Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

two dogs howling leonora carrington

Two Dogs Howling at the Moon (1964) Leonora Carrington

I will wail and howl.

I will go stripped and naked.

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

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

Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn

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

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

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

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

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

Vincent Van Gogh Wheatfield_with_Crows

Wheatfield with Crows (1890) Vincent Van Gogh

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

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

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

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

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

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

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

leonora carrington kitchen clock

Kitchen Clock (1943) Leonora Carrington

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

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

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

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

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

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

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

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3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

Ouroboros_1

from De Lapide Philosophico (1625) by Lucas Jennis

The Basement Astrologers Podcast:

Planetary Nodes of Jupiter, Saturn, & Pluto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ouroboros-300x300

by Liv Rainey-Smith

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

Cancer Solstice Eclipse

Moon Tree

Image by Michelle Doucette, whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

Solar Eclipse in Cancer

The Annular Solar Eclipse on June 21 will emit a thin golden ring of light around a pulsating black center. For those who can view the eclipse in daylight hours, the supremacy of the radiant sun will be overcome by the darkness of night, the blackness that gives birth and through which life passes into the otherworld of ancestors. Experiencing a solar eclipse brings a sense of the fertile void where the emptiness underlying everything is found. Eclipses can feel like an opening into the primordial reality that is always there, unchanging, waiting to be entered. It’s not a time for projecting your ambitions into the world, but rather a moment of allowing your conscious ambitions to be eclipsed, connecting awareness with what is waiting to emerge from inner shadows.

The Solar Eclipse will occur nine hours after the exact moment of the Solstice when the Sun enters the tropical zodiacal sign of Cancer. The time of peak day that marks the beginning of Summer in the northern hemisphere, it is simultaneously the pinnacle of darkness in the southern hemisphere that demarcates the beginning of Winter with the promise of returning sunlight. The word solstice  has stationary at the root of its etymological meaning, a time when the luminous Sun pauses at an extremity of height within its endless cycle, initiating a descent. As the Sun is a living symbol of coherence, the shadows that will devour its light indicate an old paradigm that has been used to hold a center on civilization is ready to be dissolved and de-centered.

The lunar nodes demarcate eclipses whenever a new moon or full moon conjoins them, as the nodes are the intersection of the great planes of spirit/soul and matter, the intersection of the apparent path of the Sun with the orbital arc of the Moon. The word node comes from the Latin nodus or “knot,” and so the knots that bind and tie together the strands of civilization become unravelled within the vortex of the ringed blackness. Similarly the knots of our consciousness we use to tie down and bind our inner multiplicity become loosened, allowing vibrant new desires as well as difficult fears and projections to temporarily erupt into awareness.

Since the Solar Eclipse in Cancer is very close to the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, it places more emphasis on intake and a surge of new activity more so than the release, sacrifice, and harvesting associated with the South Node of the Moon. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes stressed the importance of properly metabolizing, digesting, and integrating the absorption of new material that takes place at the North Node of the Moon. It will be vital to discern what we consume and make the necessary time and space to integrate and digest what we take in that can bring nurturance and nourishment, emptying ourselves of the toxic residue we have taken in from our surroundings.

Although the Annular Solar Eclipse is at the first degree of Cancer, the transiting North Node of the Moon is in Gemini and therefore signifies a great upwelling of new perspectives and information to sift through. There will be new perceptions, new information, and new insights that need to ferment within and disrupt our old belief system and worldview. Yet the amount of information and viewpoints to consume in the present information age is far too much to take in. Discovering the personal meaning of the eclipse can be facilitated by turning away temporarily from the cacophony of culture to discover what the blackness of the eclipse is revealing about the inner fertility of your own underground world of chthonic, black depth.

Paul Nash Eclipse of the Sunflower

Paul Nash (1945) Eclipse of the Sunflower

The lunar nodes have long been imagined as a dragon or serpent of chaos that devours our lights, the Sun and the Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing the head of the dragon and the South Node of the Moon its tail. In Egyptian cosmology, the sun faced death in the regenerative underworld of Night at midnight every night, before being reborn at daybreak. Aaron Cheak wrote an essay included in The Celestial Art which described the primordial waters of Nun as hosting the rebirth of our solar light, a sphere that is also associated with the primeval chaos serpent and “constitutes the very matrix in which reality and existence gestates.” As a serpent signifying the matrix of reality consumes the Solstice Sun, we may ask what new forms are gestating to come into existence and take shape.

An eclipse in Cancer, in fact at only twenty-one minutes of Cancer, reveals how we have been caring and who we have been caring for. It reveals the people who have been targets of the oppressive weapons of civilization and the people lacking support and care from their families and community. We can consider how we have been appeased and distracted by technological gadgets made in oppressive working conditions to look the other way. We may ask how we have been enmeshing ourselves in co-dependent attachments in relationships that do not truly nurture us or in material items and conditions that never fully satisfy our soul.

Rick Tarnas has deservedly been gaining increased recognition for the incredible amount of time and research he put into his book Cosmos and Psyche and how accurately he pinpointed the cultural themes that erupt during periods when Saturn and Pluto come together as they have in 2020. At the United Astrology Conference in 2018, at the threshold of our collective entering the amplified period of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto we find ourselves in today, Tarnas gave the talk “A Kairos Moment” in which he described periods of Saturn and Pluto as activating tremendous moral courage in the face of totalitarian forces and that it activates the moral determination of birthing a baby, or new era, under huge stakes.

Rick Tarnas has often said that the gift we can take from modernity is the idea of taking personal responsibility to shape our world, applying this to developing a participatory and co-creative relationship with the Anima Mundi or World Soul. The Cancer Solar Eclipse is arriving at a collective dark night of the soul exactly as described by Tarnas, a moment necessitating the ego death of initiation and facing the evil and danger of our world. Tarnas and many other great minds before him have long highlighted the fact that transformative rites of passage necessitate uncertainty, and that is is the uncertainty of the unknown that can compel us to confront our moral values and make the changes not only within ourselves, but also within the wider systems of our civilizations.  In his talk at UAC 2018, Tarnas concluded that we cannot do the work as isolated individuals but need to form heroic collectives and communities who hold a vision of good values radically different from the oppressive structures of mainstream society.

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2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The Cancer Sun will be eclipsed by the Cancer Moon in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find two lovers coming together with equal passion, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire. Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus and the Moon. Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, nor the Moon only about the enclosure of their fertile love in the palace of Eros. The ferment of the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21 combined with Venus stationing direct in Gemini a few days later on June 25 will demand confrontation with the inner values that underlie all of our relational dynamics with others and the emotional needs we seek to fulfill.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs. Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners.” Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted.”

The first face of Cancer holding the Solar Eclipse indicates not only the seeking of idealized union with another, but also realization that the union of two can never be permanent and that all relationships must pass through loss. We may gain realization for patterns that have led us into unhealthy enmeshment with others, as well as a more lucid sense of the deeper needs of intimacy we seek in partnership. We may also gain awareness for a new passion to pursue in the arts or sciences and how we can be nurtured through exploring it in more depth.  The eclipse can also break us out of isolated relational dynamics to turn our energy and focus into the wider needs of our community, realizing ways of receiving emotional fulfillment through giving to others or contributing to collective efforts of reform.

The Hermetic text Liber Hermetis ascribed an image of a serpent joined with the face of a dog to the first decan of Cancer, revealing the chthonic powers of fertility and regeneration present. In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, to the first face of Cancer. A daughter of the underworld river goddess Styx, Nike allied herself with Zeus in the war against the Titans, a mythic war resonant with the astrology of 2020 that will end with a new order being constellated between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Nike served as the divine charioteer of Zeus in battle, while also rewarding victors of competition with the glory of wreathed laurel.  Nike’s presence in the first face of Cancer suggests the eclipse bringing questions of what you are fighting for, who you are fighting for, and how your ambitions for glory may make you complicit in systems that go against your moral values. May the thin ringed light encircling the blackness of the eclipse help illuminate the values you will commit to embodying and living in integrity with.

Goddess_Nike_at_Ephesus,_Turkey

stone carving of Nike in the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus

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

References

The Celestial Art. (2018). Edited by Austin Coppock and Daniel Schulke. Three Hands Press.

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

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

charles white sound of silence

Sound of Silence by Charles White

Mercury Retrograde in Cancer

Mercury shifts retrograde at least three times a year, yet some are positioned at more pivotally important times than others. Mercury will station retrograde at 14º45′ Cancer on the night of June 17 in Pacific standard time, only a few days before the Moon will eclipse the Sun on the solstice. It is a peak moment of light, the time of the longest days in the northern hemisphere and the longest nights in the southern. As the star of Hermes pauses, twinkling in the liminal space of sunset, the air will be saturated with transmissions from Mercury that deserve deep listening and discernment.

The week surrounding the stationing of Mercury is always a time to bring as much mindfulness as possible to your daily interactions, listening for signs of what needs your attention. Mercury has a gift for playing the wildcard that upturns expectations, delighting in the twists and turns that change everything. Mercury is the one planet that defies rigid categorization, able to shift between expressions of day and night, masculine and feminine, capable of bringing insights and riddles from unconscious depths into conscious awareness. Above all it points to the importance of being flexible, of being curious about the shifting of parts emerging internally and externally, rather than cursing the tricks of the cunning Hermes. Although Mercury retrograde is known for coinciding with delays and miscues in communication, it is an essential phase of Mercury’s cycle that delivers necessary messages.

With Mercury stationing just before an extremely potent solar eclipse, with the Sun in Gemini forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, there will be a momentous surge of events and emotions erupting around the motionless intensity of Mercury. Part of Mercury’s core purpose when retrograde is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. Since Mercury is stationing retrograde at the same time as a powerful solar eclipse, it means we are crossing a threshold into a passage of amplified putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart before being brought back together through purifying reassembly. The presence of strong eclipses will make the usual shedding process of Mercury retrograde more dramatic, with unexpected events catalyzing pivotal changes.

We are in a year of Mercury being retrograde in water signs, places where Mercury is more attuned to the unconscious, the nonlinear realm of memories, and the ceaseless flow of feelings dissolving and coagulating. Mercury retrograde in Cancer and under rulership of the Moon’s receptive light will pull perception into the inner realm of thoughts, emotions, desires, and the messages emerging into awareness through our dreams at night. It will be necessary to succumb at times to the subjective sway of our senses and an inward turn toward intuitive impressions and imagination. Fortunately, Mercury is stationing retrograde within its own bounds and face, giving Mercury greater potency in being able to help guide us toward the information and ideas we need to absorb, digest, and begin to integrate during the initial phase of its purgative descent.

Our capacity for choosing what to let into our environment and what to keep out will be crucial, as Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Walled Garden” to the second face of Cancer where Mercury is stationing. Coppock stated that processes associated with the second decan of Cancer ruled by Mercury need a boundary of protection like the sealing required by alchemy, so that we can bring about a process of cultivation and refinement of whatever we wish to create and grow without being contaminated by poisons or toxicity. When possible it will be helpful to create protected space and time for the projects and work you feel are most essential, so that the intensification Mercury experiences while retrograde can be utilized productively.

Hokusai Femenine_wave

by Hokusai

Around the same time as the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21, Mercury will descend from visibility into its invisible, chthonic phase of laying to rest and releasing whatever elements of its past cycle need to be shed. As we begin to deepen into the decay, emptying and putrefaction of this purgative phase in the week following the solar eclipse, Venus in Gemini will station direct on June 25 bringing an end to its retrograde phase that began on May 12.  Since Venus is in the airy, mutable home of Mercury, its slow shift into forward motion will be under the influence of Mercury retrograde in Cancer. Thus while the stationing of Venus will demarcate a new chapter in storylines, its rulership by Mercury retrograde will invite an inner descent to integrate the meaning of its retrograde phase before beginning to implement forward movement. This may be a tricky balance to maintain, as powerful solar eclipses bring a tidal wave of new events and relationships to the shore of awareness while old patterns and relationships recede back to the distant sea.

While the world continues to come to terms with the collective crisis of the COVID 19 pandemic, in the United States of America there has been a necessary crisis around systemic racism in law enforcement that has erupted during the past month of Venus being retrograde in Gemini. When Venus stationed retrograde in mid May it crossed paths with Mercury during the twilight hour, with Mercury increasing in light in its evening star phase just as Venus began its descent toward its underworld passage of invisibility. The murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis took place just as Venus was entering its invisible phase, and so the fact that Venus will be increasing in visible light in its Morning Star phase as it stations direct will likely spark significant developments with protests and efforts at making substantial reforms within the criminal justice system in the USA.

