Uranus Opposition Podcast Interview

 

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I’m excited to share the release of the second part of my interview with Christina Caudill on the Radiant Astrology Podcast. We did this interview back on the day Uranus first entered Taurus, and in this installment we primarily focus on the meaning of the Uranus opposition transit as well as some of the meaning of Uranus entering Taurus.  If you were born with Uranus in Scorpio (1974 – 1981) the entrance of Uranus into Taurus brings you into the Uranus opposition period that can bring about a release and break from past patterns. If you have Uranus in the first ten degrees of Scorpio this next year will be especially big for you as both Mars and Venus will be going retrograde in range of aspect in addition to Uranus in Taurus.

Here is a link to the podcast interview:

https://radiantastrology.com/podcast-the-uranus-opposition-w-gray-crawford/

In the interview I talk about the two lectures I presented at the United Astrology Conference, or UAC 2018. Michael Lutin has called it the Woodstock of our astrological generation, and thats not off base in the sense that it did feel like an immense cultural moment for astrology. It was an honor to present there, and both of my talks were very well received which was also rewarding. There were many incredible lectures given by some of the best astrologers currently working in the world. You can order lectures now from the UAC website. Here are links to order copies of my talks:

The Light and Shadow of Mercury in the Secondary Progressed Chart:

https://uacastrology.com/recordings/Gray-Crawford-The-Light-and-Shadow-of-Mercury-in-the-Secondary-Progressed-Chart-p108202754

Radical Awakening: Uranus Opposition:

https://uacastrology.com/recordings/Gray-Crawford-Radical-Awakening-Uranus-Opposition-p108202663

Also, in case you missed the first part of my interview on the Radiant Astrology Podcast, here is a link to it:

https://radiantastrology.com/podcast-uranus-in-taurus-with-gray-crawford/

 

 

 

New Moon in Gemini: Winds of Change

Sun-god Shamesh (1792 – 1750 BC) The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

New Moon in Gemini

The New Moon in Gemini on June 13 opens us to a season of immense change in which having faith in the unknown will be necessary. We often talk in astrology of being open to the mystery, and this will certainly be apt advice in the coming months. During the forthcoming waxing phase of the Moon the fiery red planet Mars will station retrograde on June 26 just as the Capricorn Full Moon (that will be conjoining Saturn) culminates on June 27. The following three lunations after this will be eclipses, and so the coming lunar cycle prepares us for the crossing of the threshold into eclipse season. Its not a normal eclipse season as it will be aligned with the Mars retrograde transit exactly, and so promises an intensified version of the eclipse pattern in which dynamic new forms come into our life as others pass away. Mars in Aquarius will be making three pivotal unions with the transiting South Node of the Moon in Aquarius (June 7, July 20, September 25) as well as three decisive square aspects with Uranus in Taurus (May 16, August 1, September 18) which illuminate dynamics that will take at least the next three months to fully take shape. The curious, explorative, and synthesizing nature of the Gemini New Moon is ideal for making the necessary connections and beginning to discern the patterns taking shape in our life in correspondence. Yet there is an unpredictable quality to the coming months we will ultimately have to surrender to.

The New Moon in Gemini is applying to a sextile with Ceres in Leo, having recently separated from a quincunx with Pluto in Capricorn. These aspects highlight the psychopomp nature of Gemini, the penetratingly deep soulful Twin you don’t always hear about in pop astrology. This aspect of Gemini brings its ability to mediate polarities and weave wisdom from interconnections to the depths of subject matter. There are innumerable crises taking shape on the global stage that have frightening potential given the upcoming astrological transits, and indeed are provoking fear in many. The Gemini New Moon with Leo Ceres brings the space to process, grieve, and release hard feelings as well as the vitality needed to step into the unknown with bravery and open eyes. The New Moon in Gemini calls us to be a witness to both the oppression as well as the inspiration rising and falling around us. The New Moon in Gemini wants documentation, nuanced interpretation, direct communication, and a willingness to not only listen but to reach out to those in need of sharing their story.

Lammasu (721 – 705 BC) The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Mercury in Cancer rules the New Moon while applying to an opposition with Saturn in Capricorn. Mercury is on the threshold of reappearing as an Evening Star, which will happen two days after the New Moon on June 15 just as Mercury perfects its tense aspect with Saturn. The opposition between Mercury and Saturn brings decisiveness and the need to make clear choices of what to focus on with available time and space. As Mercury reappears in visibility as the Moon also grows in light greater clarity will be gained regarding events of recent weeks. Mercury in Cancer is more about the processing of emotions and feelings than external verbosity, and so the influence of Saturn brings strong capacity for deep inner contemplation rather than the chattering side of Gemini. This will be the first opposition between Mercury and Saturn since their drawn out union involving Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius at the end of 2017 (November 27, December 6, and January 12 were the dates of their three conjunctions), and so reflecting back on what has been brought to fruition since that time can help formulate new plans to develop in the season ahead.

Mercury is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and applying to a square with Chiron in Aries as it enters its face off with Saturn. This brings an unorthodox vibration for Mercury to transmit in relationship with Saturn, insights and messages that open us to meaning and visions outside our normal frame of reference. Yet the opposition from Saturn brings a cutting reality check to whatever exciting ideas come to mind. Innovative, pioneering ideas are called for that also have a practical, grounded impact. We may also feel the excitement over something new pull us toward taking action despite warning signs of becoming restricted or blocked from full manifestation. It will be best to utilize the limitations and tempering of Saturn to fine tune and hone plans under development rather than rushing forward impulsively. This is a time to commit yet our devotion to whatever we want to create requires patience and capacity to shift with flexibility as needed with the unforeseen changes on the horizon.

Imagination will also need to be integrated into upcoming decision making, since Neptune stations retrograde about five days after the New Moon on June 18, saturating the lunation with its dreamy, oceanic influence. The influence of Neptune brings powerful inner feelings and sensations that can override our ability at times to make clearcut decisions. Yet the otherworldly nature of Neptune holds important insights we need to open awareness to, allowing the boundaries of Saturn to harbor the poetry of graffiti and willingness for synchronous signs to guide choice.  There is growth and expansion to be found in the domain of Neptune since Jupiter in Scorpio will be engaging in a drawn out trine aspect over the upcoming months, remaining within a three degree orb into September. Jupiter in Scorpio calls us to pierce through material illusions to discover the deeper reality, wielding the courageous determination to face the reality of both surface and shadow, embracing change with full presence rather than attempting to manipulate situations out of possessiveness or fear of loss.

An image bringing all these ideas of Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, and Neptune together is the iris tenax flower that now graces the banner of this website. A tenacious flower of flexibility whose leaves have an ancient tradition of being fashioned into ropes and containers for resources, the magical, colorful bloom of the Iris flower  inspires illuminated vision according to author Julia Brayshaw:

Habitual exposure to artificial environments erodes our awareness of the patterns of nature- patterns of harmony, connection, and wholeness. When we lose sight of the unity of creation and perceive ourselves as separate pieces in a disjointed world, responses such as fear, depression, and mistrust are understandable. These states of constriction attempt to block pain. Even our eye muscles become constricted; therefore, under the influence of a negative emotional state, the amount of light that enters our eyes is reduced . . .

Radiant colors are nourishment for the iris of the eye. They feed our souls as well, breaking through the dark cloud layers that confine our vision. Iris, whether in the form of a rainbow, the messenger of a goddess, or a flower, is the archetype of the beauty and color that successfully penetrates our dreary, constricted states. Iris, in her multi-colored guises, pierces the illusions of a disconnected, senseless world and floods us with inspiration. Her divine messages are elusive and fleeting, often just a momentary shimmer that melts with the rainbow. Yet they reorient us to the eternal truth of our souls, of a coherent world infused with meaning and color. Through restoring clear vision, Iris awakens the artist, whose expression helps others to glimpse the beauty of creation.

— Julia M. Brayshaw, Medicine of Place: Patterns of Nature and Psyche in the Wildflowers of Cascadia

Processional Way Lion of Ishtar; The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago

Venus is at the very end of Cancer at the time of the Gemini New Moon, shining brightly as an Evening Star. Only a couple of hours after the lunation, however, Venus leaves the sensitizing waters of Cancer for the fierce fires of Leo where she immediately sets her gaze upon the North Node of the Moon, striding her way boldly toward a tense opposition with Mars in Aquarius. However, the first aspect Venus makes upon entering the sign of the Lion is a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Since Uranus is in Taurus, it means that Venus is receiving Uranus with her emboldened sense of courageous passion she can find in Leo like nowhere else. Venus receiving Uranus demands the freedom to connect with relationships resonant with our inner essentiality. Space may need to be created in relationships that are not fulfilling certain needs for connection with those that do. The brave and vital heart of Venus in Leo that is willing to resist and fight to protect essential values can be utilized in collaboration with others as well as infused into collective movements.

Gary Caton recently made a social media post breaking down the coming opposition between Venus in Leo with Mars stationing retrograde in Aquarius as a collective tipping point in values. Caton astutely noted that once Venus perfects its opposition with Mars on June 21 it will enter into a superior position relative to Mars based upon diurnal rotation. The point being, the brightly shining Venus will gain astrological leverage over the brightly shining Mars, and though there will be fierce tension stoked between them, in the end the harmonizing significations of Venus can win out. The night sky will be a beauty to behold as Venus will shine brightly as an Evening Star after sunset, and after Venus sets on the western horizon we will experience Mars ascending into visibility over the eastern horizon. Though likely ripe with conflict, this can also be an incredibly fertile time for creativity and dynamic breakthroughs. Venus will be near the North Node of the Moon, while Mars will be near the South Node of the Moon; its as if the purification of the Mars archetype can feed into an expansion of the Venus archetype.

swords10

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 3 Decan

The New Moon in Gemini falls in the third face of Gemini associated with the Ten of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Pixie’s illustration of the Ten of Swords took on new meaning for me when I read Austin Coppock’s book on the decans, 36 Faces, and realized that since ancient Egyptian culture made the Cancer solstice the beginning of the year, and Egyptian culture is the source of the decans in astrology, it means that the third decan of Gemini would be the end of the cycle, the final of the thirty-six faces of the zodiac. Coppock ascribed the image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to the third decan of Gemini, writing that though “the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices- judgments that must be made. To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed” (p. 99). This symbolism aligns perfectly with the opposition formed between Mercury in Cancer with Saturn in Capricorn.

Thus the image of a dead man with ten swords plunged into his back resonates with surrendering to the end or death of a cycle. While the card’s image contains dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky revealing the new beginning of a cycle to come.  The Sun is the ruler of the third face of Gemini, and since the Sun is moving through this zodiacal terrain en route to its glorious appearance at the Solstice on June 21, we likewise will be experiencing the death of one season of light for the birth of another. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs names Praxidike to this face, goddess of judgment and exactor of vengeance, signifying the complex karma encountered here in decisions made, actions undertaken. Fascinatingly, the Orphic hymn to Persephone connects Praxidike to the subterranean queen, signifying the psychopomp side of Gemini previously mentioned and holding space between worlds, between cycles.

The coming lunar cycle will take us across the threshold of Summer in the northern hemisphere, Winter in the southern hemisphere, as well as into the initiation of Mars stationing retrograde in Aquarius. We can surmise from the transits of coming months that more than the usual amount of change is on the way. With an open heart and focused mind we may not feel carefree within the tumult of these times, yet can still muster the confidence required to meet the strange times ahead with strength and creative resolve. As Rainer Maria Rilke once mused:

This is not to say that one ought to weaken the impact of what is difficult or take it less to heart so that it can be properly assimilated. On the contrary, the more fully we experience what is difficult, the more it pulls and drives us with its weight toward the center of life . . .

In life one cannot awaken often enough the sense of a beginning within oneself. There is so little external change needed for that since we actually transform the world from within our hearts. If the heart longs for nothing but to be new and unlimited, the world is instantly the same as on the day of its creation and infinite.

Letters on Life translated by Ulrich Baer

References

Brayshaw, Julia. (2007). Medicine of Place: Patterns of Nature and Psyche in the Wildflowers of Cascadia. Alchemia Publishing.

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria Rilke. (2006). Letters on Life. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library.

 

All about Uranus: Podcast interview & UAC update

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/436575

View of Toledo painting by El Greco created during a previous time that Uranus was transitioning from Aries into Taurus. Uranus glyph by Bradley Naragon

I have a couple of announcements involving Uranus I’m excited to share. I was recently interviewed by astrologer Christina Caudill on her Radiant Astrology Podcast about Uranus. We ended up having a long talk and it is being released in two parts. The first part released I am sharing below, and focuses primarily on the ingress of Uranus into Taurus, some of the collective threshold events in correspondence (volcanic eruptions and Gaza strip conflict), and the interplay between Uranus in Taurus with the upcoming Mars retrograde in Aquarius.  I’m not sure when the second part will be released, but in it we will also be discussing the ingress of Uranus into Taurus with special attention paid to experiencing Uranus transits on a personal level, in particular the Uranus opposition that everyone born with Uranus in Scorpio will be experiencing now. Check back on her podcast in the week or two ahead to see when the second part will be released. Here is a link to the first part:

https://radiantastrology.com/podcast-uranus-in-taurus-with-gray-crawford/

I was born with Uranus at the beginning of Scorpio, and I’ve already experienced my first major Uranus opposition event: due to the cancellation of another speaker, I was selected to give an additional talk at the upcoming United Astrology Conference. Fittingly, I will be talking about Uranus oppositions, and so not only is this appropriate due to me going through a Uranus opposition right now, but I also have to put it together at the last moment at Uranian speed!

For those attending, I will be speaking on Saturday 26 May at 9 am.  Description:

Radical Awakening: Uranus Opposition

The Uranus opposition that occurs as we enter the mid-life of our forties has a deservedly dramatic reputation. Known as a lightning strike of revelation within cycles of personal development, it brings shakeups that upend the previous status quo of our life. This talk will explore ways to respond to the liberating impulses that arise in correspondence, as well as its connection to transits involving Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto that lead into it.

Also, my first talk at UAC will be taking place on Friday 25 May at 11 am. This talk is about Mercury in the Secondary Progressed chart, and will be focused on teaching the meaning found within the secondary progressed synodic cycle of Mercury, an aspect of interpreting progressed charts that brings in a vital element in addition to other aspects such as focusing upon the progressed lunation phase. Description:

The Light and Shadow of Mercury in the Secondary Progressed Chart

The changeable nature of Mercury is found in its synodic cycle and its shifts between being direct and retrograde. The meaning of Mercury’s cycles will be applied to the secondary progressed chart, where Mercury’s movement across a lifetime demarcates vital periods of personal development. Gray will explain how to interpret the shift of progressed Mercury from being direct to retrograde and vice versa, and what to pay attention to in relation to the natal chart.

If you are coming to UAC, I hope to see you there. Make sure to come up and say hello. It would be great to meet any of you who will be there in person!

UAC celebrating earth and sky

Uranus in Taurus

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Bull by Pablo Picasso

Uranus in Taurus

The light and shade – the curious sense of body and identity the
greed that with perfect complaisance devours all things – the
endless pride and outstretching of man – unspeakable joys and sorrows,
The wonder every one sees in every one else he sees . . . and the
wonders that fill each minute of time forever and each acre of
surface and space forever,
Have you reckoned them as mainly for a trade or framework? or for
the profits of a store? or to achieve yourself a position? or to fill
a gentleman’s leisure or a lady’s leisure?

Have you reckoned the landscape took substance and form that it
might be painted in a picture?
Or men and women that they might be written of, and songs sung?
Or the attraction of gravity and the great laws and harmonious
combinations and the fluids of the air as subject for the savans?
Or the brown land and the blue sea for maps and charts?
Or the stars to be put in constellations and named fancy names?
Or that the growth of seeds is for agricultural tables or agriculture
itself?

