- Saturn stations retrograde in Sagittarius on March 14, 2015 at 4°56′
- 7th and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus on March 17, 2015
- Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces on March 18, 2015 at 8°1′
- Solar Eclipse in Pisces at 29°27′ on March 20, 2015
- Aries Equinox on March 20 happens thirteen hours after the Solar Eclipse
Feared by our ancient ancestors for corresponding with increased chaos, Solar Eclipses occur when there is a New Moon close to zodiac degree with the South or North Node of the Moon. On March 20, 2015 we will experience the synchronicity of a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces happening roughly thirteen hours before the Sun enters Aries and we celebrate the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fall Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere. This Pisces Solar Eclipse is about ten degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Aries, a point on our ecliptic we associate with our past karma, our unconscious, and release as it marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, whereas the North Node of the Moon symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution as it marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic. In a solar eclipse, the Moon crosses between us and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens solar light for the length of its transit.
As a result, Dane Rudhyar and other astrologers have associated solar eclipses as a moment in which our karmic past cloaks the solar light of our present, and our unconscious aspects normally hidden can become more viscerally felt in our conscious awareness. Since this solar eclipse is occurring at the end of Pisces, conjunct the transiting South Node of the Moon, it accentuates our capacity to gain greater awareness for what has been brewing in our unconscious, and to release or resolve old karmic issues. Taking the time to reflect upon the house of your birth chart where the solar eclipse will occur at the end of Pisces, as well as the aspects it makes with planets and other components of your birth chart will help prepare you for how your life could be impacted. Solar Eclipses often mark a pivotal shift that can feel chaotic, but in the unsettling loss of past attachments and security we can find an opportunity to create new growth for ourselves in the areas of our life signified by the aspects made by the eclipse in our birth chart.
Further forcing us to confront ourselves at our deepest core is the seventh and final square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that hits a few days before the solar eclipse. Since June of 2012 we have experienced a sequence of seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto, and with the final one occurring earlier in the week the Equinox Eclipse initiates a settling into the first quarter aspect between Uranus and Pluto for good. By now you should know what necessity has demanded you release, end, confront, and initiate (especially connected to how 7 – 15° of Aries and Capricorn impacts your chart), so the less you can resist and the more you can open to the flow of change occurring will help you find your place in the dismantling of systems that has coincided in our collective during these transits. On a personal level, the Uranus and Pluto square has been eliminating all of our attachments that have been blocking our ultimate growth, and so the upcoming solar eclipse (as well as the lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015) is bringing us awareness of what past attachments we have still been clinging to in one way or another in our subconscious that now need to be released as the final lesson associated with these seven squares.
The seventh square between Uranus and Pluto has associations with the seventh (crown) chakra and the seventh planet, Saturn. Indeed, Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde on March 14 and so has our undivided attention as Pluto and Uranus square and the solar eclipse ushers in the Equinox. A connection between Saturn stationing retrograde in Sagittarius and the seventh chakra is that an activity of the crown chakra is to derive meaning through our underlying belief system. Saturn stationing and then continuing retrograde in Sagittarius will draw us into analyzing our belief systems, calling everything into question as part of a re-structuring of our consciousness. With a solar eclipse occurring at the same time in the final degree of Pisces, we will want to be open to listening to messages expressing eternal meaning, and guides that connect us with the archetypal field that constantly seeds, activates, and regenerates new patterns. As the solar eclipse may make us aware of our karmic past, we thereby gain an opportunity to break away from our past restrictive patterns and liberate ourselves from old unconscious complexes that no longer serve our direction.
Marc Edmund Jones wrote that the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces where the solar eclipse occurs is The Great Stone Face, and highlighted the importance of using discernment to embody self-integrity when manifesting ideals and aligning with eternal reality, as the “individual selects the image within himself to which he would shape himself outwardly, and this he comes to resemble” (p. 329). Dane Rudhyar updated and elucidated this Pisces 30 symbol by calling it A majestic rock formation resembling a face is idealized by a boy who takes it as his ideal of greatness, and as he grows up, begins to look like it. Rudhyar said this symbol brings “realization of the power of archetypes as factors conditioning life processes,” and that this self-transformational “power can be developed through visualization, when the emotions and the will are poured into the visualized mental image” (p. 288). Rudhyar emphasized that this zodiac degree represents the latent power of the seed, and so through focusing on “clearly visualized ideals” we gain the capacity to shape and mold our future growth and life (p. 288).
