Daimon: Guiding Spirit of the Nativity

the-guardian-angel-william-russell-flint

The Guardian Angel by William Russell Flint

DAIMON: GUIDING SPIRIT OF THE NATIVITY

Sunday 29 October 2017

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Portland School of Astrology

I’m excited to announce I will be co-teaching an interactive workshop with June Rose Trimbach on the Daimon in astrology at the Portland School of Astrology on October 29.  In this class we will be working with the Greek idea of a Daimon, which was incorporated into Hellenistic astrology by Porphyry in the late 3rd Century.  As Dorian Greenbaum wrote in her thesis The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology: Origins and Influence: “[Daimon] has been variously translated as ‘Character is destiny’; ‘A man’s character is his fate’; ‘Man’s character is his daimon’; ‘A man’s individuality is his daimonand ‘A man’s character is the immortal and potentially divine part of him.” Using Dorian Greenbaum’s thesis  as guide, we will explore the Daimon as a philosophical and spiritual concept. Then we will learn Porphyry’s technique to locate the Daimon as a guiding planet in the natal chart of an individual. We will all be working intimately with our own charts to find who this planet is and get to know them better, including through guided meditation. Using the imagery or feelings we receive from this experience, we will create devotional art pieces to enhance our connection with our personal Daimons.

While the technical astrology of the workshop is well-suited for intermediate and advanced students, novices and beginners will be helped along to locate their guardian planet and the rest of the class will be intuition. Please bring a copy of your natal chart to class.  Art supplies will be provided, and participants are encouraged to bring their own additional art supplies they will want to use.

For details on the class including how to order tickets, please check the following link on the Portland School of Astrology website:

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

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Total Leo Solar Eclipse

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Total Solar Eclipse of 11 August 1999, member 21 of Saros series 145, by Luc Viatour

NOTE: This post has the unique distinction of being co-written in collaboration with astrologer June Rose Trimbach.  We will be co-teaching classes together in the coming season, and as we were already communicating a lot about our shared ideas regarding this Total Solar Eclipse, it seemed like a fitting opportunity to introduce our coming work together.  On October 29 we will be co-teaching a class at the Portland School of Astrology entitled The Daimon: The Guiding Spirit of Astrology.  We are also currently developing a series of introductory astrology webinar classes we will be teaching in the coming months.  There is not yet a planned start date for the webinar series as we are still putting material together, but I will let you know as soon as we have clear dates set up.  Feel free to send me an email if you are interested in learning astrology from us through the webinar medium, and I can answer any questions you may have about them.

Solar Eclipse in Leo

Black as the night from which the light of stars emerge, black as the earth full of death that produces life. Black as the feathers of crows that soar through space, black as the darkness that nurtures recovery. The blackness of a total solar eclipse in which the light of our Sun is blocked takes us into the mysterious void from which all of our known universes are created. In the blackness we may rediscover our own source of primordial creativity from within, as well as realize the illusory nature of a reality we previously believed in.

In the time leading up to this eclipse, the Sun is shining through its home sign of the Lion, the sign of strength of heart and leadership. The light of the Sun brings exposure and purification; the true hearts of humans are exposed. As the Moon moves in front of the Sun, a shadow is cast, and a shadow is revealed. While the shadow of leadership and courage is exposed, it is also a portal for deeper understanding of our own hearts, our own courage to lead and to shine. We learn the deeper motivations for these goals, and the potential wounding therein.

Astrologer Joe Landwehr teaches that in a Solar Eclipse the creative dynamic potential is eclipsed by the emotional needs of the Soul. The needs of the Soul can be largely irrational, in that we can be pulled to act in ways that one wouldn’t always choose.  Joe has taught that the Soul sometimes drags our unwilling selves into tough places, but places that we need to be. These irrational Soul-needs are like a deep well of insight into the meaning of our lives that when we ignore, come back to haunt us. This means that if our Soul is drawn to leadership, acts of courage or greater emanation of the heart, we may have to face these parts of ourselves now.  How can we show up to these potentially hidden parts? The eclipse can reveal these parts, but they may not look rational or even safe: how can we honor the parts of ourselves that have remained in the dark?

ClavisArtis.3headeddragonsun

from the Clavis Artis

An eclipse is also known as a great dragon showing itself, devouring the Sun:  terrible and mystical and wise. This eclipse takes place on the north node or the head of the dragon. This head is desirous, consuming and wishes to devour, but devour what?  There is potential available amid the surrounding astrological transits to cast off old inner restrictions in order to access greater currents of vitality to not only express in the world, but also take the responsibility to manage with greater integrity.  Yet when we speak of stepping into greater empowerment and claiming greater levels of Leonine power, we must also question and reflect upon the shadow cast by ambition.  As the Leo Sun turns black, the disappearance and reappearance of light can be a portal through which we may gain greater awareness for how to live a more empowered life; one that works in collaboration with the power of others, rather than claims power over others.  The lion is strongest when it realizes it is connected to the natural energetic heart of its community, rather than being the heart itself; love is found in the space in between people.

New forms enter our lives during eclipses as old forms exit, and the quality of what comes in and out can feel both exciting and scary.  Though eclipses have a long association in the astrological tradition with difficult, even disastrous events, they have also proven to mark significant thresholds of more fulfilling fortune.  Professor Qiguang Zhao wrote a beautiful book on dragons entitled A Study of Dragons, East and West in which he explored how the dragons of ancient cultures in the East (East Asia) that were more apocalyptic and associated with heaven came to be associated in the West (Middle East and Europe) as a demonic death symbol linked to “the world of nightmare and the scapegoat, of bondage, pain, and confusion” (p. 61).  Zhao shared the following text from Wu Cheng’en’s Journey to the West that shows the transcendent symbolism of dragons, the creatures most associated with eclipses:

Soaring and transforming,
Encircling clouds and mists,
Like suspending white hooks their claws let fall,
Like bright mirrors the silver scales shine.
Whiskers flap like white silk, each stand’s visible,
Horns rise imposingly, each prong is clear
Those rugged foreheads;
Those bright round eyes.
The Dragons, hidden or seen, can’t be fathomed;
The Dragons, flying or flitting, can’t be described.
If you pray for rain, rain comes instantly;
If you ask for clear sky, you have it at once.
These, only these, are the true dragon forms.
Most dignified and holy,
As a good omen, their aura surrounds the palace profusely.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

In the days leading up to the eclipse, many of us find ourselves consuming images of banners, bravado and martial violence. These are themes that are presented by the third decan of Leo where the eclipse takes place, a decan associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The image of the third decan is seen by Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces as an image of “The Banner.” It is ruled by Mars, the planet of courage, heroic acts and martial combat. These are clues to what the dragon head of the eclipse might be seeking: glory, a cause to fight for. This is perhaps what we are all seeking right now. And now is a time to get in touch with our personal banners. What do we stand for and why?

Mars not only rules the third face of Leo where the eclipse occurs, Mars is also present within the third decan of Leo giving it amplified power.  In addition, the eclipse occurs within the Egyptian bounds of Mars, and Mars is applying to a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the head of the dragon.  Mars is on the threshold of leaving combustion with the Sun at the time of the eclipse, but is still invisible under the beams of the Sun emerging from its long journey through the underworld (though perhaps the total darkness of the eclipse may allow for Mars to become temporarily visible).  Although we have a Mars recently reborn from its union with the Sun, it still carries within it the impact of past wounds from previous cycles.  We can feel the determination of Mars in the image of the Seven of Wands card, in which a warrior is fighting against an onslaught from an angry mob.  Mars asks us what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

The Total Leo Solar Eclipse has been named “The Great American Eclipse” as the path of the dragon enters the continental United States in Oregon and exits in South Carolina.  In the time leading up to the eclipse, heated conflict has erupted in the United States over the banner fought under by the Confederate army in the Civil War.  Notably Charleston, South Carolina is on the path of the eclipse dragon as it exits the continent, as Charleston is the location of the first shots fired in the Civil War as well as the location of the horrific murder of African American church goers in June 2015 by white supremacist Dylan Rooff, a tragedy that reignited debate over the presence of Confederate flags and monuments across the United States.

Even as we see images of the shadow of the banner, the question we may ask is if we can devour the banner itself. Can we devour the face of evil so that it is banned from the earth, or will that only perpetuate more violence? The head of a dragon in a realm of such proud martial power is also evocative as the ultimate protector, the courageous warrior willing to give their own life in order to protect life.  Martial strength may be utilized to resist forces of hate and as stated in the Four-Fold Way by Angeles Arriens, “by staying in our power, by showing up and choosing to be present, by extending honor and respect, and by being responsible and accountable.”

To know the absolute is to be tolerant.
What is tolerant becomes impartial;
What is impartial becomes powerful;
What is powerful becomes natural;
What is natural becomes Tao.

— Lao Tzu, quoted from R.L. Wing’s translation, The Tao of Power

total solar eclipse astronomy

by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1882)

As the path of the Total Solar Eclipses travels from coast to coast across the United States, its relevant to delve deeper into the country’s astrological context.  The astrology chart most often used by astrologers relates to the date of the Declaration of Independence, and though different versions exist they all involve the Moon in Aquarius, the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the North Node of the Moon in Leo.  Thus the United States is experiencing the karma of a nodal return and eclipses in the same signs as occurred during the time of its Declaration of Independence.  Part of the country’s karma involves the fact the same people who crafted its language of liberation also owned slaves, and the development of its culture coincided with attempts to forcibly remove the culture of the land’s indigenous population.

The shadow of hatred and fear showed itself in Charlottesville, Virginia on a weekend in between two eclipses under a fiery celestial triangle. It was met with courage. There is an opportunity now to join this fight that was started as far back as our mind will take us. This fight has had many iterations throughout time, while simultaneously it is a fight felt deeply and personally all around our planet. But to join it lightly without knowledge of the shadowy realm this fight takes place in, would be unwise.  The opening of a true heart of courage is possible here, a courage based on love and camaraderie. Is it possible even in evil actions, this is what is sought? The ghosts of the past are imminent in the story of America and its present begs for action and healing.

The shadows of Leo and Mars have been problematic in these wounds; the elite white class wrote the constitution for themselves and pitted the poor whites and slaves against each other; a reality we are still seeing. The infrastructure and laws of our country (Saturn) have kept people in chains through Jim Crow laws, the prison industrial complex, and other forms of institutional oppression. Curses economic, societal and emotional hold us back from sharing love with each other, yet we find anecdotes of that very love being shared liberally. The story of fear is not the only story, and we must connect with each other in good ways to get through this. How have the structures of the past and present limited your expression of love, and is there an opportunity of liberation now?

The eclipse activates a grand fire trine with Saturn and Uranus. The disruption of past structures and creative ways of making new ones are prominent themes right now. Uranus is in an exact trine with the Solar Eclipse, making creativity and the unleashing of potential a huge catalyst for change. Uranus is also the story of Prometheus, the one who stole the Fire of the Gods and gave it to humanity.  Western astrologers tend to glorify the myth of Prometheus, yet other interpretations reveal it to be a cautionary tale of hubris and desire to wield the power of gods.  Fascinatingly, the current transit of Uranus in Aries forms a square to the natal placement of Pluto in Capricorn in the chart of the Declaration of Independence. The Pluto of the U.S. is a storehouse of subterranean power and wealth, ruled by Saturn who now finds itself in Pluto’s twelfth house of secrets and hidden potential. The light and shadow of this eclipse is revealing deep secrets, yet there is an even deeper sense of upheaval. In the next five years the U.S. will have its first Pluto return, a transit that can transform, empower or dismantle altogether.

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Ouroborus by Liv Rainey-Smith

Love is also a force of light and nurture that liberates you to inhabit to the full your own difference.  There should be no imitation of each other.  No need to be defensive or protective in each other’s presence.  Love should encourage and free you fully into your full potential.

— John O’Donahue from Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom

So what is there to do in this time of upheaval? Make a choice to know the shadows of your own heart; true courage comes from love. The shadows of the past are cropping up, in our nations, in ourselves. One power of Leo is to lead by example; to bring an open heart to everything you do. Remain open to changing the structure of your life based on the needs of the Soul. Consider your personal banner: what would you be sure enough to proclaim to the world upon an inspection of the shadow and a heart centered reflection?

What will burn in the light of day as it is revealed, what will take form in our world and what will leave? The shadow is only something to be feared when it is not addressed. We can learn and heal from the scared parts of ourselves, and generally this is what eclipses are about. There is also a question of how we can move in the world. Can we put something into the world that is authentic? Can our radiant heart find liberation and the structure to express itself more truly and freely? Even as actions from wounding inflict more wounding during this eclipse period, can we stand from a place of empowerment and love for the world?

Written by Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach

References

Arriens, Angeles. (1993). The Four-Fold Way:  Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary. Harper Collins.

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

O’Donahue, John. (1997). Anam Cara:  A Book of Celtic Wisdom.  Harper Perennial.

Zhao, Qiguang. (1992). A Study of Dragons, East and West.  Peter Lang Publishing.

 

 

Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

 

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Disks Bearing Spirals (1923) by Marcel Duchamp

Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary road of the divinity that carries the man who knows through the vast and dark unknown . . . And the axle in the hubs let out the sound of a pipe blazing from the pressure of the two well-rounded wheels at either side . . .

There are the gates on the pathways of Night and Day, held fast in place between the lintel above and a threshold of stone.  They reach right up into the heavens, filled with gigantic doors.  And the keys- that now open, now lock – are held fast by Justice:  she who always demands exact returns .  . .

— Interpretation of Parmenides poem by Peter Kingsley from Reality 

Every six months or so when we enter eclipse season, the wheels of destiny seem to spin with greater ferocity as the fierceness of fate reveals itself.  The particular sequence of eclipses we are entering now have amplified volatility due to the presence of Mars in each: we first experience a Lunar Eclipse with Mars opposite the Moon, and then flow into a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mars will unite with the North Node of the Moon in close proximity to the eclipse.  Furthermore, in between eclipses we will enter an especially turbulent Mercury retrograde phase that will eventually end with Mercury turning direct again while united with Mars at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse (28-29º of Leo).  Though the partial Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on August 7 will not produce the sort of blood red shadow on the face of the Moon that would occur with a more powerful alignment of the lunation with the nodes, it is nonetheless an otherworldly portal into the mysterious quality of time we experience in between eclipses, especially when the solar eclipse on the horizon will create total darkness during its brief transit.