— Walt Whitman, from Leaves of Grass (Song for Occupations [3]) published with Uranus in Taurus

The ingress of Uranus into tropical Taurus transfigures the astrological atmosphere and strikes a chord inciting a new movement in our collective chorus. Uranus enters Taurus on May 15 and will sustain it’s rupturing, liberating presence until November 6 when it re-enters Aries while retrograde. After revisiting Aries during the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, Uranus will return to Taurus on 6 March 2019 where it will remain until 25 April 2026. Uranus will only make it to 2º33′ of Taurus before stationing on 7 August 2018, and so will be most impactful this year for those with natal placements in the first five degrees of fixed signs (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius). Regardless of whether or not you have natal placements in close aspect to the trajectory of Uranus across the next six months, however, you will soon notice its impact. Though life is always in flux, Uranus entering Taurus denotes a coming period of volatilizing change felt from the roots, altering dynamics at core levels. While we can explore archetypal patterns resonant with Uranus in Taurus to get a sense of what this transit could bring, it’s vital to realize that Uranus brings the unexpected to such a degree that its manifestations in Taurus will go far beyond expectations.

Many astrologers have been writing and speaking about the impact Uranus will make in Taurus in terms of earth being the most dense and stable element in astrology, and Taurus being the earth sign most resistant to change. Uranus brings the necessary alchemic fire required to shake and reshape matter, signifying that Uranus impacting the fixed sign of the Bull will bring deep-seated, tectonic shifts in personal and collective events. Uranus brings a whirling vortex of change when it enters a new sign, yet in the current transition it is moving from the fast moving, change inducing sign of Aries into the plodding, patient pace of Taurus that can sustain thorough resolve for long periods of time. Ever since Uranus entered Aries in 2010 it has been under the influence of Mars in a fiery sign ideal for separating us from past attachments and boldly embarking in new directions. With Uranus in Taurus, we can deepen the dynamic changes we initiated with Uranus in Aries as Uranus will be under the influence of Venus in a grounded sign known for its cultivating prowess.

Taurus is the sign of the Bull, and this apt symbol highlights how the calm presence of a bull luxuriating in a field can turn into a raging force thundering the ground once provoked. Uranus will electrify, vivify, and fully awaken the sensualness as well as the stubbornness of Taurus, and just as it can be extremely difficult to slow down a bull once it is racing forward, we also will need to be aware of how events triggered in correspondence with Uranus in Taurus will obstinately persist with inexorable steadiness. We can imagine this to be a good thing when contemplating the emergence of an inspirational, idealistic movement focused on the greater good, but we also know from history and current events that many inspirational movements promote the benefit of proponents at the expense of oppressing others. For example, it is a well known fact that the last time Uranus entered Taurus the world experienced the trauma of destruction caused by Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany. Other past transits of Uranus in Taurus have involved the crusades, the conquering of America by Spanish conquistadors, and the initiation of direct shipment of slaves from Africa to the conquered Americas where the indigenous population was being displaced.

There has been a long historical pattern of the deep foundational changes brought by Uranus in Taurus erupting into frenzied volatility once Uranus leaves Taurus for Gemini.  In part this could be due to the fact that the North Node of Uranus is in Gemini, as well as the fact Gemini is a volatile sign to begin with. In the United States of America, the revolutionary war broke out with Uranus in Gemini yet all of the necessary events that brought it about occurred with Uranus in Taurus (1767 – 1775). The next time Uranus entered Taurus (1850 – 1859) was the decade of the 1850s that led into the eruption of the civil war with Uranus in Gemini; though there was a “great compromise” that delayed the outbreak of civil war, this compromise also involved aspects such as the fugitive slave act that inflamed conflict.  Finally, while war raged across Europe when Uranus was in Taurus last time (1934 – 1942), it was not until the very end of Uranus moving through Taurus that the Pearl Harbor bombing occurred that led to the USA entering the second world war (the USA combat in the war then occurred with Uranus in Gemini). In current events in the USA as well as all across the world, we can witness how fundamental change is once again rippling throughout the fabric of civilization as Uranus enters Taurus.

This time around, the core changes brought by Uranus in Taurus will be exacerbated by Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn in January 2020. The conjunction of Saturn and Pluto has a long historical correspondence with the fall of powerful civilizations and the rise of new powers, and the coming conjunction in 2020 is even more notable than normal due to Saturn and Pluto uniting close to the degrees of each of their own South Nodes. Yet civilizations are part of the natural environment, and in fact are completely dependent upon nature no matter how much technology is invented. There is an obvious reckoning coming in the time period of Uranus transiting Taurus in which global civilizations will need to face the realities of population growth and the resulting drain on natural resources for energy. It’s also easy to see how the increasing devastation wrought by natural disasters, coupled by the increasing evidence of climate change impact, will become intensified as Uranus in Taurus will force societies to figure out how to survive and adapt. Uranus in a fixed earth sign suggests the voice of the earth will be heard loud and clear, and that human civilizations will need to listen.

Bull_leaping_minoan_fresco_archmus_Heraklion

Fresco from palace at Knossos on Crete (1450 B.C.)

Unlike the past eight years of Uranus moving through Aries in which it formed a harsh, catalytic square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Taurus will be spending the next few years forming a whole sign trine to Pluto in Capricorn. In addition, Uranus in Taurus will be forming a whole sign sextile with Neptune in Pisces, and a whole sign trine with Saturn in Capricorn as it approaches its union with Pluto. These harmonious whole sign aspects on one hand suggest that power structures have supportive aspects to continue amassing increased levels of power and control, but it also means that individuals taking responsibility to collaborate in collective movements will also be able to create structures to bolster the expression of emancipatory ideas and actions. Uranus and Neptune coming into aspect again is especially notable and brings potential to open up a deeper dimension of Neptune in Pisces spirituality for some, amplifying addictive escapism through technology for others.

As Uranus enters Taurus our world population is engaged in unprecedented levels of immersion in virtual technologies and electronic platforms connecting people all across the planet through the touch of fingers on keyboards. This airy age of rapid, interconnected communication is signified by the coming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the first degree of tropical Aquarius on 21 December 2020.   The union of Jupiter and Saturn in mundane astrology for ages has helped define trends in historical time periods, and so its significant we are now at the beginning of a 200 year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions in air signs (after previously being in a cycle of conjunctions in earth signs that began in 1802- for an excellent article on this complex topic, read Benjamin Dykes).  Uranus in tropical Taurus will only be six degrees away from an exact square with Jupiter and Saturn when they begin their upcoming cycle at the end of 2020, signifying the transit of Uranus through Taurus will be a monumental influence shaping unfolding events.

Taurus is a nocturnal, inwardly directed sign in contrast to the diurnal nature of Aries that has an outwardly directed essence.  The other fixed signs, especially Scorpio and Leo, are commonly seen as the places of immense power within the zodiac, yet Taurus is every bit their equal in sovereign strength. The inward, Venusian power of Taurus that can nourish monumental creation may not seem as obvious as the inner martial force of Scorpio which broods and penetrates with intensity. What seems on the surface as calm stability in Taurus is similar to the unfathomable depths of subterranean life concealed by the green grass we lay our heads upon. As the goddess Inanna calls for someone to plow her fields, so will we be called to delve into the nature of our being as well as the natural world around us to discover the inspirational solution to whatever challenges arise. Uranus in Taurus illuminates our capacity to find ways to meld the wondrous magic of nature and all of its constant creation into our creative process and invention.

A native of Uranus in Taurus exemplary of its technological potential is Nikola Tesla, who as a youth transfixed with the wonderment of a crashing waterfall received a brainstorm that he could one day discern how to harness its power. As we know, Tesla not only helped develop the cultivation of hydroelectricity but numerous other inventions harnessing natural energy, including groundbreaking work in wireless power. There have been many historical examples demonstrating the capacity of Uranus in Taurus to birth technological inventions that dramatically transform culture, and the obvious need for technological advancement that can help us mediate environmental crises aligns perfectly with the potential of Uranus in Taurus. At the Northwest Astrological Conference in 2018, Caroline Casey spoke about animism informing technology with Uranus in Taurus, giving the example of Japanese bullet train design guided by the dynamics of kingfishers diving through water without a splash. This idea of biomimicry is not new, but seems fertile ground for new advancements with Uranus transiting Taurus.

Insight gained from the magic of natural creation will be felt from all fields of exploration during the transit of Uranus through Taurus. In science, there have been many examples of new theories in understanding natural laws manifesting with Uranus in Taurus, from the work of Isaac Newton with universal gravity and mechanics to Charles Darwin finally deciding to present and publish his long-standing, thorough research into natural selection that defied aspects of dominant church dogma. Newton and Darwin’s work both displayed the fixed quality of Taurus as their influence within the field endured for centuries. In astrology, the current movement toward a more embodied practice of astrology that connects us more intimately with our living sky will be strengthened. Marsilio Ficino was an astrologer born with Uranus in Taurus opposite his Scorpio Sun, and was a monumental influence on the artistic movement of the Italian Renaissance as well as its underlying philosophy. Ficino translated and brought back to prominence ancient Platonic and Hermetic text which helped him devise remediation practices aligning astrology with medicinal choices, including aesthetic ones such as sound and color.

As Uranus also signifies collective movements, despite the likelihood the mass population will continue to become even further entrenched within virtual realities, there is also a likelihood for movements centered within returning to nature gaining prominence. A past historical example includes Henry David Thoreau publishing Walden, or Life in the Woods with Uranus in Taurus, a work whose influence upon people seeking life lived within natural environments extends to this very moment. Interestingly, Thoreau published his essay Resistance to Civil Government (Civil Disobedience) when Uranus was in the final year of its transit through Aries. Uranus in Taurus will bring both of these ideas together, with acts of civil disobedience being utilized to protect natural environments from consumption.

BullPainting

Lascaux cave painting

Exaltation of the Moon

The Moon is exalted in Taurus and accustomed to being celebrated in the sign of the Bull Horns, yet will now find the strange instigator Uranus camping out there. Uranus entering the exaltation of the Moon suggests a radical awakening of soul through mindful descent into subterranean realms of inner sensation. I was recently struck by the link between enlivening inner senses with Uranus entering Taurus while listening to a workshop given by Peter Kingsley, a scholar of ancient philosophers such as Parmenides and Empedocles. Kingsley described inner sensations as “sacred ground” akin to the sacredness of the underworld to the ancient Greeks, yet in this case sacred ground you bear everywhere. Kingsley illuminated the value of the ancient healing practice of incubation, or lying down with full immersion within inner sensation, calling it a “practice of abandonment, the practice of giving up . . . when nothing else worked.”  Kingsley described how ancient people would seek a shrine to lie down within and be as close to death as possible when doctors were not able to diagnose a cure, and how through this process a healing remedy would emerge through submergence within inner senses.

To Kingsley the ancient Greeks had a fundamental need for the wisdom and understanding that comes through the incubation of inner sensation, stating “there was fundamentally no difference between a body that is sick, a mind that needs understanding, and a city that needs new laws.” Kingsley described that just as personal imbalances could be remedied through incubation, so could new systems of laws be brought to civilization by those who had entered and come back from “another state of consciousness by practicing incubation.”  Through incubation we become  “drawn into the underworld, into the depth . . . into that mysterious access point which is available in the underworld that gives you access to every level of existence.” I like these ideas in connection with Uranus entering Taurus since the disruptions that can enter our life with Uranus transits take us into dark nights of the soul and can force us to let go of attachments. It will be helpful to make time for meditative practices, remembering it can really be as simple as lying down in full immersion of senses. The alchemy of incubation to Kingsley reveals the midnight Sun and that “the real light is found at the heart of darkness” and realization that “the source of light is inside.”

While Taurus correlates with inner wealth and riches, it can also correlate with possessiveness, excessive hedonism, and materialistic greed. Kingsley spoke about how exploration of inner sensation can also address the “dynamic of nothing being enough that this [Western] culture thrives on” through nourishing us from within. Kingsley described it as a “whole process of inner agriculture” in which we can become “a farmer in the unseen worlds.” Notably, farming and agricultural have been significations for Taurus since Hellenistic times. Just as we could experience innovations in cultivating our inner fecundity with Uranus in Taurus, so are we also likely to experience collective innovations in agriculture and food production, as well as increased influence from fields such as permaculture. As Vettius Valens wrote in the second century CE:

Within the great cosmic order and turning circle of time, the Bull brings acquisition of resources. It is entirely earthy in nature, acting on rustic and rural places. There is an affiliation between Taurus and farming. Because the Bull is so earthy, its action is carried downward . . . It is oriented towards work of the unending variety, the temperament being entirely unchangeable. The Bull is responsible for the building of foundations, inclining us to collect assets.

— Vettius Valens, Anthology Book One translated by Andrea Gehrz

Uranus glyph Aphrodite birth with Hermes

Birth of Aphrodite (4th Century BC) attended by Hermes, Himeros, and Poseidon. Athenian red figure pelike from the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. Uranus glyph by Bradley Naragon

Home of Venus

Taurus is the earthy, inwardly directed home of Venus with a fixed focus on cultivating enduring qualities. Uranus in Taurus will be influenced by Venus and her flavorful aesthetics, sense of harmony, and sensuality. As a result we can expect Uranus in Taurus to bring innovative changes to fashion, dietary considerations, bodily caregiving and anything else Venusian. There will be a reawakening in relationships, with a need for our partners, friends, and collaborators to accept and support our essentiality. Venus and Uranus do not share much common ground in archetypal meaning, and so we will need to open the Venusian areas of our life to allow for the revelatory flow of Uranus that can be unsettling in its rapid change. As Taurus and Venus both have a lot to do with our inner values, we can make allies with Uranus by engaging in relationships that resonate with our authenticity rather than those that conform to external standards.

Uranus in the home of Venus suggests exciting developments in the arts and inspirational artistic movements are on the way. When researching past historical correlations with the transit of Uranus in Taurus, a pattern that leapt out to me was the numerous examples of masterpieces in storytelling. While Uranus was in the sign of the Bull, the ingenious Don Quixote climbed upon his steed to engage in his fantastical chivalry. The original Globe Playhouse was constructed giving William Shakespeare a stage to write and perform such classics as Henry VJulius CaesarAs You Like ItHamletTwelfth Night, and Othello. The great white whale Moby Dick, a story paradigmatic as “the great American novel,” emerged from the ocean waves, inspiring obsessive quests. The “body electric” of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass was also published with Uranus in Taurus, as was John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath which captured the trials of survival from the Dust Bowl crisis. Steinbeck wrote about survival with directness evocative of Uranus in Taurus:  “How can you frighten a man whose hunger is not only in his own cramped stomach but in the wretched bellies of his children? You can’t scare him – he has known a fear beyond every other.”

We can also witness masterful storytelling within natives with Uranus in Taurus such as Dante Alighieri, the creator of the enduring, immortal Divine Comedy whose influence has been incredibly far reaching. Masters of modern myths Jim Henson and Hayao Miyazaki were also born with Uranus in Taurus, both capable of creating entire worlds of fantasy that reflected timely messages back to audiences. Among artists, Vincent Van Gogh was also born with Uranus in Taurus (as well as Saturn and Pluto in Taurus) and his works of passion resonate with Uranus in Taurus in the way they capture the soulful aliveness of the ground beneath as well as the stars above. Whatever challenges and difficulties arise with Uranus in Taurus, we can expect they will inspire art, music, and story whose influence will stand the test of time.

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El Greco (1596-1600) View of Toledo; Uranus entered Taurus in 1599.

The planet Uranus was named for the primal sky god Ouranos, father of the Titans and lover of the primal earth goddess Gaia. Ouranos was fond of stuffing his Titanic offspring deep underground, and so it is interesting that the other mythic figure usually connected with the planet Uranus, Prometheus, was a Titan who took the side of the Olympians in the Titanomachy that led to his Titanic peers also being driven deep into Tartarus. In astrology we connect aspects of Uranus to the unconscious forces that can direct our life suddenly from unseen realms within. In mundane events, Uranus also corresponds to unforeseen forces fracturing and bursting through the facade of consensus reality. Whenever Uranus enters a new sign, unexpected events often erupt with resonance to the zodiacal symbolism.

With Uranus entering Taurus, we can intuit that commerce and economic systems across the planet will be shaken. While there will likely be dramatic periods of instability, it’s also likely that economic innovations will emerge through the volatility. As numerous past transits of Uranus in Taurus have coincided with militarized fights over land rights and natural resources, we can also expect more of the same. As previously mentioned, we can also expect mass movements focused upon environmental concerns such as addressing the need for clean water sources and the protection of what remains of the wilderness. Demetra George has posted a lucid piece connecting environmental concerns and crises with the mythic Uranus giving birth to the Furies within the tumult of his downfall.

