Mars in Aquarius

aquarius-glyph

Mars in Aquarius

“Just as all people have shadows, every society and nation, too, has shadows. If there are bright, shining aspects, there will definitely be a counterbalancing dark side.

“At times, we tend to avert our eyes from the shadow, those negative parts, or else, try to forcibly eliminate those aspects. No matter how high a wall we build to keep intruders out, no matter how strictly we exclude outsiders, no matter how much we rewrite history to suit us, we just end up damaging and hurting ourselves . . . You have to patiently learn to live together with your shadow and carefully observe the darkness that resides within you.”

— Haruki Murakami, novelist with Mars in Aquarius, in speech given after receiving the Hans Christian Andersen literature award

Born with Mars in Aquarius conjoining Mercury, author Haruki Murakami recently gave voice in an award ceremony to the dire need in these collective times to live with and explore one’s inner shadow.   Mars in Aquarius has an ability to gain objective clarity regarding inner desires perhaps more so than any other placement for the red planet, bringing greater awareness of our shadow, or whatever aspects of our psyche our persona has cast off from consciousness.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green viewed the archetype of Aquarius as having the evolutionary intention of objectifying the nature of reality at any level one focuses upon through detaching from one’s subjective emotional reality. This doesn’t mean detached dissociation, but rather that Mars in Aquarius can penetrate into the nature and structure of any dynamic and gain understanding of how to catalyze necessary growth.  Here, growth is separated from consensus, mainstream, culturally conditioned influences, and is rather rooted in the ineffable realm of soul.

When we think of Mars in astrology, the consensus mindset does not picture Aquarius, and yet there is a singular quality of Mars we can value and learn from in the sign of the Water Bearer.  Aquarius is not known as a natural place for Mars through the essential dignity of traditional astrology, as Mars only has dignity in its Egyptian bounds between 20 and 25 degrees.  This gives Mars the feel of an outsider in Aquarius, and a unique environment for Mars to operate within that brings a martial force like nowhere else.  Mars in Aries and Scorpio are known as strong placements for Mars where the red planet can be its plain self, pure and simple.  Mars can also be fierce, hot, courageous, and protective in Aquarius, yet also has a strange mix of objectivity, humanitarianism, experimentation, and determination we do not quite find in any other sign.

Aquarius is hot and moist in temperament in traditional astrology, meaning it disperses outwardly and seeks cohesion, has flexibility and strong capabilities in mutating.  The fixed nature of Aquarius brings greater persistence and perseverance to Mars than it finds in the other Air signs, and so Mars may be slower to get going at the outset in Aquarius but can sustain itself over long periods of time and resiliently foster stability in the work it directs itself into.  Since Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, Mars in Aquarius is able to set itself apart from mainstream thought and mutate in accordance with thinking, writing, philosophy, the arts and sciences, and other expressions of consciousness with kindred spirits of soulfulness.

While Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn in traditional astrology, many forms of modern astrology consider Uranus to be its ruler. In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green wrote that Mars in Aquarius “reflects an instinct to experiment with different ways of being,” desires “to create an essential courage in other people to break free from the status quo,” and unpredictably “desires progressive transformation leading to an ever-increasing realization and definition of its individuality.”  However, whether you use Saturn or Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius, in both systems Mars in Aquarius holds the desire of the Water Bearer to carry and share the enlivening water of consciousness that will nourish humanitarian impulses to cast off oppressive conditioning, opening desire to the alchemy bridging one’s heart and inner mind.

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Ganymede by Michelangelo

Eagles resonate with Mars in Aquarius in part because of their capacity to soar beyond barriers with focused and penetrating vision, matching the loyal, persistent, persevering, and stabilizing qualities Mars can discover in a Fixed Air sign.  Eagles like Mars in Aquarius also value interdependence in relationship, as the eagle’s nest is a home in which both partners pull equal weight while having the freedom to independently take action within committed bonds of relationship.  The eagle is also a crucial figure in the myth of Ganymede associated with Aquarius.  Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own. In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens.

Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius. Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body. Astrologer Jason Holley presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC). His talk “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness” explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result.  In terms of bringing Aquarius into greater wholeness, Holley stressed the importance of activating the polarity of Leo to create a growth cycle of rupture and repair.

To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Aquarius and Uranus that activates the nonlinear field of multiplicity and leads to either: (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into self, expanding our self-concept while we continue to embody our self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience difficulty experiencing full connection with others. Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance and escape. However, if we are instead able to integrate and embody how we feel different from the surrounding consensus, we can re-enter the world with an openness to possibility that leads to fulfilling experiences that expand beyond the norms of consensus reality.  The task for Mars in Aquarius is to integrate and embody its far-flung and extraordinary insights into its mundane, ordinary life and relationships with full presence.

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Aquarius by Johra Bosschart

“If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals.

“We have no hope against the wall: it’s too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us – create who we are. It is we who created the system.”

–Haruki Murakami, novelist with Mars in Aquarius

Haruki Murakami is as a perfect example of a writer with Mars in Aquarius who has created fictional worlds illuminating the complex undercurrents of individuals within the collective, drawing upon influences from writers of many diverse cultures.  In his personal life he has enjoyed marathon running befitting the fixed nature of Aquarius, and his creative output took time to development yet has been sustained at a deep level for a long period of time.  Murakami has described a crucial shift in his work from being “detached” to being “committed,” moving from early worked focused upon individual darkness to the darkness found in the collective society.

As I searched for other examples of celebrities with Mars in Aquarius in preparation for this article, time and time again I was struck by the unorthodox, powerful, martial force of each individual.  It is a mistake to take the fact Mars is an outsider in Aquarius with no essential dignity to mean that Mars here will struggle to manifest desire; in fact, it could be argued that the unique atmosphere of Aquarius brings out an important aspect of Mars we cannot find anywhere else.  For example, is it really that strange that the individual many associate most with the idea of a masculine genius, Leonardo da Vinci, was born with Mars in Aquarius?  In addition to the visionary da Vinci, the individual who forever altered our conception of our solar system, Nicolaus Copernicus, was also born with Mars in Aquarius.

In terms of creative output, one of the most ideal manifestations of Mars in Aquarius is the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was also born with Saturn and the Moon in Aquarius.  Rilke resiliently worked hard on his writing over long periods of time, being willing to go into isolation in order to contain his lucid insights within word choice and rhythm that expands the consciousness of anyone who reads his work.  Rilke not only travelled extensively beyond his native land to find his muse, he drew upon diverse mythic and spiritual influences in order to weave a unique tapestry of meaning that continues to bring sustenance and comfort to individuals within modern culture.  Rilke also lived in a time before the internet, yet sustained numerous intense, intimate relationships through letter writing all around the world.  This speaks to the capacity of Mars in Aquarius to transmit eros across all barriers of time and space, tuning into the frequency and vibration of resonant souls at great distances.

There are numerous other consciousness expanding individuals born with Mars in Aquarius, such as George Gurdjieff and numerous groundbreaking psychologists able to objectify human nature such as James Hillman, Rollo May, Alfred Adler, and Carl Rogers.  James Hillman in particular is a strong example of the passion and heated intensity that Mars in Aquarius can bring to philosophical discourse and abstract conceptualization.  Individuals with Mars in Aquarius sense the underlying importance of the philosophical worldview one embodies and its impact upon humanity, the natural world, and our world soul, and are willing to fight about it intellectually.

Among current famous figures, one of the most striking examples of Mars in Aquarius is Michelle Obama, the current First Lady of the United States of America.  Michelle Obama has an energy that lights up a room with clear energetic bravado that also emits a friendliness that has made her an extremely popular figure.  Michelle Obama is also known to become passionate about social justice causes, and at key points has delivered speeches addressed at uplifting women, racial minorities, and others facing oppression in modern culture.  During the most recent presidential election her mantra of “they go low, we go high” that became so widely quoted is also fitting for the nature of Mars in Aquarius.

Hip Hop culture contains numerous famous figures with Mars in Aquarius that displays the distinct and unusual energy found in the signature:  Tupac Shakur, Missy Elliot, will.i.am, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg all have Mars in Aquarius.  One of Tupac Shakur’s most famous songs, “Keep Ya Head Up,” is a perfect Mars in Aquarius anthem that ingeniously deconstructs the misogyny and racism of culture through the purposely designed aesthetic of infectious pop music.  Shakur’s lyrics are absolutely brilliant and his delivery smooth, every single word penetrating further into the complex dynamics of cultural oppression and their impact on the individual:

Actors with Mars in Aquarius possess a masculinity difficult to describe and uniquely their own, such as Gary Oldman and Adrien Brody.  Cary Grant created an otherworldly acting persona that seemed as natural playing an Angel in The Bishop’s Wife as when he was playing human beings.   Other actors and actresses with Mars in Aquarius include Ian McKellen, Winona Ryder, Scarlet Johansen, Jane Fonda, Jamie Foxx, Emma Watson, Lauren Bacall, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Justin Theroux, and Mae West.  There is a clear erotic quality involved in all of these individuals that also involves an intelligent edge of sharpness.  Two former musical stars turned successful actors, Mark Wahlberg and Justin Timberlake, also project a masculine star power that is idiosyncratic and makes them continue to remain singular, compelling personalities within popular culture.

In sports, it is quite compelling that perhaps the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., was born with Mars in Aquarius as well as one of the greatest figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi who also cooly destroyed all competition.  An interesting sport that contains numerous all-time greats with Mars in Aquarius is tennis, which combines the fitting attributes of stamina while attacking with abstract strategizing:  Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, and Stefan Edberg all were born with Mars in Aquarius.

In the realm of film, directors with Mars in Aquarius fittingly have brought some of the most distinctly avant garde expression and experimentation to cinema:  Sofia Coppola, Francois Truffaut, Lars Von Trier,  Ridley Scott, Joel Coen, Luis Bunuel, David Cronenberg, and Ang Lee were all born with Mars in Aquarius.  In comedy, we again find a list of some of the most unorthodox talents such as John Cleese, Andy Kauffman, Chris Farley, Eddie Ezzard, and Eric Idle.  Writers with Mars in Aquarius include Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut, Tennessee Williams, Victor Hugo, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Merton, and William Wordsworth.  There is also famous children’s television personality Fred Rogers, whose role as Mr. Rogers and once again, incredibly unique expression, nurtured the development of countless childhoods.

Two current figures that illuminate not only the visionary, future-oriented qualities of Mars in Aquarius but also its shadow of becoming overly fixated upon a philosophical worldview at all costs are Julian Assange and Elon Musk.  In both of these individuals we find the capacity of Mars in Aquarius to work at the leading edge of technology and push the envelope with driving force aimed with future-oriented vision.  Yet at the same time, both individuals possess a hubris that has led to public downfalls at times due to an unwillingness to make compromises or let go of their fixation upon their belief in what they are doing is serving a purpose for the greater good.

Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green has written that Mars in Aquarius “will gradually create an entire lifestyle reflective of its instinctual feeling of uniqueness,” and this same capacity held by natives with Mars in Aquarius may be seized by all of us when Mars transits through Aquarius.  Not only can we take steps to creatively actualize our inherently unique gifts while Mars is in Aquarius, we can also encourage others to express their distinctive inner qualities that defy societal norms and conventions.  Currently the transit of Mars in Aquarius is forming numerous harmonious aspects:  a trine to Jupiter in Libra, sextile to Mercury and Saturn in Sagittarius, and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  There is no time like the present to not only express your essential gifts within the world but also to band together with others of shared passion in order to create positive shifts within systematic structures of our global collective.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

References

Green, Jeff. (2009). Pluto Volume II. Wessex Astrologer.

Haruki Murakami cautions against excluding outsiders. The Guardian. 1 November 2016.

Murakami asks that people learn to live with their shadows. The Asahi Shimbun. 31 October 2016.

Mercury Retrograde Class

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Mercury Retrograde Guidance

I’m excited to announce I will be teaching another class on Mercury Retrograde at New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, OR this coming December!  The Mercury retrograde in December will begin with a conjunction to Pluto, and will delve back all the way to the end of Sagittarius where the star of Hermes will station direct in the home of Jupiter.  This will be a powerful Mercury retrograde phase and we will create space and time in class to discuss its potential impact on class participants.

When:  Saturday 17 December from 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where:  New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, Oregon

1338 NW 23rd Avenue / Portland, Oregon 97210

Cost:  $15, purchase tickets at New Renaissance Bookshop

Description:

Mercury Retrograde periods are not a time to fear. Rather they offer us unique opportunities for personal growth. Discover the alternate realm of perception Mercury Retrograde provides us for uncovering the essential aspects of the Self. Explore the meaning of the swiftly moving planet of mental connections and discernment under Olympia astrologer Gray Crawford. Gray will dispel popular misconceptions of Mercury Retrograde to reveal how Mercury can mutate into its subterranean role as a Guide of Souls during its retrograde motion.

new ren books

Taurus Full Moon 2016

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A Lake by Moonlight by Joseph Wright

Full Moon in Taurus

In Taurus we discover our capacity to surround ourselves with a sense of beauty, comfort, and stability.  When lacking material resources or in fear of threats to our survival, we have a choice to succumb to fearful paralysis or instead draw from our fathomless inner reserves in order to nourish ourselves and ground into the roots of our present.  Taurus is the inner home of Venus, the exaltation of the Moon, and a living image of our zodiac containing the essential value within we can foster and then share with others through acts of love, creation of arts and sciences, and collaborative efforts that increase the welfare of our surrounding community.  The Full Moon in Taurus on November 14 is ruled by Venus in Capricorn, bringing additional meaning of taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions, being accountable to embody and live from our inner integrity.  The past year has brought a steady stream of shattering world events that have caused many to fear impending doom.  The full light of the Moon in Taurus is a moment to illuminate the current opportunities available to bring greater solidity and stability into your daily life, as well as to liberate your will force in service of the greater good for all.

Writing in the United States of America, it is impossible within the current vicious, divisive political atmosphere to ignore the fact that many are currently panicked about the future few years of this country, just as innumerable other people around our planet whose nation is in even more dire circumstances have reasons to fear for their future.  The Taurus Full Moon connects into some longer term planetary cycles I will discuss that reveal the importance of fully embodying and living from our inner values in order to contribute to the collective shifts coming in the years ahead.  However, as Taurus is a fixed sign, it is likewise vital to deeply question the current state of your values and whether or not the perspective you have been fixated upon is truly for your own best interest as well as the greater good of all.  The need of Taurus to feel secure leads to obstinate attachment to the way things have been, yet the light of this Full Moon in Taurus arrives in a period of collective dissolution calling for radical change.  No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, we possess imagination to envision a more fulfilling tomorrow, creativity to transfigure elements of our struggle into cathartic work of quality, humor and compassion to find solace with others.

The Scorpio Sun is conjoining both the mean and true nodes of Black Moon Lilith at the Full Moon.  There is a vast collective shadow perceptible further exacerbated by Neptune being tightly bound with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  Abuse and degradation of women, oppression and persecution of anyone labeled an “other” outside of societal “norms,” greed and avarice in the material realm at expense of safeguarding surrounding nature, all of this and much more has been flooding collective events.  The resolution found through Black Moon Lilith is in embracing and accepting ourselves four our own authentic nature in spite of societal judgment or cultural conditioning.  Black Moon Lilith bound to the Taurus Full Moon can coalesce understanding into how to reclaim and assert ourselves in the face of oppressive cultural forces, creating a life that enables us to discover our inner happiness, desires, and spirituality.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016)

Venus in Capricorn rules the Full Moon, on her way toward a union with Pluto as the Moon wanes into darkness in the forthcoming cycle.  Last month we experienced a conjunction between Mars and Pluto that awakened new desires we can now feel more sensually alive within, as the full feeling nature of Venus is more tactile, earthy, and deeply felt in the body in Capricorn.  In romantic relationships the waning half of the lunar cycle supports erotic depth and cathartic release, while in mundane and work related relationships we can feel more ambitious drive and the need to responsibly implement plans of action.  While passions can become enflamed as Venus and Pluto approach each other, their placement in Capricorn stresses the importance of honestly asserting one’s needs without fear of judgment or rejection.  This  will be the balsamic close of the cycle between Venus and Pluto that began in early February 2016, and so there will also be a sense of wrapping up deep relational issues from the past year while opening to regenerated depth in the coming cycle.

