Capricorn Solstice 2015

Delaunay simultaneous contrast

Simultaneous Contrasts: Sun and Moon by Robert Delaunay (1912)

SOLSTICE

Merry Solstice to one and all.  The Solstice in the sign of Capricorn on December 21 or December 22 (depending upon your time zone) supports fine tuning the forms we have been developing and launching forward with our work into a dramatic year of change. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere of our planet, this is the Summer Solstice of peak solar light, while for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere we are at the darkest time of the year in which we welcome the first glimmer of a returning Sun.  From the Northern Hemisphere perspective of this being the darkest and most fertile time, many consider the Capricorn Solstice chart to be paramount in terms of casting a gaze ahead at the coming year.   Last year at this time there was truly a dark Solstice as a New Moon happened on the same day-  now a year later, we will have a waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus gracing our night with bright light.

The waxing gibbous Moon at this Solstice symbolically resonates with a budding that promises a full blooming according to the lunation cycle developed by Dane Rudhyar. This symbolism of a flower bud is accentuated by the Moon being in the sign of Taurus, the exaltation of the Moon, lending a grounded quality able to evaluate the structures we have set in motion and discern if there are any parts in need of restructuring.  Acting harmoniously with a gibbous Moon means gathering together the tools and resources we need for the coming grand opening of meaning, making the necessary arrangements that will allow us to effectively express the burgeoning meaning we are discovering into forms that will be functional.  The Moon in Taurus at the Solstice is applying to a trine with Mercury in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo, and so supports discovering how to successfully integrate our work and vision into a wider community so as to be useful for others.

The Taurus Moon is additionally in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo as well as Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a valuable aspect of our soul we can uncover by probing into the darkness of our depths at this Solstice time.  With the Moon in stabilizing aspects with both the North Node and Jupiter as well as Mercury (the ruler of the transiting North Node), this Solstice supports us discerning not only the expansive opportunities on our horizon but the ability to make new choices that propel us forward into a new direction.

The Taurus Moon of the Solstice does involve some more challenging, catalytic aspects, as it is also applying to an opposition with Venus in Scorpio and separating from a square to Ceres in Aquarius.  This t-square involves the three most pre-eminent feminine symbols for archetypes we use in Western astrology, and connects well with the concept of our sacred feminine giving birth at the time of Solstice.  While a Taurus Moon supports the idea of turning inward into our core to incubate within the protective sphere of our own meaning and values, the opposition to Venus in Scorpio amplifies the polarity of being open to sharing our most intimate feelings with our beloved, being open to merging our resources with others, and being drawn into exploring the hidden recesses of other people and any circumstance we find ourselves within.

Ceres in Aquarius is a vital piece of this arrangement to consider, and she has a stabilizing influence through a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  Ceres here holds the potential to activate humanitarian concerns related to the highest good in any situation, outside of consensus conditioning.  However, much depends upon where individual awareness is situated, for in this astrological climate Ceres could be acting from a wounded place of fear or from a wounded place that has transcended fear and re-centered in a heartfelt place of love for the full ramification of our challenging life.  In the story of Ceres from myth, the Goddess reacts to the loss of her daughter initially by refusing to share her gifts with the world, yet by the end of a process of suffering she opens to a new sense of spiritual understanding and love.  Since Ceres is in a t-square with both Venus and the Moon at the Solstice, it highlights the significance of Ceres applying closely to a sextile with Uranus stationing direct in Aries.

Picasso Francoise as the Sun

Francoise as the Sun by Pablo Picasso (1946)

Uranus in Aries stations four days after the Solstice and so its stationing influence on the Solstice is one of the most important aspects to take into account.  When any planet stations it casts a shadow over the amalgam of astrology aspects simultaneously unfolding, and this is especially the case with a paradigm shattering planet such as Uranus stationing direct in the exaltation of the Sun.  Uranus last stationed retrograde at 20°30′ of Aries around July 26, a day after Venus stationed retrograde.  As a result this past period of Uranus retrograde took us through the Venus retrograde in Leo, two eclipses, Mercury retrograde in Libra, and the initiation of the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces.  Our feelings and experiences from this time period will be especially pertinent to Uranus stationing now, but a Uranus stationing can pull memory from the farthest reaches of memory imaginable.

Uranus stations direct at 16º33′ of Aries, and so if you have anything prominent in your chart configured to this degree by aspect you could experience one of those moments that suddenly and surely alters your perception for good.  Insights from Uranus can strike seemingly from anywhere, in the middle of a chaotic crescendo or in the quiet whispers of contemplation.  The mind altering component consistent to Uranus stationing is a time warp of past and present morphing so that our perspective of our past changes irrevocably, sending emancipatory waves of thought into our present moment.  While there may be pain and grief associated with the breakthrough, in the end there is liberating freedom to be found in the shattering of fixed structures of our past.

Uranus in Aries is still in range of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and as Mars in Libra is separating from its opposition with Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Saturn in Sagittarius is beginning to apply to a trine with Uranus in Aries that will be one of the most vital aspects of the coming year.  Mercury in Capricorn is also separating from a square with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Mars in Libra, reconnecting the tension of the recent opposition between Mars and Uranus.  Thus, while Mars is clearly separating from its stormy aspects with Pluto and Uranus at the time of the Solstice, Mercury moving from a square to Uranus into a square with Mars suggests a volatile atmosphere for the stationing of Uranus.  This is how Uranus rolls, so be ready for a shake-up that will make you look at your life in a completely different way.

Delaunay_Windows_Open_Simultaneously_1st_Part,_3rd_Motif

Windows Open Simultaneously 1st Part, 3rd Motif by Robert Delaunay (1912)

Two of the most prominent aspects of the Solstice chart are also two of the most prominent omens for the coming year:  the square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces, and the conjunction of Jupiter in Virgo with the North Node of the Moon.  Jupiter and the North Node will be in range of a conjunction through July 2016, and Saturn and Neptune will be moving out of their square aspect in November 2016.  Though Jupiter is not in range of a square to Saturn at the time of the Solstice, Jupiter will be entering into a square with Saturn in March 2016 and eventually will come into range of a wide opposition with Neptune while simultaneously being in a square with Saturn.

Weaving all this together, the Solstice chart involves the pivotal tumult signified by Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune being in hard, change-oriented aspects while also being in mutable signs that further signify deep shifting.  Within all of this being stirred up now, many are clinging tightly to past belief systems for a sense of security in changing circumstances that feel frightening to those who are intent on maintaining the status quo.  While the concept of “illusion” is often applied to Neptune, Saturn can also be full of illusion in the sense of people becoming convinced that a belief system, a way to structure their reality, is in line with an ultimate truth when in reality there is a far vaster truth signified by Neptune that is actually going on. This Solstice is truly a powerful moment of rebirth in perspective for all those willing to dive in and reorient their sense of truth and meaning in the shattering of systems occurring on our planet today.

Ernst forest and sun

Forest and Sun (1930) by Max Ernst

Finally, there are numerous aspects in the Solstice chart centering around Mercury in Capricorn that suggest we are in a moment of rebirthing our vision through entering an underworld journey.  Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto while applying to a conjunction with Pallas Athene in Capricorn, and also applying to a square with Mars in Libra.  Mercury is now a sage Evening Star capable of helping us synthesize meaning from all of the volatility of this time, and while conjoining Pallas Athene lends itself a visionary component that can connect patterns and weave together significant insights.  Mercury is also now in its retrograde shadow zone, and will ultimately station retrograde in January at the beginning of Aquarius in square to Mars in Scorpio.  Mercury will then turn retrograde back to another conjunction with Pallas Athene and eventually will station direct conjunct Pluto in Capricorn.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury, the underworld trek Mercury will be guiding us into will help us discern the bottom-line roots of the desires and conflicts we are consciously aware of at this Solstice, igniting inner vision.

In the year ahead, all of the Mercury retrograde periods will involve the Earth element and important aspects to Pluto and Jupiter also in Earth signs.  In May 2016 when Mercury goes retrograde in Taurus, it will station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter in Virgo.  During the following Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August 2016 conjoining Jupiter in Virgo, moving backward to again station direct in trine to Pluto in Capricorn.  Thus while Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Pluto at the time of this Solstice, Mercury and Pluto will be in cahoots for the entire year ahead and brokering new deals on a soul level. This Solstice portends a year of following through on plans to build solid growth, attending to the needs of our bodies, and moving forward in the material realm to more deeply establish ourselves in the role we will be playing in the great drama erupting in our collective.

Furthermore, the square beginning to form now between Mercury and Mars, with Mercury in the home of Saturn, is a call demanding hard work, perseverance, and a relentless focus on the dreams and visions we wish to manifest in the coming year.  Mars will going retrograde in Sagittarius and Scorpio later in 2016, and there will be a strong resonance between the Mercury retrograde in Taurus and the Mars retrograde in Scorpio later in May 2016.  Furthermore, in the Mercury retrograde in Virgo that will happen in September 2016, Mercury retrograde in Virgo will be square to Mars moving direct in Sagittarius.  We often associate Mars in a square to Mercury with arguments, anger, diatribes, and bitter conflicts, and it is a guarantee that in our collective the hateful rhetoric happening today at this Solstice will continue.  Yet on a personal level, we can seize the explosive energy that will erupt from Mercury in square to Mars in order to apply its heat to a fusion of our body, mind, and spirit activated in determined effort.  In the destruction of form we will witness around us in the coming season, there is at the same time extraordinary creative effort we will be able to birth from within.

“Apparently the power to establish order, which ranks among the most inexorable strengths of artistic creation, is summoned most insistently by two interior states: by one’s awareness of abundance and by the utter collapse within a human being, which, after all, yields yet another abundance.”

“What ruthless magnificence and yet how terrible to ignite love:  what conflagration, what disaster, what doom.  To be on fire yourself, of course, if one is capable of it:  that may well be worth life and death.”

“To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to cast light with inexorable oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters on Life

 

Solstice12-21-2015WRIGC2B

References:

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2006). Letters on Life: New Prose Translations. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

 

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New Moon in Libra

Mercury in Libra

Mercury atop Zurich train station, taken by Gray Crawford (2015 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 12, 2015 unleashes a visceral sense of new meaning following a period in which necessary elements of our past beliefs were dislodged in order to be released.  The eclipses are over.  Venus retrograde is over.  We are still in the shadows of Mercury retrograde, but Mercury is now moving direct clear from the beams of the Sun.  A new lunation phase beginning in Libra calls us to rectify what has been out of balance, seizing the opportunity found in the pain of not living the life we want to direct our thoughts and actions toward whatever will bring us happiness.  There is a transcendent Mercurial quality to this New Moon, as its ruling planet Venus is in the sign of Mercury, Mercury is direct in the sign of Venus conjunct the North Node of the Moon (the mean of which recently switched into Virgo, the home of Mercury), and the New Moon itself is opposite Uranus. Mercury direct as a Morning Star now is eager to facilitate new connections and focus toward our long-term goals in the immediacy of the moment.

Since the New Moon ruler Venus is in Virgo along with Mars and Jupiter, it is vital to center in the present moment without denial, being willing to admit we do not have all the answers so that we can shift more harmoniously with the course our life is actually taking us now.  Justice with her scales and sharpened sword will cut through any illusions veiling the degree to which we have felt wronged or oppressed by others.  As we feel the Libra sense of justice and what feels out of balance, it is imperative that we in addition sense how we can take responsibility for whatever circumstance we are currently in.  The most fruitful response to feelings of injustice will prudently side with discretion rather than belligerence so as to attract others to your cause.  Imagination and vision can be worthy allies at this time, but living in a fantasy disconnected from the crux of reality could now cause your undoing more so than normal.

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

New Moon opposite Uranus

The lightning strike shattering the fortresses within our psyche, the epiphany of an illuminated vision, the nonlinear leaps of mind connecting ages past within a precious moment of glimpsing our future, are all within the domain of Uranus.  The New Moon in Libra is opposite Uranus retrograde in Aries, awaking those open to a new frequency of reception and awareness of reality. This New Moon opposition to Uranus is also in square to Pluto in Capricorn, and so resurrects the issues of the Pluto and Uranus square of the past several years.  In our collective, it is likely that some horrific, tragic events will erupt out of this time triggering the traumatic memories of many.  Yet on a personal level, along with unsettling shocks we can potentially experience a liberating sense of calling illuminating our path forward through the current darkness.

Astrologer and psychosynthesis therapist Mark Jones in his book The Soul Speaks included numerous examples of individuals struck by the volatile force of Uranus.  Jones showed that Uranian experiences open us to a sense that “everything is impersonal and arises from the field of energy in which we all participate,” with our inflamed passions coming from places of identification within this knowing field (p. 94).  Jones wrote:

The Moon is the lens through which we identify space/time reality in all its specificity. Yet, when we are shocked or somehow transported into Uranian consciousness, we can escape that filter and return to a more widescreen experience of reality.  (p. 174)

In its pure form, Uranus can be experienced as memory or a mental awareness arising from the soul:  a blueprint of the energy field of the individual’s whole life experienced on a subtle mental level.  This includes information as to the nature of past lives, to prenatal states of existence in the womb and perinatal states.  Through Uranus, the individual learns systematically via his own experience from these nonlinear realms. (p. 120-21)

With a New Moon opposite Uranus there is a new birth to embrace that brings a dramatic disorientation of entering another world or quality of being.  Anytime experiencing such transcendent functions, we must simultaneously discern how to reintegrate into the mundane world of our current reality, enriching our life with the new values we have realized.  The transformational quality of this New Moon is further amplified by Mars having separated from an opposition to Neptune and applying to a conjunction with Jupiter, as Venus is simultaneously applying to an opposition with Neptune, as well as with the Mars and Jupiter conjunction opposing Chiron in Pisces.  This opens us to the collective unconscious phenomenon developed by Carl Jung in which we can tap into patterns underpinning our collective reality, rooted in endless cycles of ages past.  On a personal level the potential liberation of this is found in the moment you realize how a current agony is connected to an old pattern you are now able to release.  In the creative fields such as art, writing, and research these aspects are decadently rich to take advantage of and take your work to a new level of insight and expression.

