New Moon & Venus in Capricorn

 

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

New Moon in Capricorn

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

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

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

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder

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

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

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4 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 3 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

 

Capricorn Cazimi: Venus & Pluto

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

Venus in the Heart of the Capricorn Sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Foundations of Astrology Course

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FOUNDATIONS OF ASTROLOGY COURSE

Co-taught by Gray Crawford & June Rose Trimbach

Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach are excited to announce an interactive webinar course uncovering the building blocks of the art of astrology.  If you’re at the beginning stages of learning astrology or at a more advanced stage and looking to fill any gaps in your knowledge, this class will give you a firm understanding of the symmetry and power in the foundations.  If you choose to participate, we will be looking at the natal charts of individuals in the class, so it’s also a great opportunity to deepen understanding of your own chart.

June Rose and Gray share a passion for traditional as well as modern astrological technique.  The class will serve as a bridge between modern and traditional astrology and clarify misconceptions about each perspective.  June Rose and Gray both come from astrological lineages that inquire about the soul and its relationship to the material world.  When appropriate we may explore astrology as a spiritual discipline.

Weekly classes will be held on Sundays from January 21 through April 8, 2018 with no classes held the weekends of February 18 and March 25.  Classes will begin at 1:00 pm (Pacific standard time) and last for two hours.  Everyone will receive a recorded version of each class, so its not necessary to be present for the live classes though we encourage you to be present for as many of the classes as possible.  We will be using Zoom meetings for the classes.

There will also be one additional question and answer session each week held over Zoom where we will discuss any questions or concerns.  June Rose and Gray will also be available to answer questions over email.  Each class will have written homework assignments to turn in, and participants will receive detailed feedback on each assignment.

The final class is an opportunity for students to share final presentations that integrate knowledge gained through the course.

Total cost for the course is $200 and can be paid through PayPal.  Please email consultation@graycrawford.net to register for the class and a payment request will be sent to you.  Payment plans can be set up if necessary.  You will receive links for the weekly classes and question and answer sessions that will take place through Zoom meetings.


Class #1  

Sunday 21 January

PHILOSOPHY & ETHICS OF ASTROLOGY

  • Different worldviews and philosophical questions that are important for astrologers to consider
  • Ethics in consulting astrology charts
  • Why are you interested in astrology?
Class #2 

Sunday 28 January

SUN & MOON: LIGHTS OF THE SOUL

  • The meaning of the Sun and Moon; how they reflect soul
  • Moon phases; interpreting the relationship between the Sun and Moon
  • Introduction to Sect (Day vs. Night charts)
Class #3 

Sunday 4 February

THE PLANETS

  • Significations and correspondences of each planet
  • How planets show up as characters in our personal and collective mythologies
  • Nocturnal vs diurnal natures of planets
Class #4

Sunday 11 February

SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC

  • Use of tropical zodiac instead of sidereal zodiac
  • The signs as planetary homes
  • Elements, modalities, nocturnal/diurnal signs
Class #5

Sunday 25 February

PLANETARY EXPRESSION

  • How signs color the expression of a planet’s nature
  • Introduction to essential dignity
  • Workshop of charts of class participants demonstrating planetary expression through signs
Class #6

Sunday 4 March

ASPECTS & CONFIGURATIONS

  • Meaning of aspects, planets “seeing” one another
  • Whole sign vs. degree-based aspects
  • How the Thema Mundi reveals the meaning of aspects
  • Traditional aspects vs. modern aspects
Class #7

Sunday 11 March

HOUSES

  • The meaning of the twelve houses
  • Meaning of angular, succedent, and cadent houses
  • Impact of angularity on planetary expression
  • Joy of the planets in specific houses
Class #8

Sunday 18 March

INTRODUCTION TO CHART INTERPRETATION

  • How to interpret the rulers of the houses
  • How to prioritize rulers of the houses
  • How to synthesize meaning of relationship between rulers of the houses and the planets located within houses
  • Workshop to demonstrate interpretation in the natal charts of participants
Class #9

Sunday 1 April

LUNAR NODES

  • Meaning of the lunar nodes and how to reconcile differences in meaning across astrological traditions
  • Lunar nodes as markers of eclipses
  • Interpreting the rulers of the lunar nodes
  • Significance of planets forming a square to the lunar nodes
Class #10

Sunday 8 April

FINAL PRESENTATIONS

  • Class participants can present a cumulative project to the group demonstrating knowledge
  • Possible final presentations may utilize the following: (1) artistic interpretation; (2) creative writing; (3) chart delineation; (4) research integrating biographical information.

Sagittarius New Moon: Tension of the Bow

Jupiter clouds by NASA

Jupiter by NASA’s Juno spacecraft

New Moon in Sagittarius

The New Moon in Sagittarius arrives at the close of 2017, a few days before the Capricorn Solstice and the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and peak time of light in the southern hemisphere.  The threshold we cross at the New Moon also involves the end of two different cycles of Saturn:  the end of Saturn’s cycle over the past year with the Sun, as well as the end of Saturn’s journey over the past three years through the sign of Sagittarius.  On December 19 Saturn will enter Capricorn, and on December 21 we will experience the amazing alignment of Saturn entering the heart of the Sun and beginning a new synodic cycle on the same day as the Solstice.  The visionary significations of Sagittarius are amplified at the New Moon as Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and the Sun and Moon are all co-present in the sign of the Centaur;  and yet, there is a tension at play between the expansive thrust of Sagittarius and the impending shift into the condensed, disciplined, and persevering qualities of Capricorn that will dominate the coming lunar cycle.

Mercury is a vital player to listen to within the final symphonic movement of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius we are experiencing at the New Moon.  We are at the final stage of Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, as Mercury will station direct at the same time as the Capricorn Solstice and the union of the Sun and Saturn in the sign of the Sea Goat. Mercury is orbiting in between our Earth and our Sun and similarly the presence of Hermes will demand our attention as Mercury stands still (from zodiac perspective) in a catalyzing aspect with Neptune in the week following the New Moon.  Mercury calls us to descend into our inner darkness and reflect upon how are beliefs about life are interfacing with our actual experience of life.  The New Moon calls for an uncompromising assessment of what has been happening for us in the material world rather than what we wish would be happening in imaginal space.  Mercury offers the gift of shifting perspectives and beliefs to better align with the hard work and determined problem solving that will be needed in the coming season.

Adding creative fire to the lunation is the harmonious trine formed between Uranus in Aries with the Sagittarius New Moon, with Venus in Sagittarius closely applying to a trine with Uranus.  The asteroid Pallas Athene is also united with Uranus in Aries, and the mythic significations of Athene such as far ranging vision and strategy are available to engage with in figuring out needed course corrections.  Uranus can bring unexpected events but also opens fields of perception to simultaneously remember our past as well as liberate ourselves from whatever has kept us stuck in limiting patterns of thought.  If we can align our hopes and desires for our future with grounding in the needed work of daily life, the trine between Uranus and the New Moon can facilitate breaking free of stagnant habits and the birth of presence needed to make real the type of “new year resolutions” traditionally made at the threshold between calendar years.

With regard to the coming shift of Saturn into Capricorn, the darkness of the New Moon invites rumination over the past three years since Saturn entered Sagittarius on 23 December 2014, enabling us to be prepared and ready for what is to come with the shift of Saturn into Capricorn.  In the coming season of amplified Capricorn atmosphere, we will have opportunities to make strides in building structures to support our core desires and visions.  Yet to reach the potential of Saturn in Capricorn we will also need to let go of the elements of our life that have been needlessly dissipating energy and resources so we can be as efficient and direct as possible in action.

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Kay Nielsen (1914) from East of the Sun, West of the Moon

Jupiter in Scorpio rules the Sagittarius New Moon and is in the middle of two pivotal aspects with Mars in Scorpio as well as the transiting lunar nodes.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Mars, Mars being at home in Scorpio bolsters and supports Jupiter and makes our experience of Jupiter as intensely Scorpio as possible.  There is tenacious determination available in pursuit of goals and greater support for persevering through whatever obstacles are in the way of desired outcomes.  Yet the square between Jupiter and the transiting lunar nodes creates the climate of a crossroads on both personal and collective levels.  Accountability is being demanded, as well as a piercing analysis into how we have been conducting ourselves in pursuit of desires.

Mars in Scorpio at its highest expression is a fierce protector who will unconditionally devote itself to guarding the vulnerable, while Jupiter in Scorpio adds amplified intuition and the capacity to transcend former limitations.  With the transiting North Node of the Moon in Leo and the transiting South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, it is necessary at the Sagittarius New Moon to penetrate into how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture and realize how this has influenced our values and desires.  It is a perfect time to reflect upon what aspects of our beliefs and goals have had more to do with fitting in with group dynamics and societal norms more so than how we can truly manifest our gifts in service to what our surrounding community actually  needs.  Jupiter in Scorpio is demanding exploration of difficult questions and uncomfortable answers about our collective culture; on personal levels we have the opportunity for purification and release of past influences while embodying deeper integrity aligned with the core values that stand up to the test.

The trine between Neptune in Pisces with Jupiter in Scorpio can help with feelings of disillusionment regarding the surrounding world so that we can form a vision of life that is simultaneously inspirational as well as more realistic and grounded. Instead of trying to escape reality or distract ourselves in denial, we have the opportunity in the coming lunar cycle to take practical steps toward helping to create the type of world we want to live within.  At the same time, the challenging square formed between Chiron in Pisces with the Sagittarius New Moon signifies the indescribable pain that can be felt through witnessing both the suffering of the world and the lack of appropriate response by power structures.  Within the coming influence of Saturn in Capricorn in the year ahead, we will need to take the responsibility to protect and nurture rather than expect it to come from outside sources.

After Saturn enters Capricorn as the Moon waxes full, both Mars and Saturn will be at home in their own signs, strengthening the resolve to bring about the significations of Saturn and Mars in our life. As a result the coming lunar cycle will be more about perseverance than normal, enduring challenges while striving for whatever we need to make happen for ourselves or others.  As the Moon builds with light into the coming Cancer Full Moon on January 1, Mars will move within three degrees of an applying conjunction with Jupiter as well as a square to the lunar nodes. We can expect the collective atmosphere of heated conflict to not only continue but intensify, and so within the tumult we will need to make careful choices and decisions so we will be aligned with the highest good.

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10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 3 Decan

The Sagittarius New Moon falls in the third decan of Sagittarius associated with the 10 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above.  Human toil, endurance and perseverance are some of the immediate associations evoked by the image of determination, and so there is strong alignment between the 10 of Wands with the astrological atmosphere of the New Moon. In tarot this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations, and in fact is called Oppression in the Thoth deck.  Fittingly, the third decan of Sagittarius is ruled by Saturn, a planet that involves the type of oppressive circumstances that force us to cultivate endurance and new structures of support.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius in his book 36 Faces, describing how it reveals the unification of mind, body, and spirit through committed work and effort yoked to a goal.  Coppock also wrote that the final face of Sagittarius brings a reckoning regarding whatever needs to be sacrificed in pursuit of desires, noting that “those who walk this face must choose which burdens they will bear to the bitter end, and which are not worthy of such feats of will and endurance.”   Coppock also noted the influence of the primordial goddess Ananke over this decan, as the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac proclaimed the presence of the goddess of Necessity here.  While we have a range of choices to choose from in response to what is arising in our life at the Sagittarius New Moon, there is also the necessity of what we have to face due to being here amongst all of the challenges brought about by the period of world history we find ourselves within.

Since Saturn is present within the third decan of Sagittarius at the New Moon, the forces of Necessity unleashed by the third face of Sagittarius will be on full display.  Cultivating inner fire and bringing inspired effort into our daily grind not only will help us achieve personal goals but will also model the needed passion that can bring hope to others in the doldrums of despair.  As we leave the fiery, outwardly directed energy of 2017 we enter the year of 2018 that has more of an emphasis on the inwardly directed elements of earth and water.  Allow the darkness of the Sagittarius New Moon to open you to the level of soul searching needed to face all of the demands coming in the season ahead.

References

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

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius: Crossing of Cronos

Saturn with Mercury caduceus

Saturn photo by NASA; Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

In the twilight of encroaching darkness Mercury disappears at sunset toward the beginning of its retrograde period, initiating its invisible phase.  As nightfall and its bed of glittering stars overtake our senses, we lose the light of Mercury during the liminal time of its retrograde until it’s reflected light returns again at dawn on the other side of its backward movement through the zodiac.  During the time we have no hope of glimpsing the light of the star of Hermes, we can feel bewildered as our perceptual awareness shifts in correspondence as elements of our life pass away.  The volatility of Mercury can be found in its mythic sources:  Carl Jung called Hermes the “many-hued and wily god,” while Karl Kerenyi noted that the ingenious leaps in gain brought by Hermes also coincide with loss.  Since Mercury stations at the beginning of December aligned with Saturn, there is adversity to face on the horizon.  The solidifying stillness of Mercury stationing with Saturn also can bring the types of tests that ultimately foster increased strength, endurance, and structural foundations.

