mars is in the fall of Saturn. Combined with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn also occupying a superior position in the square aspect, it portends a difficult and destructive journey for Mars through Aries. Due to Mars stationing retrograde in Aries at the beginning of September, there will end up being three different passages of Mars forming a square aspect with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto as well as three conjunctions with the disruptive dwarf planet Eris between now and January 2021. Thus whatever is stirred up by Mars in Aries during the forthcoming lunar cycle will only be the first installment of a dramatic saga, and so while we may gain a sense of some of the issues that will become important there will be many more developments before the full story is told. Although Mars in Aries can strike quickly and ask questions later, it will be advisable to keep the long game in mind, conserve energy, and continue to cultivate strategy to contend with arising challenges.

At the same time that Mars is initiating a sequence of square aspects, Venus in Gemini will be bringing to a close a sequence of three square aspects it has made with Neptune in Pisces that first occurred on May 3 and May 20, 2020. Venus will form an exact square with Neptune on July 27, and so the final lessons and awareness from the sequence will take shape in the week following the New Moon. There has likely been a combination of disillusioning as well as inspiring experiences in correspondence with the square between Venus and Neptune that have stirred imagination and activated idealism. With Venus direct and increasing in light and speed as a Morning Star, be curious in questioning and exploring the deeper meaning of associated events and how you can use the inspirational aspects to create the changes you wish to see happen.

paul klee departure of the ghost

Departure of the Ghost (1931) by Paul Klee

As the Moon unites with the Sun in darkness, Mercury in Cancer will be mutually applying to a tight square with Chiron retrograde in Aries as well as applying toward a volatilizing square aspect with Mars in Aries that it will complete on July 27. Mercury stirring things up with Chiron and Mars can bring contention that requires increased focus and determination in response. As current events will continue to make collective debate even more polarized, it will be easy to become pulled into verbal disputes so pick your battles wisely. By setting focused intention on whatever plans you have clarified as being important to your purpose, it can help in navigating through divisive distractions so you can use your energy for the work and relationships that are most important to you.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star two days after the New Moon on July 22, demarcating the phase when Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase, making it a productive time to work on or embody whatever new ideas and awareness were discovered during the destabilizing and regenerative period of Mercury retrograde at the end of June and beginning of July.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third face of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the Four of Cups image we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree considering three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground. While the figure appears be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice, a fourth cup has become magically offered by an otherworldly hand. Ruled by the Moon and Jupiter, it’s a face in which we must come to terms with available resources and questions of our fair share and how much is enough.

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” (3). Coppock noted that the ascetic air of the figure in the Four of Cups refusing to accept more than he needs reflects having awareness of the “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.”  Yet in the way the figure also appears to be conjuring the magical fourth cup, Coppock declared that the third face of Cancer also involves the spiritual dimension of abundance and luxury,  the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,”  and the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things.” As previously mentioned, the connection of Hekate with this face in the 36 Airs also reveals the chthonic fertility of the third decan of Cancer and its capacity to magically manifest what we need to survive.

With the Moon in its own face and domicile as it is reanimated in the heart of the Sun, its stark opposition with Saturn will draw attention toward the availability of resources and the limitations and restrictions you must contend with. The contemplative nature of Saturn will also demand ethical questions concerning pursuing wealth for yourself versus helping others in need of support through service or charitable giving. With many out of work or facing severe economic barriers related to the pandemic, many will be feeling the constraint and contraction of Saturn through feeling restrained by available resources and afraid concerning the uncertainty of the unknown future. The connection of Hekate with the decan of the Cancer New Moon points to the need of cultivating faith in the unknown, facing our fears, setting intention, and descending into the darkness of the lunation to discover what will emerge as the Moon waxes toward fullness in light once again.

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References

(1) Burkert, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press.

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

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

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

two dogs howling leonora carrington

Two Dogs Howling at the Moon (1964) Leonora Carrington

I will wail and howl.

I will go stripped and naked.

I will howl like a jackal and wail like an owl.