Saturn rules the lunar eclipse in Sagittarius and is conjoining Black Moon Lilith, while also forming a sextile with Jupiter in Libra and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, as well as a trine with Uranus in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the Sun in Leo.  Lilith in cultural myth is the outsider who has become exiled due to her insistence on sovereignty of her own self expression, and the astrological point of Black Moon Lilith also corresponds to what we have been keeping exiled from our conscious awareness about ourselves.  Black Moon Lilith is a balancing point to the wide ranging motion of the Moon that signifies the vast range of our perceptions, as the calculated point of Black Moon Lilith balances the Moon’s closest approach to earth with its farthest point in orbit.   Since the Moon being closest to us in orbit could be said to have the greatest conscious impact, while farthest it could be said to be farthest from conscious awareness.  Black Moon Lilith is an unconscious balancing point connecting our ego consciousness (Moon) into what has been cast off or kept out in the subconscious.

As we are now getting closer to the end of Saturn’s final retrograde phase in Sagittarius, the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse calls us to reclaim the cast off parts of ourselves it is now vital to embody with responsibility and integrity.  There can be a human tendency to avoid speaking out when afraid of becoming exiled from a group or made into an outsider, and yet the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse pulls us into the shadow of the outsider and who or what has been cast out of mainstream cultural privileges.   There is potential available to utilize whatever cultural privileges you possess to take action on behalf of those lacking privileges or caught within cycles of oppression.  Open your ears at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and listen to the voices your conscious awareness does not usually acknowledge.  Within the shadow of the eclipse there can be a dismantling of groups formed around taking action based upon humanitarian ideals, yet through the shifting more powerful reconfigurations may manifest more deeply rooted in core principles of liberation.

ClavisArtis.ouroboros

from the Clavis Artis

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 of shadow 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.  Since dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, the symbolism of eclipses also involve ultimately discovering greater wholeness 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 word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release (the tail of the dragon), whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious desire for intake and manifestation in our material realm (the head of the dragon).  Thus the lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.

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.” As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Leo, the past activation of how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms as well as our own ideals could become overshadowed by ambitious desires for new growth and creative expression.

Vitally, Mars is beginning to pull itself out of the symbolic solar underworld at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse on the side of the Leo Sun and the North Node of the Moon, having gained about four degrees of separation from the Sun at the very beginning of its current synodic cycle.  The Sun and Mars aligned in Leo with the North Node of the Moon brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself due to guilt, shame, or other forms of repression.  In the collective this can be both empowering as well as dangerous, as there will be fierce martial conflicts raging forth from the lunar shadow.  On personal levels keep in mind that Mars is still so close to the Sun that it remains more difficult to get a clear sense of the new desires Mars is inciting, resulting in feelings that are more instinctual than rational.  Do your best to avoid getting hard on yourself for not achieving your visions of success at this time, as the new form of Mars has not yet taken full shape.

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Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity by Yayoi Kusama from Infinity Mirrors exhibit

One of the most import aspects within the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is an opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  This is an epic opposition, as both planets are extremely strong in each of their current locations:  Virgo is both the home and exaltation of Mercury, and in modern astrology Neptune has become associated with a  rulership of Pisces.  However, this happens to be one of those oppositions that does not actually perfect for over a month, in this case not until the time of the Libra Equinox.  This is due to the fact that Mercury is preparing to station retrograde in Virgo, stationing exactly in less than a week.  As a result there will be some important insights and realizations we begin to gain through the opposition of Mercury and Neptune in the coming weeks that we will not fully understand until about a month and a half from now when they finally come back together and complete their exact opposition.

Many astrologers do not like the opposition between Mercury and Neptune because the presence of Neptune can make it more difficult for Mercury to execute its choices and actions with exactitude and detailed clarity.  Yet there is a true gift found in this opposition that can open our awareness to elements of reality that have previously been cloaked in invisibility in one form or another.  It can also be possible to open perception to a deeper connection with Spirit through the opposition between Mercury and Neptune, as well as create sublimely beautiful and surreal works of art.  Mercury is adept at weaving and mending the disparate together into beautiful  new patterns and tapestries, however, and so it will be important to bear in mind that perceptual mending will be required in the next couple of weeks.

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Takpekpe (Conference) by El Anatsui (2006)

Uranus, the planet many modern astrologers would say is ruling the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse, looms large over the lunation no matter what your astrological view upon rulership is.  This is due to the fact that Uranus stationed retrograde four days before the eclipse, and planets that have recently stationed always bring more power to the cycle at play.  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 the troubling issue.  This is even more the case than normal at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse due to Jupiter in Libra recently completing its final last quarter square with Pluto in Capricorn.  The square between Jupiter and Pluto dredged up deep material needing to be processed and resolved that can now become integrated into the developing relationships and structures we are focused upon.  Now that Jupiter has begun to separate from its square with Pluto, it is beginning to finally approach its sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius that will help us stabilize all of the chaotic discharges of August.

One of the blessings of the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is the conjunction between Venus and Ceres in Cancer, an aspect that supports the tender love and care needed to nurture the wounds of the psyche and body that could manifest within the astrological volatility of coming weeks.  After Venus and Ceres form their union in Cancer they will next form an opposition with Pluto and a square with Jupiter.  By the time of the Total Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21, Venus will be applying to a square with Uranus and Ceres will be opposite Pluto.  It will be more important than ever to open hearts in love and deeper intimacy that truly nurtures what others need and what we need within, rather than what we have been led to believe is needed through various forms of cultural conditioning.

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6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and “independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles.”  Coppock connected Mercury ruling this face to the need to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown.”  Coppock artfully concluded, “The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating” (p. 233-4).

The fact that Mercury rules the second face of Aquarius where the shadowy lunation occurs brings to mind again the significance of Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo in between eclipses while forming an opposition with Neptune in Pisces.  Mercury will be stepping into its role as our guide of soul once again, activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine.  Mercury can help us organize concepts that facilitate navigation while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul.  We are entering an otherworldly time of eclipses where it will difficult to predict exactly what will happen other than stating that the changes on the way will bring the potential to unlock and activate greater depth from within into our external collective.

References

 

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2013). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

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

Leo New Moon & Mars

Paul Klee Pride of Lions

Paul Klee (1924) A Pride of Lions (Take Note!)

New Moon in Leo

The Leo New Moon on July 23 is united with Mars, bringing primal intensity and vigor to the lunation.  New Moons are a time to set intentions, yet the symbolism of the Moon being invisible correlates with the necessity of embracing the unknown for no matter how much passion we invest into our intentions, we must ultimately surrender when forces out of our control emerge to contend with.  This is especially important to keep in mind at this martial New Moon in Leo, for the coming astrology suggests that unexpected elements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.  The influence of Mars on the New Moon points to the vital importance of standing up for yourself and reasserting your energy toward the role you wish to play within our global collective.  There will be challenges to face in the lunar cycle ahead that are capable of reshaping the course your life trajectory is taking, and so it will be imperative to boldly flow with the changes with courage and a presence ready to respond responsibly in accordance with the vision you wish to manifest.

The Leo New Moon escorts us into the most impactful period of astrological aspects in 2017.  The darkness of the New Moon will ripen into a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, to be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  The Leo Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Pisces Full Moon united with Neptune, and in between the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Full Moon we will experience Mercury moving retrograde from Virgo back into the same area of Leo as the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. Interestingly, Mercury is in Leo at the time of the Leo New Moon very close to the same degree it will later station direct on September 5.   Mercury is furthermore separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon while forming a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result the Leo New Moon is opportune for going over the plans you wish to initiate in the coming months and strengthening their structural foundations.

ClavisArtis.Lion

from the Clavis Artis

Rebirth of Mars in Leo

The New Moon in Leo arrives at the very, very end of the synodic cycle of Mars that goes back two years.  The last time that Mars was regenerated in the heart of the Sun was on  14 June 2015 at 23º15′ of Gemini, and so it will be fruitful to reflect upon this two year period and the desires that you manifested as well as those that remained dormant.   Since we have been at the close of the Mars and Sun cycle in the past weeks, its important to realize that if you have felt a lack of energy or a need to rest as part of a feeling of something being reborn, that you have likely been tapped into the current Mars cycle.  Mars will unite with our Sun on July 26 at 4º12′ of Leo, and so this is a beautiful time period to ritualize a rebirth of Mars in your life and reinvest your passions toward whatever you most desire to create or whoever you want to be in our world.  Since the Sun will be receiving Mars in its home, there is enormous creative potency available in their union.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the god Hephaistos to the first face of Leo where Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun.  Hephaistos is another aspect of Mars associated with smiths and artists who at heart is an embodiment of the primal potency of fire.  The Orphic hymn to Hephaistos calls the fiery artist to “suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”  Hephaistos carried wounds of abandonment and rejection he transmuted into a creative process of fire that burned up the old to manifest his new inventions.  Similarly, as we have been facing old wounds and emotional issues through the course of Mars closing its past cycle with the Sun in Cancer, we are now given the opportunity to transmute the pain of the past into beautiful works of artistry and tools we can wield in the journey ahead.

Hephaistos created both the chariot of Helios as well as the winged sandals and helmet of Hermes.  What heroic role do you wish to play in the forthcoming two year cycle of Mars, and what symbolic or literal tool can you now forge in the solar fires to support the talents and skills you wish to share?  How do you want to direct the ambition, aggression, and courage of Mars being consumed and reborn in the Sun?  The mythic figure of Hephaistos is also fitting for the fiery triangle being formed by Mercury and the North Node in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Hephaistos can forge and create whatever image we desire, yet to succeed in our endeavors we will also need a level of courage that knows when it is necessary to fight as well as let go.  The Leo New Moon is perfect for discerning the inner principles that align with our authenticity and whatever we wish to creatively actualize, and then assertively pushing forward with our work in accordance.

pamela colman smith scythe woman

by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus opposing Saturn

The other major aspect of the Leo New Moon finds Venus in Gemini applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This takes us back to the Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in which Venus stationed direct in Pisces in a square with Saturn.  Now Venus has moved forward into her first opposition with Saturn since their long engagement during her retrograde cycle.  Whatever shifting began happening in our life during February, March, April, and May as we entered and left the Venus retrograde period has now in hindsight become clear, and we can now witness and evaluate how the elements of our life have been rearranged.  Similar to the fiery triangle of Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn, the opposition between Venus and Saturn is also opportune for strengthening the foundations of the plans we wish to enact as we enter into eclipse season.   In fact, Venus is strongly activating the aforementioned fiery triangle, as she is in sextile to both Mercury and Uranus at the same time she is in opposition to Saturn.  The opposition between Venus and Saturn can not only help us figure out what aspects of our life and relationships need to be modified, but how exactly they need to be altered.

During the waxing lunar cycle Venus will move from her opposition with Saturn toward a trine with Neptune in Pisces following her ingress into Cancer.  At the same time Mercury will leave the creative fires of Leo for its home and exaltation of Virgo during the waxing of the Moon, toward an opposition with Neptune that does not perfect due to Mercury stationing retrograde.  Neptune in Pisces is veiled in the background of the Leo New Moon but does form the shadowy aspect of antiscia with Jupiter in Libra for the remainder of July.  The more we can effectively work with Neptune in Pisces at this time, such as shedding the illusions of the past and opening our imaginations in our creative process, the better we will be able to enter the flow of the coming eclipse season.  It will be helpful in working with Neptune to create some sort of daily spiritual practice for yourself, however you connect with Spirit.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Five of Wands is associated with conflict and competition, and though its meaning could be linked to an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control, oftentimes the strife among competing external interests is literal.  In one way or another it suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired, prominent position.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the Five of Wands through the five youth battling for the attention of the starring role of the spotlight.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.

Importantly, Coppock also noted that Saturn’s influence can be found in that the performer can become bound to their public image to such an extent that it can drain their energy and betray their inner authenticity.  Keeping all this in mind, remember at the Leo New Moon to make sure that the image you desire to project into our world aligns strongly with your essential authenticity.  Saturn in Sagittarius in trine with Mercury, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon is available to assist with the discipline and integrity necessary to separate and sever whatever does not align with our inner values, and bind oneself with commitment to whatever does align.  Within the catalytic atmosphere of the coming eclipse season, there  will be found a fertile matrix through which to embark in creative directions attuned to the passions arising from within.

References

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

 

Capricorn Full Moon & Pluto

 

fluorite waterfall

Full Moon in Capricorn

The Full Moon in Capricorn on July 8 is applying tightly to a union with Pluto, dredging up more intensity from interior realms than is the norm for a Full Moon.  Invisible to the naked eye, Pluto rules the celestial underworld of the Kuiper belt.  Though we may at times ignore or deny the guidance offered by Pluto, any built up resistance ultimately floods our systems and forces us to make necessary changes.  The placement of Pluto in our birth chart reveals a theme we can become compulsively attached to for security, and so the Full Moon aligned with Pluto will illuminate what old attachments and projections need to be now shed and washed away.  The surrounding aspects to the Full Moon suggest a decay and decomposition of past ambitions at the same time that fresh desires for growth emerge.

The Full Moon in Capricorn is not only a key moment in the current retrograde phase of Pluto, it also provides penetrating insight into our experience of the current transit of Jupiter in Libra.  The Moon in Capricorn at the peak moment of fullness is transferring the light of Jupiter to Pluto, separating from a catalytic square with Jupiter.  As the Moon begins to wane in light, it will next form another square with Uranus in Aries.  The t-square forming between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto is the volatile source of astrological intensity that has been building and will break open in August as we enter a season of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo.  In collective events, for example, we can see the correlation of the Full Moon with these aspects in the form of the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg that featured combative protests from the public as well as tense conflicts amongst world leaders that revealed the incredibly divisive nature within political power structures.

Pluto has been in Capricorn for the past nine and a half years and will make its first ingress into Aquarius six years from now.  The Full Moon in Capricorn is the perfect moment this year to review and reflect upon all of the changes wrought by Pluto’s slow passage through Capricorn since 2008, as well as how you want to respond to the death and creation found in the present moment.  Any feelings we have been clinging to desperately despite nothing in our current reality supporting our attachment to them need to be now released resolutely, for there is incredible potential available to seize within current transits to facilitate bold and dramatic shifts in direction.

