Pisces Full Moon & Neptune

Joseph_Mallord_William_Turner_-_Fishermen_at_Sea_-_Google_Art_Project

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.

PartOfAMenat-HariesisStandsBySehkmetFlankedByWadjetAndNekhbet

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.

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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.

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo & Leo

Iris

Iris

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary – and toward this point our development will move, little by little – that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

In times of destiny, when the threads of fate become loosened to be rewoven within momentous change, we can count on Mercury to slyly guide us in beguiling fashion.  Though Mercury when retrograde has become a scapegoat within popular culture, experience reveals that the Star of Hermes when retrograde enacts its namesake’s role of a psychopomp, or guide of souls.  Even the most frustrating or upsetting events that occur during times of Mercury retrograde ultimately tend to lead us onto a path that will take us into the experiences we need in order to reach our next level of growth.

Thus it is fitting that in between eclipses, periods of time that always signify vital turns of fortune and fate, Mercury will station retrograde and disappear into the invisible realm of the solar underworld at sunset.  While Mercury is retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse, both the Sun and Mars uniting with the North Node of the Moon, Saturn stationing direct, and Jupiter finally perfecting its long anticipated sextile with Saturn.  Factor in that Mercury begins its retrograde while opposite Neptune and ends its retrograde conjoining Mars at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse, while a Pisces Moon waxes full in union with Neptune, and we have an incredibly volatile and fertile mix of astrological transits that promise to bring dramatic changes and opportunities for profound growth.

Even though popular discourse labels periods of Mercury retrograde as disastrous aberrations that bring misfortunes and mishaps, the phase of Mercury retrograde is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit.  Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed.  However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting.  While Mercury signifies insight in addition to communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation can lead to illumination and realization.  Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the maddening to the vivifying.  Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources.   As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows down to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit.

This is the second year in a row that we are experiencing Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo during a time of eclipses, as last year in 2016 Mercury stationed retrograde in Virgo two days before an Annular Solar Eclipse.  This year’s version has a more mysterious opening act, however, due to it occurring in between eclipses rather than just before the beginning of eclipse season.  The days in between eclipses are always full of unexpected shifts and significant encounters, and so adding in the beginning of Mercury retrograde will amplify the strange fatefulness of the time.

Iris as Mercury and Vesta

Mercury stations retrograde while united with Vesta in Virgo and opposing Neptune in Pisces.  During the build-up to Mercury retrograde, which included the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, Mercury formed two exact conjunctions with Vesta (Mercury has been within three degrees of Vesta in Virgo since July 26).   A figure of myth who encapsulates the symbolism of Mercury united with Vesta in opposition to Neptune is Iris, handmaiden of Hera (Juno) and messenger to the gods.  Like Hermes, Iris also carries a caduceus, yet the other magical tool she carries, the water pitcher, helps show how her function as messenger differs from Hermes.  Golden-winged and radiant, Iris is a goddess of sea and sky who connects heaven and earth, watering the clouds with her water pitcher full of the enlivening waters she collects from the sea.  She therefore helps produce the rain that brings fertility and cleansing to our Earth, yet she is perhaps most known for her association with the rainbow she also creates.  Iris is as swift as stormy winds, able to descend into the depths of both the ocean as well as the underworld.  Similar to Hermes, Iris connects the world of gods with the world of humanity.

The union of Mercury with Vesta in opposition to Neptune signifies that through devotional focus we may perceive powerful messages and guidance, while at the same time suggesting a downfall could occur when engaged with deception.  One of the mediating roles that Iris plays between humanity and the gods is through facilitating the fulfillment of the prayers and wishes of humans by illuminating them to deities in position of assistance.  Indeed, the golden wings of Iris are capable of bringing light to the most dark of places.  Yet, for those who break oaths or knowingly express falsehoods, Iris will put them to sleep with the water she has collected from the River Styx in the underworld.   Similarly, with Neptune in Pisces playing a monumental role during the period of Mercury retrograde, it will be vital to maintain focus on being honest and authentic so as not to fall into the realm of Neptunian illusion that will be capable of wreaking havoc like a tidal wave.

The association between Iris with rainbows is a beautiful symbol to work with during the upcoming Mercury retrograde that will take us into the zone of an immensely powerful Total Solar Eclipse.   Rainbows not only link heaven and earth with their transcendent and otherworldly colors, they also help to inspire hope and the capacity to believe it is possible for us to lead a more fulfilling life than current circumstances indicate.  It is further fascinating that in some versions of myth that Iris is married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and that their union gave birth to Pothos, one of the winged gods of love (the erotes) whose name translates as “yearning” and is associated with strong desire and longing for a loved one who is oftentimes absent.  It will be important to stay grounded in our earthly realm (Virgo) with clear focus (Vesta) during this Mercury retrograde period, and yet at the same time to fully realize the available gifts we will need to allow our imaginations and desires to open us to potentials that go beyond the confines of our present reality (Neptune).

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The Apparition (1917) by Marc Chagall

Mercury opposes Neptune

The union of Mercury and Vesta in Virgo in opposition to Neptune dominates the beginning of this Mercury retrograde period, with Venus in Cancer playing a facilitating role.  As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is separating from harmonious aspects with both Neptune and Mercury (a trine with Neptune; a sextile with Mercury), as well as separating from a recent conjunction with Ceres in Cancer.  During the retrograde movement of Mercury, Venus will move on to catalytic aspects with Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter in Libra,  and Uranus in Aries.  The influence of Uranus is further strengthened by the Moon applying to a conjunction with Uranus as Mercury stations retrograde, as well as the fact that Mercury will ultimately station direct in a helpful trine with Uranus.  However, since Mercury will also station direct less than a day before a Full Moon in Pisces that is united with Neptune, there is an unmistakeable looming influence of Neptune upon the course of events that will accompany this period of Mercury retrograde.

While the totality of the aspects listed above could coincide with many diverse forms of challenge, all of them are amazing catalysts in the realm of artistry and inspiration.  Mercury has incredible strength in Virgo, being both its home and exaltation, and so as Mercury slowly begins to peel itself backwards it can help facilitate deep focus on artistic and academic projects of all mediums and forms, especially those that involve a component of research and analysis followed by expression.  Nine days after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mercury will function more as a subtle guiding influence than a dominant component of the  portal opened with the syzygy.  During powerful eclipse alignments like we will experience this month, new manifestations will appear in our lives coinciding with other elements fading away.  It is a blessing Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, as it is a mutable earth sign that can aid us in staying connected within our bodies and all of the mutating details of our daily lives.

With the strong transpersonal influences of Neptune, as well as Uranus and Pluto, upon the Mercury retrograde, the capacity of Mercury to bring nonlinear and unexpected messages from oracular sources is heightened.  Pay close attention to the messages received from synchronous alignments of your daily path with animals, plants, minerals, music, and all manner of symbolic signs.  Allow your intuition and bodily instincts to transmit impressions that you value at least as much as whatever your rational mind is constructing.  It may prove very difficult to keep events moving in accord with carefully made plans, however opening up plans and projects to the flow and all of the changes that will coincide with the month ahead can improve end results.  Oftentimes the frustrating experiences of Mercury retrograde illuminate the exact components of life that needed our attention in order to be reworked or strengthened.

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The Creation of Man (1958) by Marc Chagall

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The rebirth moment for Mercury during its retrograde comes on August 26 when Mercury aligns with the Sun at the exact degree and minute.  This is known as Mercury’s cazimi moment in which it enters the heart of the Sun to be purified and regenerated.  In contrast to the Mercury cazimi that occurs when Mercury is moving direct on the other side of the Sun from our orbital position (known as its superior conjunction that last happened at the Cancer Solstice), the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun occurs during its retrograde when Mercury passes in between our orbit with the Sun.  Symbolically, the superior conjunction tends to bring more spiritual epiphanies or sudden insights weaving disparate strands together, whereas Mercury at the heart of the Sun during its retrograde tends to bring a deeper, penetrating insight into the current reality of our material lives and the pang of incarnation in our earthly flesh.  In the days surrounding August 26 we may feel like resting our Mercurial functions as a part of its regeneration, however, the period of time in which Mercury is within a degree of the Sun on August 26 will bring added strength and power to all Mercurial activities such as all forms of research and expression.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at 3º48′ of Virgo, an incredibly powerful placement of Mercury.  The fourth degree of Virgo is in both the home and exaltation of Mercury as well as within its own Egyptian bounds, signifying that this a section of the zodiac in which Mercury not only has important work to do but also has extraordinary strength.  The Sabian symbol for the fourth degree of Virgo, black and white children play together happily, was interpreted by Dane Rudhyar as signifying “the overcoming of socio-cultural prejudices.”  Though it may seem laughable during a time of such widespread vitriolic discourse in global politics full of prejudice that any sort of collective evolution could be occurring around oppression and prejudice, it is worth bearing in mind the play space of children in which the influence of cultural conditioning has not yet taken hold.  The Sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury cazimi suggests perceptions can awaken that go far beyond the constraints and limitations of how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture to perceive and judge the worth of others.   The idea of playing together happily also highlights the theme of imbibing daily life with as much playful creativity as possible during this time of tumultuous astrological transits.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun five days after the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo and one day after Saturn stations direct for the final time in Sagittarius.  At the same time Saturn is stationing, Jupiter will have entered the third decan of Libra it rules and will be applying closely to a last quarter sextile with Saturn.  As a result the period of Mercury entering the heart of the Sun on August 26 is a potent moment to re-center amidst all of the changes being brought forth from external and internal events.  Saturn stationing brings a seriousness to the moment that calls for us to walk and talk in absolute integrity with our inner values and principles, while the harmonious aspect between Jupiter and Saturn can bring opportunities to stabilize and strengthen both the vision as well as the foundation of whatever we are developing and crafting.

