Jupiter & Neptune Talismanic Rings

I recently experienced the complete delight of collaborating with Genie of Psychic Desert on the creation of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces talismanic rings. Genie handcrafted talismanic rings, seven of which are presently still available for purchase, and I wrote the accompanying article.

Here is a link to the article and offerring:

https://www.psychicdesert.com/blogs/celestial-talismans/jupiter-neptune-in-pisces-talismans

Additional info: The Jupiter & Neptune Talisman Rings were hand carved from jewellers wax and cast in sterling silver. The wavy, spiralling aesthetic of the rings is resonant with the archetypal meaning of Jupiter and Neptune united together in Pisces. Each ring is set with a 3 carat hydrothermal emerald. Hydrothermal emeralds are grown rather than mined and share the same chemical composition as their mined counterparts. Emeralds have a long tradition of association with Jupiter: for example, the Picatrix, Henrich Cornelius Agrippa, and William Lilly all listed emeralds as being one of the stones of Jupiter.  The band of the ring features the trident glyph of Neptune on one side and the seal of Jupiter on the other side. These rings have a wide band so I recommend going up a half size to accomodate. 

Each ring comes with a book containing writing by Gray Crawford along with Orphic Hymns to Jupiter, Neptune, Oceanus and Tethys.

The Jupiter Neptune Talismans were completed at the elected time of 10:11 am on 9 April 2022, Brisbane Aust AEST. Jupiter was applying within one degree of a conjunction with Neptune, and was also ruling the midheaven in Pisces while applying toward a close conjunction with the midheaven. The Moon was in her own domicile of Cancer, applying toward a trine aspect with Jupiter and Neptune while also being in the exaltation of Jupiter. 

Jupiter Neptune glyph created by Genie Desert and Gray Crawford

Taurus Solar Eclipse

No. 8 – Special (1916) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Taurus Solar Eclipse

Solar eclipses cloak the life-giving light of our Sun with the blackness of night. The otherworldly experience of night overcoming day has long provoked fear due to the extinguishing of light by eclipses, as well as the dramatic reputations eclipses carry within astrology for irrevocably changing the landscape of our lives. Yet like ancient stories of creation in which life and the spirit of eros emerge from the chaotic chasm of a fertile void, the changes catalyzed in correspondence with eclipses have immensely vast creative potential. The Taurus Solar Eclipse on April 30 is partial rather than total, yet the Moon will still eclipse a substantial portion of the Sun’s light. Due to the eclipse occurring in the fixed, stable, and enduring sign of Taurus, we can expect the impact of the eclipse to have long lasting effects.

The partial solar eclipse at 10º28’ Taurus is closely applying to a conjunction with Uranus at  14º32’ Taurus. The influence of Uranus in Taurus upon the eclipse makes it even more likely than normal for its impact to include unexpected revelations, surprising changes in storylines, and eruptive, propulsive change. The eclipse corresponding with fast changing developments and opportunities is further accentuated by the eclipse aligning with the North Node of the Moon while also applying to a close sextile aspect with Mars in Pisces, as Mars is simultaneously applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus. The extraordinary volatility of these aspects can overturn and disrupt whatever was formerly stable, yet the supportive sextile aspects involved will also bring opportunities for recovery and readjustment so we may take action while attuning to the changing conditions.

Since Taurus is the earthy fixed sign, it can be the most resistant and stubborn to change, preferring a slow and steady pace that can sink into experiences and sustain as much stability as possible. While it will be helpful to slow down as much as possible, there likely will also be events set into motion that require rapid responses and a willingness to let go of how things had been in order to flow with the currents of change. The fixed nature of the eclipse also means it’s likely that the changes being set into motion will have long-term impact, and so it will be important to slow down as much as possible and find ways to ground into the present moment even when having to adjust to unexpected twists and turns of narratives. It will be best to create space for rest, reflection, and restoration as much as possible.

There was previously a Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 30, 2021 and so there may be important developments taking shape now that link back to the first eclipse to occur in Taurus. However, although the Taurus Lunar Eclipse was in the same sign as Uranus, it was not applying to Uranus and so did not activate Uranus to the same level that the Taurus Solar Eclipse will ignite the Promethean fire of Uranus. With the transiting north node as well as the eclipse in the same sign as Uranus, the whirling vortex of alchemic fire brought by Uranus will be more fully capable than normal of shaking up and reshaping matter, creating deep-seated, tectonic shifts within personal and collective events. We can witness this in numerous collective events presently creating uncertainty in terms of economic policies and supply chains of needed material resources, yet within our personal lives we can also expect to experience a massive reordering of dynamics. While dramatic change can feel scary and precarious, it also unleashes vast potential for the emergence of new creative directions that are more aligned with one’s inner authenticity than the older circumstances becoming dislodged and dissolved.

Taurus is the exaltation of the Moon, and so solar eclipses in Taurus have the unique aspect of the Sun’s light becoming eclipsed by an exalted Moon. Moreover, the domicile ruler of the eclipse, Venus, is not only in her exaltation of Pisces, but also applying to an exact conjunction with Jupiter in Pisces. With the exalted Moon also applying toward a conjunction with her own north node, altogether there can be a felt sense of exalted desire for growth and development that may or may not align with one’s present circumstances. The essential dignity of exaltation is linked to the turning of the wheel of fortune, not only the rising toward desires and honors but also the potential to fall from great heights of achievement or acclaim. Mindfulness and discernment need to be applied to circumstances, whether it feels like a dream is coming true or a dream has been dissolved through disillusionment. The Taurus Solar Eclipse demarcates a major turning point in collective and personal narratives, and so as storylines continue to shift we need to be ready for the unexpected and capable of flexibly making adjustments as needed to bring about desired outcomes.

Eclipses come in families known as the Saros cycle, with the Taurus Solar Eclipse being part of the Saros 119 family. The origin of the Saros cycle ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. Bernadette Brady connected the Saros 119 family of eclipses with father or authority figures, the need to take responsibility, or being a time to accept the commitments that are presented, due to the node of the origin eclipse (May 15, 850 C.E.) being on the midpoint between the lunation and Saturn.

The origin of the eclipse family having a relationship with Saturn further connects with how the Taurus Solar Eclipse is applying toward a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, although Saturn is just outside the thirteen degree orb many astrologers are willing to give the Moon. No matter what orb you give the Moon, however, Saturn has a strong influence over the eclipse due to forming a close square aspect to the transiting lunar nodes at the southern bending of the nodes. Saturn is also close to the fixed star Deneb Algedi by zodiacal degree as well as in paran in certain locations, a star that is often associated with the ancient creator deity Enki. Enki is furthermore a deity resonant with Saturn being at the southern bending of the nodes, a celestial circumstance not unlike Enki’s habitation of subterranean water.

Within the collective chaos of so much unraveling and reordering, we each need to claim the authority of steering our lives and the lives of our loved ones forward. In some places this may necessitate a confrontation between one’s personal sense of justice and natural law against the societal laws and regulations constructed by governing institutions. The connection between Saturn with Deneb Algedi and furthermore with Enki brings up not only the present laws of the establishment and ordered society, but also the ancient association of new laws and reordering emerging from the depths. A trickster and wise magician bent on reordering civilization with the greater good of the wider community in mind, the flowing freshwater of Enki transfigures the landscape of dry land, creating wetlands and fertile soil in which the food and resources needed to fuel civilization can grow. It will be helpful to take space from the cacophony of current events when possible for restorative descent into inner depths so we may come into deeper embodiment of our authentic integrity.

Drawing No. 2 – Special (1915) by Georgia O’Keeffe

“It was after a day’s rain: / the street facing the west / was lit with growing yellow; / the black road gleamed.

First one child looked and saw / and told another. / Face after face, the windows / flowered with eyes.

It was like a long fuse lighted, / the news travelling. / No one called out loudly; / everyone said ‘Hush.’

The light deepened; the wet road / answered in daffodil colours, / and down its centre / walked the two tall herons.

Stranger than wild birds, even, / what happened on those faces: / suddenly believing in something, / they smiled and opened.

Children thought of fountains, / circuses, swans feeding: / women remembered words / spoken when they were young.

Everyone said ‘Hush;’ / no one spoke loudly; / but suddenly the herons / rose and were gone. The light faded.

“Night Herons” by Judith Wright

Venus is the ruler of the Taurus Solar Eclipse, luxuriating within her exaltation of Pisces while applying to an exact conjunction with Jupiter in Pisces. In fact, Venus is experiencing an otherworldly transit of moving in between Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces, having formed an exact conjunction with Neptune on April 27. The combination of an exalted Venus ruling the eclipse while moving in between Neptune and Jupiter can correspond with vastly different scenarios for people, ranging from blissful experience of the sublime to despair stemming from disillusioning experiences. Even when experiencing the most difficult of experiences, however, the presence of Venus with Jupiter in Pisces delivers the promise of hope and the potential to feel the power of love. When things are falling apart, it’s worth remembering the potential for renewal and rebirth. While we may need to traverse experiences of sadness or suffering, we also have the capacity to imagine ways of moving forward more aligned with the creative force of our eros. Neptune, Venus, and Jupiter in Pisces are aligned with the force of love and the benevolent gifts of love that emerge in even the most difficult of circumstances.

While Venus moving in between Neptune and Jupiter can correspond with a sense of a great dream we wish to have manifest in reality, they also can correspond with disillusioning experiences that bring about a necessary reconfiguration to the reality of one’s situation. There are many examples in current events of inflated egos and economics as well as delusions of grandeur to be wary of, yet at the same time we need to remember our vast capacity to join with others in working to recreate the world in ways that align with our inner values. Within the emptiness of the eclipse’s void is the heart of creation itself, and though it is easy to become cynical and disheartened by the state of the world, the extraordinarily powerful influence of Pisces upon the eclipse points to the ways in which we can persevere in creating the life we wish to live rather than giving up hope.

The Spinner (1873) by William-Adolphe Bouguereau  

Not only are Venus and Jupiter coming together into a conjunction during the eclipse, they are also both applying closely to a sextile aspect with Pluto stationing in Capricorn. Pluto stationed retrograde a day before the eclipse at 28º36’ Capricorn on April 29, saturating the astrological atmosphere and the week surrounding the eclipse with its subterranean influence. The applying aspect between Venus with Pluto is fascinating due to the fact that Pluto has been a large part of the story with Venus over the course of recent months (due to their close proximity with one another in December and January), plus that the recent Full Moon in Virgo formed a close trine aspect with Pluto and the recent Full Moon in Libra formed a close square aspect with Pluto. While it’s likely you have already been engaged in a process of coming to terms with Pluto related material in recent months, the Taurus Solar Eclipse may correspond with a deeper layer of engagement becoming necessary.

Pluto can intensify whatever needs to be released with a volcanic force, and so we need to make space to come into relationship with whatever material is being dislodged by Pluto. Feelings may overflow from places and inner parts that have been denied or controlled, as suppressed memories and passions arise to surface awareness. The powerful presence of Pluto can accentuate our capacity for peering into the emotional sources at the root of our interpersonal dynamics with others, yet we also need to be mindful of how wounds and betrayals from our past can distort perceptions when under the influence of Pluto. Working effectively with Pluto requires honesty, being honest in communication with others and honestly addressing one’s inner feelings rather than avoiding them through denial.

Continuing the theme of underworld initiation within the forthcoming lunar cycle, Mercury will station retrograde at  4º52’ Gemini on May 10. Mercury’s stationing, full presence, and shift into psychopomp role will occur within whatever reverberations from the eclipse are taking place within our lives as we move in between the Taurus Solar Eclipse on April 30 and the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio that will take place on May 15. As Mercury shifts into retrograde motion there may need to be adjustments and changes in plans in some cases, in other cases a deepening of focus upon objectives already being developed leading up to the eclipse. At the time of the Taurus Solar Eclipse, however, the fresh ingress of Mercury into his airy home of Gemini can bring a helpful injection of curiosity and capacity for making needed connections and insights.

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

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

The Moon is the ruler of the second face of Taurus, giving the exalted Moon extra potency in her ability to veil our solar light in mystery. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the second face of Taurus as involving “Mysteries at the Threshold,” in part due to the major arcana of the High Priestess (Moon) and Hierophant (Taurus) having symbolic association with the second face of Taurus. Chang noted that the Six of Pentacles card involves both “an act of benevolence that visually echoes the Hierophant card,” while the High Priestess is also involved in the image of the Six of Pentacles as “the spirit that moves one to generosity.” Chang further connected the meaning of the Six of Pentacles with the second face of Taurus as taking the opportunity that arises within a window in time, “a moment in weaving when the warp threads have separated just enough for the shuttle to fly through.” Chang advised that drawing the Six of Pentacles can indicate finding “harmony between your inner and outer selves,” accepting and creating “material opportunities, for yourself and others,” as well as finding “the sweet, cross-quarter magic of the present moment.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus, advising that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides . . . Passion is necessary for continuing fructification, but those raw powers must be tempered by means of an ordered effort.” With the eclipse joined to Uranus and Venus joined to Jupiter and Neptune, we will need to be mindful that whatever passionate dreams emerge from the shadows of the eclipse will require patience and dedicated effort in order to bring them into reality.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai with the eclipse suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time for action performed in the right way.

In her concluding remarks upon the second decan of Taurus, T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets quoted the opening lines of “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot: “April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain.” No matter what mixture of desire and memory you have been experiencing, may their stirring with the rains from above bring about a fertilization of your deepest desires from within.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by S.M. trzaskoma, R.S. Smith, and S. Brunet. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

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

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Libra Full Moon

Cygne Crépusculaire (Twilight Swan) by Joseph Cornell

Libra Full Moon

The Full Moon in Libra illuminates the polarity between Aries and Libra, the fiery surge of the Ram’s direct passion set against the thoughtful contemplation of the Scales that carefully measures myriad ways of addressing circumstances and relations, turning issues over and over again to explore every facet imaginable. Aries and Libra are movable signs that initiate new directions and set things into swift motion. With the Full Moon in the airy home of Venus and Venus in her watery exaltation of Pisces, desires and emotions may take on heightened importance and catalyze significant momentum along new pathways of development.

Libra is also the exaltation of Saturn, increasing the connectivity and receptivity between the Moon and her flowing trine aspect with Saturn. The patient endurance and mindful ponderousness of Saturn can help in slowing down desires amplified by the lunation in order to come into deeper relationship and embodiment with emerging creative directions. The discernment and discrimination of Saturn can further facilitate clarity in making decisions regarding which paths to follow and which relationships to invest greater time and attention to, as well as what aspects of life need clearer boundaries, greater space and separation.

While the Libra Full Moon is separating from a trine with Saturn, it is applying toward an intensifying square aspect with Pluto. The tension between Pluto and the Libra Full Moon may resurrect core relational patterns and themes that have been operating below the surface of awareness within dynamics with others. Feelings that have been buried or we have tried to be in denial of may erupt and demand attention. Opportunities may emerge to gain greater honesty and clarity regarding relational dynamics, with the propulsive force of Pluto facilitating an excavation of old entanglements to allow for greater freedom of movement forward. While the impact of Pluto upon the lunation can potentially dislodge overwhelming emotions, the transformative influence of Pluto will also allow us to penetrate into the heart of whatever matter we are facing.

The Annunciation (1887) by George Hitchcock

Venus in her exaltation of Pisces is the ruler of the Libra Full Moon, glowing bright in predawn sky within her morning star phase. Within the waves of her watery exaltation, the sensual nature of Venus is amplified by the boundless dissolution of Pisces to allow for release as well as sinking into sensations and knowing of the body. Although Venus is given an exalted status within Pisces, she is not within her celestial home and so does not possess the sovereignty she does in Taurus or Libra. However, during the waning half of the present lunar cycle the star of Aphrodite will be applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter, the planet responsible for her care due to her occupying his home. Periods in which Jupiter and Venus come together are stereotypically in stark contrast to the recent period in which Mars and Saturn came together in conjunction; while it certainly does not mean everything will go well and that there will in fact be many difficult events to contend with, the combination of Jupiter and Venus amplifies desires for procreation and creativity and delivers inspiration where it is needed most. Venus will ultimately form a conjunction with Jupiter on April 30 at 27°58’ Pisces, close to her exact degree of exaltation, at the same time she will be ruling a Solar Eclipse in Taurus at 10°28’ Taurus.

As a result, the unique signature of Venus and Jupiter uniting in a sign in which they both have essential dignity will be set against the strange astrological atmosphere of an eclipse season as we approach the end of April. Eclipse seasons typically bring major shifts in circumstances and relationships, with pivotal new developments arising as older situations and relationships experience a recalibration and rebalancing to make space for the new to more fully arise. This will especially be the case with the eclipse on the side of the North Node of the Moon and in close proximity with the liberating force of Uranus in Taurus. Making the dynamic between Jupiter and Venus even more extreme, however, is the fact that Venus and Jupiter will simultaneously be forming conjunction with Neptune in Pisces. Venus will form a conjunction with Neptune on April 27 at 24°28’ Pisces a few days before the eclipse, with Venus moving in between Neptune and Jupiter at the exact moment the Sun will become blackened by the shadow of the Moon.