Enki(Ea)

Enki / Ea

Jason Holley gave a talk at the 2017 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) on Capricorn that linked the sign of the Sea Goat with the ancient Babylonian deity Enki or Ea.  Known as the antelope of the deep waters, Enki in myth has been described as a crafty and wise problem solver who is the sole initiator of civilization and the molder of matter for every possible use.  Enki discovers rules and order for everything, divining the organizing principles and plans that underlie all of civilized life.  Irrigation of course was instrumental in the development of agricultural civilizations, and Holley further made the point that humans also dug canals so that gods could live on Earth.  Holley in his talk used the metaphor of opening up channels of fresh water irrigation to the importance of Capricorn replenishing and nourishing itself with the endlessly fertile, deeply subterranean waters of the subconscious.

The message Jason Holley transmitted regarding Capricorn is vital to take to heart at this stage of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn.  Instead of severing connection to the fresh waters of our inner desires due to fear that these impulses go against societal norms and could be dangerous and disruptive, we open ourselves to our subterranean waters and craft the order of our daily life accordingly.  Instead of living by consensus cultural “shoulds” and “oughts,” we step into a presence in which playfulness is embedded in our daily work in a process of constant creation and regeneration.

second beach tree cave (1)

As previously mentioned in past lunation forecasts, we are in the middle of an underworld season of Mars in which the red planet is being consumed in combustion by the purifying and regenerating rays of our Solar Light.  One question for this Full Moon in Capricorn is thus, what is the universe asking for you to release and let go of in terms of the willful force of Mars in your life?  You may in the past week or so have noticed a lack of motivation, ambition, or drive in certain areas of your life you are accustomed to investing more easily with energy.  At the same time, you may have been noticing desires for new areas of development that do not yet have completely stable foundations to support.  It is vital to realize that Mars will continue to be in combustion throughout the waning half of the upcoming lunar cycle and will not enter the heart of the Sun to be completely regenerated until July 26 following the subsequent New Moon in Leo.  I do not mean to avoid embarking on new ventures in the weeks ahead, only to have awareness that due to the current dark, clearing phase of Mars that it’s phase more readily supports release and reseeding rather than peak moments of drive.

paul klee suspended fruit

Paul Klee (1921) Suspended Fruit

Within the surrounding tumultuous aspects of the astrological landscape at the Full Moon in Capricorn, the inner planets Mercury and Venus are forming the vivaciously pleasing sextile.  Mercury in Leo is visible as the Sun sets as an Evening Star, while Venus is brightly visible in Gemini as a Morning Star.  Thus when awaking from dreams in the morning we will be greeted by Venus in the actively curious and intellectually stimulating sign of Gemini.  Venus can therefore guide our daily journey into reception of new perspectives and information as well as creatively activating conversations and connections within our wider community.  Mercury in contrast will become visible in the twilight of our Sun’s descent into night, helping us to digest and assimilate the various exchanges and expressions of our day.  Mercury in Leo is also an active and creatively stimulating placement, and so in tandem Mercury and Venus are in ideal positions to support new directions in creativity and pleasure.

In addition, Mercury will move across Leo to form a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in the waning half of the lunar cycle ahead while Venus will be making its way toward an opposition with Saturn.  There results an interesting astrological phenomenon in which Mars is experiencing a cleansing purification at the same time that Mercury and Venus are in active, potent positions.   Both Venus and Mercury will be forming harmonious aspects with Jupiter in Libra, and so while Jupiter is under the weight of intense aspects at the Capricorn Full Moon, as the Moon wanes  in coming weeks there will be exciting interplay occurring between Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter that can help facilitate exciting and productive action.

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3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The full Moon falls in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the Three of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the second decan of Capricorn as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.  The integral aspect of necessary effort and drive is supported by Mars being the ruler of this face.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work and discipline  in collaboration with numerous resources.  Coppock wrote that this face “binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task” and so it is important to carefully discern what projects and relationships you are committing to as well as the consequences of your choice.  Fitting for the current combustion phase of Mars, Coppock also wrote that “ambition and hubris are not easily separated,” and so “Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose” (p. 217).

Regarding the second face of Capricorn, it is written in the Latin Picatrix that this is a decan “of seeking to do what cannot be done and to attain what cannot be.”  In contrast, Three Books of Occult Philosophy suggested this face signifies demanding “what is unable to happen, and searching for what cannot be known.”  In the Birhat Jakata, the image of “a woman, skilled in the arts, broad eyes like lotus petals, greenish and dark” emerges in this face, “searching all kinds of articles and wearing iron ear ornaments.”  Evocatively, the Liber Hermetis ascribed the image “of a bull on the body of a man dressed with the skin of a scarab” to this decan.  Clearly, the ancient images associated with the second decan of Capricorn suggest a face in which groundbreaking works of determination and grace can be created while dealing with whatever obstacles or tumult arises in the process of creation.  As the Capricorn Full Moon peaks and illuminates the depths of your desires, embrace the courage necessary to bring your inner visions into reality.

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23 follows closely behind the Cancer Solstice in which our Sun stands still, as well as the rebirth of Mercury within the heart of the Sun.  The solstice in Cancer is one of the peak moments of the year, the beginning of Summer in our northern hemisphere and the beginning of Winter in our southern hemisphere.  This year as our Sun stood still at the pinnacle of its furthest northerly reach, Mercury united within its fiery rays for an extremely powerful superior conjunction of the Star of Hermes with our Light of Spirit.  The longest day in our northern hemisphere and the longest night in our southern hemisphere, the Cancer Solstice pulls us within to explore the deepest desires of our heart, while also calling us to express our feelings and visions in our wider community, finding appropriate forms and mediums through which to communicate our message.

The last time Mercury formed a superior conjunction with our Sun was in March at the beginning of the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Following Mercury’s union with the Sun during its retrograde in April, Mercury spent an extended period of time moving backward and the forward again in union with Uranus.  The first half of 2017 has brought significant shifts, some unexpected and all necessary, as we moved from a period of eclipses into extremely volatile phases of Venus and Mercury retrogrades.  The Cancer New Moon comes at the perfect time to look backward to the first half of the year and what has and has not come into manifestation, while looking forward with focus on configuring what we need to shift and restructure in order to bring more of our desires into form and expression.  The second half of 2017 will continue to bring volatility and immense change.  As a result, the Cancer New Moon is ideal for centering within and nurturing ourselves and loved ones with intimate attention.  Tenderness and gentle strength that calms and soothes volatilized nerves will be important medicine in the lunar cycle ahead.

hilma-af-climt-2

by Hilma af Klint

Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so the New Moon in Cancer is always an especially powerful moment for setting intention.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of initiation and leadership that simultaneously connects with the emotional realm within as well as the emotions of those we meet in relationship.  Cancer holds our memories and in the reflection of its waters we catch glimpses of our essential nature and most cherished desires.  While the season of Cancer may make us think of ruminating over past memories, the current New Moon in Cancer is most vital in terms of making new memories that will enliven our passion for life and bring sustenance to our sense of soul.  This is a New Moon with which to launch yourself into living life fully in the moment, seizing the opportunities brought by day and night to receive the pleasure of being alive.  Humanity on our planet has been going through a difficult time of immense suffering on many levels, and the amount of change and reform in need of being enacted can feel overwhelming to achieve on an individual level.  The Cancer New Moon will support expressing yourself into your wider community and in so doing discovering collaborators who possess a sense of mutual purpose.

Mercury separating from the Sun while applying toward a conjunction with Mars is an important aspect of the New Moon, for in the lunar cycle ahead Mercury will unite with Mars in opposition to Pluto while both are invisible under the beams of the Sun, and then as Mercury emerges as an Evening Star around July 4 it will form a catalyzing square with Uranus in Aries.  Allow Mercury to soothe and open up whatever defense mechanisms have been internally preventing you from risking your heart in action.  As Mercury gets closer and closer to Mars, look for remediation outlets to express passions through so that they are less likely to become bottled up and unleashed in anger.  Its likely that many aspects of collective current events will incite anger and inspire action, and so this is also an excellent New Moon to look around your community for volunteer, service, or organizing opportunities.  Mercury combined with Mars can be volatile, yet in the end Mercury loves to connect and bridge and so by taking action there can be significant new connections made linked with purpose.

Hilma_af_Klint_-_1922_-_Birch

Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

Mars is playing a leading role in the New Moon as it is applying closely to a square with Jupiter in Libra.   Mars is currently invisible under the beams of the Sun, undergoing a period of purification and regeneration that will not complete until the Sun unites with Mars in Leo on July 26.  As a result the Mars square with Jupiter is potent and will dredge up deep issues of ambition and desire, some of which is in need of shedding while other aspects can be returned to our inner soil to reseed future visions.  Mars in Cancer is known as being in its “fall” since it is the opposite sign of its exaltation in Capricorn, and yet there is an interesting aspect in which Jupiter is receiving Mars through the square since Mars being in Cancer means it is in the exaltation of Jupiter.  An empowering interpretation can be found through realizing the wisdom we can gain when pursuing passionate desires even when we do not achieve our intended success.  The importance is in taking action and risking our emotional involvement and full presence.  It will be important to not become overly critical of ourselves for not having already achieved certain grand ambitions, but rather acknowledge and find value in whatever point of our journey we find ourselves within.

Mars in Cancer can bring about emotional outbursts and so it will be vital to find appropriate outlets for our feelings and focus on the relationships that can offer us nurturance and support.  The period from June 28 through July 4 is important to be aware of, as Mercury will unite with Mars and then oppose Pluto as Mars also forms an opposition with Pluto, followed by Mercury forming a challenging square with Uranus in Aries.  Further interesting is that just before Mars and Mercury enter into these intense aspects, they will have recently formed a supportive trine with Neptune in Pisces.  It will help to find work and projects you can pour your heart and energy into without become overly upset if the results do not match your idealized expectations.  There is tremendous power and inspiration found within these aspects, and we will gain strength through courageously engaging life fully rather than withdrawing through fear or defense mechanisms.

Another significant intersection between personal planets with the transpersonal at the Cancer New Moon is Venus in Taurus applying closely to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  At the previous New Moon in Gemini, Venus was in a square with Pluto that brought up some deep issues we can now integrate and find deeper stability around.  The trine from Venus to Pluto can also help us deepen intimacy with both ourselves and others through opening ourselves to the sort of full emotional involvement that facilitates buried issues reemerging into the light of conscious awareness.   Venus in Taurus can help stabilize and harmonize whatever has become out of balance, so look for ways to embrace Venus in your life in whatever forms bring you pleasure and comfort.  While opening ourselves to deep emotions may not always feel pleasurable, significations of Venus such as music, color, food, and intimacy can be a balm that helps us cross over the threshold of old inner obstacles.

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2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche.  We can also find a connection between Venus with the first face of Cancer and the Two of Cups through the inner values that underlie all of our relationship dynamics with others, a source that can alchemize magical healing and power within the relationships that resonate with our essence.  The New Moon in Cancer is ideal for honoring the relationships that receive, support, and protect our unique expression and presence.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104).  Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted” (p. 105).

As the lovers in the image of the Two of Cups are greeting one another with chalices, consider at the Cancer New Moon what sort of chalice you are carrying into your relationships.  Who are you willing to share your chalice with and why, for what reasons.    The relationships in which equity and reciprocity coexist naturally will emerge with magnetic force in the lunar cycle ahead and will feel most deserving to share in mutual nurturance.  Remember to also pour an offering to the Earth and Spirit, and set intention to manifest your most cherished desires in the season ahead.

References

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

 

Gemini New Moon: embodied strength and vision

sigge bergstrom woman praying in forest

by Sigge Bergstrom

New Moon in Gemini

Silent, her Gemini mind rests from weaving together her present thoughts with the ancient words on the parchment lightly held by her fingers. Her elegantly long fingers, equally skilled at composing musical notes as they are at drafting lines in ink, close the tome.  The ceaseless wisdom of the old library with its smell of books no longer satiates her, and so she departs into a sensuous sunset sky of shifting colors signifying the time of transition.  She savors each breath of fresh wind and call of birdsong, finding her way to her favorite field to lay within and dream.  Feeling her hair in the grass, the vibration of earth below her, a waft of pungent sea air overcomes her.  She knows inside what she must do, the challenges she will have to face and the opposition of those in authority she will have to overcome.  She smiles pondering that no doubt centuries before her someone else lay in the same field she finds herself within now, his vision every bit as curious and adventurous, his determination and resiliency equal to hers.

Mercury in Taurus rules the New Moon in Gemini on May 25,  and is applying to a harmonious and dreamy sextile with Neptune in Pisces.   The New Moon also occurs within the bounds of Mercury, degrees of Gemini that the Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens described as “practical, musical, and fertile” as well as “calm and gracious, ringing with clarity and intelligence” while indicating “many skills, from scientific thought to true wisdom.”  Yet Mercury finds itself in the home of Venus, and Venus in Aries at the New Moon is in the middle of extremely volatile aspects both dredging up deep issues while offering insights into how to find a sense of freedom and hope in facing the forces of necessity.  Meanwhile, Mars is co-present in Gemini with the New Moon and applying toward a harsh opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, an aspect which demands hard work, accountability, persistence, and focus in whatever we wish to manifest and must tend to in our daily responsibilities.

sigge bergstrom woodcut landscape

by Sigge Bergstrom

Mars opposing Saturn

Mars is out of bounds in declination at the New Moon and will continue to be out of bounds in the forthcoming lunar cycle, signaling that Mars has a more unrestrained and rebellious martial force than normal.  However, Mars is facing an opposition with a slow, plodding Saturn moving backward in Sagittarius, suggesting that the wild calls of adventure and discovery will face tests and judgment.  This could in part involve moralistic judgements from those in authority or anyone coming from a dogmatic perspective of how one is supposed to live that does not account for the unique circumstances of the person or situation they are judging.   Mars being out of bounds in the variable, airy, hot and moist sign of Gemini suggests that the energy is present to effectively move beyond the old dogmas of Saturn as long as one is simultaneously taking responsibility and living in integrity with inner principles and values.

Yet the opposition of Saturn to Mars also means that Mars cannot do whatever it pleases without consequences.  It also suggests there are some elements of challenges in our current reality we will not be able to change or control, and instead need to accept and mediate.  The days following the New Moon are ideal for becoming aware of all of the elements of life that need work in order to have a secure foundation from which to launch dreams and goals for the future.  It is an important time to honor one’s own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others, and to listen closely to the needs of others in surrounding community.  It will be helpful to recognize what aspects of current circumstances are out of our control and need to be dealt with, versus other elements that are possible to directly manage and will benefit from working to change.

The opposition of Saturn is the initiation of Mars into a season of purification and challenges that are frenetic and catalytic in charge at times.  In 2016 we went through a long period of Mars retrograde that culminated with Mars uniting with Saturn and Antares at the end of August 2016.  Much has changed since that time and we have had opportunities to discover a new sense of how we exert ourselves with our will force in the world and co-create within surrounding structures.  If the opposition between Mars and Saturn corresponds with disappointed feelings in one way or another, consider all of the growth you have undergone during the past nine months of Mars moving from a conjunction to an opposition with Saturn.  The coming lunar cycle is ideal for building upon the gains of the past with hard work, and hold potential for liberation from past limitations into finding ways to live and create with greater vital force.

 

marie laurencin the amazon close up

Venus square Pluto

Venus is barely separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn as the New Moon in Gemini forms, but it is significant that she is in fact separating.  This means that the full intensity of Venus dredging up deep Plutonian issues will be felt during the Dark Moon immediately preceding the New Moon.  As a result the Gemini New Moon opens us to a new cycle in which we have already felt subconscious material arise within us, giving us the opportunity to bring awareness of deeply rooted feelings into an exciting and accelerated time period for Venus in which she will form a trine to Saturn and a conjunction with Uranus.  We will have the opportunity during the waxing of the Moon to free feelings from our depths and channel them into creative projects and unions in relationship.  Furthermore, collective events will involve numerous surprising and dramatic twists in storylines as Venus connects the tension of Pluto and Jupiter to Saturn and Uranus.

Venus has now cleared her retrograde shadow zone, formed her opposition with Jupiter, and completed her square with Pluto.  Venus has faced numerous, constant tests and difficulties in recent months.  However, instead of forming a harsh square with Saturn as Venus did when she stationed direct over a month ago, Venus will now be forming a harmonious trine with Saturn bringing the opportunity to embody greater strength drawn from the tribulations of recent months.  After Venus forms an electrifying union with Uranus, she will enter her home of Taurus while Jupiter begins to station direct in her other home of Libra.  Although the lunar cycle begins with tense aspects between Mars and Saturn as well as Venus and Pluto, as the Moon waxes we will find opportunities to practice equity in relationship that fosters freely sharing our essentiality in mutually supportive relationships.   It will not be a time of escaping in a fantasy of relationship, however, but rather grounding relationship in the details of daily reality and finding creative joy in the process.

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8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Gemini associated with the Eight of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of a woman appearing to be frozen and tightly bound, many interpret its meaning as being paralyzed by fears running rampant within.  Sometimes the fear of paralysis connects to real trauma in the past that has become triggered by fears related to present circumstances.  While some interpretations suggest that the same mental swords enveloping the figure could also be used to cut away the fabric of bondage, it is also important to note the moist and muddy fertility of the ground she is standing on top of.  In relation to the Gemini New Moon, the 8 of Swords image also highlights how fear can arise in times when a huge new potential becomes available to step into.  As much as it is possible to release fears related to what has happened in the past that are being projected into the present moment, the more gracefully we will be able to flow into the tremendous change opening up at the beginning of this lunar cycle.

In contrast to the tightly bound woman in the 8 of Swords image, ancient texts ascribed a graceful woman of flowing mind and deft dexterity.  Ibn Ezra pictured “A beautiful woman standing in the air, and she can sew,” while in the Picatrix we find “A beautiful woman, a mistress of stitching, and with her ascend two calves and two horses. This is a face of the art of the scribe, of reckoning, of number, of giving and receiving, and of the sciences.”  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of the 8 of Swords with older images through the power of the first face of Gemini to “discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities” which leads to “clever methods” and an opening of abundant flow that “de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.”  Coppock noted that the mental acuity of this face not only generates all arts and crafts, it also directs its prodigious curiosity to explore the multitudinous found within, both the light and the shadow of the deep Self.

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini, interesting in terms of the forthcoming lunar cycle as Jupiter will station direct in Libra at the same time as the upcoming Full Moon in Sagittarius.  With Mercury in Taurus ruling the New Moon after having moved past its retrograde shadow zone into a harmonious aspect with Neptune in Pisces, there is a lot of visionary and imaginative potential buried in the darkness of the New Moon that will be unearthed as the Moon waxes in light.   Follow your obsessions, passions, and desires where they lead you, as the gifts of the coming lunar cycle will come to those willing to courageously open themselves fully to what life has to offer rather than recoil in apprehension over what fate may befall them from risking their heart in action.

References

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

Vettius Valens of Antioch, Book One. (2016). Rendered from ancient Greek into modern English by Andrea Gehrz. Moria Press.

Full Moon in Libra

max ernst whole city

La Ville Entière (1935/6) by Max Ernst

Oh, may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
For miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night
like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge men’s
search
To vaster issues.
So to live is heaven:
To make undying music in the world . . .

—George Eliot from “The Choir Invisible”

The Full Moon on April 10 or 11, depending upon your location, is united with Jupiter in Libra and ruled by Venus retrograde in Pisces.  The generous pleasures we might expect from a Full Moon so strongly bound with Jupiter and Venus, however, are significantly altered by the catalytic aspects surrounding each.  The Full Moon forms challenging aspects with Uranus and Pluto, while Venus is slowing down to stand still within a hard aspect to Saturn.  There is both immense destruction and inspiring creativity occurring, with those grasping for power locked in unyielding combat just as others are joining forces in dynamic co-creation.  The constant theme weaving through all is accelerated change instigating amplified feelings and the need to adjust and rebalance within turbulent, swift currents.

The Libra Full Moon is not for the faint of heart, as it calls for a courageous response to current circumstances.   Uranus demands empowered radicality willing to burst free from restrictive conventions, Pluto demands acting from a place of secure inner authority, while Jupiter is magnifying a yearning for connection and shared generosity that can empower those with shared interests.  Jupiter aligned with the Full Moon also can provoke overwhelming emotional reactions to whatever feels unjust within the numerous struggles swirling within society.  These aspects also shine light on selfish quests for wealth and power by groups and individuals attempting control without regard for the repercussions of their action on others.  The Full Moon in the outwardly directed home of Venus supports organizing networks to aid those in need as well as channelling tensions into artistry, creativity, and inventive responses that uplift, empower, and express love.

the-hundred-headless-woman-opens-her-august-sleeve-1929.jpg!Large

The Hundred Headless Woman Opens Her August Sleeve (1929) by Max Ernst

In Love and Will I pointed out that behind will lies wish. This does not mean that whatever one wishes will then become the goal of one’s resolution, but it does mean that the deeper levels of human motivation must include wishing, whether one calls it yearning, longing, passionate desiring, or something else. Otherwise the willing is merely applied from the outside and is never transformed into action. We must have a conviction before an act of will can be effective. “Wish” is part of the area in human consciousness which includes hoping, yearning, imagination, believing– all of which have to do with the innate dimension of feelings that give birth to motivation . . .

Wishing, longing, yearning, myth making– all these activities of human consciousness are as central as they have ever been, and any teaching of resolutions or guiding rules that does not include these activities is doomed to failure. Wishing and hoping come directly out of the functions of dreaming and making myths. “In dreams begin responsibilities,” as the poet Delmore Schwartz so rightly reminded us, and we could say with even more cogency, if less poetically, in myths begin ethics and aspirations. It was a wise person who stated, “I don’t care who makes a society’s laws as long as I can make their myths.”

— Rollo May from The Cry for Myth

Venus retrograde in Pisces rules the Full Moon in square to Saturn and conjoining Chiron while slowly moving backward across her exaltation degree.  Venus retrograde is not known for wish fulfillment, but Venus retrograde arising as a Morning Star shortly before sunrise in exaltation can bring clarity to our deepest desires, most cherished values and priorities, and the relationships deserving our commitment.  Under the influence of Saturn’s scythe we also more acutely feel the limitations of time available to pursue passions and the necessity of persevering through separations or trying circumstances. Saturnine traits such as patience, discipline, and hard work will be needed, as well as walking the virtuous path of integrity.  Lessons may arise around how our Venusian natures must descend into our unconscious feelings and innermost yearnings in order to arise and manifest what will bring us our true pleasures as well as empowered presence.

The Full Moon in Libra under the influence of Venus in this position will magnify the suffering of the world and those oppressed and victimized by dominant power structures. As Venus is holding counsel with Chiron in a cave near her most sacred water, the incendiary inferno of dogmatism and its persecutory rage swirl and snarl with Saturnine constriction.  However, Venus in her degree of natural abundance has many resources at her disposal to address the demands of Saturn.  We must accept fate and our destiny that has brought us to this point, yet as our hearts guide us to who and what we wish to commit to, we will discover not only what we want to build but how to further develop it in the months ahead.  After Venus stations direct on April 15, she will form her final square with Saturn on April 21 during the last quarter phase of the current lunation cycle.  The challenges of Saturn will guide us toward creating the supports needed to bring our inner dreams and visions into reality.

Hokusai-fuji-koryuu

The Dragon of Smoke Escaping Mt. Fuji by Hokusai

The tumultuous conflicts among world leaders that have been increasing in magnitude recently can be viewed in astrology through the current retrograde movement of Jupiter that has taken it from an opposition with Uranus back through a square with Pluto.  On April 7 Jupiter experienced the heart of its retrograde phase by forming an exact opposition with the Sun, and as a result key events on both collective and personal levels have been occurring that illustrate the current trajectory of development and expansion.  Just as storylines in world events can be traced back seven years ago when the square between Uranus and Pluto was first forming, so may we sense the roots of our current dilemmas in our experiences of the past few years of immense change.  The Full Moon in Libra will highlight not only where we have greater potential for growth to manifest, but also show us the foundational issues we must address if we wish to reach the full potential.  The volatilizing influence Jupiter is bringing to Pluto and Uranus will be continuing to play out until early October when Jupiter finally leaves Libra for the sign of Scorpio.

Vesta in Cancer has been engaging with the challenging aspects between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto since the beginning of February, as Vesta stationed direct in mid March in range of an opposition to Pluto and a square to both Jupiter and Uranus.  Vesta in Cancer is in square to the Full Moon and as a result the full meaning of Vesta challenging Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto will be illuminated.  Vesta in Cancer has been bringing focus to what needs nurturing within us, whether that be a wellness or spiritual practice, opening to a relationship or tending to one’s own inner realm in private sanctum.  Vesta is able to sustain focus with copious amounts of commitment, and so brings the importance of making time and space each day to invest energy into passionate work or personal ritual that activates authentic spirituality and creativity.

There is additional martial force underlying the Libra Full Moon as its ruler Venus is receiving Mars in Taurus through a sextile.  Mars is also separating from a conjunction with Ceres in Taurus, bringing both Mars and Ceres into contact with Venus retrograde.  On the one hand this means the widespread conflicts and violence that have been enflaming world events will continue to intensify.  On personal levels, however, the sextile between Mars, Ceres, and Venus makes a lot of desire available to inject into building supportive structures as well as guarding and protecting who or what we hold most dear.  This is not a fast and impulsive Mars vibe but rather one that is slow, steady, thorough, and capable of patiently developing goals rather than acting rashly and impatiently.

Giorgio_de_Chirico,_Merkuriusun_Derin_Dusunusu

Mercury’s Meditation (1973) by Giorgio de Chirico

Memory is the mother of creativity. This is a myth worth pondering. For it is in memory that one saves and savors the significant experiences, the dazzling sights, the critical events. In memory these precious experiences form themselves together into a myth which tells us a story. We say we “sleep on an idea,” and when we wake up we may feel we have arrived at a new insight, as though it were a gift from the gods. And who is to say it is not? Mnemosyne, or “Memory,” is the goddess who puts together our materials with which new discoveries are made and poems are written and great books and enduring paintings are inspired.

— Rollo May from Crying for Myth

Mercury is bearing a potent witness and influence to events surrounding the Full Moon, as Mercury stationed retrograde in Taurus a day before the lunation and is also symbolically descending into the underworld at sunset as it will be disappearing from view until reemerging again as a Morning Star around April 29.  These conditions were known as being phasis in ancient astrology and gives Mercury retrograde in Taurus increased prominence to deliver a vital message we are in need of receiving.  We may gain awareness of thoughts and memories buried within our inner recesses that dramatically alter our current perceptions, or a potent omen may cross our path while slumbering in dreams or journeying through our environment that proves to serve as a powerful guide in the time period ahead.

Mercury has some natural strength where it is stationing, for Mercury rules the first decan of Taurus.  The astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that the Mercurial first face of Taurus holds resonance with the thorough and patient planning necessary to develop future harvests.  Yet Mercury is under the full influence of Venus at the Full Moon as it is in both the home and the bounds of Venus, drawing us into our bodily senses to find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties.  From the Full Moon in Libra through the last quarter phase of the forthcoming lunation cycle, Mercury will be in the process of being purified and regenerated under the beams of our Sun, and while we may notice some delays in Mercurial significations in our lives, we will also be able to strip away old mental habits and patterns in need of release.  Around April 19 or 20, Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at the first degree of Taurus, uniting with our solar light and becoming empowered to bring about everything to do with the Mercury archetype in our lives. The powerful Venusian influence upon this moment further amplifies potential to reveal inner desires and values needing to emerge into awareness, with the last quarter lunation helping us dislodge from old preconceptions.

4 of Swords

4 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 3 Decan

The Full Moon in Libra falls in the third face of Libra, associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a tomb with a statue of a knight in prayer, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Since we are in a time of Mercury retrograde, we also can integrate the duality within this image, the concept of peace that necessitates the concept of conflict, the pilgrim/knight in prayer surrounded by swords.  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how his positioning is like a re-balancing of the chakras and re-integration of our body and mind, and the sword below him is a tool to be used to cut away the false and inessential in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in his book on the decans 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild oscillating forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

Jupiter stationed retrograde in its own face around February 6, turning back within a place of strength to eventually station direct on June 9 in range of a square to Pluto.  As we experienced the heart of the Jupiter retrograde when it directly opposed our Sun a few days before the Full Moon in Libra, the Full Moon is illuminating important information for us to focus on in order to bring about the dynamic visions that have been entering our awareness since Jupiter turned retrograde back in February.  As the lessons of the third face of Libra suggest, we must strike balance within turbulent and contending forces surrounding us in worldly events, finding center within the true desires and love of our burning heart.

References

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

Eliot, George. (1926). One Hundred and One Famous Poems. Chicago: Cable.

May, Rollo. (1991). The Cry for Myth. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus & Aries

Fingal_s_Cave,_Island_of_Staffa,_Scotland_by_Thomas_Moran,_1884-5,_High_Museum_of_Art

Fingal’s Cave, Island of Staffa, Scotland (1884) by Thomas Moran

Mercury Retrograde

For one throb of the artery,
While on that old grey stone I sat
Under the old wind-broken tree,
I knew that One is animate,
Mankind inanimate phantasy.
— W.B. Yeats, A Meditation in Time of War

In the cool air of twilight as the Sun descends below the horizon, Mercury begins its journey into the underworld as a retrograde planet.  While changing into the role of a psychopomp as fluidly as vespertine colors transfigure into the darkness of nightfall, Mercury retrograde opens us to a liminal perceptual space which offers guidance in between life transitions and the crossing of thresholds.  Mercury delights in the part of a cunning guide of soul during its retrograde phase, beguiling all with unforeseen twists best handled with intuitive receptivity to direction.  On April 9 Mercury will begin its retrograde within the earthy home of Venus, a twenty four day passage that will take it back into the fiery home of Mars where it will hold lengthy counsel with Uranus.  As Mercury will station retrograde less than a week before the current Venus retrograde ends with Venus stationing direct, there is an incredibly volatile atmosphere at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde which will require constant focus on recalibrating the connection between our perceptions and translation of meaning.

Within the rulebook of astrology, Mercury refuses to be caged in by categorizations of gender or preference for day or night.  However, since Mercury begins its retrograde period as an Evening Star, it finds accord stationing in Taurus since the nocturnal sign of the Bull is both the exaltation of the Moon and the domicile of Venus.  Mercury stationing retrograde in the inwardly receptive sign of Venus will lead us to find meaning through our subjective sensual faculties as we will be drawn into our corporeal senses and instincts.  Fittingly, Hermes in myth is bound to the fertility and life force of nature, a seductive mediator who reveals the spiritual found in the profane and the profane that may be discovered in the spiritual.

Mercury caduceus by Bradley

Mercury caduceus glyph by Bradley Naragon

Hermes was born in a cave, a fitting origin to his destiny as subterranean caves were the temples of our ancestors where Spirit was received in the flesh.  In the instinctual sign of Taurus our Mercurial capacities turn within so that our diverse senses take precedence over rational analysis.  Similar to how Mercury in alchemy conjoins the animating spirit with its earthy body, the full bodily perception available with Mercury in Taurus brings nonverbal insight into the world-creating spirit concealed in material forms.  Along these lines it is fascinating that Taurus is the heliocentric South Node of Mercury, for Mercury does not move at a fast pace in Taurus but rather sustains a slowly churning rhythm grounded into the sensuality of the moment.  The plodding, patient, and thorough movement of Mercury in Taurus also helps bring awareness to practical considerations and focus on developing and nurturing work and relationships toward their full potential.

In popular astrology there are many warnings to not start businesses, sign contracts, make important purchases, initiate relationships, or basically make any major life decisions while Mercury is retrograde.  It has also become common parlance even among those with minimal astrological understanding to not only complain about Mercury being retrograde, but to blame all technological mishaps and communication breakdowns on the phenomenon of Mercury appearing to move backward through our zodiac.  However, Mercury being retrograde is not a cursed anomaly but rather an essential aspect of Mercury, as essential as sunset is to sunrise.  Very successful businesses, contracts, and relationships of all sorts can begin during Mercury retrograde, but it is more important than normal to pay attention to our intuition with regards to the choices we make and the ventures we begin.

During Mercury retrograde the orbit of Mercury comes in between our Earth and our Sun, bringing Mercury as close to us as it ever gets.  In the resulting amplified atmosphere of Mercury, it is vital to maintain keen awareness into the synchronous interplay between sights, sounds, and other senses within our environment.  It is further paramount during Mercury retrograde to pay attention to gut instincts and the symbolic meaning of omens and other oracular messages that cross our path whether from our nightly dreams or daily travels.  Our inner life will need tending especially during the first week of the Mercury retrograde in Taurus, as Mercury will be ruled by a Venus that is also retrograde but in the process of stationing direct.  Since Venus is in her exaltation of Pisces while simultaneously forming a catalytic relationship with Saturn, our sensual perceptions will receive sharp and potent messages and we will need to navigate an inner sea of emotions that can become turbulent at times.

great work le triomphe hermetique

from Alexandre Toussaint de Limojon de Saint-Didier’s Le Triomphe Hermetique (1689)

Mercury rules the first face of Taurus where it stations retrograde, giving Mercury greater natural aptitude to do its work of interpreting and communicating meaning.  The astrologer Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that the Mercurial first face of Taurus holds resonance with the thorough and patient planning necessary to develop future harvests.  Mercury is under the full influence of Venus at the beginning of its journey as it is in both the home and the bounds of Venus, with Venus at a standstill in her exaltation of Pisces.  The fact that Mercury initially moves retrograde ruled by Venus retrograde, with Venus forming a conjunction with Chiron and a square with Saturn, cannot be overlooked or downplayed.  It will be necessary during the initial movement of Mercury retrograde to face the truth of our external reality as well as our full interior realm of feelings without denial.  Whatever needs nurturing, adjustment, alteration, or rebalancing will be revealed if we are paying attention, and with the gained awareness we can begin to modify our decision making and development of goals.

Since Mercury is also stationing in the exaltation of the Moon and close to the specific exaltation degree of the Moon, it is compelling that its retrograde begins with a waxing gibbous Moon on its way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Libra and an especially dynamic Full Moon in Libra the following day.  Not only will the Full Moon at the beginning of Mercury’s underworld journey be conjoining Jupiter, but the Sun will also be united with Uranus while the Full Moon itself forms a challenging square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In short it will be impossible to miss the messages Mercury intends to send at the beginning of its retrograde, as significant illumination will show up in both collective and personal events revealing what was previously hidden or unclear.

As Mercury will move all the way back into Aries where it will eventually station in conjunction with Uranus, the fact Mercury retrograde begins with a Full Moon that connects both the opposition between Uranus and Jupiter as well as the square between Uranus and Pluto is pivotal.  Jupiter at the time of the Mercury retrograde is volatilizing the square between Uranus and Pluto, having recently moved away from an exact opposition with Uranus to form an exact square with Pluto.  As a result it’s not so much that unexpected developments are going to be appearing out of nowhere during the first phase of the Mercury retrograde, more that a fresh perspective can be revealed toward storylines that have been developing over time.  Mercury in its psychopomp role can provide the guidance needed to discern our next step if we are paying attention, helping us find our place within the tumultuous shattering and shifting of collective structures occurring all around the world.

The Mercury retrograde in Taurus also serves as a finale for the transit of the lunar nodes through Pisces and Virgo, with Mercury serving as the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.  Mercury will station in range of a trine to the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, and when Mercury unites with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde it will also be closely trine to the North Node of the Moon.  After Mercury stations direct on May 3, the true nodes of the Moon will shift into the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius and the North Node of the Moon in Leo on May 9.  The lunar nodes have been in Pisces and Virgo since 12 November 2015 (true node calculation), a time period that has lived up to the mutable sign significations of immense change, endings, and transitions.  While its possible that the Mercury retrograde will coincide with circumstances bringing up a review or reflection upon the life changes that have occurred since November 2015, it is also likely that opportunities and boons will present themselves enabling us to integrate final lessons and make new choices resolving our experience with the Virgo North Node.

marlene-seven-roasting-cinnabar

Roasting Cinnabar (2017) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

That Light who’s smile kindles the universe,
That Beauty in which all things work and move,
That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
Which, through the web of being blindly wove
By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
The fire for which all thirst, now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.

— Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Adonaïs: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on April 19 or 20, depending upon your location, the moment in which Mercury unites with the Sun at the exact degree of the zodiac.  When Mercury retrograde unites with the Sun, labeled its inferior conjunction by astrological texts, Mercury is aligned with our Earth in between our orbit with the Sun, as close as Mercury ever gets to us.  This moment is experienced as a rebirth of the Mercury archetype within our lives, and at the time of its union with the Sun, Mercury is said to be in its seat of power, like an empowered Hermes taking a turn behind the reigns of our solar chariot.

Venus in Pisces rules the union between Mercury retrograde with our Sun, and significantly at the time of their union Venus will have recently stationed direct and will be applying tightly to her final square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  There is a fascinating relationship between Mercury being cazimi (at the heart of the Sun) and the Venus retrograde of 2017 for the Venus retrograde began with Mercury cazimi in Pisces while direct, meaning that Mercury was on the other side of the Sun from us.  As Venus begins to move direct again as a Morning Star, we once again experience a regeneration of Mercury, this time with Mercury close to us in orbit.  The harmonious relationship between Taurus and Pisces is part of the reason why Venus is considered to be exalted in Pisces, as their relationship supports staying true to one’s inner values while dissolving blockages in support of making the needed alterations to manifest inner visions.

The sabian symbol for the first degree of Taurus where Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs is “A CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAM” with the keynote of The pure, uncontaminated and spontaneous manifestation of one’s own nature according to Dane Rudhyar.  The union of Mercury and the Sun being ruled by Venus in a tight square with Saturn may make it difficult to picture spontaneous manifestation if you hold certain astrological dogma in mind, however in truth there is no reason that spontaneous authenticity cannot arise in response to the cold necessity of Saturn.  Mercury is being purified within our central light of Spirit fire at the same time Venus in her exaltation degree is calling us to take accountability and integrity into expression of our deepest love.  Within clear boundaries of structure, instead of feeling repressed or hemmed in there can arise an improvisational display of our primal creativity.

Mercury retrograde at the heart of the Sun also occurs during a last quarter Moon in Aquarius on its way toward an eventual New Moon in Taurus, the inner home of Venus, as well as with Mars at the final degree of Taurus.  Thus though Mercury is at the first degree of Taurus and Mars at the last, both are still within the domain of Venus in her exaltation of Pisces.  The powerful Venusian influence upon this moment further amplifies potential to reveal inner desires and values needing to emerge into awareness, with the last quarter lunation helping us dislodge from old preconceptions. In addition, it means that shortly after Mercury unites with the Sun a mutual reception between Mars and Mercury will begin through Mars entering Gemini, the airy yang home of Mercury, and Mercury crossing back into Aries, the fiery yang home of Mars that forms a harmonious sextile with Gemini.  Fittingly, we can still discover Venus in the relationship formed by the signs Mercury and Mars will enter as traditionally in astrology Venus has always stood as the symbol underlying the meaning of the sextile.

Matta Being With

Being With (1946) by Roberto Matta

Mercury stations with Uranus

What constitutes the training of the hand?
I shall tell what constitutes the training of the hand.
One suspects something is wrong with transcribing signs
But the hand transcribes only the signs it has learned.
Then it is sent to the school of blots and scrawls
Till it forgets what is graceful. For even the sign of a butterfly
Is a well with coiled poisonous smoke inside.

Perhaps we should have represented him otherwise
Than in the form of a dove. A fire, yes, but that is beyond us.
For even when it consumes logs on a hearth
We search in it for eyes and hands. Let him then be green,
All blades of calamus, running on footbridges
Over meadows, with a thump of his bare feet. Or in the air
Blowing a birchbark trumpet so strongly that farther down
There tumbles from its blast a crowd of petty officials,
Their uniforms unbuttoned and their women’s combs
Flying like chips when the ax strikes.

Still it’s just too great a responsibility to lure the souls
From where they lived attentive to the idea of the hummingbird, the chair, and the star.
To imprison them within either-or: male sex, female sex,
So that they wake up in the blood of childbirth, crying.

— Czeslaw Milosz, Sentences (1963-1965)

This particular Mercury retrograde is especially jolting, catalytic, and compelling because Mercury will spend an extraordinary length of time in conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  Truly out of the ordinary, Mercury will spend over three weeks from April 20 through May 16 in range of a conjunction with Uranus in Aries.  There will two distinct phases of Mercury uniting with Uranus, the first from April 20 through May 3 when Mercury is retrograde and invisible under the beams of the Sun- during this period Mercury will unite with Uranus on April 28.   Mercury and Uranus combined brings sudden awareness that can synthesize previously fragmented strands of thought and analysis instantaneously in the flash of the moment.  In the process of being purified and regenerated from its recent union with our Sun, Mercury in this period has not taken visible form and similarly our Uranian insights and revelations may feel more unconscious and not clearly seen.

28 April 2017 looks to be a pivotal day not only because of Mercury uniting with Uranus, but also because on the same day Venus will re-enter the sign of Aries.  As Venus re-enters Aries, she moves away from her square with Saturn in Sagittarius at roughly the same time Mercury is forming a trine with Saturn (Mercury retrograde will trine Saturn exactly on April 24).  It is compelling that as we have been dealing with Saturn in square to Venus all month long, we end up with Mercury combining with Uranus in a trine to Saturn.  As a result we can receive revelatory ideas into how to make minor modifications as well as major reformations into the issues dredged up during the time of Saturn in square to Venus.  It could feel like breakthrough insights are intensifying in our subconscious, ready to burst through into our conscious awareness with blazing comprehension.

After Mercury stations direct on May 3 it will emerge in the sky above the moist dew of morning, heralding the return of solar light at sunrise as a Morning Star.  Making the atmosphere more electric, the Moon in Leo will form a fiery triangle in our sky with Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn on May 3 when Mercury stations direct, increasing the likelihood of inspirational insights entering consciousness that address whatever challenges we have been dealing with.  Mercury visible and direct will form another conjunction with Uranus on May 9 and a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius on May 11, with a Full Moon in Scorpio falling in between these aspects on May 10.  Although Mercury is not seen as having essential dignity in the third face of Aries, Mercury emerging direct as a Morning Star does resonate with the diurnal sign of the Ram that is considered to be the exaltation of our Sun.

In addition, as Mercury stations and moves direct as a Morning Star while in Aries it will be in mutual reception with Mars moving forward through Gemini, with Venus co-present at the beginning of Aries.   As Venus retraces her steps through the previous section of Aries that she moved retrograde through in February and March, there will likely be some unexpected developments to contend with.  However, Mercury united with Uranus while in trine to Saturn supports a ready mental faculty that can swiftly respond and initiate new structural supports to help stabilize whatever has become volatile.  Mercury up at the crack of dawn, crowing like a rooster, is in an invigorating position of immense curiosity and exploration that can open us to a flow of creativity in response to life.

It is noteworthy that Mercury’s retrograde phase involves stationing in the Earth element and going back to the Fire element, echoing the retrograde that took us across the threshold of 2017 that went from Capricorn to Sagittarius. In August we will experience another Mercury retrograde that goes from Virgo back into Leo.  This transition from Earth to Fire in some ways is like a foreshadowing of the movement from Fire to Earth we will enter in 2018 as Saturn will move from Sagittarius into Capricorn, and Uranus will move from Aries into Taurus.   Some of the shifting adjustments needing to be found during the current Mercury retrograde will have far reaching impact, especially considering that Mercury ends up stationing direct with Uranus.  Early warning signs of what we need to prepare for in the year ahead may enter our awareness at the same time we are finding it necessary to deal with the pressing issues of the moment.

References

Milosz, Czeslaw. (2006). Selected and Last Poems 1931 -2004. HarperCollins.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Yeats, W.B. (1989). The Collected Poems revised second edition. Edited by Richard J. Finneran.  Scribner Paperback Poetry.

Virgo Full Moon

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Crow in Flight (1916) Watanabe Seitei

Full Moon in Virgo

Following an eruption of panoramic, polyphonic perceptual feelings, perspicacity returns in the form of a Virgo Full Moon in strong aspect with Mercury and Saturn.  The Moon’s journey from darkness to full light in the past couple weeks of this lunar cycle aligned with immense releases triggered by a solar eclipse, Venus stationing retrograde, and Mercury’s union with the Sun.  The Virgo Full Moon brings focus to the moment within the streams of change, centering awareness on how to integrate the heightened influx of released emotions and changes in circumstances and relationships.  Eclipses as well as Venus retrograde periods tend to be times of destiny in which new relationships emerge with fateful force while older relationships undergo necessary shifts or dissolution.  The light of the Virgo Full Moon will illuminate where concrete action needs to be taken to address developing issues as well as how to adjust and modify the boundaries and structures of our lives to effectively work with however our external and internal experiences have been changing.

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Youth on a Long-Tailed Turtle as Urashima Taro by Suzuki Harunobu (1725-1770)

Mercury in Pisces rules the Full Moon, separating from a square with Saturn in Sagittarius and a conjunction with Chiron.  Mercury began a new cycle with the Sun less than a week before the Full Moon and as a result has been purified and regenerated from passing through the fiery heart of our Sun.  However, Mercury remains combust and invisible due to its close proximity to the Sun, making it more difficult for Mercury in Pisces to sustain attention to detail.  Mercury in Pisces is also not known for rational discernment and thorough research to the extent Mercury enjoys in its home and exaltation of Virgo, yet does brings imaginative and intuitive gifts that can open vision to how to best navigate forward with current plans.  Mercury in Pisces has a psychic sense of underlying emotional dynamics and as a result the Full Moon will bring keen insight into one’s genuine feelings that previously may have been denied or blocked.

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White Cloud (Lighthouse) by Helen Torr (circa 1932)

Saturn in Sagittarius forms a square to the Virgo Full Moon as well as Mercury and Chiron in Pisces, enforcing discipline to the visionary capacities of Mercury and Chiron in Pisces.  Mercury in Pisces inspires poetic leaps of thought and investigating questions seeking ultimate understanding, and its hard aspect to Saturn supports dedicated focus on tangible, practical action that will shift the musings of Mercury in Pisces from the inner realm of dreams into the external world of material manifestation.  Saturn in Sagittarius has a more far reaching vision than Saturn does in other signs, and its strong influence on the Virgo Full Moon will illuminate not only the path forward but the actions and steps needed to be taken immediately in order to ensure later success.  The square from Saturn to Mercury and Chiron will also bring alert to any areas of life that need attention, in particular due to consequences stemming from the shifts that have occurred in the recent period of eclipses.  Use the intuitive capacities of Mercury in Pisces to attune to any and all messages pointing toward where one needs to recalibrate priorities and focus.

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Horse’s Skull with Pink Rose (1931) Georgia O’Keeffe

Venus in Aries is retrograde yet remains a burning, bright Evening Star at the time of the Virgo Full Moon.  Less than week after the Full Moon around March 18, however, Venus will descend at twilight into her invisible journey into the underworld where she will dive into the heart of our Sun for her rebirth.   Venus retrograde is finally beginning to gain movement backwards through zodiac degree at the Full Moon, and the initial shifts of passions and relational dynamics that have coincided with her stationing in mid Aries will now be obvious in the full light of the Mercurial lunation.  Venus in Aries is ardor, is embodiment of fiery passion circulating from head to toe, and the love and yearning of Venus in Aries demands outlets of expression.  If one is not currently in a relationship through which to luxuriate within the sensual delights of Venus, there are numerous other avenues available through which to sublimate her enflamed passions available while in the home of Mars and the exaltation of our Sun.  Art, creativity, pioneering explorations, and social activism are especially suitable mediums, but the important thing is to find places in life to freely express feelings rather than bottle them up and risk having them erupt in unfavorable circumstances.

An important shift that occurred as the Moon increased in light building up to the Full Moon was that Mars entered Taurus, as Mars is hosting Venus in his home of Aries.  As a result there is mutual generosity between Mars and Venus, as Venus is likewise hosting Mars in her home of Taurus.  Mars in Taurus forms a whole sign trine to the Full Moon in Virgo, and furthermore is applying to an exact trine with the North Node in Virgo and a sextile with the South Node in Pisces.  Venus is known as being estranged in Aries and Mars is also known as being estranged in Taurus, and so both planets are in signs in which they can express strength but in a way that can feel more out of control.  Mars does enjoy expressing itself through the sensual earth signs where it can ground its force into tangible actions in the material realm, and so its mutual generosity with Venus in Aries can likewise bridge unlocked Venusian passion into concrete growth.

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Virgo 3 Decan

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

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

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

Escorted by wealth on one side and death on the other, the residents of this face cross the threshold into the tomb. Alone in the burial chamber with silent centuries, they dialogue with the corpse all will become about the value of all things. The importance of legacies becomes clear, for though all works face eventual decay, some endure for aeons . . .

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

–Austin Coppock from 36 Faces

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

Saturn in Sagittarius is residing at the same degree it will be inhabiting when Venus stations direct on April 15, and the Virgo Full Moon ruler Mercury is inhabiting the same degree of Pisces basically where both Chiron and Venus will be when Venus stations direct. As a result the Virgo Full Moon is not only illuminating the initial meaning of the Venus retrograde but also unveiling insight into how things will be taking shape in the months ahead. Within waves of shattering change, within the decomposition and death of the old and the hatching of the new, like Hestia may we open ourselves to the change of the moment through heart-centered focus on the eternal power of love and devotion.

References

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

Pisces Solar Eclipse 2017

Vasily Kafanov the beginning

Vasily Kafanov (2015) The Beginning

Down by the water the soil is wet with richness.  The currents stream past, the waves inexorably flow in and out.  Water holds us as its dissolving force caresses our skin. The wisdom of ages flows over us, washes off the sweat and stains of daily struggle, cleanses the wounds of past grief and heartbreak.  Water holds the memories of all, the endless repository of the collective unconscious, and the inner knowing of who we are and how we love in this fertile moment.

The Pisces Solar Eclipse arises in alignment with Neptune on 26 February 2017, the final of the series of Pisces and Virgo eclipses we have been experiencing over the course of the past two years.  Both an ending and birth of a potent new beginning, within its watery release we discover both who we were before and who we will become, the memory of our future path circulating through our body in the dissolving second of an instant.

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From the Splendor Solis

The eclipses in Pisces and Virgo have been occurring since March of 2015, and so all of the lessons we have learned and integrated, as well as those we may still be struggling with, are embodied in the moist air all around us.  There is a particularly strong mirroring between this Annular Solar Eclipse in Pisces with the Annular Solar Eclipse in Virgo that occurred on 1 September 2016 at the time of the square between Saturn and Neptune. The visions of growth felt deeply within that were not yet manifesting at that time may now be more palpably felt and tangibly taking shape.

Being an annular eclipse, it means the 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.  Rings bring to mind commitment, honoring intentions with serious dedication and devotion.  The ring of light around the Pisces Solar Eclipse is awakening deep knowing about ourselves we realize with crystal clarity is not only true but requires nurturing responsibility and tending.

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.  There is immense purification within this final Pisces Solar Eclipse that liberates us from old hangups and fosters strident vivification.

The Solar Eclipse is conjoining Neptune in the inner home of Jupiter, the place of boundless inner visions and gnosis.  As the Sun is obscured by shadow, Jupiter in Libra will be forming a mysteriously strong bond with the Solar Eclipse through antiscia, even more strongly pulling in the catalytic firepower of the opposition between Mars and Uranus in Aries with Jupiter.  The Solar Eclipse is also connected to the conjunction between Mars and Uranus through contra antiscia while Neptune also remains involved in longer lasting contra antiscia with Uranus.  This means that the opposition between Jupiter with Mars and Uranus as well as the conjunction between the eclipse and Neptune are all tightly woven together in a pulsating field of release.

In collective events the conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Aries opposing Jupiter could lead to greater eruptions of violence and dogmatic diatribes, whether the dogma is rooted in nationalism, religion, or other human constructed belief systems.  In the realm of the personal, this same fiery union of Mars and Uranus can bring about groundbreaking empowerment and self assertion that is not purely selfish but rather also uplifts others through the creative force unleashed.  Mars is powerful and at home in Aries and brings dynamic force to the Pisces Eclipse that will jar loose whatever has become stagnant or restrictive in one’s life.  These signatures call for us to let go of the old illusions that have been keeping us limited through conventional thinking.  From the death and shedding of old restrictions will erupt forth pure vitality that may be expressed through one’s daily actions and choices.

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Mountain Landscape with Rainbow (1809-10) Caspar David Friedrich

Being the final eclipse to occur with the lunar nodes in Virgo and Pisces, it is worth a deep pondering over the fact that the ruler of the North Node in Virgo, Mercury, is in Pisces and applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  Under the turmoil of world events, the ridiculous and frightening posturing of world leaders, exists the eternal wisdom of nature and the soulful spirit weaving throughout our material realm.  Though in times of bleakness it may feel as if we have become more separated than ever from the wisdom of our ancient elders who walked in honor of the sacred life found in every aspect of our environment and surrounding universes, our inner knowing remains connected to the very same sources of divine revelation.  Simultaneous with the immature egotism and aggressions of power hungry humans exists others awakening awareness of interconnection and courageously giving to others in need from loving hearts.

Allow old wounds and emotional complexes you have been identifying with to be washed away in the black ocean of the eclipse.  From purification will emerge a burning heart full of passion that can lend intuitive guidance to every decision needing to be made.  Mercury in Pisces is attuned to the nonverbal underlying fabric of emotions and psychic emanations.  Though feelings may be difficult to be placed in clearly defined terminology, love will be readily available to share widely.  At the same time that destructive violence is shattering world structures, a protective force of courageous care may arise that can tend to whomever or whatever is adversely impacted by the rupturing.

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8 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 1 Decan

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

The first face of Pisces is ruled by Saturn, which aligns perfectly with the image of a hermit turning away from the accepted and familiar in order to receive new visions of depth and penetrating insight. As Austin Coppick wrote in his book on the decans 36 Faces, the “relationship with what lies beyond the boundaries characterizes all of Pisces’ decans,” and in the first face of Pisces we “recognize our imprisonment in our own reality construct” as well as “the possibility of liberation” from moving beyond our former boundaries into “a world as yet uncorrupted by our assumptions” (p. 244).  Coppock ascribed the image of “The Labyrinth” to the first face of Pisces, noting it signifies both “a quest to map invisible walls of reality” and “the subtle structures which guide human life,” as well as the realization that our own unconscious is a primal progenitor of our current reality (p.245).  Coppock concludes:

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

–Austin Coppock (p. 245) 36 Faces

Saturn has strength in the first face of Pisces and finds itself at the time of the eclipse transiting through the third face of Sagittarius where it also has the dignity of decan.  Saturn in Sagittarius remains in a harmonious sextile with Jupiter in Libra, which is also in a decan that it rules.  This places the ruler of the eclipse in harmonious aspect with the ruler of the eclipse’s decan, with both ruling planets residing within faces that they rule.  The lesson here is clear.  No matter how much despair you may currently be feeling from the suffering of worldly events or personal loss, there is immense astrological potency that supports recreating one’s reality from a place of essential value.  The Pisces Solar Eclipse is ideal for releasing attachments to everything that no longer feels authentic, and focusing intention on creating a life full of deeply felt fulfillment.

References

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

Leo Lunar Eclipse

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Lunar Reflection by Remedios Varo

Lunar Eclipse in Leo

Life constantly brings change, yet eclipses always demarcate a period of accelerated change with synchronous endings and beginnings.  New relationships, attractions, experiences, and work opportunities appear seemingly out of nowhere with full force of manifestation, surprising us with their dramatic entrance into our surface reality.  Eclipses are also mysterious portals that hold profound shifts in the enfoldment of our destiny, as many of the changes signified by an eclipse are happening under the surface and not immediately observable in the surrounding period of the lunation.  We stand at the crossroads during eclipses bidding farewell to aspects of identity that can require grieving, while simultaneously welcoming exciting new experiences and relationships that need to be integrated into one’s life.

Lunar Eclipses occur when a Full Moon lines up with the degrees of the transiting North Node and South Node of the Moon.  The nodes of the Moon in this arrangement are symbolized by a great dragon that consumes our lights, since the Sun is overcome by shadow in a solar eclipse and the Moon is consumed with shadow during a lunar eclipse.  The dragon symbolism further links eclipses with the ouroboros imagery of a dragon consuming its own tail that has been used in Hermetic arts for ages.  The dragon devouring itself mirrors the dissolution of nature that leads to the arising of new forms.  In alchemical work the arts of separation and union tied to this imagery reflect the ability to purify material attachments.  When eclipses form in our heavens, the corresponding changes similarly lead us to release fixation on the elements of our life in need of letting go, while a burgeoning promise of new form coming together can be felt.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse on 10 February 2017 is the first of a series to occur in the signs of Leo and Aquarius that will extend until January 2019.   During a lunar eclipse the Sun casts a shadow of our Earth upon the face of the Moon, turning it blood red during a total lunar eclipse.  This first Leo Lunar Eclipse is not total, but is instead classified as penumbral.  This stems from the fact that although the eclipse is fairly close to the North Node of the Moon, the eclipse is happening at 23º Leo while the North Node of the Moon is at the beginning of Virgo. The visual effect is that the shadow cast by the Earth onto the Moon by our Sun is not going to cover Luna in a total red glow, instead only projecting a diffuse outer shadow on the Moon that will be faintly noticeable.

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. Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness. Linking the Moon to what we carry with us in our body and mind, these memories of the past can be released to allow for the emergence of new ways of being embodied in the moment. Since the Leo Lunar Eclipse is aligned with the North Node of the Moon, while our fiery Sun is burning  on the side of the South Node of the Moon, it corresponds that growth will come from the resolution and release of old karma. The influence of Leo furthermore brings an electrifying jolt of fiery creativity, actualization, and instinctual self assertion into whatever areas of our life the eclipse impacts through its aspects to our astrology charts.

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Toward the Tower (1961) by Remedios Varo

The diffuse penumbral shadow projected on the Moon signifies that while the eclipse heralds the eventual shift of the lunar nodes into Aquarius and Leo months from now, our work with the nodes in Pisces and Virgo is not yet complete.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Solar Eclipse coming on February 26 are the final two eclipses to occur with the South Node of the Moon in Pisces.  As a result there will be an immense bursting of collective illusions forcing humanity to become wide awake to the discrepancy between fantasy and bare boned reality.  Eclipses have been occurring in Pisces and Virgo since the first Pisces Solar Eclipse in the series that occurred on 20 March 2015.  Idealized illusions and ghastly fears of the past have haunted collective events like ghosts weighed down by ball and chain, but in the storm of these final eclipses the chains of bondage will be blown open, releasing the delusive apparitions for all to see clearly.  The North Node of the Moon in Virgo continues to call us to embrace the moment with full awareness of everything occurring, whether we feel attraction or repulsion, and to discern choices that will bring greater fulfillment through service to the greater good.

The activation of Aquarius and Leo by the eclipse while the lunar nodes remain in Pisces and Virgo bring up innumerable issues concerning the current state of being for humanity within the complex networks of global civilization it has created.  While the archetypes of Pisces and Virgo can involve a sense of guilt over how our actions impact others, the shift of the nodes into Aquarius and Leo bring awareness to how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms.  The North Node of the Moon activated by Leo brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself.  Leo is also a loyal, heartfelt sign of solar power that will protect loved ones and fight for what it believes is good and noble.  The Leo Lunar Eclipse is ideal for creative collaborations in art and activism and for embodying greater passion for life in all mundane responsibilities.  Six months from now we will experience a second set of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo with the lunar nodes also in Aquarius and Leo, and so the storylines being set in motion now will experience further dramatic developments at that time.

The Leo Lunar Eclipse is especially potent because the opposition between the Leo Moon and Aquarius Sun crosses over the opposition between Uranus in Aries and Jupiter retrograde in Libra so that both ends of the oppositions form a harmonious sextile and trine to one another.  Uranus in Aries is sextile the Sun and trine the Moon, while Jupiter is trine the Sun and sextile the Moon.    As a result the tension between the Sun and Moon as well as Uranus and Jupiter have mediating aspects of stability that can help open awareness to opportunities that go beyond previously defined boundaries, and further support taking direct action with whatever surrounding resources are available to make inspiring visions and ideas take form.  The eclipse bears gifts for those willing to work with dedication and persistence, as sudden insights and revelations will emerge in the process once a commitment to sustaining effort has been achieved.

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Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle (1961) by Remedios Varo

Saturn in Sagittarius also holds harmonious aspects within the eclipse, as it is trine to Uranus and the Moon, sextile to Jupiter and the Sun.  Although Saturn has separated from its square aspect with Neptune that dominated 2016, its effect in the collective is still felt through the alternative interpretations of reality the masses are fighting over, with people struggling to recognize the difference between the factual and the imaginal.  Neptune in Pisces remains an influence on the eclipse through being widely conjunct the South Node of the Moon, as well as through connecting with Uranus in Aries through the shadowy aspect of contra-antiscia that was also in effect throughout 2016.  As a result one can draw a triangle with fire connecting Saturn with Uranus and the Leo Lunar Eclipse, with Neptune claiming a strong presence in the shadows cast by the flowing, harmonious exchange of fire.

For anyone with angles (ascendant, midheaven . . .), planets, or other key aspects of their chart in the final decan of the fire signs (20 – 30º of Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius), the Leo Lunar Eclipse marks the point in time in which many karmic knots within life will begin to become unravelled with the gravity of necessary fate.  As the strands formerly held tight release, potential arises to weave the threads back together into a more colorful, vivacious form that can be embodied with self confidence and courage.  As a lot can change rapidly in the wake of eclipses, its important to keep in mind what one can control and what one has to surrender to not being able to control.  The raging fire contained within the Leo Lunar Eclipse can be channeled with purpose and discipline into strategic directions that can create opportunities to express inspiration, spirit, and passion.   Within the innumerable global conflicts occurring, anger can become so overwhelming that it debilitates one’s ability to make healthy choices.  Yet an inner inferno can also be injected into productive actions intent on building worthy creative works and solidifying support for both inner desires and social causes aiding others.

Mars in Aries is hosting both Venus and Uranus in his domain, applying toward a square with Pluto at the eclipse.  As the lunar eclipse releases and we head toward the darkness of the coming Solar Eclipse in Pisces, Mars in Aries will assertively blow up the tensions between Pluto, Jupiter, and Uranus, in particular re-triggering the square between Pluto and Uranus that dominated astrology between 2011 and 2015.   The many heated global conflicts already occurring will reach new levels of discord as Mars burns his way across the space of the Ram, some unavoidable whereas others will require discernment regarding which ones to engage in with personal energy.  Collectively we can all observe how many traditional structures we had gotten used to counting on have been crumbling apart through the years of the square between Pluto and Uranus-  the current transit of Mars in Aries will amplify the dismantling.  In the personal realm, the highly catalyzed and empowered Mars is available to support both well structured work opportunities as well as taking risks in life toward goals one previously did not believe possible to achieve.  Mars in Aries is also willing to fight to defend loved ones, and so adds to the fiery atmosphere of the eclipse in which combatants may be drawn into conflict over desire to protect whatever is held dear by the heart.

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The Escape (1961) by Remedios Varo

In the nights surrounding the eclipse, Venus can be seen in all of her majesty burning brightly next to Mars in Aries.  Venus is known as being in her detriment in Aries, a misunderstood classification that does not mean Venus is weak, but does mean she is away from her own home in the place of Mars.  Since Mars is close by in his own home, the Venus Evening Star is full of fiery martial force and passion yearning to be expressed with direct ardor.  Potent creative collaborations are possible with resonant partners able to harmoniously receive and reciprocate.   In relationships that have felt stuck or weighed down by unresolved issues, the martial combination of Venus and Mars in Aries can create conflicts that dislodge blockages and open up opportunities to mediate solutions through direct communication.  As Venus is now within the shadow of her forthcoming Venus retrograde that will begin on March 4, paying attention to arising concerns within relationships and addressing divisions between the needs of the self and others will help prepare us for the coming relational changes when Venus stations and turns away from Mars in retrograde motion.

While Venus and Mars are shining bright in the transfiguration of twilight, Mercury is illuminating the shift of hues at dawn as a Morning Star.  Mercury in Aquarius is forming a harmonious sextile with Venus at the eclipse, and as the forthcoming lunar cycle wanes Mercury will progress into an additional supportive sextile with Mars in Aries.  Mercury in Aquarius can bridge divides between the formerly known and the unknown on the horizon, helping to facilitate initiation of inventive visions for the future.  Mercury in Aquarius is a blessing with regard to the fiery emphasis of the eclipse as it can help with listening to the clamor of dissenting opinions and devising ways to navigate conflicts while staying true to personal integrity and principles.  In collaboration with partners or within group dynamics, Mercury in Aquarius further supports attuning to the underlying issues in need of attention in order to bring about a productive outcome.  The accord between Mercury, Venus, and Mars adds to the innovative and creative potency available to access within the Leo Lunar Eclipse.

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse illuminates the third face of Leo associated with the Seven of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image a warrior is bravely fighting for his life, using his wand to fight off the onrush of six attacking wands. He is standing on a cliff in a precarious position, yet his stance and face suggests someone putting his whole being into his struggle with extraordinary determination.  The image evokes the necessity of standing one’s ground against an onslaught from the masses or an angry mob, bringing the idea of what ideals, principles, and other forms of personal terrain are worth fighting to protect at all cost.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Banner” to the third face of Leo, for a banner “bearing the name of Truth, Justice or Beauty” unfurled symbolizes the sort of inspirational principle which transcends egoic concerns and animates a “spiritualization of the solar fire present in the Lion’s sign.”  To Coppock it is the “unconquerable heart” which is the source of the third face of Leo’s power, as “what resides in the heart is untouchable, invincible” and most radiant when enlivened with passionate spirit.  Coppock described the power of the third decan of Leo as a steadfast courage that rises to combat outside forces and protect beloved realms against external and internal threats, especially when resources are low and the odds are stacked against success.  Though Coppock praised “the solar-martial fire that moves broken limbs” found in the third face of Leo, he also warned:

Like any form of fire, divine or otherwise, there is danger. Though belief in a principle may give one the strength to hold on while all hope is lost, it is no guarantee that one’s cause is right. While this face may abound with images of noble heroes defending the right, just as many tyrants grace its halls, unwilling to yield their thrones, no matter the human cost.

Mars rules the third face of Leo, and Mars is extremely strong at the eclipse in its own sign of Aries and co-present with both Venus and Uranus. The third decan of Leo is impacted in an extraordinary manner in 2017 by eclipses, for there will be an incredibly intense Solar Eclipse in the third face of Leo coming in August 2017.  As a result the lessons we learn regarding the themes of the third decan of Leo now will return to us tenfold later in August to further wrestle with.  The overused adage of fighting fire with fire brings the question of how much conflict and destruction are worth inflicting over the issues we feel enlivened to defend and battle over.  While the power of our animated heart can lead us to resiliently contend and combat threatening forces beyond the point of exhaustion, it will also be worthwhile to discern our bodily limits and when rest and caregiving of our incarnated form is necessary.  The many fiery collective conflicts that will arise in 2017 are heralded by this first Lunar Eclipse in Leo, so gaining clarity over what is worth fighting for as well as how to best nourish and sustain our inner fire and fleshy form will be essential.

References

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

Aquarius New Moon

Crow Screen, Asian Art Museum

Japanese crow screen on display at Seattle Asian Art Museum

New Moon in Aquarius

It feels natural for children to build tree houses of secluded protection, build contained castles out of bedding, or discover a place of protected privacy away from external influences.  In between boundaries and borders of form a self contained light stirs and seeds illumination, guiding from within rather than from the expectations of others.  For many people time alone or with few intimates can feel so fruitful with freedom and insight it leads to an embrace of alienation from the collective consensus.  Yet an isolated hermit is capable of bearing waters of key messages and resources for those in need to receive, and so the dance of duality calls for a return to publicly share the meaning found on divergent paths.  The Aquarius New Moon this week supports finding balance between nurturing seclusion and braving the discord of disseminating meaning within consensus power structures to effect change and aid those struggling to find support.

The New Moon in Aquarius on 27 January 2017 launches us into a catalytic month of eclipses, for the Full Moon that follows is a Lunar Eclipse in Leo which then releases into a Solar Eclipse in Pisces at the end of February.  All planets are direct and absorbed in costume and character, ready for the curtain to open on the unprecedented drama that will defy preconceived notions.  Fear may arise with recognition that anything can happen for good or ill, yet a grace of constant perseverance may be embraced that is wide awake to possibilities with careful attention to the small and necessary tasks of the present.  There is an activating gale in the blackness of the Aquarius Moon to harness into determined work and innovative collaboration.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn, a nesting for the New Moon which provides nourishing protection to guard against the toxicity of collective conditioning in order to center vision on radical intention.  From roots that tap into streams of past philosophies and arts, the outward branching of being in Aquarius discovers the future in synthesizing old strands of story and science with current influences and evidence.  Aquarius possesses the fortitude to be alone if necessary to be authentic, as well as the facility with networking to weave strong connections between reciprocal resonance across gulfs of time and space.  To make the most of Aquarius we need to embody our values and principles that do not align with the expectations of cultural conditioning, opening our heart to radiate full presence rather than detaching with disassociation. The Aquarius New Moon is opportune for prioritizing goals based upon intrinsic value rather than accord with societal norms.

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Giorgio de Chirico (1913) The Anxious Journey

Saturn in Sagittarius rules the Aquarius New Moon with its closest aspect being a separating square with Venus in Pisces and Chiron, linking now with 15 April 2017 when Venus will station direct following its retrograde in square to Saturn and in conjunction with Chiron.  Venus with Chiron in hard aspect to Saturn can open old wounds for catharsis as well as bring acute awareness to whether or not heartfelt desires are supported by structural foundations in our life.   The tension between Venus, Chiron, and Saturn can be transmuted into empowering exchanges with others or from one’s inner creative matrix.  This is not a temporary transit of passing influence, however, as its link to the upcoming Venus retrograde means that current events and issues will have a storyline that arcs into vital developments in mid April.   Because of the link between the New Moon, the upcoming eclipses, and the subsequent Venus retrograde, our current trajectory has events of immense magnitude on the horizon we have no way to currently account for. However, whatever we are receiving from current experiences can be used to reformulate and modify plans and strategies for the future, with the hard stress between Sagittarius and Pisces meaning that clarifying whatever is being stirred up within our emotional body can be used to realign intentions and goals to make more of an effective impact.

As the Moon waxes through its new moon phase in Aquarius, it will form harmonious aspects with Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn, providing support for objectifying thoughts and feelings rooted in practicality and a stark assessment of bare bones reality.  We can discern a path forward with a vision bound to immersion in the details of the present moment, keeping awareness attuned with both subtle and seismic shifts in our surroundings.  There is also extraordinary power within these aspects for collaboration with others of shared passion, and a rapid expansion of development within collective movements united by a shared cause can ensue. Those engaged in creative arts and sciences initiating or developing a project have support for experimenting with expansive and inventive work that can become more solidified in April when Venus stations direct in alignment with Chiron and Saturn.  The current astrological movement can facilitate ingenious breakthroughs that will only come once we are actively engaged in the process of work.

The sextile between Saturn and Jupiter in Libra as well as the trine between Saturn and Uranus in Aries signifies greater support for groundbreaking risks than normal for both individuals as well as consolidated power structures.  Those seeking to control civilization (Jupiter in Libra) always want the liberty (Uranus in Aries) to take what they want for their own benefit through conditioning the public with belief systems that justify (Saturn in Sagittarius) acts of oppression and coercion.  The recent eruptions of large scale social protests can become further enflamed and expanded within these astrological aspects, leading into inevitable clashes and confrontations with opposing forces equally intent on achieving objectives.  Within the clamoring of conflict, the Aquarius New Moon contains support for purifying thoughts and feelings from how collective influences have attempted to manipulate minds with fake news and alternative facts.  There is potent yang, outwardly directed force within the Aquarius New Moon for direct action, and so it is well worth the time to become as clear as possible about intentions and where to prioritize investment of energy.

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Landscape with a Rainbow (1881) by Alexei Savrasov

Mercury in Capricorn has returned to unite with Pluto at the Aquarius New Moon, reaching the same degree of Capricorn it previously stationed retrograde on 19 December 2016.  As a result the storylines stemming from the Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and mid December 2016 are now able to be more clearly understood, with events during the week leading into the New Moon sparking distillation of meaning. As the Moon waxes into the crescent bow of Artemis, Mercury will separate from Pluto and apply to a square with Uranus in Aries and Jupiter in Libra.  Mercury will be sparking surprising change and revelation, unveiling what was previously hidden, and catalyzing effort from sharpened perception.  There will be massive conflicts and confrontations erupting in correspondence with these aspects and so careful awareness will be needed to discern how to most effectively participate and move with the flow of current.

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Emblem for Cum severitate lenites (Even in harshness there is mercy) by Henry Peacham (ca. 1610)

A cathartic drench is gathering in the air to finally release at the end of February in a Pisces Solar Eclipse united with the South Node of the Moon and Neptune.   The atmosphere of the Aquarius New Moon is saturated by premonition of the eclipses forthcoming in the month ahead, yet it is the celebrated calm before the storm offering a time to become grounded about goals and a plan for manifestation.  Mars is at the final degree of Pisces at the time of the Aquarius New Moon, empowered by the fact that both the final decan of Pisces as well as the first decan of Aries it is at the cusp of entering are both ruled by Mars.  Both Mars and Venus are Evening Stars, and their balsamic conjunction can be seen brightening the night void of any moonlight.  With Mars and Venus remaining within a hard aspect to the scythe of Saturn at the New Moon, we can gain sense for old relationship patterns we have been living from that no longer are working for us.  Adjustments to how we have been giving and receiving in relationship can be made, new attractions followed and initiated, but due to the upcoming Venus retrograde there is much more to be worked out in the close of the current cycle between Mars and Venus that will not be fully realized until October 2017 when Mars and Venus finally conjoin together in Virgo.

As the Moon waxes toward the Lunar Eclipse in Leo on February 10, Mars will enter its home sign of Aries  soon after the New Moon followed by Venus on February 3.  The shift of Mars and Venus from Pisces to Aries in the coming lunar cycle signifies a speeding up of experiences as well as an injection of amplified assertion to act from instinctual responses.  The influence of the impending eclipses activating the South Node of the Moon in Pisces bring release and purification as well as potential for profound disillusionment that can be quickly turned into angry reaction due to the movement of Mars and Venus into Aries.  The fire of Aries can be harnessed to fuel empowered responses to wherever we feel injustice and oppression are occurring, yet the Aquarius influence of the New Moon suggests discerning the choices for action that can best sustain impactful effort over the longterm rather than into eruptive outbursts that lead only to burn out.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a swordsman haughty with pride after becoming the master of his domain through clearing the field of rivals.   It is a strong individualistic image of resolute pride.  In the Thoth deck the Five of Swords card is called “Defeat” and features swords arranged in a downward pointing pentagram within frenetic, jagged lines.  Here the meaning of the Five of Swords links with negative thought patterns that keep us bound to old wounds or trapped in a self-defeating cycle.

In his book on the decans in astrology 36 Faces,  Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first face of Aquarius, describing it as a decan of purposefully living as an outsider in exile to conventional society.  Coppock linked the meaning of this face to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the traditions of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card above shows how many relationships become destroyed and sacrificed when one goes into exile away from the norms of society.  Yet at the same time, leaving consensus culture opens the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the developing liberated sense of Self, as well as enables creative actualization aligned with spirituality more so than material rewards.

The first face of Aquarius is ruled by Venus, bringing further significance to the separating square between Venus and Saturn at the time of the New Moon.  While Venus in her exaltation of Pisces has been lauded for her desire for union and harmony, in truth Venusian decisions to choose one over another can create strife and brings a weight of necessity to the eccentric yearnings of Venus.  The New Moon in Aquarius invites us to discover the wisdom of unorthodox perspectives, values, and relationships yet requires awareness for how our actions and choices can cause separation with others.  The gift of Aquarius is its capacity not only to foster knowledge of essential truth that goes against the dictates of dominant culture, but to transmit meaning with heartfelt creative expression that can warm and empower others.  As Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Moon, Saturn, and Mars in Aquarius, once wrote:

The practice of artistic seeing first had to overcome itself to the point where even in the midst of what is terrible and apparently repulsive, it beholds only being that is valid along with everything else that is.  Just as the artist may not choose what he wants to behold, he may not turn his gaze away from any form of existence.  A single instance of refusal exiles him from the state of grace, and he becomes utterly sinful.

This act of lying-down-with-the-leper and sharing all-of-one’s-warmth, including the heat of one’s own heart during a night of love:  all of this must have been part of the artist’s life as an act of overcoming to reach his [her] new state of beatitude.  Behind this kind of devotion holiness begins with small things first:  the simple life of a love that has persisted and that has joined itself to everything alone, inconspicuously, and wordlessly without taking any pride in it.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Ulrich Baer

References

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

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

Cancer Full Moon & Cardinal Cross

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The Golden Pill (2015) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Full Moon in Cancer

The Full Moon in Cancer on 12 January 2017 has a forceful intensity capable of dislodging us from wherever we have been stuck within rapid currents of release.  The first lunation of 2017, the Full Moon unleashes the tension between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will dominate the coming year.  The year ahead will bear the scars of Uranian lightning strikes as well as the enlivening heat stirred up from within that heals old wounds and liberates us from our past.  Collectively it’s a pivotal time in which the freedom granted by the Internet and it’s potential of freely flowing knowledge has been corrupted by mass manipulation of messages at levels previously unimagined by those with a thirst for power and influence.  Yet the vibration of Uranus can also disengage us from external conditioning influences, taking us within to discover our voice drawn from our deep well of soul.

Jupiter in Libra facing off with Uranus brings inspiring catalysts through relationships, but simultaneously asks us to own how we project into them, integrating the gifts stimulated through merging with others without losing sense of our center and core.  A back and forth can develop bridging vivifying relational experiences with space allowing the inner freedom able to receive what we need and release the rest.  However, because the Cancer Full Moon creates a cardinal cross, meaning that the polarity between the Sun and Moon forms a square to the polarity between Uranus and Jupiter, the volatile mix between all four cardinal signs can create disorientation over multiple paths of interest to follow at the same time.  As a result discernment is needed in terms of the next step to take in every moment, losing attachment to whatever we had convinced ourselves the subsequent step would be.

Cardinal signs initiate and instigate to create change and movement.  While cardinal signs set things in motions, they also involve a curious component of control. Perhaps it is the cardinal capacity to create change which leads each sign to want to compensate by attempting to control the outcome.  Change is difficult for many as it brings the unexpected, yet the year 2017 the Cancer Full Moon heralds will encourage releasing attachment to expectations in order to flow with the fiery twists and turns eluding control.   Creating a blueprint of goals while clarifying priorities will be important, but plans need to be written in pencil and open to continual modification.  Each step taken requires the presence of mind to receive and allow for the next step to take shape beyond preconceived notions of what that step would be.  Through openness to what we discover in each moment, allowing for the unexpected discharges of Uranus, we can free ourselves from both external and internal conditioning.

The shadows of control within the cardinal signs can be found in the modus operandi of each sign. In Aries where Uranus is holding space, we claim our needs through selfish assertion of our desires.  In Libra where Jupiter resides, we manipulate relationships through attuning to the needs of others in a way that ensures, or so we think, they will correspondingly do what we want them to do for us.  In Capricorn holding both Pluto and the Sun, the control is around claiming power in time and space so we can make sure we are responsible for what is happening rather than surrendering to someone else.  In Cancer where the Full Moon falls, control comes from the ability to draw on emotional intelligence to manipulate outcomes.  Trying to exert control in these ways will lead into a spinning out of distracted fragmentation within the Full Moon’s torrential force.

The cardinal cross is the interface between self and other and how we navigate and utilize form.  Primarily, all four of the cardinal signs possess profound gifts for finding one’s path and creating the forms necessary to fertilize and nurture essential growth.  Releasing control opens the lunar capacity of Cancer to receive subconscious content that will replenish and clarify conscious choices.

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Origins (2012) by Marlene Seven Bremner

The Cancer Full Moon not only creates a grand square with Jupiter and Uranus, it also re-activates the square between Pluto and Uranus that dominated astrology between 2011 and 2015.   Primal feelings that feel overwhelming under the light of the Full Moon also carry a valuable message buried under their density like hidden treasure.  There is support to dig deeper and receive a more penetrating perception of underlying unconscious dynamics than previously realized.   In other cases the electrical charge of the Full Moon catalyzing Jupiter and Uranus can allow for a purging of toxic feelings that need release.  To paraphrase the harmonizing of Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris in “Return of the Grievous Angel,” you will see your devil and you will see your deep blue sea.  Subconscious contents unearthed will become a resource helping to balance and center within the dissolution and shattering of surrounding collective structures.

Joining Uranus through conjunction are the dwarf planets Eris and Ceres, with Ceres finally beginning to separate after stationing direct in conjunction with Uranus last month.   Ceres invites us into the abyss of surrender that ultimately leads to greater understanding and regenerated strength.  When Ceres in her story of losing her daughter was paralyzed in mourning, at the crossroads of her struggle appeared Hekate from the void to offer counsel that eventually led to her resolution.  Similarly the Cancer Full Moon will serve as a guiding torch directed by Hekate for those willing to listen to inner guidance.  Ceres in Aries offers active, loving care that fosters mutual independence and empowerment in outer relations.

Another guiding light within the Full Moon is Mercury, now direct as a Morning Star and arising at dawn to herald the rising of the Sun and our awakening from sleep.  Mercury is at the threshold between Sagittarius and Capricorn at the peak of the Full Moon, and as the lunar cycle wanes Mercury will move forward through Capricorn.  Like the colorful cock celebrating the return of solar heat, Mercury will be up at the crack of dawn, alert to daily priorities and curious to discover the path that will lead to desired goals.  Due to the recent Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, this will be the third time that Mercury has crossed over the first fifteen degrees of Capricorn since the beginning of December 2016.  Replenished from its time in the retrograde underworld, Mercury has freed the space needed for revitalized authority in navigating life as it approaches a conjunction with Pluto during the waning Moon cycle.

Venus in Pisces is closely applying to a conjunction with Neptune while separating from her previous union with the South Node of the Moon.   Venus in her exaltation of Pisces may express the full range of her boundless sensuality, a euphoria heightened through her union with Neptune that can elicit feelings of unconditional love and acceptance for loved ones.  With the South Node of the Moon having passed over both Venus and Neptune, there has been a purifying release of old relationship desires and patterns possible.  Signs and symbols illustrative of the love story we have been living for what feels like ages may have appeared, giving us the gift of being able to create a new story through our deepened awareness.  Recent experiences of disillusionment in relationship can serve as a necessary awakening to what we need to cultivate for ourselves in relationship and nurture from within ourselves to avoid external dependencies.

Both Venus and Mars in Pisces are Evening Stars who can be seen together in the transfiguration of twilight, distilling insight into our past relational desires through their balsamic relationship.  Mars in Pisces is applying to a conjunction with Chiron at the Cancer Full Moon as it also begins to form a square to Saturn in Sagittarius.  Last year brought a series of eclipses aligned with Chiron as well as a pivotal Mars retrograde that was bound with Saturn, and so Mars is in position to dredge up whatever remains unresolved from key 2016 storylines.  Mars will form an exact square with Saturn as the lunar cycle wanes into its last quarter square on January 19, an important phase of initiation connected back to the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Sagittarius that occurred on 24 August 2016.

Whatever was torn down last year has cleared the space for new forms to be built and fortified now.  Saturn demands accountability and discipline but not limited thinking.  In fact, the aspects surrounding Saturn in Sagittarius will support manifestation for those with far reaching vision and passion who are also willing to put in the hard work and effort necessary to bring immaterial ideas and plans into material form.  These are not transits that support playing it safe or doing things the way they’ve always been done.  This is a time to risk working and living for the animating aspirations, hopes, and dreams you may have previously held back from pursuing with full force for one reason or another.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the third face of Cancer, associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Moon rules the third decan of Cancer, bringing added potency to the lunation.  In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury” (p. 115-6). Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.  Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury:

While this face has much to teach about the material dynamics of scarcity and excess, not all matters relevant to it can be confined to matters of food, wealth and shelter. Our world also provides gifts not so easily exhausted. The ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things- is an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain. Likewise, the spirit offers cups ever-refilled. This decan thus offers a vision not only of hoarding the finite, but the endless luxury of the limitless. (p. 117)

Resonant with cycles of creation and destruction that bring limitless luxury and spiritual gifts, Coppock also noted that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac connected the goddess Hekate with the third face of Cancer. Hekate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  For ages Hekate has been available to call for regenerative power, as described in the following excerpt from “The One Who Waits at the Crossroads” by Soror Basilisk:

When one is at a crossroads, Hekate is there to show the options.  The crossroads is also an initiatory ground zero . . . one disposes of unwanted remnants there and this can apply to the unwanted remnants of the Self.  With that in mind, attitudes, beliefs, outworn and outgrown patterns of behavior and thought can be shed.  The whole of the Self can be completely destroyed and rebuilt anew.  Hekate, mad as she is, wise as she is, can be trusted to guide and clear the mind.

The Cancer Full Moon brings a revelatory clearing, a release which will open space and freedom for the unknown to arrive in the next two lunar cycles involving eclipses tightly connected to the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus.  In the shedding of the past an intensification of our essence will be felt and able to be transmitted with love into our personal works of passion as well as our relationships and greater community.

References

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

Hekate:  Her Sacred Fires. (2010). Compiled and edited by Sorita D’Este. Avalonia.