Within the context of the collective disillusionment of Neptune tightly conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, the coming together of Venus with Pluto is an opportunity to be completely accountable to bring your sense of harmony and unity into manifestation in the face of external disharmony.  Realms of art, writing, and social activism will be fertile arenas to pour and shape energy into creative forces that will not submit to oppressive systems of power and instead subvert and inspire active change.   The self-determination of Capricorn is healthier and capable of creating greater stability when coming from a place of inner emotional security, rather than wielding power or control as compensation for emotional issues.  As Venus approaches Pluto, each of us needs to dive into and face our own shadow without denial, rather than only projecting rage at the shadow of collective events that trouble us.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

In addition to Venus being at the beginning of a new sign at the Full Moon, Mars is freshly in Aquarius in sextile with Mercury also at the beginning of Sagittarius.    Mercury in Sagittarius has not quite come out from under the beams of the Sun at the Full Moon, but in the waning half of the coming lunar cycle will emerge with an important message for us to receive as it forms a sextile with Jupiter in Libra and a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius.   The current sextile between Mercury and Mars is highly visionary in quality, as Mars in Aquarius has a persevering drive to set future-oriented vision into motion while also having more objective clarity than Mars normally has.  Mercury in Sagittarius is fast and radiant in expression, and though its coming conjunction with Saturn will bring more of a sobering seriousness, it simultaneously being received by Jupiter through a sextile will make this a fertile period to not only receive a vision but take direct action in implementing it into reality.  There is also strong Mercurial vision available into our relationships with an eye toward what is developing on the distant horizon.  Jupiter in Libra is entering a period of becoming strongly activated by multiple surrounding transits, and so clarifying what we want in our relationships will make the direct expression of Mercury in Sagittarius able to transmit our needs and desires with immediate spirit.

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Into the Darkness by Judy Chicago

Jupiter + Pluto + Saturn

This Full Moon ushers us into a period of Jupiter in square to Pluto and Jupiter in sextile with Saturn.  Jupiter is being initiated by Pluto, as it hits the square with Pluto prior to forming its sextile with Saturn.  It is paramount to realize these are last quarter, or waning aspects between Jupiter with Pluto and Saturn that involve reorientation and turning away from past beliefs while undergoing a process of disillusionment and decomposition.   The current cycle between Jupiter and Pluto began in 2007, and we reached the opposition point of their cycle in 2013 and 2014.    While we could interpret the current square through the lens of visionary forces of justice with Jupiter confronting the manipulative, controlling, and judgmental forces of Pluto power structures, this is only one small side of a much vaster whole.  On personal levels we need to claim the responsibility to create the life we want to live instead of repress and restrict ourselves to fit into conditioned roles we feel enslaved to perform.  Often people are afraid to quit soul sucking jobs for good reason, such as needing to be responsible for loved ones, but we are also being called to strike a greater balance in terms of liberating our ability to go after what will bring us greater fulfillment and harmony.  We must confront our inner judgement that restricts us from opening to greater love and abundance in relationship, allowing old limitations of belief to evaporate.

In terms of the ripening last quarter sextile between Jupiter with Saturn, there is a fascinating aspect that the Full Moon happens to be at the degree of the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn that began their current cycle in May 2000.  As a result, the Full Moon appears to be illuminating important collective events which will be continuing to resolve until the end of 2020 when Jupiter and Saturn will begin a new cycle in Aquarius.    There is a window of vision into this 2020 threshold available now:  where do we want to be as individuals and a collective then, and what in turn do we need to be accountable to do in our lives now to make that happen.  There is mutual reception between Jupiter and Saturn since Jupiter is in the exaltation of Saturn, and Saturn is in the home of Jupiter.  This is not a time to be passive or hold back from going after what you want, but rather is a time for decisive action and movement that can be a step-by-step or nonlinear process.  The important element is making clear choices to align with supportive surrounding structures and relationships or to bolster one’s own inner resources, and to boldly begin moving in a new direction without becoming overly fearful of the old way dying.

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Ceres & Uranus in Aries

There has been a lot of speculation into the meaning of the newly discovered dwarf planet Eris being aligned with Uranus in Aries in the past year, and this duo welcomes a third in the flowering of the Full Moon:  Ceres retrograde in Aries.  You may remember that at the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere earlier this year, there was a conjunction between Ceres, Uranus and Eris:  now Ceres has moved back retrograde to join Uranus and Eris once again.  Ceres in Aries is a fierce protector and nurturer who does not want to foster co-dependency or enable people to keep themselves within helpless, needy relational patterns.  Ceres in Aries wants to foster relationships rooted in equality and interdependence, wants to embolden your courage to be yourself fully in the face of any cultural conditioning, and wants to nurture a sense of freedom and independence relationally while maintaining a supportive, attached presence.

The combination of Ceres with Uranus and Eris in Aries makes it easy to think of the myth of Ceres in which she becomes so enraged over the abduction of her daughter by the lord of the underworld that she refuses to produce growth, food, and the creative force of nature on our planet.   Ceres in Aries united with Uranus brings the lesson that anger and rage over traumatic experiences can ultimately be redirected and channeled into activism and productive work that will nurture and feed the souls of our surrounding community.  This is not an easy lesson, yet the willingness to grieve and lay our souls bare in a dark night of the soul ultimately brings profound spiritual revelations and understanding through the release of pain.  Ceres combined with Uranus now on a collective level brings echoes of past collective traumas into our personal experience of current collective traumas, yet there is also strength we can find in the knowledge that for ages upon ages others before us have faced even more difficult circumstances than we currently find ourselves within.

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7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Taurus associated with the Seven of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  For what it’s worth I’ve always loved getting the 7 of Pentacles card in a reading, even though it signifies delayed gratification.  To me it’s a card that suggests a process is at work, a harvest full of delicate ripeness is on its way, which requires patience and nurturance but also involves a savory climax to come.  Applied to the full light of the Taurus lunation, the illumination we receive can be integrated into a long range perspective that will carefully tend to and nurture the needs of our endeavors and relationships so that they may ultimately bloom in healthy wholeness.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces brings up the shadow side of this meaning of the 7 of Pentacles, noting figures of “toil, destruction and poverty” reside in this face due to everything that can go wrong in between the germination of a seed and its ultimate flowering and fruiting.    Coppock noted that forces of destruction such as “floods, drought, and pestilence” will destroy what we have carefully planted, and that a lesson of this decan is that “sometimes catastrophe befalls us through no apparent fault of our own” (p. 81).    As Saturn is the ruler of this decan, it is fitting that the positive virtues of Saturn, such as “wisdom, patience, humility and foresight are the unexpected fruits of the destructive forces which prowl this face” (p. 81).  Coppock concludes that as this is a face which entails confronting catastrophe and disaster, it is also a place from which we can call for support from higher powers and worthy allies.

Saturn’s journey through Sagittarius has brought unexpected shifts and endings befitting the mutable nature of the Centaur, and the danger is that our inner fire can become stifled through Saturn’s attempts at control and exclusion in defense.  Mercury is now on its way toward a union with Saturn at the same time Jupiter forms its mutually receptive sextile, aspects that can open and expand the parameters of Saturn beyond previous limits.  As Saturn has now made it halfway through the sign of Sagittarius, we are at the cusp of Saturn breaking into new degrees of Sagittarius not previously traversed as it also approaches a trine with Uranus in Aries that will open the boundaries of Saturn wider.  This is a time to contain the visionary nature of Sagittarius within the protective boundaries of Saturn and face the coming challenges with the support of resonant alliances.  There is incredibly important work in need of doing in the world right now, and we would not all be here together in this moment for it to be any other way.  Saturn in Sagittarius is not looking to support complaints and grievances, but rather spirited vision bound to disciplined, resilient effort.

References

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

Scorpio New Moon

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Scorpio

Just feeling human
the way a cloud’s a cloud
tinged with blue or
walking slow across the sky or
hastening,
but not a Thursday cloud
formed for the anxious glance of Thursday people,
simply a cloud, whose particles
may fall Tuesday, just as well,
on anyone’s spring hair, on any
taciturn winter buds it chooses
and no one say no. Human,
free for the day from roles assigned,
each with its emblem
cluttering the right hand,
scroll of words in the left.
Human, a kind of element, a fire,
an air, today.
Floating up to you I enter, or you
enter me. Or imagine
a house without doors,
open to sun or snowdrifts.

— Denise Levertov, “Today” from To Stay Alive 

Water flows inexorably and like our desires will dissolve blockages in the currents of its path.  Scorpio like all water signs in astrology is inwardly directed, magnetic, receptive, and capable of allowing life and events to take shape according to natural cycles instead of focusing upon speeding up the timing.  The watery nature of Scorpio symbolizes its capacity to tap deeply into the psychic and emotional content of its environment, as well as its ability to merge and transmute with external relationships and sources of power.  Scorpio is distinct among the water signs, however, in its fixated nature and its association with the heated, aggressive, divisive, and willful force of Mars.  The apparent paradox of a cold and wet sign such as Scorpio being home to Mars, a planet whose temperament in astrology is considered to be excessively hot and dry, becomes clear when contemplating concepts such as yin and yang.  There is a line in Zhāng Jièbīn’s Lèi Jīng which can be translated as the generation of qì inside water is precisely true fire.  This relates to what we can also find in the symbolism of the yin and yang image, in which yang is found within yin, just as yin is found within yang.  Scorpio as the nocturnal home of the nocturnal planet Mars in astrology signifies the deep essence of our fiery nature we can discover within.

Astrologers have written excessively about the symbolic resonance of Scorpio with the season of Fall, and while this association with the depth and fertile darkness of Scorpio fits, the issue remains that in the Southern hemisphere the season of Scorpio is at the fullness of Spring.  The important concept here is that Scorpio is a fixed sign, meaning that it supports stabilization, even if the stability of the Scorpion differs from mainstream conceptions of being stable.  The seasons of Spring and Fall are extremes of life and bloom, death and decay, that we experience in between the season of equinox and the season of solstice.  Although these seasons are associated with the “Fixed” signs, they are temporary and transitory like all of the changing nature of our material world and we must witness their loss and passing like everything else.  The persistent, persevering nature of Scorpio and its ability to penetrate into the emotional and psychic undercurrents of its circumstances is one of the sign’s greatest strengths.  However, its fixed nature is the source of the Scorpion’s shadow we are familiar with, in that fear of losing the source of one’s desire leads to controlling behavior that can ultimately drain the vitality out of their connection.  The lesson we experience in Scorpio is in letting go and having a healthy level of non-attachment with our desires. This does not mean being detached, but rather embodying the intimacy of Scorpio without the fixated obsession of manipulating the object of one’s desires.

The Scorpio New Moon on 30 October 2016 is conjoining Mercury while in trine to Neptune in Pisces.  It’s ruling planet Mars is exalted in Capricorn and separating from a square with Uranus.  Significantly, in the past lunation cycle Mars moved away from a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and then formed a last quarter square to Uranus in Aries.  During this period Mars has been out of bounds by declination, and in fact has been out of bounds since August 2016.  Mars out of bounds is wilder and more rebellious, which dramatically exacerbated the catalytic square between Mars and Uranus that occurred in the Dark Moon preceding the New Moon.  At the time of the New Moon in Scorpio, however, Mars is finally at the threshold of leaving its out of bounds status.  The Scorpio New Moon supports accessing ambition from within that has been limited by past restrictive patterns of thought and emotion.  Any recent jarring, explosive experiences can be used to untether us from how we have held ourselves back.  The desires emerging with the Scorpio New Moon call for nurturing and cultivation, and allowing ourselves to be guided by unleashed instincts and impulses.

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The trine between the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune in Pisces gives emphasis to the imaginal realm of Neptune that has been in harsh aspect to the hard reality of Saturn in Sagittarius over the past year.  The darkness of the Scorpio New Moon invites allowing dissolution to occur while opening to the feelings emerging from within.  Neptune in Pisces is conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Pisces, and will become increasingly close to the South Node of the Moon over the course of the next month.  In the collective unconscious there has been old conditioning beliefs and dreams exposed that the luminaries uniting in Scorpio can cleanse, and as we purify ourselves from the corruption of external conditioning misaligned with our authenticity, the resilient fecundity of Scorpio can aid in realigning with distilled essentiality.

The Scorpio New Moon supports nurturing belief that our cherished dreams and visions are possible to manifest, no matter how many wounds and barriers we have struggled through over the past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune.  With Mars in Capricorn finally emerging from its recent contacts with Pluto and Uranus, there is activated drive and will force available to inject into building the ideal life we wish to live step by step, action by action.  Unfortunately in our global collective, the wildness of Mars empowered in Capricorn and triggered by Pluto and Uranus has coincided with horrific destruction, violence and warfare in world events, leading many to experience a dark night of the soul.   Nonetheless, we can draw from the potency of Mars in the final decan of Capricorn to persist with determination on our own path, utilizing the mutable placement of Saturn in Sagittarius to shift and mutate structures as needed to accommodate the unavoidable change happening.

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

The transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo forms a sextile with the Scorpio New Moon, signifying an ability to discern purified choices resonant with our arising vision of meaning.  The North Node of the Moon is further bound to the Scorpio New Moon through its ruler Mercury forming a sextile to the North Node and a conjunction with the New Moon.  Mercury in Scorpio is at beginning of its synodic cycle with the Sun at the New Moon, and further in trine to Neptune and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces. There is a deep presence to be found within the volatility of Mercury, and though it may feel difficult to articulate the full extent of our perceptions it will be worthwhile to make space to descend into internal streams of sensations that may only be able to be transmitted through nonverbal and extrasensory mediums.  As the Moon waxes toward the Full Moon in Taurus that will arrive on 14 November, Mercury will remain invisible from the sky as it swiftly moves through the entirety of Scorpio, capable of soaking up and translating the emotional undercurrents surrounding us.

beau-v-fall-tree

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

And virtue? Virtue lies in the heroic response to the creative wonder, the utmost response.

— D.H. Lawrence

Although not in actual aspect to the lunation itself, one of the most powerful elements of the Scorpio New Moon is the new phase conjunction between Venus and Saturn in Sagittarius (the last conjunction of Venus with Saturn was on 8 January 2016 at 12 degrees of Sagittarius).  Venus combined with Saturn pulls us into the bare bones of reality and demands we become serious and committed to developing the foundational supports for the vision of what will bring us pleasure and a sense of harmony.  Saturn and Venus together is also about allowing to decay and putrefy whatever needs to now become decomposed to allow for change and new birth.  In his essay on Saturn entitled On Senex Consciousness, James Hillman in his typically verbose style illuminated numerous connections between Kronos-Saturn and Aphrodite-Venus, such as Saturn’s link to fertility and agriculture, prosperity and materialism being a feminine mirror to the earthiness of goddesses.  Hillman also connected the Saturnine trials that result from Venusian affairs, and the difficult feelings that can come from a meeting between Saturn and Venus:

The hidden connection between falling-in-love with the dazzling seduction of foam-borne Aphrodite and the seed and scythe of old senex is not easy to discern.  But how else account for the terrible cruelties, the vicious eat-or-be-eaten fights that break out of the most translucently lovely love affairs?  And, when Venus departs, Saturn returns with brooding melancholy, devastating loneliness feelings of ugliness- even psychic crippling or suicide.

— James Hillman, On Senex Consciousness

The new phase between Saturn and Venus beginning at the time of the Scorpio New Moon is not about debilitating cycles of feelings and thoughts, but rather is about taking complete accountability for one’s presence within one’s myriad relationships in the world.    Saturn together with Venus points to the karmic effects of feeling drawn toward and deciding to commit to a desired person or outside source.  By choosing one to focus upon, there is a resulting detachment or rejection of others necessitated by our decision to commit exclusively.  The Scorpio New Moon asks us to choose wisely, to align and merge with those most capable of receiving and understanding us, deciding to collaborate with those most able to support us with interdependent and balanced equality.  Saturn and Venus want us to seize life and create opportunities for peak experiences whose impact will continue to reverberate within.  Saturn is containing a volatile Venus, as Venus will have recently crossed the threshold into being out of bounds by declination at the New Moon.  The wild side of Venus will be further amplified by it forming a trine to Uranus as the Moon waxes in light, remaining as a rebellious out of bounds planet all the way through the upcoming lunation cycle.

