Full Moon in Libra

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Soap Bubble mezzotint by M. Rapine from Le Monde Physique (1882)

Full Moon in Libra

Amidst so much uncertainty around the world, the Libra Full Moon will illuminate the changes that have been taking shape during the pandemic and how we have been adjusting. The Full Moon has a relational focus due to being in the outwardly directed home of Venus, with its pull to examine relationship patterns being further amplified by the Moon forming a conjunction with Juno retrograde in Libra as it waxes into fullness. There are more planets in air signs now than we have had recently, making it a lively time to catch up with friends far away or instead make space for reflection and attentive listening to what’s going on within. Tending to your inner life in some way will be wise, for the Libra Full Moon is applying toward a square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn, stirring up deep material we will see surfacing within our interactions.

The timing of some countries such as the United States beginning to come to terms with the full impact of potential deaths from the pandemic is the type of astrological correlation we do not want to experience, yet it nonetheless correlates with the fact the Libra Full Moon is intensifying some extraordinarily difficult astrological transits. “Unprecedented” has seemed to become the word of the year, with people around the world forced to confront an unknown future with no clear timelines yet for when the time of renewal will occur. We will need to draw upon the intellectual strength and heart-centered drive of Libra, its vast capacity for understanding the triggers of tensions within systems and how the constant changes of life require ceaseless rebalancing. It’s a time for reimagining the next chapter of life and ways to alter personal as well as systematic structures to address the strange reality of quarantines and shutdown businesses.

Though the Full Moon is in the diurnal, airy home of Venus, the lunation has a strong connection with Saturn as it is in the exaltation, face, and triplicity of Saturn. The Libra Full Moon is highlighting the archetypal polarity between the Sun and Saturn in a way, due to the lunation being aligned with the exaltation degrees for Saturn and the Sun. While the Sun will be at the degree of its exaltation in Aries during the lunation’s peak light, the Full Moon itself is applying within a few degrees to the degree where Saturn is exalted in Libra. Though Saturn in Aquarius is in a whole sign trine with the Libra Full Moon, the Moon is actually applying toward a degree based square aspect with Saturn it will complete after it enters Scorpio on April 8.

Thus we must temper the radiant expanse of our solar purpose with the defensive and protective boundaries of Saturn to ensure containment; likewise we can bring the vivifying warmth of our personalities to enliven those dealing with the dejection, rejection, and melancholia of Saturn. It’s a difficult tension to hold, but a necessary one of tending to difficult feelings within us and our relationships. The way in which we respond to internal distress as well as the needs of others will mean everything. Due to Mars in Aquarius simultaneously forming a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus, it will be helpful to find creative outlets for pent up frustrations and tensions so that we do not cause unnecessary discord within relationships.

There has been a dramatic series of major planetary alignments recently, but the most directly relevant one to the Full Moon is the conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. The new cycle taking shape this year between Jupiter and Pluto is one of the most significant astrological influences of the year, and they formed their first of three conjunctions on April 4 only three days before the lunation. The Libra Full Moon will be insisting that we face whatever associated issues are arising from the depths of Jupiter and Pluto, since the Full Moon’s next aspect will be a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter and Pluto.

roberto matta untiltled

Roberto Matta (1942-43) Untitled

It’s important to realize we are only at the very beginning of understanding what the Jupiter Pluto alignment will mean for us: their second conjunction will not be until June 30 (24º) with both retrograde, while the third and final conjunction in the series will occur with both moving direct on November 12 (23º), 2020. When Jupiter combines with Pluto, new knowledge and growth opportunities come from eruptions and catharsis that can make us confront figurative or literal death, pulling us to descend into underworld experiences that can ultimately expand vision beyond previous restrictions by the end of the process.

Jupiter and Pluto form conjunctions roughly every twelve and a half years. The most recent unions between Jupiter and Pluto took place in 2007 in Sagittarius, in 1994 in Scorpio, in 1981 in Libra, in 1968 in Virgo, in 1956 in Leo, in 1943 in Leo, in 1931 in Cancer, in 1918 in Cancer, and in 1906 in Gemini.  You may note some past periods of economic recession and depression from the list above: what makes the current Jupiter Pluto alignment similar to the 1931 conjunction that took place during the Great Depression is that they were each part of larger, disruptive outer planetary alignments. The 1931 conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto was in opposition with Saturn in Capricorn while Uranus in Aries was forming square aspects with both Saturn as well as the Jupiter Pluto conjunction.

The worst side of Jupiter Pluto conjunctions can be seen in the rise of totalitarian groups following the economic instability surrounding the 1931 conjunction. In Planetary Cycles: Mundane Astrology, André Barbault demonstrated how the roots of the totalitarian surge in 1931 can be found in nationalist groups that began rising in power following the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction in 1918 and the economic crises of that period. This is the compulsive side of Jupiter and Pluto that involves obsessive desire for power sourced from shadowy fear that we need to be on guard against as we enter a time period of economic uncertainty now.

There is also positive potential for great good that can arise out of the unfathomable depths of Jupiter and Pluto coming together, and it is this side of their meaning that needs our full participation. Facing loss, grief, fear, and death demands that we get in touch with authentic feelings that leads to an intensification of what matters most to us. Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn must meet the constraints of circumstances, but through its alignment with Pluto it can regenerate new possibilities from whatever has been torn down or released. Jupiter and Pluto can put us in touch with our primal passions that can resiliently stand up against the conditioning of culture to question and break free from conformity with systematic structures. The shutting down of productivity around the world is scary for many, but is also creating the potential for radical reforms to be made when productivity is renewed.

The connective capacities of the Libra Full Moon may be brought into receptive dialogue with our external relationships as well as the realms of our ancestors and unconscious so that we may reorient toward what will be most essential for us to focus our time and energy on. While the discordant square aspect formed between Mars in Aquarius with Uranus in Taurus can unleash anger and aggressiveness, within protected spaces of contemplation it can incite breakthrough insights that will lead us to make fundamental changes in our life going forward.

After the Moon enters Scorpio on April 8 it will immediately form an intensifying square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius, followed by an opposition with Uranus in Taurus and then another square aspect with Mars in Aquarius. As a result, the Full Moon is bringing together insights from the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction with the difficult volatility stemming from Mars moving in between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus. The fact that this incredibly activating lunation is occurring within secluded spaces of quarantine for so many means it is more likely to lead to profound self realizations as a result. Allow yourself to take in a new perspective about what you can create with your life without worrying yet how exactly you will make it happen.

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Carnival Evening (1886) by Henri Rousseau

The Libra Full Moon is in the airy home of Venus, who is shining brightly at night in Gemini. Venus will be continuing to shine bright until reaching her brightest phase at the end of April and then beginning to slow down to station retrograde on May 12. Venus is also out of bounds, meaning that her excessive height in northern declination leads her to be more freedom seeking than normal and capable of soaring above barriers. In Gemini, Venus has a taste for diverse flavors and has ever changing interests and curiosities she adores exploring. Venus in Gemini delights in connecting through conversation, writing, intellectual activities, music, crafts, art, games, design, decorations, and any other aesthetically pleasing activities that will keep its ruling planet Mercury engaged and inspired. Venus in Gemini can be an asset in finding fun ways to connect with others while in quarantine.

At the same time that Venus will be getting brighter at night as the Moon wanes in light in the forthcoming lunar cycle, Venus will also be getting closer and closer to a conjunction with Neptune. As a result, the waning half of the present lunar cycle can be a wildly creative time for writing, music, and any other art you enjoy. It will be an ideal time to take creative risks and experiment with your craft, as you will be more likely than normal to discover some unexpected and fascinating new directions to follow. Venus in Gemini moving direct while out of bounds and increasing in brightness is also perfect for sharing your creativity in order to inspire and uplift others who are experiencing difficulties.

During the Libra Full Moon, Venus in Gemini is separating from a trine with Saturn in Aquarius and is seemingly in range of a trine aspect with Mars in Aquarius that will never complete due to the upcoming retrograde of Venus. Venus will be moving across the same terrain of Gemini in the waning half of the present lunar cycle that it will later move back and forth across two more times. By paying attention to what happens this month you may begin to get a sense for what will become major issues during the upcoming Venus retrograde in Gemini period in May and June. Venus will be in Gemini from now all the way until August 7, so we are entering an extended period of time in which Venus will be activating issues related to whatever house in your natal chart belongs to Gemini.

Meanwhile, Mercury is in Pisces and in a harmonizing sextile aspect with the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction in Capricorn.  Mercury is in position to receive a vital message from the Jupiter and Pluto conjunction as well as transfigure subconscious material being stirred up by Jupiter and Pluto into creative work that can accentuate the creative expression of Venus in Gemini. Mercury in Pisces is not in the best place for linear logic and communicating clearly and quickly, but after Mercury enters Aries on April 10 the speed and fiery spiritedness of its communication style in Aries will be an asset in responding quickly to emergencies stemming from the pandemic.

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3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The Libra Full Moon is in the second face of Libra associated with the Three of Swords illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak like the global pandemic we can access a newfound strength that ultimately increases our capacity for expressing love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Two Links in a Chain” to the second decan of Libra. Coppock linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements. Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to one’s oaths and commitments in relationships is vital to bear in mind at the Full Moon, especially for those partnerships who are spending more time alone together than normal due to being in quarantine. It’s a time for investing care and attention into the relationships that matter most to us.

The Full Moon in the sign of the Scales also conjures the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of souls after death.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  Whether you have been dealing with death, a major loss, or not, we are all coming to terms with so much that has come out of balance in the world that will require a united effort from all of us in rebalancing.  Allow the light of the Full Moon to illuminate at least one step you can take in rebalancing, whether it be through getting more rest or doing a certain task. As the poet Rainer Maria Rilke once wrote concerning death and loss:

“All of our true relations, all of our penetrating experiences reach through the Whole, through life and death; we have to live in Both, be intimately at home in both . . .

Through loss, through great, immoderate loss, we are actually quite introduced into the Whole. Death is only an unsparing way of placing us on intimate and trusting terms with that side of our existence that is turned away from us. (What should I emphasize moreour or existence? Both are here of the greatest significance, as if balanced by the weight of all the stars!)”

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References

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

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2005). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

 

Ceres at the Crossroads of Civilization

persephone demeter hekate hermes

Krater from 440 BC with Persephone wearing a crown on the left, having arisen from the underworld. Hermes is beside Persephone with his caduceus, while Hekate in the middle carries a pair of torches. On the right stands Demeter carrying her sceptre

Ceres and the 2020 Pandemic

The krater above was created near the end of the life of Empedocles, who declared that forces of love and strife are at the root of creation. On the left is a crowned Persephone, while on the right stands her mother Demeter. In between are Hermes and Hekate, deities who are honored at the crossroads and whose divine service bridges the upper world of life with the underworld of death. Though we yearn for the coming together of love, collective crises remind us that we necessarily must also face the separations of strife. With the COVID 19 pandemic causing mass quarantines around the world and a shutdown of many aspects of local and global economies, we have collectively entered a liminal seclusion at the crossroads of civilization, contemplating how to contain the coronavirus while coming to terms with the irrevocable changes it will cause in societies around the world. Just as Demeter is overseeing the mysterious scene in the krater above, so is her astrological archetype involved in the pandemic through the form of the dwarf planet Ceres.

The COVID 19 pandemic has been connected by astrologers with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn that formed on January 12 and was volatilized by a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10, as the first reported death from the coronavirus was on January 11. Astrologers have also brought up that Saturn and Pluto were forming an intensifying square aspect with Eris, a dwarf planet named after the goddess of discord. Astrologers have also pointed to the seeds of the pandemic being sown during the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26 as the existence of the coronavirus became more widely known in China at the end of December. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse was also conjoining Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn, signifying that issues such as stocks and speculation, the air travel industry, schools, colleges, congress, conferences, bail-outs, and charity would become activated.

Yet we must also remember that both Ceres and Mercury were part of the Capricorn solar seeding between January 10 and January 13. Mercury was reborn in the heart of the Sun seeding its evening star phase during the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer: thus the star of Hermes carried forward a message gathered from the union of Saturn and Pluto. Robert Hand has remarked that the obstruction of breathing caused by the coronavirus can be linked to Mercury being part of the Saturn and Pluto conjunction.  By the time Mercury became visible as an evening star at the end of January, cases of coronavirus were already being reported in the USA, and then during the dissolution of Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius there were miscommunications in how to prepare to contain the coronavirus until the need for drastic measures to be taken became clear by the time Mercury stationed direct on March 9. The significations of Mercury are clearly involved in the coronavirus fallout,  including the mercantile systems that have been falling apart as well as the Internet technology that has been mobilized to sustain commerce. Moreover, the date given for the earliest known infection from the coronavirus was on November 17, 2019 at the same time that Mercury was retrograde in Scorpio and made an announcement due to returning to visibility in its morning star phase, stationing direct three days later on November 20.

Although Ceres does not carry the same gravity of ancient significations borne by the traditional seven, her archetypal connection with the pandemic is obvious. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses wrote that Ceres “symbolizes the process of birth, death, and renewal” as well as signifies procreation and productivity, food and food related industries, labor unions and workers, strikes, unemployment, GNP, commodities and consumers, issues around nurturance and nourishment, nurses, hospices, and those who serve in social services, childcare, and the education system. The mass stoppage of productivity from businesses, the mass closure of schools that nurture young minds, is not unlike Ceres withdrawing her ripening of food and production of growth following the abduction of her daughter by Pluto. While health care systems and medical professionals have been the most burdened and overwhelmed by the pandemic, panic grocery shopping has also led to a depletion of food within markets.

I have a good friend born with Ceres conjoining Pluto (in the 8th whole sign house, 7th quadrant house) in square with a conjunction of Mercury and Mars in Capricorn (in the 11th whole sign house, 10th quadrant house), with Mercury applying to a partile square with Ceres. He has long associated his professional career working in a local food cooperative with the Ceres signature in his birth chart, and I thought of his Ceres signature as he told me how he had been working overtime hours up to fifty-four hours a week to help stabilize the food cooperative due to shortages in staffing with many staff members not wanting to work as drastic quarantine guidelines were introduced in our city. At the time of this writing, he told me he is having trouble ordering enough supplies to restock the shelves of the food cooperative due to the disturbance the pandemic has caused to the food chain.

Of course, not all of the people putting themselves on the frontline to tend to those infected by the coronavirus have a strong Ceres signature in their birth chart, nor do all those suffering from the widespread impact of the coronavirus. However, there are many astrological indicators that we have collectively entered a time saturated with the living symbolism of Ceres. Coming into deeper relationship with Ceres as we confront the great unknown of the pandemic can be fruitful for nourishing our capacity to grieve our losses, mediate our fears, and open ourselves to the ultimate renewal and return to creative potency that will follow the dissolution of the crisis. Below is the chart for the exact conjunction between the Sun and Ceres set for Washington D.C.:

Ceres Cazimi

Conjunction of Ceres with the Sun in 2020 set for Washington D.C.

Solar Seeding of Ceres with Saturn Pluto

The moment in which Ceres was reseeded with solar light was closely conjoining the midheaven of the chart set for Washington D.C., therefore making the new synodic cycle of Ceres loom large over the unfolding events stemming from the Saturn Pluto conjunction within the USA. In the story of Demeter/Ceres, an inconsolable Demeter consults Hekate (a goddess associated with the lunar cycle, in this case the Lunar Eclipse conjoining the North Node in Cancer, the home of the Moon) over the whereabouts of her missing daughter.  Hekate directs Demeter to consult Helios (a meeting resonant with Ceres conjoining the Sun), leading to Demeter finally understanding that Pluto has abducted Persephone (also known as Kore or Proserpina) into the underworld and out of her reach.

On the same day that Ceres united with the Sun, the first identified case of COVID 19 was reported outside the borders of China in Thailand. Within a week of Ceres conjoining the Sun, on January 20 the first case of COVID 19 in the USA was reported in the state of Washington. Events then rapidly led to quarantine measures around the world that led to many aspects of the economic and educational system to be shut down, mirroring the next phase of Demeter’s story in which she withdraws her powers of procreation and productivity from the Earth as she becomes immersed in grief and rage and enters the darkest depths of her divine being.

The pandemic has laid bare the injustices of modern civilization, and so Ceres symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against societal oppression and inequity. For nine days Demeter refused to eat and mourned, a fasting that Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” The ensuing purgation of Demeter’s emotions can be likened to the threshing of grain governed by Ceres that reveals the essential vitality hidden in the shedded husk. Through coming to terms with the losses that will flow forth from the pandemic, within the collective catharsis we can regain focus on the most essential values to rebuild societal and personal structures around.

Carl Jung connected Demeter, Persephone, and Hekate with the darkest parts of the psyche in his book The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, and Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche declared that Jung’s concept of the shadow is one of the main significations of the archetypal combination of Saturn and Pluto. Tarnas wrote that while Saturn signifies “judgment, guilt and shame, suppression and repression, splitting and separation, denial, the inferior, that which is regretted and negated,” that Pluto simultaneously signifies both “the dark depths of the personality” such as “impulses for power, domination, lust” as well as “healthy instinctually from which healing, wholeness, and a higher consciousness can ultimately emerge.” On a collective level the pandemic has led to a confrontation with the shadow of civilizations while simultanesously calling for us to confront our own personal shadows.

In astrology when Pluto erupts from the depths on a mass collective level, as new forms arise and old forms break apart, we need to allow ourselves to let go of the way things have been in order to reorient with the changing forces taking shape. The union of Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn combined with the South Node of the Moon and eclipses has been challenging due to the emphasis Capricorn has on the ancient and traditional, the structures and beliefs that have endured across time and the figures who have gathered strength and skill through a wealth of experience. On the one hand we need to recover and cultivate the aspects of our myriad civilizations that bring stability and order in ways that meet the needs of people, yet on the other hand numerous aspects of the old order also must now fall apart in order to clear space for new forms and structures to take shape.

Making everything more intense has been the fact that the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto occurred close to the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto, almost exactly conjoining the South Node of Saturn. This means that the movement of Saturn and Pluto around their entire orbital arcs descended to intersect with the orbit of our Earth around the Sun while they came together in conjunction. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes described the planetary nodes as “a focusing channel for the release of . . . a quality of being which is related to the space of its entire orbit,” revealing “the manner in which the essential quality of a planet affects the very structure and the roots of our individuality as a member of the human species.” Due to Saturn and Pluto uniting close to their own South Nodes, it means that the archetypal meaning of their entire orbital arcs was crashing down across the ecliptic together, flooding events with their significations like a great deluge. Therefore the dragon imagined by astrology that appears with eclipses in this case was a truly chthonic combination of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto.

Dane Rudhyar likened the archetypal process of planets conjoining their South Nodes with the death and decay of the Fall season, as well as the importance of incubating and gestating the seed that will bring forth new life. There is a sacrifice necessary, a release of what must die in order to bring forth what needs to be born. We have been simultaneously experiencing the extremes of Saturn and Pluto, the putrefaction of their poisonous toxicity as well as the empowering discipline and reordering of their more ideal significations. With numerous issues sweeping across global societies sourced from an accumulation of oppressive toxicities built up over time, it further stresses the need as individuals within our global civilization to face our collective as well as individual shadows. There is potential to bring a degree of purification and reparation to the intersection of societal inequities with us as individuals, but the gravity and weight of the accumulated toxicity is so overwhelming it can feel difficult for many to muster the agency needed.

Yet there is something about the collective impact of the pandemic that seems to be reawakening within people the power that can be wielded when united by common cause. Just as Demeter forced Zeus and Hades to compromise through withdrawing her procreative capacities, so has there already been news of people beginning to organize labor and rent strikes to protect those vulnerable to the economic devastation brought by the pandemic. The union of Ceres with Saturn, Pluto, and the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto is also a reminder of the more ancient form of Ceres as the Great Goddess who predated the patriarchy. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described how the rape of Persephone was not recorded in myth until the time of the Homeric Hymns, and that Ceres as the Great Mother in ancient Crete was integral to fertility rituals through giving birth to Plutus, the god of Earth’s wealth.

In spite of the heartbreak of loss we must face from the pandemic, the stasis it is causing within so many societal structures will be opening opportunities to reimagine our relationship with wealth and the natural resources of Earth. Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul wrote that concerning the two gifts that Demeter brought to humanity, “grain and the mysteries, she chooses to withhold the lesser – that which nourishes the mundane body – in order to recover her daughter, who represents the soul.”

Eleusis Mysteries Mystères_d'Eleusis

The Ninnion Tablet (ca. 370 BC) depicting elements of the Eleusinian Mysteries, discovered in the sanctuary at Eleusis. The tablet depicts Iacchus leading a procession of initiates into the Mysteries, received by Demeter and Persephone. It is the only known original representation of the initiation rites.

Ultimately after securing the return of her daughter for part of the year from Hades, Demeter brought the gift of Mystery rites and corn to humanity. Though she endured traumatic wounds she would have to nurture, Demeter delivered a source of profound spiritual understanding to humanity in addition to her gift of agriculture that would provide abundant physical nourishment. Some 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. In the Homeric Hymns, Demeter’s search leads her to Eleusis, future site of the Mysteries, where she retreats into a temple built for her and withdraws her procreative force from the world- “the most dread and terrible years . . . for mortals upon the fruitful earth.” There is also an alternative version of Demeter’s search 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.

Many cultures today are disconnected from their ancient lineages of initiation into the Mysteries and the sacred realizations they offered for humanity. We find remnants of the transformation of consciousness they brought in the popular use of “underworld initiation” symbolism to describe the meaning gained when enduring experiences of death, loss, and grief that ultimately lead to a rebirth. It is common within astrology to use similar underworld symbolism when discussing the impact of Pluto transits or difficult conjunctions such as between Saturn and Pluto. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses used similar symbolism to describe the influence of Ceres. At the time of this writing it is  impossible to know what levels of death and loss will come from the 2020 pandemic, but the great unknown mystery regarding the future it has stirred up across the world has created something like an underworld initiation we will be traversing as a collective.