Iris_Carrying_the_Water_of_the_River_Styx_to_Olympus_for_the_Gods_to_Swear_By,_Guy_Head,_c._1793_-_Nelson-Atkins_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC08946

Iris Carrying the Water of the River Styx to Olympus for the Gods to Swear By (1793) by Guy Head

Mercury Stations Direct in Leo

Mercury stations direct on September 5 at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mars will have already entered Virgo by the time Mercury is exactly stationing, but during the course of its stationing Mercury and Mars will unite at the end of Leo.  Both the Sun as well as Mars will have united with the North Node of the Moon in Leo during Mercury’s retrograde, and Mercury will furthermore be stationing direct four degrees away from the North Node of the Moon.  At this point we can receive a important message that connects us directly with however the narratives of our lives has been transmuting during this period of eclipses, and with the new information will come opportunities to create movement within whatever openings came through with the eclipses.  Mercury uniting with Mars while it is stationing can coincide with some heated and difficult conflicts, so it will be important to be actively practicing mediating skills in conversations with others.  There is immense inspirational fire available in this period to push yourself forward dramatically in areas of growth you previously have not fully embraced.

The influence of Neptune looms over the stationing direct of Mercury, since the Moon will be applying to a conjunction with Neptune and within a day of its stationing we will experience a potent Full Moon in Pisces united with Neptune.   Amping up the energy even further is the fact that Jupiter in Libra will be getting closer to its final opposition with Uranus in Aries.   The opposition between Jupiter and Uranus is a breakthrough moment in which many diverse, ingenious insights and messages will enter the collective.  Some of the most powerful moments of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, however, often come in the private moments of significant conversations and relationship experiences, or the work of isolated artists creating outside the rays of mainstream spotlights.  There is amazing inspiration and imagination available within the surrounding transits of Mercury stationing direct to seize and work with.

Finally, its interesting to note that Mercury will be stationing direct while in conjunction with the Persephone asteroid #399.  The myth of Persephone emerging out of her time in the underworld is a fitting symbol for the fact that both Mercury and Mars will be emerging from out of their underworld experiences while united with the Persephone asteroid.  Demetra George wrote the following about the Persephone asteroid in her book Finding Our Way Through the Dark:

In the birth chart Persephone, as a daughter of the patriarchy, symbolizes the process of a child’s separation from its mother.  Persephone can indicate how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment. This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.  Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimizaiton, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others.

–Demetra George

Persephone’s name means “she who is to be feared” (Guttman, p.176), and it is possible to view her abduction into the underworld as more about her destiny than a tragedy, for the unalterable shift she created in the cosmos through becoming a life partner of Hades who would descend and ascend back and forth between the upperworld and the underworld, was a calling that fit the unique gifts she held within her soul.  Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony wrote that Persephone stepping into her role as Queen of the underworld who can re-ascend to the world above implied that the “invisible would now reassert its rights over the body of the visible more strictly than before: their dealings with each other, long diluted and mingled together on earth, would find a new center of gravity.”   Persephone, Mercury, and Mars united at the end of this retrograde signify that the time has arrived to collect all of the wisdom and courage you can draw from the past period of underworld experiences in order to re-ascend into our wider communities with whatever gift or message you have cultivated to share.  Like Iris soaring with golden wings and bearing a pitcher full of underworld water, we can create rainbows out of the stormy atmosphere and commit ourselves to oaths of living and creating in accordance with our essence in good ways for all.

References

 

Calasso, R. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony.  Knopf.

George, D. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark:  an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

Guttman, A. & Johnson, K. (1993). Mythic Astrology:  Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

 

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Disks Bearing Spirals (1923) by Marcel Duchamp

Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary road of the divinity that carries the man who knows through the vast and dark unknown . . . And the axle in the hubs let out the sound of a pipe blazing from the pressure of the two well-rounded wheels at either side . . .

There are the gates on the pathways of Night and Day, held fast in place between the lintel above and a threshold of stone.  They reach right up into the heavens, filled with gigantic doors.  And the keys- that now open, now lock – are held fast by Justice:  she who always demands exact returns .  . .

— Interpretation of Parmenides poem by Peter Kingsley from Reality 

Every six months or so when we enter eclipse season, the wheels of destiny seem to spin with greater ferocity as the fierceness of fate reveals itself.  The particular sequence of eclipses we are entering now have amplified volatility due to the presence of Mars in each: we first experience a Lunar Eclipse with Mars opposite the Moon, and then flow into a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mars will unite with the North Node of the Moon in close proximity to the eclipse.  Furthermore, in between eclipses we will enter an especially turbulent Mercury retrograde phase that will eventually end with Mercury turning direct again while united with Mars at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse (28-29º of Leo).  Though the partial Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on August 7 will not produce the sort of blood red shadow on the face of the Moon that would occur with a more powerful alignment of the lunation with the nodes, it is nonetheless an otherworldly portal into the mysterious quality of time we experience in between eclipses, especially when the solar eclipse on the horizon will create total darkness during its brief transit.

Saturn rules the lunar eclipse in Sagittarius and is conjoining Black Moon Lilith, while also forming a sextile with Jupiter in Libra and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, as well as a trine with Uranus in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the Sun in Leo.  Lilith in cultural myth is the outsider who has become exiled due to her insistence on sovereignty of her own self expression, and the astrological point of Black Moon Lilith also corresponds to what we have been keeping exiled from our conscious awareness about ourselves.  Black Moon Lilith is a balancing point to the wide ranging motion of the Moon that signifies the vast range of our perceptions, as the calculated point of Black Moon Lilith balances the Moon’s closest approach to earth with its farthest point in orbit.   Since the Moon being closest to us in orbit could be said to have the greatest conscious impact, while farthest it could be said to be farthest from conscious awareness.  Black Moon Lilith is an unconscious balancing point connecting our ego consciousness (Moon) into what has been cast off or kept out in the subconscious.

As we are now getting closer to the end of Saturn’s final retrograde phase in Sagittarius, the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse calls us to reclaim the cast off parts of ourselves it is now vital to embody with responsibility and integrity.  There can be a human tendency to avoid speaking out when afraid of becoming exiled from a group or made into an outsider, and yet the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse pulls us into the shadow of the outsider and who or what has been cast out of mainstream cultural privileges.   There is potential available to utilize whatever cultural privileges you possess to take action on behalf of those lacking privileges or caught within cycles of oppression.  Open your ears at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and listen to the voices your conscious awareness does not usually acknowledge.  Within the shadow of the eclipse there can be a dismantling of groups formed around taking action based upon humanitarian ideals, yet through the shifting more powerful reconfigurations may manifest more deeply rooted in core principles of liberation.

ClavisArtis.ouroboros

from the Clavis Artis

Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for.  In combination with their unworldly visual element of shadow when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon.  Since dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, the symbolism of eclipses also involve ultimately discovering greater wholeness through the dissolution they bring about.  When stepping into the streams of eclipse season its best to remember the old fragmentary wisdom of Heraclitus:  unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and pathless.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release (the tail of the dragon), whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious desire for intake and manifestation in our material realm (the head of the dragon).  Thus the lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.

In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Linking the Moon to what we carry from the past within our body and mind, the past transmutes in the shadowy face of the Moon to allow for new emergence and presence.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that at a lunar eclipse “the traditional perspective born of past experiences of adjusting to life and society is blotted out by an eagerness to meet experience in a new, original manner.” As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Leo, the past activation of how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms as well as our own ideals could become overshadowed by ambitious desires for new growth and creative expression.

Vitally, Mars is beginning to pull itself out of the symbolic solar underworld at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse on the side of the Leo Sun and the North Node of the Moon, having gained about four degrees of separation from the Sun at the very beginning of its current synodic cycle.  The Sun and Mars aligned in Leo with the North Node of the Moon brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself due to guilt, shame, or other forms of repression.  In the collective this can be both empowering as well as dangerous, as there will be fierce martial conflicts raging forth from the lunar shadow.  On personal levels keep in mind that Mars is still so close to the Sun that it remains more difficult to get a clear sense of the new desires Mars is inciting, resulting in feelings that are more instinctual than rational.  Do your best to avoid getting hard on yourself for not achieving your visions of success at this time, as the new form of Mars has not yet taken full shape.

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Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity by Yayoi Kusama from Infinity Mirrors exhibit

One of the most import aspects within the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is an opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  This is an epic opposition, as both planets are extremely strong in each of their current locations:  Virgo is both the home and exaltation of Mercury, and in modern astrology Neptune has become associated with a  rulership of Pisces.  However, this happens to be one of those oppositions that does not actually perfect for over a month, in this case not until the time of the Libra Equinox.  This is due to the fact that Mercury is preparing to station retrograde in Virgo, stationing exactly in less than a week.  As a result there will be some important insights and realizations we begin to gain through the opposition of Mercury and Neptune in the coming weeks that we will not fully understand until about a month and a half from now when they finally come back together and complete their exact opposition.

Many astrologers do not like the opposition between Mercury and Neptune because the presence of Neptune can make it more difficult for Mercury to execute its choices and actions with exactitude and detailed clarity.  Yet there is a true gift found in this opposition that can open our awareness to elements of reality that have previously been cloaked in invisibility in one form or another.  It can also be possible to open perception to a deeper connection with Spirit through the opposition between Mercury and Neptune, as well as create sublimely beautiful and surreal works of art.  Mercury is adept at weaving and mending the disparate together into beautiful  new patterns and tapestries, however, and so it will be important to bear in mind that perceptual mending will be required in the next couple of weeks.

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Takpekpe (Conference) by El Anatsui (2006)

Uranus, the planet many modern astrologers would say is ruling the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse, looms large over the lunation no matter what your astrological view upon rulership is.  This is due to the fact that Uranus stationed retrograde four days before the eclipse, and planets that have recently stationed always bring more power to the cycle at play.  Oftentimes Uranus stationing can bring an unexpected shock or an upsetting event, yet the catharsis of released emotion and thought can break us free from a past repetitive pattern we realize was underlying the troubling issue.  This is even more the case than normal at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse due to Jupiter in Libra recently completing its final last quarter square with Pluto in Capricorn.  The square between Jupiter and Pluto dredged up deep material needing to be processed and resolved that can now become integrated into the developing relationships and structures we are focused upon.  Now that Jupiter has begun to separate from its square with Pluto, it is beginning to finally approach its sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius that will help us stabilize all of the chaotic discharges of August.