— Micah 1:8 as translated in Catafalque by Peter Kingsley

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

Under shadows obfuscating our lunar light, through the howling of wolves in wilderness and a cacophony of crows cawing in cedar, the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4 (PST) announces the return of Saturn to its nocturnal home of Capricorn. Saturn retrograde in Capricorn rules the Lunar Eclipse, as it glows through the night near Jupiter and the invisible Pluto in the tropical zodiacal terrain of the Sea Goat. Saturn since the dawn of astrological understanding has orbited at the boundary between the known and the unknown, time and the timeless, the mortal and the immortal, inviting awareness from contemplating cycles of ages and revealing irrevocable consequences from our past actions. The eclipsed Moon under the influence of Saturn in Capricorn beckons for the awareness of threshold guardians like Janus, the necessity of looking backwards as we consider the way forward.

In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically 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. The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn is far from total and classified as penumbral, meaning that the Moon’s light will be blurred by faint shadows rather than the blood reddening of a total eclipse. Both sides of the lunar nodes become activated during lunar eclipses, in this case with the Cancer Sun on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the Capricorn Moon on the side of the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. The shadowing of the Moon is not total due to the Moon at 13º37′ Capricorn separating at a distance from the South Node at 28º22′ Sagittarius.

The Capricorn Lunar Eclipse is especially significant for being the final eclipse to occur in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn until 2028 when the lunar nodes will return to the solstice signs of initiation. Eclipses have been occurring in Cancer and Capricorn since 12 July 2018 when there was a partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 20º50′. The eclipses in Capricorn and Cancer were more powerfully activated by the partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn at 15º31′ on 5 January 2019, followed by a total Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 10º42′ on 2 July 2019 and a Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn at 24º01′ on 16 July 2019. Most recently we experienced an annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn at 4º10′ on 26 December 2019, a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer at 19º54′ on 10 January 2020, and an annular Solar Eclipse in Cancer at 00º21′ on 21 June 2020. It’s a good time to reflect upon events associated with these eclipses as we simultaneously experience the final lessons from the series.

With Saturn in Capricorn co-present with the series of eclipses we have experienced in Cancer and Capricorn, there has been an emphasis on the dissolution, putrefaction, purification, and release indicated by the transiting South Node of the Moon. While the sign of Cancer is associated with new life and nurturing growth, the Saturnine sign of Capricorn is associated with the ancient, the living ancestors, and living traditions of lineages. The Sun on the side of the North Node of the Moon can draw focus toward significations of Cancer such as home, family, and emotional processes, while the eclipsed Moon on the side of the South Node of the Moon indicates shedding and emptying around significations of Capricorn such as systems of power, corporations, governments, and their leaders.

Within the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn is the tendency to organize and systemize the fresh insights and lunar, nonlinear impressions of Cancer into the institutionalized structures of Capricorn in order to endure and persevere across difficult setbacks and periods of lack. Faced with fear of survival or scarcity of resources in the rocky expanse of Capricorn, our impetus for growth and expansion can become overly materialistic with ambitious desire to attain status and control outcomes. We can conform to a crystallized, Saturnian concept of cultural expectations for success rather than an authentic path that necessitates straying from mainstream beliefs and values. Yet Capricorn also contains the immense fertility of chthonic depths that can bring about a needed reordering of present structures. The Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn can open perception to what needs to be dissolved, what old thought forms and perceptual patterns need to be released and what collective organizational systems need to be reformed.

Vincent Van Gogh Wheatfield_with_Crows

Wheatfield with Crows (1890) Vincent Van Gogh

. . . What it is about is the last thing we want to know about, which is the responsibility we have as westerners to face the darkness of our own culture without looking away . . .

When [Henry] Corbin wanted to illustrate this he turned back, appropriately enough, to western legends of the Grail. The best way he knew of making his point was to quote the beautiful saying: Seule guérit la blessure la lance qui la fît, “The wound is only healed by the lance that made it.”

. . . And just how impossible this task is started to become clear when one finds the courage, if only for a moment, to face that individual but also collective emptiness and darkness inside oneself- without trying to do anything, such as thinking good thoughts or inventing childish schemes, to fill the hole.

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Known as the star of Nemesis in ancient text, Saturn’s return to the solid stone of Capricorn will bring judgment, retribution, and consequences to the exposure of corruption and toxicity that have been erupting from the union of Pluto with Jupiter in Capricorn. Saturn will steadily get closer to Pluto until eventually stationing direct on September 29 at 25º20′ Capricorn, three degrees away from Pluto. The legacy of systemic oppression and past decisions by humans rooted in racism and sexism has been amplified by the present passage of Saturn and Pluto close to their own South Nodes in Capricorn. The eclipsed Moon moving across conjunctions with Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn will further expose the shadows of patriotism, nationalism, law and order, totalitarian structures, and any other forms of authoritarian control utilized to subdue threats and impose regulation from a sense of moral righteousness.

Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche detailed numerous themes associated with Saturn and Pluto that have become impactful in the past year, but his emphasis on the individual ego becoming possessed by its shadow and projecting subversive elements of the psyche on scapegoats will be especially relevant in the wake of the eclipse. As the Moon wanes in approach to the upcoming New Moon in Cancer on July 20, the Sun in Cancer will form oppositions with Jupiter retrograde on July 14, with Pluto retrograde on July 15, and with Saturn retrograde during the New Moon on July 20. While the projection of the shadow will be glaringly obvious in collective events, it will be especially important to do your own inner work of recognizing what is being triggered within your unconscious and the ways you are projecting this material into your relationships.

Ultimately, the immense destruction and dissolution within civilizations that will occur during the second half of 2020 with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto traveling together in Capricorn will also be creating space for rebuilding new forms and finding ways to reorganize and make radical changes to personal and collective systems. The combination of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto can facilitate taking accountability for our personal past actions as well as however we have been complicit with the ways collective structures need to be altered.  If you feel overwhelmed by the tension and gravity of current events, it may be necessary to allow new directions to slowly coalesce through your unconscious rather than insisting on enacting immediate solutions. Since Mars in Aries will be engaged in a volatile relationship with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto for the rest of the year, there will be a need to find a balance between taking necessary and decisive action versus making space for rest and restoration.

leonora carrington kitchen clock

Kitchen Clock (1943) Leonora Carrington

“It’s only by shedding everything, including ourselves, that we sow the seeds of the future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

You may have noticed me often quoting or referencing Catafalque by Peter Kingsley in the past couple of years. The book was released with Saturn in Capricorn in 2018, and it has been the contemporary book that has made the biggest impact on me during the time of the lunar nodes and eclipses being in Cancer and Capricorn, a season we are now drawing to a close. If I had to make a list of important works released during the passage of Saturn through Capricorn this time around, Catafalque would be included.

Kingsley explored the work of C.G. Jung among others in Catafalque, concluding that the chief aim of Jung’s work is not integration but to “consciously leave ourselves behind, shed absolutely everything, strip every trace of identification or attachment away.” Describing humanity as being lost in the middle of one age while in transition to the next, Kingsley wrote that what is “needed is the exact opposite of our manufactured hoping, which is the divine reality of faith- because faith is the most extraordinary flower, as alive and intelligent as it’s beautiful, which you can meet out on the street in the dark or alone back home if your vision isn’t stunted by hope.”

As the Moon in Capricorn waxes toward being eclipsed, it will move from a square aspect with Mars in Aries into an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Cancer. The Lunar Eclipse is separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Cancer and applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter retrograde in Capricorn amongst classical planets, while more closely separating from a trine with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Neptune in Pisces. While it will important to explore one’s inner shadow, it will also be important to have trust and faith in your imagination and the insights you are able to gather through your memories and intuition. It can be a potent time for exploration of patterns operating in your psyche as well as finding ways to further activate awareness through creative expression of the inner processes at work.

Furthermore, Mercury retrograde in Cancer is mutually applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Mars in Aries that will complete a few days after the eclipse on July 8. Mars in Aries can be piercing in its capacity for going straight into the heart of the matter, provoking a cathartic release of anger over any issues that have been building in tension. Constructively, the heat and fire brought by Mars in Aries can help focalize intention on what matters most and where to be assertive, yet it is a double edged sword that can help in separating from harmful situations as well as causing damage in ongoing relationships if not careful. It can also help bring the fiery heat necessary for making a breakthrough and taking bold, direct action initiating movement on ideas that have been gestating.

After Mercury stations direct on July 12, it will continue to apply toward an intensifying square aspect with Mars until completing it on July 27. At the same time, Venus will be moving direct back across the same degree range in Gemini it previously looped back and forth across through being retrograde. Altogether, the rest of July can be potent in deciding what desires to pursue, what desires to release, and what values, relationships, and circumstances need our protection and care to grow and develop. As you make the space to explore the aspects of your inner multiplicity that were excavated by Venus retrograde in Gemini that can now be more fully embodied, there will be additional insights from the stationing of Mercury that will help guide and inform the way forward.

pents03

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse is in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in stone. There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display. Fittingly, Mars and Venus are the co-rulers of the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort bonded with artistic vision.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, noting it is a place where sublime works of material manifestation are completed. Coppock described this face as showing “visions of what might be wrought upon the earth, blueprints as a type of revelation.” There is not only a necessity for blueprints but also disciplined, hard work in collaboration with numerous resources in order to complete the grand visions that emerge in this face. Coppock wrote that while it is necessary to bind effort to accomplishing ambitious goals, he also cautioned to take care in the “enduring consequences” created by becoming consumed by the creation of a grand magnum opus. Images in both the Picatrix as well as Three Occult Books of Philosophy speak to this face inspiring a search for what cannot be known and seeking what cannot be done. Thus while sifting through the mystifying shadows of the eclipsed Moon, it will be vital to separate the possible from the impossible.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess of health Hygeia to the second face of Capricorn. As Hygeia is the daughter of Asclepius and is associated with processes and practices of physical, spiritual, and psychological hygiene, Austin Coppock noted her presence in this face reveals the central importance of “proper maintenance of bodily and mental health” in coming to terms with the ambition and hubris that go hand in hand with the capacity to build the grandiose visions of this face. Coppock described the need to distill ambition from hubris “over and over again” in order “to achieve purity of purpose,” a worthy separation to keep in mind as we tangle with the tail of the dragon being activated by the Lunar Eclipse.

With the Moon being eclipsed in the second face of Capricorn, there may also be a need to release yourself from attachment to ambitious goals from your past that are no longer aligned with your values or where you feel called to exert effort. Or, you may realize that continuing to pursue a vision will make you complicit in a pyramidal hierarchy of power you no longer wish to be involved with. Pyramids were associated in ancient Egyptian culture with creation itself, as they represented the mounds of earth that would arise out of the fertility of water. Allow yourself to be perplexed, confounded, and bemused by the shadows of the eclipse, so you may gain a fresh sense of what you truly wish to build and what you no longer want to bind your energy toward. As you become more clear about the new vision arising out of the dissolution of this eclipse season, you will also become more clear about who to collaborate with and what resources will be needed to achieve your goals.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I am currently offering a 50% discount on all natal consultations for patrons until further notice.become_a_patron_button

References

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

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and you: how to align with life’s hidden tides. Stellium Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

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

Planetary Nodes of Jupiter, Saturn, & Pluto on The Basement Astrologers Podcast

Ouroboros_1

from De Lapide Philosophico (1625) by Lucas Jennis

The Basement Astrologers Podcast:

Planetary Nodes of Jupiter, Saturn, & Pluto

I had the pleasure of recently appearing on The Basement Astrologers Podcast with Kipp Dubow, an astrologer who lives not too far from me along the Salish Sea in Tacoma, Washington.  We talked about the meaning of the planetary nodes by way of first exploring the meaning of the lunar nodes. We then talk about the significance of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn all beginning and ending cycles together in 2020 while also forming conjunctions with their own South Nodes. Listen to the episode here:

https://anchor.fm/kipptacomaastrology/episodes/Gray-Crawford—Planetary-Nodes—2020-efs278

A couple corrections: for some reason I misidentified my own lunar nodes when explaining how to figure out if a planet is at the northern or southern bending. My South Node is in Gemini and North Node is in Sagittarius, which is why my Mercury is at the northern bending of my lunar nodes.

At another point when talking about the opposition between Saturn in Virgo and Uranus in Pisces during the economic crisis in 2008 I accurately said that Saturn in Virgo was at the northern bending of the nodes of Uranus. I then said Uranus was near its own south node but I meant that Uranus was also near the southern bending of its own nodes.

I hope this serves as a general introduction to help get you started thinking about the planetary nodes and the significance of planets conjoining one of their own nodes as well as being at the bendings of their nodes.

For additional info about how to understand the planetary nodes, I previously wrote an article on the planetary nodes of Neptune that you can read here:

https://graycrawford.net/2018/08/28/the-planetary-nodes-of-neptune/

Ouroboros-300x300

by Liv Rainey-Smith

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I am currently offering a 50% discount on all natal consultations for patrons until further notice.become_a_patron_button