Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on Pluto’s Nodes

dragon limestone mesopotamia

Mesoptamian top fragment of a kudurru with a mushhushshu dragon and divine symbols (ca. 1156–1025 B.C.) from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer

All new lunations deemed eclipses are not equal, for those that succomb to total blackening of the Sun are far more potent than those in which only a sliver of a shadow obscures our solar light. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer on July 12 (or July 13, depending upon time zone) is one such eclipse, as it will only be visible in the southern reaches of Australia and the south pole region. The first solar eclipse in Cancer is partial due to its distance from the lunar nodes, 15º12′ from the true node position. However, even though its not the most intense type of eclipse, it’s incredibly dynamic due to its Plutonic quality. The Cancer syzygy is closely aligned with the planetary nodes of Pluto while opposing Pluto at the same time. This creates the potent matrix of the partial eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, while Pluto is aligned with its own South Node. We thus we will be experiencing a total activation of the entire orbital arc of Pluto, and a colossal release of all things Plutonic into our collective field.

Eclipses have a long association with destined events due to new forms entering our life in the weeks surrounding them, often with an unexpected gravitas, while other forms we had previously felt securely attached to pass away. The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is the first activation of an upcoming cycle of eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, with the next Partial Solar Eclipse in Capricorn in January 2019, followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Cancer in July 2019. As a result the Plutonic eclipse will be revealing first intimations of new themes that will become more firmly established in our lives once the lunar nodes make the switch into Cancer and Capricorn in November 2018. The eclipse emphasizing areas of future oriented growth is further shown by it occurring on the side of the North Node of the Moon, with the Moon waxing toward a conjunction with its ascending node across our ecliptic, moving from southern toward northern latitude.

However, since our Sun will be partially covered by the shadow of our Moon, it suggests there are elements of the irrational, deep unconscious, potent dream experiences of night, and charged memories that will be oozing or erupting into conscious awareness. Since the North Node of the Moon is in Leo and we will be experiencing a Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July combined with Mercury moving retrograde in Leo, the Cancer lunation opposing Pluto in Capricorn brings the Cancer-Capricorn polarity strongly into a context dominated by Leo and Aquarius. I’m reminded of a talk I heard Jason Holley give on Cancer that explored its archetype through the myth of the crab in the constellation sent by Hera to attack Heracles. Holley described lunar material as being emotional openings to the fertile void, a realm of memories that is nonlinear, somatic, and implicitly pulls things into its own rhythm- thus it as if the crab has emerged from the undifferentiated unconscious to attack Heracles, the solar hero wearing lion skin. Holley noted that when our internal world lacks a sense of structure and order it leads to reliance on external sources for a sense of stability and safety.  If one’s capacity to contain emotional experience internally is not developed, it will be delegated to others rather than claimed from one’s own sense of inner authority. The opposition from Pluto in Capricorn to the lunation will force awareness of any such issues.

Pluto has been associated with Shiva and his fierce destructive aspects by many astrologers, as the experience of a hard aspect from Pluto can not only feel like a complete destruction of one’s personality, but also be experienced through devastating losses of structures and relationships we had been attached to.  When we stop resisting, denying, or being overly defensive,  allowing our ego to be destroyed in the quakes of Pluto, we open ourselves to the treasured gifts we will eventually unearth in the underworld process. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche gave an excellent summary of terms associated with Pluto including “the principles of elemental power, depth, and intensity; with that which compels, empowers, and intensifies whatever it touches, sometimes to overwhelming and catastrophic extremes; with the primordial instincts, libidinal and aggressive, destructive and regenerative, volcanic and cathartic, eliminative, transformative, ever-evolving . . . violent purgatorial discharges of pent-up energies, purifying fire; situations of life and death extremes, power struggles, all that is titanic, potent, and massive.”  Collectively we will be experiencing a massive purge of all things Plutonic in the time surrounding the Partial Solar Eclipse due to the eclipse conjoining the North Node of Pluto, with Pluto conjoining its own South Node. Within the discharge can be found vital empowerment as described above by Tarnas, the question becoming what do you want to empower?