One of the blessings of the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is the conjunction between Venus and Ceres in Cancer, an aspect that supports the tender love and care needed to nurture the wounds of the psyche and body that could manifest within the astrological volatility of coming weeks.  After Venus and Ceres form their union in Cancer they will next form an opposition with Pluto and a square with Jupiter.  By the time of the Total Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21, Venus will be applying to a square with Uranus and Ceres will be opposite Pluto.  It will be more important than ever to open hearts in love and deeper intimacy that truly nurtures what others need and what we need within, rather than what we have been led to believe is needed through various forms of cultural conditioning.

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6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and “independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles.”  Coppock connected Mercury ruling this face to the need to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown.”  Coppock artfully concluded, “The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating” (p. 233-4).

The fact that Mercury rules the second face of Aquarius where the shadowy lunation occurs brings to mind again the significance of Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo in between eclipses while forming an opposition with Neptune in Pisces.  Mercury will be stepping into its role as our guide of soul once again, activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine.  Mercury can help us organize concepts that facilitate navigation while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul.  We are entering an otherworldly time of eclipses where it will difficult to predict exactly what will happen other than stating that the changes on the way will bring the potential to unlock and activate greater depth from within into our external collective.

References

 

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2013). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1980). The Astrology of Transformation. Quest Books.

Leo New Moon & Mars

Paul Klee Pride of Lions

Paul Klee (1924) A Pride of Lions (Take Note!)

New Moon in Leo

The Leo New Moon on July 23 is united with Mars, bringing primal intensity and vigor to the lunation.  New Moons are a time to set intentions, yet the symbolism of the Moon being invisible correlates with the necessity of embracing the unknown for no matter how much passion we invest into our intentions, we must ultimately surrender when forces out of our control emerge to contend with.  This is especially important to keep in mind at this martial New Moon in Leo, for the coming astrology suggests that unexpected elements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.  The influence of Mars on the New Moon points to the vital importance of standing up for yourself and reasserting your energy toward the role you wish to play within our global collective.  There will be challenges to face in the lunar cycle ahead that are capable of reshaping the course your life trajectory is taking, and so it will be imperative to boldly flow with the changes with courage and a presence ready to respond responsibly in accordance with the vision you wish to manifest.

The Leo New Moon escorts us into the most impactful period of astrological aspects in 2017.  The darkness of the New Moon will ripen into a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, to be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  The Leo Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Pisces Full Moon united with Neptune, and in between the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Full Moon we will experience Mercury moving retrograde from Virgo back into the same area of Leo as the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. Interestingly, Mercury is in Leo at the time of the Leo New Moon very close to the same degree it will later station direct on September 5.   Mercury is furthermore separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon while forming a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result the Leo New Moon is opportune for going over the plans you wish to initiate in the coming months and strengthening their structural foundations.

ClavisArtis.Lion

from the Clavis Artis

Rebirth of Mars in Leo

The New Moon in Leo arrives at the very, very end of the synodic cycle of Mars that goes back two years.  The last time that Mars was regenerated in the heart of the Sun was on  14 June 2015 at 23º15′ of Gemini, and so it will be fruitful to reflect upon this two year period and the desires that you manifested as well as those that remained dormant.   Since we have been at the close of the Mars and Sun cycle in the past weeks, its important to realize that if you have felt a lack of energy or a need to rest as part of a feeling of something being reborn, that you have likely been tapped into the current Mars cycle.  Mars will unite with our Sun on July 26 at 4º12′ of Leo, and so this is a beautiful time period to ritualize a rebirth of Mars in your life and reinvest your passions toward whatever you most desire to create or whoever you want to be in our world.  Since the Sun will be receiving Mars in its home, there is enormous creative potency available in their union.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the god Hephaistos to the first face of Leo where Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun.  Hephaistos is another aspect of Mars associated with smiths and artists who at heart is an embodiment of the primal potency of fire.  The Orphic hymn to Hephaistos calls the fiery artist to “suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”  Hephaistos carried wounds of abandonment and rejection he transmuted into a creative process of fire that burned up the old to manifest his new inventions.  Similarly, as we have been facing old wounds and emotional issues through the course of Mars closing its past cycle with the Sun in Cancer, we are now given the opportunity to transmute the pain of the past into beautiful works of artistry and tools we can wield in the journey ahead.

Hephaistos created both the chariot of Helios as well as the winged sandals and helmet of Hermes.  What heroic role do you wish to play in the forthcoming two year cycle of Mars, and what symbolic or literal tool can you now forge in the solar fires to support the talents and skills you wish to share?  How do you want to direct the ambition, aggression, and courage of Mars being consumed and reborn in the Sun?  The mythic figure of Hephaistos is also fitting for the fiery triangle being formed by Mercury and the North Node in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Hephaistos can forge and create whatever image we desire, yet to succeed in our endeavors we will also need a level of courage that knows when it is necessary to fight as well as let go.  The Leo New Moon is perfect for discerning the inner principles that align with our authenticity and whatever we wish to creatively actualize, and then assertively pushing forward with our work in accordance.

pamela colman smith scythe woman

by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus opposing Saturn

The other major aspect of the Leo New Moon finds Venus in Gemini applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This takes us back to the Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in which Venus stationed direct in Pisces in a square with Saturn.  Now Venus has moved forward into her first opposition with Saturn since their long engagement during her retrograde cycle.  Whatever shifting began happening in our life during February, March, April, and May as we entered and left the Venus retrograde period has now in hindsight become clear, and we can now witness and evaluate how the elements of our life have been rearranged.  Similar to the fiery triangle of Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn, the opposition between Venus and Saturn is also opportune for strengthening the foundations of the plans we wish to enact as we enter into eclipse season.   In fact, Venus is strongly activating the aforementioned fiery triangle, as she is in sextile to both Mercury and Uranus at the same time she is in opposition to Saturn.  The opposition between Venus and Saturn can not only help us figure out what aspects of our life and relationships need to be modified, but how exactly they need to be altered.

During the waxing lunar cycle Venus will move from her opposition with Saturn toward a trine with Neptune in Pisces following her ingress into Cancer.  At the same time Mercury will leave the creative fires of Leo for its home and exaltation of Virgo during the waxing of the Moon, toward an opposition with Neptune that does not perfect due to Mercury stationing retrograde.  Neptune in Pisces is veiled in the background of the Leo New Moon but does form the shadowy aspect of antiscia with Jupiter in Libra for the remainder of July.  The more we can effectively work with Neptune in Pisces at this time, such as shedding the illusions of the past and opening our imaginations in our creative process, the better we will be able to enter the flow of the coming eclipse season.  It will be helpful in working with Neptune to create some sort of daily spiritual practice for yourself, however you connect with Spirit.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Five of Wands is associated with conflict and competition, and though its meaning could be linked to an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control, oftentimes the strife among competing external interests is literal.  In one way or another it suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired, prominent position.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the Five of Wands through the five youth battling for the attention of the starring role of the spotlight.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.

Importantly, Coppock also noted that Saturn’s influence can be found in that the performer can become bound to their public image to such an extent that it can drain their energy and betray their inner authenticity.  Keeping all this in mind, remember at the Leo New Moon to make sure that the image you desire to project into our world aligns strongly with your essential authenticity.  Saturn in Sagittarius in trine with Mercury, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon is available to assist with the discipline and integrity necessary to separate and sever whatever does not align with our inner values, and bind oneself with commitment to whatever does align.  Within the catalytic atmosphere of the coming eclipse season, there  will be found a fertile matrix through which to embark in creative directions attuned to the passions arising from within.

References

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

 

Capricorn Full Moon & Pluto

 

fluorite waterfall

Full Moon in Capricorn

The Full Moon in Capricorn on July 8 is applying tightly to a union with Pluto, dredging up more intensity from interior realms than is the norm for a Full Moon.  Invisible to the naked eye, Pluto rules the celestial underworld of the Kuiper belt.  Though we may at times ignore or deny the guidance offered by Pluto, any built up resistance ultimately floods our systems and forces us to make necessary changes.  The placement of Pluto in our birth chart reveals a theme we can become compulsively attached to for security, and so the Full Moon aligned with Pluto will illuminate what old attachments and projections need to be now shed and washed away.  The surrounding aspects to the Full Moon suggest a decay and decomposition of past ambitions at the same time that fresh desires for growth emerge.

The Full Moon in Capricorn is not only a key moment in the current retrograde phase of Pluto, it also provides penetrating insight into our experience of the current transit of Jupiter in Libra.  The Moon in Capricorn at the peak moment of fullness is transferring the light of Jupiter to Pluto, separating from a catalytic square with Jupiter.  As the Moon begins to wane in light, it will next form another square with Uranus in Aries.  The t-square forming between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto is the volatile source of astrological intensity that has been building and will break open in August as we enter a season of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo.  In collective events, for example, we can see the correlation of the Full Moon with these aspects in the form of the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg that featured combative protests from the public as well as tense conflicts amongst world leaders that revealed the incredibly divisive nature within political power structures.

Pluto has been in Capricorn for the past nine and a half years and will make its first ingress into Aquarius six years from now.  The Full Moon in Capricorn is the perfect moment this year to review and reflect upon all of the changes wrought by Pluto’s slow passage through Capricorn since 2008, as well as how you want to respond to the death and creation found in the present moment.  Any feelings we have been clinging to desperately despite nothing in our current reality supporting our attachment to them need to be now released resolutely, for there is incredible potential available to seize within current transits to facilitate bold and dramatic shifts in direction.

Enki(Ea)

Enki / Ea

Jason Holley gave a talk at the 2017 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) on Capricorn that linked the sign of the Sea Goat with the ancient Babylonian deity Enki or Ea.  Known as the antelope of the deep waters, Enki in myth has been described as a crafty and wise problem solver who is the sole initiator of civilization and the molder of matter for every possible use.  Enki discovers rules and order for everything, divining the organizing principles and plans that underlie all of civilized life.  Irrigation of course was instrumental in the development of agricultural civilizations, and Holley further made the point that humans also dug canals so that gods could live on Earth.  Holley in his talk used the metaphor of opening up channels of fresh water irrigation to the importance of Capricorn replenishing and nourishing itself with the endlessly fertile, deeply subterranean waters of the subconscious.