It is telling that Mercury is stationing retrograde close to the degree of the Cancer Sun in the birth charts most commonly used for the USA, as well as that the date given for the creation of Black Lives Matter has Mercury retrograde in Cancer less than a degree away from where Mercury is stationing retrograde in Cancer. Within European American communities there has been more widespread focus on exploring white privilege and how to engage in anti-racist action than ever before. The passing of Mercury through its underworld phase can be particularly powerful for coming into deeper connection with feelings and emotions around racism for those whose privilege has enabled them to be disconnected from its oppressive impact. As Mercury retrograde deepens while Venus picks up forward movement, there can be increased realization for direct action that can be taken on local and national levels to protect and support those who are targets of systemic racism.

Just before Mercury reaches the regeneration of its inferior conjunction with the Sun, it will form a conjunction with the asteroid Vesta in Cancer on June 28, while it is also applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Vesta’s union with Mercury can help take us to the heart of whatever material has come up to be processed and digested during the initial phase of Mercury retrograde. Vesta’s presence with Mercury retrograde can help with centering and becoming focused on what needs to be burned off and released when Mercury conjoins the Sun on June 30, as well as what new ideas and visions will be seeded by Mercury passing through the heart of the Sun. Listen for what new aspirations want to emerge that you will be able to commit to devoting your energy and focus toward bringing into being.

william blake the soul exploring the recesses of the grave

The Soul Exploring the Recesses of the Grave, From the Grave (1813) by Luigi Shiavonetti after William Blake

On June 30, Mercury will unite with the Sun at 9º44′ Cancer, becoming reanimated with the creative potency of our solar light. During this moment of solar re-seeding, Mercury will be purified and regenerated within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” As a result, June 30 is a powerful day for planting the seeds of whatever ideas you wish to cultivate during the coming cycle of Mercury. It can also be a potent time for reflection and contemplation regarding whatever material or events were volatilized by the Cancer Solar Eclipse on June 21. By bringing light into inner shadows, we may become aware of certain fears or projections that have become triggered and need our focused attention to tend and mediate.

The inferior conjunction of Mercury will be forming a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and will also be close to the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Alhena in the constellation of Gemini. Alhena is the heel of the immortal twin Pollux, described by Bernadette Brady as symbolizing “the heel of an immortal or sacred one who touches the earth with great pride.” Brady further described Alhena as the “Proudly Marching One” who “is associated with the following of a cause, a belief for which one will march.”  In the United States of America, it is likely that the protest movements around systemic racism will become revivified and focused with increased determination to achieve tangible results in the cycle ahead for Mercury.

In contrast, both Reinhold Ebertin and Vivian Robson connected Alhena with artistic inclination and eminence, while Ebertin also described it as bringing a spiritual orientation and interest in the sciences. Combined with the influence of Uranus upon Mercury’s solar reseeding, it will be helpful to set aside space to express however you feel inspired and to allow the muses to lead you into the discovery of new passions and desires you can cultivate and explore more deeply in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury.

It is further significant that on the same day that Mercury conjoins the Sun, Jupiter retrograde will be uniting with Pluto retrograde in Capricorn. The conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto on June 30 will be the second of three conjunctions formed by Jupiter and Pluto during 2020, and so Mercury being reseeded with solar light can help us deepen into relationship and awareness with whatever deep rooted issues and external shifting have been taking place in correspondence with the beginning of a new cycle between Jupiter and Pluto. While there are often power struggles over issues of justice in collective events as well as exposure of corruption among those with extreme ambitions for power when Pluto and Jupiter come together, amidst the collective catharsis and upheaval within our personal lives the union of Jupiter and Pluto can bring new opportunities for growth that expands vision beyond previous restrictions.

The asteroid Pallas Athena in Capricorn is also applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto when Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun on June 30. The co-presence of Pallas Athena highlights the importance of utilizing the regeneration of Mercury to bring awareness to ways you have been complicit in the forms of systemic oppression being exposed by the union of Jupiter and Pluto so that you can instead work to bring about their dismantling. The presence of Pallas Athena with Jupiter and Pluto can not only help in envisioning ways of contributing to tangible reforms of the societal structures that are falling apart, but also in devising cunningly effective strategies so that plans of renovation may be received and implemented. I recently  was on the Kosmic Tonic Podcast talking about the significance of Pallas Athena aligning with Jupiter and Pluto in 2020, a conversation you can listen to here.

General Moses Harriet Tubman by Charles White

General Moses (Harriet Tubman) by Charles White

Morning Star

Following the inferior conjunction of Mercury on June 30, there will be a partial Lunar Eclipse on July 4 involving Mars in Aries applying to a square with Mercury retrograde in Cancer that it will eventually complete on July 8. Since Mercury is retrograde in the fall of Mars, the friction and conflict incited between Mercury retrograde and Mars could be messy and emotionally eruptive. The transit of Mars through Aries will become increasingly important during 2020 and so the square between Mars and Mercury retrograde will bring an early clue to what areas of life will be volatilized by Mars in Aries. To work with the adversity brought by Mars constructively, be curious how the challenges you must face during this time can help you to become not only more determined and resilient, but also creatively innovative in finding ways to navigate conflicts. It will also be important to discern when it is necessary to stand your ground in the face of contention versus what situations are not worth fighting over.

At the same time that Mercury retrograde and Mars come into conflict, Ceres will station retrograde at 12º49′ Pisces on July 7. In an article I previously wrote about the importance of Ceres in 2020, I asked astrologer and therapist Jason Holley to share what he has noticed from his practice in correlation with periods of Ceres being retrograde. Though I asked him for his thoughts at the end of March, they still feel relevant so I will share them again here:

“In my work as a therapist, I have seen that retrograde Ceres periods seem to correlate to times when unconscious and implicit material comes forward in what are called in relational psychoanalysis ‘enactments’. These are experiences where a person or group, unable to meaningfully articulate or symbolize particular traumatic experiences, instead re-enacts them with whoever happens to be around. There is often a serious rupturing of the relational fabric, sometimes unrecoverable, but often recoverable with perseverance and leading to profound gifts such as those Ceres gave to humankind at the end of the story: Agriculture (a new relationship with the earth) and the Mysteries (a new relationship to spirit).

The upcoming Ceres retrograde in Pisces feels to me like the tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm that will follow and accompany the seismic level of loss of human life and economic instability of the coming weeks and months. It is in the midst of this wave that we will be challenged to find the deep and embodied groundedness that Ceres represents. Those of us who can access this, even if only transiently, will be called upon to help the even greater numbers of individuals whose coping resources are quite simply overwhelmed.”

Thus while Ceres will be stationing retrograde and facilitating a process of grieving and discovering ways to tend and nurture the inner places where we carry old wounds and grief, Mercury will be slowing down in speed to station direct. Altogether this can open a potent window of time following the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn to come terms with all of the hopes and plans for the future that the pandemic has dissolved, and embracing the uncertainty as well as powerful potential of being in a liminal collective space of leaving an old reality behind for a new and unknown future. Laura Nalbandian gave a talk at NORWAC 2020 called “Nourishing the Soul: Ceres in the Birth Chart” that illuminated ways our Ceres placements can reveal the manner in which we seek external solutions to internal issues leading to co-dependent attachments. Laura stressed the importance of finding connection with your own center you didn’t realize was there in grief, a process that can be facilitated as Ceres stations retrograde while Mercury stations direct.

Mercury will finally return to visibility again as a Morning Star at the same time it will station direct on July 12 at 5º30′ Cancer. As Mercury begins to slowly generate forward momentum in the following week, make the space and time to gather, coalesce, and weave together whatever new sense of presence and awareness wants to emerge out of the retrograde. Mercury slowly shifting direct as a Morning Star will initiate a period of searching for new opportunities to set plans into motion and generate productive growth. In some case you may be ready to launch plans soon after Mercury stations direct, while in other cases there may still need to be a process of integration completed before fully setting things in motion.

Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star on July 22 at eleven degrees of Cancer, returning once again to the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Alhena, the “Proudly Marching One.” This demarcates the phase when Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being.

A few days later on July 26, Mercury will return to the degree where it originally stationed retrograde and bring to a close its extended process of moving backward and forward from five to fifteen degrees of Cancer. One day later on July 27, Mercury in Cancer will form its second square aspect with Mars in Aries, a catalyzing aspect that may bring tests or contention requiring increased focus and determination in response. This also means that Mars in Aries will be engaged in a superior square aspect with Mercury in Cancer for all of July. There will be much more intense drama and destructive battles emanating from Mars in Aries during the second half of 2020, making the period of Mercury stationing direct vital for gaining a sense of how to nurture yourself so that you can cultivate and sustain resiliency in the face of increased adversity. Constructively, the heat and fire brought by Mars in Aries can help focalize intention on what matters most and where we need to assert our own will, where we need to be protective and supportive of others who are vulnerable.

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

References

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

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.

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

Pallas Athena, Jupiter, & Pluto on the Kosmic Tonic Podcast

49.97.118

Pallas Athena by Marcantonio Raimondi (ca. 1520–1527)

Pallas Athena & the Jupiter Pluto Conjunctions

I was recently interviewed on the Kosmic Tonic Podcast about the meaning of the asteroid Pallas Athena conjoining Jupiter and Pluto during all three times that Jupiter and Pluto unite together in 2020. I met Eliza and Jasmine at UAC (United Astrology Conference) in 2018 and Kestrel at NORWAC (Northwest Astrology Conference) in 2019 and felt immediate connection with their astrological approaches, so it was wonderful to be able to have a conversation with them on their podcast.

You can listen to the podcast episode here or in the link included in the “Links” page on my website.

Themes include: Athena’s lesser-known Mom, Metis – Olympian ancestral patterns of children-swallowing – the difference between Ares and Athena as gods of war – systems crumbling – dominion – justice – and more!

I referenced the following quotes from Greek Religion by Walter Burkert:

“More than any other diety Athena is always near her proteges – ‘Goddess of Nearness’ is how Walter F. Otto described her. Wherever difficulties disappear and the impossible becomes possible, Athena is at hand, but her presence does not detract from the achievement of the other: ‘In league with Athena set your own hand to work,’ says the proverb.”

“Her most characteristic manifestation is to Achilles: as he grasps for his sword in his quarrel with Agamemnon, Athena stands behind him and catches him by the hair; to the others she remains invisible, but Achilles recognizes the goddess ‘in amazement’; her eyes shine terribly. She counsels him to check his rage, lightly inserting the words, ‘if you will follow me,’ and Achilles obeys without question. It has often been discussed how a psychological process of self-control is here anatomized and presented as divine intervention. Athena’s shining eyes make a moment of lucid prudence in the darkening quarrel.”

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The Kosmic Tonic Podcast is hosted by Jasmine Richardson, Eliza Robertson, and Kestrel Neathawk. They also have a youtube channel and website. Kestrel also has her own website for her work as an astrologer and psychotherapist.

Jasmine, Eliza, and Kestrel previously taught a webinar on working with the Lilith archetype through the asteroid and Black Moon Lilith for Fresh Voices in Astrology entitled Counseling with Lilith you can purchase here.

320px-Atena-Giustiniani---Vatican

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

 

 

 

Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

charles white love letter III

Love Letter III (1973) by Charles White

Take up the blood from the grass, sun.
Take it up.
These people do not thirst for it.
Take up the insect children that play in
the grass, sun.
Take them away.
These people are sick of them.
Take down the long slender reeds, sun.
Cut them down.
These people cannot make flutes any longer.
Now sun, come closer to the earth!
Even closer than that.
Closer. Now, sun.
Take away the shape from the metal, sun.
They are like stone, these people.
Now make them lava.

— Henry Dumas, Kef 12

Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius

Eclipses bring shadows. Shadows that cloak and conceal light. Shadows that disrupt your carefully arranged plans and destabilize your certainty. Eclipses bring the timeless into time, the primordial into the present. Some say it’s a dragon that consumes the Moon. A dragon whose tail weaves around you like a snake and pulls you into inner depths. Some want to slay the dragon, while those over there want to ride it. Its silvery scales reflect back all of your dogma with the glare of your ideals and self-righteousness.

The Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse on June 5, 2020 is the first of a series of eclipses that will occur in the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius until December 2021. With the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, the Gemini side of your natal chart will be receiving a surge of increased curiosity and desire to ask questions and gather information. The influence from Gemini disrupts and divides in order to form new connections that weave together a greater diversity of perspectives. With the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, the Sagittarius side of your natal chart will be called to release the ways in which society or your surrounding culture has conditioned you into beliefs that are no longer aligned with your experience, as Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto dredge up the accumulated toxicity of civilizations impacted by colonizing empires.

A confrontation is necessary with the inner source of your perceptions, the place your perspective projects from and distorts your relationships with others. Discernment is needed regarding which beliefs need to be sacrificed and let go due the way they have become interwoven into structural systems of societal oppression that cause harm through institutional “-isms” like racism and sexism. This inner work is vital due to the likelihood that the many people unwilling to do this inner work will only have their dogmatic and self-righteous beliefs reinforced and amplified in reaction to the web of events unleashed by the eclipses in the next couple of months.

Eclipses can feel like a tidal force taking you into the unknown, ready or not. Eclipses involve the ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail, mirroring the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflects the ability to purify material attachments.  Eclipses open a period of great change during which we can more readily release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new forms coming together can be felt. In the United States of America, the protests and riots that have erupted over the murder of George Floyd have made it clear that the Gemini-Sagittarius dragon beginning to take form will be demanding a confrontation with the racism that has been embedded within the societal structures of the USA since the dawn of its creation and which has been part of the militarization of its police forces.

During a lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our Earth upon the face of the Moon, turning it blood red during a total lunar eclipse. However, the Gemini Sun is too far from the lunar nodes to redden the face of the Sagittarius Moon and will instead project a diffuse shadow. Although it’s not a total eclipse, the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius is extremely potent due to the Moon applying closely to an intensifying square aspect with Mars and the eclipse forming only a couple of days after Venus retrograde has been reanimated by the Sun. The death of the previous phase of Venus and the revitalization of values reseeded by the recent union of Venus with the Sun will be projecting the shadow through the solar rays, calling each of us to search within our inner shadows to be accountable for whatever ways we have been complicit in sustaining the systemic forms of oppression that have been erupting and demanding attention in correlation with the paradigm shattering astrology of 2020.

As the shadow projected from the Gemini Sun will obscure and inhibit the light reflected by the Sagittarius Moon, there is a traditional association of the populace being more impacted than those in positions of rulership or government leadership. We will be experiencing three eclipses in a row, with the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5 and the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4 being much weaker in impact than the Solar Eclipse in Cancer on June 21 that will be extremely close to the North Node of the Moon, resulting in the visual effect of a glowing ring encircling a completely blackened Sun.  Thus while we will enter and leave the eclipse season of June and July with eclipses more directly impacting the people, the most intense and disruptive eclipse in the middle is focused more intensely on those in positions of leadership and high office. We will all be impacted on deep levels by the Solar Eclipse on June 21 that will occur on the Solstice, and this means that its coming intensity will be increasingly felt during the waning half of the current lunar cycle.

In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Linking the Moon to what we carry from the past within our body and mind, the past transmutes in the shadowy face of the Moon to allow for new emergence and presence.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that at a lunar eclipse “the traditional perspective born of past experiences of adjusting to life and society is blotted out by an eagerness to meet experience in a new, original manner.” Rudhyar’s emphasis on new choices and vision is amplified by the Sun being on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini. Yet it’s also important to bring discernment toward the tendency of the North Node of the Moon to amplify ambitions, especially as we get closer to the North Node Solar Eclipse on June 21. The Sagittarius Moon heading toward a union with the South Node of the Moon can bring balance by letting go of the material attachments that need to be released.

jean-michel-basquiat-back-of-the-neck

Back of the Neck (1983) by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius is applying closely to a catalyzing square aspect with Mars, bringing a lot of volatility, destructiveness, and super charged passions into the impact of the lunation. Mars is also being initiated into a key phase of its synodic cycle with the Sun as it forms a waxing first quarter square with the Sun. As Mars enters the second quarter of its cycle it will become increasingly heated, maturing in power as it approaches its retrograde phase in Aries that will begin in September. Mars is one of the key players in the astrological drama of 2020, not only due to the hard aspects it has been and will be continuing to make with Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto, but also due to it forming a series of three first quarter square aspects with Venus during the year. Now that we have passed through the second square aspect between Mars and Venus this year, the societal issues of strife that need repair, the levels of protection that need to be implemented, have become much more obvious.

In the week following the Sagittarius Lunar Eclipse, Mars will be getting closer and closer to its conjunction with Neptune it will complete on June 13 at 20º56′ Pisces, around the same time that Venus retrograde will be returning to visibility in pre-dawn skies in its Morning Star phase. As the present Venus retrograde began with a square aspect between Neptune and Venus, there has been a great dissolution of Neptune looming over and flooding events. Many blame Neptune as being a source of poisonous illusions, but perhaps it is Neptune that exposes one’s own inner poisons and the ways one has become consumed by linear concepts of time and perspectives disconnected from relationship with the interconnected web of meaning underlying reality. Neptune is capable of flooding structural systems with a wave that will persist and dissolve attempts to hold it back through control. The present movement of Mars toward Neptune is likely to result in a persistent push within the populace to protest systems of oppression with inspired determination.

Mars in Pisces is also heading toward a square with the lunar nodes at the southern bending, a place in which its fiery desire will be kindled by the full potency of our unconscious. Vitally, Mars is presently at the southern bending of the nodes of Uranus, as the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius is aligned with the planetary nodes of Uranus. While the Gemini Sun is conjoining the North Node of Uranus, the eclipsed Sagittarius Moon is conjoining the South Node of Uranus. This means that both the eclipse as well as Mars are activating the archetypal sweep of Uranus at an incredibly deep level. This brings a full activation of Uranus into the Lunar Eclipse that carries the legacy of previous movements for emancipation and liberation across time into the present. With regard to the United States of America, it is further compelling that the Sibley chart often used as its national nativity has an ascendant close to the South Node of Uranus and a descendant close to the North Node of Uranus.

Moreover, the nodes of Venus are also activated in addition to the nodes of Uranus, as the recent inferior conjunction of Venus on June 3 was conjoining the geocentric North Node of Venus, and the Lunar Eclipse is also in alignment with the heliocentric nodes of Venus. This further means that not only was Mars recently forming an exact square with Venus, it also is forming an exact square to the heliocentric nodes of Venus.  Again, this points to the extraordinary confluence of century old issues of oppression becoming activated and how the police murder of George Floyd just as Venus was descending into darkness has been able to demand more attention than ever be brought to the longstanding oppression of black people by law enforcement in the USA. The complex astrology of the nodes of both Venus and Uranus being catalyzed by the Lunar Eclipse reveals the extraordinary potential of the moment for a deep confrontation with one’s inner values and to what degree we are embodying and living in full integrity with our authentic values.

Mercury is the ruler of the North Node and the Sun in Gemini and is out of bounds in Cancer. Mercury is also at maximum elongation as an Evening Star, meaning that it is slowing down to reach the same speed as the Sun in preparation for stationing retrograde on June 17. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha revealed that Mercury reaches maximum elongation around the same degree where it will eventually experience it’s union with the Sun when retrograde (in this case it’s 9-10º Cancer on June 4 and June 30) and that this sometimes happens in close proximity with a fixed star. For this cycle of Mercury, its maximum elongation is occurring close to Alhena in the heel of the immortal twin Pollux in the Gemini constellation. Bernadette Brady described Alhena as the “Proudly Marching One,” the “heel of an immortal or sacred one who touches the earth with great pride” and “is associated with the following of a cause, a belief for which one will march”

basquiat jesse

Jesse (1983) by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Lunar Eclipse is ruled by Jupiter in Capricorn as it approaches its second conjunction with Pluto that will form on June 30. Jupiter aligning with Pluto in its fall of Capricorn has been exposing numerous issues of injustice and oppression within society, but as Jupiter carries significations of justice it is especially relevant for the entire system of justice and law enforcement within the USA to be on trial during the Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius. The passage of Jupiter passing through its fall of Capricorn under the wing of Pluto will not be easy, but the societal atrocities and injustices it will continue to expose will be necessary in order to have any hope of addressing and repairing them through reformation. Things must fall apart before they can come back together, and so as structural systems continue to become destabilized and destroyed it will be vital to maintain ones inner sense of integrity, accountability, authority, and responsibility in order to help guide us through to the other side.

Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years, including in previous years of immense volatility in society such as in 1968 and 1931. The present union of Jupiter and Pluto has been similar disruptive as 1968 and 1931 due to it also being part of larger outer planetary alignments. While in 2020 we have Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning a new cycle together, in 1968 we experienced Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto ending and beginning new cycles together. Furthermore, the 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

The worst side of Jupiter Pluto conjunctions can be seen in the rise of totalitarian groups following the economic instability surrounding the 1931 conjunction. In Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology, André Barbault demonstrated how the roots of the totalitarian surge in 1931 can be found in nationalist groups that began rising in power following the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction in 1918 and the economic crises of that period. This is the compulsive side of Jupiter and Pluto that involves obsessive desire for power sourced from shadowy fear that we need to be on guard against as we enter a time period of not only great economic instability but also amplified conflict over racism and the militarization of law enforcement.

The asteroid Pallas Athena is co-present with Jupiter and Pluto during all three of their conjunctions in 2020, and has recently slipped through the border between Capricorn and Aquarius to rejoin Jupiter and Pluto in retrograde movement through Capricorn. Pallas Athena brings a complicated mythology with her, an upholder of law and order in civilization whose mythic origins link her further back to the divine goddesses of Cunning Wisdom and Justice whose power goes far beyond attempts of control by ruling empires. Above all, Pallas Athena brings the gifts of strategy and the kind of prophetic vision that can anticipate troubles and formulate effective strategies in response.  As Pallas Athena moves retrograde through Capricorn with Jupiter and Pluto, as issues of injustice and inequity continue to be exposed, it will be up to each one of us to formulate effective strategies of response to protect those who are vulnerable and to be accountable in devising cunning ways of bringing about a fundamental reordering of societal structures.

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9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 2 Decan

The Moon will be partially eclipsed in the second decan of Sagittarius associated with the Nine of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image a bandaged and alert figure stands with his chosen staff planted firmly in the ground, with eight other wands of varying size rooted behind him. There is a resilient strength and courage to persist in the face of opposition found here that resonates with the meaning of the second face of Sagittarius. It is significant that the figure has been wounded at the top of his head, as Sagittarius unifies fiery spirit with the will of the body. Since the Moon and Mars rule the second face of Sagittarius, the fact that the eclipsed Moon in its own face is forming a square with Mars makes the meaning of this decan especially activated.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Bridle” to the second face of Sagittarius, stating that the battles and conflicts pictured in the Nine of Wands card “are necessary to inflame the will and provide the heat necessary for the fusion of the mind and body.” Coppock praised the capacity of the second face of Sagittarius “to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces,” as its rulership by the Moon and Mars brings the ferocious resiliency needed to protect what we most value in the face of opposition with all of the odds stacked against us.  Yet Coppock cautioned that while the second face of Sagittarius “represents a formula for strength in the face of opposition,” we must discern when circumstances “do not demand, nor reward such a response” but instead require yielding to develop a different strategy.

The dichotomy of fighting to protect a vision, whether it is securing a boon through victory or bewailing the loss of defeat, is found in ancient textual images of the second decan of Sagittarius. In the Birhat Jakarta a golden woman of grace picks up gems from the ocean, while in The Beginning of Wisdom by Ibn Ezra as well as the Yavanajataka there is a chest of golden ornaments and jewels set before a beautiful woman. These images are in contrast to images in other tomes signifying sadness and fear, such as a “lamenting woman” in Three Books of Occult Philosophy.  These images of mourning and unearthed treasure are also curiously resonant with the figure of Kore (aka Persephone) who was ascribed to the second face of Sagittarius by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs. Austin Coppock linked Kore’s presence here with her form as Persephone Praxidike, mistress of the furies and the forces of nemesis that create the adversarial force necessary to bring forth our most heroic qualities.

