New Moon & Mercury in Capricorn

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Y.G. Srimati (1980) Mahakali

New Moon in Capricorn

The New Moon in Capricorn on 29 December 2016 pulls us underneath the surrounding soil of society, penetrating into the underlying dynamics at play in the tearing down and building up of forms.  Mercury retrograde in Capricorn is united with the New Moon one degree away, and earlier on the same day during the darkest dark of the Moon, Mercury retrograde is exactly conjunct the Sun.  We enter the blackness of the New Moon as Mercury is purified and regenerated at the heart of the Sun, stripping and cleansing us from egotistical attachments to material forms and ambitions dictated by societal conditioning rather than intrinsic motivation. The Sea Goat symbolizing Capricorn not only yearns to climb mountains of accomplishment, but also is drawn into the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying reality where it can tap into the roots of form, churning visions of what to manifest from subconscious senses.  Over attachment to external validation for achievement and effort as well as the completed form of endeavors can lead the saturnine Sea Goat into melancholic malaise, yet its melancholic nature can be continually rejuvenated through full participation in the moment of creation, absorbed in its enhanced capacity to bridge the immaterial with the material and bring imaginal ideas into manifestation.

The New Moon in Capricorn is ruled by Saturn in Sagittarius that is in a waning, last quarter sextile with Jupiter in Libra, a last quarter square with Chiron in Pisces, and a disseminating trine with Uranus in Aries.  In the week preceding the New Moon, Saturn formed its first of three exact trines with Uranus that will occur in the next year:  there will also be one in May 2017 as well as another in November 2017.  Jupiter expands what Saturn gives form to, and with their contraction and expansion in harmonious aspect, it is the far reaching visions of Jupiter and Uranus that are in dynamic tension within these aspects.  To paraphrase Dane Rudhyar, Uranus is a galactic interface that shatters our Saturn structure and when this happens we may be thrown into delusions of grandeur unless we utilize Jupiter to balance our shifting perceptions and their lunar impact on how we are functioning within our changing form.  The exact trine between Saturn and Uranus suggests that through taking the responsibility to be self aware of these potent forces moving through us, we can seize the opportunity to bring ideas into form that can emancipate us from previous limitations within our circumstances.

The square between Saturn and Chiron is exact at the New Moon, bringing feelings of how we not only identify with our bodily form and mind, but also attach our identity to the societal roles we play, forms we create, and ways in which we must conform our identity to fit into collective conventions.  There is a sensitivity and rawness to the wounds of identity we carry throughout our life, beginning from the times as a child we felt judged, shamed, or invalidated by parents or teachers for expressing ourselves.  As adults feelings of vulnerability can come up when our inner feelings feel confined or unaccepted by societal norms, and often attachment to roles of status, privilege, power, or wealth can be seized to  mask and assuage feelings of insecurity over feeling unable to express one’s true nature.  With Uranus in trine to Saturn, from a place of inner security we can claim the authority to allow whatever has been dormant to be reawakened, discerning a mode of expression to share and embody more of our wholeness with others.  In this way we can find fulfillment in the forms we create and must watch pass away, rather than depression over not having our expectations and needs met by our achievements that were not aligned with our inner nature.

It is significant that Saturn has finally crossed the threshold into the third and final decan of Sagittarius, where it will remain for there rest of its transit through Sagittarius in the year ahead.  Saturn rules the third face of Sagittarius and so has special strength to bring about its significations not found in the first twenty degrees of Sagittarius.  In his book on the decans 36 Faces, Austin Coppock ascribed the image of a “Horse’s Skull” to the third face of Sagittarius, describing it as a place where our spirit and will force take us beyond the comfort zone and boundaries of our body, including “circumstances in which the vehicle must be sacrificed in order to achieve the will.”  The 10 of Wands card in tarot is also associated with this decan, as it signifies the unification of mind, body, and spirit applied to a dedicated goal as well as the overwhelm of taking on too many responsibilities that can be adequately managed with available time and energy. The aspects between Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn signify expansive, liberating opportunities while also bringing the possibility of over reaching if we are not attuned to the moment.  Through releasing attachment to expectations and focusing on receiving and working with whatever is showing up through our full participation in the present, we can better access the fruitful potential of these transits.