The message Jason Holley transmitted regarding Capricorn is vital to take to heart at this stage of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn.  Instead of severing connection to the fresh waters of our inner desires due to fear that these impulses go against societal norms and could be dangerous and disruptive, we open ourselves to our subterranean waters and craft the order of our daily life accordingly.  Instead of living by consensus cultural “shoulds” and “oughts,” we step into a presence in which playfulness is embedded in our daily work in a process of constant creation and regeneration.

second beach tree cave (1)

As previously mentioned in past lunation forecasts, we are in the middle of an underworld season of Mars in which the red planet is being consumed in combustion by the purifying and regenerating rays of our Solar Light.  One question for this Full Moon in Capricorn is thus, what is the universe asking for you to release and let go of in terms of the willful force of Mars in your life?  You may in the past week or so have noticed a lack of motivation, ambition, or drive in certain areas of your life you are accustomed to investing more easily with energy.  At the same time, you may have been noticing desires for new areas of development that do not yet have completely stable foundations to support.  It is vital to realize that Mars will continue to be in combustion throughout the waning half of the upcoming lunar cycle and will not enter the heart of the Sun to be completely regenerated until July 26 following the subsequent New Moon in Leo.  I do not mean to avoid embarking on new ventures in the weeks ahead, only to have awareness that due to the current dark, clearing phase of Mars that it’s phase more readily supports release and reseeding rather than peak moments of drive.

paul klee suspended fruit

Paul Klee (1921) Suspended Fruit

Within the surrounding tumultuous aspects of the astrological landscape at the Full Moon in Capricorn, the inner planets Mercury and Venus are forming the vivaciously pleasing sextile.  Mercury in Leo is visible as the Sun sets as an Evening Star, while Venus is brightly visible in Gemini as a Morning Star.  Thus when awaking from dreams in the morning we will be greeted by Venus in the actively curious and intellectually stimulating sign of Gemini.  Venus can therefore guide our daily journey into reception of new perspectives and information as well as creatively activating conversations and connections within our wider community.  Mercury in contrast will become visible in the twilight of our Sun’s descent into night, helping us to digest and assimilate the various exchanges and expressions of our day.  Mercury in Leo is also an active and creatively stimulating placement, and so in tandem Mercury and Venus are in ideal positions to support new directions in creativity and pleasure.

In addition, Mercury will move across Leo to form a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in the waning half of the lunar cycle ahead while Venus will be making its way toward an opposition with Saturn.  There results an interesting astrological phenomenon in which Mars is experiencing a cleansing purification at the same time that Mercury and Venus are in active, potent positions.   Both Venus and Mercury will be forming harmonious aspects with Jupiter in Libra, and so while Jupiter is under the weight of intense aspects at the Capricorn Full Moon, as the Moon wanes  in coming weeks there will be exciting interplay occurring between Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter that can help facilitate exciting and productive action.

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3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The full Moon falls in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the Three of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the second decan of Capricorn as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.  The integral aspect of necessary effort and drive is supported by Mars being the ruler of this face.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work and discipline  in collaboration with numerous resources.  Coppock wrote that this face “binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task” and so it is important to carefully discern what projects and relationships you are committing to as well as the consequences of your choice.  Fitting for the current combustion phase of Mars, Coppock also wrote that “ambition and hubris are not easily separated,” and so “Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose” (p. 217).

Regarding the second face of Capricorn, it is written in the Latin Picatrix that this is a decan “of seeking to do what cannot be done and to attain what cannot be.”  In contrast, Three Books of Occult Philosophy suggested this face signifies demanding “what is unable to happen, and searching for what cannot be known.”  In the Birhat Jakata, the image of “a woman, skilled in the arts, broad eyes like lotus petals, greenish and dark” emerges in this face, “searching all kinds of articles and wearing iron ear ornaments.”  Evocatively, the Liber Hermetis ascribed the image “of a bull on the body of a man dressed with the skin of a scarab” to this decan.  Clearly, the ancient images associated with the second decan of Capricorn suggest a face in which groundbreaking works of determination and grace can be created while dealing with whatever obstacles or tumult arises in the process of creation.  As the Capricorn Full Moon peaks and illuminates the depths of your desires, embrace the courage necessary to bring your inner visions into reality.

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23 follows closely behind the Cancer Solstice in which our Sun stands still, as well as the rebirth of Mercury within the heart of the Sun.  The solstice in Cancer is one of the peak moments of the year, the beginning of Summer in our northern hemisphere and the beginning of Winter in our southern hemisphere.  This year as our Sun stood still at the pinnacle of its furthest northerly reach, Mercury united within its fiery rays for an extremely powerful superior conjunction of the Star of Hermes with our Light of Spirit.  The longest day in our northern hemisphere and the longest night in our southern hemisphere, the Cancer Solstice pulls us within to explore the deepest desires of our heart, while also calling us to express our feelings and visions in our wider community, finding appropriate forms and mediums through which to communicate our message.

The last time Mercury formed a superior conjunction with our Sun was in March at the beginning of the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Following Mercury’s union with the Sun during its retrograde in April, Mercury spent an extended period of time moving backward and the forward again in union with Uranus.  The first half of 2017 has brought significant shifts, some unexpected and all necessary, as we moved from a period of eclipses into extremely volatile phases of Venus and Mercury retrogrades.  The Cancer New Moon comes at the perfect time to look backward to the first half of the year and what has and has not come into manifestation, while looking forward with focus on configuring what we need to shift and restructure in order to bring more of our desires into form and expression.  The second half of 2017 will continue to bring volatility and immense change.  As a result, the Cancer New Moon is ideal for centering within and nurturing ourselves and loved ones with intimate attention.  Tenderness and gentle strength that calms and soothes volatilized nerves will be important medicine in the lunar cycle ahead.

hilma-af-climt-2

by Hilma af Klint

Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so the New Moon in Cancer is always an especially powerful moment for setting intention.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of initiation and leadership that simultaneously connects with the emotional realm within as well as the emotions of those we meet in relationship.  Cancer holds our memories and in the reflection of its waters we catch glimpses of our essential nature and most cherished desires.  While the season of Cancer may make us think of ruminating over past memories, the current New Moon in Cancer is most vital in terms of making new memories that will enliven our passion for life and bring sustenance to our sense of soul.  This is a New Moon with which to launch yourself into living life fully in the moment, seizing the opportunities brought by day and night to receive the pleasure of being alive.  Humanity on our planet has been going through a difficult time of immense suffering on many levels, and the amount of change and reform in need of being enacted can feel overwhelming to achieve on an individual level.  The Cancer New Moon will support expressing yourself into your wider community and in so doing discovering collaborators who possess a sense of mutual purpose.

Mercury separating from the Sun while applying toward a conjunction with Mars is an important aspect of the New Moon, for in the lunar cycle ahead Mercury will unite with Mars in opposition to Pluto while both are invisible under the beams of the Sun, and then as Mercury emerges as an Evening Star around July 4 it will form a catalyzing square with Uranus in Aries.  Allow Mercury to soothe and open up whatever defense mechanisms have been internally preventing you from risking your heart in action.  As Mercury gets closer and closer to Mars, look for remediation outlets to express passions through so that they are less likely to become bottled up and unleashed in anger.  Its likely that many aspects of collective current events will incite anger and inspire action, and so this is also an excellent New Moon to look around your community for volunteer, service, or organizing opportunities.  Mercury combined with Mars can be volatile, yet in the end Mercury loves to connect and bridge and so by taking action there can be significant new connections made linked with purpose.

Hilma_af_Klint_-_1922_-_Birch

Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

Mars is playing a leading role in the New Moon as it is applying closely to a square with Jupiter in Libra.   Mars is currently invisible under the beams of the Sun, undergoing a period of purification and regeneration that will not complete until the Sun unites with Mars in Leo on July 26.  As a result the Mars square with Jupiter is potent and will dredge up deep issues of ambition and desire, some of which is in need of shedding while other aspects can be returned to our inner soil to reseed future visions.  Mars in Cancer is known as being in its “fall” since it is the opposite sign of its exaltation in Capricorn, and yet there is an interesting aspect in which Jupiter is receiving Mars through the square since Mars being in Cancer means it is in the exaltation of Jupiter.  An empowering interpretation can be found through realizing the wisdom we can gain when pursuing passionate desires even when we do not achieve our intended success.  The importance is in taking action and risking our emotional involvement and full presence.  It will be important to not become overly critical of ourselves for not having already achieved certain grand ambitions, but rather acknowledge and find value in whatever point of our journey we find ourselves within.

Mars in Cancer can bring about emotional outbursts and so it will be vital to find appropriate outlets for our feelings and focus on the relationships that can offer us nurturance and support.  The period from June 28 through July 4 is important to be aware of, as Mercury will unite with Mars and then oppose Pluto as Mars also forms an opposition with Pluto, followed by Mercury forming a challenging square with Uranus in Aries.  Further interesting is that just before Mars and Mercury enter into these intense aspects, they will have recently formed a supportive trine with Neptune in Pisces.  It will help to find work and projects you can pour your heart and energy into without become overly upset if the results do not match your idealized expectations.  There is tremendous power and inspiration found within these aspects, and we will gain strength through courageously engaging life fully rather than withdrawing through fear or defense mechanisms.

Another significant intersection between personal planets with the transpersonal at the Cancer New Moon is Venus in Taurus applying closely to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  At the previous New Moon in Gemini, Venus was in a square with Pluto that brought up some deep issues we can now integrate and find deeper stability around.  The trine from Venus to Pluto can also help us deepen intimacy with both ourselves and others through opening ourselves to the sort of full emotional involvement that facilitates buried issues reemerging into the light of conscious awareness.   Venus in Taurus can help stabilize and harmonize whatever has become out of balance, so look for ways to embrace Venus in your life in whatever forms bring you pleasure and comfort.  While opening ourselves to deep emotions may not always feel pleasurable, significations of Venus such as music, color, food, and intimacy can be a balm that helps us cross over the threshold of old inner obstacles.

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2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche.  We can also find a connection between Venus with the first face of Cancer and the Two of Cups through the inner values that underlie all of our relationship dynamics with others, a source that can alchemize magical healing and power within the relationships that resonate with our essence.  The New Moon in Cancer is ideal for honoring the relationships that receive, support, and protect our unique expression and presence.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104).  Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted” (p. 105).