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The first face of Scorpio holding the New Moon is associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first glance, with a figure full of despair staring with fixation upon three spilled, empty chalices on the ground. However, upon closer look we notice that there are still two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope.  In fact, the two remaining cups could be deeply fulfilling despite the grief over losing the other three cups. We can also notice a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, bringing in the ancient flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. As a result, this card is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with death and the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces synthesized the images found in ancient text associated with this face around the repeating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, the satiation of desire, the loss of what one desires, and the competition and violence that surrounds pursuing the desired. Coppock concluded:

In this decan we are brought to confront the cycle of hungers which are the price and pleasure of incarnate being. The object of desire always skirts the edges of this face while its inhabitants give chase. Some gain the object of their desire, some fail. All come to know hunger again. Though this may seem a particularly tortured decan, it is merely one which exposes a hard truth. Confronting the cycle, we are less bound to it, and less blind, than if we ignore it.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

Mars rules the first face of Scorpio, and since Mars is in the third decan of Capricorn ruled by the Sun, while the Sun is in the first decan of Scorpio ruled by Mars, there is mutual reception through decan between the Sun and Mars at the Scorpio New Moon.  This brings more of a connection between the Scorpio New Moon with the square formed by Mars in Capricorn with Uranus in Aries.  While a square between Mars and Uranus can bring unexpected, shocking loss, it can also spark incredible individuating growth through the toil of adversity.   Mars in hard aspect to Uranus can also bring revelation into the cycle of desires we have been circulating.  Through facing our desires fully without denial, we develop awareness for which desires to continue pursuing and which desires are not in our best interest to regenerate.  The Scorpio New Moon beckons the release of attachment to whatever desires are not manifesting in our life in the moment, while embracing all elements of our actual reality with full presence and passion.

References

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Hillman, James. (1970). On Senex Consciousness. Spring: An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.

Wilms, Sabine. (2016). Randomn Thoughts on “Water is Yin, Fire is Yang.”  Happy Goat Productions.

Mercury cazimi in Scorpio

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Storm Cloud, Lake George (1923) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Mercury at the heart of the Sun in Scorpio

Mercury forms its superior conjunction with the Sun on 27 October 2016 at 4°42′ Scorpio.  The superior conjunction occurs when Mercury is moving swiftly through the zodiac on the far side of the Sun in orbit, aligning with Earth in a straight line with regards to the degree of the zodiac.  The superior conjunction of Mercury always occurs when Mercury is moving direct, in contrast to the inferior conjunction of Mercury that occurs when Mercury is retrograde and slowly moving in between the Earth and the Sun in orbit.  While Mercury retrograde in conjunction with the Sun corresponds with an intensely deep, subterranean turn within for insight, the superior conjunction of Mercury in contrast signifies a blazing flow of illumination that can bring about an epiphany of realization as long as we do not become overwhelmed in our flight of mind like an over eager Icarus.

Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio brings penetrating awareness into the underlying emotional dynamics of our present circumstances.  Mercury has more difficulty in water signs in terms of being able to clearly articulate all of its perceptions, as Mercury in water signs picks up on feelings and messages that go beyond words.  Poetry, music, art, and other creative forms of expression enable Mercury in water signs to convey more of the meaning it receives, and sometimes a look or knowing presence is all Mercury in a water sign needs to do in order to transmit profound insight.  Emotions take center stage with Scorpio, and while the water element allows Mercury in Scorpio to dissolve blockages and merge with external sources, its fixed nature can make it stubborn, unbending, and controlling.  When Mercury in Scorpio lets go of needing to ensure it securely has whatever it desires within its grasp, it gains the non-attachment needed to take full advantage of its ability to discern between those who are being honest or dishonest and not only unveil the personal truth of its situation but directly communicate its truth to others.

Mercury at the heart of the Sun in Scorpio can be especially powerful in terms of picking up essential information about our relationships due to the surrounding astrological aspects today.  Mars, the ruler of Scorpio is in Capricorn and applying to a square with Uranus, signifying that unexpected shocks as well as liberating revelations could enter awareness.  Venus in Sagittarius is especially active, having recently formed a square with Neptune in Pisces and a mutually received sextile with Jupiter in Libra, and now applying to a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius.  All together, these surrounding aspects are exposing any fantasies and over idealized perceptions we have been fixated upon in our relationships.  By being willing to embrace our honest feelings about our present relationships, the Mercury cazimi in Scorpio can not only help us penetrate into our essential truth and feelings but also help us directly communicate whatever we need to state about our needs and desires to those we are in relationship with.

The last time Mercury was at the heart of the Sun was during its retrograde in Virgo on 12 September 2016. This was a potent inferior conjunction of Mercury in between eclipses that also formed a catalytic square with Mars in Sagittarius.  Following this inferior conjunction, Mercury stationed direct and reappeared at dawn as a Morning Star, a phase Mercury has remained in since then up until now.  The superior conjunction of Mercury marks the transition of Mercury shifting from its Morning Star phase into its Evening Star phase.  Whereas the Morning Star Mercury is active with curiosity and ambitiously focused upon goals in worldly affairs, the Evening Star Mercury is more reflective, discerning, and attuned with how our bodily senses integrate messages from our environment.  Mercury will not be visible as an Evening Star until around 23 November 2016 when it forms a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius and sextile with Jupiter in Libra.

The exact alignment of Mercury with the Sun, known as being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, is special because although Mercury is not visible in the sky its entry into the heart of the Sun places it in the throne of our Solar Light, strengthening all of its Mercurial significations.  Mercury is traditionally considered to become invisible or “under the beams” when it gets fifteen degrees away from the Sun- this happened on 6 October 2016. Once Mercury gets within eight degrees of the Sun it is considered “combust” and somewhat weakened in its ability to manifest its significations due to it undergoing a purifying, regenerative near death experience in the symbolic flames of the Sun.  Mercury went combust around 15 October 2016 at the time of the Full Moon in Aries that was conjoining Uranus.  Since that time our Mercurial perceptions have been going through a period of having past patterns burned off, and while this doesn’t mean we haven’t been able to communicate or interpret meaning effectively, it does mean that getting in touch with the concept of Mercury finishing a cycle can help one flow better with the energy similar to being aware of the difference in experiencing a Dark Moon as opposed to a First Quarter Moon.

The first mention of Mercury being at the heart of the Sun was in the era of Hellenistic astrology, and astrologers such as Rhetorius of Egypt declared that the significations of Mercury become greatly strengthened once it is within one degree of the Sun.  Later astrologers in the medieval period asserted that Mercury needs to be within 16 minutes of the Sun by degree because 16 minutes is one half of the Sun’s apparent size of 32 minutes. On a practical level I have found that the one degree boundary works well in defining a window in which Mercury is strengthened, but if you want to get most exact about it focus on the time period in which Mercury is within 16 minutes of a conjunction with the Sun (in the Pacific time zone, this will be roughly between Midnight and 7 pm on 27 October 2016). Mercury at the heart of the Sun is a magical moment in its synodic cycle, a time of the rebirth of the Mercury archetype in our life.  We can receive vital realization or new conception concerning our present state of being, so making the space during the cazimi time period to center,  ground, and attune within is a fertile, fruitful choice today.

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Starlight Night, Lake George (1922) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Mercury within 16 minutes of the Sun in Scorpio for cazimi effect:

Pacific standard time  * 12 am – 7 pm *  27 October 2016  [exact 9:44 am]

Eastern standard time *  3 am – 10 pm * 27 October 2016  [exact 12:44 pm]

British Summer time * 8 am (27 October) [exact 5:44 pm] – 3 am (28 October)

Central European time * 9 am (27 October) [exact 6:44 pm] – 4 am (28 October)

Australian Eastern Standard time  * 5 pm (27 October) – 12 pm (28 October) [exact 2:44 am]

Aries Full Moon + Uranus

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Isadora Duncan at the Parthenon (1920) Edward Steichen

Full Moon in Aries

Her magnificence unfurled from a darkly clouded horizon, the radiant light laid bare in the rising of the Full Moon heralds insight and illumination every month when Luna reaches the peak of her cycle.  Yet the Full Moon in Aries on October 15 or 16 (depending upon your location) will electrify thoughts and feelings beyond the norm as it is united with Uranus and is also a perceptually larger “Super Moon.”  Super Moons were defined by astrologer Richard Nolle as New or Full Moons within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth, and besides being simply bigger in the sky they have also been found to impact tides more dramatically.  Events speed up in alignment with this dramatic lunation, and since Uranus awakens with a jolt, there will be no hiding from whatever is unleashed.  Any aspect of our life in which we have been asleep, unmindful, or in denial will receive an accordingly large dose of revelation.  September was full of intense astrological transits dredging up buried material: two potent eclipses intertwined with Mercury retrograde in Virgo, and the final exact square between Saturn and Neptune that had been building over the past year.  There is deep-rooted force from Mars united with Pluto underneath the swift flames of this lunation that brings catharsis and power to face arising challenges with accountability.

The Full Moon aligned with Uranus is a breakthrough marker on our astrological calendar that ushers us into a time period in which Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus will be in a relationship enabling rapid growth and development.  The end of 2015 and first three quarters of 2016 were dominated by a square between Jupiter and Saturn, a square between Neptune and Saturn, and Uranus in Aries being generally isolated to Jupiter while in a sign based trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Jupiter and Saturn are important to always consider in tandem, as Jupiter expands growth within the form and structures dictated by Saturn.  As a result, this past year involved deconstruction and falling apart of old relationships and supports, with mixed results in the attempt to reorient life in a more enlivening and authentic direction.  Uranus is the planet that can explode the boundaries of Saturn in order to facilitate the vision of Jupiter moving beyond previous limitations.  As Jupiter in Libra forms a sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius with reception, and Saturn begins to slowly move toward an exact trine with Uranus that will come at the end of 2016, the containment of Saturn is energized with mutable activation opening portals to perception of how to manifest emboldened vision free of past limitations.

Those who have strong aspects of Uranus to planets in their birth chart are familiar with the necessity of working with the nonlinear field of Uranus that has commonly been likened to the dispersion of energy released from a strike of lightning in a thunderstorm.   This doesn’t necessarily make this lunation easier for those who live everyday with a hard aspect between Uranus and their Moon, Mercury or Venus, but it does mean that whatever coping skills you have developed in relation to dealing with Uranus strikes will be helpful.  Uranus can throw one off kilter into rebellious, freedom seeking behavior that is not in our best interest or the highest good, and so with Uranus it is beneficial to find outlets of release to actively engage with and transmit its primal vibrations.  For example, pouring energy into a collective cause/movement you feel passionate about, discharging tension through vigorous exercise or balancing movement, focusing one’s energy into development of a project, creation of art or music, or cultivation of personal writing are some ways to let Uranus move through you into something productive you care about.

The Full Moon is also united with the mysterious dwarf planet Eris which befitting its moniker creates discord in astrology as not only did its discovery lead to the demotion of Pluto from its planetary status, but many astrologers are in disagreement over whether or not the meaning of Eris can be, or even should be, understood in astrology at this stage.  Since Uranus has been co-present with Eris in Aries for years, and now is in almost exact conjunction, the one thing that is clear is that whatever meaning Eris has is merged with the meaning of Uranus in this period.   One thing we do know is that the eccentric orbit of Eris goes beyond Pluto and at a point crosses in between the space separating Pluto and Neptune, approaching the orbit of Neptune before once again moving beyond the orbit of Pluto.  It’s orbit is incredibly inclined compared to the other planets we use in astrology, so much so that it passes through only a few of the traditional zodiac constellations (it is now passing through Cetus the sea monster).  In my own work in looking into Eris, similar to other astrologers I have noticed those with exact aspects of Eris in their chart often disrupting the consensus of a familial or mainstream cultural context, becoming individuals driven to break out of old paradigms that have dominated belief systems.  We could view Eris aligned with Uranus and the Full Moon as reflecting a tidal wave of pattern breaking force.

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Serpent and Moon (1937) Morris Graves

Mars in its exaltation of Capricorn rules the Full Moon while applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto.  This is the close of the cycle between Mars and Pluto that began on 10 November 2014, and in the distillation of its building intensity our most compelling desires rise to surface awareness.  We can simultaneously feel ambitious while also sensing acutely the power dynamics surrounding us and anywhere we have been losing our self-authority in relation to another.  The blowout quality of this Aries Full Moon requires taking the responsibility to be assertive in pursuit of desires while being fully accountable for our behavior in the process of developing needed structures and relationships for support.  The most fruitful way to navigate will be through cultivating mutual respect and cooperation in relationship with whomever we feel a healthy draw to engage with.  The relationships in which we are out of balance in toxic or unhealthy ways will become obvious and feel intolerable to continue giving energy to.  Mars in Capricorn facilitates being cool and resolute enough to sever ties where needed, while also being receptive and energized to collaborate with those of shared resonance and purpose.

The past lunation cycle has re-connected the Pluto Uranus square that dominated the astrological climate from 2011 – 2015, as during the waxing of the Moon the Sun in Libra passed through a square with Pluto into an opposition with Uranus in the culmination of the Aries Full Moon.  While Uranus can be liberating, the unconscious realm activated by Uranus can lead us into scenes in which we must face choices mirroring past repetitive patterns. The liberating potential Uranus brings is through actively breaking free of our old mindset to make a radically empowering choice.  Issues that have held us back in one way or another in recent years may emerge again in the full light of the Moon, creating opportunities for new responses and wholistic understanding.

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Syncopated Rhythm, so-called The Black Snake (1967) Sonia Delaunay

Mercury in Libra is barely beginning to separate from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the Full Moon, and is one of the most exact aspects of the lunation.  In the week leading up to the Full Moon, Mercury completed the final of three exact conjunctions it has formed with Jupiter since the period of Mercury going retrograde in Virgo in September, an unusual amount of unions between Mercury and Jupiter to experience.  Mercury then moved into a square with Mars before entering its square with Pluto at the peak of this potent lunar cycle.  Mercury as a result is at the “crisis in consciousness” point of the last quarter square in relation to both Mars and Pluto as it begins a new cycle with Jupiter. Our Mercurial perception is shedding and emptying itself from old beliefs and conditioning we are not aligned with.  In the space opened up there is vital re-visioning available that will guide us toward relationships and experiences more essentially resonant.

Collective events have featured ugly discourse recently, as well as continued important exposure of individuals facing oppression within the power dynamics of society.  The union of Venus, Juno, and Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio in the build up to these intense Mercurial aspects added visceral emotional power to revelations of injustices.  Reflecting upon how we have been wronged by others and how we have wronged others, and any other messages unveiling whatever has been out of balance makes it possible for profound reorientation toward embodying a more receptive presence in relationship.  Dealing with others fixated on bigoted and biased perspectives is also more excruciating under these hard Mercurial aspects, yet the lesson seems to be about how to remain in one’s own integrity while being confronted by perspectives antithetical and offensive to one’s own viewpoint.

Mercury is combust for most of the waning cycle of this Moon cycle, becoming purified under the rays of the Sun until it reaches cazimi at the heart of the Sun on 27 October a few days before the New Moon in Scorpio on 30 October.  The insights gained into our relationship patterns can be used to burn off whatever needs to be released as Mercury heads into a union with the Sun in the week and a half following the Full Moon.