I previously wrote an extended exploration of Venus forming conjunctions with Neptune in Pisces you can read through the link here. Within the article I wrote the following:

” . . . These ideas connect to the transformative feelings of love that come with transits of Neptune and Venus, as well as destructive feelings of disillusionment that can awaken self realization. Projections in relationships can be most harmful when they do not have authentic resonance with one’s soul but instead have been conditioned by societal forces. These external conditioning influences are often wrapped up in systematic oppression, necessitating a need to shed the way they impact our gender, sexual, and other personal identities. The more we are able to take responsibility for this work, similar to Jung’s concept of individuation, the better we can gain self acceptance for the authentic desires of our soul. As we do so, we can attract partners who genuinely resonate with our inner life, drawing us into a deepening of the lessons we need on a soul level. We also can gain a healthier relationship with ourselves so that we can foster recovery and restoration when a relationship ends.

It’s not really possible to prevent our unconscious from shaping the relational dynamics we form with others, and this is a gift in terms of the creativity and growth cultivated by the commingling of unconscious fields. We can at least gain awareness that the phenomenon is happening and open to the actual presence and needs of a partner instead of confining them to our own projection . . . As Venus and Neptune begin a new cycle together . . . we can claim the opportunity to reflect upon our unconscious projections. It’s essential that once becoming aware we do not bury the realization in denial but instead sustain contemplation so that it’s pattern may mutate and we may receive insight.”

Furthermore, Venus is receiving both Mercury and Uranus into her earthy, stable home of Taurus. Mercury is applying toward a sextile aspect with Venus during the lunation, while Venus simultaneously is applying toward a sextile aspect with Uranus. At the same time, Mercury is carrying an intensified presence due to rising into visibility again as an Evening Star following sunset as it heads into a conjunction with Uranus it will complete a day after the Libra Full Moon. Altogether, the aspects between Venus, Mercury, and Uranus are full of enormous creative potency that can be directed into any sort of creative work of imaginative vision or practical application. In particular, the combination of Mercury with Uranus in Taurus can help bring down the flights of imagination that Venus within her exaltation of Pisces may gather into embodiment within material forms.

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Libra Full Moon will illuminate the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.” This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence. Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.” Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now. In her book on the tarot and astrological decans 36 Secrets, T Susan Chang wrote that when drawing the Four of Swords, “consider it a complex invitation (a) to take a break from the toiling and spinning imposed on us by the external world, and (b) to explore the rich landscape of the inner world . . . the Four of Swords may call for meditation, active imagination, divination work, or sleep. Or it might simply be a general call to recreate and rest for awhile, so you can restore your natural equilibrium.”

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

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked Nemesis to the third face of Libra. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces linked the presence of Nemesis in this decan to her role as “a force which restored balance to life’s chaotic wheel,” acting “to consciously correct the injustices whirl of blind forces” by “restoring right proportion.” One way Nemesis restores balance is through bringing retribution against those carried away by hubris who arrogantly act out of balance with natural forces of change. Her presence with the Libra Full Moon emphasizes the need to rebalance whatever has become out of proportion in our life. We may recognize aspects of our shadow we have been denying, or realize we have been suppressing desires that need to be accepted and cultivated. There are many crises coinciding in collective events calling for action, but in addition to playing a role in creating the change we wish to see in external events, we likewise need to bring attention to tend to the changes occurring internally. May the Libra Full Moon illuminate what needs to be known within and without.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

become_a_patron_button

References

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

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Aries New Moon

The Philosopher’s Conquest (1913–14) by Giorgio de Chirico

Aries New Moon

When the Sun and Moon unite in Aries we experience a fiery renewal of bright movement and propulsive new desires. Aries is indefatigable in its capacity for rebirth, return to life, and inspired action. Aries burns with impulsive heat that invigorates passions and motivates direct action. Aries takes its name from the constellation of the charging ram, zodiacal terrain ruled by red hot Mars where our life and light giving Sun is exalted. Always timed with a primal change in season, the Aries New Moon invites contact with the eros emerging from within and ready to bloom into new beginnings.

The Aries New Moon on 1 April 2022 involves the tension of two diametrically opposed astrological themes: Mars uniting with Saturn versus Jupiter uniting with Neptune. While unions of Jupiter and Neptune involve an otherworldly influx of boundless imagination, unions between Mars and Saturn can involve the harshest aspects of strife and suffering we must face in reality. There are constructive ways to work with Mars and Saturn combined together, yet cyclic renewal of Mars and Saturn typically involves brutal collective events such as the present war in Ukraine. The image by Giorgio de Chirico above involves aspects of Mars and Saturn that can feel oppressive in their gravity: wars and technological advances of conquest and the way societal obsession with time and clocks can bring feelings of scarcity rather than the fullness of the present moment which can also be ascribed to Saturn. It’s therefore fitting that the Aries New Moon is applying closely to a conjunction with Chiron, an intermediary mythic and celestial figure who holds the tension between human and animal forms as well as the astrological realm contained by Saturn and the realm beyond that begins with Uranus and extends through Neptune.

The Aries New Moon as well as Chiron are both in the fiery home of Mars as the red planet heads toward a conjunction with Saturn it will complete three days after the lunation on April 4 at 22°24’ Aquarius. Chiron forming a conjunction with the lunation is a good match for Mars in Aquarius, as Aquarius provides a unique atmosphere that can bring out qualities of Mars that cannot be found anywhere else in the zodiac, and Chiron in myth cultivated the unique heroic qualities and gifts of those who learned from him. Mars in Aquarius tends to separate from mainstream thought and utilize unorthodox methods while being driven by intellectual and philosophical ideals, humanitarian concerns, and social movements. Mars in Aquarius will fight over its worldview, yet when necessary can detach from overheated conflict in order to determine the most useful direction to follow for potential growth.

Within the cave of Chiron, as we deepen into awareness of our past wounding we simultaneously discover the ways these past difficulties have brought about the medicine we can create through our being to help others facing the same issues we have faced. Chiron’s link between the realms of Saturn and Uranus is not about transcending the material limitations of Saturn but rather deepening into them in a way that can bring the emancipatory revelations of Uranus into material form and impact in real ways that make a difference in people’s lives. Chiron understands the interconnected nature of all realms and the medicine found in both the plants under his hooves and the stars orbiting above his head, and so further connects with the expansive synthesis of knowledge and understanding simultaneously available through the coming together of Jupiter and Neptune. Chiron can help in utilizing the harsh aspects of life triggered by Mars and Saturn as a catalyst to discover the ways Jupiter and Neptune can not only help in lifting our spirits through ordeals but also finding ways their otherworldly insights can be used in very practical ways that are needed within the wider world.

It’s further significant that the Aries Moon is separating from a conjunction with Mercury while applying to a conjunction with Chiron. Mercury in Aries is speeding into the heart of the Sun, as it will form its superior conjunction with the Sun on April 2 at 13°24’ Aries. The fleet footed Mercury is moving at his fastest speed when dashing into the Sun during his superior conjunction. It’s an especially celestial solar union as Mercury is on the far side of the Sun from the Earth in orbit, experiencing a heavenly communion that seeds its subsequent twilight appearance as an Evening Star. As an old cycle of Mercury dies and the star of Hermes prepares to be reanimated by the creative potency of the Sun, in correspondence we can experience a purification of thoughts, ideas, and perceptions as what needs to be released becomes burned off so that the essential insight emerges like a bright pearl of wisdom.

The fixed nature of Aquarius accentuates the capacity of Mars and Saturn to forge determination when enduring obstacles and resiliently persevering through ordeals in pursuit of targets of focus. When engaged in works of creation and passion through Mars and Saturn, we can weld the passionate, burning energy of Mars to the disciplined, determined focus of Saturn. The inflamed passion and aggressiveness of Mars become tempered by the restraint of Saturn, making it possible to direct the fiery boldness of Mars with a serious focus. It will be helpful to have a meaningful personal project to invest energy into, as Mars and Saturn in Aquarius can catalyze the ambition and initiative required to develop work that may take time to come into fruition but can have a long lasting impact and influence.

Mars and Saturn can also be used defensively, sealing oneself away from outside toxicity in order to contain and guide their building pressure to incite growth within protected space. While Venus recently moved through conjunctions with both Saturn and Mars, she is still in Aquarius and able to lend her eye for aesthetics and design to whatever craftsmanship is being directed by Saturn and Mars. Venus has less pressure on her now that she has separated from Saturn and Mars, but she will be more fully released from their intensifying influence once she leaves Aquarius to enter her exaltation of Pisces on April 5.

Irises (1889) by Vincent Van Gogh

After Venus enters Pisces, she will begin heading towards an eventual union with Neptune and Jupiter that will occur on April 27 and April 30. As Venus moves through her exaltation of Pisces during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, she will be able invest her lust, passion, and creative desires into any works of imagination or groundbreaking thought being developed in correspondence with Jupiter and Neptune coming together. In contrast to the intensifying tension that can be constellated when Mars and Saturn come together, the combination of Venus with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces will provide moments of epiphany, the uplifting hope needed to traverse difficulties, and cultivation of grace and faith in the unknown.

Jupiter and Neptune will form their once-every-166-years conjunction in Pisces on April 12. In my previous article on Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces, I wrote:

“The mystical and otherworldly Neptune awaits Jupiter underneath the waves of Pisces, promising that Jupiter will expand the dissolution of old forms, bringing about a reshaping and reordering of values, perspectives, and beliefs through a disintegrative process. We will need to be mindful of the ways Neptune combined with Jupiter can lead us astray through illusion, escapism, and intoxication, influencing us to be unfocused on mundane responsibilities that need our attention. Although we will need to keep in mind the potential for deluding ourselves when hearing their call from the far-off sea, following the siren songs of Jupiter and Neptune can also reveal insight that unites diverse perspectives and traditions. Just like the muses as daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus share truths that cannot be forgotten, so may Jupiter in Pisces retrieve essential meaning that will emerge from the dissolution brought forth by Neptune and stand the test of time.”

With collective crises like the war in Ukraine happening in correspondence with a new cycle beginning between Mars and Saturn, the muse of tragedy and melodious song, Melpomene will take center stage. Melpomene with her cypress wreath and mask of tragedy can use her melodious voice within the collective storms to guide us in resiliently persevering and inspiring others to do the same. Along with her sisters Cleo (the muse of history), Euterpe (the muse of music and lyric poetry), Thaleia (muse of comedy and good cheer who’s name means “to bloom in abundance”), Terpsichore (muse of dance), Erato (muse of love poetry), Polymnia (muse of many hymns), Ourania (muse of astronomy), and Calliope (muse of epic poetry), the muses will be making streams of inspiration available to luxuriate within as Jupiter and Neptune continue to get closer to one another each day.

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The New Moon in Aries is in the second decan of Aries associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. As the second face of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a heroic figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Similarly, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second face of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth and rulership to this decan. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Three of Wands goes with “faith win the good efforts you have already made,” investing “in well thought through acts of benevolence,” and “mak[ing] your own rules, and liv[ing] by them.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second face of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody.”  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist.”  These associations with the second face of Aries work well with the New Moon in Aries having so much potent fertility for vision being offered by Venus and Neptune joining Jupiter in its watery home of Pisces.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs attributed Persephone to the second decan of Aries, an interesting association as she is also a noble figure who bridges the world of the visible and invisible, the goddess who rules the otherworld of soul, death, release, and resurrection. Synchronistically, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 12º57′ Gemini and forming a sextile aspect with the Aries New Moon. Furthermore, Persephone recently formed an exact conjunction with the dwarf planet Ceres about a week before the lunation on March 22 evoking her mythic return to her mother and the upper world with the arrival of Spring. Persephone’s presence with the New Moon calls us to honor being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death.  While we must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, grieving those who have passed on, Persephone also signifies our capacity for discovering newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear.

Within the darkness of the Aries New Moon, allow yourself to envision the creative realm you can create for yourself to inhabit through the wielding of your own sovereign gifts and talents that can provide uplifting inspiration for others to do the same.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Virgo Full Moon

The Heron (1853–56) by John Dillwyn Llewelyn

Virgo Full Moon

The Full Moon in Virgo on March 18 illuminates an astrological atmosphere split between the hard edges of Mars-Saturn and the boundless vision of Jupiter-Neptune. Full Moons bring storylines and emotions to a head, and so to avoid becoming overwhelmed by stress it will be necessary to mediate whatever tests and challenges we are facing in association with Mars and Saturn heading toward a conjunction in Aquarius, while simultaneously being open to receiving the insight and inspiration available in correspondence with Jupiter and Neptune heading toward a conjunction in Pisces. Both alignments will not occur until April: Mars and Saturn will conjoin on April 4 at 22°24’ Aquarius and Jupiter and Neptune will unite at 23°59’ Pisces on April 12. In between now and then, Venus will move through Aquarius past a conjunction with Saturn into Pisces, weaving and leaving a golden thread to follow through whatever creative processes you engage. Moreover, the Full Moon in Virgo is ideal for discerning how to utilize time and prioritize tasks to configure how to best utilize energy. The Virgo Full Moon can help in probing and sifting through available resources and time, analyzing how to best achieve outcomes out of all of the infinite possibilities being offered by Jupiter and Neptune.

Vitally, the Virgo Full Moon announces the heliacal rising of Jupiter, the period in which the star of Zeus returns to visibility as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun. This brings the divine presence of Jupiter into a more intensified expression in our daily lives. Listen for the messages being transmitted by Jupiter for creative solutions, deepening of understanding, opening of compassion, and kindling of inner purpose. It’s a mistake, however, to think that Jupiter becoming visible in its nocturnal home of Pisces means that the events in personal and collective events will all be positive and beneficial. This is not the work of Jupiter in Pisces. Jupiter in Pisces loves the flaws in humanity, the imperfections of forms, the mistakes and the leaps toward grand vision that fall short of perfectionist vision. Jupiter in Pisces supplies love and heart-centered focus, compassion for those that are oppressed, fallen, and vulnerable. Jupiter in Pisces supplies the fertile life force that can lift us through periods of despair, the grace of an angelic hand helping us find a trail of light to follow through a passage of darkness.

Moreover, Jupiter becoming visible in Pisces also will amplify the potency of the conjunction forming between Jupiter and Neptune (to read an article I previously wrote about the Jupiter Neptune conjunction in Pisces, click here). As I previously wrote:

” . . . the nocturnal water of Pisces slows down the pace of Jupiter and invites inward exploration that can enable us to sink into embodiment of our soulful essence. The waves of Jupiter in Pisces can wash over and weave in between the places where we have been fragmented, coalescing a presence that can bring together parts of our inner multiplicity that have become disconnected. By taking our time and acting with the flow of surrounding natural cycles rather than trying to force things to happen, Jupiter in Pisces can create an experience of abundance that allows us to feel more expansive with less by aligning us with our authentic nature and values.

Yet with the dissolving whirlpool of Neptune present with Jupiter in Pisces, the coherence we gain through Jupiter will be important to question. The combination of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces will necessitate a descent into the dissolution of our previous beliefs, embodying the essence that will eventually coagulate out of the disintegrating stirring of our inner life. There will be a need to embrace nonlinear processes rather than insisting on linear progress, as we may need to pass through a disorienting phase of fluidity before we are able to differentiate and clarify the deeper meaning we receive.”

There is an invigorating and pragmatic earth triangle formed during the lunation between the Full Moon in Virgo, Pluto in Capricorn, and the north node of the Moon in Taurus. Rather than insisting on absolute perfection of ideals, the earthy triangle supporting the Virgo Full Moon can be best utilized in focusing on the tasks and work at hand in the moment, allowing the creative process to open up possibilities of new directions that go astray of initial ideals of vision and expectation. Allowing for the communion of creativity can bring the incredibly immense imaginal potential of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces into the forms that want to emerge from being fully engaged in the creative process. Assisting in this process is Mercury. Mercury in Pisces rules the Virgo Full Moon and is applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter it will complete on March 20 and a conjunction with Neptune it will complete on March 23. A true synthesis between Virgo and Pisces is possible at this time, and the results can be stunningly beautiful when allowing for new directions to emerge from the process.

Snake and Moon (1938-1939) by Morris Graves

While the zodiacal sign of Pisces features Mercury, Jupiter, and Neptune coming together, the zodiacal sign of Aquarius has Mars, Venus, and Saturn coming together. However, before Venus and Mars form conjunctions with Saturn in Aquarius, they first must pass through catalyzing square aspects with Uranus in Taurus. Venus will first square Uranus on March 19, followed by Mars forming an exact square aspect with Uranus on March 22. The tension between Venus and Uranus is especially creative and inspirational, as Venus is receiving Uranus into her earthy home of Taurus. There can be liberating flights of creative vision and exciting new developments within relationships, especially when experimenting with new directions and experiences rather than staying stagnant in old patterns and routines.

Venus and Mars have been on a long journey together, moving across the sign of Capricorn into a conjunction with Pluto within the past month. Now that they are engaging Uranus, whatever deepening of feelings and desires have been building now seek release. It will be helpful to find creative outlets and ways to express the energy, allowing the “body electric” as penned by Walt Whitman to sing the song of whatever inspirational force is passing through awareness.

During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, Venus will form a conjunction with Saturn on March 28 only days before the New Moon in Aries occurs on March 31. During this time we can work with Saturn and Venus to apply hard work and diligent effort into bringing into form whatever visions of inspiration we receive in the days following the Virgo Full Moon. We may also experience a sobering of perspective regarding anything we have become too inflated about. It can be a productive time for bringing new forms into reality as long as we remain remain realistic about available time and resources and do not try to take on too much or stretch ourselves past the limits of what is truly possible.

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Virgo will illuminate the third decan of Virgo associated with the Ten of Pentacles card illustrated about by Pamela Colman Smith. Fitting for an image of a family enjoying the fruits of their ancestral legacy, the third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury and Venus. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets named special attributes of the Ten of Pentacles including the study and practice of magic, ancestral communication, “an ability to finalize the process from raw material to usable product, a through understanding of monetary infrastructures,” and “the judicious use of rest and silence.” Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of “the pensive nature of the elder” in the Ten of Pentacles card with a fundamental question this face asks about wealth: “What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?”