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Y.G. Srimati (1945) Shiva Gangadhara, “Bearer of the Ganga”

The trine between Saturn in Sagittarius, the ruler of the Capricorn New Moon, with Uranus in Aries is amplified because Uranus is stationing direct, in fact exactly stationing direct only a couple of hours after the New Moon. Oftentimes Uranus stationing can bring an unexpected shock or an upsetting event, yet the catharsis of released emotion and thought can break us free from a past repetitive pattern we realize was underlying a network of troubling issues.   Uranus stationed retrograde on 29 July 2016 at 24.5 degrees of Aries, and through the course of its retrograde journey the landscape of our personal and collective life has been changed in ways we could not have imagined six months ago.  With Uranus now stationing in trine to Saturn and in sextile to Jupiter in Libra, the revelations we receive can be worked with and transmitted into the visions, forms, and structures of our daily life.  As a lot of unconscious energy can be freed up and felt with Uranus stationing, especially in aspect to Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto, it important to integrate and be responsible for how we project our internal realm into our external realm.  For example, realizing the qualities you admire in another are actually dwelling inside you, awaiting activation instead of needing to be given over to another to embody for you.

Though the square between Pluto and Uranus is no longer exact, Uranus is stationing less than four degrees away from a square with Pluto.  As the Moon begins to wax through its New Moon phase, it will conjoin Pluto and then form a square with Uranus as it stations direct, as well as a square with Jupiter in Libra.  Collective events have been heating up with destabilizing and shattering effect, and we can in part correlate the intensity in astrology to the re-activation of the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus.  While plutocrats and rulers of hierarchical power structures can be witnessed consolidating and restructuring their grip on power and wealth through the haze of current events, on a personal level there is incredible power available within these transits to rebuild one’s life from the ground up in a manner that will enable one to more naturally experience joy and passion in daily work and activities.  The Capricorn New Moon is incredibly potent with regard to setting intentions that also carry a clear path of follow through we can hold ourselves accountable to.

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Y.G. Srimati (1944) Apsara with Harp

Venus in Aquarius is a key player in the current movement of our cosmic symphony, forming harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.  In Aquarius, Venus can be in her own space with clear boundaries allowing her to decondition from external influences and mass manipulation.   Venus in Aquarius is in position to not only help us feel more deeply however we are not aligned with consensus norms, but also help guide us toward a sense of not only the inner values we want to express but also light a path toward embodiment.  Venus in Aquarius is also in square to the true node of Black Moon Lilith in Scorpio, an unconscious balancing point connecting our ego consciousness with whatever has been cast off or kept outside awareness in the subconscious.  The Capricorn New Moon supports opening our awareness to unconscious contents without judgment, accepting inner feelings and sensations we may have previously been in denial of.  With increased awareness of whatever is circulating within, the blackness of the Capricorn New Moon can germinate growth from a purified, regenerated presence open to the fullness of the moment.

In addition to the guiding light Venus offers as an Evening Star, the invisible Mercury retrograde in Capricorn is also in position to weave together meaning from our experiences that can course correct our current trajectory.   Mercury retrograde is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and is also applying to a trine with the North Node.  Through increased awareness of our shadow and subconscious as well as applying discernment toward external influences, there is amplified potential to make new choices that reflect our current state rather than the expectations placed on us by authority figures or collective conventions.  Mercury retrograde in trine to the North Node of the Moon promotes patience and acceptance of the flow moving through our life, making sure to tend to whatever issues are calling our attention even if it feels like something from the past we want to move on from.  Accepting Mercury retrograde means accepting our intuitive process of following the signs appearing in our daily life pointing toward what needs to be focused on or developed.

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Y.G. Srimati (1961) Vishvarupa

The New Moon in Capricorn as well as Mercury retrograde are both forming a sextile with Neptune in Pisces, Mars in Pisces, and the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  2016 has been a year in which Mars has played a pivotal role, and so it is fitting the red planet finishes the year absorbed within the inner visioning of Pisces and Neptune and being purified through its contact with the South Node.  These aspects draw inner drives deeper into the foundations of our beliefs and vision, inviting influences from our imagination to fuel our intentions and action.  Dreams and desires we have been attached to in the past that are no longer in alignment with our current growth can be dissolved and released in the blackness of the New Moon.

While there can be potent inspiration and epiphany found in the strong interplay between planets in Pisces and Capricorn at the New Moon, there is also a trickiness within these aspects that require honest self reflection to direct us away from delusion toward discernment.   In the collective these aspects can correlate with violence and warfare rooted in dogmatic belief systems that have been in conflict historically, as well as people absorbed in an illusion of the present based upon nostalgia for a time that no longer exists.  Navigating these aspects while taking the responsibility to make choices rooted in self awareness will open us to the creative potential available.

2 of Pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

The New Moon falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image is fitting for the link between this New Moon and the inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde, as the figure is mercurial and embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn, stating it “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.”  Coppock analyzed that ancient texts such as by Ibn Ezra ascribed the image of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the potential of the first face of Capricorn to not only set material forces in motion but also guide and steer them in order to help us find new work, new sources of wealth, or a new location in which to live.