Kore, daughter of the sky god and earth goddess, queen of the underworld, is interesting to consider in relation to the Lunar Eclipse coinciding with the nadir of the present Venus retrograde in Gemini with Venus passing through the underworld. Within the next couple of weeks, Venus retrograde will re-emerge from her present underworld passage into visibility again as she continues to slowly move backwards in retrograde motion. When Kore ascends to the upper world she retains connection with her presence in the underworld where she is a mediatrix of soul. While Kore conducts work and connects in relationship above ground, she remembers her role underground guiding souls.

At the present time of the Lunar Eclipse, however, we are only beginning to emerge from the deepest levels of purgation brought by Venus retrograde. Allow the inner burning of her inner fire to melt down your fixed notions of certainty so you can align with want wants to emerge from you in the new cycle of Venus to come. As we deepen into the chaotic flux of eclipse season, be willing to listen to what the wider community needs from you and the gifts you possess that need to be developed to support, protect, and inspire others.

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

become_a_patron_button

References

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

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

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.

 

New Moon in Gemini

Door Portal

Image by Michelle Doucette (2020) whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

New Moon in Gemini

The New Moon in Gemini on May 22, 2020 heralds a lunar cycle that will require the cunning skills of Mercury, the ability to consider many perspectives while navigating twists and turns in events and keeping an open mind regarding necessary changes in direction. Gemini delights in the discovery of new connections, new perspectives that weave deeper meaning between nodes of intersecting strands that appear dissimilar on the surface. The sublime flexibility of consciousness cultivated by those with potent Gemini signatures is often mischaracterized as superficiality within popular astrology, when in fact the Gemini capacity for holding the tension of opposing viewpoints is a strength sorely needed within the many conflicts between dogmatic ideologies raging across current events. The present quality of time demands a release of the way things have been, an emptying of ideals attached to the societal structures in process of collapse under the pressure brought by the pandemic. The New Moon in Gemini calls for awareness to be brought to the tools, resources, and networks of connection we can each utilize to question, research, and analyze how to realign and adjust to the new societal systems beginning to take shape.

Since the Gemini New Moon is separating from a trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius and applying to a square aspect with Mars in Pisces, the discord and debate over next steps to take in response to the myriad societal issues stemming from the pandemic will continue to intensify. Mars in Pisces is also applying toward a sextile with Uranus in Taurus, amplifying the restlessness, impatience, and anger of those desiring to break free from the societal restrictions on movement and activity designed to protect public health. There is also an illusory shadow cast over the lunation by Neptune in Pisces, as the Gemini New Moon is applying toward a square aspect with Neptune and both Mercury and Venus in Gemini are engaged in a square aspect with Neptune. While the flood of conspiracy theories around the pandemic has distorted the perspective of many, the Gemini New Moon invites curiosity toward the coronavirus and devising how to responsibly follow the guidelines established by scientists and medical experts while reordering and reestablishing one’s relationship with commerce and means of making money.

The Gemini New Moon is in the home of Mercury and the bounds of Mercury, while Mercury is reinvigorated due to recently reemerging into its own light in its home of Gemini. While Mercury is moving fast and increasing in light as an Evening Star, Venus is moving slowly and preparing to descend from its Evening Star phase into the darkness of the underworld due to shifting into its retrograde phase last week.  Mercury and Venus are crossing paths in the night, with both visible together following sunset due to being out of bounds in northern declination. The out of bounds nature of Mercury combined with Venus retrograde can incite leaps of imagination that remain rooted in the necessity of pandemic precautions. However, in order to receive the wisdom that Venus and Mercury out of bounds have to offer we must take a divergent path from the way things have been and sustain a curious interest in how to rearrange personal structures around the new possibilities and options emerging from all of the immense change sweeping across societal structures.

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Ulysses and Calypso (1882) by Arnold Bocklin

The New Moon in Gemini will initiate a lunar cycle that will take us through the darkest depths of Venus retrograde in Gemini,  a chthonic time of shedding and emptying that will bring about a reseeding of desires as the lunar cycle culminates with a catalytic Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5. Within a couple of days of the lunation on May 23 and 24, as the waxing Gemini Moon makes its first appearance in crescent light it will also form a conjunction with Venus and Mercury while simultaneously forming a square aspect with Neptune. Venus has been forming a square aspect with Neptune since the beginning of May, gathering imaginative impressions she has been able to share with Mercury during their union within the darkness of the New Moon. Many of the longings and yearnings stoked by the friction of Venus stationing in tension with Neptune may begin to dissolve and burn off during the forthcoming lunar cycle, yet the simultaneous contact from the Moon and Mercury can help gather the essential insights from the stirring of feelings that will shine light on the desires we will need to release versus the desires ready to be deepened and reanimated.

Venus will disappear into her invisible, underworld phase at the end of May, descending into darkness at the same time the Moon and Mercury are increasing in light. Mercury will leave its home of Gemini on May 28 to enter the lunar waters of Cancer; since this occurs around the same time that Venus is disappearing into darkness it will demarcate a notable shift in our experience of Venus retrograde. As a result, take advantage of the co-presence between Mercury and Venus in the sign of Gemini during the week following the New Moon to gain greater clarity for what will need to be purged and stripped away from Venus as she descends into the underworld. What old relationships or relational patterns have been reemerging in awareness that are ready to be burned up by the union of Venus with the Sun on June 3?

During the week following the New Moon there can also be potent creative experimentation and exploration while Mercury remains in Gemini and Venus continues to deepen into her retrograde depths. The powerful influence of Neptune upon Venus and Mercury during the Gemini New Moon is capable of causing distraction and becoming immersed in experiences and emotions that pull us away from the path we had determinedly set out to follow. Yet while many people complain about the illusory impact of Neptune, it nonetheless can bring about a surrendering to a vaster reality and awareness of the living realities denied by overly rational and materialistic world-views. It’s likely that there are vital resources and insights to be found within the dreams and imaginative flights of fantasy you have been experiencing recently that Mercury in Gemini can now craft into a magical tool that will prove to be essential in the next chapter of your story.

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Wheel of Fortune by Leslie Daniels

The impact of Mercury ruling the Gemini New Moon is further increased due to Mercury also applying toward a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon. There are two calculation for the lunar nodes used in astrology, one being the “true” calculation based upon scientific tracking of the exact nodal positions, the other more traditional one being the “mean” calculation based upon the average mean motion of the lunar nodes across time. The true calculation of the North Node of the Moon entered Gemini on May 5, while the mean calculation of the North Node will not enter Gemini until June 4. Mercury will form a conjunction with the true calculation of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini on May 27, while Mercury will form a conjunction with the mean calculation of the North Node in Cancer on May 28. It’s safe to say in either case that the Gemini New Moon is initiating us fully into the transition from the lunar nodes being in the cardinal signs of Cancer and Capricorn into inhabiting the mutable signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.

Our initiation into the North Node of the Moon transiting through Gemini will be further felt at the end of May once the Gemini Sun crosses the threshold of “eclipse season” in which it moves within nineteen degrees of the transiting lunar nodes. As a result, we will experience our first eclipse in Gemini and Sagittarius on June 5 when the Sagittarius Moon will wax into fullness and be partially eclipsed. It will be helpful to make space to reflect upon the houses in your natal chart occupied by the signs of Gemini and Sagittarius to begin to get a sense of the life topics that will be altered by their shadowy effects. The house where you have Gemini will be experiencing an increase of growth and ambitious desires that will need to be tempered at times to not become overly excessive, while the house where you have Sagittarius will be experiencing a process of release, drainage, purification, detoxification, harvesting, and reseeding.

Ever since Mars formed a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn on February 25, all of the planets and the Sun have been transiting in between the space demarcated between the transiting South Node and North Node of the Moon. This same period of time has also coincided with governments around the world needing to shutdown economies and institute social distancing measures to protect public health from the pandemic. Mercury finally moving across the North Node and ending the nodal containment of the planets does not signify the end of needing to take precaution against the pandemic, but it is not surprising that as the planet of commerce is the first one to break free that governments would begin implementing strategies for how to safely begin opening economies in phases.

Due to moving fast and increasing in light as it encounters the North Node of the Moon, Mercury is primed to deliver key insight and realization toward whatever processes of growth and development we are engaged with. As the vivification of Mercury will be occurring at the same time that Venus is descending into the darkness of the underworld, however, the chthonic influence of Venus will necessitate that growth will involve processes of release, emptying, and shedding to make space for whatever new sources of desire are ready to enter into our life. Fortunately, Mercury is the planet most attuned to mediating the polarities of light and darkness, spirit and matter, and the internal with the external. There may be paradoxical feelings of needing to bury and release the past at the same time new inspirations begin calling to us from beyond the horizon.

New Moon in Gemini

Insula dulcamara (1938) by Paul Klee

Mars in Pisces is not only making an intense impact on the Gemini New Moon, it will continue to become an increasingly important influence over events during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle. As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Mars will move closer and closer toward forming a square aspect with Venus retrograde which it will complete on June 2, one day before Venus is regenerated in the heart of the Sun on June 3. With Mars applying heat in the exaltation of Venus, there will be an accumulation of tension forged between Mars and Venus that will incite potent passions and will culminate at the same time that Venus is experiencing a death and rebirth process with the Sun. There may be conflict to mediate, but if we can hold the tension of the friction between Venus and Mars it will bring greater clarity toward the authentic desires that will help guide our path forward during the second half of the Venus retrograde period in June.

At the same time that Mars is forming catalyzing aspects with the Sun and Venus retrograde, it will also be approaching a conjunction with Neptune that it will not complete until June 13 during the waning half of the lunar cycle. Mars in Pisces is in the home of Jupiter transiting in its fall of Capricorn, while Jupiter is retrograde and applying toward its second conjunction with Pluto retrograde. While many feel desperate to resume economic activity and institutional powers likewise have an invested interest in manipulating public opinion toward returning to economic activity, it will be important to make wise and cautious decisions over what levels of risk we are exposing and exacerbating by a lessening of social distancing in favor of increased economic activity. The great cycles of astrology dictate there will be a continued need to take protective measures against the pandemic and so it will be essential to balance the reactivation of economic activity with being accountable to measures for protecting public health at the same time.

While Mars in Pisces heading towards Neptune can be carried off by the illusion of dogmatic ideals, its imaginal power combined with the underworld depths of Venus retrograde can also expose the ideals we need to burn off in the fiery Sun. The ideals of culture can have an unconscious effect, as the ideals of the time we live in often surround us with hypnotic effect due to their constant presence in all forms of media we interact with on a daily basis. The Gemini New Moon is an opportune time to notice how you have been conditioned by the ideals of others, and allow yourself to open yourself to the illumination that can be received by stripping away your ideals to discover what will survive the underworld journey of Venus at the end of May and beginning of June.

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8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Gemini associated with the Eight of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is apt for the fears and grief that have been overwhelming to many during the pandemic. Many have interpreted the image of the frozen and tightly bound woman as the kind of paralysis that comes from fears running rampant within or from the triggering of past trauma in present circumstances.  While some interpretations suggest that the same mental swords enveloping the figure could also be used to cut away the fabric of bondage, it is also important to note the moist and muddy fertility of the ground she is standing on. As Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini, the image also reveals how fear can arise in times when a huge new potential becomes available to step into.  As much as it is possible to release fears related to what has happened in the past that are being projected into the present moment, the more gracefully we will be able to flow into the tremendous change opening up at the beginning of this lunar cycle.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, linking Eve’s bite into the apple with emerging awareness of “the duality within all things” including the yin and yang of the self. Coppock described that the discovery of the binary and “the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities” unlocks “the capacity to code all things” and display clever skills in all of the arts and sciences. Yet in keeping with the image of the Eight of Swords card, Coppock also declared that this opening to abundant flow also “de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.” Coppock noted that the mental acuity of this decan not only generates all arts and crafts, it also directs its prodigious curiosity to explore multitudinous found within, both the light and the shadow of the deep Self.

In contrast to the tightly bound woman in the Eight of Swords image, ancient texts ascribed a graceful woman of flowing mind and deft dexterity.  Ibn Ezra pictured “A beautiful woman standing in the air, and she can sew,” while in the Picatrix we find “A beautiful woman, a mistress of stitching, and with her ascend two calves and two horses.” Indeed, the Picatrix declares it to be “a face of the art of the scribe, of reckoning, of number, of giving and receiving, and of the sciences.”

Fascinatingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Tethus, also known as Tethys,  to the first face of Gemini. Since Tethys is the Titan goddess of fresh water which interconnects and nourishes our earth, we can note her appearance in the Eight of Swords image as the water at the foundation of the figure. Tethys was also the wife of Okeanos, the primal sea divinity of the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset, and the mother of river, cloud, spring, stream, and fountain spirits. Daughter of Gaia, Tethys fed her children through the subterranean waters of Okeanos as her name is derived from the Greek word têthê meaning “nurse” or “grandmother.” Moreover, she was often depicted in art with a pair of wings on her brow signifying her role as mother of rain clouds (2). While there may be a need for grief and the release of tearful emotions like rain from clouds in the forthcoming lunar cycle, allow exploration of your watery internal landscape to be a nurse and fount of enlivening water for what wants to be born through your life and engagement in giving and receiving.

References

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

(2) Tethys, Greek Titan Goddess of Fresh Water. https://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisTethys.html

Stargazer Podcast conversation on Planets in Fall

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I’m happy to share a conversation I had recently with Rachel of Aeolian Heart Astrology who recently began her own podcast called the Stargazer Podcast. If you haven’t already noticed Rachel’s writing previously I suggest checking it out at https://aeolianheart.com as well as the benefits you can receive by joining her Patreon.  I’ve read Rachel’s writing for many years and always enjoy her creative and imaginative perspective, so it was a delight to have the chance to speak with her.

We spent most of our time talking about the nuances planets in fall compared with planets in exaltation, including if the ruling planet of your ascendant is in its fall, which is the case with both Rachel and myself. We also spend extra time on how we can reimagine working with Jupiter in its fall of Capricorn in transit, including through the mythopoetic form of the divine Pan.

You can listen to our conversation here:

http://aeolianheart.com/2020/05/12/stargazer-podcast-episode-06-planets-in-fall-with-gray-crawford/

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Venus Retrograde in Gemini

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Image made by Michelle Doucette (2020) whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

Venus Retrograde in Gemini

Venus will station retrograde on May 12 at 21°50′ Gemini, initiating us into a forty-four day period in which the star of Aphrodite will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on June 25 at 5º02′ Gemini. Thus the zodiacal terrain of five to twenty-two degrees of Gemini will receive a thorough excavation from Venus as it moves back and forth across the degree range, digging up some emotional material in need of release or recycling, while also rediscovering ancient artifacts of our psyche that can reveal vital lessons we need to learn in the present. Venus first crossed five degrees of Gemini on April 9 and will not finally move beyond twenty-two degrees of Gemini until July 29.

Centrally, Venus retrograde brings an end to Venus being visible at night and initiates its phase of being visible before sunrise. Venus will descend from visibility as an Evening Star at the end of May, disappear into an invisible and liminal passage of rebirth in the beginning of June, and ultimately reemerge into visibility in its Morning Star phase in which it will bring its light to the pre-dawn sky. As Venus transitions from a nocturnal to diurnal phase, its apparent backward motion is a result of it orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to its closest proximity with us in orbit. In our personal lives, Venus retrograde brings an intensification of all things related to Venus, as its visual descent in the sky reflects a call for an inner descent to dig up the roots of our desires, purging and purifying material that will bring about a reseeding of desire on the other side.

Venus retrograde periods invite us to depart from the usual into exploring the unusual, shedding old desires while coming into relationship with neglected parts of ourselves and new desires emerging from within. Venus when moving direct enjoys uniting and harmonizing elements, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, art, music, aesthetics, and whatever we attract and find attractive in relationship. During Venus retrograde, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space of social norms loosening to allow for deep reevaluation of inner values as well as how we are seeking to fulfill our changing values and needs.

While Venus is normally associated with seductive pleasures that draw us into full sensual engagement in our body, as Venus draws closer to us in orbit through its retrograde its magnetism on our desires increases and creates a potent influence on our daily experiences. Pivotal turning points in stories often occur and important new relationships and directions often emerge as we simultaneously must confront and lay to rest old issues from the past. Emotions and desires become messy and paradoxical during Venus retrograde, a necessary disorder that becomes part of a process of reordering passions.

The strangely magical quality of time brought by Venus retrograde periods corresponds with the fact that Venus shifts retrograde five times every eight years, tracing a five pointed star within the circle of the zodiac like the five petaled form of the rose. Similar to the high level of structure involved in sacred ritual, Venus retrograde periods are so highly structured that every eight years we experience a Venus retrograde period in the same area of the zodiac (a few degrees away each time) at the same general time (a few days away each time). These are the most recent Venus retrograde phases in Gemini:

  • May 15 – June 27, 2012 from 23º59′ Gemini to 7º29′ Gemini
  • May 17 – June 29, 2004 from 26º08′ Gemini to 9º37′ Gemini
  • May 19 – July 2, 1996 from 28º17′ Gemini to 11º46′ Gemini
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Evening Harmony by the Sea (1930) by Alphones Osbert

here to me from Krete to this holy temple  /  where is your graceful grove  /  of apple trees and altars smoking  /  with frankincense.

And in it cold water makes a clear sound through  /  apple branches and with roses the whole place  /  is shadowed and down from radiant-shaking leaves  /  sleep comes dropping.

And in it a horse meadow has come into bloom  /  with spring flowers and breezes /  like honey are blowing  /  [       ]

In this place you Kypris taking up  /  in gold cups delicately  /  nectar mingled with festivities:  /  pour.

— Sappho (translated by Anne Carson)

Venus begins its retrograde phase as a beacon of light set against the glow of stars, befitting its nocturnal nature. As Venus pauses in motion at its stationing, its impact within the astrological atmosphere increases and can draw awareness to longings that can reveal aspects of ourselves that want to become more active during the forthcoming retrograde. Venus will station retrograde high out of bounds in northern declination while engaged in a square aspect with Neptune in its exaltation of Pisces. Venus stationing out of bounds while engaged with Neptune in its sign of exaltation knows no limits and can bring forth free ranging feelings that are untethered to our usual sense of boundaries. There can be fascinating discoveries made by curiously following wherever the muse of inspiration leads, especially in creative fields involving art, crafts, and writing.

Venus formed its first square with Neptune while moving direct on May 3, and will station retrograde on May 12 one degree away. Venus will form a second exact square with Neptune while retrograde on May 20, creating a week of building tension between them following the stationing of Venus. As a result, the first three weeks of May opens a portal into an oceanic, otherworldly passage of imaginal exploration, potent dreaming, and the slow erosion of internal places and parts that had become rigid or stuck. New attractions and yearnings may arise that ultimately prove to be unstable or temporary, but if we remain curious and open to where they are guiding us they can help unlock the key meaning and messages we will need to examine during the next couple of months.

While the influence of Neptune upon Venus can dissolve emotional barriers and inspire flights of imagination, it can also correlate with becoming ungrounded, confused, or lost in illusion. In regard to the COVID 19 pandemic, there has been an unfortunate flood of conspiracy theories recently making light of the gravely serious risk to public health brought by the pandemic. Rather than believing societies can simply reopen economies and return to the way things were before social distancing measures were introduced, we will need to reimagine creative ways to protect public health while also renewing economic production. The opening square of Venus with Neptune reveals the dissolution of the way things have been and that in a rapidly changing climate of transitioning from one reality to another, we will need to sustain a cunning sense of how to adapt and mutate as needed.

The stationing of Venus also involves mediation from the asteroid Vesta, as Vesta in Gemini is applying to a conjunction with Venus as it stations, moving through an exact conjunction with Venus retrograde on May 15.  As Vesta in myth is a goddess of the hearth who devotedly sustains the sacred fire, her asteroid mediating the friction between Venus and Neptune can help gather and transfigure their tension into artistic expression or spiritual practices enabling us to receive revelation. Vesta can also help in finding one’s center amidst any complex or contradictory feelings beginning to spiral around us as Venus stations retrograde. While Vesta may indicate the need to regain sovereignty within relationships in which we have begun to lose ourselves, her presence with Venus also points toward our capacity to tend to our hearth fire and the fiery reforging of our desires we will experience during Venus retrograde.

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Lyricism in the Forest (1910) by Alphonse Osbert

Venus will be retrograde entirely within in the mutable sign of Gemini, the airy home of Mercury. Venus looping back and forth through Gemini means our curiosity will be stimulated to pursue a wide variety of interests as we are pulled back and forth between competing desires. Venus in an air sign ruled by Mercury is more intellectual than emotional, capable of mediating and holding the tension of opposing desires and conflicting feelings until giving birth to something that transcends the polarity, not unlike the Hermaphrodite Rebis (res bina) found in alchemical text that reconciles the spiritual and material (1). Gemini is a fluid and adaptable atmosphere for Venus, but can encourage a dispersing of energy in multiple directions that delays completion. As Venus gets closer and closer to its regenerative conjunction with the Sun on June 3, we may notice a burning away of inessential interests so we can focus on the essential tension we are working out.

Venus has essential dignity in the earth and water elements, finding delight singing  songs by water rippling through forests. Though Venus is out of its element in the air sign of Gemini, since Mercury enters its domicile of Gemini on May 11 it means that Venus will have a full arsenal of Mercurial resources at its disposal during the first stretch of its retrograde motion. As a result, it can be a profound period for artistic creation, especially when experimenting with new techniques and perspectives that may initially give strange results but ultimately helps nurture vital innovation. In particular, Venus retrograde combined with Mercury in Gemini can be potent for any creative work that utilizes the hands, the writing of words to convey meaning, the arrangement of colors and space, the singing of songs, and the harmonizing of sounds. Going for walks to ruminate on feelings, utilizing journaling and conversation to process feelings, and anything else that engages the airy nature of Gemini can be a helpful tool.

We can also expect Venus retrograde in Gemini to be an especially social and relational time, utilizing technology to forge connection even when maintaining social distancing practices related to the pandemic. There is also a dynamically restless side to Gemini forever searching for deeper meaning and connections, forever curious in its questioning of all things interconnected within our reality. The constellational image of the Twins, one mortal and one immortal, further reveals the underlying nature of Gemini that seeks its twin, its sense of a soul mate that is more deeply about its search to embody its authentic self. The magical mirror held by Venus retrograde can provide a glimpse of your dark, immortal twin and authentic aspects of your soulfulness that you can come into relationship with and begin to integrate during Venus retrograde.

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Due to Venus being higher than normal in the night sky, we will have opportunities to make a wish upon the star of Aphrodite during the initial phase of Venus retrograde. Venus will be visually set against a legendary group of stars bearing particularly powerful and ancient star stories. Though in tropical Gemini, not only will the entirety of Venus retrograde take place in the sidereal sign of Taurus, her journey will be aligned with the image of the great Bull in the heavens. Venus will station retrograde on May 12 while visibly close to the star El Nath that is the tip of the Bull’s horn. Venus will then descend along the horn of the Bull until re-emerging in visibility near the star Aldebaran in the second week of June, the eye of the Bull that glows with its rosy red hue. Venus will ultimately station direct near the Hyades in the face of the Bull at the end of June, completing a full circuit of ascending to the top of the Bull’s horn before descending back into the head of the Bull.

El Nath, the Bull’s horn located at 22º35′ Gemini, has been described as symbolizing  “the force of the Bull” by Bernadette Brady and was described as having the nature of Mars by Ptolemy (2). It’s further notable that Venus will be stationing retrograde within the Egyptian bounds of Mars. The constellational image and story of the Bull is incredibly ancient and has been found painted on the walls of caves by our ancestors from an estimated period of 17,000 years ago. Not unlike how social distancing measures brought by the pandemic have brought a surge of wildlife and nature due to gaining greater space from the encroachment of humanity, Venus illuminating the tip of the Bull’s Horn reveals the importance of respecting the power of nature and coming into relationship with it. As a global civilization we are receiving this sky omen at a crucial crossroads in our collective history, as we are simultaneously needing to ask questions regarding our use of natural resources and the relationship between our civilizations with forces of nature.