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Paul Klee (1920) Theater-Mountain-Construction

Saturn in Sagittarius continues to be in square to the lunar nodes at the Full Moon, focusing attention on Saturn being in a harmonious sextile with both Mercury and Jupiter in Libra.  While Mercury formed its exact sextile with Saturn during the Moon waxing full this cycle, during the ensuing waning of the Moon the sextile between Saturn and Jupiter will slowly build in strength.  The structural walls of Saturn are now more receptive and open to mutating, and the union of the Full Moon and Uranus in a whole sign trine to Saturn signifies that outdated forms can now be torn down in order to erect edifices that are more attuned to internal shifts of meaning and purpose.  Significantly during the realization of meaning as the Moon begins to wane into its disseminating phase a couple of days after the Full Moon, Venus will enter Sagittarius.  Once Venus enters Sagittarius it will begin to form a mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter in Libra capable of imbibing developing forms with one’s arising sense of pleasure and aesthetics.   Take advantage of this building sextile between Venus and Jupiter from October 18 – 26, 2016.

In addition to her mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter, Venus will also begin to apply to a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius in the waning cycle of the Moon.  Venus will form an exact conjunction with Saturn at a Dark Moon in Scorpio at the end of October, and will be at the beginning of a new cycle with Saturn at the New Moon in Scorpio on 30 October.  The shift of Venus from the slowly churning waters of Scorpio into the leaping fires of Sagittarius as a result will mean the galloping pace of Venus in Sagittarius will be somewhat restrained due to the impending encounter with Saturn.  This can be a period of serious commitment to all things Venusian, bringing love and joy to the cold realm of Saturn.  In addition, as Venus forms her mutually receptive sextile with Jupiter and approaches her conjunction with Saturn, her aesthetic senses will be altered by a square to the otherworldly Neptune in Pisces.  These aspects appear to be fantastic to apply to any creative process involving imagination.

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find two figures hoisting fragrant flowers in celebration under a garland within a container of four sturdy rods, with the protective structure of a castle in the background.  Venus rules the third face of Aries and possesses dynamic charisma in this fiery decan.  Indeed, Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces noted that Eros was bound to this decan in the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac.  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to this face as it holds “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions” (p. 64). Coppock discerned that we find in the final decan of Aries “the power of art to overcome hostility,” such as the ability of a performer to transcend discord through a heartfelt performance that inspires and arouses the passions of an audience. Yet Coppock also cautioned that while the torrid potency found in the third face of Aries can bring union even in the most difficult circumstances, attention must be given to sustaining the flame of connection with less volatility so that it may last.

Integrating the meaning of the third face of Aries holding the union of the Full Moon with Uranus, there is incredible potency available to performers of all arts to beguile and enchant.  Venus is in the third face of Scorpio, which happens to be another one of the decans of the zodiac ruled by Venus.  This means that while Venus is not in the same face as the Full Moon, Venus nonetheless possesses the dignity of face that enables her to achieve success despite being in the sign opposite her home of Taurus.  As previously mentioned, there is an electrical field found in the light of the Aries Full Moon that can be transmitted into dynamic performance or any creative process.  In the light of the glowing Moon, open awareness to whatever brings inspiration and joy and find ways to share your passion so as to uplift others of resonant accord.

References

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

 

Polish Women Strike

black-madonna-of-poland

Polish Black Madonna

POET: You can seek Poland throughout the whole wide world, young lady; and you’ll never find her.

GIRL: Perhaps searching is a waste of time.

POET: Yet there is just one small space- Now, Jagusia, just place your hand beneath your breast . . . – A tam puka? (Is something beating there?)

GIRL: A cóz za tako nauka? (What sort of lesson is this?) Serce – !–? (That’s my heart!)

POET: A to Polska właśnie. (Exactly. That’s Poland).

—Stanislaw Wyspianski from his play Wesele (The Wedding Feast)

On October 3 there is a planned collective strike by Polish women to protest a proposed law that would make all abortions illegal, in any circumstance including following a rape or when the pregnancy is a medical danger.   Women can face imprisonment for up to five years for having an abortion and anyone who assists with the abortion also would risk prosecution and imprisonment under the proposed law.  Poland already has one of the most restrictive abortion policies in Europe, with abortion legally permitted only when the life of the fetus is under threat, when there is a serious threat to the health of the mother, and when the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest. There has been a call in response for all women in Poland to go on strike for a day, refusing to work or take care of domestic responsibilities in order to gather, meet, protest, or do charity work.  The protest is inspired by an all-out strike by the women of Iceland in October 1975, when 90% of women refused to work, cook, or look after their children for a day.  “Black protests” have been planned in over sixty Polish cities on October 3 with almost 100,000 women having pledged to strike.

How does this relate to the current astrology?  With Jupiter in Libra we are going to be witnessing a lot of protests and a return to social justice issues of oppression relating to events correlating with the tumultuous square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that dominated from 2011 – 2015.  This is because as Jupiter moves through Libra it will form a square with Pluto in Capricorn and then transfer this energy into its opposition with Uranus in Aries.  Right now in the current lunar cycle, we are at an intense trigger point that lines up perfectly with the strike by Polish women.  This is because Mars in Capricorn is applying now to a square with Jupiter in Libra, and Mars will then move forward to form a conjunction with Pluto and then ultimately a square to Uranus in Aries.  In addition, the upcoming Full Moon on October 16 will be conjoining Uranus in Aries, with the New Moon in Libra a few days ago being conjunct Jupiter in Libra and in square to Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.

While Uranus in Aries in square to Pluto in Capricorn did correlate with numerous protest movements against oppression, there was also strong Plutocratic resistance in global hierarchies of power to do everything possible to subdue and control mass protests that could potentially shatter their grip on power and influence.  In Poland last year, the conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) won the Polish presidency and then in addition a parliamentary majority.  The conservative Law and Justice Party is supported by traditional nationalistic elements of the Polish populace with strong ties to the Catholic church, while their policies have outraged the liberal and progressive element of the Polish people.  In an article published recently in The Nation, the rise of the conservative Polish party was used as a warning to people in the United States of America that the same element of the American populace roused to elation by Donald Trump, similar to the British element that supported Brexit, could in future presidential elections be used by a more skilled and charismatic American politician to achieve victory.

There is incredible collective trauma in Poland hard to fathom by citizens of the United States, as Poland was partitioned and did not exist from 1795 until 1918, creating subconscious national fear.  After regaining independence in 1918, the second world war saw the indescribable horror and trauma of Hitler, Stalin, and concentration camps visit Poland.  Some have said that attempts at healing the Polish identity have led some to become overly nationalistic.  Whatever the case may be, following a successful revolution that led in 1989 to a democratic transition into the Third Republic, Poland increasingly became a player in wider realms of international policy through membership in NATO in 1999 and then the European Union in 2004.   Up until elections in 2015 there had been a strong influence of more liberal political parties in Poland that were less bound to the Catholic church and more tolerant of difference than the conservative parties that have now seized power.  Some analysts believe the shift to conservative party dominance comes from the economic policies following the democratic transition in 1989 that led to incredible urban economic development in Poland at the cost of factories and farms in more rural areas experiencing economic collapse.

In Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland’s Present historian Norman Davies wrote that in the 1990s the left wing of Poland were quicker in successfully organizing to gain power than the right wing, shocking those who thought “Christian values” would dominate the new democratic Poland.  Davies wrote, “It took some time before the Church hierarchy realized that it could not dictate political developments as in old Ireland, and that direct clerical interference would be counter-productive” (p. 428).  Polish youth were less inclined to follow church dictates blindly, and with the abolishment of state censorship in the 1990s there resulted a revolution of Polish literature shattering previous restraints and fostering open exploration of diversity.  From one perspective the recent rise of conservative political parties in Poland can be seen as a backlash at the changes seen as threats against traditional values resulting from the revolutions of the late 1980s.

polish-women-on-strike-image

Collectively in our global community we have been in a time of darkness that calls for the return of the sacred feminine.  The audacious, courageous decision by Polish women to refuse to submit and instead take direct action to shut down the system if necessary is a beautiful example of the power we all have as individuals within the collective to unite in solidarity on behalf of social justice. I am going to use only two charts to look into this strike, the first being the sunrise chart for Monday 3 October in Warsaw, the current capital of Poland:

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The second chart below is for Noon on Monday in Krakow, when organized strike group events are set to begin.  Krakow was the capital during the age of Poland’s kingdom and remains a powerful symbolic seat of power for Poland.  There is an article from the Krakow Post you can read here detailing the planned events for the day.  The organizers have also prepared an English language leaflet you may read here.

polandstrikekrakowwrigc9

You can notice in both charts the trigger of Mars in Capricorn applying to a square with Jupiter in Libra, with the Sun in Libra in square to Pluto in Capricorn.  You can also witness the feminine power of the black protests through the Moon in Scorpio applying to a conjunction with Venus in Scorpio and a trine with Neptune, with the Moon and Venus in Scorpio in sextile to Pluto and Mars in Capricorn.  It is further compelling that Saturn in Sagittarius is exactly on the ascendant of the noon chart in Krakow, with Jupiter in Libra on the midheaven.

I also find it significant that the true node of Black Moon Lilith is conjoining Juno in Scorpio, as this holds the symbolism of rebellious feminine genius gathered in staunch refusal to bow down before patriarchal power structures.  When we look at the chart for the Third Republic of Poland in a moment, you will also notice a recurrence of this conjunction between Juno and Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio.  While I don’t always pay much attention to the Vertex in event charts, I also can’t help noticing that the Vertex in the sunrise chart is conjoining Uranus in Aries, and the Vertex in the noon chart for Krakow is conjoining Vesta in Cancer- this highlights the square between Vesta in Cancer with Uranus in Aries that also has compelling feminine symbolism for the protest strikes.  I don’t have Eris in my astrology program to show on these charts that Eris is conjoining Uranus, but many modern astrologers would also find the Polish strikes to be a compelling correspondence with the union of Eris and Uranus in Aries.

Below is the horoscope of the Poland Third Republic that formed in the wake of communist revolutions and the transition to a democratic Polish government (click here for an analysis of the horoscope for Poland):

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This chart is fascinating in connection with the planned strikes because you can see that the current transit of the Sun in Libra on October 3, 2016 is exactly conjunct the ascendant in the chart of the Third Republic.  This also places the current transit of Jupiter in Libra on the ascendant, with the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in sextile to the ascendant of the Third Republic chart.  You can also notice that the current transit of Pluto in Capricorn is conjoining the IC, Saturn, Neptune, and the Sun in the chart, as well as that the current transit of Mars in Capricorn is applying to a conjunction with the Capricorn Uranus in the chart of the Third Republic.  You can also see that the current transits of Jupiter in Libra and Mars in Capricorn form a t-square with the opposition between Uranus in Capricorn with Jupiter in Cancer in the Third Republic chart.  As previously mentioned, I also find it amazing that the Third Republic chart features a conjunction of Juno with the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio exactly as takes place on the day of the protests (in this case they are further conjoining the Pluto of the Third Republic chart).

We are now hurtling toward a Full Moon in Aries on October 16 that conjoins Uranus, Eris, and Ceres retrograde, while also containing a conjunction between Mars and Pluto in Capricorn that is in square to Mercury in Libra.  In solidarity with the women of Poland, may we all liberate ourselves and refuse to submit to oppression.

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View of Wawel (1894) Stanislaw Wyspianski

References

Davies, Norman. (2001 new edition). Heart of Europe: the Past in Poland’s Present. Oxford University Press.

 

Libra New Moon

butterfly-by-yasui

Butterfly (1950) by Chuji Yasui

A silver quivering cocoon that shakes
from within, trying to break.
What psyche
is wrestling with its shroud?
Blunt diamonds
scrape at its casing,
urging it out.
But there is too much grief. The world
is made of days, and is itself
a shrouded day.
It stifles. It’s our world, and we
its dreams, its creased
compacted wings.

— Denise Levertov, Emblem (II)

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on September 30 is the first lunation to follow the Equinox, and within the shifting of the seasons supports momentum borne with reawakened focus.  The New Moon conjoins the expansive and visionary Jupiter in Libra, while in range of a square to the cathartic depths of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.  The blackness of this New Moon has a different mixture within its matrix than we’ve experienced this year, as Mars has finally left Sagittarius for its exaltation in Capricorn, Jupiter has finally left Virgo for greater dignity in Libra, and Venus has entered the deep waters of Scorpio.  Mars in Capricorn is applying intensely to a square with Jupiter as our lights unite in darkness, demanding we be accountable for enacting our will force in pursuit of our most prioritized goals.  While the past year has involved immense tumult of mutable changes, the Libra New Moon in sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius fortunately supports  building structures to develop and express the soulful desires that have been dislodged by the catalyzing, cascading currents.

The Libra New Moon follows a dynamic month of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, and the final square between Saturn and Neptune.  If we have been able to clear out the dead weight of our lives in the past month, there is vigorous force within the Libra New Moon for launching enterprises bound to the authentic ardor welling up from within.   The eclipses of the past month combined with Mercury retrograde in Virgo forming trines with Pluto were a perfect storm for releasing the heaviness of past grievances and awakening to an enlivening lightness of spirited presence.  As the Libra New Moon is in square to the midpoint of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, it facilitates bold embodiment of the presence liberated from previous hangups. If overwhelming loss arose during the past month of eclipses, the Libra New Moon further supports reorienting to the resulting ramifications as needed.

It is worth noting that this New Moon that is aspecting both Pluto and Mars arrives at the balsamic close of the cycle between Mars and Pluto that began on November 10, 2014.  From the standpoint that Mars and Pluto have an octave relationship in which the leading edge desires of Mars emanate from the deep well of Pluto, there can be a distillation available of all our circulating desires from the past two years that have not yet manifested.  In the coming lunation cycle Mars and Pluto will conjoin and begin a new cycle- this will happen on October 18 in the waning Moon that follows the upcoming Aries Full Moon.  Vision can be found in the blackness of the Libra Moon that lets go of what was not meant to manifest in the past two years, while opening to intimations of the potential that can be realized in the forthcoming cycle.

Venus in Scorpio

Venus rules the New Moon in Scorpio, the home of Mars, with Mars freshly in the sign of its exaltation, Capricorn.  Though Venus is separating from Mars, they are in a sextile relationship in which the subterranean sensations of Venus in Scorpio can be injected into the persevering drive of Mars in Capricorn.  Though Venus in Scorpio is in a sign opposite her home of Taurus, it pleases Venus to be in a water sign as her full feeling nature is available.  Venus in Scorpio can acclimate with an astrological climate that follows the storms of September, as Venus in Scorpio wants to dig up the roots of whatever circumstance it finds itself in order to feel how the unseen underworld has been informing what is on the surface.

The eclipses of the past month combined with a Mercury retrograde phase in Virgo that stationed direct in a trine with Pluto could have led to the uncovering of secrets or hidden material in need of being known in our relationships.  The Libra New Moon ruled by Venus in Scorpio further supports opening to the depth of mystery within the Self, being willing to embrace shadow and unconscious forces.  If there has been a lot of disorientation due to recent revelations, there can now be healing readjustment as long as we avoid the negative side of Scorpio that manipulates and controls the emotions of others due to fear of being hurt.  The virtue of Scorpio is not its fixated ability to influence the feelings of others to do its own bidding, but rather in its transformational potential to shed old skin and merge with radical presence.

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Leonora Carrington (1967) Spider

In addition to forming a sign based sextile with Mars in Capricorn, Venus in Scorpio also forms a sign based sextile with Mercury in Virgo.  Mercury direct in Virgo as a Morning Star is one of the most potent forces within the Libra New Moon enabling us to discern the most direct route toward manifestation of our goals.  Mercury has now separated from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, a square with Saturn, and a trine with Pluto, and is now applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces that has been a key player in the eclipses of 2016.  Mercury is at home and in exaltation in Virgo, a discriminating and rational abode for Mercury that accentuates its ability to bridge soulful spirit to the earthly matters at hand in the moment.  Mercury arises at dawn as the rays of the Sun pierce the tranquility of night, weaving the golden light into a consciousness able to awake and start the day mindful of the choices in greatest alignment with our solar purpose.  Mercury in Virgo and Mars in Capricorn, both places of their exaltation, are capable of building containers in our life that allow for a descent within that regenerates passion that can then be projected into our worldly endeavors.