The power of the first face of Capricorn to shape reality is fitting in terms of its ruler being Jupiter.  Jupiter in Libra at the Capricorn New Moon is in sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius, in opposition with Uranus in Aries, in square with Pluto in Capricorn, and in a trine with its ruler Venus in Aquarius.  With Uranus stationing direct in opposition, Jupiter can coalesce profound revelation into the roots of our circumstances, while Mercury retrograde in the first face of Capricorn along with the New Moon offers guidance into how to direct burgeoning insight into choices and action that will bring meaningful change.  It’s paramount with this New Moon to be completely awake with an active intuition receptive to all signs and movements circulating throughout both our external and internal world.  Whatever unexpected experiences or intensity is sparked in our external relationships, the Capricorn New Moon offers potent force to tap into our emotional, physical body and while ruminating through the activated energy, integrate the newfound revelation into embodied presence ready to make responsible decisions directed from our heart.

References

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

Y.G. Srimati. An Artist of Her Time. Arts Summary blog.

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Mercury Retrograde Class

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Mercury Retrograde Guidance

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

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

Where:  New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland, Oregon

1338 NW 23rd Avenue / Portland, Oregon 97210

Cost:  $15, purchase tickets at New Renaissance Bookshop

Description:

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

new ren books

Taurus Full Moon 2016

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A Lake by Moonlight by Joseph Wright

Full Moon in Taurus

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

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

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

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016)

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

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

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

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

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Into the Darkness by Judy Chicago

Jupiter + Pluto + Saturn

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

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

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Ceres & Uranus in Aries

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

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

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7 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 3 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

Scorpio New Moon

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photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016 all rights reserved)

New Moon in Scorpio

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

— Denise Levertov, “Today” from To Stay Alive 

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

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

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

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Photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

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

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

beau-v-tree-branch-stretch-river

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

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

beau-v-fall-tree

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

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

— D.H. Lawrence

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

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

— James Hillman, On Senex Consciousness

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

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5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

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

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

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

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 176

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

References

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

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

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

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

Polish Women Strike

black-madonna-of-poland

Polish Black Madonna

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

GIRL: Perhaps searching is a waste of time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

polish-women-on-strike-image

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

polandstrikewarsawwrigc11

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

polandstrikekrakowwrigc9

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

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

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

polandthirdrepublicwrigc10

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

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

wyspianski_view_of_wawel

View of Wawel (1894) Stanislaw Wyspianski

References

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

 

Libra New Moon

butterfly-by-yasui

Butterfly (1950) by Chuji Yasui

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

— Denise Levertov, Emblem (II)

New Moon in Libra

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

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

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

Venus in Scorpio

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

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

leonora-carrington-spider-1967

Leonora Carrington (1967) Spider

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

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

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

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

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

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 158

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

References:

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

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

Pisces Lunar Eclipse

Vasily Kafanov fish landscape gray

Vasily Kafanov (2013) Landscape with Fishtower on gray

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

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

— Paracelsus, from his preface to Magia Emblemata et Prognostici

Penumbral Pisces Lunar Eclipse

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

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

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

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

Radha and Krishna

The Lovers Radha and Krishna (circa 1775 -1780)

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

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

Scylla 1938 by Ithell Colquhoun 1906-1988

Scylla (1938) by Ithell Colquhoun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

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References

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

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

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

Portland School of Astrology Class

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Opening to the Other: Relationships in Progression

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

When:       Saturday 12 November 2016

Time:         2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Where:      Portland School of Astrology (PSA)

3939 NE Hancock St #212 / Portland, Oregon 97212

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

Class description:

Opening to the Other: Relationships in Progression

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

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

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

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

Jupiter in Libra

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

Jupiter in Libra

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

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

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

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

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Libra by Johfra Bosschart

The Scales

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

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

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

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

— Franz Kafka, The Trial, Chapter 7

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

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

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

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

Jupiter in the Home of Venus

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

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

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

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

Jupiter in the Exaltation of Saturn

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

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

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

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Bronze Ganesha (15th Century) Thailand

Key Transits of Jupiter in Libra 2016-2017

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

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

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

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

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

References

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

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

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

 

Virgo Solar Eclipse

Scott Young Virgo Eclipse

original artwork by Scott Young for graycrawford.net

Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo

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

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

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Annular Solar Eclipse image by Hans Bernhard from 29 April 1976

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

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

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Merciful Tear by Sara Taft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pents08