Uranus also relates to revolutions, rebellions, and social justice activism in mundane astrology. The past transits of Uranus through Taurus involve many of the threads currently knotted together in the gaping collective wounds polarizing conflict all across our planet. Social unrest, protest and activism is guaranteed in the next six months of Uranus initiating its transit in Taurus, as it will form a harsh aspect with Mars retrograde in Aquarius in June through August followed by a polarizing aspect with Venus retrograde in Scorpio in October. During this same period, Uranus in Taurus will re-enter the orb of a fifteen degree opposition with Jupiter in Scorpio, the orb used by Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche to define time periods containing the revolutionary fervor activated by Jupiter and Uranus in opposition (June through September 2018).

A previous time Uranus in Taurus was opposite Jupiter in Scorpio, Frederick Douglass gave the rousing speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” on July 5, 1852. Frederick Douglass was exemplary of the emancipatory force of Uranus due to rising from slavery to become a leading intellectual, inspirational orator, and human right activist. The words of Douglass still resonate today:

“. . . At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.”

— Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

hathor cow goddess

Hathor

The Hierophant arcanum in tarot is traditionally associated with Taurus, an arcanum signifying belief systems, guiding faith rooted in belief, and the search for higher purpose and meaning. It can also signify conformity to established social orders of morality which aligns with its association to the fixed sign of Taurus. The word hierophant has roots in ancient Greek, meaning one who reveals what is sacred. Past transits of Uranus through Taurus have brought the shattering of static religious doctrine, including the 95 theses of Martin Luther that helped instigate the Protestant reformation, as well as Charles Darwin presenting his research into evolutionary biology that contradicted christian dogma. Saint Francis of Assisi was born with Uranus in Taurus and rebelled against the material trappings of religious institutions, devoting himself to a life of poverty. Saint Francis embodied Uranus in Taurus through viewing the natural world as a reflection of spirit, not only finding connection between living creatures and divinity, but also living and serving from this belief. The mystical participation of Saint Francis that rebelled against the christian duality which separated spirit from nature is likely to gain prominence as Uranus transits through Taurus.

In ancient Egypt the great goddess Hathor who was honored and celebrated by hierophants remains an archetypal force resonant with Uranus in Taurus. Hathor was a bovine divinity and sky goddess who emphasized the fertile nourishment of the starry heavens above, the celestial cow who lifted the creator Sun god up within her horns. A bestial goddess whose womb encompasses the stars above, Hathor’s link to Uranus in Taurus suggests spiritual meaning can come through connection with nature, alignment with natural cycles on earth and in the stars above, and ritually honoring the sacred. There is an old debate pitting the mind versus the body, with some arguing that the illusion of the material world means we can’t trust our senses and instead must find spiritual truth through the rationalizing mind. In contrast, others have sought the wisdom of the body, delving within subjective senses to discover higher truth from within. Uranus in Taurus can activate the potential of integrating mind, body, and spirit, bridging the wisdom of inner sensation with the clarification of mind through the tests that will arise in our worldly endeavors.

Tim Addey in his book The Seven Myths of the Soul used a passage from the Platonic philosopher Damascius to illuminate the journey of soul we experience through incarnation. Prometheus, a mythic figure who has become embedded within the archetypal meaning of Uranus in astrology, appears in the passage of Damascius in the line “Like Prometheus and the Titans, she is bound to body.” Addey linked the story of Prometheus to our soul’s incarnation in our bodily form where she must “undergo a series of trials in order to make sense of the world in which she finds herself.” To Addey, Prometheus is both “the inspective guardian of the rational soul” as well as “the descending arc of the cycle of the soul” whose path necessitates “the need to embrace the foundations of the mundane realm rather than reject them.” Addey suggests that “the initiation of Prometheus requires the soul to ask what am I not?” As we enter what promises to be a dramatic time period of Uranus entering Taurus, open awareness to what aspects of your life are ready to be liberated and changed. Analyzing how Taurus is involved in your astrology chart may be helpful, but most of all allow yourself to sense what parts of yourself you’ve been presenting to the world no longer align with your higher truth. It’s easier to ride with the force of Uranus rather than resist it.

References

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2006). Return to Eternity: a transformational workshop with Peter Kingsley.

Vettius Valens of Antioch. Book One. Rendered from ancient Greek into modern English by Andrea L. Gehrz. (2016). Moira Press.

Whitman, Walt. (1986). Leaves of Grass. Penguin Classics.

Scorpio Full Moon & Jupiter

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Detail from The Cross Rose in the Garden of Venus by Marlene Seven Bremner (2016)

Full Moon in Scorpio

We marvel at the lush petals opening, quivering in colorful scent. Yet its the roots, invisible and unnoticed that nourish the splendor. The Full Moon in Scorpio invites us to descend into sensation, into our hidden inner world that replenishes vitality and sources our full presence in the world. Authentic growth comes from deepening into the senses of soul, quietly embracing how the fullness of our inner senses receives the fullness of the outside world. The Full Moon is united with Jupiter in Scorpio, meaning there is revelry to be found in depths of thought and feeling, whether through shared intimacy or solitary, penetrating contemplation.

Taurus has the grace of calm power and a stubborn resolve for maintaining the stability of whatever brings pleasure and nurturance. The season of Taurus invites gratitude for the beauty we find in our surroundings and doing the necessary work to prepare the fields of our domain for the harvest we wish to reap in the year ahead. The polarity of the Full Moon in Scorpio digs underneath the surface of our motivations to the primal desires that drive us and bring the intrinsic resiliency to persevere with full participation in life. The polarity between Scorpio and Taurus is a powerhouse willing to dig in and do the necessary work, and the surrounding astrological aspects indicate there are important endeavors to complete. However, it will also be important to make space and time for sensing within as its an especially fertile lunation for uncovering previously concealed insight.

The Scorpio Full Moon illuminates the path that has opened in the aftermath of numerous tumultuous astrological aspects that have dominated April. Over the course of the past month Mars has moved from a conjunction with Saturn (April 2) through a conjunction with Pluto (April 26) its beginning to separate from at the lunation. Mercury in Aries has formed two catalytic square aspects with Saturn in Capricorn, first while retrograde (April 5) and then a final time recently while direct (April 25). During the past month plans may not have gone smoothly, unforeseen obstacles or delays may have emerged, and our desires may have taken us off pre-planned paths into unknown terrain. The aspects surrounding the lunation suggest that however things have been developing, we have been given the needed information and felt the needed desires for intensifying realization of passion and purpose.

The union of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn rules the Full Moon, amplifying the potency of the lunation’s alliance with Jupiter. Whatever has been lurking in the shadows comes forward, demanding awareness. In some cases this subconscious material involves our positive potential we have been denying or holding back from. It also can involve ghosts of the past stirring up regrets, disappointments, and memories of immature behaviors we have now outgrown. Instead of debilitating ourselves with excessive self criticism, allow the putrefaction of the past to feed reception of the vital new presence ready to emerge from within. Mars and Pluto can be engaged best with the integrity of honest expression. If we attempt to block expression due to fear of external disapproval, the suppressed volatility of Mars and Pluto will erupt with volcanic force and unforeseen consequences. As a result its important to clarify internal feelings and then find ways to ground the inner fire into concrete action.

mercury fountain

from Rosarium Philosophorum

The Full Moon in Scorpio forms a square and symbolic crossroads with its North Node in Leo and South Node in Aquarius. This deeply stirs lunar states of mind, irrational feelings, psychic messages, and subtle guidance to glean from flowing unconscious streams, especially since the Scorpio Moon is also applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces. The Full Moon is at the bendings, and though this can feel chaotic it also creates reflective opportunities for investigating the undercurrents of our current trajectory and surrounding developments in relationships. Practically, this means that the Full Moon is at the point of forming a square aspect with the previous Leo Lunar Eclipse (January 31) as well as the upcoming Aquarius Lunar Eclipse (July 27). There are strong currents to navigate as the Scorpio Full Moon peaks, so do your best to balance the compulsive force of the union between Mars and Pluto with reflecting upon your current path and next steps to take. The force of Mars and Pluto together needs expression and creates the atmosphere in the weeks ahead to jump into the rush of life and do your works of passion.

The past month of Mercury moving retrograde, becoming purified by the Sun, and now moving direct again as a bright Morning Star has helped clarify passions and refined purposeful visions. Mercury is at maximum morning elongation as a Morning Star at the Scorpio Full Moon, and as it illuminates the liminal pre-dawn skies it will help open the awareness and make the inspiring connections that can bring the visions we have been developing into fruition. Frustrations and delays that arose in the past month through Mercury’s back and forth tension with Saturn have ultimately given us additional perspectives to draw from, with the process elucidating more effective strategies and choices. The mercurial process may also have catalyzed intimations of new potential voiced from within that can now be integrated.

Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha connected Mercury direct at maximum morning elongation to the rubedo phase of alchemy.  Caton wrote that Mercury’s current connection with the rubedo phase signifies becoming “messengers of the future we have seen within us,” manifesting the new meaning gained during the recent Mercury retrograde period rather than returning to the status quo we had previously been used to. Caton advised as we integrate what we’ve brought back from spiritual realms and subconscious sensations, “the appearance of some externally chaotic conditions at this point actually demonstrates that the inner chaos of the spiritual realms has been successfully transferred, that spirit and matter are in correspondence” (p. 128). Embracing the volatility can help us deepen into the essential change and growth ready to be experienced.

Harmonia Elementorum (2017) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Saturn has begun its retrograde journey from 9º08′ Capricorn that will take it back to 2º32′ Capricorn when it stations direct on September 6.  As a result this Saturn retrograde in Capricorn will be especially significant for anyone with sensitive natal chart placements in the first ten degrees of cardinal signs, but for all of us we are now at the beginning stage of returning to an examination of the issues that have arisen with the ingress of Saturn into Capricorn at the end of 2017.  Saturn is in a harmonious sextile with the Scorpio Full Moon and flowing trine with the Taurus Sun, aspects that support time spent rooted in rumination. Saturn has turned away from the heated intensity brought by Mars earlier in the month to return to its cold and solitary lair that facilitates taking apart recent difficulties in order to discern how the lessons learned fit into the bigger picture of our lives.

In contrast to Saturn, Venus in Gemini is playing a mediating role with the transiting lunar nodes that are in hard aspect to the Scorpio Full Moon. Venus is forming harmonious aspects with both the South Node and North Node of the Moon, indicating that actively following our curiosity will help discern choices aligned with our life purpose to a greater extent. Venus in Gemini is explorative and willing to listen and sustain dialogue, promoting a period of greater socializing. Venus in the airy home of Mercury draws us toward perspectives we may not agree with at first but ultimately help us clarify our reasoning and purpose in response. Venus in Gemini can help us flexibly shift in line with volatile changes and refine our understanding through staying engaged in conversations and discovering connections that bring about self-realization.

Interestingly, Venus in Gemini is also contra-antiscia to Mars in Capricorn, a shadowy yet dynamic aspect that will bring relational issues to the surface. The triggering of old relational patterns is further signified by Chiron in Aries occupying the mid-point of Venus and Mars at 0º Aries. If we are reminded of old wounds we may also notice how much we have grown and are now capable of releasing old pain through genuine forgiveness and acceptance. There is also immense vitality within these aspects for creative expression that harnesses the value we can discover in difficult experiences and memories. The influence of Chiron further provokes self-esteem issues in relation to identity, placing importance on finding value for our true self rather than personas we have previously crafted to fit more easily into consensus culture. Chiron has been in Aries for a week and a half, so the Full Moon is opportune for noticing what issues have arisen in correspondence with Chiron changing signs.

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The Full Moon illuminates the first face of Scorpio associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first, as a despairing figure stares with fixation upon three spilled chalices. However, upon closer look there remain two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope. There is also a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing the flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. It is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Jawbone” to the first decan of Scorpio, declaring hunger as its chief concern. Coppock synthesized the ancient textual images of this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, satiation, the loss of what one desires, and the competitive violence of pursuing desires. Curiously the ancient Hermetic text Liber Hermetis tells us “a crab having wings” resides here, indicating that liberation may be possible once we face the compulsive nature of the cycle. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Numphai to this face, feminine nature spirits who reside in sacred streams, groves, and grottoes. The obsessive nature of this face brings to mind the figure of Dionysus who often ran with wild nymphs and whose all consuming desires brought dismemberment and rebirth.

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio while conjoining Pluto in its exaltation of Capricorn. With Pluto amplifying the fires of Mars, feelings of grief and loss may come more strongly from collective rather than personal realms. We can feel pain and destruction within local and global collectives, from the degradation of natural environments to innumerable instances of abuse, abandonment, loss, and betrayal occurring in the lives of others if not ourselves. It can be easy to identify with the mournful figure in the Five of Cups card lamenting the spilled liquid softening the ground under their feet. Yet as the image suggests, we also have cups full of enlivening liquid ever ready to quench our thirst. Turning toward whatever has survived a chaotic process of purgation, we discover a deepening strength and magical potency. There is agency to be seized and embodied in the glowing light of the Scorpio Full Moon. Use it well, and discern how to most effectively serve with its light.

References

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

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

Aries New Moon & Uranus

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Rene Magritte (1962) The Domain of Arnheim

New Moon in Aries

New Moons present an opportunity within fertile darkness to set intention. As the Moon aligns with our Sun and begins a new cycle and trajectory into increased light, we similarly pass from the close of a cycle into the promise of potential. Amplified beyond the norm, the New Moon in Aries on April 15 invites intention sung from peaks of far ranging vision. The lunation is aligned with Uranus and so whatever has been building in tension within constriction now demands release. Uranus brings increased excitement and incites desire for honest, authentic expression freed from restriction. Collective events will clamor and roar with a quickening pace, breaking open what has been confined. On personal levels within the tumult there is support for releasing liberated vision through grounded effort. Patience and due diligence must be embodied, using the imaginal excitement of future dreams as a gentle force of inspiration rather than an overbearing insistence on getting one’s way.

The New Moon arrives at the same time that Mercury has finally stationed direct, ending it’s retrograde in Aries that began March 22. Hermes seizes the stage, and as all eyes become drawn to the Winged Messenger we can also become conscious of openings for taking bold and direct action aligned with inner purpose. Whatever has become dislodged and purged in the past three weeks of the Mercury retrograde has created the space needed for integrating a new dimension of presence sourced from the stoking of inner fire. Mercury will be illuminating the sky at dawn as a Morning Star as the Moon waxes in light in the forthcoming lunar cycle, curious and eager to set plans in action and seek out new information to strengthen development of goals. Pay attention in case Hermes fooled you recently with some sleight of hand, as Mercury stationing direct brings capacity for focused alacrity attuned with the changing details of circumstances.

At the same time Mercury in Aries is stationing direct, Saturn in Capricorn is stationing retrograde. Planets stationing bring their significations forward from the depths of the collective unconscious into stark awareness. This is especially the case with Mercury and Saturn at the moment as they are stationing in range of a catalytic square to one another. Due to Mercury’s retrograde phase in recent weeks, we have already experienced a square aspect between Mercury and Saturn on March 10 and April 5. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon changes that have been happening since March 10 and messages we have received regarding the work and service we wish to perform as well as the stability and effectiveness of the structures we have in place for support and implementation. If we have already been actively reflecting upon and experimenting with what’s been working and not working optimally in recent weeks, then the Aries New Moon is ideal for implementing needed modification.

Mercury will be applying to a square with Saturn in Capricorn for the rest of April, eventually perfecting the aspect on April 25. This means the rest of the month Mercury has a drive for instigating movement and directly creating what we want, while Saturn will make the limitations of available time and resources obvious. The negative side of Mercury holding such a strong aspect with Saturn for so long is excessive self-criticism for not living up to expectations. If you have a grand vision of something to create, let the limitations and obstacles that arise in the next month help you strengthen your project and allow it to develop with fruitful fluidity. The encounter between Mercury and Saturn is perfect for figuring out how to best serve the needs of others with what you want to manifest, rather than being overly consumed with your own selfish conception. If you are instead feeling frustrated with a lack of inventive ideas or confused over which direction to pursue, allow Mercury the time and space to help guide you, as its tension with Saturn in the weeks ahead will eventually bring increased clarity.