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Libra associated with the Two of Swords tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a blindfolded woman crossing two swords in front of her, while sitting before an oceanic expanse. The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, the Crescent Moon the waxing cycle of the Moon’s orbit we enter at this Libra New Moon that calls us to persist on our path forward despite the regressive pull of the past. Commonly, this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to discover mindfulness and courageous equipoise, resolving previous conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to this face, suggesting it awakens us to surrounding injustice and disequilibrium on a societal level as well as in our daily personal interactions. Coppock further noted that the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra, linking the chthonic goddesses who punish transgressors of divine law to the element of this face that is concerned with natural law and justice and the revelation of hidden evidence of inequities.  Coppock captured the essence of this face in the following passage:

While fair trade and social justice are prime concerns in this face, its true object is relationships. Legal proceedings and commerce are essentially about the balance between two entities. Indeed peace or strife between individuals is what determines social order, and consensus is the very root of the law. Fairness and reciprocity must underlie all friendships and romances if they are to last. This face shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition. The core principles of ethical interaction with other beings are thus revealed in this face.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 158

The Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra, making this New Moon that conjoins Jupiter particularly fertile in terms of bringing expansive alertness to whatever has been out of balance, opening awareness to how to recalibrate the necessary elements.  Embracing our individual wholeness without denial and being willing to communicate honestly with integrity is of course always wise counsel, but the Libra New Moon is particularly responsive to those asserting their needs with healthy and respectful boundaries.  Just as the recent Libra Equinox demarcated a new season of changing winds, so does the Libra New Moon herald a new period of astrological transits that are more conducive to bringing about ample feelings of success more so than the transits that have dominated the majority of 2016 so far. We are clear of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, Mars retrograde and within the aftershocks of the squares between Saturn and Neptune, Pluto and Uranus.  The blackness of night holding the union of Sun and Moon in Libra is fecund with reception for making tangible what has previously been deeply felt and yearned for.

References:

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Pisces Lunar Eclipse

Vasily Kafanov fish landscape gray

Vasily Kafanov (2013) Landscape with Fishtower on gray

The fisherman draws fish that he never saw from many fathoms beneath the water, the miner brings gold from the depths out of the earth, through which his sight cannot pierce. In this wise has God taught it.

As there is nothing so occult that it shall not become manifest, so the same must be made known. Be it in the celestial firmament, in the sea, in the earth, all things must become manifest; but through man who discovers all things.

— Paracelsus, from his preface to Magia Emblemata et Prognostici

Penumbral Pisces Lunar Eclipse

Within change and strife resides freedom and release, for every heart breaks within love that returns and gives birth.  Beyond every flower found in radiant color, ripened fruit savored, or prismatic crystal unearthed and polished, lies an infinitely more vast and invisible realm of dark fertility surrounding and shaping this and all other universes.  In fathomless oceanic depth, under waves inexorably dissolving and bringing forth life, glimmers the slippery, silvery sheen of soul we find in Pisces.

Light as dramatic as can be sensed during the Pisces Lunar Eclipse on September 16 begins to fade as soon as it has brought forth its fullness.  We stand like a willow on the banks of its vortex, trunk strong and branches unfurled toward the constant disintegration of earthly matter into water.   This week’s lunar eclipse at the end of the zodiac culminates many stories embedded in the intense mutable shifting of the past year.  Within red shadows projected upon the Moon, one’s presence of being may become lightened from the accumulated heaviness of past failures and regrets.

In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Linking the Moon to what we carry from the past within our body and mind, the past transmutes in the shadowy face of the Moon to allow for new emergence and presence.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that at a lunar eclipse “the traditional perspective born of past experiences of adjusting to life and society is blotted out by an eagerness to meet experience in a new, original manner.”  This emphasis on new choices and vision is amplified by the Sun being on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

The eclipse is classified as penumbral because although the lunation is fairly close to the nodes of the Moon, the eclipse is at 24º20′ Pisces while the south node of the Moon is at twelve degrees of Pisces.  Though the shadow cast will not completely cover the Moon’s face in rosy glow, it remains a lunar eclipse that irrevocably alters the stories internally streamed from the past year of life.  Aligned with Chiron just as the Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on 8 March 2016 was also conjoining Chiron, there is a cathartic release into the ever emptying ocean of Pisces that washes away remnants of disappointing burden that have been sticking to the flesh and circulating repeatedly in the mind.

Radha and Krishna

The Lovers Radha and Krishna (circa 1775 -1780)

Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, and the lunar eclipse occurs close to the specific degree Venus exalts in (27° Pisces).  Venus looms over the eclipse as Jupiter in Libra rules the eclipse and Venus is co-present in her home of Libra alongside Jupiter.  Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, a place of inner expansion and vision, a faculty of intuitive gnosis merging heart with mind.  Relationships, our current relations as well as all manner of past relational patterns that inform our meeting with others, rise from the waters of Pisces at this week’s eclipse with a message of vital importance, whether found in the form of verbal language or nonverbal image.   In the twilight preceding the full illumination of the Pisces Moon, one may behold a brilliant Venus on the horizon that is continuing to brighten as an Evening Star.

Though as mentioned the shadow of this week’s eclipse is fainter than that of a total lunar eclipse, nonetheless the redness of the eclipsed shadow on the Moon evokes Pisces through its correspondences with eros that vitalizes blood flow and inspirit. The red shadow covering the Moon also has symbolic overtones with the renewal of the rubedo stage in alchemy, as it portends responding to life from a new presence free of past conditioning.  Red is also fitting for Mars being in square to the lunar eclipse, making this Pisces Lunar Eclipse a tumultuous affair.  In fact, there is little balanced about the Libra influence of Venus and Jupiter, as Venus will be applying closely to an opposition with Uranus in Aries and a sextile with Mars in Sagittarius, with Mars further in trine to Uranus.  Yet in the stillness of a Pisces pool within the surrounding bedlam, insight may be discovered.

Scylla 1938 by Ithell Colquhoun 1906-1988

Scylla (1938) by Ithell Colquhoun

“The true duty of the artist is to know what she is doing and transmit her knowledge with precision. The artist must always lift up the skirts of Venus or her twin-sister Medusa; if she is incapable of that, she should consider changing professions.
Let’s thus seek out the possibility of having subtle organs that will allow us to spread a beneficial magic or receive it while cultivating the protections against the multiple venoms of the invisible world. It is only in the strange magic ocean that we can find salvation for ourselves and our sick planet.”
– Leonora Carrington, response to a questionnaire for L’Art magique, 1957

The above quote from Leonora Carrington and painting by Ithell Colquhoun were both shared by Jon Eric Graham in a presentation he gave entitled “A Stunning Revenge on All Things: Surrealism, Alchemy, and Magic” at the recent 2016 Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle I attended.  In a subsequent presentation Pam Grossman also shared the same Scylla image by Ithell Colquhoun in her talk “Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art.”  As Pam Grossman traced the history of the depiction of witches in art, highlighting the obvious shift of meaning once women had platforms to create their own witchy images, I was struck by the full archetype of the witch held within any modern manifestation of image, no matter how corporate or commercial.  Namely, that the indescribable trauma and travesty of the collective history of witches is held and honored within the same image of witchcraft a modern teenager will embrace as part of claiming her own sense of the sacred feminine.  This is not to suggest oppression will go away or that its wounds will disintegrate, only that in the dissolution of the Pisces Lunar Eclipse an empowering liberty may be discovered within our identities that have been hurt the most.

The square between Saturn and Neptune that finally culminated in the week before the lunar eclipse involves the transfiguration of collective images in meaning.  Indeed, the most intense aspect to the lunar nodes at this week’s eclipse is not the actual Full Moon Eclipse, but rather the square between Neptune and Saturn, with Saturn applying closely to a square with the lunar nodes and Neptune conjoining the South Node of the Moon.  Whatever sacrifice has had to be made in this past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune, like Odysseus passing through Scylla and Charybdis we now must resolutely with responsibility press forward on the path we have realigned with.  Any fixations on past dreams that did not manifest must now be dropped into the receding tide, with focus and accountability bound to the work needing to be done in the present moment that meets one’s own needs as well as creates valuable resources or inspiration for others.

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Colored etching of alchemical stage (18th Century). Source

The numerous catalytic aspects involved in the Pisces Lunar Eclipse unfortunately make it likely that the disasters, acts of violence, and traumatic events that have dominated current events recently will continue.  On a personal level, however, if you are somewhere securely away from overwhelming conflict the incredibly active nature of this week’s eclipse can be an enlivening impetus toward tangible realization of goals and vision worked on across time.  Mercury remains retrograde, separating from its union with the Sun earlier in the week and applying to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  Though Mercury has shifted toward its Morning Star phase in which goals and plans can be focused on with greater clarity, it is not yet visible and so there is still a chthonic fertility to all things Mercurial.

Particularly compelling to me is that the true node of Black Moon Lilith will be conjoined with Venus in Libra at the time of the lunar eclipse.  This means that Venus combined with Black Moon Lilith will be opposite Uranus in Aries and sextile to Mars in Sagittarius.  Black Moon Lilith is the oscillating shadow point that balances the Moon’s orbit, bringing the liberating quality of Uranus contacting Venus and Mars more directly into the experience of the Pisces Lunar Eclipse.  Where we have been abandoned, betrayed, felt exiled or placed at a distance on the outside, becomes in the shadowed light of the lunar eclipse a strength fortified by lack and solitude and ready to burst forth with meaning to express and share during the dissemination of the eclipsed light.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse is in the third face of Pisces, associated with the 10 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of joy, fulfillment, rainbows and giddy children, the 10 of Cups is interpreted as the quality of blissful happiness and manifestation that those who reside within the third face of Pisces not only yearn to bring about but possess the internal resources to do so.  The final decan of the zodiac from the perspective that Aries is the beginning, the third decan of Pisces is a place of magical manifestation where seeming miracles can be brought about against all odds.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to this face, describing it as a “mad quest for an ideal” and “being willing to sacrifice everything” for “the attainment of one’s greatest desire, no matter the cost.”  While Three Books of Occult Philosophy described an image of a naked man with a beautiful woman whose head is decorated with flowers, other ancient texts describe terror of loss bringing screams and cries.  Austin Coppock linked the third face of Pisces with such “heights of agony and ecstasy,” writing that “Though there can be no greater pleasure than the union with the beloved, no pain is greater than its frustration, or worse yet, the betrayal of the person or ideal whom one has sacrificed so much for.”   As a result Coppock noted the importance of applying discernment and discrimination to acts brought forth in this face.

Coppock made a brilliant connection with the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs ascribing the daimon of hope Elpis to the third decan of Pisces.  This is the hope left at the bottom of Pandora’s box, the answer to doom pointing to “beauty, love and the real possibility of happy endings.  The last decan [of Pisces] is thus a miniature of all incarnation, asking the most important questions and offering the most impassioned answers” (p. 260).

The third face of Pisces is ruled by Mars, and as Mars in Sagittarius is in square to the lunar eclipse, the meaning of this passionate decan of Pisces must be faced.  The warnings of losing one’s beloved or cherished ideal in no way means to hold back from pursuing what enlivens the heart during the eclipse.  With Saturn in square to the lunar nodes and Neptune conjoining the south node, however, it is vital to plant seeds and develop growth in places clearly able to receive and bolster one’s ideal intentions.  There is co-creative magic found in the face of this week’s Pisces Lunar Eclipse to align with the work, path, and collaborators most resonant with one’s deepest desires.

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References

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

Paracelsus. (2014 edition). Magia Emblemata et Prognostici. Ouroboros Press.

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

Portland School of Astrology Class

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Opening to the Other: Relationships in Progression

I am excited to announce I will be teaching at the Portland School of Astrology in November 2016.  If you are in the Portland region I hope to see you there!

When:       Saturday 12 November 2016

Time:         2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Where:      Portland School of Astrology (PSA)

3939 NE Hancock St #212 / Portland, Oregon 97212

Cost:           $25  (work trade also available- contact PSA for information)

Class description:

Opening to the Other: Relationships in Progression

The secondary progressed chart is a powerful astrology technique that penetrates into the evolving quality of the natal chart across time. We know that as time passes so do our desires for relationship transform. The secondary progressed chart is one way to explore the correlations between the changes of our astrology with the changes of our relationships. For example, while one may be born with the Sun in Pisces and Venus in Aries, through the changes of the progressed chart you will become a Taurus Sun and Gemini Venus and open to a different realm of relationship as a result.

In this class Gray Crawford will teach students how to interpret the secondary progressed chart in terms of relationship, not only romantic relationships but collaborative relationships of all sorts. We will investigate what aspects of the secondary progressed chart can bring insight into our evolving desires for relationship and who or what we are attracting. We will also explore how the changes in the interpersonal dynamics within a relationship that lasts for many years can be seen in the interplay between the changes in the progressed charts of each partner.

Click on the link below for complete information about this class:

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

Jupiter in Libra

HeartoftheRosetapestry

The Pilgrim and the Heart of the Rose by Edward Burne-Jones

Jupiter in Libra

Jupiter enters Libra on 9 September 2016 where it will remain until 11 October 2017.  Since this shift occurs at the same time as the last exact square between Saturn and Neptune, there could very well be extreme tensions in one’s life in need of balancing which Jupiter entering the sign of the Scales can facilitate.  Furthermore, Jupiter enters Libra in a period in between eclipses, with Mercury retrograde forming a hard aspect with Mars, and Jupiter itself invisible and becoming purified under the beams of the Sun.   As a result, it will take some time before the full spectrum of Jupiter’s benefits will be felt in the Libra area of your life, yet Jupiter’s entrance into Libra will still bring some welcomed positivity immediately.

Jupiter is more comfortable in Libra than in Virgo because it has triplicity dignity in Libra, meaning that Jupiter is “in its element” as it prefers to be in Air signs more so than Earth signs.  This accord comes from the Air signs of astrology being connected to the jovial sanguine temperament which is harmonious with the nature of Jupiter.  In fact, Jupiter has been said to rule the sanguine temperament.  Sanguine is uplifting and seeks cohesion in social connections, a quality of moistness becoming hot which in personality comes across as desire to be successful while also being optimistic and lighthearted, supportive and forgiving of others socially.

Jupiter’s time in Libra can direct vision toward what is pleasurable and harmonizing, as it will be in the domicile of Venus.  Libra is the diurnal, outwardly directed home of Venus where the significations of Venus occur at a swifter pace than her other home of Taurus.  Libra is also a Cardinal sign, adding a quality of initiation and gathering the impetus to strike out on new endeavors that will make this an opportune period to find ways to be more collaborative in community.

While Libra is a Cardinal sign ultimately about initiating one’s own, selfish pursuits, its place as the Cardinal Air sign ruled by Venus means it supports acting in accordance with the needs of relationships rather than being instinctually direct like its polarity Aries.  There results a mix of a rational, reflective side with the feelings and associated values of Venus pursuits, leading to a greater capacity for thought and strategizing to inform action more so than impulsive, overwhelming feelings.  However, it is also a mistake to think that everything associated with Libra is in balance, for in reality there is a constant fluctuating of things becoming unbalanced as part of its balancing act.  If balance is achieved it is only momentary, as any equilibrium gained instantly becomes vulnerable to coming out of balance again or falling into disarray.

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Libra by Johfra Bosschart

The Scales

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

When looking upon an image of scales, even if they appear in stillness their form suggests the ceaseless, endless recalibrating going on within everyone, everything, in every moment.  Franz Kafka in his novel The Trial revealed the struggles of the individual faced with the injustices of the modern world, including ethnic tensions, class differences, and the abuse of women.  In one of many brilliant scenes, Kafka portrayed a meeting between his protagonist Josef K. and the painter Titorelli that unveiled the shadow of law and order, in that law systems claiming to be on the side of justice are in reality always on the hunt to be victorious:

There was a large figure shown in middle of the throne’s back rest which K. could not understand and asked the painter about it. That’ll need some more work done on it, the painter told him, and taking a pastel crayon from a small table he added a few strokes to the edges of the figure but without making it any clearer as far as K. could make out. “That’s the figure of justice,” said the painter, finally. “Now I see,” said K., “here’s the blindfold and here are the scales. But aren’t those wings on her heels, and isn’t she moving?” “Yes,” said the painter, “I had to paint it like that according to the contract. It’s actually the figure of justice and the goddess of victory all in one.” “That is not a good combination,” said K. with a smile. “Justice needs to remain still, otherwise the scales will move about and it won’t be possible to make a just verdict.” “I’m just doing what the client wanted,” said the painter . . .

