Libra New Moon: Deepening of Venus Retrograde

autumn thoughts arnold bocklin

Autumn Thoughts by Arnold Bocklin

Libra New Moon

The Libra New Moon on October 8 brings us into the deepening of Fall in the northern hemisphere as the days darken and multicolored leaves descend from branches, and seeds buried under the earth pulsate with the promise of new life. The New Moon is in the home of Venus, and also takes us into an intensification of the forty day Venus retrograde period which began on October 5. There is a Plutonic quality to the lunation, as the New Moon is applying to a catalytic square with Pluto in Capricorn. Initiatory, death bringing, regenerative themes of Pluto have been strong in the week before the New Moon as Pluto stationed direct on September 30 and now begins to slowly crawl forward on course to eventually enter new zodiacal terrain. As Venus stationed retrograde on October 5 less than a week after Pluto, it is as if Pluto cleared a path underground for Venus to dig into during her retrograde through Scorpio.

Since Venus retrograde in Scorpio rules the Libra New Moon, and Venus retrograde is also being received by Mars in Aquarius in a change inducing square aspect, the New Moon in Libra is a calling to re-center within whatever changes and strong feelings have been triggered in the past week with the stationing of Venus. Venus retrograde has a different way of working towards Venusian themes of harmony, value, and attraction than when Venus is direct. One way to think about the difference is that Venus becomes more intolerant of whatever is oppressive or working against harmony rather than being accepting or attempting to mediate compromise. Especially with Venus retrograde in the fixed, deep waters of Scorpio, previously hidden or denied emotions and issues within relationships will rise to the surface and demand awareness and renegotiation. The Libra quality of the New Moon can hopefully help with listening within as well as to others so we may begin to rebalance and shift in whatever way needed.

There is also a shedding of Venus that occurs, a process that will become more intense in a couple of weeks as Venus begins to approach its conjunction with the Sun on October 26 and experiences a purifying burning away of accumulated material. Since Venus is retrograde in the home of Mars, and Venus is applying to a square aspect with Mars in Aquarius, the shedding process at the New Moon becomes accelerated and in the week following the New Moon it will become obvious whatever issues are being brought to the surface in correspondence with Venus retrograde. We can set intentions at the New Moon, but due to the square between Mars and Venus we will also be forced to deal with and respond to circumstances and themes that will be deepening in meaning as the Venus retrograde process develops through the next month.

Notably, Mars in Aquarius has finally returned to the degree it previously stationed retrograde at the end of June, and so just as it has now completed its own retrograde journey it is simultaneously an integral part of the initiation of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. The airy quality of Mars in Aquarius that is capable of detaching at times from feelings in order to catalyze needed growth can be helpful in grasping a larger vision of the bigger picture within which we are feeling difficult emotions in the moment. The deep emotions of Venus retrograde in Scorpio can be overwhelming, yet ultimately regenerative through bringing forth a cleansing purge. In the wake of what we release, the visionary capacity of Mars in Aquarius can help us push forward into new areas of growth and development.

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Persephone opening the Liknon Mystikon, found in the shrine of Persephone at Locri

Persephone

Venus retrograde has a tradition of being associated with an underworld journey for the Star of Aphrodite, and with Pluto having stationed in the same week as Venus, it brings to mind the story of Persephone who was pulled into the underworld by Hades in order to become a Queen mediating between realms of the living and dead. Moreover, the Sun in Libra was conjoining Ceres at the time Venus stationed retrograde, and Ceres in Libra is also conjoining the Libra New Moon. All of these aspects connect with the Persephone myth, including the fact that Mercury is at the final degree of Libra at the New Moon on the threshold of entering Scorpio and uniting with Venus retrograde in the following week (Hermes was sent by Zeus to bring Persephone back to her mother Demeter aka Ceres). Moreover, the Persephone asteroid #399 is exactly conjoining Venus retrograde in Scorpio at the time of the New Moon and was applying to a close conjunction with Venus at the time Venus stationed a few days before the lunation.

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

“Persephone has reached out with both hands…committed to the embrace of the wondrous flower. This…is the key to the true artist, who seeks to manifest the infinite beauty of spirit in finite matter . . . Most human beings have arrived at some kind of stasis in their relationship with the world which could, and often does for awhile, pacify the deep-seated urge to rediscover their spiritual nature. To start out on the mystical path of initiation is to put at risk our mundane contentment for the sake of something unknown, and possibly frightening.”

