Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius: Age of Air

Jupiter Saturn Aquarius Bradley

Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius by Bradley Naragon

Grand Conjunction

The world has lifted its gaze to the heavens to drink in the union of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Fittingly, Aquarius bears ample symbolism involving the relationship between humans and the divine. Saturn as the ruler of Aquarius tends the boundary between the incarnate and the numinous, as Saturn is the most distant visible planet guarding the threshold between the wandering planets with the celestial fire of the fixed stars. Perhaps the most common constellational myth associated with Aquarius is Ganymedes, the princely shepherd who was snatched away from earth by the eagle of Zeus to serve the nectar of immortality to the deities above. Other ancient attributions include Cecrops, an earthly king who poured watery libations to the gods and was said to have taught literary and burial arts; as well as Aristaios, who was similarly shown making libations to Zeus and was known for not only introducing a multitude of arts and crafts to humanity, but also rites summoning winds that would temper the heat brought by the rising of Sirius. As the sign of the new cycle between Jupiter and Saturn, Aquarius points towards the importance of tending to your relationship with sources of spirit, gathering useful arts and innovative ideas to mediate the myriad issues in need of addressing between humans within the world they are part of.

The great conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 has announced a new chapter in the story of our world. Befitting its dazzling visual appearance following sunset on the solstice, the astrological implications of Jupiter and Saturn uniting at 00°29′ Aquarius are extraordinary. The tight unity between Jupiter and Saturn in the sky reflects how in astrology it is binding us to an era of air.  The synodic cycle between Jupiter and Saturn lasts for twenty years, yet sits within larger triplicity cycles of forming conjunctions in the same element (fire, earth, air, water) that last for over two centuries each. After their 2020 solstice union, there will only be conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in tropical air signs until December 21, 2159 when they will unite in Scorpio, followed by two more grand conjunctions in tropical air signs in 2179 and 2199 (resulting in 2219 marking full entrance into the next era of water).

Astrologers from the eighth/ninth century such as Masha’allah and Abu Ma’shar made famous the theory that while each twenty year cycle between Jupiter and Saturn signified important changes in political rulership, larger shifts in dynasties and other cultural orders such as religious movements occurred during the transmutation between triplicity elements. Just like the war between Zeus and the Olympians against Cronus and the Titans in myth tells the story of a new order overcoming an old order, so have the conjunctions between the star of Zeus and the star of Cronus signaled the toppling of old ruling orders by the ascension of new powers. Since the world today is no longer arranged into the same kind of royal dynasties as it was in the courts of empire that ancient astrologers served, the changes wrought by Jupiter and Saturn initiating us into an era of air needs to be applied to our current cultures and power dynamics. 

The brilliant union of Jupiter and Saturn upon the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, the darkest night of the year that kindles the return of the Sun, and on the Summer Solstice in the southern hemisphere when the Sun reaches the zenith of its light, could not have had a more dramatic setting. As it also came at the end of a year that brought a global pandemic and shutdowns of economies and travel around the world, the striking solstice star of Jupiter and Saturn has served as a sign of hope for many. Yet it doesn’t mean that everything will be changing overnight, nor that everything is going to get much better nor much worse. It does mean that traversing a period known as a “great mutation” will be taking us into an extended period of collective volatility and reshaping. It also means the strategies sourced in understanding from the previous era of earth will no longer be as effective, that things will not be returning to the way they were before, and that we must reorient and adjust in alignment with the radical reordering brought by the era of air. 

Jupiter Saturn by Bradley Naragon

When Saturn and Jupiter meet, we experience a mixing of the darkness, death, and decomposition of Saturn with the fertile growth, generous abundance, and expansive visioning of Jupiter. We can feel our skin ready to shed as we move into molting a new identity from our inner multiplicity. There can be a great release of our past, grieving what can no longer be and welcoming what is ready to emerge. On the larger and slower scale of cyclical time governed by Saturn, there will also be a need to let go of the old era of earth that is passing away. The first conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in the past cycle of earth was in 1802 in Virgo, and after a final conjunction in a fire sign in 1821, the Saturn and Jupiter cycle fully moved into the era of earth during three conjunctions in Taurus that stretched from August 1840 until February 1841. 

During the past era of earth, colonizing empires fueled by the industrial revolution created vast economic systems that brought stability for some and oppression for others. Immense technological achievements were made out of resources from the earth, and monstrous wars were fought over land that brought the world to the brink of destruction. Nuclear weaponry was developed that could wipe humanity off the face of the earth. We have much to grieve related to losses on our earth today, from the extinction of animal species to the eradication of forests and wilderness. As we have been ending the earth era and transitioning toward the air era, the impact of air pollution on troubling climatic changes on earth has gained increasing amounts of attention. 

In astrology the earth element is the most dense, the most stable, and the most resistant to change. For those fortunate to live in places where they could develop into their full potential, the past earth era contained the possibility of achieving stable lifestyles and legacies that could be passed on to future generations. In contrast, the element of air in astrology brings volatile change, dispersal and redistribution of resources, and accelerated exchanges of communication. Flexibility rather than stability is essential to air as it is always changing, spreading and elevating. The winds of change brought by the air era are only beginning to blow, as Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius signifies a gathering of clouds on the horizon whose storms will reshape our cultural landscape in ways we can hardly imagine. The winds of the air era will erode the structures built up across the earth era, transporting seeds of new ideas across vast distances to take root in new locations.

During the past era of earth the meaning of  “horse power” shifted from being purely about the ancient skills of horsemanship that helped cultivate human civilization, to referring to the speed of motorized inventions fueled by earthy resources. In the era of air, the gravity of earth will be exchanged for the boundless nature of air that connects all of us within the encircling atmosphere we breathe, opening awareness to vaster realms of inner and outer space to explore. While human skills like horsemanship have been utilized in the past for ploughing fields, in the new era of airy terrain we will be cultivating the realm of thought and lightning quick communication. New relational skills will be needed as wings spring from the sides of our earthbound horses like the divine Pegasus, who in myth created springs of watery inspiration wherever it struck its hoof upon earth. As Aquarius is the living image of the Water Bearer, by tending our relationship with revelatory muses and the diverse sources of inspiration within the interconnected fields of nature, we may gather ideas to cultivate and share from flowing springs of imagination.

Yet as we deepen into relationship with the winged horses we may ride into flights of soaring thought and ingenuity, the material concerns of living upon earth, the crises of people lacking food and shelter, and the need to collectively change our relationships within Nature will not be disappearing into thin air. Aquarius and the other signs of air are the human signs of the zodiac, and so humanitarian concerns and the impacts of human civilizations will take precedence as Jupiter and Saturn continue to unite within them during the next two centuries.

Fragment of a terracotta volute-krater (bowl for mixing wine and water), mid-4th century B.C.

Our conception of four elemental roots goes back to the ancient writing of Empedocles, commonly believed to have lived from 494 BC to 434 BC. Interestingly, the span of Empedocles’ lifetime involved a previous transition of an earth era slowly shifting into an era of air over time, as the first apparent conjunction in a tropical air sign was in 462 BC, breaking up a sequence of conjunctions in earth signs that began in 581 BC (following the 462 BC conjunction in Libra there were two more conjunctions in earth, followed by two more air conjunctions in 402 BC and 383 BC, followed by a final earth conjunction in 363 BC).

In the famous fragment that introduced the elements as personified divinities, Empedocles wrote:

Hear first the four roots of all things:
Dazzling Zeus, life-bearing Hera, Aidoneus, and
Nestis who moistens the springs of mortals with her tears.

If unfamiliar, Aidoneus is another name for Hades while Nestis is another name for Persephone. While there have been arguments for ages over which deity should be connected with which element, Peter Kingsley in Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic declared Zeus to be connected with the element called aither by Empedocles, Hera with earth, Hades with fire, and Persephone with water. While there have also been debates over possible differences between aither and the Greek aer we connect with air in English, Kingsley also emphatically argued that aither was used by 6th and 5th century BC writers to describe both the upper and lower regions of air, “a continuum extending from the earth’s surface to the stars or beyond.” In contrast, Kingsley revealed that aer was used to describe an aspect of aither through the forms of clouds or obscure mists. In fact, Kingsley noted the significance of the Homeric epithet for Zeus: cloud-gatherer.

The way our perception can become clouded, obscured by the mists of our illusions about reality is a key aspect of the era of air that needs our awareness. The union of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius is especially important due to it being the airy home of Saturn, lending reception to their conjunction and giving it the direct expression of Saturn. Saturn has long been known as a guardian at the border between time and the timeless, the most distant visible planet from earth at the boundary between the wandering planets and the realm of fixed stars and the heavenly divine. In Aquarius, Saturn’s role of defining boundaries will be applied to matters of thought, highlighting the importance of how we utilize our perception and cultivate critical thinking skills. There is great personal potential available through the use of the Internet and other technological innovations, yet the control tactics of Saturn can also be utilized to manipulate information and persuasively influence the mindsets of people through control of the information presented to them. As information and messages circulate freely, it will be up to each of us to discern the differences between conspiracy theories, false propaganda, and true insight.

There are significant differences in meaning between Jupiter and Saturn but they do find common ground when seeking higher status in society, claiming greater authority and power, and accumulating greater wealth.  While the era of earth could be said to be more suited for hierarchical power structures, and a conjunction in Aquarius could correlate with formations of communities that are rooted in interdependent alliances between members, the shift in triplicity eras will not bring an immediate downfall of present power structures nor resolve the myriad issues of societal oppression that gained increased exposure during the past year. Some power structures ill suited for the collective changes will collapse, but others will be seeking to accumulate even greater amounts of power and control especially through airy technological innovations. As a result, there will be an increasing need to find and create alternative platforms and communal spaces to mutually support one another outside the parameters of the power structures that have been stockpiling personal information from social media and search engines for profit and persuasion.

Gaining clarity for what you do not value, and forming community centered around what you do identify with are processes associated with Aquarius as it involves both the rejection and limits of Saturn as well as the design of new forms that can harbor community. Yet when forming alternative communities set against mainstream doctrine, the fixed nature of Aquarius can lead to the crystallization of new dogma that becomes righteously projected on others. The same groups forming as a counter to consensus culture can then insist on conformity to group codes amongst members, threatening to outcast those who refuse to conform to the conditioning of the group. Aquarius involves fragmentation and fracturing amongst other significations, and so as many people continue to splinter off into groups engaged in polarized conflicts with other groups, it will be up to each of us as individuals to hold the tension of differing perspectives with a willingness to question as well as listen to others. Conversations can involve debate while respecting the dignity of the other, and in fact fixated opinions obscured by bias are more likely to shift within spaces that continue to circulate communication rather than shut it down with self righteousness.

Aquarius has strong associations with not only those who become exiled due to nonconformity with consensus values, but also those who willingly separate themselves from the conditioning of dominant cultures so that they can live more freely on their own terms, cultivating ideas and creative expressions in spaces removed from the contamination of groupthink and cultural bias. Saturn’s rulership of Aquarius places it in opposition to the Sun’s rulership of Leo, pointing toward increased attention being given to those on the margins or outskirts from centers of ruling power. Decentralization of power will be an important Aquarian theme during the new cycle, as well as shedding and decomposing ways you have been conditioned to think that are out of alignment with your essential self. The perspective and insight of the outsider will be necessary, with important figures likely emerging from seclusion or exile at important times to deliver pivotal messages.

Air is expansive and has a sense of freedom. It delights in curiosity and storytelling, finding pleasure when listening to revelatory new perspectives and the latest gossip. It can feel coldly rational and objective sometimes, at other times playful and jovial. It’s abstract and uplifts when blowing through our world with ideals and inspiration. Yet the circulating quality of air that tends towards instability must be reconciled with the fixed nature of Aquarius that endures with obstinacy and creates change that has a long lasting impact. With Saturn in its home of Aquarius from now until 7 March 2023, we need to work with the side of Saturn that draws from its deep powers of contemplation as we will need to be continually adapting to foundational reshaping taking place around the world. Fortunately, the co-presence of Jupiter in Aquarius for much of 2021 can help in envisioning strategies to stabilize our course as we navigate through the collective volatility that will be rippling through the year. 

by CG Jung from Liber Novus

Jupiter in Aquarius

The movement of Jupiter from its fall in Capricorn into Aquarius pleases the star of Zeus, yet it’s co-presence with Saturn means it will need to remain in dialogue with Saturn. Due to the great conjunction occurring within the airy home of Saturn, Jupiter will be lending its cohering support to all things signified by Saturn. Jupiter in Aquarius will add its expansive vision to the construction, deconstruction, and maintenance of boundaries and structures governed by Saturn. The legendary 15th century philosopher, priest, and astrologer Marsilio Ficino noted that Jupiter can be utilized in remediating the melancholic impact of Saturn, writing in Three Books on Life that when ancient sages “feared that Saturn would oppress them on account of their sedulous zeal for philosophizing,” they would make daily use of Jovial sounds, songs of Jupiter, while living in the open air. Jupiter will temper the austere side of Saturn and amplify our potential for finding inventive solutions and embracing expansive visions in the face of the tumultuous collective change we will experience in 2021.

Jupiter will move all the way through Aquarius by the middle of May 2021, entering its sea faring home of Pisces on May 13. After Jupiter stations retrograde in Pisces on June 20, it will return to Aquarius on July 28, 2021. Jupiter will make its final trek through Aquarius from the end of July until returning to Pisces on December 28, 2021. The airy climate of Aquarius thus serves as a transitional space wherein Jupiter moves away from its fall in Capricorn, where it experiences challenging zodiacal terrain, en route to returning to its empowered home of Pisces. We can envision Jupiter as gathering clouds of concepts and insights while in Aquarius that will bring forth an outpouring of imaginative results once in Pisces, where the star of Zeus expresses itself with its full strength. With the slow and steady support of Saturn in Aquarius, we may discover that the ideas and work we develop while Jupiter is in Aquarius will deepen in growth once Jupiter enters Pisces.

Jupiter is comfortable in Aquarius as both Jupiter and Aquarius are diurnal in nature and Jupiter also has triplicity dignity in all of the air signs. As a participating ruler of the air triplicity, Jupiter will have the wind at its back as it sets sail through Aquarius. Air signs in astrology are further associated with the jovial sanguine temperament which is harmonious with the nature of Jupiter.  The warming and moistening nature of air in astrology is in accord with the fertile and uplifting nature of Jupiter, giving Jupiter in Aquarius support when seeking cohesion in social connections and synthesizing insight. The flexible, unifying, and mobile qualities of air will amplify Jupiter’s potential for gathering information and developing lines of thought; since Jupiter will be in Aquarius along with Saturn, it’s co-presence with Saturn will accentuate our capacity for concentrated focus, reflecting upon and redefining our mental frameworks, and conceiving ideas and forms that will have longterm consequences. Fitting for the innumerable aspects of global societies in need of repair in 2021, the combination of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius will be helpful for diagnosing the emerging issues and finding solutions.

The first century Roman poet Marcus Manilius in Astronomica described Aquarius with images evoking the ancient Mesopotamian divinity Enki or Ea, the divine artisan and lord of freshwaters within the earth who helped cultivate the growth of human civilization through teaching irrigation that controls rivers through the formation of canals. Manilius described a Waterman pouring forth streams from his urn, bestowing skills such as “how to divine springs under the ground and conduct them above, to transform the flow of water so as to spray the very stars, to mock the sea with man-made shores at the bidding of luxury, to construct different types of artificial lakes and rivers, and to support aloft for domestic use streams that come from afar . . .” With Jupiter in Aquarius, nourishment and expansive growth will come through irrigating channels of communication to allow for refreshened perspectives from unorthodox sources on the periphery of the usual cultural authorities. Across global societies, the combination of Jupiter with Saturn in Aquarius can be helpful in restructuring information systems and designing innovations across disciplines so that resources can be disseminated more widely, bringing benevolent attention to communities that have been marginalized by dominant cultures.

Yet we must be cautious that the channels of communication we construct and maintain with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius do not keep us rigidly stuck in one perspective and cut off from diverse viewpoints. Joy Usher in Tiny Universe wrote that “Saturn’s ownership of Aquarius [indoctrinates] by repeatedly telling someone that something is true (creating its own reality), whilst at the same time blocking out or preventing any ‘counter truth’ which might destabilize the original information.” By sustaining an open mind and holding the tension of multiple perspectives, we can utilize the capacity Jupiter possesses in Aquarius for taking in a broad perspective with the objectivity needed to see issues from multiple sides. Other times we will need to draw upon the skill of Jupiter in Aquarius for going it alone, detaching or exiting from the influence of those with viewpoints clearly misaligned with what we need to create and develop. With Jupiter in Aquarius we can help pierce through the obscuring mists of misinformation through dialectic dialogue and scrutinizing questions that expose false beliefs and allow for new questions to emerge that will deepen inquiry.

Like an eagle of Zeus, Jupiter in Aquarius can encircle targets of focus from far above in a realm of contemplation removed from the turbulence of overly subjective emotions. With a degree of detachment its eagle eye can penetrate into the underlying dynamics of issues, clarifying what needs support, alteration, or generating. It’s not that Jupiter in Aquarius is cut off from emotional involvement, however. In fact, Jupiter in Aquarius can become deeply emotional and passionate when engaged with the people, community, issues, and concepts it cares about, so much so it will make sacrifices for causes it believes in. The fixed nature of Aquarius provides Jupiter with ample supplies of persistence that will allow Jupiter to persevere through challenges and sustain its capacity for fostering stability and visioning next steps over long periods of time. As a result, not only is Jupiter in Aquarius well suited for helping us endure the extended period of dealing with the repercussions from the global pandemic that will be coming, it can also support us in cultivating mutually supportive communities that will help us navigate through the unknown difficulties on the horizon.

Due to the pleasure Jupiter in Aquarius finds when breaking free from the status quo, we will be able to utilize the transit of Jupiter through Aquarius for discovering inspiration and resolution from unusual sources and philosophies existing beyond the boundaries of mainstream thought and belief. As a bridge between the known and the unknown, Jupiter in Aquarius will facilitate deep dives into the unexplored aspects of your interests. The nonlinear side of Jupiter in Aquarius can attune to resonant frequencies across barriers of time and space, synthesizing insight together from diverse time periods and cultures.  Jupiter in Aquarius will support movements within the arts and humanities that appear leading-edge yet also have roots in lineages from the past, supplying a solid foundation from which groundbreaking inventions may spring. We can expect an invigorating influx of innovative ideas and trends across the diverse fields of the humanities, arts and sciences as Jupiter makes its passage through Aquarius.

