New Moon in Pisces

spring veils

Edna Andrade (1973) Spring Veils

New Moon in Pisces

The New Moon in Pisces on February 23 arrives not only during a change in season but also demarcates a threshold to cross into an intensification of the catalytic astrology of 2020. In the northern hemisphere, the days are growing longer as green shoots emerge from frozen ground; in the southern hemisphere, the peak glare of fiery Summer has passed as the encroaching darkness of Fall begins to increase. The year began with a potent seeding of vision in Capricorn involving Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter, Ceres, and Mercury that has required incubation and gestation to become more clear about its longterm ramifications. With the entrance of Mars into Capricorn, the Sea Goat stellium has become ignited just as the  Pisces New Moon forms a collaborative and harmonizing sextile aspect with all of it.

The New Moon in Pisces is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurusand applying toward a sextile with Mars in Capricorn. The New Moon is also waxing toward a sextile with its South Node in Capricorn and a flowing trine with its North Node in Cancer. Thus the Pisces New Moon opens the long range view of a falcon encircling the sea from above, with potential for rapid acceleration of vision sourced from inspiration. Yet as a larger picture of what can take form this year coalesces, so will a stronger sense of all of the necessary work that will be required to bring it fully into being. Mercury retrograde in Pisces mutually applying to a conjunction with the New Moon can be helpful in surveying resources and goals to determine where adjustment or additional support is needed. Some aspects of current plans may need to be shed, while the unorthodox motion of Mercury may also retrieve  old ideas or capture unexpected thoughts to integrate into developing projects.

The applying sextile between the Pisces New Moon with Mars in Capricorn is particularly invigorating due to Mars being co-present with the trio of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn. Before Mars fully activates the Sea Goat trio, however, it must first cross the initiatory threshold of passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. One one hand, the union of Mars with the South Node also means that it is triggering the eclipse degree of the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 26, 2019 and therefore enflaming collective events that have been simmering and ready to erupt. On the other hand, the conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon will also draw attention toward the deeper motivations underlying our striving. Rather than insisting on continual expansion and progress, take the time to reflect upon the nature of your aspirations with willingness to lay some desires to rest while committing a deeper investment to what emerges as your most essential desire.

The potency of the collaborative sextile between the Pisces New Moon and Mars exalted in Capricorn demands movement, whether toward external goals or toward inner insight. Some additional symbolism describing the richness of the New Moon’s dark soil comes from its conjunction by zodiacal degree with two significant fixed stars:  (1) Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish swimming beneath the Water Bearer of Aquarius, as well as (2) Deneb Adige, the brilliant white alpha star in the tail of Cygnus the Swan.

Fomalhaut is the mouth of the Southern Fish that Bernadette Brady has linked with the mystical salmon invested with wisdom in Celtic mythology, a point of intake for magically making change through relationship with Nature rather than through control or domination over Nature. Similar to how Ptolemy connected Fomalhaut with Venus and Mercury, Fomalhaut has been described as a poetic, visionary, and mystical star associated with the kind of magical charisma that can seductively influence the course of events.  Bernadette Brady further associated Fomalhaut with idealistic visions that necessitate conflict with the dominant culture in order to bring about manifestation. Fomalhaut’s presence near the zodiacal degree of the Pisces New Moon is a warning to be careful for what you wish for, utilizing the purging nature of Mercury retrograde in Pisces to come into deeper relationship with what you truly wish to create with your life.

Deneb Adige is the starry white tail of the Swan gliding gracefully across the great watery section of the heavens, the alpha star of Cygnus that Ptolemy also connected with Venus and Mercury, just like Fomalhaut. Water birds are sacred in Celtic traditions due to integrating the elements of earth, air, and water, and Bernadette Brady further connected Deneb Algede with not only the deep spirituality of the Swan but also the aggression and combativeness of swans when defending their territory. There is common ground with Fomalhaut here, in that Brady also connected Deneb Adige with the “journey of actively seeking spiritual awareness” that demands “a deeper step, to feel that one has to walk the less trodden tail.” Indeed, Brady declared Deneb Adige to be the “shaman’s star,” viewed by the ancient Egyptians as “the exit of the birth canal of Nut,” the starry goddess who continually gives birth, rebirth, to the Sun and its illuminating light. Deneb Adige brings the steely inner strength to the lunation also found by the New Moon forming a sextile with Mars in its exaltation of Capricorn.

New Moon in Pisces

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1889-90) The Cliff – Bay of Saint-Malo

Jupiter in Capricorn is the domicile rule of  the Pisces New Moon, while the New Moon is also occurring in the exaltation, bounds, and triplicity of Venus in Aries. Venus and Jupiter ruling the New Moon is notable due to the fact that Venus in Aries is applying toward an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn as Luna and Sol unite in Pisces. This brings a wave of extreme desires to reach a peak, requiring a measure of tempering to avoid the type of overinflation that can bring about a painful fall. While you may feel the stirring of large appetites it must necessarily be set against the constraint and contraction of circumstances signified by Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto being hosted by Saturn in the Capricorn terrain being catalyzed by Venus in the fiery sign of Mars.

Adding immense depth to these aspects, Jupiter also formed an exact sextile with Neptune in Pisces a few days before the lunation on February 20, and is now slowly applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will be building throughout the next month. Simultaneously, Venus in Aries will also be applying toward a cathartic square aspect with Pluto as the Moon begins to wax in light, forming an exact square with Pluto on February 28. With Venus engaging in a sequence of square aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, the realm of relationship will be a source of change where we may receive intimations of new possibilities and potential while also contending with whatever present Saturnine tests we are facing. Any disillusionment felt can be utilized in reconsidering the inner values you feel are truly worthwhile to embody and center choices around. With Mars in Capricorn ruling Venus, we must enter the fray rather than hold back from fear, being willing to shake things up rather than remaining stagnant.

It’s further significant that both benefics, Venus and Jupiter, are occupying challenging signs since Venus is in the sign opposite its home of Libra and Jupiter is in its fall in Capricorn. In contrast, both malefics, Saturn and Mars, are in places of great strength since Saturn is in its nocturnal, earthy home of Capricorn and Mars is in its exaltation of Capricorn. In part this signifies the lunar month ahead is not a time for lazily luxuriating in pleasure but rather gathering strength and resources to strike out resiliently with hard work and effort. While it may be necessary to experience change within relational dynamics and desires, any experiences of separation we must endure can facilitate penetrating more deeply into reconsidering inner ideals, value, and meaning. Even taking small steps in making space for contemplation free from the usual distractions and responsibilities of daily life will help in gaining clarity for where to let go versus where to focus for an influx of growth opportunities.

Turner_Ovid_Banished_from_Rome

JMW Turner Ovid Banished from Rome

Crucially, the New Moon in Pisces is mutually applying toward a conjunction with Mercury retrograde and combust under the beams of the Pisces Sun. While the New Moon in Pisces occurs during the most intense phase of purging and putrefaction within Mercury’s retrograde movement in Pisces, two days after the lunation on February 25 Mercury will experience the purification and rebirth of its inferior conjunction with the Sun. Mercury being in the heart of the Sun will be most intense when Mercury is within sixteen arc minutes from the Sun, from roughly 2:30 pm PST until 8:45 pm PST, with the exact solar union occurring around 5:41 pm PST on February 25. This is an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration, as Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.

During the same time that Mercury retrograde is conjoining the Sun, Mars in Capricorn will also be passing through a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Furthermore, this will all occur just as the waxing crescent light of the Moon forms a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and a square aspect with Mars in Capricorn. There is deep potency here for descent into inner realms of shadow and exploring our relationship with the ideals we use to generate our force of will in the external world. It’s an opportune time to contemplate our relationship with having agency in our life. The etymology of agency involves effectiveness, power, performing, setting things in motion, and driving things forward. We can also become agents of larger forces and institutions as part of going after what we want to possess in life. Who are you serving with your agency, your performance, and your power?

8_cups_rws_lg

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 1 Decan

The Pisces New Moon falls in the first decan of Pisces associated with the Eight of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image contains a figure retreating into a watery, island realm of caves and seclusion ideal for contemplation. Their staff planted in earth, their red cape and boots signify the flowing vitality they may contact within a cultivated space of sacred meditation and ritual. The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces in his book 36 Faces, noting it signifies “a quest to map invisible walls of reality,” “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality. Coppock wrote that in the first decan of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions.” Coppock concluded the “liberation is achieved through insight alone,” meaning that through acceptance of our capacity for re-creating our maze-like circumstances, we may reframe the sense of imprisonment within our labyrinth as having dominion within our own palace. This meaning of the first face of Pisces fits well with the Pisces New Moon separating from a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus.

The link between the primal, fertile potency of the unconscious with the first face of Pisces is interesting considering that the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs linked the first face of Pisces with the titanic sea divinity Okeanos. More of a primal sea divinity than Poseidon, Okeanos was also known as the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset. Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul stated that Okeanos was considered the “God of Separative Intellect” in Orphic theology. In its Orphic Hymn, Okeanos is described as the source of every river, sea, and spring that brings divine purification to our human realm. The nourishing mists from this fertile, oceanic void touch us when adrift upon waves of aquatic life or when staring into the sea. Allow the purifying waters of the New Moon in Pisces to cleanse your vision, fortifying your resolve to embody your most sacred values in relationship with others.

There, see, the new moon, / The King of life blessing her; / Fragrant be every night / Whereon she shall shine!

Be her lustre full / To each one in need; / Be her course complete / To each one beset.

Be her light above / With every one in straits; / Be her guidance below / With every one in need.

May the moon of moons / Be coming through thick clouds / On me and on every one / Coming through dark tears.

May God’s hand on me dwell / In every strait that me befalls, / Now and till the hour of my death, / And till the day of my resurrection.

— Traditional Scottish prayer

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References

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

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

Carmichael, Alexander. (2006). Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. Floris Books.

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

Mercury retrograde in Pisces & Aquarius

Mercury retrograde in Pisces

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1860-98) The Seascape Painter

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Pisces

We paused amid the pines that stood / The giants of the waste, / Tortured by storms to shapes as rude / As serpents interlaced, / And soothed by every azure breath / That under Heaven is blown / To harmonies and hues beneath, / As tender as its own; / Now all the tree-tops lay asleep / Like green waves on the sea, / As still as in the silent deep / The Ocean woods may be.

— from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To Jane. The Recollection

Mercury is at home in the liminal, in between thought and expression, in threshold experiences of leaving one state to enter another. Mercury is the only planet that defies definitions fixing it to a singular category, as it can be benefic or malefic, nocturnal or diurnal, masculine or feminine, depending upon whatever surrounding influences it is mixing with. Mercury delights in transitions within storylines, the unexpected twist or turn, and the loss that catches you off guard and brings awareness to a necessary lesson. Just as Mercury corresponds with stones of many colors, so does it rejoice in the changing hues of sunrise and sunset where it fleetingly shares its light with us. It’s thus ironic that so many hold a rigidly negative judgment against Mercury when retrograde.

When Mercury stations retrograde on February 16, it will twinkle in the sky one last time as the sun sets. After Mercury follows the sun into the darkness of night it will enter its invisible retrograde phase, taking on the role of psychopomp guiding us into the underworld of our unconscious. Mercury shifting retrograde is not an abhorrent aberration, but rather a natural phase of dissolution, purification, and regeneration that is essential to the meaning and function of Mercury. Perhaps it is the cultural emphasis on progress, future goals, and linear processes that leads people to complain about the nonlinear, magical reality Mercury activates when retrograde.

Mercury when retrograde possesses the logic of symbols and poetry more so than instruction manuals, especially when in its fall in Pisces. Mercury retrograde in its fall will compel awareness into incubatory darkness and places of low lying depth rather than exalted heights, especially since it is also under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. Mercury is ready to take us on a deep dive into boundless oceanic depths where we may excavate long lost fragments of ancient secrets harbored in sunken treasure. Mercury stations retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces near Neptune at 17º37′ Pisces, with Jupiter at 17º02′ Capricorn and applying to a harmonious sextile with Neptune.

The visible, evening star phase of Mercury that will end after it stations retrograde was seeded on January 10 during a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer and a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The retrograde movement of Mercury will test and temper aspirations that arose in correspondence with the potent Capricorn seeding in January, loosening our control so as to reveal any unstable elements in need of shedding or shoring up. Furthermore, since Jupiter in Capricorn is receiving Neptune through a waning sextile aspect, we will be called to reorient our beliefs and perspective with the deep, underlying changes that have started to take shape. The disintegration and breakdowns brought forth by Mercury retrograde will incite a shedding of illusions that have accumulated, purging and purifying understanding.

As Jupiter will complete its sextile with Neptune on February 20 and then eventually move within three degrees of its first conjunction with Pluto by the end of Mercury’s retrograde passage, the amorphous perception of Mercury retrograde in Pisces can dissolve the culturally conditioned boundaries that will become volatilized through the catharsis of Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto coming together. If we can fluidly engage with Mercury’s capacity for dislodging stuck, habitual patterns we can gain increased flexibility in responding to the wider societal changes that will be happening. Yet since Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s sleight of hand within its watery landscape can blur distinctions and cause confusion through focusing on larger visions rather than practical details.

Mercury’s retrograde journey will not take place entirely within the ocean of Pisces, however, as Mercury will backtrack into Aquarius on March 4, station direct in Aquarius on March 9, and remain inside the fixed sign of air until March 16 when it returns to Pisces. Since Aquarius is the intellectually oriented, airy home of Saturn, the creative chaos stirred up by Mercury in its first seventeen days of being retrograde will give rise to clarifying insight once Mercury climbs out of the waves of Pisces in order to contemplate and distill wisdom within the sign of the Water Bearer.  Until then, Mercury will need to utilize the extrasensory perception of Pisces and the divinatory tools at its disposal to chart our course along a deep sea expedition.

Baro_Urbigerus_—_Filius_noster_—_1705

Baro Urbigerus (1705)

“Mercury . . . has such power over the animal spirit that he is said both to put minds to sleep and to wake them up with his caduceus, that is to say, by any aspect of his, disposed this way or that, he can miraculously either blunt the wits or sharpen them, weaken or strengthen them, agitate or calm them.”

–Marsilio Ficino, Book III, Chapter XI of Three Books on Life

Our astrological ancestors such as Marsilio Ficino and William Lilly viewed Mercury as ruling the animal spirit, a term we can connect in modern terminology with the interplay between our nervous system responses and our emotional sensations. Although the planet Mercury is not classically viewed as having dignity in the astrological element of water, William Lilly linked Mercury with the element of water through its watery role in alchemy in which it is the fluid mediator between spirit and matter. As Mercury pauses in stillness to shift retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury retrograde in the water triplicity will be one of the key astrological themes of 2020, for the next two subsequent Mercury retrograde periods this year will also be in water signs. Mercury will be retrograde in Cancer from June 17 through July 12, and then will be retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until October 27 when it will move backwards into Libra, stationing direct in Libra on November 3. The water signs are traditionally known as being mute, places where Mercury’s caduceus transmits feelings, the deeper meaning behind language, and the indescribable significance of visual images and symbols. Pay attention to the three houses of your natal chart ruled by water signs and the sequence of topical significations that will unfold as Mercury moves retrograde through each one this year. Although the astrology of 2020 has a lot of emphasis on the elements of earth, wind, and fire, Mercury through its retrograde motion in water signs will be calling for us to purify and regenerate our emotional presence and ability to share and receive feelings with others.

Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between conscious and unconscious, day and night, solar and lunar, the sacred and mundane, and so on. Yet Pisces is known to be challenging terrain for Mercury where emotional receptivity and extrasensory perceptions are accentuated more so than skill in clear articulation of ideas through linear language and logic. Being a mutable sign ruled by Jupiter where Venus is exalted, Pisces is a watery landscape of fishponds, rivers, and springs that inspires us to daydream, unifying elements of thought through synthesis and harmony.  Due to its exceptional sensitivity, however, Mercury in Pisces is at risk when emotional flooding disrupts its capacity for discernment and clarity.