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from the Splendor Solis

Mars in Capricorn rules the New Moon while applying to a conjunction with Pluto. As the tension between Mercury and Saturn builds over the rest of April, so will the ferment between Mars and Pluto intensify as they will eventually reach exact union on April 26. Mars and Pluto coming together is always a time of reckoning in which we must acknowledge and find outlets of expression for deep seated desires we may have been repressing or denying. This particular conjunction of Mars and Pluto is epic, as Mars is moving from a union with Saturn to a union with Pluto and therefore foreshadowing the coming union of Saturn and Pluto in 2020.

The cycle of Pluto and Saturn is one of the most important cycles to pay attention to in mundane astrology especially in connection with destruction of empires and power structures coupled with the emergence of upstarts claiming increased levels of power and control within global systems. Its especially significant that Saturn has made it within the fifteen degree threshold with Pluto that Richard Tarnas established as his boundary marker for cultural correspondences in his book Cosmos and Psyche (Tarnas tracked historical correlations with planetary alignments of conjunctions and oppositions using a fifteen degree orb). This essentially signals that we are already experiencing the sweeping tides that will irrevocably alter the global landscape in 2020. No kidding, right.

The scope of the coming changes relative to global civilizations is immense, as Pluto and Saturn will be uniting in range of a conjunction with their own south nodes. Dane Rudhyar wrote that the south node of a planet is like “the negative pole of an electrical system” that is “a point of release, but what is released can be waste-materials…At its south node the characteristic quality of a planet is almost forcibly thrown upon the Earth.” Pluto has already conjoined its south node and we are only at the beginning of a period unleashing the full arc of Pluto’s archetype. The news cycle is full of stories displaying the decay of old cultural systems, the exposure of corruption within them, and innumerable examples of those in power attempting to coerce and maintain control within the dismantling. There is no stopping the rapid currents of change underway, but within the breaking apart of the old there is new space being created to take responsibility for developing new structures that can support those feeling vulnerable amid the upheaval.

Significantly, at the same time Mars is approaching Pluto it is also being received by Jupiter in Scorpio through an integrative sextile aspect that can help bring regeneration out of discord, or at least transmit feelings of resistance, stress or challenge into productive action. The ability to produce something of beautiful value within surrounding intensity is also embodied by Venus in Taurus separating from a trine with Mars in Capricorn and applying to an opposition with Jupiter. The flowing energy between Mars with Venus and Jupiter combined with powerful tensions held by other aspects points to Aries New Moon being an extremely powerful launch pad for bold, dynamic endeavors full of resilient perseverance to not only survive but foster increased levels of strength within a stressful environment.

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Odilon Redon (1900) Centaur

Chiron in Aries

Chiron ingresses into Aries two days after the New Moon on April 17. Chiron first entered Pisces on April 20, 2010 and so we have eight years of Chiron moving across Pisces to look back over and reflect upon today. Chiron will be in Aries for only part of 2018, as it will station retrograde on July 5 at 2º25′ of Aries and then return to Pisces on September 25 for its finale in the sign of the Fish. Chiron spends more time in Aries than it does in other signs, for its crossing of Aries terrain takes it to the furthest point of its orbit out by Uranus. Chiron is the celestial body that bridges the dimension beyond Uranus to the one within the guardianship of Saturn, and so can provide counsel for how to listen to the subconscious messages arising with the Uranian lunation.

Chiron has brought about enormous dissolution while in Pisces that has helped facilitate healing as well as strength in facing and learning from disillusionment. Pisces is an internal and sensitive water sign that is in clear contrast to the fiery agency that will become available to Chiron in Aries. Chiron emerges from his cave in Aries ready to train heroes and heroines, eager to engage the power systems of the world in direct action. Chiron in Aries brings empowered will force to the determination of Saturn and Mars in Capricorn, bringing increased drive for advancement and protection, finding ways to direct outrage from oppressive power structures into effective streams of manifestation. Chiron in Aries will demand reclaiming power. How we choose to reclaim power and fight against forces of oppression will be one way Chiron in Aries will trigger wounds for healing.

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

Aries 3 Decan image from Allegory of March: Triumph of Minerva (1476) by Francesco del Cossa

Aries 3 Decan

The third face of Aries is ruled by Venus and Jupiter and similarly holds uplifting passion resonant with the daimon of Eros. The image above by Francesco del Cossa of a figure who resides within this face encapsulates aspects of numerous images found in ancient text. The trinity of Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Picatrix, and Liber Hermetis all reveal figures dressed in red and holding a staff or sword. This passionate figure is wearing either a golden or wooden bracelet depending on whether you consult Three Books of Occult Philosophy or the Picatrix, but both texts indicate the figure embodies the unrest of not being able to do desired good. The reason for not being able to manifest these good wishes is not stated, but Three Books proclaims there is “talent, tameness, joy, and beauty” to be found here. The figure in the Picatrix is an iron worker and so has a medium through which to transfigure frustrated anger into works of vivifying creation.

The figure in Liber Hermetis wears a gold crown with glistening emeralds decorating her belly. She is full of magic and her staff has the heads of four serpents facing a polarity of directions. Her garments of dark rose are lined with golden strings and she seems to possess the grace of the figure painted by Francesco del Cossa rather than the fury over constraints described by other texts. The focused countenance in del Cossa’s figure suggests they have an inner knowing of being able to make a targeted impact, as they seem to be summoning an inner force to project through the golden bracelet held delicately with their fingers. Francesco del Cossa placed an arrow in the other hand, evoking the mythic Eros or Cupid. Eros is in fact resonant, as the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the figure of Eros to the third face of Aries: the capacity of Eros to arouse passions into creations that inspire collective forces lies at the heart of the decan’s meaning.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries for reasons similar to its correspondence with Eros.  Coppock wrote that “Eros’ escapades make clear that the desire for unification is inflamed by separation, love by war, lust by forbiddance.” The concept of unifying through the flames of inspiration is key to Coppock’s interpretation of this face, as he wrote that it contains “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passion.” Coppock illuminated that it is the martial, battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.”

All of us can draw from the inspirational force of the New Moon occurring in the third face of Aries, united with Uranus, to bring resources and people together for the greater good. While we will become upset and express grief over difficult collective and personal events, there will also be opportunities for the strife of intense events to mobilize us toward new levels of strength we can utilize in supporting and inspiring others. The Aries New Moon asks us to get into the flow and ride the rapids of coming change, ready to respond and open to receiving assistance.

References

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

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

 

Libra Full Moon

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William Blake (1805) The Angels Hovering Over the Body of Christ in the Sepulchre

Full Moon in Libra

The Libra Full Moon on March 31 arrives at the heart of a tempestuous Mercury retrograde period, bringing a gale of Libra winds to a tumultuous astrological environment dominated by the fire and earth elements. We stand at the crossroads of tense, dynamic aspects among the cardinal signs of Libra, Aries, and Capricorn. The volatile atmosphere stokes inner flames and the heat necessary to reshape elements of life to craft change and incite new movement and growth. Frustration can come from feeling we lack time or being overwhelmed by responsibilities that disperse focus. Yet the Libra Full Moon supplies illumination that can lift us above sources of stress for a larger perspective that will bring creative solutions when we question how we can rearrange things to move more with the flow rather than dissipating energy through resistance. Moving into space in which we can focus on what we want to work on brings enormous potency with the current alignments. In the heat of engagement we may cooly detach from expectations and allow the alteration of matter to guide our drive rather than trying to force control.

The Full Moon perfects a day before Mercury retrograde in Aries enters the heart of the Sun to be purified and reborn in its inferior conjunction. The fiery union of Mercury and Sun incites desire for expression yet this is also an inner, sacred moment of Mercury’s cycle that is more about the grace of regeneration rather than loud declarations. It is an ideal moment to commit ourselves to an intention, change in lifestyle, or development of a project. At the same time Mercury and the Sun are uniting, Mars and Saturn are also uniting in a a square aspect to Mercury’s inferior conjunction that can be utilized to instigate change while also needing to reconcile with shifts in external realities that are out of our control. When we exert ourselves toward a goal, commit the entirety of our being to manifestation of an idealized vision, we arrive at a balancing point of our self-centered motivations and the needs of others. The Full Moon is opportune for simultaneously clarifying what we want to create as well as how to modify our creative process to serve the needs of others.

Libra is the outwardly directed home of Venus, a place of calibration where we measure our sense of inner value against external realities. Noticing disharmony enlivens our feel for harmony, while witnessing injustice shapes our conception of justice. While the Full Moon will bring significant messages informing our perspective of external events, it also brings strong capacity to enter an inner dialogue with one’s unconscious, whether messages come from our dreams or in moments of solitary contemplation. Mercury retrograde in this time of its solar union can help us engage what Carl Jung called auseinandersetzung, German for “taking something to pieces.”  This refers to confrontation in dialogue in which two people verbally engage without running away from the conflict.  By staying engaged in the dialogue, the differences inherent to the disagreement become clarified and distinct, making an agreement or compromise possible.  Jung believed it was also possible to engage in such a dialogue with one’s psyche, clarifying the unconscious being projected into relationships and keeping us from perpetuating past relational patterns.

As the Moon lingers in its full phase from March 31 through April 2, there is a liberating lunar atmosphere to embrace. While the Libra Full Moon is in opposition to the union of the Sun and Mercury in Aries, a day after the exact alignment the Moon will oppose Eris and Uranus in Aries. Simultaneously the Moon forms a square aspect with a union of Mars and Saturn in Capricorn as the Moon waxes full and then immediately begins to apply to a square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Only Jupiter and Neptune stand apart in water signs that do not belong to the cardinal modality. However, once the Moon enters Scorpio on April 2 it will form a harmonious trine with Neptune while moving toward union with Jupiter, while forming an integrative sextile with the Mars and Saturn conjunction. As a result the days following the Full Moon hold potential to inject imaginative visioning into whatever difficulties or hardship arise in correspondence with the union of Mars and Saturn.

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Polyhymnia by Francesco del Cossa

The Full Moon takes place in the exaltation of Saturn, and Saturn furthermore has triplicity dignity in Air signs. Saturn is at home in Capricorn, in a strong position that pulls us down into earthly focus on how to build and develop supportive structures for whatever we want to implement.  Since Mars is in its exaltation as it unites with Saturn in Capricorn in the days following the Libra Full Moon, we have an incredibly powerful union of Mars and Saturn to work with.  When Mars and Saturn come together in their cycle, world events tend to be fear inducing while in personal realms we may feel like our driving desire has come up against a wall or blockage. Mars and Saturn last united on August 24, 2016 at 9°52′ Sagittarius, before that on August 25, 2014 at 17°40′ Scorpio, and before that on August 15, 2012 at 24°49′ Libra. These were difficult time periods in world events, yet you may also notice looking back that initiatives taken during these time periods have ended up having powerful staying power. Work developed under the union of Mars and Saturn may develop slowly at first, but patience and thorough follow through will bring a resilient, persevering quality to the endeavor.

Mercury’s interior union with the Sun in Aries is bound to the union of Mars and Saturn since it is occurring in the home of Mars. While imagination can be applied to whatever we engage with, this is not a lunation for wild leaps of fancy that lack grounding in real knowledge we have earned from actual experience. There is enormous potency for yoking inspiration to self-discipline and taking personal accountability for responsibilities. There are some responsibilities we may need to ease up on, however, in order to create space needed to focus on what feels most authentically resonant. Mars and Saturn together mean that it likely will not work to impulsively trail blaze or burn down obstacles in our way. Instead contemplate and discover what lesson the obstacle or limitation holds. Most likely with patience and analysis it will be possible to work around or through the restriction, with the work gaining increased strength in the process.

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Taurus 1 Decan image from Allegory of April: Triumph of Venus by Francesco del Cossa

Venus in Taurus

Venus rules the Full Moon from her sensual, stable home in Taurus. Venus enters Taurus hours before the Full Moon, making a dramatic entrance into her inner, earthly home. Venus enters Taurus immediately following a volatilizing conjunction with Uranus activating unconscious material she can ground, integrate, and wield while in Taurus. Its sort of like Venus just returned home from a wild, inspirational journey, and she has a lot of work to take care of once back home she must address immediately. Once in Taurus, Venus enters into facilitating roles with Mars and Saturn, forming a trine aspect to both. Venus as ruler of the Full Moon points to the lunation facilitating real progress in practical projects, as well as grounding support that can come from resonant relationships.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress you associate with Mars and Saturn, seek Venus and her pleasing, embodied significations. Focus on taking care of your body, making nutritious food, holding and supporting loved ones. Artistic works and projects can be especially potent to engage with as Venus moves across Taurus and into a closer trine aspect with both Mars and Saturn.  Venus will form an exact trine with Saturn on April 7 and an exact trine with Mars on April 10. As Venus forms these trine aspects with Mars and Saturn she simultaneously will be making her presence felt at the bendings, forming a square aspect to the transiting lunar nodes. There will be important messages and issues arising we will have to face involving Venus.

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3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the second decan of Libra associated with the Three of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements.  Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to commitments within relationships as well as to oneself is vital to bear in mind at the Full Moon if we wish to reap a healthy harvest.

The Full Moon opposes the Sun in its own exaltation, and the second face of Libra integrates the meaning of its polarity with an exalted Sun in terms of revealing the necessity of tempering our solar expression with the responsibilities of our binding relationships. Saturn in Capricorn receiving an exalted Mars into its home demands accountability and discipline. Yet as mentioned the presence of Venus in Taurus signifies we can make work pleasurable and fruitful, and the union of Sun and Mercury in Aries signifies we can also make it inspirational. These are not easy transits, and we will need to avoid self-criticism and being too hard on ourselves for not getting everything done. Allow yourself to rest and relax as needed, for revitalized energy will be needed in the weeks ahead. Though challenging, on the other side of these transits you may look back with satisfaction on how you overcame difficulties and made important progress.

References

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

Stein, Murray. (1998). Jung’s Map of the Soul. Open Court.

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aries

 

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Mercury Retrograde in Aries

Journeying through the cosmic sea of celestial conditions, what Plotinus called the cosmic circuit, some periods will be felt as more volatile and challenging than others.  Mercury retrograde periods have a bad reputation as signifying doom, a misguided notion as all Mercury retrograde periods are not equal and in actuality are variable in experience.  Having said that (insert Larry David smirk here),  the forthcoming Mercury retrograde in Aries time period is littered with numerous difficult aspects that mark it as a period in which to be especially mindful.  The wise will remain steadfastly watchful for those moments in which the smoothly wound threads of life begin to become undone and in need of mending.  It’s not that it will be impossible to make plans and determined choices that will lead to success, but that it will be important to be ready to respond to challenges as the transits portend more disruption than normal for a Mercury retrograde phase.

It’s worth remembering the symbolism of the caduceus carried by Hermes that both heals as well as provokes slumber to make the cunning arts of the Angelic Messenger easier to manifest.  Mercury rules the art of astrology for many reasons, my favorite being the manner in which its cherished caduceus contains the core themes of astrology: Daimon/Spirit, Fortune, Eros/Love, and Necessity. Dorian Greenbaum in her marvelous thesis on the daimon in Hellenistic astrology integrated the symbolic analysis of the caduceus given by fifth century philosopher Macrobius in his text Saturnalia, including that the two serpents of the staff represent the intermingling forms of Daimon (Sun/Spirit) and Fortune (Moon/Matter). At the top of the staff they arc toward one another for a kiss (Eros), while lower down they are bound in a knot (Necessity).

From ancient thinkers like Plotinus to modern ones such as Carl Jung, endless spans of time have been spent contemplating the intersections between fate and free will.  As astrology developed in the Hellenistic era, forces of Eros and Necessity were seen as ruling over souls such as ourselves bound to human bodies.  Eros was named as the binding force of love, sourced from nous, that creates connections and order; in contrast, Necessity was linked with the strife of fate we must face during existence in a world of temporal forms ceaselessly passing away and coming into being.  Astrology mediated through the caduceus of Mercury helps us bring our personal volition into a kiss with the coming tides of matter we meet in the moment. This includes both the aspect of life we can change, and those we must accept and surrender to no matter how much wishful thinking we project.