Mercury’s retrograde cycle comes at least three times each calendar year, each manifestation unique and notable for more than a few reasons.  However, the Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius that commences December 2 or December 3, depending upon your time zone, is especially remarkable for ushering us from our experience of Saturn in Sagittarius (12/23/2014 – 12/19/2017) into Saturn in Capricorn (12/19/2017 – 12/17/2020) while Mercury also spends an unusually long time in close proximity to the star of Kronos.  Mercury first united with Saturn on November 27 at 27º27′ of Sagittarius, and after shifting retrograde will align with Saturn for a second time on December 6 at 28º23′ of Sagittarius.  Mercury will remain within three degrees of Saturn until December 9, capping off a couple of weeks of close alignment.  Mercury will eventually conjoin Saturn for a third and final time on January 12, 2018 at 2º47′ of Capricorn, and at this point we will be able to gain sharper clarity for how the events of the Mercury retrograde fit into vaster narratives.  Mercury is serving as a messenger for Saturn, and though not the only meaning to be found in this period is certainly a fundamental aspect to contemplate.

Mercury’s protean nature shifts and mutates more so than any other planet, weaving together polarities and delighting in the grayness of being in between dualities.  Mercury can be both yin and yang, nocturnal and diurnal, spiritual and material, masculine and feminine, and readily accords itself with whatever planetary engagements it finds itself within.  Additionally, the retrograde phase of Mercury is the time in which the meaning of Mercury itself changes, as its swift pace slows to a standstill at the beginning and end of its backward movement through the zodiac.  Instead of firing quickly with curiosity in numerous directions of outward expression, Mercury when retrograde focuses internally with greater propensity for intuiting guidance through symbols and discerning the underlying meaning of both waking and dreaming life. Aligned with Saturn, Mercury retrograde takes on the significations of the star of Kronos, and so to navigate this passage optimally we need to consider how the archetypal forces of Mercury retrograde and Saturn commingle.

Hermes Trismegistus

Hermes Trismegistus floor panel in Siena Cathedral

Hermes, ruler of the world, dweller in the heart, circle of the moon,
Round and square, inventor of the words of the tongue,
Obedient to justice, wearer of the chlamys, shod in winged sandals,
Guardian of the many-sounding tongue, prophet to mortals.

— translation of a Magic Papyrus in Carl Jung’s Alchemical Studies

In our astrological tradition, the affinity between Saturn and Mercury is generally positive:  the 17th century text Christian Astrology by William Lily stated that both Mercury and Saturn are friendly toward one another, while the 9th century Vedic astrological text Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra stated that Saturn considers Mercury a friend while Mercury in comparison is neutral about Saturn.  In the 20th century archetypal tradition that synthesized ancient understanding from Hermetic sources within a depth psychology framework, the lineage from Carl Jung through James Hillman found a vital relationship between Saturn and Mercury within alchemy as well as through the conceptual duality of the senex (elder authority) and puer (eternal youth).  In Alchemical Studies, Carl Jung noted that Mercurius contains the dual  nature of senex and puer. Hillman later illuminated that the senex brings structure, discipline, tradition, and grounding, while the puer injects the vibrancy of idealism, imagination, creativity, and wanderlust.

We can imagine the union of Mercury’s creative bridging with the structural discipline of Saturn through authoritative sources that sustain openness to invention and visionary change.  Mercury retrograde periods bring the ability to focus deeply into mercurial research and communication projects, and so the influence of Saturn brings opportunities to base understanding from traditional lineages while opening awareness to how it fits within the current moment and zeitgeist.  Fantasizing or speculating while disconnected from the responsibilities of reality during this Saturnine retrograde of Mercury will bring repercussions, however, and so flights of imagination need to sustain a level of grounded application.  Whatever philosophical, intellectual, or spiritual frameworks we have been thinking and acting from will be confronted and tested and it will become obvious (if we are paying attention) where we have been deluding ourselves or how are belief system leads to adverse consequences we had not formerly recognized.

With regards to the interplay between Mercury and Saturn within alchemy, I was intrigued to find that Gary Caton linked the alchemical process of nigredo with the initial stationing phase of Mercury retrograde in his recently published book Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year.  The blackening and putrefaction of nigredo that Jung’s work linked to the dark night of the soul has been associated with Saturn as it brings a decomposition that ultimately leads to illumination.  Since Mercury is stationing in alignment with Saturn at the end of Sagittarius, the peak period of darkness in the northern hemisphere that precedes the rebirth of increased solar light at the Winter solstice, the link to nigredo is even further increased.  Caton wrote that the connection between the initial descent of Mercury retrograde with the nigredo process calls us “to purge the body, the psyche, and the life of extraneous or ‘dead weight’ in order to free up energy for future growth” during the beginning phase of Mercury retrograde (p. 112).

Since Saturn and Mercury are both in the outwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s retrograde will be pulling us into volatile and stark examinations of our vision for how we create meaning from our experiences in life.   Old thought patterns that have become habitually ingrained in our mind yet are no longer aligned with our authentic development can be dissolved and released with mindful focus and attention.  In a more immediate and mundane sense, we will be called to question some of our goals and plans through Saturnine delays, blockages, or obstacles.  It can be a pop astrology cliche to say that we should expect delays with everything happening in correspondence with Mercury retrograde, but with Mercury stationing in such close proximity to Saturn we are entering a retrograde phase that will force us to slow down and reconsider choices as we encounter restrictions or barriers of one sort or another.  Instead of impatiently shutting down or trying to force things out of frustration, keep a steady and alert focus on how things are developing and be ever ready to spontaneously shift directions or make alterations and revisions as needed.  Saturn and Mercury can guide us toward what needs to be modified for necessary reasons, whether we initially like it or not.

Ancient Mesopotamian astrology also reveals some overlap in meaning between Mercury and Saturn through the associations of the planets with mythic divinities Nabu and Ninurta.  Saturn was linked to the conquering hero Ninurta who retrieved the tablets of fate from a dragon of chaos who had stolen them, subsequently becoming an “overseer of fate and destiny” according to Michael Baigent in his book From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.  Mercury was linked to the messenger Nabu, a divine scribe who recorded the fate for the world in the coming year when the gods met to decide upon the destiny for the year ahead at the ceremonial end of the year.  These ancient connections with Mercury and Saturn are fitting for the Mercury retrograde coming at the close of 2017, as its surrounding aspects portend the arrival of twists and turns in our personal and collective narratives.

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Hermes (27 B.C. – A.D. 68) The Met

Mercury plays the role of psychopomp during its retrograde phase, and if we can make the space to go within for internal contemplation we can receive guidance from the depths of soul.  Chthonic Mercury’s guidance can feel irrational at times, perplexing to habitual, egoic minds.  Since Mercury is aligning with Saturn at the end of its time in Sagittarius and will station direct following the ingress of Saturn into Capricorn, we have a saturnine atmosphere to reflect back over all of our experiences in connection with the star of Kronos since it entered Sagittarius on December 23, 2014.  At the same time we will be dealing with the final lessons Saturn in Sagittarius has to offer, and so the quicksilver of Mercury can help us mutate as needed and prepare us for crossing over the threshold of the forthcoming three years of Saturn in Capricorn.  Mercury is a guardian of gates, doors, and liminal thresholds of all manner.  Maintaining mindfulness will enable us to notice and discern whatever final messages we need to hear and integrate with Saturn in Sagittarius.

Moon in home of Mercury

Mercury glyph by Bradley Naragon

A Full Moon in Gemini on December 3 launches us into the Mercury retrograde period with a boom and bang.  Most notable in the syzygy are the aspects circulating between the Full Moon, Jupiter in Scorpio, and Neptune in Pisces.  While the Full Moon forms a tight, catalytic square with Neptune, at the same time Jupiter in Scorpio is forming its first exact trine with Neptune in Pisces. Since the Full Moon is in the home of Mercury, there is incredible timing of the lunation ripening about eight hours after Mercury has officially stationed retrograde in union with Saturn.  Altogether this brings increased potency to Mercury’s stationing much more so than normal, and whatever the Mercury retrograde is initially leading us to recognize and respond to will be obvious.

The influence of Neptune over the Gemini Full Moon that initiates us into the Mercury retrograde harkens back to the square between Neptune and Saturn in Sagittarius that dominated 2016 and was one of the most prominent aspects of Saturn’s time in the sign of the Centaur.  Among other current events this coincided with debates over national borders with regards to refugees and immigrants as well as a deterioration in the ability of the general public to discern the difference between fake and accurate media sources.  We now have the transit of Jupiter harmoniously interacting with Neptune as the backdrop behind Saturn and Neptune’s movement through the homes of Jupiter, and during the Mercury retrograde we will also experience Mercury, Venus, the Sun and the Moon moving through Sagittarius.

Since Jupiter in Scorpio is in the twelfth place from Sagittarius, the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can deepen understanding through exposure of the previously concealed.  However, the easy trine aspect could also result in people deluding themselves within dogmatic belief systems if they are unwilling to open their minds to evidence coming from a different perspective.  The influence of Neptune upon Mercury’s retrograde through Sagittarius will not be going away, as Mercury will ultimately station direct in range of a square with Neptune.  As a result disillusionment could arise in related events that can cause depression, but these same difficult events can also become a necessary wake up call with what needs our full attention to change or heal.

The trine aspect between Uranus in Aries with Saturn has been another one of the key aspects within Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius that Mercury retrograde will also activate.  Mercury in Sagittarius formed a trine with Uranus on November 25 while moving direct at maximum elongation, and will form a second trine with Uranus in Aries on December 10.  After Mercury stations direct, it will move into its final trine with Uranus on January 6, 2018.  The trine between Uranus and Saturn has brought opportunities throughout 2017 to innovate and open the structural foundations of our lives to greater freedom and authenticity of expression.  Mercury moving back and forth in aspect with Uranus can help us attune to the aspects of organizational restructuring we have been developing that need additional support or repair.  It also increases the volatility of the Mercury retrograde period through unexpected influences and change that comes rapidly with quick development.

Ananka_i_Mojre

Ananke and the three Fates

The shadow cast across the Mercury retrograde by Saturn means the disintegration of matters we will face are necessary, and so instead of becoming stagnant with depression we need to surrender to the unalterable changes while conserving energy for the creative action we have the time and space to make a difference with.  The ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the primordial Ananke to the third decan of Sagittarius where Mercury will unite with both Saturn and the Sun during its retrograde.  Since Saturn rules the third face of Sagittarius and has been present in transit here, the gravitas of Ananke has been accentuated.  Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that Ananke’s influence over this decan can be seen in daunting trials and tasks demanding uncomfortable endurance and effort.  Forces of Necessity and Eros, Daimon and Fortune lay at the root of our astrological foundations.  We have to deal with elements of destiny we cannot change and must endure, while we are also given opportunities to respond with clarified intention and co-create the life we most desire to lead.  Do your best to flow with the currents brought along with Mercury’s sleight of hand rather than becoming frustrated by the aspects of life you cannot change.

Since Mercury is orbiting through the space between our planet and our Sun during its retrograde, as close to us as it ever gets, it is like the Mercury archetype is more present and gripping us from the inside.  As a result its always important to maintain keen alertness and attention to subtle shifts in the details of daily life so we have the best chance to respond effectively.  Mercury retrograde periods also reward efforts to create space for meditation and inner contemplation, and this aspect is especially intriguing this time around as Mercury retrograde is uniting with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center which is roughly at 27º of Sagittarius.  I find the idea of transits to the Galactic Center compelling, though I do not feel I completely understand the full ramification of their meaning as an astrologer.  I like the following interpretation Melanie Reinhart wrote in her article The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs:

Astrologically, when the Galactic Centre zone is activated by transits . . . the places, people, ideas, notions and events in our life where we have previously projected our own sense of ‘Higher Self’, or ‘Deeper Centre’ as a source of nourishment may collapse, let us down, crumble, turn against us, or simply quietly depart. That which promised ‘immortality’ fails us. Our ‘tribal’ associations, national or racial identities, while valuable on their own level, are relinquished. Through these transitions or crises, our consciousness develops. This may require a great deal of psychological processing, allowing grief and confusion to give way to peace and clarity. Both our physical bodies and subtle bodies may need attention as toxins begin to be eliminated when we travel the ‘celestial pathway’.