Venus stationing retrograde on the Horn of the Bull also evokes the image of Hathor, a bestial goddess and bovine divinity known as the Lady of Heaven, the Lady of Horns, the Lady of All, and the Golden One in ancient Egyptian culture. Hathor is the sky goddess, the mother sky who emphasizes the fertile nourishment of the starry heavens above that is the source of All. Similar to other ancient goddesses, Hathor embodies the triple feminine form of daughter, lover, and mother without giving away her sovereignty to a male partner. Fascinatingly, soon after Venus stations retrograde the Hathor asteroid #2340 will enter Gemini on May 16 and will eventually form a conjunction with Venus retrograde at the same time it is being reborn in the sacred heart of the Sun. When Venus unites with the Sun at 13º35′ Gemini on June 3, the Hathor asteroid will be at 13º17′ Gemini. Further fitting for the rebirth of Venus, Hathor is also a fructifying goddess of rebirth and regeneration who took part in guiding the transition of souls into the afterlife.

Venus will also be stationing retrograde close to the zodiacal degree of prominent stars in the constellation of Orion, although it will not be nearly as visually close to Orion as it will be to the great Bull. One of the closest stars in Orion to the degree of Venus stationing is Mintaka in the belt of Orion (located at 22º24′ Gemini) a star that Ptolemy described as having the nature of Jupiter and Saturn. The other star in close proximity to the stationing degree of Venus is Bellatrix in the shoulder of Orion (located at 20º57′ Gemini), a star that Ptolemy described as having the nature of Mars and Mercury. Bellatrix is known as the Amazon star and has been described as possessing the power of a roaring conquerer, yet will also expose one’s shadow and difficult personal demons in the process of gaining victory (3). Reinhold Ebertin described Bellatrix as having characteristics of quickly realizing plans with “courage, fighting spirit, strategic talents” and “discrimination,” but that it can also bring “the reckless aggressiveness of a belligerent dare-devil” (4).

The star story of Orion from Greek myth bears further warning that taking hubristic action against nature will deliver a stinging downfall, as the great hunter Orion who boasted that he could kill any animal was ultimately killed by a giant scorpion sent by Gaia. In contrast, the star closest to the degree where Venus is stationing, Capella (21º51′ Gemini), embodies the image of a goat held by Auriga the charioteer, a figure who is in relationship with nature. In some traditions the goat revealed by Capella is Amalthea,  the goat who nursed Zeus when he was hidden and vulnerable so as to bring about the new order he would later initiate. Bernadette Brady stated that there are other ancient associations of Capella with Artemis and other goddesses, giving it a “nurturing but free-spirited flavour” that will seek independent freedom while remaining in right relationship with nature.

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Sappho (1888) by Alphonse Osbert

After Venus slowly moves backward during the second half of May, the star of Aphrodite will descend into an invisible phase of darkness at the end of May before re-emerging in its Morning Star phase in the second week of June. At the same time Venus is descending toward the Sun, the Sun will be moving toward uniting with Venus while stoking desires as the inner influence of Venus becomes intensified. During this period we can unearth buried emotions as part of the process of burning away whatever past issues need to be released. This makes the end of May a time for purifying and reseeding desires that will emerge more fully after Venus reemerges into visibility later in June.

Before Venus disappears, however, we will receive vital insight when Mercury in Gemini forms a conjunction with Venus during the New Moon in Gemini on May 22. Mercury will unite with Venus at the same time it is forming a square aspect with Neptune, triggering new developments in whatever storylines have been coinciding with the drawn out square between Venus and Neptune that began in the beginning of May. This can be another productive time for creative and artistic expression that can utilize the inspirational side of Neptune. We will also be more capable of giving voice to the inner changes in values and desires that have started to take shape with Venus retrograde, though the square from Neptune suggests we will not yet have clarity regarding them.

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Vision (1892) by Alphonse Osbert

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

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

On June 3 we will experience the rebirth of Venus when it is reanimated through its union with the Sun at 13º35′ Gemini. Venus in the heart of the Sun is enthroned in revivifying solar light, and as the star of Aphrodite begins to emerge from its purifying solar conjunction we can begin to gain a clearer sense of our own inner metamorphosis that has been in process. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon the placement of 13º35′ Gemini in your natal chart to gain a sense of what areas of your life may be especially impacted by the renewal of Venus in the first week of June. Moreover, since there will also be a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse at 15º34′ Sagittarius on June 5, the full polarity of Gemini and Sagittarius will be incredibly activated in the first week of June at the same time that the transiting lunar nodes are firmly establishing themselves in Gemini and Sagittarius.

Crucially, Mars in Pisces will form an intensifying square aspect with Venus in Gemini on June 2, a day before Venus forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun.  The waxing square aspect between Venus and Mars is one of the many volatile astrological relationships we must come to terms with during 2020, as they previously formed their first square aspect on January 26 and they will form their third and final waxing square aspect on September 4 when Mars will be stationing retrograde. With Mars applying heat in the exaltation of Venus, their contact on June 2 is likely to be eventful and incite potent passions. Since Mars is also applying toward a conjunction with Neptune, there will be an unveiling of illusions as well as rediscovery of imaginal possibilities within relationships.  While the square between Mars and Venus can bring conflict, the simmering tension of their friction can also draw out new desires into sharper relief that can help us align with our authentic path as we trek deeper into the retrograde movement of Venus in June.

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Muse at Sunrise (1918) by Alphones Osbert

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot  /  and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing  /  on the black earth. But I say it is  /  what you love.

— Sappho (translated by Anne Carson)

In the second week of June we will be initiated into the Morning Star phase of Venus as it will reemerge into visibility near the zodiacal degree of Aldebaran, the great eye of the Bull. There will be an eruptive potency to this time period with revivified passions and desires ready to be engaged with. Venus in its Morning Star phase is more assertive and outwardly directed, and we will likewise feel more interested in going after what we want. Due to Venus continuing to move slowly in its retrograde motion, however, it will be beneficial to continue reflecting on the changing shapes of desires as they will be continuing to coalesce into new forms in coming weeks.

There will be an intense astrological atmosphere surrounding the emergence of Venus in its Morning Star phase, as there will be an extremely powerful Solar Eclipse at 00º21′ Cancer on June 20, only five days before Venus will station direct on June 25. Furthermore, Mercury will station retrograde in Cancer on June 17 a few days before the Solstice Solar Eclipse.  As a result, the normal turning points in narratives that emerge when Venus stations to change directions will be amplified due to it occurring in the middle of an eclipse season that contains the added volatility of Mercury being in its retrograde phase.

Venus will station direct on June 25 at 5º20′ Gemini and will barely be moving forward in the beginning of July when we will experience another Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn on July 4. Since the end of June and beginning of July hosts another phase of extremely volatile astrology, it reveals the vital importance of letting the retrograde descent of Venus have its way with you so that you may shed whatever is ready to be emptied. On the other side of Venus retrograde we may not only have a lighter heart and renewed vigor, we may also feel more aligned with our essential values and focused on following our authentic desires forward into the great unknown.

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Aphrodite and goose (ca. 460 BC)

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References

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

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

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

(4) Ebertin – Hoffman. (1973). Fixed Stars and their interpretation. Translated by Irmgard Banks.

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

(6) Sappho translated by Anne Carson. (2002). If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho. Vintage.

 

Full Moon in Scorpio

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Image by Micelle Doucette (2020) whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

Full Moon in Scorpio

The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 7, 2020 will illuminate the most inward depths of feelings and memories, penetrating underneath the surface of whatever emotional material has been gathered since the Taurus New Moon on April 22. Like laying down within a pastoral landscape of bees pollinating flowers, swallows diving and rising in flight, and the flowering of orchards, we may drink from the deep well of our psyche made from the ancient stores of our ancestry. Scorpio can be relentless in penetrating to the bottom line of surrounding emotional dynamics, exposing toxicity in a process that can bring about purification and the fertilization of growth from the decomposition. Immense emotional reactions and responses can be set off by the dynamics of the Scorpio Full Moon, bringing the opportunity for profound awareness as the courageous nature of the Scorpio Moon confronts whatever has been hidden in shadowy darkness.

The Scorpio Full Moon is applying closely to an opposition with Mercury in Taurus and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces, as Mercury and Neptune simultaneously are forming a harmonizing sextile aspect. Mercury was recently reseeded in a new cycle with the Sun and is still invisible, incubating the new meaning of its cycle while hidden in darkness. Altogether, there may be a lack of clarity regarding the large emotions passing through and so it will be best to let the feelings pass without believing that you understand things completely. It’s a good mixture for imaginative, artistic, and creative work and letting yourself be carried away to wherever the inspiration of the muses direct you. If you are in difficult circumstances caused by repercussions from the pandemic, the more you can mediate anxieties and fears the better you will be able to flow with the emotive impact of the Full Moon and utilize it to help re-dream the next phase of life to come.

The flowing charge of the Scorpio Full Moon may dislodge inner blocks of all shapes and sizes, opening potential for becoming aware of inner parts that have been lost or locked away. At the same time that the Full Moon is forming a trine with Neptune in Pisces, Venus is simultaneously beginning to station retrograde while forming a catalyzing square aspect with Neptune. Since both Mercury and the Sun are in the fixed, earthy, and inwardly directed home of Venus, it will be beneficial to make time to nurture your body and sensuality, sensing desires and other messages that have been accumulating within your bones and tissues. We are on the threshold of entering the strange quality of time brought about by Venus retrograde, when old material will emerge to be purged while new desires and relationships erupt viscerally into awareness.

While the Sun in Taurus facilitates centering and patiently cultivating security, the Full Moon in Scorpio reveals the shadow of yearnings in its light, unearthing the deeper source of what we need to feel secure. Rage can erupt over feelings of being wronged, anger and grief unleashed over the multitudinous forms of injustice being exposed by the impact of the pandemic. Combined with Venus stationing retrograde, the Scorpio Full Moon will penetrate with its light into the underlying dynamics of relationships and material concerns, especially wherever we have been stubbornly trying to control or manipulate in order to guard against the threat of loss. The polarity between Taurus and Scorpio has strong capacity for commitment and resiliently completing work, yet there may be aspects of life we simply must let go of during this period. In the wake of its catharsis, the Scorpio Full Moon can help in refocusing on what will best grow and flourish in the current climate, so that we can complete all the necessary work to prepare our fields for the harvest we wish to reap in the year ahead.

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Yoshitoshi (1885) One Hundred Aspects of the Moon

Mars in Aquarius rules the Full Moon while in the final four degrees of Aquarius, on the verge of finally climbing out of its long co-presence of being in the same sign as Saturn. Mars first entered the same sign as Saturn on February 16 when they were both in Capricorn, and they have remained in the same sign for close to the entirety of the time that has passed since then, corresponding with the grim reality of quarantines needing to be instituted and economies shut down around the world. Crucially, their union in Aquarius also involved a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, jarring loose discord as the pandemic brought a collapse of numerous societal structures. Just as the previous Taurus New Moon reactivated the harsh aspects between Saturn, Uranus, and Mars, so does the Scorpio Full Moon make a sequence of hard aspects with each, amplifying the emotional wattage of the lunation.

Furthermore, Mercury in Taurus is applying toward a contentious square aspect with Mars in Aquarius which will become exact on May 11. Within current events the square between Mercury and Mars can be witnessed through the combative disagreements over how to proceed through the next phase of the pandemic, with those on the side of opening up the economy and those on the side of protecting public health both stubbornly resistant to compromise. Mars in Aquarius is driven to take action over humanitarian concerns and intellectual ideas, and so both sides of conflicts will likely dig in due to believing they have the interest of the greater good in mind. Mars in the airy sign of Saturn, with Saturn also co-present in Aquarius, does have capacity for cooly detaching from heated conflict and so when possible it will be best to claim space for grounding and gaining a calmer perspective for which direction to take next.

Though the Full Moon is in the deep waters of Scorpio and the Sun is in the fertile soil of Taurus, both of their rulers Mars and Venus are occupying air signs. Mars and Venus in air signs lack grounding and can get caught in a spiral driven by stress and anxiety, but as long as we can stay centered we can draw upon the strength of the air element for listening, analyzing, and devising creative solutions. Mars and Venus have been in range of a flowing trine aspect during the past month and a half that has never completed due to Venus slowing down to station retrograde. The Scorpio Full Moon illuminates the final separation between Mars and Venus, with Mars charging ahead to enter Pisces on May 12 at the same time Venus stands still to shift retrograde.