Planetary Nodes can be confusing for some people to understand when first coming across them, but I can vouch from years of experience with them that they are well worth the effort to integrate into astrological practice. There are valid reasons to use heliocentric planetary nodes (calculated from the accurate concept of the Sun being center of our solar system) as well as the geocentric nodes (calculated as they appear from our Earth-bound perspective as the center). The Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer is closely conjoining the geocentric North Node of Pluto (geocentric North Node of Pluto is 20º33′, lunation is 20º41′ Cancer) and Pluto is tightly conjoined its own geocentric South Node (Pluto at 20º00′, geocentric South Node of Pluto is 20º32′). Pluto and the Partial Eclipse are also closely conjoining the heliocentric nodes of Pluto. This means that Pluto is in the process of crossing the ecliptic from northern latitude into southern. For astronomical information and diagrams on the alignment of the lunation with Pluto, which also means someone on Pluto with a massive telescope could watch the earth transit in front of the Sun, see here and here.

american gothic

American Gothic (1930) Grant Wood

In contrast to the current transit of Pluto across its own South Node, Pluto transited across its North Node in 1929 through 1931, stationing retrograde in close proximity in October 1928. The year 1929 is famous of course for the Wall Street stock market crash that led into the Great Depression of the 1930s. Dane Rudhyar in his landmark text The Planetary and Lunar Nodes cut to the heart of the significance of paying attention to planetary nodes, writing that “in philosophical traditions concerning the meaning of astrology it was stated that the fundamental reality of what we call a planet is not its material mass but rather the space which its movements define.” Planetary nodes bring awareness into the relationships between the entire orbital arcs of planets in our solar system, therefore in archetypal terms we are talking about discerning relationships between the entirety of the archetypal cycle of each celestial wanderer to one another, and to our experiences on Earth.

When planets ascend across their north node into northern latitude as Pluto did in the transition from the 1920s into the 1930s, to Rudhyar we experience “an increase in the radiation of the planet’s characteristic attributes.” In part this period of history involves not only the Great Depression but also the rise of fascism, nationalistic forces, and the ascending terror of Hitler and Nazi Germany. When a planet reaches its northern bending of forming a square to its own nodes, as Pluto did in Libra in the transition from the 1970s into the 1980s, Rudhyar stated the planetary archetype reaches a collective “turning point” and thereafter begins the trajectory down in latitude toward where we find ourselves now with it crossing its descending node toward the south. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes wrote:

One of the most significant ways of thinking of the nodes is to consider them as two “gates.” When a planet [Rudhyar includes the Moon here] is at its north node, its essential function and quality in the solar system is focused upon our Earth-space which is then most able to absorb and assimilate it. When the planet is at its south node what is released as “substantial” factors are the results of the relationship between the characteristic nature of the planet and whatever in the Earth-space has absorbed its power. If the relationship has been positive, then what has been absorbed has also been “assimilated” and integrated to the Earth-consciousness and has produced a new “seed,” i.e., new experiences and values. If the relationship has proven negative, what is being released or exteriorized are disintegrating materials, or negative existential results.

It’s easy to find the “disintegrating” and “negative existential” manifestations of the Pluto archetype in current events these days. There has in fact been a re-activation of white nationalism and supremacy and many people have had fears of another rise of fascist forces rising. There is also the additional factor that Saturn also has its South Node in Capricorn close in degree to the South Node of Pluto, and that Saturn is now heading toward a conjunction with Pluto at the beginning of 2020 that will be aligned with the South Nodes of both Pluto and Saturn. It is in fact striking that the second World War erupted after Pluto crossed its ascending node, and that the “Cold War” in the aftermath took shape in alignment with a conjunction between Pluto and Saturn.  NATO was then formed between North American and European nations against the threat they feared from the Soviet Union, and today as this eclipse forms with Pluto on its own South Node the relationships within NATO are taking center stage in current events.

The last time Pluto was conjoining its South Node was the beginning of the 1770s leading into the Revolutionary War that created the United States of America. As has been often discussed, the USA is now approaching its first ever Pluto return, with the coming conjunction of Pluto and Saturn being intrinsic. The USA is known as a country formed by immigrants, a creation also involving the displacement and destruction of indigenous populations as well as enslavement of people from the African continent. Today all of these issues are flooding collective events, including the controversial “Zero Tolerance” policy of the U.S. administration that separated family members attempting to cross the border. It is  striking how resonate the term “Zero Tolerance” is with the archetypal meaning of the Pluto and Saturn cycle.