Urania's_Mirror_Serpentarius_Serpens

Ras Alhague, Ophiuchus from Urania’s Mirror

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

On December 12 we will experience the heart of the Mercury retrograde phase when Mercury is purified and reborn through a conjunction with our fiery Sun.  Called the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it represents a time of illumination in which Mercury aligns in orbit exactly in between our Earth and the Sun.  All of Mercury’s significations are strengthened during the time in which Mercury is transiting within a degree of the Sun, making it an excellent window of time for all mercurial activities. As we cross this threshold of the Mercury retrograde we enter a phase of deepening meaning and realization. Occurring at 21º14′ of Sagittarius, the influence of Saturn is further amplified by Mercury’s inferior conjunction happening within the Egyptian bounds of Saturn.

The union of Mercury with the Sun is also occurring in range of a conjunction with the fixed star  Ras Alhague in the Ophiuchus constellation.  Ras Alhague is the brightest star in Ophiuchus and the head of the Serpent Holder.  Ptolemy associated Ras Alhague with Saturn and Venus, interesting since both Venus and Saturn are co-present with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius.  Bernadette Brady wrote that “healing, teaching, or wounding” are the themes of Ophiuchus with a focus on reparations for whatever has been damaged.  The healer connection with Ras Alhague is intriguing since the inferior conjunction of Mercury occurring nearby can facilitate attention to nurture whatever needs mending.  Robert Hand and other astrologers have also connected the Serpent Holder with humanity’s attempts throughout history to grab ahold of nature in order to reap energy resources and power.  We are clearly at a collective crossroads in terms of our use and misuse of nature for energy.  Mercury’s back and forth through Sagittarius and across the Serpent Holder will bring significant messages concerning the need for change and the repercussions of inaction.

Hermes print Robert Mapplethorpe

Hermes by Robert Mapplethorpe

Solstice Station of Mercury

A few days after Mercury unites with the Sun, Mercury retrograde will conjoin Venus on December 16 at 17º52′ of Sagittarius.  Venus will be co-present with Mercury in Sagittarius for the entirety of its retrograde, making Mercury’s ability to find pleasure and harmony easier than it would normally be while in the same sign as Saturn.  Similar to the recently reborn Mercury not being at full strength due to being invisible and finishing a purification process, Venus is also not at full strength and engaged in purification on her way toward an eventual union with the Sun.  Venus and Mercury retrograde unite under a Dark Moon in Scorpio.  Nights come full of secrets and delights that are hidden from external eyes.  In the privacy of one’s inner sanctum healing and joy are possible during the interplay of Venus with the retrograde Mercury.

Mercury stations direct in Sagittarius a day after the Solstice on December 22, the peak time of darkness in the northern hemisphere and the peak time of light in the southern hemisphere.  This is also one day after Saturn enters Capricorn and forms a conjunction with the Sun at the Solstice.  Mercury also shifts into direct motion in range of a challenging square with Neptune, while forming a harmonious sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and a stimulating trine with the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  If we have been open to flow with the chaos and allow for the necessary disintegration and dissolution, the coagulation of the Capricorn Solstice will bring needed reordering and rebirth along with the return of the holy light of Hermes.  The close of the year brings a new cycle of Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, with Mercury bright at dawn and ready to take on all of the needed responsibilities in the day ahead.

References

Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Arkana.

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

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

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

Hand, Robert. (2000). A Dialogue Between Heaven and Earth.

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring.

Reinhart, Melanie. (2017) The Galactic Centre and the Centaurs.

 

Scorpio New Moon: Mars & Pluto

andrew wyeth dryad

Dryad by Andrew Wyeth

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moons are a time of darkness.  In alignment, we go within our own darkness and set intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle as our Moon regenerates in the heart of our Sun.  Scorpio is a zodiac sign also associated with the dark and the hidden, as well as transformation.  We have been experiencing an intense period of Scorpio amplification and a collective catharsis in correlation that has brought attention to stories of misuse of power too often denied, including revelations around sexual abuse that further link to Scorpio significations of sex, power and control dynamics.  Scorpio brings to the surface what needs to be revealed for regeneration, and so we have been experiencing a collective purging necessary to bring more widespread awareness to the suffering caused by sexual predation.  Our entrance into the year long transit of Jupiter in Scorpio has quickly been bringing awareness to what’s been lurking in the shadows, and with Venus as well as the Sun and Moon now in Scorpio we are invited to dig even deeper.  The darkness of Scorpio is ultimately the nurturing kind, the rich soil lying fecund underneath us that awaits fertilization and the metamorphic reemergence of colorful growth.  It is vital to carefully cultivate the seeds you are germinating when the Scorpio New Moon arrives on November 18.

The influx of Scorpio energy has been magnified further by the sign of Scorpio forming a square aspect with the signs of Leo and Aquarius that the lunar nodes have been transiting through.  The Sun and the Moon both faced off with the lunar nodes in the week leading up to the Scorpio New Moon, while Venus and Jupiter are heading toward a square with the lunar nodes.   The Scorpio New Moon also forms a square with the degrees of both the recent Leo eclipses (Leo Lunar Eclipse on February 10;  Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21) as well as the Aquarius Solar Eclipse coming later in February 2018, further signifying a time of collective crossroads.  Planets squaring the nodes force their associated issues to be dealt with, and so the Scorpio activation has been exposing the misuse of power by those desiring Leo ambitions of fame and status.  The lunar nodes in Aquarius and Leo bring the opportunity to discover ways of being more empowered and passionately living life more fully while also respecting the boundaries of others.  The influence of Scorpio further points to the necessity of living from one’s inner authority of ethics, purifying and shedding the toxic conditioning elements of culture such as misogyny.

The Scorpio New Moon is particularly intense due to the closely applying square between Mars in Libra with Pluto in Capricorn.  Any exact square between Mars and Pluto at a lunation is extremely catalytic, but in this case it is even more powerful due to Mars ruling the New Moon and Pluto also having modern associations with rulership over Scorpio.  Mars in Libra is in the home of Venus and a sign that is in polarity to its own home of Aries.  Mars in Libra is the warrior and protector of social justice, but to achieve this Mars must find a balanced expression that requires restraint at times, more so than direct and impulsive action.  With Mars transiting Libra while forming a square with Pluto, anger and tempers will be quick to flare over issues of oppression.  In their dynamic Mars is in the superior position of being in the tenth place from Pluto and so in position to overcome Pluto.  However, there is an old Hellenistic astrology concept of “striking with a ray” which leads to the interpretation that the dominant power structure (Pluto in Capricorn) will strike back hard to impede social activists (Mars in Libra) from gaining ground.

Andrew Wyeth carry

Carry by Andrew Wyeth

One of the keys of the Scorpio New Moon is to discern how to flow with the currents of power for the greater good.  It is an opportune New Moon for making intentions with regard to long term goals and where you want to place your daily focus in expending energy and initiative.  In natal charts, the aspect of Mars square Pluto can be challenging in terms of having grandiose vision and ambition and then being faced with all of the barriers to overcome in the process of manifestation.  These barriers involve both external and internal issues, and similarly the collective experience of this transit brings to the surface whatever has been in the way of achieving goals and developing plans.  Realizations can emerge more easily than normal regarding what we need to separate from and sever with regards to our desires.

Notably Mars is exchanging signs with Venus in Scorpio, as Mars is in the home of Venus and Venus is in the home of Mars.  This further means that both Venus and Mars are in signs that are opposite their domicile placements of Taurus (Venus) and Aries (Mars).  The influence of Venus in Scorpio makes the drive for justice with Mars in Libra more obsessive and more willing to penetrate to the depths of current circumstances.  Venus in Scorpio is forming an integrative sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a higher lesson available in terms of how to change our own attitudes and behavior to have greater integrity as well as how to engage and listen to others coming from different perspectives and backgrounds more effectively.  However, in reality this combination will more readily lead people into heated conflict and so keep this in mind when navigating difficult situations.  When Mars and Pluto collide like this at a Scorpio lunation, there are explosive undercurrents to deal with.

Andrew Wyeth Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

We make our way through Everything like thread passing through fabric: giving shape to images that we ourselves do not know.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Another massive influence over the Scorpio New Moon comes from dreamy Neptune, as it will station direct as the Moon begins to wax in light on November 22.  Planets stationing saturate the astrological atmosphere with their influence, particularly in the case of Neptune as it will open awareness to aspects of reality normally invisible or veiled to “normal” modes of mundane perception.  Neptune has been moving retrograde since June 16, and so it is worthwhile to reflect back upon the past five months of Neptune’s backward movement.

As Neptune stations we can feel a dissolution of interior complexes and exterior structures, and an opening of awareness to a sense that we can be perceiving through a focus of consciousness that is different from our past. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

Making all of Neptunes significations even more impactful is the additional transit of Jupiter in Scorpio applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces as it stations.  Since Jupiter’s rulership connects it directly into the Mars and Pluto square, we will be more likely to feel enough passion and motivation to set sails in the direction the Neptunian wind and current is leading us.  Jupiter will form its first exact trine with Neptune on December 2 as the Moon waxes toward the upcoming Gemini Full Moon.  As I wrote recently on the trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be a dominant influence in the year ahead:

“Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.”

Andrew Wyeth trodden weed

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth

Venus is important to reflect upon at the New Moon not only because it is co-present with the lunation in Scorpio and applying to a square with the lunar nodes, but also because it has entered it’s liminal phase of invisibility, disappearing from morning skies under the beams of the Sun.  At this point in her cycle, Venus is on the far side of the Sun from us slowly approaching her Superior Conjunction with the Sun that will eventually occur at nineteen degrees of Capricorn on January 8, 2018.  Since Venus is heading toward a union with our Sun that will occur in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, there is a degree of foreshadowing happening in terms of Pluto being tightly bound to the meaning of the Scorpio New Moon.  As Venus descends into the underworld of her invisible phase, we may notice elements of past Venusian attachments stripping away while other elements of Venusian desire begin to take on greater prominence.

Finally, it is important to realize that we have the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle to bask in the glory of Mercury shining bright as an Evening Star on its way toward a union with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately station retrograde close in timing with the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini, but within the darkening twilight of the Scorpio New Moon the Star of Hermes continues to bring illumination.  While this is a strong phase of Mercury for reflection and integration of recent experiences, we have also already entered the “Mercury retrograde shadow zone” of the zodiacal terrain that Mercury will later return to retrograde a second time, ultimately moving back through again a third time.  Therefore, its a good idea to check out the range of the upcoming Mercury retrograde from thirteen to twenty-nine degrees of Sagittarius and how it impacts your natal chart, and beginning to sense if you can feel what changes are coming with the upcoming retrograde movement and what elements of your life with become an important focus of attention as we head into 2018.

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7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third face of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers.  The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire it is said that cast a veil whose shadow became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image.  Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires.   Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire.  Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires.  Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

While Coppock pointed out that many older images associated with the decan hold the symbolism of drunken, uncontrolled desires of a ferocious and violent quality, I am most intrigued by an image in the Liber Hermetis that contains “a human body and the form of a he-goat, holding eggs hanging from a thread in both hands.”  The eggs strung by thread suggests to me a meaning we can find in the final face of Scorpio that involves the fertility of destiny and the ripening of the moment.  Along these lines, it is further fascinating to consider that the ancient Hellenistic fragmentary text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the third face of Scorpio.  You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time.  Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities.  Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

The Moon rules the third face of Scorpio in the triplicity rulership scheme, lending added potency to the New Moon and unlocking the gates of this decan’s meaning.  The square from Mars to Pluto brings the fires of urgency to the moment so that we will be ready to take action when the opportune moment arises.  The time has come to let go of what has come to pass, opening fully to the soulful desires felt within the presence of our quiet contemplation.

Joy is inexpressibly more than happiness. Happiness befalls people, happiness is fate, while people cause joy to bloom inside themselves.  Joy is plainly a good season for the heart; joy is the ultimate achievement of which humans are capable.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

References

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

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

Taurus Full Moon: Unveiling Essence

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Selene on her chariot, detail from sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion and Selene.

Full Moon in Taurus

The Full Moon in Taurus arrives in the cross quarter holiday time of Samhain, the turn of the wheel in the Northern Hemisphere into the dark season.  Traditionally this is a time in which the veils separating our material awareness with the otherworldly realm of spirits and ancestors thins, supporting rituals that shed what we need to release and invite embodiment of the harvest we want to reap in the year ahead.  Fittingly, the aspects surrounding the Taurus Full Moon facilitate opening our bodily senses and extrasensory perceptions to guidance that incites inspiration toward new horizons of passionate pursuits.  While the Moon reflecting the full light of our Sun is always a peak moment of bringing down cosmic messages for us to receive, the Taurus Full Moon is particularly potent in terms of integrating the luminosity within subjective senses and bodily awareness.