Thus when the trickster role of Mercury retrograde rears its head to pull the proverbial rug out from under you, find ways to recover and restore your nerves such as through a hot bath soaked in calming herbs and salts. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever unplanned changes occur, as Mercury retrograde is known for making changes in plot that will lead to unforeseen fruit in the future. It’s also wise to use Mercury retrograde in Pisces for what it is good for: being receptive to omens within nature, listening to and exploring the meaning of your dreams, and utilizing whatever forms of divination you can access for guidance.

William Lilly in Christian Astrology, Book Three declared that Mercury in Pisces “makes [wo]men given to Magic, either in hope or dissemblingly.” There is a compelling asteroid connection with not only the capacity of Mercury in Pisces for magic, but also Neptune’s co-presence in Pisces looming over the retrograde journey of Mercury: the Circe asteroid is applying within one and a half degrees to a conjunction with Mercury as it stations retrograde in Pisces, forming an exact conjunction on February 19. We can therefore integrate the mythopoetic meaning of Circe into the opening phase of Mercury retrograde in Pisces.

Circe is a magical solar goddess who is the daughter of Helios and plays a pivotal role in the ancient tale of the mercurial hero Odysseus enduring the retribution of Poseidon/Neptune. In fact, Hermes mediates the enchantment of Odysseus by Circe through precise instruction for how Odysseus may successfully navigate through this rather retrograde episode of his journey. Crucially, Circe ultimately advises Odysseus regarding his destiny, similar to the ancient tradition across numerous cultures in which a hero descends into the underworld in order for the destiny they need to claim to be illuminated by the Goddess. Indeed, Circe not only tells Odysseus that he needs to descend into the underworld, she tells him how to do so as well as how to successfully reascend. Similarly, there will be a deeper layer of our destiny to discover, claim, and embody during the underworld journey of Mercury moving retrograde.

the night prowlers

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1865-98) The Night Prowlers

Into the Black

“Wisdom’s beginning is to give up on the endless fuss of looking hopefully into the future for some final solution to our ignorance, some perfect correction to the mess we’ve made so far.

It starts the same way it ends– with looking back, exactly as Jung recommended, and into oneself. Instead of stepping forwards we have to walk backwards into the place inside us all where the answers already lie and have always been waiting.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

There will be a jolt of inspiration when Mercury stations retrograde on February 16, as the Moon will be at 11º38′ Sagittarius and applying to a superior square aspect with Mercury as well as Neptune, signifying that the irrational side of rationality may take prominence. From sunset on February 16 when Mercury disappears from view until February 25 when Mercury is regenerated through its conjunction with the Pisces Sun, you can align with Mercury’s solar phase by letting go and breaking things down, releasing old patterns and storylines ready to be composted. Since the Moon will be waning in light until forming a New Moon in Pisces on February 23, the lunar cycle during the first week of Mercury retrograde will accentuate the putrefaction of Mercury getting closer each day to being burned up in the Sun.

Mars will enter its exaltation in Capricorn on the same day that Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces, demarcating February 16 as a critical turning point in the year. Mars will generate an intense, catalytic force as it transits through Capricorn at the same time as the South Node of the Moon, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn are co-present in the sign of the Sea Goat. Mars in Capricorn will immediately begin applying toward a flowing trine with Uranus in Taurus followed by a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, amplifying the volatility already being stirred up by Mercury stationing retrograde. While an exalted Mars in Capricorn brings increased drive in working hard to achieve aspirations, as it approaches its union with the South Node of the Moon while Mercury simultaneously deepens into its retrograde, we will be invited to peel back the surface layers of our ambitions to explore the undersoil feeding the roots of our striving.

The days between February 18 through February 20 will be particularly potent as the waning Moon in Capricorn will pass through conjunctions with Mars, its own South Node, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn as well as forming sextile aspects with Mercury retrograde and Neptune in Pisces. Pay attention to whatever emotions become activated by your experiences on these days, as key insight may be received regarding what you have been desiring to achieve, why you have been desiring it, and whether or not the way you have been using your time and energy has been serving your higher purpose.

The New Moon on February 23 will occur at 4°28′ Pisces, two days before Mercury will be reseeded through its conjunction with the Sun. Within the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, Mercury retrograde will be in close proximity with the Sun and therefore will be embodying solar qualities that can burn off whatever is ready to be purged. Since Venus in Aries will be forming a square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn during the Pisces New Moon, making space to explore our own inner darkness can lead to the realization of old relationship patterns we are ready to release, while regenerating our desires for creating what we want to receive in relationship.

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Felix-Hilaire Buhot Midnight Revel

Chthonic Cazimi

Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire, / That’s a’ the learning I desire; / Then, tho’ I drudge thro’ dub an’ mire / At pleugh or cart, / My Muse, tho’ hamely in attire, / May touch the heart.

— Robert Burns (from Epistle to J. Lapraik: an Old Scottish Bard, April 1, 1785

On February 25, Mercury retrograde will unite with the Sun at 6°55′ Pisces during its inferior conjunction. This is an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration, as Mercury will align in between our orbit with the Sun as close to our Earth as it is possible for Mercury to be. Astrologers have named the union between Sol with the wandering planets cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun: the moment in which Mercury is revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. During its solar re-seeding, Mercury will be regenerated and purified within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” We can imagine Mercury reverent in ritual, enclosed in a grotto moistened by sweet spring water, ready to cleanse us with the holy water of Pisces.

Fascinatingly, Mercury will unite with the Sun on February 25 during roughly the same time that Mars in Capricorn will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Furthermore, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will form an exact sextile aspect with Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. There is deep potency here for descent into inner realms of shadow and exploring our relationship with the ideals we use to generate our force of will in the external world. Turning away from the force exerted on the present by the future, turning toward the light in the darkness of the living dead, abandoning ambition to lay down low, within our incubation a healing insight may emerge from our subconscious.

There is resonant living symbolism for this sacred opportunity being offered by the star of Hermes that can be found in the ancient tale of Odysseus. As previously mentioned, Mercury stations retrograde while conjoining the asteroid Circe, the solar goddess who directed Odysseus to descend into the underworld. Thus it is fitting that in the greatest depths of its underworld journey, in between life and death as it melts into the fires of the Sun, Mercury retrograde will be mutually applying to a conjunction with the Odysseus asteroid at 2º08′ Pisces. After the mercurial hero Odysseus follows the advice of the Goddess and descends into the living underworld, he encounters not only blood ancestors such as his mother but also the collective realm of mythic heroes and heroines in the forms of Heracles, Orion, Minos, Sisyphus, Tantalus,  Agamemnon, Leda, Ariadne, and Achilles among others. While Odysseus also learns from a blind prophet the degree to which he has been subject to treachery from Poseidon, a plot line within astrology we could connect to our present relationship with Neptune, the great mystery of what he received from the collective realm of ancestors was the deeper wisdom.

We know that astrology has its roots in philosophies that bind our inner nature with the outer radiance of the stars that shine above us. That we wish upon stars, search to know and realize our guiding star or guardian angel, and that most commonly this deeper process is reflected in the way we use celebrities from the present and heroic figures from the past to serve as our role models and sources of inspiration. The days surrounding the chthonic cazimi of Mercury retrograde in Pisces will be fruitful for exploring the ideals and values under sourcing the role models we have been mentored and guided by. As we deepen into our relationship with the ideals we have clung to in the past, so may we better regenerate a sense of meaning to guide us into the unknown future.

Savrasov_monastery_gate

Alexei Savrasov (1875) Monastery Gates

Mercury Stations Direct in Aquarius

Under the self same bough, and heard as there / The birds, the fountains and the Ocean hold / Sweet talk in music through the enamored air. / And then a Vision on my brain was rolled . . .

— from Percy Bysshe Shelly’s The Triumph of Life

After passing through its purifying conjunction with the Sun on February 25, Mercury will continue to move retrograde through Pisces until it enters Aquarius on March 4. Mercury’s backward movement into Aquarius also marks its return to visibility as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun each morning. Pay close attention to the days following March 4 for important messages, signs, and omens as the re-emergence of Mercury into visibility is an oracular moment in which Mercury delivers significant messages as well as insight into the meaning we can gather from its recent underworld phase of invisibility.

Amazingly, Mercury will station direct on March 9 at 28°12′ Aquarius during a Full Moon in Virgo in which the Sun will be conjoining Neptune in Pisces. Making the surrounding lunation even more catalytic, Venus will also be conjoining Uranus in Taurus while Chiron in Aries will be forming a square to the transiting lunar nodes. This means that Mercury stationing direct as well as the Virgo Full Moon will occur one day after Neptune’s solar cycle will be regenerated through a conjunction with the Pisces Sun. To say that Neptune’s influence in astrology is multivalent is an understatement, and it’s influence over the stationing of Mercury direct will be seen in many ways. Most simply, it is likely that the full light of the lunation combined with Mercury stationing will simultaneously coalesce imaginal insight that can be directed into creative expression as well as will reveal illusions that have been clouding our perception.

Following the Full Moon in Virgo, Mercury will slowly begin moving forward and will remain in Aquarius until March 16. Pay attention to what whole sign houses in your natal chart are signified by Pisces and Aquarius in order to reflect upon the associated life topics and how they may become activated and then reactivated as Mercury moves back and forth in between Pisces and Aquarius in the first couple of weeks in March.

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Maximum Morning Star in Pisces

After Mercury returns to Pisces on March 16, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on March 23 at seven degrees of Pisces. This demarcates the point in which 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. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

Just days before Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star, there will be an incredibly powerful Aries equinox (on March 19 or 20, depending upon time zone) seeding themes for the year ahead.  As the Sun ingresses into its exaltation of Aries, Mars will be forming an exact conjunction with Jupiter and applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, Saturn will be at the very end of Capricorn preparing to make its grand entrance into its airy home of Aquarius two days later on March 21 or 22, depending upon your time zone. Mars exalted in Capricorn mixing it up with Jupiter and Pluto will inject the full force of Spring erupting from the underworld into Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star. Combining this with the enormity of Saturn entering a new sign for the first time will create an atmosphere of immense change for Mercury to mediate.

Mercury will finally return to the same place it originally stationed retrograde at on March 29 at the same time that Jupiter and Pluto are on the cusp of finally completing their first exact conjunction of the year in Capricorn, while Mars is simultaneously applying toward an exact conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius. At this point the magnitude of immense change promised by the astrology of 2020 will be fully set in motion, with Mercury fully activated as a Morning Star and lending us its light in the liminal shade before sunrise. The more we work with the internal processes Mercury seeks to guide us toward during its retrograde motion, the more fully awake we will be to creatively engage with the great collective changes taking shape at the end of March.

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

Burns, Robert. (1897). The Complete Poetical Works. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

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

Ficino, Marsilio. (1998 edition). Three Books on Life. A Critical Edition and Translation with Introduction and Notes by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

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

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque. Catafalque Press.

Shelley, P.B. (2002). Shelley’s Poetry and Prose. WW Norton & Company.

 

Full Moon in Leo

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Achaemenid Gold (6th – 4th Century B.C.)

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is the place of fixed fire, the indomitable flames that endure and resiliently persist in the face of extinguishing forces. The Full Moon in Leo on February 8 (or 9th, depending upon time zone) is an invitation for sustaining focus on the creations you most dearly wish to forge from your inner furnace, no matter how dire the collective crises of the time appear.  The Full Moon is applying toward a flowing trine with Mars in Sagittarius, inciting passionate heat and radiant inspiration that can enliven any downcast spirits. Since 2020 began with the intensifying conjunction of Saturn and Pluto combined with volatile eclipses, the Leo Full Moon can stoke movement driven by the undercurrents of whatever deep material has been stirred up in the past month.

Heroism and courage are character traits associated with Leo we will need to embody in 2020, as it is a year that promises immense collective change with numerous cycles within astrology coming to endings and beginnings. Yet while heroines will be needed, the trine between the forthright Leo Moon and crusading Mars in Sagittarius also warns against hubris and righteously exerting your will in conflicts in which you think you know best.  The Leo Full Moon is ruled by the Sun in Aquarius, giving it the unique characteristic of being the only Full Moon in which the polarity between Sun and Moon is mitigated by the Sun receiving the Moon into its fiery home. The cool, contemplative nature of the Aquarius Sun can help in detaching from emotional reactivity, discerning choices for authentically contributing the skills we are excited about developing within the wider community.

While the trine with Mars is the only aspect the Full Moon is making with other planets, if we are willing to welcome the dwarf planet Eris into consideration there is a fire triangle formed by the Full Moon, Mars and the distant trans-Neptunian entity named after the goddess of discord. While there hasn’t been a lot of time to compile astrological research concerning the meaning of Eris since her discovery in 2005, astrologers have begun to construct significations based in large part upon her meaning in mythology and wildly eccentric orbit. The chaotic strife Eris delights in instigating can be witnessed clearly in current events, and so it is fitting that the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 formed a harsh square aspect with Eris. The fiery triangle between Eris, Mars, and the Full Moon can propel breakthroughs that have their source within the volatility of collective breakdowns and personal tensions that have sharpened awareness of what matters most to us.

The Full Moon is also engaged in aspects with asteroid goddesses, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square aspect with Vesta in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Juno retrograde in Libra. As we become clearer about what gifts we wish to cultivate from exploration of our inner darkness, we will need to form mutually beneficial relationships with collaborators who can help bring the imaginal potency we have been developing into the light in ways that can be received by a resonant audience. We also need to reflect upon the balance of power and responsibility within our relationships, making adjustments so that there is a fair distribution of tasks and reciprocal attention to having emotional needs met. There is stormy astrology on the horizon we will be able to navigate more effectively by addressing relational imbalances that the Leo Full Moon illuminates.

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by John Duncan

There will likely be important relational issues brought to attention by the passage of Venus in Aries forming conjunctions with Chiron and the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith. Allow the full light of the Moon to expose whatever material has been harbored in your shadow and projected into your relationships. It’s a good time for the practice of reflecting upon how not only those you desire but also are repulsed by can reveal key patterns about yourself you have not been consciously aware of.  Venus expresses ardor directly in Aries and once struck by the arrow of Eros, Venus in Aries will claim the agency required to draw closer to the source of attraction. With Venus continuing to shine brightly in twilight as an Evening Star, though impulsively following desires can lead to trouble it will be the kind of trouble that can also trigger vital lessons.

Venus is also applying toward a sextile with Ceres in Aquarius as Ceres is in an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Venus in Aries is not afraid to fight for whatever it considers to be true, good, and beautiful, and so one way this configuration may show up is through increased interest in social activism and protest movements building around issues of environmental and social justice. The square between Ceres and Uranus can feel upsetting and enraging regarding any personal or collective events in which greed and power dynamics harm or threaten life, yet the invigorating sextile between Venus and Ceres will stoke intrinsic motivation to take action as needed. In some cases this may mean taking the risk to initiate direct movement toward goals, in other cases there may need to be a staking out of space and time in which to actively contemplate the next course of action.

In the week following the Full Moon, whatever issues surface that involve Venus in Aries will continue to demand attention as Venus will be applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes that it will complete on February 13. Venus in Aries delights in the creation of movement, and so if facing dilemmas related to Venus it will be helpful to be physically active such as taking hikes in nature while reflecting upon the next steps to take. Interestingly, although Venus is at the zodiacal point of being at the southern bending in relation to the lunar nodes, it is simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with its own geocentric north node and so will be passing across the ecliptic in the next week from southern into northern latitude (fittingly on February 14 aka Valentine’s Day). This means that the instinctual, subjective emotions and desires that Venus in Aries stirs up will be absolutely essential to integrate and can serve as important guidance in how to more fully engage in the larger changes that want to take shape in our life.