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

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

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Pisces New Moon

The Window (1924) by Marc Chagall

Pisces New Moon

Creation stories begin with chaos and water. Perhaps this speaks to the immense, mysterious creativity inherent in Pisces, a sign of ever changing water in touch with the primordial chaos underlying reality. Thoughts and feelings meld and mutate in Pisces, flicker in reflection and mingle in spaces of reciprocity. In spite of whatever disruptive and difficult events have been occurring, the watery New Moon in Pisces on March 2 can enliven awareness for vital forms of creative potency that can emerge in the months ahead. The dark inner ground of the lunation is fertile with imaginative potency bringing sustenance to explorative processes of curiosity, as Pisces is less about claiming definitive meaning and more about absorbing all possibilities. The New Moon in Pisces can serve as a vessel allowing for the mystery of the unsolved in heart and mind, the hidden places of dark thoughts that cloak reason and swirl in dissolution. Like an appearance of Dionysus that shatters stagnancy, unleashes life force, and seeds new visions, the New Moon in Pisces can kindle faith that light and love will return in even the darkest moments of despair.

The New Moon at 12°06’ Pisces is applying to an inspiring conjunction with Jupiter, while separating from a dynamic sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. The powerful influence of Uranus and Jupiter upon the lunation will invigorate the soul of liberty, impulses to gain greater freedom through taking in a more expansive vision of potential paths forward. Within the ongoing tension between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus that has set desires for breaking free against constraints that frustrate with obstruction, the recent movements within astrology have emphasized the slow, measured steps of Saturn that stress the need for boundaries and can be cold at times in calculation. The synergy between the New Moon with Jupiter in Pisces and Uranus in Taurus will breathe life and creative inspiration into the containers cultivated by Saturn, allowing a widening array of influences to seep through conditioned boundaries so that a vaster wholeness of one’s present and future possibilities may be taken in.

We may imagine the dazzling Hekate as an intermediary presence for the lunation, helping us mediate the intersection of three major astrological pathways: Jupiter, Neptune, Sun, and Moon combined in Pisces, Mercury and Saturn combined in Aquarius, as well as Venus, Mars, and Pluto combined in Capricorn. Within the potency of their mixture, we may sense a weaving together as well as an untangling of major storylines that have been developing during the past few months. Exploring the multiplicity of feelings and perceptions that may emerge during a New Moon under such an extremely strong Piscean influence can allow for the mystery of the unknown, curiosity in following feelings without an agenda, and sensing more deeply where to focus creative engagement with the wonders of one’s imaginal inner realm.

Zeus holding Hekate (190 – 180 BC)

Jupiter is at the very end of its synodic cycle with the Sun during the Pisces New Moon, releasing what needs to be let go from the visions of the past year to make greater space for what can blossom in the year ahead. Jupiter will form a conjunction with the Sun on March 5 at 14°58’ Pisces, creating an ideal opportunity to envision what you wish to nourish with your soul in the year ahead . As Jupiter becomes reanimated by the Sun, seeding a new Jupiter cycle for the year ahead, quiet moments of stillness and contemplation may bring direct connection with divine inspiration. As a vision begins to take shape, the forthcoming lunar cycle can correspond with implementing the smaller steps and goals that will lead to the bigger dream.

The Pisces Moon is not only applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter during the lunation, but also with Neptune. This means that the lunation will demarcate the crossing of a threshold into an intensification of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces becoming an overwhelmingly powerful influence within the astrological landscape. Although Jupiter and Neptune will not unite until April 12 at 24°58’ Pisces, their ethereal and otherworldly impact will begin to be palpably felt. This may be confusing at times, as the combined influence of Jupiter and Neptune may open doors to other realms and dimensions usually outside one’s day to day perception, feelings and emotions that arrive and even crash like a wave only to recede into the dissolution of the wide open sea. The creative potential of their coming conjunction is boundless, and so the Pisces New Moon marks a time to begin actively engaging with ones dreams and imagination rather than merely daydreaming. [Note: click here to read my full article on the influence of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces]

Ring depicting Eros (3rd Century)

Providing a primordial thrust of emotional impact underlying the lunation is the union of Venus, Mars and Pluto in Capricorn. Venus and Mars will each form an exact conjunction with Pluto within a day of the Pisces New Moon on March 3, with Mars at 27°50’ Capricorn and Venus at 27°51’ Capricorn. Of all three, Mars is at a place of greatest power as their union is occurring at the exaltation degree of Mars. In current events the extreme potency of Mars has corresponded with the eruption of brutal, bloody warfare in Ukraine creating a refugee crisis, while in personal events there may have been eruptions of difficult emotional material from within due to intense relational encounters. Whether the passions being felt are pleasant or unpleasant, it is likely that the alignment of Venus, Mars, and Pluto is dredging up incredibly deep relational material and feelings. Staying with the feelings and curiously exploring them can lead eventually to important insights that can help transform one’s present relational dynamics and patterns. Though transform is often mocked as an overused astrological term, it is very true in this case. There is much more going on than whatever present relational encounters are occurring, as the dynamics will be unlocking deep reservoirs of memories and issues that need one’s attention and inner nurturance.

Vitally, the union of Venus, Mars and Pluto will be bringing together themes and storylines stretching as far back as November 5, when Venus first entered the sign of Capricorn to join Pluto within the same terrain. Looking back to the month of December is particularly important to contemplate as it was when Venus and Pluto became more intensely involved in relationship, in particular leading up to December 11 when they formed their first conjunction, December 19 when Venus stationed retrograde nearby Pluto, and December 25 when Venus formed her second exact conjunctions with Pluto. Their union does not mean that clear answers will be found, only that a deeper layer of emotive material will be unearthed that can continue to be worked with and explored.

It’s further important that within the waxing of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus and Mars will form their third and final conjunction of the past eight months on March 6, 2022 at  00°02’ Aquarius. The previous conjunctions between Venus and Mars were at 19°48’ Leo on July 13, 2021 and more recently at 16°53’ Capricorn on February 16 during the time of the Full Moon in Leo. Their present proximity with Pluto is therefore vital to explore in terms of receiving a vaster awareness of whatever desires and creative processes have been stirred up. Since their final union is at the same degree where Jupiter and Saturn formed their great conjunction in Aquarius on Decemberr 21, 2020, we likely will begin to gain greater clarity for the shape of all the relationship changes and reorderings we have experienced since the end of 2020. We are only at the beginning of a new Jupiter and Saturn cycle, yet far enough along to gain greater understanding for all of the changes we have been experiencing and how to best guide ourselves forward. It’s a good time to reflect upon any significant new relationships that have started or deepened since the end of 2020 and how they serve as threshold guardians to the new sense of oneself to claim within ones relationships and creative processes going forward.

Winchelsea: Steps to Queen Elizabeth’s Well by Frederick Evans

The third and final major alignment within the Pisces New Moon is the conjunction between Mercury with Saturn at 19°00’ Aquarius on the same day as the lunation. The stars of Hermes and Kronos uniting supports clear headed vision and an ability to be pragmatic and incisively realistic regarding the stark reality of present circumstances. It’s a beneficial aspect to counter the nebulous influence of Jupiter and Neptune beginning to take shape. The capacity of Mercury to hold polarities and linger within paradox can help in probing the structures and boundaries in place within our relationships and work. We may realize places that need more boundary within communication or areas that have become too constricted and restrained and need loosening.

Furthermore, the conjunction between Mercury and Saturn will bring resolution to the previous Mercury retrograde in Aquarius period that began on January 14 when Mercury stationed a few degrees away from Saturn. It was as if Mercury got just close enough to pick up a message from Saturn without completing the exchange, before backtracking all the way back across the border between Aquarius and Capricorn into a conjunction with Pluto on January 28 and February 11 before returning to finally complete the conjunction with Saturn on March 2. Whatever plans and ideas came up to develop since the middle of January that have gone through periods of delay and renovation can now be returned to with active engagement that has undergone needed time for exploration. There also may be penetrating insights that shatter illusions we have had about situations that have developed in the past few months. Allow the combination of Mercury and Saturn to bring a no nonsense analysis of present dynamics, as things are likely to get much more warpy once Mercury leaves Aquarius in order to join the Sun, Jupiter, and Neptune in Pisces on March 9.

9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Pisces, a face associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a pleased figure in a scarlet cap with a showy plume, signifying his passionate mind dressed with the Eros of his desires. The Nine of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, with the golden cups behind the figure signifying the resources needed to gain greater abundance being found within the unconscious and unseen realm of Spirit. The Nine of Cups has also been associated with happiness on both external and internal levels, enjoying feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets astutely observed that the Nine of Cups is “the card of wishes, not expectations” that involves the necessity of “appreciating the unexpected,” a good reminder with the Pisces New Moon in aspect with Uranus. Fittingly, Jupiter is supremely powerful in this face, as it is not only the domicile ruler of Pisces but also the ruler of its second decan. With Jupiter present within its own face, the meaning of this decan is especially powerful during the days surrounding the lunation.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the second decan of Pisces in honor of Indra’s net with its many mutually reflective jewels, an overhanging cosmic net that has been interpreted as signifying magic and illusion as well as the interconnectedness of our universe. Coppock wrote that the luxurious satisfaction of the figure in the Nine of Cups card is the product of engaging the process of maintaining “a harmonious relationship between material and spiritual layers of life . . . [such as in] the art of following the Tao itself . . . at play in the material world but not beholden to it.” Coppock declared it to be a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals, and the way things are.”

The link between the second face of Pisces with the depths of the underlying source of our visible reality is especially relevant given that the Pisces Moon will be moving from a sextile with Uranus into a conjunction with Jupiter and Neptune. The 12th century philosopher and astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described an image of a beautiful woman sitting on a ship at sea for this decan, wishing to come to land. Similarly, Coppock described the figures of the second face of Pisces as being “anchored in the invisible, yet step forward to play important roles in the visible world.” Make space during the Pisces New Moon to discover if there any aspects of your inner beauty that have been patiently waiting in the oceanic realm of your unconscious, ready to come to shore to be realized. 

Coppock concluded that the crux of this decan centers on fulfillment coming from the harmonizing of one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, as torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds. Seeking fortune for fortune’s sake will not bring happiness if our visible goals are misaligned with our invisible priorities. As older forms of astrology prioritize the relationships between Daimon and Fortune as well as Eros and Necessity, we must enact Daimon and Eros from our depths rather than only responding to the Necessity and Fortune of our times.  The satisfaction and joy that can be reached through the second face of Pisces comes from a deeper success that is aligned with our soul purpose and embodying the meaning of why we are here at this time. 

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the daimon Dolos to the second face of Pisces, a spirit of deception and trickery. Dolos was an apprentice to Prometheus who famously attempted to duplicate a statue of Aletheia (Truth) that had been perfectly constructed by Prometheus, yet ran out of clay before being able to complete its feet. In Aesop’s version of the tale, the duplicate statue was called Pseudologos (Falsehood) and brought the moral that something false can start off successfully, but with time the real truth will be revealed. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that the “protean” figures of the second face of Pisces can be “tricksters, liars who try to paint the portraits of their understanding and sculpt the form of their visions,” yet they necessarily fall short as “form utterly fails the profound,” and “the truth cannot be copied.” In fact, Coppock concluded that their creative acts are essential to the meaning of this face, as their “flawed copies are the only manner in which dreams can become real.”

With the Pisces New Moon activating the coming conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces, it will be worthwhile to keep in mind the lesson that something false may start off successfully only later to have the real truth revealed. A balance will need to be found by allowing flights of fantasy to stoke inspiration while not allowing yourself to become carried away by an illusive reflection of your true inner needs and desires. The more we can get in touch with our deepest inner feelings and desires during the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, the better we will be able to focus on the work and relationships that will bring true nurturance to our soul.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

become_a_patron_button

References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Leo Full Moon

Lion-headed Goddess Amulet (1070 – 664 B.C.)

Leo Full Moon

The Full Moon on February 16 is in Leo, the living image of the Lion, whether you use the tropical or sidereal zodiac. In fact, the Moon will illuminate the night sky nearby the fixed star Regulus, known as the heart of the lion within the Leo constellation. Across astrological traditions, Regulus has been associated with leadership and power, the type of fiery strength that can achieve success and victory against all odds. Yet the true strength of Regulus is the essential dignity and integrity we bear within our heart, the strength and wisdom of our core, our central self around which our vast, inner multiplicity revolves. Within a period of time emphasizing Saturn and its current placement within Aquarius, the Leo Full Moon will inject a charge of coherence as fragmented strands of past storylines come together into greater understanding. The Full Moon pouring down the star fire of Regulus will kindle an inner flame of knowing that can guide us into the next steps to take, whether we are continuing on course or in need of a dramatic change in direction.

Yet the royal power and fierce leadership associated with Regulus is also a quality some wish to seize for fame, wealth, influence, and other ambitious desires that can lead to inflation and hubris. Bernadette Brady described the nemesis of Regulus as being revenge, stating that its ambitious qualities need to be balanced by restraint from seeking retribution and vengeance if we wish to secure the success it can bring. Within Indian astrology, the nakshatra of Regulus where the full moon will ripen is Magha, the seat or throne of the king that has been linked with splendor, regality, prosperity, power, and the will force needed to achieve important endeavors and victories. Dennis Harness described the shadow side of Magha in connection with the extreme ambition that resides here, such as “arrogance” and “prejudice,” over attachment to “material prosperity” and “identification with class status,” as well as “divine restlessness or chronic discontent” for falling short of high aspirations and perfectionist standards. Harness further described the danger of constant courting of external approval at expense of the essential self.

Magha’s ruling deities are the ancestor spirits Pitris, making the nakshatra associated with gifts and benefits brought by ancestors, as well as loyalty to spiritual lineages. Harness described Pitris as “the great Fathers of Humanity, who function as guardian angels giving protection in the event of major calamities on earth.” Indeed, the true nobility of character offered by Regulus lies within the agency of the heart and contact with our deep sense of inner sovereignty. Rooted in our core value, the polarity between the Sun in Aquarius and Moon in Leo can foster drive and desire sourced from inner values rather than based upon ambition for external approval and acting in accordance with however we feel we need to fit in with the status quo of trends and popularity contests. The Leo Full Moon can ignite curiosity about where we have felt powerless and why, helping us make contact with our inner wellspring of power from a place of openness to mystery rather than insistence on control. We may also gain insight into whatever forms of power dynamics within relationships we have become entangled by and the adjustments necessary to make.

Supplying an uplifting, liberating influence to the Leo Full Moon is an invigorating sextile aspect between Jupiter in Pisces and Uranus in Taurus. For over a year we have been experiencing the amplified volatility constellated by the catalytic square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus, with the jolting impact of Uranus dislodging and breaking open longstanding structures and systems of Saturn. While the shattering of old structures and forms that have previously been part of our identity and sense of security may have been difficult during the past year, the clashing between Uranus and Saturn have also created vast potential for new directions, patterns, and ways of being to emerge that can be creatively liberating and free from past restraints. With Jupiter in Pisces forming a harmonious aspect with Uranus, we will have increased support in discerning the larger vision for growth that is emerging out of the dismantling of the past.

Babylonian Lion, associated with Ishtar (604 – 562 BC)

Intensifying the potential for the Leo Full Moon to brings things to a climax and a turning point in direction is the fact that the Moon will be forming a square with the lunar nodes at the northern bending. The northern bending of the Moon’s orbit is a dynamic point of change in which the Moon has reached maximum northern latitude, a peak from which the Moon will begin to immediately fall in descent back down toward the ecliptic. Demetra George wrote that since the Moon at her bending has reached “the farthest distance of the plane of the lunar orbit from that of the Sun’s path on the ecliptic,” it “suggests both a state of objective awareness between the lunar body and solar soul, but can also indicate the potential for disassociation and lack of connection.” George further noted that Ptolemy stated the Moon forming a square to her nodes at her bending “helps with the character of the soul in the direction of greater versatility, resourcefulness, and capacity for change.”

Thus while the Leo Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes may correlate with amplified emotional volatility or feelings of disconnection for some, in other cases it may accentuate the capacity to gain distance from emotional entanglements in order to gain a clarifying perspective. The Full Moon forming a square to the lunar nodes is further significant due to it demarcating the midpoint between eclipses, with the Leo Full Moon forming a square aspect to the Lunar Eclipse in Taurus which occurred on November 19, 2021 and the Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio which will occur on May 16, 2022. It’s an opportune time to reflect upon whatever changes arrived with the previous eclipses on November 19 and December 4 last year, taking stock of however you have already made adjustments as well as stepping back to see the bigger picture of how present dynamics appear to be developing into the future and where changes need to be initiated.

Since the transiting north node of the Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus, and the transiting south node of the Moon in Scorpio is ruled by Mars, the union of Venus and Mars in Capricorn during the time of the Leo Full Moon will increase the likelihood of the lunation illuminating the passions, anger, frustrations, and desires at the root of present relational dynamics and creative processes. Relationship tests have likely arisen recently as Venus and Mars have approached their conjunction in Capricorn, and so if the Leo Full Moon brings feelings of dissatisfaction to light, allow your curiosity to explore what your symptoms reveal about your sense of soulfulness and what needs to change so you may rebalance your relational dynamics with others and realign with your deepest sources of creativity and inner security. While events leading up to the Leo Full Moon may have caused underlying emotional challenges within relationships to burst forth into awareness, if both partners are willing to engage with the needed inner work while also listening and engaging in dialogue, the lunation can also help bring forth new ways to relate to one another that are mutually supportive and respectful of one another’s dignity.

