Venus Stations Direct conjunct Pluto
Venus stations direct on January 31, 2014 at 13º34′ conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (12:49 pm PST).
January 31 to February 1 is the traditional time of Imbolc, a holiday at the cross-quarter between the Solstice and Equinox (by zodiac degree, however, this will be happening more like February 3 – 4 when the Sun hits 15 Aquarius).
There is a NEW MOON on January 3o at 11 Aquarius at 1:38 pm PST, the day before Venus stations direct.
LILITH in her triple form is activated by this New Moon. The asteroid Lilith (#1181) will be at 14 Leo (retrograde) opposite the New Moon. The true node of Black Moon Lilith will be at 2 Leo squaring the North and South Nodes of the Moon in Scorpio and Taurus. The Dark Moon (or Waldemath) Lilith will be at 25 Taurus opposite to Saturn in Scorpio.
Anytime Venus is stationing brings added intensity as she stands still from our geocentric perspective, concentrating Venusian themes in our lives and drawing us to face or contemplate our inner relationship with her archetype. However, this week is more intense than normal, as Venus is stationing conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in direct opposition to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer. Additionally, less than twenty-four hours before she officially stations direct, there is a New Moon in Aquarius which also ushers in the Chinese New Year of the Wood Horse. The day of Venus stationing direct is also a holiday in Gaelic and other “pagan” cultures, the traditional time of Imbolc which is at the cross-quarter of the Solstice and Equinox, heralding the coming Equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere this is also the time of our “groundhog day” when we look to a groundhog to tell us when Spring is approaching.
The South Node of the Moon at this time is still in Taurus, ruled by Venus. Whether your astrological frame of reference calls you to consider the transiting South Node of the Moon to be an indication of personal or collective past lives, connections, comfort, or attachments, most likely you have a sense of the Lunar South Node indicating a comfort zone of security in one form or another, like a habit impossible to break without conscious work and effort. Add in a square from Uranus in Aries to Venus, and you can see how Venus is highly charged at the moment for all of us (though anyone with planets or angles at 11-15 degrees of cardinal signs should especially take note). As many people have a perspective that connects Venus to goddesses, the divine feminine, and mythic heroines, her influence at this time in conjunction to Pluto and in opposition to Jupiter is even more pronounced when you factor in the placement of Lilith in her astrological forms at this time.
Lilith has become a popular archetype in astrology in relation to Black Moon Lilith, the empty focal point of the Moon’s orbit that some calculate through the true node, others the mean node. From my own experience, I have come to favor the true node placement, but both the true and mean nodes of Black Moon Lilith at this time are significant: the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes, resolving toward the South Node that Venus is ruling, and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith is in Cancer in opposition to the degree of Capricorn that Venus stationed retrograde on the December solstice of 2013. There is also a Lilith asteroid #1181 that is moving retrograde in opposition to the Aquarius New Moon on January 30. Finally, there is also the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith, a more controversial Lilith placement that I personally do not use much, but that Demetra George and others have integrated into this triple goddess form of Lilith for precisely the reason that its controversial nature reflects the Lilith archetype to such a large degree. Speaking of Demetra George, I utilize her triple goddess theory of the meaning of Lilith that looks to the Lilith asteroid as a point of wounding, repression, or suppression that potentially can erupt into anger from us and cause us to become alienated or ostracized (this point is being triggered by the Aquarius New Moon). Along these lines, the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith is a point where we can gain a vengeful rage of indignation at our persecutors and develop an unhelpful victim mentality that can get us into difficult situations (this point is being triggered by Saturn in Scorpio). Finally, in this context the Black Moon Lilith placement is the resolution point where we can work through and integrate this past wounding or repression, cut away delusional or false aspects of ourselves or patterns, and come into more of an authentic presence reflecting more of our true nature (this point is being triggered by the lunar nodes). The energy of the Black Moon Lilith is like the Dark Goddess of the Dark Moon phase in the lunar cycle, a clearing energy to prepare for the new phase, perfect for a New Moon in which Venus is stationing direct conjunct Pluto. However, since the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in a square to the lunar nodes at this time, it suggest that what needs to be cut or cleared may be an intense issue or pattern we have been deeply attached to: in other words, shifting whatever this pattern may be will be much easier said than done.