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Landscape with the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (1647) Rembrandt van Rijn

Within the raging thunderbolts and hurtling winds of collective history, the Partial Solar Eclipse occurring in Cancer illuminates our capacity on personal levels to nurture and protect what we hold most dear. Within relationships with loved ones and within larger spheres of community, the opposition from Pluto to the eclipse highlights the necessity of taking the personal responsibility to live in alignment with one’s integrity and to devote choices and commitments in service to the greater good for all beings, not just those we feel bound to by family or culture. The polarity of Cancer to Pluto and Saturn occupying Capricorn, in tandem with the nodes and coming Total Lunar Eclipse along the Leo and Aquarius axis, places importance on finding our inner emotional security so that we can claim personal power without the shadow of needing to control others or be competitively threatened by the power of others. The Cancer Partial Solar Eclipse holds potential to discover the essential value you want to cultivate within that you can then share with others for their own support.

The eclipse is separating from a trine with Neptune in Pisces, as Neptune continues to be in range of a sextile with Pluto in Capricorn. Neptune’s transit in Pisces has coincided with massive illusions and disillusionment, the ascendancy of “fake news” and massive amounts of the populace getting their imaginal fix from phones, tablets, and other electronic devices all being closely monitored by the hierarchical power structures we can associate with Pluto in Capricorn. Part of reclaiming our inner security is engaging with our inner imaginal potency and our capacity to help co-create through our participation the world we hope to dream into being, rather than the nightmare we fear.

hiroshige carp swimming against waterfall

Utagawa Hiroshige (1852) Carp Swimming Against Waterfall

Jupiter Stations Direct

The Partial Solar Eclipse is in the exaltation of Jupiter, with Jupiter in a trine to the eclipse. Jupiter holds monumental influence due to stationing direct on July 10, two days before the eclipse.  Jupiter is in the home of Mars, as the red planet is currently retrograde en route to aligning with an incredibly intense Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius at the end of July. Jupiter brings hope and reason for faith in the unknown, yet this simultaneously requires unflinching awareness of the depths and shadow of current circumstances. Jupiter is now in forward motion through the rest of Scorpio where it will reside until entering its home in Sagittarius at the beginning of November.  It is a bright Evening Star shining in the same sky that both Saturn and Mars can be seen in. The forward momentum of Jupiter will bring corresponding opportunities to find sources of expansion and growth within the disintegration of societal structures signified by Pluto’s influence on the eclipse. With the activation of Pluto, this likely could come with connecting to ancestral lineages whether that is one’s blood family or family of like-minded souls.

Interestingly from a planetary node perspective, Jupiter has stationed in range of a wide conjunction with the heliocentric nodes of both Mars and Mercury (heliocentric North Node of Mercury, heliocentric South Node of Mars). This is of vital importance due to Mars already being retrograde, and the fact that in the forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon we will also experience Mercury stationing retrograde just as the Moon reaches full reception of light. During Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we’ve also been experiencing it forming a square with eclipses as well as the transiting lunar nodes. When I previously wrote about Jupiter in Scorpio, I shared the following about it forming a whole sign square to the lunar nodes being in Leo and Aquarius:

The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

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Rembrandt van Rijn (1655)

Red Star of Ares

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is not in aspect to the eclipse, but is one of the most important underlying factors. We’ve been experiencing Mars retrograde since June 26 and so now have a better sense of what elements of life are shifting in correspondence. A more recent element is that Mars went out of bounds by southern declination on July 7, adding in a higher degree of freedom seeking to its retrograde vibe. Just as Mars is at its brightest red at night as an Evening Star, so is the inner heat we feel in correspondence also inflamed. Desires may be emerging that we have been denying or unaware of previously that are in fact vital elements of our nature to begin integrating and embodying.