Pan and Nymphs by Ignaz Elhafen

Venus will form a conjunction with Mars at 16°53’ Capricorn on February 16, about two and a half hours before the exact opposition between the Moon in Leo and the Sun in Aquarius. Mars and Venus are nocturnal planets that orbit on either side of Earth in closest proximity, connecting us with primal feelings we discover within our inner darkness, away from the rationalism and judgment of daylight. The union of Mars and Venus initiates us into a process of rediscovering what we want in relationship, as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves. Venus and Mars coming together calls for embodiment, getting in touch with bodily senses to uncover desires untethered from societal conditioning. While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, valuable, and distasteful, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable or displeasing. With their union occurring within the cardinal sign of Capricorn, their conjunction will bring a significant initiation into new relational dynamics emerging within coming weeks. Their union in the earthy, nocturnal home of Saturn calls for the need of forming the boundaries necessary to contain and nurture the seeds of new desires, making space for greater embodiment of one’s own inner eros separate from its mixture within external relational dynamics. As we come into deeper relationship with our own feelings and desires, so will we be able to more effectively make the adjustments needed within our many relationships within the world.

The conjunction between Venus and Mars on February 16 is the second Venus Mars conjunction in a sequence of three taking place within a span of eight months. The previous conjunction between Venus and Mars was at 19°48’ Leo, in the same zodiacal sign as the Leo Full Moon, on July 13, 2021. The final conjunction in the series will be on March 6, 2022 at  00°01’ Aquarius. The present conjunction on February 16, the middle one of three, is especially significant due to it occurring with both Venus and Mars visible as morning stars heralding the rise of the Sun. Their previous conjunction on July 13 occurred with Venus and Mars as evening stars following sunset, and since then we have experienced both Venus and Mars traversing the underworld in transition from evening to morning sky. Most significantly, Venus was recently retrograde in Capricorn from 19 December 2021 until 29 January 2022 and now is increasing in speed, light and elevation having been reborn in her morning star phase. She is only slowly beginning to pick up speed, however, which is why Mars has been able to recently overtake her in speed and form a conjunction with her by moving from behind and in front of her by zodiacal degree. As a result, during the waning half of the present lunar cycle as Venus continues to slowly pick up speed she will remain in close proximity with Mars, eventually overtaking Mars and forming their final conjunction in the series on March 6, a few days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

While the time from the Leo Full Moon until the final conjunction of Venus and Mars on March 6 will be full of new developments and desires within relationship and creativity to be mindful of, the union of Venus with Mars during the Leo Full Moon is especially potent in terms of bringing numerous streams of relational storylines together into a flowing, charged river bed that is fertile with the potential for new patterning within relationship to develop. It’s also worth noting that both Venus and Mars have essential dignity within the zodiacal degree of their conjunction, as it is the exaltation of Mars and the bounds of Venus. The second decan of Capricorn where their union takes place also has rulership association with both Mars and Venus (Mars is the ruler in the Chaldean descending rulership scheme; Venus is the ruler in the triplicity scheme). It’s a place ripe with potential for launching new enterprises and building great works of imagination and vision step by step with groundedness and receptivity to the input needed within collaboration with others.

The fact that both Venus and Mars have zodiacal agency within the place of their union is further accentuated by their close proximity with Vesta in Capricorn. As Venus and Mars will continue to move closely together during the waning half of the lunar cycle into their upcoming conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on March 3, so will Vesta in Capricorn. Venus will form a conjunction with Vesta in Capricorn on February 27 while Mars will form a conjunction with Vesta on February 25, less than a week before Venus and Mars unite with Pluto. The presence of Vesta alongside Venus and Mars can help in finding greater coherence for how our relational desires and needs have been transformed within recent months, especially when making space for sacred time with one’s self. The devotional aspect of Vesta can also help us in realizing what forms of creativity and new goals to develop are most authentically aligned with our core self, as well as the relationships most resonant with our true path to cultivate and deepen in relationship. Vesta traveling with Venus and Mars during the waning half of the lunar cycle can help initiate the process of building the strong foundations of a new legacy, maintaining the boundaries necessary to do so.

EXPLORACIÓN DE LAS FUENTES DEL RÍO ORINOCO by Remedios Varo

Further adding to the intensity of the Leo Full Moon is the fact that Mercury will be at maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that Mercury will be increasing in speed and curious connectivity in the coming weeks. Mercury finally left Capricorn and its extended time in close proximity with Pluto in Capricorn on February 14, and during the day of the Leo Full Moon will be close to the early degree of Aquarius where Mercury formed its regenerative conjunction with the Sun on January 23. Whatever new ideas developed, whatever shifts in storylines needed attending, whatever ways the catalytic and volatile period of Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn from January 14 to February 3 impacted and transformed you is important to consider under the glow of the Full Moon in Leo. Mercury is now entering its solar phase as a Morning Star that Gary Caton likened to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s recent retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being

During the waning half of the lunar cycle, Mercury will form an invigorating and volatile square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on February 24 followed by Mercury forming a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius on March 2, the same day as the New Moon in Pisces. Mercury began its recent retrograde phase on January 14 while in close proximity to activating the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus, and during the waning half of the lunar cycle we will finally experience Mercury moving forward to finally complete the activation. The present path of Mercury is vastly significant, connecting the present moment with the larger waves of change signified by the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 as well as the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus dominating the astrological landscape in 2021 and 2022. It’s a time to feel into how your inner shifts relate with the much larger waves of change rippling across global societies. Ways in which our lives began to change in the beginning of 2021 can become clearer as Mercury leads us out of the dreamscape of night into the brightness of day in coming weeks, helping us clarify how to formulate our next stage of development.

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Leo is in the third decan of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a warrior is bravely fighting for their life, using their wand to fight off the onslaught of six attacking wands. They are standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet their stance and face suggest someone putting their whole being into their struggle with extraordinary determination.  We can further connect this image with the struggle of the individual in asserting their personal truth in the face of an angry mob or judgment from the dominant opinions of culture. Fittingly, Mars is the ruler of the third face of Leo, suggesting the indomitable spirit present in the warriors who reside here. The martial figure in the Seven of Wands further relates to the asymmetrical significations of Mars in astrology through standing his ground in footwear that does not match. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets wrote that the Seven of Wands in a reading can signify facing a “daunting challenge” requiring discernment of whether or not it’s a situation or position worth fighting for. Chang described that while the Seven of Wands “shows a human capacity to persevere,” it still requires facing “whether persevering through the difficulty will be the making of us the building of our character- or whether it is simply not meant to be.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, writing that it signifies “the tenacity to fight for the place one has gained, to struggle and be victorious over contrary forces within and without” through “the power of the utterly steadfast heart, which never fails to rise to the challenges present.”  For Coppock, it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the power found in the third decan of Leo, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit. Coppock described its symbol of “The Banner” as revealing a principle of “Truth, Justice, or Beauty” that “must be invoked” to fully rouse the fiery spirit found here, “for it is only to such flags that the heart truly salutes.”

There is an interesting connection in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to the third decan of Leo with the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis. Similar to how a banner can unite a populace behind a common cause, Serapis developed as a divinity who could unify Greeks and Egyptians living within the same Hellenistic realm. Serapis is an underworld deity similar to Osiris who bears both solar and serpent symbolism, and who also became associated with the agathos daimon, or Good Spirit. Just as Jupiter has its joy in the 11th house of Good Spirit associated with fellowship and the hopes we aspire to achieve, so can we connect “The Banner” of the third face of Leo with the essential desires rooted in our higher self that bring out the best in us and motivate us to take action or make a stand as needed. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces described the link between the third face of Leo with the underworld aspects of Serapis as revealing “the important decisions that those who walk this decan face- when to give up and let go, for even the Sun surrenders the earth to darkness.”

Whether you are engaged in battle with external or internal forces under the light of the Leo Full Moon, beware of the shadow of defensiveness and feeling the need to fight off those perceived as invaders at all costs. Particularly within inner processes of conflict, the various parts of self that seem to be at odds with one another may also lead to new insights and awareness as we let go of the need to control and allow seemingly paradoxical impulses to deepen into the tension of relationship with one another. The Leo Full Moon will illuminate the night at a pivotal turning point of astrological cycles- may its brilliant light nurture the turning of mind needed to make the decisions and choices most aligned with the creative potential ready to emerge from within you.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

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

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

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

de Fouw, Hart & Svoboda, Robert. (1996). Light on Life: Introduction to the Astrology of  India. Lotus Press.

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

Harness, Dennis. (1999). The Nakshatras: the Lunar Mansions of Vedic Astrology. Lotus Press.

Aquarius New Moon

Le Temps Jardis by Rene Magritte

Aquarius New Moon

The Aquarius New Moon on January 31 calls for deep contemplation during a turning of the tides and a primal change in seasons. The lunation will occur during the cross-quarter holidays in between the winter solstice and spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, in between the summer solstice and fall equinox in the southern hemisphere. Saturn in Aquarius is receiving the Aquarius New Moon within its airy domicile, as both luminaries will be applying closely toward a union with the star of Kronos. Saturn was named in connection with Kronos, called the “sinuous-minded” by Hesiod, and similarly throughout the astrological tradition the trials and tests brought by Saturn have been balanced by the thoughtfulness of Saturn, such as being given “the power of thought” in the 12th Century by Abraham Ibn Ezra and named “profound in Imagination” in the 17th Century by William Lily. The depth of contemplation experienced through Saturn is at full strength within Aquarius, as it is an airy, intellectual, and humanitarian zodiacal sign that can foster analysis of interpersonal dynamics as well as vast societal concerns impacting the wider world. Within the fertile darkness of the lunation, we may access the sinuous mindfulness of the Water Bearer who gathers insight from the flowing river of thoughts that bend and turn over again and again through the currents of life.

Saturn is known for constructing boundaries that can protect yet also constrain through becoming too hardened and set against change. Yet the deep contemplation of Saturn also allows for a testing of the limits of known boundaries that can bring about a reconstruction and renovation of the boundaries and structures we implement. Since the beginning of 2021 there has been a radical testing of personal and societal boundaries and structures brought about by the volatilizing square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus. The Aquarius New Moon is opportunely positioned to bring about reflection of the ways in which personal and societal dynamics have radically changed in the past year, as the Sun and Moon are separating from a square aspect with Uranus and applying toward a conjunction with Saturn.

As Saturn has long been viewed as the threshold guardian between the visible planets and the fixed stars, between time and timelessness, between the known and unknown, the profound influence of Saturn in Aquarius during the past year has stressed the importance of examining the ways in which our perception can become clouded, obscured by the mists of illusions about reality. In Aquarius, Saturn’s role of defining boundaries is applied to all matters of thought, highlighting the importance of how we utilize our perception to cultivate critical thinking skills in reception of information through external sources and internal rumination.

Crucially, the Aquarius New Moon is timed with the end of a Saturn cycle and the reseeding of a new Saturn cycle for the year to come. Saturn will be reanimated by the Sun on February 4 at 15°56’ Aquarius, bringing opportunities to more deeply examine the structures and boundaries of our life in order to make the changes needed to adapt to the changes taking place on personal and societal levels. This also means that Saturn is invisible in the underworld during the lunation, and will not emerge into visibility as a Morning Star until the week of February 20; as a result, while Saturn continues to operate in the darkness of its cycle in the weeks ahead we will need to take the time and construct the boundaried containers necessary to face the full reality of our circumstances and discern what requires shifting and restructuring.  With Saturn passing through a phase of death and rebirth, we can similarly shed what needs emptied and released from the past cycle as we hone in on what can serve as the solid stone foundation to build upon in the year ahead.

As we reflect and gestate the new meaning and messages that will take shape through Saturn in the year ahead, the Aquarius New Moon is further timed with the recent stationing direct of both Uranus and Venus, as well as the stationing direct of Mercury a few days after the lunation. Saturn needs to take time to probe the complex depth of reality, time to make the necessary adjustments and come to terms with the inner insights that can help with building the forms that will endure as well as contain the authentic qualities we desire to embody and express. With so many planets stationing as Saturn is simultaneously regenerated, we may slow down and ground into deeper presence with whatever challenges and difficulties we have been contending with. We can engage with the side of Saturn open to the mystery of the unknown and willing to reflect upon the fullness of the moment, rather than being overly defensive, rigid, and righteously insisting on control or trying to force what we want to have happen.

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

The astrological atmosphere will be saturated with the archetypal presence of Venus and Mercury during the Aquarius New Moon, as both planets are in the process of stationing direct following extended retrograde phases. While Mercury will station direct on February 3 at 24°23’ Capricorn a few days after the lunation, Venus is only barely beginning to shift forward after having stationed direct on January 29 at 11°05’ Capricorn a couple days before the Aquarius New Moon. Mercury will now be joining Venus as a visible Morning Star before the sunrise, making their impact within our lives intensified as we begin to recover from their retrograde phases that began on December 19, 2021 for Venus and on January 14 for Mercury. As Venus and Mercury will be continuing to occupy their stationing degrees for an extended period, it will be beneficial to take the time needed for reflecting upon the experiences that aligned with their retrograde phases in order to distill the lessons and insights that will inform the new directions that will emerge in the coming weeks. While old patterns can be released, new patterns will be taking shape aligned with the desires emerging in awareness.

Pivotally, while the Aquarius New Moon is activating Uranus through a catalyzing aspect, there will also be a flowing trine aspect in place between Uranus with not only Venus in Capricorn, but also Mars and Vesta in Capricorn. Furthermore, Mars in Capricorn is also applying closely to an invigorating sextile aspect with Jupiter in Pisces it will complete on February 4. During the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, Mars in Capricorn will be getting closer and closer to Venus until eventually forming a conjunction with Venus on February 16, the same day as the upcoming Full Moon in Leo. The close proximity between Mars and Venus can enflame passions and conflicts in some cases, yet can also supply the heat needed to activate desires and create vital movement on goals and projects. With Mars joining Venus and Mercury in the sky each day before dawn, we can claim a more empowered presence in changing our lives in accordance with the inner shifts that has occurred during the recent period of both Mercury and Venus being retrograde.

It’s further significant that Vesta in Capricorn is applying toward a conjunction with Venus during the Aquarius New Moon, and in the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle will be transiting in close alignment with Venus and Mars in Capricorn. In the Astronomica, a first century astrological text, Manilius connected Vesta as being the deity associated with Capricorn, writing that “Vesta tends your fires, Capricorn: and from her you derive your skills and callings. For whatever needs fire to function and demands a renewal of flame for its work must be counted as of your domain . . . That hot furnaces melt iron and bronze, and ovens give to the wheat its final form, will come as gifts from you.” The presence of Vesta with Venus and Mars can help in focalizing our attention on what we want to create with our life and what we need in relationship with others, strengthening our ability to take the space needed to make thing happened. Just like the sign of Aquarius holding the union between Saturn and the lunation can foster independence and acting from a place of inner reliance rather than external dependence, so will Vesta be able to bring the same quality of influence to the union of Venus and Mars.

Moreover, at the same time that Mars, Venus, and Vesta will be traveling together through Capricorn, Mercury will be spending and extended period of time in close proximity with Pluto in Capricorn. Pluto has now moved past the point it previously stationed retrograde on 27 April 2021, and so is journeying deeper into the terrain of Capricorn while stirring up deeper layers of conscious and unconscious content. Mercury will remain close with Pluto until leaving the sign of Capricorn on February 14, forming its third conjunction with Pluto on February 11 at 27°17’ Capricorn. The material that Mercury is connecting with through Pluto not only connects with its previous two conjunctions with Pluto on January 28 while retrograde and on December 30 while direct, but also with the fathomless depths of relational patterns and desires that Venus stirred up by being in close proximity with Pluto for the entire month of December 2021. As Mercury stations direct in the days following the Aquarius New Moon, pay attention to the signs and synchronicities emerging in your daily travels as well as nocturnal dreams.

The material brought up by Mercury with Pluto can feel painful and requires tender care and compassion. Yet rather than falling back into past patterns that need to be changed or shed,, there will be opportunities for changing relational and perceptual patterns to be in greater alignment with hour our internal sense of values and desires are beginning to emerge, revitalized by the bright presence of Venus along with Mercury and Mars at dawn.

6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius is in the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The six swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounded focus. Yet the swords are also staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory. The ferryman is in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury, which is fitting since Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is also a need to surrender to being along for the ride. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Six of Swords excels at “problem solving,” being “excellent for symbol manipulation and masterful at metaphor . . . good for writing your way out of a paper bag and thinking outside of the box.”

As the ferryman in the Six of Swords is creating a network in between shores, linking the known with the unknown, he is an apt symbol for Mercury being the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom,” as well as that the fixed nature of this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also establishing “independence between multiple worlds.” Coppock declared it to be a decan “of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles” so that one may “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them.” Like the ferryman and Hermes, those who occupy this face mediate a “steady commerce between heaven and earth” according to Coppock, allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown” as well as “the ideal and the practical.”

Furthermore, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Phobos to the second decan of Aquarius, the divine son of Ares and Aphrodite who is associated with the fear evoked in battle and war. Austin Coppock noted that as Phobos is connected with the etymology of “phobia,” its presence in this face also reveals “the fear that people have of what lies outside their small worlds.” It also brings to mind the double edged sword of fear, in that it can lead to poor choices rooted in paranoia as well as the kind of inspired action that erupts when we have our backs against the wall and the odds stacked against us.