In the Arcadian version of Demeter’s mourning she claims seclusion within a cave and does not re-emerge until being finally noticed by Pan, the wild shepherd god of nature who is 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. Similarly the pandemic has brought about a confrontation with our fate, as we are each being asked to discover what wants to emerge from our seclusion within our inner caves. Many are experiencing states of deprivation and emotional overwhelm, yet we can also sense how there is a purging taking place that can bring about a powerful renewal and realization of what is most important to us as a global society beyond the emphasis on national borders brought by Saturn and Pluto. As Demetra George wrote about Ceres:

To prepare for the moment of death, one must learn to experience “little deaths” every day through the process of letting go. While letting go may seem frightening at first, it is actually a necessary part of the cycle of life/death/renewal. In this transformative process, nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies. Thus, whenever we cling to a person, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal. At this point, a Ceres transit will inevitably come along, denoting our need to confront our fears of dying and to realize the truth of the Ceres-Scorpio death secret- that release is the precursor to rebirth.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses

Aries ingress USA 2020

2020 Aries Ingress chart set for Washington D.C.

Ceres in the Aries Ingress Chart

The Aries ingress chart above is set for Washington D.C. and so signifies events in the forthcoming astrological year for the USA. No matter your location, however, Ceres is playing an important role in the Aries ingress due to her proximity with the Moon and Venus. The Moon always signifies the people in mundane astrology, and since it is applying within five degrees to a conjunction with Ceres in Aquarius there is an important relationship between Ceres and the people everywhere. Yet Venus in Taurus is intercepting through a square aspect with the Moon, while Venus simultaneously is also applying toward a square aspect with Ceres. The meaning of this configuration for your locality will depend in part upon the house placements of the Moon, Ceres, and Venus as well as the houses ruled by Venus and the Moon.

Using the Placidus house system shown above, Ceres and the Moon in Aquarius are in the third house signifying topics like communication networks, media, the Internet, transit, and education. With Uranus on the sixth house cusp, it signifies a disruptive shock to associated topics such as public health and sickness, epidemics, workers and labor unions, and the healthcare system. Venus ruling the sixth and applying toward Ceres in a square aspect, while the Moon is also applying to a square with Venus brings conflict around these topics, though there is a degree of reception due to Venus being in the exaltation of the Moon. In addition Venus rules the seventh house of relationships which includes foreign relations on a national level, as well as the eleventh house that is connected with congress and legislation and has already been evident in the U.S. congress attempting to address the pandemic through legislation.

From a whole sign perspective, Ceres and the Moon in Aquarius are in the fourth house of land, crops, the people, homes, and the oppositional political party which in the U.S. presidential election this year would be the Democratic party. Venus is bringing the significations of the seventh house of relationships and the twelfth house of hospitals, hospices, institutions of charity and welfare into its contentious square aspect with the Moon and Ceres. Aries is the sixth place in whole sign, making Mars in Capricorn the ruler of the pandemic in the third whole sign house applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter ruling the second house of finance. Jupiter being struck by Mars indicates the devastation the USA will experience with its economy this year.

Altogether it is clear that the significance of Ceres in the Aries ingress chart is relevant for people being sequestered at home, with the Moon and Ceres in signs of Saturn and in the fourth whole sign house. There is also a link to children being constantly home with parents due to schools around the country being closed, as Ceres involves the way we are nurtured by our parents and the way in which we nurture our children. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses stated that psychological complexes such as attachment disorders that are passed down generationally within families are also connected with Ceres. The pandemic has brought a dramatic change to family dynamics within the United States, with parents and children who normally have breaks from one another through work and school now together at all times. While this can bring about positive relational growth within family dynamics, it also presents the risk of neglect and abuse occurring within families overburdened by stress who lack the necessary coping and parenting skills. The Moon’s application toward Ceres in the Aries Ingress chart stresses the importance of mothers and a need to focus on parenting issues and resources.

The Moon and Ceres placed in the third house of the Placidus chart also points toward the use of technology to sustain the engagement of children with their education from home, workers converting to telework from home, as well as the use of technology to nurture the relational needs of people in general through communication that can transcend social distancing. Many people are learning for the first time that they can productively telework from home, which will have major implications for labor in the future. There will be immense changes stemming from the pandemic in the way we work and utilize technology and communicate with one another through our work. The Aries ingress chart suggests that Ceres is tending to the regeneration of the way we work within labor systems that will emerge from the pandemic in the USA, while also calling for a confrontation with the present condition of the healthcare system. As we deepen into the devastating economic impact of the pandemic, we may also witness the presence of Ceres through the use of general strikes and other forms of advocacy to renegotiate housing and labor agreements.

Demeter_figurine_-_Museo_Archeologico_Regionale_-_Agrigento_-_Italy_2015_(2)

Terracotta figurine of Demeter from the Sanctuary of the Underworld Divinities in Akragas (550 – 500 BC)

Sacred Grove of Ceres

When I presented my webinar Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn last year when Jupiter entered Capricorn, I shared the story of Erysichton in Tales from Ovid due to the presence of Ceres with the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The manner in which it warns of the overconsumption of natural resources to feed an insatiable hunger brings to mind the devastation to the environment caused by modern industries, and how current anger and activism over pollution, fracking, climate change, indigenous water rights, and other environmental concerns can also be connected with the astrological archetype of Ceres.

Erysichton was an arrogant King of Theassaly who ordered the cutting down of every tree in a sacred grove of Ceres, an ancient wood that had never before had a single tree felled by axe. Among all of the trees, one impressive oak stood out:

“Its boughs were bedecked with wreaths / And votive tributes – each for a prayer / Ceres had sometimes granted. Dryads there / Danced a holy circle around its bole / Or joined hands to embrace it.”

Erysichton nonetheless demanded his men to cut down the oak, and when they reluctantly refrained he grabbed an axe and struck the oak, causing blood to gush out from its bark.  After one of his men protested, Erysichton cut off his head with his axe. The oak then spoke:

“I live in this tree. I am a nymph, / Beloved by Ceres, the goddess. / With my last breath, I curse you. As this oak / Falls on the earth, your punishment / Will come down on you with all its weight. / That is my consolation. And your fate.”

After Erysichton ignored the warning and cut down the oak, the nymphs of the sacred grove mourned in black and cried out to Ceres to punish the transgressor. Ceres listened and sent a mountain spirit in her chariot pulled by dragons to the realm of Hunger, to bid Hunger to take possession of Erysichton’s stomach and curse him with insatiable hunger.

As a result of the curse from Hunger directed by Ceres, Erysichton craved bigger and bigger bowls of food until not even a whole city could satiate him, nor a whole nation, to the extent that as he drained entire continents of its resources his hunger grew even larger until he had converted every one of his possessions into what he could devour except for his daughter.

And so Erysichton sold his daughter into slavery to supply himself with more resources to quell his insatiable hunger. Yet before she was turned over to the highest bidder, his daughter instead turned toward the sea and stretched her arms out toward Neptune who listened to her and disguised her as a fisherman. Since her disguise allowed her to escape slavery, Erysichton devised a scheme of repeatedly selling his daughter into slavery, since her ability to repeatedly transform herself and escape enabled him to continue to sell her into slavery over and over again. Ovid concluded:

“All to feed the famine in her father. / But none of it was enough. Whatever he ate /  Maddened and tormented that hunger / To angrier, uglier life. The life / Of a monster no longer a man. And so, / At last, the inevitable. / He began to savage his own limbs. / And there, at a final feast, devoured himself.”

The balsamic, waning phase occurring for most of 2020 between Jupiter and Saturn is bringing an end to a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs that began in 1802. The most recent earth era of Jupiter and Saturn began midway through the Industrial Revolution and has involved massive plundering of our Earth for natural resources to feed the insatiable drive for power within global empires during the past two hundred years. It’s all been more than enough to enrage Ceres.

The tale of Erysichton is further compelling when we combine the astrological archetype of Neptune with the role played by the god of the sea in the story. There has been a misuse of the gift of Neptune to feed the hunger of empire, deploying illusions to trick and deceive so as to devour and hoard a disproportionate share of natural resources. In the USA we see this in a president who constantly tells lies and then utilizes the deceptive nature of the corporate media to declare that its “fake news” means you can’t trust their coverage of him lying. There are innumerable other examples around the world of global powers manipulating the populace through the illusions of Neptune such as in the use of deceptive media and propaganda.

Since we are in transition of moving from a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs into a two hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs, it is more important than ever to come to terms with the way global empires have been manipulating people through their control of the Internet and implementation of Neptunian illusions through the world wide web. This is obvious when looking at the chart cast for the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on 21 December 2020, as Neptune will be applying toward a crucial square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes:

Jupiter Saturn USA

Great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 2020 set for Washington D.C.

Ceres and the Great Conjunction

The chart above for the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius in 2020 is set for Washington D.C. and so relates to the United States of America. Just as in the Aries ingress chart for 2020 there is an applying square aspect between Venus and Ceres. However, while it is a waxing square in the Aries ingress, it is a waning square in the great conjunction chart. More importantly, since the USA chart has Taurus rising it means that Venus is representing the people of the United States in the chart. Many astrologers would note that Venus is separating from a sextile aspect with the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction but is out of orb from applying to a major aspect with another planet, leaving it isolated. However, when considering Ceres we can see that Venus is in fact closely applying to Ceres. The square aspect signifies difficulties to work out involving the significations between Venus and Ceres, but since Venus is receiving Ceres into its exaltation and bounds it does suggest there is potential for something constructive to be ultimately worked out between them through an arduous process.

Ceres is located in the eleventh whole sign house, and in the Placidus chart above Ceres is emerging from the suffering and isolation of the twelfth house into the eleventh house of the Good Daimon and hope. As the eleventh house connects with congress and legislation in mundane astrology, perhaps this can point to the populace in the United States demanding legislation connected with significations of Ceres such as policies involving unemployment, labor relations, agriculture, healthcare, and environmental concerns. Remember, since this is a great conjunction chart it relates to the next twenty years in the United States.

Ceres is also co-present with Neptune and the Moon in Pisces in the chart for the great conjunction. Venus, representing the American populace, is applying toward a square aspect with Neptune eleven degrees away while also applying toward a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon twelve degrees away- in both cases Venus is heading toward a dissolver. Due to the square aspect formed with the transiting lunar nodes, Neptune is presenting as a fundamental issue in need of addressing in the great conjunction chart. This is not only the illusion of the “American Dream” or what exactly is meant by “Make America Great Again,” but a radical exploration of what we imagine is possible to create together in the United States. The great conjunction chart warns of the danger in being swept up in the illusory excitement of new technology and the popular ambitions of the times, at the cost of deep descent within to uncover what we truly wish to create from our imagination.

The square between Neptune and the transiting lunar nodes is further complicated through the asteroid Vesta in Virgo being in a partile opposition with Neptune and also forming a square with the lunar nodes. You may have also noticed in the previous chart shared for the Aries Ingress in 2020 that Vesta is angular and conjoining the descendant in the chart for the USA.  In the chart for the great conjunction, Vesta is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, while Neptune is at the southern bending, with both of them on the cusps of the difficult sixth and twelfth houses in the Placidus house system (from a whole sign perspective they are in the much more positive fifth and eleventh houses). The opposition between Neptune and Vesta suggests nebulous difficulties that need to be sorted out, but we can find hope in the presence of Vesta who is capable of gathering community around her hearth fire to focus attention on a unified goal.

The deeper significance of Ceres in relation to the chart for the great conjunction is found through considering the nodes of Ceres. The heliocentric north node of Ceres is close to twenty degrees of Gemini, while the heliocentric south node of Ceres is close to twenty degrees of Sagittarius. This means that the transiting lunar nodes will be aligning exactly with the nodes of Ceres, further meaning that Neptune will also be forming a square aspect with the nodes of Ceres. Similar to how in 2019 the transiting lunar nodes and eclipses aligned with the nodes of Saturn and Pluto, we will be entering a period in which eclipses and the lunar nodes will be aligning with the archetypal significance of the entire orbital arc of Ceres. In fact, a week before the great conjunction on 14 December 2020 there will be a total solar eclipse in Sagittarius occurring within a few degrees of the South Node of Ceres.

Since Ceres will be approaching the southern bending of her own nodes as Jupiter and Saturn form their conjunction, the dawn of a new era between Jupiter and Saturn will also be a critical time to question and reimagine our relationship with Ceres and her mythopoetic meaning.

Inauguration Day 2021

Chart cast for the inauguration of the U.S. President in 2021 set in Washington D.C.

Ceres Neptune 2021

Chart cast for the 2021 conjunction between Ceres and Neptune set in Washington D.C.

Ceres will eventually form an exact conjunction with Neptune on 21 January 2021, one day after the next President of the United States will be inaugurated on January 20. The union between Ceres and Neptune will also occur at the same time that Ceres is beginning to form an exact square with her own nodes as well as the transiting lunar nodes. Issues rooted in the union between Ceres and Neptune will be inescapable during this time period, and suggests an underlying theme involving the next administration in the United States as well.

With Neptune and Ceres at the southern bending of the lunar nodes as well as the nodes of Ceres, we will need to enact a deep dive into subconscious depths to get at the root of the issue. Jupiter in Aquarius is the ruler of the south nodes of Ceres and the Moon, making our relationship with the conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn an intrinsic crux of the matter. There could be archetypal re-enactments of the relationship between Ceres and Neptune in myth, such as the transfiguration of Erysichton’s daughter by Neptune or the rape of Demeter by Poseidon. Fundamentally it is a profound opportunity to reimagine our relationship with Ceres as a global society.

Altogether this brings a strong connection between Ceres with the shift into 2021 and the new era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in the air triplicity. As a global society we we will need to figure out how to nurture ourselves and provide for the needs of our community through the symbolism of the air triplicity. While the ascending sign of the Ceres Neptune conjunction is in the air triplicity in the chart cast for the USA above, its ruling planet Venus is in earthy Capricorn receiving an exalted Moon into its earthy home of Taurus through a superior trine. Since both the Moon and Venus are also applying toward a sextile with the conjunction between Ceres and Neptune, it re-emphasizes the need to reimagine our relationship with the earth element in the new era of the air element we are entering.

As an interesting aside adding to the mythopoetic connection of Ceres with this time period, there is also a co-presence in the great conjunction chart between Ceres and her daughter Persephone in Pisces, as the Persephone asteroid will be at 22 to 23 degrees of Pisces when Jupiter and Saturn form their great conjunction. This also places Persephone at the southern bending of the nodes of the Moon and Ceres, and also in a catalyzing square aspect with the total solar eclipse in Sagittarius on December 14.

[Note: in case you are wondering, Ceres never quite reaches a conjunction with the Persephone asteroid while direct- they get closer and closer to one another until both end up stationing retrograde around 9 November 2021 with Ceres at thirteen degrees and Persephone at 15 degrees of Gemini. They will not finally form an exact conjunction until both are moving direct on 23 March 2022 at 10º17′ Gemini close to the fixed star Aldebaran. While some sort of archetypal reunion may take place between Ceres and Persephone around the time of the Aries ingress in 2022, it’s fascinating that Ceres and the Persephone will be traveling for so long in such close proximity to one another]

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Demeter in her chariot with Kore from Selinunte, Sicily (6th Century BC)

South Node of Ceres in Sagittarius

“What happened in Eleusis was the separation and reunion of the dual goddess Demeter-Kore (Deó), she who sometimes appears as two barely differentiated figures, cloaked in the same mantle. It was the drama of the reflection that detaches itself from the body, from every object from the earth even- to then be reunited with its origin. But only in certain recurrent moments. Like the eclipses.”

— Roberto Calasso, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony, p. 210

Demetra George has taught that there is a curious significance between the fact that the heliocentric nodes of Ceres in Gemini and Sagittarius form an exact square aspect with the heliocentric nodes of the asteroids Juno and Pallas Athena which are in Virgo (North Node of Juno and Pallas Athena) and Pisces (South Node of Juno and Pallas Athena). One compelling deduction involves the fact that Mercury is the ruler of the north nodes of Ceres, Juno and Pallas Athena, while Jupiter is the ruler of their south nodes. During a talk on Ceres that Demetra gave at the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, Demetra theorized that the meaning of Ceres having her North Node in Gemini and South Node in Sagittarius could involve an evolution from faith to reason.

Whatever meaning we can draw from Ceres having her South Node in Sagittarius and North Node in Gemini will be more fully felt when we experience the total solar eclipse in Sagittarius conjoining the South Node of Ceres on 14 December 2020. Demetra’s idea of balancing faith with reason is interesting, as it suggests a need to draw upon our intuitive abilities and capacity for faith without neglecting our rational side that can use reasoning to gain a more objective perspective regarding our circumstances. This makes a great deal of sense in relation to the pandemic, as it has brought the importance of listening to scientists and medical experts rather than those who are simply following their gut over how to navigate the crisis. It also makes sense due to us entering a new cycle of Jupiter and Saturn beginning in Aquarius, as Aquarius is perhaps the most rational air sign and its rulership by Saturn will demand utilization of reasoning when addressing humanitarian concerns.

Since we are entering a new era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in the air triplicity, it is compelling that the North Node of Ceres is in Gemini and that Ceres was in Aquarius forming a flowing trine aspect with its own North Node in the Aries Ingress chart for 2020. The North Node of Ceres in Gemini conjures the torch-bearing, relentless searching of Demeter who the Homeric Hymns tells us “sped like a bird over land and sea, searching.” There is a pull for Ceres to be curious, to ask questions and demand answers, to forge new connections across diverse fields and harvest deep meaning through the swing of her sickle.

Out of the great disruption and catharsis we will experience during the transition of moving from an era of earth into an era of air, Ceres can help in tending to the renewal of our societal structures that will emerge.  We will receive an initial impression of the meaning to be found through the North Node of Ceres in relation to all of this when Venus stations retrograde conjoining the North Node of Ceres in Gemini on May 13.

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Ceres fresco from Pompeii

Ceres Retrograde in 2020

Finally, it is worth noting the section of 2020 during which Ceres will be retrograde. Ceres will station retrograde on 6 July 2020 at 12º49′ Pisces about eight degrees away from Neptune, and will station direct on 18 October 2020 at 28º36′ Aquarius. This means that Ceres will be stationing retrograde during the Lunar Eclipse in Capricorn that will be taking place on July 4 or 5, depending upon your time zone.  If the degree range of Ceres retrograde sounds familiar, it is because it is the exact same degree range as the Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius that we experienced from February 16 through March 9, 2020.

With regard to the United States of America, it’s significant that Ceres is stationing retrograde during a Lunar Eclipse that will be taking place on the Fourth of July holiday in most time zones in the country. Furthermore, Ceres will ultimately station direct close to the same degree as the Aquarius Moon in the United States chart cast for July 4, 1776, such as the famous Sibley chart. Once again we find yet another sign of Ceres being an unusually important influence on the United States in 2020.

I asked my friend and colleague Jason Holley to share some of his thoughts on Ceres retrograde in 2020, as he previously inspired me to give more importance to periods of time when Ceres is retrograde during a lecture he gave on Ceres. Jason generously shared a few paragraphs with me that I will now share with you:

“Ceres transits in general seem to correspond to the need to descend, something that both Persephone and Demeter do in the Greek story. Persephone is taken just before she plucks the narcissus flower: narcissistic identifications fall and are defeated when Ceres transits – we are brought ‘down to earth’ and back to basics if we have ascended too high; or we are brought to the underworld if we have denied and avoided it.

In my work as a therapist, I have seen that retrograde Ceres periods seem to correlate to times when unconscious and implicit material comes forward in what are called in relational psychoanalysis ‘enactments’. These are experiences where a person or group, unable to meaningfully articulate or symbolize particular traumatic experiences, instead re-enacts them with whoever happens to be around. There is often a serious rupturing of the relational fabric, sometimes unrecoverable, but often recoverable with perseverance and leading to profound gifts such as those Ceres gave to humankind at the end of the story: Agriculture (a new relationship with the earth) and the Mysteries (a new relationship to spirit).

The upcoming Ceres retrograde in Pisces feels to me like the tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm that will follow and accompany the seismic level of loss of human life and economic instability of the coming weeks and months. It is in the midst of this wave that we will be challenged to find the deep and embodied groundedness that Ceres represents. Those of us who can access this, even if only transiently, will be called upon to help the even greater numbers of individuals whose coping resources are quite simply overwhelmed.”

Jason Holley

Jason’s description of a “tsunami of collective grief, anger, and emotional overwhelm” is prescient, as Ceres will be retrograde during an incredibly volatile phase of Mars being retrograde in Aries that will be forming a discordant square aspect with Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto in Capricorn. Furthermore, Ceres will be stationing direct on October 18 during the beginning of an intense Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, with Mercury retrograde in Scorpio forming an opposition with Uranus in Taurus as Ceres stations.

The section of 2020 beginning in September already looked immensely volatile and chaotic when looking ahead to 2020 long before the emergence of the pandemic. Jason’s illumination of the implicit material that can erupt during Ceres retrograde means we will need to place extra importance on nurturing our inner life, as those able will also need to be nurturing and protecting the vulnerable among us.

There is something different about Demeter from the other deities of the Greek pantheon. Her love and grief were so enormous she made herself an incarnated mortal to feel it all. Due to Demeter’s complicated mythology in various versions, Tim Addey wrote in The Seven Myths of the Soul that as “mother-sister-wife-daughter of the Creator God,” Demeter is “especially concerned with the proceeding into life by the soul.”