Mars retrograde in Aquarius is forming a retrograde loop pattern relative to the ecliptic that is taking it into its most extreme southern latitude, as it is in the sign of its southern bending to its heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Gary Caton has been doing a lot of intriguing work with the planetary nodes and retrograde loop patterns, and has added on to Rudhyar’s previous interpretation by suggesting the current Mars retrograde will lead us into the deepest subconscious elements of the Mars archetype. Since Mars is aligned with the South Node of the Moon and the Total Lunar Eclipse will be on the South Node of the Moon, the theme of sacrifice takes prominence. Again the words of Dane Rudhyar are worth reflecting on:

At the south node one does not build personality; one may expand it, releasing its contents in full dedication to a community and an ideal. There are many ways of speaking of sacrifice, some quite meaningless, even actually egocentric or masochistic. But the true meaning of sacrifice is “making sacred”; and this implies a complete dedication of one’s thoughts to what one may call either God or mankind – – or to a specific group, culture or ideal. This means a surrender of the ego-will.

— Dane Rudhyar, The Planetary and Lunar Nodes

The intensification of Mars will be building during the entire forthcoming waxing cycle of the Moon, as Mars will oppose the Sun at the heart of its retrograde at the same time as the Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27.  While this is happening Mars is also getting closer and closer to receiving Chiron in Aries through a sextile, and forming a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus. At times we will need to retreat into inner spaces to process everything coming up in correspondence. As this will all be happening in the middle of eclipses, the information and messages coming our way could be nonlinear and feel irrational. Be open to what is coming up, while maintaining discernment for what to act on and what to simply witness within.

Virgo 1 decan-Agosto,_cosmè_tura_e_maestro_di_ercole,_03

Virgo 1 Decan image by Cosimo Tura from “Allegory of August: Triumph of Ceres” fresco in the Palazzo Schifanoia (1476-84)

Venus & Ceres in Virgo

At such a Plutonic syzygy, it is fitting that Venus in Virgo is applying to a conjunction with Ceres. Venus is in its fall in Virgo, which can be seized in terms of walking and witnessing with awareness the myriad forms of suffering occurring around us, offering service where appropriate. The world is full of suffering, yet Venus and Ceres in Virgo also offer us the potential to ground and find the resources around us that will nurture us and others. Their alignment offers strong discernment found within subjective inner senses and intuition. Venus and Ceres also support transmuting nervous or anxious energy into creative work or productive maintenance such as focusing on needed cleaning, repair, or purification.

Venus and Ceres are in the home and exaltation of Mercury, which is notable because Mercury is in Leo, the home of the Sun being partially eclipsed. Moreover, Mercury is bright as an Evening Star and on its way toward stationing retrograde in Leo in a couple of weeks. Gary Caton has also been doing a lot of interesting research into the retrograde loop patterns Mercury forms when retrograde, and the one Mercury is now forming is notable because it will take it into extreme southern latitude just like the Mars retrograde loop is also taking it into extreme southern latitude. This is because Mercury in Leo is at the southern bending to its own heliocentric nodes in Taurus and Scorpio. Mercury is conjoining its geocentric South Node at the Partial Solar Eclipse, meaning it is now heading toward southern latitude and will not return back to cross over the ecliptic to go into northern latitude again until August 28. Furthermore, Mercury is in Leo is at 17 degrees at the time of the eclipse, the same degree it will be when it experiences it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun at the heart of its retrograde journey.

While the writing in the previous paragraph may sound like a confusing foreign language, there is a simple takeaway. The combination of all of this happening for Mercury with Venus and Ceres coming together in Virgo suggests rich fertility to be found in our inner landscapes.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Partial Solar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Moon rules the third face of Cancer, bringing extra potency to the shadow cast by Luna upon our solar light in the eclipse.  In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice.

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, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things . . . an ocean even a thirsty god could not drain” (p. 117).

Hecate has dominion within the third face of Cancer according to the Hellenistic text the 36 AirsFinding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hecate for guidance. Hecate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hecate is also the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn (check out this article by Charles Obert on Saturn as Feminine and Crone). Hecate 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 Hecate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul. She serves as a reminder of the inner guidance we can call upon to discern what choices and steps to next take on our path through the liminal season of eclipses and retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury we now enter.

References

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

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

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View. Plume.