The Taurus Full Moon is opposite both the Sun and Jupiter in Scorpio, and forms harmonious aspects of a sextile with Neptune and a trine with Pluto.   A full lunation in the Moon’s exaltation forming a pleasant sextile with Neptune in Pisces is ideal for making the personal space to sink into one’s skin and inner realms, luxuriating in whatever will help calm nerves and soothe the stress of recent events.  In the context of our 2017 calendar year, the Taurus Full Moon is marking our passage into its final stage, making this a perfect time to reflect back on events of the past year in order to intuit any realignments needed.  The past year has had a lot of fiery astrological aspects akin to wildfires out of control, and so the emphasis of this lunation on the water and earth elements can help cool and ground being.  As you center into the imaginal fertility of the Taurus Full Moon, ask for guidance regarding the gifts you have been carrying that are ready to be brought forth into the wider world.

The Full Moon is forming a tight square to Ceres in Leo, and a wide square to the transiting lunar nodes.  In addition to the square with Ceres in Leo, the Taurus lunation is in a sign based square with the series of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius.  These aspects intensify and deepen the capacity of the Taurus Full Moon to help you connect with creative actualization of your soul gifts and talents.  There will be a need for hard work and discipline in bringing them to the fruition of their promise, yet the type of passionate work involved in this type of process brings the happiness of actualized fulfillment.  Let the stress and grief of the past dissolve as much as possible in the silvery light of the Moon so that you can more fully feel what wants to be expressed more freely.

leonoracarringtonthepomp

Leonora Carrington (1947) The Pomps of the Subsoil

Mercury in Scorpio is emerging from under the beams of the Sun as the Moon waxes full, meaning that Mercury will now begin to be a glimmer of an Evening Star momentarily at sunset.  This is an oracular moment in Mercury’s synodic cycle in which the Star of Hermes brings forth a message that illuminates what has previously been hidden.  There has been a huge emphasis recently on the secretive realm of Scorpio, with the recent of ingress of Jupiter in Scorpio, Mercury entering Scorpio to unite with Jupiter, followed by the Sun entering Scorpio and uniting with Jupiter a week before the Full Moon.  Mercury has been attuned to the microbes within the soil underlying our reality, and now emerges in twilight to announce its findings.  Mercury will be increasing in light as an Evening Star each successive day at sunset, creating ample opportunities to integrate what has been incubating inside ourselves to bring forth into outward expression.

In contrast to Mercury becoming visible again at the Taurus Full Moon, Jupiter remains invisible and combust under the beams of the Sun.  Jupiter began a new synodic cycle with the Sun a week before the Full Moon, bringing us visions of what we can create and actualize in the year ahead as well as a portal into underlying dynamics of our life.  Jupiter is now involved in the purifying process of separating from the Sun, and though its new cycle has begun it is still within a phase that calls us to reorganize elements of our life to establish better conditions to support our new developing priorities.  Jupiter in Scorpio calls us to go deep within ourselves and make honest appraisals of how we have been finding meaning and what we have been prioritizing in this process.  Jupiter in combustion is a transformative experience that aligns with the metamorphosis of Scorpio:  Jupiter has shed its skin but is still in process of coalescing into its new form.  As the Moon wanes in the cycle ahead, Jupiter will become visible again as a Morning Star and we will in correspondence become more securely anchored within our experience of the new meaning brought to us by Jupiter in Scorpio.

I am an Amateur of Velocipedes 1941 by Leonora Carrington 1917-2011

Leonora Carrington (1941) ‘I am an Amateur of Velocipedes’

The electrifying excitement of the Taurus Full Moon is brought by the lady of the lunation, Venus in Libra.  Venus in Libra rules the Taurus Full Moon while forming an exact opposition with Uranus in Aries, adding a spontaneous and free spirited quality demanding activation.  Since the previous New Moon in Libra was opposite Uranus, Uranus in Aries has been holding an immense influence over the current lunar cycle that will now become fully illuminated.  In addition, since Venus last formed a conjunction with Uranus back in June, we can additionally gain enlightenment regarding storylines that emerged in our life five months ago.  Fear and concern often gets generated in astrological circles regarding oppositions between Venus and Uranus, since the harmoniously pleasant significations of Venus are at odds with the more shocking and rebellious significations of Uranus.  It’s easy to imagine unexpected disruptions and accidents foiling our carefully tended plans to bring about Venusian joy, or wreaking havoc in our personal relationships.

However, though there is great tension stoked between Venus and Uranus at the Full Moon, there are ways to find outlets of expression for it.  Essentially Uranus wants us to be authentic and seize the necessary freedom and independence to express our force of spirit in the world around us.  If we are in relationships that foster and nurture our ability to freely express ourselves, there are creative breakthroughs that can come about through the Venus Uranus opposition rather than breakdowns.  This potential is aided by Venus being in her own sign of Libra, giving her all of her resources needed to have a good time with the Uranian vibration.  In addition, Uranus is in the home of Mars, and Mars is in Libra, the sign of Venus.  This again gives some emphasis to Venus within the dynamic tension, and the capacity for this transit to bring inspirational experiences in relationships and creative expression.

At the same time, the dynamic tension between Venus and Uranus can certainly coincide with unexpected events arising that disrupt our preconceived expectations.  It will be important during the time surrounding the Full Moon to be ever ready for spontaneous responses and to keep ourselves centered whenever changes erupt suddenly that could be sources of increased stress.  Uranus has been a major factor in astrology during 2017, and so Venus now opposing it from her own sign of Libra will generate deeper understanding of all of the underlying shifting that has been going on within our lives this past year.  We are at the same time shifting into the final period of Venus being visible as a Morning Star, for once she enters Scorpio as the Moon wanes in light in the week ahead, she will begin to move under the beams of the Sun as she approaches a euphoric union with Jupiter at the same time.  Venus is closing out her period of visibility with exciting aspects that will bring vital insights.

Golden_porch_-_a_book_of_Greek_fairy_tales_(1914)_(14569094819)

Chiron with Peleus and Achilles from the Golden Porch: A Book of Greek Fairy Tales (1914)

The other major aspects of the Full Moon involve Saturn in Sagittarius, Chiron in Pisces, and Uranus in Aries.  Saturn is separating from a catalytic square with Chiron and applying toward a stabilizing trine with Uranus, weaving together our experiences of two of the biggest astrological aspects in transit during the past year.  Previously in March and April of 2017 during the Venus retrograde transit, we experienced another intensification of these aspects as Venus stationed direct conjoining Chiron and in square to Saturn.  Now Venus is forming a harmonious sextile with Saturn as it opposes Uranus, and Mercury in Scorpio is also mediating through a trine with Chiron. Altogether we have the conditions for the Taurus Moon to bring us the deep wisdom of the lessons Saturn, Chiron, and Uranus have been teaching.

Chiron has the astrological label of the “wounded healer” for a reason, as we often do experience pain and hurt when facing the tasks brought by Chiron transits.  However, whatever struggles we have had to face with our identity or capacity to self actualize, we are now at a more seasoned place in our experience of the series of squares between Saturn and Chiron to embody the strength we have been cultivating.  Chiron bridges the realm within Saturn with the realm beyond where Uranus resides, and can help us both in opening to our gifts as well as developing the resiliency and discipline needed to bring our talents into full manifestation.

Furthermore, as the Moon’s light wanes in the cycle ahead, we will experience the third and final exact trine between Saturn and Uranus on November 11.  Saturn and Uranus were previously exactly trine on December 24, 2016 and again on May 18, 2017 following a catalytic Mercury retrograde phase that intensified the Uranian energy as Mercury stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Uranus.  The trine between Saturn and Uranus in the past year has been a call to take bold leaps of invention in our work while simultaneously sustaining grounded structures to make sure we develop our projects in ways that will make a tangible impact in the surrounding collective.  Let the Full Moon help you brainstorm unexpected improvements to whatever plans you have been working on, and then push forward with work as the trine between Saturn and Uranus perfects in the week ahead.

pents06

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls in the second face of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.   In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money.  The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch.  The unifying theme is that there is receiving found in the giving, and giving found in the receiving, and the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action.  Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus that mirrors the second face of Scorpio where the Sun is currently residing.  Notably, Coppock advised that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides” (p. 75).  Coppock referenced that the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horae to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time. Coppock wrote the Horae point towards the need for “passion and discipline merged in rhythmic union” utilizing the virtuous character traits of “peace, order, and justice.”

The Moon rules the second decan of Taurus, making the tremendous potency of the decan fully activated by the Full Moon.  The Moon in its own face, triplicity, and exaltation, ruled by Venus in her own sign, means its bright light can open gates of awareness to exactly what we need to know and feel about the present and how to expand into greater abundance moving forward.  Enjoy.

References

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

 

 

Jupiter in Scorpio

Hokusai_Dragon

Dragon by Hokusai

O come and go. You, still almost a child,
with your spell transform for an instant
the dance figure, make it one of those pure
constellations in which we fleetingly

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused
to full hearing only when Orpheus sang.
You were still swayed by those ancient chords
and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock

before it followed where your hearing led.
You still knew the place where the lyre
rose resounding—; the undreamt-of center.

For it you practiced those beautiful steps
and hoped one day to turn toward
total happiness your friend’s face and stride.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter enters the dark waters of Scorpio on October 10, 2017 and remains within its shadowy depths until November 8, 2018.  Scorpio is not a natural match for Jupiter in terms of its intrinsic meaning aligning smoothly with the uplifting purpose we receive through Jupiter.  Yet the tension between the meaning of Scorpio and Jupiter is fertile ground for provoking the types of struggles and determination necessary to foster greater strength in developing past previous limitations and obstacles to growth.  The signs of Cancer, Sagittarius, and Pisces are considered to be the zodiacal terrain most akin to the essential nature of Jupiter, yet Scorpio may be embraced as a sign in which we can work with Jupiter for unique ends like nowhere else.  Jupiter descending into the underworld atmosphere of Scorpio brings passion for penetrating into the heart of the matter and unearthing wisdom from the deepest levels of focus and experience.

Scorpio is a sign transitioning Jupiter from Libra, the airy home of Venus which is comfortable for Jupiter, into its fiery home of Sagittarius where it enjoys all of its resources needed for grand visions of imagination and higher mind.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio, however its time in Scorpio is absolutely necessary in terms of helping us delve deeper into our own subconscious as well as gain insight into the sea of collective unconsciousness swirling around us.  There are numerous mythic figures who reveal aspects of the meaning we can find with Jupiter in Scorpio, such as Dionysus the subterranean Zeus whose epiphanic experiences include chaotic moments of being torn apart so as to be brought back together again into wholeness.   We may also consider Osiris, the generous and noble cultivator of ancient civilization whose destiny necessitates descent into the underworld realm of spirits and ancestors.  The more we are willing to probe within and contemplate our depths, facing our fears and whatever else has been buried inside, the more we will be able to leap and embody the potential of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius which will begin in November 2018.

Jupiter does possess a level of essential dignity from nineteen degrees and beyond of Scorpio:  the Egyptian bounds of Jupiter within Scorpio extends between nineteen and twenty-four degrees, and Jupiter is also the ruler of the third decan of Scorpio within the triplicity rulership scheme.  Jupiter will be in these degrees from mid January 2018 through the beginning of May 2018 and then return again at the beginning of September 2018 for the rest of its transit through Scorpio.  These degrees are more within the domain of Jupiter than the rest of Scorpio, and we may find that in correspondence we can more readily transmute our experience of Jupiter in Scorpio into the sort of wisdom we can integrate into our daily life.

georgia-okeeffe-stormcloud-at-lake-george

by Georgia O’Keeffe, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Player Piano)

Jupiter loves to coalesce meaning from experience, stabilizing our lives at the same time it expands, elevates, and progresses personal narratives.  Since Scorpio is a water sign, it brings Jupiter the opportunity to do this through penetration into personal feelings and emotions, allowing our watery depths to both absorb lessons while dissolving old hangups and restrictive patterns.  Jupiter does not have triplicity rulership over water signs, yet finds both its exaltation (Cancer) and inner home (Pisces) in the other two water signs.  Perhaps it is the fixed nature of Scorpio that can bring both obsession and stubbornness that makes Scorpio a more challenging testing ground for Jupiter.  However, the fixed quality of Scorpio does align with the stabilizing nature of Jupiter, for Scorpio will fight for security against all odds.

Scorpio as a fixed water sign can help us deepen the relationships and projects we initiated during the past year with Jupiter in Libra into long lasting enterprises nurtured by strong foundations.   Scorpio facilitates merging with others, and so during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we will be able to dive deeper through sexuality and cultivate new levels of intimacy with partners.  Jupiter in Scorpio also bolsters realization of higher meaning through intensifying studies of spiritual or philosophical bodies of knowledge.  Through philosophical studies and spiritual experiences with Jupiter in Scorpio our entire being can become transmuted so as to realize a vaster whole that contains our expanding perceptions.  We will need to be careful at times of becoming overly obsessed with merging with external sources and remember to re-center and ground within following experiences of cathartic, transformative union that bring a new sense of self.