Mercury is further associated with the Lot of Necessity according to Paulus Alexandrinus (citing text attributed to Hermes Trismegistus). It’s exaltation in Virgo in the northern hemisphere involves the symbolism of the Sun’s time in its peak period of light coming to an end and approaching the Libra equinox of balanced day and night turning toward increasing darkness. When Mercury shifts into retrograde movement, its orbit comes in between our Earth and our Sun and in correspondence we face the necessity of changes in our material circumstances.  As Mercury disappears from view at twilight as an Evening Star at the beginning of its retrograde phase, its descent into invisibility has been connected to its mythic role of psychopomp by Demetra George and other astrologers. We must inspect and attend to earthly matters during Mercury retrograde, witnessing what is growing, what is falling apart, what needs tending. Mercury also asks us to descend into the darkness of our unconscious and allow for a breakdown of habitual thought patterns to bring about the space needed for regeneration of thought and expression.

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Piero di Cosimo (c 1500) Allegory

This World is not Conclusion.
A Species stands beyond –
Invisible, as Music –
But positive, as Sound –
It beckons, and it baffles –
Philosophy, dont know –
And through a Riddle, at the last –
Sagacity, must go –
To guess it, puzzles scholars –
To gain it, Men have borne
Contempt of Generations
And Crucifixion, shown –
Faith slips – and laughs, and rallies –
Blushes, if any see –
Plucks at a twig of Evidence –
And asks a Vane, the way –
Much Gesture, from the Pulpit –
Strong Hallelujahs roll –
Narcotics cannot still the Tooth
That nibbles at the soul –

» Emily Dickinson «

Consciously, it’s difficult to know exactly what a Mercury retrograde period will be bringing us.  It’s a liminal space in which we have changed in sometimes obvious, other times mysterious, ways on the other side of it.  The confounding nature of Mercury retrograde is both its beauty as well as why it can feel frustrating. The very nature of change and regeneration demands that we shed what was once comfortable and familiar, embracing something unknown and uncomfortably foreign. This is where Hermes enters with his caduceus and sleight of hand, facilitating our capacity to meet disruption while discerning how to effectively remediate and respond, often shifting our life in a new direction in the process.

The ability of Mercury to mediate opposing forces, interweaving between conflicts, will be important to keep in mind with Mercury retrograde in Aries, the fiery home of Mars.  Mars is in its exaltation of Capricorn during the retrograde, a sign that forms a catalytic square aspect with Aries, provoking dynamic change.  It also means that Mars will be receiving Mercury, bringing the resources of its exalted Capricorn location into relationship with Mercury.  Furthermore, Mars will be approaching union with Saturn in Capricorn at the same time Mercury will be uniting with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde. Mars and Saturn will be conjoined in two of their strongest positions while forming a square to Mercury uniting with the Sun in its exaltation of Aries. These are extremely powerful forces at work through the cardinal, or moveable, modality of initiation and engaging in profound changes of circumstance.

Mercury in Aries is direct, quick moving and cuts to the core of perceptions.  As Mercury stations retrograde the Moon will be in the curious sign of Gemini, creating harmonious reception with Mercury that portends a retrograde phase of wide ranging exploration. As Mercury stands still in Aries and begins to slowly shift into backward movement, the impulse of its fiery placement becomes highly concentrated with a volatility that is capable of penetrating focus. Since Mercury is in the home of Mars, its notable that not only will Mars be in its exaltation of Capricorn, it will also be out of bounds in declination. Mars out of bounds and ruling Mercury creates wildness that can be best directed into areas you can freely express untethered curiosity.

In addition to Mercury shifting retrograde in Aries, Venus will also be moving direct in Aries while engaging both Pluto and Uranus.  Mercury and Venus spent an extended period of time conjoining as Evening Stars leading into the stationing of Mercury, drawing attention to something primed for birth. As they separate and Mercury descends toward subterranean depths, Venus will continue to become brighter at sunset while forming a tumultuous square aspect with the archetypal lord of the underworld, Pluto.  After Venus moves through its square with Pluto, it will eventually reach an exact union with Uranus in Aries on March 28 with a Moon waxing in light near fullness.  The interplay of Venus with Pluto and Uranus adds increased turbulence as well as liberating impulses to the already intense aspects formed by Mercury. Its a fertile environment for soul tending and letting the seemingly irrational sway of psyche become more conscious; as a result an opening of awareness for new routes of expression and paths of purpose may ensue.

Mercurius british museum print

Altogether, the intense ingredients of the beginning movement of Mercury retrograde in Aries is ideal for engagement with pioneering research, work, and expression. We need to keep in mind that during this opening division of Mercury’s backward loop, both Mars and Mercury will be getting closer to Saturn in Capricorn each day.  This means we have a powerful accompanist directing us toward how to build effective structures, yet Saturn demands patience and thorough persistence. Saturn simultaneously signifies what could appear to be immovable obstacles and blockages to plans. The fluidity of Mercury retrograde channeled through the fires of Aries may give impulse to burn down the walls we come up against, yet a wiser move will be to utilize the skillset Capricorn brings to Mars for strategic plans of action. The combination of Mercury retrograde in Aries with Mars out of bounds in Capricorn will be optimal for those types of “out of the box” ideas that enable one to successfully work around limitations.

Mercury projects involve creating with both the hands and the mind and so a diversity of work can be done in the weeks ahead, yet the fiery initiative of its Aries location will need to take account of the wide variance of potential hurdles before leaping into action. With both the Sun and Mars in their exaltation engaged with Saturn in its home, there is potential to combine hard work with effective planning to dig the trenches needed for increased irrigation throughout whatever system we focus on. Capricorn is a cardinal sign of nocturnal and inward earth, while Aries is a cardinal sign of diurnal and outer fire. The common ground is in the moveable modality of initiating plans of action, with Mercury retrograde needing to mediate the polarities of day and night, inner and outer, assertion and reception. Fire does thrive on the fuel of felled earthly trees, and so we can keep in mind the image of Mercury serving as a deft fire tender who expertly tempers the balance of keeping the fire going without allowing it to turn into a wildfire.

Temperamentally, fire and earth share the dry quality of making distinctions, having clear boundaries, and making the tough decisions of ending what is no longer working in order to productively engage with whatever holds greater promise. Within personal spheres we will have greater capacity to utilize the protective capacities of Mars, but still need to keep in mind the fact Mars and Saturn coming together can signify conflicts we will need to mediate. In collective events, there are likely to be more conflicts erupting out of the themes of information warfare and vying interests using data networks in strategic conflict, as well as economic warfare involving trade and other mercurial significations. The more we can stop ourselves from getting drawn into surrounding conflicts, the more energy we will have to instead engage with the dynamic aspects that are also available for developing plans with an eye for what looks to be working and what instead needs to be modified.

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William Blake (1804) Jerusalem

Into the Sun

The heart of the Mercury retrograde period occurs when Mercury aligns by zodiac degree in between the orbits of our Earth and Sun, becoming regenerated within its union with our solar light. Mercury retrograde goes into the heart of the Sun on April 1, a day after a Full Moon in Libra and a day before the exact union of Mars and Saturn in Capricorn.  While the inferior conjunction of Mercury occurs at 12º Aries, the conjunction of Mars and Saturn will occur at 9º Capricorn, bringing Mercury and Mars into applying engagement. Since Aries is the exaltation of the Sun, symbolically we can derive an added dose of enlivening empowerment to the purification and rebirth process for Mercury. This is a day for envisioning new ways of approaching longterm goals, as well as taking care of mercurial tasks. Mercury’s significations are strengthened while it aligns closely with the Sun, and so all manner of expression, research, negotiation, and work requiring dexterous skill gets an extra boost.

Moreover, as the Sun-Mercury union occurs in a Full Moon phase with the Moon in Libra applying to an opposition with Uranus in Aries, there is amplified illumination available. The liberating lunar atmosphere will create heightened emotions and excitement that will make the aspects between Sun-Mercury and Mars-Saturn more dramatic. We can receive far reaching awareness not only regarding recent events, but also deep unconscious material due to the Moon forming a polarity with Uranus. Fortunately, Venus will have entered its inner home of Taurus by the time Mercury unites with the Sun, bringing greater stability and full access to the pleasures of Venus. Venus in Taurus will begin to form a trine with Saturn and Mars and can help ground within bodily senses to find the calmness necessary to receive the full scope of lucidity available. If the coming together of Mars and Saturn has left you overwhelmed or exhausted at this point, making space for Venus will bring relief.

The sabian symbol for 12 degrees of Aries is “a triangularly shaped flight of wild geese,” with Dane Rudhyar giving it the keynote of “an idealistic reliance upon a mental image of universal order.” Rudhyar viewed the flight of geese forming a harmonious pattern as reflecting a synchronous attuning to both “planetary rhythms” as well as an underlying “cosmic order.” Rudhyar further pointed out that the type of celestial order revealed by the flight of earthly birds contrasts “with the social-political order within a nation which is represented by its ruler.” As a result Rudhyar saw this symbol pointing toward the polarizing conflict provoked by cosmic order when one has been overly relying upon societal order. The “Soul-consciousness” embedded within this image puts the emphasis on taking individual responsibility in development of one’s life rather than giving power over to external authorities. It also highlights the likelihood that the soulful insights arising from within may be at odds with our societal conditioning, and so we will need to keep an open mind rather than restrict how we interpret the messages we receive.

Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year explained how the inferior conjunctions of Mercury each year occur in the same element. This year we are experiencing the fire element, the first one of the series occurring on 12 December 2017 at 22º Sagittarius, the next one occurring on 8 August 2018 at 17º Leo. Caton gave guidelines into how to grasp the bigger picture of mercurial shifts by looking at the triangle of houses containing the fires signs in your natal chart (for example, they could be occurring in your third, seventh, and eleventh houses). In this way you can see how the isolated meaning of this Mercury rebirth in Aries connects with its previous regeneration in Sagittarius and forthcoming one in Leo in your natal chart. Caton wrote that in fire years “we need to find new sources of creative fuel and inspiration and learn to use this fire to burn off any accumulated detritus in our lives and to purge falsity in ourselves” (p. 142).

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Paul Klee (1938) Heroic Strokes of the Bow

In the Morning

Mercury stations direct on April 15 at 4º46′ Aries during a Dark Moon in Aries, in range of a square to Saturn.  The day after Mercury stations direct we will experience a New Moon in Aries conjoining Uranus, another sign that Uranus looms over the entire retrograde phase in less obvious ways. Mercury direct as a Morning Star is eager for new growth and endeavors, hungry for new information and connection. The New Moon conjoining Uranus following the stationing direct of Mercury signifies an emancipatory shift of the winds we can catch and ride. All the work of preparation and modification put in during the retrograde can fuel a leap forward at this time.

Other signs of monumental shift coming as Mercury stations direct involve Chiron and Saturn. Chiron will be at the final minutes of its time in Pisces when Mercury stations direct, and will ingress into Aries two days later on April 17. In addition, Saturn is stationing retrograde around the same time, bringing the influence of Saturn to the forefront. Mercury moving forward again while Saturn turns backwards means that these two once again begin to apply to another square aspect. Mercury will perfect its final square with Saturn on April 25, and later on this same day Mars will finally reach its exact conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. As a result the week and a half following Mercury moving direct again is saturated with potent astrology which can bring about full realization of whatever creations we work on during the time of Mercury retrograde.

Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star on April 29 at 13º of Aries as the Moon waxes full in Scorpio. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha illuminated the significance of Mercury aligning three times in the same range of zodiacal degrees before its retrograde at maximum Evening Star elongation (March 15 at 14º Aries), in the middle of its retrograde at its Inferior Conjunction (April 1 at 12º Aries), and after completion of its retrograde at maximum Morning Star elongation (April 29 at 13º). This creates a link between these dates and an alchemical process to work with between March 15 and April 29, 2018. Caution may be applied to what promises to be a tumultuous Mercury retrograde in Aries, but fear will do us no good. In the volatility of change we can discover luminous meaning and persevere with diligence and resilient thoroughness to create and contribute to the greater good.

References

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

Greenbaum, Dorian. (2009). The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence. A dissertation submitted in fulfillment for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Combined Studies at The Warburg Institute of the University of London.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

New Moon in Pisces

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Baptism II by T Thompson

New Moon in Pisces

The dreamy vision reverberating in mind, the eyes catch the mirrored sunlight caressing the waves from the deep.  Colors transfigure the sky, undulating with hues bringing passing magic to the senses.  We call it a brainstorm, the inspiration of inhaling divine guidance.  What comes next reveals the intersection between internal and external realms, the circumstances of our lives and our motivation to dedicate time and effort into manifesting a fragment of what our soul beheld in quiet, secretive contemplation.  The New Moon in Pisces on March 17 is a gate through which we enter an intensified quality of time, one which demands focused follow through if we wish to bring the inner workings of psyche into reality.

The New Moon is united with Chiron in Pisces and forms a catalytic square with Mars at the very, very end of Sagittarius.  Mars will enter Capricorn only a few hours after the lunation, and so the freshly waxing Moon will be in Aries when it forms an exact square with Mars later in the day.  Mars will therefore receive the reinvigorated dark Moon into its exaltation of Capricorn, and as the Moon continues to build toward new light it will find itself contained within squares with both Mars and Saturn in Capricorn.  Mars and Saturn glow these days as Morning Stars, full of essential dignity to bring about their significations in the empowered sign of the Sea Goat.  These combined influences on the New Moon in Pisces bring the inner fortitude required to bear the challenges and wounds of temporal matter in order to work toward sturdy development of goals.

The waters of Pisces wash ashore a seed that needs tending care yet has the resiliency to put down roots and bloom in even the harshest conditions.  In fact it may just be the difficulties of the surrounding environment that help to foster a beauty of form more unique than could happen anywhere else.  Plans enacted now will necessitate the type of mutable flexibility the sign of Pisces has been long renowned for, a capacity for shifting with fertile readiness to the angelic guidance found in the moment.

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Black Sunsets by T Thompson

Jupiter rules the New Moon having recently shifted into slow retrograde movement in Scorpio.   Interestingly, at the very moment of the New Moon perfecting, Jupiter will be ruling the New Moon in Pisces as well as Mars at the very end of Sagittarius.  Significantly,  the New Moon is separating from a trine with Jupiter, signifying a cherished vision or illuminated wisdom we are carrying forward into the coming lunar cycle.  Jupiter these days has a slow, churning, inwardly directed focus and is applying toward a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn that will perfect April 14.  The month following the New Moon will be an intense brewing of Jupiter and Pluto supporting a purging of inauthentic influences and a deepening of feeling into innermost yearnings.

Jupiter in Scorpio is in the middle of its most intense engagement with Pluto in Capricorn, having first formed an exact sextile with Pluto on January 15.  Jupiter has been harmoniously engaging with Pluto for the entirety of 2018, and after they begin to separate from one another toward the end of April, they will return to engage a final time again in August and September.   As always with Pluto we may experience secrets being revealed, taboos tested, and an initiatory journey, yet the supportive sextile formed with Jupiter suggests the underworld treasure and richness also associated with Pluto can be discovered.

These influences on the Pisces New Moon signify the importance of persisting toward goals aligned with inner essence rather than external influences of acculturation that are out of alignment.  This is of supreme importance for just as Jupiter is slowly peeling back toward Pluto, Mars and Saturn are blazing a trail forward to Pluto in Capricorn.

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Red Hues by T Thompson

In the wake of the New Moon, Mars will both move out of bounds by declination and also enter into Capricorn. Mars out of bounds is wilder, fiercely more independent and willful than Mars would otherwise be in Capricorn, while also applying to a conjunction with Saturn.  Capricorn is the exaltation of Mars, the nocturnal and earthy home of Saturn that tempers the inflammatory tendencies of the red planet.   Mars out of bounds in its exaltation is the wandering heretic genius who not only operates outside the confines of status quo conditioning, but also embodies the savvy wherewithal to strategize and effectively organize timeframes for work.  Mars wants the freedom to act out dynamic potential and has the motivation to seek outlets for expression.  Finding channels for Mars expression will be essential.