As the lovers in the image of the Two of Cups are greeting one another with chalices, consider at the Cancer New Moon what sort of chalice you are carrying into your relationships.  Who are you willing to share your chalice with and why, for what reasons.    The relationships in which equity and reciprocity coexist naturally will emerge with magnetic force in the lunar cycle ahead and will feel most deserving to share in mutual nurturance.  Remember to also pour an offering to the Earth and Spirit, and set intention to manifest your most cherished desires in the season ahead.

References

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

 

Gemini New Moon: embodied strength and vision

sigge bergstrom woman praying in forest

by Sigge Bergstrom

New Moon in Gemini

Silent, her Gemini mind rests from weaving together her present thoughts with the ancient words on the parchment lightly held by her fingers. Her elegantly long fingers, equally skilled at composing musical notes as they are at drafting lines in ink, close the tome.  The ceaseless wisdom of the old library with its smell of books no longer satiates her, and so she departs into a sensuous sunset sky of shifting colors signifying the time of transition.  She savors each breath of fresh wind and call of birdsong, finding her way to her favorite field to lay within and dream.  Feeling her hair in the grass, the vibration of earth below her, a waft of pungent sea air overcomes her.  She knows inside what she must do, the challenges she will have to face and the opposition of those in authority she will have to overcome.  She smiles pondering that no doubt centuries before her someone else lay in the same field she finds herself within now, his vision every bit as curious and adventurous, his determination and resiliency equal to hers.

Mercury in Taurus rules the New Moon in Gemini on May 25,  and is applying to a harmonious and dreamy sextile with Neptune in Pisces.   The New Moon also occurs within the bounds of Mercury, degrees of Gemini that the Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens described as “practical, musical, and fertile” as well as “calm and gracious, ringing with clarity and intelligence” while indicating “many skills, from scientific thought to true wisdom.”  Yet Mercury finds itself in the home of Venus, and Venus in Aries at the New Moon is in the middle of extremely volatile aspects both dredging up deep issues while offering insights into how to find a sense of freedom and hope in facing the forces of necessity.  Meanwhile, Mars is co-present in Gemini with the New Moon and applying toward a harsh opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, an aspect which demands hard work, accountability, persistence, and focus in whatever we wish to manifest and must tend to in our daily responsibilities.

sigge bergstrom woodcut landscape

by Sigge Bergstrom

Mars opposing Saturn

Mars is out of bounds in declination at the New Moon and will continue to be out of bounds in the forthcoming lunar cycle, signaling that Mars has a more unrestrained and rebellious martial force than normal.  However, Mars is facing an opposition with a slow, plodding Saturn moving backward in Sagittarius, suggesting that the wild calls of adventure and discovery will face tests and judgment.  This could in part involve moralistic judgements from those in authority or anyone coming from a dogmatic perspective of how one is supposed to live that does not account for the unique circumstances of the person or situation they are judging.   Mars being out of bounds in the variable, airy, hot and moist sign of Gemini suggests that the energy is present to effectively move beyond the old dogmas of Saturn as long as one is simultaneously taking responsibility and living in integrity with inner principles and values.

Yet the opposition of Saturn to Mars also means that Mars cannot do whatever it pleases without consequences.  It also suggests there are some elements of challenges in our current reality we will not be able to change or control, and instead need to accept and mediate.  The days following the New Moon are ideal for becoming aware of all of the elements of life that need work in order to have a secure foundation from which to launch dreams and goals for the future.  It is an important time to honor one’s own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others, and to listen closely to the needs of others in surrounding community.  It will be helpful to recognize what aspects of current circumstances are out of our control and need to be dealt with, versus other elements that are possible to directly manage and will benefit from working to change.

The opposition of Saturn is the initiation of Mars into a season of purification and challenges that are frenetic and catalytic in charge at times.  In 2016 we went through a long period of Mars retrograde that culminated with Mars uniting with Saturn and Antares at the end of August 2016.  Much has changed since that time and we have had opportunities to discover a new sense of how we exert ourselves with our will force in the world and co-create within surrounding structures.  If the opposition between Mars and Saturn corresponds with disappointed feelings in one way or another, consider all of the growth you have undergone during the past nine months of Mars moving from a conjunction to an opposition with Saturn.  The coming lunar cycle is ideal for building upon the gains of the past with hard work, and hold potential for liberation from past limitations into finding ways to live and create with greater vital force.

 

marie laurencin the amazon close up

Venus square Pluto

Venus is barely separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn as the New Moon in Gemini forms, but it is significant that she is in fact separating.  This means that the full intensity of Venus dredging up deep Plutonian issues will be felt during the Dark Moon immediately preceding the New Moon.  As a result the Gemini New Moon opens us to a new cycle in which we have already felt subconscious material arise within us, giving us the opportunity to bring awareness of deeply rooted feelings into an exciting and accelerated time period for Venus in which she will form a trine to Saturn and a conjunction with Uranus.  We will have the opportunity during the waxing of the Moon to free feelings from our depths and channel them into creative projects and unions in relationship.  Furthermore, collective events will involve numerous surprising and dramatic twists in storylines as Venus connects the tension of Pluto and Jupiter to Saturn and Uranus.

Venus has now cleared her retrograde shadow zone, formed her opposition with Jupiter, and completed her square with Pluto.  Venus has faced numerous, constant tests and difficulties in recent months.  However, instead of forming a harsh square with Saturn as Venus did when she stationed direct over a month ago, Venus will now be forming a harmonious trine with Saturn bringing the opportunity to embody greater strength drawn from the tribulations of recent months.  After Venus forms an electrifying union with Uranus, she will enter her home of Taurus while Jupiter begins to station direct in her other home of Libra.  Although the lunar cycle begins with tense aspects between Mars and Saturn as well as Venus and Pluto, as the Moon waxes we will find opportunities to practice equity in relationship that fosters freely sharing our essentiality in mutually supportive relationships.   It will not be a time of escaping in a fantasy of relationship, however, but rather grounding relationship in the details of daily reality and finding creative joy in the process.

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8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Gemini associated with the Eight of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of a woman appearing to be frozen and tightly bound, many interpret its meaning as being paralyzed by fears running rampant within.  Sometimes the fear of paralysis connects to real trauma in the past that has become triggered by fears related to present circumstances.  While some interpretations suggest that the same mental swords enveloping the figure could also be used to cut away the fabric of bondage, it is also important to note the moist and muddy fertility of the ground she is standing on top of.  In relation to the Gemini New Moon, the 8 of Swords image also highlights how fear can arise in times when a huge new potential becomes available to step into.  As much as it is possible to release fears related to what has happened in the past that are being projected into the present moment, the more gracefully we will be able to flow into the tremendous change opening up at the beginning of this lunar cycle.

In contrast to the tightly bound woman in the 8 of Swords image, ancient texts ascribed a graceful woman of flowing mind and deft dexterity.  Ibn Ezra pictured “A beautiful woman standing in the air, and she can sew,” while in the Picatrix we find “A beautiful woman, a mistress of stitching, and with her ascend two calves and two horses. This is a face of the art of the scribe, of reckoning, of number, of giving and receiving, and of the sciences.”  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of the 8 of Swords with older images through the power of the first face of Gemini to “discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities” which leads to “clever methods” and an opening of abundant flow that “de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.”  Coppock noted that the mental acuity of this face not only generates all arts and crafts, it also directs its prodigious curiosity to explore the multitudinous found within, both the light and the shadow of the deep Self.

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini, interesting in terms of the forthcoming lunar cycle as Jupiter will station direct in Libra at the same time as the upcoming Full Moon in Sagittarius.  With Mercury in Taurus ruling the New Moon after having moved past its retrograde shadow zone into a harmonious aspect with Neptune in Pisces, there is a lot of visionary and imaginative potential buried in the darkness of the New Moon that will be unearthed as the Moon waxes in light.   Follow your obsessions, passions, and desires where they lead you, as the gifts of the coming lunar cycle will come to those willing to courageously open themselves fully to what life has to offer rather than recoil in apprehension over what fate may befall them from risking their heart in action.

References

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

Vettius Valens of Antioch, Book One. (2016). Rendered from ancient Greek into modern English by Andrea Gehrz. Moria Press.

Scorpio Full Moon

Ernst the Sea

The Sea (1928) by Max Ernst

Full Moon in Scorpio

As the Moon in full light illuminates the darkness of the surrounding landscape, you pause on your journey to draw water from a well.  The well is ancient and contains within its well worn stones the stories of generations and generations who have passed this way before you.  Feeling the nourishment of water quenching your depths, the primal vitality of your flowing blood circulates through your senses.  Your mind drifts into reflection upon the trials you have been undergoing and your efforts given, the obstacles you have been facing.  While there may be a trophy you long to capture, a treasure you wish to unearth, or a beloved you hunger to kiss, you realize the power you seek is truly found within the rhythmic beat of your own heart.

The Full Moon in Scorpio on May 10 has an intensity rooted in our relationship with power.  As the Moon waxes toward its apex of full light, the Moon will form an exact sextile with Pluto while the Sun will form a trine with Pluto.  Mars, the ruler of the lunation, is exceptionally active in Gemini and in strong aspect to both Neptune and Jupiter.   The Full Moon will be ideal for feeling into the subconscious depths that source our power and for simultaneously shedding dead skin while stepping into a more fully embodied authority and authorship in life.   A Full Moon in Scorpio beckons us to feel all of our emotions and the aching yearning for what we desire most to hold or possess.  Yet the crucial lesson we find in the polarity between Taurus and Scorpio is the necessity of embracing the transitory flux of our lives in which forms are constantly coming into manifestation and then passing away.

The Scorpio Full Moon is not applying to aspects with other planets, but does arrive at the crossroads moment of the lunar nodes shifting from Pisces and Virgo into Aquarius and Leo.  This shift results in the Full Moon applying to a square with the North Node of the Moon in Leo and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The lunar nodes have been in Virgo and Pisces since November of 2015, and so the Full Moon shines a spotlight on the creative empowerment that will come with the North Node of the Moon entering Leo.  The North Node in Leo is especially amplified as it forms a fiery triangle with Mercury conjoining Uranus in Aries and with Saturn in Sagittarius.  The conjunction with Mercury and Uranus is exact as the ascending node of the Moon enters Leo, bringing a Promethean message of emancipation and the challenge to claim full responsibility and authority in co-creating the life you most deeply desire to live.