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John Duncan The Turn of the Tide

Just like Venus, Mercury in Pisces is also visible during sunset and in fact will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on February 10 at ten degrees of Pisces. The maximum elongation of Mercury as Evening Star demarcates a shift in speed as it slows down to match the steady course of the Sun. Although Mercury will continue to be visible in the week following the Full Moon, it will increasingly become slower until stationing retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces. This means that issues that will become deeply involved in the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase that will last from February 16 until March 9 will be more obviously rising to the surface in the week following the Full Moon. If you notice old patterns and storylines emerging that could be laid to rest, they can serve as worthy compost during the initial putrefying phase of Mercury retrograde that will last from the stationing of Mercury on February 16 until the inferior conjunction of Mercury on February 25 that will occur two days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

It is notable that not only is Mercury in its fall in Pisces, it is further under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. This does not signify doom but does invite contemplation of ambition and desires for greater power and status within society. Rather than insisting on having our expectations of higher achievement fulfilled, Mercury and Jupiter are in position to facilitate descent into the depths of inner darkness and shadow. There is wisdom and depth to gather in our unconscious underworld if we are willing to undergo the trials we must necessarily encounter when journeying there. From now through the back and forth of Mercury retrograde, we will have the opportunity to regenerate our beliefs and visions of meaning and what we want to create with our life.

Mercury is also mediating the polarity between the lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a trine with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. Furthermore, Mercury is applying to an exact sextile with Pallas Athena in Capricorn, as Pallas Athena is beginning to separate from a recent conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. The collective wounds associated with the misogyny of patriarchy that has its roots in the ancient times that astrology itself was developed have been on full display in the current events that have corresponded with a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Since Mercury in Pisces is more about feeling than articulation, symbol more so than thesis statement, we will have opportunities to deeply feel and reckon with how our thoughts and ideas are systematically conditioned by the times we are living in. These insights will go far beyond words, yet by opening to the possibility of making the inner changes we are capable of making we can begin to strip away however we have been inauthentically conditioned by dominant cultural forces.

Pallas Athena in Capricorn will be an overlooked player in the great planetary drama that will be enfolding in February and March after Mars enters Capricorn on February 16. Pallas Athena will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn that will last all the way through the Aries Equinox into April, with Pallas Athena being present with Jupiter and Pluto when they form their first conjunction on April 4. Pallas Athena is ultimately a symbol of sacred feminine wisdom, and though her mythology has had her wielded as a weapon in the hands of empires of the past, so may she side with the forces of liberation in the present.

paul klee ghost chamber with tall door

Paul Klee (1925) Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (New Version)

The major outer planetary aspect that will form during the waning half of the current lunar cycle will be Jupiter in Capricorn receiving Neptune in Pisces through a waning sextile aspect that will complete on February 20. This will be the first of three sextile aspects that will form between Jupiter and Neptune during 2020 (the others will be on July 27 and October 11), making it a key aspect for the year. The harmonious interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can be helpful in realigning our vision of life this year to be more congruent with all of the changes that have been taking shape in the past year, especially changes corresponding with the last quarter square formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces during 2019.

Within the volatile breakdown of societal structures during 2020, Jupiter and Neptune’s relationship can inspire imaginative ideas for coalescing new growth from whatever dissolution and shedding we have been undergoing personally. In particular, we can gain awareness of old beliefs we need to release that have been interfering with our capacity for more deeply understanding our present circumstances. During the Leo Full Moon, Jupiter is applying within two degrees to an exact sextile with Neptune, as Neptune is simultaneously conjoining the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith. The combination of Neptune with Black Moon Lilith is a potent symbol for how we can become distracted and seduced away from our true authenticity by the myriad forms of illusory media surrounding us and the polarizing political conflicts that have become further exacerbated through manipulative media.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Leo Full 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.

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. As the peak illumination of the Leo Full Moon wanes in the week ahead, open yourself to discovering a symbol of your most soulful purpose to carry through the challenges to come in 2020. Not as a banner to use in imposing your will upon others, but rather as a guiding star you may follow through whatever difficulties and darkness arise.

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.

New Moon in Aquarius

chartres cathedral noah ark

Ark panel from Chartres Cathedral

New Moon in Aquarius

Following the flooding of last month’s Capricorn eclipse season, the Aquarius New Moon on January 24 bears light within its darkness to discover and utilize in illuminating the emerging path ahead. Eclipses bring dissolution externally and internally, and  so whether recognized or unrecognized the past month of intense astrological alignments have deeply stirred and reshaped matters. There was a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26, a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10, and the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12 that also involved the Sun beginning new cycles with Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto within a few days. The New Moon in Aquarius initiates us into the first lunation cycle of the 2020s, and further marks the Year of the Metal Rat beginning within Chinese astrology and culture.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn that utilizes the air element’s power of thought to diverge from the mainstream, gaining understanding that can only be found beyond the boundaries and barriers of the status quo. In the past month of Saturn commingling with Pluto, we have been invited to descend into inner depths far removed from the drama and contention impacting our surface engagement with the everyday. We have had the opportunity to confront our relationship with time, realize what truly matters, and commit toward engagement with whatever vitally moves our soul and inspires us to resiliently persevere in the preservation of life.

As the Aquarius New Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus as well as a harmonious sextile with Chiron in Aries, there is a gale behind the lunation to catch sail with on our journey through the tumultuous astrology of 2020. There is movement within the lunation to bridge inner visions of our unconscious with our conscious participation in daily life, as the New Moon is applying toward a conjunction with Mercury in Aquarius, while Mercury is applying toward an invigorating sextile with Mars in Sagittarius. Mercury is carrying a message from the Saturn and Pluto conjunction that requires more time for gestation, since Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Aquarius Sun. After Mercury emerges into visibility as an Evening Star on January 31 (as the waxing Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus), we will be able to receive wider understanding regarding the shifts taking shape in the past month, and greater clarity regarding the direction to follow into the future.

In order to face the future from a centered position, however, we necessarily will have to embrace and draw from our past, not only our inspiring moments of success but also how we have learned from our wounding experiences.  As we are collectively coming to an ending and beginning of a new era in 2020, we also need to acknowledge the complex and traumatic clashes of civilizations across time and how they are continuing to impact the discordant strife within current events. The objectifying nature of Mercury in the airy sign of Aquarius can facilitate listening to the underlying meaning within our interactions to discern where we need to focus for our own growth, and how we can be in service to others in need of support. For those who have felt weighed down during the past month, the Aquarius New Moon can ideally facilitate a healthy dose of detachment that can lead to innovative insights and a far ranging perspective that contextualizes present difficulties.

Aquarius chartres cathedral

Aquarius panel from Chartres Cathedral

The Aquarius New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Capricorn, with Saturn being only one degree separated from its conjunction with Pluto. The Saturn and Pluto conjunction is in the twelfth place relative to the Aquarius New Moon, in position to facilitate deep contemplation of circumstances that can bring to light issues and matters that have previously been kept hidden in darkness. There will be enduring consequences stemming from the Saturn and Pluto conjunction, and although its impact will remain in effect within a fifteen degree orb into 2021, its most significant period of being within three degrees of separation will last until February 17, toward the end of the lunar cycle initiated by the Aquarius New Moon. Saturn governs slow, arduous processes necessitating determination and discipline, and so we will need to stick with any trouble we have been experiencing, patiently working our way through any challenges. There will be significant developments related to the Saturn and Pluto conjunction coming in the forthcoming lunar cycle, so make the space to give associated events the time and space they need for sorting through.

Even though we are only at the beginning of 2020, many astrologers and astrology enthusiasts have been looking forward to the end of 2020 when Jupiter and Saturn will finally conjoin in Aquarius on December 21, only four degrees away from the degree of the Aquarius New Moon. While there is reason for astrological excitement due to 2020 transitioning us from a two hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs into a two hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs, we have a lot of ground to cover in 2020 between now and then. As Jupiter in Capricorn moves through its closing, balsamic phase with Saturn during the year while uniting three different times with Pluto, there will be collective eruptions that reflect old historical issues of oppression and injustice rooted in the old era we are bringing to a close. There will be a great death of old forms and structures to endure, leading to the question of how to best work with the processes of putrefaction while simultaneously receiving visions of new ideas over the distant horizon.

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Marc Chagall stained glass from St. Stephan Cathedral in Mainz, Germany

As the Aquarius Sun sets into darkness, Venus will be shinning bright as an Evening Star in her exaltation of Pisces that gives her access to the full range of her sensuality and aesthetics. Venus is a key player within the dynamics of the lunation, as she is separating from a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn and applying toward a heated square aspect with Mars in Sagittarius as well as an otherworldly conjunction with Neptune in Pisces. Venus will form her exact square with Mars on January 26 and her exact conjunction with Neptune on January 27. There is rich paradox within these aspects: on one side the unconditional, boundless love of Venus and Neptune that delights in merging, on the other side the fiery individualism and freedom seeking of Mars in harsh aspect that can create conflict and separation while maintaining independence.

Within the tension between Mars with Venus and Neptune, we need to strike a balance that draws upon their strengths and mediates their pitfalls. While we can summon the severing of Mars to shed the sort of illusions, projections, and over idealizations that Venus and Neptune can reveal together, we also need to discern when illusory projections are stoking desires for separation. Negatively, the crusading side of Mars in Sagittarius can become blinded by ideals to the extent of causing damage where destruction was unnecessary. Positively, although Venus and Neptune can become overly consumed by pleasure seeking and avoidant of mundane work, the catalyzing of Mars can light the fire of passions and inspire focused effort that utilizes the imaginative potency of Venus combined with Neptune. In the context of setting plans in motion with the beginning of a new lunar cycle, altogether it can be a powerful combination when focused on anything that enables integrating and bringing together the divergent elements of Mars, Venus, and Neptune.

Notably, Jupiter in Capricorn is ruling all three: Venus, Neptune, and Mars. While Jupiter is forming a sextile aspect with the Venus and Neptune conjunction in Pisces, it is also coming into range of a shadowy anti-scia with Mars in Sagittarius that will be potent between January 27 and 29. Jupiter is in position to help us learn from the challenging experiences of this period and buoyantly recover from setbacks, and is capable of coalescing growth or insight from any disillusionment, dissolution, or shedding taking place. With Jupiter co-present with Saturn in Capricorn, however, we need to guard against excess and instead focus on processes of creative contraction that take account of the constraints and limitations we are facing. Going to extremes or taking things too far with grandiose reactions can bring about a downfall that will force us to deal with difficult repercussions.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius arises in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a proud swordsman watching his conquered rivals flee, leaving him solitary in a newly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first decan of Aquarius, noting it “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile.” Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox and accepting “the mark of the heretic.” In this way, the image of the Five of Swords shows how we must sacrifice relationships when going into exile in frontiers beyond the known. Coppock stressed that the first face of Aquarius reveals that we often need to give up certain relationships as well as financial prosperity in order to gain the independence and spiritual understanding of the outsider.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice Dike as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Dike is the daughter of Zeus and Themis who is often seen wearing a laurel wreath and carrying a balancing scale so she may measure injustice. While her mother Themis is the goddess of divine justice, Dike rules over the moral justice of humanity. In one of her stories she lived on Earth during the Golden and Silver Ages when there was peace and prosperity. However, over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted and greedy, she became so full of contempt for humanity that she left the Earth forever to become a constellation in the sky. Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), signifying the boundaries of our relationships and the moral guidelines we use to determine who we form relationship with and who we separate ourselves from.

The rulerships of Venus and Saturn over the first face of Aquarius also makes me think of the individuation process of Carl Jung that demands descent into the frontiers of our inner psyche beyond our known boundaries of conventional psychology. Peter Kingsley in Catafalque goes to great length in describing passages dictated by Carl Jung that were omitted from publication in his memoir Memories, Dreams, and Reflections in which Jung used the central image of a knight in pursuit of the Grail to describe individuation. Kingsley noted that Jung stressed the crucial importance of the knight “adhering to the unwritten laws of chivalry” in order to gain the Grail, a moral code befitting of Venus and Saturn ruling the first face of Aquarius. Vitally, Kingsley’s summation of Jung’s words concluded that “the secret of individuation is that the one and only way to discover the Grail is by being it.”

Of course, the lore of the Grail demands asking “Whom does the Grail serve?” Similarly, the potent inner work that can be engaged with during the darkness of the Aquarius New Moon can also be most effectively utilized by asking yourself whom or what to serve with the regenerated light you discover within your inner darkness.

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.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

gabriel orozoco extenstion of reflection

Gabriel Orozco Extension as Reflection

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

“Here is the medicine:

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also. And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going . . . Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.”

— Alice Walker, from the Foreward to Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Astrologers have been talking about 2020 for a long time. Not only because of the definitive conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius at the end of the year, but also due to the union between Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. I cannot remember the date of when I first looked at the chart for the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, only that when I did many years ago I needed to talk to about it with my astrologer friends. It wasn’t only that Saturn and Pluto were forming their conjunction at the same time they were uniting with the Sun in Capricorn, but also that Mercury as well as Ceres were in the same degrees, along with Jupiter conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn simultaneously. Then I realized this would be happening two days after a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, a few weeks after a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn. Since conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto are known to correspond collectively with periods of extreme division, contraction, and gravity, I wondered what would be happening. We know what is happening now.

The United Kingdom recently experienced a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, with plans to leave the European Union. Donald Trump is the president of the United States and ordered the killing of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani, sparking missile strikes in retaliation and widespread fear of more militaristic violence to come. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has annexed Kashmir, leading to increased tension in the region, while many Indian citizens have been protesting his nationalistic and anti-Muslim agenda. There have been riots in Hong Kong. Australia is on fire.

These events and others have led many people to be afraid of experiencing a tragedy as Saturn and Pluto come together, fearing the kind of catastrophic crises that have previously corresponded with Saturn and Pluto conjunctions such as the first World War. While there are many reasons to have grave concerns about the current state of the world, rather than becoming frozen in fear we need to come into relationship with our fears so that we can participate and creatively bring about a reordering from whatever has been falling apart. The tests, trials, and tempering we will need to face as a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto commences will ultimately enable us to reforge a purified presence. Yet we must first traverse the realm of shadow and dissolution brought by the Cancer Lunar Eclipse.

The Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 is not a total eclipse and will not result in the Moon turning rosy red in shadow. In fact, it is the weakest category of lunar eclipse with minimal shadowing in places of visibility such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia since the Moon will be about twelve degrees past its own North Node. During the maximum eclipse, about ninety percent of the Moon’s disc will be partially shaded by the Earth with subtle effects to witnesses. However, it is nonetheless a penumbral eclipse occurring in opposition with the Saturn and Pluto conjunction and thus signifies an intensification of volatility in collective events. As the face of the Moon becomes consumed by shadow momentarily before having the discoloration peeled off to reveal its luminescent light, we are invited to descend within our inner darkness of memory, both personal and ancestral, and explore our inner multiplicity for what newfound presence wants to emerge from all of our past.

Yet this is not a normal Lunar Eclipse, for seated upon the solar chariot of Helios casting the shadow is none other than Hermes. Mercury, the star of Hermes, is experiencing its exact superior conjunction during the Lunar Eclipse, its celestial cazimi when it is moving fast on the other side of the Sun from our orbit. At the exact alignment of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will be a mere six arc-minutes past the Sun meaning it will be barely beginning to emerge from being regenerated by the creative potency of our solar light. With Mercury seated upon the throne of our solar chariot, its capacity for mediating polarities will be needed medicine. Mercury can help open awareness to a different way of perceiving current dilemmas and will be our guide in holding the tension of polarized conflicts until the necessary lesson and message emerges into our conscious perception.