The ability of Black Moon Lilith to help us cut away what is false in our thoughts and beliefs goes well with the Sabian symbol for 14 Capricorn where Venus is stationing direct: “an ancient bas-relief carved in granite remains a witness to a long-forgotten culture.” Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala found the keynote for this symbol to be “The will to unearth, in our culture as well as in any culture, what has permanent value, and to let go of nonessentials” (p. 237). Lilith for many is a long forgotten goddess or heroine of wisdom who was cast out and ostracized from Biblical, monotheistic religion and portrayed as a deadly femme fatale of evil seduction, when upon closer inspection of myth we get a sense that all she wanted to do was be on an equal level of power to Adam and preserve a sense of her own independence in their relationship. The following quote from Joseph Campbell (in a new book published in December 2013 when Venus was first conjunct Pluto and entering her retrograde shadow zone) cuts with insight to the core problem resulting from traditional monotheistic interpretations of the Bible that neglect the divine feminine:
Freud asks in “Moses and Monotheism” why it was that just when all the other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean were learning to read their myths poetically, the Jews became more confirmed than ever in the concretist (Freud calls it “religious”) way of interpreting their idea of God. The obvious reason, I would say, is that both they and their tribal deity failed to realize that the waters of the Deep (tehom) over which Elohim was brooding and blowing in the first two verses of Genesis I was not just water, but the old Babylonian goddess of the primeval sea herself, Tiamat (ti’amat), and that his failure to appreciate the poetry of her presence there was the beginning of his whole misunderstanding even of himself. It was to her, his cosmological wife, that he should have turned to listen, occasionally, when moved to throw the Book at their disobedient children.
–Joseph Campbell, Goddesses, p. xxv
Lilith is a polarizing figure in myth and religious doctrine that goes well with the polarity between Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing the conjunction of Pluto and Venus stationing direct in Capricorn. On the one hand, if we are fixated on a particular belief system and lock horns in argument with another individual with an opposing belief system they are equally fixated upon and attached to, we could come into great conflict at this time in the outer world of mundane events. On an inner personal level, however, I see the totality of these archetypal signs indicating an opportunity for us to do deep inner cathartic work on the ideas and thoughts operating inside us, that we act from, the sort of habitual patterns we have been living from and at times forgetting we have the power of choice to work on and change if they are not in alignment with what we want to attract and manifest in our lives. Leading up to this New Moon and Venus stationing is an opportune time to do the inner work of lovingly questioning ourselves and our inner relationship with our Self, becoming more aware of how we talk to ourselves or emotionally react to a triggering comment from everyone from a passing stranger to an intimate partner.
Indeed, the sabian symbol for this New Moon at 11 Aquarius is “during a silent hour, a man receives new inspiration which may change his life.” Dane Rudhyar even connected the inner work revealed through this sabian symbol with our “need to rely upon inner inspiration and guidance at the start of new developments,” again another fitting correspondence to a New Moon with Venus stationing (p. 255). Rudhyar described this process as finding the “value of keeping open to the descent of spiritual or Soul forces, especially when a new period of individual activity is about to begin” (p. 255). To connect with our Soul requires work, effort, and the use of our Will: the term “transformation” is often used in this context because it can feel like we are becoming a new person, even though it may accurately be more like becoming the person we truly were the entire time underneath it all. There is one more part of Rudhyar’s interpretation of this New Moon sabian symbol I want to include here, because it also connects this process to the creation of art and what we can find within when we are willing to take the solitary dive inside of ourselves: “There is a creative power within, a power that can be tapped, or rather that should be allowed to flow into the brain-consciousness or the hands which write or fashion materials into original forms” (p. 255). True, that: making art, writing, or any other creative act that can help us process our emotions at this time is felicitous.
Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing Venus and Pluto in Capricorn can relate to the family karma we know from our own lifetime, as well as more ancestral karma we may get inklings of from time to time. Since Jupiter and Venus are both synthesizers that can transcend the challenge of their current polarity, setting intentions at this time to clear the issues that we are not truly responsible for, and to face and be accountable for the karma and patterns we are responsible for can be very powerful. Venus can be the fire in an alchemical process of these elements, by allowing ourselves to feel the burning sense of what is truly passionate and joyful at our core, there is a new presence for ourselves to feel and embody that brings together the polarity represented by Cancer Jupiter retrograde/Capricorn Pluto. Jupiter is capable of great projection from a deep inner realm of bottom line principles and thoughts, like an underworld ruled by Pluto, we live from. Any external conflict at this time can be utilized to reveal past inner dynamics we have been perceiving and intuiting from that are ultimately limiting for us, that we have been operating from more as a result of the conditioning from our early childhood, family, or society more so than our true nature. Now is the time to set intention for any such inner adjustments or modifications.
Pluto usually has a regenerative quality to the intensity of his aspects, and so whatever Venusian tumult we could be experiencing on a Jupiter-like scale at this time most likely is offering us something to work on to become more aware of our soul and true presence. Jupiter always wants us to grow, so moving retrograde in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn is calling for a descent into the inner emotional feeling realm for greater Self-awareness. The fact the exact opposition of Jupiter and Pluto at this time is fairly close in orb to a t-square with Uranus in Aries is a reflection to the years of 1968-1969 when Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto were in a triple conjunction. In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas noted this time was like the peak culmination of many 1960 themes involving the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo we are now feeling the first square from: riots like Stonewall and the Chicago 8, protests, Woodstock, and notable for the type of inner work I am speaking of, this was also the time in which Stanislov Grof founded Transpersonal psychology, James Hillman founded Archetypal Psychology, and the man formerly known as Richard Alpert stepped into being Ram Dass. During this past month, if we have been utilizing the Venus retrograde cycle for a spiritual or artistic practice of some sort that has been working with and releasing a lot of the energy that otherwise could have built up in this time, we have an amazing opportunity at this time to birth a new presence for ourselves. However, no matter our recent experiences, this is an important New Moon on which to set a clear intention going forward.
In the chart below for the New Moon on January 30, you can see how the true node for Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes. Again, the mean node of Black Moon Lilith can be placed into this chart at 26 degrees of Cancer (opposite the degree that Venus stationed retrograde on December 21, 2013), the Lilith asteroid #1181 can be placed at 14 degrees of Leo retrograde (opposite the New Moon), and the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith can be placed at 25 degrees of Taurus (opposite Saturn in Scorpio):
If we have been experiencing some recent events that have triggered feelings of past repression, suppression, judgment, alienation, or persecution, if the archetype of Lilith being active at this New Moon and Venus stationing feels resonant for you, then there is also a strong possibility of this past wound being opened wide at this time. But in the end this can lead to the sort of heart opening that makes true healing possible, the type of healing that allows us to move forward no longer burdened by that past pain or repressive pattern any longer. Remember, even though Venus is stationing direct, she will still be in her retrograde shadow zone until March 4, 2014 which will also take us through an entire Mercury retrograde cycle (most of February 2014) and into the beginning of a Mars retrograde transit in Libra (March 1 – April 20, 2014). The fact that this New Moon with Venus stationing leads us into Mercury stationing retrograde a week later in conjunction to Neptune in Pisces makes it even more important to state very clear intentions for ourselves at this time. What do we truly want, not out of a sense of need, but out of a true sense of what will bring us joy? We have a full Mercury retrograde cycle, and then the beginning of a Mars retrograde cycle to experience before Venus will finally leave her retrograde shadow zone, so there is still a lot of inner work to be done even though we may become increasingly called to focus on external events and actions. Today and the Imbolc season that follows is a perfect time to re-assess and re-form our purpose, vision, and goals moving forward.