Mars will remain out of bounds until the first week of April, and it is on April 1 that it will form its exact conjunction with Saturn.  Mars will not unite with Pluto until the end of April, and so although that alignment is over a month away, as soon as Mars enters Capricorn we will begin to feel the intensity of its eventual perfection. In terms of collective events, there is no sugar coating the numerous tragedies that will be told in correspondence.  However, within protected personal spheres there will be opportunities to initiate and develop vital work.  Projects built under the intense eyes of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto may develop at a slower pace but will ultimately possess profound persistence to survive over the long haul.

Thus the 2018 narrative takes a dramatic turn at the Pisces New Moon, as the forces of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto promise a meeting with our nemesis and a forging of inner fire in response. While being one of the most challenging periods of the year, it will also be a timeframe that can lead to immense growth in strength and aptitude.

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Black Sunsets II by T Thompson

Fire will be found in the twilight of sunset in the forms of radiant Venus and glittering Mercury glowing bright.  Mercury is beginning to descend from maximum elongation as an Evening Star at the Pisces New Moon, falling lower toward the horizon each day as it approaches its upcoming retrograde period. Mercury will station retrograde following the Aries Equinox on March 22, meaning that the Pisces New Moon contains both the rebirth of the equinox as well as the regeneration of Mercury retrograde within its lunar cycle.  As a result we must be ready for the numerous twists, turns, and unexpected events that will accompany a Mercury retrograde period that looks to be more volatile than normal.

Take pleasure in the sunsets surrounding the New Moon, for the lack of moonlight will darken the backdrop of Mercury and Venus shining bright together in twilight.  As delightful as Mercury and Venus appear together in the sky, within the aspects of the astrological atmosphere they are in a challenging position of forming a whole sign square to the intense Capricorn conglomerate of Pluto, Saturn, and Mars.  After the Sun enters Aries on the equinox, we can add our solar light to the side of Venus and Mercury facing off with the Capricorn heavyweights.  While the Sun, Venus and Mercury together in Aries incite desires for freely boundless expression, the tension coming from Capricorn planets demands channeling expression through contained forms.

We have been presented with an extended period to integrate the heartfelt values of Venus with the mental reasoning and expression of Mercury:  Mercury and Venus recently united on March 4 and will again on March 19. The present union of Venus and Mercury is forming a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Leo and a sextile to the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The fiery determination and willfulness of Venus and Mercury in Aries presents new choices to be made that are in greater alignment with our authentic path.  As Venus and Mars are in the home of Mars, and Mars will be applying to a conjunction with Saturn in the home of Saturn, it will be imperative to embody self-discipline and integrity of purpose in the process.  Challenges may feel overwhelming, yet sustaining focused determination will reap rewards in the end.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third face of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image and card linked with emotional fulfillment of creative dreams, it also carries warnings of becoming lost in romantic fantasy.  The image of rainbows, happy lovers, and playful children captures the essence of an ideal goal for many, and serves as a striving symbol for those with different goals in mind.   Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to this decan, as he wrote “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love” that ultimately requires sacrifice.  Coppock rightly described this decan as a place in which we can experience the “heights of agony and ecstasy,” both the disillusionment of betrayal as well as the bliss of rich reception.

Mars rules the third face of Pisces, and it is significant that the New Moon is also occurring within the Egyptian bounds of Mars.  This binds the lunation to Mars even more tightly than would otherwise be suggested by the looming influence of the red planet previously described above.  The Sabian symbol for the New Moon is “The Harvest Moon Illumines a Clear Autumnal Sky,” to which Dane Rudhyar gave the keynote of “the light of fulfillment that blesses work well done.”  Rudhyar described this symbol as signifying reaping the harvest of what we have sown and cultivated, emphasizing that “the seed of the new cyclic manifestation is already latent.”

With Mars, Saturn, and Pluto present in Capricorn in the coming cycle we have the power of the scythe on our side. Be mindful of what you cultivate, and generous in the harvest you share with others.  The sharing of love and resources in partnership and within collaborative community will bolster resiliency in the face of coming challenges.

References

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

Virgo Full Moon: Pisces Wave

Rosette

India (1645) from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Full Moon in Virgo

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours’ eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing by W.B. Yeats

The Full Moon in Virgo on March 1 is full of inspirational force, imaginal vision and emotional tidal waves.  The Sun, Neptune, Mercury, Venus, and Chiron are all lined up in Pisces opposite the Moon in Virgo, with the lunation’s intensity deepened by a harmonious aspect with Jupiter in Scorpio and catalyzed with explosive vitality by an amplified Mars in Sagittarius.   Ideally during the period of fully reflected light one can situate themselves in a place of stimulating learning or creativity where the dynamic force of the Full Moon can be transmitted into tactile manifestation or revelatory reception.  The potential conflict from Mars comes from dogmatic ideals and subjective projections within an atmosphere making the dry discernment of Virgo challenging.  Mercury rules the Full Moon as it applies to a union with Venus in Pisces and so we experience the Moon in Virgo under the sway of poetic richness, emotional reception, and the intuitive knowing of feelings within the body.

There is simply something sublime about the Moon in Virgo ripening full in reflection of light cast by the Sun uniting with Neptune in Pisces.  In Virgo we can sense the spirit in our flesh and the soul of the earth around us like nowhere else in the zodiac.  Virgo can both discern and analyze insight from difficult or confusing experiences, as well as weave together meaning into tangible forms of shared understanding.  Attaining calm presence in the moment amidst the tumult of ceaseless change is key to optimize the grounded, pragmatic wisdom available in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  The overflowing Piscean influence on the surrounding time period of the lunation makes it easier than normal to fall into illusory pursuits or projections, yet the combined earthiness of the Virgo Full Moon in harmonious relationship with Saturn in Capricorn brings the potential to make the magic of Pisces real, true, and embodied.

deer mandala of kasuga shrine
Japanese silk scroll (late 14th century)

The Virgo Full Moon is ruled by Mercury in Pisces applying to conjoin Venus and Chiron in Pisces, as well as applying to a stabilizing trine with Jupiter in Scorpio.  Mercury resides in Pisces in polarity to both its home and exaltation in Virgo, yet since it is being received by Jupiter it has the resources of Jupiter fully loaded in its tool kit.  Combine the fact Mercury is simultaneously uniting with Venus in its place of exaltation, and we have a deeply visionary and imaginative Mercury that can grasp understanding of one’s larger emotional environment as well as perceive creative solutions.  Flashes of intuitive, direct knowing may be received and the inward earthiness of the Moon in Virgo can facilitate processing perceptions in order to receive a harvest of important insight.

Most auspiciously, both Mercury and Venus are emerging as Evening Stars at the time of the Full Moon, regaling the twilight with their bright starry presence.  Venus has already been visible at twilight in the week leading into the lunation, but the fullness of the Moon rising is perfect for celebrating the return of Venus glowing bright on the horizon.  We haven’t been able to see Venus since she was in her Morning Star phase last November, and so her longly anticipated return to visibility is an omen of good tidings.  The following hymn “The Lady of the Evening,” adapted from ancient Sumerian text by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer, celebrates the re-emergence of Venus as an evening star:

At the end of the day, the Radiant Star, the Great Light that fills the sky,
The Lady of the Evening appears in the heavens.
The people in all the lands lift their eyes to her.
The men purify themselves; the women cleanse themselves.
The ox in his yoke lows to her.
The sheep stir up the dust in their fold.
All the living creatures of the steppe,
The four-footed creatures of the high steppe,
The lush gardens and orchards, the green reeds and trees,
The fish of the deep and the birds in the heavens-
My Lady makes them all hurry to their sleeping places.

The living creatures and the numerous people of Sumer kneel before her.
Those chosen by the old women prepare great platters of food and drink for her.
The Lady refreshes herself in the land.
There is great joy in Sumer.
The young man makes love with his beloved.

My Lady looks in sweet wonder from heaven.
The people of Sumer parade before the holy Inanna.
Inanna, the Lady of the Evening, is radiant.
I sing your praises, holy Inanna.
The Lady of the Evening is radiant on the horizon.

Fascinatingly, due to Mercury slowing down and then stationing retrograde in Aries on March 22, Venus and Mercury will remain in range of a close conjunction all the way through the waning half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, so that on the following Pisces New Moon on March 17 they will still have only one degree of separation between them in Aries.  This is an unusually long time to live with Venus and Mercury transiting in such close proximity to one another and so brings an opportunity to find greater alignment between inner values and outer expression and communication.  There will be a notable shift on March 6 when both Mercury and Venus will move into Aries, bringing potential to take the inner illumination received from their time together in Pisces into direct, courageous action in the world.

While Venus and Mercury are uniting at the end of Pisces they are also taken into a deeper dimension of perception by their additional conjunction with Chiron in Pisces.  Chiron is a celestial centaur who bridges the divide between Saturn and Uranus, the key holder who brings access to vital subconscious information.  Since Mars in Sagittarius is also approaching a challenging square aspect with Chiron, there is a collective trigger that reflects the gaping, aching wounds of trauma and oppression felt throughout the collective, injuries often brought about through violence and conflict connected to dogmatic paradigms of belief.  During the days following the Full Moon there is potential to journey within to both face and dissolve old wounds that are ready to be dislodged.  However, some wounds may still feel more painful than fully engaged in healing and if this is the case the over abundance of planets in Pisces can allow for a flow of emotive release.

One of the biggest factors in the Virgo Full Moon, however, is Jupiter in Scorpio not only forming a trine to Mercury, Venus and Chiron, but also beginning to station retrograde.  Jupiter in Scorpio will station retrograde a week after the lunation on March 8 and is barely moving at the time of the Full Moon, bringing its archetype into a stronger presence within the collective.  Whenever a planet stations its archetype saturates the landscape, so prepare for lessons involving Jupiter in Scorpio to become abundantly clear.  We have passed through a season of eclipses that formed a square to Jupiter in Scorpio, and so we are primed to receive direct knowing from the accumulation of recent experiences.  Although Jupiter and Mars are not in a major aspect, they are mutually exchanging signs with Jupiter in the home of Mars and Mars in the home of Jupiter.  With regard to the additional interplay between Mars and all of the action in Pisces that Jupiter also rules, Jupiter in Scorpio can help us shed attachments to old illusions of belief and ready us for a new influx of understanding.  Once Jupiter turns retrograde in the first week of March, it will move backwards through our zodiac until stationing direct again on July 10 at 13º20′ of Scorpio.

mount meru mandala
Cosmological mandala with Mount Meru (14th century China)

While Mercury and Venus are separating from a square with Mars in Sagittarius, Mars is applying to a trine with Eris and Uranus in Aries.  When we also factor in Mars being conjoined with the asteroid Vesta at the Full Moon, there is potential to utilize the fiery volatility of Mars in Sagittarius to not only explore exciting frontiers but also utilize the focus necessary to bring something worthwhile back to share with the wider collective.  Aspects between planets are multivalent in expression, and so while there is potential destructive conflict signified by the aspects Mars is making at the Full Moon, this same energy of Mars can correspond with separating yourself from previous limitations or oppressive circumstances and making visionary strides forward.  Mars in Sagittarius is fast moving and curious with ample stores of generosity and optimistic hope available to fuel striving for greater freedom and making real progress toward idealistic pursuits.

In addition to all of the watery and fiery dynamics previously mentioned, there is also a lot of the grounded earth element involved in the Full Moon.  As the Moon waxes full in Virgo it will form a trine with Saturn in Capricorn, and then following its opposition with the Sun the Moon will move toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  When we also consider the placement of the asteroid Pallas Athene in the middle of Taurus, there is a stable earth triangle formed that also involves harmonious sextile aspects between Saturn with the Sun and Neptune in Pisces.  As a result, there is potential to find surrounding structures to stabilize and ground the insight available in correspondence with the lunation into tangible manifestation.  It also highlights the availability of outlets for grounding or compassionate support if the emotional waves of the abundant Pisces influence becomes overwhelming.

pents09
9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Virgo arises in the second decan of Virgo associated with the Nine of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is resplendent with a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure, and fittingly Venus is the ruler of the second face of Virgo.  On her hand sits a bird of prey ready to strike out for resources, while ripening grapevines surround her.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:  “Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus . . . . [and] brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof” (p. 146).

Interestingly, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked the Moirai to the second face of Virgo.  These are the daughters of Necessity, the goddesses of fate: Clotho the spinner of the threads of life, Lachesis the measurer of fateful threads, and Atropos who cuts the threads.  These goddesses of fate appearing in this decan points to the importance of centering within the actual currents of life so that choices can be discerned that will allow one to navigate with as optimal a flow as possible.  While there is incredible imagination available with the overflow of Pisces influence on the Virgo Full Moon, this visionary capacity needs to be grounded in the truly developing elements of life rather than dissipated through denial of what is actually happening.  Through a combination of grounding while simultaneously opening to the full range of possibilities available in the moment, the Virgo Full Moon can facilitate awareness of new choices freed from the limiting thoughts of the past.

References

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

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1983). Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth.  Harper & Row.

 

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

siren water bearer

from Alcuni monumenti del Museo Carafa (1778)

Solar Eclipse in Aquarius

The Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius on February 15 is not cloaked in total blackness such as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred last August 21, yet still opens us to the mysterious matrix of eclipses that bring significant shifts in circumstances and perception.  Aquarius is the constellation of the Water Pourer, and even within the use of the tropical zodiac we still associate Aquarian meaning with the one who carries the enlivening celestial waters to nourish collective lives and ideals. The diurnal home of Saturn, it is a place of work yoked to transcendent vision and creates the contemplative space needed to break free of cultural conditioning at odds with essential values.

Astrology has an ancient tradition of associating our Sun with the celestial source of soul and our Moon with the worldly reception of soul in our human forms.  At a solar eclipse, we can infer that our sense of soul purpose and creative actualization we associate with our Sun is being eclipsed by the mysterious darkness found deep within our body and psyche, a darkness full of rich fertility that brings forth new life.  New forms move through our life with eclipses while old forms pass away, while what was previously hidden for whatever reason emerges with stark clarity.  Since Aquarius is a fixed sign, a lot of the changes happening in correspondence with the eclipse will be slower to develop yet long lasting.  Since Aquarius is an air sign as well as the location of the transiting South Node of the Moon, we can expect shifts in old mental patterns and complexes, with new ideas percolating and ready to fill freshly created space.

The Aquarius Solar Eclipse is taking place near Mercury and the asteroid Juno, signifying that our mental framework of relational patterns is primed for release of aspects that have been keeping us stuck.  Mercury in particular is a vital component of the eclipse, as it will enter the heart of the Sun and perfect its Superior Conjunction within a couple of days of the eclipse.  This means Mercury is being purified and in a rebirth process within the eclipse, facilitating the letting go of mental debris to clear space for the influx of dynamic new ideas.  With Juno also present near the eclipse, we can gain new insight into our current relationships through shedding the skin of old relational wounds, peeling away perceptions keeping us blocked from meeting the actual needs of relationships in the moment.  Eclipses tend to bring in new relationships while some of our older relationships begin to fade away, but with Juno also present with the eclipse it is worth paying attention to relationship dynamics more than usual and discerning which newly emerging relationships are worth focusing on going forward.

Manjuvajra Mandala

Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom (11th Century; Bangladesh or India; black stone)

Saturn is the traditional ruler of the eclipse, situated in the twelfth place from the syzygy.  Though not in aspect to the eclipse, Saturn does find its joy in the twelfth place due to its more isolated and hidden conditions creating fertile ground for rich contemplation.  Uranus is considered by many to be the modern ruler of Aquarius, and Uranus is engaged with the eclipse through a harmonious sextile.  The Solar Eclipse as well as Mercury in Aquarius interacting with Uranus through a sextile amplifies the potential of the eclipse to facilitate a liberation from old mental wounds and negative thought cycles that have kept us in a loop of limitation in one way or another.  Uranus is moving direct through its final passage in Aries before entering Taurus later in May this year, and so there is a dynamic Uranian wave to catch at the eclipse and ride with the full force of the sign of the Ram.  At the previous Solar Eclipse in Leo last August, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect, and during the last Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Uranus was also involved in a harmonious aspect with Mercury.  If you have been working toward greater Uranian emancipation over the course of the past six months, pay attention to openings emerging with the eclipse that can make the desired changes enduring.