A small sampling of well known figures born with Jupiter in Aquarius includes Malala Yousafzai, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, Immanuel Kant, Alan Watts, Allen Ginsburg, Jean Jacque Rousseau, Michel Foucault, Thomas Paine, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, William Burroughs, Walt Whitman, Richard Tarnas, Gustave Dore, Wassily Kandinsky, Madame Blavatsky, Marie Curie, Agatha Christie, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, Jeremy Corbin, Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Ted Turner, Rachel Maddow, Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, Meryl Streep, Marilyn Monroe, Bill Murray, Ricky Gervais, Jerry Lewis, Groucho Marx, Dave Chappelle, Eddie Murphy, Mel Brooks, Martin Short, John Steinbeck, David Foster Wallace, HP Lovecraft, Chuck Berry, Etta James, Tom Verlaine, and Tom Waits. 

by CG Jung from Liber Novus

Lightning in the Mist

The meaning of the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius needs to also take account of the fact that Jupiter and Saturn are applying toward a waning square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Although Jupiter will only form one exact square aspect with Uranus on January 17, there will be a drawn out sequence of three square aspects between Saturn and Uranus that will be exact on February 17 at 7º14′ Aquarius and Taurus, for a second time at 13º07′ on June 14, and for a final time on December 24, 2021 at 11º06′ Aquarius and Taurus. The last quarter square aspects between Saturn and Jupiter with Uranus means that both Saturn and Jupiter have made it three-fourths of the way through their synodic cycles with Uranus (Saturn and Uranus have a cycle that lasts about forty five and a half years, while Jupiter and Uranus have a cycle that lasts between thirteen and fourteen years). The tension between them will demand reorientation through questioning the direction we have been following on personal and societal levels. While the implications of these catalyzing aspects are massive on a global scale and will involve conflicts between those seeking world power, they will also be decisively important in our individual lives.

As I previously wrote in March 2020 in my article on Saturn in Aquarius, although I had long wondered what the depth of discord signified by Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto coming together during 2020 would be like, the aspect that gave me the most pause was that we would be transitioning from a conjunction of Saturn and Pluto into a waning square between Saturn and Uranus, with Jupiter moving through conjunctions with Pluto and Saturn into a waning square with Uranus. This tumultuous sequence suggests that the exposure of societal toxicity and shadowy material during the alignments between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto could lead to explosive conflicts and the shattering collapses of societal structures once the alignment between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus becomes activated. Like any period of breakdown involving Uranus, however, the increased volatility also means that important breakthroughs will also be possible.

I’ve long found meaning in the way Dane Rudhyar described the relationships between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. Rudhyar viewed Jupiter as the soulful function of our purpose within the form of our Saturn structure, as Jupiter receives, manages, and initiates within the boundaries of Saturn. Rudhyar described Jupiter as helping us to integrate what the external world has to offer that will contribute to our inner structure, just as Jupiter needs the protective structure of Saturn in order to operate from within. As a result, while Jupiter expands us, the contraction of Saturn in response tends to keep our growth confined to the current framework that for most has been heavily conditioned by surrounding culture.

In Uranus – Master of Transformations Dane Rudhyar described how Uranus can radically change the structures of Saturn, unlike Jupiter which modifies within the structures of Saturn. Rudhyar wrote that Uranus “pierces through” the walls of Saturn, allowing our consciousness within the shells of Saturn to “behold vistas of the beyond,” creating “channels through which the ‘flashes of intuition,’ the ‘inspiration of genius,’ may suddenly reveal themselves.” As a result, the shattering impact of Uranus can give Jupiter space to expand our sense of meaning and vision beyond the former constraints of Saturn. As Rudhyar imagined, “where the walls of consciousness are strong, the Jupiterian urge opens the gates, that caravans loaded with Uranian gifts from the farther lands may enter.” Yet the influence of Saturn is still needed to structure and manifest these far-flung insights into forms that can be understood and utilized by those surrounding us in our collective cultures.

Thus the sudden leaps of illumination and inspiration that Jupiter and Uranus constellate can break us free from the conditioning of culture that have repressed or limited our capacity to embody our essential purpose and potential. Yet the breakthroughs of Jupiter and Uranus can be extremely disruptive to the ways we have formed our security and identity around the attachments that their lightning strikes dislodge. There can be potential to dissociate or split off our awakened potential rather than find ways to begin integrating it into our life, risking the volatility to present forms of stability that integration will incite. If we choose to accept the awakening, we must realize and embrace a more expansive whole that holds within it our radically shifting perceptions, experimenting with how to live from our fresh emergence rather than remain in the old status quo. Rather than live from the side of Saturn that conforms to group dynamics for security, we need to work with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus in ways that allow us to shed whatever we have built up over time that no longer authentically aligns with us.

However, the integration possible on personal levels will much more difficult to achieve on societal levels. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described periods of Saturn and Uranus as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.” André Barbault in Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology described the Saturn Uranus cycle as inciting “a thirst for conquest, extremist aspirations, ventures that go to the limits, authoritarian power” among other themes when they conjoin and initiate a new cycle. Breaking down their forty-five or so year cycle, Barbault defined their 1805-52 cycle as being about territorialism and the United States, their 1852-97 cycle involving the movement “from capitalism to imperialism,” their 1897-1942 cycle involving the movement “from imperialism to fascism,” their 1942-88 cycle involving “the Americanization of the world,” and their present cycle from 1988 to 2032 involving “globalization.”

The current Saturn Uranus cycle began in 1988 at the end of Sagittarius, with Saturn and Uranus forming conjunctions on February 13 at 29º55′, June 26 at 28º47′, and October 18 at 27º49′ Sagittarius. At the beginning of the new cycle between Saturn and Uranus the Cold War came to an end, the Soviet Union was torn apart, and the Berlin Wall came down, with the demolition of the Berlin Wall completed in November 1991 with Saturn in Aquarius. The meaning of the United States emerging as the world superpower at the beginning of the present Saturn Uranus cycle was clear to Barbault:

“The US became the only world superpower. Its authority was omnipresent and it had a decisive weight in international life until this unilateralism is contested. There is no doubt that American imperialism has reached the summit of its historic superiority with this present cycle 1988 – 2032. Neo-capitalism, hand in hand with the technological revolution, brought about by computer science and crowned by the advent of the Internet.”

— André Barbault in Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology

Notably, there were significant economic crises and disruptions during the waning square aspect between Saturn and Uranus in their previous two cycles. The years 1930 to 1931 brought the Great Depression and economic instability around the world, while the years that Saturn formed a waning square with Uranus from 1975 to 1976 brought inflation and stalled economic growth. Oftentimes the waning square between Saturn and Uranus brings challenges and tests emanating from the tension of their opposition- in the present cycle, this involved a long sequence of four oppositions from November 2008 into the beginning of 2010, a time period often described as the Great Recession. 

The years surrounding 2010 are especially important to consider, as there was not only an opposition between Saturn and Uranus but also an opposition between Saturn and Jupiter as well as a conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus.  Relative to the environmental and economic issues related to the era of earth we are leaving, both the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico occurred during this time. Within these years the present cycle between Jupiter and Uranus began, with the first conjunction at 0°18′ Aries on 8 June 2010, the second conjunction at 28°43′ Pisces on 19 September 2010, and their third conjunction at 27°02′ Pisces on 4 January 2011.

The waning square phases between Jupiter and Saturn with Uranus we are entering in 2021 involves the beginning of the decomposition of the previous cycles, a time in which we must question and confront the societal beliefs and structures we have developed, reorienting toward what needs to be released and what needs to be built to address whatever the present collective crises expose as no longer working. There will be a need for courage, for drawing from the depths of inner reservoirs in order to mediate the numerous polarized conflicts erupting that involve large collective forces careening seemingly out of control. When focusing on our personal lives and those we can impact on an individual level, however, the immense shifts signified by the alignments between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus stress the importance of claiming your inner authority to productively change the elements of your life you are able to manage. Community and nurturing mutually supportive relationships will be vital, as will be the need to construct flexible networks of support that can reach out to those in need.

The study of past triplicity cycles reveals that empires tend to fall during the transition from earth to air, with an influx of new communication networks that redistribute resources arriving in a climate of instability during which empires of consolidated material security are broken up (the conquests of Alexander the Great, the fall of the Roman empire, and the conquests of Genghis Khan are some past examples of the transition to the air era). As a result, the volatile aspects between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus that will shape 2021 will be part of a much larger sweep of change around the world. If interested in researching past triplicity eras, it’s important to realize that there is a major difference in defining triplicity eras depending upon whether or not you are using the apparent conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the visible sky that I have been writing about in this article, versus whether you are using their “mean” conjunction cycle based upon the average length of each planetary cycle (click here for an article by Benjamin Dykes on this). Tracking the mean cycle is what gives an orderly succession of eras, whereas tracking the visible conjunctions gives a disordered succession. 

Thus although the first visible conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in tropical air signs occurred in 1980 and 1981, the first mean conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn was in Gemini on November 4, 2000. As a result, in 1980 and 1981 there was a foreshadowing of the new air era that also involved Jupiter and Saturn ending cycles with Pluto similar to how they did so again in 2020. The difference is that Jupiter and Saturn formed their conjunction first in the beginning of the 1980s, with Jupiter then beginning a new cycle with Pluto in Libra in 1981 followed by Saturn beginning a new cycle with Pluto in Libra in 1982. There is therefore a compelling link between the transition to the air era with Pluto, as in 2020 we experienced the beginning of the new cycle between Saturn and Pluto in January followed by Jupiter beginning a new cycle with Pluto before finally coming together with Saturn.  Moreover, the first mean conjunction in Gemini in 2000 aligned with the true locations of Jupiter opposing Pluto and Saturn being within fifteen degrees of its opposition with Pluto.

There are horrific aspects of death and oppression that constellate when Saturn and Pluto align, yet the constructive side of their unions bring opportunities to explore one’s shadow amidst the exposure of societal toxicity. Within the decomposition brought by Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto coming together during 2020 we have had opportunities to discover vital aspects of ourselves to resurrect that had been buried. Though the union of Jupiter and Saturn does not mean we are entering the Age of Aquarius as defined by the precession of the equinoxes, there is a Plutonic link between the period we are in with the ideas that C.G. Jung developed about navigating the transition between the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius. In The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey, Liz Greene wrote that Jung felt that “the Saturn-ruled Aion of Aquarius . . . would initially be a true nigredo within the collective psyche as human beings faced the profound and necessary confrontation with the problem of their own evil.”

We can use astrological symbolism to conjecture that the era of air will open a multitude of new perspectives, ideals, and worlds, and that the collective movement will be more flexible, elevated, and expansive than the era of earth rooted in more solid, heavy, durable, and stable matters. Yet the gravity of the moment, the collective burden of resources being so unequally distributed, the excessive wealth and power controlled by a scant minority, the overconsumption of natural resources by humans, and many other earthly concerns will all be more important than ever. From the vastly larger perspective of time opened by considering triplicity eras, it’s even more clear that everything we do this year matters. Our actions now are not only about what this transition means for us, but also for what it will mean for our ancestors who follow us and will look back upon us as their ancestral source.

As we are the ones responsible for what happens at the beginning of this massive transition, we will not be able to know the full implications of how our actions will reverberate across the next two centuries. We can know that the way we form relationship with the soul of the world around us matters, as will the way we form community with the humans and other-than-humans in our interconnected environments.

XVII THE STAR by Pamela Colman Smith

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References

Barbault, André. (2014). Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology. The Astrological Association.

Eratosthenes and Hyginus Constellation Myths with Aratus’s Phaenomena. A new translation by Robin Hand. (2015). Oxford University Press.

Ficino, Marsilio. Three Books on Life. A critical edition and translation by Carol Kaske and John Clark. (1998). Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology: In Theory and Practice. Rubedo Press.

Greenbaum, Dorian Gieseler. (2005). Temperament: Astrology’s Forgotten Key. The Wessex Astrologer.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Jung, Carl. (1981, 5th printing).  Aion: Researches into the Phenomenlogy of the Self. Routledge.

Kingsley, Peter. (1995). Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition. Oxford University Press.

Noelle, Richard. (1999). The Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  http://www.astropro.com/features/tables/geo/ju-sa/ju000sa.html

Rudhyar, Dane. Jupiter: Organizer of Functions.

Rudhyar, Dane. Uranus:  Master of Transformations.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Usher, Joy. (2018). A Tiny Universe: Astrology and the Thema Mundi Chart. Joy Usher.

Full Moon in Cancer

Hekate and the Three Graces (1st – 2nd Century CE)

Full Moon in Cancer

Around the hollow of her right flank a great stream of the primordially-generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.

In the left flank of Hekate exists the source of virtue, which remains entirely within and does not give up its virginity.

The Chaldean Oracles translated by Ruth Majercik, fragments 51 & 52

Full Moon in Cancer

The Full Moon on December 29 is in the watery sign of Cancer, the home of the Moon where its potency for nurturing restoration and drawing sustenance from memories and dreams can be expressed directly and fully. Ever since 2018 the Full Moon in Cancer each year has had to share its watery domicile with its North Node as well as forming an opposition with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, creating greater volatility and a harder edge to our lunar experience. In fact, we entered 2020 with a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 that set off the conjunction that formed between Saturn and Pluto a few days later on January 12. While the Cancer full moons and eclipses of the past three years have been helpful for drawing our attention to issues in need of tending, the Cancer lunation at the end of 2020 will deliver a purer dose of lunar medicine to imbibe. The silvery soulfulness pouring down from the Cancer Full Moon will be able to find its way to the parts of yourself in need of its nurturance, the more so that space is made to receive it and discover where it leads you.

The Full Moon in Cancer will peak as we prepare to cross the divide of calendar years into 2021. While the end of the year typically feels like a threshold experience, there will be an amplified sense of being at a collective crossroads due to the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on the solstice. The Cancer Full Moon will serve as a beacon of light not unlike the torch traditionally carried by Hekate, illuminating our feelings about what we are ready to release from the past year and what we are hopeful will emerge in the year ahead. We will need to draw from the perspective of the two-faced, threshold guardian Janus that can simultaneously reflect backwards while looking forward, as we need to honor the freshness of being at the beginning. The Cancer Full Moon will illuminate our arrival at the beginning of a new chapter in world history that has opened in correspondence with the new cycle set into motion by Jupiter and Saturn.

The Cancer Full Moon is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurus and applying toward an opposition with Mercury in Capricorn and a trine with Neptune in Pisces. The Moon’s opposition with Mercury will be mentally activating, while its movement from the sextile with Uranus into the trine with Neptune will activate the nonlinear realm of memories, emotions, and somatic material that often impacts us without our conscious awareness. Doubling down on the lunation making a potent subconscious impact is that in addition to immediately separating from a sextile with Uranus, the Cancer Full Moon is also separating from a catalytic square aspect with Chiron in Aries that will help to dislodge material that has been frozen in the psyche or held in the body so that it may become processed and released. The opposition between the Full Moon and Mercury may feel overwhelming if life events are creating excessive busyness and mental stimulation, and so if this is the case find ways to calm and soothe nerves. Otherwise the tension between the Moon and Mercury can be utilized in divination, journaling, artistic expression, or any other medium that can draw on the lunar activation by Uranus and Neptune to provide insight into important aspects of your inner parts and purposes that are ready to emerge in the new year and new era we are entering.

The Cancer Moon will form an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn on December 31 and then will form oppositions with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius and a square with Uranus in Taurus after entering Leo later in the day. In the wider context of the astrology of 2021, it’s fascinating that the Moon will move from an opposition with Pluto into hard aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus as the new year begins. As a result, the Moon’s movement will connect us with the fact that on a larger scale we are leaving a period of time dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto into a year that will be dominated by the cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. The deep contractions and heavy gravity of years influenced by Pluto will now be erupting with the propulsive and shattering force of Uranus that can be erratic, unpredictable, emancipatory, and inventive all at the same time.  Uranus can be a positive influence when connecting us with whatever makes us feel authentically passionate and inspired, and so the Cancer Full Moon can aid in shedding the dead weight of the past so as to feel lighter and more freely capable of aligning with the exciting opportunities that can emerge in the new year.

fountain from hypnerotomachia poliphili

from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Venus in Sagittarius is making important aspects to consider during the Cancer Full Moon, including forming a conjunction with the South Node of Sagittarius that it will complete on December 30 with the mean node and on December 31 with the true node. Venus moving across the Sagittarius South Node will focus attention on material that was seeded at the Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14, with issues that were previously hidden becoming unveiled. With Venus tending to the release valve of the Moon’s nodes, the full light of the lunation pouring down upon us will bring realizations mediated by Venus in Sagittarius such as anyway we have been relating from dogmatic values, righteously believing we know the truth or crusading to convert others to our own viewpoint. Positively, Venus in Sagittarius can help in rooting our relating through awareness of not only the ways we are interacting with other humans but also in the ways we are interacting within the vaster field of animals, land, ancestors and other living spirits. As we leave the era of earth to enter the era of air, Venus in Sagittarius can help in revealing how it’s not only our relationships with other human beings that will need greater care and attention, but that our innumerable relationships within the vast realm of Nature above and below will also need greater focus and cultivation.

The lessons Venus can teach from its proximity with Ketu, the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, involve many themes covered by Jason Holley recently in a webinar entitled Sagittarius in Myth and Psyche. Holley focused on the tendency in today’s astrological world to project upon the nomadic consciousness of Sagittarius from the settler consciousness of the colonial cultures we live within. Some of the aspects of Sagittarius discussed by Holley led me to consider how they connect with our collective movement into the era of air, and in these ways it makes sense that Venus combined with Ketu in Sagittarius can help us cut through what is in the way of us becoming more spatially mobile, fluid in our roles, flexible in our social organizations, and capable of grounding in movement while retaining a differentiated perceptual field capable of restructuring interpretation and analysis as needed. Holley described the orientation of Sagittarius as carrying “an ancient memory that one is partly here to shepherd the souls of others and oneself- to free them from limitations.” This is a worthy lesson to remember from Venus as the star of Aphrodite journeys across the South Node of the Moon as we journey into 2021.

However, Venus is not only applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, but also to an imaginatively activating square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that it will complete on December 30. The square between Venus and Neptune will constellate fantastical images and enticing visions, but we will need to be wary of being led astray into dangerous tidal forces. As Venus is now forming a waning square aspect with Neptune, it may bring back important insights, memories, or relationships connected with the long series of waxing square aspects Venus formed with Neptune due to Venus shifting retrograde in Geminiin May 2020 (May 12, May 20, and July 27 were the three exact aspects). Although Venus has not garnered as much attention as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in the astrological world during the past year, it has been a major factor in reshaping our relationships and relational needs during 2020. The pivotal sequence of hard aspects formed between Venus and Neptune have been opening our awareness to previously unseen needs, desires, and values during a year in which severe social distancing restrictions around the world have limited physical contact.