. . . “Only it’s a pity that you can’t make out the details of his costume and pose in this picture, pastel colours aren’t really suitable for showing people like this.” “Yes,” said K., “it does seem odd that it’s in pastel colours.” “That’s what the judge wanted,” said the painter, “it’s meant to be for a woman.” The sight of the picture seemed to make him feel like working, he rolled up his shirtsleeves, picked up a few of the crayons, and K. watched as a reddish shadow built up around the head of the judge under their quivering tips and radiated out the to edges of the picture. This shadow play slowly surrounded the head like a decoration or lofty distinction. But around the figure of Justice, apart from some coloration that was barely noticeable, it remained light, and in this brightness the figure seemed to shine forward so that it now looked like neither the God of Justice nor the God of Victory, it seemed now, rather, to be a perfect depiction of the God of the Hunt.

— Franz Kafka, The Trial, Chapter 7

The Goddess of Justice in the painting is running with winged feet causing her scales to be out of balance, creating a likeness to a Goddess of the Hunt rather than Lady Justice.  Thus within the societal construct of a court system in which the individual purportedly is innocent until proven guilty, the court ostensibly concerned with justice is in actuality focused on hunting down the accused and triumphing over them.  When Lady Justice is claimed by those in seats of power who manipulate their hierarchical power structures to increase and sustain their grasp on power, the societal conventions and structures of law and order fall out of balance with Her natural law.

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung (who had Jupiter in Libra in the third decan that it rules) to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality. The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state. Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow. There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.  Though we may want to strike out against the injustices of the surrounding world during the transit of Jupiter in Libra, to be most effective we will first need to face our own shadow that comes out in relationship with others.

As Libra places importance on dialogue in relationship, expressing one’s own needs while listening to the needs of others, an additional fitting concept emphasized by Carl Jung is Auseinandersetzung, German for “taking something to pieces.”  This refers to confrontation in dialogue in which two people verbally engage without running away from the conflict.  By staying engaged in the dialogue, the differences inherent to the disagreement become clarified and distinct, making an agreement or compromise possible.  Jung believed it was also possible to engage in such a dialogue with one’s anima/us, clarifying the unconscious being projected into relationships and keeping us perpetuating past relational patterns.  To Jung we gain “mettle” when facing the conflicts between our ego and anima/us, and out of the confrontation between the conscious and unconscious arises awareness of our wholeness, what he called individuation. This sort of inner integration that supports healthy growth is the domain of Jupiter.

divine pleasure indian art I

Gujari Ragini: A Lady with a Vina Seated on a Bed of Lotus Flowers (17th Century) by Ruknuddin

Jupiter in the Home of Venus

When Jupiter enters Libra, Venus will be at home to welcome its visionary expansiveness into her dwelling place.  While Jupiter in Libra may signify moderation and temperance in pursuit of desire and pleasure, it can also signify the excess of Venus that pull one into wild extremities of imbalance.  Falling in love during expansive Jupiter’s journey through Libra brings to mind the ravenous rapture of the ancient poet Sappho, whose fragment 47 has been translated by Anne Carson as declaring, “Eros shook my mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees.”  Previous inner equilibrium unravels when opening to love, as it simultaneously opens one to the torment and grief of losing love.  The negative aspects of relationships will be just as much a potential under Jupiter in Libra as they are at any other time, yet since Jupiter tends to stabilize it will support rebalancing any difficult feelings such as jealousy or the bittersweet absence of love.  If the excesses of Jupiter are kept in check, the likelihood is for Jupiter in Libra to be a balm for improved communication and relations with others.

Jupiter in Libra can expand efforts in everything associated with Venus, whether that be arts, creativity, or the pleasure found in the body as well as the aesthetics of the senses.  Taking on mundane projects such as redesigning an environment can become magical with Jupiter in Libra, and the cohesive nature of Jupiter can also be utilized to connect one’s own work of passion to the efforts of others of like mind in our global community.  New combinations of abstract and aesthetic forms can come together into new movements that draw from the past yet display a fresh assemblage of influences that match the arising zeitgeist.  Jupiter in Libra is a time to activate your creativity in your wider community.

Venus will be increasing in light as an Evening Star for the first period of Jupiter’s time in Libra, moving from Libra to Scorpio to Capricorn to Aquarius and through Pisces before stationing retrograde in Aries in March 2017.  Venus will then move retrograde back into the final degrees of Pisces, the home of Jupiter.  As Jupiter’s time in Libra is bound to the movement of Venus, the Venus retrograde of March through April 2017 (February through May 2017 if you count the “shadow zone”) will be a significant recalibration in the experience of Jupiter in Libra.

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Justice in The Allegory of Good Government (1339) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Jupiter in the Exaltation of Saturn

Libra is the exaltation of Saturn, and since Saturn in Sagittarius is lingering in the home of Jupiter, the entrance of Jupiter into Libra dramatically alters the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn from one of tension (the square from Virgo to Sagittarius) to one of harmony.  After a year of deconstructing change, Jupiter in Libra forming a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius is opportune for constructive building of new structures.  As Jupiter approaches a sextile with Saturn at the end of 2016, opportunities will present themselves and obstacles will be removed in order to tend to the fracturing that came about from the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn that dominated the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Austin Coppock has talked about Saturn’s exaltation in Libra being about the ideal of forming contracts, laws, and other binding agreements out of consensus, an interpretation I agree with.   Saturn and Jupiter are both diurnal planets that favor Air signs, and Libra also forms a trine to Aquarius, the diurnal and airy home of Saturn.  With Saturn in Sagittarius, there is increased potential through Jupiter in Libra to organize efforts on behalf of social justice that make a direct impact in local communities, as well as for legislative bodies in governments to come together into compromised agreement around issues of civil rights.  Jupiter in Libra will support building social movements that address injustice.

In my nation and government of birth, the Statue of Liberty is the Goddess of Justice, our Colossus overlooking the sea bringing tides from other lands. Though a symbol of liberty and welcoming, the Statue of Liberty’s symbolism has also been manipulated by power structures to exert control. Currently, there is a fierce debate within the United States of America over immigration, including proposed policies that seek to restrict the very issue the Statue of Liberty evokes. The astrology chart often used for the Statue of Liberty features a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in Libra, fitting as the giant goddess is made from the Venusian metal copper. With the Statue of Liberty aligned so strongly with Jupiter in Libra, it makes sense that the national elections of 2016 with Jupiter in Libra will set the agenda for how the nation deals with immigration in coming years.  In countries all around the globe, Jupiter’s presence in Libra will hopefully facilitate greater compromise that can do something positive about the immigration and refugee crises that have erupted.

ganesha bronze

Bronze Ganesha (15th Century) Thailand

Key Transits of Jupiter in Libra 2016-2017

As Jupiter moves across Libra, it will gain additional dignity when it enters its own bounds at fifteen degrees and then again when it crosses twenty degrees into the third decan of Libra it rules.  Jupiter in the third face of Libra could be especially potent, as Jupiter’s rulership of the third decan signifies that there is a special quality of Jupiter to access here.  Jupiter will enter the third face of Libra at the end of December 2016 and then leave it retrograde in March 2017 during the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Jupiter will return to the third face of Libra in August 2017 just in time for a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that will be visible and especially potent in the United States of America.  Jupiter will remain in the third face of Libra until it enters Scorpio in mid October 2017.

Toward the end of 2016 we will enter the full phase of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, as Jupiter will form an exact opposition on 26 December 2016 with Uranus. While the full phase is always about managing opposing desires for external relationships versus internal independence, this conflict will be further exacerbated by Jupiter being in the relationally oriented sign of Libra and Uranus being in the independently oriented sign of Aries. During this phase we will explore the full meaning of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle that began in 2010, with support from a waning sextile formed within the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, and a disseminating trine formed between Saturn in Sagittarius with Uranus.   The combination of Saturn in trine to Uranus, as Jupiter opposes Uranus and forms a sextile with Saturn, brings the potential to liberate our personal vision from the restraints of our past framework, restructuring essential elements of life in support.

However, in the dark far reaches of outer space awaits Pluto in Capricorn holding a significant challenge for Jupiter in Libra.  Pluto in Capricorn will form a last quarter square with Jupiter for much of Jupiter’s time in Libra beginning in November 2016.  As a result,  Jupiter will re-connect the square between Uranus and Pluto in its aftermath, providing opportunities for social relationships and contracts to arise that remedy some of the fracturing that came about within the tectonic shifting of the square between Pluto and Uranus that was most strong from 2011 – 2015.  Though Jupiter in Libra ideally signifies peace, there will no doubt be many great conflicts and disruptions that arise during this period that resonate with the issues which erupted in the global collective during the years of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  At its best, Jupiter can inject its collaborative focus on social justice into the Plutonic power structures and systems during this period.

As previously mentioned, the Venus retrograde from March through April of 2017 will be one of the most disruptive periods of Jupiter’s time in Libra, as Jupiter will be under the influence of a rebellious Venus.  As Jupiter’s time in Libra will be significant for the generations of people born with Pluto in Libra, Neptune in Libra, Uranus in Libra, Saturn in Libra, and Jupiter in Libra, the Venus retrograde in Aries will be extremely catalytic for those born with these planets in between zero and fourteen degrees of Libra, since Venus will move back and forth across these degrees in opposition through her retrograde movement.  As a member of the Pluto in Libra generation, I am particularly curious about the impact of Jupiter’s transit through Libra on our generation, as we have come of age into greater access of power and responsibility, with greater capacity to make an impact with Jupiter conjoining our Pluto placements.

Carpe diem can be an overused motto, but truly Jupiter in Libra signifies a period in which to seize the day.  Jupiter in the home of Venus can amplify and accentuate all of the elements of our life that bring pleasure, beauty, harmony, and joy.  If you have been holding back in any way from attempting to make your life as extraordinary as possible, the ingress of Jupiter into Libra signals a time to expand the parameters of what you believe you can achieve and act accordingly.

References

BBC Radio. (2014). In Our Time: Culture. Kafka’s The Trial.

Kafka, Franz. (1925). The Trial. Translated from the German by David Wyllie.

Stein, Murray. (1998). Jung’s Map of the Soul. Open Court.

 

Virgo Solar Eclipse

Scott Young Virgo Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo

The Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo on 1 September 2016 has ties with the Total Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened earlier in the year on March 8, but is most deeply bound to release into the Pisces Lunar Eclipse which will arrive on September 16.  Whereas the Pisces Solar Eclipse was an initiation into the dramatic changes of the year, the Virgo Solar Eclipse mediates events of the past six months at the same time it launches us into a new cycle of growth that will intensely flow into the Lunar Eclipse in Pisces that follows.  The ruler of the eclipse is Mercury at home and in exaltation in Virgo, but this is not your typically swift Mercury.  The Mercury ruling the Solar Eclipse is barely moving, having stationed retrograde two days prior.  Motionless in contemplation and analysis, Mercury retrograde is closely receiving Jupiter in a conjunction while also conjoining Venus in Libra, fortunate aspects that counterbalance the Solar Eclipse being opposite Neptune and closely square to the conjunction of Mars and Saturn.  Though the path may be labyrinthine in twists and turns, the Virgo Solar Eclipse will bring about discernment into grounded steps to take forward into the coming season, while letting go of old dreams we now realize were more illusory than practical.

With the Solar Eclipse conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and its ruler Mercury also in Virgo, there is clear intent to attune to the natural enfoldment of cycles in our life, accepting and shedding what is passing away while being open to what is beginning to take form.  Liz Greene in The Astrology of Fate connected the winged goddess Astraea to the Winged Maiden of Virgo, a daughter of Zeus who walked the Earth during a Golden Age of prosperity in order to foster harmony amongst humanity with the natural world and its inherent order.  Astraea like Virgo honors the creation and destruction of the natural order, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay.  There is Mercurial pleasure Virgo takes in following the order of natural cycles, displeasure when creating disorder from forcing things to happen that go against the appropriate timing of the moment.  If we can let go of whatever attachments are getting in the way of opening to the naturally occurring change happening at the Virgo Solar Eclipse, with the willingness to trust the flow of life will come keen awareness of choices that will lead to essential development.

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Annular Solar Eclipse image by Hans Bernhard from 29 April 1976

Since the Solar Eclipse is Annular, it means the fertile void of its blackness will have a ring of light around it.  Annular eclipses occur as a result of the Moon being far enough away in orbit from the Earth that its shadow does not completely cover the Sun.  One of my favorite interpretations of solar eclipses is by Dane Rudhyar, who said the symbolism of the Moon’s shadow covering the face of the Sun suggests that forces from our past, as well as unconscious influences, veil the present with their fecund darkness.  Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for.  In combination with their unworldly visual element when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon.  Yet eclipses do not need to be feared.  Dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, similar to eclipses in that greater wholeness can be found through the dissolution they bring about.  When stepping into the streams of eclipse season its best to remember the old fragmentary wisdom of Heraclitus:  unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and pathless.

The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses. The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth: the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for incarnation and manifestation in our material realm.   Vitally, the Virgo Solar Eclipse is conjoining the North Node of the Moon.  As a result, the eclipse will awaken intimations of future growth and activate new methods.  The intersection of the past into the eclipse portal brings a Dragon’s Pearl that has been born from the darkness of the beast’s belly, a natural gem purified across time that now opens awareness to future potential and evolutionary growth.

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Merciful Tear by Sara Taft

There are diverse interpretations of the lunar nodes in astrology, but one unifying concept is that meaning coming from the South Node of the Moon is released in a way that amplifies the meaning of the North Node of the Moon.  What we can all agree on is that Neptune is conjoining the South Node of the Moon, and the Solar Eclipse is conjoining the North Node.  This results in a release valve on Neptune feeding into the eclipse.   Neptune here dissolves old illusions that have been limiting your perspective, washing away fantasies and dreams that are not congruent with the bare bones of your circumstances and achievable in practical, concrete steps.   This does not mean to limit your thinking or keep yourself boxed into a restrictive place, only to fully accept your surrounding environment and what is actually happening, who or what are actually in reach as resources.

Adding incredible intensity to the eclipse is the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius that forms a square to the lunar nodes.  Positively, this alignment can point to what structures need to be torn down, rebuilt or further strengthened, as well as support creation of a blueprint for an entirely new structure that will bolster one’s essential meaning being developed.  For those grieving a loss,  within the hard feelings healing can come from retrieving irreplaceable elements of what has passed away that will continue to bring value going forward.  As awareness focuses on the true change occurring that contrasts with what had been expected or hoped for, the Mercurial element of the Virgo Solar Eclipse can facilitate attuning to the underlying fabric of what is really going on.

The Sabian symbol for the Solar Eclipse is “Two heads looking out and beyond the shadows,” which Dane Rudhyar described as unveiling “the growth of true understanding, born out of the transcendence of duality even while immersed in the world of duality.”  Essentially, Rudhyar meant the tenth degree of Virgo points to our mind operating within the conflicts and oppositions of duality, with potential realization revealing that the opposite sides of duality “are complementary aspects of the one Reality which sustains and encompasses all dualistic modes of existence.”  Rudhyar emphasized this broader awareness facilitates moving beyond the shadows generated by internal conflicts.  This sounds a lot like the transcendent function of Carl Jung,  in which holding the tension of oppositions within the psyche mediates between the ego and unconscious, leading to new awareness that unites the internal opposition creatively.