Mars and Venus are the closest planets to us in orbit, nocturnal planets that connect us with primal passions we discover within inner darkness away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. While Venus relates to what unites us and what we find pleasurable and valuable, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from threats. The closeness of their trine aspect that never completed correlates with yearnings that will need to be purged during the next month of Venus shifting retrograde, as the next aspect completed between Mars and Venus will be an intensifying square aspect on June 2 as Venus is simultaneously being regenerated by its conjunction with the Sun. The Scorpio Full Moon can open a sense of what will need to be released in order to make space for the new desires that will be emerging during the upcoming Venus retrograde period that will last until the end of June.

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Image by Michelle Doucette whose work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

There is a charged atmosphere around the Scorpio Full Moon due to not only Venus stationing within a week of the lunation, but also Saturn and Jupiter stationing and further saturating the astrological climate with their significations. Saturn will station retrograde on May 10, 2020 at 1°57′ Aquarius and will remain retrograde until stationing direct on September 29. Jupiter will station retrograde on May 14 at 27°14′ Capricorn and will remain retrograde until stationing direct on September 13. As a result, the week following the Scorpio Full Moon will bring a major change in storylines in personal and current events that will mark a dramatic initiation into the final period of the second quarter of 2020. The intensification of Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn simultaneously will involve an inward pull toward reorienting values in relation to the immense societal changes taking shape. Rather than clinging to what brought security in the past, it will be vital to be open to following a new direction forward as the world will not be returning to the way it began 2020.

The Full Moon in Scorpio is especially attuned toward the stationing of Jupiter in Capricorn, as it is applying toward a harmonious sextile aspect with Jupiter and Pluto retrograde in Capricorn. Moreover, Mercury in Taurus will be forming shadowy  contra-antiscia aspects with Saturn stationing on May 10 and 11, with Jupiter stationing on May 12, and then finally with Pluto retrograde on May 13 and 14. Once the catharsis of the Scorpio Full Moon passes, make time and space in the week following the lunation to monitor inner feelings closely and find ways to get a sense of what wants to emerge from you through journaling, art, or any type of meditative or spiritual practice that clears channels of reception. There is no doubt that outrageous corruption will continue to occur as global powers try to hold onto their disproportionate share of resources, yet these same astrological aspects on inner levels can correspond with profound moments of discovering the integrity and ethics you will be willing to embody and courageously stand up for in the tumultuous year ahead.

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Silver coin from Knossis (400 B.C.)

Another major astrological shift illuminated by the Scorpio Full Moon is the transition of the transiting lunar nodes from Cancer and Capricorn into Gemini and Sagittarius on May 5, 2020. The true calculation of the lunar nodes have been in Cancer and Capricorn since November 6, 2018 and so you may notice that themes in your life that became activated at the end of 2018 related to the lunar nurturance of Cancer and the Saturnine contraction of Capricorn are in a state of resolution or dissolution. The waning Moon in Sagittarius will make its first contact with its South Node in Sagittarius on May 10, which will bring a more palpable sense of how the shift of the South Node into Sagittarius is unveiling old issues in need of digesting, decomposing, harvesting, and release.

As as result, Saturn is releasing its rulership of the South Node of the Moon and handing rulership over to the wise counsel of Jupiter in Capricorn. The transiting South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius will be calling for an examination of the underlying philosophies we live and make choices from, shedding old beliefs that no longer align with our experience. There is an obvious need to reckon with numerous old beliefs that have been at the center of societal structures due to the pandemic and its cataclysmic impact on economic and health care systems around the planet. On a personal level we may notice new seeds of vision emerging through letting go of beliefs that had been filtering our perception, while in other cases we may receive a rich harvest of meaning from systems of knowledge we have been extensively exploring.

In contrast, the fluidly mediating Mercury has taken over rulership of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini, guiding us in discovering new desires and ambitions as well as in the absorption of new material.  The transiting North Node of the Moon in Gemini will not be a straight path forward but rather a wildly divergent one requiring digressive changes in direction. Suiting the chaotic climate of the pandemic, Mercury will necessarily lead us away from preconceived plans and require a constant readiness to change directions, question beliefs, and remain open to new perspectives. The transiting North Node of the Moon in Gemini will incite insatiable drives of curiosity that can become overwhelmed by more pursuits of interest than can be adequately processed and integrated. Thus balance can be found through the South Node of Sagittarius using its fire to burn off whatever has been distracting or dissipating our full engagement, honing our sense of what pursuits we want to focus our full energy on developing.

While the ingress of the North Node of the Moon into Gemini will primarily amplify the significance of Venus stationing retrograde in Gemini, there is important additional meaning to be found in the fact that the asteroid Vesta is applying toward a conjunction with Venus that it will complete on May 15. Vesta is a goddess who sustains the sacred fire of the hearth and so will bring the devotional strength and enduring focus of the high priestess into relationship with Venus stationing retrograde. Vesta in Gemini will first form a square aspect with Neptune on May 12 before meeting Venus, mediating the meaning of the building tension in between Neptune and Venus.

Vesta’s role in sustaining the sacred fire requires maintaining the kind of cleansing, purifying, and grounding that we will need to avoid becoming lost in illusions constellated between Neptune and Venus stationing retrograde. Vesta in Gemini can also help in finding common ground with others even when isolated at home, as the tending of individual hearths and altars creates interconnection with others around the world doing the same. The intense focusing prowess of Vesta can help us orient toward the heart of the matter that needs our undivided attention as Venus stations retrograde, using the imaginal strength and dissolving capacities of Neptune to wash away blockages and barriers.

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Six of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Scorpio arises in the second decan of Scorpio associated with the Six of Cups illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image reveals the innocence of receiving through giving, which connects with the Sun and Jupiter being the rulers of the second face of Scorpio. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “An Apparatus for Mutual Distillation” to the second decan of Scorpio, describing it as a face in which mutual distillation within relationship allows for matters to be passed back and forth as in an alembic, “growing increasingly rarefied and potent.” Coppock wrote that while “it is easy to imagine these dynamics between romantic partners, all relationships which rely on trust and continuous exchange generate such circuits.”

Coppock’s description of ideal relational exchanges rooted in trust also brings to mind its antithesis of broken trust that unleashes overwhelming emotions and catalyzes separations and letting go. 12th century astrologer Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom wrote that within the second face of Scorpio there “ascends a woman who has left her house; she is naked and has nothing on and she is entering the sea.” Austin Coppock described the second decan of Scorpio as warning that we need to be careful to whom we bare ourselves to, because the “virtuous circuit of exchange can become vicious in this face . . . the process of dual cultivation becomes one of mutual degradation, each destroying the quality of the other with each pass.”

Further showing the importance of separating from degrading relationships in the second decan of Scorpio, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Titan goddess Leto to the second face of Scorpio. Sister to the starry, divinatory goddess Asteria and mother to the twin lights of Artemis and Apollo, Leto’s presence in the face where the Scorpio Full Moon arises reveals the need to protectively nurture and cultivate whatever we hold most dear and wish to bring into the world. Leto had to flee and take refuge on an isolated island unattached to the ocean floor in order to escape the wrath of Hera, who had made all lands exclude Leto from entry due to her anger over the affair between Leto and Zeus.  It was said that the twin offspring of Leto would stabilize the new order of Olympian deities, and so her persistence in nurturing the birth of Apollo and Artemis was additionally a birth of a new collective age.  As the astrology of 2020 portends a new collective era emerging at the end of the year, Leto is a fitting symbol for taking whatever steps are necessary to give birth to the world you wish yourself and the generations to follow to inhabit.

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

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References

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

 

Planets in Fall and the Spirit of the Depths – schedule change

Planets in Fall and the Spirit of the Depths title image

Saturday, May 16, 2020

1:00 pm Eastern Standard Time

I recently announced I will be teaching a workshop for Nightlight Astrology called “Planets in Fall and the Spirit of the Depths” on Saturday, May 16. I will still be teaching on May 16, but the time has been moved to 1 pm Eastern standard time and 10 am Pacific standard time instead of the previously scheduled time that was at 12 pm EST.

Description: “The Greek term for a planet being in its fall has been translated as a low lying place, like being brought down into a depression in the ground. Planets in fall have also been associated with states of depression and depressing circumstances, in contrast to the ideal heights associated with planets in exaltation. We will explore the essential balance between planets in fall and exaltation, what it means to be born with a planet in fall in your natal chart, and imagine together how to work with the descent into depths we can experience with a planet in fall. What wisdom and self realization can we gather from the dark places that planets in fall bring us to?”

If you want to sign up to attend the webinar live, click on the link below:

https://nightlightastrology.com/events/

 

Taurus New Moon & Uranus

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Image by Michelle Doucette (2020) for the Taurus New Moon for graycrawford.net – her work can be found at The Dreaming Canvas

New Moon in Taurus

The monthly lunar cycle ends and begins in darkness. While the New Moon in Taurus on April 22 is an inception of a new cycle, there is a death and rebirth process for the Moon to undergo under the rays of the Sun that is necessarily nurtured by darkness. There is wisdom to be found from descending into darkness, as ancient scholars such as Peter Kingsley in his book In the Dark Places of Wisdom have described darkness as the source of the light that illuminates our world. Kingsley examined how finding “clarity meant facing utter darkness” in ancient traditions, how not only was the ancient goddess Justice as well as other powers of cosmic law said to reside in the cave of Night, but also how the radiant, enlivening Sun was viewed as having its home in the nocturnal underworld where it is reborn every night. To Kingsley, “it’s impossible to reach the light at the cost of rejecting the darkness,” and so there is vital importance in descending into our inner depths of darkness rather than rejecting or ignoring it, distracting ourselves away from it.  We must be brought down and descend before being able to reascend with the new perspective and needed ideas for reform and renovation we have gathered.

The New Moon in Taurus is full of electricity and chthonic rumblings that can bring feelings of societal and personal structures being destabilized from the roots, corresponding with the many anxieties being stirred up by the unknown extent of how public health and economics will continue to be impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. Within the living symbolism of astrology, the element of earth is considered to be the most dense and stable; since Taurus is a fixed earth sign, it can further be considered as the earth sign that is most resistant to change. Uranus within astrology brings the kind of Promethean fire that can dramatically incite change and reshape the most solid of matters in shocking and unexpected ways. Since the Taurus New Moon is applying within three degrees of a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus, it reflects the extraordinary and rapid change caused by the pandemic across all facets of global civilization with the propulsive discharge of a lighting storm.

The Taurus New Moon is separating from a constraining square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius and applying toward a volatile conjunction with Uranus in Taurus. The fears and frustrations of people feeling confined within quarantine have led to numerous unfounded conspiracy theories about the pandemic and a desperation in some to protest the social distancing measures intended to protect public health due to fears over a stalled economy and loss of liberty. The strife and contention over how to manage the pandemic will continue during the forthcoming lunar cycle, as the New Moon is moving from a conjunction with Uranus into a discordant square aspect with Mars in Aquarius that will form on April 23 as the first sliver of crescent light becomes visible. While Mars is finally beginning to separate from Saturn within the sign of Aquarius, the New Moon will reforge the connection between Saturn and Mars in Aquarius that formed at the end of March and coincided with global populations having to come to terms with the grim reality of the pandemic. These are all indicators of caution and protective, defensive measures needing to be maintained in the face of uproar to break free from containment.

In addition to the Taurus New Moon triggering dynamics between Saturn, Uranus, and Mars, during the dark phase of the Moon before the lunation it will also form catalyzing square aspects with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. We have been living through a dramatic time period that has corresponded with the intensifying astrological alignment of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto all coming together within harsh aspects, and in combination with the stark impact of the pandemic it has laid bare numerous inequities across global society. While 2020 will end with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius that will signal a new era, during the closing of the old era we are living within we must experience the expansive and growth oriented significations of Jupiter being taken into the underworld of Pluto. Some people are predictably attempting to take advantage of the crisis to accumulate greater power and wealth in accordance with one side of Jupiter and Pluto’s meaning, but the greater potential available is to not only witness injustices but also utilize the exposure of corruption, oppression, and unfairness to reimagine ways to reorder societal systems and to take direct action in helping those who are vulnerable.