The inward energy of Scorpio supports allowing things to take shape more at their own pace, yet the gifts Scorpio possesses for Jupiter need to be activated by courageous determination rather than passive acquiescence. The stability we can experience with Jupiter in Scorpio needs to be balanced with a willingness to push the envelope and pierce the veil of material illusions to discover the animated soul qualities underpinning our reality.  Jupiter in Scorpio does not necessarily involve spiritualism, however, and in fact could also correlate with those exploring atheist or existential lines of thought.  The unifying feature of Jupiter in Scorpio is engagement in obsessive pursuits in which our entire being is thrust into embodied exploration at the deepest levels of wherever we direct focus.  We will need to temper going overboard with obsessive desires and remember to be respectful of ethical boundaries.

In particular we will need to be honest about inner feelings and be curious and open with whatever arises from within our unconscious into awareness without denial.  Exploring the shadow of whatever is in our conscious awareness is a constant balancing act we will need to be engaged in, for the slippery shadow continually mutates as we bring light to our own darkness.  We will be rewarded in the year ahead with Jupiter in Scorpio when we take responsibility for nurturing our inner wounds and embracing natural change, avoiding emotional manipulation of others or refusing to compromise in manipulating the desired outcomes of effort.  Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”

— Terrence McKenna, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio is within the home of Mars, and so the wisdom we gain will often come through displays of willpower and determination in the face of difficulties, through resiliency while struggling with conflicts.  According to the ancient philosopher Empedocles, the constant fluctuating between forces of Strife and Love are at the root of Creation and our experience.  Peter Kingsley in his book Reality argued that our modern wishful thinking idealizes Love and demonizes Strife, but reading of Empedocles indicates the necessity of Strife in developing presence and cultivating awareness to enable direct experience.  Kingsley wrote we can work with Strife to destroy “our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the way things are,” as “the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die” (p. 435).

In contrast to the significations of harmony and union brought by Venus to Jupiter transiting through Libra in the past year, Mars brings significations more aligned with challenges requiring courage.  Our process of learning lessons through Jupiter in Scorpio will include the alchemy of elements becoming separated in order to become purified and brought back together into a cohesive whole.  Jupiter in Scorpio will facilitate severing yourself from past toxic addictions and patterns, bringing determined willfulness into intentional alterations and change.  Through whatever struggles we endure with Jupiter in Scorpio, a more meaningful approach to life imbibed with intrinsic purpose may be distilled.

Mars signifies the warrior and protector, and so Jupiter in Scorpio will also amplify efforts of political activism centered around protecting human and environmental rights.  Jupiter in Scorpio will help deepen bonds of camaraderie among those aligned in purposeful value, intensifying efforts to promote social justice that were triggered during Jupiter’s catalytic transit through Libra that featured powerfully charged interactions with transiting Uranus and Pluto.  Notably, Jupiter in Scorpio will now be heading toward harmonious aspects with the outer planets Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn, bringing opportunities for profound integration of wisdom from our experiences.

Monet_waterlilies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter trine Pisces Neptune

The ocean-like immensity of joy

Arising when all beings will be freed,

Will this not be enough? Will this not satisfy?

The wish for my own freedom, what is that to me?

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

Perhaps the most exciting element of Jupiter’s time in Scorpio will be its trine to Neptune in Pisces that will open greater access to the potential of Neptune’s transit through Pisces.  Jupiter previously formed a trine to Neptune in Pisces when it was in Cancer in 2013, however Jupiter’s time in Cancer then also involved it being opposite Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The stability of the trine between Jupiter and Neptune across the next year will be more easily accessed, and it should also help that Jupiter will be in a harmonious aspect with Pluto.  There is enormous potential for spiritual insight, cathartic works of imagination, and the shedding of beliefs we realize are illusory.

Neptune can be associated with escaping the harshness of reality through various forms of illusions, yet the trine from Pisces Neptune to Scorpio Jupiter calls us to awaken and courageously meet the world as it is with all of its suffering, without denial.  Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.  In addition, for those who study astrology, other esoteric arts or spirituality, as well as other forms of philosophy and science, the year ahead with Jupiter in trine to Neptune holds extraordinary potential for deepening understanding.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between mid November and mid December of 2017, becoming exact on 2 December 2017.  Jupiter will again be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between May and September of 2018, becoming exact on 25 May 2018 and again on 19 August 2018.

Monet, water lillies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter sextile Capricorn Pluto

“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Slaughterhouse Five)

In Scorpio, Jupiter shifts from being in a harsh square with Pluto into a harmonious sextile, bringing the opportunity to integrate vital lessons from the past year of Jupiter being shook by intense aspects from Uranus and Pluto.  Many modern astrologers associate Pluto with rulership of Scorpio, but no matter your astrological framework the sextile between Jupiter and Pluto brings the potential for gaining empowerment through embodying integrity and purging inauthentic aspects accumulated through cultural conditioning.  With Jupiter harmoniously interacting with both Pluto and Neptune, we have the ideal climate for a heartfelt dive into Soul for guidance.  In Scorpio, Jupiter will support breaking free from cultural judgments, conditioning, and taboos that have previously repressed expression of essential nature.  It will be necessary in this process to contemplate the parameter’s of one’s ethical framework so as to act within the bounds of our values and ideals.

As Jupiter forms its sextile with Pluto, Saturn will also enter Capricorn and begin to complete the end of its cycle with Pluto.  Those already entrenched within power structures will be likely to use whatever means necessary to hold on to their control, and here we will experience the dangerous manipulative side of Jupiter in Scorpio through attempts to coerce public opinion with deceptive tactics.  For those seeking to expose the corruption of hierarchical systems of power, however, Jupiter in Scorpio while in sextile with Pluto brings enormous capacity for discovering and revealing information that can bring corrupt tyrants to their downfall.  The polarized political climate around the world is likely to get even more combative with Jupiter in Scorpio, but the resources Scorpio provides for revelation of truth can be utilized for significant results and progress by activists fighting for social justice.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from the end of December 2017 until the beginning of May 2018, becoming exact on 15 January 2018 and again on 13 April 2018.  Jupiter will once again come within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from late August 2018 until the end of September 2018, becoming exact on 12 September 2018.

The Woman in White 1871 by Frederick Walker 1840-1875

by Frederick Walker, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio at the Bending

Jupiter in Scorpio will pivotally begin to form a square to the transiting lunar nodes as it moves through the sign of the Scorpion.  Ancient astrology called this aspect being at the bendings, as planets in square to the lunar nodes are at a far away bend of arc away from the lunar nodes.  Planets in square to the lunar nodes must be dealt with and have an air of unavoidable necessity in our lives.  In our personal lives the impact of Jupiter in Scorpio in square to the lunar nodes will be karmic, since the nodes are intersection points for the paths of the Sun, signifying our source of Soul, and the Moon, signifying our incarnated bodies in reception of Soul.

As a result, all of the significations of Jupiter in Scorpio have something vital to add to our experience of the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The penetrating depth of insight brought by Jupiter in Scorpio will bring increased awareness into how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms, and how we can share our gifts in service to community.  The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

Since the lunar nodes mark the places of eclipses, this also means that Jupiter in Scorpio will be forming catalytic squares with the degrees of Lunar and Solar eclipses and will be a key influence in collective and personal events emanating from the eclipses.  Judith Hill in her book Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides put together the following list of mundane events influenced by the planet Jupiter impacting eclipse degrees:

Popes, organized religion, schools, large craft, the air travel industry, trains, large ships, trains, trade, immigration/emigration, travel industry, loans, stocks, speculation, publishing, great men, philanthropy, famous benefactors and philanthropists, benign legal decisions, elections of good people, judges, great generals, benign or beloved heads of state, bail-outs, charity, senators, congress, congressmen, conferences, colleges, education, advertising, publicity, expansions, liberal laws, lawyers . . . joyous celebrations, heads of organized religion, great saints. (p. 130-131)

Jupiter will end up stationing retrograde in range of a square to the Leo and Aquarius eclipses on 9 March 2018 at 23º13′.  This degree forms a tight square to the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017.  It also is within range of a square to the monumental Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred on 21 August 2017.  The stationing of Jupiter in mid March will catalyze storylines that developed in accordance with these past two Leo eclipses.  In addition, there is a Solar Eclipse in Aquarius that will occur on 15 February 2018 at 27º Aquarius that will add another major wave of influence into the narratives that will be further amplified when Jupiter stations retrograde in March.

The internal darkness of Scorpio will help nurture our experience of Jupiter so as to help transform our beliefs and faith into greater alignment with the underlying natural order and fabric of our reality.  We will feel compelled to challenge and confront the dictates and doctrines of the dominant paradigms found within society, including religious, political, and metaphysical systems.  There will be many treasures to uncover from within the waters of Scorpio in the coming year as long as we maintain the fortitude necessary for the dive.

How the cry of a bird can move us . . .
Any shaped, created cry.
But children, playing out in the open,
cry beyond real cries.

Cry hazard. Into the narrow crevices
of this world-space (through which the uncaught
bird-cry slips, the way we enter dreams—)
they drive their shrieking’s wedges.

Alas, where are we? Drifting freer and freer,
like kites torn loose from their strings
we lurch about in midair, frayed by laughter,

ripped by winds. —O array the criers,
singing god! Let them awake as a roaring,
one deep current carrying head and lyre.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Rodin, Balzac photo

Balzac, Toward the Light, Midnight (1908) Photograph by Edward Steichen of Auguste Rodin’s Balzac statue. Rodin was born with Jupiter in Scorpio.

References

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides. Stellium Press.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Shantideva. (1997). The Way of the Bodhisattva. Translated by the Padmakara translation group. Shambhala Library.

Libra New Moon: Balancing Uranus

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Untitled Rayograph (1922) by Man Ray

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 19 is opposite Uranus in Aries, creating a polarized atmosphere of torrential winds making the oscillating scales of Lady Justice challenging to bring into balance.  Notably the Libra New Moon reactivates the catalytic opposition between Jupiter and Uranus that has dominated the past year of astrology, since the New Moon is at the same place in zodiac that Jupiter was recently occupying in its opposition to Uranus.  Jupiter has now moved into Scorpio, yet is still less than eight degrees away from an opposition with Uranus.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus is one of the most dramatic in astrology in terms of dismantling dominant paradigms while opening new horizons of awareness, and this past year we have been experiencing an initiation into its peak phase. Considering we are in a time period in which many unexpected events are occurring on a daily basis, it makes sense that Jupiter and Uranus have been one of the biggest influences and that the current New Moon in Libra is reactivating their dynamic.

Libra as the sign of the scales is about the perpetual balancing experienced in all of our relationships in the world.  As a symbol the scales conjure the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of the Soul after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior.  Jupiter is a planet of philosophical understanding that brings knowledge through the experience of natural law and order.  In our modern world, however, the societal conventions and laws created by humanity are often at odds with natural order.  In the constant balancing act of an individual moving through the injustices of this world, the transit of Jupiter opposing Uranus has exacerbated tensions around social justice.

The liberating energy of Jupiter and Uranus that can open mainstream perspectives to new horizons of greater openness could at the same time be said to provoke fear in those afraid of change and the breaking apart of old traditions that have been a source of comfort and security.  Perhaps it is this fear that leads some to become entrenched in political or religious identities that bring a sense of security, even when associated actions and policies promote systematic oppression of other identities.  Uranus can promote liberation from any dynamics infringing upon personal sovereignty, yet the dynamics of independence within the complex networks of power and oppression across our planet leads to aggressive conflicts rather than engaged collaboration.  In personal spheres remember it can be possible to work with Uranus in collaborative ways of shared energy that can bring a sense of empowered presence to all participants.

Saturn in Sagittarius is playing a mediating role between Uranus opposing the New Moon in Libra, similarly to how Saturn was also in a position of mediation between the opposition of Jupiter and Uranus.   Astrologer Charlie Obert wrote an article entitled Astrology, Geometry and Politics in which he reflected that when dealing with an opposition in astrology, it is always beneficial to find the zodiac degrees forming a harmonious trine or sextile to the opposition points, as they are in places capable of mediating the polarizing tension in order to find a third point that can transcend and harmonize the dualistic acrimony of opposing forces.  Today we are experiencing both Saturn and the transiting lunar nodes in places that are forming both trine and sextile aspects to the opposition between Uranus and the New Moon.  While this offers a sign of hope, in order to reap the full benefits Saturn in Sagittarius calls for us to speak and act in complete integrity with our values, being willing to question and reflect wherever we are holding on to viewpoints that feed into systematic oppression.