An ancient fragment of Heraclitus comments on this idea of two opposite things coinciding within one thing utilizing the Sagittarius imagery of the bow and arrow:  the name of the bow (βιός) is life (βιός), but it’s work is death (the word that means “life” and “bow” have the same letters but there is a stress on a different syllable when spoken).  Another fragment of Heraclitus also draws upon this same concept of harmony underlying the asymmetrical through the imagery of the strings of a bow being pulled backwards in two directions at the same time:  they do not understand that what differs agrees with itself; it is an attunement of opposite tension, like that of the bow and the lyre.  Since Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius being in hard aspect to the opposition between the Virgo Solar Eclipse and Neptune in Pisces signifies conflict, if we want to avoid becoming lost in the whirlwind we need to loosen the dogmatic side of Sagittarius and fortify the shifting quality of Sagittarius that synthesizes and coalesces understanding out of change and strife.

eclipse From Compendiolum de praeparatione auri potabilis veri, attributed to M[arcus] E[ugenius] Bonacina, ca. 1790

From Compendiolum de preparation auri potabilis veri, attributed to Marcus Eugenius Bonacina (1790)

Relationship issues will receive care and attention as a result of Venus being at home in Libra at the eclipse, increasing in light as an Evening Star.  As the Moon waxes toward its Lunar Eclipse on September 16, Venus will work on healing the fracturing of Mars and Saturn through forming a sextile to each, and then applying to an opposition with Uranus in Aries.  The building opposition between Venus and Uranus in between the eclipses stokes the intensity and electricity of the eclipse season, with startling insights that jolt us out of previously restrictive relational patterns striking unexpectedly.  Most importantly considering the waves of change occurring that will feel unsettling to many, Venus in Libra supports listening to the needs of others in relationship as well as not only listening to our own needs but expressing them to others in direct communication.

A few days after the solar eclipse, after the waning moon in Virgo passes over Jupiter and enters Libra to conjunct Venus, Jupiter will descend at sunset from being an Evening Star into its invisible chthonic phase in which it will be purified and regenerated under the beams of the Sun.  When Jupiter ingresses into Libra in the following week, it will enter its new sign only a couple of days before the last exact square between Saturn and Neptune.   Jupiter during the upcoming eclipse cycle will illuminate an old vision of who we are in relationship so we can release and let go of how we have been holding ourselves back in our interactions with others.  Additional support for embodying a new presence that may feel unfamiliar, yet allows us to ignore external judgment and express greater genuineness can be found in the conjunction between Juno and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio that forms a sextile with the Virgo Solar Eclipse.

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8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

The first face of Virgo where the Annular Solar Eclipse occurs is associated with the Eight of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see an artist and craftsman fully engrossed in the moment with his art, concentrating with full attention to one direct focus in the moment. This image evokes the importance of taking things step by step, one task at a time, completing each aspect of the process with loving care and attention.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Tree Bearing Fruit” to this face, noting the prevalence of images associated with “fruitful works” developed through “humble observation of, and careful tending to, the created world” in ancient texts:

The first decan of an earth sign, this face provides initiation into the mysteries of incarnation. It teaches the difference between the touched and the untouched, and the prudence of postponing delight until the fruit is ripe. It makes for careful craftsman, thoughtful merchants and wise farmers, though many other transformers of the prima materia are here as well. Though the formulae of this face is one of humility, it results in works of surprising glory. Creation ripens for those who can hear and heed its voice.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 139-140

The Sun rules the first face of Virgo, giving the Sun enhanced ability to bring about its solar significations than it otherwise would by being in the home of Mercury.   Mercury retrograde receiving its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo highlights a visionary potential to be found in the smallest of tasks performed with integrity and absorbed focus.  To embody our solar potential available at the Virgo Solar Eclipse, however, we need to turn this magical focus within in order to fully embrace and accept everything about ourselves.  With the additional activation of Libra that comes through the eclipse, it is vital not to project inner issues into our relationships but instead listen clearly to what our relationships are communicating to us, not how we are interpreting their message in relation to our own issues.  With full embrace of our current reality within its streams of change, the Virgo Solar Eclipse becomes a powerful stepping stone on the path of creating deeper sustenance and fulfillment out of the shifting tides coming through this September.

VirgoSolarEclipseWRIGC4

References

BBC Radio 4, In Our Time. (7 December 2011). Heraclitus.

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

Greene, Liz. (1984). The Astrology of Fate. Weiser Books.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage Books.

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

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

Splendor Solis Mercury flask

Mercury Flask from the Splendor Solis

We know where [ Hermes ] comes from and what type of consciousness he exemplifies.  He is most likely the same dark depth of being from which we all originate.  Perhaps for this reason Hermes can so convincingly hover before us, lead us on our ways, show us golden treasures in everyone through the split-second timing which is the spirit of finding and thieving- all of this because he creates his reality out of us, or more properly through us, just as one fetches water not so much out of a well as through the well from the much deeper regions of the earth . . .  Despite the thievery and deceit and shamelessness- and this is probably the most wonderful thing about it- a divine innocence is properly suited to and inherent in it.  Hermes has nothing to do with sins and atonement.  What he brings with him from the springs of creation is precisely the “innocence of becoming.”

— Karl Kerenyi, from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

It’s in twilight when it comes.  The shift of hue and space arrives, transmuting sunlight into variegated shadow, enveloping life in a polychromatic caress of sensuous mood and mysterious measure.  With a flash of light Mercury descends retrograde into the darkening brilliance of sunset, disappearing into its invisible, underworld phase with a message to receive.  The sign of Virgo where Mercury stations in stillness is the nocturnal home of Hermes, the quicksilver messenger and companion of black night whose serpentine staff enchants and lulls, whose fluttering wings break open any static sleepiness of mind.  As Mercury slows down, comes to a standstill, and then turns backward in retrograde motion through the zodiac, we cross a liminal threshold that invites alterations of mental fixations and openings to manifold perspectives.

In the realm of popular culture, periods of Mercury retrograde are known as disastrous aberrations in which Mercury becomes a scapegoat for all misfortunes and mishaps.  Yet the Mercury retrograde period is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit just like the consistent blackening of the Moon in its orbit.  Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed.  However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting.  While Mercury signifies insight and smooth communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation lead to illumination and realization.  Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the frustrating to the enlivening.  Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control and order, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources.   As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows dow to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit.  The Mercury retrograde in Virgo begins with the strange brew of Mercury stationing in a beneficial conjunction with Jupiter and Venus, at the entrance into a dramatic portal of eclipses.

Mercury stations retrograde in Virgo on 30 August 2016 at a Dark Moon two days before an annular Solar Eclipse.  In the blackness of the Balsamic Moon, Mercury will be surrounded by Venus and Jupiter with all three planets visible during the changing colors of sunset.  Since Mercury is both at home and exalted in Virgo, and surrounded on both sides by the visionary Jupiter and the pleasing Venus, Fortuna smiles upon this alignment.  Furthering fortune, at the same time Mercury stations retrograde Venus enters her own sign of Libra where she will luxuriate for the entirety of the backward motion of Mercury, increasing in brightness as an Evening Star.  However, these signs of expansive harmony coexist with Mercury stationing at the time of a potent Solar Eclipse in hard aspect to Mars, Saturn, and Neptune.  Mercury retrograde in Virgo will be the psychopomp guiding us through an eclipse season that will call for the release of old attachments and beliefs, but in the letting go a space will open for nurturing innovation.

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Magritte-the-cultivation-of-ideas

The Cultivation of Ideas (1928) by Renee Magritte

In ‘nature’ there’s no choice-
flowers
swing their heads in the wind, sun & moon
are as they are. But we seem
almost to have it ( not just
available death )

It’s energy; a spider’s thread: not to
‘go on living’ but to quicken, to activate: extend:
Some have it, they force it-

with work or laughter or even
the act of buying, if that’s
all they can lay hands on-

the girls crowding the stores, where light,
colour, sold dreams are- what gay
desire! It’s their festival,
ring game, wassail, mystery.

It has no grace like that of
the grass, the humble rhythms, the
falling & rising of leaf and star;
it’s barely
a constant. Like salt:
take it or leave it

The ‘hewers of wood’ & so on; every damn
craftsman has it while he’s working
but it’s not
a question of work: some
shine with it, in repose. Maybe it is
response, the will to respond- (‘reason
can give nothing at all / like
the response to desire’) maybe
a gritting of the teeth, to go
just that much further, beyond the end
beyond whatever ends to begin, to be, to defy.

–Denise Levertov, Beyond the End

Virgo is a mutable earth sign in which Mercury is exalted and comfortably at home, with all of its resources and tools at its disposal.  As a result, the tricks and wayward paths Mercury guides us through during its retrograde promise to make essential aspects of our reality illuminated even when reinforcing the obscurity of our world and the impossibility of knowing everything clearly.  Virgo is an inwardly directed and receptive place for Mercury to burrow into fertile sources of research, devise practical solutions to current predicaments, discern dietary and physical routines to fortify the body, and purify the mind from whatever heavy issues have been accumulating and weighing one down.

The year of 2016 has had the theme of Mercury being retrograde in earth signs (Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn in January;  Mercury retrograde in Taurus in April and May),  a sequence of retrogrades that has called for us to reorient to the surrounding material world and the way we create meaning out of our senses.  Our relationship with finances and the flow of resources in our life has also been highlighted by Mercury being  retrograde in earth signs this year, and will again be significant with the God of Commerce being in its home of Virgo.  Since Mercury stations retrograde in sync with a Solar Eclipse in Virgo, and a Lunar Eclipse in Pisces follows, this retrograde in Virgo promises to be most pivotal in terms of adjusting our resources and livelihood in connection with the momentous changes of the current year.

Another theme of the three Mercury retrogrades so far this year is that each of them has had significant aspects with Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto, resulting in cathartic change in our vision of life and the manner in which we use our will-force to manifest fulfillment.  As a result of the surrounding astrological climate, Mercury’s retrograde in Virgo will bring increased emphasis to reorienting personal beliefs, opening awareness more acutely to how perception and knowledge are bound to one’s own sense of culture and existence.  Mercury retrograde in Virgo can be used to uncover how one’s beliefs have to do with whatever one is used to or not used to experiencing.  While Mercury is retrograde in Virgo situations will present themselves in a way that facilitates rearranging or releasing old conceptual thought patterns rooted in belief systems Mercury will be able to loosen.

The pull of Mercury retrograde within to know thyself on deeper levels is amplified by the inner focus of Virgo.  Since Mars and Saturn both signify separation, the beginning of the retrograde involves dealing with whatever difficult losses or challenges have come into our life in correspondence with Mars and Saturn aligning at the Heart of the Scorpion (the fixed star Antares).  Mercury stationing retrograde while surrounded by Jupiter and Venus points toward healing oneself from the vast well within, eventually coalescing what has been fragmented to return to a sense of wholeness.  The Virgo retrograde of Mercury can open newfound self knowledge from within that catalyzes defiant strength in overcoming adversity and going beyond previous limitations.

René-Magritte-The-Castle-of-the-Pyrenees-1959-The-Israel-Museum

Rene’ Magritte (1959) The Castle of the Pyrenees

Swing of the scythe
illuminated, displaced
into my book of hours, the falling
grass, gold leafed
on the uneven
left upper windowpane-

But way up on the hill
the drift of field-air around you,
the scythe singing,
and what birds you may hear.

— Denise Levertov, Down Here and up There

The final last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces  that has dominated the astrological atmosphere in the past year is a core aspect of Mercury being retrograde in Virgo.  Additionally, the overarching influence that Mars has possessed in 2016 is also mediated by Mercury, as its Virgo retrograde begins with Mars having finally moved beyond the shadow zone of the red planet’s retrograde, and finally having activated its new phase with Saturn and its last quarter square phase with Neptune.  Making these themes of Mars, Saturn, and Neptune even more extreme is that Mars and Saturn are in square to the transiting lunar nodes, Neptune is conjoining the transiting South Node of the Moon, and at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde there is a dramatic Solar Eclipse that is opposite Neptune, square to Saturn and Mars, and conjunct the transiting North Node of the Moon.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with a Solar Eclipse, there is a deeply mysterious element to the underworld journey Hermes will guide us through that will defy full understanding until a later time of reflection.

In part the square between Saturn and Neptune is about the boundaries and structures in every dimension of life.  While Saturn and Neptune in square can reveal ironic insight and the underlying meaning in the bones of any matter, with Mercury retrograde in Virgo we will also sense how the very idea of being able to penetrate with analysis to core understanding and rationally solve all problems through ordering is a fantasy in itself.  Neptune signifies an immaterial dimension that goes beyond intellectual understanding, and so Mercury in its retrograde role will play the part of Socrates, revealing the ignorance of mental frameworks in order to initiate deeper searches for how to live a life of genuine happiness.  At the same time, the limitations and boundaries of Saturn are necessary to effectively integrate Neptune in a manner that keeps one grounded.  The Virgo retrograde of Mercury in tandem with Mars in Sagittarius can focus awareness on the details needed to keep ourselves healthy and operating at an optimal level of energy in our environment.

The sign of Virgo forms a superior square to Sagittarius, a concept that points to the purification of Virgo taking precedence during the retrograde over the hardened, heavy realities of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius.  The tension between Mars, Saturn, and Neptune at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde reveal us to be at the tentative beginning of a new cycle, with an old cycle that has already culminated being in its last remnants of disintegration. There has also been a Mars catalyst of activating serious determination to set targets for long range goals.  As a result, Mercury retrograde in Virgo can aid us in purifying the past through weaving elements of what has been lost together with the opening for the unknown future they have created.  Mercury in its underworld journey can guide us to places that will recover and repair wounds of the past cycle, refortifying our capacity to fully embody the present moment.

Chagall the-deer-looking-itself-in-the-water

The Deer Looking Itself in the Water by Marc Chagall

Under the harvest sun the heart
ripens on its wall;
under the heat of noon the mind
like a leaf is cool.
The angelus and the goat bell
sway across the grass;
butterflies in blue mid-air
touch and spin apart.
Any attempted dream must fall
to ruin in this light, must pass
before the mocking glance
of idle animals.
There is no need to escape
from the motionless mountain
there is no need to escape
when here the indifferent lake
accepts a nervous image,
demands no affirmation
of innocence or faith.

— Denise Levertov, Sarnen

Mercury in the Heart

When Mercury is retrograde it is passing in between the orbits of Earth and the Sun, which is what creates the illusion that it is moving backward through the zodiac from our perspective on Earth.  As a result, when Mercury retrograde conjoins the Sun during its retrograde it is in alignment with our planet as close at it ever gets.  This is the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury when Mercury is said to be cazimi, at the heart of the Sun.  This window of time in which Mercury passes within a degree of the Sun (some say it is really within 17 minutes of the Sun) is a magical moment in the synodic cycle of Mercury in which all of its significations are strengthened by the Solar Light.  It is a rebirth of the Mercury archetype in our life, as Mercury has been undergoing a purifying regeneration in the beams of the Sun while approaching the conjunction.   Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on September 12 while also being square to Mars in Sagittarius.  It comes two days after the final exact square between Saturn and Neptune and so has a lot to do with the aftermath of their upheaval.

Though the square between Mars in Sagittarius and the Mercury-Sun union is most exact, it is also significant considering the Saturn-Neptune influence that Chiron in Pisces is in range of a square to Mars and an opposition to Mercury cazimi.  Chiron functions as a bridge between the realm of Saturn and the realm of Neptune that stretches far beyond the rings of Saturn.  As a result of its retrograde movement, Mercury will also end up passing back and forth across an opposition with Chiron three different times.  Chiron’s influence fosters the purification of Virgo and the healing of wounds that can ultimately lead one to embody a higher frequency in which heavy accumulations of the psyche have been burned off.

However, with Mars forming an exact square to Mercury’s union with the Sun it means that there will be a lot of intensity, if not external conflict than internal conflict to face in any rebirth process.  Mercury at the heart of the Sun in this retrograde cycle is incredibly active and martial in force, capable of propelling oneself dramatically forward.  If instead the Mars influence on Mercury’s Inferior Conjunction leads to more of a wounding crash, than the remaining Mercury retrograde period can be utilized to begin readjusting and reorienting as needed.

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Vasily Kafanov mystery of fishtower

Vasily Kafanov (1998) Mystery of the Fishtower

When the white fog burns off,
the abyss of everlasting light
is revealed. The last cobwebs
of fog in the
black firtrees are flakes
of white ash in the world’s hearth.