The waning square from Venus to Neptune is additionally bringing focus to the fact that Neptune is presently residing at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with both the North and South Nodes of the Moon that it will eventually complete on January 26. With so many people locked into polarized conflicts and perceiving things from completely different perspectives regarding reality, the disorientation stirred up by Venus with Neptune can potentially lead to even more widespread delusion that will make it even more difficult to resolve differences and mediate resolution. It’s been noted by many that the deluge of conspiracy theories circulating coincides with the fact so many people have felt anxious and alienated due to the global pandemic, and mistrustful of those in authority. It also seems fitting that the disorder being brought to consensus reality is coinciding with the great reordering of structural realities that will ripple out from the great astrological cycles beginning now. The collective volatility will not be ending anytime soon, and so it will be up to each of us to figure out how to hold the tension of our differences in viewpoints when relating with others. The square from Venus and the South Node of the Moon to Neptune in Pisces can help us deepen into understanding the troubled history of our world and the ways in which the ripples from systemic oppression across time are playing into our present relational difficulties.

Musashi Plain moon, from the series One hundred aspects of the moon (1891) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

After peaking in light at the full moon, the Moon in Cancer will move through an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn into a cathartic square aspect with Mars in Aries on December 31. The tensions unleashed between the Moon with Pluto and Mars on the final day of 2020 further shows how it’s a time of releasing the trials and tribulations of the past year, while also needing to recognize that the impact of the troubles that were exposed all around global societies in the past year will not be going away and will need our continued attention in the future years to come. Rather than develop illusory hopes that the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that has arrived at the end of the year is ushering us into a new era free from the suffering of the past, we instead need to utilize it like a lighthouse helping us navigate through the turbulent storms that will be coming in 2021 so that we may find our way to a stabilizing shore or harbor.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Mars will enter Taurus on January 6 and immediately incite the explosive tensions building between Uranus in Taurus with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Mars will not form its exact square aspects with Saturn and Jupiter and its conjunction with Uranus until after the upcoming Capricorn New Moon on January 12, but we will begin sensing a notable increase in disruptive influences and social unrest as the present lunar cycle comes to a close. On personal levels, the friction stirred up between Mars and Uranus with Saturn and Jupiter will dislodge whatever has been stuck, creating rapid change in some cases. It will be much better to find your way into the flow of the changing currents rather than attempting to hang on at all costs to the way things have been in the past.

Two of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The Full Moon will rise 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 equal passion, 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 and the Moon. Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche, nor the Moon only about the enclosure of their fertile love in the palace of Eros. The Cancer Full Moon can thus connect us with the Eros of care, love, and fellowship that weaves community together when focused upon a common purpose that brings practical help and resources to those in need. It can also reveal those in our relational field who we can form mutually supportive dynamics with. As we are entering an extended period of collective volatility, we will need to be actively co-creating community that can flexibly mutate in accordance with the changing societal dynamics.

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.” Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, and that the “face’s magical virtue is to establish mutually nurturing relationships.” With Venus applying to a square aspect with Neptune during the Full Moon, we may also gain realization for patterns that have led us into unhealthy enmeshment with others, as well as a more lucid sense of the needs we seek within all types of relationships we form with others.

In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Nike, the goddess of victory, to the first face of Cancer. A daughter of the underworld river goddess Styx, Nike allied herself with Zeus in the war against the Titans, a mythic war resonant with the astrology of 2020 that has ended with a new order being constellated between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Nike served as the divine charioteer of Zeus in battle, while also rewarding victors of competition with the glory of wreathed laurel. In 36 Faces Austin Coppock connected the presence of Nike in the first face of Cancer with the ancient symbolic link between chariots and the body as the vehicle of the soul, symbolism also resonant with the connection in tarot between the VII Chariot arcanum and the zodiacal sign of Cancer. If we want to make a difference in 2021 and help to shape the world we wish to live in, we will need to take care of our body and mind so that we will have the strength and clarity necessary to be effective agents of change. Make time and space during the Cancer Full Moon and the following days to get all the rest and restoration you need. May the strength you cultivate now serve you in deepening into fulfilling your purpose and destiny in 2021.

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References

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

Majercik, Ruth. (2013). The Chaldean Oracles. The Prometheus Trust.

 

2021 Astrology Forecast

As 2020 draws to a close and we are on the precipice of turning the calendar into the year 2021, I am delighted to share a recent podcast interview I had with Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles podcast in which we forecasted the astrology of the entire year ahead. In the northern hemisphere where I live, we are in the holy days of darkness and returning light, with the light of the Sun slowly increasing each day. Similarly, the astrology of 2021 offers a beacon of hope guiding us out of a very difficult year. Melissa and I talked about calling this 2021 forecast episode “Following the Guiding Star Forward,” because although there is a lot of volatile and difficult astrology involved in the year ahead it is also mixed in with aspects that will promote innovative and visionary mediation, problem solving, and growth. You can listen to the soundcloud audio version of the podcast here:

There is also a video, youtube version of the podcast episode you can watch here, that also includes visuals of some of the mundane astrology charts we discuss:

The episode begins with a broad overview of 2021 astrology – such as Saturn square Uranus, the continuation of the Gemini and Sagittarius eclipses, and all three Mercury retrograde periods occurring in the air triplicity. We then go quarter by quarter – Solstice to Equinox – pointing out the hotspot areas of the year and potential ways to navigate them in the collective and personal spheres. It’s a long episode so you can break up listening to it into sections for each part of the year. Here is a timestamp breakdown for each section of the episode:

Overview 00:00
Capricorn Solstice Quarter – 46 min
Aries Equinox Quarter – 1 hr 24 min 
Cancer Solstice Quarter – 2 hrs 19 min
Libra Equinox Quarter – 2 hrs 49 min

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Total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius

As the Sun turns black during the total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14, so may we feel overshadowed by what is ready to be laid to rest in the darkness of our subterranean soil and what is stirring in our chthonic depths with the seeds of new growth to come. The eclipse will appear above as a dark void unveiling stars normally obscured by daylight, while below it will be felt as a fertile matrix unleashing material that has been hidden from perception into awareness. While solar eclipses have long been known to demarcate pivotal endings and beginnings in storylines, the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is unusually significant due to it arising at the threshold of not only a new year but also a new astrological era.

Indeed, in the week following the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse we will experience Saturn entering Aquarius on December 16, Jupiter entering Aquarius on December 19, and a grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, the day of the Capricorn Solstice. Not only is the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn initiating a new twenty year cycle of sociopolitical changes in culture that always occur when Jupiter and Saturn unite, their conjunction at the end of 2020 is also marking our entrance into a new astrological era in which Jupiter and Saturn will only be forming conjunctions in the tropical air signs of Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra. After Jupiter and Saturn conjoin at 00°29′ Aquarius on December 21, there will only be conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in air signs until 21 December 2159 when they will unite in Scorpio, followed by two more grand conjunctions in air signs (2179 in Gemini and 2199 in Aquarius) before the elemental era fully shifts into tropical water signs in 2219.

As a result, the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is occurring in the final week of an astrological era of Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in earth signs that began in 1802. Since eclipses typically intensify our experience of forms entering and leaving our life, there will be an immeasurably larger scale of wider collective change at the same time we will be experiencing our own personal mutations. The dissolution of the eclipse can loosen however we have been bound up in knots by difficulties from the past year, yet we may also sense an unraveling of innumerable threads of historical and cultural conditioning that have been bound together. As eclipses enhance our capacity to purify and release material attachments, we may experience not only a personal reckoning with our own past attachments but feel how there is a wider reckoning occurring across global civilizations concerning collective attachments that have dominated the past two centuries.

The astrological tradition imagines eclipses as a great dragon or serpent consuming the light of our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. The Solar Eclipse at 23º08’ Sagittarius will be aligned with the tail of the dragon, as the South Node of the Moon will be at 19º56’ Sagittarius. As a result, we can align with the eclipse by emphasizing processes associated with the South Node of the Moon such as emptying, shedding, cleansing, purifying, releasing, and harvesting. Knowing that the solstice a week after the eclipse holds great potency for visioning and intention setting with Jupiter and Saturn conjoining, the week surrounding the eclipse can help us gain a sharper sense for the projects and goals to focus on and cultivate by letting go of whatever is inessential or no longer resonant with our core purpose. Sit in the stillness of the solstice season and let the gravity of the eclipse settle your soul on the creative desires that will be most enlivening for you to cultivate and develop in the new year. Let your sense of linear time be eclipsed so that nonlinear revelations may bring inspiration as you simultaneously surrender to the dissolution, emptying, and deepening of the eclipse.

Folio from a Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (The Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi dated A.H. 741/A.D. 1341

More immediately, however, the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse is important due to being the first solar eclipse in a series that will occur in the signs of Sagittarius and Gemini over the course of the next year (there will be another solar eclipse at 19°47′ Gemini on 10 June 2021, followed by another solar eclipse on 3 December 2021 at 12°22′ Sagittarius). Since the eclipse is the first of a series of solar eclipses in the signs of Sagittarius and Gemini, it will introduce new narrative themes into our life while we simultaneously need to begin molting aspects of our old attachments and identity. One way to get a sense for how your story may be changing in accordance is to pay attention to the associated topics and condition of the Sagittarius and Gemini houses of your natal chart. 

As the shadow of the Moon completely covers the face of the Sun, so will the meaning of Sagittarius also undergo a blackening as it becomes veiled by the void of the eclipse. Sagittarius is the fire sign that comes at the end of the calendar year, the time of greatest darkness in the northern hemisphere when cold winds blow. Sagittarius kindles the inner fire that incites grand quests for meaning and adventure, and in its symbol of the wayfaring centaur reveals how it synthesizes reasoning with instinctual intuition as it searches widely for meaning across diverse cultures and philosophical traditions. The other primary symbol of Sagittarius is the archer, showing its tendency to look ahead and center its gaze on targets to strike, fueled by the fiery visions hovering over the horizon. In keeping with the eclipse arising at a threshold between collective eras, Sagittarius is a sign open to mystery and capable of sustaining faith in the face of the unknown.

Since the Sun is being eclipsed in Sagittarius, however, we need to be ready to release fixation on already knowing where we need to go and what we need to do. There are illusive influences swirling around the eclipse difficult to decipher, as Neptune in Pisces is forming a bewildering square aspect with the lunar nodes and the eclipse is separating from a square with Neptune. The shadow of Sagittarius involves dogmatism and self righteousness, insisting that one’s inner sense of the truth is in fact the truth despite other perspectives indicating you do not really know the full story and have not appreciated other viewpoints. It will also be important to not rush ahead with sole focus on future directions, instead taking time to contemplate the past and integrate any essential lessons from whatever old material is being emptied into the void of the eclipse. The deep wisdom of Sagittarius needs to be applied like a nonlinear spiral, reaching back in reflection on lessons learned from the past while cohering a clearer vision of the new direction opening in the year ahead.

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Jupiter in Capricorn is the ruler of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse as it traverses the final degree of Capricorn. Jupiter will be less than one degree away from Saturn in Capricorn during the eclipse, with Saturn at 29°44′ Capricorn spending its final two days in the sign of the Sea Goat. Saturn has been in Capricorn since 19 December 2017, and ever since Jupiter entered Capricorn a year ago on 2 December 2019 we have been experiencing the closing of not only their past twenty year synodic cycle but also their past two hundred year elemental era of uniting in earth signs. As we exit 2020 to enter 2021 we will be able to witness manifestations of the old earth era fading away as the new air era takes shape through the kind of rapid change and dispersed movement associated with air. Before crossing the threshold we will be well served by pausing within the stillness of the solstice season to recenter and deepen into envisioning the life we wish to create free from the obstacles and hangups from the past. As the new desires take root within, we can hold space for them while facing challenges and prioritize the steps that need to be taken to begin making the vision a reality.

In the larger context of being in between collective eras, it’s significant that Venus in Scorpio is applying toward an almost exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn that it will complete a few hours after the eclipse, as well as a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn that Venus will complete the next day on December 15. Venus in the third decan of Scorpio possesses potency in digging into the roots of desires, a skill that will help us more gracefully cross the collective threshold. By laying old desires to rest we will create space for whatever new passions, interests, and dreams will emerge in accordance with the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. Venus in Scorpio will resurrect essential desires through decomposing old wounds and losses, helping us to sort what must be let go with finality and what needs to be regenerated within the new visions we enact.

Saturn has been strong in its earthy, nocturnal home of Capricorn during the past three years and so has brought immense adversity on collective and personal levels for us to endure. Yet as we sit with the lessons of Saturn and persevere through the tests brought by the star of Cronus, we slowly strengthen the bones and foundational structures of our lives. As Saturn lingers in the final degree of its Capricorn domicile that accentuates it’s cold and dry nature, it’s an ideal time to contemplate what you have created from its contraction and honing force in the past three years. Let yourself witness how you have grown in your ability to take responsibility and act from your own sense of authority, as we will each need to become even more accountable for doing our individual part in helping to create the world we wish to live in during the next three years of Saturn bringing the next level of its tests from its airy, diurnal home of Aquarius.

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Eclipses come in families known as the Saros cycle. The origin of their ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The Sagittarius Solar Eclipse on December 14, 2020 is part of the Saros 142 eclipse family that has its origin in a 1624 eclipse at the south pole. The 1624 date is intriguing for numerous reasons, including that some mainstream media reports about the upcoming conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn have stated that it will be their closest visible alignment since 1623. While other media reports have instead declared the upcoming conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn to be their closest visible alignment since 1226, it’s nonetheless notable that the period of the early 1620s has connection with the upcoming sequence of the Solar Eclipse on December 14 and the grand conjunction on December 21.

For those living in the USA during a period of intense polarized conflict that has its roots in the nation’s history, it is significant that the 1620s is the same period during which the Mayflower landed ashore, the Plymouth colony was established, and the legend of the first Thanksgiving was conceived. During this past era the collective traumas of the Atlantic slave trade displacing Africans, European immigrants fleeing oppression becoming displaced from their own ancestral culture, and indigenous people losing their land and lives all intensified in development. The ancestral wounds, grief, and trauma from this time period are still all around us, unresolved and in need of healing and reparation. While the promise and potential of being on the precipice of a new astrological era may make us want to focus on future visions, it will be necessary to return to the roots of the discord gripping current events for there to be any hope of mediating the polarized conflicts and creating a more just society.

In Bernadette Brady’s stellar book Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark she named the eclipse family of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse “4 South” and wrote about it having its origin in a solar eclipse on March 19, 1624. However, checking the NASA site of saros series for eclipses, the origin of the Saros 142 eclipse family was actually on April 17, 1624. Brady described the 4 South eclipses as involving “very strong emotional feelings concerning relationships and/or money,” with sudden desires to end relationships running up against blocks that create great frustration, leading Brady to advise “avoid[ing] rash action until the issues settle down.” Brady’s description may have been based on some research into events associated with the saros series, but also clearly was connected to the fact that the March 19, 1624 eclipse was at the midpoint of Venus and Pluto with Pluto also in a conjunction with Mars and Venus also in an opposition with Saturn and Uranus.

In contrast, the April 17, 1624 eclipse is at the midpoint of Mars in Gemini and Chiron in Pisces, with Venus in Pisces applying to a close conjunction with Chiron. In fact, the Chiron and Venus conjunction in the origin eclipse from 1624 is at the same degree as transiting Neptune in Pisces today. As Chiron can function in connection with ancestral relationship and healing, one message from the 1624 origin eclipse relevant to the present is the capacity each of us possesses for forming relationships with our ancestors and doing our own individual part to deepen our relationship with the intersection between our ancestors and the present experienced in our individual bodies and within the world around us. As we deepen into relationship with our ancestors we deepen into recognizing the impact of culture and ancestral trauma on our individual lives as well as how they shape societal events.

Catafalque by Peter Kingsley has been my favorite book that I have read that was published during the recent transit of Saturn through Capricorn, in large measure due to the attention Kingsley gave to having relationships with our ancestors as well as stressing the importance of the living ancestors in the work of C.G. Jung. Kingsley wrote:

“We too are broken. All of us, not just some or a few, are addicts. We have lost any contact with our ancestral homes not because someone chased us out, but because we chase ourselves out. And there is not a single atrocity westerners can inflict on indigenous people that they have not also inflicted on themselves.”

If you want to reflect back upon your experience with previous solar eclipses in the Saros 142 series, the previous solar eclipse took place on December 4, 2002 at 11°58′ Sagittarius, on November 22, 1984 at 00°50′ Sagittarius, and on November 12, 1966 at 19°45′ Scorpio. All three of these eclipses were total just like the one on December 14, 2020.

Light in darkness

Robert Fludd from Utriusque Cosmi (1617)

Another key aspect of the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse involves Mercury in Sagittarius. Mercury in Sagittarius will be three degrees away from the eclipse, moving swiftly toward a conjunction with the Sun it will complete on December 19 at 28°42′ Sagittarius. Mercury will form a conjunction with the dark Moon shortly before the eclipse, and is also separating from a disorienting square aspect with Neptune. Mercury’s close presence with the eclipse will seed the significations of the star of Hermes into the impact that the eclipse will make in world events. Judith Hill in Eclipses and You listed significations of Mercury in connection with eclipses including news services, journalists, communication systems, phone and computer companies, writers, books, young people, childhood education, literacy, the postal system and language. 

Before Mercury forms its solar conjunction, it will first move through a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Aries. With Mercury separating from a square with Neptune and applying to a trine with Mars, we have a correlation in the USA with the use of the Internet and social media by those in power to manipulate public opinion that voter fraud in the presidential election took place despite having a total lack of evidence showing the proof. Whether or not your are being swayed by conspiracy theories, however, all of us are having to contend with our personal information being used by Internet companies to manipulate our choices and behavior. Mercury is also the ruler of the North Node in Gemini, and therefore its approaching union with the Sun is ideal for burning off distractions and shifting away from our attention being dispersed into too many directions into become focused upon the heart of the matter aligned with our greater purpose. All of us need to increase our capacity for critical thinking and seeing through attempts to manipulate our perception as we cross the threshold into a new astrological era of air.

As Mars in Aries is finally picking up substantial forward momentum we will likewise have increased support for getting things done and taking action. As Mercury moves through the trine with Mars and forms its conjunction with the Sun on December 19, we can ideally gain clarity regarding our creative desires and begin envisioning more fully the work we wish to create in the year ahead. At the same time, Mars is applying toward its final square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that it will complete on December 23 a couple of days after the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. Mars previously formed a square aspect with Pluto when it was retrograde in Aries on October 9, and so we have had a few months to let whatever desires were stirred up by their previous tension to simmer within our inner depths. While we previously may have felt blocked or inhibited in some way from fully expressing whatever ambitions were ignited by Mars and Pluto in October, we can use the week following the Capricorn solstice and the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn to make significant progress on whatever goals were forged during the past few months of Mars moving backwards and forwards in Aries.