Marc Edmund Jones also warned that the negative side to the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces is “wholly inarticulate and ineffectual self-realization” (p. 329). To me, this caution links to the importance of becoming aware of as much of our shadow and hidden unconscious forces as possible during this time of the final square between Uranus and Pluto and the solar eclipse at the Equinox. If we are going to visualize an ideal for ourselves we wish to become more alike, to be most effective we will need to embrace our shadow and rejected parts of ourselves in our process. When we repress our shadow, it ultimately gains enough strength to completely overwhelm us. Yet through the willingness to acknowledge and accept our shadow, we can mitigate it’s capacity to overshadow our conscious efforts toward our ideal. For example, if the Pisces solar eclipse is occurring in the 10th house of our birth chart and we realize that we have been projecting criticism at others for egotistically self-promoting themselves, we can see how there is in actuality an ambition shadow impacting us. As a way to work with this shadow of ambition, we could open ourselves to our need to more assertively self-promote ourselves within our ideal career path. This will not only make ourselves more successful, but in the end will also enable us to work more harmoniously with other peers in our career path.
The fixed star Scheat is located around 29°22′ Pisces and is closely aligned with the solar eclipse on March 20. Scheat is a deep yellow star in the leg of the Pegasus constellation, and like the winged horse was associated by ancient astrologers like Ptolemy with Mars and Mercury, and with swiftness by Manilius. In the more modern tradition of fixed star interpretation by the likes of Vivian Robson and Reinhold Ebertin that can often veer toward extremely negative labeling of star signification, Scheat was given a malefic label of being associated with catastrophes and misfortune. Yet Reinhold Ebertin in his Fixed Stars and their Interpretation also gave a positive potential to Scheat signifying “mental creativity,” with the cautionary note that this positive effect is only for “some people,” meaning those who “are ready to receive such an inflow,” giving examples of Goethe having Jupiter conjunct Scheat and Rudolf Steiner and Victor Hugo having Mercury conjunct Scheat (p. 82).
This double edged combination of ambitious striving for insightful breakthroughs, with potential for a fall from the lofty heights momentarily reached, also connects to meaning associated with both the Pegasus of the star constellation and the Pegasus of myth, and could serve as a symbolic guide to the solar eclipse at the final degree of Pisces. There is an indivisible duality of light and shadow with Pegasus: on the one hand Pegasus is felt as a fount of inspiration and the seat of heroes, while on the other hand Pegasus was born from violence and betrayal and tied not only to the slaying of monsters but the monstrous egotistical hubris that could overcome those who rode Pegasus. Pegasus sprung from the blood spilled by Perseus severing the head of Medusa, and Pegasus further has the complicated lineage of being born from Poseidon and Medusa, when in some versions Medusa was the victim of being raped by Poseidon in a temple of Athena, and in others Athena turned Medusa into a hideous monster after she fell for the seductive advances of Poseidon. In addition, figures of myth such as Bellerophon who experienced the adoration of being acclaimed as a great heroic slayer of monsters by riding Pegasus to victory in battle later became so overcome by hubris that they were forced into catastrophic falls of misfortune. In the case of Bellerophon, after believing his glory meant he deserved to be one of the Gods and fly to Mount Olympus, he was struck back down to Earth violently by Zeus. There is a binding in which there is no good without evil, no heroes without monsters, and as Carl Jung and others have written, within our same Source of Creation from which emanates the “Good,” so also emanates the “Evil.”
In part, this type of Pegasus shadow complex connects with the huge buildup of planets that have been aspecting the South Node of the Moon in Aries leading up to the final square between Pluto and Uranus and the Pisces Solar Eclipse. We have had Venus conjunct the South Node then Uranus and then Eris in Aries, and more recently we have had Mars conjunct the South Node, Uranus, and now Eris at the time of the solar eclipse. When we also integrate the other planetary nodes besides the Moon’s, we can see that the South Nodes of Jupiter and Pluto are now conjunct the transiting Ceres in Capricorn, all in square to the transiting conjunction of Mars and Eris in Aries. The solar eclipse at thirty degrees of Pisces is also in square to both the North Node of Jupiter (at 30° of Gemini) and the South Node of Mars (at 30° of Sagittarius). This extremely complicated mix of transits and aspects to planetary nodes can be synthesized through the concept that our current moment of world civilization sits within a past of extraordinary oppression, violence, and strife that impacts all of us on a traumatic level in our unconscious, in more of a consciously traumatic manner for those who have experienced horrific terrors firsthand. We cannot imagine these difficult, sometimes hidden shadows of our psyche away by thinking we can focus only on the “good” such as “white light” that will make the dark go away. Instead the path forward for our growth is acknowledging and working with these darker elements of our Self in a manner that helps us work toward our conscious goals instead of undermining, blocking, or limiting our endeavors.
Yet poetic inspiration and creative inventiveness is also available in even the most difficult of times, and so through discernment in our daily choices we can strive towards our ideals without the pitfalls of hubris. In classical astrology, the entire system is set up in part through the opposition of the Mutable sign domicile rulers being Mercury and Jupiter, as Jupiter rules Pisces and Sagittarius, and Mercury rules their opposite signs of Gemini and Sagittarius. Fusing and synthesizing the archetypal polarity of Pisces and Virgo, for example, through the contrast between Mercury and Jupiter can be illuminating. Sagittarius can have a shadow of a know-it-all, while Pisces can have a shadow of a godhead- in both cases these classical signs of Jupiter can be overtaken by the archetypes when working with them with the negative consequence of becoming self-absorbed or overly egotistical in the process. There is something in the ability of the Mercury-ruled signs of Gemini and Virgo to act as an evolutionary polarity to Sagittarius and Pisces and help ground us in the soulfulness of our immediate environment and relationships in the moment.
In modern astrology, Neptune is viewed as a ruler of Pisces, and there is amazing synchronicity that on March 18 during the Dark Moon in Pisces prior to the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be exactly conjunct Neptune at eight degrees of Pisces. Mercury can be our guide of soul once again during this week by activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine. Mercury can help us logically and linearly organize mental concepts to help us navigate our world while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul. Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces is the Poet who follows the flight of the winged horse Pegasus, a companion of the Muses and a source of inspiration in times of immense challenge. When we open to the modern signification of Neptune connecting us to our collective unconscious, we realize that through Mercury at the clearing time of the Dark Moon before the Solar Eclipse, there is profound insight into how we have been impacted by the collective unconscious to unveil.
In the film Bright Star by Jane Campion about the life of the poet John Keats and his love for Fanny Brawne who became a Muse for his writing, there is a scene in which John Keats is speaking to Fanny about his philosophy of poetry in a way that crystallizes how the Mercury conjunction with Neptune in Pisces can help us now:
A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.
— from the film Bright Star (2009)
In addition to Mercury becoming conjunct Neptune on March 18, another helpful guide to prepare us for the Pisces solar eclipse and new Equinox is the ingress of Venus into Taurus on March 17. Venus is at home in Taurus, and at this time of year the North Node of Venus is also at the beginning of Taurus. As a result Venus will be activating her own evolutionary direction and in Taurus this means going within, following the wisdom in our bodily senses and centering within to discover how our inner values need a re-formulation to align to a greater extent with the inner and outer changes occurring in our life.