Addey also wrote that as goddess of fruitfulness, Demeter is most closely aligned with the phase of the hero’s journey in which the hero returns from the other world with the elixir to bring into their home community. To Addey, the hero under the influence of Demeter “is no longer serving his own perfection but the universe’s perfection,” operating “essentially” and “from his very being” rather than out “of mundane conquest.” From now until we are on the other side of the pandemic, consider what elixir you are gathering and tending to return with.

Torch bearing, universal mother, bringer of seasons, nurse of humanity, goddess of seeds and abundant fruit, Demeter, may your ancient strength and compassionate heart be present in each and everyone of us.

Of Dioh divine mother of all, divinity with many names,
Holy Dimítir, nurturer of children, bestower of bliss,
Oh divine one, who cultivates the grain, who apportions all good things,
You who rejoice in peace and our difficult labors,
Presiding over seeds, bequeathing abundant grain, thresher, producing the green fruit,
You dwell in the hallowed valley of Ælefsís.
Oh charming, lovely one, you give nourishment to all the mortals;
You were the first to yoke the ploughing oxen,
And you produce a lovely and abundant life for mortals;
You promote growth, familial companion of Vrómios, splendidly honored,
Torch-bearing, holy one, you rejoice in the summer’s fruit of the sickle.
You are from the earth, you appear, you are gentle to all.
You bless us with progeny, oh lover of children, holy one, maiden who nurtures the young,
You yoke dragons to your chariot with a bridle,
Whirling and circling about your throne as you cry out in ecstasy.
Only-begotten, Goddess bearing many children, mighty queen of mortals,
Creator of many things, you bloom with flowers, blooming with holiness;
Come, happy one, pure one, heavy with the fruits of summer,
Bring down peace and lovely order to our world,
With riches and blessings and a life governed by good health.

Orphic Hymn to Demeter

Ceres with snakes

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References

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

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by SM Trzaskoma, RS Smith, and S Brunet. Hackett.

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

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

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

Hughes, Ted. (1997). Tales from Ovid. FSG.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

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

 

Aries New Moon: At the Crossroads with Chiron

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Wood, sinew, horn (bovine, elk) bow circa 1500

New Moon in Aries

These days you don’t need astrology to tell you we have arrived at a collective crossroads. With the COVID 19 pandemic causing seclusion in quarantine around the world, with businesses and schools closed and public gatherings banned, the need to sustain drastic measures for containment has brought us betwixt and between, forced to accept indefinite timelines for when public activities now classified as “nonessential” may resume. There’s a pervasive, mysterious unknown pulsing throughout personal and societal spheres for how to handle the simultaneous threats to health and economy. Crossroads have ancient connection with liminal states and being at the intersection between different worlds. Divinities traditionally honored at the crossroads include Hekate and Hermes, deities who bridge the underworld of death with the upperworld of life, psychopomps who know the ways of divination and can light our way through dark nights of the soul.

The Aries New Moon is at the crossroads of the lunar nodes with Chiron and Lilith waiting to greet us at its intersection. The New Moon is applying tightly toward a conjunction with both Chiron and Black Moon Lilith in Aries, while forming a square aspect with the lunar nodes. Chiron is the wise mentor of the heroic who also teaches the medicinal alchemy found within the interconnected spirit of our material world. While there are different forms of Lilith across different ancient cultures, there are common features of her that resonate with Chiron: the experience of being in exile and the essential sacredness discovered when making home in the wild, dwelling in the outskirts of civilization. Together they are seeding the fiery Aries New Moon with a call to claim our authentic integrity and resolutely reforge a meaningful vision to embody within the darkness.

The lunar nodes demarcate the intersection of the orbital arcs of the Sun and Moon, the crossroads where our material forms encounter our yearnings of soul. The lunar nodes mark the places of eclipses as well as dynamic points of change within the monthly motion of the Moon. When the Moon forms a square aspect with its own nodes, it has reached the furthest point north or south it will travel in latitude before heading back in the opposite direction toward the ecliptic. The Aries New Moon is at the southern bending, dredging up subconscious material that needs to be faced without avoidance or denial. With the New Moon squaring the nodes, we are more likely to feel unsure of which direction to follow, oscillating back and forth between choices associated with both ends of the nodes.

Old astrological text conjures images of dragons as the nodes, with the north node symbolizing the head and the south node the tail. While the north node consumes with desire, absorbs new material, and seeks new plots for your story, the south node makes sacred through sacrificing, harvesting, releasing, re-channeling, and retelling. Similarly, Black Moon Lilith is another aspect of the Moon’s orbit connected with a mythic figure who has been demonized and feared. As it connects with the Moon’s farthest point in orbit away from us and our conscious awareness, so does it bring forth the parts of our multiplicity that have been cast off into our unconscious. Altogether it’s a lot of shadowy material for Chiron to distill in his alembic, yet the medicine he will extract from it will be exactly what we need.

The Aries New Moon being at the southern bending also means it is forming an exact square aspect with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on December 25, 2019 that was conjoining the South Node of the Moon. As a result, the New Moon will stir up personal and collective material originating from the time of the eclipse- while this clearly connects with accounts of the coronavirus becoming known in Wuhan, China at the end of December, there likely are more uniquely personal issues with roots in the weeks surrounding the eclipse that will need to be dealt with.

Since Jupiter in Capricorn was closely conjoining the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, and Jupiter is presently engaged in a volatile conjunction with Mars and Pluto, a lot of the current issues experiencing dissolution and intensification are signified by Jupiter. For example, Judith Hill in her book Eclipses and You listed numerous significations that become activated when Jupiter is within a degree of a solar eclipse: stocks and speculation, the air travel industry, schools, colleges, senators and congress, conferences, bail-outs, philanthropy, and charity.

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Hatakeyama Shigetada Carrying a Horse (1822) by Katsushika Hokusai

Mars in Capricorn rules the New Moon from its place of exaltation and pinnacle expression. Mars has been operating recently from a place of extreme potency as it has moved through conjunctions with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn- indeed, Mars is separating by less than one degree from Pluto and two degrees from Jupiter during the New Moon. In the chart for the Aries Equinox that sets the tone for the year ahead, Mars is asserting its powerful influence over the events of the forthcoming year as it is applying tightly to a conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto. Mars in Capricorn has extreme stamina, perseverance, resilience, and ambition that needs to be directed wisely. Its present primacy correlates with the disruptive current events that have been causing destruction to societal institutions and separation in personal lives, yet its exalted proximity with Jupiter and Pluto brings ample reserves of fortitude and willpower to carry us through the COVID 19 calamity.

As the Aries New Moon waxes into its first visible light, it will form a catalyzing square aspect with the conjunction forming between Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. Jupiter and Pluto will form their first of three conjunctions during 2020 on April 4 as the Moon continues to increase in light a few days before the Full Moon in Libra on April 7 (the other two conjunctions of Jupiter and Pluto will be on June 30 and November 12). When Jupiter combines with Pluto, new knowledge and growth opportunities come from eruptions and catharsis that can expand vision beyond previous restrictions. Yet the buoyant expansiveness of Jupiter must come to terms with the death and decay of Pluto, and as Pluto pulls Jupiter into its depth of darkness it will expose hypocrisies and injustices we will need to sustain focus on to remedy.

It’s important to keep in mind that we are approaching only the first of three conjunctions between Jupiter and Pluto this year, and that the first test that comes from outer planet alignments tends to be the harshest. As numerous social structures are rupturing, there will be some we will have to let go of and witness being torn down. Fortunately, the combination of Jupiter and Pluto with Mars in Capricorn contains the visionary drive necessary for regenerating, rebuilding, and reforging new dreams, goals, and forms to take the place of whatever will be falling apart. However, the obsessive determination kindled by Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn can be all consuming, and so it will be vital to allow their ruler Saturn to temper any excess or inflation emanating from their combination.

The recent ingress of Saturn into Aquarius marks one of the biggest changes of the year, as Saturn changing signs redistributes enormous gravity, pressure, and weight to a new area of life. There is cause for hope with Saturn in Aquarius, as Saturn in its fixed and airy home can promote not only effective scientific responses to the coronavirus, but also distribution of thoroughly researched plans for protection and visionary reordering of institutions to deal with its devastating impact on individual lives. Just as Aquarius traditionally signifies quarries where minerals are dug up, so will Saturn in Aquarius be able to excavate needed knowledge and resources from places that have been hidden up until now.

As the Moon waxes toward fullness, Mars will be steadily approaching a conjunction with Saturn that will finally culminate on March 31. Mars and Saturn together can signify difficult experiences that feel harrowing and require working hard with persistent commitment to address hardships. However, we can also constructively weld the passionate, fiery energy of Mars to the disciplined and determined scrutinizing of Saturn. The restraint of Saturn can temper the inflamed aggressiveness of Mars, making it possible to direct the dynamic boldness of Mars with a serious  and contemplative focus.

By the time of the upcoming Libra Full Moon on April 7, Mars will have moved through a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius and will be forming an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Mars plowing through catalyzing aspects with Saturn and Uranus will provoke confrontations within institutional structures over how to respond to the pandemic that will stir up larger ideological conflicts that will be shaping societal changes in the years ahead. It’s likely that the present intensity surrounding COVID 19 will continue to build to a crescendo around the time of the Libra Full Moon as Mars completes its aspects with Saturn and Uranus, before it begins to wane. As Mars will be impacted by the restriction of Saturn and the shattering liberation of Uranus, their volatile combination can reveal how structure and containment can lead to a freeing of creativity and a forging of stronger community in the face of adversity.

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Lunacy – Unrolling Letters from One Hundred Aspects of the Moon (1889) by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

In contrast to the agitating aspects between Mars with Jupiter and Pluto, Venus in Taurus is forming a flowing and stabilizing trine aspect with Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn. Venus is shining bright as an Evening Star and is likewise the bright blessing involved in the dynamics of the Aries New Moon. Venus in Taurus correlates with the steadying presence of artistic expression that has been bringing people together who would otherwise be isolated within quarantine. Whether through singing together from balconies or utilizing technology to stream art, song, and storytelling, the unifying comfort brought through shared creativity has been pleasing to Venus in Taurus. Venus is also engaged in a square aspect with Ceres in Aquarius during the New Moon, emphasizing that the capacity of Venus in Taurus to find stability in whatever resources are available needs our focus rather than panicking over fear of lack and hoarding resources from those who need it.

During the first week of April when Mars will be stirring up tension between Saturn and Uranus and Jupiter will be uniting with Pluto, Venus will also be experiencing a major change. On April 1, Venus will go out of bounds in northern declination and then on April 3, Venus will enter Gemini as it visually forms a conjunction with the Pleiades in the night sky. Venus will remain out of bounds for two months, and due to Venus stationing retrograde on May 12, Venus will also be remaining in Gemini until August 7. Venus will be untethered, freedom seeking, and creatively curious as the Moon waxes full in her airy home of Libra on April 7. It will be ideal to make space and time for creative experimentation and exploration once Venus enters Gemini.

Meanwhile, Mercury in Pisces is entering its period of being at maximum elongation as a Morning Star, meaning that it will be picking up speed to play its fleet footed messenger role with full aplomb. Mercury is retracing the degrees it previously moved retrograde in Pisces and will cross the degree where it previously stationed retrograde on March 29. Typically this is the phase of Mercury during which to put into practice whatever innovations were developed during its previous retrograde phase, however world events have taken such a dramatically different turn that it truly feels like we are operating within a different climate now. Mercury in Pisces can bring guidance through intuition and sensing the emotional needs of others.

During the first week of April, Mercury will form a conjunction with Neptune in Pisces on April 3 during the same time that Venus enters Gemini, Jupiter conjoins Pluto, and Mars forms a square aspect with Uranus. Mercury’s union with Neptune can be productive for those involved in musical, artistic, imaginative, poetic, and other forms of creative work, but can otherwise cast a mist over communication that will require making an effort to gain as much clarity as possible.

wands02

2 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 1 Decan

The Aries New Moon will emerge within the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image involves a conquering figure holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from a protective castle into an expansive terrain. It is the body of water that appears to have secured his focus in this moment, and the presence of the globe seems to imply a moment of reflection regarding expanding his influence or dominion. The grandiose ambition and confident assertion present in the image is fitting considering that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile and face rulership over the Aries New Moon.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to the first decan of Aries, which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. For example, the Liber Hermetis ascribed an image of a man “standing on feet like claws,” while “holding above his head a double-sided axe with both hands.” Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from “the One” of ancient wisdom traditions, a severing necessary for creation and growth. Coppock linked this separation to “building a distinct and individual life . . . the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin” which he compared to both the cutting of the umbilical cord between child and mother and the cutting of trees to build homes in the wilderness.

While the martial ambition found in this face and pictured in the Two of Wands card can be linked with empire builders who wish to amass power for themselves, its primordial fire is also what brings the inspiration and foresight required to throw off the shackles of empire and insist on liberation. Chiron is tending the celestial fire of the Aries New Moon so that we may seek counsel with our ancestors, sustain patient compassion amid strife and separation, and kindle courage to enter the fray of the unknown with creative vibrancy and a flexible consciousness ready to respond and bring nurturing support wherever it is needed. Liz Greene in The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus shared the following passage from Carl Jung’s Black Book that gets to the heart of the ancient potency found in the first face of Aries:

“He [Phanes] is foresight. He is the end of fear. He is the sprouting seed, the opening bud . . . He is the spring and the desert. He is the safe haven and the stormy night. He is the certainty in desperation. He is the solid in dissolution. He is the liberation from imprisonment. He is counsel and strength in advancement. He is the friend of man, the light emanating from man, the bright glow that man beholds on his path.”

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References

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

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

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

 

Saturn in Aquarius

Saturn in Aquarius

Cloud Study by JMW Turner; Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

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

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

— Paracelsus (born with Saturn in Aquarius) from his preface to Magia Emblemata et Prognostici

“The likelihood that your acts of resistance cannot stop the injustice does not exempt you from acting in what you sincerely and reflectively hold to be the best interests of your community.”

— Susan Sontag (born with Saturn in Aquarius) from At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches

Saturn in Aquarius

Saturn enters Aquarius on March 21 or 22 (depending upon your time zone) where it will remain until shifting retrograde back into Capricorn on July 1, 2020. Saturn will return to Aquarius on December 16, 2020 where it will transit until March 7, 2023.

On 21 March 2020, Saturn will return to its airy, outwardly directed home of Aquarius for the first time since 1994. With a western wind at its back, Saturn in Aquarius will slowly turn its steady gaze and cunning thoughts outward into the farthest reaches of society so that it may reorder structures, reform connections, and develop innovations. In Aquarius, Saturn will swing its scythe into unknown terrain, harvesting knowledge that is removed from mainstream paths and beyond the norm. Whether the vision of Saturn extends beyond the known boundaries of outer space, such as in the work of Carl Sagan who was born with Saturn in Aquarius, or into the vast unknown realms of inner space, such as in the work of Carl Jung who was born with Saturn in Aquarius, Saturn contemplating within its own temple of Aquarius unlocks potential for mining knowledge from the outermost frontiers and borderlines of thought.

Saturn in Aquarius is comfortable removing itself from the busyness of civilized culture to contemplate matters and incubate wisdom within the protected space of a hermit. Whether in the hermetic writing and magical art of William Blake and Marsilio Ficino, the groundbreaking prose of Gertrude Stein and Anaïs Nin, the music of Leonard Cohen and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the poetry of Robert Frost, Rainer Maria Rilke and Pablo Neruda, or the pioneering primatology and anthropology of Jane Goodall, human history has displayed a long list of people born with Saturn in Aquarius who were willing to follow their inner genius for guidance rather than conform to the consensus boundaries, barriers, and judgment of civilization. Although we have already experienced twenty-seven months of Saturn securely expressing itself in its nocturnal, cardinal, earthen home of Capricorn, there will be a noticeable difference in the way Saturn directly expresses itself in its diurnal, fixed, airy home of Aquarius.

When looking back from the future at the ingress of Saturn into Aquarius in 2020, it will be impossible to separate it from the global outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic. In many ways, we couldn’t ask for a more helpful ingress at this time for the ringed planet, as Saturn leaving Capricorn to enter Aquarius brings a change in significations that will promote scientific responses to find cures and restrain the spread of the coronavirus, distribution of effective information for protection and containment, and a vast reordering of societal structures and institutions to deal with the devastating impact the corresponding economic fallout will have on individual lives. However, Saturn does not bring swift solutions and tends to deliver its blessings after enduring periods of time that feel bleak and burdensome as we deal with the heavy weight and pressure of whatever issue Saturn has focused attention upon.

In fact, more so than COVID 19 being linked to the entrance of Saturn into Aquarius, it will forever be known as a defining event stemming from the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12, 2020. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche masterfully described periods of Saturn Pluto as bringing an “irrevocable termination of an established order of existence” and “a widespread sense of victimization and suffering under the impact of cataclysmic and oppressive forces of history” that make previous periods in hindsight appear naive and full of indulgent denial. Yet Tarnas also described “the Saturn-Pluto complex” as “press[ing] the psyche, individual or collective, towards the forging of a deeper and stronger structure of moral consciousness” that calls forth “personal and collective determination,” “intensely focused, silent, strenuous effort in the face of danger and death,” and “a deepening capacity for moral discernment born from experience and suffering.”  While some think that bats, animals of Saturn in traditional astrology, are the source of COVID 19, it’s also clear that humanity bears responsibility for its spread and will need to be resolutely accountable to the defensive, restraining, containing counsel of Saturn for the greater good.

Saturn will remain within the fifteen degree orb that Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche used to define archetypal eras of outer planet conjunctions for the rest of 2020 and most of 2021, with Saturn beginning to leave the orb in April of 2021 before returning with its retrograde and not leaving the orb for good until December of 2021. While this means we still have an extended period of time ahead of us to deal with the fallout from the Saturn Pluto conjunction, there will be a noticeable degree of difference once Saturn is no longer co-present with Pluto in Capricorn. Saturn will initially spend a few months in Aquarius, from March 22 through July 1, until returning to Capricorn to deliver a final lesson with Pluto and Jupiter in the sign of the Sea Goat from the beginning of July until December 16 when Saturn returns to the terrain of the Water Bearer.

Thus from March 21 through July 1, we can benefit from Saturn being separated by sign from Pluto and put into place new structural supports to address whatever has buckled under the weight of Capricorn pressure, as well as gain foresight regarding the larger issues and changes we will face at the end of 2020 when Saturn and Jupiter form their great conjunction in the first degree of Aquarius. Major difficulties corresponding with Saturn in Aquarius will be obvious immediately, as there will be only a week before Saturn will welcome the raging red star of Ares into its Aquarian home. Mars will enter Aquarius on March 30, form a conjunction with Saturn on March 31, and then move into a disruptive square with Uranus in Taurus on April 7 that will trigger the waning square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that will be a dominant astrological theme of 2021 (see below for more details on the Saturn Uranus cycle). As a result, the dramatic discord we will need to endure at the end of March and beginning of April will deliver a preview of the larger ideological conflicts and changes that will be taking shape across global societies in the years ahead.

Saturn in Aquarius

Aquarius by Salvador Dali (born with Saturn in Aquarius)

Water Bearer

If, Ocean, you could grant, out of your gifts and dooms, /  some measure, fruit or ferment for my hands, / I’d choose your distant rest, your brinks of steel, / your furthest reaches watched by air and night, / the energy of your white dialect / downing and shattering its columns / in its own demolished purity.

Not the last wave with its weight of salt / crumbles the coastline and produces / a truce of sand encircling the world: / but tugging gravity, the pull of force, / the far-flung potency of waters / and the still solitude replete with lives. / Time, no doubt, or brimming crucible / of movement, primal unity / that death has left unsealed, green viscerae / of all-consuming oneness.

Of the drowned arm which lifts the water drop / only a kiss of salt remains. A humid fragrance / of drifting flowers clings where humans / bathed along your shores. Your energy / appears to glide away unspent, / seems to return to its original rest.

The wave you part with, / bow of identity, starry feather, / was only foam when it fell to pieces / and returned to be born, unconsumed, / Your whole strength clambers back to its origins. / You surrender nothing but mangled spoils, / husks your carriage swept aside, / the rejects of your abundant labor, / the shreds of afterbirth.

Your statue throws its shadow beyond the furthest wave

Living and co-related like breast and garment / of a single being and the breaths he draws, / in the matter of light haled from the deep / meadows uplifted by the waves / create the naked membrane of the planet. / You fill your own being with your substance.

And fulfill the curvature of silence.

The cup trembles with your salt and honey, / the universal womb of waters, / and nothing is wanting in you, as in the flayed / Crater, the unpolished pit: / desolate summits, scars, adhesions, / protecting the mutilated air.

Your petals throb against the world, / your submarine crops tremble, / the smooth algae brood like a menace, / the schools navigate and propagate / and only the dead lightning of scales / rises to the thread of the fishing nets / a wounded market in the distance / of your crystalline totalities.

The Great Ocean by Pablo Neruda (born with Saturn in Aquarius)

Both of Saturn’s constellational homes of Capricorn the Sea Goat and Aquarius the Water Bearer are found within the great ocean of the heavens that also includes Pisces the fish, Cetus the whale, Delphinus the dolphin, Eridanus the river, Pisces Australis the southern fish, and Hydra the water serpent. The second century CE, Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens described Saturn as “given to seafaring” and “practicing waterside trades,” and just as ancient cosmology perceived the Titan river god Oceanus as encircling the known world, so was Saturn known to contain the limits of human thought within its rings. Mythic figures associated with Aquarius have a connection with bearing water sourced from the divine, such as Ganymede the cup bearer in Greek mythology, or Hapi who measured and tended the ever enlivening waters of the Nile River in Egyptian mythology.