10 of Wands

10 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 3 Decan

The Sun in Sagittarius will be eclipsed within the third decan of Sagittarius associated with the 10 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith.  Human toil, endurance and perseverance are some of the immediate associations evoked by the image of determination, as this card has been associated with oppressive dynamics and limitations we must face and do our best to work through. The third face of Sagittarius is ruled by Saturn and the Sun, bringing together within its space of relentless determination the polarized tension between the limiting contraction of Saturn and the animating spirit of the Sun. While we will need to take care of necessary responsibilities in the days surrounding the eclipse, we will manage things better by refraining from overworking ourselves and instead making contemplative space to ponder the meaning gathered from our experiences.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius in his book 36 Faces, describing how it reveals the unification of mind, body, and spirit through committed work and effort yoked to a goal.  Coppock also wrote that the final face of Sagittarius brings a reckoning regarding whatever needs to be sacrificed in pursuit of desires, noting that “those who walk this face must choose which burdens they will bear to the bitter end, and which are not worthy of such feats of will and endurance.” Both the Picatrix and Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy warn of the “evil inclinations” that can be harbored within this decan for those overly desperate to achieve objectives. Coppock described the intoxicating pursuit of victory that is found in this face, noting a need to realize when the “desperate fervor” of this decan’s power is appropriate and when it is inappropriate and will exact “a heavy toll.” These essential points by Coppock are in deep accord with what needs to be released and emptied into the eclipse in the third face of Sagittarius. It’s not a time for being forceful with whatever ambitions you have been consumed by, but rather a time for surrender and release so that the freed up space may generate new desires and visions that will be in greater alignment with the quality of time we will enter at the end of 2020.

In keeping with themes of necessity, the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac proclaimed the presence of the primordial goddess Ananke in the third face of Sagittarius.  Ananke is the mother of the Fates, the overseer of souls incarnating in Plato’s Myth of Er, and is the primordial mother of creation in some strands of Orphic cosmology who governs the cyclic nature of the cosmos. Ananke is the goddess of Necessity, and her presence in the third face of Sagittarius further amplifies the fateful feelings that will be incited by the eclipse initiating us into the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn. May the watchful eye of Ananke alert us to whatever actions needs to be taken and whatever responsibilities need to fulfilled as we contend with the burdens of Necessity. As the Sun emerges from the shadow of the eclipse and enters its sacred space of the solstice, may its returning light illuminate an inspired path of Eros for us to follow into the new era of air.

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark. Weiser Books.

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

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

Lunar Eclipse in Gemini

Gemini

Folio from a Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (The Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi dated 1340–41

Lunar Eclipse in Gemini

Mystery and shadow envelope our experiences during the time of eclipses, making it predictable to encounter unpredictable change and an influx of fertile chaos. The Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on November 30 will initiate us into a liminal portal that leads to the Total Solar Eclipse that will occur on December 14 at 23°08′ Sagittarius. While sequences of eclipses always unleash a series of events that bring important endings and beginnings in our storylines, the eclipse season that arrives at the end of 2020 will bring more than the usual amount of accelerated change due to its synchronous alignment with the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn on December 21. The dragon of this eclipse season is ushering us into a new era.

Indeed, the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction at the end of 2020 demarcates not only the ending and beginning of the typical twenty year cycle between the superior planets, in this case it also transitions us from a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn aligning in earth signs into a two century era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs. Thus the typical dissolution we would normally expect due to being at the threshold of a new astrological era will be exacerbated by the vortex of volatility opened up by eclipses. Since the light of the glowing Full Moon becomes obscured by shadow during lunar eclipses, we similarly must pass through a dissolving phase of darkness that will reshape matters in fundamental ways. Fittingly, both Gemini and Sagittarius are mutable signs that assist in adapting to monumental transitions.

The Gemini Lunar Eclipse on November 30 is classified as penumbral, meaning that although the light of the Moon will be darkened by shadow it will not turn blood red in color as it does during a total lunar eclipse. Lunar Eclipses occur when a Full Moon lines up with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon, and the closer they align corresponds with a more dramatic shadowing during the eclipse. Since the Gemini Lunar Eclipse will be eleven to twelve degrees away from the transiting lunar nodes, the shadowing will be fainter and less noticeable to the naked eye. However, the eclipse symbolism of a great dragon consuming the light of the Moon is still in effect, and so we will need to let go of certain elements of our life passing away while welcoming the emergence of new twists and turns within our story.

The Gemini Lunar Eclipse is most of all significant for being the first eclipse in a series to occur in Gemini, as well as setting in motion our first experience of back to back eclipses occurring along the axis of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. The true node calculation of the lunar nodes entered Gemini and Sagittarius on May 5, 2020 and a month later we experienced a Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius on June 5. Though we have been orienting to the presence of the North Node of the Moon in Gemini during the past six months, its full implications will be more deeply felt by the Moon becoming eclipsed while heading toward a conjunction with its North Node in Gemini. With the Sun simultaneously heading toward a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius, the ways in which you are letting go of old beliefs that no longer resonate with your experience will be fueling an influx of new perspectives to reconcile with your worldview.

Since 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, Dane Rudhyar interpreted the solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past as shadows veil the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Since the Gemini Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon while the Sun is illuminating the side of the South Node of the Moon, growth will come from the resolution and release of old issues and cultural conditioning that have shaped our beliefs and vision of life in the past. By shedding and emptying old beliefs there will be new questions that need to be asked and new lines of thought to follow with our curiosity.

Gemini tends to be a misunderstood zodiacal sign in popular astrology, oftentimes devalued despite the depth of thought it applies toward holding and contemplating a multiplicity of perspectives. Its double-bodied and digressive nature means that events linked with the eclipse in Gemini will require multi-tasking and present choices to pursue rather than a clear focus on only one option forward. While we will ultimately be able to weave together insight and find our way into the authentic path to follow, the events stirred up by the Gemini Lunar Eclipse will require a nuanced capacity for questioning, listening, and holding the tension of divergent perspectives until greater clarity is gained. Gemini is not known for stability, yet its airy and humane nature will invigorate and open up experiences and relationships rather than keep things stuck in stagnation.

As the Lunar Eclipse will occur at 8°37′ Gemini, it will be close in zodiacal degree to the legendary fixed star Aldebaran that is known as one of the four royal stars connected with worldly power and acclaim. In fact, the Gemini Lunar Eclipse will also be visually close to Aldebaran in the sky creating a visible celestial omen to decipher.  Aldebaran is the bright rosy eye of the Bull whose reddish hue connects it with the planet Mars, as Aldebaran kindles the vitality needed to achieve the ambitious desires stoked by Mars. It’s therefore notable that the Gemini Lunar Eclipse is applying toward a sextile with Mars in Aries. The interpretation Bernadette Brady gave to Aldebaran seems fitting in connection with the eclipse, as she wrote that ethical integrity needs to be followed to achieve success in connection with the red star (1). It will be an opportune period for questioning your aspirations and anyway that you could come out of alignment with your integrity by trying to achieve them.

The next eclipses that will occur in Gemini and Sagittarius will be a total lunar eclipse at 5°26′ Sagittarius on May 26, 2021 and a solar eclipse at 19°47′ Gemini on June 10, 2021, followed by a solar eclipse on December 3, 2021 at 12°22′ Sagittarius. You can begin preparing for the larger arc of storylines that will be changing during the next year of these eclipses by reflecting upon the life topics associated with the houses the degrees of the eclipses impact in your natal chart. Oftentimes the new narratives emerging with one pair of eclipses will go through major developments when the subsequent pair of eclipses strike six months later.

MarleneSevenBremner Rubedo

Rubedo: Forever Fixed in the Heart of the Sun (2018) by Marlene Seven Bremner

The Gemini Lunar Eclipse is applying toward an invigorating sextile aspect with Mars in Aries, while Mercury in Scorpio as the ruler of the eclipse is likewise applying to a sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. From August through October 2020, the astrological landscape was dominated by a harsh square aspect between Saturn in Capricorn and Mars in Aries that intensified as Mars stationed retrograde. While they are still occupying zodiacal signs that form a square with one another, they have now put some distance between them. Saturn is now at the end of Capricorn and moving direct through the final degrees of the Sea Goat en route to entering Aquarius on December 16. Although Mars and Saturn will form one more square aspect in this series in January 2021 once Mars has entered Taurus, we now have an opportunity to reset and reconfigure to how we have already been reshaped by their tension.

Mars stationed direct two and a half weeks ago on November 13, but has moved less than two degrees forward since then. The sextile between the Gemini Lunar Eclipse with Mars in Aries will attune awareness with Mars finally beginning to build some forward momentum during the waning half of the current lunar cycle. In combination with the volatility of eclipse season, those who have felt stuck in situations they have wished to change may finally make a needed separation or push forward toward new growth opportunities. As the Gemini eclipse may coincide with numerous potential paths to choose between, the influence from Mars in Aries can help in cutting through to the authentic choice that needs to be made.

In contrast, the harmonizing sextile aspect between Mercury in Scorpio with Saturn in Capricorn is less about fiery action and more about deepening and grounding into the depth of one’s circumstances to discern the most effective ways to navigate through the epochal transition arriving at the end of the year. There is immense capacity for thorough research and penetrating contemplation within the sextile between Mercury and Saturn that can be applied to any area of life in need of attention and discernment. In addition to looking forward, the sextile between Mercury and Saturn may also be utilized in reflecting back upon the many experiences and lessons that have coincided with the transit of Saturn in Capricorn that began on December 19, 2017. We are close to the end of Saturn’s momentous journey through Capricorn and it will be worth the time it takes to ponder what you have learned from the experience before it enters Aquarius for good on December 16.

Oceanus

Oceanus

Neptune Stationing

While the Gemini Lunar Eclipse is applying to a sextile aspect with Mars in Aries, its next aspect will be a catalyzing square aspect with Neptune in Pisces. Neptune is a major influence over the lunar eclipse due to the fact that it stationed direct on November 28 while also forming a confounding square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes. When Neptune stations direct it saturates the astrological landscape with its influence so that instead of being in the background or out of consciousness it becomes more viscerally felt. Among other things Neptune signifies the multitudinous meaning found in images, and so it will be worthwhile to explore the meaning of any images that grab your attention whether through dreams or your waking life. The stationing of Neptune may bring images that inspire with the ineffable quality of soul, unveiling aspects of inner psyche through contemplation.

The impact of Neptune forming a square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes is difficult to fully capture in words but clearly seen in current events full of numerous conspiracy theories and fraudulent attempts to manipulate public opinion by those in power. Issues surrounding social media, the Internet, and the alternating realities they can create that make bridging political divides seem impossible are major issues that the coming era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs will exacerbate and that the stationing of Neptune while at the bending of the lunar nodes has been making obvious. Neptune can dissolve structures of thought into a process of disillusionment, confusion, and disorientation that can be difficult to traverse with clarity when in the middle of it. Yet with the eclipses activating the South Node in Sagittarius and North Node in Gemini, crucial lessons will be found through reorienting to our reality with the sense of truth we gain from experiences of disillusionment.

The questions of Neptune do not have easy answers, and as the Moon will be eclipsed on the side of its North Node in Gemini we can further surmise that the larger answers to our questions will also not come from the “spirit of the times” as C.G. Jung would say. No matter if the information is coming from what is perceived as a mainstream or alternative source, ultimately we will each need to descend to our inner depths to discern our way through the maze of cultural influences to find our authentic path forward. While the shadow of Gemini in square with Neptune in Pisces can involve distraction and deception, its more positive potential involves an open mind willing to listen, committed to questioning everything, and actively witnessing the reality of the multitudinous and those on the margins overlooked by others.

swords08

Gemini 1 Decan

The Moon will be eclipsed in the first decan of Gemini associated with the Eight of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is apt for the fears and grief that have been overwhelming to many during the past year of pandemics and political turmoil. The image of the bound woman has been interpreted as the paralysis that comes from fears running rampant within or triggered in 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. As Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini, the image also reveals 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 that will come in the next month of eclipses and the grand conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Apple of Eden” to the first face of Gemini, linking Eve’s bite into the apple with emerging awareness of “the duality within all things” including the yin and yang of the self. Coppock described that the discovery of the binary and “the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities” unlocks “the capacity to code all things” and display clever skills in all of the arts and sciences. Yet in keeping with the image of the Eight of Swords card, Coppock also declared that this opening to abundant flow also “de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.” Coppock noted that the mental acuity of this decan 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 (2).

In contrast to the tightly bound woman in the Eight of Swords image, ancient texts ascribed a graceful woman of flowing mind and deft dexterity inhabiting the first decan of Gemini.  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.” Indeed, the Picatrix declares it to be “a face of the art of the scribe, of reckoning, of number, of giving and receiving, and of the sciences.” In keeping with the double-bodied nature of the sign of the Twins, we can imagine how the image of a woman gracefully prodigious in arts and crafts is another side of the first face of Gemini to remember in contrast to the Eight of Swords image.

Fascinatingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Tethus, also known as Tethys,  to the first face of Gemini. Since Tethys is the Titan goddess of fresh water which interconnects and nourishes our earth, we can note her appearance in the Eight of Swords image as the water at the foundation of the figure. Tethys was also the wife of Okeanos, the primal sea divinity of the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset, and the mother of river, cloud, spring, stream, and fountain spirits. Daughter of Gaia, Tethys fed her children through the subterranean waters of Okeanos as her name is derived from the Greek word têthê meaning “nurse” or “grandmother.” Moreover, she was often depicted in art with a pair of wings on her brow signifying her role as mother of rain clouds (3).

Lunar Eclipses can be more emotional than the usual Full Moon, bringing events that cause waves of change that continue to reverberate in their rippling effect. While there may be a need for grief and the release of tearful emotions like rain from clouds in response to events that will come from the eclipse, allow exploration of your watery internal landscape to bring you into contact with the enlivening water that resides there. Be curious about whatever you can feel emerging from within to be born into your life, as these feelings will likely intensify as we approach the Sagittarius Solar Eclipse on December 14.

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References

(1) Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

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

(3) Tethys, Greek Titan Goddess of Fresh Water. https://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisTethys.html

Scorpio New Moon

roberta matta nascitur

Nascitur by Roberta Matta

Scorpio New Moon

The blackness of the Scorpio New Moon on November 14 beckons descent and falling into feelings, probing underneath surface appearances into material that has been obscured by shadow. Within the absence of lunar light, its regenerative darkness will be full of turbulent intensity due to the surrounding influences of Mars stationing direct and Mercury opposing Uranus. Scorpio is a place of willing confrontation with death and decay,  zodiacal terrain known for intensifying feelings of being alive as it simultaneously reveals the limits of our own mortality.  Lay your fears to rest within the dark waters of the lunation, surrendering to deepening while making space for necessary rest and reflection.

The New Moon in Scorpio is at the precipice of extraordinary change, as the forthcoming lunar cycle will culminate with a Lunar Eclipse in Gemini on November 30 that will prod us into a volatile eclipse season centered around a total Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Moreover, the lunation cycle initiated by the Scorpio New Moon will be the final lunar cycle to begin and end within the era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs that began in 1802. Since we are only a month away from the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, the seismic shifts across societal systems that will emerge in its wake can already be sensed within the sensitizing atmosphere of the dark Scorpio Moon. 

While the harmonizing sextile formed between the Scorpio New Moon with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn will open intimations of the coming new era from the swampy depths of Scorpio, the fact that Mars is simultaneously stationing direct in Aries will unleash jarring currents of agitation that can incite both anger and exhaustion. Mars has been retrograde in Aries since September 7, and so as it momentarily pauses in stillness we may feel overwhelmed by the build-up of its volcanic fire coursing through us. Mars stationing is a big deal due to it happening less often than the other planets: there will be many Mars related events and conflicts erupting during the days following the lunation we will need to navigate as mindfully as possible.

Make time and space to contemplate and feel into the new desires and directions that have emerged for you since the beginning of September. There may be aggravations and blocks frustrating forward movement as Mars barely moves in the week following the Scorpio New Moon, but at the end of November as we approach the Lunar Eclipse in Gemini we will be able to make substantial progress as Mars will kick back into accelerating forward. Rather than trying to force things to happen faster than they are naturally coming together, use the days following the Scorpio New Moon to center within your circumstances and ground into a sense of an effective strategy for achieving your goals over the next month.

Due to Mars moving retrograde in the past couple of months, it has already formed two different square aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn since the beginning of August. While Mars will not complete its third and final square aspect with Jupiter and Saturn until January 2021 after Mars has entered Taurus and Jupiter and Saturn have entered Aquarius, Mars will complete its third and final square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 23 a couple of days after the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. Since there remains to be a deeper potency to forge from our martial furnace in the final months of 2020, the greater clarity we can gain now regarding whatever has been stirred up by Mars in recent months, the more directly we will be able to set our freshly forged desires into motion in the months ahead.

Remedios Varo (1948) Cambio-De-Tiempo

Cambio de Tiempo by Remedios Varo

The New Moon in Scorpio will form while completing a supportive sextile aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn, and is additionally applying to a sextile with Saturn in Capricorn. The sextile between the New Moon with Jupiter and Pluto is especially significant due to the fact that Jupiter and Pluto recently completed their third and final conjunction of 2020 on November 12. Previously, Jupiter and Pluto completed conjunctions on April 4 and June 30 and so there has likely been something significant you have been cultivating since April that is now reaching a stage of culmination. As Chris Brennan and other astrologers have noted, a couple of major correspondences with each union of Jupiter and Pluto this year have been spikes in cases and deaths related to COVID 19 as well as conspiracy theories about the pandemic and many other things. Presently in the USA as Jupiter and Pluto have come together for the final time both topics have returned to prominence with record breaking numbers of coronavirus cases and the unprecedented situation of a sitting President losing an election and refusing to concede due to false allegations of voter fraud.

Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years, including in previous years of immense volatility in society such as in 1968 and 1931. The present union of Jupiter and Pluto has been similarly disruptive as 1968 and 1931 due to it also being part of larger outer planetary alignments. While in 2020 we have Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning a new cycle together, in 1968 we experienced Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto ending and beginning new cycles together. In comparison, the 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

When Jupiter and Pluto meet we must aspire to the expansive heights of Jupiter through incredibly intense periods of volcanic upheaval, breakdown and decay. It’s further typical for extraordinary power struggles to erupt over societal injustices, with numerous systemic issues of oppression in need of reform being exposed. While we necessarily are brought down into purgative processes of purification and catharsis when Jupiter and Pluto come together, we also gain the opportunity to form impactful alliances and fellowship to address the issues needing attention. While we must endure catastrophic extremes of corruption by those intent on gaining extreme amounts of wealth and power, on a personal level their synergy can guide us into inner depths to churn visions of imaginal ideas and essential purpose. While Jupiter combined with Pluto can kindle devotional focus to expansive work, it also requires us to nurture faith in the unknown while traversing a collective dark night of the soul.

Vitally, Venus in Libra is forming a catalyzing square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter during the New Moon in Scorpio. Venus will complete its square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto on November 15 and then will complete a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 19. The friction between Venus in Libra with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn will test relationship dynamics and expose imbalances of power and authority, bringing issues that had been lurking under the surface out into the open to be faced. Yet Venus can also stoke creative tension with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn that we can utilize through disciplined effort in crafting creative projects we have been slowly but steadily making progress on over time.