As the Sun in the second decan of Aquarius unites with the Moon on January 31 followed by uniting with Saturn on February 4, we will be experiencing the cross-quarter holidays of Brigid and Candlemas. In the northern hemisphere, it’s the midpoint of Winter and the welcoming of increasing light when the goddess Brigid would be welcomed alongside her associations of poetry, protection, medicine, wisdom, crafts and blacksmithing. As Mercury stations direct and the New Moon conjoins Saturn, may the cunning arts of Brigid and the cunning presence of Mercury help guide us in using the scythe of Saturn to clear what needs releasing while preparing the ground for the harvest we desire to cultivate in the year ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Hesiod. (2004). Theogony, Works and Days, Shield. Second edition. Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis. The John Hopkins University Press.

Ibn-Ezra, Avraham. (1998). The Beginning of Wisdom. Translated by Meira Epstein. ARHAT.

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics

Full Moon in Cancer

Wschód Księżyca (Moonrise), 1884, by Stanisław Masłowski

Full Moon in Cancer

” . . . There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over and men are no longer willing to be plunged into an abyss of injustice where they experience the bleakness of corroding despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience . . .

All that is said here grows out of a tragic misconception of time. It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time is neutral. It can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. We must come to see that human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability. It comes through the tireless efforts and persistent work of men willing to be coworkers with God, and without this hard work time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation . . .

One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, courageously and with a majestic sense of purpose facing jeering and hostile mobs and the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy-two-year-old woman of Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride the segregated buses, and responded to one who inquired about her tiredness with ungrammatical profundity, “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.” They will be young high school and college students, young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’s sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters they were in reality standing up for the best in the American dream and the most sacred values in our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Martin Luther King, Letter from a Birmingham Jail

The Full Moon on January 17, 2022 is in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn, with the Sun involved in a conjunction with Pluto. There is meaning found in Pluto being named after a deity who ruled the underworld, for experiences of Pluto transits often take us through underworld experiences of darkness and despair through which we may retrieve a renewed sense of empowerment and meaning eventually. The Full Moon opposing Pluto will activate inner, subterranean realms of deep soul patterns circulating within our unconscious which drive reactions in ways we are not wholly aware. While Pluto positively can cultivate empowerment through the intensity of associated experiences, it can also activate power struggles and dynamics of power and control that brings feelings of powerlessness. There can be a volcanic, cathartic force to Pluto demanding release that also requires exploration of the shadows cast by the desires for greater power that Pluto may constellate. One way or another we need to surrender to the process of decay and regeneration brought by Pluto, for resisting its transformative charge due to fear of letting go of the ways things have been can ultimately intensify experiences of upheaval and breakdown which force change.

Yet surrendering to processes of Pluto may also make us aware of where we do not have control and need to find acceptance for present circumstances. Attempting to be over controlling and grasp for greater power at all costs during experiences of Pluto can lead to great damage within ourselves as well as within our relationships. By accepting places out of control, we may also more strongly attune to where we do have agency to be in deeper relationship with our inner nature and desires. Ultimately, experiences of Pluto can lead to purifying processes in which we shed old restrictions and evolve into a more potent vitality.

Since the Full Moon is in the watery home of the Moon, there is great potential for emotional release and coming into relationship with the information and sensory insights that may be retrieved through the catharsis. The intense emotions that may arise in the days surrounding the Cancer Full Moon can tap us into hidden, unconscious currents that demand attention and require differentiation and probing to process. The shadow side of the Moon activating Pluto so strongly can emerge when projecting unconscious content into relationships, such as becoming upset when unconscious expectations are not being met or distorting relational exchanges rather than questioning whether or not our initial reaction was an accurate reflection. The propensity for deep emotional patterns to be revealed is amplified due to Venus being retrograde in Capricorn within the same sign as Pluto. Patience may be needed to process feelings and pass through an emotional purging that leads to the root of old wounds and vulnerabilities. It will be possible to realize important insights about yourself and your present relational dynamics, and so it will be helpful to cultivate practices that enhance your capacity for self reflection or activities which can give you a safe harbor when emotions become to overwhelming to focus on.

As the United States of America approaches the first exact return of Pluto to its placement on July 4, 1776 on 20 February 2022, it is fitting that there is a Full Moon opposing Pluto on the national holiday honoring the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, junior. The recent legislative controversy over voting rights, judicial controversy over abortion rights, and innumerable other manifestations of the oppressive underbelly of the American Dream will continue to be emerging with increased intensity through the course of 2022. The urgency that Dr. King brought to the necessity of taking action and refusing to look the other way to gross inequities of oppression will be highlighted. Yet to be most effective within external ways of activism simultaneously requires attending to the kind of inner nurturing and relational care within our community that the Cancer Full Moon will activate.

Ceres and Cyane (ca.1792–95) by Jean-Guillaume Moitte

The Full Moon at 27º50′ Cancer is applying closely toward a sextile aspect with Ceres at 27º59′ Taurus, while Ceres is simultaneously forming a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon. Ceres has an intensified presence of steadfast stillness during the lunation, as she recently stationed direct on January 14, 2022 at 27º58′ Taurus. Ceres previously stationed retrograde on October 8, 2021 at 12º08′ Gemini, creating a region from twelve degrees of Gemini to twenty-seven degrees of Taurus to pay attention to in your natal chart with regard to her retrograde journey that took shape over the past several months. An incredible additional synchronicity is that the Persephone asteroid stationed retrograde at the same time as Ceres within a few degrees from Ceres (Persephone stationed retrograde on October 8 at 14º11′ Gemini), and so Persephone has been on a retrograde journey during the same time period. Remarkably, the Persephone asteroid will also be stationing direct one day after the Cancer Full Moon on January 18 at 00º24′ Gemini in range of a conjunction with the transiting North Node of the Moon.

The mythology of Demeter and Persephone, or Ceres and Proserpina, is inextricably linked with the mythology of Persephone’s abduction by Hades (Pluto) into the underworld where she eventually ruled as Queen. As the present Venus retrograde transit in Capricorn began with a month-long conjunction between Venus with Pluto, you may have been undergoing your own underworld journey during the course of the Venus retrograde that has pulled you into memories of old relational dynamics that include places of deep wounding that have continued to influence your recent relational patterns. Though Ceres is most often portrayed as the great goddess of agricultural and abundant fertility, her roots are within times when the great goddess ruled both realms of life and death. Thus Ceres is known for not only bringing the gifts of civilization to humanity, but also the rites of mystery initiation that led ancient people through rites of rebirth. Indeed, many believe that the Eleusinian Mysteries involved a reenactment of Persephone’s descent into the underworld, Demeter’s search, and Persephone’s ascent and reunion with Demeter, which connects to the versions of Deneter’s grief that took place in Eleusis.

Yet there is also an alternative version of Demeter’s search for Persephone that takes place in Arcadia in which Demeter gives birth to a daughter after being raped by Poseidon, a daughter whose name cannot be known by the uninitiated. In order to flee from the pursuit of Poseidon, Demeter turns herself into a horse that although swift placed her into the patterning of Poseidon due to him being the god of horses. After experiencing a replication of her daughter’s rape, Demeter takes refuge within a cave in the Arcadian wilderness to mourn and grieve. She is finally found by Pan, the wild shepherd god of nature who also happens to be one of the living images of the Capricorn constellation. After Pan notifies Zeus of Demeter’s whereabouts, the Morai (also known as the Fates) are sent to mediate and are able to coax Demeter back into the world.

In addition to the narrative differences between Demeter’s journeys, since Arcadia was more of an uncivilized and wild region it can equate with wounding and trauma cast far off from conscious awareness in the deepest regions of wilderness within the unconscious. While Ceres is retrograde or in periods of intensification such as stationing, we may find ourselves re-enacting old patterns associated with wounding, loss, or trauma that dredge up old pain while also tearing at the fabric of the relational dynamic between those relating within the enactment. Such heartbreaking experiences can be recoverable when each person involved within the relationship takes accountability for whatever form of repair is required, conducts their own inner work and processing, and continues to relate with understanding they are within an equally mutual relational field. When repair is carried through responsibly and patiently with care, the catharsis can help free space for new relational patterns to take root.

Thus the combination of both Ceres and Persephone stationing direct, combined with Venus being retrograde in Capricorn and the Full Moon being opposite Pluto, presents opportunities for reflection upon ways we may have re-enacted past wounding within relationships in recent months, while also coming into deeper attunement with how to relate to old narratives in new ways and work toward shifting their influence within present relational dynamics going forward. There may be pain that necessarily must be felt as emotive material reemerges into awareness from hidden depths. The region of Arcadia as the setting for this version of Demeter’s story is fascinating due to it not only being a wild, uncivilized, and liminal landscape, but also that it is the birthplace of liminal deities such as Hermes and Pan who serve in roles of shepherding us through dark nights of the soul as well as putting us back in touch with the primal eros we may recover from within.

The Arcadian region was also the source of the River Styx according to Herodotus, one of the rivers of Hades whose flowing water consecrated oaths that even the gods themselves had to swear by. Hesiod in fact named Oath as the most severe of the children of Strife (Eris), “who, more than any other, brings pains on mortals who of their own accord swear false oaths.” The pain of past betrayals and broken oaths may reemerge with the activation of Pluto and Ceres with the Cancer Full Moon, yet due to the sextile between the lunation with Ceres and the alignment of Ceres with the transiting North Node of the Moon, there is potential for a new relationship with memories of broken trust to emerge from the dissolution of emotional release. Time may need to be spent within the cave of Ceres to grieve, yet through the shedding and purgation of old emotions we may come into deeper contact with the renewed sense of vitality waiting to emerge from within.

Crystal Gradation by Paul Klee

The quality of time surrounding the Cancer Full Moon will be saturated with the confounding presence of Uranus in all of its wide ranging, revelatory disruption. Uranus will station direct one day after the lunation on January 18 at 10º49′ Taurus, intensifying the impact of Uranus within our daily interactions and world events. With Venus retrograde in Capricorn also having an intensified presence due to reappearing in visibility as a heliacal rising Morning Star, the flowing trine aspect between Uranus with Venus can lead to unexpected insights emerging that may feel uncomfortable or painful at first, but ultimately lead to important awareness of underlying relational patterns we are in the process of reshaping through the retrograde journey of Venus. During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, Venus will station direct on January 29 at 11°05’ Capricorn a couple days before the New Moon in Aquarius on January 31. Whatever relational issues erupt around the period of the Cancer Full Moon will need to continue to be processed as Venus completes her retrograde journey and then slowly begins moving forward again, but the impact of Uranus stationing at the same time may make them take on an accelerated intensity.

In addition to Uranus having an intensified presence during the time period of the Cancer Full Moon, Mercury does so as well as Mercury stationed retrograde in Aquarius a few days before the lunation on January 14. In addition, Mercury stationed retrograde in range of an extremely close square aspect with Uranus as well as only a few degrees away from Saturn in Aquarius, thereby setting off the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus. As a result, the Cancer Full Moon will bring illumination to deep emotional patterns related not only to Pluto and the present Venus retrograde phase, but also the ways in which we have been coming to terms over the course of the past year with the ways our own desires for personal liberation and structural change have been interfacing with titanic disruptions to societal systems. Read my article on Mercury retrograde here for more information about how the Cancer Full Moon relates to the stationing of Mercury and the forthcoming retrograde phase of Mercury that will extend through the duration of the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the Four of Cups image we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree considering three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground. While the figure appears be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice, a fourth cup has become magically offered by an otherworldly hand. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Four of Cups “is a complex card, because it evokes opposing states: scarcity vs. surplus, temptation vs. apathy.” Chang further pondered that if the image evokes the refusal of the call of the Hero’s Journey (see Joseph Campbell), it may also contain the hidden polarity of the call itself. Chang wrote that the Four of Cups represents the “restlessness” that comes after satisfying the pursuit of a new interest and while it could correlate with states of boredom, it can also be seen as an invitation. Chang advised listening “to those dissatisfied voices till they quiet down: they will tell you what is not leading you toward purpose and fulfillment,” and thus through “process of elimination,” we may attune to another inner voice prompting us to consider what we would do if we “could do anything in the world?”

Ruled by the Moon and Jupiter, the third decan of Cancer is a face in which we must come to terms with available resources and questions of our fair share and how much is enough. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Facesgave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others.” Coppock noted that the ascetic air of the figure in the Four of Cups refusing to accept more than he needs reflects having awareness of the “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.”  Yet in the way the figure also appears to be conjuring the magical fourth cup, Coppock declared that the third face of Cancer also involves the spiritual dimension of abundance and luxury,  the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,”  and the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things.”

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the goddess Hekate with the third face of Cancer. Hekate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations. The connection of Hekate with this face in the 36 Airs also reveals the chthonic fertility of the third decan of Cancer and its capacity to help guide us toward manifesting and receiving what we need to survive. Hekate’s presence in this face also points to the need of cultivating faith in the unknown; just like she guided the grieving Demeter toward the next step she needed to take within her journey of finding her lost daughter Persephone, so may Hekate’s presence in this decan do the same for us.

Due to the Moon ruling the third face of Cancer, the Full Moon taking place within this decan takes on amplified potency related to the imagery and themes of this decan. May the emotional content it unleashes be received with the wisdom of Hekate, mediated with her inner knowing which can surely guide us through liminal spaces into the choice we need to make at the crossroads intersecting with our present path.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Hesiod. (2004). Theogony, Works and Days, Shield. Second edition. Translated by Apostolos N. Athanassakis. The John Hopkins University Press.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn

by Barbara Crane

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn

“The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves . . .

This internal requirement toward excellence which we learn from the erotic must not be misconstrued as demanding the impossible from ourselves nor from others. Such a demand incapacitates everyone in the process. For the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness.”

Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Mercury dwells in the realm of being in between; in between thought and expression, in between the known and unknown, in between the tension of polarized options, in between shifts of identity and the transitions that change storylines. While Mercury is always interpreting the constantly changing relationships between inner and outer worlds, the star of Hermes takes on an intensified role of threshold guardian while retrograde, helping us translate the churning of chaotic internal reshaping into external growth and the reordering of life structures. The sense of catharsis and renewal we may experience over the course of Mercury being retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn during January 2022 will be more extreme than normal, as it will be occurring during the same time that Venus will be drawing her forty-one-day retrograde journey to a close. As Venus has been inviting us to uproot relational issues and buried desires since she stationed retrograde on December 19, we may utilize the retrograde phase of Mercury for discerning how to infuse the regeneration of values, self-worth, and eros we have been experiencing during the retrograde phase of Venus into a re-evaluation of our presence within relationships as well as the purpose we wish to pursue through our work in the world.

Mercury will station retrograde on January 14, embarking upon a three-week journey in which the star of Hermes will backtrack from 10°20’ Aquarius until stationing direct at 24°23’ Capricorn on February 3. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from twenty-four degrees of Capricorn to eleven degrees of Aquarius, they will excavate material in need of deeper engagement, bringing opportunities for insight that can catalyze significant growth and foster breaking out of stagnant routines and stuck patterns. As part of the process, however, we may need to return to longstanding issues in need of release, reworking, or reintegration. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification that will be especially intense leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun on January 23, we may experience renewal on the other side as Mercury returns to forward motion in the beginning of February. Mercury first crossed 24°23’ Capricorn on December 29 and will not move beyond 10°20’ Aquarius until February 23, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

When Mercury stations retrograde on January 14, the star of Hermes will be directly interfacing with the longstanding square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus that was the predominant astrological theme of 2021 and will continue to be so during 2022. Mercury will station less than three degrees away from Saturn, while engaging in a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus while Uranus is simultaneously stationing direct. As we have collectively been dealing with the tension between Saturn and Uranus for over a year now, all of us in one way or another have had to be coming to terms with the ways our own desires for personal liberation and structural change have been interfacing with titanic disruptions to societal systems. Though much in the external world may be beyond our control, and difficult collective events may make one feel powerless in the face of larger waves of adversity, we may use the skillset of Mercury moving retrograde within signs of Saturn to reject and remove ourselves from situations out of our integrity that do not fulfill our inner desires.

Mercury’s protean, shapeshifting nature takes on the qualities of planets it is nearby, and so the contemplation and patient discipline of Saturn will be wed to Mercury at the same time that the influence of Uranus stationing will be inciting openness to invention and visionary change. In the airy, intellectual sign of Aquarius, the influence of Saturn with Mercury retrograde will call us to confront whatever philosophical, psychological, or spiritual frameworks we have been perceiving and acting from, testing us to see where we have been deluding ourselves or where we need to apply greater concentration of critical thought and analysis. The clash from Saturn with Uranus is a call from the unknown to the known, and there is no better ally at such a crossroads than Mercury, whose quicksilver caduceus can transmit unexpected messages for bridging the impasse from the way things have been into a more fully creative path forward. The airy environment of Aquarius will accentuate the capacity of Mercury for analyzing whatever needs to be reconsidered while opening awareness to surprising twists of storylines that may lead us to explore ways of embracing unknown potential while lessening our grip on known sources of security that have become stagnant.

Électricité (1931) by Man Ray

“Mercury reveals an inner realm of things without depriving them of their concreteness… The most common mode of interpretation, in some circles the only way, is to dissect and analyze, freezing the components of an insight into brittle pieces which are then easy to manipulate. But the crafty sleight-of-hand of Mercury interprets without killing, transforming our view of one image through another…  Since interpretation consists chiefly in discovering new images among the old, the surprise Mercury brings is a new image or a new idea, a gift from the cunning god who knows how to stir the soul . . .