It will be helpful to consider all of the changes in your life that have been taking place over the past year of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius, since the Aquarius Solar Eclipse is roughly in the middle of their trajectory.  There was a Full Moon in Aquarius on 16 August 2016 that some labeled an eclipse (but it had absolutely no visibility), but the sequence of Leo and Aquarius eclipses did not fully kick in until the Leo Lunar Eclipse that arose on 10 February 2017.  The most potent of the eclipses was the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that happened 21 August 2017, and since the current one is at the polarity of that eclipse, its possible to now gain clarity regarding the changes in life direction and relationships that have corresponded with these eclipses.  It’s always important to focus on the houses of your natal chart as well as aspects with Leo and Aquarius to fine tune your analysis, but simply reflecting upon the overall narrative will bring insight that can help you acclimate to the new shifts arriving with the current eclipse.

hand with images

from the Alcuni monumenti del Museo Carrafa (1778)

The partial solar eclipse in Aquarius is in a saros series that began with an eclipse in 1729 that featured Mercury conjoining the South Node of the Moon. While Mercury has separated eleven degrees from the South Node of the Moon in the present eclipse, Mercury is closely conjoining the eclipse itself on the side of the South Node of the Moon, echoing the eclipse at its origins.  Bernadette Brady in Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark wrote “this family of eclipses is concerned with ideas and their enthusiastic expression,” leading to an onrush of ideas that may flood one’s system, “but if you can go with the new ideas, they will have positive outcomes.”

Mercury is separating from a sextile with Uranus and applying toward a conjunction with the eclipsed Aquarius Sun.  Mercury has also separated from a square with Jupiter in Scorpio, adding to overarching influence the Star of Zeus in the sign of the Scorpion exerts over the eclipse.   With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our ideals, with the Jupiter and Mercury tension pulling us into the core of difficult questions regarding the current state of the multiplicity of civilizations around the planet.  Though Jupiter has now separated from its previous opposition with Uranus, we are still in the wake of the catalytic tidal wave instigated by Jupiter and Uranus reaching the peak of their cycle in 2016.  The influence of Uranus and Mercury within the eclipse facilitates opening minds to answers that reframe circumstances and allow a bigger vision to help discern smaller choices made in the present.

Fantasy novelist Ursula Le Guin passed away earlier this year about nine days before the recent Lunar Eclipse in Leo, revivifying the memory of her work that was able to create entire worlds unto themselves, often centered around idealistic perspectives such as feminism.  After receiving the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2014 she spoke the following words:

I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. …

We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.

– Ursula Le Guin

Gary Caton’s recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year does a marvelous job of illuminating the elemental meaning of the six pointed star Mercury forms each year within its synodic cycle.  In the present year we have Mercury forming retrograde unions with the Sun in the Fire triangle, while forming direct unions with the Sun (like we are experiencing now) in Air signs.  Caton wrote that since Air and Fire share the characteristic of heat, yet differ in that Fire is dry and Air is moist, it means that the Aquarius lesson of moistness “means curbing your tendency to go it alone, and joining with like-minded allies before adventuring.”  Be alert for opportunities to join with like minded souls in coming weeks and months; after the eclipse Mercury will begin shifting into becoming a visible evening star again and will be moving direct until stationing retrograde in Aries on March 22 following the equinox.

The sabian symbol of the eclipse reflects the symbolism of releasing Aquarian air to fuel the fire of the Leo north node: “A tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter.” Dane Rudhyar wrote the keynote of this symbol involves “knowledge and skill used in its natural surroundings for the satisfaction of vital basic needs,” based upon “intelligent foresight.”  Rudhyar beautifully concluded that “in meeting the hardships inherent in an existence close to nature, strength, efficiency and intelligence are needed, but they are incorporated in a life in which every act can be part of a harmonic and beautiful ritual permeated with deep significance.”  Moreover, the sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury’s superior conjunction with the Sun that will occur on February 17 is a “butterfly emerging from chrysalis,” again reinforcing the themes release and rebirth.  As we let go of the past and what has been holding us back, a new presence may emerge deeply sensitized to both the resources and needs of the surrounding environment.

black iris

Black Iris (1926) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Venus in Pisces is closely applying to an integrative sextile with Saturn in Capricorn, the ruler of the eclipse, heading toward union with Neptune.  At the same time, Mars in Sagittarius is applying to a superior square with Neptune in Pisces and as the Moon waxes full in the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus will form a waxing square with Mars.  Additionally, as Venus moves across a union with Neptune in the forthcoming lunar cycle toward a square with Mars, Venus will also be forming a harmonious trine with Jupiter in Scorpio.  Venus in Pisces is playing a mediating role within the eclipse and portends positive potential growth within relationships.  The influence of Neptune brings some fogginess of illusion to cut through, as well as over zealous martial crusaders to contend with. Yet the coming union of Venus and Neptune is also the sort of dreamy transit to allow yourself to indulge in, luxuriating in whatever you find pleasing and soothing.

swords07

7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Solar Eclipse in Aquarius rises in the third face of Aquarius associated with the Seven of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Similar to the union of Mercury with the solar eclipse, we can see a bit of Hermes in the image’s thief stealthily removing five swords from the scene, leaving two firmly planted in the ground.  The five swords bears numerical resemblance to the Five of Swords card associated with the first decan of Aquarius, a face that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to in his book 36 Faces on the decans.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius aligned with the 7 of Swords card, noting that the figure of the thief in the image has already undergone a process of what to leave behind in the place of the known as he embarks with what he has selected to take with him on his journey into the unknown.  Coppock astutely used the symbol of the knot to explore the karmic binds that often keep us bound in the place of the known and familiar, rather than liberating ourselves from frustrating situations in order to enter the unknown and risking exile in the process.

Venus rules the third decan of Aquarius within the triplicity rulership scheme, while the Moon rules the third decan of Aquarius within the descending rulership scheme.  Since the Moon rules this face and the Moon in Aquarius is eclipsing the Sun, the Moon is at an advantage with regards to essential dignity as it darkens our view of the Sun.  The Moon will additionally occult Mercury in Aquarius hours before the eclipse forms.  While the hectic pace of daily life and its gravity of responsibilities may make it difficult to create space for reflective solace at the exact moment of the eclipse, make the effort to create room for contemplation when the moment allows.  Allow your mind to open to the possibilities of the vast unknown of the future, and as you gain intimations for who you can become find places, even within the most mundane of choices, to begin realizing more of your envisioned potential in the present.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1999). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser.

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

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

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala. Random House.

 

Leo Lunar Eclipse: Scythe of Ceres

Sunflower clock

Sunflower Clock by Athanasius Kircher

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

The Moon will glow in rosy shadow as the Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo culminates on January 31.  Eclipses reveal the wonder of our living world through the stunning optics of our Moon not only appearing to be the same size as our Sun, but also mutating in color during the exact alignment.  During a total lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our planet upon the face of the Moon, creating a reddish light as opposed to the total blackness that manifests in a solar eclipse.  Venus joins the Sun in Aquarius as it casts shadows on the Leo Lunar Eclipse, bringing an influence of searching for inner harmony amidst the numerous corresponding changes that will occur in between the lunar eclipse and the Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15.  We all know the Leo stereotype in astrology of the solar hero journeying for personal glory.  Yet the type of heroine illuminated by the Leo Lunar Eclipse willingly descends into shadowy inner depths in order to discover the essential value they may serve the needs of the collective with, helping to heal and strengthen bonds of community.

Lunar eclipses occur when a Full Moon aligns with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, meaning that the polarity of Sun and Moon aligns with the intersection of the orbital arcs of Sun and Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon or serpent consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma, patterns, and attachments whose time has come.  These themes are amplified by the ruler of the Leo Lunar Eclipse, the Aquarius Sun, being conjoined the South Node of the Moon.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is “total” and particularly potent due to it being closely aligned with the lunar nodes, with both the Sun and Moon only three degrees away.  While the influence of the Moon residing in Leo brings an element of creative actualization, the weight of Aquarian leverage on the syzygy necessitates taking into account a wider perspective of humanitarian concerns.  Those who have been alienated or choose to inhabit the fringe will demand attention as our planet’s shadow slips across the face of our Moon.  Creative solutions are needed for the vast array of issues people are struggling with around the world; while those solutions will not be appearing magically in the eclipsed light of the Moon, personal and collective narratives will shift dramatically in its wake and force issues to surface awareness. Within the turning wheel of fortune we can gain clarity for what needs our full attention within intimate circles as well as within broader collective concerns.  The eclipse season we are entering swings toward an emphasis on Aquarius and the South Node, just as the eclipses in 2017 had more emphasis on the North Node side of Leo.

Ceres statue

Ceres by Augustin Pajou (1768-70)

The dwarf planet Ceres is closely conjoined the eclipse, only two minutes away from the eclipsed Leo Moon.  As an archetype, Ceres both produces the resources needed for vitality as well as bears the seeds of renewal. Yet the swing of her scythe that brings the harvest necessitates loss as much as it brings forth gain.  Just as the Leo Moon will be eclipsed by shadow, so was Ceres eclipsed by pain and rage over her own personal tragedy.  In an element of her myth that parallels the story of Isis and Osiris, Ceres was willing to incarnate into human form as part of fully embodying her grief.  Though she needed to take time away from producing growth in the world in order to process and release her trauma, Ceres ultimately mediated a compromise in which she returned to her service of providing fertile abundance for the greater collective.  Ceres reveals the importance of taking time and space away from production in order to grieve, while also illuminating the resolve necessary to return to the world of suffering in order to bolster strength in others.

As Ceres aligns with the Moon on the North Node side of Leo, Venus accompanies the Sun on the other side of the axis in Aquarius.  While Ceres and the Moon are in the Egyptian bounds of Saturn, the Aquarius Sun is in the Egyptian bounds of Venus.  We can find here the message Ceres received in her journey into the mysteries of darkness, that though life and love will return so will death and strife coexist.   The gravitas of Saturn that demands us to mature and be accountable for how we navigate cycles of change is amplified by Saturn in Capricorn ruling the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus in Aquarius.    The influence of Venus in Aquarius upon the lunar eclipse is not about hedonistic desire for everything we find pleasurable, but rather brings a purification to our pursuits of pleasure and what we value.  Saturn in Capricorn hones the raw into the fine-tuned and essential, and so its influence on the Sun and Venus at the eclipse takes us into a process of clarifying the values to prioritize in our choices and discovering who we want to become based more upon internal authenticity rather than external acclaim.

Venus in Aquarius is also in the bounds of Jupiter at the lunar eclipse, while Jupiter in Scorpio is engaged in an impactful relationship with both the Leo Lunar Eclipse on January 31 and the Aquarius Solar Eclipse on February 15.   Moreover, Jupiter is in its own bounds, ruled by Mars in the home and bounds of Jupiter (4º of Sagittarius).  As I’ve previously written, Jupiter in Scorpio facilitates delving deeper into our own subconscious as well as gaining insight into the sea of collective unconscious swirling around us.   Combined with Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.  Yet its challenging square aspect to the eclipses in Leo and Aquarius necessitates courageously facing difficult, disillusioning questions and allowing the answers we discover to help us shed beliefs that have been keeping us contained within illusion rather than being alertly aware in the present moment.

trident with naga

Trident with Naga, Bronze (11th – 12th Century)

Nodes of Neptune

The eclipse falls across the nodes of Neptune, with the Leo Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.  This also means that the Sun, South Node of the Moon, and Venus are also conjoining the South Node of Neptune in Aquarius.  The nodes of Neptune being in Leo and Aquarius is something I have spent time contemplating yet still have difficulty putting into words. Like all archetypes, the best we can do in the end is observe how events and images emerge into form in correspondence. One element I feel involves the archetypal arc of Neptune being related to spirituality as an access point into the interconnected field of our reality, and how this connection with Spirit can both connect us to the needs of living diversity across our world, as well as often necessitates time in exile, as a hermit or recluse in order to connect with divinity from within.  It also makes sense that the North Node of Neptune in Leo goes along with the phenomenon of spiritual glamor, and how there has been many examples of people taking on spiritual guru roles revealed to be narcissistic abusers of power.  Ultimately, it seems the North Node of Neptune in Leo is about centering consciousness in our heart so that we can engage the interconnected field of our reality from a heart-centered place of love and compassion.

For another perspective, the evolutionary astrologer Mark Jones has theorized that the North Node of Neptune in Leo correlates with an evolutionary choice to re-integrate our personal and collective traumatic memories through a creative actualization in some way.  Part of this interpretation relates to the Uranus rulership of Aquarius developed by Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology, wherein Uranus is linked to both traumatic memories from past lives held by the soul, as well as our capacity to liberate ourselves from being incapacitated by them.  Two areas this interpretation could play out are found in art and activism, both art integrating activism and activism incorporating art.  There are powerful aspects found within the Leo Lunar Eclipse to facilitate dynamic creative breakthroughs, and its alignment with the nodes of Neptune brings the potential to release elements of tragedy and trauma fettering within our collective through artistic expression.  There is a lot of innovation within the aspects of the Leo Lunar Eclipse to wield in the process of making the change you wish to see in the world.

 

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Six of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

 

Leo 2 Decan

The Leo eclipses falls in the second decan of Leo associated with the Six of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   We find here an image of triumphant victory, a strident champion riding a white horse and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, proclaiming it “holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.”  The pride and glory of victory in the Six of Wands image also reflects its shadow of hubris, a complex that deserves attention since the Leo Moon will become engulfed in blood red shadow.

Jupiter rules the second decan of Leo, and so with Jupiter in Scorpio as well as Saturn in Capricorn in the background of the eclipse, its more likely than normal that those who seek glory and fame without inner integrity will fall or be cut down from heights.  Its worth contemplating the question of what does victory truly mean for you, and what degree of external validation is actually needed.  Allow the redness of the Moon to take you within the purity of heart, and let the authentic presence you discover there take the helm of navigating through the sweeping tides of the coming eclipse season.

References

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

 

 

New Moon & Venus in Capricorn

 

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

New Moon in Capricorn

Within the heart of the dark forest we seclude ourselves from the tumult and toxicity of civilization.  We feel the slow rhythm of the earth under our feet, the songs of the wild in the air, the sense of the trees reaching out from and sinking deep into subterranean nourishment.   The canopy of trees shelter the surrounding diversity of nature, the natural cycles of growth and decay clearly observable.   A Capricorn New Moon is similarly an opportunity to center and ground within the changes of what is ready to be developed and what is passing away or in need of release.  Capricorn is most potent and fertile when we allow our inner life to help us navigate through the labyrinth of external conditioning structures and influences.

The New Moon in Capricorn on January 16 takes us into a season of eclipses, with a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo (12º) coming January 31 followed by a Partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius arriving February 15 (27º).  The emphasis on Capricorn calls us to formulate plans and fixate determination to persevere, yet the nature of the forthcoming eclipse season portends a wave of events on the horizon bringing changes in circumstances requiring adjustment. This theme is reemphasized by the New Moon forming a square with Uranus in Aries.  The places in your natal chart impacted by the coming eclipses in Leo and Aquarius are important to take into consideration at this New Moon.  Ultimately, the Capricorn New Moon is fertile ground to launch the work and endeavors you are most passionate about, with a willingness to consistently put in the necessary amount of practice, study, and effort needed to achieve successful manifestation.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

Saturn rules the New Moon from within the stability and strength of its own home in Capricorn.  Co-present with the New Moon and Saturn in Capricorn are Mercury, Venus, Pluto, and Black Moon Lilith.  During the darkening of the Moon leading up the Capricorn lunation, Mercury finally completed its final conjunction with Saturn in Capricorn that links back to its previous Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius (December 2 -22, 2017) that began with Mercury united with Saturn.   Direct action toward goals and strengthening of foundations are needed now more than reflective restraint.  Contemplation must be yoked to determined effort and disciplined focus.  Distractions flee under the glare of Saturn, revealing the core desires, needs, and issues to prioritize.  The plethora of placements in Capricorn support creative visualization of developing plans that pragmatically discerns a path forward with solutions that are both realistic and imaginative.