New Moon in Libra

Chalk Cliffs on Rügen (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

Virgo Vision

Venus is the ruler of this New Moon and has now finally ended her retrograde period, shining at her brightest as a Morning Star.  At the time of the New Moon, Venus is separating from a square to Saturn in Sagittarius and applying to an opposition with Neptune in Pisces.  The last quarter square between Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius is the most dramatic transit of the coming season, and so Venus is now bridging us into the dissolution and rebirth of meaning we will find in the coming experiences that will be linked to this crucial aspect.  While the system of astrology teaches that Venus is not at home in the sign of Virgo, there is actually great potential found in the movement of Venus across Virgo similar to the incredible depth of new perception that can open within us when we travel far from home into foreign territory with only our own wits to rely upon.  If we have the presence to fully participate in the moment there is a huge potential to now restructure and revision our life to align with the deepest desires stirred by the Venus retrograde we experienced from the end of June until the beginning of October in 2015.

Venus can now be seen in the pre-dawn sky along with the conjunction of Mars and Jupiter in Virgo.  Venus, Mars, and Jupiter experiencing this pivotal time together in the sign of Mercury amplifies the significance of Mercury having recently stationed direct  conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  For those who use the true node calculation for the lunar nodes, the nodes remain in Libra and Aries, but for those who utilize the mean calculation the nodes have now switched into the North Node being in Virgo and the South Node being in Pisces.  This is another huge shift brought in with this New Moon, but the fact that Mercury stationed direct conjunct the North Node being in Libra in either system is most important to reflect upon.  Mercury is also in sextile to Saturn in Sagittarius, and so we have a powerful opportunity now to structure elements of our life to align with new intentions and goals that can rebalance our life.  We will gravitate now toward solidifying the relationships that will be most supportive for us in the coming years, and the influence of Libra calls us to find harmony and win-win situations in discourse with others rather than trying to force our own way at all costs.

These themes are further supported by the balsamic conjunction of Mars with Jupiter in Virgo in trine to Pluto in Capricorn that is supporting us to focus on creating the seed of our future visions.  As it is occurring in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury, this new vision involves new connections being made between our mind and body to guide us, and so accessing your mind-body connection through personal practices of choice will be hugely beneficial.  This is the close of a Mars and Jupiter cycle that began in Cancer in July 2013, that took us through a Mars retrograde in Libra in 2014 that also involved a cardinal grand square involving a first quarter square between Mars in Libra and Jupiter in Cancer.  Aspects of our desires that animate our vision of life that have arisen since July 2013 that need to be released we will now be let go of, while the aspects of our desires that will be re-seeding our future will be potently focused upon.

New Moon in Libra

Three of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra II Decan

The Libra New Moon falls at the end of the second face of Libra, a decan that Saturn rules and is associated with the Three of Swords card in tarot illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  While the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the card evokes Saturn, so does the transcendence offered through the pain found here.   Tarot writer Kelsey Lenore wrote this is “a card of revelation, pained comprehension, and sorrow,” a  “rigorously intellectual card whose bruised fruits include empathy, compassion, and a wonderfully rooted and corporeal sense/knowledge that holds its own hubris in check,” as it is ultimately “about coming to grips with one’s own finitude, fragility, and fallibility, and in this it is beautifully human.”  There is nothing more painful than being separated from someone we love most dearly, and in this agony we find both the challenge of Saturn as well as the transcendence of the ringed planet.  For in times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us.

Astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces 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 through betrayal or other wounding experiences.  To Coppock it is a face that holds the power of the Saturnine contract:

This is thus a face of lasting unions and blended karma.  The choice of who to chain oneself to, and under what terms, is therefore critical.  Both sacred covenants and profane deals occur here . . .

It is only earnest commitment which allows relationships to endure both lean harvests and fat returns.  The power of obligation fixes volatile passions, and when properly engaged, lays a firm foundation for the good life. Yet, perhaps the most fundamental and potent promises are those made to oneself, for there is little that one capable of making and keeping such an agreement cannot achieve.

The power of this face is nearly ideal for the binding of two things together, whether they be people in marriage, business entities, or merely a promise to oneself.  It contains the formulae not only for knitting together, but continuing in happy union, and is therefore an arcanum of wonderful power.

— Austin Coppock (p. 163 – 164)

The recent ingress of Saturn in Sagittarius has brought opportunities for us to establish new agreements as Venus is now separating from her third and final last quarter square to Saturn, while Saturn is simultaneously inching closer towards its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune in Pisces.  This New Moon asks us to make commitments to both our Self as well as the relationships we feel deep within will be mutually supportive for the foreseeable future.  Whatever attitudes and beliefs we can sense are getting in the way of following through with this commitment we will be asked to release into the coming dissolving waves of Neptune in Pisces.  Venus ruling this New Moon in Virgo and in opposition to Neptune supports us in magnetizing and opening to the partners that will increase our capacity to feel blissful and find deep meaning in life, thereby being able to transmit the new values arising from this joy back into our collective.

References

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

Jones, Mark. (2015).  The Soul Speaks:  The Theraputic Potential of Astrology.  Raven Dreams Press.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Limestone Ram’s head from Egypt (300 – 400 B.C.)

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

On September 27 or 28 depending upon time zone, a total Lunar Eclipse in Aries will arise in which our Moon will turn blood red in the shadow of our Sun.  Since this eclipse is also a Super Moon, it will have a more direct, palpable impact on us than a standard Full Moon. You may question the hullabaloo astrologers make about the transformative potential of eclipses such as this one, when you know that astrologers tend to make a big deal about transits on a regular basis, and we always have at least four eclipses occur every year.  If you spend more time exploring eclipses, however, you will soon recognize that many periods of your life that suddenly took on a completely different trajectory had eclipses as part of the initiation.  This Lunar Eclipse truly does portend breakthrough experiences, not only because of it being total and the Moon being at it’s closest orbit to Earth, but also because of surrounding transits such as Pluto stationing direct, Mars square Saturn, Venus trine Uranus, and the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.

This Aries Lunar Eclipse is total because the Full Moon and the Sun are only a few degrees away from the North and South Nodes of the Moon, creating the optical effect of a rosy red Moon from the Sun’s shadow.  Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow on the Moon as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness and we can consequently embody a presence less attached to past patterns.  As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the past activation of our primal will force (Aries) becomes overshadowed by new growth found in re-adjustment, re-balancing, fairness, harmony, and discretion (Libra).  The fiery sign of the Ram is willing to use its horns if necessary to protect personal desires from being lost through assimilation in surrounding relationships, and yet in the shadow of a Libra Sun, we must balance yearning for self-centered independence within the needs of our relationships.

In Aries, the “pulsing of life” — of the creative Breath — is felt. It passes through. It surges forth — and is gone. Aries power is the power of the lightning, which descends from above, which strikes out of the darkness of the Collective Unconscious. It is the power of revelation; power of Destiny released, which burns and fecundates. Such a power, from whatever level it operates in fiery downflows, gives to the actions of an Aries person a peculiar pioneering, impersonal, perhaps cosmic and fateful strength.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Pulse of Life

The burning, fecundating quality of an Aries eclipse that sparks inspired action from within is further augmented by a Vesta retrograde in Aries closely conjunct the Lunar Eclipse and the South Node of the Moon.  Vesta as a result turns us within to focus on activating our essentiality rather than the egotistical ambitions we competitively pursue to advance within our culture.  Vesta draws us into the power found within our inner flame of divinity that is not dependent upon the trappings of status and outer success.  Any creative, spiritual, or philosophical practices and traditions that magnetize you at this time will be fertile ground to discover the self-realization that will fuel your journey in the season ahead.  While Vesta can be steadfastly independent from relationships at times, she is completely devoted to her inner passions and rapture for what she finds holds a spiritual quality.

This eclipse occurring a few days after the Libra Equinox makes it a heralding marker of the change of season.  In the perspective of the Northern Hemisphere that dominated development of astrology, the Libra Equinox initiating Autumn can be seen in the glyph of Libra that looks like a setting Sun on the horizon.  At the Autumn Equinox we honor the falling of leaves and other signs of decomposition that will fertilize new growth in the future.  The theme of death that creates new life can be further seen in the association of Libra with Venus and outer relationships, as we can experience an ego death when deeply connecting with a partner and the creation of new life through the conjoined energies of the partnership.  This aspect of Libra is further amplified at this eclipse because the relationally oriented Juno asteroid is closely conjunct the Sun and North North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Juno here sparks a procreative force within drawn to collaboration in relationships in which we can express our authenticity, and will influence us to release or alter those relationships in which we have been struggling to assert our essential nature.

The maverick side of Libra is also activated at this eclipse, as Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Juno, the Sun, and the North Node of the Moon.  Black Moon Lilith is the balance point of our lunar orbit that astrologers have been using to illustrate the exiled aspects of our consciousness we have been repressing or denying.  When Black Moon Lilith becomes potently activated, the parts of our personality and psyche that have been cast off return to heart and we begin to assert this regained quality into our relationships.  Similar to the lucid quality symbolized by the goddess Kali holding the severed head of Shiva, Black Moon Lilith will cut through any recent egotistical patterns we have experienced within ourselves and our relationships to illuminate whatever is essential for us.  As Lilith demands being treated as an equal, co-creating partner, we likewise will face issues around equality and inequality in the coming season.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Mars square Saturn

The astrological rhythm surrounding this Aries Lunar Eclipse has a fervent intensity, as Mars in Virgo rules the eclipse and will be separating from a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Mars square Saturn can bring important changes but also conflict, and the atmosphere is further amplified by Pluto in Capricorn stationing direct a few days before the eclipse.  Since Pluto in Capricorn is bound to Saturn, Pluto stationing direct following the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius carries emboldened force into the plutonian desires flowing into awareness.  Pluto stationing direct is generally an eruptive time, as any deep desires we have been resisting can overcome us from within creating a crisis if necessary to seize our attention.  This cathartic stationing of Pluto amplifies the change of Saturn from Scorpio to Sagittarius that likewise is bringing up what we have dredged from our inner depths to feed the action we are commencing in the sign of the fiery, galloping Centaur.

The recent ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius has brought shifts of direction, and you likely have been sensing a strong urge to set off in pursuit of something related to Saturn and Sagittarius in your birth chart.  Mars in Virgo being in a last quarter square to Saturn in Sagittarius brings up a course correction sourced from attuning our desires in connection with the details of our life in the here and now.  Generally speaking, many if not most of us envision future goals in connection with past emotions, attachments, influences, and dreams.  This Aries Lunar Eclipse ruled by Mars in a last quarter square to Saturn is leveling this field so to speak with the scythe of Saturn cutting off what needs harvesting or release.  This process could involve conflict, but the positive potential of today’s turmoil can help in the reorientation toward making future goals in greater alignment with what we truly want to have happen for us now.

Both Saturn and Mars are making aspects to this Lunar Eclipse, with Saturn in a stabilizing, harmonious trine and Mars in a disorienting inconjunct.  These two aspects are an important detail of the greater movement, as it suggests the object of our deep desire may seem overly daunting, too difficult to achieve or manifest in this moment.  The danger of the Virgo inconjunct to Aries is getting lost in a perpetual cycle of procrastination in which we never feel we are truly ready, continuing to research, train, or practice instead of diving into the fray full steam and letting the dust settle where it may.  The trine from Saturn in Sagittarius to the Lunar Eclipse in Aries points us in the direction of making structural changes and taking even the simplest of steps to begin to build a structure for whatever it is we wish to achieve.  This is a perfect time for releasing the aspects of our old goals no longer serving us and taking concrete steps to build a foundation from which to launch our most viscerally felt desires from.

Aries I Decan

Two of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries I Decan

The influence of Mars on this lunar eclipse is further increased due to the first face of Aries being ruled by Mars.  The Aries I decan where the lunar eclipse occurs is also associated with the Two of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck, which reinforces the theme of envisioning our future from a renewed perspective previously discussed above.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find what appears to be a conquering lord of some sort, holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from atop a fortress out into an expanse of terrain containing mountainous as well as watery landscapes. 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 expansion of his influence or dominion.

In 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans, astrologer Austin Coppock ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to this decan which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from the One necessary for creation and growth, for example in the cutting of the umbilical cord of the child from its mother and in the use of axes in controlling nature to make a home in the wilderness. Coppock linked this separation as “a severance from the symbolic mother- the womb from which all things emerge,” setting up a dynamic in which “what is motherly and unifying constricts development” rather than augmenting growth:

The axe is thus a tool of the first individual, bravely severing himself from the primordial mother and building a distinct and individual life. This assertion of selfhood is undiluted yang, and in principle phallic, no matter the gender of who embodies it. The phallus in play here is a symbol of potency, yet its reality involves tremendous vulnerability, the same vulnerability that the lone individual faces in a sometimes hostile world. The axe may be the tool by which the individual liberates themselves from the collective, but it is also the cruel weapon of the primordial mother as castrator, the limiting force with which the warlike figures of this decan wrestle. This is the essence of this face- the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.

— Austin Coppock (p. 54)

As a result, while there are astrological signs pointing toward growth through creating greater balance, fairness, and equality in our relationships, there is at the same time a raw martial force within this eclipse demanding that we clear a path forward in which we have greater freedom and less restraint.  To unify this opposition we need to respect our need to be authentic while honoring the essential nature of those we are interacting with.  Additionally, the last quarter square between Mars in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously will force us to deal with the structural system of our surroundings and so to be successful, the exertion of our personal power cannot be completely untamed but rather modified in accordance with environmental conditions.