Saturn can be held responsible for bearing the divine waters of Aquarius due to governing the sphere of the heavens at the threshold between the planets and the sphere of the fixed stars beyond which resides the immortal, divine realm of the archetypal zodiac. While the 12th century astrologer Abraham ibn Ezra gave “the power of thought” to Saturn, the 17th century astrologer William Lilly described Saturn as “profound in Imagination,” as Saturn has long been viewed in astrology as being the most potent for deep contemplation that tests the limits of known boundaries. The 10th or 11th century author of The Picatrix wrote that Saturn further rules “profound sciences” and the “science of laws” that seek “the causes and roots of things and their effects.”

Yet there are many differences in how Saturn operates within Aquarius in contrast to Capricorn, including that while Capricorn is known as a bestial and semi-vocal sign, Aquarius is known as a humane and vocal sign. This means that Saturn’s significations are more focused within issues concerning humanity in Aquarius, including in the use of scientific thought to address humanitarian concerns and communicate findings.  For example, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring when Saturn was in Aquarius in 1962, calling for an end to the devastating environmental impact of humans using pesticides. We can expect significant scientific and technological developments during the passage of Saturn through Aquarius, as well as imaginative innovations in all fields of the arts and humanities.

Aquarius is also a fixed sign in contrast to Capricorn being a cardinal sign. Thus while Saturn tends to be more of an initiator of enterprises in Capricorn, it becomes more of a sustainer and solidifier of stability within Aquarius. Due to the long co-presence of Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and eclipses in Capricorn in the past year and a half, we have had to strike a balance between releasing and shedding the aspects of our lives in states of decay and decomposition, while initiating new visions of growth as our sense of purpose became honed within the Saturnine tests of what will endure. Saturn in Aquarius will be an ally in building upon the gains we have already made, as long as we work on what is necessary to achieve longterm goals rather than short-term rewards.  However, the fixed quality of Saturn in Aquarius is not only more resolute, thorough and steady than in Capricorn, it can also be more stubborn and slower moving. It will be important to realize when we need to let go of the perspectives, dreams and plans we have been overly attached to so that we can refocus on new directions to follow that will lead to needed innovations and reforms.

The_Lord_Answering_Job_Out_of_the_Whirlwind_Butts_set

The Lord Answering Job in the Whirlwind by William Blake (born with Saturn in Aquarius)

“Behold, I raise myself up also to you, aged Saturn . . . Powerful of sickle, aged, ripe, slow, cautious, inspiring, sickle-bearing, sorrowful, wise and judicious, deep, the one who enters, who examines, who scrutinizes, ye whose head is full of thoughts, ye who contemplate. Lord of the Ages, cultivator of the fields, inventor of the scythe, ruler of the helmsman of the aeons, instructor in Eternity’s course, measurer of the intervals of the months, leveling impassable eternity with the length of time, father of the parent of the gods, bestowing and removing all things under the devouring maw of time, he who orders all things which come into being, preserver of those things which endure, remover of all things which perish.”

— Giordano Bruno, Cantus Circaeus: The Incantations of Circe (1582) translated by Darius Klein

Air Triplicity

One of the most important differences between Saturn’s expression within its two homes is that Capricorn is part of the earth triplicity, whereas Aquarius is part of the air triplicity. This is hugely significant because Saturn rejoices in air signs and is the diurnal ruler of the air triplicity, meaning that Saturn is the primary ruler of placements in air signs in astrology charts cast during daytime hours. As Saturn is also considered to be a diurnal planet, it further resonates with Aquarius being a diurnal and outwardly directed zodiac sign like all air signs are considered to be. Demetra George in Ancient Astrology wrote that Robert Schmidt of Project Hindsight speculated “that since the triplicities were originally associated with the winds from the four directions, a planet in its own triplicity, especially if it was its own triplicity lord, indicated that this planet had powerful winds at its back spurring it on to the completion of successful enterprises.”

It’s worth considering the place the sphere of air holds within the sequence of the spheres of the elements utilized in traditional astrology. Earth is the most dense and solid element that is the most resistant to change, while fire is the most subtle and elevated element that is closest to spirit. Similar to how Saturn rules the planetary sphere at the threshold with the celestial fire of the sphere of the fixed stars, the element of air is in an intermediary place in between the celestial heights of fire and the condensing descent of the water and earth elements. Likewise, Saturn in Aquarius is a threshold guardian between the numinous and the incarnate.

Since Capricorn is an inwardly directed sign of dense stone and heavy, earthy matters, we will notice an increased capacity for flights of imagination to escape the confinement of our circumstances while Saturn is in Aquarius. Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro in their text On the Heavenly Spheres described the air element as possessing “lightness and the capacity to penetrate,” “great mobility,” “a unifying role,” and characterizing things that display “great agility and flexibility.” The capacity of air to unify and flexibly respond has a tempering effect on the rigid significations of Saturn that can reject and create separation. In combination, Saturn can utilize the unifying nature of air to coalesce new material forms from far reaching vision and articulate its meaning so that others gain understanding. Within society, Saturn in Aquarius can correlate with the creation of binding laws and theoretical structures that hold together and sustain vast material realms, such as the United States Constitution that was created in 1787 when Saturn and Pluto were close together in Aquarius.

Most importantly with regard to how astrology measures historical eras, the entrance of Saturn into Aquarius signals that we will ultimately experience a great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the first degree of Aquarius on December 21, 2020. The cycle between Jupiter and Saturn that regenerates every twenty years has been the paramount astrological cycle to pay attention to when analyzing changes in historical eras since at least the 3rd century CE within Persian astrology. The ending and beginning of cycles between Jupiter and Saturn have long corresponded with the death of old kings and the emergence of new orders in governance as well as revelations within fields of thought and belief. While there is a smaller cycle of Jupiter and Saturn forming conjunctions every twenty years, there is a larger cycle of Jupiter and Saturn forming conjunctions every two hundred years within the same triplicity that correspondingly demarcates larger changes in dynasty and thought on vast collective levels.

For example, there were conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn occurring in air signs from the beginning of the thirteenth century until the beginning of the fifteenth century, in water signs from the beginning of the fifteenth century until the beginning of the seventeenth century, and in fire signs from the beginning of the seventeenth century until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Since 1802 the Saturn and Jupiter conjunctions have been occurring in earth signs, with the final true conjunction in a tropical earth sign occurring on May 28, 2000 in Taurus. After the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius in 2020, there will continue to only be true conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in tropical air signs until 2159. Yet when based upon the “mean” conjunction utilized in Ptolemaic astronomy that is based upon the average length of each planetary cycle (click here for an article by Benjamin Dykes on this) we will not shift from the air triplicity era into the next era of the water triplicity until the year 2219.

Looking back upon previous transitions from the eras of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs into air signs, we can see how previous eras and empires of consolidated material security became disrupted leading to dramatic changes in distribution of resources as well as in collective ideas and communication. The previous air triplicity era that began in 1206 involved the mongol invasions of Genghis Khan that created the Mongol Empire as well as the Black Plague that decimated Europe in particular. Going further back to the previous air triplicity era before this from 412 – 610 CE, history reveals the fall of the Roman empire. The previous air triplicity era before this from 383 – 185 BC involved the conquests of Alexander the Great which brought the empires of Egypt, Greece, and Persia together under common languages and trade networks.

While there was a true conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in tropical Libra at the end of 1980, the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius in 2020 is the first one that permanently locks their cycle into an era of conjunctions in the air triplicity. From now until December, we will be experiencing the last gasps of the earth era that began in 1802 with a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter in Virgo, a historical era that has coincided with the acceleration of the industrial revolution and human consumption of natural resources to create our modern civilization. From considering past cycles we would expect that as we exit the earth era and enter the air era, we will experience a great disruption of the past earth cycle that will eventually create new networks through which information and resources will be widely dispersed as part of an air triplicity era. One major player in this way has been the Internet, and so it is further interesting that the World Wide Web was first publicly released in August 1991 when Saturn was previously in Aquarius.

However, it has now become clear that COVID 19 is bringing about an incredibly rapid reckoning with the global economic structures that have been established during the past earth era. In particular, the United States of America with its present economic and healthcare structures is completely unprepared for the present crisis and will need to make unprecedented changes in systematic structure to address the fracturing of public health and finance that will result from the pandemic. Despite the national border closings and general social distancing, COVID 19 is an increasingly global crisis that will be uniting people from diverse cultures together under a common cause of how to survive the widespread calamity. With Saturn operating in peak strength in Aquarius, there is vast potential for a drastic reordering of systematic structures to eventually emerge from the dissolution of the status quo and the increasing amount of collective pressure that will be placed on those in power to respond appropriately.

Saturn in Aquarius

Mandala 97 from Liber Novus by Carl Jung (born with Saturn in Aquarius)

Saturn square Uranus

“The divine appears to me as irrational craziness”

— Carl Jung (born with Saturn in Aquarius) from Liber Novus

“Even today people are largely unconscious of the fact that every individual is a cell in the structure of various international organisms and is therefore causally implicated in their conflicts. He knows that as an individual being he is more or less meaningless and feels himself the victim of uncontrollable forces, but, on the other hand, he harbors within himself a dangerous shadow and adversary who is involved as an invisible helper in the dark machinations of the political monster. It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know by foisting it off on somebody else.

Nothing has a more divisive and alienating effect upon society than this moral complacency and lack of responsibility, and nothing promotes understanding and rapprochement more than the mutual withdrawal of projections.”

— Carl Jung (born with Saturn in Aquarius) from The Undiscovered Self

Last year when I was looking ahead to the sweep of astrological transits taking us through 2020 into 2021, the feature that gave me the most pause was the fact that we would be transitioning from a conjunction of Saturn and Pluto into a waning square between Saturn and Uranus, with Jupiter moving through conjunctions with Pluto and Saturn into a waning square with Uranus. Altogether this means that Saturn and Jupiter will be bringing the cathartic intensity of their union with Pluto into a volatile mixture with Uranus. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche described the Saturn and Pluto cycle as aligning with “conservative empowerment” and “eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression.” In contrast, Tarnas described the periods of Saturn and Uranus in hard aspect we are entering now as involving “the exacerbation of tensions between authority and rebellion, order and freedom, structure and change” as well as “repressive revolution,” “erratically unpredictable authority,” “sudden collapse of structures,” and “grim awakenings.”

Saturn entering Aquarius on March 21, 2020 will trigger its waning square with Uranus in Taurus, but it will not become exact in 2020 as Saturn will station retrograde on May 10 at two degrees of Aquarius in order to retreat back into Capricorn. The waning square between Saturn and Uranus will become exact on February 17, 2021 at 7º14′ of Aquarius and Taurus, then again on June 14, 2021 at 13º07′, and for a final time on December 24, 2021 at 11º06′ of Aquarius and Taurus. Our first sense of what will be coming with this volatile transit will be felt from now until Saturn returns to Capricorn on July 1, with greater clarity coming once Saturn and Jupiter form their conjunction in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 that will be in range of a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus.

Since we are entering the waning square between Saturn and Uranus, it is important to consider when the seeds of their current cycle were planted. The current Saturn Uranus cycle began in 1988 at the end of Sagittarius, with Saturn and Uranus forming conjunctions on February 13 at 29º55′, June 26 at 28º47′, and October 18 at 27º49′ Sagittarius. At the beginning of the new cycle between Saturn and Uranus the Cold War came to an end, the Soviet Union was torn apart, and the Berlin Wall came down, with the demolition of the Berlin Wall completed in November 1991 with Saturn in Aquarius. In relation to the new meaning between Saturn and Uranus that was born during this period, the waning square of 2020 and 2021 is a phase of decomposition in which we must question and confront the societal beliefs and structures we have developed over the course of this cycle, reorienting toward what needs to be released and what needs to be built to address whatever the present collective crises expose as no longer working.

Remarkably, the waxing square between Saturn and Uranus in their current cycle occurred during the previous period of Jupiter ending and beginning a cycle with Saturn in 1999 and 2000. Saturn in Taurus formed a square with Uranus in Aquarius on November 14, 1999 at 13º04′ and again on May 13, 2000 at 20º46′ only two weeks before Jupiter formed its great conjunction with Saturn at 22º46′ Taurus on May 28. During the waxing square between the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Taurus with Uranus in Aquarius, Uranus was in the superior position due to being in the tenth place from Saturn and Jupiter. This means that within their tension, the volatility of Uranus was in position to overcome the societal ordering of Jupiter and Saturn. We can see the shattering impact of Uranus upon this cycle between Jupiter and Saturn in the terror and shocking devastation of the September 11, 2001 attack on the twin towers of New York City that led to widespread destruction and chaos in the Middle East region and wars that have still not ended to this day. There was also an overwhelming impact of Uranian technology such as the Internet on global societies that has required constant adjustments over the course of the past twenty year cycle between Jupiter and Saturn.

In contrast, the great conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on December 21, 2020 will be in a superior square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. As a result, the new order initiated between Jupiter and Saturn will be in position to overcome the unpredictable disruption of Uranus. With regard to institutional changes initiated by global governments in response to the COVID 19 pandemic, it will be imperative to monitor decisions closely so that the established power structures do not use the crisis as a way to claim an even greater share of power and resources from the populace. As described in The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, the popular desire for rapid responses to collective disasters has led in the past to those in power taking advantage of people being in a state of stock by implementing free market policies that  go far beyond an appropriate disaster response and disproportionately benefit those in power at the expense of the wider populace.

Hopefully, the configuration of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius being in a superior square with Uranus can lead to radical, deep seated changes in societal structures that address societal inequities and bring about needed reforms and innovations within governments and community organizations. At the beginning of the Great Depression in the USA, Saturn in Capricorn was in a superior square with Uranus in Aries and it led to the New Deal. Negatively, the “repressive revolution” side of Saturn being in a superior square with Uranus occurred during the Reign of Terror in France when Saturn in Taurus was in a superior square with Uranus in Leo; however, during the Reign of Terror there was also a superior square from Pluto in Aquarius toward Saturn in Taurus and an opposition between Pluto with Uranus. In contrast, when the Civil War erupted in the USA, Uranus in Gemini was in a superior square with Saturn in Virgo.

No matter what happens during the collective volatility suggested by the astrology of 2020 and 2021, an important guiding light in the darkness will be the work of Saturn in Aquarius native Carl Jung. Indeed, Carl Jung was born with Saturn in Aquarius in an opposition with Uranus in Leo as well as Saturn in Aquarius in a superior square with Pluto in Taurus. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche brilliantly summarized the connection between Jung’s work on the shadow with the meaning of the Saturn-Pluto cycle that has led into the ingress of Saturn into Aquarius, stating:

“. . . The very notion of the shadow as Jung conceived it represents an intricate synthesis of the two planetary principles: from Saturn, the motifs of judgment, guilt and shame, suppression and repression, splitting and separation, denial, the inferior, that which is regretted and negated; and from Pluto, those aspects of the self that constitute its “underworld,” the instincts, the dark depths of the personality, the animal-like, the often ruthless and ugly, serving impulses for power, domination, lust, and other drives yet also representing that healthy instinctuality from which healing, wholeness, and a higher consciousness can ultimately emerge.”

— Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche

Although the Jupiter and Saturn conjunction in Aquarius in 2020 does not demarcate entrance into the Age of Aquarius written about by Carl Jung, some of his thoughts on the transition between the Ages of Pisces and Aquarius are nonetheless relevant. Jung did not describe an Age of Aquarius utopia similar to the 1960s pop song by The 5th Dimension, but rather described it as a pivotal transition in human civilization fraught with peril and necessitating a confrontation with evil. Liz Greene in Jung’s Studies in Astrology wrote that Jung “viewed the Aquarian Aion as the epoch when individuals would interiorise the God-image,” a development within humanity that Peter Kingsley in Catafalque described Jung as warning could lead to “uncontainable hubris and inflation” that potentially could make the world “end up worse than it already is.”

While Jung viewed the Age of Pisces as involving a splitting between the opposites of good and evil with Jesus as one fish and Satan as the other, he viewed the living image of the human, Aquarian Water Bearer as revealing the union of opposites within humanity. In Aion he wrote that in the Age of Aquarius it will “no longer be possible to write off evil as the mere privation of good; its real existence will have to be recognized.” Jung concluded that “the problem of the union of opposites” cannot be solved by “philosophy, nor by economics, nor by politics, but only by the individual human being, via his experience of the living spirit.”

We need to take to heart that it will be up to each and every one of us as individuals to be accountable in confronting our own shadow and withdrawing projections that scapegoat others. There is evil in the material world, in the realm of spirit, and we can further find the seeds of this same evil within each of us. Collective crises bring out the best and worst in humanity, but we each can claim the responsibility to make time for exploring the shadow cast by conscious awareness so that we do not direct our fears and frustrations at others or develop an overinflated sense of our own needs at the expense of others.

Saturn in Aquarius possesses the intellectual fortitude needed to persevere through times of lack and solitude, while devising ways to support those in need and acting with the best interests of one’s wider community in mind. May the return of Saturn to its airy home of Aquarius bring a supportive wind to lift our spirits and help align our choices and actions with patient wisdom and visionary innovations. As Anaïs Nin (who was born with Saturn conjoining Mercury in Aquarius) once wrote, “Only in the fever of creation could she recreate her own lost life.”

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atalanta fugiens saturn emblem 12

Emblem 12 from Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens

References

Avelar, Helena and Ribeiro, Luis. (2010). On the Heavenly Spheres: A Treatise on Traditional Astrology. AFA.

Brennan, Chris. (2017). Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune. Amor Fati Publications.

Bruno, Giordano. (2009 edition). Cantus Circaeus: The Incantations of Circe, together with The Judiciary: Being the Arto of Memory. Translated by Darius Klein. Ouroboros Press.

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

Greene, Liz. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic, and the Qualities of Time (Volume 1).

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

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

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

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

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

Full Moon in Virgo

Full Moon in Virgo

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1879) Lady of the Swans

Full Moon in Virgo

The Full Moon in Virgo on March 9 illuminates the finale of the Mercury retrograde period we have been experiencing ever since Mercury stationed retrograde on February 16.  The Full Moon is in the exaltation and nocturnal home of Mercury, bringing amplified potency to Mercury stationing direct at 28°12′ Aquarius about ten hours after the Moon reaches its peak light. The Virgo Full Moon will center awareness within the streams of changing circumstances and relationships that have been taking place during the past three liminal weeks of Mercury looping retrograde. While the lunation may spark perception of concrete actions that need to be taken as well as adjustments that need to be made, the simultaneous conjunction between Neptune and the Sun in Pisces will cast a mist over proceedings we will need to clarify.

Virgo is the inwardly directed, earthy home of Mercury that facilitates analyzing, sorting, organizing, and synthesizing the kind of ineffable, immaterial insights we can receive when Neptune unites with the Sun in Pisces. The Virgo Moon can be a keen aid in discerning revelations and understanding regarding whatever has been shifting and rearranging during the past month of Mercury retrograde. In particular, if you have been feeling confused as if you have been swept out into a sea of illusion or excessive idealism, the Virgo Full Moon will provide dry  land for you to wash up onshore and regain your bearings. If there is melancholy to deal with due to disillusionment, there are galvanizing aspects to the Virgo Full Moon that will enliven efforts to reorient as needed to whatever has been unveiled about reality.

The Full Moon in Virgo is separating from an invigorating trine aspect with Mars in Capricorn and is applying toward a flowing and stabilizing trine aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn. The Virgo Moon weaving in between Mars in its exaltation and Jupiter in its fall of Capricorn will focalize attention toward the conjunction between Mars and Jupiter that will occur on March 20 during the Aries Equinox. There is extreme potency being stirred up between Mars and Jupiter that can be directed toward work and creative expression, and so it will be vital to set clear intention for where and for whom you wish to invest your energy and time.

The Virgo Full Moon is also forming a flowing trine aspect with the asteroid Pallas Athena, which is currently mediating in between Mars and Jupiter. Pallas Athena will form a conjunction with Mars on March 17 and then will slowly build toward an eventual conjunction with Jupiter on March 28 that will also be less than one degree away from Pluto in Capricorn. Pallas Athena accentuates our capacity for visualizing a blueprint to follow in achieving goals, yet we need to be prudent and wisely explore options. Rather than simply following the whims of desire for ambitious growth, work with the creative contraction of Capricorn and distill the essential work that is most deserving of attention. We will need to navigate volatile changes within collective events as Saturn enters Aquarius on March 21 while Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto come together in Capricorn, yet within the corresponding catharsis we can make significant breakthroughs and advancements if we have a clear target to direct energy toward.

jmw turner norham castle, sunrise

JMW Turner (1845) Norham Castle, Sunrise

Mercury in Aquarius rules the Full Moon as it is standing still and stationing direct at 28º12′ Aquarius. Mercury finally became visible again in its Morning Star phase in the days leading up to the Virgo Full Moon, and so the Star of Hermes will be heralding the rise of the Sun on the morning of the lunation as birdsong fills the air. It’s more important than normal to bring mindfulness to every moment when Mercury is stationing so that we can be alert to unexpected twists and turns in storylines brought by the tricky messenger planet. It will also be important to pay close attention to the symbolism of signs and omens within our daily actions and nightly dreams, as Mercury will be delivering guidance through a multitude of forms within nature.