After a new cycle of Mercury is seeded on January 10 with the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will move forward on January 11 and January 12 to form a conjunction with first Ceres, then Saturn, and then Pluto just before the exact alignment of Saturn and Pluto on January 12. On mundane levels we can see how this strongly connects the role of technology and commerce into the inception of Saturn and Pluto, including the attention that Edward Snowden, who was born with Saturn conjoining Pluto, brought to the systematic tracking and storage of everything you do on the Internet by global powers that has now become perhaps the most profitable resource on the planet. Recently there have been new revelations regarding the manipulation of personal data by Cambridge Analytica and how it was used to manipulate unconscious tendencies of voters in the elections that led to both Brexit in the UK and President Trump in the USA.  Part of the importance of exploring inner darkness during these times is to cultivate the self realization necessary to avoid being manipulated by Plutonic powers, as well as separating yourself from the cultural conditioning of the past that can be released during this upcoming year of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all coming to the end and beginning of new cycles together.

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Gabriel Orozco (1999) Nina En  Homaca

Lunar eclipses call for us to fully participate with both sides of the polarity being activated by the nodal axis. Since November 2018, the transiting South Node of the Moon has been in Capricorn with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer, and so although the related themes have been playing out in our lives for awhile, they become stirred up and volatilized when eclipses set them off and introduce new events, relationships, and developments within our story. With Saturn and Pluto having been in Capricorn the entire time the nodes have been in Cancer and Capricorn, the South Node side of Capricorn has been overwhelmingly emphasized. The Cancer Lunar Eclipse triggers the North Node side, with the waxing Cancer Moon forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on January 9. In contrast to the themes of harvesting, shedding, and emptying emphasized by the South Node side of Capricorn, the North Node side of Cancer emphasizes growth and discovering new choices, desires, and ambitions to pursue.

The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn centers around the antithetical meaning of the rulers of each sign, the Moon and Saturn. Since the Moon is ruling the eclipse from its home in Cancer while applying to an opposition with Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, the polarized tension between Cancer and Capricorn will be extremely exacerbated. The Moon and Saturn are total opposites within the traditional seven rulers in astrology, with Saturn being the outermost planet serving as guardian to the vast unknown realm of celestial stars, while the Moon is the innermost and fastest moving who tends to the constant flux of generation and corruption within the material, sublunar realm we inhabit. As the constantly waxing and waning Moon corresponds with our constantly changing emotions and thoughts, we can expect the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer to be especially emotional. The inner emotional processes we need to pay attention to will demand our awareness, and we will similarly be made aware of vital emotions occurring within our most important relationships we will need to listen to and nurture.

The eclipsed Cancer Moon setting off the side of its own North Node, while forming an opposition to the colossus conjunction of Saturn and Pluto, will uproot whatever complexes, conditioning, and emotional patterning have been intersecting with any tension between desires for new growth and fear over the unknown future. In order to holistically move forward, however, it will be necessary to go back within memories of past wounds, past identities and parts of ourselves we released or erased for one reason or another. We need to face not only the material reality of circumstances but also deepen our exploration of our inner expanse so that we may retrieve a more essential presence to align with the path forward, rather than making choices purely from a place of conforming to the systematic structures we need to engage for our material security. As collective structure collapse under the weight of Saturn and Pluto, we can imagine what enduring forms we would like to help create to take their place.

gabriel orozco building and birds

Gabriel Orozco (1998) Building and Birds

The long anticipated conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 will occur as part of a sequence of pivotal conjunctions within a few days. After the Cancer Lunar Eclipse forms an opposition with Saturn and Pluto on January 10, Mercury will complete a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto on January 12 before Saturn and Pluto come together, and then Ceres will form a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto after they unite. Then on January 13 both Saturn and Pluto will enter the heart of the Sun to be regenerated within its fiery celestial light. The presence of Ceres with Saturn and Pluto as all three experience the purging and purification of their solar union together evokes the mythology of Ceres needing to purge her grief over losing her daughter to Pluto before returning to fruitful productivity and bringing her gift of mystery initiations to humanity. The complex combination of Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto all coming together in conjunctions with one another and the Sun within a few days brings a quality of underworld initiation into the reseeding and revisioning of this time period.

Saturn and Pluto periods can make us realize what core ideals and values are so important to us that we are willing to die for them. We may need to enact a sacred process of making a sacrifice of something so that its death can bring about the growth of an essential new form in our life. The first century CE astrologer Manilius in Astronomica described Vesta as tending the fires of Capricorn from her shrine, and similarly it may be helpful to envision the sacred guardian of your own inner fire that can reshape and reforge new callings and skills from within. Saturn has long been associated with contemplation in astrology, called “profound in imagination” by William Lily and signifying the “power of thought” according to Ibn Ezra. Allow for a period of reflective gestation with any new ideas or plans, letting them develop and fully emerge with all the time they need.

Furthermore, Jupiter in Capricorn is closely aligned with the South Node of the Moon during the Lunar Eclipse.  In combination with the inception of a new Saturn and Pluto cycle, Jupiter passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn can pull us into questioning how aspects of our surrounding culture have been influencing our motivations, stripping away or shedding whatever is inauthentic. Jupiter is not so much in position to facilitate a linear version of progress or evolution, but more so a nonlinear process of spiraling into the past to rediscover vital aspects of ourselves we had previously let go of, finding nourishment in the putrefaction of the past. There may also be old dreams and desires from the past we realize we need to release to make space for the new potential that will be arising along with the collective changes happening as Saturn and Pluto begin a new cycle.

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Gabriel Orozco (2004) Untitled

Amplifying the revelatory nature of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse will be the additional factor of Uranus stationing direct on the same day at 2°38′ Taurus. Uranus has been retrograde since August 11, 2019 when it stationed retrograde at 6º36′ Taurus. The stationing of Uranus saturates the astrological atmosphere with the liberating and volatilizing impact of Uranus in Taurus, increasing the potential for dramatic new storylines and developments to materialize. Uranus in general can bring disruption but also can shatter or shake things up in a way that makes us wake up to a more authentic presence and desire to pursue goals and activities that make us feel fully alive. For those with Uranus or any other important natal placements in the first three or four degrees of the fixed signs, this stationing of Uranus will demarcate the final phase of Uranus in Taurus catalyzing major developments in the associated area of your life. Uranus will remain direct in motion until eventually stationing retrograde on August 15, 2020 at 10º41′ Taurus.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Since the Moon rules the third face of Cancer, the potency of this face will be in full effect during the eclipse. In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice. It’s an image that also fits well with the fact that Mercury will be exactly conjoining the Sun in opposition to the Lunar Eclipse, as the alchemic antenna of Mercury may receive an important insight or change in perception for us to consider in the weighing of options.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.” Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, questioning the choice of the extra cup of luxury or what we should do with any material excess we accumulate. Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things” that can be found within this face.

Another living symbol indicating the immaterial resources available in the third face of Cancer is found in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs which ascribes Hekate to the third face of Cancer. Finding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hekate for guidance. Hekate connects with the luminosity 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, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn. Hekate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations. For ages Hekate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul, making her a fitting guide for this period of Saturn and Pluto beginning a new cycle. Wherever or whomever you turn for guidance, make the space to align your breath with the divine and claim the authority to speak the words and make the choices that further align with your core purpose. We are at a time of endings and beginnings, new patterns emerging from the old, a time that is well deserving of contemplation and clear intent.

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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In addition, I recently participated in an online astrology panel for Nightlight Astrology on the Saturn and Pluto conjunction along with the astrologers Samuel Reynolds, Leisa Schaim, Jason Holley, Becca Tarnas, Patrick Watson, Rebecca Gordon, and Acyuta-bava Das. Here is a link to watch it:

References

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

Saturn/Pluto: An Astrological Panel Talk

 

nightlight astrology saturn pluto promo

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

7 pm Eastern Standard Time

Nightlight Astrology

I will be part of a panel of astrologers discussing the 12 January 2020 conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn for Nightlight Astrology hosted by Acyuta-bhava Das (formerly known as Adam Elenbaas). I will be joined by Jenn Zahrt, Samuel Reynolds, Jason Holley, Becca Tarnas, Patrick Watson, Rebecca Gordon, and Acyuta-bava Das.

It will take place on January 8th at 7 pm eastern time, via live webinar. See the Nightlight Astrology events page for more information.

“Join us for a star-studded astrology panel discussion on the meaning of the upcoming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in the sign of Capricorn, this January 12th. For many who study astrology, this relatively rare transit (occurring once every 33-38 years) has a reputation for being ominous and anxiety-provoking, and for some very good reasons. However, the focus of our panel discussion will be to present the deeper symbolic meaning of Saturn and Pluto’s conjunction alongside a variety of constructive suggestions for how to make this encounter a more soulful experience. We will also be taking live questions and answers from the audience and hope to generate a meaningful discussion in the midst of what for many are challenging times!”

LOGIN INFORMATION:

https://zoom.us/j/455316272

Meeting ID: 455 316 272

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2020 Astrological Forecast on the Energetic Principles Podcast

I joined Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast for a thorough discussion of the astrology happening in 2020. We discuss each quarter of the year, from solstice to equinox, equinox to solstice in just under three hours. This will hopefully help you prepare for the year ahead, and can also serve as an episode to come back to later in the year to listen to again as we move through each quarter of the year. The astrology of 2020 is the most impactful we have had in over a decade, making it a dramatic initiation into a new decade.

If you enjoy Melissa’s work, check out her site where you will find a Patreon page set up to support her with a monthly subscription.

If you enjoy my work in astrology, please consider supporting me 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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Capricorn Solar Eclipse: the Holly and the Axe

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Once upon a Christmas time in Camelot, the court of King Arthur was filled with feasting, fellowship, carousing, and carolling. The noble knights of the Round Table were gathered along with the most lovely of ladies, surrounded by the most lavish of Yuletide decor, with the luminous Queen Guinevere and King Arthur at the center. As the revelry settled for the first sumptuous serving of supper to be served, a massive, mighty, and mountainous man appeared in the doorway, eclipsing the merrymaking with awe and amazement in all- for this fearsome figure was “entirely emerald green” in every detail of his handsome features. All of his garments were green, with green flowing hair and a green bushy beard growing down his body- even his horse was pure green in color, with a green mane groomed with gold that had been tinseled, tied, and twisted with beads and chiming bells. “His look was lightning bright / said those who glimpsed its glow. / It seemed no man there might / survive his violent blow.”

Yet the green knight wore no helmet nor armor, held no sword nor shield, “but held in one hand a sprig of holly – of all the evergreens the greenest ever – and in the other hand held the mother of all axes.” The green knight demanded audience with their sovereign, and asked King Arthur to gracefully grant his wish for a game of guts. The green knight called for one present to step forward and strike him with his axe one stroke and then be struck by him in return. After King Arthur gripped the axe while the green knight calmly awaited his attack, the King’s virtuous nephew Gawain intervened and took responsibility for the daring deed. Gawain swore an oath that after striking the green knight with a blow he would be struck in return in twelve months’ time by the green knight, and then proceeded in one clean stroke to cut off the green knight’s head. As the separated head rolled across the floor, the blood covered and headless green knight stoically snatched it off the ground as he swung himself into the saddle of his steed. He held up his severed head which opened its eyelids to stare straight at Gawain and spoke a reminder of the vow he had made to receive his blow the next New Years dawn.

The late fourteenth century chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight goes on to tell the magical tale of Sir Gawain’s journey to fulfill his oath made to the green knight, a quest that serves as a mysterious test of his mettle, faithfulness, virtue, and courage. Those in pacific, mountain, and central time zones will experience the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the night of Christmas, while those in other time zones will experience the blackening of Sol’s light on December 26, 2019. In any case, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse occurring four days after the Solstice is a dramatic initiation into a tumultuous year that will feature another Solar Eclipse at the Cancer Solstice and will end with the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of 2020. The rise and fall of collective fortunes that will correspond with the extremely volatile astrology of 2020 will test the character and determination of each of us, calling forth our heroic capacities, tender compassion, and creative potency. It will be a year necessitating that we engage the world as active creative agents and receptive responders to those in need, allowing ourselves to be reshaped through participating in the changes to come.

Druids_Trilithon_by_Blake_relief-etching_British_Museum

by William Blake

“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”  — Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Since ancient times across many cultures, eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. Like the ouroboros imagery of a dragon devouring its own tail in alchemy which mirrors the dissolution of nature that seeds new forms, the dark void of eclipses function as a fertile matrix which can suddenly unleash shifts in storylines we had not been prepared for. Realities that had been hidden from our perception can arise forcibly into our awareness, and in the weeks surrounding eclipses there can be an intensification of forms and relationships entering and leaving our lives.

Since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse is aligned with the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, there will be an emphasis on the sacrifice of making the changes sacred, releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, cleansing, resting, meditating, and letting go will be favored. As the dissolution of the eclipse loosens the binding of the innumerable strands of historical and cultural conditioning bound up within and without, we may reforge our presence and knowing when immersed in stillness, just as the Sun recently stood still at the Solstice.

The December 25/26 eclipse is the second and final solar eclipse to occur in Capricorn during the 2018 – 2020 period of the transiting lunar nodes occupying the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The previous Solar Eclipse in Capricorn was on January 5, 2019 and there will be one more powerful solar eclipse along the Cancer-Capricorn axis six months from now on June 21, 2020. While you may be familiar and used to working with whatever themes in your life have arisen with the eclipses and nodes moving through Cancer and Capricorn in your nativity, a new chapter filled with new storylines will commence as the Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiates a lunar month in which the midpoint features a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12.

In part due to Capricorn being the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it was associated in ancient text with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the immortals and ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Capricorn as the southern gate that “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Capricorn is the nocturnal home of Saturn, inwardly directed zodiacal terrain that favors creation through contraction and pulling back to make empty space for new growth to germinate and take root. As Saturn approaches its exact conjunction with Pluto in the next three weeks, even those wishing to focus on external achievement are likely to become grounded by the gravity of graveyards and confronted with personal issues and lessons that need to be accepted and addressed rather than resisted. Make whatever space is needed to contemplate the darkness within, listening for the message you need to receive rather than your preconceived notion of what you want to hear.

“Down in the underworld where western logic comes from, where the roots of earth and water and fire and sky merge into a single whole, the entire world as we think we know it with all its imaginary distinctions and divisions disappears. Everything we cling on to, everything we hold important, is gone.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Kazuki Yasuo black sun

Kazuki Yasuo Black Sun

“All around him, for as far as he could see, lay a rough land strewn with rocks, with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass. Colorless, with no light to speak of. No sun, no moon or stars. No sense of direction, either. At a set time, a mysterious twilight and a bottomless darkness merely exchanged places. A remote border on the edge of consciousness. At the same time, it was a place of strange abundance.”

— Haruki Murakami (born with Sun and Jupiter in Capricorn) from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage

Jupiter in Capricorn is closely conjoining the eclipse by one degree, and so is seeding the eclipse with its growth-inducing influence and significations. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse marks the end of Jupiter’s synodic cycle, as it will enter the heart of the Sun on the following day to be regenerated with the creative potency of the Sun’s stellar light. It is therefore an old, elder Jupiter ready to fall into death and rebirth that is meeting with the Solar Eclipse, another indicator that promotes investing time in reflecting on the lessons you have learned and the beliefs you have shed in the past year. Like Pan, the wild nature deity who is part of Capricorn’s constellational mythos, Jupiter in Capricorn can function as our shepherd through the fertile darkness of the eclipse, reshaping and organizing our consciousness while attuning with the flux and reordering of Nature and the natural cycles of change coming into form around us. Inspiration may be found through engaging with the constraints of our circumstances rather than through pushing for expansion.

At the same time that the Moon is conjoining with the Sun and its own South Node in Capricorn, Jupiter is also approaching a conjunction with the South Node of Jupiter in Capricorn while Saturn and Pluto are also coming together in close proximity with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This means that the orbital arcs of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be pouring down across the ecliptic at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, saturating our collective field with the putrefaction of the entire archetypal arcs of their past cycles. Not only can we no longer escape our past history at this time, it will be also be a vital responsibility to acknowledge the multiplicity of historical streams of oppression and resiliency feeding into the rising river of collective crises flooding across global civilizations. While we will be motivated to look toward a future of new intentions as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, we also need to look backward for what can be learned from not only our own past but from the legacy of our ancestors as well.