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

Eros by Paul Klee (1923)

ARIES 5°:  A TRIANGLE WITH WINGS

Keynote:  The capacity for self-transcending

In his book exploring Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar described the degree of the Aries Lunar Eclipse as being “the symbol of the desire to reach a higher level of existence, of pure aspiration or devotion, of bhakti” (p. 53).  This ideal yearning Rudhyar wrote about, in which “the whole being experiences a childlike longing for its eventual realization,” is strongly charged by a grand fire trine formed at the eclipse by Venus in Leo, Uranus retrograde in Aries, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  This is a truly visionary grand fire trine sourced at its root by the deep inner material dug up during this past period of Venus retrograde.  At the time of the eclipse, Venus will have returned to place of it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun that happened on August 15, 2015.  In fact, Venus will be less than half a degree away from this point of Venusian rebirth.  As Venus will not leave its retrograde shadow zone until October 9, the Aries Lunar Eclipse will propel us into the final two weeks of the Venus retrograde, catalyzing numerous events giving us opportunities to integrate and express our Venusian passions that have been stirred up.

As this is in addition the final eclipse to occur with the North Node of the Moon in Libra that is ruled by Venus, we are at a border crossing transition fitting for an equinoctial period.  The lunar nodes have been in Aries and Libra since February 2014, a time that was dominated in astrology by the final series of squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  If you take the time to reflect back on all of the numerous issues and events in your life that have been brewing since that time, especially around your sense of empowerment within your relationships, there will no doubt be a sense of resolution occurring now in the form of a final test or a peak experience.  This is not the end of the lunar nodes transiting through Aries and Libra, as they will not move into Pisces and Virgo until November 2015. However, the Lunar Eclipse will spark the final lessons we will be learning from the dragon slithering through these two cardinal signs.

Persephone in Aries

Roman marble relief (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.) copy of a Greek marble relief of 450–425 B.C. found at Eleusis. The image reveals Demeter on the left side and Persephone on the right of the relief.

Persephone

Further fitting for the time of the Libra Equinox, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 21° Aries and so conjunct Uranus as well as part of the grand fire trine involving the goddesses Venus in Leo and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  For those who are already working with Eris, you can also add Eris in with Uranus and Persephone on the Aries point of this fiery triangle.  Significantly, at this time Persephone, Uranus, and Eris are all retrograde, taking us deep within for a primal rebirth of soul.  Like Persephone who claimed full embodiment of her role as the underworld Queen, we have Persephone with us in any descent into experiences that strip us of innocence while offering opportunities to cultivate greater resiliency and access to our full range of power.

With Pluto also prominent by having recently stationed direct, at the equinoctial time in which the mythic Hades brought Persephone down into his realm, we have an archetype of Persephone activated with the efficacy of a Uranian lightning strike.  Demetra George in her workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark, described the descent associated with the Persephone asteroid as enabling “us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.”  Persephone united with Uranus and in trine to Venus in Leo opens us to a time in which we will sense the invisible realm within the visible, sensing the substance of spirit in our body.

Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus in Harmony noted how Persephone is the vivifying force of vitality regenerating the world of the dead:  “Persephone imposed blood on the dead:  not, as in the past, the dark blood of sacrifice, not the blood the dead used to drink so thirstily, but the invisible blood that went on pulsing in her white arms, the blood of someone who is still entirely alive, even in the palace of death” (p. 212).  To Calasso, Persephone is the figure who created a new paradigm between our green world above and the underworld below, for as Persephone descended and separated from the world of her Earth goddess mother Demeter, “Eros penetrated the kingdom of the dead. The slender-ankled Persephone was the supple arrow Aprhrodite ordered Eros to let fly at Hades.”  As Persephone is of the earth, deep within the earth, and deeply erotic, her asteroid conjoined with Uranus and the grand fire trine of goddesses suggests the passions stirred from within us will release previously unconscious soul desires that will lead us toward greater wholeness.

The other aspect of Persephone that fits well with the astrological climate of the Aries Lunar Eclipse is her role in accepting the souls of the dead who have been guided to her kingdom by Hermes, thereafter initiating them into the cycle of rebirth.  Thus the Mercury retrograde in Libra we are experiencing in which Mercury has taken on the psychopomp role of guiding us into core aspects of our soul has the welcoming visage of Persephone to greet us in the regeneration we are experiencing.  Peter Kingsley in Reality wrote that Persephone “is the goddess who greets initiates when they manage to make their way down to her by warmly reaching out to them with her right hand; who accepts them, welcomes them to her home, with a  kindness that defies all human logic” (p. 43).

In the time leading up the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde in Libra is square to Pluto in Capricorn and it is applying to its inferior conjunction with the Sun at the time of the eclipse.  In the week following the Lunar Eclipse, Persephone will get closer to Uranus each day until becoming exactly conjunct Uranus at the same time that Mercury stations direct, and Venus leaves her retrograde shadow zone.  The intermingling of all of these significations of rebirth is quite incredible, suggesting we truly are on the precipice of a complete change in the course of our life.  The loving embrace of Persephone and the fearless expression of her potency will guide those willing to descend into the depth of her world.

Persephone asteroid

Persephone opening a cista containing the infant Adonis, on a pinax from Locri

References

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

  • Mercury stations retrograde at 15°55′ Libra on September 17, 2015
  • Mercury unites with Sun at 7°07′  Libra on September 30, 2015
  • Mercury stations direct at 0°54′ Libra on October 9, 2015
  • Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow zone on October 26, 2015

The transit of Mercury retrograde in Libra beginning September 17 opens a doorway within the vivifying void of eclipses, as we will be in between the Solar Eclipse of September 13 and the Lunar Eclipse of September 27.  While Mercury retrogrades are always liminal in quality, the influence of eclipses on the commencement of this retrograde evokes entrance through a magic portal that mysteriously redefines and redirects.  Mercury stations retrograde simultaneously with two other impactful transits, as about eleven hours before Mercury stations there will be an exact opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and about nine hours after Mercury stations, Saturn will ingress into Sagittarius.  Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and Saturn in Sagittarius will be dominant players in the upcoming astrological atmosphere saturated with the deep shifting of Mutable signs. Our move into the preponderance of Mutable signs will create an air of adjustment to the ensuing disorientation, and so it is here that Mercury retrograde arrives.  Since this Mercury retrograde is occurring in Libra, the sign of Scales and the domicile of Venus, an atmosphere of relational recalibration will occur on both inner and outer levels.  In collective events of tension and trauma such as the refugee crisis in Europe, we will witness raised levels of rhetoric and reaction with participants coming back and forth from extreme positions of opposition.  Perhaps there is none other than Mercury more up to the task of guiding us to find a middle way of solutions in response.

The journey of Mercury around the Sun is important to pay attention to, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth never gets too far ahead of the Sun as an evening star, returning three times every year during its retrograde to reunite and regenerate within the purifying solar rays.  Karl Kerenyi in Hermes: Guide of Souls ascribed “belonging to the journey” and being “by the road” as part of the essential nature of Hermes, who is “constantly underway” in motion at all times (p. 33).  Kerenyi wrote that any “journeyer” connected with Hermes remains “at home on the road itself, the road being understood not as a connection between two definite points on the earths surface, but as a particular world” (p. 32).  When Mercury stations retrograde, it marks the time period in which Mercury disappears as an evening star with a flash of light, descending from our view into the invisibility of the underworld.  The underworld passage of Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear, but rather a world to fully enter and embrace for the treasures found within its depths.  There are already innumerable issues occurring that are creating fear, and these have nothing to do with this Mercury retrograde causing them.

Mercury is the divine messenger who weaves the golden rays of the Sun into the words and other forms of communication we express ourselves through, a soulful guide through which our consciousness discerns meaning from phenomenal reality.  The constant variation of Mercury’s synodic cycle influences how we evaluate our experiences, and so during the retrograde when Mercury symbolically descends into the underworld we can more readily access alternate forms of perception resonant with the intuitive meaning found in symbols, signs, omens, and dreams.  Mercury retrograde as a result becomes a time we can seize to turn within and ruminate on the nature of our experiences since the previous Mercury retrograde (Mercury last stationed direct at 4°34′ Gemini on June 11, 2015).  Mercury moving in a radically different motion from our perspective also coincides with radical changes in thought, and we can use this Mercurial phenomenon to directly respond to life less attached to the previous habitual patterns of mind.

This retrograde occurring entirely in the sign of Libra means that Mercury will be residing in the house of Venus, and so we will be able to take a long look at ourselves in the mirror of Aphrodite as well as use Venusian mirrors to alter our appearance to others.  It also means that as Karl Kerenyi wrote in Hermes: Guide of Souls that “meeting and finding are revelations of Hermes’ essence” (p. 43), “finding and thieving in the realm of love are also Hermetic traits” (p. 48).  Hermes was born from a secret love affair between Zeus and Maia, and as shown in the Homeric Hymn and the Odyssey, Hermes felt no shame singing about his divinely deceitful origins or loudly proclaiming that he would also love to “bed that golden Aphrodite” when she was discovered in her affair with Ares.  I am not sharing these references to suggest anyone enter into an extramarital affair during this Mercury retrograde, only that we will be overcome at times with eros and that within our impassioned embraces we will enter the magical world of Mercury:

Journeying is the best condition for loving.  The gorges over which the “volatized one” passes like a ghost can be the abysses of unbelievable love affairs-  Circe and Calypso islands and holes; they can be abysses also in the sense that there no chance exists for standing on firm ground, but only for further floating between life and death.

–Karl Kerenyi from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury’s capacity to travel the extents of both the upper and underworld brings the association of being a psychopomp or guide of souls, the wily thief and shepherd who carries a golden staff that can lull others into trance states as well as startle wide awake.  During Mercury retrograde it is as if the wave of Hermes’ wand takes us into a realm of perception counter to the dominant narrative of how one’s awareness is expected to operate.  Gleaning wisdom from Mercury retrograde is like embracing the “mythological treasure” described by Peter Kingsley in his book Reality:  “the invaluable object that has been lost and misused and has to be rediscovered at all costs” (p. 21).  The gifts we can most readily receive from Mercury retrograde are not always the kind valued by consensus culture:  the illuminated thought received while watching the flight of birds or the flight of leaves falling from trees, or the mysterious meanderings of a creative process that does not provide immediate gratification or reward.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Revolving Doors (1926) by Man Ray

 Enantiodromia

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality.  The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state.  Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow.  There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.

In astrology Mercury has been defined clearly across centuries, yet delights in defying definitions as it has been known to identify as both masculine and feminine, nocturnal and diurnal, capable of mutating identity in acclimation to its surrounding environment. Mercury retrograde in Libra beckons a re-examination of the Scales, the concept of finding balance that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access in Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality through swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception, experiencing extremities of oppositions in a continual process of re-balancing. As this Mercury retrograde occurs during the final days of the lunar nodes being in Aries and Libra, one realm of extremes we will experience will be our desires for independence and self-empowerment in tandem with our desires for relationship and mutual sharing.  Since the Mercury retrograde begins with Jupiter in Virgo exactly opposite Neptune in Pisces, the extremes of vision we can find between Virgo and Pisces, between skepticism and inspiration, between reductionism and holism, will also come up in a process in which we will be redefining our belief system.

As Mercury stations retrograde in opposition to Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn, the stationing Mercury will dig into our core and a morphing from one extreme to another could result from what was formerly repressed entering conscious awareness.  This Libra Mercury retrograde bridges Uranus and Pluto more intensely together than they have been recently, and so corresponding contrariness could involve strong impulses for liberation and emancipation in the face of judgmental shaming or oppression, or strivings for a freedom from restraints coming up with a need to take responsibility within boundaries.  The opposition between Mercury in Libra and Uranus in Aries being in square to Pluto in Capricorn creates a t-square in which the missing point is found in Cancer, which means our issues around emotional insecurity and security will be important triggers.

The influence of the North Node of the Moon being in Libra is further amplified not only because this Mercury retrograde occurs entirely in Libra, but also because at the time that Mercury stations, Juno will be in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct the North Node of the Moon. Juno here in Libra makes our desires for relationship all the more soulful and procreative, drawing feelings to work through difficulties that have arisen in the relationships that resonate with our deepest longings.  As Juno is also a protector of those abused or victimized in relationship, her meaning in combination with the fiercely independent Black Moon Lilith and the Lunar North Node means that those being victimized at extremes in relationship can experience a sudden shift that impels them to leave for good.

Black Moon Lilith also brings added meaning that aspects of our essential nature that we have formerly not integrated into our relationships will now demand attention with the swift force of enantiodromia.  In the Libra realm of balance and counterweight, Black Moon Lilith is a fascinating calculated point in space that serves as a point of balance in terms of the Moon’s orbit.  Indeed, the true node of Black Moon Lilith is even called the “oscillating” Black Moon Lilith, and by name association both the “true” and “mean” calculations of the point have taken on the mythological meaning of Lilith.  Here we find the exiled and the estranged, but like one who must runaway from one’s home environment for safety as well as to find one’s true joy, the issues of Black Moon Lilith are necessary challenges for us to face in our healing and empowerment.  If we have been coping with certain issues at an extreme of perception, the other side holding an important perspective for us to embrace will flood our awareness.

Along these lines, the beginning period of Mercury’s retrograde seems to hold a powerful moment of integration from the previous Venus retrograde, as Venus is direct while still within her retrograde shadow zone, and is receiving the stationing Mercury in Libra through a sextile.  As Mercury begins to move backward into the initial phase of its retrograde motion, Venus will continue moving forward through Leo in the degrees of its retrograde shadow zone, resurrecting the issues from this past Venus retrograde for us to readdress.  If you have important placements or aspects in the second half of Leo, this Mercury retrograde time period will be your third opportunity to experience the transit of Venus there.  The third time will be the charm in the sense that the issues needing to be addressed will now be crystal clear if you have been paying attention, and the magical thinking of Mercury retrograde could bring a new perspective to the situation previously unthought.

Mercury Inferior Conjunction in Libra

Man Ray (1922) Rayograph

Cazimi

The initial phase of the Mercury retrograde begins on September 17 and extends until September 30, 2015 when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction.  The union of Mercury with the Sun during its retrograde descriptively is similar to an interior conjunction, as it is the conjunction of Mercury with the Sun that happens when Mercury is between us on Earth and our Sun.  As a result this is a powerful moment of conception, likened to a New Mercury for us to set intention with in accord. To the ancients this is the time of Mercury being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, the moment when Mercury is reborn with purifying vivification by the rays of solar light.  When Mercury and the Sun are cazimi at eight degrees of Libra, Juno and Black Moon Lilith will also be conjunct a few degrees away- this makes themes related to Juno and Black Moon Lilith absolutely vital to a new conception of Mercury we create at this time.  There is also an opposition of Vesta in Aries to Juno and Black Moon Lilith that brings a counterpoint of wanting independent focus on needs not being met in relationships.  Vesta is also retrograde, signifying a strong inner urge of devotion operating independent of our outer relationships.  The Vesta opposition to Juno and Black Moon Lilith is further emphasized by its alignment with a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a couple of days before Mercury becomes cazimi.

Convictions, beliefs, opinions,

certainties, principles,

rules and habits have abandoned me.

I woke up naked at the edge of a civilization

which seemed to me comic and incomprehensible.

— from After by Czeslaw Milosz

The period around the Inferior Conjunction of Mercury is a time of incubation, and so it is interesting that we will be experiencing the initial return of Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously.  Whatever house Sagittarius rules in your birth chart is important to reflect upon at this time as you will experience a sudden jolt of the associated issues arising in your life.  The jolting pace of the half human half horse Centaur found in the symbol of Sagittarius is another theme that we will need to address through Mercury retrograde in Libra, as Sagittarius thrives on swiftness and taking off in new directions.  Since Saturn in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter that is in the Virgo sign of Mercury, it means that the shifting relational perspectives we experience during this Mercury retrograde are deeply rooted to the changes that will occur with Saturn re-entering the sign of Sagittarius.  We can open to the gifts of Sagittarius by opening perception to the unknown without preconceived assumptions, discerning directly in the moment as much as possible.

It was a riverside meadow, lush, from before the hay harvest,

On an immaculate day in the sun of June.

I searched for it, found it, recognized it.

Grasses and flowers grew there familiar in my childhood.

With half-closed eyelids I absorbed luminescence.

And the scent garnered me, all knowing ceased.

Suddenly I felt I was disappearing and weeping with joy.

— A Meadow by Czeslaw Milosz

A further link between this Mercury retrograde in Libra and the previous Venus retrograde in Leo is at the time that Mercury has its Inferior Conjunction with the Sun on September 30, Venus will be in range of the same degree at which it had its own Inferior Conjunction with the Sun back on August 15, 2015.  As a result this is a magic portal moment in which our new conception of Mercury arises at the same time we are re-awakened to our new conception of Venus that happened over a month ago.  As we enter this New Mercury phase we release our old thought forms in preparation for the envisioning of the new.  Any deep soul desires we have been resisting could erupt with volatility at this time, as there is an incredibly transformative astrological climate surrounding the build up to this New Mercury:  Pluto will station direct in Capricorn six days before it, and there will be a Lunar Eclipse in Aries a few days before Mercury enters the heart of the Sun.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Man Ray (1926) The Meeting

Oracular Meetings

“The diverse shall be no less diverse, but they shall flow and unite . . . .

they unite now.”

∼ Walt Whitman from [The Sleepers] in Leaves of Grass

Beginning October 1, Mercury will shift into the final phase of its underworld journey that lasts until October 9 when Mercury stations direct as a Morning Star.  There are a number of important astrology aspects occurring during this period, and the sign of Virgo that Mercury calls its home is highlighted.  For one, Venus will have re-entered Virgo and will only be a couple of minutes away from leaving her retrograde shadow zone at the moment Mercury stations direct.  As Mercury stations Venus will also be applying closely to a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This final week of Mercury’s retrograde motion thus holds a powerful ingress of Venus from the solar sign of Leo into the Mercurial sign of Virgo, a transition symbolized for many by the form of the half maiden half lioness Sphinx.  With Saturn in Sagittarius awaiting Venus here, there is a demand for us to catalyze and activate all of the changes that have been stirred up during the long Venus retrograde journey from the beginning of Virgo to the heart of Leo and back again.  As soon as Venus enters Virgo, she is welcomed by a delighted Mercury into his hermetic home.  Venus traditionally has been classified as being in its fall in Virgo, and so with Mercury already in retrograde in Libra this can be a profound falling into our inner realm for transformative realization.

In addition, there will be an opposition between Mars in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces that occurs leading up to the stationing of Mercury, bringing the boundlessness of Neptune in opposition to Mars in the home of Mercury.  Mars in Virgo utilizes Mercurial facilities to focus on the details of our surrounding environment to accomplish work.  In the Virgo capacity to refine and develop techniques and tools, Mars necessarily needs to separate this from that in order to find the necessary focus for desired growth.  In the face of Neptune, the invisible realm opens around Mars in Virgo, evoking mystical, mysterious desires and experiences.  As e.e. cummings once wrote, “love is a deeper season than reason,” and with Mercury retrograde in Libra during this Mars and Neptune opposition we will know this beyond rational comprehension in one way or another.

By the time we get to Mercury stationing direct, Mars will be further conjunct the Moon in Virgo and applying closely to a conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo.  The Moon in the sign of Mercury therefore will be bringing the spirit of Neptune opposite Mars into its conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo as Mercury stands still in the sign of the Scales.  This seems like a time of inner epiphanies such as the macrocosm the poet Walt Whitman described through the microcosm of the leaves of grass before him. With Neptune in Pisces activated so strongly with Venus, Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter all essentially in an opposite area of the zodiac, and Saturn having now entered Sagittarius to begin to initiate its pivotal last quarter square to Neptune, there is an amplified otherworldly quality to the approach of Mercury retrograde into the heart of the Sun.  This does not spell disaster for our dearest dreams, but rather asks us to open ourselves to the boundless quality of our vision as well as the pragmatic work needed for successful manifestation.  At the time of Mercury uniting with the Sun, however, it will be most effective to enjoy the timeless quality of the moment that transcends reasoned defining:

what time is it? it is by every star
a different time, and each most falsely true;
or so subhuman superminds declare

-nor all their times encompass me and you:

when are we never, but forever now
(hosts of eternity; not guests of seem)
believe me, dear, clocks have enough to do

without confusing timelessness and time.

Time cannot children, poets, lovers tell-
measure imagine, mystery, a kiss
-not though mankind would rather know than feel;

mistrusting utterly that timelessness

whose absence would make your whole life and my
(and infinite our) merely to undie

— e.e. cummings

At the time that Mercury is stationing direct, it is phasis which means in this case it makes its first appearance in our morning sky after having been invisible during the retrograde.  This means that Mercury will be emerging from “under the beams” of the Sun, which generally means it is moving beyond fifteen degrees from the Sun, and our ancients saw this re-appearance in the sky as signifying a vital message.  In a recent episode of the Hermetic Astrology Podcast, Gary Caton used the term “oracular” in tandem with the  “appearance that speaks” made by Jupiter recently emerging from under the beams of the Sun in Virgo.  Oracles have strong association with Mercury, as Hermes was given an oracle from Apollo found under the cliffs of Mount Parnassus on Delphi, driven by three sisters of Fates who feed on honey.  At this oracular phase of its retrograde journey, Mercury will no longer be invisible and will emerge with a flash of light at dawn as a Morning Star. At this moment Mercury will be closely conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, in addition to Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter lined up together in Virgo. Wherever we are, whatever is happening for us at this time will be saturated with the delightful, curious, mischievous, erotic presence of Mercury, and the message transmitted being so closely aligned with the North Node of the Moon means there is an essential and necessary push forward in growth for us to experience in relationship.

Mercury in Libra

Man Ray (1931) Untitled

Morning Star

Following Mercury stationing direct on October 9, Mercury as a Morning Star will no longer be retrograde in motion but will remain in the retrograde shadow zone until October 26.  Demetra George has compared this phase of Mercury’s journey as being similar to Mercury in Gemini, in contrast to her viewpoint that Mercury’s retrograde motion makes it similar to Mercury in Pisces.  At this point Mercury goes through an identity shift that leaves the magical, symbolic, subjectively intuitive mode of the retrograde behind, and transitions into a mindset eager to learn multiple new things with a sense of adventure toward the future.  Mercury in this phase as Morning Star is the friendly, fleet footed messenger who stimulates thoughts, connections, and conversations everywhere travelled.  Mercury with a flash of light heralding sunrise appears as we wake up from the dream world, guiding our thoughts through the haze of morning toward the objectives we need to focus on in the light of day.  This Promethean role of foresight will be played with full aplomb by the clever Mercury in the weeks ahead.

During this phase of Mercury direct and beginning to gain in speed again, Venus finally moves beyond her retrograde shadow zone and glides through the sign of Virgo making a series of crucial aspects.  First, immediately following Mercury stationing direct Venus will square Saturn in Sagittarius on October 10.  Less than a week later, Venus will oppose Neptune in Pisces on October 16,  and then on October 25 when Mercury is emerging from its retrograde shadow zone, Venus will conjunct Jupiter for the third time this year in Virgo.  Meanwhile, Mars in Virgo will also conjunct Jupiter on October 16 at the same time Venus is opposing Neptune, and day by day as we approach the end of October Venus will be getting closer and closer to Mars in Virgo.

Thus as we exit the Mercury retrograde shadow zone, with Mercury direct in Libra, the passions of our relationships will continue to be stirred up as Mercury moves through the sign of Venus and Venus heads for her eventual union with Mars in the sign of Mercury on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  The combination of Jupiter, Venus, and Mars in Virgo in this period, purified from the recent retrogrades of both Venus and Mercury, will be a very different affair than the unions of Venus with Jupiter and then Mars that occurred in Leo earlier in the year.  It seems the more we let this Mercury retrograde in Libra lead us where life takes us, knowing that our travels astray will ultimately return us to center again, the more the full range of our experiences can inform this late October, early November timeframe where it appears important work can be crafted from within our mind.  This Mercury retrograde in Libra can help us discover the inner truth that will source our later works to come.

life is more true than reason will deceive
(more secret or than madness did reveal)
deeper is life than lose:higher than have
-but beauty is more each than living’s all

multiplied with infinity sans if
the mightiest meditations of mankind
cancelled are by one merely opening leaf
(beyond whose nearness there is no beyond)

or does some littler bird than eyes can learn
look up to silence and completely sing?
futures are obsolete;pasts are unborn
(here less than nothing’s more than everything)

death, as men call him, ends what they call men
-but beauty is more now than dying’s when

— e.e. cummings

References

cummings, e.e. (1994). Selected Poems. Liveright.

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

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

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2011). Selected and Last Poems, 1931-2004. HarperCollins.

Solar Eclipse in Virgo

Scott Young Virgo Solar Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Virgo Solar Eclipse

On September 12 – 13, 2015 we enter the dark procreative void of a Solar Eclipse held in the arms of the Winged Maiden, the first of a series of eclipses we will experience in the sign of Virgo.  Solar Eclipses are the most intense New Moons, when the alignment of the Moon between the Earth and Sun blackens our solar light.  Although this particular eclipse is partial and not total in its darkening effect, it is potent nonetheless as the ruler of the eclipse, Mercury in Libra, is separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn and in process of stationing retrograde five days afterward.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse furthermore digs up the roots of the past season of Venus retrograde intensity, as it comes less than a week after Venus has stationed direct and its Mercury in Libra ruler is being received by Venus in Leo through a sextile.

New Moons are known as times to set new intentions and begin new journeys while clearing what needs to be released from the past, yet at Solar Eclipses the changes that arise often feel out of our control similar to a tidal force erupting around us.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation ascribed this effect of Solar Eclipses to the fact that the Lunar Light obscures our view of Solar Light in blackness, meaning from Earth we momentarily experience the Moon alone without the Sun.  Since the Moon signifies the intersection of our past in the present moment, it means that forces from our past, including unconscious forces, can likewise veil our present experiences in their fertile darkness.  Again, though this particular eclipse is not total and therefore the Sun will not be completely obscured, the same general symbology applies.

Who is the Winged Maiden holding this Solar Eclipse?  To the Greeks she was Astraea, a daughter of Zeus who helped direct humanity to follow natural law during the Golden Age of peace and prosperity on Earth, coming down from the heavens to mingle with ordinary people on the Earth and foster harmony with the natural world of creation.  Over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted, it was said that Astraea became increasingly full of contempt for humanity, becoming so full of hatred eventually that she left Earth forever to become the constellation of Virgo.  Astraea has an association with Justice also found in the following sign of Libra, yet hers is more of a natural justice governed by the order found in the creation and destruction of the natural world, the waning and waxing of the Moon, the cycles of seasons and their connection to growth and decay, and the orbit of our Earth around the Sun within the cycles of cosmos.

The Winged Maiden has also been associated with Erigone, the daughter of Icarus,  as well as with the ancient great goddesses Isis in Egypt, and Atargatis in modern day Syria.   Isis and Atargatis in particular bring to mind the double-bodied nature of Virgo as a Mutable zodiac sign, as Isis was able to take flight on wings and Atargatis was sometimes depicted as a mermaid.  Atargatis symbolically integrates the polarity of Pisces to Virgo, as she is a fertility goddess to whom fish are sacred, and is associated with the bodily reception and transmission of spirit through sexuality and ritual.  Furthermore, Isis connects with Virgo through her clear command of logos and Mercurial magical abilities that brings spirit through matter to heal fragmentation of soul.  Liz Greene has previously explored how the purification of Virgo further connects to the sacred sexuality of Isis and Atargatis that bridges blissful pleasures of spirit with base material desire:

Virgo seems to embody a deep paradox, a combination of upright and almost schoolmarmish Astraea set side by side with the orgiastic lunar goddesses of Asia Minor.   This paradox poses an enormous conflict for Virgo, and it is out of the conflict that Virgo’s pattern of development arises. Whether this is enacted as a collision between personal and professional life, between marriage and independence (a common theme), between spirituality and materialism, between morality and abandonment, Virgo struggles with these opposites throughout life, trying to encompass them both. Often the Virgoan individual will try to embody one while sacrificing the other, and this generally provokes difficulties, for the fate of the sign does not seem to permit such splitting . . .

The harlotry of the virgin goddesses does not mean merely sexual availability to all callers any more than ‘virgin’ means merely sexual intactness.  I would understand it more as an openness to the flow of life, a willingness to trust the natural order, an acceptance of penetration and change.  Contrary to the popular descriptions of Virgo, I feel this paradoxical daimon to form the true core of the sign.  But it is difficult to achieve . . . It is far easier, and more common, for Virgo to flee into ritualised or obsessional behaviour, where the sterner aspects of Astraea submerge the fecundity and joy of Atargatis. This is often the prelude to the arrival of psychosomatic symptoms, for Atargatis is a deity who demands entry through that most basic manifestation of life- the body.

— Liz Greene from The Astrology of Fate

The Virgin in the symbolism of Virgo as we know is not about chastity or saving one’s sexuality for marriage, but rather is about the aspect of oneself which is independent and whole upon itself outside the constraints of marriage or the morality of societal conventions.  Virgo is a sign connected to independently acting from a place of inner morality and Mercurial discernment, and so this Virgo Solar Eclipse arriving in the aftermath of Venus having stationed direct in Leo means whatever now lacks alignment with our inner truth will become eclipsed and released.  Instead of using obsessive, ritualised behavior to shield ourselves from the coming changes, we can instead embrace the change in the moment through ritually purifying and tending to our body in order to receive the full message found within the shifting and shedding.

Virgo Solar Eclipse

by Arrington de Dionyso

For thousands of years eclipses have brought fear, being seen in ancient times as events in which our two Lights (Sun and Moon) were consumed by a great dragon of chaos and creation, with the North Node of the Moon representing the head of the dragon, and the South Node of the Moon representing the tail of the dragon.  The lunar nodes are wholly metaphysical, as they do not physically exist but are instead calculations originally discovered to predict eclipses.  The lunar nodes are points in space found through the intersection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun with the Moon’s orbit around Earth:  the South Node of the Moon being the descending arc of the Moon’s orbit (associated with the tail of the dragon, the past, release, the unconscious), while the North Node of the Moon is the ascending arc of the Moon’s orbit across the ecliptic (associated with the head of the dragon) and therefore has become associated with the conscious ascension of desire for manifestation in our life.  To many, the North Node of the Moon is furthermore associated with one’s evolutionary path in life, though this path is oftentimes fraught with struggles over our desire nature.  When our Lights align with the nodes we have an eclipse, with the Sun and Moon on one side of the nodal axis at a Solar Eclipse and the Sun and Moon on both sides of the nodal axis at a Lunar Eclipse.

This Solar Eclipse is the first of a series that will occur in Virgo, and our first one since the Pisces Solar Eclipse that happened on March 20, 2015 in range of a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Aries.   In contrast, this Virgo Solar Eclipse is in range of a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, creating an amplified push toward manifestation of our desires and bringing things into being.  With reflection we can note what changes flowing out of that previous Pisces eclipse are coming to a head at today’s Virgo eclipse, with the crucial difference being that this Virgo Solar Eclipse aligned with the North Node of the Moon in Libra brings a heavy emphasis on our needs within our relationships.  For those who embrace the concept of karma, I have found through my work in astrology that the lunar nodes reveal the karma of our growth and development, a viewpoint that was popularized in astrology by Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation:

In the case of the Moon’s nodes, we are dealing with what might be called the karmic way in which the Moon’s function operates in a human being. But the word karma should not be used only in the sense of “bad” karma. Karma simply refers to the fact that any new cycle of existence is always in some manner related to or is a sequence of a previous cycle. The new cycle inherits from the old some unfinished business which needs to be dealt with, but it also inherits the results of some achievements. More specifically, the Moon’s north node symbolizes new possibilities of growth on the basis of what has been accomplished “in the past” — let us say, in “past incarnations”, although the concept of reincarnation is most ambiguous, or at least far more complex than popularly interpreted . . . We should not forget that a person is first of all operating in a biosphere with a long evolutionary past and in a society and culture conditioned equally by ancient, collective failures as well as great achievements. Thus karma is never to be considered solely a personal matter; for it is also produced by a collective situation inherited from a long series of past generations.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Astrology of Transformation

The ruler of this Solar Eclipse is Mercury in Libra that gives even greater emphasis to the fact that the eclipse is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result our minds will be focused more on relationships and expressing what we need and desire, and we will likewise be on the receiving end of needing to listen to the needs of those we are in relationship with.  This relational focus through Libra will involve romantic relationships, friendships, business relations, and all forms our interactions with others take, but there will also be added emphasis in the collective on issues around social justice and oppression, with numerous karmic collective strands coming together in a messy knot of conflict.   Thus while the Venus retrograde in Leo has already stirred up the intensity of these collective conflicts, this Virgo Solar Eclipse will further crescendo passions around issues such as the legalization of gay marriage and institutional racism in law enforcement in the United States, the refugee crisis in Europe, and countless other global crises involving conflicts in society that create oppression.

Our draw into the dynamics of our relationships is catalyzed even further by Mercury in Libra separating from a square to Pluto in Capricorn at the time of the eclipse.  As Mercury will also be on the brink of stationing retrograde, there will be key insights into our relationships to be found at this time including awareness for how the conditioning of our culture and early authority figures have helped shape our relational patterns.  We are dealing at this eclipse not only with our own personal karma but also our ancestral and cultural karma, and so part of the Virgoan task will be analyzing what issues are part of our core patterns we need to personally work on, and what issues are more about how our authentic nature has been molded by familial and cultural influences.  Those born with Pluto in Virgo in range of a conjunction with this Solar Eclipse (20-21°) and those born with Pluto in Libra in range of a conjunction with Mercury in Libra (14-15°) have a tremendous opportunity in this eclipse time to feel into the bottom line of their relational patterns.  At times this may feel heavy and in need of grieving, but a metamorphosis into a purified relational dynamic free of past restrictive influences is possible to eventually realize.

Pisces Full Moon

by Scott Young

The recent Pisces Full Moon initiated us into the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces, and the tension of their polarity has been building in intensity every single day during the waning half of the recent lunar cycle.  At the time of the Solar Eclipse, their opposition is not yet exact but close and applying strongly.  Pisces and Virgo, ruled by Jupiter and Mercury since ancient times, are an essential polarity in astrology through which we develop our sense of meaning, belief, vision, and spirituality.   We need both for healthy vitality of belief and perception:  we need the holistic awareness of Pisces that transcends the labeling and categorization of reductionist thinking, while we likewise need the Virgo ability to penetrate into detailed analysis of the parts that make up the whole so to avoid living our lives lost in illusion of belief.  Neptune has become associated firmly with Pisces because it is the symbol of ultimate reality, the oceanic source that remains beyond the ability of scientists to catalogue and rationally explain.  Jupiter in Virgo coming face to face with Neptune in Pisces therefore means we must come into reckoning with the invisible aspects of reality beyond the ability of language to explain.

As a result this Solar Eclipse marks a pivotal moment of transformation in our beliefs and vision, and you can use astrology as a guide in part by simply looking at the houses in your birth chart occupied by the signs of Pisces and Virgo, and aspects made to the opposition of Neptune and Jupiter at 8-9 degrees of these mutable signs.  Since Mercury in Libra is also the ruler of Jupiter in Virgo, it means the added emphasis on relationships marked by this eclipse also applies to the opposition between Neptune and Jupiter, and so it is in our outer interactions and conversations with others that we will become impelled to reshape our vision and beliefs.

Another astrological force found in the harvesting of this Virgo Solar Eclipse is Ceres, stationing direct at 26 Capricorn a few days after the eclipse in range of a trine.  Ceres has been associated with Virgo in astrology at least as far back as Marcus Manilius in the 1st Century CE, who wrote that “the Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres” (Manilius, Astronomica, 2.433-452, Goold trans., 1977, p. 117-119).  While Manilius was of course referring to the mythic Ceres and not the dwarf planet Ceres, the connection between Ceres and Virgo was further bound by Demetra George in her book Asteroid Goddesses, in which she described Ceres as an agent in transforming our sense of personal awareness into collective awareness through the sign of Virgo and around issues of productivity and acceptance that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.  Ceres stationing direct in Capricorn, in range of a trine to the Solar Eclipse in Virgo, could bring up issues of balance around our ambition and if the goals we have been working toward are about gaining external validation to boost our inner worth, or if our work is instead focused upon goals that will bring us intrinsic rewards without the need for outer acclaim.  In the end, by finding the work that will bring us a true sense of joy to perform we will most likely gain recognition from others who share similar interests and passions.

Ceres is the Queen of the asteroid belt and now considered to be more of a planet than an asteroid, but there is one asteroid goddess in particular who is also highlighted at this eclipse:  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, who forms a t-square with the Solar Eclipse in Virgo and Chiron in Pisces, being square to both.

Pallas Athena in Sagittarius

Pallas and the Centaur (1482) by Botticelli

The most impactful aspect this Virgo Solar Eclipse makes is perhaps its opposition to Chiron in Pisces, the most prominently celebrated of all of the wandering centaurs in astrology.  Chiron bridges Saturn and Uranus, as at its closest orbit to the earth it can at times become closer to the Earth than Saturn, and at its farthest orbit to the earth it can at times become farther from the Earth than Uranus.  This means that the half horse, half human figure associated with Chiron connects the material world governed by Saturn with the boundless realm of the transpersonal associated with Uranus.  As a result Chiron connects to the deep memories and knowledge we hold in our body that can erupt into our consciousness in bodywork and practices aiding our integration of body, mind, and spirit.  Indeed, Chiron’s eruptive impact can be seen in its connection to the Uranian realm of sudden liberation that can feel shocking in its lightning bolt effect, eventually bringing realizations of Self-healing.

Chiron

Liz Greene’s Mythic Tarot

Chiron in Pisces is holding the place of polarity to this Virgo Solar Eclipse, meaning that he has a vital lesson to teach us. Chiron is the master teacher who demands excellence from his students, the mentor of the healing arts including music, plant medicine, and astrology, and the martial arts as tools for self defense and the protection of others in need of help.  There is also the aspect of the mythic Chiron involving his suffering from toxic poisoning and willingness to give himself over to the pain in sacrifice, the “wounded healing” characteristic you have no doubt heard ad nauseam from astrologers.  Although the “wounded healer” analysis may be overused, there is an aspect that I have found tends to be very accurate in terms of Chiron’s impact on us- this is the phenomenon in which the issues we have struggled with and have caused us suffering turn out to be the vehicles that transport us to our greatest strengths and to the gifts of soul we possess to transmit to the collective.

For example, the timing of Chiron’s discovery in 1977 corresponded in popular culture with the development of hip hop and punk rock, two forms of musical expression that countless youths since have seized to express their feelings of pain and suffering in the material realm through, gaining a sense of Uranian liberation, individuation, and higher power in the process.  Chiron wants you to have a vehicle, a tool, a technique, or a practice to express your talents into the collective, and through the interweaving of your inner gift with the outer world, powerful growth and healing can be activated.  This Virgo Solar Eclipse in in range of a sextile with Saturn at the end of Scorpio, while Chiron is also in range of a wide trine with Saturn, so the polarity between Chiron and the eclipse contains a lesson for us that can promote our stability in the material world.

A more challenging aspect is the quincunx between Uranus in Aries and the Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  While this quincunx can bring up fears that our most inspired, boundless visions do not have a realistic chance of manifesting, instead work to find an access point to begin the process and set things in motion.  If you keep putting things off until you feel completely ready or circumstances seem perfect you can continue to put it off indefinitely.   Find a method, practice or form to transmit at least part of your vision through, and work on letting go of criticizing your initial effort through comparison with others or your own idealized standards.  Pallas Athena in Sagittarius being both square to the Chiron polarity with the eclipse, as well as in trine to Uranus in Aries, means that we can use creative visualization to change our lives, both inspiring us to initiate new steps and aiding us in reformulating to address issues once underway.

scott young rose

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Venus is now direct in Leo and established as divine Morning Star heralding our dawn.  Venus is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries, and separating from a conjunction with Mars in Leo, giving her a fiery Morning Star presence that wants to go after whatever she finds inspiring and beguiling.  Venus is strongly tied to this Virgo Solar Eclipse since Mercury is the ruler of the eclipse and occupying Libra, the home of Venus, meaning that Venus is receiving Mercury through a sextile.  This sextile between Mercury in Libra and Venus in Leo brings an opportunity to begin stabilizing within all of the transformation we experienced during the Venus retrograde.  Since we are talking about eclipse season I do not mean stabilizing to imply a quiet and peaceful experience, but rather that through the storms of this time we can begin solidifying our reborn Venusian values through our actions in response to life.

At the time of this Virgo Solar Eclipse, we are within a brief period of time in which we do not have a personal planet retrograde, as Venus finally ended her retrograde six days before the eclipse, and Mercury will station retrograde five days after the eclipse.  If you feel raw and vulnerable in the aftermath of this recent Venus retrograde you are not alone, and it is worth remembering that Venus will remain in her retrograde shadow zone through the rest of September and into the first week of October.   Whatever has been reborn in you during the Venus retrograde is vital to tend and keep sustained, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.

Venus is also the ruler of the North Node of the Moon in Libra, bringing Leo passion and a clear push toward fulfilling our desires within relationships.  It also means we will have a difficult balancing process if we want to meet both our own needs and the needs of others in our relationships.  The sabian symbol for this Virgo Solar Eclipse provides a solution in the image of “a girl’s basketball team,” suggesting that through collaboration with others, through being accountable to a role within a team pursuing a common goal, we can find the point of balance between meeting both our own needs and the needs of others we are in relationship with.  The vital point is that if you find yourself in a process of negotiating with a partner over relational dynamics, that you do not suppress and ignore the inner transformation you felt taking form during the Venus retrograde.  While it is important to listen to others and to be supportive, it is also necessary for you to live your own authentic life.

10 pentacles

10 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo III Decan

This Virgo Solar Eclipse falls in the third face of Virgo that is associated with the 10 of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In tarot this image of a family enjoying the fruits of their labor and legacy is associated with wealth, both the accumulation of wealth as well as being able to sustain wealth through familial lineages or other legacies.  The image also corresponds with the achievement of a stable, secure lifestyle affording one the possibility of enjoying material luxuries as well as the luxury of a contemplative lifestyle.  In connection to the Solar Eclipse in the third decan of Virgo, we likewise have our own lineages and legacies to draw from in the pursuit and gaining of wealth, though here wealth is more about its root meaning of happiness, health, and well-being than material riches.  This could connect with your blood relatives and ancestors or perhaps more likely with your soul tribe, those beings who are your kindred spirits and have provided you with inspiration and visionary meaning.

The third face of Virgo is ruled by Mercury, giving Mercury added emphasis at this Solar Eclipse that also occurs in the domicile and exaltation of Mercury.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces took a Mercurial angle to this card by interpreting that “the pensive nature of the elder pictured on this card suggest that wealth is here posed as a question, to be riddled out.  What, given the fate of all created things, is truly valuable?” (p. 151).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo, as being the third decan it is about the separation of spirit and matter from previous balance, revealing the ultimate value of the work as the final face of the three Earth signs of the zodiac:

In this face we ponder the ultimate result of material things.  The limits of all created works are here considered.  This decan thus has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end . . . One gains the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions. The ability to see unto the 7th generation is gained …

Escorted by wealth on one side and death on the other, the residents of this face cross the threshold into the tomb.  Alone in the burial chamber with silent centuries, they dialogue with the corpse all will become about the value of all things.  The importance of legacies becomes clear, for though all works face eventual decay, some endure for aeons.  For just as no thing continues forever, all leave something behind.  There is no life which does not bestow upon the world an inheritance, even if it is no more than a feast for scavengers . . .

In comprehending the ongoing cycle of generation and corruption, one is freed from fear, for most terrors are petty, and disappear when the shadow of inevitability falls across them.  This discussion reveals the importance of things as they are- arising and receding- and deserving of love and attention.

–Austin Coppock from 36 Faces

Though not mentioned by Coppock in his deft portrayal of this decan, in the tables of the appendix he lists that the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the goddess Hestia to the third face of Virgo.  Hestia is a sublime spirit guide to turn towards at this Solar Eclipse, for she holds within her purified gaze the focus necessary to stay true to the quality of value essential to our vitality that we wish to invest into the work we perform in the world.  Hestia is the devoted one with a far reaching legacy of sisterhood we can draw from, a spiritual lineage that across tumultuous centuries has sustained respect with every breath and action for the living force found throughout all of the natural world of creation.  Hestia holds within her heart a moral compass impossible to manipulate or distract away from the path of love and service to all of creation.  Within waves of shattering change, within the decomposition and death of the old and the hatching of the new, Hestia opens herself to the change of the moment through her heart-centered focus on the eternal power of love and devotion.

References

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

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

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

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

Seven Stars Astrology (2015).  Manilius, Neptune, and the Fishes. http://www.sevenstarsastrology.com/?p=1980

Pisces Full Moon

Pisces Full Moon

Illustration by Kay Nielson from East of the Sun and West of the Moon (1914)

Pisces Full Moon

The Full Moon in Pisces on August 29, 2015 is full of passion and heralds the coming eclipse season, for  the New Moon to follow is a Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  It is also a Super Moon, and the first Full Moon classified as a Super Moon this year.  Super Moon is a term coined by astrologer Richard Nolle for either New or Full Moons occurring at the Moon’s perigee, when the Moon comes closest to Earth in orbit (Nolle defined a Super Moon as occurring within 90% of the Moon’s closest orbit to Earth).  Super Moons have been measured to have a greater impact on tides, and likewise our emotional tides will overflow as we will be at the culmination of the current lunar cycle that began with the New Moon conjunct Venus retrograde, at the time of a new cycle between Venus and the Sun. This Pisces Super Moon is straight up loaded, with Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, Neptune in Pisces conjunct the Moon, Mercury in Libra conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and Mars conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.   We are at the dawn of a new sense of Venus in our lives, as she has arisen from the underworld and settled into a new phase of her retrograde as a Morning Star signaling sunrise.  As a result, this Pisces Full Moon will reveal to us whether or not our life path and structures currently align with our Venusian rebirth of values and desires.

So often we try to convince ourselves we are living a full, contented life.   But there is always something pulling at our heart; ambition, restlessness, are just its shadows.  And it will go on tearing at our hearts until we start to acknowledge what is missing.

— Peter Kingsley from Reality

Jupiter is at home in Pisces, but instead finds itself in the sign of Virgo opposite the Full Moon in Pisces.  Jupiter as the ruler of this Full Moon is activating a polarity of consciousness more extreme than the typical Full Moon, as the Sun will be united with Jupiter in opposition to the Moon in union with Neptune.  Just like Venus being in a new cycle with the Sun, Jupiter is also now in a new cycle with the Sun, the difference being that Jupiter has been initiated into it’s new solar cycle in the sign of the Winged Maiden.  As a result, Jupiter has passed through a purifying initiation administered in Virgo, giving the new Jupiter cycle an emphasis on productivity, refinement of technique, research, analysis, deepened awareness of language, and discerning vision.  While many have been struggling with difficult emotions surfacing during the recent underworld period of the Venus retrograde, Jupiter’s conjunction with the Sun in Virgo can aid us in seeing through facades and the superficial, helping us envision where to focus going forward to bring us a greater sense of fulfillment aligned with our changing state of Venus.

neptune gdansk

Neptune in Gdansk, Poland

As the polarity between Virgo and Pisces has a lot to do with the reception of spirit in one form or another, in service to one’s ideal, the focus on the here and now of the Sun’s conjunction with Jupiter in Virgo is at odds with the otherworldly quality aroused by the Full Moon united with Neptune in Pisces.  Neptune connects to the infinite, oceanic field and in the sign of Pisces has added imaginal emphasis on the potency of the images surrounding us and emanating from within our imagination.  Neptune in Pisces can be like a siren’s call that leads some to crash under waves of illusion, while for others it can dissolve awareness to flow beyond the rigid confines of consensus culture.  Neptune in Pisces can create storms that flood the structures we have grown accustomed to, forcing our identities to mutate and shift in creation of a new livelihood out of the dissolution of the old and outgrown.  There is a balanced reception to strike between Virgo and Pisces that requires self-realization regarding the illusions of belief we have been drifting through in surrounding culture.  For example, we could be under the sway of social programming from religion such as the pervasive influence of the biblical Garden of Eden leading to feelings of shame or judgmental projections.  Or, perhaps we are caught up in the illusory stock market and a financial system of fabrications fabricating fabrications.

Jupiter in Virgo’s reception of this Pisces Full Moon could lead to a penetrating awareness of deeper meaning in our environment, similar to our first realizations in youth of the false pretenses of authority figures, or the blatant evidence of colonial oppression in our surrounding social structures we had previously been ignorant of.  While the Virgo Sun and Jupiter attunes us to the fluctuations of matter made of soul surrounding us, Neptune in Pisces being lit up with a conjoined Full Moon could tap us into another realm of soul seemingly invisible in our surrounding material world.   It feels important to put the emphasis on grounding the insights that arise in the here and now at this Full Moon, and opening ourselves to an unveiling of what aspects of our recent attachments are illusory and which hold a solid foundation for us.

Scott Young

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

There are real fireworks to this Pisces Full Moon, as Mars is applying to a conjunction with Venus Retrograde and creating a heated underlying energy.  We are a week away from Venus stationing direct, and so the arrival of Mars in Leo to unite with Venus amplifies all of the issues we have been experiencing during this Venus retrograde.  Relationships could become a battleground if we are unable to give space for the transformation of each partner engaged in the dance.  As transiting Venus retrograde is ruling the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, there is an overall emphasis on re-calibrating and re-aligning our relationship dynamics in order for each partner to feel empowered to act and speak authentically.  We need to speak our mind and have our needs met, yet we also will need to be open to the changes our various partners in our various relationships are going through, and avoid attempting to manipulate or control things in order to stave off the necessary mutation.

The Mars conjunction with Venus retrograde in Leo also brings a call to take courage in taking bold steps in asserting yourself in line with the Venus retrograde shiftings experienced in the past month.  We will be receiving a visionary lift at this Full Moon from asteroid goddesses, as Pallas Athena in Sagittarius and Vesta retrograde in Aries will be forming a Grand Fire Trine with the conjunction of Mars and Venus retrograde in Leo.  There is devotion found here to an essential aspect of self uncovered by the Venus retrograde, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius can creatively visualize the next steps to take and wants to lead us into direct action forward.  As there are numerous protest movements building around numerous social justice issues, this Grand Fire Trine also feels auspicious for pinpointing and following through with strategies that inspire others to join the movement.

Full Moon in Pisces

Pier and Ocean (Sea in Starlight) by Piet Mondrian

Since Jupiter and the Sun aligned in Virgo are plugged into Mercury, it is further vital to realize that Mercury is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra at the time of this Full Moon in Pisces.  These aspects pull our perception and discernment strongly into the realm of our relationships, both our interpersonal relationships and dynamics within the collective.  Our needs in our most intimate relationships will become obvious and demand attention and expression, and we will need to balance this desire with the same desire arising in our partner.  As Libra also relates to justice, issues related to oppression such as sexism and racism will become even further amplified in the collective with tensions rising between those with opposing viewpoints.

It is wise to bring full attention to issues arising within relationships at this Full Moon with Mercury conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, for at this time Mercury has also entered its retrograde shadow zone in the sign of the scales.  Mercury will be in its retrograde shadow zone for approximately a month, first stationing retrograde on September 17 around 16 degrees of Libra, entering the heart of the Sun on September 30 around 8 degrees Libra, stationing direct on October 9 around 1 degree of Libra, and finally exiting the retrograde shadow zone around October 24, 2015.  This Libran retrograde of Mercury could deepen our relational dynamics and solidify the changes we are beginning to embody from the rebirth of Venus we are now experiencing, but this is a potential outcome that will require cultivation of self-reflection, communication, and listening skills.  If our relationships are badly out of balance at this time, the Mercury retrograde could highlight greater degrees of miscommunication instead of penetrating insight.  As a result the issues arising at this Full Moon are vital to reflect upon going forward into September and October.

Making the alignment of Mercury with the North Node even more potent is the fact that Black Moon Lilith has also recently entered Libra through its mean calculation, and so is conjunct both.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith has previously entered Libra so this is not a completely new phenomenon, but the true node calculation of the actual location of Black Moon Lilith oscillates widely from day to day, and so many astrologers prefer to use the steady, ever progressing forward average calculation of the movement of Black Moon Lilith.  From this perspective, this Pisces Full Moon brings an important ingress of this mean node of Black Moon Lilith into Libra at the same time that Mercury and the North Node of the Moon are also residing there.  Black Moon Lilith brings an added value of what aspects of our Self have previously felt judged, shamed, and even persecuted to such an extent that we have ostracized them in exile away from the personality we take into our daily interactions.  This Full Moon can also therefore shine light on the aspects of our Self we have formerly embodied only at times of complete trust and intimacy, helping us realize it is not only possible but necessary for us to begin to embody these qualities in our mundane, moment to moment interactions in daily life.

First Face of Pisces 8 of Cups

8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces I Decan

The Pisces Full Moon is in the first face of Pisces associated with the 8 of Cups in tarot, illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Here in this image a hermetic recluse walks away from a watery environment into a mountainous landscape, utilizing a walking stick not unlike a magical staff grounding cosmic awareness into the earth plane.  Above the hermit is an image typically described as a Moon, but I can’t help thinking it also looks like the image of a Sun and Moon in union not unlike an eclipse, not unlike the Solar Eclipse the waning cycle coming after this Full Moon is leading us toward.  The eight cups are stacked in the foreground like a wall or a structural container giving space for penetrating inner awareness, with the base foundation of the stack wider and most solid.  Writing about the 8 of Cups, Kelsey Lynore analyzed that it “marks a significant turning away from tradition and that which has previously given you comfort. Your journey into the future will be long and arduous, leading directly into, and through, the darkness of night. The moon, symbol of the Unconscious, is your sole light and guide. Trust your body, trust your hunches, and trust your intuition. You shan’t be looking back. The 8 of Cups represents that moment when you must say ‘no’ to what is, so that you might create or discover that which will be.”

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.  As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face 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” (p. 244):

Beneath the waves, deep within the labyrinth of images and constructs, lies a revelatory truth- we have always existed in this structure, but we are now only discovering it. When pursued consciously, this phase involves a quest to map invisible walls of reality, to find the subtle structures which guide human life . . .

The discovery of the labyrinth also brings with it the question of its maker, initiating a confrontation with the Demiurgos of the reality structure in question. On a personal level, it is the discovery of our unconscious, and the Maker we find is none other than ourselves . . .

The successful confrontation with the demonized demiurgos leads to an internalization of its power.  In discovering that it was none other than a portion of ourselves which erected this reality, we gain the power to build as we see fit, with what materials we have assembled.  The maze is ours to re-create, our soul the architect.  Yet sometimes the tortuous labyrinth holds within its secret heart a wisdom we did not expect. Its being is no abomination, but exactly as it should be. The realization transforms the structure itself from a prison to a palace. Liberation is achieved here through insight alone.

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

The Full Moon in Pisces conjunct Neptune, opposite Jupiter in Virgo conjunct the Sun, is a culminating point of realization that leads us into a waning lunar cycle tapped into the vortex of the coming Solar Eclipse in Virgo.  We find ourselves in the atmosphere of Venus retrograde reborn as a Morning Star, united with Mars in full morning glory.  We are at a time in which the old and familiar is being eclipsed with finality by guiding lights arising out of darkness on the horizon, as from within prescient, visionary urges are instinctually helping us find our path on the earth at our feet.  Open yourself to the immense beauty of this large, glowing, radiant Moon in Pisces, and the one cherished life you are living.

And who has seen the moon, who has not seen
Her rise from out the chamber of the deep,
Flushed and grand and naked, as from the chamber
Of finished bridegroom, seen her rise and throw
Confession of delight upon the wave,
Littering the waves with her own superscription
Of bliss, till all her lambent beauty shakes toward us
Spread out and known at last, and we are sure
That beauty is a thing beyond the grave,
That perfect, bright experience never falls
To nothingness, and time will dim the moon
Sooner than our full consummation here
In this odd life will tarnish or pass away.

Moonrise by D.H. Lawrence

Pisces Full Moon August 29, 2015

References

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

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

Venus Retrograde in Leo & Virgo

Venus Retrograde in Leo and Virgo

From the Clavis Artis manuscript at the Biblioteca Civica Hortis in Trieste courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Venus Retrograde

  • Venus stations retrograde at 0°46′ Virgo on July 25 and stations direct at 14°24′ Leo on September 6, 2015.
  • Inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, or “New Venus,” will be at 22°39′ Leo on August 15, 2015.
  • The shadow zone of Venus retrograde covering the stretch of time Venus is contained within the zodiac range of her retrograde is from June 21 through October 9, 2015.

Aphrodite arose in sea foam following a violent revolution, born in ocean waves with eyes cerulean as the sea and body fully formed with fertile hips and breasts. It is said she enchanted the eyes of onlookers with rapture and with each new step onto the earth created the bright colored growth of grass and flowers.  The planet Venus in astrology has many significations we associate with the mythic Aphrodite, such as the pleasures of fresh fruit and flowers, copulation, love, union, art, aesthetics, perfumed scents, and the luxuries that bring us feelings of comfort and elegance.  The glyph of Venus is the circle of Spirit atop the cross of Matter, symbolizing the living soul and spirit found in all elements of our surrounding material world, and the capacity of our Venusian natures to give us an experience of heaven on earth.  Perhaps above all we link Venus with the inner values we hold most dear and which describe who and what we are attracted to and magnetize into our life, as well as how we project these inner needs into our outer relationships for better or for worse.  In The Picatrix the anonymous magical author wrote “Venus is the source of the power of flavor” (p. 134), and as we all know our tastes can change it is during Venus retrograde that we can experience essential transformation.

When Venus goes retrograde, she returns to her mythic origins connected with active rebellion and revolution.  During the Venus retrograde phase, the nature of Venus shifts from seeking social harmony into a transitional, in-between space in which all established social norms are loosened to such an extent that we can experience a deep reevaluation of our inner values and how we are seeking to fulfill them in external relationships and structures. On a societal level, a realignment can occur within the power structure as well as between elements of the general populace and elements of the ruling class.  As this current Venus retrograde begins simultaneously with an exact square between Mars in Cancer and Uranus in Aries, it creates a charged atmosphere of rebellious confrontations and stormy emotions befitting the mythic origins of Aphrodite.  Amplifying the electricity further, a day after Venus stations retrograde, the shattering and liberating Uranus also stations retrograde on July 26 making the initiation of this Venus journey into the underworld intensely Uranian.  As a result we can find ourselves in great drama at the beginning of this Venus retrograde, and some of the initial experiences could be triggering in surprising ways.  While we could respond by investing passion into our roles in life like the Venus who adores stepping into the spotlight, it will be most important to take time to nurture and regenerate ourselves continually, whenever needed.

Venus retrograde creates a magical atmosphere that is highly structured, holding resonance with the golden mean found in the five petaled form of the rose and numerous forms of life.  The Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite described her as “Crafty, from whom necessity [Ananke] first came,” and also noted that “The triple Fates [Moirai] are rule’d by thy decree.”  Similarly, the synodic cycle of Venus is so consistent and regular that the retrograde phase of it’s cycle brings an air of destiny, fate, and necessity to events and encounters in our daily life.  Venus only goes retrograde once every year and a half or so, five times in it’s eight year synodic cycle with the Sun-  eight divided by five is 1.625 and so very close to the sacred 1.618 proportion associated with the golden mean.  If you trace the points around the zodiac at which Venus stations during its eight year synodic cycle, each point forms a quintile 72 degree aspect, creating the image of a five pointed star when plotted on paper.  The magical result of this is that every eight years, we experience a Venus retrograde in the same general area of the zodiac at generally the same time (this all slowly shifts across time), so that there is a resonance from this time back to July through September of 2007, and then also to July through September of 1999 before that.

  • Previously on July 27, 2007 Venus stationed retrograde at 2°57′ Virgo and stationed direct at 16°36′ Leo on September 8, 2007. New Venus on August 18, 2007 at 24°51′ Leo.  Shadow zone of June 24 – October 12, 2007.
  • Previously on July 30, 1999 Venus stationed retrograde at 5°8′ Virgo and stationed direct at 18°47′ Leo on September 11, 1999. New Venus around August 20, 1999 at 27 Leo.  Shadow zone of June 26 – October 15, 1999.

This will be the last Venus retrograde that involves both Virgo and Leo, as the cycle will shift in 2022 to occurring entirely in Leo.  In the first half of the 20th Century the Venus retrograde cycle in this zone of the zodiac occurred entirely in Virgo until 1959, when it began to slide into the end of Leo.  With each successive eight year Venus retrograde (1967, 1975, 1983, 1991, 1999, 2007, 2015) it has moved deeper and deeper into Leo. In our current retrograde cycle, Venus entered Virgo during it’s “shadow zone” period on July 18, 2015 and will return to Leo retrograde on July 31, 2015- as a result we really only have about two weeks this time around with Venus in Virgo.  There is a thirty day “shadow” period on either side of the Venus retrograde cycle in which Venus is traversing the same zodiac degrees that are part of its retrograde motion.  Since the actual Venus retrograde lasts forty days, in all this gives us one hundred days to do the deep work of Venus.  As Venus is at it’s closest obit to the Earth during it’s retrograde phase, moving in between the Earth and the Sun, it means all things Venusian become intensified during this time.

Venus stations retrograde in Virgo

The Unicorne by Gustave Moreau

Venus conjunct Regulus in Virgo

There is a grandiose cosmic message revealed by Venus stationing conjunct the fixed star Regulus at the beginning of Virgo, as Regulus is the closest bright star to our ecliptic, only 0.46 degrees away.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is at the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195).   This Venus retrograde cycle beginning on this legendary fixed star means Venus stands still from our perspective aligned with Regulus for weeks, portending that the Venus retrograde will call us to reassess our values and ethics connected with ambition, power, courage, leadership, generosity, and the qualities we feel are “noble.”  If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been expressing ourselves and impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, circumstances or a burning sense from inside may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.

Regulus is also one of the four Royal Stars of Persia, the Watcher of the North associated with Raphael, the Archangel of Healing.  The angelic healer connection of Raphael to Regulus symbolically connects with the purifying quality of the Winged Virgin, the discerning nature of Virgo that can formulate the necessary medicine and healing practices that will cure whatever ails. Virgo is ruled by Mercury who heightens the Virgo ability to diagnose the appropriate use of medical arts to heal any fragmentation between the mind, body, and spirit.  Likewise, at the beginning of this Venus retrograde while Venus remains in Virgo, it is an excellent time to attune within and deduce whatever emotions, feelings, values, and patterns of relationship we will need to address, nurture, and heal.  Venus in the mutable Earth sign of the Winged Maiden can sense what issues the wisdom of our body is directing us toward, so making the time and space to regularly attend to your body now will help you prepare for the forty nights and days ahead in the retrograde.  As Virgo is crafty and Venus loves the arts, if you are someone who is artistic in some way then it can also be a powerful time to transmute the issues needing to be healed through the process of creating within an artistic medium.

Venus in this initial time of the retrograde in Virgo is a bright Evening Star, and while taking on the rebellious characteristics of her retrograde phase, she has more tendencies toward creating harmony than she will later in her retrograde after entering her Morning Star phase.  Venus stays in Virgo through the powerful Aquarius Full Moon on July 31, shifting into Leo about five hours after the exact timing of the lunation.  Thus, on July 31 we receive an illuminated Aquarian message linked to Venus retrograde in Virgo at this beginning phase of the journey ahead.  As Venus leaves Virgo to enter Leo, her significations shift into issues of creative calling and actualization, leadership, solar flair, validation, and procreative force. Venus stays in her Evening Star phase through the first week of August, and then by mid-August disappears from view into the underworld.

Venus Retrograde in Leo

by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Venus Cycles with Jupiter and Saturn

Venus re-enters the sign of Leo on July 31, 2015 and into aspects with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Scorpio that will promote great change in our personal lives as well as in our collective.  In many ways it is Saturn in Scorpio that takes center stage at this time, as a day after Venus enters Leo, Saturn stations direct on August 1, 2015 after having been retrograde since March 14, 2015.  Yet in truth this time is about the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn and the long history of their use in astrology to interpret collective stages within our world.  On August 3, 2015 the current Jupiter and Saturn cycle finally initiates the last quarter square phase between them.  Our current Jupiter and Saturn cycle began May 28, 2000 at 23 degrees of Taurus in the tropical zodiac, and so we are now at the pivotal last quarter square aspect that turns back for a review of everything that has occurred during this past cycle in order to release what no longer serves us in preparation for the new cycle between Saturn and Jupiter that arrives on December 21, 2020 at the first degree of Aquarius.  The last quarter square was famously described as a “crisis in consciousness” by astrologer Dane Rudhyar, and so on a personal level while we sense a visionary, expansive, solar quality of Jupiter pulling us forward like a courageous Lion, we simultaneously feel the constrictive force of Saturn in the penetrating sign of the Scorpion demanding that we utilize it’s scythe to clear and re-structure our belief system at a fundamental level in order to create fertile soil for our new vision to ultimately take root in the years ahead.

The quality Venus embodies in her retrograde phase of rebelling against the status quo and re-centering within on the raw values taking shape in our psyche is like a magical elixir that makes this last quarter square between Saturn and Jupiter even more powerful.  The day after Jupiter and Saturn form their exact square, Venus becomes conjunct Jupiter on August 4 and then a day later Venus also forms an exact last quarter square with Saturn on August 5.  This means that we once again experience a conjunction of Venus with Jupiter with the crucial difference of Venus being retrograde, also meaning that after Venus has her underworld journey and emerges again as a Morning Star, that she will eventually return to conjunct Jupiter a third time in Virgo on October 25, 2015.  Astrologer Gary Caton has written that having three conjunctions between Jupiter and Venus in the same year only happened recently in 1967 and 1991, both years of radical creativity in the artistic and musical realm in our collective.  With Venus retrograde conjunct Jupiter and in square to Saturn at this point, it means we have deep inner clearing to do regarding our beliefs around feelings of inner self worth and our external patterns of relationship.  It seems that if we haven’t realized the message we need to work on at this point, events will force us into necessary awareness.

If that were not enough, there is an even deeper magical planetary element to add to this witches brew of transformation:  Mercury.  The day after the exact last quarter square between Venus and Saturn, Mercury swings through on August 6 and becomes conjunct Venus first and then later in the day becomes exactly square to Saturn.  The following day on August 7, Mercury becomes conjunct Jupiter in Leo.  In alchemy, Mercury is the soul energy utilized to anchor Spirit into the Body or Matter, and similarly Mercury is serving here as a cosmic binding to help us integrate the transformational changes of this week in our mind, body, and soul.  Since Mercury unites with Jupiter after squaring Saturn, the result is a heightened ability to look at our life and our past in an entirely new way, rooted in self-reflection of our past experiences.  Mercury could present us at this time with stimulating new information or a vital new message to receive that helps shift our perspective.

Venus inferior Conjunction

by Talia Migliaccio from http://www.taliamigliaccio.com

Venus Inferior Conjunction

By August 11, Venus will have set as an Evening Star and we will no longer be able to see Venus at night, as she will have symbolically entered the Underworld stage of her journey.  While we may attempt to direct the rays of the Sun with our Venusian mirrors to help us look better or feel better about ourselves, the more we can step into the full flames of the Solar Rays the more we can experience a fiery purification of our past Venusian values in preparation for the new cycle between the Sun and Venus.  On August 15, 2015 we experience the Inferior Conjunction of Venus with the Sun, when Venus goes cazimi into the heart of the Sun and forms an exact conjunction.  The Inferior Conjunction of Venus happens when Venus is exactly orbiting between our Earth and our Sun, and so it symbolizes the meaning of a NEW VENUS much like a New Moon in our life.

This is a powerful day to go within and set intentions for what you want to magnetize and attract into your life in the new cycle ahead.  Astrologer Anne Massey in her book Venus wrote that since the rose is a symbol of Venus, we can imagine ourselves at the New Venus as being a rose bud wet with morning dew, delicately beginning to unfold into a blooming rose at Full Venus.  The Full Venus is the Superior Conjunction that occurs when Venus moves direct into the heart of the Sun, orbiting on the other side of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Within the five pointed star formed by the Venus retrograde cycle, we experience a Full Venus four years after a New Venus close to the same day and zodiac degree.  In this case, we will end up having a Full Venus occur on August 14, 2019 at 21°11′ of Leo.  Integrating the other points of the five pointed star, the last Superior Conjunction of Venus occurred on October 25, 2014 at 2 degrees of Scorpio, and the next one occurs on June 6, 2016 at 17 degrees of Gemini.

VenusInferiorConjunctWRIGC3

Bringing in the other astrological aspects of this Inferior Conjunction, it is notable that Jupiter will have recently ingressed into Virgo and is conjunct the Moon in Virgo, and Mercury the ruler of Virgo is in it’s own sign of Virgo and applying to a conjunction with Juno in Virgo, separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces.  There is potential to gain a new sense of the deepest levels of our being at this time, yet in order to receive the insight of this healing perspective it is necessary to strip away illusions of control and to utilize the capacity of Mercury in its Sage phase of Evening Star to open yourself to fully experience the process of your unconscious at work.  As Carl Jung wrote in his Alchemical Studies:

We must be able to let things happen in the psyche. For us, this is an art of which most people know nothing. Consciousness is forever interfering, helping, correcting, and negating, never leaving the psychic processes to grow in peace.