Indeed, it will be vital to listen to nature and watch for signs as Mercury pauses in stillness as the Virgo Moon forms an opposition with Neptune and the Sun in Pisces. Contact with Neptune opens us to the wisdom found in the otherworldly and wherever we feel the presence of the interconnected, underlying fabric of reality. As the solar rays infused with Neptune prepare to emerge once again from the fertile night, as Mercury flashes its morning light above the dewy mist covering the earth as we awaken from dream, we can release ourselves from old illusions and engage with the arising inspiration that brings life to our imagination. Neptune injecting its mystifying qualities into the Pisces Sun may make us want to drift into daydream, lay near water, listen to rapturous music, or engage in any other way we can journey into imaginal fantasy. It may be harder than normal to take care of monotonous tasks, but the foggy mists of Neptune united with the Sun is a passing influence.

During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Mercury will slowly begin to move forward again and will return to Pisces on March 16. As Mercury returns to Pisces, you may notice a return to some of the topics and themes you were especially immersed in during the retrograde movement of Mercury in Pisces from February 16 through March 4. Now that Mercury is shining in light again in the liminal space before dawn, it will be taking on a more active, diurnal quality of being curious about new information and actively forging new connections between ideas and developing plans. Mercury will pick up speed and return to moving faster than the Sun as it reaches its maximum elongation as a Morning Star on March 23, just in time for the New Moon in Aries on March 24. Thus as the light of the Moon wanes from its peak at the Virgo Full Moon into darkness, Mercury will be increasing in light and speed and in its capacity for initiating new lessons and achieving results.

Shields Lighthouse circa 1826 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

JMW Turner (1826) Shields Lighthouse

As the Virgo Full Moon rises in the east following sunset, Venus in Taurus will be burning brightly in the twilight of the west. Venus is separating from a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus it completed on March 8, and so the Virgo Full Moon is providing critical insight not only into our relationship with Neptune in Pisces but also with Uranus in Taurus. This is only the second time that we have experienced Venus uniting with Uranus in Taurus (previously they conjoined on May 18, 2019), and so as Venus is receiving Uranus into its inwardly directed home we may experience an enlivening of flavorful aesthetics, sensuality, and sense of harmony. Within relationships, Venus combined with Uranus in Taurus can help in finding allies and forming fellowship with those who resonate with and support our authentic values and passions.

Furthermore, Venus in Taurus is also forming harmonious aspects with the transiting lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer and a trine with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. During March, Venus shining bright as an Evening Star in her earthy home will be serving as a gift bearing goddess who can help in bringing balance within our relationship with others, with the divine, and with our own body and being. While Venus remains in close proximity with Uranus, however, there will be a greater likelihood for erratic or unexpected gains and losses in pursuit of goals. Fortunately, Venus provides a stable presence in the fixed earth sign of Taurus to regulate shifting elements so as to bring about eventual success. Moreover, under the emancipatory influence of Uranus we can feel motivated to take creative risks and discover innovative breakthroughs we would never find by doing things the way we have in the past.

While Venus is forming stabilizing aspects with the transiting lunar nodes, Chiron in Aries is applying to a catalytic and volatilizing square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes. Chiron at the southern bending of the lunar nodes will bring attention to recovering whatever you have felt you needed to abandon about your essential purpose to fit in with cultural expectations. A key aspect of the collective wound Chiron in Aries will be tending is the intersection between systems of oppression within civilization with one’s identity and core purpose. Chiron will form an exact square aspect with the true calculation of the lunar nodes on March 13, but the aspect will be in close proximity for all of March. In fact, the upcoming New Moon in Aries on March 24 will be conjoining Chiron while also forming a square with the lunar nodes. If you want to read more about the meaning of Chiron squaring the transiting lunar nodes, I recently wrote an article for astrology.com that you can read here.

pents09

9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 2 Decan

The Virgo Full Moon arises within the second decan of Virgo associated with the Nine of Pentacles illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image is saturated with a golden aura, with an elegant woman covered in flowing, golden robes. On her hand sits a hooded falcon, its capacity for swift flight and hyper vision temporarily restrained. Surrounding her are ripening grapevines and a large estate upon which we can imagine numerous marvels of nature and art residing. Since it is a tarot card associated with gains in wealth and creation of beautiful works, it makes sense that Venus and Saturn are the co-rulers of the second face of Virgo. While Venus is like the guiding star of beauty and love that gives us an overarching reason to seek wealth we can share with others, Saturn functions as the force of necessity, discipline, and hard work required to seed, cultivate, and gather a bountiful harvest or shape primal material into rarefied form.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hammer and the Anvil” to the second face of Virgo. Coppock described a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that results in beautiful products and gains in wealth, yet “conceals the pain and toil utterly necessary for its creation.” Coppock concluded that this face brings alchemical “understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus,” while the “residents of this decan oversee the ever-transforming world, guiding and shaping the Great Work on a microcosmic level,” inspecting and keeping track of how efficiently material processes are running.

Interestingly, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs linked the Moirai to the second face of Virgo. These are the daughters of Necessity, the goddesses of fate: Clotho the spinner of the threads of life, Lachesis the measurer of fateful threads, and Atropos who cuts the threads. These goddesses of fate appearing in this decan remind us to center within the actual currents of life so that choices can be discerned that will allow one to navigate accordingly. In Plato’s Myth of Er, the Moriai not only ascribe ones destiny but also the guardian daimon who can bring guidance in accordance with virtue and authentic character. While there are many upsetting events occurring in collective events we cannot change, we do possess the inherent character to respond with responsible virtue rather than in a way that goes against the nature of our higher self. Within the light of the Virgo Full Moon, shed attachment to the false, illusory entrapments of surface desires and ambitions to kindle connection with the primal, burning, daimonic light of your essential self and character that can provide guidance during the coming changes in season and circumstance.

References

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

New Moon in Pisces

spring veils

Edna Andrade (1973) Spring Veils

New Moon in Pisces

The New Moon in Pisces on February 23 arrives not only during a change in season but also demarcates a threshold to cross into an intensification of the catalytic astrology of 2020. In the northern hemisphere, the days are growing longer as green shoots emerge from frozen ground; in the southern hemisphere, the peak glare of fiery Summer has passed as the encroaching darkness of Fall begins to increase. The year began with a potent seeding of vision in Capricorn involving Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter, Ceres, and Mercury that has required incubation and gestation to become more clear about its longterm ramifications. With the entrance of Mars into Capricorn, the Sea Goat stellium has become ignited just as the  Pisces New Moon forms a collaborative and harmonizing sextile aspect with all of it.

The New Moon in Pisces is separating from a sextile with Uranus in Taurusand applying toward a sextile with Mars in Capricorn. The New Moon is also waxing toward a sextile with its South Node in Capricorn and a flowing trine with its North Node in Cancer. Thus the Pisces New Moon opens the long range view of a falcon encircling the sea from above, with potential for rapid acceleration of vision sourced from inspiration. Yet as a larger picture of what can take form this year coalesces, so will a stronger sense of all of the necessary work that will be required to bring it fully into being. Mercury retrograde in Pisces mutually applying to a conjunction with the New Moon can be helpful in surveying resources and goals to determine where adjustment or additional support is needed. Some aspects of current plans may need to be shed, while the unorthodox motion of Mercury may also retrieve  old ideas or capture unexpected thoughts to integrate into developing projects.

The applying sextile between the Pisces New Moon with Mars in Capricorn is particularly invigorating due to Mars being co-present with the trio of Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn in Capricorn. Before Mars fully activates the Sea Goat trio, however, it must first cross the initiatory threshold of passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. One one hand, the union of Mars with the South Node also means that it is triggering the eclipse degree of the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 26, 2019 and therefore enflaming collective events that have been simmering and ready to erupt. On the other hand, the conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon will also draw attention toward the deeper motivations underlying our striving. Rather than insisting on continual expansion and progress, take the time to reflect upon the nature of your aspirations with willingness to lay some desires to rest while committing a deeper investment to what emerges as your most essential desire.

The potency of the collaborative sextile between the Pisces New Moon and Mars exalted in Capricorn demands movement, whether toward external goals or toward inner insight. Some additional symbolism describing the richness of the New Moon’s dark soil comes from its conjunction by zodiacal degree with two significant fixed stars:  (1) Fomalhaut, the mouth of the Southern Fish swimming beneath the Water Bearer of Aquarius, as well as (2) Deneb Adige, the brilliant white alpha star in the tail of Cygnus the Swan.

Fomalhaut is the mouth of the Southern Fish that Bernadette Brady has linked with the mystical salmon invested with wisdom in Celtic mythology, a point of intake for magically making change through relationship with Nature rather than through control or domination over Nature. Similar to how Ptolemy connected Fomalhaut with Venus and Mercury, Fomalhaut has been described as a poetic, visionary, and mystical star associated with the kind of magical charisma that can seductively influence the course of events.  Bernadette Brady further associated Fomalhaut with idealistic visions that necessitate conflict with the dominant culture in order to bring about manifestation. Fomalhaut’s presence near the zodiacal degree of the Pisces New Moon is a warning to be careful for what you wish for, utilizing the purging nature of Mercury retrograde in Pisces to come into deeper relationship with what you truly wish to create with your life.

Deneb Adige is the starry white tail of the Swan gliding gracefully across the great watery section of the heavens, the alpha star of Cygnus that Ptolemy also connected with Venus and Mercury, just like Fomalhaut. Water birds are sacred in Celtic traditions due to integrating the elements of earth, air, and water, and Bernadette Brady further connected Deneb Algede with not only the deep spirituality of the Swan but also the aggression and combativeness of swans when defending their territory. There is common ground with Fomalhaut here, in that Brady also connected Deneb Adige with the “journey of actively seeking spiritual awareness” that demands “a deeper step, to feel that one has to walk the less trodden tail.” Indeed, Brady declared Deneb Adige to be the “shaman’s star,” viewed by the ancient Egyptians as “the exit of the birth canal of Nut,” the starry goddess who continually gives birth, rebirth, to the Sun and its illuminating light. Deneb Adige brings the steely inner strength to the lunation also found by the New Moon forming a sextile with Mars in its exaltation of Capricorn.

New Moon in Pisces

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1889-90) The Cliff – Bay of Saint-Malo

Jupiter in Capricorn is the domicile rule of  the Pisces New Moon, while the New Moon is also occurring in the exaltation, bounds, and triplicity of Venus in Aries. Venus and Jupiter ruling the New Moon is notable due to the fact that Venus in Aries is applying toward an exact square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn as Luna and Sol unite in Pisces. This brings a wave of extreme desires to reach a peak, requiring a measure of tempering to avoid the type of overinflation that can bring about a painful fall. While you may feel the stirring of large appetites it must necessarily be set against the constraint and contraction of circumstances signified by Mars, Jupiter, and Pluto being hosted by Saturn in the Capricorn terrain being catalyzed by Venus in the fiery sign of Mars.

Adding immense depth to these aspects, Jupiter also formed an exact sextile with Neptune in Pisces a few days before the lunation on February 20, and is now slowly applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn that will be building throughout the next month. Simultaneously, Venus in Aries will also be applying toward a cathartic square aspect with Pluto as the Moon begins to wax in light, forming an exact square with Pluto on February 28. With Venus engaging in a sequence of square aspects with Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn, the realm of relationship will be a source of change where we may receive intimations of new possibilities and potential while also contending with whatever present Saturnine tests we are facing. Any disillusionment felt can be utilized in reconsidering the inner values you feel are truly worthwhile to embody and center choices around. With Mars in Capricorn ruling Venus, we must enter the fray rather than hold back from fear, being willing to shake things up rather than remaining stagnant.

It’s further significant that both benefics, Venus and Jupiter, are occupying challenging signs since Venus is in the sign opposite its home of Libra and Jupiter is in its fall in Capricorn. In contrast, both malefics, Saturn and Mars, are in places of great strength since Saturn is in its nocturnal, earthy home of Capricorn and Mars is in its exaltation of Capricorn. In part this signifies the lunar month ahead is not a time for lazily luxuriating in pleasure but rather gathering strength and resources to strike out resiliently with hard work and effort. While it may be necessary to experience change within relational dynamics and desires, any experiences of separation we must endure can facilitate penetrating more deeply into reconsidering inner ideals, value, and meaning. Even taking small steps in making space for contemplation free from the usual distractions and responsibilities of daily life will help in gaining clarity for where to let go versus where to focus for an influx of growth opportunities.

Turner_Ovid_Banished_from_Rome

JMW Turner Ovid Banished from Rome

Crucially, the New Moon in Pisces is mutually applying toward a conjunction with Mercury retrograde and combust under the beams of the Pisces Sun. While the New Moon in Pisces occurs during the most intense phase of purging and putrefaction within Mercury’s retrograde movement in Pisces, two days after the lunation on February 25 Mercury will experience the purification and rebirth of its inferior conjunction with the Sun. Mercury being in the heart of the Sun will be most intense when Mercury is within sixteen arc minutes from the Sun, from roughly 2:30 pm PST until 8:45 pm PST, with the exact solar union occurring around 5:41 pm PST on February 25. This is an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration, as Mercury becomes revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.

During the same time that Mercury retrograde is conjoining the Sun, Mars in Capricorn will also be passing through a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Furthermore, this will all occur just as the waxing crescent light of the Moon forms a conjunction with Chiron in Aries and a square aspect with Mars in Capricorn. There is deep potency here for descent into inner realms of shadow and exploring our relationship with the ideals we use to generate our force of will in the external world. It’s an opportune time to contemplate our relationship with having agency in our life. The etymology of agency involves effectiveness, power, performing, setting things in motion, and driving things forward. We can also become agents of larger forces and institutions as part of going after what we want to possess in life. Who are you serving with your agency, your performance, and your power?

8_cups_rws_lg

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 1 Decan

The Pisces New Moon falls in the first decan of Pisces associated with the Eight of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image contains a figure retreating into a watery, island realm of caves and seclusion ideal for contemplation. Their staff planted in earth, their red cape and boots signify the flowing vitality they may contact within a cultivated space of sacred meditation and ritual. The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight.

Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces in his book 36 Faces, noting it signifies “a quest to map invisible walls of reality,” “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality. Coppock wrote that in the first decan of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions.” Coppock concluded the “liberation is achieved through insight alone,” meaning that through acceptance of our capacity for re-creating our maze-like circumstances, we may reframe the sense of imprisonment within our labyrinth as having dominion within our own palace. This meaning of the first face of Pisces fits well with the Pisces New Moon separating from a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus.

The link between the primal, fertile potency of the unconscious with the first face of Pisces is interesting considering that the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs linked the first face of Pisces with the titanic sea divinity Okeanos. More of a primal sea divinity than Poseidon, Okeanos was also known as the oceanic field surrounding the world where the Sun rises from at dawn and returns to at sunset. Tim Addey in The Seven Myths of the Soul stated that Okeanos was considered the “God of Separative Intellect” in Orphic theology. In its Orphic Hymn, Okeanos is described as the source of every river, sea, and spring that brings divine purification to our human realm. The nourishing mists from this fertile, oceanic void touch us when adrift upon waves of aquatic life or when staring into the sea. Allow the purifying waters of the New Moon in Pisces to cleanse your vision, fortifying your resolve to embody your most sacred values in relationship with others.

There, see, the new moon, / The King of life blessing her; / Fragrant be every night / Whereon she shall shine!

Be her lustre full / To each one in need; / Be her course complete / To each one beset.

Be her light above / With every one in straits; / Be her guidance below / With every one in need.

May the moon of moons / Be coming through thick clouds / On me and on every one / Coming through dark tears.

May God’s hand on me dwell / In every strait that me befalls, / Now and till the hour of my death, / And till the day of my resurrection.

— Traditional Scottish prayer

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References

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

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

Carmichael, Alexander. (2006). Carmina Gadelica: Hymns and Incantations. Floris Books.

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

Mercury retrograde in Pisces & Aquarius

Mercury retrograde in Pisces

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1860-98) The Seascape Painter

Mercury Stations Retrograde in Pisces

We paused amid the pines that stood / The giants of the waste, / Tortured by storms to shapes as rude / As serpents interlaced, / And soothed by every azure breath / That under Heaven is blown / To harmonies and hues beneath, / As tender as its own; / Now all the tree-tops lay asleep / Like green waves on the sea, / As still as in the silent deep / The Ocean woods may be.

— from Percy Bysshe Shelley’s To Jane. The Recollection

Mercury is at home in the liminal, in between thought and expression, in threshold experiences of leaving one state to enter another. Mercury is the only planet that defies definitions fixing it to a singular category, as it can be benefic or malefic, nocturnal or diurnal, masculine or feminine, depending upon whatever surrounding influences it is mixing with. Mercury delights in transitions within storylines, the unexpected twist or turn, and the loss that catches you off guard and brings awareness to a necessary lesson. Just as Mercury corresponds with stones of many colors, so does it rejoice in the changing hues of sunrise and sunset where it fleetingly shares its light with us. It’s thus ironic that so many hold a rigidly negative judgment against Mercury when retrograde.

When Mercury stations retrograde on February 16, it will twinkle in the sky one last time as the sun sets. After Mercury follows the sun into the darkness of night it will enter its invisible retrograde phase, taking on the role of psychopomp guiding us into the underworld of our unconscious. Mercury shifting retrograde is not an abhorrent aberration, but rather a natural phase of dissolution, purification, and regeneration that is essential to the meaning and function of Mercury. Perhaps it is the cultural emphasis on progress, future goals, and linear processes that leads people to complain about the nonlinear, magical reality Mercury activates when retrograde.

Mercury when retrograde possesses the logic of symbols and poetry more so than instruction manuals, especially when in its fall in Pisces. Mercury retrograde in its fall will compel awareness into incubatory darkness and places of low lying depth rather than exalted heights, especially since it is also under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. Mercury is ready to take us on a deep dive into boundless oceanic depths where we may excavate long lost fragments of ancient secrets harbored in sunken treasure. Mercury stations retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces near Neptune at 17º37′ Pisces, with Jupiter at 17º02′ Capricorn and applying to a harmonious sextile with Neptune.

The visible, evening star phase of Mercury that will end after it stations retrograde was seeded on January 10 during a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer and a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. The retrograde movement of Mercury will test and temper aspirations that arose in correspondence with the potent Capricorn seeding in January, loosening our control so as to reveal any unstable elements in need of shedding or shoring up. Furthermore, since Jupiter in Capricorn is receiving Neptune through a waning sextile aspect, we will be called to reorient our beliefs and perspective with the deep, underlying changes that have started to take shape. The disintegration and breakdowns brought forth by Mercury retrograde will incite a shedding of illusions that have accumulated, purging and purifying understanding.

As Jupiter will complete its sextile with Neptune on February 20 and then eventually move within three degrees of its first conjunction with Pluto by the end of Mercury’s retrograde passage, the amorphous perception of Mercury retrograde in Pisces can dissolve the culturally conditioned boundaries that will become volatilized through the catharsis of Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto coming together. If we can fluidly engage with Mercury’s capacity for dislodging stuck, habitual patterns we can gain increased flexibility in responding to the wider societal changes that will be happening. Yet since Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, Mercury’s sleight of hand within its watery landscape can blur distinctions and cause confusion through focusing on larger visions rather than practical details.

Mercury’s retrograde journey will not take place entirely within the ocean of Pisces, however, as Mercury will backtrack into Aquarius on March 4, station direct in Aquarius on March 9, and remain inside the fixed sign of air until March 16 when it returns to Pisces. Since Aquarius is the intellectually oriented, airy home of Saturn, the creative chaos stirred up by Mercury in its first seventeen days of being retrograde will give rise to clarifying insight once Mercury climbs out of the waves of Pisces in order to contemplate and distill wisdom within the sign of the Water Bearer.  Until then, Mercury will need to utilize the extrasensory perception of Pisces and the divinatory tools at its disposal to chart our course along a deep sea expedition.

Baro_Urbigerus_—_Filius_noster_—_1705

Baro Urbigerus (1705)

“Mercury . . . has such power over the animal spirit that he is said both to put minds to sleep and to wake them up with his caduceus, that is to say, by any aspect of his, disposed this way or that, he can miraculously either blunt the wits or sharpen them, weaken or strengthen them, agitate or calm them.”

–Marsilio Ficino, Book III, Chapter XI of Three Books on Life

Our astrological ancestors such as Marsilio Ficino and William Lilly viewed Mercury as ruling the animal spirit, a term we can connect in modern terminology with the interplay between our nervous system responses and our emotional sensations. Although the planet Mercury is not classically viewed as having dignity in the astrological element of water, William Lilly linked Mercury with the element of water through its watery role in alchemy in which it is the fluid mediator between spirit and matter. As Mercury pauses in stillness to shift retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury retrograde in the water triplicity will be one of the key astrological themes of 2020, for the next two subsequent Mercury retrograde periods this year will also be in water signs. Mercury will be retrograde in Cancer from June 17 through July 12, and then will be retrograde in Scorpio from October 13 until October 27 when it will move backwards into Libra, stationing direct in Libra on November 3. The water signs are traditionally known as being mute, places where Mercury’s caduceus transmits feelings, the deeper meaning behind language, and the indescribable significance of visual images and symbols. Pay attention to the three houses of your natal chart ruled by water signs and the sequence of topical significations that will unfold as Mercury moves retrograde through each one this year. Although the astrology of 2020 has a lot of emphasis on the elements of earth, wind, and fire, Mercury through its retrograde motion in water signs will be calling for us to purify and regenerate our emotional presence and ability to share and receive feelings with others.

Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between conscious and unconscious, day and night, solar and lunar, the sacred and mundane, and so on. Yet Pisces is known to be challenging terrain for Mercury where emotional receptivity and extrasensory perceptions are accentuated more so than skill in clear articulation of ideas through linear language and logic. Being a mutable sign ruled by Jupiter where Venus is exalted, Pisces is a watery landscape of fishponds, rivers, and springs that inspires us to daydream, unifying elements of thought through synthesis and harmony.  Due to its exceptional sensitivity, however, Mercury in Pisces is at risk when emotional flooding disrupts its capacity for discernment and clarity.