Cold of the sea is counterpart
to this great fire. Plunging
out of the burning cold of ocean
we enter an ocean of intense
noon. Sacred salt
sparkles on our bodies.

After mist has wrapped us again
in fine wool, may the taste of salt
recall to us the great depths about us.

–Denise Levertov, The Depths

Four days after Mercury unites with the Sun, a Lunar Eclipse in Pisces will illuminate the heart of the Mercury retrograde cycle.  Once again Mars in Sagittarius holds extraordinary influence, as it forms a close square to the Lunar Eclipse.  Chiron is also highlighted once again as it will conjoin the Lunar Eclipse, echoing the extremely powerful Total Solar Eclipse in March 2016 that was also conjoining Chiron.  Mercury retrograde at this point will be moving toward a trine to Pluto and away from its square to Mars.  The Pisces Lunar Eclipse lights up the full polarity of the sign of Virgo with martial ferociousness.  In collective events, it is an ominous configuration in terms of increased violence coming from crusaders, martyrs, terrorists, and persecutors fixated on dogmatic belief systems.  The shadow side of Virgo that can involve responding to chaotic change through overexerting control or obsessing over perfectionistic ideals could come out if we are not careful.  If we can enter the flow of this eclipse, we can instead let go of control and enter the pure space of whatever the moment is asking from us.

Sekhmet temple bw

Fascinatingly, the Sekhmet archetype will be involved in this section of Mercury’s underworld journey as the Sekhmet asteroid #5381 will be conjunct both the Virgo Sun at the time of the Lunar Eclipse (at 24º Virgo) as well as conjunct Mercury’s Inferior Conjunction (at 23º Virgo).  Though some may scoff at the significance of an obscure asteroid placement in this overall astrological arrangement, I had been feeling a strong intuition connected with Sekhmet which is what led me to notice its alignment with the Mercury retrograde.  Sekhmet is an ancient lion headed goddess, primordial and fierce, whose fiery rage brings purification.  Sekhmet, Great One of Magic, Lady of Transformations, At Whose Wish the Arts were Born, Self-Contained, Opener of Ways, Satisfier of Desires, Destroyer by Fire, Devouring One, The One Who Holds Back Darkness, Lady of the Waters of Life, Great One of Healing . . . her epithets are multitudinous, her nature impossible to fully encompass in language.

Sekhmet’s presence during Mercury retrograde makes the virginal maiden of Virgo a lion headed goddess on the prowl through the desert landscapes of our dreams and inner psychic life, destroying old, obsolete, and decaying attachments with her ferocious form.  Since Mars the red planet is so emphasized at this point of the Mercury retrograde, and in fact Mars forms a square to the Sekhmet asteroid at this time, it is further compelling that red is a sacred color to Sekhmet just as red is the shade the Moon turns during a Lunar Eclipse.  Sekhmet has a message that any anger that arises in association with Mars in Sagittarius during the Mercury retrograde can be utilized to purify and burn off whatever needs to be let go and released.

Frida Roots II

Frida Kahlo (1943) Roots

The gleam of thy drenched
floors of leaf-layers! Fragrance
of death and change!
If there is only
now to live, I’ll live
the hour till doom stroke
crouched with the russet toad,
my huge human size
no more account than a bough fallen:

not upward,
searching for branch-hidden sky:
I’ll look
down into paradise.

Thy moss gardens, the deep
constellations of green, the striate
rock furred with emerald,
inscribed with gold lichen,
with scarlet!
Thy smooth
acorns in roughsurfaced
precise cups!
Thy black
horns of plenty!

–Denise Levertov: Forest Altar, September

Equinox Stationing

Mercury will station direct at the time of the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.  Mercury also stations in range of some powerful aspects:  a trine to Pluto in Capricorn, a square to Saturn in Sagittarius, an opposition to Neptune in Pisces, and a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon.  However, the most exact and catalytic aspect formed by Mercury as it stations is a square with the Moon, as the Moon will be in Gemini creating a Mutable Grand Cross between the Moon, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune, and the lunar nodes.  Mercury will be receiving the Moon as a result, and so this moment of Mercury stationing direct portends a bigger shift in mental framework than is typically the case when Mercury stations direct.  The aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct in Virgo suggest it is a significant moment of mediation not only for the past Mercury retrograde cycle, but for the events of the entire year so far.

As Mercury stations direct, it shifts from being invisible to once again making an appearance during the fiery rise of the Sun as a Morning Star, a condition that to Hellenistic astrologers signified a transmission of an oracular message.  It is beautiful symbolism that Mercury stations direct at the time of the Equinox, a time of rebalancing between night and day, a season in the Northern Hemisphere in which cool dry winds begin to blow as green leaves shift to shades of auburn and gold.   My personal view of astrology is that all Mercury retrograde phases signify vital regeneration, however, this particular Mercury retrograde in Virgo appears to signify cathartic rebirth that goes beyond the norm for Mercury retrograde.  It may not feel easy at times, but as John Lennon sang “Living is easy with eyes closed / misunderstanding all you see.”  As the Sun enters the sign of the Scales as Mercury begins to move forward again as a Morning Star, our mind will recalibrate to focus with revivified heart on the desires that will bring us greater happiness and fulfillment in the season ahead.

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References

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Aquarius Full Moon

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The Moon in the house of Saturn (the water carrier, or Aquarius) from Mu’nis al-ahrar fi daqa’iq al-ash’ar (The Free Man’s Companion to the Subtleties of Poems) of Jajarmi

Full Moon in Aquarius

The Full Moon on 18 August 2016 is close to being a visible eclipse, and if you are a reader of astrological literature you have probably seen this lunation noted as an eclipse.  Eclipses cannot be more than eighteen degrees away from the transiting lunar nodes, and so the Full Moon technically fits into this parameter as it is seventeen degrees away from the lunar nodes. However, in actuality the shadow of the Earth will not cover the Moon and so it will not be a visible eclipse anywhere in the world. Nonetheless, this still remains a loaded Full Moon within many intense astrological aspects.  The Sun at home in the burning immediacy of Leo is off-set by the airy objectification of Aquarius, a sign that can set itself apart and gain reflective insight into the underlying dynamics of any process.  The Full Moon in Aquarius illuminates a longview backwards into the fateful events of the past year, bearing in the waters of its Aquarian vessel awareness of the nutritive elements to nourish and cultivate in the forthcoming cycle.

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Full Moon less than a week after stationing direct, while in balsamic conjunction with Mars. This has been a long, long, long balsamic phase between Mars and Saturn since the Mars retrograde period of past months extended its length beyond normal timing.  Similar to the dark phase of the Moon, the balsamic phase of cycles between planets is a time of re-visioning in which elements of our past arise to be released or re-seeded within an atmosphere that can feel disorienting and confusing.  In the week following the Full Moon the cycle will complete with an exact conjunction between Mars and Saturn, and so the Full Moon enlightens its finale with foundational understanding into what has transpired and what needs to be now taken responsibility for going forward. This is the close of the cycle between Mars and Saturn that began August 25, 2014 at eighteen degrees of Scorpio (the cycle previous to this began August 15, 2012 at twenty-five degrees of Libra), and is amplified by it also being conjunct the royal star Antares and the aforementioned Mars retrograde that occurred in the build up.

When Mars and Saturn close their cycle, feelings of needing to finish old unfinished projects can arise along with the impulse to initiate action in an area of life that has been neglected or put off for one reason or another.  There can also be feelings of overwhelm over the responsibilities and work involved in soulful desires that vivify expansive vision yet have such an unknown quality that they do not yet seem practical or possible to manifest.  It is important to now separate fears of futility from the relationships and goals that are well worth committing to with sustained effort in the coming cycle.  What we start now in the disintegration of the previous cycle between Mars and Saturn will not produce our ideal outcome immediately and will require patient cultivation in coming months, but by gaining clarity of what we want we can begin to rearrange our life in support.  There is tremendous shifting coming in a month of September filled with eclipses and Mercury retrograde, and so many unknown factors will soon come into play with influences impossible to clearly know at this time.

James Hillman’s classic essay “On Senex Consciousness” explores the archetype of Saturn as ruling the fertile decay that comes at the end of a cycle, among numerous other significations:

Putrefaction belongs to Saturn as god of agriculture, dung and dying. Putrefaction in alchemy was natural disintegration necessary for change. Such putrefaction is ferment, decomposition into elements through the release of “sulphuric” aggressive fumes which assault and insult one’s sensibilities.  Its purpose is a re-ordering of “matters” . . . Senex growth is inward and downward, or backward; its force can come through shrinkage, his power manifest in the last stage of processes, in their decay. He rules over the spoiled, the filth and the refuse of society not only owing to sordid anality and repression, but because senex consciousness finds its awareness in the underside of the complex and as it decays.  So accustomed are we to growth and to what T.S. Eliot calls “superficial notions of evolution /Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past” (“The Dry Salvages”) and to the Positive Great Mother doctrines of milky-way philosophy, onward and upward with Teilhard de Chardin, that we miss Lua, the spoiler, the consciousness that is possible through the natural process of decomposition.  “Decay is inherent in all composite things,” says the last dictum of the Buddha, so what we work at is not our growth, but the modes of our rot.”

–James Hillman, from his essay On Senex Consciousness

Adding to the potency, Mars and Saturn are coming into conjunction in range of a square to Neptune and the transiting lunar nodes.  The square between Saturn and Neptune has been pitting the division lines of Saturn against the amorphous influences of Neptune that dissolve Saturn’s crystallizations to reveal awareness and meaning that the walls of Saturn had been attempting to block.  In combination with Mars now joining Saturn in square to the transiting lunar nodes, attempts to seal off one’s hermetic vessel will be put to the test over what needs to be let in versus what can continue to be blocked with a boundary.  With Neptune conjoining the transiting south node of the Moon, there are certainly illusions and toxic collective influences we do not want to contaminate the union of Mars and Saturn with.  Yet the imaginal field of Neptune in tandem with the purifying aspect of the transiting South Node of the Moon means erecting firm boundaries could be keeping out nourishing elements that can replenish and facilitate important re-visioning.  There is a balance to strike between creating healthy boundaries and erecting walls that lead ultimately to isolation.  The Aquarius Full Moon points toward listening to one’s inner self and heart rather than subscribing to external doctrines dictating behavior.

William Blake from Henry IV

William Blake (1809) illustration from Shakespeare’s Henry IV: “Rise from the ground like feathered Mercury /  And vaulted with such was into his seat / As if an angel dropped down from the clouds / To turn and wind a fiery Pegasus / And witch the world with noble horsemanship.”

The rebellious, shocking, and liberating Uranus is activated at the Full Moon, being in sextile to the Aquarius Moon and in trine to the Leo Sun.   The added intensity of Uranus to the hard aspects present between Mars, Saturn, and Neptune means that collective events could spin out of control wherever conflicting crusaders of dogmatism cross paths.  On a personal level, the dying off of the old cycle between Saturn and Mars activates the aspect of Saturn that strips issues to their bones and penetrates to the core matter at hand.  In combination with Uranus being activated so strongly by the Full Moon, there is potential to access potent vision and creative imagination that is simultaneously expansive, liberating, and grounded in the pragmatic reality of one’s circumstances.  The fertile visioning quality of the Full Moon is further amplified by the asteroid Pallas Athena being conjunct the Aquarius Moon.  All together, the Aquarius Full Moon has numerous aspects accentuating the higher mind of the Water Bearer, the unique capacity of Aquarius to disengage from dominant cultural influences and generate breakthrough thought from within that addresses wider humanitarian concerns.  There is much greater power to be found in the Aquarius Full Moon through collaborating in creativity with others of shared passions rather than engaging in destructive combat with those of opposing viewpoints.

Salomon Trismosin - Splendor Solis - 13  b

From the Splendor Solis

The natural vistas of Virgo are highlighted at the Full Moon, as Mercury is receiving Jupiter in a conjunction in Virgo, and Venus is separating from a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon, a trine with Pluto, and an opposition with Neptune.  The conjunction between Mercury and Jupiter is especially powerful as Mercury being at home and in its exaltation is providing Jupiter with everything it needs to make its final pass through Virgo memorable.  Because Mercury will be stationing retrograde in Virgo at the end of August, Mercury and Jupiter will remain in conjunction until Jupiter finally leaves Virgo and enters the sign of Libra on September 9.  In addition, in the week following the Full Moon, at the same time Mars and Saturn conjoin, Venus will enter into a conjunction with both Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo.  The triple conjunction between Venus, Mercury, and Jupiter will be closest between August 26 and 29.

Mercury has already entered its retrograde shadow zone and is close to the degree of its eventual Inferior Conjunction with the Sun when retrograde in September.  As a result, the Aquarius Full Moon is illuminating important events, relationships, and issues whose significance will become more apparent as we enter September’s period of eclipses and Mercury retrograde.  As Virgo is a place in which thorough and detailed research can be performed, this Full Moon is powerful not only for current research ventures but also to launch into deep investigation into a subject matter that will give the upcoming Mercury retrograde plenty to digest.  The added influence of Venus means the week ahead is ideal for purification and weaving harmony into one’s daily choices and environment.  In response to any difficult experiences, Venus combined with Mercury and Jupiter in Virgo will facilitate attuning to the changes of the moment for a solution and healing.

Finally, there is an opposition between the conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter with Chiron in Pisces that in addition forms a yod with the sextile between Uranus in Aries and the Aquarius Full Moon.  There is a lot of tension in these aspects, with Chiron at the trigger point.  As a result, whatever wounds, learning, teaching, healing, or mastery you have been working with in relation to Chiron in Pisces in the past six months will be deeply felt.  For those who have been doing the deep work of Chiron in these past months, this Full Moon has aspects that can reward the dedicated effort with a significant breakthrough or insight.  There is more to come in relation to Chiron in September, as the Pisces Lunar Eclipse on September 16 is conjunct Chiron and the Mercury retrograde will be in opposition.  Chiron being activated by hard aspect is usually not easy, but also can generate extraordinary growth when one is willing to open oneself fully to experience and face whatever issues arise without denial, receiving the wisdom of what one encounters.

swords07

7 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 3 Decan

The Aquarius Full Moon falls in the third decan of Aquarius associated with the 7 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image of a figure stealthily removing five swords from an encampment while leaving two behind is often interpreted as signifying deception and betrayal, trying to get away with something in secret, or utilizing mental strategizing with a willingness to deceive.  Known as “Futility” in the Thoth deck, it is also interpreted as becoming overcome with doubts regarding liberating thoughts due to fear over whether or not they can materialize successfully.  As a result it can be recommended to cultivate patience and give the vision more time to develop before giving up on it as being fruitless.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Knot” to the third face of Aquarius, artfully weaving both interpretations of the 7 of Swords card through feelings of becoming frustrated or unhappy with a circumstance we have bound ourselves to with karmic knots. Coppock adds depth to Pamela Colman Smith’s image of the 7 of Swords as a result, pointing out that the stealthy figure has already undergone a long process of consideration and has decided to separate from the situation while discerning what to take of value and what to leave behind.  As the final decan of Aquarius, Coppock concluded that it brings up the difficult decision of whether or not to leave the known for the unknown, and “illuminates karmic entanglements and oversees liberation from them,” including the need to pay off debts and salvage the valuable before known attachments can be left behind.

The Moon is the ruler of the third face of Aquarius, giving this Full Moon greater strength than it would otherwise have in Aquarius.  The surrounding astrological aspects have elements of uncertainty and being at the crossroads between the familiar and unfamiliar, being at the end of an old cycle while sensing the threshold of rebirth.  The Full Moon in the sign of the Water Bearer can facilitate purification and replenishment, fostering strength to trod the unknown path, by turning to the waters within for nourishment and reflective guidance rather than the turbulent currents flooding the collective.  In the brilliant silvery light of the Full Moon, allow the guidance and personal truth you are seeking to arise from within rather than grasping for it in external entanglements.

References

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

Hillman, James. (1970).  On Senex Consciousness.  Spring:  An Annual of Archetypal Psychology and Jungian Thought.