When Uranus repeatedly becomes triggered by transits as we have been experiencing in recent months, as individuals we become tapped more directly into the collective, underlying field of shared realities.  Libra is the airy home of Venus which supports acting in accordance with the needs of relationships, and its symbol of the scales signifies its constant fluctuating of things becoming unbalanced as part of its balancing act.  The New Moon in Libra will guide us to notice whatever is out of balance between our conscious and unconscious as well as between ourselves and our external relationships.  Uranus brings the capacity to liberate ourselves from old wounds and limitating patterns that separate us from a fully empowered presence.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can grieve our old wounds while ceremonially shedding our old, dead parts in order to access the essential power we hold in the moment to direct into our callings of the future.

man ray nusch eluard

Nusch Eluard by Man Ray

Venus in Libra

The most auspicious aspect of the Libra New Moon is that it is ruled by Venus in her own home.  Venus can deliver the needed resources to make communication and interactions between participants in the Libra New Moon nourished and inspirationally animated.  Libra is the Cardinal, outwardly directed home of Venus where the significations of Venus occur at a swift pace and add impetus to strike out on new endeavors and become more collaborative in community.  Venus at home in the same sign as the New Moon also supports us staying engrossed in difficult yet necessary conversations within all of our relationships, from the personal to the professional to the passing.  The polarized, argumentative collective climate requires engagement in dialogue that brings up uncomfortable feelings without running away from the interaction.  Through listening, disagreements can become clarified and create openings for compromise.

Venus is applying to a sextile with Ceres in Leo at the New Moon, bringing dynamic creative strength to help those who can benefit from our service as well as to protect those suffering or reeling from systematic oppression.  Demetra George wrote that in the natal chart Ceres in Leo “people identify nurturance with self-expression” and “can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity- thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.”  Similarly the transit of Venus harmoniously interacting with Ceres amplifies our ability to further develop expressions of soulful artistry and creation that can bring aesthetic nourishment and to others in need of inspiration and hope.  Venus and Ceres together also can bring practical, pragmatic aid in the form of actual food for nourishment as well as in facilitating networks of community resources.

As the Moon waxes Venus will form a square with Pluto in Capricorn on October 27 as we approach the cross-quarter holy day of Samhain, known as the witches’ new year.  The square between Venus and Pluto can take us even deeper into old wounds, and Venus at home in Libra challenging Pluto in Capricorn is a clear symbol of empowered feminine forces speaking out against patriarchal abuse.  Uranus being triggered by the Libra New Moon combined with the coming square between Venus and Pluto brings the opportunity to shed the parts of us that are haunted from the past and need release.  This doesn’t mean the pain of the past will go away or we will no longer need to grieve, only that we can gain more direct access to our inner power and the capacity to act with greater integrity and stronger boundaries moving forward.  This can be a powerful time for focusing on nurturing and healing from within as well as being a source of support for others in need.

man ray rayograph film reels

by Man Ray

Jupiter & Mercury in Scorpio

The most dramatic recent shift in astrology has been the entrance of Jupiter into Scorpio.  At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Jupiter as both of them are in the symbolic underworld of being invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Interestingly, Jupiter is moving deeper into darkness and it’s coming union with the Sun, while Mercury is heading toward emergence from the underworld and becoming visible again as an Evening Star.  Mercury’s union with Jupiter takes us more deeply into the meaning Jupiter will be bringing us in the year ahead while traveling through the dark depths of Scorpio.  It’s fitting that both Jupiter and Mercury are in the astrological underworld as they unite in Scorpio, as Jupiter in Scorpio brings the necessity of penetrating into our unconscious depths as well as the deepest levels of reality we can comprehend.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio as it did in the more uplifting sign of Libra, however there is vital purpose and meaning to be found in Jupiter’s journey through the sign of the Scorpion.

The Libra New Moon brings a powerful opportunity to reflect upon the experiences of the past week with Jupiter freshly in Scorpio to gain awareness of shifts we are experiencing in correspondence with Jupiter shifting signs.  The events and storylines of Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus will continue to play out during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio, with Jupiter in Scorpio bringing the capacity to probe into the underlying meaning of our experiences and reach greater integration of the wisdom to be found, as well as shedding what needs to be let go.  Jupiter in Scorpio can signify becoming obsessed with pursuits of passions and fully engrossing ourselves in certain projects or relationships, and so you may already notice your intrinsic desires beginning to center and focus on endeavors to more deeply explore.

As the Moon waxes Mercury will enter into a trine with Neptune on October 24 that will be full of imaginative, creative potential to access.  The trine between Mercury and Neptune also foreshadows the coming trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be one of the biggest influences in the coming year and will open greater access to the full potential to be found with Neptune transiting through Pisces.  In addition, as the Moon waxes toward fullness the Sun will enter Scorpio and bring to end its current cycle with Jupiter on October 26.  Jupiter in the heart of the Sun in Scorpio marks the beginning of a new cycle for Jupiter as well as time to gain an even deeper impression for what Jupiter will have in store for us while in Scorpio.  There can be greater levels of determined faith to access that is rooted in the difficult challenges of our reality rather than being bound to illusions of denial.

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Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

Since Mercury and Jupiter are uniting in Scorpio at the New Moon, it is further interesting that Mercury is also considered a ruler of the third face of Libra in the triplicity rulership scheme.   There is no question we are all living in times of great suffering in which every day is filled with heart breaking current events.  Mercury uniting with Jupiter in Scorpio, within the rest of the Libra New Moon’s amalgam of transits, asks us to realize why we are here and what do we have to contribute toward co-creating a more equitable and just reality for all beings across our planet.  The shift in emphasis toward Scorpio in the coming lunar cycle does not shy away from difficult questions or avoid interactions for fear of having hurt feelings.  We are entering a time period in which to fearlessly enter the world with our gifts to share and our hearts and ears open to others.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can open ourselves to deeper empowerment that can be used to protect and nurture what we hold most dear.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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

George, Demetra.  (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS Publications, Inc.

Full Moon in Aries

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Gold Ram amulet  (ca 712 – 664 B.C.)

Aries Full Moon

The Full Moon in Aries arrives with a jolt within deeply shifting, turbulent astrological atmosphere.  The Moon full of light in Aries calls us to show up with courage to areas of life and relationship needing our undivided attention.  Aries stokes the flames of our personal sovereignty and drive to passionately go after what we want, and since the Full Moon is applying to a square with Pluto the associated feelings can erupt with immense force from our depths.  Pluto in Capricorn stationed direct last week, and the lord of the Kuiper belt underworld is barely beginning to move forward as the Full Moon peaks.  When Pluto stations in stillness it becomes necessary to address whatever feelings or needs that emerge into our awareness from subconscious burial grounds.

Pluto has its reputation for initiating us into underworld journeys for a reason, as its transit pulls us into the deepest parts of our soul, making us aware of desires we may have been resisting or denying.  Pluto in Capricorn also serves as a collective symbol of the gross inequities and oppression saturating hierarchical power structures around our planet, as well as the devastating impact numerous recent natural disasters have had on humanity that desperately are in need of systematic aid in recovery.   The Full Moon in Aries incites personal feelings to both liberate ourselves from past repression and persecution as well as to take direct action to assist others around us struggling with systematic obstacles.

In addition, last week saw the third and final exact opposition form between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries.  While this full phase between Jupiter and Uranus has multitudes of historical examples in which dynamic new horizons in art, science, philosophy and more open up, forever transforming collective worldviews, the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus also has a disruptive, dismantling impact that can feel unsettling.  Immense change amid destruction of the old occurs when Jupiter and Uranus face off, and the revolutionary fervor they inspire can be directed toward protest action in support of human and natural rights as well as by others to expand the power of certain groups over others.  When waves of change can be felt within the collective, people used to old ways that now feel threatened often react with extreme willfulness in trying to hold tight to the way things have been done before. Violent clashes and warfare often erupt alongside the creative emancipation that Jupiter and Uranus also foster.  Those in power or seeking power engage in the shadow side of Jupiter and Uranus that involves attempts to claim greater power for themselves without considering the full ramification on others.

Jupiter in Libra is now pulling away from its harmonious sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius, but Saturn does continue to form stabilizing aspects with both Jupiter and Uranus.  Saturn in Sagittarius can help temper the tumult of Jupiter and Uranus on personal levels by living and expressing oneself in accordance with inner values and integrity, being mindful of how our behavior impacts others.  While a lot of devastating and tragic events have been happening in current events, on personal levels for those fortunate to be able to work on projects of passion, the interplay between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus has brought the ability to experience breakthroughs into higher stages of development of whatever we have been working on.

The Full Moon in Aries brings the opportunity to reflect upon the transit of Jupiter in Libra we have experienced in the past year.  Jupiter in Libra is still visible at the time of the Full Moon, but soon thereafter will disappear under the beams of the Sun and become invisible to us in the sky while it undergoes regeneration.  Within the waning cycle of this lunation phase, Jupiter will ingress into Scorpio where it will eventually unite with the Sun on its way to becoming visible again in morning skies in mid November.  Think back across this past year and all of the changes brought about in correspondence with Jupiter moving through the sign of the Scales since it first moved into Libra on September 9, 2016.  Jupiter is about the wisdom we gain from our experience in life with all of its associated difficulties and inspiration.  Taking time to sift through associated experiences with Jupiter in Libra will help coalesce meaning that will be vital to integrate as we enter into a year ahead of Jupiter in Scorpio.

two lovers japanese print

Suzuki Harunobu (1766-69) Two Lovers Playing a Single Shamesin

Venus and Mars Unite

For those who look ahead to aspects surrounding future astrological transits, the Full Moon in Aries has been circled far in advance due to Venus and Mars uniting in the sign of Virgo at the same time.  Amazingly, Venus and Mars will begin a new cycle in Virgo at the same time the opposition between the Sun and Moon is peaking.  The Sun is in Libra, the home of Venus, with the Moon forming a polarity in the sign of Aries, the home of Mars.   Venus and Mars became tantalizingly close to one another back in January through March of 2017 before Venus stationed retrograde and moved away from Mars.  Many plans were altered and changed during the Venus retrograde period and thereafter, while other plans continued to develop amid changes and now are coming together in greater strength.  The cycle between Venus and Mars is one of the most important to pay attention to in astrology, and when they come together we are ready to give birth to new forms in our life.

Venus and Mars uniting in Virgo, the home and exaltation of Mercury, brings the opportunity to become fully present in the moment and discern underlying issues occurring in our relationships.  Venus and Mars both enjoy being in Earth signs, and Virgo is an especially sensual and erotic sign for their union which can be enjoyed within romantic relations.  Virgo is also an in-between sign of transitions and spreading messages, and so we can notice what changes can be felt within our relationships and how we can bring about reparation and reconciliation wherever needed.  Virgo also brings resources for Venus and Mars to use in service to others in need, as well as in service to improving how we relate to others.  We can gain critical insight into our past relationships with others and make adjustments from a healthy place of inner healing rather than from harshly negative self judgment that can become projected at others.

The last time Venus and Mars united was also in Virgo as Morning Stars in November 2015.  During the past cycles of Venus and Mars we went through an intense Mars retrograde in 2016 and Venus retrograde in 2017 that both featured intense aspects with Saturn in Sagittarius.  The current union of Venus and Mars in Virgo also involves a challenging square aspect with Saturn, as both Venus and Mars will be applying to a square with Saturn after uniting.  Saturn’s presence here demands honesty and coming to terms with whatever has been happening in our reality, stripping away illusions.  Venus and Mars uniting in square with Saturn carries enormous potential for finding and developing the structures necessary to protect and nurture the new forms we are bringing into our life in correlation with Venus and Mars.

Fascinatingly, the next time Venus and Mars unite will also be in Virgo in August 2019 though they will be neither Morning Stars nor Evening Stars at that time but rather in their invisible, liminal transition.    Just as we can look back and learn from the passage of Jupiter through Libra in this past year, so can we look back two years to the beginning of the past Venus and Mars cycle to learn from our experiences.  Venus and Mars in Virgo are in a perfect place to analyze our experience and integrate the needed lessons while letting go of what no longer serves us.

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Print of Adriaen Collaeret’s image of Mercury in decorative frame (ca 1600-30)

Mercury in Libra

At the time of the Full Moon, Mercury is combust under the beams of the Sun and approaching its superior conjunction with the Sun which will occur on Sunday 8 October 2017.  At its superior conjunction Mercury is on the other side of the Sun from our Earth in its orbit, moving at a quicker pace through the zodiac than it does when uniting with the Sun while moving retrograde in between our orbit with the Sun.  When Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on October 8 all of Mercury’s significations will be strengthened and empowered.  However, at the time of the Full Moon Mercury is at the very end of its cycle and undergoing a purification process that is ultimately bringing regenerative strength but while in the process all of Mercury’s connections may not be firing as quickly and sharply as normal.