The power available in the aspects surrounding the Scorpio Full Moon will bring genuine strength when sourced from an open heart in touch with both inner desires as well as the external emotions of others.  While the North Node shift into Leo sounds exciting in terms of increased creativity and a noble embrace of living life more fully, there are myriad levels of its shadow we will see playing out on personal and collective levels.  For one, the shadow of the North Node in Leo combined with the other astrological transits this year can lead those in power or benefitting from established power structures to cling even more tightly to their grip on what has been bringing them a sense of prosperity and security, at the detriment to others if necessary.  Likewise, the combination of the North Node in Leo with the South Node in Aquarius can lead many to act solely out of self interest without regard for the consequences of their actions.  The shadow of the South Node in Aquarius in this way is a disassociated, detached perspective that either rationalizes or ignores how one’s actions are impacting others.

However, the South Node moving through Aquarius also brings the capacity to harness awareness of collective concerns, dynamics, and needs to fuel strong and dynamic leadership that initiates direct action to heal and harmonize the divisive fragmentation currently overwhelming our global populace.  Aquarius is a sign of the humanitarian as well as the societal rebel, outcast, hermit, heretic, or outsider, and so the South Node in the sign of the Water Bearer also brings the opportunity to source our hearts with the feelings we have experienced when feeling on the outside, marginalized, exiled, or not fitting in with consensus views.  Instead of going into further isolation with feelings of being different, the North Node in Leo calls us to fully embody our radical nature and radiate our full capacities no matter how far from the norm they appear to others.  It is also a time to have greater compassion for those placed into exile and on the outside of the current dominant culture and power paradigm, and to take individual initiative to mediate the many collective crises erupting.

white-fire-med

White Fire (1949) by Enrico Donati

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Full Moon in Scorpio and is applying closely to a challenging square with Neptune and a stabilizing trine with Jupiter.   The square between Mars and Neptune is applying tightly as the Full Moon peaks and brings the most dramatic coloring to what will be a very emotional lunation full of big feelings.  Mars in Gemini can be the heroic messenger who doggedly and determinedly finds a way to collect the information needed, retrieve the missing piece that will bring greater wholeness. Yet Mars in Gemini can also be a crusading idealist obsessed with one’s own vision, and the strong aspects between Mars with Neptune and Jupiter means there will be dissonant diatribes and cacophony, as players vying for power from different perspectives clash in clamorous uproar.

On a personal level the square between Mars and Neptune suggests overcoming a challenge or confrontation regarding one’s beliefs, spirituality, or idealistic vision, either realizing the necessity of persisting in the face of external challenges or gaining awareness that aspects of our beliefs have been illusory in one way or another and now need to be re-adjusted to our current experience.  The trine between Mars and Jupiter brings a lot of productive push into the social realm, being both more interactive within our collective networks as well as being able to bring a more lighthearted positivity into current predicaments rather than angry negativity.   Yet the square between Mars and Neptune is so tight at the Full Moon it will be important to feel all of ones emotions, listening and learning from them so as to release them, so that we do not become mired in difficult feelings we are trying to repress or deny.  Altogether the dynamic aspects surrounding Mars support connecting deeply within and using inner desire to fuel active engagement in the world.

During the waning half of the lunar cycle Mars will separate from its harmonious trine with Jupiter and begin applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Mars in Gemini is very active and social with an ability to focus in numerous directions, but its encroaching opposition with Saturn on the horizon is a call to have focused accountability for our most important priorities and the work and visions we are most deeply invested in completing.  Mars will not perfect its opposition with Saturn until the very end of the month following the New Moon in Gemini, however, and so we have a few weeks to work with this building dynamic.  This will be the first opposition to come between Saturn and Mars since their dramatic dance during 2016 when Mars went retrograde as part of its initiatory conjunction with both Saturn and Antares at the end of August 2016.  Whatever we began to set into motion in our life in August and September of 2016 we can now reflect upon with regards to what has been working optimally and what needs greater adjustment or changed completely.

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Rivieres, Crepuscule (1943) by Enrico Donati

Venus in Aries & Jupiter in Libra

Venus is shining brightly as a Morning Star in the moist darkness before sunrise, retracing her steps in Aries that she has previously moved both direct and backwards across since February.  This is the third time that Venus has moved across the first decan of Aries, and she has now completely emerged from her meeting with Chiron and Saturn with the capacity to awaken newfound strength on the playing field of life.   Venus has a more competitive edge now and corresponds with feeling emboldened to go after what we want to create.  Saturn and Chiron have also now perfected their most recent challenging square aspect, which most likely brought up old wounds in need of tending regarding our identity and the old stories we identify with.  Saturn and Chiron have pointed Venus toward building life plans and goals in total integrity with true inner values, and Venus now calls us to boldly initiate accordingly.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus will form an opposition with Jupiter at about the same time she finally leaves her retrograde shadow zone on May 19. The recent Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces has been the pivotal phase of Jupiter’s time in Libra in which we have gained the opportunity to not only reevaluate our relationships but most importantly the way in which we have been engaging within them.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Venus it means that Venus will be receiving Jupiter as they form their opposition, a pleasing gift for Venus considering her harsh square with an unreceptive Saturn last month.  Oppositions always require effort to bring about optimal outcomes, however, and one prime area to focus on with this aspect will be in listening.  Listening to the needs of others, both spoken and unspoken, as well as listening to our own feelings and inner guidance, we will gain the capacity to make invaluable course corrections and deeper investments.

Adding an extra layer to the relational opposition between Venus and Jupiter is the asteroid Juno.  Juno is within one degree of a conjunction with Pluto at the time of the Full Moon, while also stationing retrograde. While the stationing of asteroids normally do not draw much astrological attention it highlights the fact that Juno has been in range of a conjunction with Pluto for the past month during a Venus retrograde time period.  Juno began getting close to Pluto back in early April when Venus moved retrograde back into the sign of Pisces, and since that time has remained within close proximity with Pluto, getting especially close once Venus stationed direct.  The focus for many is on finding their ideal partner, yet the proximity of Juno and Pluto begs us to open awareness to how we ourselves can become the ideal partner for others.  The Full Moon lights up the old relationship issues that could get in the way of creating our ideal relationship in this very moment.  Releasing resistance to what we need to own about ourselves, we gain the capacity to make true lasting change in the way we relate, fertilizing the fruitful potential of our relationships in coming months and years.

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Fortissimo screen (1925-6) designed by Seraphin Soudbinine

Mercury & Uranus in Aries

Mercury is finally beginning to separate from its conjunction with Uranus at the Full Moon, while applying closely to a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result of its recent Mercury retrograde phase, the Star of Hermes has spent the past three weeks in range of a conjunction with Uranus.  The Full Moon will fully unleash the meaning we have been gestating and generating during this prolonged union between the messenger and the liberator.  Mercury is now fully visible as a Morning Star, joining Venus as a herald to the rising of our Sun each morning.  This means Mercury can eloquently and clearly transmit the Uranian message we need to receive in case we have been missing the signs in the past weeks.  Mercury and Uranus have been bringing opportunities to break out of old patterns that became too constrictive and to embrace new ways of perceiving that facilitate freely drifting into the currents aligned with our essentiality.

With Mercury in Aries now applying closely to a trine with Saturn slowly moving retrograde in Sagittarius, the Full Moon ushers us into a week in which to take direct action in restructuring the elements of our life needed to fully step into the liberation burst open by Mercury and Uranus.  With persistent effort drawing upon the disciplined focus of Saturn, this is an ideal time to clear out whatever has been holding you back from taking full authority in your life and simply go for it.  As the Moon begins to wane through Sagittarius in the days after the Full Moon, it will form a continuous stream of aspects with Venus, Mars, Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury, Saturn, and the lunar nodes.  The waning lunar cycle following the Full Moon is full of fast moving and inspirational transits which will correspond with both heated conflict in the social realm as well as a potent charge that can activate greater self empowerment.

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7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the third decan 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 and increased opportunities for more 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 its essence 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.  Befitting the union of Mercury and Uranus at the Full Moon, 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 not unlike Hermes, 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.

Venus rules the third face of Scorpio, and though Venus is instead residing in the first face of Aries at the Full Moon, she is within her own bounds and so has some essential dignity to pursue and possess her desires.  As Venus is finally getting close to leaving her retrograde shadow zone, the Scorpio Full Moon illuminates whatever lessons we have had to learn regarding our desire nature over the course of the past months of Venus moving backwards and forward again.   What has come up for you in terms of worldly ambition, who you want to be, what you want to achieve, or who you want to be bound to in love and intimacy?  When the opportunity arrives in coming weeks to live a life more fully aligned with your true desires, don’t be afraid to take hold of it with aplomb.

References

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

Oregon Astrological Association Astro Faire – Beyond 2017

Oregon Astrological Association

Beyond 2017:  Annual Astro Faire

Saturday 20 May 2017

11:30 am – 4:30 pm

4312 SE Stark St, Portland 97215 (Friend’s Meeting House)

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, I am excited to announce I will be one of the speakers at the Oregon Astrological Association’s Annual Astro Faire taking place on Saturday, May 20.  There will be two other speakers- Mark Dodich speaking about the lunar nodes shifting into Aquarius and Leo, and Andrea Gehrz speaking about remediation ideas to deal with the major transits of the coming year.  At the end there will be a panel discussion among the three of us moderated by astrologer Melanie Gurley about the transits in the year ahead.

I will be giving the following talk about the transit of Jupiter and Uranus in the year ahead:

The opposition between Jupiter and Uranus we experience throughout 2017 has consistently brought liberating breakthroughs amid the death of old forms in world history.  The shattering and dissolution of old paradigms is especially resonant this year, as the Jupiter and Uranus opposition is occurring within waning cycles of release between Jupiter and Saturn with Neptune and Pluto.  We will explore historical and current correlations with the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, including their current placements in Libra and Aries as well as the eventual shift of Jupiter into Scorpio and Uranus into Taurus in the year ahead.

Click here for more details!

Taurus New Moon: Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn

robin ironside the new moon being born inside the old

The New Moon Being Born Inside the Old by Robin Ironside

Within the darkness of the New Moon in Taurus arriving April 26, maintaining receptiveness to self examination through our senses and intuition will help guide intention toward the necessary shifts needing to be embraced within the cycle ahead.  This is a particularly fertile New Moon to plant seeds of future visions within, yet there is also a pulsating volatility under the surface requiring alertness and thorough grounding in the changes of the moment.  The New Moon is applying toward a harmonious sextile with Neptune while being ruled by Venus in her exaltation of Pisces, yet Mercury retrograde in Aries applying to a conjunction with Uranus suggests tumultuous tides of change needing to be navigated rather than calm waters.

Taurus as the fixed inner home of Venus brings support to set intention at the New Moon based upon one’s most resolute and steadfast inner values.  Being in integrity and building a solid foundation based upon essential desires and principles is always the ideal way to go about manifesting what you want to happen, yet the underlying unexpected quality of the New Moon means things most likely will not be able to go completely according to plan.  It will be necessary in the cycle ahead to be flexible and avoid stubbornly refusing to negotiate and mediate difficulties as needed.  A solid focus will be on refusing to compromise one’s integral inner values, yet being open to modify and alter the less essential aspects of plans so as to flow smoothly with currents.

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The Flowering Apple Tree (1912) Piet Mondrian

There is a great deal of essential dignity involved in the New Moon, as Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon and its ruler Venus in Pisces is also in a sign of exaltation.  As a result there is natural power available to inject into dreams and plans being developed.  Venus is at the final degree of Pisces, and will finally leave the sign of the Fish a couple of days after the New Moon.  For almost the entirety of April we have been experiencing Venus inhabiting the final degrees of Pisces while forming a square to Saturn in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Chiron.  Within the past month any difficulties experienced in relationship or work has helped clarify the true passions of our heart as well as who or what is deserving of our full commitment.  Saturn has also been bringing awareness to what needs to be released and let go as well as what needs to be strengthened and fortified more securely.

Vitally, however, Venus has finally separated from her square with Saturn and is gaining greater brightness and height each morning as a Morning Star.  Since the time of ancient astrology Venus has been known as the light bringer, brilliantly beautifying morning skies as a herald of our day to come.  The light Venus is now shining at dawn has been tested and strengthened by Saturn.  The New Moon signals a time period to get to work on the inspirations and desires that not only have passed the test of Saturn but have grown in depth and strength.  Venus as Morning Star is full of courage and willingness to face whatever challenges the day will bring in order to create and find fulfillment.  Venus at the final degree of Pisces makes the Taurus New Moon opportune for feeling deep within and allowing heartfelt yearnings to inform our intentions.

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The Memory Tower by Leonora Carrington

The wildcard element of the New Moon is the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with Uranus, a catalyzing and volatile aspect that will become exact a couple of days after the New Moon.  Just as we recently experienced an extended time period in which Venus was forming a square with Saturn, we now will be experiencing an extended time period in which Mercury is united with Uranus while forming a trine with Saturn.  The fact that the union of Mercury with Uranus is forming a trine to Saturn suggests that it will be possible to find ways to structure and materialize groundbreaking insights so that we can take our understanding to a deeper level as well as find forms to express realizations through.  The lunar cycle ahead will be ideal for going deeper into whatever research or work you have been working on but until now have not synthesized or comprehended fully.

Amazingly Mercury will still be united with Uranus and in trine with Saturn at the Full Moon in Scorpio that follows the New Moon on May 10, the vital difference being at the upcoming Full Moon we will be experiencing a visible Morning Star Mercury that is also direct.  With Mercury currently invisible and applying to its first conjunction with Uranus at the New Moon, it will feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious and on the precipice of erupting into conscious awareness.  By the time we reach the upcoming Scorpio Full Moon on May 10 we will have a much stronger grasp on the information and events entering our life in correspondence with Mercury and Uranus.  At the New Moon its important to realize you won’t have all the answers and you be gaining a more solid understanding of new developments in the weeks ahead.

Memory and how we work with memory, including the stories we create and tell about our lives, is always important during Mercury retrograde but even more so considering the long union of Mercury and Uranus we will experience in the weeks ahead.  Uranus transits can coincide with unexpected change that can feel shockingly difficult, yet the shattering impact of Uranus also brings liberation from past dynamics.  The union of Mercury retrograde with Uranus brings an invitation to release attachment to old memories and stories we have been telling ourselves that have been limiting us.  Mercury will be able to support meditation, ritual, ceremony or other means to alter our relationship to the memories we now realize have been getting in the way of receiving joy and love and embodying authentic presence.

guggenheim doors

Doors for the Guggenheim’s music room (1925-6) designed by Seraphin Soudbinine

A few days before the New Moon on April 23 we experienced a balsamic crescent Moon in Pisces able to be seen before sunrise close to Venus rising as a Morning Star.  This was the first visible union between a waning crescent Moon and Venus in the predawn sky in the current synodic cycle, a hallmark of the Morning Star phase of Venus in which she aligns with a waning Moon each lunar month.  From our experiences of April with Venus slowly moving back and forth through Pisces we can distill what we have learned into the seed we plant to nurture in the soil of the Taurus New Moon.  There is an openness and vulnerability able to be accessed that renounces over attachment to control while embracing the sensual centeredness of Taurus.

Venus in Pisces ruling the New Moon is also in a harmonious sextile with Ceres at the end of Taurus, providing another symbol of drawing from within to manifest greater abundance and sensuousness in the world.  In the days following the New Moon both Venus and Ceres will ingress into new signs while remaining in sextile, with Venus entering Aries and Ceres entering Gemini.  Venus in Aries will incite a quicker tempo in the lunar cycle ahead, especially once Mercury stations and begins moving direct again in Aries.   Venus will no longer be in a sign based square with Saturn, but while she may feel less encumbered by the scythe of Saturn there will be a strong karmic feel to her moving back across the degrees of Aries that she previously moved retrograde across.  The lunar cycle ahead will be the third time that Venus has moved across the first face of Aries, and so we will gain greater greater realization during the next few weeks regarding the changes brought about by the Venus retrograde of 2017.

In addition, Mars in Gemini is separating from a square with the lunar nodes at the New Moon, calling attention to this being the final lunation we will experience with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  At the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio the North Node of the Moon will have entered Leo and the South Node of the Moon will have entered Aquarius.  Mars moves fast in Gemini and can take on multiple tasks simultaneously, yet its square to the lunar nodes suggests the necessity of taking a moment to center within and listen to inner guidance before impulsively launching into reactionary action.   The shift of the lunar nodes into Leo and Aquarius is one of the major events of 2017, and so with the nodes still in Pisces and Virgo at the New Moon we have the opportunity to integrate all of the lessons we have been learning with their transit since November 2015.  The many changes that have coincided with the transitory nature of the nodes being in mutable signs are now coming to a close, and we will be embarking on a new journey with the North Node in Leo that will help feed greater creative actualization and centered presence.

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5 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Taurus associated with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Many interpret this card in association with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources, or experiencing bodily or material hardship.  Yet the poverty stricken figures in front of the stained glass window of a cathedral suggest that resources can be found in even the most dire of circumstances, as churches and other spiritual communities tend to be the place that those in need have available to turn to for charitable giving of sustenance.  Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile earth nature of the sign of the Bull.  Mercury makes the connections we need for our livelihood, and in the first decan of Taurus we discover our capacity not only to gain enough resources for our own survival and greater prosperity, but to also contribute to communities that can offer assistance to those in greater need.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Plow” to the first face of Taurus, noting the “face is traditionally connected to all of the sciences necessary to draw forth fruit from the land,” adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated” (p. 69). Coppock noted that though the first decan of Taurus “reveals the ways one may work with whatever one has to gain more,” that the images and interpretations associated with the Five of Pentacles card bring up the shadow of fear that we will not have enough money, food, or material resources and that bleak times may arise if we disengage from our constant planning around cultivating resources.   Coppock concluded that the threat of not having enough in the future inspires us to work hard and plan for how to gain enough resources not only to get by in the moment but to be able to save for later times we may be in need.

Coppock also added that the ancient and fragmentary Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Charis to the first decan of Taurus, linking the Charites of mythology to the charity we can find in the image of the Five of Pentacles card as well as the meaning of the first face of Taurus.   The Charites are the same as the three Graces you are most likely familiar with, commonly known as Splendor, Mirth, and Good Cheer, though various traditions have additional names as well as numbers for these charming and fertile goddesses.  Coppock used the Charites in 36 Faces to give warning that overly focusing on the pleasures of mirth associated with these creatively fecund deities may cause us to become distracted from the work and planning we need to engage in to secure needed resources, suggesting we must strike a balance between the toil of the plow and the pleasures of the Graces.

Yet striking a balance between work and pleasure does not require going back and forth between a polarity of opposites, and the fact that the exaltation degree of the Moon also occurs in the first face of Taurus close to the degree of the Taurus New Moon suggests there is a way to find good cheer and pleasure in the effort we put into not only acquiring our own needed resources but also enabling us to offer assistance to those in need of help.  The Charites also have association with the underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries, bringing further connection to the psychopomp Mercury being the ruler of this fertile face.  Since the current Mercury retrograde began in the first face of Taurus, as well as Mercury’s regenerating conjunction with our Sun, there will be wisdom found in embracing pleasures, allowing ourselves to receive joy, and engaging with the spirits of abundance who lay at the root of creative action that brings both happiness as well as material stability.  The wisdom found within our bodies flows more freely with the quicksilver of Mercury when feeling the pleasures and good cheer of the Charites.

References

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

UAC 2018

United Astrology Conference

May 24 – 29, 2018

I will be speaking at the United Astrology Conference in May 2018 which will be held in Chicago, Illinois in the USA.  I’m honored to be part of an extraordinary group of astrologers who will be presenting a wide ranging selection of astrology topics.  It will be the biggest astrological event to be held in the next few years.  UAC takes places over a longer period of time than most astrology conferences and as a result is more expensive than other conferences if you are staying the entire time.  However, right now there is an “early bird” registration fee available until May 1, 2017 that is less expensive. For more information including how to register please visit the website:

https://www.uacastrology.com

I will be presenting on Friday, May 25 at 11 am.  My presentation is entitled “The Light and Shadow of Mercury in the Secondary Progressed Chart.”  I will be sharing practical techniques for how to work with Mercury in the secondary progressed chart, including how to interpret the meaning of Mercury shifting between being direct and retrograde in the secondary progressed chart as well as significant aspects with Mercury to pay attention to.

Full Moon in Libra

max ernst whole city

La Ville Entière (1935/6) by Max Ernst

Oh, may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
For miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night
like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge men’s
search
To vaster issues.
So to live is heaven:
To make undying music in the world . . .

—George Eliot from “The Choir Invisible”

The Full Moon on April 10 or 11, depending upon your location, is united with Jupiter in Libra and ruled by Venus retrograde in Pisces.  The generous pleasures we might expect from a Full Moon so strongly bound with Jupiter and Venus, however, are significantly altered by the catalytic aspects surrounding each.  The Full Moon forms challenging aspects with Uranus and Pluto, while Venus is slowing down to stand still within a hard aspect to Saturn.  There is both immense destruction and inspiring creativity occurring, with those grasping for power locked in unyielding combat just as others are joining forces in dynamic co-creation.  The constant theme weaving through all is accelerated change instigating amplified feelings and the need to adjust and rebalance within turbulent, swift currents.

The Libra Full Moon is not for the faint of heart, as it calls for a courageous response to current circumstances.   Uranus demands empowered radicality willing to burst free from restrictive conventions, Pluto demands acting from a place of secure inner authority, while Jupiter is magnifying a yearning for connection and shared generosity that can empower those with shared interests.  Jupiter aligned with the Full Moon also can provoke overwhelming emotional reactions to whatever feels unjust within the numerous struggles swirling within society.  These aspects also shine light on selfish quests for wealth and power by groups and individuals attempting control without regard for the repercussions of their action on others.  The Full Moon in the outwardly directed home of Venus supports organizing networks to aid those in need as well as channelling tensions into artistry, creativity, and inventive responses that uplift, empower, and express love.

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The Hundred Headless Woman Opens Her August Sleeve (1929) by Max Ernst

In Love and Will I pointed out that behind will lies wish. This does not mean that whatever one wishes will then become the goal of one’s resolution, but it does mean that the deeper levels of human motivation must include wishing, whether one calls it yearning, longing, passionate desiring, or something else. Otherwise the willing is merely applied from the outside and is never transformed into action. We must have a conviction before an act of will can be effective. “Wish” is part of the area in human consciousness which includes hoping, yearning, imagination, believing– all of which have to do with the innate dimension of feelings that give birth to motivation . . .

Wishing, longing, yearning, myth making– all these activities of human consciousness are as central as they have ever been, and any teaching of resolutions or guiding rules that does not include these activities is doomed to failure. Wishing and hoping come directly out of the functions of dreaming and making myths. “In dreams begin responsibilities,” as the poet Delmore Schwartz so rightly reminded us, and we could say with even more cogency, if less poetically, in myths begin ethics and aspirations. It was a wise person who stated, “I don’t care who makes a society’s laws as long as I can make their myths.”

— Rollo May from The Cry for Myth

Venus retrograde in Pisces rules the Full Moon in square to Saturn and conjoining Chiron while slowly moving backward across her exaltation degree.  Venus retrograde is not known for wish fulfillment, but Venus retrograde arising as a Morning Star shortly before sunrise in exaltation can bring clarity to our deepest desires, most cherished values and priorities, and the relationships deserving our commitment.  Under the influence of Saturn’s scythe we also more acutely feel the limitations of time available to pursue passions and the necessity of persevering through separations or trying circumstances. Saturnine traits such as patience, discipline, and hard work will be needed, as well as walking the virtuous path of integrity.  Lessons may arise around how our Venusian natures must descend into our unconscious feelings and innermost yearnings in order to arise and manifest what will bring us our true pleasures as well as empowered presence.

The Full Moon in Libra under the influence of Venus in this position will magnify the suffering of the world and those oppressed and victimized by dominant power structures. As Venus is holding counsel with Chiron in a cave near her most sacred water, the incendiary inferno of dogmatism and its persecutory rage swirl and snarl with Saturnine constriction.  However, Venus in her degree of natural abundance has many resources at her disposal to address the demands of Saturn.  We must accept fate and our destiny that has brought us to this point, yet as our hearts guide us to who and what we wish to commit to, we will discover not only what we want to build but how to further develop it in the months ahead.  After Venus stations direct on April 15, she will form her final square with Saturn on April 21 during the last quarter phase of the current lunation cycle.  The challenges of Saturn will guide us toward creating the supports needed to bring our inner dreams and visions into reality.

Hokusai-fuji-koryuu

The Dragon of Smoke Escaping Mt. Fuji by Hokusai

The tumultuous conflicts among world leaders that have been increasing in magnitude recently can be viewed in astrology through the current retrograde movement of Jupiter that has taken it from an opposition with Uranus back through a square with Pluto.  On April 7 Jupiter experienced the heart of its retrograde phase by forming an exact opposition with the Sun, and as a result key events on both collective and personal levels have been occurring that illustrate the current trajectory of development and expansion.  Just as storylines in world events can be traced back seven years ago when the square between Uranus and Pluto was first forming, so may we sense the roots of our current dilemmas in our experiences of the past few years of immense change.  The Full Moon in Libra will highlight not only where we have greater potential for growth to manifest, but also show us the foundational issues we must address if we wish to reach the full potential.  The volatilizing influence Jupiter is bringing to Pluto and Uranus will be continuing to play out until early October when Jupiter finally leaves Libra for the sign of Scorpio.

Vesta in Cancer has been engaging with the challenging aspects between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto since the beginning of February, as Vesta stationed direct in mid March in range of an opposition to Pluto and a square to both Jupiter and Uranus.  Vesta in Cancer is in square to the Full Moon and as a result the full meaning of Vesta challenging Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto will be illuminated.  Vesta in Cancer has been bringing focus to what needs nurturing within us, whether that be a wellness or spiritual practice, opening to a relationship or tending to one’s own inner realm in private sanctum.  Vesta is able to sustain focus with copious amounts of commitment, and so brings the importance of making time and space each day to invest energy into passionate work or personal ritual that activates authentic spirituality and creativity.

There is additional martial force underlying the Libra Full Moon as its ruler Venus is receiving Mars in Taurus through a sextile.  Mars is also separating from a conjunction with Ceres in Taurus, bringing both Mars and Ceres into contact with Venus retrograde.  On the one hand this means the widespread conflicts and violence that have been enflaming world events will continue to intensify.  On personal levels, however, the sextile between Mars, Ceres, and Venus makes a lot of desire available to inject into building supportive structures as well as guarding and protecting who or what we hold most dear.  This is not a fast and impulsive Mars vibe but rather one that is slow, steady, thorough, and capable of patiently developing goals rather than acting rashly and impatiently.

Giorgio_de_Chirico,_Merkuriusun_Derin_Dusunusu

Mercury’s Meditation (1973) by Giorgio de Chirico

Memory is the mother of creativity. This is a myth worth pondering. For it is in memory that one saves and savors the significant experiences, the dazzling sights, the critical events. In memory these precious experiences form themselves together into a myth which tells us a story. We say we “sleep on an idea,” and when we wake up we may feel we have arrived at a new insight, as though it were a gift from the gods. And who is to say it is not? Mnemosyne, or “Memory,” is the goddess who puts together our materials with which new discoveries are made and poems are written and great books and enduring paintings are inspired.

— Rollo May from Crying for Myth

Mercury is bearing a potent witness and influence to events surrounding the Full Moon, as Mercury stationed retrograde in Taurus a day before the lunation and is also symbolically descending into the underworld at sunset as it will be disappearing from view until reemerging again as a Morning Star around April 29.  These conditions were known as being phasis in ancient astrology and gives Mercury retrograde in Taurus increased prominence to deliver a vital message we are in need of receiving.  We may gain awareness of thoughts and memories buried within our inner recesses that dramatically alter our current perceptions, or a potent omen may cross our path while slumbering in dreams or journeying through our environment that proves to serve as a powerful guide in the time period ahead.

Mercury has some natural strength where it is stationing, for Mercury rules the first decan of Taurus.  The astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that the Mercurial first face of Taurus holds resonance with the thorough and patient planning necessary to develop future harvests.  Yet Mercury is under the full influence of Venus at the Full Moon as it is in both the home and the bounds of Venus, drawing us into our bodily senses to find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties.  From the Full Moon in Libra through the last quarter phase of the forthcoming lunation cycle, Mercury will be in the process of being purified and regenerated under the beams of our Sun, and while we may notice some delays in Mercurial significations in our lives, we will also be able to strip away old mental habits and patterns in need of release.  Around April 19 or 20, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at the first degree of Taurus, uniting with our solar light and becoming empowered to bring about everything to do with the Mercury archetype in our lives. The powerful Venusian influence upon this moment further amplifies potential to reveal inner desires and values needing to emerge into awareness, with the last quarter lunation helping us dislodge from old preconceptions.

4 of Swords

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra falls in the third face 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 tomb with a statue of a knight in prayer, 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.  Since we are in a time of Mercury retrograde, we also can integrate the duality within this image, the concept of peace that necessitates the concept of conflict, the pilgrim/knight in prayer surrounded by swords.  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how his positioning is like a re-balancing of the chakras and re-integration of our body and mind, and the sword below him is a tool to be used to cut away the false and inessential in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in his book on the decans 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 oscillating 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).

Jupiter stationed retrograde in its own face around February 6, turning back within a place of strength to eventually station direct on June 9 in range of a square to Pluto.  As we experienced the heart of the Jupiter retrograde when it directly opposed our Sun a few days before the Full Moon in Libra, the Full Moon is illuminating important information for us to focus on in order to bring about the dynamic visions that have been entering our awareness since Jupiter turned retrograde back in February.  As the lessons of the third face of Libra suggest, we must strike balance within turbulent and contending forces surrounding us in worldly events, finding center within the true desires and love of our burning heart.

References

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

Eliot, George. (1926). One Hundred and One Famous Poems. Chicago: Cable.

May, Rollo. (1991). The Cry for Myth. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.