Mark Rothko and Venus Retrograde
As we are entering a time in which we are leaving a Venus retrograde transit only to enter a Mercury retrograde cycle as Venus is still moving through her retrograde shadow zone, a historical figure I feel is interesting to consider is the artist Mark Rothko, born with a Mercury retrograde in Libra and a Venus retrograde in Virgo. If you noticed, this means his Mercury and Venus were in mutual reception, with his retrograde Venus ruling his retrograde Mercury, and his retrograde Mercury ruling his retrograde Venus. Fitting to such a natal aspect, Mark Rothko was a deeply contemplative artist whose artistic expression and perception were rooted to his core inner Self more so than consensus cultural norms of society or the art world. When we work with planets moving in retrograde, we have the opportunity to turn inward to find new ideas and ideals we can ultimately bring forth into the world. The progression of Mark Rothko’s art in his lifetime was a fascinating example of this internal/external process in motion.
For example, in the painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, Rothko had entered a new phase in his art in which he was painting with greater abstraction: this painting supposedly relates in some ways to his romance with the woman who became his second wife, while some have also interpreted it as integrating a reference to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” In any event, the energy of love, movement, passion, and music found in the image certainly connect to Venus, but the more abstract depiction of Venusian themes is what had changed in this period of Rothko’s art. Previous to this period, Rothko painted more realistic depictions of ideas that often connected to myth and other subjects of timeless meaning. Rothko was known to be a great admirer of Nietzsche, Carl Jung, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot, with the sort of internal, mythic perception of soul in matter found in people with Mercury and Venus retrograde in their charts. Eventually, Rothko shifted into further, or maybe better said, purer abstraction in a style that has been called “multi-form” and involved large fields of color: this is the style that ultimately brought him his greatest fame. About his art at this time, he made a very Mercury/Venus retrograde statement of saying, “my paintings’ surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles, you can find everything I want to say” (wikipedia). The depth of feeling he put into his work was further exemplified when he said he was only interested in “expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point” (wikipedia).
The painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, as well as the painting at the beginning of this post, “Rites of Lilith,” were both shown in 1945 following a dramatic shift in Rothko’s art. In a letter to the Art Editor of the New York Times you can read here, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb articulated a manifesto expressing a re-visioning of their art away from a more literal representation of myth in their painting into a form inspired by surrealist and abstract art from Europe. This letter came out immediately following Mercury stationing direct in June of 1943, still in its shadow zone. A few months later in August of 1943 there would be a Venus retrograde transit of Virgo matching the same Venus retrograde cycle in which Rothko was born. Thus this shift in the art of Rothko (which would become even more dramatic in a few more years) was a good example of Mercury-Venus inner work, an inner change of values, ultimately re-emerging into a new vision for external manifestation. This is exactly the sort of opportunity available for all of us at this time, in whatever realm of thought and action your current interests are found. Here are a few of their key points found in their manifesto:
- To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.
- This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.
- It is our functions as artists to make the spectator see the world our way—not his way.
- We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.
- It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.
Over a half century later, excerpts from this manifesto appeared in a song crafted by another artist with a link to retrograde personal planets, Kathleen Hannah, born on November 12, 1968 with a Scorpio Mercury direct a few degrees out of it’s retrograde shadow zone of October 3-23, 1968 when she was in her mother’s womb:
Of course, Kathleen Hannah is no stranger to manifestos as she wrote a Riot Grrrl manifesto including lines like “BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t” and “BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being and making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.” She is a strong example of how to use a Mars in Libra with power and force for social justice through art (she also has a Uranus conjunct Mars in Libra, also conjunct Jupiter at the very end of Virgo). As Mars in Libra in March will station retrograde following the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius (that’s going to be February 2014), we will no doubt hear from many astrologers how Mars “doesn’t like” being in the sign of Libra. Look no further than Kathleen Hannah to learn you can kick ass with Mars in Libra when working for social change. Now is a good time to figure out where you want to re-focus your energy to ultimately become the change you want to see in the world.
Campbell, Joseph. (2013). Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. New World.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.
Rothko, Mark. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko
Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.