Thus when the trickster role of Mercury retrograde rears its head to pull the proverbial rug out from under you, find ways to recover and restore your nerves such as through a hot bath soaked in calming herbs and salts. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever unplanned changes occur, as Mercury retrograde is known for making changes in plot that will lead to unforeseen fruit in the future. It’s also wise to use Mercury retrograde in Pisces for what it is good for: being receptive to omens within nature, listening to and exploring the meaning of your dreams, and utilizing whatever forms of divination you can access for guidance.

William Lilly in Christian Astrology, Book Three declared that Mercury in Pisces “makes [wo]men given to Magic, either in hope or dissemblingly.” There is a compelling asteroid connection with not only the capacity of Mercury in Pisces for magic, but also Neptune’s co-presence in Pisces looming over the retrograde journey of Mercury: the Circe asteroid is applying within one and a half degrees to a conjunction with Mercury as it stations retrograde in Pisces, forming an exact conjunction on February 19. We can therefore integrate the mythopoetic meaning of Circe into the opening phase of Mercury retrograde in Pisces.

Circe is a magical solar goddess who is the daughter of Helios and plays a pivotal role in the ancient tale of the mercurial hero Odysseus enduring the retribution of Poseidon/Neptune. In fact, Hermes mediates the enchantment of Odysseus by Circe through precise instruction for how Odysseus may successfully navigate through this rather retrograde episode of his journey. Crucially, Circe ultimately advises Odysseus regarding his destiny, similar to the ancient tradition across numerous cultures in which a hero descends into the underworld in order for the destiny they need to claim to be illuminated by the Goddess. Indeed, Circe not only tells Odysseus that he needs to descend into the underworld, she tells him how to do so as well as how to successfully reascend. Similarly, there will be a deeper layer of our destiny to discover, claim, and embody during the underworld journey of Mercury moving retrograde.

the night prowlers

Felix-Hilaire Buhot (1865-98) The Night Prowlers

Into the Black

“Wisdom’s beginning is to give up on the endless fuss of looking hopefully into the future for some final solution to our ignorance, some perfect correction to the mess we’ve made so far.

It starts the same way it ends– with looking back, exactly as Jung recommended, and into oneself. Instead of stepping forwards we have to walk backwards into the place inside us all where the answers already lie and have always been waiting.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

There will be a jolt of inspiration when Mercury stations retrograde on February 16, as the Moon will be at 11º38′ Sagittarius and applying to a superior square aspect with Mercury as well as Neptune, signifying that the irrational side of rationality may take prominence. From sunset on February 16 when Mercury disappears from view until February 25 when Mercury is regenerated through its conjunction with the Pisces Sun, you can align with Mercury’s solar phase by letting go and breaking things down, releasing old patterns and storylines ready to be composted. Since the Moon will be waning in light until forming a New Moon in Pisces on February 23, the lunar cycle during the first week of Mercury retrograde will accentuate the putrefaction of Mercury getting closer each day to being burned up in the Sun.

Mars will enter its exaltation in Capricorn on the same day that Mercury stations retrograde in Pisces, demarcating February 16 as a critical turning point in the year. Mars will generate an intense, catalytic force as it transits through Capricorn at the same time as the South Node of the Moon, Jupiter, Pluto, and Saturn are co-present in the sign of the Sea Goat. Mars in Capricorn will immediately begin applying toward a flowing trine with Uranus in Taurus followed by a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, amplifying the volatility already being stirred up by Mercury stationing retrograde. While an exalted Mars in Capricorn brings increased drive in working hard to achieve aspirations, as it approaches its union with the South Node of the Moon while Mercury simultaneously deepens into its retrograde, we will be invited to peel back the surface layers of our ambitions to explore the undersoil feeding the roots of our striving.

The days between February 18 through February 20 will be particularly potent as the waning Moon in Capricorn will pass through conjunctions with Mars, its own South Node, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn as well as forming sextile aspects with Mercury retrograde and Neptune in Pisces. Pay attention to whatever emotions become activated by your experiences on these days, as key insight may be received regarding what you have been desiring to achieve, why you have been desiring it, and whether or not the way you have been using your time and energy has been serving your higher purpose.

The New Moon on February 23 will occur at 4°28′ Pisces, two days before Mercury will be reseeded through its conjunction with the Sun. Within the darkness of the Pisces New Moon, Mercury retrograde will be in close proximity with the Sun and therefore will be embodying solar qualities that can burn off whatever is ready to be purged. Since Venus in Aries will be forming a square aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn during the Pisces New Moon, making space to explore our own inner darkness can lead to the realization of old relationship patterns we are ready to release, while regenerating our desires for creating what we want to receive in relationship.

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Felix-Hilaire Buhot Midnight Revel

Chthonic Cazimi

Gie me ae spark o’ Nature’s fire, / That’s a’ the learning I desire; / Then, tho’ I drudge thro’ dub an’ mire / At pleugh or cart, / My Muse, tho’ hamely in attire, / May touch the heart.

— Robert Burns (from Epistle to J. Lapraik: an Old Scottish Bard, April 1, 1785

On February 25, Mercury retrograde will unite with the Sun at 6°55′ Pisces during its inferior conjunction. This is an ending and beginning, a rebirth moment for Mercury that deserves time set aside for contemplation and consideration, as Mercury will align in between our orbit with the Sun as close to our Earth as it is possible for Mercury to be. Astrologers have named the union between Sol with the wandering planets cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun: the moment in which Mercury is revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light. During its solar re-seeding, Mercury will be regenerated and purified within a place Demetra George has described as the “protected space at the heart of the Sun . . . the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.” We can imagine Mercury reverent in ritual, enclosed in a grotto moistened by sweet spring water, ready to cleanse us with the holy water of Pisces.

Fascinatingly, Mercury will unite with the Sun on February 25 during roughly the same time that Mars in Capricorn will be forming a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. Furthermore, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will form an exact sextile aspect with Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, as well as a sextile aspect with Uranus in Taurus. There is deep potency here for descent into inner realms of shadow and exploring our relationship with the ideals we use to generate our force of will in the external world. Turning away from the force exerted on the present by the future, turning toward the light in the darkness of the living dead, abandoning ambition to lay down low, within our incubation a healing insight may emerge from our subconscious.

There is resonant living symbolism for this sacred opportunity being offered by the star of Hermes that can be found in the ancient tale of Odysseus. As previously mentioned, Mercury stations retrograde while conjoining the asteroid Circe, the solar goddess who directed Odysseus to descend into the underworld. Thus it is fitting that in the greatest depths of its underworld journey, in between life and death as it melts into the fires of the Sun, Mercury retrograde will be mutually applying to a conjunction with the Odysseus asteroid at 2º08′ Pisces. After the mercurial hero Odysseus follows the advice of the Goddess and descends into the living underworld, he encounters not only blood ancestors such as his mother but also the collective realm of mythic heroes and heroines in the forms of Heracles, Orion, Minos, Sisyphus, Tantalus,  Agamemnon, Leda, Ariadne, and Achilles among others. While Odysseus also learns from a blind prophet the degree to which he has been subject to treachery from Poseidon, a plot line within astrology we could connect to our present relationship with Neptune, the great mystery of what he received from the collective realm of ancestors was the deeper wisdom.

We know that astrology has its roots in philosophies that bind our inner nature with the outer radiance of the stars that shine above us. That we wish upon stars, search to know and realize our guiding star or guardian angel, and that most commonly this deeper process is reflected in the way we use celebrities from the present and heroic figures from the past to serve as our role models and sources of inspiration. The days surrounding the chthonic cazimi of Mercury retrograde in Pisces will be fruitful for exploring the ideals and values under sourcing the role models we have been mentored and guided by. As we deepen into our relationship with the ideals we have clung to in the past, so may we better regenerate a sense of meaning to guide us into the unknown future.

Savrasov_monastery_gate

Alexei Savrasov (1875) Monastery Gates

Mercury Stations Direct in Aquarius

Under the self same bough, and heard as there / The birds, the fountains and the Ocean hold / Sweet talk in music through the enamored air. / And then a Vision on my brain was rolled . . .

— from Percy Bysshe Shelly’s The Triumph of Life

After passing through its purifying conjunction with the Sun on February 25, Mercury will continue to move retrograde through Pisces until it enters Aquarius on March 4. Mercury’s backward movement into Aquarius also marks its return to visibility as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun each morning. Pay close attention to the days following March 4 for important messages, signs, and omens as the re-emergence of Mercury into visibility is an oracular moment in which Mercury delivers significant messages as well as insight into the meaning we can gather from its recent underworld phase of invisibility.

Amazingly, Mercury will station direct on March 9 at 28°12′ Aquarius during a Full Moon in Virgo in which the Sun will be conjoining Neptune in Pisces. Making the surrounding lunation even more catalytic, Venus will also be conjoining Uranus in Taurus while Chiron in Aries will be forming a square to the transiting lunar nodes. This means that Mercury stationing direct as well as the Virgo Full Moon will occur one day after Neptune’s solar cycle will be regenerated through a conjunction with the Pisces Sun. To say that Neptune’s influence in astrology is multivalent is an understatement, and it’s influence over the stationing of Mercury direct will be seen in many ways. Most simply, it is likely that the full light of the lunation combined with Mercury stationing will simultaneously coalesce imaginal insight that can be directed into creative expression as well as will reveal illusions that have been clouding our perception.

Following the Full Moon in Virgo, Mercury will slowly begin moving forward and will remain in Aquarius until March 16. Pay attention to what whole sign houses in your natal chart are signified by Pisces and Aquarius in order to reflect upon the associated life topics and how they may become activated and then reactivated as Mercury moves back and forth in between Pisces and Aquarius in the first couple of weeks in March.

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Maximum Morning Star in Pisces

After Mercury returns to Pisces on March 16, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on March 23 at seven degrees of Pisces. This demarcates the point in which Mercury will have picked up enough speed to match the steady course of the Sun again. From this day forward, Mercury will move increasingly faster as it proceeds through its Morning Star phase. 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.

Just days before Mercury will reach its maximum elongation as a Morning Star, there will be an incredibly powerful Aries equinox (on March 19 or 20, depending upon time zone) seeding themes for the year ahead.  As the Sun ingresses into its exaltation of Aries, Mars will be forming an exact conjunction with Jupiter and applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, Saturn will be at the very end of Capricorn preparing to make its grand entrance into its airy home of Aquarius two days later on March 21 or 22, depending upon your time zone. Mars exalted in Capricorn mixing it up with Jupiter and Pluto will inject the full force of Spring erupting from the underworld into Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star. Combining this with the enormity of Saturn entering a new sign for the first time will create an atmosphere of immense change for Mercury to mediate.

Mercury will finally return to the same place it originally stationed retrograde at on March 29 at the same time that Jupiter and Pluto are on the cusp of finally completing their first exact conjunction of the year in Capricorn, while Mars is simultaneously applying toward an exact conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius. At this point the magnitude of immense change promised by the astrology of 2020 will be fully set in motion, with Mercury fully activated as a Morning Star and lending us its light in the liminal shade before sunrise. The more we work with the internal processes Mercury seeks to guide us toward during its retrograde motion, the more fully awake we will be to creatively engage with the great collective changes taking shape at the end of March.

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References

Burns, Robert. (1897). The Complete Poetical Works. Houghton, Mifflin, & Co.

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

Ficino, Marsilio. (1998 edition). Three Books on Life. A Critical Edition and Translation with Introduction and Notes by Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

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

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque. Catafalque Press.

Shelley, P.B. (2002). Shelley’s Poetry and Prose. WW Norton & Company.

 

Full Moon in Leo

lion head 4th centurcy bc

Achaemenid Gold (6th – 4th Century B.C.)

Full Moon in Leo

Leo is the place of fixed fire, the indomitable flames that endure and resiliently persist in the face of extinguishing forces. The Full Moon in Leo on February 8 (or 9th, depending upon time zone) is an invitation for sustaining focus on the creations you most dearly wish to forge from your inner furnace, no matter how dire the collective crises of the time appear.  The Full Moon is applying toward a flowing trine with Mars in Sagittarius, inciting passionate heat and radiant inspiration that can enliven any downcast spirits. Since 2020 began with the intensifying conjunction of Saturn and Pluto combined with volatile eclipses, the Leo Full Moon can stoke movement driven by the undercurrents of whatever deep material has been stirred up in the past month.

Heroism and courage are character traits associated with Leo we will need to embody in 2020, as it is a year that promises immense collective change with numerous cycles within astrology coming to endings and beginnings. Yet while heroines will be needed, the trine between the forthright Leo Moon and crusading Mars in Sagittarius also warns against hubris and righteously exerting your will in conflicts in which you think you know best.  The Leo Full Moon is ruled by the Sun in Aquarius, giving it the unique characteristic of being the only Full Moon in which the polarity between Sun and Moon is mitigated by the Sun receiving the Moon into its fiery home. The cool, contemplative nature of the Aquarius Sun can help in detaching from emotional reactivity, discerning choices for authentically contributing the skills we are excited about developing within the wider community.

While the trine with Mars is the only aspect the Full Moon is making with other planets, if we are willing to welcome the dwarf planet Eris into consideration there is a fire triangle formed by the Full Moon, Mars and the distant trans-Neptunian entity named after the goddess of discord. While there hasn’t been a lot of time to compile astrological research concerning the meaning of Eris since her discovery in 2005, astrologers have begun to construct significations based in large part upon her meaning in mythology and wildly eccentric orbit. The chaotic strife Eris delights in instigating can be witnessed clearly in current events, and so it is fitting that the conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 formed a harsh square aspect with Eris. The fiery triangle between Eris, Mars, and the Full Moon can propel breakthroughs that have their source within the volatility of collective breakdowns and personal tensions that have sharpened awareness of what matters most to us.

The Full Moon is also engaged in aspects with asteroid goddesses, as the Leo Moon is separating from a square aspect with Vesta in Taurus and applying toward a sextile with Juno retrograde in Libra. As we become clearer about what gifts we wish to cultivate from exploration of our inner darkness, we will need to form mutually beneficial relationships with collaborators who can help bring the imaginal potency we have been developing into the light in ways that can be received by a resonant audience. We also need to reflect upon the balance of power and responsibility within our relationships, making adjustments so that there is a fair distribution of tasks and reciprocal attention to having emotional needs met. There is stormy astrology on the horizon we will be able to navigate more effectively by addressing relational imbalances that the Leo Full Moon illuminates.

John_Duncan_-_007

by John Duncan

There will likely be important relational issues brought to attention by the passage of Venus in Aries forming conjunctions with Chiron and the mean calculation of Black Moon Lilith. Allow the full light of the Moon to expose whatever material has been harbored in your shadow and projected into your relationships. It’s a good time for the practice of reflecting upon how not only those you desire but also are repulsed by can reveal key patterns about yourself you have not been consciously aware of.  Venus expresses ardor directly in Aries and once struck by the arrow of Eros, Venus in Aries will claim the agency required to draw closer to the source of attraction. With Venus continuing to shine brightly in twilight as an Evening Star, though impulsively following desires can lead to trouble it will be the kind of trouble that can also trigger vital lessons.

Venus is also applying toward a sextile with Ceres in Aquarius as Ceres is in an exact square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Venus in Aries is not afraid to fight for whatever it considers to be true, good, and beautiful, and so one way this configuration may show up is through increased interest in social activism and protest movements building around issues of environmental and social justice. The square between Ceres and Uranus can feel upsetting and enraging regarding any personal or collective events in which greed and power dynamics harm or threaten life, yet the invigorating sextile between Venus and Ceres will stoke intrinsic motivation to take action as needed. In some cases this may mean taking the risk to initiate direct movement toward goals, in other cases there may need to be a staking out of space and time in which to actively contemplate the next course of action.

In the week following the Full Moon, whatever issues surface that involve Venus in Aries will continue to demand attention as Venus will be applying to a square aspect with the lunar nodes that it will complete on February 13. Venus in Aries delights in the creation of movement, and so if facing dilemmas related to Venus it will be helpful to be physically active such as taking hikes in nature while reflecting upon the next steps to take. Interestingly, although Venus is at the zodiacal point of being at the southern bending in relation to the lunar nodes, it is simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with its own geocentric north node and so will be passing across the ecliptic in the next week from southern into northern latitude (fittingly on February 14 aka Valentine’s Day). This means that the instinctual, subjective emotions and desires that Venus in Aries stirs up will be absolutely essential to integrate and can serve as important guidance in how to more fully engage in the larger changes that want to take shape in our life.

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John Duncan The Turn of the Tide

Just like Venus, Mercury in Pisces is also visible during sunset and in fact will reach maximum elongation as an Evening Star on February 10 at ten degrees of Pisces. The maximum elongation of Mercury as Evening Star demarcates a shift in speed as it slows down to match the steady course of the Sun. Although Mercury will continue to be visible in the week following the Full Moon, it will increasingly become slower until stationing retrograde on February 16 at 12º53′ Pisces. This means that issues that will become deeply involved in the upcoming Mercury retrograde phase that will last from February 16 until March 9 will be more obviously rising to the surface in the week following the Full Moon. If you notice old patterns and storylines emerging that could be laid to rest, they can serve as worthy compost during the initial putrefying phase of Mercury retrograde that will last from the stationing of Mercury on February 16 until the inferior conjunction of Mercury on February 25 that will occur two days after the upcoming New Moon in Pisces.

It is notable that not only is Mercury in its fall in Pisces, it is further under rulership of Jupiter in its fall in Capricorn. This does not signify doom but does invite contemplation of ambition and desires for greater power and status within society. Rather than insisting on having our expectations of higher achievement fulfilled, Mercury and Jupiter are in position to facilitate descent into the depths of inner darkness and shadow. There is wisdom and depth to gather in our unconscious underworld if we are willing to undergo the trials we must necessarily encounter when journeying there. From now through the back and forth of Mercury retrograde, we will have the opportunity to regenerate our beliefs and visions of meaning and what we want to create with our life.

Mercury is also mediating the polarity between the lunar nodes, forming a sextile with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a trine with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer. Furthermore, Mercury is applying to an exact sextile with Pallas Athena in Capricorn, as Pallas Athena is beginning to separate from a recent conjunction with the South Node of the Moon. The collective wounds associated with the misogyny of patriarchy that has its roots in the ancient times that astrology itself was developed have been on full display in the current events that have corresponded with a new cycle beginning between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Since Mercury in Pisces is more about feeling than articulation, symbol more so than thesis statement, we will have opportunities to deeply feel and reckon with how our thoughts and ideas are systematically conditioned by the times we are living in. These insights will go far beyond words, yet by opening to the possibility of making the inner changes we are capable of making we can begin to strip away however we have been inauthentically conditioned by dominant cultural forces.

Pallas Athena in Capricorn will be an overlooked player in the great planetary drama that will be enfolding in February and March after Mars enters Capricorn on February 16. Pallas Athena will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Capricorn that will last all the way through the Aries Equinox into April, with Pallas Athena being present with Jupiter and Pluto when they form their first conjunction on April 4. Pallas Athena is ultimately a symbol of sacred feminine wisdom, and though her mythology has had her wielded as a weapon in the hands of empires of the past, so may she side with the forces of liberation in the present.

paul klee ghost chamber with tall door

Paul Klee (1925) Ghost Chamber with the Tall Door (New Version)

The major outer planetary aspect that will form during the waning half of the current lunar cycle will be Jupiter in Capricorn receiving Neptune in Pisces through a waning sextile aspect that will complete on February 20. This will be the first of three sextile aspects that will form between Jupiter and Neptune during 2020 (the others will be on July 27 and October 11), making it a key aspect for the year. The harmonious interplay between Jupiter and Neptune can be helpful in realigning our vision of life this year to be more congruent with all of the changes that have been taking shape in the past year, especially changes corresponding with the last quarter square formed between Jupiter in Sagittarius with Neptune in Pisces during 2019.

Within the volatile breakdown of societal structures during 2020, Jupiter and Neptune’s relationship can inspire imaginative ideas for coalescing new growth from whatever dissolution and shedding we have been undergoing personally. In particular, we can gain awareness of old beliefs we need to release that have been interfering with our capacity for more deeply understanding our present circumstances. During the Leo Full Moon, Jupiter is applying within two degrees to an exact sextile with Neptune, as Neptune is simultaneously conjoining the true calculation of Black Moon Lilith. The combination of Neptune with Black Moon Lilith is a potent symbol for how we can become distracted and seduced away from our true authenticity by the myriad forms of illusory media surrounding us and the polarizing political conflicts that have become further exacerbated through manipulative media.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Leo Full Moon is in the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a figure 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.

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. As the peak illumination of the Leo Full Moon wanes in the week ahead, open yourself to discovering a symbol of your most soulful purpose to carry through the challenges to come in 2020. Not as a banner to use in imposing your will upon others, but rather as a guiding star you may follow through whatever difficulties and darkness arise.

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References

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

New Moon in Aquarius

chartres cathedral noah ark

Ark panel from Chartres Cathedral

New Moon in Aquarius

Following the flooding of last month’s Capricorn eclipse season, the Aquarius New Moon on January 24 bears light within its darkness to discover and utilize in illuminating the emerging path ahead. Eclipses bring dissolution externally and internally, and  so whether recognized or unrecognized the past month of intense astrological alignments have deeply stirred and reshaped matters. There was a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26, a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10, and the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12 that also involved the Sun beginning new cycles with Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto within a few days. The New Moon in Aquarius initiates us into the first lunation cycle of the 2020s, and further marks the Year of the Metal Rat beginning within Chinese astrology and culture.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn that utilizes the air element’s power of thought to diverge from the mainstream, gaining understanding that can only be found beyond the boundaries and barriers of the status quo. In the past month of Saturn commingling with Pluto, we have been invited to descend into inner depths far removed from the drama and contention impacting our surface engagement with the everyday. We have had the opportunity to confront our relationship with time, realize what truly matters, and commit toward engagement with whatever vitally moves our soul and inspires us to resiliently persevere in the preservation of life.