Finally, it’s notable that the asteroid Pallas Athena was exactly conjoining Jupiter and Pluto when they united on November 12 and was also nearby Jupiter and Pluto by degree during their two previous conjunctions in 2020. The presence of Pallas Athena with the tension building between Venus with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn brings all of the complicated mythology of Pallas Athena into the dynamic. While Pallas Athena is an upholder of law and order in civilization, her mythic origins link her further back to the divine goddesses of Cunning Wisdom and Justice whose power goes far beyond attempts of control by ruling empires. Above all, Pallas Athena brings the gifts of strategy and the kind of prophetic vision that can anticipate troubles and formulate effective strategies in response.

With Mars stationing direct and Venus clashing with the Capricorn trio of Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn, the side of Pallas Athena that Demetra George likened to a bodhisattva will be relevant, as we will need to enter the fiery frey of conflicts erupting across society to revision a more equitable order. Indeed, Walter Burkett in Greek Religion wrote that Pallas Athena “is not an elemental force, but the force of civilization” who brings the “organizational wisdom” that can achieve a “just division of roles.” As we are collectively leaving an era of earth to enter a new era of air at the end of 2020, we can benefit from the intellectual weaving of Pallas Athena that can reorder societal systems of law and order to address the imbalances that have been exposed. Rather than falling prey to rage and destructive reactions as Mars dominates the week following the New Moon, let the lucid eyes of Pallas Athena center you so you can make the most effective response imaginable. In Greek Religion Walter Burkett cited the fitting proverb, “in league with Athena set your own hand to work.”

remedios varo Insomnio-1947-1

Insomnio 1 by Remedios Varo

The final major influence underlying the New Moon in Scorpio is the applying opposition between Mercury in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus. While the tension between Mercury and Uranus will be very volatile, it will likely involve storylines and issues that have been developing for over a month. Mercury formed an opposition with Uranus for the first time on October 7, and then after stationing retrograde formed its second opposition with Uranus on October 19. It will be worthwhile to reflect back upon these previous periods to note what issues or patterns were jarred loose then and could be reemerging now. While there could be resolution experienced in certain circumstances, the propensity of Mercury for shifting storylines and Uranus for upending them could also coincide with new developments that move things in unexpected directions.

Since we are living in an incredibly polarized collective moment, especially in the United States of America, the combination of Mercury opposing Uranus with Mars stationing is potentially explosive. Do your best to not provoke confrontations more so than necessary. On a personal level, however, this same combination can bring about catalytic insight that reveals a glowing path to follow through the chaotic darkness that will coincide with 2020 drawing to a close. It may be helpful to make space for reflection, meditating, journaling, brainstorming, anything that can help get ideas moving, turning, and coalescing into new forms.

Soon after Mercury finishes its final opposition with Uranus on November 17, it will leave its retrograde shadow zone on November 19 when it will finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio.  Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 13 at 11°40′ Scorpio, and has been traversing the entire range of its retrograde shadow zone that began at 25º54′ Libra since September 23. As a result, as Mercury is carrying forward the propulsive liberation of its oppositional aspect with Uranus on November 19 we likely will experience resolution or pivotal developments regarding narratives that stretch back all the way to the end of September. This is even more so the case due to Venus in Libra completing its square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 19 as well.

7 cups

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon will be reseeded by the Sun in the third decan of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The third face of Scorpio has an amplified alchemical quality that is well suited for the lunation coinciding with Mars stationing direct in Aries while Mercury opposes Uranus. Ruled by Venus and the Moon, it is a decan in which we must come to terms with the essential desires driving us through experiences of loss and decay that reveal the heart of the matter. In the image of the Seven of Cups 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 that cast a shadowy veil that became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image. Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

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

 In contrast, the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the curious deity Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

The presence of Kairos in the third face of Scorpio points toward the importance of being in touch with the ripening of the moment during the Scorpio New Moon. The fertility of our destiny cannot be rushed or forced, and often relies on specific moments in which we realize essential elements of our past to reweave into the path we are following forward. Now that both Mercury retrograde as well as Mars retrograde are finished, as we turn toward an eclipse season on the horizon that also holds the grand conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, we will be well served by taking as much time as needed to sort through all of the desires that have been stirred in recent months. May you welcome the fleeting appearance of Kairos and seize the moment that holds the next movement of your life.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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References

Burkett, Walter. (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press.

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

Taurus Full Moon and Uranus

Signe (La Vente) by Victor Brauner

“Hallowe’en developed from the Celtic feast of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow-in’), which marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter. For the Celts, Samhain was the beginning of the year and the cycle of the seasons. Samhain was a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and ending of all things . . . For the Celts, Samhain was a time when the gates between this world and the next were open. It was a time of communion with the spirits of the dead, who, like wild autumnal winds, were free to roam the earth. At Samhain, the Celts called upon their ancestors, who might bring warnings and guidance to help in the year to come.

Samhain was a time of change and transformation where both the past and present met with the uncertain tides of the future yet to come. It was a time for magic and divination, when Druids and Soothsayers would forecast the events of the coming year . . . For the Celts, Samhain was both an end-of-summer feast and a time of communion with the realm of the spirit.”

— Ronald Hutton, The Stations of the Sun

Full Moon in Taurus

The Full Moon in Taurus on October 31 will illuminate the night of Samhain, the traditional holiday of augmented access to the otherworldly realm of spirits and ancestors. With the lunation forming an exact conjunction with Uranus in Taurus, we can expect sudden announcements and revelations that radically reshape storylines. Though potent activations of Uranus can ultimately create an emancipatory effect, the rush of its lightning strikes upon impact can feel disorienting and unsettling. We will be well served by feeding and communing with our ancestors, drawing from their deep well of experience and resources. No matter how much fear or anxiety we are harboring due to current collective crises, we can rest assured our ancestors have traversed even bleaker circumstances in the past. We may draw upon the light of the lunation to kindle faith and strength of heart that we may carry into the unknown future before us.

It’s further fitting that Samhain is a traditional time of endings and beginnings, as the propulsive force of the lunation united with Uranus will unleash events that will carry us into the new astrological era coming at the end of the year that will be a pivotal influence over our future ancestors. At the same time, the nonlinear nature of Uranus can activate memories that pull us back into contemplation of old stories that need to be felt and processed. There are so many threads of intersecting ancestral and personal issues weaving and reweaving into the tangled knot of collective crises we are experiencing, our only hope for unraveling it all will come through learning from our past. As Uranus will be animating the mysterious, nonlinear realm of memory and dreams, make time to explore the deeper meaning of the images and experiences that emerge, listening to the larger message they are bringing about where we have come from and how it spirals into the path ahead.

The influence of Uranus over the Taurus Full Moon is especially potent due to it occurring at the midpoint of the retrograde phase of Uranus, when Uranus forms an opposition with the Sun and comes as close as the distant planet can get to Earth in its orbit. The liberating impact of Uranus on the lunation can bring awareness to beliefs and patterns we have been fixated upon due to our hunger for security in an ever changing reality. We may not only gain realization for ways ways we have been complicit with problematic systems for a sense of comfort, but also the impetus to disentangle ourselves from structures that make a societal impact out of alignment with our values. With Uranus unleashing its shattering effect during the Full Moon, see if there is a more authentic presence and perspective ready to slip out of your old identity and attachments like a serpent slithering away from its shedded skin.

Stonehenge I by Henry Moore

Stonehenge I by Henry Moore

The volatility pulsating underneath the Taurus Full Moon is further shown by Mercury stationing direct in Libra a few days later on November 3. Mercury stationing will saturate the astrological landscape with its presence and necessitate focused mindfulness due to it forming a sequence of catalyzing square aspects with Saturn in Capricorn that will become exact on November 1 and November 6. Thus the entire week following the Full Moon will be dominated by the friction built between Mercury in Libra and Saturn in Capricorn.

Since Mercury will be slowing down to pause in stillness before slowly beginning to move forward again, its aspect with the solid stone of Saturn will necessitate taking things slow with a plodding pace and sharply thorough mental focus. We will be called to question matters as delays force us to further contemplate the revivified presence and direction emerging for us out of the recent three week period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra. Instead of impatiently trying to force things out of frustration, keep a steady and alert focus and be ever ready to spontaneously shift directions or flexibly make alterations as needed.  Saturn and Mercury will point to utilizing Necessity as the mother of invention, guiding us toward what needs to be modified or further developed whether we like it or not.

Crucially, Mercury will be re-emerging from its period of invisibility to become visible as a Morning Star before sunrise in the days following the Full Moon. As Mercury will be delivering major announcements and sharing its oracular light, we may bridge its creative potency and openness to new visions with the discipline, pondering, and traditional lineages of Saturn.  It will be possible to conduct deeply penetrative research or make significant progress on projects by working through issues step by step with devotion. It will be the time of the tortoise in which slow and steady wins the race.

Gundestrup cauldron

The Gundestrup cauldron (silver vessel), thought to date to the 1st century BC

Venus rules the Full Moon from its airy home of Libra. The return of Venus to a sign where it can express itself directly and fully is notable due to the past few months having been dominated by the two planets that tend to stir up the most trouble, Mars and Saturn, residing in their own zodiacal homes of sovereignty. While Venus entering Libra will not magically rebalance the innumerable injustices and inequities that have been erupting across society, it does bring a surge of restorative air into the volatile astrological mix. Venus sharing the sign of Libra with Mercury will also help mediate the aforementioned tension taking place between Mercury and Saturn through grace, charming communication, and the art of critical thinking.

Venus directly expresses its essence of beauty, style, and harmony in Libra, yet will be traversing difficult astrological terrain between the Taurus Full Moon on October 31 and the Scorpio New Moon on November 14. In the week following the Full Moon, Venus in Libra will be heading straight into an opposition with Mars retrograde in Aries that will become exact on November 9 with Venus at 15°21′ Libra and Mars at 15°21′ Aries. With Venus sovereign and securely at home in Libra facing off with an agitated Mars slowing down to station direct in its fiery home of Aries, the tension jarred loose by the propulsive Taurus Full Moon will be unleashed within amplified conflicts. The way forward lies with Venus, as the star of Aphrodite will be able to draw upon the strength of its own resources to help mediate and mend whatever becomes torn apart.

Rather than further imploding already polarized conflicts, Venus sharing the sign of the Scales with a stationing and heliacal rising Mercury can facilitate discourse that balances differing points of view, recalibrating our response so that we may better navigate the minefield of trigger points that will exacerbate conflict if set off. Through deep listening and mindful consideration we can remain sensitized to the power dynamics and triggers of tension within relationships, leading to insights for how to mediate conflicts and facilitate cooperation or support from allies when needed. Venus in the cardinal sign of Libra will be able to make quick adjustments and initiate new movements when required.

After Venus moves through its opposition with Mars, it will flow into an intensifying square aspect with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn as Jupiter and Pluto complete their third and final conjunction of the year on November 12. Although Venus will not complete its square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto until after the Scorpio New Moon on November 14, the friction between Venus with Jupiter and Pluto will be building throughout the waning half of the current lunar cycle. It’s notable that Venus will be in the superior position of being in the tenth place from Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn, a hopeful sign for addressing issues of injustice and inequity that have been exacerbated and exposed by Jupiter and Saturn ending and beginning new cycles with Pluto during 2020.

The final conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto on November 12 will correspond with momentous events that reshape narratives due to Mars finally stationing direct at the same time on November 13. Previously in 2020 there were conjunctions between Jupiter and Pluto on April 4 and June 30, and so there will be resolution and deepening development of storylines connected with those previous dates. The archetypal meaning of Jupiter and Pluto uniting is multivalent, including corrupt power grabs manipulated by power structures as well as the exposure of corruption that empowers direct action by social justice movements. There is immense potential for volcanic eruptions of conflict due to Mars stationing direct at the same time, a fact that has been a concerning forecast for a long time by astrologers in relation to the presidential election in the USA since both sides of the political spectrum believes that the other side will be fraudulently manipulating the outcome.

While many collective events will be out of our control as Jupiter and Pluto unite and Mars stations direct, we will be able to take responsibility for our own response and remain steadfast and accountable to our essential values and concern for the well being of our community. With Venus in Libra simultaneously moving from an opposition with Mars into a square with Pluto, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as Mercury in Scorpio applying to its third opposition with Uranus, it will be imperative for each and every one of us to help out those in need and to take action rooted in our moral compass.

pents05

Taurus 1 Decan

The first face of Taurus where the Full Moon in Taurus culminates is connected with the Five of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Five of Pentacles is often associated with worry and fear over not having enough money or resources. Yet the poverty stricken figures in front of the stained glass window of a cathedral suggest that resources can be found in both the realm of spirit as well as in charitable communities. Mercury rules the first face of Taurus, linking the commerce of Mercury with the fertile, earthy 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 but to also contribute assistance to those in greater need so they are not left out in the cold.

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.” Coppock stated “the power this decan grants is that of understanding how to create growth,” adding that we must also realize that “the mind, heart and body are all ripe fields, which offer abundance when cultivated.” Coppock further noted that the emphasis the first decan of Taurus puts on using available resources to increase gain also brings up the shadow of fear that bleak times may arise if we disengage from constant planning and hard work. Yet ultimately Coppock concluded that “the true work of this decan is in the equilibriation of work and pleasure,” as there are also many sensual delights to be encountered in the first face of Taurus.

The 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 and 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, fertile beings. Fittingly for the Shining Samhain Moon, the Charites were also associated with the Greek underworld and the Eleusinian Mysteries.

As Mercury stations direct in the days following the Taurus Full Moon, amidst the volatility within current events it will be important to cultivate your inner agriculture of soul that will align you with the good graces. Just like the chthonic Charites loved to bring their blessings of fertility to ancient banquets, so will your ancestors enjoy feasting with you this Samhain while attending to your concerns with their guidance. Make sacred space for centering and receiving the grace of heartfelt faith in finding your way through the tumultuous ending of 2020.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

Hutton, Ronald. (1996). The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain. Oxford Press.

 

New Moon in Libra

griffins

ca 1st – 2nd Century

New Moon in Libra

Darkness surrounds every New Moon, as the Moon withdraws its reflected light to be reseeded by the Sun. With the Moon shrouded in black each month as it approaches its revivifying solar union, we are invited to silently recenter within the mysterious liminality of an old cycle ending while another begins anew. It’s a time fit for feeding ancestors and engaging in cleaning and clearing, opening awareness to whatever next wants to emerge while we tend to what came before. A sense of initiatory descent will be especially palpable during the New Moon in Libra on October 16, as we will need to incubate our knowing intuition to navigate through the rocks and hard places surrounding the lunation.

The New Moon is separating from an opposition with Mars retrograde in Aries and applying toward a demanding square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, with the Sun in its fall in Libra. The New Moon is also separating from a catalyzing square with Pluto in Capricorn and applying toward a discordant opposition with Eris in Aries. The syzygy in the sign of the Scales will be measuring how we have been impacted by the weight and gravity of the past year that began with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as well as the disorienting eruptions that have shattered expectations during the past couple months of Mars volatilizing Saturn and Pluto.

The Libra New Moon demarcates our movement beyond the midpoint of the Mars retrograde period as well as Saturn slowly beginning to separate from Pluto for good, yet simultaneously brings us down into the depths of  all the trouble they have stirred up. Innumerable injustices and instances of oppression and corruption have been exposed creating an impossibly large list of problems in need of solutions. Rather than exhausting yourself by spinning out in too many directions at once, the New Moon in Libra beckons to find nurturance in chthonic caves where wells of restorative cleansing may quench excessive inflammation. Necessity demands cultivating a strength that will sustain instead of drain.

The New Moon is near the degree of the fixed star Spica, the Spike of the Virgin whose light represents the wheat held by the Winged Goddess of the Virgo constellation. Bernadette Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind,” as Spica is a source of brilliant, extraordinary talents and skills. The Coptic people of Egypt named Spica as “Solitary,” which goes well with the New Moon being in the exaltation of Saturn. Though the lunation is surrounded by difficulty on every side, by engaging with the slow, thorough contemplation of Saturn we may receive the gift of realizing the circumstances we need to separate ourselves from and the hardships we need to endure that will be worth it in the end.

Spica is not the only sign of a goddess speaking, however, as Ceres in Aquarius is stationing direct in Aquarius in a flowing trine aspect with the New Moon. Ceres will station direct on October 18 at 28°36′ Aquarius after having been retrograde since it previously stationed on July 6 at 12º49′ Pisces. Ceres in Aquarius will form a supportive air triangle with the New Moon in Libra and the North Node in Gemini that can facilitate vital guidance emerging from purging what needs to be released. Ceres in Aquarius grieves and rages against all the oppression within societal systems she perceives with her piercing intellect. As Ceres stations and speaks out, we can realize essential aspects of our soulfulness through the purgation of emotions that can be likened to the threshing of grain governed by Ceres that reveals the essential vitality hidden in the shedded husk.

Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote that as goddess of fruitfulness, Demeter (aka Ceres) is most closely aligned with the phase of the hero’s journey in which the hero returns from the other world with the elixir to bring into their home community. To Addey, the hero under the influence of Demeter “is no longer serving his own perfection but the universe’s perfection,” operating “essentially” and “from his very being” rather than out “of mundane conquest.” Spend time listening during the Libra New Moon as Ceres stations, so you may discover what elixir you are gathering to ultimately return with from the sequence of intensifying transits that will bring 2020 to a close.

Justice Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Justice from the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Venus in Virgo rules the New Moon while applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces and a trine with Jupiter in Capricorn. The benefics, Venus and Jupiter, being in trine yet each also being in its own fall is a telling signature for the lunation requiring descent into a deeper sense of whatever circumstances you find yourself within. Venus in Virgo is also heading toward forming a square with the transiting lunar nodes, bringing her critical eye to the northern bending of the lunar nodes where she can survey whatever is out of balance and in need of repair. Exalted status symbols are no concern for the star of Aphrodite during the Libra New Moon, as she will be bringing her attention to those in marginalized communities and those in need who have been neglected or ignored.

Neptune in Pisces is casting a mystifying fog over the Libra New Moon through which Venus in Virgo may discern the path we need to take. The false glamorizing of celebrities, hypnotic manipulation of social media, and all the rest of the inessential dross spilling out from the culture of the times will need to be filtered and processed by Venus so we do not become distracted from the heart of the matter at hand. Venus in Virgo may also transmit imaginal insights through its interfacing with Neptune that may surface in dreams or the emergence of omens on our daily path, since Venus is in the domicile of Mercury and Mercury recently stationed retrograde while forming a harmonizing sextile in Scorpio.

Paul Klee Sibyl

Sibylle (1934) by Paul Klee

The other major source of propulsive volatility underlying the Libra New Moon comes from Mercury retrograde in Scorpio applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus that will become exact on October 19. The oscillating wattage between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus before that. We can expect more unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans as they finally complete their opposition. Yet we can prepare by remaining open to the kind of jolting awareness Uranus can bring to longstanding patterns that allows us to finally break free from their grip on us.