In Mercury, words are like crystals whose facets are revealed in their turning, in the various perspectives brought upon them. Whatever keeps our ideas and fantasies turning and shifting, eluding our rational grasp and defying conclusive definition, is Mercurial. When we are the deft, interpretive, eloquent secretaries of our own actions and ideas, then we are Mercury; for then we interpret our own minds.”

Thomas Moore, Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino

Mercury moves in between states of night and day during its retrograde, beginning as an Evening Star in twilight and ending as a Morning Star at dawn. During its retrograde that will involve a border crossing in between Aquarius and Capricorn, Mercury will also be moving in between the elements of air and earth. While Aquarius and Capricorn are both domiciles of Saturn and signs which promote measured contemplation from Mercury, their elemental natures of air and earth are completely dissimilar in quality. The flexible and restless nature of the air element will be emphasized while Mercury moves backwards through Aquarius, accentuating our ability to bring new perspectives together through our many relationships while discovering how to change stagnant thought patterns. In contrast, once Mercury shifts into the earthy sign of Capricorn on January 25, the constructive and pragmatic nature of the earth element will be more emphasized as we realize ways to restructure our material circumstances to support the new creative directions we will be coming into relationship with.

Mercury bridging the air and earth elements through its retrograde journey will be a major astrological theme of 2022, as it is a year that bridges the elemental years of Mercury being retrograde in air and earth signs. In 2021, Mercury was retrograde in air signs, while in 2023 Mercury will be retrograde in earth signs; as a result, 2022 is a transitional year in which Mercury will spend the majority of its retrograde passage in the three air signs while ending each of its retrograde passages in earth signs. Mercury bridging the elements of air and earth can be helpful for organizing the airy revelations received by Mercury into solid forms of manifestation, facilitating important distinctions that can help us adjust our personal boundaries and organization so that we may cultivate greater agency and authority in navigating the ways in which larger societal structures are shifting.

In between Mercury’s disappearance from the evening sky and reappearance in the morning sky, the star of Hermes moves backwards through an invisible phase in which it takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding us through a liminal, underworld journey. Gary Caton in Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year linked the blackening and putrefaction of the nigredo alchemical process with the initial stationing phase of Mercury retrograde, as Mercury shepherds us through a dark night of the soul. Caton wrote that the connection between the initial descent of Mercury retrograde with the nigredo process calls us “to purge the body, the psyche, and the life of extraneous or ‘dead weight’ in order to free up energy for future growth” during the beginning phase of Mercury retrograde.

Soon after Mercury stations retrograde and descends into the underworld in order to psychopomp and shepherd us through an underworld journey of renewal and regeneration, there will be a propulsive Full Moon in Cancer on January 17 that will form an opposition with Pluto at the same time that Uranus is stationing direct in Taurus on January 18.  As Venus began her retrograde phase in union with Pluto on December 19, the Cancer Full Moon will bring emotional release as well as insight through coming into deeper awareness of the emotional material passing through us. Fascinatingly, just as Mercury is entering its invisible underworld phase of disappearing from the sky as an Evening Star, Venus will be emerging into visibility as a Morning Star. Moreover, the lightning strikes of Uranus will be directly infused into Venus, as Venus will be receiving Uranus through a flowing trine aspect as the impact of Uranus becomes intensified through its stationing. Thus, just as the Cancer Full Moon will spotlight important revelations regarding relational patterns and our inner values that Venus has been intensifying during her retrograde journey, Mercury will be guiding us to apply our emerging sense of eros into a re-examination of our perceptual framework and what needs to be shed and released in order to make space for new ideas and creative directions to take root.

Magnolia Blossom (1925) by Immogen Cunningham

In the Heart of the Sun

“The dichotomy between the spiritual and the political is also false, resulting from an incomplete attention to our erotic knowledge. For the bridge which connects them is formed by the erotic – the sensual – those physical, emotional, and psychic expressions of what is deepest and strongest and richest within each of us, being shared: the passions of love, in its deepest meanings.

Beyond the superficial, the considered phrase, “It feels right to me,” acknowledges the strength of the erotic into a true knowledge, for what that means is the first and most powerful guiding light toward any understanding. And understanding is a handmaiden which can only wait upon, or clarify, that knowledge, deeply born. The erotic is the nurturer or nursemaid of all our deepest knowledge.”

Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on January 23 at 3°23’ Aquarius. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible Morning Star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

At the same time Mercury is entering the heart of the Sun in the middle of its underworld journey, Venus will be slowing down in order to station direct less than a week later on January 29. Though Venus will still be retrograde when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun, she will no longer be invisible in the underworld and will instead be burning brilliantly in the misty pre-dawn sky as a Morning Star. By deepening into awareness of our inner nature and the ways in which the Venus retrograde phase has been putting us into contact with emerging desires while laying to rest old desires, we may accentuate our ability to have new avenues of creative development reseeded by the union of Mercury with the Sun. Furthermore, as the union of Mercury with the Sun in the first few degrees of Aquarius is close the great conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, 2020 at 00°29′ Aquarius, there is an opportunity to re-attune with the vast wave of epochal change that began reshaping global dynamics and systemic structures on radical levels a year ago.

Unmade Bed by Immogen Cunningham

Stationing with Pluto

“When we live outside ourselves, and by that I mean on external directives only rather than from our internal knowledge and needs, when we live away from those erotic guides from within ourselves, then our lives are limited by external and alien forms, and we conform to the needs of a structure that is not based on human need, let alone an individual’s. But when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to ourselves in the deepest sense. For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness which so often seems like their only alternative in our society. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within.”

Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Mercury will return to Capricorn on January 25 and then apply to a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 28 at 26°52’ Capricorn. Vitally, the re-entrance of Mercury into Capricorn will be synced with the stationing direct of Venus at 11°05’ Capricorn on January 29. The close contact between Mercury with Pluto will put us in contact with material from our inner depths, ways in which we have felt powerless, way in which we desire to feel powerful, and the complexity of information and knowledge concealed within the shadows cast by both. Although the archetype of Venus will become intensely present within our lives as the star of Aphrodite stations direct removed from Pluto within the sign of Capricorn, the proximity between Mercury with Pluto will bring to mind the deep-seated relational patterns that the opening phase of Venus retrograde brought us into contact with at the end of December 2021 when Venus was in close contact with Pluto. We may find new ways of relating with old patterns, discovering ways our memories of past storylines and relationships may transfigure into new ways of understanding that allow more space for new relational patterns and storylines to take shape in greater accordance with our emerging sense of values and eros.

Mercury will station direct on February 3 at 24°23’ Capricorn in close proximity with Pluto, and then slowly shift forward into a final conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on February 11 at 27°17’ Capricorn. Mercury will remain in Capricorn until February 14, creating an extended period from January 25 through February 14 during which Mercury will be in Capricorn in close contact with Pluto dredging up deep material to explore from our innermost recesses. The direct station and shift into forward momentum of Mercury in Capricorn will occur at the same time that Mars will be approaching a conjunction with Venus in the red planet’s exaltation in Capricorn. As a result, the first couple weeks of February will be an opportune time to find ways of integrating the ways the combination of both Venus and Mercury stationing direct in Capricorn has not only allowed for deeper attunement with our inner nature but has also facilitated new possibilities for future growth and development we can begin to implement and work toward.

Just after Mercury returns to Aquarius on February 14, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on February 16, speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. Crucially, at the same time that Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star on February 16, Venus and Mars will unite at 16°53’ Capricorn. Since conjunctions of Mars and Venus initiate us into processes of rediscovering what we want in relationship, as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves, the acceleration of Mercury in speed can help us make external progress and construct external forms sourced from the deep cauldron of change that has been brewing within the sign of Capricorn for months.

As Audre Lorde in Uses of the Erotic wrote that “the lack of concern for the erotic root and satisfaction of our work is felt in our disaffection from so much of what we do,” may the stationing direct of Mercury and Venus in Capricorn help us remember the primal force of our inner eros, finding ways to fully feel the pleasure of our presence through our work and relationships within the greater world.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

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

Lorde, Audre. (1984, 2007). Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press.

Moore, Thomas. (1990). The Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino. Lindisfarne Press.

ISAR 2022

I will be speaking at the upcoming ISAR 2022 Astrology Conference that will be held from August 25 – 29, 2022 in Westminster, Colorado. This will be the largest astrological gathering of 2022. There is currently a discounted registration rate that will end on January 15, so if you are interested in attending and wish to register at the lowest rate possible you will want to do so as soon as possible.

Click the link here to see a list of the exemplary group of astrologers who will be speaking at teaching during the conference.

Click the link here for registration information.

I was selected to speak as part of the “Mythology and Archetypes” track of speakers. My talk will be entitled “Eros, Necessity, and Creative Thresholds” and will be taking place on Friday, August 26 at 9 am. Here’s the description:

Clients seek astrological consultations when feeling they are at a threshold of moving into a more authentically creative life, yet simultaneously frustrated over facing resistance.This talk will utilize mythic stories of Eros, Necessity, threshold guardians, crossroads, and liminal initiations to imaginatively explore ways astrological symbolism can help in validating and empowering inner visions. How can astrology help when feeling stuck at the precipice of pursuing a more vibrantly soulful calling?

I hope to see you there!

Capricorn New Moon

Nereid riding a Sea Goat, Greek bronze from 4th Century B.C.

Capricorn New Moon

Though the beginning of every lunar cycle is a cyclical cusp of renewal to cross, the New Moon in Capricorn on January 2 is more transitional than normal as it will announce the beginning of a new year as well as new cycles with both the Moon and Venus. The threshold guardian Janus with his two faces simultaneously looking forwards and backwards will be strongly felt within the darkness of the lunation, as old memories and patterns will become deeply felt at the same time that new desires for future growth contend with the familiarity of the past. The presence of Pluto has been radically reshaping the landscape of Capricorn ever since 2008, with the more recent alignment of Saturn, Jupiter, and the South Node of the Moon with Pluto during 2020 bringing about a total reshaping of global civilization at the same time we experienced our own individual transfiguration. With Venus presently retrograde in Capricorn and applying toward a conjunction with the Capricorn New Moon, there will be a need to embrace nonlinear perceptions and feelings, reaching back into the depths of our past at the same time as we envision a more authentically creative direction forward.

The dark forests and alpine terrain of Capricorn encourages the development of strategies to deal with the challenges of life as well as the mental fortitude to bear suffering while persevering toward goals. Yet its living image of the Sea Goat speaks to the more complex capacities of Capricorn for entering the dissolution of chaotic processes at the heart of creation, as the Sea Goat’s watery tail can draw vision from imaginal sources that bring about a necessary renewal and reordering of material being reshaped on the dry land of everyday life. The strength of Capricorn for constructing effective boundaries can be utilized for creating space to deepen into a letting go of old forms of identity and security, allowing whatever wild off shoots from inner fertility need to emerge. Due to the interplay between the lunation with the present state of Venus retrograde in Capricorn, it will be necessary to accept the mystery of present emotions and events rather than insisting on gaining certainty or a quick fix. Venus has much more to reveal in the coming weeks.

Venus stationed retrograde within close range of Pluto on December 19, forming her second conjunction with Pluto within two weeks on December 25. Since then Venus has been slowly moving away from Pluto and towards the flames of the Sun, intensifying the presence of the star of Aphrodite in our lives. You may be simultaneously experiencing inner desires lit by the approaching heat of the Sun while also undergoing a purgation of what needs to be burned off from the past. Venus is still only three degrees away from Pluto during the Capricorn New Moon, and so while Venus may still be hearing the chthonic siren songs of underworld desires within the darkness of the lunation, her approaching union with the Sun on January 8 will demarcate a slow shift away from the pull of old relational patterns stirred up by her close proximity with Pluto. During the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, the sensual sultriness and inner wildness of Capricorn will be available to explore as part of coming into relationship with the new desires and values that we will be continuing to develop in the months ahead.

The Capricorn New Moon is closely separating from an invigorating trine aspect with Uranus retrograde in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Neptune in Pisces and a conjunction with Venus and Pluto in Capricorn; these aspects amplify the breakthrough quality of the lunation, whether in relation to old memories and patterns or becoming more deeply stirred by present desires emerging. The harmonious aspect between the Capricorn New Moon with Neptune can facilitate imaginative engagement with the flux of desires, using the felt sense of images, films, music, and other artistic or creative processes to deepen into awareness of what needs to be let go from the past to clear space for new growth to take root. The strange, magical quality of time that can be experienced during Venus retrograde will be bringing opportunities to make foundational alterations in your relationship with Capricorn, eventually bringing awareness for how to claim greater authority and agency in creatively reshaping your direction in the year ahead. Yet within the coming weeks we may first need to confront the challenges to our future growth lurking within the shadows, necessitating a descent into whatever material within our interior depths needs our attention.

The Sibyl and a Child Bearing a Torch (1520-40) unknown artist after Ugo da Carpi

Less than a week after the Capricorn New Moon on January 8 we will experience a rebirth of Venus, as she will be reanimated by her union with the Sun at 18º43′ Capricorn. Demetra George in Ancient Astrology wrote that “the protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations,” symbolizing the felt sense of mystery and revelation that may be felt when the Sun and Venus come together. Venus will be enthroned within solar light, bringing about a purification that can help in receiving greater clarity regarding the inner metamorphosis of Venus that has been in process. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon the placement of 18º43′ Capricorn in your natal chart to gain a sense of what areas of your life may be especially impacted by the renewal of Venus on January 8.

The inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on January 8 demarcates the shift from Venus away from being in her Evening Star phase into entering her Morning Star phase. Her inferior conjunction also places Venus upon one point of the five pointed star pattern that Venus forms within the five inferior conjunctions she forms every eight years while retrograde in between our orbit with the Sun, as well as within the five superior conjunctions she forms every eight years while moving direct on the other side of our orbit around the Sun. The nonlinear nature of the solar conjunctions formed by Venus can often resurrect memories and patterns associated with the stories taking shape in our lives during previous alignments of Venus with the Sun. For example, it will be helpful to reflect upon whatever storylines were taking shape when the present Evening Star phase of Venus was seeded at the superior conjunction of Venus on March 25, 2021 at 5º50’ Aries; these storylines in particular will be experiencing significant developments. It will also be important to contemplate the storylines taking shape during the previous inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on June 3, 2020 at 13º35’ Gemini, as this was the last time that Venus united with the Sun while retrograde. The last time there was a conjunction of Venus with the Sun in Capricorn was the superior conjunction of Venus on January 8, 2018 at 18º57’ Capricorn; this solar conjunction was additionally relevant due to it occurring near Pluto. Moreover, the last time that Venus was retrograde and conjoining the Sun in Capricorn was eight years ago on January 11, 2014 at 21º11’ Capricorn; this previous Venus retrograde phase in Capricorn was additionally significant due to Venus stationing direct while forming a conjunction with Pluto on January 31, 2014.

Fortunately, the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on January 8 is taking place within a section of Capricorn that pleases Venus: her own bounds. The bounds or terms of each zodiacal sign are sections in which planets have greater agency to express their nature even if they are not the domicile ruler of the sign. For example, Demetra George has compared a planet being in its own bounds to being like a classroom that the planet can manage within the larger context of the zodiacal sign. Since Venus has her bounds from fourteen to twenty-two degrees of Capricorn, she will begin operating from her own terms beginning on January 3 and will remain within her own terms until January 17. The presence of Venus within her own bounds during her inferior conjunction as well as the surrounding time period will enhance our capacity for deepening into whatever changes in our values and desires are taking shape and being able to experience the pleasures of Venus in the process.

The deep alterations to inner values we experience on personal levels will be taking place within a larger context of disruptive societal change due to the final exact square aspect that formed between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus on December 23. Indeed, Saturn in Aquarius rules the New Moon in Capricorn while beginning to separate from its exact square aspect with Uranus. Due to the recent entrance of Jupiter into Pisces, Saturn will no longer be sharing space with the cohering and uplifting presence of Jupiter. Instead, Saturn will be sharing space with Mercury in the coming weeks. Mercury recently entered the sign of Aquarius on January 1 within his curiously explorative Morning Star phase, full of questions and new ideas to develop that can be strengthened and deepened by the influence from Saturn.

During the end of the previous lunar cycle, Mercury swiftly moved through the end of Capricorn and formed conjunctions with Venus retrograde on December 29 and Pluto on December 30, picking up important messages and insights regarding our experience of the present Venus retrograde phase. With Mercury in Aquarius along with Saturn and applying toward a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, the star of Hermes will be in position to help us adjust our inner changes taking shape in correspondence with the larger shifts erupting in the surrounding world. Mercury and Saturn together in Aquarius can be extremely effective in the development of intellectual research and ideas, and so it will be worthwhile to create space for focused work on projects, with the influence from Uranus enhancing our capacity for being experimental with new approaches that can lead to revelatory insights.

3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The Capricorn New Moon will emerge within the second decan of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork in stone. There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display. Fittingly, Mars and Venus are the co-rulers of the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort bonded with artistic vision. With the inferior conjunction of Venus on January 8 also occurring within the second decan of Capricorn, the visionary blueprints of this decan are in the process of experiencing major renovations.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, noting it is a place where sublime works of material manifestation are completed. Coppock described this face as showing “visions of what might be wrought upon the earth, blueprints as a type of revelation.” There is not only a necessity for blueprints but also disciplined, hard work in collaboration with numerous resources in order to complete the grand visions that emerge in this face. Coppock wrote that while it is necessary to bind effort to accomplishing ambitious goals, he also cautioned to take care in the “enduring consequences” created by becoming consumed by the creation of a grand magnum opus. Images in both the Picatrix as well as Three Occult Books of Philosophy speak to this face inspiring a search for what cannot be known and seeking what cannot be done, leading Coppock to note the importance of finding a balance between having enough ambition to envision worthy goals while refraining from the kind of hubris that can envision “impossible or ill fated projects.”