As the Aquarius New Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus as well as a harmonious sextile with Chiron in Aries, there is a gale behind the lunation to catch sail with on our journey through the tumultuous astrology of 2020. There is movement within the lunation to bridge inner visions of our unconscious with our conscious participation in daily life, as the New Moon is applying toward a conjunction with Mercury in Aquarius, while Mercury is applying toward an invigorating sextile with Mars in Sagittarius. Mercury is carrying a message from the Saturn and Pluto conjunction that requires more time for gestation, since Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Aquarius Sun. After Mercury emerges into visibility as an Evening Star on January 31 (as the waxing Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus), we will be able to receive wider understanding regarding the shifts taking shape in the past month, and greater clarity regarding the direction to follow into the future.

In order to face the future from a centered position, however, we necessarily will have to embrace and draw from our past, not only our inspiring moments of success but also how we have learned from our wounding experiences.  As we are collectively coming to an ending and beginning of a new era in 2020, we also need to acknowledge the complex and traumatic clashes of civilizations across time and how they are continuing to impact the discordant strife within current events. The objectifying nature of Mercury in the airy sign of Aquarius can facilitate listening to the underlying meaning within our interactions to discern where we need to focus for our own growth, and how we can be in service to others in need of support. For those who have felt weighed down during the past month, the Aquarius New Moon can ideally facilitate a healthy dose of detachment that can lead to innovative insights and a far ranging perspective that contextualizes present difficulties.

Aquarius chartres cathedral

Aquarius panel from Chartres Cathedral

The Aquarius New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Capricorn, with Saturn being only one degree separated from its conjunction with Pluto. The Saturn and Pluto conjunction is in the twelfth place relative to the Aquarius New Moon, in position to facilitate deep contemplation of circumstances that can bring to light issues and matters that have previously been kept hidden in darkness. There will be enduring consequences stemming from the Saturn and Pluto conjunction, and although its impact will remain in effect within a fifteen degree orb into 2021, its most significant period of being within three degrees of separation will last until February 17, toward the end of the lunar cycle initiated by the Aquarius New Moon. Saturn governs slow, arduous processes necessitating determination and discipline, and so we will need to stick with any trouble we have been experiencing, patiently working our way through any challenges. There will be significant developments related to the Saturn and Pluto conjunction coming in the forthcoming lunar cycle, so make the space to give associated events the time and space they need for sorting through.

Even though we are only at the beginning of 2020, many astrologers and astrology enthusiasts have been looking forward to the end of 2020 when Jupiter and Saturn will finally conjoin in Aquarius on December 21, only four degrees away from the degree of the Aquarius New Moon. While there is reason for astrological excitement due to 2020 transitioning us from a two hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs into a two hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs, we have a lot of ground to cover in 2020 between now and then. As Jupiter in Capricorn moves through its closing, balsamic phase with Saturn during the year while uniting three different times with Pluto, there will be collective eruptions that reflect old historical issues of oppression and injustice rooted in the old era we are bringing to a close. There will be a great death of old forms and structures to endure, leading to the question of how to best work with the processes of putrefaction while simultaneously receiving visions of new ideas over the distant horizon.

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Marc Chagall stained glass from St. Stephan Cathedral in Mainz, Germany

As the Aquarius Sun sets into darkness, Venus will be shinning bright as an Evening Star in her exaltation of Pisces that gives her access to the full range of her sensuality and aesthetics. Venus is a key player within the dynamics of the lunation, as she is separating from a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn and applying toward a heated square aspect with Mars in Sagittarius as well as an otherworldly conjunction with Neptune in Pisces. Venus will form her exact square with Mars on January 26 and her exact conjunction with Neptune on January 27. There is rich paradox within these aspects: on one side the unconditional, boundless love of Venus and Neptune that delights in merging, on the other side the fiery individualism and freedom seeking of Mars in harsh aspect that can create conflict and separation while maintaining independence.

Within the tension between Mars with Venus and Neptune, we need to strike a balance that draws upon their strengths and mediates their pitfalls. While we can summon the severing of Mars to shed the sort of illusions, projections, and over idealizations that Venus and Neptune can reveal together, we also need to discern when illusory projections are stoking desires for separation. Negatively, the crusading side of Mars in Sagittarius can become blinded by ideals to the extent of causing damage where destruction was unnecessary. Positively, although Venus and Neptune can become overly consumed by pleasure seeking and avoidant of mundane work, the catalyzing of Mars can light the fire of passions and inspire focused effort that utilizes the imaginative potency of Venus combined with Neptune. In the context of setting plans in motion with the beginning of a new lunar cycle, altogether it can be a powerful combination when focused on anything that enables integrating and bringing together the divergent elements of Mars, Venus, and Neptune.

Notably, Jupiter in Capricorn is ruling all three: Venus, Neptune, and Mars. While Jupiter is forming a sextile aspect with the Venus and Neptune conjunction in Pisces, it is also coming into range of a shadowy anti-scia with Mars in Sagittarius that will be potent between January 27 and 29. Jupiter is in position to help us learn from the challenging experiences of this period and buoyantly recover from setbacks, and is capable of coalescing growth or insight from any disillusionment, dissolution, or shedding taking place. With Jupiter co-present with Saturn in Capricorn, however, we need to guard against excess and instead focus on processes of creative contraction that take account of the constraints and limitations we are facing. Going to extremes or taking things too far with grandiose reactions can bring about a downfall that will force us to deal with difficult repercussions.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius arises in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a proud swordsman watching his conquered rivals flee, leaving him solitary in a newly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first decan of Aquarius, noting it “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile.” Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox and accepting “the mark of the heretic.” In this way, the image of the Five of Swords shows how we must sacrifice relationships when going into exile in frontiers beyond the known. Coppock stressed that the first face of Aquarius reveals that we often need to give up certain relationships as well as financial prosperity in order to gain the independence and spiritual understanding of the outsider.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice Dike as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Dike is the daughter of Zeus and Themis who is often seen wearing a laurel wreath and carrying a balancing scale so she may measure injustice. While her mother Themis is the goddess of divine justice, Dike rules over the moral justice of humanity. In one of her stories she lived on Earth during the Golden and Silver Ages when there was peace and prosperity. However, over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted and greedy, she became so full of contempt for humanity that she left the Earth forever to become a constellation in the sky. Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), signifying the boundaries of our relationships and the moral guidelines we use to determine who we form relationship with and who we separate ourselves from.

The rulerships of Venus and Saturn over the first face of Aquarius also makes me think of the individuation process of Carl Jung that demands descent into the frontiers of our inner psyche beyond our known boundaries of conventional psychology. Peter Kingsley in Catafalque goes to great length in describing passages dictated by Carl Jung that were omitted from publication in his memoir Memories, Dreams, and Reflections in which Jung used the central image of a knight in pursuit of the Grail to describe individuation. Kingsley noted that Jung stressed the crucial importance of the knight “adhering to the unwritten laws of chivalry” in order to gain the Grail, a moral code befitting of Venus and Saturn ruling the first face of Aquarius. Vitally, Kingsley’s summation of Jung’s words concluded that “the secret of individuation is that the one and only way to discover the Grail is by being it.”

Of course, the lore of the Grail demands asking “Whom does the Grail serve?” Similarly, the potent inner work that can be engaged with during the darkness of the Aquarius New Moon can also be most effectively utilized by asking yourself whom or what to serve with the regenerated light you discover within your inner darkness.

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

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References

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

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Gabriel Orozco Extension as Reflection

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

“Here is the medicine:

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also. And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going . . . Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.”

— Alice Walker, from the Foreward to Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Astrologers have been talking about 2020 for a long time. Not only because of the definitive conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius at the end of the year, but also due to the union between Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. I cannot remember the date of when I first looked at the chart for the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, only that when I did many years ago I needed to talk to about it with my astrologer friends. It wasn’t only that Saturn and Pluto were forming their conjunction at the same time they were uniting with the Sun in Capricorn, but also that Mercury as well as Ceres were in the same degrees, along with Jupiter conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn simultaneously. Then I realized this would be happening two days after a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, a few weeks after a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn. Since conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto are known to correspond collectively with periods of extreme division, contraction, and gravity, I wondered what would be happening. We know what is happening now.

The United Kingdom recently experienced a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, with plans to leave the European Union. Donald Trump is the president of the United States and ordered the killing of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani, sparking missile strikes in retaliation and widespread fear of more militaristic violence to come. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has annexed Kashmir, leading to increased tension in the region, while many Indian citizens have been protesting his nationalistic and anti-Muslim agenda. There have been riots in Hong Kong. Australia is on fire.

These events and others have led many people to be afraid of experiencing a tragedy as Saturn and Pluto come together, fearing the kind of catastrophic crises that have previously corresponded with Saturn and Pluto conjunctions such as the first World War. While there are many reasons to have grave concerns about the current state of the world, rather than becoming frozen in fear we need to come into relationship with our fears so that we can participate and creatively bring about a reordering from whatever has been falling apart. The tests, trials, and tempering we will need to face as a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto commences will ultimately enable us to reforge a purified presence. Yet we must first traverse the realm of shadow and dissolution brought by the Cancer Lunar Eclipse.

The Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 is not a total eclipse and will not result in the Moon turning rosy red in shadow. In fact, it is the weakest category of lunar eclipse with minimal shadowing in places of visibility such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia since the Moon will be about twelve degrees past its own North Node. During the maximum eclipse, about ninety percent of the Moon’s disc will be partially shaded by the Earth with subtle effects to witnesses. However, it is nonetheless a penumbral eclipse occurring in opposition with the Saturn and Pluto conjunction and thus signifies an intensification of volatility in collective events. As the face of the Moon becomes consumed by shadow momentarily before having the discoloration peeled off to reveal its luminescent light, we are invited to descend within our inner darkness of memory, both personal and ancestral, and explore our inner multiplicity for what newfound presence wants to emerge from all of our past.

Yet this is not a normal Lunar Eclipse, for seated upon the solar chariot of Helios casting the shadow is none other than Hermes. Mercury, the star of Hermes, is experiencing its exact superior conjunction during the Lunar Eclipse, its celestial cazimi when it is moving fast on the other side of the Sun from our orbit. At the exact alignment of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will be a mere six arc-minutes past the Sun meaning it will be barely beginning to emerge from being regenerated by the creative potency of our solar light. With Mercury seated upon the throne of our solar chariot, its capacity for mediating polarities will be needed medicine. Mercury can help open awareness to a different way of perceiving current dilemmas and will be our guide in holding the tension of polarized conflicts until the necessary lesson and message emerges into our conscious perception.

After a new cycle of Mercury is seeded on January 10 with the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will move forward on January 11 and January 12 to form a conjunction with first Ceres, then Saturn, and then Pluto just before the exact alignment of Saturn and Pluto on January 12. On mundane levels we can see how this strongly connects the role of technology and commerce into the inception of Saturn and Pluto, including the attention that Edward Snowden, who was born with Saturn conjoining Pluto, brought to the systematic tracking and storage of everything you do on the Internet by global powers that has now become perhaps the most profitable resource on the planet. Recently there have been new revelations regarding the manipulation of personal data by Cambridge Analytica and how it was used to manipulate unconscious tendencies of voters in the elections that led to both Brexit in the UK and President Trump in the USA.  Part of the importance of exploring inner darkness during these times is to cultivate the self realization necessary to avoid being manipulated by Plutonic powers, as well as separating yourself from the cultural conditioning of the past that can be released during this upcoming year of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all coming to the end and beginning of new cycles together.

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Gabriel Orozco (1999) Nina En  Homaca

Lunar eclipses call for us to fully participate with both sides of the polarity being activated by the nodal axis. Since November 2018, the transiting South Node of the Moon has been in Capricorn with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer, and so although the related themes have been playing out in our lives for awhile, they become stirred up and volatilized when eclipses set them off and introduce new events, relationships, and developments within our story. With Saturn and Pluto having been in Capricorn the entire time the nodes have been in Cancer and Capricorn, the South Node side of Capricorn has been overwhelmingly emphasized. The Cancer Lunar Eclipse triggers the North Node side, with the waxing Cancer Moon forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on January 9. In contrast to the themes of harvesting, shedding, and emptying emphasized by the South Node side of Capricorn, the North Node side of Cancer emphasizes growth and discovering new choices, desires, and ambitions to pursue.

The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn centers around the antithetical meaning of the rulers of each sign, the Moon and Saturn. Since the Moon is ruling the eclipse from its home in Cancer while applying to an opposition with Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, the polarized tension between Cancer and Capricorn will be extremely exacerbated. The Moon and Saturn are total opposites within the traditional seven rulers in astrology, with Saturn being the outermost planet serving as guardian to the vast unknown realm of celestial stars, while the Moon is the innermost and fastest moving who tends to the constant flux of generation and corruption within the material, sublunar realm we inhabit. As the constantly waxing and waning Moon corresponds with our constantly changing emotions and thoughts, we can expect the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer to be especially emotional. The inner emotional processes we need to pay attention to will demand our awareness, and we will similarly be made aware of vital emotions occurring within our most important relationships we will need to listen to and nurture.

The eclipsed Cancer Moon setting off the side of its own North Node, while forming an opposition to the colossus conjunction of Saturn and Pluto, will uproot whatever complexes, conditioning, and emotional patterning have been intersecting with any tension between desires for new growth and fear over the unknown future. In order to holistically move forward, however, it will be necessary to go back within memories of past wounds, past identities and parts of ourselves we released or erased for one reason or another. We need to face not only the material reality of circumstances but also deepen our exploration of our inner expanse so that we may retrieve a more essential presence to align with the path forward, rather than making choices purely from a place of conforming to the systematic structures we need to engage for our material security. As collective structure collapse under the weight of Saturn and Pluto, we can imagine what enduring forms we would like to help create to take their place.

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Gabriel Orozco (1998) Building and Birds

The long anticipated conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 will occur as part of a sequence of pivotal conjunctions within a few days. After the Cancer Lunar Eclipse forms an opposition with Saturn and Pluto on January 10, Mercury will complete a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto on January 12 before Saturn and Pluto come together, and then Ceres will form a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto after they unite. Then on January 13 both Saturn and Pluto will enter the heart of the Sun to be regenerated within its fiery celestial light. The presence of Ceres with Saturn and Pluto as all three experience the purging and purification of their solar union together evokes the mythology of Ceres needing to purge her grief over losing her daughter to Pluto before returning to fruitful productivity and bringing her gift of mystery initiations to humanity. The complex combination of Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto all coming together in conjunctions with one another and the Sun within a few days brings a quality of underworld initiation into the reseeding and revisioning of this time period.

Saturn and Pluto periods can make us realize what core ideals and values are so important to us that we are willing to die for them. We may need to enact a sacred process of making a sacrifice of something so that its death can bring about the growth of an essential new form in our life. The first century CE astrologer Manilius in Astronomica described Vesta as tending the fires of Capricorn from her shrine, and similarly it may be helpful to envision the sacred guardian of your own inner fire that can reshape and reforge new callings and skills from within. Saturn has long been associated with contemplation in astrology, called “profound in imagination” by William Lily and signifying the “power of thought” according to Ibn Ezra. Allow for a period of reflective gestation with any new ideas or plans, letting them develop and fully emerge with all the time they need.

Furthermore, Jupiter in Capricorn is closely aligned with the South Node of the Moon during the Lunar Eclipse.  In combination with the inception of a new Saturn and Pluto cycle, Jupiter passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn can pull us into questioning how aspects of our surrounding culture have been influencing our motivations, stripping away or shedding whatever is inauthentic. Jupiter is not so much in position to facilitate a linear version of progress or evolution, but more so a nonlinear process of spiraling into the past to rediscover vital aspects of ourselves we had previously let go of, finding nourishment in the putrefaction of the past. There may also be old dreams and desires from the past we realize we need to release to make space for the new potential that will be arising along with the collective changes happening as Saturn and Pluto begin a new cycle.

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Gabriel Orozco (2004) Untitled

Amplifying the revelatory nature of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse will be the additional factor of Uranus stationing direct on the same day at 2°38′ Taurus. Uranus has been retrograde since August 11, 2019 when it stationed retrograde at 6º36′ Taurus. The stationing of Uranus saturates the astrological atmosphere with the liberating and volatilizing impact of Uranus in Taurus, increasing the potential for dramatic new storylines and developments to materialize. Uranus in general can bring disruption but also can shatter or shake things up in a way that makes us wake up to a more authentic presence and desire to pursue goals and activities that make us feel fully alive. For those with Uranus or any other important natal placements in the first three or four degrees of the fixed signs, this stationing of Uranus will demarcate the final phase of Uranus in Taurus catalyzing major developments in the associated area of your life. Uranus will remain direct in motion until eventually stationing retrograde on August 15, 2020 at 10º41′ Taurus.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Since the Moon rules the third face of Cancer, the potency of this face will be in full effect during the eclipse. In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice. It’s an image that also fits well with the fact that Mercury will be exactly conjoining the Sun in opposition to the Lunar Eclipse, as the alchemic antenna of Mercury may receive an important insight or change in perception for us to consider in the weighing of options.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave 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,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.” Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, questioning the choice of the extra cup of luxury or what we should do with any material excess we accumulate. Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things” that can be found within this face.

Another living symbol indicating the immaterial resources available in the third face of Cancer is found in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs which ascribes Hekate to the third face of Cancer. Finding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hekate for guidance. Hekate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hekate can also be viewed as the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn. 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. For ages Hekate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul, making her a fitting guide for this period of Saturn and Pluto beginning a new cycle. Wherever or whomever you turn for guidance, make the space to align your breath with the divine and claim the authority to speak the words and make the choices that further align with your core purpose. We are at a time of endings and beginnings, new patterns emerging from the old, a time that is well deserving of contemplation and clear intent.

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

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In addition, I recently participated in an online astrology panel for Nightlight Astrology on the Saturn and Pluto conjunction along with the astrologers Samuel Reynolds, Leisa Schaim, Jason Holley, Becca Tarnas, Patrick Watson, Rebecca Gordon, and Acyuta-bava Das. Here is a link to watch it:

References

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

Saturn/Pluto: An Astrological Panel Talk

 

nightlight astrology saturn pluto promo

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

7 pm Eastern Standard Time

Nightlight Astrology

I will be part of a panel of astrologers discussing the 12 January 2020 conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn for Nightlight Astrology hosted by Acyuta-bhava Das (formerly known as Adam Elenbaas). I will be joined by Jenn Zahrt, Samuel Reynolds, Jason Holley, Becca Tarnas, Patrick Watson, Rebecca Gordon, and Acyuta-bava Das.

It will take place on January 8th at 7 pm eastern time, via live webinar. See the Nightlight Astrology events page for more information.

“Join us for a star-studded astrology panel discussion on the meaning of the upcoming conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in the sign of Capricorn, this January 12th. For many who study astrology, this relatively rare transit (occurring once every 33-38 years) has a reputation for being ominous and anxiety-provoking, and for some very good reasons. However, the focus of our panel discussion will be to present the deeper symbolic meaning of Saturn and Pluto’s conjunction alongside a variety of constructive suggestions for how to make this encounter a more soulful experience. We will also be taking live questions and answers from the audience and hope to generate a meaningful discussion in the midst of what for many are challenging times!”

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https://zoom.us/j/455316272

Meeting ID: 455 316 272

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2020 Astrological Forecast on the Energetic Principles Podcast

I joined Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast for a thorough discussion of the astrology happening in 2020. We discuss each quarter of the year, from solstice to equinox, equinox to solstice in just under three hours. This will hopefully help you prepare for the year ahead, and can also serve as an episode to come back to later in the year to listen to again as we move through each quarter of the year. The astrology of 2020 is the most impactful we have had in over a decade, making it a dramatic initiation into a new decade.

If you enjoy Melissa’s work, check out her site where you will find a Patreon page set up to support her with a monthly subscription.

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

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Capricorn Solar Eclipse: the Holly and the Axe

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Once upon a Christmas time in Camelot, the court of King Arthur was filled with feasting, fellowship, carousing, and carolling. The noble knights of the Round Table were gathered along with the most lovely of ladies, surrounded by the most lavish of Yuletide decor, with the luminous Queen Guinevere and King Arthur at the center. As the revelry settled for the first sumptuous serving of supper to be served, a massive, mighty, and mountainous man appeared in the doorway, eclipsing the merrymaking with awe and amazement in all- for this fearsome figure was “entirely emerald green” in every detail of his handsome features. All of his garments were green, with green flowing hair and a green bushy beard growing down his body- even his horse was pure green in color, with a green mane groomed with gold that had been tinseled, tied, and twisted with beads and chiming bells. “His look was lightning bright / said those who glimpsed its glow. / It seemed no man there might / survive his violent blow.”

Yet the green knight wore no helmet nor armor, held no sword nor shield, “but held in one hand a sprig of holly – of all the evergreens the greenest ever – and in the other hand held the mother of all axes.” The green knight demanded audience with their sovereign, and asked King Arthur to gracefully grant his wish for a game of guts. The green knight called for one present to step forward and strike him with his axe one stroke and then be struck by him in return. After King Arthur gripped the axe while the green knight calmly awaited his attack, the King’s virtuous nephew Gawain intervened and took responsibility for the daring deed. Gawain swore an oath that after striking the green knight with a blow he would be struck in return in twelve months’ time by the green knight, and then proceeded in one clean stroke to cut off the green knight’s head. As the separated head rolled across the floor, the blood covered and headless green knight stoically snatched it off the ground as he swung himself into the saddle of his steed. He held up his severed head which opened its eyelids to stare straight at Gawain and spoke a reminder of the vow he had made to receive his blow the next New Years dawn.