8 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Virgo 1 Decan

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

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

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

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

VirgoSolarEclipseWRIGC4

References

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

Splendor Solis Mercury flask

Mercury Flask from the Splendor Solis

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

— Karl Kerenyi, from Hermes: Guide of Souls

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

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

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

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

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

MercuryStationRxWRIGC3

Magritte-the-cultivation-of-ideas

The Cultivation of Ideas (1928) by Renee Magritte

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

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

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

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

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

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

–Denise Levertov, Beyond the End

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

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

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

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

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

Rene’ Magritte (1959) The Castle of the Pyrenees

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

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

— Denise Levertov, Down Here and up There

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

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

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

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

The Deer Looking Itself in the Water by Marc Chagall

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

— Denise Levertov, Sarnen

Mercury in the Heart

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

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

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

MercuryCazimiVirgoWRIGC2

Vasily Kafanov mystery of fishtower

Vasily Kafanov (1998) Mystery of the Fishtower

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

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

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

–Denise Levertov, The Depths

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

Sekhmet temple bw

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

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

Frida Roots II

Frida Kahlo (1943) Roots

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

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

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

–Denise Levertov: Forest Altar, September

Equinox Stationing

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

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

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References

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

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

Gemini New Moon

spiral-shell

Spiral Shell (1921) by Edward Steichen

New Moon in Gemini

In the darkness of the New Moon on June 4, 2016 there is a pulsating syzygy of creative force, breaking open new vistas amid the falling apart of forms that had previously felt secure.  From the dark womb of the Gemini New Moon, the twins who have been communing in watery nourishment are separated with shock into their distinct existence.  Instead of oneness the awareness of duality emerges, along with a sense of the contrast between the wants and needs of the Self in comparison to the Other found in relationship.  The constellation of Gemini holds the binary stars Castor and Pollux, the immortal twin and the mortal twin.  Gemini twins can also be found in the twins of darkness and light, twins of good and evil, twins of materialism and spiritualism, and our own twin nature of having a conscious personality that senses its own deeper essence.  The astrology surrounding the Gemini New Moon is a whirling dervish within which we must find a center of balance as the illusions we have been carrying about our reality spin off, and the swirling intensity pulls us in disparate directions.

The yearning of Gemini for its twin is the aching desire for a soul mate to merge and unite with, yet what is called for in the lunar darkness is a descent into the wetness of one’s own Soul to rediscover the primordial purity underlying motivation and decision.  Mercury in Taurus rules the Gemini New Moon as it is applying to an opposition with Mars retrograde in Scorpio.  Mercury in Taurus is also separating from, but still in range of, a Grand Earth Trine with Pluto in Capricorn and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  As a result there is a dense, earthy quality to be found within the New Moon’s stormy tides opening access to the full range of feelings we have regarding the current state of our desires.  Perception through Mercury can penetrate into the deepest recesses of our sensual nature and its interplay with the fresh desires emerging into awareness as well as the older desires in need of release.  The enlivening snake within is shedding its skin to reveal a consciousness both solid and flexible, capable of slivering through the sweeping currents and ranging over the rocky divides of these times.

ClavisArtis.MS.Verginelli-Rota.V1.002

From the Clavis Artis

Solar Venus

In the dark of the Gemini New Moon, the Queen of Heaven is close, ever so close to reuniting with her solar consort as Venus is within a degree of a conjunction with our Sun.  This is the Superior Conjunction of Venus in which Venus is on the other side of the Sun from Earth in orbit, and so the Gemini New Moon embodies the finale of the previous Venusian solar cycle.   The last time Venus was conjoining the Sun was during the Venus retrograde on August 15, 2015 when Venus was in between the orbit of Earth and the Sun at 22º51′ Leo, as close to Earth as possible in her orbit.  When Venus goes into the heart of the Sun by exact zodiac degree, all things Venusian are purified in the fiery heat and regenerated.  As a result, in recent weeks Venus has been undergoing a molten metamorphosis in which the old has been burned off while the Venusian values, needs, and relationships which will bloom in the forthcoming cycle have been reseeded.  This regenerative process could feel disorienting and frustrating for those not already in desired Venusian circumstances, as the fruits that will eventually ripen are not yet visible.  The last time there was a Superior Conjunction of Venus was on October 25, 2014 in Scorpio at 1º49′ and so this is the close of the cycle that began then.  Within the dark of the Gemini New Moon we feel both the fear and elation of standing on the precipice of a new cycle of Venus in our lives.

Venus uniting with the Sun on the other side of our Solar Light brings a quality of far off yearning, a sense of becoming reacquainted with transcendent Venusian desires that inexorably magnetize us toward the horizon where Venus will eventually emerge again as an Evening Star.  An allegory can be found in the ancient Persian epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, in which the noble outcast Zal is consumed with otherworldly love for the glimmering Rudaba, a woman whose circumstances brought barriers obstructing their union similar to the obstacles placed upon later lovers of literature such as Romeo and Juliet.  The mesmerizing Rudaba’s name has etymological roots in both the “shining child” as well as “she of the river water,” a meaning apt for the Venusian atmosphere of reconnecting with our inner radiance within currents of dramatic change.  At one point in the drama, similar to the later echo of Rapunzel, Rudaba lowers strands of her dark hair so that Zal may climb and cross the threshold between them:

About her silvern shoulders two musky black tresses curl, encircling them with their ends as though they were links in a chain.
Her mouth resembles a pomegranate blossom, her lips are cherries and her silver bosom curves out into breasts like pomegranates.
Her eyes are like the narcissus in the garden and her lashes draw their blackness from the raven’s wing.
Her eyebrows are modelled on the bows of Teraz powdered with fine bark and elegantly musk tinted.
If you seek a brilliant moon, it is her face; if you long for the perfume of musk, it lingers in her tresses.
From top to toe she is Paradise gilded; all radiance, harmony and delectation.
(Shahnameh 1:21-3 courtesy of Wikipedia)

The release of old longings within arising passions will not necessarily be focused upon a lover, but rather in any manner in which Venus is operating in your life.  The Venusian correspondence will have to do in some way with recreating livelihood and a revivification of the seeking and reception of pleasure.  Venus will enter her Superior Conjunction on 6 June 2016 at 16º36′ of Gemini, a day that may be seized for fertile intention setting.  As Venus in her synodic cycle possesses exquisitely ordered timing, you may gain further insight through reflection upon the recent years that Venus united with the Sun in Gemini:  6 June 2012 with Venus retrograde at 16 degrees, 9 June 2008 with Venus direct at 19 degrees, 8 June 2004 with Venus retrograde at 18 degrees, and 11 June 2000 with Venus direct at 21 degrees.

Hiroshige,_Rough_Sea_at_Shichirigahama_in_Sagami_Province,_1852

Hiroshige (1852) Rough Sea at Shichirigahama

Mutable Grand Cross

The New Moon in Gemini forms a Mutable Grand Square with Saturn in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and the transiting lunar nodes in Pisces and Virgo.  Sudden emotional swings could overtake us as we question why we are pursuing this over that, as it is likely that numerous potential paths can be seen in misty focus.  Saturn opposing the New Moon brings concrete realization of the limitations of time and space, and a need to prioritize what we can actually achieve and manifest within the time and space currently available to us.  With so much unraveling, fear is liable to become an unwanted influence on our dreams and desires if we allow ourselves to spin out in the spiraling currents.  There is a strong element of simply not being able to know what will happen and a need to have faith in the unknown while centering our decision making within intuitive resonance.  Creating a blueprint to follow or a list of objectives to achieve will bring clarity as long as you remain open to the necessity of modifying the blueprint when demanded by the needs of the changing moment.

Similar to the “hopes and fears” space in a Celtic Cross tarot spread, the twin nature of the Gemini Moon contains the duality of hopes and fears ebbing and flowing.  While there can be great confusion and disorientation felt within these aspects, they simultaneously hold extraordinary power to completely reshape your path and surrounding structures.  If you have managed to get yourself into the right place at the right time, these aspects hold incredible inspiration that can be applied into any endeavor. Take the time to reflect on the house and aspects made by each corner of the Grand Square, as each of these areas of your life will be pulling you in different directions based upon the planetary influence.  The more you can draw upon the frantic, radical energy of the Grand Cross in order to purge emotional hangups that have been limiting your ability to declare and go after what you truly want, the more you can realize the potential being opened by the Gemini New Moon coinciding with a rebirth of Venus within incredibly catalytic Mutable aspects.

Asclepius_and_hygieia_relief

Asclepius and his daughter Hygieia. 5th Century B.C. Greek marble relief.

Asclepius

The asteroid Asclepius is opposite the New Moon and conjoining Saturn in Sagittarius at the time of the lunation.  Asclepius has been moving retrograde and now joins the Mutable Grand Cross, being in square to Jupiter in Virgo, Neptune in Pisces, and the transiting lunar nodes (Asclepius stationed retrograde at 7 degrees Capricorn on April 22 and will station direct at 25 degrees Scorpio on July 22, 2016).  Asclepius is an intriguing archetype to include in the mix, as he embodies a centered focus which integrates all four axes of the Mutable Grand Cross.  Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Mother Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity,  and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures.  Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious.  With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through disciplined spiritual practice.

In addition, Chiron in Pisces is forming aspects at the Gemini New Moon that further enhance an appearance of the Asclepius archetype, as Chiron is in sextile to Mercury in Taurus and in trine to Mars retrograde in Scorpio.  Chiron was a mentor and foster parent of Asclepius, and in astrology holds similar meaning of being able to bridge connections between mind, body, and spirit to find whatever is out of harmony for healing.  Asclepius and Chiron as part of the Gemini New Moon call us to stand resolutely and face whatever is occurring without denial and escapist distractions that are more of an illusion than medicine.  The fertile, regenerative snakes of Asclepius are activated and by opening to what wants to emerge from within, while acting with nurturing integrity with yourself and those in your surroundings, the changes necessarily manifesting may be handled in a way that facilitates eventual healing of the associated ruptures.

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9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The second decan of Gemini is associated with the 9 of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of nightmarish worry and anguish, the 9 of Swords reveals the danger of the mind running in negative circles of repetitive thought, a fitting image of the difficulties found in the Gemini New Moon being surrounded by a Mutable Grand Square.  Tarot writer Kelsey Lynore stated that when one pulls the 9 of Swords, “you are suffering from obsessive thoughts, unable to let go of myriad abstractions over which you ceaselessly fixate . . . a victim of your own mind’s relentless machinations and meanings.”  If you find yourself entering this state of mind, use whatever resources are available to nurture yourself back to center, calming and relaxing your anxiety.  The astrology of this time is overly stimulating with unknowable change, and unless you are fortunate to be in ideal circumstances, you will not be alone in facing a dark night of the soul.  Again, the archetypal figure of Asclepius is fitting here in terms of opening awareness to what meaning and guidance can be found within the psyche, rather than fearing it.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to the second face of Gemini, as it is a decan of “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul” (p. 92).  Coppock wrote that the 9 of Swords image connects to this decan through its revelation of an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world . . . the moments of despair which occur within this face, the irreconcilable places” (p. 93).  Coppock concluded that both the “arts of union and separation, love and war” are found within this talented, complex decan:

Within this decan are two- and these two in turn relate to each other in a pair of ways- love and war, solve et coagula.  The mind which accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p.94

Mars is the ruler of the second decan of Gemini, adding to the emphasis of Mercury in Taurus, the ruler of the New Moon, applying to an opposition with Mars retrograde in Scorpio.  Mars rejoices in Scorpio and has its full arsenal at its disposal, and so will simultaneously be seen in great creative works as well as horrific conflicts in the external world.  The mission of the second face of Gemini to reconcile dualities is important to consider, as the polarity between Mercury and Mars retrograde holds the danger of creating conflict out of opposing forces and viewpoints.  If you can instead use the tension of opposites between Mercury and Mars retrograde to make the deepest recesses of your feelings fully conscious, no matter how painful,  Mars retrograde is in position to midwife a vital regenerative process reconnecting you with the desires that bring you most alive.  In the end, the pain and difficulty felt today will be part of the creation of a personal matrix from which the extraordinary gifts and talents you possess to share with the world will emerge.

GeminiNewMoonWRIGC4

References

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

Sagittarius Full Moon

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Full Moon 21 April 2016 taken by Gray Crawford

Full Moon in Sagittarius

While Luna ablaze in light will take center stage the night of the Full Moon on May 21, the driving force of the cosmic theatre is Mars.  Mars arises at sunset along with the Full Moon, as resplendent in brightness as is possible for the red planet to appear.  Mars will be at its most vivid glimmer in our night sky because it is at the heart of its retrograde, exactly opposite our Sun with full reception of solar light.  With Mercury simultaneously stationing direct, the Sagittarius Full Moon is a crossroads at which Mars Retrograde, Mercury Retrograde, and the Lunar Cycle intersect.  Whatever has already sprung forth or been faced during the Mars retrograde in the last month, whatever realizations have been unearthed during Mercury’s retrograde, at the crossroads Hekate delivers a message of paramount importance.  With the Sun in Gemini while its ruler Mercury is stationing direct, there is integral guidance available regarding the path we have been following during the backward march of Mars.

Betwixt Gemini and Sagittarius lies the polarity of Mercury and Jupiter. Perhaps no other axis in astrology has as much to do with exploring the innumerable, ineffable levels of meaning found within our experience of reality.  While Gemini is a place of inexhaustible curiosity following as many connections and contrasts of meaning between cultures and perspectives as possible, Sagittarius is a place through which all of our learning and perceptions can be synthesized through fiery vision aimed at a target.  Sagittarius polarizes in Gemini the leap of desire, thought, and action needed to coalesce the meaning gathered from life into focused manifestation.  While Gemini as the home of Mercury is comfortable teasing out the depth found in between different viewpoints, Sagittarius as the home of Jupiter facilitates thought and action sourced from intuitive faculties found within.  Finding a center of inner guidance at the Sagittarius Full Moon is both vital and tricky, however, as there is a larger astrological context of tension between Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune, astrological factors which call us to question the nature of our reality.

The real trouble is this: every single idea we have about what truth is, is itself a deception.

All our attempts to discriminate between reality and deception or between truth and illusion are exactly what keeps on tricking us, because the things we take for reality happen to be the greatest illusion.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality, p. 211

There will be many examples in which the Full Moon aligned with Mars retrograde will manifest as overzealous righteousness in those convinced their perspective on a situation is the only way to be.  Challenging the amplified Sagittarius fire contained in the Full Moon are the often overlooked Vesta and Pallas Athena, with Vesta in Gemini opposite Mars retrograde and Pallas Athena in Pisces forming a square to Mars retrograde and the Full Moon.  Pallas Athena is holding the wisdom of everything being dismissed by a know-it-all perspective, acknowledging the consequences of actions taken in personal relationships as well as within the vast collective.  Vesta aligned with the Sun in opposition to Mars retrograde can foster focused devotion toward desires that deserve being one’s top priority, separating from the elements of life that create meddlesome distractions to the vision becoming clarified in the light of the Moon.  There is a tremendous catalytic charge in the Full Moon to provoke movement, and while no doubt there will be numerous surrounding conflicts to traverse as a result, with mindfulness one can center upon the most fruitful path to follow forward.

Bianca_phases-

Phases of the Moon by Bianca Daalder-van Iersel

Jupiter in Virgo

Jupiter in Virgo rules the Full Moon and is in the middle of potent, complex aspects.  Crucially, Neptune is opposite Jupiter while Saturn is locked into a square with Jupiter, aspects which bring disorienting, disillusioning experiences and require total presence in the moment in order to optimally navigate.  Simultaneously, Jupiter has been sustaining a Grand Earth Trine with Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury in Taurus over the past week, an arrangement of ease which encourages presence in one’s body and surroundings, yet can also lead to stagnation.  Since Jupiter is in the home of Mercury, their trine with Pluto in Capricorn has the potential to facilitate a release of resistance to the fundamental changes that have been signaling for acceptance through subtle and discordant experiences.  At the same time, the harmonious aspects between Mercury, Jupiter, and Pluto promote attachment to comforts that soothe anxiety yet keep us from breaking free into the potential growth available.  There is a threshold to cross between holding on to whatever we feel we must possess for security, and following the path that leads in a direction that feels enlivening yet also frightening due to the usual security needs not being guaranteed.

We love taking things easy- will even spend the greater part of our available time working ourselves into the ground just so that we can sit around in a little comfort and security right at the end. But this is a fool’s game. We will have the shock of our lives when, sooner or later, we realize that what had seemed so perfectly safe is in fact the perfect illusion.

Everything we look to for safety or comfort: this is Love’s trick. And by refusing to take any true risks we end up ironically taking the most dangerous course there is, of placing all our trust in our deceiver.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality, p. 409

Neptune in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius from a traditional perspective are both in homes of Jupiter, and so the catalytic energy of the Sagittarius Full Moon is ripe with potency to revivify visions of what can bring joy and fulfillment into one’s life.  While seizing the Full Moon in order to take hold of your life in the direction you feel compelled to follow is important, there also needs to be a willingness for patience and acceptance regarding whatever is not manifesting as one had hoped.  The tumultuous astrology contained in the Sagittarius Full Moon can readily erupt into personal conflicts, and so being impatient and frustrated will only add fuel to the fire.

It is essential to remember that Jupiter in Virgo is further aligned with the transiting North Node of the Moon, while Neptune in Pisces is aligned with the transiting South Node of the Moon.  This means that the ruler of the Full Moon is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, dramatically tilting the balance toward the direction and choices in life that feel fresh and unfamiliar and require the use of one’s skill set in new ways.  The North Node side of the Moon holds gifts accessed through letting go of habitual thoughts and reliance upon using our strengths and talents in the same way we always have because of the success it has brought in the past.  There is strong astrological support to shed the old identity or persona we created for ourselves and have become accustomed to, and to discover in the changing moment dynamic new ways to express our talents and gifts.

Hermes is here to help guide us through the crossroads before us, as Mercury in Taurus is the ruler of both Jupiter as well as the North Node of the Moon.  Mercury at the time of the Full Moon is stationing direct as a Morning Star, sharing its light with us during the shifting colors of sunrise.  As Mercury arises in the flames of Dawn, it shifts to a role focused upon goals, objectives, and connections that are found in the light of day.  All of the deep, ruminating realizations we have sensed during the retrograde of Mercury over the past several weeks will now begin to be able to be clarified with greater objectivity.  However, Mercury stationing direct can feel disruptive since the fleet footed messenger is standing still and sustaining focus on a degree of the zodiac- in this case the midpoint (15°) of Taurus and the midpoint of all the Fixed signs are especially impacted.  While Mercury’s stationing is a significant component of the jarring feel of this Full Moon, ultimately it is also a key component of the extraordinary change that can be manifested as the Moon enters the waning half of its cycle.

Fire Eating Bird Miro

The Fire Eating Bird by Joan Miro

Venus Sun opposite Mars

Though the opposition between the Gemini Sun with the Moon and Mars retrograde in Sagittarius is the most exact aspect of this Full Moon, there is also an opposition between Venus and Mars that is building to a climax and will culminate a few days later on May 24 at the first degree of Gemini and Sagittarius.  At the time of the Full Moon, however, Venus  remains in her own sign of Taurus at 27 degrees, roughly four degrees away from opposing Mars and the Full Moon.  While Mars at the heart of its retrograde is now as close in orbit to Earth as it ever gets, Venus is far away on the other side of the Sun from Earth en route to its Superior Conjunction with the Sun which will occur in the first week of June.  Venus is now at the most intense phase of her purifying process of going into the flames of the Sun, and so her opposition with Mars occurring now is made all the more volatile.  There is incredible energy found within Venus and the Sun opposing Mars retrograde that could play out in many directions:  in relationship it could be released through ecstatic merging, heart-to-heart conversations, as well as disastrous conflict.  If out of relationship, it could be felt through tremendous suffering over not being in relationship, or could be utilized through embracing the freedom and independence gained through not being in relationship in order to break free to a higher level of personal development and potential.

In astrology, it is easy to link the polarity between Mars and Venus with the ancient philosophy of Empedocles that placed the waxing and waning of Love and Strife at the center of creation, since astrologers connect Mars with separation and Venus with union.  Peter Kingsley’s book Reality explored the life and work of Empedocles as well as fellow presocratic philosopher Parmenides from the perspective that these historical lions of rationalism were in fact engaged in the direct experience of reality  found in mystical traditions.  Kingsley noted in his book how there is a dominant perspective that idealizes Love and fears Strife, and how this makes sense to us without question.  In contrast to this viewpoint, Kingsley interpreted Empedocles to reveal that Love can lead one into a realm of great illusion and deception, while Strife can lead one toward ultimate freedom despite all of its associated difficulties:

So the one choice we are left with is to let Strife do its work either with our cooperation or without: either with our deliberate trust and awareness or in spite of us, dragging us along by the heels. But the more we try to run away from it and hide, the more trouble we will be creating for ourselves in future.

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

–Peter Kingsley, Reality, p. 435

In the week ahead we will have a lot of issues centered around associated themes of Venus and Mars to contend with.  The timing will result in the big boom of the Full Moon, Mars retrograde opposite the Sun, and Mercury stationing direct happening first, followed by Venus and Mars applying to an opposition in the following three days.  The gift found within all of these tumultuous aspects is Self-realization and clarification regarding the balance between our inner desires, needs, and values and the way in which they are being expressed, received, and fulfilled in our external relationships.

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8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The first face of Sagittarius is ruled by Mercury, signifying its rapid pace.  However, Mercury in Taurus is stationing direct at the time of the Full Moon and so the protean nature of Mercury is shifted toward a standstill rather than a rush of movement.  The 8 of Wands card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith that is associated with the first face of Sagittarius contains a rather abstract image of velocity found in angularly jutting wands, and the associated meaning of the card involves the speed of thought and imagination applied to a passionate goal.  With Mercury stationing direct at the Full Moon, the effect is more akin to the incredible potency of a master still in contemplative meditation, rather than the speed and dexterity of a master engaged in a martial art.  Whenever a planet stations it takes on greater prominence by transit, and this is especially the case with Mercury not only because it rules the first face of Sagittarius but also because Jupiter, the ruler of the Sagittarius Full Moon is also in the home of Mercury.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Poisoned Arrow” to the first face of Sagittarius, writing that “the essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal” (p. 194).  Images linked to this decan found in ancient texts support this description as an armored man holding a sword appears in Three Books of Occult Philosophy, signifying “boldness, militancy and freedom,” while Ibn Ezra described the image of a shouting centaur holding a bow and arrows.  Similarly, the Yavanajataka described a man with drawn bow who “has a knowledge of chariots and weapons,” and is in possession of “speed as violent as a horse’s.”  In contrast, the Birhat Jakarta included an image of a centaur who is “residing in a hermitage, protecting sacred articles and Maharishis.”   In all of the images we find both the velocity and strength to get the desired job done, as well as the potential to create violence in the process.

As Mercury retrograde completes itself as the Moon is fully lit in our night sky, there is a corresponding illumination to be found in reflection of what has transpired during the past month of Mars and Mercury being simultaneously retrograde.  This is one Full Moon in which all of the astrological indicators point toward it carrying a tremendously important message to receive.  Allow whatever inspiration arises to help propel you forward, while aware that the propulsive force of this Full Moon can also coincide with conflicts erupting in need of mediation.  There is an inner fire to be found within to be consciously cultivated and directed.

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 & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.