— Tim Addey, Seven Myths of the Soul

The New Moon in Libra conjoining Ceres also draws attention to the immense grief and trauma experienced by the Earth Mother in losing her daughter to the invisible underworld, and Ceres in Libra will be continuing to play a pivotal role in the enfoldment of Venus retrograde. Ceres in part symbolizes the need for grief and expressing rage against the injustices and oppression of our world, releasing the emotions felt when experiencing death or loss. For nine days Ceres aka Demeter refused to eat and mourned; Addey in Seven Myths of the Soul interpreted the fasting of Demeter as representing “the need to purge the concerns of matter from our perception if we are to rediscover the soul lost in hyle (matter).” Likewise the purging and putrefaction we experience and emote in the next couple of weeks of the opening stage of Venus retrograde will ultimately open deeper levels of self realization.

Ultimately after securing the return of her daughter for part of the year, Ceres brought the gifts of corn and the mystery rites to humanity. Though she endured traumatic wounds she would have to continue to bear and nurture, Ceres managed to bring a source of physical nourishment and profound spiritual understanding to the greater collective. The Libra New Moon conjoining Ceres similarly signals a month of needing to nurture past wounds, hurts, and vulnerabilities, while at the same time reaching out to others in need with warmth, support, and heartfelt action. There are numerous astrological transits coming at the end of October through November signifying immense change that could dramatically change current narratives, beginning with the coming Full Moon in Taurus on October 24.

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Pinax of Eros, Aphrodite, and Hermes found in shrine of Persephone at Locri

Mercury is co-present with the lunation at the final degree of Libra and then enters Scorpio the next day on October 9, with the newly waxing Moon joining Mercury later the same night.  The Moon and Mercury upon entering Scorpio immediately begin applying to an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, while also becoming co-present in the sign of the Scorpion along with Jupiter and Venus retrograde. Simultaneously the Moon and Mercury begin moving toward a catalytic square aspect received by Mars in Aquarius. Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Sun these days and in Scorpio is able to penetrate and investigate previously hidden areas. The opposition between Venus retrograde in Scorpio with Uranus in Taurus is the dominant astrological theme of October, and so the contact between Mercury and Uranus can help us adjust to whatever is beginning to come into our life in correspondence. With Uranus involved not only can this be something unexpected, but something that changes everything quickly.

A week after the Libra New Moon around October 15, Mercury in Scorpio will unite with Venus retrograde and further deepen our perception into whatever is brewing and arising from underworld realms. This union between Mercury and Venus retrograde is particularly notable because it happens just after Mercury has ascended again into visibility as an Evening Star, and just as Venus is descending into no longer being visible as an Evening Star. During Venus retrograde periods we always experience Venus descending from being an Evening Star into an invisible underworld phase that ultimately leads into it arising again as a visible Morning Star heralding dawn.  As a result Mercury is playing an instrumental role in transitioning us into this more secretive, subconscious, underworld period of the Venus retrograde transit.

Furthermore, as the Moon waxes toward fullness in the next couple of weeks Mercury will also be moving toward an eventual union with Jupiter in Scorpio that will occur just after the Full Moon in Taurus on October 24 and the inferior conjunction of Venus with the Sun on October 26.  The co-presence of Jupiter in Scorpio with Mercury and Venus retrograde isn’t going to make things easier or more pleasant, but it does signify a greater potential for wisdom and growth to be harvested from the corresponding experiences. These are the final lessons for us to learn from the time of Jupiter in Scorpio that began 10 October 2017.

swords03

3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

The New Moon is in the second decan of Libra associated with the Three of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Saturn rules the second face of Libra, and in the piercing heartbreak and cold atmosphere of the image we can observe the transcendence through pain that can be brought by Saturn. In times of heartbreak we can access a newfound strength that can then increase our capacity to return to our love, as well as opens us to greater levels of empathy, compassion, and awareness of those around us. The piercing of the heart by swords is also resonant with the current Venus retrograde occurring in Scorpio, the nocturnal home of Mars, with Venus also applying to a hard aspect with Mars at the time of the New Moon.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements.  Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to commitments within relationships as well as to oneself is vital to bear in mind as we deepen into the transit of Venus retrograde in Scorpio. Venus retrograde periods can coincide with new attractions and desires for change within relationship, or feelings of needing to change the balance of a relational dynamic. The influence of the second decan of Libra focuses attention on the importance of taking responsibility for clear communication and acting from integrity so as not to destroy the bonds of current relationships should desire for change occur.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the second face of Libra, a curious repetition as it also connected Kairos to the third face of Scorpio. Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities. Kairos was portrayed as moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect. In modern culture the term kairos refers to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time. While its comforting to believe we can always use our free will to create the reality we wish to live within, it usually takes an opportune moment of kairos arising that we may then seize to make the desired change. The next two months are full of change inducing astrological transits, and while difficult feelings may emerge in correspondence, so may opportunities arise to fundamentally alter our life. It will be a deep sea change, so keep an eye alert for favorable winds to catch sail with.

References

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

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

Libra Full Moon

Blake angels

William Blake (1805) The Angels Hovering Over the Body of Christ in the Sepulchre

Full Moon in Libra

The Libra Full Moon on March 31 arrives at the heart of a tempestuous Mercury retrograde period, bringing a gale of Libra winds to a tumultuous astrological environment dominated by the fire and earth elements. We stand at the crossroads of tense, dynamic aspects among the cardinal signs of Libra, Aries, and Capricorn. The volatile atmosphere stokes inner flames and the heat necessary to reshape elements of life to craft change and incite new movement and growth. Frustration can come from feeling we lack time or being overwhelmed by responsibilities that disperse focus. Yet the Libra Full Moon supplies illumination that can lift us above sources of stress for a larger perspective that will bring creative solutions when we question how we can rearrange things to move more with the flow rather than dissipating energy through resistance. Moving into space in which we can focus on what we want to work on brings enormous potency with the current alignments. In the heat of engagement we may cooly detach from expectations and allow the alteration of matter to guide our drive rather than trying to force control.

The Full Moon perfects a day before Mercury retrograde in Aries enters the heart of the Sun to be purified and reborn in its inferior conjunction. The fiery union of Mercury and Sun incites desire for expression yet this is also an inner, sacred moment of Mercury’s cycle that is more about the grace of regeneration rather than loud declarations. It is an ideal moment to commit ourselves to an intention, change in lifestyle, or development of a project. At the same time Mercury and the Sun are uniting, Mars and Saturn are also uniting in a a square aspect to Mercury’s inferior conjunction that can be utilized to instigate change while also needing to reconcile with shifts in external realities that are out of our control. When we exert ourselves toward a goal, commit the entirety of our being to manifestation of an idealized vision, we arrive at a balancing point of our self-centered motivations and the needs of others. The Full Moon is opportune for simultaneously clarifying what we want to create as well as how to modify our creative process to serve the needs of others.

Libra is the outwardly directed home of Venus, a place of calibration where we measure our sense of inner value against external realities. Noticing disharmony enlivens our feel for harmony, while witnessing injustice shapes our conception of justice. While the Full Moon will bring significant messages informing our perspective of external events, it also brings strong capacity to enter an inner dialogue with one’s unconscious, whether messages come from our dreams or in moments of solitary contemplation. Mercury retrograde in this time of its solar union can help us engage what Carl Jung called auseinandersetzung, German for “taking something to pieces.”  This refers to confrontation in dialogue in which two people verbally engage without running away from the conflict.  By staying engaged in the dialogue, the differences inherent to the disagreement become clarified and distinct, making an agreement or compromise possible.  Jung believed it was also possible to engage in such a dialogue with one’s psyche, clarifying the unconscious being projected into relationships and keeping us from perpetuating past relational patterns.

As the Moon lingers in its full phase from March 31 through April 2, there is a liberating lunar atmosphere to embrace. While the Libra Full Moon is in opposition to the union of the Sun and Mercury in Aries, a day after the exact alignment the Moon will oppose Eris and Uranus in Aries. Simultaneously the Moon forms a square aspect with a union of Mars and Saturn in Capricorn as the Moon waxes full and then immediately begins to apply to a square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. Only Jupiter and Neptune stand apart in water signs that do not belong to the cardinal modality. However, once the Moon enters Scorpio on April 2 it will form a harmonious trine with Neptune while moving toward union with Jupiter, while forming an integrative sextile with the Mars and Saturn conjunction. As a result the days following the Full Moon hold potential to inject imaginative visioning into whatever difficulties or hardship arise in correspondence with the union of Mars and Saturn.