The late fourteenth century chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight goes on to tell the magical tale of Sir Gawain’s journey to fulfill his oath made to the green knight, a quest that serves as a mysterious test of his mettle, faithfulness, virtue, and courage. Those in pacific, mountain, and central time zones will experience the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the night of Christmas, while those in other time zones will experience the blackening of Sol’s light on December 26, 2019. In any case, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse occurring four days after the Solstice is a dramatic initiation into a tumultuous year that will feature another Solar Eclipse at the Cancer Solstice and will end with the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of 2020. The rise and fall of collective fortunes that will correspond with the extremely volatile astrology of 2020 will test the character and determination of each of us, calling forth our heroic capacities, tender compassion, and creative potency. It will be a year necessitating that we engage the world as active creative agents and receptive responders to those in need, allowing ourselves to be reshaped through participating in the changes to come.

Druids_Trilithon_by_Blake_relief-etching_British_Museum

by William Blake

“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”  — Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Since ancient times across many cultures, eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. Like the ouroboros imagery of a dragon devouring its own tail in alchemy which mirrors the dissolution of nature that seeds new forms, the dark void of eclipses function as a fertile matrix which can suddenly unleash shifts in storylines we had not been prepared for. Realities that had been hidden from our perception can arise forcibly into our awareness, and in the weeks surrounding eclipses there can be an intensification of forms and relationships entering and leaving our lives.

Since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse is aligned with the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, there will be an emphasis on the sacrifice of making the changes sacred, releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, cleansing, resting, meditating, and letting go will be favored. As the dissolution of the eclipse loosens the binding of the innumerable strands of historical and cultural conditioning bound up within and without, we may reforge our presence and knowing when immersed in stillness, just as the Sun recently stood still at the Solstice.

The December 25/26 eclipse is the second and final solar eclipse to occur in Capricorn during the 2018 – 2020 period of the transiting lunar nodes occupying the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The previous Solar Eclipse in Capricorn was on January 5, 2019 and there will be one more powerful solar eclipse along the Cancer-Capricorn axis six months from now on June 21, 2020. While you may be familiar and used to working with whatever themes in your life have arisen with the eclipses and nodes moving through Cancer and Capricorn in your nativity, a new chapter filled with new storylines will commence as the Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiates a lunar month in which the midpoint features a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12.

In part due to Capricorn being the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it was associated in ancient text with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the immortals and ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Capricorn as the southern gate that “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Capricorn is the nocturnal home of Saturn, inwardly directed zodiacal terrain that favors creation through contraction and pulling back to make empty space for new growth to germinate and take root. As Saturn approaches its exact conjunction with Pluto in the next three weeks, even those wishing to focus on external achievement are likely to become grounded by the gravity of graveyards and confronted with personal issues and lessons that need to be accepted and addressed rather than resisted. Make whatever space is needed to contemplate the darkness within, listening for the message you need to receive rather than your preconceived notion of what you want to hear.

“Down in the underworld where western logic comes from, where the roots of earth and water and fire and sky merge into a single whole, the entire world as we think we know it with all its imaginary distinctions and divisions disappears. Everything we cling on to, everything we hold important, is gone.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Kazuki Yasuo black sun

Kazuki Yasuo Black Sun

“All around him, for as far as he could see, lay a rough land strewn with rocks, with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass. Colorless, with no light to speak of. No sun, no moon or stars. No sense of direction, either. At a set time, a mysterious twilight and a bottomless darkness merely exchanged places. A remote border on the edge of consciousness. At the same time, it was a place of strange abundance.”

— Haruki Murakami (born with Sun and Jupiter in Capricorn) from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage

Jupiter in Capricorn is closely conjoining the eclipse by one degree, and so is seeding the eclipse with its growth-inducing influence and significations. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse marks the end of Jupiter’s synodic cycle, as it will enter the heart of the Sun on the following day to be regenerated with the creative potency of the Sun’s stellar light. It is therefore an old, elder Jupiter ready to fall into death and rebirth that is meeting with the Solar Eclipse, another indicator that promotes investing time in reflecting on the lessons you have learned and the beliefs you have shed in the past year. Like Pan, the wild nature deity who is part of Capricorn’s constellational mythos, Jupiter in Capricorn can function as our shepherd through the fertile darkness of the eclipse, reshaping and organizing our consciousness while attuning with the flux and reordering of Nature and the natural cycles of change coming into form around us. Inspiration may be found through engaging with the constraints of our circumstances rather than through pushing for expansion.

At the same time that the Moon is conjoining with the Sun and its own South Node in Capricorn, Jupiter is also approaching a conjunction with the South Node of Jupiter in Capricorn while Saturn and Pluto are also coming together in close proximity with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This means that the orbital arcs of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be pouring down across the ecliptic at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, saturating our collective field with the putrefaction of the entire archetypal arcs of their past cycles. Not only can we no longer escape our past history at this time, it will be also be a vital responsibility to acknowledge the multiplicity of historical streams of oppression and resiliency feeding into the rising river of collective crises flooding across global civilizations. While we will be motivated to look toward a future of new intentions as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, we also need to look backward for what can be learned from not only our own past but from the legacy of our ancestors as well.

“Our modern democratic age has manufactured a personal spirituality to meet everyone’s needs which is absolutely guaranteed to be calm, sweet, peaceful, polite, positive, comfortable, reassuring, unthreatening . . . But this happens to be almost the exact opposite of the ancient understanding – which is that spirituality and the sacred offer the profoundest challenge to our complacency, as well as presenting the most radical threat . . . truth was seen as something extremely painful, even impossible, for most people to bear.

Truth, or alêtheia, had its own mythology that confronts humans with the grim but glorious reality of what they are “from the beginning”: unimaginably glorious because of their boundless inner potential and unthinkably grim because of the overwhelming responsibilities such a forgotten potential brings.

This is why it- or she, because Truth often appears as a goddess- was always intimately involved in the superhuman effort to stop that process of forgetting. Her role, above all, was to preside over the supremely urgent task of remembering not what happened yesterday or even last month but what happened in the distant past that shaped this present moment and will also produce our future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

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Kalighat painting (19th Century) of Kali dancing on the corpse of Shiva

Saturn in Capricorn rules the eclipse while applying toward a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 12, two days after the forthcoming Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Though the close balsamic phase between Saturn and Pluto has been a pivotal influence during the past year, there will be a deeper level of impact felt as they finally complete their long anticipated union. The multivalent significations unleashed in collective events during hard alignments between Saturn and Pluto (conjunction, square, opposition) were deftly described by Richard Tarnas in his tome Cosmos and Psyche. Tarnas described periods of historical darkness and gravity requiring moral courage from individuals in the face of severe collective events full of the “morally problematic aspects of human existence” and “the end to naïveté and inflated privilege.” Tarnas also gave a compelling list of artistic masterpieces produced during Saturn Pluto alignments representative of its archetypal meaning, such as The Trial, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, 1984, The Stranger, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Crime and Punishment, The Waste Land, The Grapes of Wrath, The Rite of Spring, Heart of Darkness, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As shown in these artworks, during periods of Saturn Pluto we must encounter the dark underbelly of civilization and a reckoning with humanity’s aspirations for power.

With Ceres, Mercury, and the Sun also conjoining the coming together of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, it is clear from current events how their significations are combining with Saturn and Pluto around themes such as environmental destruction and the plundering of natural resources for human consumption, grave moralistic questions concerning the use of technology and its interface with global power structures, women’s reproductive rights, as well as coming to terms with historical oppression of women and many other identities and cultures by those representing dominant cultural identities. As the volatile force of eclipse season will be mixing with the union of Saturn and Pluto, although the collective crises we are facing feel overwhelming we also have the opportunity to take responsibility for doing our part in reshaping the world that will be taking form between now and next year when Jupiter and Saturn move through their conjunctions with Pluto to initiate their new cycle in Aquarius on December 21, 2020.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who was born with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, recently gave a powerfully penetrating acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature that evoked the quality of time we find ourselves in:

“The climate emergency and the political crisis in which we are now trying to find our way, and which we are anxious to oppose by saving the world have not come out of nowhere. We often forget that they are not just the result of a twist of fate or destiny, but of some very specific moves and decisions―economic, social, and to do with world outlook (including religious ones). Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.

That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize for Literature speech on 12/07/19 translated by by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones

2 of pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Capricorn Solar Eclipse falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a  juggler dancing while holding the ouroboric motion of two pentacles, against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change, embodies the capacity of the first decan of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Tarot author T. Susan Chang recently posted an insightful article on the first face of Capricorn, calling it “The Difference Engine.” Chang described one of its lessons being that since “the only constant is change” we need to find the opportunities available to make our own luck, but that simultaneously it also offers greater ease communicating with the past and with ancestors while reconciling “the turn toward light and life in the midst of the darkest hour.”

Fittingly for a South Node Solar Eclipse taking place in this face, Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn. Coppock stated that the first face of Capricorn “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.” Coppock analyzed the ancient attribution by Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new work of art or sources of sustenance.

The “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the ancient Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, is a compelling figure in relation to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, for he embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial. Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity, and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious. With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through the type of disciplined spiritual practice which pleases the ruler of the eclipse, Saturn in Capricorn.

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn, and since Jupiter is not only transiting through the first face of Capricorn but is also closely conjoining the Solar Eclipse, the meaning of this decan will be noticeable in personal and collective events. Walking with the tender awareness of Asclepius for not only the interconnectedness of our surroundings but also the visions of new forms we can churn from subconscious depths will be a way to navigate the chaotic changes that will be rippling through our global collective. Since periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning correspond with an intensification of collective scape-goating and projecting dark, unrecognized material onto others, the capacity of Asclepius for exploring one’s shadow and accepting one’s inner multiplicity through contemplation of dream images as well as passing omens and synchronicities will be vital skills to develop.

The connection of Asclepius to the first face of Capricorn is further interesting in the context of Robert Hand’s work demonstrating that through precession of the solstices that the Capricorn Solstice point in recent years has passed through the hand of the Serpent Holder (a figure often connected with Asclepius) in the Ophiuchus constellation that is holding the Serpent. Hand has connected the meaning of this alignment in current events with ecological disasters and crises in which nature rebels against human attempts to tame or control it for power and resources. Hand has stressed this alignment indicates the critical necessity for coming to terms with climate change and human consumption of natural resources for energy.

While there are no easy answers to fix the myriad collective issues demanding attention, individually we can each take steps to nurture reservoirs of inner strength to draw upon when needed in response to difficulties or when devising creative solutions. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiating our entrance into the new decade of the 2020s serves as a fitting omen for the new year bringing to a close an old way of being while intimations of a reordering to help shape comes into greater awareness. As the Solar Eclipse conjoining the South Node suggests letting go of old patterns, we can shed and release any beliefs we have been holding or actions we have been taking that are not aligned with our values and do not serve the greater good.  Make the time and space to explore your inner darkness, listening for the gifts you possess to cultivate and share with the wider world. Be open to connecting with creative collaborators with whom you can combine skills and strengths while mutually supporting one another. Claim the courage to creatively actualize more of your potential in 2020 and help make the changes you wish to see happen.

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References

Armitage, Simon. (2018). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Revised edition. Faber & Faber Ltd.

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

Hand, Robert. (2014). The Precession of the Capricorn Solstice and the Importance of 2017 to Humanity. The Mountain Astrologer. October/November 2014 issue.

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

Murakami, Haruki. (2014). Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.  Alfred A. Knopf.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs  (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

 

Full Moon in Gemini

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Sasanian silver plate (5th – 6th Century CE)

Full Moon in Gemini

“Fair Hermes, crown’d with feathers, fluttering light / I had a splendid dream of thee last night: / I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, /  Among the Gods, upon Olympus old,  / The only sad one; for thou didst not hear / The soft lute-finger’d Muses chanting clear, / Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, / Deaf to his throbbing throat’s long, long melodious moan. / I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, / Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, / And swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart / Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art!”

— from Lamia by John Keats

The Full Moon in Gemini on December 11 pours down its light of silvery synthesis into places where rigidity has taken root in fearful or judgmental beliefs. The crater patterning of its reflective glow transmits the wink of sly Hermes, a reminder that we don’t know the whole story or the pattern being weaved from the warping and wefting of our thread. Multiplicities and multitudinous musings unravel in the Gemini Moon, inviting new questions, curious investigations, and willingness for a new narrative voice to shift the storyline we have been telling ourselves.

The Gemini Full Moon is ruled by swift Mercury riding a speedy Sagittarius stallion into the beams of the Sun. As the Full Moon peaks, Mercury will be making its final appearance as a Morning Star before entering its invisible phase in which it moves at its fastest speed on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit. Before disappearing from view, Mercury turns to deliver a message we need to hear, a riddle to ponder and contemplate during the darkness approaching over the horizon. There is a bigger picture we need to see and connections we need to make, with a willingness to look in places overlooked by most, to listen to voices who many do not listen to.

Although the Full Moon is separating from a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, the enchantments and imaginal inspirations of Neptune will be washing over our sensations as the Moon waxes toward peak fullness.  For those who have been working hard with focused seriousness recently, it can be an ideal time for respite within regenerative fantasy. For those who have been neglecting duties or details, there may be a sudden awakening to what needs to change and what needs to be taken care of. For those who have been deceiving themselves, the fog of illusion may part to reveal personal truth and self realization.

With Mercury, the Sun, and Neptune all under rulership of Jupiter in Capricorn, it’s vital that Jupiter is separating from a catalyzing square with Chiron and applying toward a flowing and innovative trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Furthermore, it’s significant that Chiron in Aries is stationing in stillness at 1º26′ Aries, with Mercury in Sagittarius also separating from a trine with Chiron. Altogether, these aspects will be most effective when questioning any dominant paradigms and cultural influences that have made you feel disappointed in not living up to whatever you feel you “should” be achieving, or has led you away from whatever brings you real happiness. Being willing to experiment with an adventurous spirit may not manifest your idealized results right away, but the shake-up to your status quo will dislodge essential insights that will bring rewards by choosing a dynamic direction rather than sustaining whatever has become stagnant or unfulfilling.

Whether you want things to change or stay the same, deep shifts and changes are on the horizon as we come to the end of a decade with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn as the final lunation of the year on December 25 or 26, depending on your time zone. The Gemini Full Moon demarcates the threshold of entering “eclipse season,” in which the Sun moves within range of nineteen degrees away from the transiting South Node of the Moon. This means that eclipse related events will begin occurring during the waning half of this lunar cycle, events which can sometimes have a strange and unexpected quality along with a far reaching impact. Eclipses release the unmanifest into manifestation, with new relationships and storylines entering our life at the same time that old ones pass away. Since the eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, there is a stronger focus on release, purification, and harvesting of the past more so than a surge of new growth. The impact of changes will be most apparent for those with natal chart placements close to 4°06′ Capricorn where the darkening of the Sun’s light will occur.

 

Aphrodite_Epitragia

Roman Cameo, 1st Century BC – 2nd Century

“Are then regalities all gilded masks? / No, there are throned seats unscalable / But by a patient wing, a constant spell, /  Or by ethereal things that, unconfined, / Can make a ladder of the eternal wind, / And poise about in cloudy thunder-tents / To watch the abysm-birth of elements. / Ay, ‘love the withering of old-lipp’d Fate / A thousand Powers keep religious state, / In water, fiery realm, and airy bourne; / And, silent, as a consecrated urn, / Hold sphery sessions for a season due. / Yet few of these far majesties, ah, few! / Have bared their operations to this globe — / Few, who with gorgeous pageantry enrobe / Our piece of heaven– whose benevolence / Shakes hand with our own Ceres; every sense / Filling with spiritual sweets to plenitude, / As bees gorge full their cells. And by the feud / ‘Twixt Nothing and Creation, I here swear, / Eterne Apollo! that thy Sister fair / Is of all these the gentlier-mightiest. / When thy gold breath is misting in the west, / She unobserved steals unto her throne, / And there she sits most meek and most alone; / As if she had not pomp subservient; / As if thine eye, high Poet! was not bent / Towards her with the Muses in thine heart; / as if the ministering stars kept not apart, / Waiting for silver-footed messages. / O Moon! old boughs lisp forth a holier din / The while they feel thine airy fellowship. / Thou dost bless everywhere, with silver lip / Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine, / Couch’d in thy brightness, dream of fields divine: / Innumerable mountains rise, and rise, / Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes, / And yet they benediction passeth not / One obscure hiding-place, one little spot / Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren / Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken, / And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf / Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief, / To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps, / Within its pearly house; — The mighty deeps, / The monstrous sea is thine– the myriad sea! / O Moon! far spooning Ocean bows to thee, / And Tellus feels his forehead’s cumbrous load.”

— from Endymion, Book III by John Keats

Venus in Capricorn is in a quincunx aspect with the Full Moon, but most vittally is separating from a conjunction with Saturn and applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. There has been incredible intensification during the past year in whatever areas of your life are connected with Capricorn, as Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and eclipses have shaken and reshaped matters. Now that Venus and Jupiter have joined the Sea Goat’s procession, we can feel revivifying winds blowing through the rocky terrain of Capricorn that bring awareness of how to mend and tend to whatever has been been triggered or fractured as Saturn and Pluto have moved within close proximity during 2019. Visions of essential growth can arise through the stillness of surveying the many sides of your circumstances, sparked by the stones of Necessity. Yet dreams of new creative endeavors will require the time it takes to construct a secure and stable foundation before they can take form and successfully put down roots in your community. The astrology of upcoming months supports long-range goals that will require incubation and adjustment, but can ultimately manifest into enduring forms of shelter and support.

When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. However, Venus is coming to Pluto soon after meeting with Saturn, and so the manner in which we addressed whatever issues arose as Venus united with Saturn in the week before the Full Moon is pivotal. If the austereness of Saturn’s influence on Venus led to strained conversations, harsh criticism, or feelings of not being heard, it will be especially important to resolve any lingering issues before they fester and foment a larger implosion. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

Venus weaving in between Saturn and Pluto during the Full Moon is perfect for attuning to the larger changes taking shape in correspondence with the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto that will happen on January 12, 2020. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche used extensive research to show that periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning involve uncompromising, polarized conflicts that lead to fears of being overwhelmed by disruptive forces out of our control. This leads some to feel a need to restrain instinctive desires that feel threatening to established orders, others to project their own shadowy material onto others who serve as scapegoats. The reflective light of the Gemini Full Moon can illuminate inner depths and the complex, contradictory multiplicities we all have within us.

With Mars in Scorpio applying toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces, allow yourself to face the lessons you’ve learned from failure, acknowledge the unsavory aspects of yourself you prefer to keep hidden from others, while resurrecting a more essential image of your creative potential to strive toward in the year ahead. It’s often the case that our frustrations with current relationships and scenarios mirror issues within our inner darkness, but during the time period ahead dominated by Saturn and Pluto it will be especially important to take responsibility for one’s own issues and to relate with the actual presence of others instead of the unconscious material we are projecting onto them. By descending within our own darkness we can not only connect with desires that will truly activate our creativity and presence, we can also take advantage of the transit of Mars in Scorpio harmoniously interacting with Saturn and Neptune to generate new forms and growth from imaginal sources.

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9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Full Moon peaks at 19º51′ Gemini, the very end of the second decan of the Twins. Associated with the Nine of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, the image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols takes on new meaning when considering that Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to this face. Coppock described the second face of Gemini as being a place of mediating “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul.” The obsessive, negative thought cycles shown in the 9 of Swords through this lens reveals an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world,” to Coppock, “the moments of despair” which can occur within the “irreconcilable places” found within this decan. Yet to Coppock there is a great gift to cultivate in the second face of Gemini in terms of recognizing how each side of dualities like love and war perpetually turn back into one another through the “arts of union and separation.” Coppock concluded that whoever “accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

Fittingly for a hermaphroditic decan, the second face of Gemini is ruled by both Mars and Venus, and numerous ancient texts have ascribed images of dualistic forms. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs attributed the ancient goddess Cybele to this face, whose creation story involves an original hermaphroditic form. The Liber Hermetis described a double faced man holding a bow and arrows, treading on rabbits with both feet. Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described another man holding a bow and arrow, but one whose head is bound in lead with an iron helmet featuring a silk crown, who is enjoying “ridicule and mockery” while walking around a garden playing music and picking flowers. While the Picatrix described an eagle-faced man also with bow and arrows, iron helmet, and silk crown, the Yavanajataka described a graceful black woman in bright garments who delights in the arts, singing and storytelling and who is pleased to be holding a lyre.

There has been a palpable sense of fear in many who follow astrology concerning the transits of 2020 such as the alignment of Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. While it is true that the astrology transits of 2020 portend a period of major endings and beginnings, remember that within the same fear over what could happen you will discover the vivifying excitement of creative potential you want to make happen.  In The Myth of Analysis, James Hillman wrote that “Those twins, compulsion and inhibition, are familiar enough in all creative efforts where one is both driven and blocked, enthusiastic and critical, on fire and fearful . . . Demon and daimon are one; if we suppress the compulsion, we lose touch with the guiding voice of the daimon . . . At the deepest level of fear an eros appears . . .” As we draw to the end of the year, the end of the decade, and the liminal time of two-faced Janus, allow any fear concerning the unknown future to help clarify what you want to devote yourself toward bringing into being.

 References

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

Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis.