As we are in a time of intense collective events rife with catastrophe, perhaps it is fitting that on May 17, 2015 we will initiate a new lunar cycle at 27° Taurus conjunct the fixed star Algol, known as both the blinking demon star as well as a symbol of the severed head of Medusa. Though this fixed star has been dumped on in the past with a lot negative projection from astrological authorities, there has been a post-modern approach to re-interpret Algol through placing this past malefic analysis within the context of the oppression of women and the sacred feminine. Similarly, the asterism of the Pleiades that this Taurus New Moon is also conjunct has been on the receiving end of negative projection in our astrological past, yet in more recent times has been gaining an empowering and healing reputation. The conjunction of this New Moon in Taurus with the seven sisters of the Pleiades is an important point of focus, since in the Greek story of these seven stars one of them is the exquisitely beautiful Maia, the mother of Hermes. The astrological synchronicity with this mythic detail is that on the day after this New Moon, Mercury will station retrograde in Gemini and head backwards in zodiac degree toward the place his mother in myth resides.
Whenever a planet is stationing, it takes on great prominence in our astrological landscape. Mercury in Gemini is particularly potent at the New Moon because it is at the threshold of the phasis point of being fifteen degrees away from the Sun, a range of zodiac degree that in Hellenistic astrology marked the point at which a planet either disappeared or reappeared in our view of the sky. Mercury in its current stage is preparing to disappear at sunset to no longer appear as an Evening Star, symbolically descending into the underworld of our psyche, and so altogether this means that Mercury is holding an important message for us to attune to as we set intentions. Mercury will be retrograde from May 18 – June 11, 2015, so to investigate its impact check the aspects made from 14° to 5° of Gemini in your chart. As Taurus is known for patient and stable cultivation of growth, keep in mind that since the lunar cycle following this New Moon holds a retrograde phase of Mercury, the unexpected is likely to arise within any carefully made plans we are making. A fertile period of growth can be initiated with this new lunation, especially with Mercury retrograde in its home sign, but we will need to let go of expectations for a perfectly imagined, idealized outcome. Whatever surprise setbacks or obstacles come our way, if we draw on the purposeful manifesting capacity of Taurus while being mutable enough to shift our responses in line with coming changes, we can ultimately achieve an outcome that is richer in creative depth than one produced from a smoothly uneventful process.
There is a powerful visioning quality to the upcoming waxing Moon, as Jupiter in Leo will be applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries for the duration of this next lunar cycle that culminates with a Full Moon in Sagittarius at 11°49′ on June 2, 2015. This Sagittarius Full Moon will be square to Neptune in Pisces, and in addition Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun will all be conjunct in Gemini and square to Neptune. Jupiter trine Uranus is an aspect to take advantage of while it is still applying, as it can facilitate breaking of new ground in thought, identity, and action. In combination with Mercury moving through a retrograde phase in square to Neptune, we can access the potential of this next lunation cycle by dropping a need to rationally explain everything, opening ourselves to the magic of being present and listening to the messages found in the symbolic patterns of life surrounding us. A New Moon in Taurus is a fitting time to ground our intentions in earth, matter, and our physical bodies, avoiding becoming lost in our minds through awareness of the needs of our bodily form. Whenever you find your mind spinning frantically, take the time to relax with mindful breathing in nature or another calming choice that will help dissolve excess stress.
Venus is in charge of this New Moon in Taurus, and as Venus is in the lunar sign of Cancer there is an especially strong connection between this New Moon and Venus. Venus at this time is in a complicated mess with all of the signs of a crisis, as Venus in Cancer is separating from a square to the Lunar Nodes, and applying to an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries. In addition, Venus is also in square to the true node of Black Moon Lilith that is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of the New Moon. Furthermore, while Venus in Cancer is separating from a trine to Neptune in Pisces at the exact time of the New Moon, in the days of the Dark Moon leading up to the New Moon Venus is applying to a square with the lunar nodes as well as its trine to Neptune. This is a complex Venus transit that could be received by us in a myriad of ways depending upon our current consciousness, circumstances, and inner dynamics.
As Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node in Libra, its square in Cancer to the lunar nodes brings to the forefront our underlying emotional needs that we have been repressing or not expressing in our relationships. In addition, this square could also coincide with increased awareness of the emotional needs of others we are in relationship with that we have either not been listening to or were previously unaware of due to a lack of communication about them. The trine from Neptune to Venus could be received as blissful absorption in the moment, yet could also take us into a Dionysian space of ecstatic feelings toward a vision that then falls into agony over the vision not being presently manifest in our life. We may want to distract ourselves from our own drama through immersion in the illusions of literature, cinema, or other fictional tales, and this may not entirely be a bad thing as the symbolic awareness we can access through the poetry of a story that serves as a metaphor for our current predicaments can be a form of Dionysian medicine. There is a potential with the trine from Neptune to Venus for us to open to a larger field of awareness that places our current difficulties in a collective context, thereby giving us greater capacity for acceptance of our present life. Yet with Venus simultaneously activating the lunar nodes and then the square between Pluto and Uranus, most likely we have complicated tensions within us to process.
The polarity point to Venus in Cancer is the sign of Capricorn where Pluto currently resides, an archetype of the Sea-Goat that calls for us to take responsibility for our Venusian feelings and needs. Yet as one of the significations of Pluto in Capricorn is the hierarchical oppression exhibited by those in positions of dominant control and power, it can be easy at times to become overwhelmed with emotions of being a victim to the inequities of the surrounding power structure. The need for survival of oppressed groups within society is implied by the Sabian symbol for the Taurus New Moon, “An old Indian woman selling the artifacts of her tribe to passers-by,” which to Dane Rudhyar signified “peaceful adaption to collective needs,” as the woman finds a function within her society through selling products from her traditional culture (p. 86). Rudhyar analyzed this stage of Taurus as being a point at which “the aging mind of the individual peacefully reintegrates itself into the psychic matrix of his group and culture, in serene ADJUSTMENT to the vital needs of the whole of which he sees himself as a fleeting part” (p. 87). Instead of merely feeling victimized by societal power structures, this Taurus New Moon can be a beneficial time to acclimatize how we can integrate ourselves into the system in order to create shifts and bring about change through sharing of our unique gifts.
The Taurus III decan holding the Taurus New Moon is associated with the 7 of Pentacles in tarot, as seen in the image above from the Rider-Waite deck illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. Here we see a farmer overlooking his growing crops with care and mindful attention to how to facilitate the development of a bountiful harvest. Yet patience is a necessity, as all of the hard work that has been put into planning, sowing, planting, watering, and other necessary actions will not lead to the manifestation of the desired end for a long period of time. This image of patient cultivation is particularly apt for this Taurus New Moon that initiates three weeks of Mercury retrograde, and the calm, prudent, and attentive countenance of the farmer in the image will be a helpful presence to cultivate in the face of adversity.
Saturn rules the Taurus III decan, and while it corresponds to the hard work put into the sowing and planting in the image of the 7 of Pentacles above, as well as into the mindful tending of ensuing growth, it also signifies unforeseen turmoil and devastation the farmer can only hope to protect their harvest from. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces created the symbol of “A string of prayer beads” for this decan, as it “represents a confrontation with destructive factors which impede completion,” and the need to enact remediation and “make plans to accommodate the unforeseen” (p. 80 – 81). While Coppock acknowledged that we must face toil and difficulty at times in this decan out of no fault of our own as well as a consequence of prior choices, he also listed virtues such as “wisdom, patience, humility, and foresight” as being “the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face” (p. 81). Coppock further declared that the great strength of this decan is its capacity to support us in developing remedies to overcome threats:
Thus, the power to call upon greater power in order to atone for folly or repair damage done is great here. It is a place of humility. The proper image may be painted to petition the call for help amidst catastrophe, whether it be self-caused or not. In cases of hubris, the formula must involve confession- the ritual sacrifice of the folly which was at cause.
While repair and repentance certainly feature prominently, equally important is the power of preparation. Acts, both magical and mundane, to ward off the visits of evil are potent in this face . . . Ultimately this face teaches us how to preserve our works, both from our own folly and the titans’ rages. (p.82)
Taurus is a survivor full of perseverance that can bear the brunt of any destructive storms or setbacks. In Taurus we can be gracefully drawn into our inner realm to connect with our authentic values, and it is the strength of our inner values that can come to our aid in times of trouble. Set course for the direction you want your life to take at this Taurus New Moon, with faith that remaining heedful of your inner principles will enable you to sustain focus on your desired end with resilience, no matter what difficulties approach in the coming tides.
Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.
Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.