Thus with the Capricorn New Moon on January 2 and the inferior conjunction of Venus on January 8 both taking place within the second face of Capricorn, we can explore if we need to release ourselves from past ambitious goals that are no longer aligned with the emerging values we are coming into relationship with. The revelations from the retrograde phase of Venus may also bring realization that continuing to purse a particular vision will make you complicit in a pyramidal hierarchy of power you no longer wish to be involved with. While some may link the symbol of pyramids with problematic hierarchies, pyramids were also associated in ancient Egyptian culture with creation itself, as they represented the mounds of earth that would arise out of the fertility of water. Within the darkness of the New Moon in Capricorn, let the Sea Goat of Capricorn lead you into the depths of your inner fertility in order to contact the vibrant visions ready to emerge through your work and planning in the year ahead.

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References

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

Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces

Jupiter in Pisces Vija Celmins

ocean image by Vija Celmins; astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Jupiter in Pisces

Like the nine muses who dance with pounding feet around violet-stained springs to awaken desire, the transit of Jupiter in Pisces during 2022 will give life to imaginal visions and elevate idealistic inspiration. Pisces is the oceanic home of Jupiter where the star of Zeus can directly express its gifts for synthesis, shaping, ordering, nourishing, expanding, creating, and sustaining faith in the unknown. During a time of unprecedented collective crises and a year bearing extremely volatile astrological themes involving the ongoing tension between Saturn and Uranus, the presence of Jupiter in Pisces will deliver moments of epiphany that cohere greater understanding within our experiences while also planting seeds of revelatory ideas that may blossom in the decade ahead. 

The mystical and otherworldly Neptune awaits Jupiter underneath the waves of Pisces, promising that Jupiter will expand the dissolution of old forms, bringing about a reshaping and reordering of values, perspectives, and beliefs through a disintegrative process. We will need to be mindful of the ways Neptune combined with Jupiter can lead us astray through illusion, escapism, and intoxication, influencing us to be unfocused on mundane responsibilities that need our attention. Although we will need to keep in mind the potential for deluding ourselves when hearing their call from the far-off sea, following the siren songs of Jupiter and Neptune can also reveal insight that unites diverse perspectives and traditions.  Just like the muses as daughters of Mnemosyne and Zeus share truths that cannot be forgotten, so may Jupiter in Pisces retrieve essential meaning that will emerge from the dissolution brought forth by Neptune and stand the test of time. 

Jupiter will return to its watery home of Pisces on December 28, 2021 after previously occupying Pisces from May 13 until July 28, 2021. Jupiter will then swiftly sail through its oceanic domicile in less than five months, entering Aries on May 10, 2022. After an initial foray into Aries, Jupiter will come back home to Pisces on October 28, 2022 for a sojourn until leaving Pisces for a final time on December 20, 2022. The pivotal conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune will take place on April 12, 2022 at twenty-four degrees of Pisces, with the influence of Neptune upon Jupiter intensifying once Jupiter moves within fifteen degrees of Neptune on January 27. Jupiter will remain within fifteen degrees of Neptune for the rest of 2022 (ending the year within nine degrees of Neptune), creating a lingering effect from their conjunction that will last well beyond their April meeting.

blue grotto

Blue Grotto (Capri Island, Italy) Detroit Publishing Co., ca. 1890

Pisces is the nocturnal home of Jupiter, an aquatic landscape of gushing springs and expansive seas that accentuates the fertile life force of Jupiter. Although the reputation Jupiter has in astrology for being the “great benefic” does not mean that transits from Jupiter always bring positively joyful experiences, it is important that significations of Jupiter involve relief from troubles, generosity, charity, growth, abundance, elevation, truth, reverence, affirmation, and coherence. Since Pisces is Jupiter’s home it can fully express its beneficial significations, with the moist mutability of Pisces amplifying the capacity of Jupiter for synthesizing meaning, distilling wisdom, and generating new mixtures of ideas. For example, a list of famous Jupiter in Pisces natives includes Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Kepler, Freud, Darwin, Nietszche, Goethe, and Rousseau. The brilliance of Jupiter in Pisces may also be heard in the music of Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder, the writing of Edgar Allen Poe, JRR Tolkien, Louisa May Alcott, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Arthur Miller, as well as in the art of Paul Klee, Max Ernst, and John Singer Sargent.

Indeed, the inwardly directed nature of Pisces allows for extraordinary insight and inspiration to be found through exploration of our boundless inner realms. In contrast to Sagittarius, the fiery domicile of Jupiter where it swiftly gallops with outward enthusiasm, the nocturnal water of Pisces slows down the pace of Jupiter and invites inward exploration that can enable us to sink into embodiment of our soulful essence. The waves of Jupiter in Pisces can wash over and weave in between the places where we have been fragmented, coalescing a presence that can bring together parts of our inner multiplicity that have become disconnected. By taking our time and acting with the flow of surrounding natural cycles rather than trying to force things to happen, Jupiter in Pisces can create an experience of abundance that allows us to feel more expansive with less by aligning us with our authentic nature and values.

Yet with the dissolving whirlpool of Neptune present with Jupiter in Pisces, the coherence we gain through Jupiter will be important to question. The combination of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces will necessitate a descent into the dissolution of our previous beliefs, embodying the essence that will eventually coagulate out of the disintegrating stirring of our inner life. There will be a need to embrace nonlinear processes rather than insisting on linear progress, as we may need to pass through a disorienting phase of fluidity before we are able to differentiate and clarify the deeper meaning we receive. Liz Greene has taught that while Jupiter seeks personal meaning that helps cohere understanding for how our personal lives are meaningful within a larger context, Neptune is the antithesis of personal enrichment due to it revealing our sense of egoic control as being a fantasy that we need to transcend or release (1).

Within Irish folklore, the concept of “seachran si” or “fairy straying” is interesting to consider in terms of the disorientation and disillusionment that can occur under the influence of Neptune. When under the spell of fairy straying, wayfarers become confused while journeying across liminal landscapes as they experience a sudden shift into the strange and unfamiliar. An impassable fog or mist may obsfucate their view of the path ahead, or a river may block all forward progress no matter which way they turn. In this way Neptune can function like the Otherworld of fairy as all familiar reference points dissolve, forcing an interfacing with the indeterminate. Interestingly, a remediation from Irish folklore concerns turning your coat or clothes inside out in order to counterbalance the enchantment (2). Similarly, we may need to take on the inverted stance of the Hanged Man arcanum from tarot, allowing our perspective to be turned inside out while navigating the waves of Jupiter and Neptune.

As a result, the disorientation and disillusionment that can occur under the influence of Jupiter and Neptune must be kept in mind while also remembering their capacity for fostering hopes and aspirations that go beyond the conditioning of past identities and beliefs. Dane Rudhyar wrote that a key issue with Jupiter is the tendency for people to seek success through conformity with the expectations and rules of the present power structures, whereas the influence of Neptune may render a future form we may seek which transcends the problematic and oppressive aspects of the dominant cultures we live within. However, Rudhyar also noted that the confusion that can accompany taking a visionary step forward can also create a regressive pull in many toward the security of familiar institutions and beliefs. Nonetheless, Rudhyar stressed that it can be the accumulation of smaller changes within our relationships that occur in correspondence with the merging of Jupiter and Neptune that later allow for the greater revolutionary events in the wider world to materialize (3).

Fish Magic by  Paul Klee

Fish Magic (1925) by Paul Klee, born with Jupiter in Pisces

“To use the world well, to be able to stop wasting it and our time in it, we need to relearn our being in it . . .

Relationship among all things appears to be complex and reciprocal — always at least two-way, back-and-forth. It seems that nothing is single in this universe, and nothing goes one way.

In this view, we humans appear as particularly lively, intense, aware nodes of relation in an infinite network of connections, simple or complicated, direct or hidden, strong or delicate, temporary or very long-lasting. A web of connections, infinite but locally fragile, with and among everything — all beings — including what we generally class as things, objects . . .

I guess I’m trying to subjectify the universe, because look where objectifying it has gotten us. To subjectify is not necessarily to co-opt, colonize, exploit. Rather it may involve a great reach outward of the mind and imagination.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin from Late in the Day (published in 2015 with Jupiter in Virgo opposite Neptune in Pisces and square Saturn in Sagittarius)

Jupiter and Neptune Cycle

Although unions between Jupiter and Neptune can open awareness beyond the usual limits of material reality, their cycle in mundane astrology is one of the most orderly and consistent. In fact, the Jupiter and Neptune cycle stands out from all others as it occurs in a successive order of zodiac signs, typically moving from one sign to the next with an occasional repeat of a sign. For example, the 1958 conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune was in Scorpio, the 1971 conjunction was in Sagittarius, the 1984 conjunction was in the beginning of Capricorn, the 1997 conjunction was at the end of Capricorn, and the 2009 conjunction was in Aquarius. It takes Jupiter and Neptune approximately 166 years to move through their entire cycle, forming conjunctions with each other every thirteen years or so. Since Neptune was discovered in 1846, the first conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune to occur following Neptune’s discovery was their union on March 17, 1856 at nineteen degrees of Pisces. Thus the conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune on April 12, 2022 will demarcate the first time that humanity has experienced the full cycle of Jupiter and Neptune forming conjunctions in every sign of the zodiac sequentially since becoming aware of the existence of Neptune.

It’s further important to realize that the last three conjunctions between Jupiter and Neptune have occurred in signs ruled by Saturn, with the 2022 conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune occurring within a recent astrological period dominated by Saturn. Indeed, the visionary potential of Jupiter uniting with Neptune in Pisces will follow the new cycles initiated between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto in 2020 that correlated with the onset of a global pandemic, the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius at the end of 2020 that established a volatile new era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting within the air triplicity, and the waning square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus that has coincided with rapid innovations and sudden collapses across society in 2021 and will continue to do so in 2022. We are at the beginning of a two hundred year era of air involving rapid dispersal of previously solid power structures and dynamics, with Saturn in the middle of transits bringing a radical reordering of boundaries. Though the ideas we generate from Jupiter and Neptune conjoining will have to face the reality tests of Saturn, their union will be taking place removed from the restrictions of Saturn in astrological terrain where both Jupiter and Neptune possess maximum capacity for visioning creative potential.

Furthermore, there is a harmonious sextile aspect between 23º58’ Pisces where Jupiter and Neptune will unite in 2022 and 22º46’ Capricorn where Saturn and Pluto formed their massively influential conjunction in 2020. The union between Jupiter and Neptune having a supportive aspect with the union between Saturn and Pluto suggests that the inspiring vision of Jupiter and Neptune can provide a counterbalance to the difficult despair brought by Saturn and Pluto, helping to nurture new dreams and ways of recovering from the setbacks and resets brought by the pandemic. Though the astrology of 2022 suggests that there will continue to be numerous collective crises to contend with, the union of Jupiter and Neptune can provide moments of relief in which significant new ideas and sources of inspiration may be found within surrounding challenges.

In many ways the meaning of the Jupiter and Neptune cycle is diametrically opposed to the meaning of the Saturn and Pluto cycle. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described Saturn and Pluto as aligning with “conservative empowerment” and “eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression” (4). In contrast, Andre Barbault wrote that conjunctions between Jupiter and Neptune emphasize “unified collective global power” and a “collective liberal order,” with “collective movements that have liberal democratic tendencies” favoring “universal moral values” (5). For example, women finally gained the right to vote in the United States of America through the 19th Amendment being ratified less than a month before the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction in Leo in 1919. Moreover, both the first and second world wars ended during periods of conjunctions between Jupiter and Neptune, with the League of Nations being formed following their conjunction in 1919 and the United Nations being fomed following their conjunction in Libra in 1945. It’s remarkable that both attempts during the 20th century to form governing bodies which brought world powers together on behalf of avoiding another world war occurred in exact alignment with Jupiter and Neptune. In fat, the ubiquitous peace symbol commonly used today was in invented in 1958 with Jupiter and Neptune within a few degrees from one another in Scorpio.

Barbault also stated that the unions of Jupiter and Neptune tend to bring “a swing to the left” with “democratic, socialist, or even more or less revolutionary” tendencies. There can thus be tension between the more revolutionary manifestations of Jupiter and Neptune with efforts by global powers to expand their influence and power. For example, while the League of Nations mandated the territories of Palestine and modern Iraq to the United Kingdom and Syria to France during the period of the 1919 conjunction, the Cuban revolution achieved victory following the conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in 1958 and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation was founded in 1983 with Jupiter and Neptune within fifteen degrees of one another in Sagittarius. Across the world there has often been an upsurge in strikes and protests on behalf of the labor movement and workers’ rights when Jupiter and Neptune come together. For example, the Coxey’s Army march of unemployed workers to Washington D.C. during the time of the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction in Gemini in 1894 was the first significant protest march in history upon the capital of the United States of America.

Concerning the most recent cycle of Jupiter and Neptune that began in 2009 in Aquarius, within the United States of America there was not only the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the first African American president in the nation’s history, there was also the landmark Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Obama that dramatically expanded healthcare coverage to the US populace. The ability of President Obama to lead congress in the passage of liberal legislation had a parallel to the election of Franklin Roosevelt to the presidency during a previous conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in 1932. Roosevelt became president during the initial stages of the Great Depression and was able to have his New Deal legislation passed to address the economic depression gripping the nation, bringing hope and increased opportunity to many during a bleak period. The push from the present Biden administration to pass legislation aimed at addressing the economic crises emanating from the pandemic is thus in line with past historical examples of the cycle.

Max Ernst

by Max Ernst, born with Jupiter in Pisces

Jupiter combined with Neptune in Pisces will also stimulate and galvanize new trends and imaginative forms of creative expression across diverse disciplines around the world. The last time that Jupiter and Neptune formed a conjunction in Pisces, the fashion and textile industries were revolutionized by the accidental discovery of the first synthetic organic dye by William Henry Perkin, who was trying to synthesize quinine for the treatment of malaria. Only eighteen years old when he discovered aniline purple, known today as mauveine, Perkin was primed for the impact of Jupiter and Neptune as he was born with a stellium of Mercury, Uranus, Venus, Mars, and the Sun in Pisces. Before Perkin’s discovery the only materials available for textile coloration came from plants or animals and involved long, laborious processes to extract color. Significantly, the brilliant purple hue revealed by Perkin had previously only been accessible to the wealthy. There was even an initial thought to name the dye Tyrian purple after the legendary coloring created from sea snails that was a signature of eminence in ancient cultures. After the discovery of mauveine, there was an immense wave of clothing and textiles dyed purple as the color became widely accessible for the first time in human history.

The thrill of wearing brilliant colors and the lift they can provide to the spirit corresponds with the imaginal potency that trends within art possess that emerge within the zeitgeist when Jupiter and Neptune form conjunctions. The archetypal mixture of Jupiter and Neptune brings together the expanding and elevating functions of Jupiter with the fantasizing functions of Neptune, kindling desire for fusion with transcendent sources of idealism that can temporarily remove us from the travails and limitations of mundane reality. In the 20th century there were numerous grandiose releases such as “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zepplin timed with their unions, as well as smaller moments that led to later epic releases such as The Quarrymen (later renamed The Beatles) paying for their first ever recording session. The crux becomes whether or not we become led to avoid our purpose in the world through Jupiter and Neptune, or whether we can drink from their enlivening well in order to instill a deeper sense of our destiny. For example, the virtual reality technologies likely to emerge within the new cycle between Jupiter and Neptune simultaneously have the potential to open new avenues of therapy and creativity as well as massive escape from reality.

Mid-Ocean-Mid-Winter John Singer Sargent

Mid-Ocean, Mid-Winter (1876) by John Singer Sargent, born with Jupiter in Pisces

The purpose and passion that can be uncovered beneath the waves of the oceanic unconscious when Jupiter and Neptune unite is exemplified by the publication of The Red Book: Liber Novus by Carl Jung during the period of their conjunction in Aquarius in 2009. A testament to the deep meaning that can be extracted from disorienting, disillusioning, and disintegrative experiences of the unconscious, the long-awaited publication of Jung’s personal odyssey has revolutionized not only the understanding of Jung’s work during the past cycle of Jupiter and Neptune, it has also expanded the potential meaning all of us can gain through encounters with the mystery of unconscious forces. The field of depth psychology has important links with the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, as the famous meeting between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud took place during the period of the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction in Cancer in 1907. Moreover, Sigmund Freud was born with both Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces.

Not only was Jung’s Red Book published during a period of Jupiter and Neptune conjoining, he was actively working on it and beginning to excavate insights regarding his unconscious process to share publicly during a previous period of Jupiter and Neptune uniting in Leo during 1919 and 1920. In a paper presented in 1919 on “The psychological foundations of the belief in spirits,” Jung distinguished between two ways the collective unconscious can become activated: as part of personal crises of lost hope and as part of extraordinary societal and cultural upheaval (6). This insight is crucial for everyone during 2022, but especially for those in the United States as the USA will be experiencing its first Pluto return at the same time the conjunction with Jupiter and Neptune will be forming an opposition to the natal Neptune for the USA. Jung’s revelation that suppressed cultural content can accumulate in the collective unconscious and erupt with disturbing, disorienting effects during times of societal turbulence points to the importance of differentiating oneself enough to explore what emerges within the unconscious and translate the meaning we may retrieve through dialogue and forms of creative expression.

Indeed, due to the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction in April occurring in the same time period as a conjunction between Mars and Saturn, as well as the final contact between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces at the end of 2022 occurring in range of a disruptive square aspect from Mars retrograde in Gemini, we can foresee that there will be difficult and tragic collective events occurring alongside whatever inspired experiences correlate with the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction. Yet while difficult collective and personal events may invoke the muse of tragedy, Melpomene, her melodious voice within the collective storms of 2022 can guide us in resiliently persevering through the challenges and inspiring others to do the same. In a time of widespread propaganda and conspiracy theories reminiscent of the themes involved in the dystopian novel 1984, it is fitting that not only was the author George Orwell born with Jupiter in Pisces but also that the famous commercial that introduced the Macintosh personal computer with imagery from the novel 1984 was broadcast at the same time as the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction in the year 1984. Though our personal technology devices point to how we give power away to those in power, Jupiter and Neptune coming together can also remind us of ways we can each take back and claim greater personal power from within.

Within the sweep of planetary alignments to come in the next few years, the conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces will interface with the disruptions to the status quo brought forth by the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus in 2021 and 2022. As Uranus forces open the gates and boundaries of Saturn, so will Neptune inspire flights of boundless imagination from Jupiter. The new visions unearthed will be key, for in 2024 we will experience a conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus in Taurus followed by a conjunction in 2026 between Saturn and Neptune in Aries at the first degree of Aries following a period of Saturn being co-present in Pisces along with Neptune that begins in March 2023. While these years will witness another wave of rapid change across global societies, the extended alignment between Saturn and Neptune can support making real the imaginative leaps in thought inspired by the union of Jupiter and Neptune in 2022. May the conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune aid you in dreaming well and deepening into the meaning of your myriad relationships within the world around you.

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Works Cited

  1. Greene, Liz. (12 October 2004). Centre for Psychological Astrology (CPA) seminar at Regents College, London. Neptune.
  2. Bluirini Bealoidis Folklore Podcast. (9 April 2021). Episode 30 – The Stray Sod.
  3. Rudhyar, Dane. (1958). The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle. Horoscope Magazine.
  4. Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.
  5. Barbault, Andre. (2016). Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology. Translated by Kate Johnston. The Astrological Association.
  6. Jung, C. G. (2009). The red book: Liber novus (S. Shamdasani, Ed.,& trans: Kyburz, M., Peck, J., & Shamdasani, S.). New York: W. W. Norton.

Goethe

Colour Wheel by Johann von Goethe, born with Jupiter in Pisces, from his book Theory of Colours published during a year of a conjunction between Saturn and Neptune in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Gemini

Hilma af Klint, The Swan, NO. 1 (1915)

Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini is the sign of the Twins, an archetypal image carrying multitudinous stories from multitudinous cultures around the world. In the Greek mythos there are a pair of twins, one mortal and one immortal in each pairing of Castor and Pollux, Helen and Clytemnestra, conjuring images of being simultaneously bound to an immortal soul while being separated into incarnate form. All stories of twins involve symbiosis that becomes differentiated into separate paths emanating from a shared source. In astrology, the airy sign of Gemini is ruled by the planet Mercury named after the cunning Hermes of myth who is available at the crossroads where one path separates into a choice of options. Mercury like the sign of Gemini holds the tension of paradox, probes the meaning that weaves together differences, questions the certainty of righteousness in order to tease out the insight necessary for a deeper and more authentic engagement. The Full Moon in Gemini on December 18 will illuminate a pivotal turning point in personal and collective stories, a quality of time holding the tension of astrological influences simultaneously culminating with intensity while on the threshold of dramatic change.

The Gemini Full Moon will brighten the night during the time of peak darkness in the northern hemisphere, a few days before the deep stillness of the Sun entering Capricorn and reaching the nadir of the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year that signals the return of light to come. At the same time the final exact square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus will be amplifying their longstanding tension until forming on December 23. Moreover, Venus will station retrograde while conjoining Pluto the day after the lunation, while Jupiter will finally leave Aquarius for its home sign of Pisces during the waning half of the lunar cycle on December 28. Yet not only is Jupiter in Aquarius during the lunation, the Gemini Full Moon is applying to a flowing trine with the star of Zeus. The trine between the Gemini Full Moon with Jupiter holds the promise of finding the light within the darkness to guide the path forward, to stabilize a sense of coherence amidst the flux of fluidly shapeshifting dynamics.

The final exact square aspect between Saturn and Uranus occurs less than a week after the Gemini Full Moon on December 23. The previous exact square aspects between Saturn and Uranus were on February 17 and June 14, 2021: looking back you may realize ways in which the previous exact alignments involved longstanding structures of stability became shattered or dislodged with new sources of liberating inspiration thrusting through the death of the old. In personal and collective events their alignments have forced the collapse of systems no longer capable of moving forward with sustainability through the changing of the times, forcing awareness to what needs to be addressed with creative renovation. Although the moments of their exact aspects forming can bring events and insight of peak intensity, it is important to realize that an extremely powerful impact of the square between Saturn and Uranus in fact lasts for the entirety of 2021 as well as 2022 with extremely important experiences occurring in relation outside the periods of time in which they form exact aspects. Nonetheless, with the third and final square aspect forming in the wake of the Gemini Full Moon it will be important to pay close attention to witness and contemplate ways in which the new storylines that have erupted in alignment with Saturn and Uranus clashing take on new forms and meaning during the waning half of the present lunar cycle.

Mercury in Capricorn rules the Full Moon while applying to a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus, stoking perception toward the emancipatory potential of new creative paths and aligning choices with the exciting, liberating side of Uranus within its tension with Saturn rather than clinging on to old patterns and relationships you have outgrown. Vitally, Mercury is barely separating from an exact square aspect with Chiron in Aries, during the same time that Chiron is stationing direct on December 19. Listen for the message being transmitted by Chiron to Mercury which can help in bridging choices and reality from the old structures of Saturn passing away into the more authentic, passionate aliveness that can be embodied through Uranus.

Within the astrology of astronomy, Chiron’s orbit bridges the realms of Saturn and Uranus, with his transit in Aries placing him on the side of Uranus. In myth, Chiron similarly bridged celestial insight from the heavens into material forms of medicinal as well as martial arts, nurturing heroic capacity from his dark, Saturnine cave. Chiron brings understanding for our wounds, fragmentation, and alienation experienced with our identity, showing how the external forms of matter and relationship we struggle within have the same divine source, teaching us how to move with heart-centeredness through our difficulties in ways that can companion and ally with others experiencing their own struggles.

While Mercury is engaging with Uranus and Chiron, Mars in Sagittarius is engaging with the side of Saturn and Chiron. Mars is sextile Saturn in Aquarius and applying to a trine with stationing Chiron in Aries, having recently separated from a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Sagittarius. Mars in the sign of the Centaur will be receiving Chiron through a flowing trine, making the star of Ares receptive to the wisdom and guidance that Chiron has to offer. Moreover, the sextile between Saturn and Mars can help in taking decisive action when necessary that is grounded and focalized on the matters at hand that most need our attention. Mars in Sagittarius can help in separating from what needs to be left behind, protecting what needs to be held, and pursuing visions of new growth and inspiration. Mars in Sagittarius will be ruled by Jupiter in Aquarius until Jupiter returns to its home sign of Pisces on December 28, at which point we may experience a kindling of inner celestial fire to transmit through our experience of Mars in Sagittarius.

Helen by Gustave Moreau

Venus retrograde in Capricorn

Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot / and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing / on the black earth. But I say it is / what you love.

Easy to make this understood by all. / For she who overcame everyone / in beauty (Helen) / left her fine husband

behind and went sailing to Troy. / Not for her children nor her dear parents / had she a thought, no- / ] led her astray

] for / ] lightly / ] reminded me now of Anaktoria / who is gone.

I would rather see her lovely step / and the motion of light on her face / than the chariots of Lydians or ranks / of foot soldiers to arms.

] not possible to happen / ] to pray for a share / ] / ] / ] / ] / ] / toward [

] / ] / ] / out of the unexpected.

Sappho 16 translated by Anne Carson

Venus will station retrograde in Capricorn about six hours after the exact alignment of the Gemini Full Moon. Venus will station retrograde within a degree of Pluto, and will form her second exact conjunction with Pluto on December 25 at 25º43’ Capricorn (Venus previously formed a conjunction with Pluto at 25º19’ Capricorn on December 11).  Venus will be glowing bright in twilight on the western horizon during the Gemini Full Moon, heralding the rise of the illuminated Moon in the east. Her proximity with Pluto has brought an extended process of old relational issues and patterns resurfacing to be engaged with. In some cases the messages gleaned need to be integrated, in other cases bringing awareness to what needs to be shed and released from the past with finality. In some cases there may be harrowing and terrifying fears and memories resurfacing that could influence present perceptions, yet also bring the possibility of realization regarding how present relational dynamics are not the same as the past. Thus relationships in which trust, devotion and mutual support are present may experience a deepening with Pluto and Venus together, whereas relationships replicating patterns of past toxicity may bring realization of what needs to be ended, separated, remediated, or have boundaries redrawn. Like Helen, the immortal twin of Gemini, there is much more to come from her story and presence following her initial abduction by Plutonic forces.

After Venus stations retrograde on December 19 at 26°29′ Capricorn, she will initiate us into a forty-one day period in which the star of Aphrodite will backtrack through the zodiac until stationing direct on January 29, 2022 at 11º05′ Capricorn. Thus the zodiacal terrain of eleven to twenty-seven degrees of Capricorn will receive a thorough excavation from Venus as it moves back and forth across the degree range, digging up some emotional material in need of release or recycling, while also rediscovering ancient artifacts of our psyche that can reveal vital lessons we need to learn in the present. Venus first crossed eleven degrees of Capricorn on November 17 and will not finally move beyond 26°29′ Capricorn until March 1, 2022. Fascinatingly, once Venus finally moves beyond the point of her retrograde stationing she will have one more exact encounter with Pluto on March 3, 2022; however, this time around she will be accompanied by Mars in his exaltation of Capricorn.

Centrally, Venus retrograde brings an end to Venus being visible at night and initiates her phase of being visible before sunrise. Venus will descend from visibility as an Evening Star in the beginning of January, disappearing into an invisible and liminal passage of rebirth until reemerging in visibility within her Morning Star phase. As Venus transitions from a nocturnal to diurnal phase, her apparent backward motion is a result of her orbiting in between our Earth and Sun, coming to her closest proximity with us in orbit. In our personal lives, Venus retrograde brings an intensification of all things related to Venus, as her visual descent in the sky reflects a call for an inner descent to dig up the roots of our desires, purging and purifying material that will bring about a reseeding of desire on the other side.

Venus retrograde periods invite us to depart from the usual into exploring the unusual, shedding old desires while coming into relationship with neglected parts of ourselves and new desires emerging from within. Venus when moving direct enjoys uniting and harmonizing elements, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, art, music, aesthetics, and whatever we attract and find attractive in relationship. During Venus retrograde, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional space of social norms loosening to allow for deep reevaluation of inner values as well as how we are seeking to fulfill our changing values and needs.

While Venus is normally associated with seductive pleasures that draw us into full sensual engagement in our body, as Venus draws closer to us in orbit through her retrograde her magnetism on our desires increases and creates a potent influence on our daily experiences. Pivotal turning points in stories often occur and important new relational developments and directions often emerge as we simultaneously must confront and lay to rest old issues from the past. Emotions and desires become messy and paradoxical during Venus retrograde, a necessary disorder that becomes part of a process of reordering passions.

During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, we may experience a more intensified purging and putrefaction of past relational patterns and old value systems as part of a process of clearing the ground for new relational desires and inner values to take root. The upcoming New Moon in Capricorn at 12°20′ Capricorn on January 2, 2022 (close to the same degree where Venus will ultimately station direct on January 29) will be applying toward a conjunction with Venus and will initiate us into the invisible, underworld phase of the retrograde journey of Venus which will culminate with her rebirth in the heart of the Sun on January 8 at 18°43′ Capricorn.

Kore (6th–5th century B.C.)

While the stationing of Venus with Pluto has obvious mythic parallels to the story of Demeter (aka Ceres) and the abduction of her daughter Persephone by Hades, it is further fascinating that the dwarf planet Ceres as well as the asteroid Persephone are both present in Gemini near the North Node of the Moon in Gemini during the Full Moon in Gemini. With Ceres retrograde in Gemini at 00º22’ conjoining the mean North Node of the Moon in Gemini at 00º12’ and the Persephone asteroid at 03º18’ Gemini, their co-presence with the Gemini Full Moon likewise illuminates their archetypal themes in personal and collective events.  

Tim Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul analyzed that while Persephone’s name can be translated as “death bringer,” and she does indeed step into the role of ruling over the realm of the dead, she equally signifies our incarnation of being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death. Addey focused upon the 6th century Platonic philosopher Damascius who linked Persephone with the soul’s descent into generation, interpreting how Persephone is drawn toward the narcissus flower, a bloom whose name has mythic associations with the soul falling in love with its reflection in matter. Her innocent, purely spiritual state is shattered by her violent pull into the underworld of death, yet ultimately on the other side Persephone discovers a powerful underworld role of mediation and rulership to embody. 

Safron Rossi in The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology associated the archetypal Kore being bound within an archetypal polarity with the Great Mother, and her insights regarding their relationship to me is significant to the meaning of Ceres within astrology as I have previously associated her with themes related to the Great Mother. Rossi summarized the Great Mother as “a vesseling and containing condition of consciousness whereby individuality is returned to primordial oneness . . . Nurturing and devouring, the Great Mother obscures the presence of the Kore because autonomy and difference stand in opposition to her principles.” The separation and strife encountered by Kore and her descent into underworld processes becomes a necessity for her to to differentiate her own autonomy and sovereignty. Thus within the astrological associations, we can imagine how the inexhaustible abundance of Ceres as the goddess of fertility and agriculture can be set against limitation and loss until integrating the grieving side of Ceres associated with the introduction of the Mysteries to humanity. Rossi wrote that the Great Mother can constellate a “generally unconscious expectation of life that demands equal and ever-increasing plenty,” which “stands in contrast to the focus and choice of the Kore” and her “celebration of the limited.” Rossi declared that “the Kore makes sacrifices, differentiates, and incubates the unique . . .[helping] women focus and make choices without feeling they are betraying something of their own nature.”

Ceres moving retrograde in alignment with the North Node of the Moon symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization. With Venus retrograde occurring in Capricorn, a sign that exalts Mars and is home to Saturn, we can find ways to protect our inner wildness from outside threats while gestating and incubating new forms of desires taking shape.

Due to Ceres and Persephone both moving retrograde in close proximity with the transiting North Node of the Moon, they will continue to do so until each stations direct in turn. Ceres will station direct at 27º57’ Taurus on January 14, 2022 while Persephone will station direct at 00º24’ Gemini on January 19, 2022. They will eventually reunite on March 23, 2022 at 10º15’ during the return of Spring in the northern hemisphere.  

10 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Gemini will arise in the third decan of Gemini associated with the Ten of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. While the card’s image contains dark skies and death, there is also brilliant light present in the sky revealing new beginnings. The Sun is the ruler of the third face of Gemini, and since the Sun is moving through the opposite zodiacal terrain en route to its glorious appearance at dawn on December 21 during the Capricorn Solstice, we likewise will be experiencing the death of one season of light for the birth of another.

The death and regeneration within the image of the Ten of Swords fits with the influence of Egyptian culture upon Hellenistic astrology and the Thema Mundi chart for the birth of the universe which lies at the foundation for numerous astrological concepts: from this perspective Cancer is the beginning of the cycle and the first house of the nativity, making the third decan of Gemini the end of the cycle, the final of the thirty-six faces of the zodiac. Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to the third decan of Gemini, writing that though “the other decans of Gemini involve discovery, exploration, and simultaneity, in the third wait choices- judgments that must be made. To achieve actuality, a multitude of possibilities must be sacrificed.” Thus the image of a dead man with ten swords plunged into his back resonates with surrendering to the end or death of a cycle, as Coppock described this face as “the final bloom of internal and external polarization.”

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs named Praxidike to this face, goddess of judgment and exactor of vengeance, signifying the complex karma encountered here in decisions made and actions undertaken. Fascinatingly, the Orphic hymn to Persephone connects Praxidike to the subterranean queen, signifying the psychopomp side of Gemini that holds space between worlds and between cycles. Coppock linked the decan’s image of “An Executioner’s Sword” to Praxidike through the “sword of judgement.” To Coppock, “to hold or face such a blade is to understand the consequences of one’s choices. Those entrusted with this blade grow wise and judicious, else fall to the very tool they wield.”

Demetra George recently shared her translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE) in a webinar entitled Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. In her presentation Demetra shared her translation for the image in the text associated with the third face of Gemini: “It is the figure of a woman who seizes a thunderbolt in her right hand and holds a small water urn in her left hand. Her body is winged from her middle to her feet and she has a crown upon her head.”

As Safron Rossi’s extended exploration of the Kore archetype is rooted in Carl Jung’s association of the Kore with the Self, so does the image from The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius for the third decan of Gemini reflect the potent divine wholeness our path may turn towards when making the pivotal decisions found within the third face of Gemini. May the light of the Gemini Full Moon illuminate the way forward in alignment with your most essential and authentic soulfulness.

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References 

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

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

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Rossi, Safron. (2021). The Kore Goddess: A Mythology & Psychology. Winter Press.