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Polyhymnia by Francesco del Cossa

The Full Moon takes place in the exaltation of Saturn, and Saturn furthermore has triplicity dignity in Air signs. Saturn is at home in Capricorn, in a strong position that pulls us down into earthly focus on how to build and develop supportive structures for whatever we want to implement.  Since Mars is in its exaltation as it unites with Saturn in Capricorn in the days following the Libra Full Moon, we have an incredibly powerful union of Mars and Saturn to work with.  When Mars and Saturn come together in their cycle, world events tend to be fear inducing while in personal realms we may feel like our driving desire has come up against a wall or blockage. Mars and Saturn last united on August 24, 2016 at 9°52′ Sagittarius, before that on August 25, 2014 at 17°40′ Scorpio, and before that on August 15, 2012 at 24°49′ Libra. These were difficult time periods in world events, yet you may also notice looking back that initiatives taken during these time periods have ended up having powerful staying power. Work developed under the union of Mars and Saturn may develop slowly at first, but patience and thorough follow through will bring a resilient, persevering quality to the endeavor.

Mercury’s interior union with the Sun in Aries is bound to the union of Mars and Saturn since it is occurring in the home of Mars. While imagination can be applied to whatever we engage with, this is not a lunation for wild leaps of fancy that lack grounding in real knowledge we have earned from actual experience. There is enormous potency for yoking inspiration to self-discipline and taking personal accountability for responsibilities. There are some responsibilities we may need to ease up on, however, in order to create space needed to focus on what feels most authentically resonant. Mars and Saturn together mean that it likely will not work to impulsively trail blaze or burn down obstacles in our way. Instead contemplate and discover what lesson the obstacle or limitation holds. Most likely with patience and analysis it will be possible to work around or through the restriction, with the work gaining increased strength in the process.

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Taurus 1 Decan image from Allegory of April: Triumph of Venus by Francesco del Cossa

Venus in Taurus

Venus rules the Full Moon from her sensual, stable home in Taurus. Venus enters Taurus hours before the Full Moon, making a dramatic entrance into her inner, earthly home. Venus enters Taurus immediately following a volatilizing conjunction with Uranus activating unconscious material she can ground, integrate, and wield while in Taurus. Its sort of like Venus just returned home from a wild, inspirational journey, and she has a lot of work to take care of once back home she must address immediately. Once in Taurus, Venus enters into facilitating roles with Mars and Saturn, forming a trine aspect to both. Venus as ruler of the Full Moon points to the lunation facilitating real progress in practical projects, as well as grounding support that can come from resonant relationships.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with stress you associate with Mars and Saturn, seek Venus and her pleasing, embodied significations. Focus on taking care of your body, making nutritious food, holding and supporting loved ones. Artistic works and projects can be especially potent to engage with as Venus moves across Taurus and into a closer trine aspect with both Mars and Saturn.  Venus will form an exact trine with Saturn on April 7 and an exact trine with Mars on April 10. As Venus forms these trine aspects with Mars and Saturn she simultaneously will be making her presence felt at the bendings, forming a square aspect to the transiting lunar nodes. There will be important messages and issues arising we will have to face involving Venus.

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3 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 2 Decan

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

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked Saturn’s exaltation in Libra to the binding of “happy marriages and fruitful alliances” found in the second decan of Libra, as well as the breaking apart of such agreements.  Coppock described it as “a face of lasting unions and blended karma” in which “the power of obligation fixes volatile passions,” creating “a firm foundation for the good life.” The importance Coppock placed on being faithful to commitments within relationships as well as to oneself is vital to bear in mind at the Full Moon if we wish to reap a healthy harvest.

The Full Moon opposes the Sun in its own exaltation, and the second face of Libra integrates the meaning of its polarity with an exalted Sun in terms of revealing the necessity of tempering our solar expression with the responsibilities of our binding relationships. Saturn in Capricorn receiving an exalted Mars into its home demands accountability and discipline. Yet as mentioned the presence of Venus in Taurus signifies we can make work pleasurable and fruitful, and the union of Sun and Mercury in Aries signifies we can also make it inspirational. These are not easy transits, and we will need to avoid self-criticism and being too hard on ourselves for not getting everything done. Allow yourself to rest and relax as needed, for revitalized energy will be needed in the weeks ahead. Though challenging, on the other side of these transits you may look back with satisfaction on how you overcame difficulties and made important progress.

References

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

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