While Saturn in Capricorn intensifies the Saturnine significations of the Capricorn New Moon, Mercury will be a bright Morning Star in Capricorn in the lunar cycle ahead, ready to help make clarified choices within daily tasks.  Mercury will be transitioning from Capricorn into Aquarius as the blood red eclipse in Leo forms on January 31.  While there will be solid astrological support for making headway with work and projects in the next couple of weeks, remember to make time for self care and restful dreaming time.  The emphasis on Capricorn can coincide with intense, pressurized feelings of time and space and deadlines we must meet.  Ideally a balance can be struck between seizing the moment when opportunities appear and nurturing ourselves so we have our full strength to summon when needed.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

A New Venus synodic cycle began in the week before the New Moon that was simultaneously united with Pluto in Capricorn.  The personal meaning found in the January 8 solar union of Venus and Pluto seeds the growth beginning to form within the New Moon.  The reception of meaning stemming from this alignment will continue to slowly deepen in awareness in coming weeks, prodding us to face and overcome whatever fears have been holding us back.  It can be easy to remain stuck in routines and responsibilities we have outgrown due to the comfort of the old and familiar that do not require making radical changes.  The rebirth of Venus in union with the Sun and Pluto, combined with Mercury and Saturn also residing in Capricorn, facilitates asking new questions that demand new answers and a reframing of circumstances.  Old structures can more easily break open within the series of eclipses we will be experiencing within the next month, making this a perfect time to courageously consider how our use of time and space can be rearranged so we are more actively engaged with inspirational activity that grips our full presence.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

The other major aspect of the Capricorn New Moon involves the harmonious sextile with Scorpio holding a formidable influence of Mars and Jupiter.  Mars is separating from a recent union with Jupiter in Scorpio, and Mars has a receptive sextile with the New Moon due to it occurring in the exaltation of Mars.  Amplifying the transmutational potency is Jupiter in a close sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and Mars in Scorpio in square with the degree of the partial Solar Eclipse in Aquarius coming February 15.  We have both malefics, Mars and Saturn, at full strength in their own homes.  Malefics are a polarity to benefics due to their correspondences often causing fear and requiring determined resiliency in response.  Often the key to overcoming fears is a willingness to explore their undercurrents and face whatever lies at their root.  As we shed old fears the harmonious interchange between Scorpio and Capricorn within the lunation brings a forceful current to propel us through the upcoming eclipses into bold new levels of development.

In addition, Neptune in Pisces has a less obvious effect within the New Moon as it forms harmonious whole sign aspects with the abundance of planets in Capricorn and Scorpio.  The strongest aspect for Neptune in the New Moon involves Mercury in Capricorn applying to a sextile with Neptune.  Furthermore, the Total Lunar Eclipse coming on January 31 is aligned with the nodes of Neptune, with the Sun and South Node of the Moon conjoining the South Node of Neptune, and the eclipsed Moon and North Node of the Moon conjoining the North Node of Neptune.   Altogether this ramps up the imaginative fertility of the New Moon to foster a dissolution of restrictive conditioning influences from the past in order to activate creative actualization of core talents and calling.

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4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

The New Moon arises in the third decan of Capricorn associated with the Four of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of empire building and wielding influence from a seat of power, the Four of Pentacles signifies a cultivation of inner talents to make an impact in the material world in matters that are most meaningful.  The crowned and enthroned figure has pentacles below and above him, with a fourth pentacle cradled at heart level evoking a spinning wheel of fortune.   The figure towers in the foreground, suggesting someone sovereign and able to manage structures to bring material prosperity and security within the wildly fluctuating changes in fortune that come and go within surrounding society.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Throne” to the third face of Capricorn, a fitting image given that the Sun rules the decan.  Coppock wrote that this face of Capricorn involves administering from a throne to control the elements of the world needed to attain material gain and positions of greater power and responsibility.  Notably, Coppock cautioned that hubris can tempt those grasping for power in this face to overlook the weight of responsibility and the loneliness of isolation that accompany achieving ambitions.  Coppock warned that accumulations of material wealth, power, and responsibility “may end up crushing them,” the idealized palace turning into a restrictive prison.

Since Saturn in Capricorn can bolster the application of the New Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Pluto in Capricorn toward whatever ambition we set our mind and will toward, make sure that the achievement of current goals are in accord with a healthy, balanced life that enables inner fulfillment in addition to external success.   If you are feeling overwhelmed and blocked by external circumstances, let yourself surrender to acceptance while remaining watchful and determined to find openings for advancement, no matter how small or temporary.    In fact, the astrological alignments at the New Moon can help prepare and refine an abundance of inner riches and attainment of inner wisdom that has nothing to do with material circumstances.  Within the shifting tides of the material realm, however, perseverance and determination will be required to navigate the sweeping change on the horizon.

References

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

 

Capricorn Cazimi: Venus & Pluto

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The Magic of Pan’s Flute (1905) John Reinhard Weguelin

Venus in the Heart of the Capricorn Sun

Venus has begun a new cycle with the Sun, forming an exact conjunction with our Sun on January 8 or 9, 2018 depending upon your time zone.  The beginning of the new synodic cycle for Venus is even more potent than normal due to it simultaneously beginning a new cycle with Pluto. Venus in the heart of the Sun with Pluto takes us deep into the bedrock of inner desires and values, and as we dig into the soil of soul we will unearth meaning  that will guide us on our journey forward, even if current feelings are difficult.  Venus is currently orbiting on the far side of the Sun from Earth, its union with the Sun at this point in its cycle called the exterior or superior conjunction of Venus.  This solar union is in contrast to the conjunction Venus forms when it is retrograde and in between the orbit of Earth and the Sun, called the interior or inferior conjunction of Venus.    Venus will still be invisible to us for awhile, but is now in transition into becoming visible again eventually as an Evening Star at the beginning of March 2018.

The vivifying light of our Sun is a foundational source for meaning found within astrology.  Of course the Sun is the source of the light that our visible planets reflect back to us and that define their phases, whether that is the constantly waxing and waning of our Moon or the slower shifts in time we experience through Saturn.  As a result when planets unite with the Sun by zodiac degree within astrology, they are returning to their source of light and being reborn.  As the planet approaches its union with the Sun we can imagine it being somewhat weakened due to the purification process underway, not unlike our bodily sensations when soaking in a hot spring or sweating in a sauna.  The planets beyond our orbit such as Mars and Jupiter only experience one conjunction with the Sun during their synodic cycle, while in contrast Mercury and Venus experience two conjunctions since they orbit in between our Earth and the Sun.

Traditionally, astrological text pinpoints the superior/exterior conjunction of the Sun as the very beginning of the synodic cycle of Venus, an important consideration especially in terms of answering queries through horary.  At the same time there is a debate amongst astrologers based upon experience and observational factors over whether or not the interior conjunction of Venus (when Venus is retrograde and aligned with the Sun in between our orbit with the Sun) should actually be considered the beginning.  However, whether you believe the current exterior conjunction of Venus on the far side of the Sun from us in orbit is the beginning or midpoint of its overall synodic cycle, all astrologers can agree that when united with the Sun that Venus is being purified and regenerated through the union.

Venus has been under the beams of the Sun and invisible to us since early November 2017, and so since then there has been something more hidden and internal about Venus with the potential for a purifying reflection process about all things Venusian.  As mentioned, our astrological tradition has considered this to be a phase of Venus not being at full strength, a period in which Venus is seen as being most successful undergoing secretive, hidden endeavors.  The ancient astrologer Rhetorius (from the 6th/7th century) wrote the first written record that survives denoting the significance of a planet becoming strengthened when in the heart of the Sun, which to Rhetorius occurs when a planet is within one degree of the Sun (later Medieval astrologers moved this range, also called cazimi, to be within sixteen minutes of orb).  Being in the heart of the Sun was likened to the planet sitting on the solar throne: Venus as the Queen, with all things Venusian amplified in strength during her meeting with the Sun.

There is also an additional protective factor considered to be important to ancient astrologers such as Porphyry and Rhetorius when a planet is invisible and close to the Sun by zodiac degree, translated as the planet being in its chariot.  A planet is in its chariot, protected from being weakened by the solar rays, whenever it is within its own domicile, exaltation, or bounds.  Thus Venus is in her chariot whenever she is close to the Sun in Taurus, Libra, Pisces or within her own bounds.  The Egyptian bounds for Venus in Capricorn range from fourteen to twenty-two degrees, and so there is an additional consideration to take into account of Venus being in her chariot during her union with the Sun and Pluto.  Venus also has triplicity dignity in Capricorn since Venus favors the earth signs, and so altogether these factors give Venus support in not becoming overwhelmed by her meeting with Pluto and the Sun. This means the triple union of Sun, Venus, and Pluto is especially focused upon Venusian matters, and we can feel our relationship with Venus and her significations acutely.

Since Pluto is an invisible planet far away in orbit, it may seem strange to imagine it also being regenerated in the heart of the Sun by transit, but there is still the same effect of both Venus and Pluto being simultaneously regenerated in meaning for us through their alignment with our solar light.  Be patient with whatever feelings and insights are arising with this stunning union, and nurture the inner process they lead you into, for this astrological alignment is setting the stage for the events of the rest of 2018 to unfold.  Often our personalities don’t like the issues Pluto brings up in transit, whether it be due to fear or wanting to be in denial of certain realizations that come to our awareness.  Within the tumult of tempestuous collective change promised by the astrological alignments of 2018, the solar highlighting of Venus and Pluto can guide us into inner awareness of the modifications we need to make in all areas of our life connected to the role we are called to embody in society.

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The Cross Rose in the Garden of Venus (2016) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Since the Sun, Venus, and Pluto have united in the home of Saturn, its further significant that Saturn is in its home, co-present in Capricorn.  Capricorn is the inwardly directed home of Saturn, and so Saturn also being in Capricorn brings sharper focus into matters of time and space and forces of change we can sense underway in our reality.   The beautiful aspect of this strong emphasis on Capricorn is that we have the astrological support to make real, tangible progress in the direction we are being called to focus upon.  At the same time there can be a lot of frustration over the limitations of time and space available to us with our numerous responsibilities, and so it will be important to reprioritize goals so we can reconfigure the best way to make use of our time.  We need to be letting go and letting things pass away that no longer carry the same soulful inspiration as in the past, to make space for whatever is going to make us feel more alive and passionate.

We associate Saturn with the order of time and forces of necessity, and Capricorn with the maturity and responsibility we cultivate through facing natural cycles of change. Both of these meanings of Saturn and Capricorn fit in well with the synodic cycle of Venus as it is incredibly structured and consistent, with effects on our experience of time that bring a sense of destiny and fate to associated events.  If you trace the five  points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper.  Every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time, and every eight alternating years we experience Venus moving direct into the Sun in the same place.  [note: Chris Brennan recently interviewed Nick Dagan Best regarding Venus and Mars retrograde cycles and their timing sequence you can view here]

This means that eight years ago in January 2010 we experienced a superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn, and that four years ago in 2014 we experienced a Venus retrograde in Capricorn (and another superior conjunction of Venus in Capricorn in January 2002 and another Venus retrograde in Capricorn in January 2006).  Interestingly the Venus retrograde in Capricorn in 2014 also involved Pluto, as Venus stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Pluto.  There is approximately nine months in between the superior and inferior conjunctions of Venus, and so this means that later this year in October 2018 we will experience an interior conjunction of Venus with the Sun while Venus is retrograde in Scorpio.  The Venus retrograde in Scorpio later this year will finish up with Venus stationing direct in Libra in range of an opposition to Uranus in Aries and a square to the lunar nodes which will have transitioned into Capricorn and Cancer.  Venus will form three oppositions with Uranus through going retrograde and will be part of the transition of Uranus back into Aries from Taurus.  Since there is tremendous change portended by these alignments, its all the more important to pay attention right now with Venus having recently aligned with the Sun and Pluto.

2018 is remarkable in the interplay between Mars and Venus synodic cycles, as Venus will station retrograde in Scorpio in October in range of a square to the same place Mars will have stationed retrograde in Aquarius in June.  Just like Venus will make three oppositions with Uranus through its retrograde, Mars will make three catalytic square aspects with Uranus through its retrograde process.  The dynamics between the Venus and Mars cycles will be one of the most important aspects of 2018, and in collective current events we can already clearly see this through numerous examples of gender issues dominating the news cycle.  With Venus being regenerated with the Sun while aligned with Pluto, there is a strong emphasis on empowerment of women and feminine issues in the face of systematic oppression.

Venus and Mars began their current cycle through forming a conjunction in Virgo at the same time as a Full Moon in Aries in October 2017.  Venus and Mars have now entered into their waxing sextile alignment under the most amazing of astrological circumstances:  Mars conjunct Jupiter in Scorpio forming a sextile with Venus in conjunction with Pluto and the Sun.  There is potential for harmonious integration of Venus and Mars in our life now, yet the additional astrological elements make it a supercharged dynamic that could lead into overwhelming feelings difficult to handle.  The Mars and Jupiter alignment in Scorpio is even more jarring due to it forming in range of a square to the lunar nodes and the upcoming season of eclipses we are entering.  These aspects support courage in breaking free of previous restrictive conditions, but remember sometimes all that is possible for us to do is make what appears to be a small change from outside perspectives.  These alignments support the overused analogy of carefully building your path brick by brick with strong focus on details of each movement.

Speaking of eclipses on the horizon, at the end of January we will experience a Total Lunar Eclipse in Leo that will feature Venus in Aquarius aligned with the Sun and the South Node of the Moon.  This means that Venus will be part of the symbolic filter the Sun is shining its shadow through onto the Moon, creating the optic effect of a blood red Moon.   Since Venus is so instrumental in the upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse on January 31, it makes the insights and realizations we gain now with Venus aligned with Pluto and the Sun all the more important.  To keep it simple open feelings to what you want more of and what you want less of, where you feel pulled to spend more time and what you feel you need to let go of.

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You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth . . . When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music . . . Work is love made visible.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

This quote from Kahlil Gibran is included in the wonderful book on vocation and astrology written by Brian Clark called Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity, and Calling.  One aspect of Brian Clark’s work I admire is his ability to open up the imaginal field of interpretation within astrology in creative ways.  Similar to this imaginal direction, I’ve always enjoyed the association of the nature deity  and flute playing Pan with the sign of Capricorn because it’s always felt aligned with my experience of people with Capricorn placements.  We often see Capricorn written about in cold and austere ways, but there is also a creative, visionary capacity of Capricorn that enables us to connect with a calling beyond our former conditioning, rather than following careers restricted to our former conditioning.

Capricorn is a nocturnal sign and so the nocturnal home of Saturn which stands in contrast to Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn.  Robert Hand has taught that the nocturnal sect in astrology has more focus on being unconditional in expression in contrast to the diurnal sect having more focus on being conditional.  Saturn is a diurnal planet we associate with significations that are very conditional, such as deadlines and whether or not we pass the test.  It will clearly be important to handle all of our daily responsibilities as always, and in fact Saturn’s presence in Capricorn may make us feel the need to be accountable even more sharply.  Yet don’t allow this to keep you from dreaming of how things can be different and remembering to take the time to nurture your inner life instead of becoming exhausted through work in the external world.

With Saturn now in its nocturnal home of Capricorn, with Venus having become regenerated through union with Pluto and the Sun in Capricorn, allow your visions of career and creative expression to soar beyond all of the restrictions currently felt within your daily responsibilities and grind.  Allow your desires for a soulful calling to soak deep into subterranean waters and wells that hold memories of the deepest gifts you have to offer.  Our world in 2018 will be going through seismic societal shifts, and we will all benefit the more each of us brings our works of passion forth to share.  I’ll end with a quote from Brian Clark’s book on vocation:

“Vocation is not about being someone, but becoming who we are . . . A literal career or profession, no matter how enlightened, is not the answer to the soul’s longing. Vocation is an aspect of the individuation process and its path is not predetermined but forged over time through the relationship of the inner self with the outer world. Vocation demands its own set of rules and insists on its own laws . . . To pursue one’s true vocation takes courage, as well as the strength to break free from ‘the herd.’”

— Brian Clark, Vocation: The Astrology of Career, Creativity and Calling