Within our personal lives as we have had to release future plans and rearrange daily responsibilities in order to acclimate to the societal disruption brought by the pandemic, there is an opportunity with the New Moon in Taurus to make a complete reappraisal of every way in which we have been using the time and space available to us. The Taurus New Moon is close to the exact degree of the Moon’s exaltation in Taurus, bringing strong imaginal capacity to help contend with the fact that the lunation is surrounded by difficult astrological aspects. It’s also worth remembering that what goes up must come down, and that the motion of Fortuna’s wheel means that what becomes exalted must fall within nature and the natural cycles of our world that astrology reflects. We are in the midst of a collective descent that while difficult is also illuminating our interconnectedness across barriers and borders, and since the New Moon is being mixed with the innovative voltage of Uranus we may receive numerous ideas and brainstorms for solutions and remedies in the forthcoming lunar cycle that had not occurred to us previously.

Within the past week I was personally struck by the significance of receiving separate emails from separate colleagues about the alchemy of the invisible simultaneously, all reflecting in different ways about measuring the unseen and reckoning with the invisible unconscious emerging into visible and conscious awareness. The pandemic has constellated a decisive turning point in personal narratives all around the world, a rare occurrence in which shadowy unconscious material will be emerging through the dreams and daily interactions of people at higher levels than normal all across the Earth at the same time. The astrology of 2020 suggests there will be many more twists and turns in storylines to come, creating circumstances in which it will be possible to cultivate an entirely new direction to follow. The fixed, earthy quality of the Taurus New Moon favors embarking upon a slow and steady course to make a better world, nourishing our inner strength so we may hold the tension of present instability to allow new supportive forms and ways of working together to emerge.

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Image by Michelle Doucette (2020) The Dreaming Canvas

The New Moon is in the earthy home of Venus, with the star of Aphrodite continuing to shine brightly at night in its Evening Star phase. After the waxing crescent Moon enters Gemini on April 25, it will begin applying toward a conjunction with Venus that it will complete on April 26. The April 26 conjunction between the Crescent Moon and Venus in Gemini will take place at the same time that Venus culminates in its brightest phase as an Evening Star on April 28, and so it will be worth finding ways to commune with their union in the night sky.  Due to Venus being out of bounds in declination at an extreme northern height, the Moon and Venus will be visible setting together into the western horizon far into the night on April 26.

At the same time that Venus is increasing in light to reach its brightest point within its Evening Star phase, Venus will also be getting closer and closer to our Earth in orbit and therefore becoming more influential in worldly events. Venus shining bright while out of bounds is untethered with wilder instincts for free expression than normal, and so when combined with the New Moon in Taurus conjoining Uranus there will be the kind of chaotic creativity accessible that Venus in Gemini delights in exploring in a variety of versatile ways. While the New Moon in Taurus promotes a consistently thorough path toward completing endeavors, Venus in Gemini swiftly swoops back and forth in seemingly disparate directions when following its muse of inspiration. Venus in Gemini is less interested in sensual earthiness and more excited to converse in stimulating conversation involving a diversity of perspectives, weaving poetry from experiences and using its lilting voice to make melodies to share.

Vitally, Venus in Gemini is applying toward a mystifying square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will become a major astrological theme during the next month. Since Neptune is in the exaltation of Venus it brings a degree of mitigating reception to the tension of their square aspect that can be especially beneficial when engaged in artistic and creative expression. However, the influence of Neptune over Venus can be tricky to navigate and can coincide with illusory attractions that magnetize while concealing the nature of their source. Neptune brings longing for the ideal, yet can also bring debilitating pain once a shattering experience breaks us free from an illusion. This of course does not mean that all new attractions and desires emerging into awareness during the next month will be delusional, but it will be helpful to keep in mind that the imaginal fantasies constellated between Neptune and Venus may not be grounded in reality.  Creative collaboration with others can be especially fruitful as they can be enlivened to inspired heights through Venus and Neptune fantasizing together.

Venus will form its first square aspect with Neptune on May 3 a few days before the Full Moon in Scorpio on May 7. After Venus stations retrograde on May 12 and begins shifting backwards, it will form its second square aspect with Neptune on May 20  that will involve the more intensified form of Venus that emerges when retrograde (the third and final square between Venus and Neptune will not be until July 27). During the week and a half following the Taurus New Moon as Venus becomes increasingly engaged in its square aspect with Neptune, it can be a productive time for journaling, art making, and any other form of creativity that can help process unconscious content and any new desires rising into awareness. Venus is especially curious and interested in pursuing diverse interests in Gemini, and so making time for creative exploration will not only give us a healthy energetic outlet but also help begin to orient us toward the inner changes that will become more prominent once Venus stations retrograde in mid May.

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Image by Michelle Doucette (2020)  The Dreaming Canvas

Pluto will station retrograde three days after the Taurus New Moon on April 25, 2020 at 24°59’ Capricorn, saturating the astrological landscape with its volcanic, underworld force. Pluto will remain retrograde until stationing direct on October 4, 2020 at 22°29′ Capricorn and so its retrograde movement is most impactful for those with natal placements in between twenty and twenty-five degrees of Capricorn, Cancer, Libra, and Aries. The stationing of Pluto may feel like being pulled down into the depths of the underworld to confront unconscious material that has been simmering, but can also correspond with surface level events and experiences that force us to confront our fears on a  primal level. It’s an especially intense stationing in relation to the pandemic as so many people around the world are facing the fear of not having adequate financial, medical, nutritional, and emotional support during the crisis. By going down willingly with Pluto into its purifying purgation we will empty ourselves of what is no longer essential, gaining clarity for what is most important.

Pluto is at the beginning of new cycles with both Jupiter and Saturn, and although Saturn is no longer in the same sign as Pluto the extreme contraction and division within civilizations that becomes provoked when they form conjunctions is continuing to reverberate throughout current events. While Pluto and Saturn will be coming back into close proximity again later in the year, Pluto’s impact is currently being most intensely felt on all things related to Jupiter such as justice, law, knowledge, abundance, prosperity, alliances, and stewardship. As previously mentioned, one shadow side of Jupiter and Pluto coming together involves obsessive drives for extreme power and wealth, and so we will need to be on guard for how some in power will be attempting to manipulate the fears of the public at the cost of what is best for the public livelihood and health. The reality of the pandemic and its invisible threat that can infect and spread without surface symptoms is a hard reality to come to terms with but a necessary one when formulating how to begin reopening sectors of the economy and increased social interactions.

The stationing of Pluto close to Jupiter will be further amplified due to Mercury in Aries applying toward a square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn that will become exact on April 25 and 26. Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn (a fact that is now true in both the tropical and sidereal zodiac) signifies that the way is down into descent and into relationship with the earth at our foundation. Making time to simply lay down in the grass or on your floor in order to incubate and receive guidance from within can be a productive way to interact with Jupiter’s present condition. The hardships being faced by so many have been revealing the myriad ways present societal systems are inadequately arranged, and so while being brought down by Jupiter and Pluto we can remember that when we rise back up together it will be up to each one of us to persist in full participation in reshaping our societal systems to better address the inequities being presently exposed.

At the same time that Mercury in Aries is forming a square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto, it will also be forming a conjunction with Eris in Aries and highlighting the ongoing discordant square aspect formed between Jupiter and Pluto with Eris. The union between Mercury and Eris is yet another indicator of needing to pay attention to those on the fringes and outskirts of society such as the homeless, the incarcerated,  or those weighed down by poverty, and how their present condition is intrinsically related to the condition of all of us. In particular the living symbolism of a New Moon in Taurus is especially resonant for those laboring in agricultural systems and fields, including the immigrant workers who lack access to services.

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5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 1 Decan

The New Moon is in the first face of Taurus associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Five of Pentacles is often associated with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources, or experiencing bodily or material hardship. These material concerns and fears are fitting for the dire circumstances brought by the present pandemic, yet there is a deeper meaning found in relationship between the Five of Pentacles and the first face of Taurus that can be glimpsed through the light of the stained glass window in the image. The light from the cathedral window reveals resources that can be found when in duress, not only through the charitable sustenance of societal services but also through the living spirit found in the earth.

Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile, earthy nature of the sign of the Bull. Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, physical as well as spiritual nourishment. In the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to plan, grow, and gather enough resources for our own survival but also to contribute assistance to those in greater need. The New Moon in the first face of Taurus is a call to notice those in need around you, those suffering from lack of housing, food, and other forms of financial or emotional support, and to join with others in finding ways to address the societal inequities being presently exacerbated by the pandemic.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land.” Yet Coppock further described that the first decan of Taurus is not only associated with the fertility of the land but also our own inner agriculture, adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated.” Coppock stated that though the first decan of Taurus “reveals the ways one may work with whatever one has to gain more,” that the images and interpretations associated with the Five of Pentacles card bring up the shadow of fear that we will not have enough money, food, or material resources and that bleak times may arise if we disengage from our constant planning around cultivating resources. Thus the threat of not having enough in the future inspires us to work hard and plan for how to gain enough resources for the moment as well as save for later times of need.

In the Liber Hermetis there is a striking image for the first decan of Taurus that evokes both the material and spiritual fertility of the land. The body of Osiris, adorned with gold and dark tie-strings, is found buried in the ground while a goddess with a queen’s crown is standing in between the horns of a bull. This link between the divine and the land is further shown in the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs, which ascribed Charis to the first face of Taurus.  While Charis is a Greek name for “grace, kindness, and life” it is also associated with the mythic Charites who are associated with the three Graces that include Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names and numbers for these charming, fertile beings who were said to dance and sing with the muses and attend to the adornment of Aphrodite. Ancient cults of the Charites have been described as similar to the nature worship of nymphs near rivers and fresh springs, chthonic deities associated with the fertility of the land.

While humanity is struggling in many places to come to terms with the pandemic, the natural world around us is continuing to bloom and pass away in its constant cycles of growth and decay. With many external systems and structures of society no longer serving as stable supports, the New Moon in the first face of Taurus reminds us of the wealth of resources to be found when engaging with the divine fertility of the land around us and the inner realm of soul within. May you find moments of grace and good cheer amidst whatever difficulties the pandemic has brought into your life.

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

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References

Brennan, Chris. (2017). Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. Amor Fati Publications.

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice. Rubedo Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (1999). In the Dark Places of Wisdom. Golden Sufi Center Publishing.

 

Spring Speaker Series: Planets in Fall and the Spirit of the Depths

Nightlight Astrology Spring Speaker Series promo

Nightlight Astrology

Spring Speaker Series

Saturday, May 16, 2020

1 pm Eastern Standard Time

I’m excited to announce I will be presenting as part of Nightlight Astrology’s Spring Speaker Series, which is free to attend and taking place online, on May 10th, 16th and 17th.

My talk is entitled “Planets in Fall and the Spirit of the Depths” and will be all about the meaning to be found with planets in fall in natal charts. It will take place on Saturday, May 16 at 1 pm EST.

Description: The Greek term for a planet being in its fall has been translated as a low lying place, like being brought down into a depression in the ground. Planets in fall have also been associated with states of depression and depressing circumstances, in contrast to the ideal heights associated with planets in exaltation. We will explore the essential balance between planets in fall and exaltation, what it means to be born with a planet in fall in your natal chart, and imagine together how to work with the descent into depths we can experience with a planet in fall. What wisdom and self realization can we gather from the dark places that planets in fall bring us to?

To find out more and to register for access, visit the Nightlight Astrology Events page: https://nightlightastrology.com/events/

The live webinar is limited to 100 places, so if you want to be present for this live you will want to register sooner than later. I will be able to get a recording of my talk after the event for those who are unable to attend it live.

Planets in Fall and the Spirit of the Depths title image

Chiron on the Radiant Astrology Podcast

Gray-podcast-Chiron

I recently spoke with Christina Caudill on her Radiant Astrology Podcast about Chiron in Aries, Chiron’s role in astrology bridging the realms of Saturn with the realms beyond Uranus, and what we can learn from the mythology of Chiron. We talked on the day that the Sun in Aries was conjoining Chiron exactly, with both Chiron and the Sun forming a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes. We discuss the connection between Chiron and what’s been happening with the COVID 19 pandemic.

Here is a link to the podcast:

Mythological Chiron w/Gray Crawford

You can find out more about Christina Caudill and her work in astrology here. Check out her membership circle you can join to support her work and gain access to extra content from her here.

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

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