“Our modern democratic age has manufactured a personal spirituality to meet everyone’s needs which is absolutely guaranteed to be calm, sweet, peaceful, polite, positive, comfortable, reassuring, unthreatening . . . But this happens to be almost the exact opposite of the ancient understanding – which is that spirituality and the sacred offer the profoundest challenge to our complacency, as well as presenting the most radical threat . . . truth was seen as something extremely painful, even impossible, for most people to bear.

Truth, or alêtheia, had its own mythology that confronts humans with the grim but glorious reality of what they are “from the beginning”: unimaginably glorious because of their boundless inner potential and unthinkably grim because of the overwhelming responsibilities such a forgotten potential brings.

This is why it- or she, because Truth often appears as a goddess- was always intimately involved in the superhuman effort to stop that process of forgetting. Her role, above all, was to preside over the supremely urgent task of remembering not what happened yesterday or even last month but what happened in the distant past that shaped this present moment and will also produce our future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

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Kalighat painting (19th Century) of Kali dancing on the corpse of Shiva

Saturn in Capricorn rules the eclipse while applying toward a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 12, two days after the forthcoming Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Though the close balsamic phase between Saturn and Pluto has been a pivotal influence during the past year, there will be a deeper level of impact felt as they finally complete their long anticipated union. The multivalent significations unleashed in collective events during hard alignments between Saturn and Pluto (conjunction, square, opposition) were deftly described by Richard Tarnas in his tome Cosmos and Psyche. Tarnas described periods of historical darkness and gravity requiring moral courage from individuals in the face of severe collective events full of the “morally problematic aspects of human existence” and “the end to naïveté and inflated privilege.” Tarnas also gave a compelling list of artistic masterpieces produced during Saturn Pluto alignments representative of its archetypal meaning, such as The Trial, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, 1984, The Stranger, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Crime and Punishment, The Waste Land, The Grapes of Wrath, The Rite of Spring, Heart of Darkness, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As shown in these artworks, during periods of Saturn Pluto we must encounter the dark underbelly of civilization and a reckoning with humanity’s aspirations for power.

With Ceres, Mercury, and the Sun also conjoining the coming together of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, it is clear from current events how their significations are combining with Saturn and Pluto around themes such as environmental destruction and the plundering of natural resources for human consumption, grave moralistic questions concerning the use of technology and its interface with global power structures, women’s reproductive rights, as well as coming to terms with historical oppression of women and many other identities and cultures by those representing dominant cultural identities. As the volatile force of eclipse season will be mixing with the union of Saturn and Pluto, although the collective crises we are facing feel overwhelming we also have the opportunity to take responsibility for doing our part in reshaping the world that will be taking form between now and next year when Jupiter and Saturn move through their conjunctions with Pluto to initiate their new cycle in Aquarius on December 21, 2020.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who was born with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, recently gave a powerfully penetrating acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature that evoked the quality of time we find ourselves in:

“The climate emergency and the political crisis in which we are now trying to find our way, and which we are anxious to oppose by saving the world have not come out of nowhere. We often forget that they are not just the result of a twist of fate or destiny, but of some very specific moves and decisions―economic, social, and to do with world outlook (including religious ones). Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.

That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize for Literature speech on 12/07/19 translated by by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones

2 of pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Capricorn Solar Eclipse falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a  juggler dancing while holding the ouroboric motion of two pentacles, against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change, embodies the capacity of the first decan of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Tarot author T. Susan Chang recently posted an insightful article on the first face of Capricorn, calling it “The Difference Engine.” Chang described one of its lessons being that since “the only constant is change” we need to find the opportunities available to make our own luck, but that simultaneously it also offers greater ease communicating with the past and with ancestors while reconciling “the turn toward light and life in the midst of the darkest hour.”

Fittingly for a South Node Solar Eclipse taking place in this face, Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn. Coppock stated that the first face of Capricorn “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.” Coppock analyzed the ancient attribution by Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new work of art or sources of sustenance.

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

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn, and since Jupiter is not only transiting through the first face of Capricorn but is also closely conjoining the Solar Eclipse, the meaning of this decan will be noticeable in personal and collective events. Walking with the tender awareness of Asclepius for not only the interconnectedness of our surroundings but also the visions of new forms we can churn from subconscious depths will be a way to navigate the chaotic changes that will be rippling through our global collective. Since periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning correspond with an intensification of collective scape-goating and projecting dark, unrecognized material onto others, the capacity of Asclepius for exploring one’s shadow and accepting one’s inner multiplicity through contemplation of dream images as well as passing omens and synchronicities will be vital skills to develop.

The connection of Asclepius to the first face of Capricorn is further interesting in the context of Robert Hand’s work demonstrating that through precession of the solstices that the Capricorn Solstice point in recent years has passed through the hand of the Serpent Holder (a figure often connected with Asclepius) in the Ophiuchus constellation that is holding the Serpent. Hand has connected the meaning of this alignment in current events with ecological disasters and crises in which nature rebels against human attempts to tame or control it for power and resources. Hand has stressed this alignment indicates the critical necessity for coming to terms with climate change and human consumption of natural resources for energy.

While there are no easy answers to fix the myriad collective issues demanding attention, individually we can each take steps to nurture reservoirs of inner strength to draw upon when needed in response to difficulties or when devising creative solutions. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiating our entrance into the new decade of the 2020s serves as a fitting omen for the new year bringing to a close an old way of being while intimations of a reordering to help shape comes into greater awareness. As the Solar Eclipse conjoining the South Node suggests letting go of old patterns, we can shed and release any beliefs we have been holding or actions we have been taking that are not aligned with our values and do not serve the greater good.  Make the time and space to explore your inner darkness, listening for the gifts you possess to cultivate and share with the wider world. Be open to connecting with creative collaborators with whom you can combine skills and strengths while mutually supporting one another. Claim the courage to creatively actualize more of your potential in 2020 and help make the changes you wish to see happen.

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

Armitage, Simon. (2018). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Revised edition. Faber & Faber Ltd.

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

Hand, Robert. (2014). The Precession of the Capricorn Solstice and the Importance of 2017 to Humanity. The Mountain Astrologer. October/November 2014 issue.

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

Murakami, Haruki. (2014). Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.  Alfred A. Knopf.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs  (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

 

Full Moon in Gemini

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Sasanian silver plate (5th – 6th Century CE)

Full Moon in Gemini

“Fair Hermes, crown’d with feathers, fluttering light / I had a splendid dream of thee last night: / I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, /  Among the Gods, upon Olympus old,  / The only sad one; for thou didst not hear / The soft lute-finger’d Muses chanting clear, / Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, / Deaf to his throbbing throat’s long, long melodious moan. / I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, / Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, / And swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart / Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art!”

— from Lamia by John Keats

The Full Moon in Gemini on December 11 pours down its light of silvery synthesis into places where rigidity has taken root in fearful or judgmental beliefs. The crater patterning of its reflective glow transmits the wink of sly Hermes, a reminder that we don’t know the whole story or the pattern being weaved from the warping and wefting of our thread. Multiplicities and multitudinous musings unravel in the Gemini Moon, inviting new questions, curious investigations, and willingness for a new narrative voice to shift the storyline we have been telling ourselves.

The Gemini Full Moon is ruled by swift Mercury riding a speedy Sagittarius stallion into the beams of the Sun. As the Full Moon peaks, Mercury will be making its final appearance as a Morning Star before entering its invisible phase in which it moves at its fastest speed on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit. Before disappearing from view, Mercury turns to deliver a message we need to hear, a riddle to ponder and contemplate during the darkness approaching over the horizon. There is a bigger picture we need to see and connections we need to make, with a willingness to look in places overlooked by most, to listen to voices who many do not listen to.

Although the Full Moon is separating from a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, the enchantments and imaginal inspirations of Neptune will be washing over our sensations as the Moon waxes toward peak fullness.  For those who have been working hard with focused seriousness recently, it can be an ideal time for respite within regenerative fantasy. For those who have been neglecting duties or details, there may be a sudden awakening to what needs to change and what needs to be taken care of. For those who have been deceiving themselves, the fog of illusion may part to reveal personal truth and self realization.

With Mercury, the Sun, and Neptune all under rulership of Jupiter in Capricorn, it’s vital that Jupiter is separating from a catalyzing square with Chiron and applying toward a flowing and innovative trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Furthermore, it’s significant that Chiron in Aries is stationing in stillness at 1º26′ Aries, with Mercury in Sagittarius also separating from a trine with Chiron. Altogether, these aspects will be most effective when questioning any dominant paradigms and cultural influences that have made you feel disappointed in not living up to whatever you feel you “should” be achieving, or has led you away from whatever brings you real happiness. Being willing to experiment with an adventurous spirit may not manifest your idealized results right away, but the shake-up to your status quo will dislodge essential insights that will bring rewards by choosing a dynamic direction rather than sustaining whatever has become stagnant or unfulfilling.

Whether you want things to change or stay the same, deep shifts and changes are on the horizon as we come to the end of a decade with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn as the final lunation of the year on December 25 or 26, depending on your time zone. The Gemini Full Moon demarcates the threshold of entering “eclipse season,” in which the Sun moves within range of nineteen degrees away from the transiting South Node of the Moon. This means that eclipse related events will begin occurring during the waning half of this lunar cycle, events which can sometimes have a strange and unexpected quality along with a far reaching impact. Eclipses release the unmanifest into manifestation, with new relationships and storylines entering our life at the same time that old ones pass away. Since the eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, there is a stronger focus on release, purification, and harvesting of the past more so than a surge of new growth. The impact of changes will be most apparent for those with natal chart placements close to 4°06′ Capricorn where the darkening of the Sun’s light will occur.

 

Aphrodite_Epitragia

Roman Cameo, 1st Century BC – 2nd Century

“Are then regalities all gilded masks? / No, there are throned seats unscalable / But by a patient wing, a constant spell, /  Or by ethereal things that, unconfined, / Can make a ladder of the eternal wind, / And poise about in cloudy thunder-tents / To watch the abysm-birth of elements. / Ay, ‘love the withering of old-lipp’d Fate / A thousand Powers keep religious state, / In water, fiery realm, and airy bourne; / And, silent, as a consecrated urn, / Hold sphery sessions for a season due. / Yet few of these far majesties, ah, few! / Have bared their operations to this globe — / Few, who with gorgeous pageantry enrobe / Our piece of heaven– whose benevolence / Shakes hand with our own Ceres; every sense / Filling with spiritual sweets to plenitude, / As bees gorge full their cells. And by the feud / ‘Twixt Nothing and Creation, I here swear, / Eterne Apollo! that thy Sister fair / Is of all these the gentlier-mightiest. / When thy gold breath is misting in the west, / She unobserved steals unto her throne, / And there she sits most meek and most alone; / As if she had not pomp subservient; / As if thine eye, high Poet! was not bent / Towards her with the Muses in thine heart; / as if the ministering stars kept not apart, / Waiting for silver-footed messages. / O Moon! old boughs lisp forth a holier din / The while they feel thine airy fellowship. / Thou dost bless everywhere, with silver lip / Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine, / Couch’d in thy brightness, dream of fields divine: / Innumerable mountains rise, and rise, / Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes, / And yet they benediction passeth not / One obscure hiding-place, one little spot / Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren / Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken, / And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf / Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief, / To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps, / Within its pearly house; — The mighty deeps, / The monstrous sea is thine– the myriad sea! / O Moon! far spooning Ocean bows to thee, / And Tellus feels his forehead’s cumbrous load.”

— from Endymion, Book III by John Keats

Venus in Capricorn is in a quincunx aspect with the Full Moon, but most vittally is separating from a conjunction with Saturn and applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. There has been incredible intensification during the past year in whatever areas of your life are connected with Capricorn, as Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and eclipses have shaken and reshaped matters. Now that Venus and Jupiter have joined the Sea Goat’s procession, we can feel revivifying winds blowing through the rocky terrain of Capricorn that bring awareness of how to mend and tend to whatever has been been triggered or fractured as Saturn and Pluto have moved within close proximity during 2019. Visions of essential growth can arise through the stillness of surveying the many sides of your circumstances, sparked by the stones of Necessity. Yet dreams of new creative endeavors will require the time it takes to construct a secure and stable foundation before they can take form and successfully put down roots in your community. The astrology of upcoming months supports long-range goals that will require incubation and adjustment, but can ultimately manifest into enduring forms of shelter and support.

When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. However, Venus is coming to Pluto soon after meeting with Saturn, and so the manner in which we addressed whatever issues arose as Venus united with Saturn in the week before the Full Moon is pivotal. If the austereness of Saturn’s influence on Venus led to strained conversations, harsh criticism, or feelings of not being heard, it will be especially important to resolve any lingering issues before they fester and foment a larger implosion. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

Venus weaving in between Saturn and Pluto during the Full Moon is perfect for attuning to the larger changes taking shape in correspondence with the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto that will happen on January 12, 2020. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche used extensive research to show that periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning involve uncompromising, polarized conflicts that lead to fears of being overwhelmed by disruptive forces out of our control. This leads some to feel a need to restrain instinctive desires that feel threatening to established orders, others to project their own shadowy material onto others who serve as scapegoats. The reflective light of the Gemini Full Moon can illuminate inner depths and the complex, contradictory multiplicities we all have within us.

With Mars in Scorpio applying toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces, allow yourself to face the lessons you’ve learned from failure, acknowledge the unsavory aspects of yourself you prefer to keep hidden from others, while resurrecting a more essential image of your creative potential to strive toward in the year ahead. It’s often the case that our frustrations with current relationships and scenarios mirror issues within our inner darkness, but during the time period ahead dominated by Saturn and Pluto it will be especially important to take responsibility for one’s own issues and to relate with the actual presence of others instead of the unconscious material we are projecting onto them. By descending within our own darkness we can not only connect with desires that will truly activate our creativity and presence, we can also take advantage of the transit of Mars in Scorpio harmoniously interacting with Saturn and Neptune to generate new forms and growth from imaginal sources.

swords09

9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Full Moon peaks at 19º51′ Gemini, the very end of the second decan of the Twins. Associated with the Nine of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, the image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols takes on new meaning when considering that Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to this face. Coppock described the second face of Gemini as being a place of mediating “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul.” The obsessive, negative thought cycles shown in the 9 of Swords through this lens reveals an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world,” to Coppock, “the moments of despair” which can occur within the “irreconcilable places” found within this decan. Yet to Coppock there is a great gift to cultivate in the second face of Gemini in terms of recognizing how each side of dualities like love and war perpetually turn back into one another through the “arts of union and separation.” Coppock concluded that whoever “accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

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

There has been a palpable sense of fear in many who follow astrology concerning the transits of 2020 such as the alignment of Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. While it is true that the astrology transits of 2020 portend a period of major endings and beginnings, remember that within the same fear over what could happen you will discover the vivifying excitement of creative potential you want to make happen.  In The Myth of Analysis, James Hillman wrote that “Those twins, compulsion and inhibition, are familiar enough in all creative efforts where one is both driven and blocked, enthusiastic and critical, on fire and fearful . . . Demon and daimon are one; if we suppress the compulsion, we lose touch with the guiding voice of the daimon . . . At the deepest level of fear an eros appears . . .” As we draw to the end of the year, the end of the decade, and the liminal time of two-faced Janus, allow any fear concerning the unknown future to help clarify what you want to devote yourself toward bringing into being.

 References

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

Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis.