Mercury being close to the Sun in Libra is further interesting since Mars and Venus are uniting at the same time in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury enjoys being in air signs and can help us focus on communication within our relationships to find greater balance on all levels.  Within the tumultuous astrological atmosphere, we will be working on balance with others as well as within ourselves between our conscious awareness and unconscious.  After being reborn in the fiery solar rays, Mercury will head into a direct square with Pluto followed by a sextile with Saturn and then an opposition with Uranus in Aries between October 9 and October 15.  At the end of the current lunar cycle in the dark of the Moon in Libra on October 18, Mercury will unite with Jupiter at the very beginning of Scorpio.

One of the best gifts Mercury in Libra can give us is in simply listening.  We can more deeply listen to our own inner needs, as well as more deeply listen to the needs being expressed by others in our relationships without distorting their words and underlying connective feeling with our own agenda and judgment.  Mercury in Libra also brings the gift of being able to trouble shoot impasses and conflicts with the ability to say the right thing at the right time to bring about mediation or improved harmony.

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3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Aries falls in the second face of Aries associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  As the second decan of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a proud figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second decan of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth and rulership to this face.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second decan of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).  Persephone is an interesting noble figure from myth who can give birth to worlds who is attributed to this face by ancient text, as the Queen of the underworld appears in the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs.

The current astrological atmosphere of Jupiter and Uranus peaking in opposition with Pluto stationing direct has been intensifying inner dynamics at the same time external, global events around our planet continue to cause indescribable suffering and destruction. We are at a collective crossroads, and when facing the darkness of the unknown at such soulful intersections, we can turn to inner guidance and the intermediary forces that help us remember the threads and path of our destiny.  We remember the gifts we hold within and realize the good we can help bring about by developing them to share with others in our wider community.  The Full Moon in Aries is ideal for discerning what we have to share as well as for how to more effectively find outlets of expression to those who can benefit from what we have to share.

References

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

Daimon: Guiding Spirit of the Nativity

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The Guardian Angel by William Russell Flint

DAIMON: GUIDING SPIRIT OF THE NATIVITY

Sunday 29 October 2017

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Portland School of Astrology

I’m excited to announce I will be co-teaching an interactive workshop with June Rose Trimbach on the Daimon in astrology at the Portland School of Astrology on October 29.  In this class we will be working with the Greek idea of a Daimon, which was incorporated into Hellenistic astrology by Porphyry in the late 3rd Century. There is text from the ancient philosopher Heraclitus that has been translated as “Character for a human is his Daimon,” in addition to also being translated as “Character is destiny,” “A man’s character is his fate,” “A man’s individuality is his daimon,” and “A man’s character is the immortal and potentially divine part of him.”  Using Dorian Greenbaum’s thesis  as guide, we will explore the Daimon as a philosophical and spiritual concept. Then we will learn Porphyry’s technique to locate the Daimon as a guiding planet in the natal chart of an individual. We will all be working intimately with our own charts to find who this planet is and get to know them better, including through guided meditation. Using the imagery or feelings we receive from this experience, we will create devotional art pieces to enhance our connection with our personal Daimons.

While the technical astrology of the workshop is well-suited for intermediate and advanced students, novices and beginners will be helped along to locate their guardian planet and the rest of the class will be intuition. Please bring a copy of your natal chart to class.  Art supplies will be provided, and participants are encouraged to bring their own additional art supplies they will want to use.

For details on the class including how to order tickets, please check the following link on the Portland School of Astrology website:

http://portlandastrology.org/quarterly-term/daimon

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Pisces Full Moon & Neptune

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Fishermen at Sea (1795) by J.M. William Turner

Full Moon in Pisces

The Full Moon in Pisces on September 6 is united with Neptune, bringing amplified access to imaginal fields in which our extrasensory perception can pick up sensations and messages that would normally escape our awareness.  The floodgates opened by this lunation are especially powerful due to it being the Full Moon that follows the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo, with Mercury also stationing direct and ending it’s three week retrograde in Virgo and Leo at the same time.  It was obvious looking far in advance to this lunation that it would correlate with major life changing events due to these elements, and unfortunately in the collective there have been numerous traumatic natural disasters including monstrous floods and out of control wildfires. We can feel the dissolution of Neptune within these tragedies, as political, religious and other societal divisions between people wash away in empathy for those suffering and in united collective responses to bring aid.  For those fortunate to be out of harm’s way at this Full Moon, on personal levels this Neptunian lunation is ideal for taking a break from the fiery ambitions stoked by recent transits in order to rest, recuperate, and dream.

The opposition between the Sun and Neptune is a peak moment in our experience of Neptune, magnified to the extreme with the Full Moon additionally aligned with Neptune.  When the Neptune archetype demands our attention, we can feel more like embracing a loved one, getting lost in thoughts or images, or engaging in spontaneous creative processes rather than focusing on the details of deadlines in our daily responsibilities.  With Neptune it is easier to let ourselves flow, relax, and envision as much as our schedule will allow us to, and if it is necessary to be tightly focused on a schedule it will be important to concentrate on our use of time more so than normal.  Neptune can warp our experience of time which is not necessarily a bad thing, but can make it more difficult to keep sharp focus and make quick decisions of clarity.

Whatever was stirred up for us by the Total Solar Eclipse will now become illuminated, and with Neptune involved there is boundless potential unhindered by limitations of thought to fuel our vision for the future.  I was fortunate to make it within the band of totality to view the Total Solar Eclipse with a clear sky featuring Venus glowing bright in the otherworldly shadows at the midheaven.  There is no way for me to articulate the meaning of what can only be described as a mystical experience, but whether or not you were able to view the total blackness of the eclipse most likely you have already begun to feel irrevocable shifts in your life in correspondence with the timing.  Neptune united with the Full Moon is not the best for gaining objective clarity of the meaning of it all, but it is optimal for letting yourself open fully to the realms of inspiration and imagination.  It’s not necessary at this time to have everything analyzed and classified with interpretation, only to let yourself soak everything up and allow what wants to be born come forth.

Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory)  - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis exhibited 1843 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) by J.M. William Turner (1843)

Mercury Stationing

The Pisces Full Moon receives a jolt of volatility from Mercury, as the Star of Hermes stations direct less than twenty-four hours before the lunation on the same degree as the recent Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mercury will remain in Leo picking up speed until September 9 or 10, depending upon your time zone.  With Mercury direct we now have all five traditional planets direct in motion and ready to support forward movement on goals and plans.  Mercury stationing direct can feel like waking up from a powerful dream and needing to reorient yourself to the reality of your circumstances in the shifting colors of dawn.  Once focused upon the tasks of the morning hours, however, you notice a keen mental sharpness restored able to focus at length on whatever needs to be accomplished.  Mercury’s faculties are further amplified by its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its formation of a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.

Mercury stationing is also inciting the applying opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will be building throughout September.  Jupiter and Uranus make their final exact opposition on September 28 (after previously opposing one another on 26 December 2016 and 2 March 2017), and so the tension of their opposition looms over all events in September.   The peak phase between Jupiter and Uranus brings about collective revolutions that can be inspiring due to opening up new horizons of exploration, yet simultaneously other global events can feel traumatizing due to massive upheavals and dismantling.  The shadow of Jupiter and Uranus involves obsession with grandiose ambitions that leads to an over-reaching and subsequent sudden downfall, and unfortunately when global empires use military force to pursue greater amounts of power we suffer increased levels of destruction as a result.

Mercury is at least making the harmonious aspects of a sextile with Jupiter and a trine with Uranus, leading to the potential for ingenious breakthroughs in thought that can be immediately put into action.  The trine between Mercury and Uranus is especially close, and we may even find that ideas we began developing at the previous Mercury retrograde in Taurus and Aries (that saw Mercury station direct in union with Uranus at the beginning of May) now taking clearer shape in ways bringing about their manifestation.  Any projects you have been working on developing that haven’t quite coalesced together in completion can now enjoy the benefit of Mercury direct and forming strong harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.  In addition, with Black Moon Lilith united with Saturn in Sagittarius, there is an opening available to more fully embody essential aspects of Self that have previously been repressed or exiled due to fear of judgment.  This is an excellent period to use the inspirational force of a Full Moon aligned with Neptune to make big movement within whatever you have been working on creating.

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Part of a meant necklace showing Horus extending a sistrum to Sekhmet, surrounded by the protector goddesses Wadjet as the cobra and Nekhbet as the white vulture.

Mars in Virgo; Venus in Leo

Venus is finally coming toward completing her cycle with Mars at the Full Moon, approaching her union with the red planet that will occur at the time of the next Full Moon in Aries on October 5.  Venus in Leo is forming a waxing quincunx with the Full Moon and Neptune in Pisces, an aspect that Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology connects with embracing humility.  The importance of this aspect to Green centers around preparation to interact in society as an equal, in order to effectively express and integrate developing visions into the surrounding social environment. Humbling is needed in order to make adjustments to overly willful and inflated desires, a potential that is very possible when we are also dealing with an opposition between Jupiter and Uranus and an extended conjunction between Mercury and Mars. The purpose behind the Gibbous re-adjustment is to analyze the structure of the surrounding social environment in order to discern how to integrate developing visions into work or service that is needed by the greater whole.

Mars is in an especially Mercurial section of Virgo at the Full Moon, not only being in the home and exaltation of Mercury but also within its bounds.  Though Mars at the time of the Full Moon has separated by sign from Mercury, by September 10 the Star of Hermes will have returned to Virgo and will begin to apply to another conjunction with Mars.  Mercury will eventually form its second conjunction with Mars in Virgo on  September 16, giving us an extended period of time to mediate the forces of Mercury and Mars coming together.  Though this can certainly correlate with heated conflict, if we can keep a cool head there is immense power involved in the union of Mercury and Mars to imbibe into good works for the greater good.   Mars and Mercury uniting at the end of Leo as Mercury stationed, at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse, brought the sort of scorching heat needed to melt old structures down into more fluid states that can now be rearranged in ways aligned with one’s authentic heart in the moment.  After Mercury re-enters Virgo in coming days we will experience greater ease in melding the forces of Mercury and Mars together into practical problem solving and invention.

Mars entering Virgo while Mercury is in the process of passing back and forth across the threshold of Virgo means that both are in the vicinity of the great fixed star Regulus.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195). If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, a burning inner fire may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.  Bernadette Brady astutely warned in her book on Fixed Stars that while Regulus can bring power and success, if we take revenge on others from a place of wounding and anger than we can experience a sudden fall from grace.

Venus will move across Leo into an applying conjunction with the North Node of the Moon by the coming weekend, eventually reaching a union with the head of the dragon on September 14 as the Moon wanes in Cancer and in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.  In the past month we have had a lot of action centered around the North Node of the Moon, with Mercury, Mars, the Sun and the Moon all passing over it, and now Venus takes her turn.  As Venus approaches the North Node, she will also enter into a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and receive Jupiter in Libra through a sextile. Since so much Leo North Node energy has already been stirred up and volatilized, Venus moving across the head of the dragon can bring some reconciliation and harmonizing of whatever was previously torn or wounded.  Take time to not only pursue Venusian endeavors but to also make space for your own emotional nourishment, using the significations of Venus as a balm to calm nerves.
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Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the second face of Pisces associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, and we can see the jovial opulence of the great benefic in the image of rather smug satisfaction.  The Nine of Cups card is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.

Though Jupiter is not within the second face of Pisces at the Full Moon, Jupiter does have face dignity as it rules the third face of Libra it is currently transiting.  In addition, Jupiter is separating from a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and applying toward an opposition with Uranus in Aries-  this not only supports us daring to dream what we most desire but also finding the way with structural supports to manifest and actualize our desires.  Since the Full Moon is conjoining Neptune, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Austin Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the lunation will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.  Discernment will also be needed to make sure that our dreams and goals are not out of alignment with the myriad elements of reality developing around us.  There is a strong component of visioning at this Full Moon able to be accessed, with our imagination supported by a sturdy foundation that will nurture the roots of the dream to ensure flourishing growth and development.

References

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

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.

OAA events: September 15 & 16

OAA graphic

Oregon Astrological Association

4312 SE Stark Street (Friend’s Meeting House)

Portland, Oregon 97215 

Friday 15 September 2017

Saturday 16 September 2017

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, on the weekend of September 15th and 16th I will be presenting a talk and workshop for the Oregon Astrology Association about relationships and astrology. On Friday 15 September I will be giving a talk on relational astrology in general, and then on Saturday 16 September I will be giving a workshop focused upon understanding evolving relational dynamics through the secondary progressed chart.