The Pisces III decan where the solar eclipse occurs is ruled by Mars and associated with the 10 of Cups in tarot. In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find a union of lovers enjoying the wealth of a mutually created home and family that emotionally fulfills them. In 36 Faces, Austin Coppock analyzed this final decan of the zodiac as being about “the attainment of the heart’s desire, the reunion with the beloved,” and “the quest for true and perfect love” (p. 259). Yet Coppock revealed the passionate depth and duality of this Mars-ruled decan by also noting it signifies a “mad quest for an ideal” that has an “unwillingness to accept anything but what is utterly right” and “a place of martyrdom, of being willing to sacrifice everything” (p. 258). The lesson for those traversing the third decan of Pisces is thus to realize their propensity for dramatic sacrifice for their ideal love, and to learn to discern their true love from illusion:
This face thus contains heights of agony and ecstasy. The pain of betrayal results from investing in the wrong ideal, mistaking the face of the beloved. The eagerness to enact the romantic quest can lead one to overlook whether the situation in fact warrants it. If those who roam this decan are to be spared repeated disappointments, they must learn to discriminate. Yet even the most discriminating will see some dreams shatter, some sacrifices rendered vain . . . The third face of Pisces, the last of the decans, looks always to the end, the ultimate meaning of the entire cycle. Moros [daimon of doom] whispers that it is pointless, and that the wheel of incarnation is merely a cruel carnival ride. In argument, Elpis [daimon of hope] points to beauty, love and the real possibility of happy endings. (p. 259-260)
At the end of Pisces, experiencing a solar eclipse at the final degree of the zodiac half a day before the initiation of the Equinox, we can simultaneously experience the hope of our most cherished ideal manifesting and the fear that we are doomed to be disappointed or disillusioned in the end. The vital point to realize is that our hope is not misplaced when we have connected with ourselves on a soul level and have done the inner work necessary to realize our true desires. Yes, Pisces can symbolize falling victim to an illusion, yet Pisces also symbolizes the reality that we can experience the complete bliss of our own personal happy ending. This week it is as important as ever to follow the popularized mantra of Joseph Campbell to follow your bliss.
From now on we will finally be settling into the First Quarter square phase between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, with no more dipping back into their waxing Crescent phase square. The first quarter square phase in the tradition of Dane Rudhyar’s lunation cycle is a crisis of action in which we must establish a form to house the vision that came in at the new phase conjunction, in this case the Uranus and Pluto conjunction in Virgo that occurred in 1965 and 1966. For example, in collective events there is an obvious connection in the United States between the Civil Rights movement that struggled to assert and initiate progress at the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, with the current struggle to rectify inequities in the criminal justice system in the United States based upon perceived differences in race or ethnicity. This is a struggle to address aspects of the vision that came in at the conjunction that have not securely taken form, and we can also sense the unconscious shadow of past struggles and violence coloring the atmosphere with passionate emotions and drama. Although the new Equinox is symbolically a time of balance and new beginnings, collectively we have clearly been undergoing a dark night of the soul.
On a personal level, this time of darkness has resonance with the concept of Nigredo worked into the resurrected alchemy of Carl Jung and other modern thinkers. The Nigredo, blackening phase is an extreme sense of despair that is necessary for our ultimate personal development and individuation, for it brings our painful shadow aspects into greater realization. In the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, Uranus correlates with Jung’s concept of individuation and symbolizes our liberation from all external and internal conditioning that led to our past personal identity, so we can open to the evolutionary growth of our soul. In this way the first quarter square from Pluto to Uranus has forced us to lose some of the attachments that previously brought us our most secure sense of identity, whether that be a particular relationship, job, or personal image. The important thing is that we need take action now- we are only at the beginning of the first quarter phase between Pluto and Uranus, so instead of withdrawing or resisting out of fear over not being sure we know which direction to follow or identity to take on, take whatever steps are possible to establish a new form for yourself in whatever way that you can. As Saturn moves retrograde over the next four months or so, eventually stationing direct in the beginning of August 2015 at the end of Scorpio, uses this Saturnine pull within to sharpen your sense of direction and aim while making concrete steps forward at the same time. The new path will not be set in stone at this time, but it does require some tending and trail blazing.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Ebertin, Reinhold. (1971). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.
Jones, Marc Edmund. (1969). The Sabian Symbols in Astrology. Sabian.
Judith, Anodea. (2004). Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Celestial Arts.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.