 

Jupiter in Capricorn

Jupiter Capricorn Pan no text

Cropped image of Pan from Spring Evening by Arnold Bocklin; Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Jupiter in Capricorn

Jupiter descends from its elevated, fiery home of Sagittarius on December 2, 2019 to enter its fall in Capricorn, where it will remain until December 19, 2020. As Jupiter dismounts from its swift steed of Sagittarius and takes off its saffron robe encircled in patterns of star-fire, Jupiter wanders into the rocky and treacherous terrain of Capricorn where Pan-like it will mix with the spirits of land and nature. Like a goat-horned and hoofed deity who dances with nymphs and lives in complete accordance with nature’s cycles, Jupiter in Capricorn brings the force of Eros underneath the surface of matter to catalyze growth and expansion from subterranean sources underlying the roots of appearances.

During 2019, the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius was the most positive and beneficial astrological force during a year in which we collectively had to come to terms with the intensifying alignment of Saturn and Pluto ending a cycle together in Capricorn while also conjoining the South Node of the Moon and eclipses. The astrologer André Barbault called the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto “a double star that evokes the death wish of Thanatos,” and as the major alignments of its cycle have corresponded with shattering collective events such as the outbreaks of the first and second World Wars as well as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, there has been a lot of fear for what destructive events could erupt during 2020 as they begin a new cycle on January 12. It’s significant that Jupiter will be ending and beginning cycles with both Saturn and Pluto during 2020, while occupying Saturn’s nocturnal home of Capricorn. In the wild, dark forests of Capricorn, Jupiter in Capricorn will have to confront the living ghosts of the past and all of the complex, interweaving strands of historical conflicts found in the shadows of present collective crises.

While Jupiter will bring its strength for reconciling meaning into the widespread decay, breakdown, and power conflicts incited by Saturn and Pluto conjoining in Capricorn, it will no longer be able to purely express itself directly as it could while in Sagittarius. Being under rulership of Saturn, Jupiter in Capricorn will necessitate finding growth opportunities and cohering meaning within the constraints of circumstances and available time and space. Jupiter will need to create from contraction and consolidation, determinedly building what Saturn deems worthy of our investment, stripping away the inessential in the process. As Jupiter comes to the end of its cycle with Saturn, we will need to temper our imaginative visions of expansion with methodical reordering which addresses not only our realizations ripening for harvesting, but also the death of old forms, past issues surfacing for resolution, and the collective changes out of our control we will have to respond to.

zeus amalthea

Giulio Bonasone( 1531-76), Jupiter suckled by the goat Amalthea

Indeed, the year 2020 is not only significant due to initiating a new decade within the Gregorian calendar, it also happens to align with an epochal shift within broader astrological cycles. The last time Saturn and Pluto united was in 1982/83, while the last time Saturn and Jupiter united was in 2000; however, the Saturn and Jupiter conjunction in 2020 also brings to an end a larger two-hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs, while firmly establishing a new two-hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs. Since the year begins with a conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12, ends with a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, and features Jupiter uniting with Pluto three times in between, the transit of Jupiter in Capricorn is a key transit due to cohering the meaning of numerous planetary cycles together in 2020.

Historically, there has often been a triggering of increased volatility and amplified change and revolution in collective events when Jupiter has moved in between alignments with outer planets like Saturn and Pluto to connect them across broad stretches of time, similar to the “translation of light” caused by the Moon moving in between aspects within planets on a daily basis. Here are some dates for Jupiter forming major aspects with Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto during the next year:

  • Jupiter in Capricorn will form a flowing and innovative trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus on December 15, 2019. This is the only exact aspect between Jupiter and Uranus, but although a passing transit it will correspond with important insights and manifestations of visions we have been experimenting with. In particular, we may experience vital development on ideas we have been developing since the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus that occurred in 2017.
  • Jupiter in Capricorn will form three harmonizing sextile aspects with Neptune in Pisces in 2020 on February 20 (18º), July 27 (21º), and on October 11 (19º). The supportive, waning sextile aspect between Jupiter and Neptune can help ground and structure whatever imaginal visions were developed during the last quarter square formed between Jupiter and Neptune in 2019. It can also help us stabilize any major changes in life direction made in recent years while remaining open to new potential.
  • Jupiter will form three conjunctions with Pluto in Capricorn during 2020. The first with both direct on April 4 (25º), the second with both retrograde on June 30 (24º), and the third with both direct on November 12 (23º).
  • Jupiter will finally form a conjunction with Saturn at the first degree of Aquarius on December 21, 2020. Jupiter and Saturn will be co-present in Capricorn for most of 2020 except between March 21 and July 1 when Saturn will be in Aquarius. Saturn returns to Aquarius for good on December 17, 2020.
Fall of Thema Mundi with Moon

Planets in Fall arranged with the Thema Mundi

Fall of Jupiter

One of the first principles in contemplating Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn in the year ahead is understanding the meaning of Jupiter being in its fall. The graphic above is arranged with the planets in their fall placed into the houses of the Thema Mundi, the mythic horoscope for the birth of the universe.  The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all have their fall in the sign opposite their exaltation. The origin of the terminology for “fall” comes from the Greek term “tapeinoma,” which means a depression in the ground or a low-lying place. As Demetra George wrote in her tome Ancient Astrology,  the terminology of fall “carries both the meaning of lower status- humbled, base, low-born- and the corresponding state of melancholy; downcast spirits.” Melancholia and pessimistic beliefs that can come from skepticism are indeed some of the potential downfalls when Jupiter inhabits the cold, dry, and densely earthen home of Saturn.

The schema of exaltation and fall is related to the relation of astrology with the intersection between the eternal realm of Spirit (generally associated with the Sun) with our material realm of Fortune and constant generation, corruption, death, and birth (generally associated with the Moon). Planets in exaltation occupy an idealized, peak expression of the planet capable of receiving fame and acclaim within society. Yet according to William Lilly, exalted planets when unimpeded can describe someone “of haughty condition, arrogant, assuming more to him than his due.” In contrast, planets in fall can be viewed as falling out of the mainstream and the exalted power structure of social hierarchy. Planets in fall may signify matters undervalued by  the dominant culture or falling outside what consensus society esteems as elite or idealized. Planets in fall may also become drawn toward working on behalf of those marginalized by societal structures. While exalted planets can tumble from lofty heights, planets in fall can rise up.

I like to frame planets in fall in accordance with the thema mundi since the Sun in Libra is found in the subterranean angle of the fourth house within the mythic horoscope. The Sun being in the place of the underworld evokes the dangerous and death-defying  journey that Ra, the Egyptian Sun god, has to undergo each night through facing the serpent Apophis. An embodiment of chaos, Apophis comes perilously close to devouring the Sun in the depth of night and in this way reveals the symbolism of planets in fall needing to undergo an underworld initiation. Though planets in fall can bring us down into dark nights of soul, through difficult initiatory experiences we can ultimately receive deeper understanding into being an eternal soul who has fallen into incarnation in a world of constant flux.

Jupiter has its fall in Capricorn, a place where Mars is exalted; conversely, Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, a place where Mars has its fall. Rhetorius, an astrologer from the 6th or 7th Century CE, wrote that since “Jupiter is the ruler of life and abundance, but Mars of death,” it means that since “the breath of life increase” in Cancer that “the quality of death” has its fall there. Furthermore, Rhetorius wrote that since death increases in Capricorn, “there is life in its fall.”  Jupiter in Capricorn is in a sign that favors the combative strength and courage of Mars that deals with survival and death more so than the nurturing strength of Jupiter which focuses on generation and abundance.

There are also ancient associations of Cancer, the sign of the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, being associated with life and the descent of souls into incarnation, whereas Capricorn, the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, was associated with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Cancer as the northern gate “adapted to souls descending into generation,” and Capricorn as the southern gate that is “adapted to ascent” and which “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Thus Jupiter in Capricorn finds itself within ancestral land set apart from farming and fertilizing, where the putrefaction and deep contemplation of Saturn finds its home.

While Capricorn’s association with death and ascent to the realm of immortals could be interpreted as revealing the priestly nature of Jupiter in Capricorn being particularly attuned to communing with ancestors, it also shows the difficulty that the generous and optimistic nature of Jupiter encounters in Capricorn. Faced with fear of survival or scarcity of resources in the rocky expanse of Capricorn, Jupiter’s impetus for growth and expansion can become overly materialistic with ambitious desire to attain status and control outcomes. Jupiter in Capricorn potentially 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. In order for Jupiter in Capricorn to access its higher gifts, it needs to follow the higher path of Saturn which involves setting oneself apart from the consensus to discern inner truth.

There is also a unique creative expression that can be accessed through each planet in fall, in accordance with the nature of its ruler. In Capricorn, Jupiter has the resources of Saturn at its disposal that can enable the manifestation of imaginal vision into enduring forms and structures through the hard work and disciplined determination which pleases Saturn. There is a long list of Jupiter in Capricorn natives who achieved immortality through their creativity such as John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Charlie Chaplin, Isadora Duncan, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Wilde, Stéphane Mallarmé, Jean Cocteau, and Beethoven, as well as modern visionary groundbreakers such as RuPaul and Mark Zuckerberg (Zuckerberg also being an example of Jupiter’s excessive potential ambition in Capricorn). There is a steadiness found with Jupiter in Capricorn that can be utilized to strategize ways of persisting through obstacles and setbacks in order to achieve longterm goals.

In keeping with the philosophical nature of Jupiter being placed in the home of contemplative Saturn, there are also numerous notable intellectuals and philosophers such as William James, Karl Marx, Albert Camus, and Martin Heidegger born with Jupiter in Capricorn. Heidegger is particularly interesting in connection with Capricorn as a place of death, as his philosophy involved making an authentic change through facing death and taking the responsibility to resist conforming to dominant social norms and conventions. Jupiter in Capricorn is also found in the horoscope of metaphysical visionaries Emmanuel Swedenborg and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, both of whom worked within the sympathy found between the celestial realm above with the earth below. During the challenging times portended by the coming transits of 2020, we will need to rely upon Jupiter in Capricorn’s capacity for bringing imaginal vision into the stark reality of circumstances with a focus on making pragmatic results that address the collective breakdown and disintegration occurring.

Pagan Otherworld Devil Arcanum

Devil Arcanum from Pagan Otherworlds tarot deck

Jupiter & Pluto in Capricorn

Perhaps the most massive influence upon Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn will be the three conjunctions it will form with Pluto. The most recent unions between Jupiter and Pluto took place in 2007 in Sagittarius, in 1994 in Scorpio, in 1981 in Libra, in 1968 in Virgo, in 1956 in Leo, in 1943 in Leo, in 1931 in Cancer, and in 1918 in Cancer. When Jupiter combines with Pluto, new knowledge and growth opportunities come from eruptions and catharsis that expand vision beyond previous restrictions. Jupiter can help cohere whatever has fallen apart during the alignment of Saturn and Pluto in the past year, regenerating visions of possibility from the breakdown and decay while asking difficult questions and exploring the taboo. While it’s common for people to resist the deep shifts stirred up by Pluto, the potential explosiveness of its melding with Jupiter will make it important to follow inner promptings for change so that repression does not ultimately lead to implosion.

Pluto conjoining Jupiter will bring expansion through deep penetration into the roots of material circumstances, retrieving lessons, wisdom, and treasure from the inner depths of our unconscious. We will work best with Jupiter and Pluto when finding joy in creation and devoting ourselves to work that intensifies our fulfillment in being alive. Yet we need to be mindful of how Pluto can amplify the inflated ambition of Jupiter to an obsessive degree that can subdue our sense of spirit, generosity and compassion. Indeed, there will likely be numerous power grabs and conflicts erupting amongst the plutocracy as those in power attempt to further secure their grip on resources.  However, since the 2020 conjunctions between Jupiter and Pluto will occur in the same year as a new cycle begins between Saturn and Pluto, the potency of change incited by these new cycles will be so intense that many in power will not be able to hold on to their control.

The limitations of time and space brought by the influence of Saturn upon Jupiter and Pluto will hone our core purpose and temper excessive aspirations. As Jupiter moves through its three conjunctions with Pluto on its way toward uniting with Saturn at the end of 2020, we will be most effective when working with natural cycles and aligning with the seasonal changes of nature, allowing intentions for growth to be determined by the necessity of adapting to the environment and contending with constraints. It will be important to discern when it will be best to rest and recover from collective storms in the caves of Capricorn, and when it will be necessary to climb across boundaries, take action, and participate in creating the change we wish to see happen.

Planetary Nodes of Jupiter.jpg

South Node of Jupiter

Another fascinating aspect of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning new cycles together in 2020 is that all three will be conjoining their own south nodes as we cross the threshold from 2019 into 2020 [note: if you would like to read a more extensive article I wrote about the planetary nodes through focusing on the nodes of Neptune click here]. Just like the lunar nodes demarcate the intersection of the ecliptic (the apparent path of our Sun that forms the zodiac) with the arc of the Moon’s orbit, so do the planetary nodes of Jupiter mark the intersection of its orbit around the Sun with our orbit on Earth around the Sun. Currently, the heliocentric South Node of Jupiter is between 10-11º Capricorn, while the heliocentric South Node of Saturn is about 23º Capricorn and the heliocentric South Node of Pluto is about 19º Capricorn.

The graphic above containing the planetary nodes of Jupiter shows the four points of dynamic change within its relationship with its own nodes. When Jupiter moved through a conjunction with the North Node of Jupiter in Cancer in 2014, it moved from being in southern latitude into being on the ecliptic when uniting with its North Node. It then moved into northern latitude until reaching its peak elevation in northern latitude when forming a square with its nodes in Libra, another dynamic point of change called the northern bending. Jupiter then descended from northern latitude to where it finds itself now, conjoining its own South Node on the ecliptic. In the years ahead, Jupiter will continue to further descend into southern latitude until reaching its southern bending in Aries and then beginning to head back toward the ecliptic and the North Node of Jupiter in Cancer.

Since Jupiter will be conjoining the South Node of Jupiter, it means by latitude it will be moving south across the ecliptic, inhabiting the point at which our orbit on Earth intersects with the orbit of Jupiter around the Sun. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes interpreted the alignment of a planet with its South or North Node as more readily saturating and flooding our earth-based consciousness with its influence since it is connecting with the orbital plane of our planet Earth. Rudhyar associated the North Node of planets with absorption of new material and stressed the importance of properly digesting and integrating the new material so it will not lead to negative issues when the planet reaches its South Node. The South Node to Rudhyar involves both a seed-like re-channeling into mental, creative, and spiritual development as well as the disintegration and putrefaction of poisonous, toxic material. What Jupiter related themes are you now facing that have their source in 2013 through 2014 when Jupiter conjoined its North Node in Cancer?

Rudhyar further distinguished between the impact of a planet crossing its north node, which he saw as involving a greater degree of cooperation between the archetypal force of the planet and the Earth, with the impact of a planet crossing its own south node, which he saw as being challenging in terms of an outpouring of the archetypal force descending across the ecliptic. Rudhyar wrote, “At its south node the characteristic quality of a planet is almost forcibly thrown upon the Earth.” Because Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be conjoining their South Nodes as we enter 2020, it is as if the entire orbital arcs of all three planetary archetypes are demanding assimilation, processing, and release. We can feel their impact acutely in the innumerable crises of civilization erupting across our planet that involve complex knots of intersecting karmic strands reaching far back into the history of civilization.

While Jupiter will not be exactly crossing the ecliptic at zero degrees of latitude until February 2020, it will be close to its own South Node when Jupiter forms a conjunction with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on December 25 or 26 that is also conjoining the South Node of the Moon. A couple weeks later Jupiter will form an exact conjunction with the true node calculation of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn on January 8, 2020. Although there is an unexpected quality to the impact of eclipses that makes predicting specific events difficult, the proximity of Jupiter with the eclipse, its own South Node and the South Node of the Moon suggests our experiences will call us to question our beliefs and obligations, shedding what we no longer resonate with and deepening our faith and devotion with whatever feels authentic.