Venus in Leo Strength

Strength arcanum illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus conjunct Mars

Following the New Venus of August 15, Venus begins to shift into a Morning Star, re-emerging from her Underworld journey around August 23.  As Venus as an Evening Star is more about seeking harmony and attuning with the needs of others in relationship, Venus as a Morning Star is more about going after what we feel we are worth and desire.  It is also important to realize that while on individual levels there is great healing and self-renewal potentially available at the time of the Inferior Conjunction of Venus, on a collective level the vast majority of people are not tuned into this perspective and so events surrounding us could become incredibly dramatic and rife with conflict.  The Morning Star Venus can be more aggressive and linked to the blood-thirsty aspect of the Goddess seen in figures such as the lion-headed Sekhmet who can become intoxicated by the spilling of blood.  Along these lines, Inanna as the planetary Venus in its Morning Star phase was described by the ancient Sumerians in the translated text “The Lady of the Morning” from the Seven Hymns to Inanna:

Honored Counselor, Ornament of Heaven, Joy of An!

When sweet sleep has ended in the bedchamber,

You appear like bright daylight.

When all the lands and the people of Sumer assemble . . .

When they sing your praises, bringing their concerns to you,

You study their words.

You render a cruel judgment against the evildoer;

You destroy the wicked.

You look with kindly eyes on the straightforward;

You give that one your blessing.

Further amplifying feelings of desire and drama in relationships is the fact that with each day of the second half of August, Mars in Leo gets closer and closer to becoming conjunct Venus retrograde in Leo.  On September 1, 2015 the second conjunction between Mars and Leo is initiated at 14°55 of Leo.  Following this conjunction, as Venus stations direct Mars begins to separate but never gets too far away from Venus, who begins chasing after Mars until they eventually become conjunct a third time on November 2, 2015 at 25 degrees of Virgo.  This time of transition from the end of August through the beginning of September, with Venus beginning to station, unites the fiery desire of Mars in Leo to pursue new creative endeavors with a Venus bearing her soul in Leo at the depths of her Underworld journey.  This is not yet a time to have gained clarity, and more so a time to instinctually sense what we are in a process of outgrowing as well as what we are beginning to initiate in a process of becoming.

Wilderness Lion

by Walter Crane

Venus stations Direct

Venus finally stations direct on September 6, 2015 at 14°23′ of Leo, with Mars about four degrees away at a little over 18 degrees of Leo.  Flipping through the vast catalogue of images associated with the Leo II decan from numerous ancient texts in Austin Coppock’s book on the decans 36 Faces, in order to get a sense of the variety of images associated with this section of the zodiac, I was struck by how many of them described a man carrying a bow and arrow or sword, fierce with anger like a lion and sometimes even dressed like a lion.  A good example is by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which the image is described as “A man with his hands raised, with a crown on his head, and the form of a man angry and threatening. In his right hand he has a drawn sword and in the left a round shield.”  The power given to this image by Agrippa is that “It has the significations over hidden quarrels, unknown victories, over vile men, and occasions of lawsuits and battles.”  Fascinatingly to me, despite the wide use of images associated with conflict and fierceness across a wide variety of texts, the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs of the Zodiac gave the Leo II decan to Isis, the great Goddess of Love, Devotion, Healing, and Magic.

In case you wonder why I am including here references to images associated with the Leo II decan found in ancient magical texts, it is because I feel there is a resonance between them and the current events we will experience when Venus stations direct in the Leo II decan at the beginning of September.  Following Venus stationing direct, we will feel a stronger push from inside to go after what we value and feel we are worth, as we settle into the energy of Venus direct as a Morning Star in Leo.  As Leo is known for creating drama and assertively standing up for itself and others when brought into conflict, the fierce figures found in the old images of this decan make sense from the standpoint that we will have regenerated an impassioned sense of authenticity from the retrograde journey of Venus that we will want to have the freedom to begin to express into our environment and relationships.  The divine figure of Isis being also associated with this decan brings the added meaning that this new authentic self-worth we develop from this Venus retrograde will involve the healing of past soul fragmentation so that we feel more whole and better able to act in accordance with genuine inner values through our personality.  As Austin Coppock summarized about the Leo II decan in 36 Faces:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees. Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.  (p. 129)

Indeed, no matter what circles of drama or conflict we become drawn into during this Venus retrograde, in totality the tension and strife will demand that we transform the impetus of our personality to fit in with the values of others around us into a burning purpose from within that will give us the ability to more directly express our true nature and values into the world around us.

Anahita on Lion

Image of Anahita on Lion

References

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Greer, John Michael and Warnock, Chris. (2010 – 2011).  Translation of The Picatrix: Liber Atratus Edition. Adocentyn Press.

Massey, Anne. (2006). Venus: Her Cycles, Symbols, & Myths. Llewellyn.

Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.

Wolkstein, Diane and Kramer, Samuel N. (1983).  Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth. Harper & Row.

Full Moon in Sagittarius

Full Moon in Sagittarius Angel by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Full Moon in Sagittarius

The Full Moon in Sagittarius on June 2 is extremely mutable in activity, with the Full Moon square to Neptune in Pisces and the Sun also conjunct Mars and Mercury retrograde in Gemini.  Mutable signs are also known as double-bodied signs, as they each symbolize a different aspect of dualism:  the two fish of Pisces, the twins of Gemini, the winged maiden of Virgo, and the centaur of Sagittarius that is half human and half horse.  The transits at this Full Moon contain something in each of these signs:  Black Moon Lilith in Virgo, Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, Mars, Mercury retrograde, and the Sun in Gemini, and Pallas Athena, Saturn retrograde, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  Since this full lunation illuminates the sign of Sagittarius, it is worthwhile to consider how the other mutable signs impact Sagittarius through transit.

Ah, to be a boundless centaur, galloping freely across meadows and within forests, instinctually acting on animalistic passion and impulse, alive with presence in the moment with attunement to the surrounding natural world.  Sagittarius has a mission of evoking fiery vision that coalesces the duality of spirit and matter, intuitively acting from a place of inner knowing.  Yet this inner knowing can also lead to the shadowy side of Sagittarius that assumes it knows what is right, that does not question if their own personal truth is in conflict with the truth of others, and that expresses their ardor without being aware if their passionate action is transgressing the boundaries of others.  The opposition from Gemini and square from Virgo and Pisces to Sagittarius can bring lessons of humility to temper the narcissistic tendencies of Sagittarius, as well as challenges of discernment and the multiplicity of perspectives present in the ultimate philosophical understanding Sagittarius often strives for.  Despite the untethered bravado of Sagittarius, there is potential for the belief system Sagittarius welds from experience to become dogmatic, and so hard aspects from Virgo, Pisces, and Gemini force the centaur to acknowledge that there are many other belief systems circulating with an equally valid perception of truth to their own.

With such strong Gemini energy now (Mercury retrograde, Sun, Mars all within range of conjunction) the Sagittarius Full Moon could spark a synthesis of all the fragments of mental activity we have been exploring recently into a fresh vision to live from, or create a deepening of understanding along a line of thought we have been developing for some time.  The square from Neptune in Pisces to this Full Moon brings a wave of deliquescence and a challenge to our Sagittarian vision that will cause disillusionment wherever the belief system we are perceiving from is out of alignment with our actual reality.  Events can pull us out of abstract theorizing and into the heat of the moment where we experience the stark effect of acting from our beliefs.  Wars, fights, arguments, and debates rooted in ideological conflict are likely to emerge in this atmosphere, with Neptune cloaking the clashes in a fog of idealism.  Yet with a focused use of our mind, there is also potential for the square from Neptune in Pisces, in tandem with the other aspects present in this Sagittarius Full Moon, to help us penetrate into bodies of knowledge that were previously mysterious and facilitate reception of a profound message.

Full Moon in Sagittarius Ascent by Basquiat

by Jean-Michel Basquiat

The Full Moon in Sagittarius is ruled by a Jupiter in Leo that is conjunct Juno and forms a Grand Fire Trine with Uranus in Aries, Pallas Athena in Sagittarius, and the Full Moon in Sagittarius.  This is an incredibly liberating arrangement of potent creative visualization and progenitive insight.  The trine between Jupiter and Uranus has been with us since last September 2014, and we now have less than a month to enjoy it’s dynamic energy as it’s last exact aspect occurs on the Solstice later this month.  Trines generally require something to kick us into gear to activate them, and so the opposition of the Gemini Sun, Mars, and Mercury retrograde to the Sagittarius Full Moon can do the trick.  Open your mind and seize the moment, for this is an opportune time to be pioneering and initiate bold action to propel you into a new level of development.  If a clear direction is not coming to mind, it can also be a powerful time to brainstorm and mind map as many options as possible in order to realize the choice that will be break you out of a past limiting pattern and into a broadened horizon.

Jupiter in Leo has also been holding compelling aspects to the Pluto and Uranus square, as it is applying to a trine with Uranus in Aries and separating from a quincunx with Pluto in Capricorn.  These aspects ask us to take the liberating thoughts and expansive visions associated with Jupiter in Leo and the Grand Fire Trine of this Full Moon, and to discern how to integrate the corresponding gift and message into our surrounding community.  Instead of forcing our will like the idiom of driving a square peg into a round hole, Pluto in Capricorn wants us to figure out how we can use the creative actualization of Jupiter in Leo to meet the needs of our society.  While Pluto in Capricorn does have to do with the tearing down of systems of power, there is still a dominant power structure intact.  Instead of hurling ourselves with anger, shouts, and fists at oppressive powers, these aspects between Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter suggest a more subversive route of figuring out how to infiltrate into networks of the power structure and transform the system from the inside out.

Sagittarius Full Moon with Mercury retrograde in Gemini

by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol

This Full Moon illuminates our experience of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini so far, as it comes a few days after the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.  In keeping with the symbolism of the Sagittarius archer, the Grand Fire Trine between Jupiter and Juno in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Pallas Athena and the Full Moon in Sagittarius is like an arrowhead on a shaft of opposition to Mercury retrograde, Mars, and the Sun in Gemini, with this Gemini trio in sextile to Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Leo.  There is potent force in these aspects, and as a result it necessitates a mindful presence so we can focus on aiming at targets that will inspire instead of harm others.  To make productive use of the Mercury retrograde in Gemini requires that we actively focus our mind, and if we do so now the recent retrograde rumination will clarify into a reception of meaning that has a transformational impact on us.

As the Sun is separating from Mercury retrograde in Gemini at the time of the Full Moon, it is actively chasing after Mars in Gemini.  The Sun gains ground on Mars by zodiac degree each day in the next two weeks, but Mars will manage to barely stay ahead of the Sun until they finally become conjunct on June 14 at 24° of Gemini.  While Mars this close to the Sun may lead to hot tempers difficult to manage, at this Full Moon there is an inspiring sextile between Mars and Uranus as well as between Mars and Jupiter that can link our will-force to our soul-purpose.  Similar to Jupiter, Mars is forming a quincunx to Pluto in Capricorn at the same time as its harmonious aspect with Uranus in Aries.  This means that by transit there is temporarily a yod formed between Mars in Gemini, Pluto in Capricorn, and Jupiter in Leo.  Crucially, the trine from Uranus to Jupiter and sextile from Uranus to Mars means that if we push past whatever fear is coming up for us with regards to initiating a new, dynamic step forward in our growth, we will experience an upswell of invigorating force that will lead us into acting from a revitalized belief system that liberates instead of limits us.

Full Moon in Sagittarius II Decan

9 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius II Decan

The Moon is the ruler of the second decan of Sagittarius, and so the Full Moon on June 2 illuminates the depth of this decan.  The 9 of Wands is the associated card in tarot, and in the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a wounded yet resilient figure brandishing a staff in front of the eight staffs of the previous card, the 8 of Wands, planted in the ground.  It’s as if the rushing, quicksilver visions of the 8 of Wands and the first decan of Sagittarius has brought about conflict from adversaries in the surrounding environment.  Receiving an inspired vision, as we may at this Full Moon, is only the first step in what can be a long and arduous process of manifestation full of conflict.  We are often not aware of all of the obstacles standing in the way of our vision becoming palpable in material form until we decide to take action and strive to make our vision a reality.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces paints the second decan of Sagittarius as being a test of the Sagittarian purpose of unifying manifold elements into a cohesive system, as in this decan “the figures struggle to maintain that unity under the assault of contrary forces” (p. 198):

Yet the trying circumstances depicted in this face are utterly necessary to produce the force of will required to sustain the conjunctio between body and spirit which is this face’s purpose . . . The strength pictured here is the strength to defend what one has established- the ability to keep the body and mind in line with intention, despite contrary forces.  This may seem stressful, but this level of friction is necessary to generate the heat capable of fusing mind and body, vehicle and will. There is no hero without a nemesis.  (p. 198)

With Neptune in Pisces being in square to this Sagittarius Full Moon, possessing resilient faith in the unknown and our capacity to adjust to change and collaborate with others for help when necessary will be key.  While Austin Coppock described those that emerge from the conflict of the Sagittarius II decan as being “ruthless, bold, and of undivided will” (p. 200), attempting to aggressively fight back against the forces of Neptune in our way is unlikely to yield us positive results.  Instead, we may need to surrender or let go of something, and in the process of eliminating what no longer serves us or is out of alignment with our experience, we will make space for new inspiration. Anyone who is a writer or artist can also utilize this same energy to imbibe their creations with amplified power.  If we are holding a vision dear to our hearts that is truly good and beautiful for us, it will hold up against the square from Sagittarius to Neptune in Pisces- in this case we need to resiliently stand firm in our fiery desire and spirit.

Full Moon in Sagittarius June 2, 2015 chart

References

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