Since Mercury stationed retrograde only three days before the lunation, the star of Hermes is full of mischievous tricks to play and oracular messages to deliver.  The first waxing crescent light of the forthcoming lunar cycle will unite with Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, bringing greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention during the following week when Mercury will enter its invisible, underworld phase of putrefaction. The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more Mercury will take on the quality of the Sun’s calcining fire that dissolves what is stuck and opens deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. 

Whatever messages we receive from the opposition between Mercury and Uranus will be important to pay attention to, for the Moon in the forthcoming lunar cycle will wax into fullness on October 31 during a Full Moon in Taurus that will be conjoining Uranus.

Four of Swords

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon is in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a funerary knight in prayer under a stained glass window of “PAX.” This image also evokes balancing through meditative silence within a sacred space of solace. Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure is in position of re-balancing body and mind like someone laying down to incubate. The funeral atmosphere with the single sword below the figure also evokes cutting away the inessential and false so we may embody more fully the genuine legacy we are meant to leave behind once we depart to the ancestral realm. Fittingly, the stabilizing and providential presence of Jupiter and the psychopomp nature of Mercury are the rulers of the third face of Libra.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to the third face of Libra in his book on the decans 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with the “gyroscopic stability” of “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” as “its secret resides in the eye of the storm, calm and clear as the chaos of desire and fear whirl about.”  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” that co-exist in the third face of Libra along with the equipoise of the Four of Swords image.  Coppock suggested this face reveals the lesson that “the center of balance is always moving, and those who would walk this face must follow the center, however erratic its motion may seem.” Ultimately, Coppock concluded that those who properly traverse the third decan of Libra can “see through the eye of the storm,” discovering equilibrium and sanctuary in even the most chaotic of circumstances.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Known as a goddess who enacts retribution upon those full of hubris, there are diverse stories of her origin that place the parentage of Nemesis in the primordial (Oceanus as her father in some stories, Nyx as her mother in others) as well as her being a sister to the Fates. Nemesis is a divine force of restorative balance, redistributing fortune to correct for what has come disproportionally out of balance and punishing those who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence in the decan of the Libra New Moon is a warning that repercussions may be striking those who have been hubristically acting out, while also emphasizing the need to tend to whatever has become out of proportion in your life. Let the Libra New Moon guide you to the excess that needs to be trimmed and the outworn parts of yourself ready to be molted and shed. You will want to lighten your load to be more responsive to the many momentous events that will be erupting during the lunar cycle ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

Addey, Tim. (2000). The Seven Myths of the Soul. The Prometheus Trust.

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

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

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

Spica. Constellation of Words.

Warnock, Christopher. (2010). Mansions of the Moon: A Lunar Zodiac for Astrology and Magic. Renaissance Astrology.

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio and Libra

Ships in the Dark (1927) Paul Klee

Someday, at the end of the nightmare of knowing,
may I emerge singing praise and jubilation to assenting angels.
May I strike my heart’s keys clearly, and may none fail
because of slack, uncertain, or fraying strings.
May the tears that stream down my face
make me more radiant: may my hidden weeping
bloom. How I will cherish you then, you grief-torn nights!
Had I only received you, inconsolable sisters,
on more abject knees, only buried myself with more abandon
in your loosened hair. How we waste our afflictions!
We study them, stare out beyond them into bleak continuance,
hoping to glimpse some end. Whereas they’re really
our wintering foliage, our dark greens of meaning, one
of the seasons of the clandestine year—; not only
a season —: they’re site, settlement, shelter, soil, abode.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury retrograde in Scorpio

As night and its unknowing darkness envelopes us on October 13, Mercury will be cloistered in their cave of pungent roots, fungi, and herbs stirring a cauldron of mysterious brew hung with an iron hook over fire. Mercury has outdone themselves, really, as it’s a concoction into which we may pour all of our laments of loss, grief, vulnerabilities, and fears, cooking and transfiguring their essence into medicine. As Mercury tends to the dissolution, swirling it into a spiral with their spoon, we will be offered a taste.

Mercury will station retrograde on October 13, 2020 at 11°40′ Scorpio, pulling us into a twenty-one day period in which the star of Hermes will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on November 3 at 25º54′ Libra. Uranus and Saturn will be in the role of threshold guardians, as Mercury will begin its retrograde in an opposition with Uranus and will end it while in a square aspect with Saturn. Mercury will thoroughly inspect the zodiacal terrain from twenty-five degrees of Libra to twelve degrees of Scorpio in natal charts, digging up material in need of release, rehabilitation, rejuvenation, or reintegration. Mercury first crossed 25º54′ Libra on September 23 and will not finally move beyond 11°40′ Scorpio until November 19.

While 2020 has been dominated by the grave lineup of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn, 2021 will be fundamentally shaped by three shattering square aspects formed between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius on February 17, June 14, and December 23, 2021. Mercury’s retrograde journey through Scorpio and Libra will bridge the astrological themes streaming from this year into next, since it will begin by triggering issues related to Uranus and then penetrate into the core dynamics of Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter. Mercury is at home in liminal states of being in between, and while retrograde will guide awareness into exploration of the issues that require deeper attention so we may more fluidly pass from the way things have been into the way of what is to come.                     

Mercury transitions from being visible in the evening twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase into an invisible phase for most of its retrograde passage, re-emerging into visibility at the end of its retrograde phase at dawn. In between Mercury descends into the darkness of the underworld to be regenerated by the Sun, reseeding our consciousness with new ideas and a refreshened presence. The apparent backward motion of Mercury is due to it orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to its closest proximity with us in orbit. We thus experience an intensification of Mercury during its retrograde phase, as its descent calls for a purging and purification of our mental constructs and the way we process and communicate information and ideas.

Mercury retrograde has a reputation for trouble that it will play at full tilt this time around. Crucially, Mercury will not only station in opposition with Uranus, it will also be under rulership of Mars retrograde in Aries in its full phase with the Sun. This means that after the Sun sets and Mercury shares its final light as an evening star in the few days after it stations retrograde, Mars will be arising over the eastern horizon in its brightest phase of fiery redness and proceed to glow down upon us all through the night. Since Mars will be operating at an extremity of symbolic heat, we can expect the three week period of Mercury being retrograde to be more disruptive and disorienting than normal.

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity will be the kind of medicine we will need to digest. Yet we must also bear in mind that Mercury will utilize sleight of hand trickery while dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The building square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that Mercury will bridge during its retrograde journey is a waning one, signifying that across our global collective the clash between Saturn and Uranus will demand a radical altering of how we perceive and approach the dismantling of societal systems underway. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize the experience of Mercury retrograde for sifting through the unraveling of our inner multiplicity, reintegrating fragmented aspects of ourselves that essentially need to be returned, finding new angles of perception in problem solving in the process.

While we are often called to revisit old issues while Mercury is retrograde, the influence of Mars combined with the hard aspects Mercury will make with Uranus, Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter over the course of its three week retrograde passage has the potential to dredge up core patterns that feel like they have been festering in the deepest recesses of our subconscious for ages. Rather than becoming angry and frustrated over having to re-engage with something from the past, ask what the spirit of the presenting issue is bringing as an underlying lesson. Allow the star of Hermes to guide awareness to the old issues that need to be laid to rest, the repairs and reparations that need to be enacted, and the emptying of what needs to be released in order to more effectively welcome an influx of new developments at the end of 2020.

Walpurgis Night 1935 by Paul Klee 1879-1940

Walpurgis Night (1935) Paul Klee

And so we press on and try to achieve it,
try to contain it in our simple hands,
in our brimming eyes, our voiceless heart.
Try to become it. Try to give it— to whom? Best of all,
to hold on to it all forever . . . Ah, but what can one carry across
into that other relation? Not the art of seeing,
learned so slowly here, and no event that transpired here. Not one.
The pain, then. Above all, the hard labor of living,
the long experience of love, —all the purely
unsayable things. But later on,
among the stars, what then: there the unsayable reigns.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Ninth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury typically will spend about two years being retrograde in the same element- since March 2019, Mercury has been shifting retrograde in water signs. This will be the final Mercury retrograde in a water sign in the current sequence, as Mercury will be retrograde in the air signs of Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra in 2021. During the past two years the periods of Mercury retrograde in water signs have plunged us into the depths of emotional undercurrents so we may excavate buried treasures of insight. It’s wise to slow down and allow for dreams, synchronicities, and omens to work through us when Mercury is retrograde in water signs, and that will be especially the case while Mercury is retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until it returns to Libra on October 27.

Mercury will be visible in the liminal hues of twilight at the beginning of its retrograde phase, transitioning around October 18 into its phase of invisibility in which it facilitates purging and shedding.  The closer Mercury comes to uniting with the Sun on October 25, the more the cauldron of Mercury will feel the Sun’s calcining fire that can dissolve rigidity and open deeper attuning with needed messages from our unconscious. From the stationing of Mercury on October 13 until its conjunction with the Sun on October 25, let the watery nature of Mercury in Scorpio pull your feelings into the places that need release and resolution within.  After the New Moon in Libra forms on October 16 and the waxing Moon shares its first crescent light while conjoining Mercury in Scorpio on October 17, it will be possible to gain greater clarity for what needs to be emptied and shed with intention. 

As Mercury disappears into darkness it takes on the role of Chthonic Hermes, the psychopomp who was given souls to guide by Persephone. Mercury will descend into the underworld while forming an opposition with Uranus that will become exact on October 19. The emancipatory and jolting wattage oscillating between Mercury and Uranus will not be new, for Mercury first formed an opposition with Uranus on October 7 after having spent a week building up tension with Uranus. On the most simple level the extended interfacing between Mercury and Uranus will bring unexpected announcements and events that radically upturn narratives and plans. Combined with Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be a deeper side of soulful and ancestral patterns becoming volatilized that will feel disorienting but can lead toward fundamental growth and development.   

While it’s best with Mercury retrograde in a water sign to go with the flow, the fixed nature of Scorpio can lead to being stuck on compulsive feelings or consumed with trying to maintain control in getting our way. The lightning strikes from Uranus will force release and surrender to the currents, and while we may have to experience strife we may also listen to what message the sleight of hand of Mercury is delivering through the tumult. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.  Make space for rest and time for descent into incubatory darkness so you may better attune to the inner guidance needed.

the green candle jorge camacho

The Green Candle by Jorge Camacho

With all its eyes the animal world
beholds the Open. Only our eyes
are as if inverted and set all around it
like traps at its portals to freedom.
What’s outside we only know from the animal’s
countenance; for almost from the first we take a child
and twist him round and force him to gaze
backwards and take in structure, not the Open
that lies so deep in an animal’s face. Free from death.
Only we see death; the free animal has its demise
perpetually behind it and before it always
God, and when it moves, it moves into eternity,
the way brooks and running springs move.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Eighth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Chthonic Cazimi

Mercury will become reanimated and reseeded by its conjunction with the Sun on October 25 at 2°48′ Scorpio. Known as its inferior conjunction, Mercury aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there is enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence,” as Hermes discovers fortune through “accidental happenings” and windfalls that he crafts with “intelligence and the art of living,” shaping every find into “a theft that is put into better use.” Wherever you find yourself in your journey on October 25, invite Hermes to help you make inventive use of your circumstances. Indeed, Kerenyi illuminated that the journeyer in communion with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world.” This “middle domain” of Hermes has resonance with Mercury at the point of its chthonic conjunction with the Sun because, as described by Kerenyi, “a person in this volatized condition has access to everything.” It’s a moment to enter the primordial in the present.

When Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light on October 25, its ruler Mars will remain retrograde but will have finally finished forming exact square aspects with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. We may draw from the absorptive potency of Mercury in Scorpio to soak in all the feelings that have been stirred up by Mars catalyzing Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, grounding into a deeper sense of our circumstances. Open your awareness to the seeds of new ideas and visions germinating within your inner darkness.

Victor Brauner origin of the word

Origin of the Word by Victor Brauner

But suppose the endlessly dead were to wake in us some emblem:
they might point to the catkins hanging
from the empty hazel trees, or direct us to the rain
descending on black earth in early spring.-

And we, who always think of happiness
rising, would feel the emotion
that almost baffles us
when a happy thing falls.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Tenth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

Mercury Station in Libra

Mercury slides backwards into Libra on October 27 only eight minutes before Venus enters Libra. This brings a major change in tone that switches the focus of Mercury from Mars retrograde in its fiery home of Aries to Venus in its airy home of Libra, with both Mercury and Venus gaining increased essential dignity on the same day (Venus entering its own domicile and Mercury entering its own triplicity). Mercury will also be in the exaltation and triplicity of Saturn, and will test this relationship immediately by applying to an intensifying square aspect with Saturn. The square between Mercury and Saturn is a double edged scythe, as on one hand there could be rejection to contend with while on the other hand there could be a solidification and harvesting of insight and results.

As the tension between Mercury retrograde in Libra and Saturn direct in Capricorn builds to a peak, there will be a cathartic Full Moon in Taurus on October 31 that forms an almost exact conjunction with Uranus. Notably, the Taurus Full Moon combines the monthly polarity of the Sun and Moon with the yearly opposition between the Sun and Uranus retrograde, the heart of the retrograde cycle of Uranus when it is closest to Earth. The lunation’s alignment with Uranus can bring the electrified spark needed to finally change a deep seated pattern as well as incite far ranging vision that brings a sudden reformulation of whatever we have been planning and working on. The mysterious, nonlinear realm of memory and dreams will be invigorated with activity.

A day after the Full Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus, Mercury retrograde in Libra will form an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 1. As Mercury retrograde in Libra clashes with Saturn under the full light of the Moon, we may encounter extremes in current events as well as interpersonal encounters, bringing a need for balancing within experiences full of tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. Fortunately, the timing of these transits with the Samhain holiday can make for potent rituals, spiritual experiences, and communion with ancestors that can bring pivotal guidance. 

As Mercury slows down to station direct on November 3 while forming a square with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn, the star of Hermes will also be returning to visibility as a Morning Star sharing its light amongst the birdsong that comes just before sunrise. In the United Sates of America, Mercury will station direct in the vicious political climate of Election Day that will likely be full of conflicting reports and contested results. Mercury will make major pronouncements during the first week of November in global events, and likewise in our personal life we will receive an influx of new vision and an activation of imaginative ideas.

After Mercury stations direct and begins moving forward in Libra, it will form its third exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 7. The final square between Mercury and Saturn brings to completion a process that began on September 23 when Mercury and Saturn formed the first square in the sequence. The meaning found in the relationship between Mercury and Saturn across this time brings to mind the description given by Liz Greene regarding Carl Jung’s understanding of their interplay in her book The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus. Greene wrote that the “shadowy, potentially destructive prima materia of the unconscious, represented by Saturn, bears a secret unity with the mysterious mediating agency in the psyche, represented by Mercury, that fosters the conscious recognition of meaning and teleology.”  One aspect of the realm where Mercury and Saturn may meet is in the imagination, and so it will be worthwhile spending time incubating within the living symbolism of whatever emerges to glean the deeper significance for your life.

Mercury will return to the dark waters of Scorpio on November 10, the same day it also reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star and begins to move faster than the steady course of the Sun. At the same time, Venus in Libra will be forming an opposition with Mars in Aries as the red planet begins to slow down to station direct. The tension between Venus and Mars will intensify the entrance of Mercury into its explorative solar phase that Gary Caton has compared to the rubedo phase of alchemy, as it demarcates the period for manifesting the inspired ideas and revivified presence gathered during the period of Mercury retrograde into our daily routines and reality. Make space for deep listening and delving into your relational dynamics with others, taking note of the underlying patterns and crafting ways to create healthier, mutually supportive dynamics.

Altogether, the period of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra will play a crucial role in transitioning us into the finale of Mars retrograde in Aries and comprehending whatever emerges. It will also provoke a vital reorientation to the issues that need our attention in the final stretch of the year as we approach an eclipse season and the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21. After traversing the boggy landscape of Scorpio where we will experience decomposition of past issues, Mercury will retrieve the golden scales of Libra that we may utilize in recalibrating whatever new growth is becoming fertilized. Moving back and forth between the dissolving water of Scorpio and the intellectualizing air of Libra can facilitate the understanding of surrounding relational dynamics we need in order to navigate the social unrest and disruption to societal power structures that will be taking place.

Angel! O take it, pluck it, that small-petaled herb of healing!
Create a vase, preserve it! Place it among those joys
not yet open to us; in a delicate urn
let an ornate inscription praise it: “Subrisio Saltat.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Fifth Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

NORWAC 2021

norwac header49

NORWAC 2021

I will be speaking as part of an exemplary gathering of astrologers at the 2021 Northwest Astrological Conference that will take place from May 27 – 31, 2021. There is presently an “early bird” discount for registration in effect until November 30, so if you plan to attend it will be most affordable now. Due to the pandemic it will be a virtual conference and you will have the opportunity to view all of the recordings of the lectures for two weeks following the end of the conference.

My talk is entitled “Oracular Light: Heliacal Rising and Setting Planets.”

Description: This talk will explore the meaning of planets arising in light after being invisible (heliacal rising) and planets making their final appearance before descending into darkness (heliacal setting). We’ll examine the importance and nuances of their interpretation in natal astrology, including how they make a crucial statement regarding one’s purpose and calling in life. We’ll also discover how to utilize secondary progressions to determine pivotal time periods in the life of those born with a heliacal rising or setting planet.

Link for Speakers

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Link to Register

Full Moon in Aries

Morning Fantasy

Morning Fantasy (1904) by Mikalojus Konstantinas

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 1, 2020 will pour a fiery ferment into our lives and stories, inflaming the tension that has been building in the past month. Since the middle of August, Mars and Saturn have been engaged in grinding conflict that has exacerbated impasses, amplified anger, and provoked outrage over abuse and misuse of power. Mars and Saturn are at centerstage of the Full Moon, with Mars retrograde in Aries raging against the stalwart stationing direct of Saturn. The timeless endurance of Saturn will persevere through the onslaught of martial heat, yet matters will be dismantled and irrevocably altered by the frenzied fire from Mars. While longing has been thwarted in many ways during the dissolution, we can remain rooted in our desires that continue to be reshaped into new dimensions.

The Full Moon is in a place of extreme fire, as Aries is the home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The influx of fire will demand fuel to consume, waste and inauthenticity to be burned off, kindled inspiration to be shared, and faith in our intuitive knowing to be followed. The peak light of Selene adorned in the flames of Aries will illuminate our turn into the final quarter of 2020, yet it is not merely the end of a year we are approaching- it is the closing down of two centuries of Jupiter and Saturn conjoining in earth signs and a reckoning with all of its troubled ghosts. The tumultuous storms of 2020 have exposed innumerable injustices across society, amplifying awareness of long-standing issues of systemic oppression in need of remedy and reparation. The recent clash between Mars and Saturn has magnified difficulties and brought experiences of foreboding toil for many, but these same forces that cause separation can also motivate ferocious determination to resiliently embody and activate our core values.

Pivotally, the Full Moon is separating from a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and applying to a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Chiron can facilitate being present with problems, allowing symptoms to guide discovery and reveal the underlying issues in need of attention. As Melanie Reinhart has spoken of Chiron’s gift in mediating ancestral relationship and healing, there is a larger perspective to integrate concerning how our temporary personal issues are seated within vaster patterns of intersecting ancestral wounds and burdens, as well as ancestral blessings and resources of strength and resiliency to draw from. It will be worthwhile to pull back from busyness to ground into nurtured space of reflection in the wake of the Full Moon. Within a protected space of rootedness not unlike an imaginal cave of Chiron, allow yourself to see through present dilemmas into the larger tapestry of soulful patterns and stories at play.

Paul Klee red house

Red House (1929) by Paul Klee

The Full Moon is in the fiery red home of Mars, placing the extremity of heat inflicted by Mars during its retrograde phase front and center. Mars is separating from a square with Saturn and applying toward a square with Pluto that will be intensified due to Pluto stationing direct on October 4 at 22°29′ Capricorn. Pluto stationed retrograde on April 25 at 24°59’ Capricorn and since then has been instigating a radical realignment between our internal metamorphoses and the shattering of societal systems that have corresponded with Pluto initiating new cycles with Saturn and Jupiter. From the Full Moon until Mars completes its square aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be a release from the constraints of Saturn and an upwelling of volcanic desire as Pluto takes on the role of blacksmith within the forge of Mars.

The stillness of Pluto stationing direct will saturate the astrological landscape with the chthonic fertility of Hades. As the underworld ferryman emerges to demand offering from Mars, so will we need to examine our inner soil and the seeds germinating within its silent darkness. Look within for guidance rather than to external forms of security, for the volatility incited by Mars across civilization will necessitate finding faith within the deep harbors of psyche rather than the societal structures being dissolved and reforged. The strife and discord within collective events will be rampant with purgative force as Mars additionally will form a conjunction with the dwarf planet Eris on October 4, the same day Pluto stations direct.

While conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto have long been known in mundane astrology to incite collapse and polarized conflict in global events, the irrevocable dismantling of long-standing societal structures that has corresponded with their conjunction in 2020 has been magnified in intensity due to Saturn and Pluto uniting in close proximity with their own south nodes. The archetypal meaning of the entire orbital arcs of Saturn and Pluto crashing down across the ecliptic has been in effect during the past year, and as they both station direct together while Mars crashes into them they will unleash a final flood of accumulated toxicities and oppression built up from ages past.

Thus Mars retrograde is not only forming a square with Saturn and Pluto but also the nodes of Saturn and Pluto, placing it at the unfathomably cathartic place of volatilizing Saturn and Pluto from the southern bending of their own nodes. As a result, we have arrived at a crucially important opportunity to confront societal issues that have been festering and plaguing people for centuries and detoxify their intersection with us as individuals. The Full Moon in Aries will illuminate the importance of claiming responsibility for our behavior and intention, being accountable for the wider collective impact of our individual action. As the tension between Saturn, Pluto, and Mars erupts, we may discover the courage needed within our depths to protect those who are vulnerable and stand up for the world we wish to see rebuilt in the years ahead.

Image 71 from the Red Book

From Liber Novus by C.G. Jung

Vitally, Mercury will be at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star during the Full Moon in Aries, demarcating the threshold of Mercury beginning to slow down before stationing retrograde in Scorpio on October 13. Mercury in Scorpio will be making a sequence of three oppositions with Uranus in Taurus between now and November 17, with its first exact opposition occurring on October 7 and its second occurring on October 19 after shifting retrograde. Mercury and Uranus facing off will make the already volatile astrology even more chaotic, but there will also be enormous creative potential unleashed between Mercury and Uranus for reception of revelations and liberating yourself from whatever needs to be shed and released.

Mercury will be under rulership of the fiery instigator Mars, making the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio especially disorienting and purgative. With Mars retrograde already dislodging stuck patterns, Uranus being opposed by Mercury in the dark watery climate of Scorpio will amplify capacity for absorbing atmospheric undercurrents and penetrating under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter. The watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also a place in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that ultimately produce fruit. While we will need to allow for unexpected commotion that can upturn plans, the simmering tension between Mercury and Uranus can also reveal insights buried in the boglands of Scorpio that will prove to be potent catalysts of profound growth.

2 of Wands

2 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 1 Decan

The Aries Full Moon will rise in the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a conquering figure holding a globe, piercing the expanse of the horizon with his gaze is fitting for a decan steeped in will power, as he seems intent on enacting his vision upon reality and expanding his influence. The ambitious confidence and assertion present in the image connects with the fact that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile and face rulership over the Aries Full Moon. 

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to the first decan of Aries, as it has a long association with fierce figures such as in the Liber Hermetis where we discover a man “standing on feet like claws” and “holding above his head a double-sided axe with both hands.” Coppock rooted the symbolism of the Axe in it being “the primordial splitter” that creates the division necessary for growth, as “cosmologies begin with the sundering of the One.” Indeed, not only did the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs identify the mythic Aidoneus with the first face of Aries, so did the ancient philosopher Empedocles identify Aidoneus as one of the four fundamental elements at the root of creation.

While Coppock described the Axe as a magical tool essential for the use of the first face of Aries in “breaking bonds which no longer serve” and bringing “subjective order to the world” through “taming the environment,” he also noted it is a face of raw, unfiltered, and untamed willpower that can evoke the “tyrannical spirit of the infant.” As it is a decan focused upon “the will pressing reality to conform with its pattern,” its strength lies in the personal power of an “unrestrained will” and “the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.” Yet Coppock also warned of “a tendency in this decan to try to do too much with force alone,” quickly accumulating karmic debts and destructive opponents.

The Aries Full Moon will ignite the fiery, raw individualism of the first face of Aries, and so we need to consider how and why we intend to wield its penetrative potency externally and internally. While the martial ambition found in this face can be linked with empire builders who wish to amass immense power and control, its primordial fire is also what brings the inspiration and foresight required to throw off the shackles of colonizing empire and insist on liberation. However, fighting fire with fire amidst the incendiary astrology of the next month can risk unleashing devouring flames that burn out of control and lead to severe destruction. Considered responses and thoughtful initiatives are advisable within our external relationships, yet within our inner furnace we may more freely direct the fierce flames of the Full Moon to melt down entrenched patterns, fluidly reforging a revivified presence.

Nowhere, Love, will World exist but within. Our lives
pass in transformation. And all the while the outside realm
diminishes. Where once a solid house endured,
some abstraction shoves itself into view, completely at ease
among concepts, as if it still stood in the brain.
The Zeitgeist is building vast reservoirs of power, formless
as the thrusting energy it wrests from everything.
It no longer recognizes temples. Furtively we hoard
what the heart once lavished. Where one of them still survives,
an object once prayed to, revered, knelt before—,
it’s already reaching, secretly, into the invisible world.
Many no longer see it, yet without the gain
of rebuilding it greater now, with pillars and statues, within!

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from the Seventh Elegy of Duino Elegies translated by Edward Snow

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: the history, astrology, and magic of the decans. Three Hands Press.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2000). Duino Elegies. translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

New Moon in Virgo

 
paul klee the gate of night

The Gate of the Night (1921) by Paul Klee

New Moon in Virgo

The New Moon in Virgo on September 17 draws a season to a close, initiating us into the final season of 2020. While the heat of Summer transitions into the crisp coolness of Autumn in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the lunation demarcates the end of Winter and the dawning of Spring. It’s a time of seasonal balancing, with the amount of light and darkness we experience in a day temporarily reaching an equilibrium on the Libra equinox which will occur five days later on September 22. The darkness of the Virgo New Moon is ideal for centering within one’s inner light, sensing surrounding circumstances with full awareness. 

The Virgo Moon is separating from a trine with Pluto and applying toward a trine with Saturn in Capricorn, providing an opportunity to slow down and ground into deeper presence with whatever challenges and difficulties we have been contending with. After completing a trine with Saturn, the Virgo Moon will form a quincunx with Mars retrograde in Aries as the slowly moving red planet intensifies in the tension that it will continue to build with Saturn for the rest of September. The astrology of the next couple of months will not be getting any easier, and so we need to lean into any trouble brewing with discernment rather than trying to escape from problems through denial or distraction.

The strength of the Virgo New Moon is found in the dark caves and black stones of Saturn. The trine from the lights in Virgo with Saturn in Capricorn may feel melancholic due to the tumult of current events, yet the pondering contemplation of Saturn will be what we need to cultivate in the forthcoming lunar cycle. We need to engage with the side of Saturn open to the mystery of the unknown and willing to reflect upon the fullness of the moment, rather than being overly defensive, rigid, and righteously insisting on control or trying to force what we want to have happen. As Saturn begins to slow down en route to stationing direct on September 29, we will be most effective through deep reflection in decision making and taking the time necessary rather than rushing.

Mercury in Libra rules the New Moon and is forming an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. Mercury is in the bounds of Jupiter and on the superior side of the square aspect, enabling a thorough questioning of our beliefs about what has been happening so we can make adjustments attuned with the reality of the moment rather than wishful thinking. Mercury will next form a square with Pluto on September 20 followed by a square with Saturn on September 23 as it simultaneously moves into a tense opposition with Mars. With Mercury in the exaltation of Saturn, we can combine the nuanced flexibility of Mercury with the reflective depth of Saturn to come to terms with how we need to handle whatever volatility is being stirred up by Mars retrograde in Aries.

the third shape kay sage

In the Third Sleep (1944) by Kay Sage

The New Moon is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a square aspect with the North Node of the Moon in Gemini and the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. This means that we are at the midpoint in between eclipse seasons, as the Sun last formed a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon when there was a Solar Eclipse on June 21 and will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon when there is a Solar Eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14. Like the view gained from climbing mountainous peaks, the Virgo New Moon offers a far ranging perspective to help mediate whatever turning points in narratives are arising. Since Mercury and Jupiter, the rulers of the lunar nodes, are colliding in an exact square there is likely a significant twist in your story occurring that will need your undivided attention.

Furthermore, Neptune retrograde in Pisces is five degrees away from a square with the lunar nodes at their southern bending. The square between Neptune and the lunar nodes will be slowly getting tighter during the rest of 2020, with Neptune forming an exact square with the lunar nodes in January 2021. Neptune is more than halfway through its retrograde phase that stretches from June 22 to November 28, having formed an opposition with the Virgo Sun on September 11. With the Virgo New Moon separating from Neptune, the lunation contains more of a movement away from the mists of Neptune rather than into its otherworldly fog. It will be especially important to sift through any lessons learned from recent experiences of disillusionment to help in reorienting toward a more realistic assessment of your situation.

The Philosophia Hermetica

from The Philosophia Hermetica (1790) by Federico Gualdi

While the incendiary heat of Mars retrograde in Aries is only at its beginning stages, the week following the Virgo New Moon will bring a critical juncture of Mercury moving through square aspects with Pluto and Saturn into an opposition with Mars on September 24. A balance will need to be struck between opening to new desires being stoked by Mars while patiently working through whatever obstacles and tests are being set in place by Saturn. It’s a period for laying the foundation of long-term goals rather than grasping for short-term gratification. Yet despite setbacks, it will not be a time to forsake our most authentic and essential desires but rather to allow them to be reshaped and reforged by the crucible of Saturn and Pluto. 

In addition to forming a square with Saturn on September 23 and an opposition with Mars on September 24, Mercury also will be crossing into the “retrograde shadow” degrees of its upcoming retrograde motion that will occur from October 13 until November 3. As it will be an especially volatile and disruptive retrograde phase for Mercury, it will be wise to begin sensing what challenges are coming your way and what needs to be remedied while Mercury is still visible in its evening star phase. Mercury colliding with Pluto, Saturn, and Mars in sequence can be helpful for noticing what is beginning to come out of balance so you can begin rethreading whatever is fraying before it becomes torn apart. 

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 3 Decan

The New Moon in Virgo arises in the third decan of Virgo associated with the Ten of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Fitting for an image of a family enjoying the fruits of their ancestral legacy, the third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Venus. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of “the pensive nature of the elder” in the Ten of Pentacles card with a fundamental question this face asks about wealth: “What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?”

Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third decan of Virgo, writing that “the spirit gazes upon its inevitable separation from matter here, contemplating the consequences of its brief union.” A decan of decay and death, old texts such as the Picatrix and Liber Hermetis contain images of mummification, while Abraham Ibn-Ezra pictured a woman praying with leprous hands. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” It’s a decan that asks us to come to terms with the legacy and value we wish to leave behind for our future ancestors, a face of learning to embrace the moment due to the death that awaits all of our loves in the end.

Doubling down on the long game during the Virgo New Moon, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo. Hestia is a sublime guide for the New Moon, as she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the essential value we wish to invest into our relationships, work, and community. Hestia is the devoted one with roots in a legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath for the living force of creation. Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service that does not abandon.

Fittingly for Hestia being associated with the third face of Virgo, Venus in Leo is applying toward a conjunction with Vesta in Leo during the New Moon in Virgo. Earlier in the year there was a conjunction between Venus and Vesta on May 15 when Venus was retrograde in Gemini, and so we may now re-center within our core values that have been reforged since then.  Compared to the other planets engaged in tense aspects, Venus will have smooth sailing through Leo as it heads toward forming a trine aspect with Mars at the end of September. The essential values passed down to us from our ancestors that we wish to pass on to our future ancestors deserve our full commitment and embodiment within the darkness of the Virgo New Moon.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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References

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

 

Secondary Progressions Course

secondary progressions course title card

Story Cycles: A Course in Secondary Progressions

I’m excited to announce a six week course on secondary progressions beginning on November 7 and running through December 12, 2020.

Secondary progressions are known as one of the most important cycles of personal development in astrology, especially in terms of exploring the trajectory of our life narrative and predicting key turning points in our story. In case you are unfamiliar, secondary progressions are based upon the symbolic correspondence between our experience of one solar day and one solar year. This is based upon the ancient concept of the part equaling the whole and how bringing awareness to the part can illuminate the whole.

With secondary progressions we are engaging a symbolic equivalence between our experience of a solar day with the Sun rising, culminating and setting with our experience of a solar year and the Sun moving through all of the signs of the zodiac along the ecliptic from our geocentric perspective. As a result, when calculating a secondary progressed chart for someone turning thirty years old, you are essentially casting a chart based upon thirty days after their birth.

Regarding our overall life story, tracking and reflecting upon secondary progressions can help with figuring out what part of someone’s life story they are in right now. From the vaster whole of our entire life narrative, we can come into deeper relationship with what part or chapter of the overall story we are in. As a result, secondary progressions can be potent for reflecting upon past experiences as well as helping you in writing the next chapter of your life.

The natal chart is a living symbol of the moment we are born into, yet it’s common for people to conceive of their natal chart as something static with fixed aspects between the planets. Rather than the frozen moment of our birth, secondary progressions tap us into not only the moment of birth but where that moment is moving within all of the cycles between planets. For example, you may be born with a waxing crescent Moon in your natal chart but through secondary progressions you will live through all of the phases of the Moon.

Considering secondary progressions is important because the nature of one’s present secondary progressions will significantly alter interpretation of transits and any other timing technique you are using. It also brings a different perspective from solely focusing on the natal chart, transits, and timing techniques.

In addition, since the lunar phases of the Moon and the solar phases of each planet are essential to pay attention to with secondary progressions, as an added bonus you will gain knowledge regarding the synodic cycle of each planet with the Sun through this course.

“Story Cycles: A Course in Secondary Progressions” will occur weekly on Saturdays from 10 am until 12 pm in Pacific standard time. I will cover a different aspect of secondary progressions each week in this two hour class through a live Zoom meeting that will be recorded for all participants to download, whether you can attend it live or not. There will be supplementary material given as well as homework assignments.

There will also be a one hour session on Tuesdays from 6 – 7 pm in which I will answer questions from course participants through a Zoom meeting. This session will also be recorded for all participants to download and view at your convenience.

Total cost: $300 (payment plans are possible: contact me at consultation@graycrawford.net to discuss options)

Course Schedule:

  1. Saturday, November 7 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • The Sun in Secondary Progressions. We will cover a general introduction to secondary progressions and the meaning of the Sun within secondary progressions. Special attention will be given to the movement of the Sun by secondary progression across different houses of the natal chart with examples.
  2. Saturday, November 14 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • The Moon in secondary progressions. We will cover the meaning of the Moon within secondary progressions, it’s timing, and the significance of it changing house and sign as well as element and modality. Special attention will be given to the progressed lunar phases created by the relationship between the progressed Moon and the progressed Sun. We will explore the meaning of each progressed lunar phase with examples for discussion.
  3. Tuesday, November 17 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Live question and answer session covering the Sun and Moon
  4. Saturday, November 21 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • Mercury in secondary progressions. We will cover the meaning of Mercury changing house and sign in the natal chart as well as element and modality. Special attention will be given to understanding the synodic cycle of Mercury and the progressed solar phases involving the relationship between Mercury and the Sun. In particular we will explore the meaning of Mercury stationing retrograde, it’s retrograde phase, and stationing direct by progression.
  5. Tuesday, November 24 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Live question and answer session covering Mercury.
  6. Saturday, November 28 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • Venus in secondary progressions. We will cover the meaning of Venus changing house and sign in the natal chart as well as element and modality. Special attention will be given to understanding the synodic cycle of Venus and its meaning within secondary progressions. We will also explore the meaning of Venus retrograde in secondary progressions.
  7. Tuesday, December 1 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Live question and answer session covering Venus.
  8. Saturday, December 5 (10 am – 12 pm)
    • Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto by secondary progression. We will cover the meaning of Mars and the planets beyond Mars in secondary progression. We will explore the synodic cycles of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and the significance of them stationing retrograde or direct by progression. We will spend more time on Mars than the planets beyond Mars due to Mars being more dynamic by secondary progression due to it moving faster than the planets beyond it in orbit.
  9. Tuesday, December 8 (6 – 7 pm PST)
    • Final live question and answer session
  10. Saturday, December 12 (10 am – 12 pm PST)
    • Final project presentations and final summary. This class will be an opportunity for participants who wish to present a final project about what they have learned regarding their life story through reflecting upon their experience of secondary progressions. Time will be given for feedback and questions about each presentation.

To register and pay for the course you may pay through the “pay button” below, or send me an email to consultation@graycrawford.net to set up payment with me directly.

Story Cycles: A Course in Secondary Progressions

Six week course on Secondary Progressions taught by Gray Crawford.

$300.00

There will also be a discount for the course provided for those who support my work on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron.

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Mars Retrograde in Aries

Jorge Camacho

by Jorge Camacho

“Cruelty has a Human Heart,  /  And jealousy a Human Face;  /  Terror the Human Form Divine,  /  And Secrecy the Human Dress.  /  The Human Dress is forged Iron, /  The Human Form a fiery Forge,  /  The Human Face a Furnace seal’d,  /  The Human Heart its hungry Gorge.”

— William Blake, “A Divine Image” from Songs of Experience

Mars Retrograde in Aries

Mars has long been associated with division and separation, catalyzing action, movement, and conflict through eruptions of fiery heat. Mars enters a phase of extreme heat when retrograde, and this will especially be the case in the next few months as Mars will be retrograde in its fiery home of Aries where it operates with directness and strength. For those who are not smiths with a working forge, we can imagine the transformative capacities when working with a forge, transmuting materials into a new, useful creation. As the flames of Mars intensify, we may also light a torch to be carried into the expanses of inner depths to illuminate not only what we desire to create from our forge, but what materials we need to gather for our operation.

Mars stations retrograde on September 9, 2020 at 28°09′ Aries and will station direct on November 13, 2020 at 15°14′ Aries. Ultimately Mars will move back and forth from fifteen to twenty-eight degrees of Aries three times from July 25, 2020 until January 2, 2021. However, the stretch of time from the stationing retrograde of Mars in September until the stationing direct of Mars in November is distinctly different than the other two periods of time that Mars traverses these degrees. As a result, whatever significance the second half of Aries has in your natal chart will be the subject of internal and external confrontations that can lead to vital renovations.

Mars moves through the midpoint of its synodic cycle with the Sun during its retrograde, and so it can be helpful to consider whatever was being set in motion at the root of the current cycle. The present cycle of Mars was seeded by its conjunction with the Sun on September 2, 2019 at 9°40′ Virgo, and became visible in its heliacal rise as a Morning Star around October 16, 2019 at approximately eight degrees of Libra.  In the past year we have gone through many experiences exploring the meaning of the current Mars cycle, and as Mars slows down to station retrograde we are invited to pause in consideration.

During its retrograde phase, Mars transitions from being a Morning Star visible in all its scarlet glory before dawn into becoming a bright red star glowing all through the night. As Mars deepens into its retrograde, it will rise in the east into visibility closer and closer to the liminal transition of twilight. Mars is part of the nocturnal team in astrology, and so delights when it is shining down brightly from the heavens while the Sun is journeying through the darkness of the underworld. Mars also comes closest to us in orbit during its retrograde phase, altogether making it an extremely potent period for Mars.

As a result we need to come into relationship with an intensification of Mars in the coming months, which means working with volatility, change, and the relentless passion that can overcome us when working hard and taking action as well as the ensuing burnout. Mars brings awareness of instinctual drive, emerging desires, and how they align with our purpose through action and making things happen.  Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked.

The typical feelings of infuriation over being restrained when Mars stations retrograde will be extremely exacerbated due to it stationing in a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. In fact from August 15 until the beginning of October, Mars and Saturn will remain in a colossal conflict with each other within three degrees of a waxing square aspect. The fiery force of Mars that can melt down solidified structures and bonds will be confronting the supremely solid presence of Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn. It will be necessary to monitor energy levels, resting for regeneration as needed and letting go of goals meeting so much resistance that they are exhausting us and inhibiting our capacity to optimally respond to life.

Ideally we can sustain a slow burn approach that allows for periods of recuperation so that we can take advantage of the opportunities to initiate productive growth. There is similar symbolism in Saturn sealing off an alchemical vessel, with the fires of Mars separating the constituent elements contained within so they may be recombined in new forms. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology:

“Nature subdues nature by means of fire. Heat dissolves the cohesion of a substance; that natural desire to hold to itself as it is. Heat separates the metal from the ore body and can calcine the metal into a more workable condition. In the only-natural state, the substances resist change. They intend to stay as they are and have been for millions of eons, buried and hidden away. Yet the innate urge toward perfectibility welcomes the fire. Hence, they rejoice also in their submission, allowing themselves to be smelted, hammered, and extracted from their home ground. Resistance of any thing is given with its essential nature . . .

Nature does enjoy its natural state and resist change, yet it also struggles against its predilection for stasis, subduing itself and making change possible. Nature sophisticates itself, dividing its ambivalence into two aspects – the unchanging and the changing. It is therefore folly to attempt to change the unchanging . . .

What changes and what does not change? What stays the same and what becomes different? In philosophical terms, the existence changes, but the essence remains unalterable.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 35

As Mars stations retrograde it slowly turns the separating and dividing function of Mars inward, stoking our inner flames and initiating a process of realignment with our most deeply felt desire and purpose. By embracing the corresponding constriction upon external martial flow and the magnification of inner fire, during Mars retrograde we can make breakthroughs instead of suffering breakdowns. Like telling our stories to one another around a great collective bonfire,  we enter a liminal phase of changing the way we tell our own life narrative, shifting the trajectory of cyclic patterns at work. You may begin to notice the meaning of past experiences transfiguring in the flames, releasing you from ways you have been restricting or confining yourself to a particular story about yourself.

Mars moves retrograde less frequently than the other planets, so the relative novelty of its retrograde phase is an additional signifier of major changes that arrive in correspondence. Some people seem to be more profoundly impacted by Mars retrograde periods than others, and some people also seem to be more strongly impacted by Mars retrograde in certain signs than in other signs. Mars moves retrograde in Aries less frequently than some of the other signs- the last two times we experienced Mars retrograde in Aries were in 1988 and 1941. One way to sense how Mars retrograde periods impact you is to reflect upon your experiences during the past Mars retrograde periods.  Below is a list of the Mars retrogrades periods that have happened since 1999:

  • June 26 – August 27, 2018: stationed retrograde at 9º13′ Aquarius, stationed direct at 28º37′ Capricorn.
  • April 17 – June 29, 2016: stationed retrograde at 8°54′ Sagittarius, stationed direct at 23°4′ Scorpio.
  • March 1 – May 19, 2014: stationed retrograde at 28° Libra, stationed direct at 10° Libra.
  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24° Virgo, stationed direct at 4° Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20° Leo, stationed direct at 1° Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13° Cancer, stationed direct at 25° Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24° Taurus, stationed direct at 9° Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11° Pisces, stationed direct at 1° Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30° Sagittarius, stationed direct at 16° Sagittarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13° Scorpio, stationed direct at 25° Libra.

Mars

Mars from The Gods Who Preside Over the Planet (1528) by Master I.B.

“Astrologically, Mars characterizes the instinctual and affective nature of man. The subjugation and transformation of this nature seems to be the theme of the alchemical opus.”

— Carl Jung, Alchemical Studies

Carl Jung in Alchemical Studies referenced the writing of the 16th century Paracelsian alchemist Adam von Bodenstein who conceived “Ares” (or Mars) to be the “prime nature of things” that determines “their form and species,” with Jung declaring that as a result Ares or Mars can be considered to “be taken as the principle of individuation in the strict sense.” Jung further described Ares as the “preconscious, creative, and formative principle” that gives life, purifies, and transforms. In Jung’s Liber Novus or The Red Book, a pivotal chapter involves Jung meeting “The Red One” whose garments “shine like glowing iron,” and clearly embodies attributes of Mars. Liz Greene aptly summarized the impact of the Red One as bringing Jung into contact with a “vitally important yet previously neglected unconscious potency necessary for the fulfillment of Jung’s personality.”

Jung’s meeting with the Red One in Liber Novus follows a period in which Jung’s narrator was feeling stuck and unsure of what he wants and where  to go. The Red One shatters and brings new life not unlike the Tower card of tarot that is also associated with Mars; in fact, Jung’s narrator is standing guard on a high tower when he observes the Red One approaching from a distance. Similarly, the stationing of Mars in Aries may feel like a call to change course or the approach of vivifying presence that can penetrate our defenses and make us vulnerable to an infusion of new desires from a contrary source.

Aries is the diurnal home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The fiery cardinal sign, Aries is the optimal zodiac sign for pioneering new territory and initiating decisive movement, but it is not known for its staying power. The tension, friction, and contraction that will be felt as Mars engages in its fraught aspect with Saturn will make the first month of Mars being retrograde a time for taking considered action that takes account of external variables and internal energy levels. If we make sure to look before we leap and cultivate patience and resolve in enduring difficulties, we will be able to make some steady progress but may need to oscillate between periods of action and contemplative inaction. It will be a period for work that leads to long-term rewards rather than short-term results and gratification.

In world events, Mars retrograde in Aries will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, shaking and shattering structures and systems of the status quo as it collides with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. The astrology of 2020 has involved the ending and beginning of cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto that has forced confrontations with underlying issues of systemic oppression and inequity that have been festering across society. In particular, the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn that is ending is drawing to a close a two hundred year era of conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in earth signs that began in 1802, and so part of the martial conflict will center on societal issues that have plagued the past couple of centuries such as colonialism, racism, sexism, and the impact of the industrial revolution on economic and environmental systems.

The first month of Mars retrograde will be especially incendiary in relation to Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as Mars will form a square with Saturn on September 29 and with Pluto on October 9, with Saturn and Pluto within three degrees of one another in Capricorn. These jarring aspects will be inescapably striking due to Saturn and Pluto stationing at the same time, with Saturn stationing direct on September 29 and Pluto stationing direct on October 4. With Saturn and Pluto ending their retrograde phases and stationing direct, we will be coming to terms with however we have been questioning external systems of power and the way we wish to operate within society.

Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche highlighted the tendency of Saturn Pluto alignments to constellate mass projections of subversive elements within the populace upon an other or scapegoat, projecting whatever is deemed heretical or inferior, whatever we are in denial about ourselves. Tarnas stressed the shadowy complex of Saturn-Pluto is further matched by a compensatory empowerment of repressive and reactionary forces that utilize authoritarian methods. Rather than enacting cruelty on a scapegoat with all of the insidiousness you are projecting upon the other, be curious about whatever aspects of your inner multiplicity are being stirred up. Explore the deeper meaning of the stories you are drawn toward, the people you are attracted as well as repulsed by. Discern how the volatility can lead you toward considered and constructive action rather than reactionary impulsiveness.

We can use the catalyzing influence of Mars to claim more of our inner authority to make the changes we wish to see happen. There will be a need to be protective of others and to forge resiliency and courageousness out of whatever conflict emerges, yet it will also be important to not become stuck and rigid with defensiveness.  Allow whatever aspects of yourself are being shed to fully putrefy and provide compost to nurture whatever wants to emerge from within. Mars retrograde in Aries will provide the burning fires of Eros needed to forge bonds of fellowship as well as motivate a honing of whatever skills we need to cultivate to perform the role we need to play within the great changes taking place.

michael_maier_atalanta_fugiens_emblem_22

Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

“Do not act out; do not hold in. A paradox. And a double negative that suggests a via negative, a de-literalizing cancellation of both commandments. A mercurial escape from the exhausting oscillation between them. Instead of holding in or acting out, act in. Cook in the rotundum as one vessel was called, referring both to a container and to the roundness of the skull. Hold the heat inside the head by warming the mind’s reveries. Imagine, project, fantasize, think.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 37

An extremely inflammatory Full Moon in Aries on the first day of October will demarcate the transition of Mars from completing its square aspect with Saturn into engaging fully with its square aspect with Pluto. Mars will bring a more energizing and activating impact at this point due to it increasing in speed and movement as well as leaving the bounds of Saturn (25° – 30° Aries) to enter its own bounds (20º – 25° Aries). From the Full Moon on October 1 until Mars completes its aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be an intensification of desire and ambition as Pluto stokes the flames of Mars.

Yet it’s also wise to invite consideration of the dwarf planet Eris, as Mars will unite with Eris at 24°07′ Aries on October 3. Astrologers are still researching and coming to terms with the meaning of Eris in astrology, but there does seem to be resonance with her mythology which has connection with the Strife that Empedocles stated was at the root of creation along with Love. Homer in the Illiad said that Eris is the wrathful sister and companion of Ares, while Hesiod in Theogony said that Eris is the daughter of Nyx (Night) and the mother of kakodaimones (evil spirits) who plague humanity. Hesiod also said that while there is one kind of wholly blameworthy Strife, there is another who is praiseworthy in her capacity for stirring up hard work and productive competitiveness that leads to important creations.

Peter Kingsley in Reality noted that the force of Love is idealized without question, but that the force of Strife described by Empedocles can bring awareness of the illusions and deceptions brought by Love. Kingsley wrote that Strife can lead one toward ultimate freedom despite all of its associated difficulties:

The situation is starkly simple. If we let it have its way without cooperating, then Strife will manifest as violence and destruction all around us. But if we are willing to cooperate, we can consciously channel its energy instead into destroying ourselves- our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the ways things are. For what can be so difficult to realize is that the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality

The strife stirred up between Mars and Eris will have a direct impact on the ruptures emanating from Mars and Pluto. Mars clashing with Pluto can stir up potent ambition that can lead to extreme frustration and anger when facing restrictions or obstacles that impact your ability to manifest aspirations. There will be a need to be cautious of becoming so strongly driven and competitive that you become enmeshed within destructive power dynamics with others. Yet Mars and Pluto can also bring an indomitable tenaciousness in pursuing goals against all odds. By patiently building toward your goal and accepting the circumstances of your current stage of development, you will cultivate the flexibility needed to release yourself from repressive influences, adjust to changes of necessity, and draw from the depths of Mars and Pluto in ways that weld together your desire, purpose, and resolve.

Both Pluto and Mars have ancient associations with the underworld. Pluto is named for the Roman lord of the underworld, and similarly in astrology signifies our inner subterranean realm of circulating unconscious patterns that drive our instinctive reactions. In contrast, the planet Mars was known as the underworld deity Nergal in ancient Mesopotamian astrology. Michael Baigent in From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia wrote that Nergal was “lord of both the fires of hell and the heat of the fierce summers which destroyed both man and crops.” Nergal was the god of plague, fevers, and pestilence who forced his way into co-rulership of the underworld with Ereshkigal, becoming a god of the grave and judge of the dead.

We may feel dragged down into the chthonic and volcanic fires of Mars and Pluto in moments, yet the intensity of their heat will be capable of simultaneously reforging your will force. There may be tests of your ability to claim your personal power and a need to release yourself from dynamics that have been excessively repressing or restricting you.  When we resist the cathartic change brought by Pluto for security reasons we often experience breakdown, but when we surrender to its process of regenerative decay there can be a fiery purification of old restrictive patterns that sets the stage for us to give birth to a more potent vitality.

The mysterious meaning of the plate from the Gundestrup Cauldron above has been interpreted in many ways by scholars, including as an ancestralization ritual. Michael Enright proposed it depicts an initiation rite in which the large, divine smith on the left is quenching the warriors on the lower level in a vat so that they transition from being  “hot blooded adolescents into the cooler and more relentless realm of responsible adulthood” shown in the regal figures on the upper level. Just like a blacksmith dips spear and sword blades into quenching liquid so they become harder and more durable, so the initiate’s “nature undergoes a metamorphosis in the vat such that he can then be accepted as a rightly made adult.” There are echoes of the legendary Cú Chulainn whose battle frenzy burned so hot he had to be quenched three times in order for him to operate within society.

Mars will plunge us into the initiation that comes at the midpoint of its retrograde journey on October 13 when it forms an opposition with the Sun in Libra, with Mars at 21º04′ Aries. Mars at this point of its retrograde phase will be as close to us in orbit as it gets within its entire cycle, and it will also be glowing as bright red as possible in the night sky. As the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east; as the Sun rises in the east, Mars will set in the west. Adam Gainsburg has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as being a period for making a radical commitment to one’s authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs.

The same day that Mars forms an opposition with the Sun, Mercury will station retrograde in Scorpio under rulership of the star of Ares. Since Mercury will be stationing retrograde within range of an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, the middle of October will be exceedingly volatile and ripe with potential for sudden revelations, breakthroughs, and breakdowns. Mercury will remain retrograde in Scorpio until October 27 when it returns to Libra. With Mercury retrograde being ruled by Mars retrograde, let the tricks of Hermes guide you toward whatever needs to be released or reevaluated. While the delays and disagreements in communication that can come with Mercury retrograde periods will be activated, it can also be an extremely potent time for shedding what needs to be laid to rest while more deeply refining your purpose.

As Mercury in Scorpio takes on its chthonic psychopomp role in the middle of October, Mars will finally complete its square aspect with Jupiter on October 18 with Mars retrograde at 19°27′ Aries and Jupiter at 19°27′ Capricorn. Jupiter being in a superior square to Mars will amplify the potency of the Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio happening simultaneously, with intimations of new visions erupting from the cracks of the tectonic shifts that will be happening in world events. As Jupiter in Capricorn will be entering its final stretch of bringing to a close the old era with Saturn, the square between Jupiter and Mars can help in separating the inessential from the past that needs to be left behind while centering within the essential we need to cultivate and carry forward.

Venus in Vulcan's forge

Venus in Vulcan’s Forge (1546-47) by Leon Davent

“There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking of is not at the mercy of history’s rule, nor is it a passive surrender to the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one–an activity that occurs most naturally, most often in the reading/writing world we live in. Accessible as it is, this particular kind of peace warrants vigilance. The peril it faces comes not from the computers and information highways that raise alarm among book readers, but from unrecognized, more sinister quarters.”

– Toni Morrison, The Dancing Mind speech when accepting the 1996 medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Before Mars stations direct on November 13, it will form an opposition with Venus in Libra on November 9, with Venus at 15°21′ Libra and Mars at 15°21′ Aries.  The tension between Venus in Libra and Mars in Aries as Mars is beginning to station direct will bring to fruition something that was catalyzed on September 4 when Venus in Cancer formed a square aspect with Mars in Aries when Mars was beginning to station retrograde. With both Venus and Mars empowered within each of their own domiciles, there will be an amplification of whatever volatile tension has been building within relational dynamics.

Furthermore, once Mars stations direct on November 13 at 15º14′ Aries, Venus in Libra will begin engaging in a series of square aspects with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn. Venus will square Pluto and Jupiter on November 15 and then Saturn on November 19. Combined with Mars stationing direct, we will have opportunities for aligning whatever purpose and meaning we have forged from the fires of Mars with the needs of society so that our efforts will make a worthwhile, effective impact in our wider community.

The hard aspects between Venus and Mars that bookend the retrograde movement of Mars points to the role each of us will be playing as active creative agents during this key three month period of 2020. As we come to an end of the earth era of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in order to firmly establish ourselves in an era of air at the end of December, our capacity to wield technological innovation to empower our agency will be key. Yet the influence of Venus in Libra at the finale of Mars retrograde illuminates the need for actively deep listening within the agency we cultivate, as well as using our creativity courageously in the face of systemic oppression. Rather than insistence on the self serving, we will need to align with what will serve society for the greater good.

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References

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

Enright, Michael. (2007). “Ritual and Technology in the Iron Age: An Initiation Scene on the Gundestrup Cauldron.” Myth in Early Northwest Europe. Edited by Stephen O. Glosecki. ACMRS.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

Jung, CG. (1967).  Alchemical Studies. Translated by RFC Hull. Bollingen.

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

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.