Within the dark forests, barren fields, thorny wilderness, and mountainous landscapes of Capricorn, Jupiter in Capricorn will embark upon an epic journey holding the key for both the downfall of global powers as well as how to mediate division and bring about regenerative recovery. Stripped down from all of its inspirational resources in Sagittarius, Jupiter only has room to focus on the essentials within the Capricorn terrain ruled by Saturn. What old dreams, desires, drama, and other personal issues from the past need to be released from your attachment in order to lighten the load and make space for the new potential that will be arising with the collective changes coming in 2020? Jupiter in Capricorn awaits your engagement and full participation in building and crafting the structural supports needed to not only survive and thrive within the coming changes, but also to uplift and inspire others to do the same.

If you would like to explore the meaning of Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn in greater depth, I will be conducting a webinar on Sunday, December 8 entitled “Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn” that you can sign up for by clicking here.

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References

Barbault, André. (2014). Planetary Cycles Mundane Astrology. The Astrological Association.

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

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

Rhetorius the Egyptian. (2009). Astrological Compendium Containing His Explanation and Narration of the Whole Art of Astrology. Translated from the Greek by James Holden.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

New Moon in Sagittarius

Ultimum+Conjunction Marlene Seven Bremner

Ultimum Conjunction: Jupiter and the Royal Eagles of Projection (2019) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Sagittarius New Moon

The cosmos works / by harmony of tensions, / like the lyre and bow.

— Heraclitus, fragment 56, translated by Brooks Haxton

The New Moon in Sagittarius on November 26 brings us to the final days of Jupiter’s time in its fiery home of Sagittarius where it expresses its full essential nature. As the tension of the Centaur’s bowstring readies to launch inspired arrows of targeted will, a bonfire warms the cold, encroaching darkness where a bard sings songs celebrating heroic deeds and gathered wisdom. While there are unknown perils and conflicts waiting to be enacted beyond the horizon, as the Moon darkens there is star fire to kindle within and carry forward on the journey ahead. Use the New Moon to consider your core purpose and the top priorities you need to focus on to create the vision of life you wish to live in the year ahead.

The Sagittarius New Moon initiates us into the lunar cycle that leads toward the eclipse season demarcating the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. The next New Moon will be an Annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26 conjoining Jupiter in Capricorn, followed by a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 which will occur two days before Saturn and Pluto unite on January 12. The tightening conjunction between Saturn and Pluto will bring increased tension and pressure in the next couple of months, but within the fracturing and disintegration we can already witness occurring in collective events we can begin to sense how we will need to be revisioning plans in response. The intentions lit today with Sagittarius fire will be honed into sharper focus in December and January, separating essential goals and desires from the inessential.

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the New Moon while occupying 28º38′ of the Centaur’s zodiacal terrain, giving the star of Zeus less than two degrees to cross before entering its fall in Capricorn on December 2. Jupiter at this point is seasoned in the symbolism of Sagittarius and ready for a change in fortune. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon your experience of Jupiter in Sagittarius during the past year for lessons you can apply toward Jupiter’s approaching journey through the wild woods and mountainous landscapes of Capricorn. What aspects of your beliefs have you needed to shed in order to align with a more authentic truth, and where has your faith deepened? Where did inflated hopes lead you astray, and what risks did you take that led to increased creativity, abundance, gratitude, or fellowship? While 2020 contains challenging and difficult astrological transits, it also will bring opportunities for dramatically increasing strength and skill through pursuing the vision you have cultivated during the past year of Jupiter in Sagittarius.

[Note: if you are interested in learning more about Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn, I am conducting a webinar on December 8 exploring the meaning of Jupiter in Capricorn you can sign up for here.]

Pan, cornucopia, cupid, herm

Giulio Bonasone (1550-60) Etching of Pan, Nymph, & Cupid in front of a Herm

As the curtain opens on the change in scenery brought by the Sagittarius New Moon, Venus shining bright as an Evening Star is playing a pivotal role. Within the darkness of the lunation, Venus has made a dramatic costume change into the carefully arranged aesthetics of Capricorn while applying to a conjunction with productive Ceres. Since Venus is receiving Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine which will complete on November 28, she is bringing the inspired revelations gathered from her recent union with Jupiter into contact with the electrifying and experimental influence of Uranus. As Venus is also forming a receptive sextile with Mars in Scorpio, there is a vivifying potency for Venus to direct toward innovative solutions that possess a grounded and realistic creativity.

The entrance of Venus into Capricorn initiates us into a time period of intensified Capricorn influence, as Jupiter will follow the path of Venus through Capricorn in the weeks ahead. Jupiter will enter Capricorn on December 2 as Venus applies to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a harmonizing sextile with Mars. The combined influence of the South Node of the Moon, Mars, and Uranus on Venus favors a frugal and efficient use of assets, finding inventive ways to artfully harvest value from available resources. As Jupiter will be simultaneously descending into the material concerns of Capricorn, growth will be found through tending to the roots of matters and wisely working within the constraints of time and space.

Venus will be getting closer to conjoining Saturn each day of the forthcoming lunar cycle, forming an exact conjunction with Saturn on December 11 as the Full Moon in Gemini reaches peak light. Although the passage of Venus through Capricorn will not be pleasantly easy, Venus can help us bring enlivening Eros into circumstances of Necessity through a measured approach that steadily builds step by step. The challenging sequence of conjunctions Venus will form with the South Node of the Moon (December 3), Saturn (December 11), and Pluto (December 13) will coalesce a deeply felt sense of what needs our attention, care, and nurturance as we approach the monumental shifts that will come with the new cycle of Saturn and Pluto forming in January 2020.

Remedios Varo Los-Reinos-Combatientes-1961

Remedios Varo (1961) Los Reinos Combatientes

Providing an underlying jolt to the lunation is the lingering effect of Mars in Scorpio  separating from an opposition with Uranus in Taurus that occurred on November 24. While the opposition between Mars and Uranus corresponded with amplified conflicts and mass protests in world events, on personal levels there likely was an unexpected change or rapid acceleration in events that forced buried issues to the surface. Since Venus is applying toward a receptive sextile with Mars during the Sagittarius New Moon, there will be opportunities to mend any difficult material that was stirred up by the opposition between Mars and Uranus. There is also enormous creative potency within the aspects between Mars, Uranus, and Venus that begs for taking creative risks within design and implementation of any projects being worked on.

After Jupiter exits from Sagittarius on December 2, the two strongest transiting planets in terms of essential dignity will be Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Capricorn until Mars enters Sagittarius on January 3. Moreover, Mars will be applying toward a receptive sextile with Saturn that will eventually complete on December 19. The strengthened positions of Mars and Saturn during the forthcoming lunar cycle emphasize the need for hard work and courageously persisting with resiliency through whatever obstacles, opposition, and setbacks we must endure. It will be necessary to take action and mix it up with others in order to access the potential available, but it will also be important to make sure we are investing energy into worthwhile enterprises that are aligned with our core purpose. As long as we are following our authentic path, any strife we experience will ultimately make us stronger.

Remedio Varo-Personaje-1960.jpg

Remedios Varo (1960) Personaje

The other major aspect of the Sagittarius New Moon involves Mercury strongly applying to a flowing trine aspect with Neptune stationing direct in Pisces. When Neptune stations it saturates the astrological atmosphere with insight that can be found in the imaginal realm or when entering liminal spaces of a spiritual practice or artistic process. Meanwhile, Mercury is not only direct and visible again as a Morning Star, it is also picking up speed as it reaches its maximum elongation on November 28. During this phase of Mercury’s cycle it’s important to implement and take action on whatever new ideas were cultivated during the past month of Mercury retrograde, as well as embracing the new presence that Mercury retrograde guided us to embody. With Mercury in Scorpio, we can cut through the superficial to penetrate into the core meaning we need to receive or communicate.

After Mercury completes its trine with Neptune it will next form a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29 followed by another sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2. Thus, Mercury is in prime position to transmit the otherworldly emanations of Neptune into tangible, creative vision we can manifest with disciplined determination. With Mars co-present in Scorpio and joining Mercury as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun each morning, there will be amplified potential to exert focused effort and make significant progress on goals.

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8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The Sagittarius New Moon is in the first face of Sagittarius associated with the Eight of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Eight of Wands signifies a multiplicity of developments as well as the speed of thought and imagination applied to a passionate goal, which fits well with Mercury being the ruler of the first face of Sagittarius. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Poisoned Arrow” to the first decan of Sagittarius, writing that “the essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal.” Coppock also remarked on the attribution of daimons of plague by the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to this face, noting this decan also involves “the secrets of propaganda” and other viruses that can “infect the psyche” and hijack our bodies, emotions, and minds.

Indeed, traditional texts on the first decan of Sagittarius are filled with images of armed figures capable of striking and overcoming their target with speed. While Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy described an armored man holding a sword, Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom contained a shouting centaur holding a bow and arrows. Similarly, the Yavanajataka described a golden man with drawn bow and “instruments for the sacrifice” who knows about chariots and weapons and possesses “speed as violent as a horse’s.” And in Liber Hermetis we find the image of “a man having the head of a dog” who is holding a small, sharpened weapon in his left hand. Though capable of causing havoc and destruction, the forces within this decan can also be powerful allies when aligned with our true path.

Thus, while the Sagittarius New Moon can facilitate swift application of targeted effort and will toward envisioned goals, we need to be mindful about the sources behind our  inspired dreams.  Are we clear that the desires we are pursuing come from our authentic self, or are they instead being shaped by the thoughts and values we have been encountering in the media, in movies, on social media, or within the social networks we interact with? Have we also taken the time to consider the full implications of what we wish to set in motion and how it can impact us and others far into the future? It will be worth taking the time needed to gain clarity, so that our imagination and effort will be focused on building the foundation of where we truly wish to call home.

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.

 

Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn Webinar

Jupiter Capricorn Pan no text

Image cropped from Spring Evening by Arnold Bocklin; Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn Webinar

Sunday, December 8

1 pm PST

Jupiter leaves its fiery home of Sagittarius to enter the dark forests of Capricorn on 2 December 2019, where it will remain until 19 December 2020. In this webinar we will explore the meaning of Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn in the year ahead in terms of personal lives and collective events. As there is a collective panic around the alignment of Saturn and Pluto in January 2020, we will draw meaning from Pan, the divine source of panic and a deity rooted in the living image of Capricorn. Pan was declared dead by some in the past as an oracular explanation for the rise of Christianity over paganism and magical traditions. Now Jupiter returns to Capricorn during an occult revival in which witchcraft, magic, and astrology have gained increased popularity. We will consider ways we can work effectively with Jupiter in Capricorn as well as its pitfalls we need to be aware of.

In a previous turning of the ages, Pan caused panic to aid the victory of the Olympians and formed the Capricorn constellation through fluidly escaping the onslaught of the Typhon. 2020 brings another turning of the ages and fears of other monstrosities we must face, as Jupiter comes to the end of its cycle with Saturn while being in the home of Saturn. Pan as well as other images of Capricorn will help guide us to discover the meaning of Jupiter being in its fall in Capricorn, as well as Jupiter forming three conjunctions with Pluto, a trine with Uranus, a sextile with Neptune, and a square with Mars retrograde in Aries during the year ahead.

Capricorn is also the South Node of Jupiter, and we will discuss the fact that Jupiter will be aligning with its South Node at the same time that Saturn and Pluto are conjoining their own South Nodes. In particular, we will discuss the Solar Eclipse on December 25 (or December 26 depending upon time zone) that will be conjoining the South Node of the Moon, Jupiter, as well as the South Node of Jupiter.

Use the button below to pay for your ticket. After payment is received, a link to gain entry to the webinar will be sent to you. A recording of the webinar will be sent after the event, so in case you cannot make it live you will have your own copy to rewatch.

Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn Webinar

Webinar exploring the meaning of Jupiter's transit in Capricorn for the year ahead.

$20.00

Full Moon in Taurus

Watercolour showing a surrealist moonlit landscape [c.1927-30] by Ithell Colquhoun 1906-1988

Ithell Colquhoun (1927-30)

Full Moon in Taurus

The Taurus Full Moon brings illumination into the underlying pathways between our inner sense of purpose and our external work and presence in the world. Although the Full Moon is exalted in Taurus, there is volatility fermenting underneath its light since it is separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde while applying to a flowing trine with Pluto in Capricorn. As a result, it will be important to monitor any deep seated shifts we notice are altering our internal landscape, so that we can begin reordering and rearranging our outer expression in accordance.  The Taurus Full Moon can be utilized for taking a break from recent conflict in order to gather one’s resources and discern the way forward based upon whatever inner changes in values have been taking shape.

The Taurus Full Moon is not only separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde, but also from a harmonizing sextile with Neptune in Pisces and a stabilizing trine aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. As the Taurus Full Moon is further applying to a trine with Pluto, it is in an ideal position for bridging our vision of what we desire to manifest with the hard reality of our circumstances and the necessity of needing to address certain issues. The influence of Mercury retrograde upon the lunation demands turning toward tension and utilizing the friction of resistance to deepen in your resolve for taking the responsibility to complete whatever you have already set in motion.

Playing the role of an angelic kindler of inner light is the asteroid Vesta, as it is forming a conjunction with the Full Moon in Taurus. The influence of Vesta in Taurus on the lunation sharpens focus for whatever current resources and issues are truly valuable and necessary for us to engage with, versus which ones are distracting us from our greater purpose. Vesta in Taurus brings clarity of consciousness and transfigures tension into creative expression when we are fully embodied with our higher purpose and centered in devotion to our essential values and authentic presence. Pay attention to any areas of life in which you feel out of alignment, for the Taurus Full Moon and Vesta can facilitate any retuning and rebalancing that is needed.

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Roasting Cinnabar (Dragon’s Blood) by Marlene Seven Bremner (2017)

The Taurus Full Moon arises at the midpoint of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, just a day after Mercury experiences a rebirth in the heart of the Scorpio Sun on November 11. As a result, the Moon’s full light will shine down upon whatever new thoughts, ideas, plans, and intentions have been seeded by the union of Sun and Mercury. Moreover, the Full Moon will also illuminate previously concealed aspects of self and circumstance that we can begin to address and integrate as Mercury retrograde continues its process of dissolution. Now that the most intense period of decay and decomposition with Mercury retrograde is over, we can gain clarifying insight into the matters that have come up for review and resolution since Mercury stationed retrograde at the end of October.

As the Moon wanes in light during the week following the Taurus Full Moon, Mercury will remain within its chthonic invisible phase as it begins to tunnel up from its underworld passage. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio will form a collaborative sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn as well as a flowing trine aspect with Neptune in Pisces on November 13, creating a potent period in the days following the Full Moon to intuit how to reorder plans and structures in our life to come into greater alignment with whatever core changes have been emerging into awareness. Up until Mercury re-emerges into visibility again on November 19, it will be more important to imaginatively explore new insights and ideas to the fullest extent possible than to try to rush into making them fully manifest

Mercury will finally return to visible light again as a Morning Star on November 19 while beginning to station direct, a week before the New Moon in Sagittarius on November 26. As Mercury undergoes a process of recovery from its retrograde motion after stationing direct on November 20, it will gain an added dose of vitality from the entrance of Mars into its watery home of Scorpio. The co-presence of Mars in Scorpio with Mercury stationing direct will catalyze forward momentum in implementing the revelatory insights received in the light of the Taurus Full Moon.

ithell-colquhoun-gorgon-1946

Ithell Colquhoun (1946) Gorgon

The Full Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus in Sagittarius. In contrast to Mercury,  Venus is shining bright in twilight as an Evening Star while heralding the rise of the Moon in Taurus. Although Venus has little essential dignity in the fiery home of Jupiter, she is within her Egyptian bounds at the time of the Full Moon giving Venus greater capacity to direct her interests in pleasure and harmonious aesthetics than normal in Sagittarius. Venus is not forming a major aspect with the Full Moon, but is applying to a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will complete on November 14. The tension between Venus and Neptune may be felt in the disconnect between the reality of present circumstances and idealized visions of what we desire to manifest. If the Full Moon’s light unveils disillusionment regarding certain hopes or dreams, Venus will be in position to facilitate a reorientation with realistic visions of growth and a shedding of unrealistic expectations during the waning half of the lunar cycle.