Our Astrological Narratives in Relationship

  • Friday, September 15, 2017
  • 7:00 – 9:30pm
  • $10 for OAA members, $15 for non-members

Understanding relationship dynamics is one of the primary reasons people delve deeper into astrology. Whether we desire to heal our own relationships or want to help clients gain insight into their relationships, a fundamental skill is discerning the relational narratives found in the natal chart. Once we become aware of the relationship story found in our birth chart, we arrive at a deeper understanding for why patterns continue to resurface in relationships and why certain types of partners appear in our lives. In this talk Gray Crawford will share methods for how to distill the diverse elements of astrology charts into a coherent relationship story that reveals why we have been engaging in the types of relationships we have been, as well as how our astrological narrative continues to evolve as our relationships change. This talk will also reflect upon how to effectively use synastry and composite techniques in astrology.

Opening to the Other – Relationships in Progression

  • Saturday, September 16, 2017
  • 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
  • $40 for OAA members, $60 non-members

The secondary progressed chart is a powerful astrology technique that penetrates into the evolving quality of the natal chart across time. We know that as time passes so do our desires for relationship transform. This workshop will explore how changes in our secondary progressed chart reveal insight into how we are opening to the relationships of our life in new ways.  This workshop will both instruct as well as give space for participants to actively gain deeper understanding into how planets shifting signs and houses through progressions reflect the changes we experience in all of our diverse relationships.  We will also explore how the changes in the interpersonal dynamics within long-term relationships can be seen in the interplay between the changes in the progressed charts of each partner.

You can order tickets from the Oregon Astrological Association website

Total Leo Solar Eclipse

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Total Solar Eclipse of 11 August 1999, member 21 of Saros series 145, by Luc Viatour

NOTE: This post has the unique distinction of being co-written in collaboration with astrologer June Rose Trimbach.  We will be co-teaching classes together in the coming season, and as we were already communicating a lot about our shared ideas regarding this Total Solar Eclipse, it seemed like a fitting opportunity to introduce our coming work together.  On October 29 we will be co-teaching a class at the Portland School of Astrology entitled The Daimon: The Guiding Spirit of Astrology.  We are also currently developing a series of introductory astrology webinar classes we will be teaching in the coming months.  There is not yet a planned start date for the webinar series as we are still putting material together, but I will let you know as soon as we have clear dates set up.  Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in learning astrology from us through the webinar medium, and I can answer any questions you may have about them.

Solar Eclipse in Leo

Black as the night from which the light of stars emerge, black as the earth full of death that produces life. Black as the feathers of crows that soar through space, black as the darkness that nurtures recovery. The blackness of a total solar eclipse in which the light of our Sun is blocked takes us into the mysterious void from which all of our known universes are created. In the blackness we may rediscover our own source of primordial creativity from within, as well as realize the illusory nature of a reality we previously believed in.

In the time leading up to this eclipse, the Sun is shining through its home sign of the Lion, the sign of strength of heart and leadership. The light of the Sun brings exposure and purification; the true hearts of humans are exposed. As the Moon moves in front of the Sun, a shadow is cast, and a shadow is revealed. While the shadow of leadership and courage is exposed, it is also a portal for deeper understanding of our own hearts, our own courage to lead and to shine. We learn the deeper motivations for these goals, and the potential wounding therein.

Astrologer Joe Landwehr teaches that in a Solar Eclipse the creative dynamic potential is eclipsed by the emotional needs of the Soul. The needs of the Soul can be largely irrational, in that we can be pulled to act in ways that one wouldn’t always choose.  Joe has taught that the Soul sometimes drags our unwilling selves into tough places, but places that we need to be. These irrational Soul-needs are like a deep well of insight into the meaning of our lives that when we ignore, come back to haunt us. This means that if our Soul is drawn to leadership, acts of courage or greater emanation of the heart, we may have to face these parts of ourselves now.  How can we show up to these potentially hidden parts? The eclipse can reveal these parts, but they may not look rational or even safe: how can we honor the parts of ourselves that have remained in the dark?

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from the Clavis Artis

An eclipse is also known as a great dragon showing itself, devouring the Sun:  terrible and mystical and wise. This eclipse takes place on the north node or the head of the dragon. This head is desirous, consuming and wishes to devour, but devour what?  There is potential available amid the surrounding astrological transits to cast off old inner restrictions in order to access greater currents of vitality to not only express in the world, but also take the responsibility to manage with greater integrity.  Yet when we speak of stepping into greater empowerment and claiming greater levels of Leonine power, we must also question and reflect upon the shadow cast by ambition.  As the Leo Sun turns black, the disappearance and reappearance of light can be a portal through which we may gain greater awareness for how to live a more empowered life; one that works in collaboration with the power of others, rather than claims power over others.  The lion is strongest when it realizes it is connected to the natural energetic heart of its community, rather than being the heart itself; love is found in the space in between people.

New forms enter our lives during eclipses as old forms exit, and the quality of what comes in and out can feel both exciting and scary.  Though eclipses have a long association in the astrological tradition with difficult, even disastrous events, they have also proven to mark significant thresholds of more fulfilling fortune.  Professor Qiguang Zhao wrote a beautiful book on dragons entitled A Study of Dragons, East and West in which he explored how the dragons of ancient cultures in the East (East Asia) that were more apocalyptic and associated with heaven came to be associated in the West (Middle East and Europe) as a demonic death symbol linked to “the world of nightmare and the scapegoat, of bondage, pain, and confusion” (p. 61).  Zhao shared the following text from Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West that shows the transcendent symbolism of dragons, the creatures most associated with eclipses:

Soaring and transforming,
Encircling clouds and mists,
Like suspending white hooks their claws let fall,
Like bright mirrors the silver scales shine.
Whiskers flap like white silk, each stand’s visible,
Horns rise imposingly, each prong is clear
Those rugged foreheads;
Those bright round eyes.
The Dragons, hidden or seen, can’t be fathomed;
The Dragons, flying or flitting, can’t be described.
If you pray for rain, rain comes instantly;
If you ask for clear sky, you have it at once.
These, only these, are the true dragon forms.
Most dignified and holy,
As a good omen, their aura surrounds the palace profusely.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

In the days leading up to the eclipse, many of us find ourselves consuming images of banners, bravado and martial violence. These are themes that are presented by the third decan of Leo where the eclipse takes place, a decan associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image of the third decan is seen by Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces as an image of “The Banner.” It is ruled by Mars, the planet of courage, heroic acts and martial combat. These are clues to what the dragon head of the eclipse might be seeking: glory, a cause to fight for. This is perhaps what we are all seeking right now. And now is a time to get in touch with our personal banners. What do we stand for and why?

Mars not only rules the third face of Leo where the eclipse occurs, Mars is also present within the third decan of Leo giving it amplified power.  In addition, the eclipse occurs within the Egyptian bounds of Mars, and Mars is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the head of the dragon.  Mars is on the threshold of leaving combustion with the Sun at the time of the eclipse, but is still invisible under the beams of the Sun emerging from its long journey through the underworld (though perhaps the total darkness of the eclipse may allow for Mars to become temporarily visible).  Although we have a Mars recently reborn from its union with the Sun, it still carries within it the impact of past wounds from previous cycles.  We can feel the determination of Mars in the image of the Seven of Wands card, in which a warrior is fighting against an onslaught from an angry mob.  Mars asks us what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

The Total Leo Solar Eclipse has been named “The Great American Eclipse” as the path of the dragon enters the continental United States in Oregon and exits in South Carolina.  In the time leading up to the eclipse, heated conflict has erupted in the United States over the banner fought under by the Confederate army in the Civil War.  Notably Charleston, South Carolina is on the path of the eclipse dragon as it exits the continent, as Charleston is the location of the first shots fired in the Civil War as well as the location of the horrific murder of African American church goers in June 2015 by white supremacist Dylan Rooff, a tragedy that reignited debate over the presence of Confederate flags and monuments across the United States.

Even as we see images of the shadow of the banner, the question we may ask is if we can devour the banner itself. Can we devour the face of evil so that it is banned from the earth, or will that only perpetuate more violence? The head of a dragon in a realm of such proud martial power is also evocative as the ultimate protector, the courageous warrior willing to give their own life in order to protect life.  Martial strength may be utilized to resist forces of hate and as stated in the Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arriens, “by staying in our power, by showing up and choosing to be present, by extending honor and respect, and by being responsible and accountable.”

To know the absolute is to be tolerant.
What is tolerant becomes impartial;
What is impartial becomes powerful;
What is powerful becomes natural;
What is natural becomes Tao.

— Lao Tzu, quoted from R.L. Wing’s translation, The Tao of Power

total solar eclipse astronomy

by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1882)

As the path of the Total Solar Eclipses travels from coast to coast across the United States, its relevant to delve deeper into the country’s astrological context.  The astrology chart most often used by astrologers relates to the date of the Declaration of Independence, and though different versions exist they all involve the Moon in Aquarius, the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  Thus the United States is experiencing the karma of a nodal return and eclipses in the same signs as occurred during the time of its Declaration of Independence.  Part of the country’s karma involves the fact the same people who crafted its language of liberation also owned slaves, and the development of its culture coincided with attempts to forcibly remove the culture of the land’s indigenous population.

The shadow of hatred and fear showed itself in Charlottesville, Virginia on a weekend in between two eclipses under a fiery celestial triangle. It was met with courage. There is an opportunity now to join this fight that was started as far back as our mind will take us. This fight has had many iterations throughout time, while simultaneously it is a fight felt deeply and personally all around our planet. But to join it lightly without knowledge of the shadowy realm this fight takes place in, would be unwise.  The opening of a true heart of courage is possible here, a courage based on love and camaraderie. Is it possible even in evil actions, this is what is sought? The ghosts of the past are imminent in the story of America and its present begs for action and healing.

The shadows of Leo and Mars have been problematic in these wounds; the elite white class wrote the constitution for themselves and pitted the poor whites and slaves against each other; a reality we are still seeing. The infrastructure and laws of our country (Saturn) have kept people in chains through Jim Crow laws, the prison industrial complex, and other forms of institutional oppression. Curses economic, societal and emotional hold us back from sharing love with each other, yet we find anecdotes of that very love being shared liberally. The story of fear is not the only story, and we must connect with each other in good ways to get through this. How have the structures of the past and present limited your expression of love, and is there an opportunity of liberation now?

The eclipse activates a grand fire trine with Saturn and Uranus. The disruption of past structures and creative ways of making new ones are prominent themes right now. Uranus is in an exact trine with the Solar Eclipse, making creativity and the unleashing of potential a huge catalyst for change. Uranus is also the story of Prometheus, the one who stole the Fire of the Gods and gave it to humanity.  Western astrologers tend to glorify the myth of Prometheus, yet other interpretations reveal it to be a cautionary tale of hubris and desire to wield the power of gods.  Fascinatingly, the current transit of Uranus in Aries forms a square to the natal placement of Pluto in Capricorn in the chart of the Declaration of Independence. The Pluto of the U.S. is a storehouse of subterranean power and wealth, ruled by Saturn who now finds itself in Pluto’s twelfth house of secrets and hidden potential. The light and shadow of this eclipse is revealing deep secrets, yet there is an even deeper sense of upheaval. In the next five years the U.S. will have its first Pluto return, a transit that can transform, empower or dismantle altogether.

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Ouroborus by Liv Rainey-Smith

Love is also a force of light and nurture that liberates you to inhabit to the full your own difference.  There should be no imitation of each other.  No need to be defensive or protective in each other’s presence.  Love should encourage and free you fully into your full potential.

— John O’Donahue from Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom

So what is there to do in this time of upheaval? Make a choice to know the shadows of your own heart; true courage comes from love. The shadows of the past are cropping up, in our nations, in ourselves. One power of Leo is to lead by example; to bring an open heart to everything you do. Remain open to changing the structure of your life based on the needs of the Soul. Consider your personal banner: what would you be sure enough to proclaim to the world upon an inspection of the shadow and a heart centered reflection?

What will burn in the light of day as it is revealed, what will take form in our world and what will leave? The shadow is only something to be feared when it is not addressed. We can learn and heal from the scared parts of ourselves, and generally this is what eclipses are about. There is also a question of how we can move in the world. Can we put something into the world that is authentic? Can our radiant heart find liberation and the structure to express itself more truly and freely? Even as actions from wounding inflict more wounding during this eclipse period, can we stand from a place of empowerment and love for the world?

Written by Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach

References

Arriens, Angeles. (1993). The Four-Fold Way:  Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary. Harper Collins.

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

O’Donahue, John. (1997). Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom.  Harper Perennial.

Zhao, Qiguang. (1992). A Study of Dragons, East and West.  Peter Lang Publishing.