After Venus completes her square with Neptune she will begin applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will complete on November 24. As a result, during the waning half of the lunar cycle Venus will trigger the last quarter square phase between Jupiter and Neptune that has been one of the dominant astrological themes of 2019.  While the last quarter square phase between Neptune and Jupiter may have led you to release old illusions during the past year, it also has brought invitations to embrace a more expansive vision of the creative gifts you have to share with others. Venus can therefore bring encouragement in taking the risk to embody more of your potential, as in Sagittarius she enjoys the thrill of adventure when following quests into the unknown.

In addition to Venus being co-present with Jupiter in Sagittarius, Mars in Libra is applying to an exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Full Moon in Taurus. The harmonizing sextile between Mars and Jupiter is a further boost for embarking on an expansive pursuit of vision. In previous weeks, Mars in Libra has traversed a difficult passage of moving through intensifying square aspects with the lunar nodes, Saturn, and Pluto that stirred up conflict and has made us acutely aware of the obstacles and barriers we must contend with. As Mars moves through its stabilizing sextile with Jupiter its broken sword becomes reforged and its courage revivified. Likewise we can feel our resolve for resiliently persisting through whatever difficulties we have been facing renewed.

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6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Full Moon peaks in the final degree of the second decan of Taurus, associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money. The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch. The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving, with the image of the scales further signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity found in the process. Through inner harmony transmitted within collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus that mirrors the second face of Scorpio where the Sun is currently residing. Notably, Coppock advised that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides . . .Passion is necessary for continuing fructification, but those raw powers must be tempered by means of an ordered effort” (p. 75).

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai with the Full Moon in Taurus suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time for action performed in the right way.

The Moon rules the second face of Taurus, giving the Full Moon the powerful essential dignity of being in its exaltation, triplicity, and face. While we are each bound to the constraints of our current situation, we each also have the ability to put our whole heart and soul into expressing and sharing whatever resources and gifts we are able to harvest from our circumstances. May the potency of the Full Moon’s light pour down upon whatever hopes and dreams you are nurturing and whatever purposeful vision you are enacting with your fully lived life.

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

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

psyche and cerberus bertel thorvaldsen

Psyche and Cerberus (1838) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

Call me to that one among your hours / that incessantly resists you: / beseechingly near like a dog’s face, / yet ever again turned away

just when you think to grasp it. / What’s thus withdrawn is most your own. / We are free. We were dismissed / at the very place where we expected welcome.

Afraid, we yearn for some handhold, / often too young for what is ancient / and too old for what has never been.

And yet: only just when we praise, / since, ah, we are the branch and the axe / and the nectar of ripening risk.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 23)

On October 31 within the liminal space of twilight, with the setting Scorpio Sun descending into it’s underworld journey of night, the twinkling star of Hermes will pause to prepare for its retrograde journey backwards through the putrefying waters of Scorpio. As Mercury in its retrograde phase takes on its chthonic role of a psychopomp who guides us into and out of underworld experiences, it is fitting for its stationing to take place on the holidays for honoring and communing with ancestors and the living otherworld. Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between the solar and lunar, the conscious and unconscious, the sacred and mundane, and so on. The dark watery climate of Scorpio will nurture and amplify the ability of Mercury retrograde to absorb atmospheric undercurrents and penetrate under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter.

Although Mercury retrograde has been demonized by many, it is in fact an essential phase within the totality of Mercury’s entire solar cycle that delivers necessary messages. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever changes begin to take shape. Part of Mercury’s core purpose in astrology is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury delights in gray areas between fixed categories of meaning, as it is a gender bending planet that moves easily between states of day and night, good and bad, reason and imagination, depending upon its surrounding influences. It is therefore pivotal that Mercury is stationing retrograde while forming a conjunction with Venus in Scorpio. The impact of Venus in Scorpio upon Mercury is complex, for while Venus brings a unifying and harmonizing influence to Mercury, their union in Scorpio means that death, decay, and decomposition will be necessary in order to fertilize and produce the fruit we can eventually savor from their conjunction. In fact, we may discover it is the difficult experiences we must persist through that ultimately brings us closer to others. As Haruki Murakami once wrote:

“One heart is not connected  to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”

— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage 

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity can be helpful in dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize Mercury retrograde for sifting through our many inner parts in order to reintegrate fragmented aspects of ourselves. The influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde can open receptiveness to insightful ideas to be curious about and investigate as Mercury moves retrograde in the weeks ahead. In addition, the Moon will also be inciting inspiration through forming a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius as Mercury stations retrograde. Pay attention to not only the events happening around October 31 when Mercury stations, but also the signs and omens that cross your path and bring premonition regarding the liminal process you are entering. It can be a particularly powerful period to intensely focus on research applied to creative output, so notice what grabs your interest in exploring to a deeper level.

Hermes Argus Bertel Thorvaldsen


Mercury about to kill Argus (1818) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain, of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Chthonic Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Despite the unifying influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be strife and conflict to contend with since Mercury will be retrograde in a sign ruled by Mars. Moreover, Mars in Libra will be forming an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn at the same time that Mercury stations. The square between Mars and Pluto can stoke inner drive and ambition, with a willingness to persist through obstacles or break free from constraining influences.  While Mars will be forming a harsh aspect with Pluto, however, Mercury will begin moving backward toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto once it shifts retrograde. As a result, it will be vital to listen to messages from the stationing of Mercury with regard to where we will need to alter plans to avoid unnecessary discord, versus where it will be important to lean into the difficulty and tread into uncertain ground. Mercury’s stationing can help clarify what will be worth fighting for to protect and cultivate in the weeks ahead, as well as what instead needs to be laid to rest.

Mercury retrograde under rulership of Mars wields weapons which disarm fixated viewpoints, nudging us off guard enough to deliver insight that cuts through old defense mechanisms. In myth, Mercury played the role of slayer at times, such as lulling the giant Argus to sleep in order to go in for the kill. When retrograde, the magical wand of Mercury may charm us with seeming distraction, yet eventually as we regain our bearings we can realize there was a larger purpose behind the enchantment no matter how frustrating it felt in the moment. Although Mercury retrograde in Scorpio may lead us into strife and experiences of separation, it will be worth the risk to resiliently accept and work through the difficulties in order to comprehend the message that Mercury’s sleight of hand is delivering. 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.

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from Viridarium Chymicum (1624)

Mercury’s retrograde phase occurs during the part of its orbit in which it is as close to us as possible, moving in between the orbit of our Earth and the Sun. The close proximity of Mercury intensifies its presence in mundane matters, which can be beneficial when focusing on research or writing, difficult when experiencing mental overwhelm. As Mercury shifts backwards while the Sun moves directly towards it, Mercury mutates from being a visible Evening Star into its chthonic invisible phase. Mercury will be visible in some localities as an Evening Star when it stations on October 31, but by November 4 it will definitively move into its invisible phase by getting within fifteen degrees of the Sun. As we can no longer see Mercury in the sky at this point in its cycle, Mercury symbolically takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding our soul into a liminal, underworld period of regeneration.

During the week from November 4 when Mercury disappears until November 11 when Mercury will be revivified through its conjunction with the Sun, we will experience the most intense process of putrefaction, decomposition, and release. During this week you can align with Mercury by mindfully purging whatever from the past is ready to be burned off by the fiery Sun. As Mercury gets closer and closer to the Sun during this week, it will simultaneously take on more of the hot and drying qualities of the Sun that can aid in separating us from whatever needs to be released. It can also be a powerful time of receiving imaginal inspiration that will seed ideas to nurture and work on during Mercury’s journey through darkness.

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 can eventually produce fruit. The day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus will enter Sagittarius on November 1 and will begin her pilgrimage to conjoin Jupiter that will occur on November 24 just after Mercury stations direct. The co-presence of Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Mercury retrograde period can be helpful in lifting vision to expansive heights whenever we feel like we are getting stuck in the quagmires of Scorpio.

It’s worth considering that while popular astrology dogma warns to not sign any contracts or begin initiatives during Mercury retrograde, it is in fact possible to sign contracts and begin enterprises that will turn out to be successful during Mercury retrograde periods. However, it is important to listen closely to your intuition, bodily senses, and synchronous signs that illuminate inner guidance.  If something about a new project or move seems off for some reason, it will be wise to investigate further before making a commitment. If all evidence points toward making a positive change in direction, there is no reason to prevent yourself from acting due to worry over Mercury being retrograde. If a decision can wait, however, clarifying insight can be received after Mercury is regenerated through its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) The Swan, No. 10, Group IX

Mercury transit of the Sun

Will transformation. O be ravenous for the fire / in which a thing boastful with change forever eludes you; / that designing Spirit which plots earth’s flourishes, — / it loves most in the figure’s élan the moment of turning.

What shackles itself in survival already is rigidity; / does it feel itself safe in the shelter of nondescript gray? / Beware, from afar the hardest is warning the hard. / And woe–: an absent hammer is lifting!

Whoever pours forth as wellspring, Recognition greets; / and she guides him enthralled through the serene Creation / that often ends with beginning and in ending begins.

Every happy space through which they walk marveling / is child or grandchild of Separation. And the transformed Daphne, / feeling so laurel-like, wants you to change into wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 12)

Mercury will be revivified and reseeded by its chthonic conjunction with the Sun on November 11 at 18º55′ Scorpio. During its inferior conjunction Mercury becomes purified and regenerated while aligned in orbit between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. 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 will be enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Old astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the Sun and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.

“The protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.”

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

All inferior conjunctions of Mercury are not equal, however, and in fact the one on November 11 has a special quality. Due to Mercury’s union with the Sun being within a degree of the heliocentric North Node of Mercury, visually a small black form of Mercury will be able to be seen transiting across the face of the Sun during its solar alignment. This is similar to what happens during a Total Solar Eclipse in which a New Moon forms close to one of the Moon’s nodes, but the difference is that Mercury is visually too small from our perspective to eclipse the light of the Sun in blackness. This means Mercury will literally be in the heart of the Sun, making it an intensified rebirth for Mercury befitting its placement in Scorpio.

Make sure to create space for inner contemplation on November 11, for Mercury’s transit of the Sun only happens thirteen or fourteen times a century. The last time there was a Mercury transit of the Sun was in May 2016 with Mercury retrograde in Taurus conjoining the heliocentric south node of Mercury. It will not happen again until November 2032. Mercury’s chthonic cazimi aligning with its North Node will amplify penetration into inner depths to discover self realization of material that had been hidden from our awareness. Whatever inner space was cleared through emptying and shedding during the first half of Mercury’s retrograde can now be seeded with new ideas and desires to nurture in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury. Adding to the potency, Mercury will be entering its own Egyptian bounds as it enters the heart of the Sun, giving Mercury greater capacity to redirect insight into material manifestation.

Furthermore, there will also be an underlying influence of Uranus in Taurus on Mercury’s rebirth, as the waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus will be conjoining Uranus as Mercury forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11. This is especially significant since Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 31 in the week following a New Moon in Scorpio that was opposite Uranus. The effect of Uranus on Mercury’s solar conjunction can incite unexpected events and revelations which lead to dramatic changes as the Full Moon in Taurus brings further illumination on November 12. The impact of Uranus can also manifest through forging deeper connection with allies and collaborators who share similar passions and interest in forming supportive communities, whether in person or through long distance technology.

hilm af klint group VI evolution


Hilma af Klint (1908) Group VI, Evolution, No. 9

Morning Star of Hermes

Behold the flowers, those true to the earthly, / to whom we lend fate from the edge of fate,– / yet who can say? If they regret their fading, / it is for us to be their regret.

Everything wants to float. And yet we move about like weights, / attaching ourselves to everything, in thrall to gravity; / O what wearisome teachers we are for things, / while in them eternal childhood prospers.

If someone were to take them into his inmost sleep / and sleep deeply with them–: O how light he’d emerge, / changed, to a changed day, from the mutual depth.

Or perhaps he’d stay; and they’d bloom and praise him, / the convert, become now like one of their own, / all the quiet brothers and sisters in the meadow’s wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 14)

From the Full Moon in Taurus on November 12 until Mercury stations direct on November 20 at 11º55′ Scorpio, Mercury will move retrograde through its final phase of invisible darkness. During this week Mercury retrograde will form a harmonizing sextile with Saturn in Capricorn on November 13 and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces later on the same day. Moreover, at the end of November after Mercury stations direct and is visible again, Mercury will complete an additional trine with Neptune and sextile with Saturn. As a result, in the afterglow of the Full Moon in Taurus make space and time to imaginatively explore the insights and ideas seeded during Mercury’s chthonic cazimi to the fullest extent possible, without worry of making them fully manifest until Mercury returns to visible light. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio this year bears the gift of providing not only the imaginal support of Neptune, but the tempering and practicality of Saturn in Capricorn that will help facilitate finding ways to transfigure imaginative vision into tangible forms that can meet the needs of others in your wider community.

Mercury will finally return to visible light again as a Morning Star at the same time it stations direct on November 20. As Mercury undergoes a process of recovery from its retrograde motion, it will gain an added dose of vitality from the entrance of Mars into its watery home of Scorpio on November 19. Mars at the beginning of Scorpio is in a place of extreme strength as it is in its own home, bounds, and triplicity. It’s co-presence with Mercury stationing direct will supply ample fuel to begin moving forward with implementation of the ideas developed during Mercury’s twenty day journey retrograde. Just as it is important to pay close attention to Mercury when stationing retrograde, so it as well extremely important to be mindful when Mercury stations direct in order to receive necessary guidance.

In addition to the ingress of Mars into Scorpio brining an extra charge of resilient determination into the stationing of Mercury direct, Venus will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius and providing a fount of providential inspiration. Venus will complete its exact conjunction with Jupiter on November 24 as Mercury is finally beginning to move forward again. If you have become motivated to make dramatic changes during Mercury’s retrograde motion that also makes you fearful due to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of following through, the union of Venus and Jupiter will provide uplifting support for taking the risk to break free from whatever restrictive influences have been holding you back. As Mercury returns to visible light in the pre-dawn sky, so may we experience ignition of an inner fire to strike out in pursuit of revivified passion and desire.

Copper alloy sculpture from Sumer (ca 3000 BC) of figure with ibex horns and raptor wings

The final phase of the Mercury retrograde process begins as Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star, which will occur about eight days after Mercury stations direct this time around. The threshold of Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star demarcates the stage at which Mercury returns to matching the speed of the Sun and then shifts into moving faster than the Sun as it continues to travel through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha compared this phase of Mercury with the rubedo stage in alchemy (Caton also compared the opening stage of Mercury retrograde to the nigredo stage, and the time following the inferior conjunction to the albedo stage of alchemy). As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on November 28 at seventeen degrees of Scorpio, at the same time that Neptune is stationing direct on November 27 in an exact trine aspect with Mercury. Furthermore, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star at the same time that it will form its third and final sextile aspect (since the middle of October) with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29. A few days later, Mercury will complete its third and final harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2, the same day that Jupiter leaves its fiery home of Sagittarius in order to enter its fall in Capricorn. Finally, Mercury will leave its retrograde shadow zone and pass through the same degree where it originally stationed retrograde on December 7.

As a result, Mercury will be engaging with supportive aspects from Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto as it picks up speed and heralds the rise of the Sun with its morning light. The beginning of 2020 will be dominated astrologically by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, and so Mercury will be in position to help with attuning and adjusting to the larger changes in collective structures taking place. More importantly, Mercury will also be supportive in melding imaginative vision with the disciplined determination needed to fully manifest creative expression into forms that can offer solace and support to others in need of what we have to offer. As the coming astrology of 2020 suggests monumental, tectonic shifts in collective events are on the way, it will be up to each and everyone of us to claim the responsibility to do our part in cultivating our skills and talents to share with others in mutual support.

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