 

New Moon in Cancer

New Moon in Cancer

La Nascita (The Birth) by Marc Chagall (1911)

Cancer New Moon

New Moons are a time of visioning and nurturing the intentional seed we plant in the hidden depths of fecund darkness.  Cancer is a sign associated with birth, the creation of new life from the wombs of mothers, the arising of a new season at solstice, and the development of our personal identity from the matrix of our soul.  The New Moon in Cancer on July 15, 2015 falls in the final decan of Cancer and brings to our awareness a sense of separation from sources of past comfort and a vague dawning of realization into the new direction arising out of this dark genesis.  Creating a new lunar cycle following a Full Moon in Capricorn that was conjunct Pluto on July 1, this New Moon in Cancer resurrects the potency of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus we have lived through in the past several years, as it is square to Uranus in Aries while Mars and Mercury are conjunct in Cancer and directly opposite Pluto in Capricorn.

As an infant must bravely breathe in air separated from the sheltered nurturing of the womb, so must our identity shed the comfort of past security attachments if we wish to embody the full radiance of our potential in the moment.  Amplifying the air with instinctual individualism is a Uranus currently stationing in Aries, standing still by zodiac degree from our earthbound perspective and preparing to turn retrograde in less than two weeks.  Since the New Moon in Cancer is separating from a square to Uranus in Aries, it triggers the discomfort, insecurity, anxiety, or fear that can strike from within when we realize that the burning force beckoning us to embody a liberated presence creates the possibility and even likelihood that we will become disconnected in the process from our ties to family, culture, and other elements of the accustomed reality we take comfort in.

We may find it necessary now to create a sacred space of some sort to nurture the vulnerability we feel in the unfolding of our current creativity.  Even when we consciously have desire to free ourselves from the conditioning of culture and the way we felt our family of origin limited our full creative actualization, a fear of losing the security we gain from our relationship with these same influences can still overcome us.  In addition, due to sensitively observing authorities in positions of power taking advantage of the more vulnerable, we can also come to fear the potential impact of expressing our full power into the world around us.  Synthesizing together the strength that can come from hard aspects between Cancer, Capricorn, and Aries, we can ultimately learn to take the responsibility for expressing our personal power in a way that protects and empowers ourselves and our relationships.  Yet the calamitous aspects held by this New Moon of Mercury conjunct Mars in Cancer and opposite Pluto in Capricorn, with Saturn in Scorpio in square to Venus and Jupiter in Leo, means that there will be a number of oppressive power dynamics between people on display in our surrounding environment to observe and mediate.

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

Image of Pluto taken by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft on July 13, 2015

Mercury conjunct Mars opposite Pluto

It is simply incredible that as the first images of Pluto enter our consciousness through the completion of the epic journey of the New Horizons spacecraft, Mercury is exactly conjunct Mars and in opposition to Pluto, while Saturn shapes structure in the Plutonic sign of Scorpio.  It is further fitting that this binary planet named for the Lord of Souls and the Ferryman of the Underworld claimed center stage in mainstream media in the dark of a balsamic Moon that was opposite Pluto.  Whatever shift in collective consciousness happens as a result begins to build in accordance with a potent New Moon that places the messenger (Mercury) and will-force (Mars) of consciousness in a full polarity to Pluto.

Due to a number of astrological factors, in the past couple of months there has been an emphasis on a new quality of Mars to exert through an influence of Mercury.  Mercury is an unstable planet of wild extremes and variation in speed, and so while on the one hand it can bring challenges in our ability to focus our Martian drive, on the other hand when we align instinctually with their unified energy it brings the eloquent cleverness of Hermes to our life force of desire.  With Mercury and Mars unified in polarity to Pluto, we need to be ready for the possibility of extreme power conflicts and emotional confrontations occurring around us.  Yet on a personal level, there is also an initiation found in this aspect to journey into our core depth to discover a regenerated treasure of gifts from within to begin to integrate and express in the cycle ahead.  There is a purification involved in this process, as Mercury is now under the beams of the Sun and preparing to enter into the heart of the Sun a week from now around the first quarter Moon, while Mars is also under the beams having already united with the Sun and beginning to get some clarified separation away from the fiery center of our solar system.  Emotions may feel raw and overly sensitive, but are the material through which we can now gain penetrating insight into the core emotional patterns and compulsions most in need of attention.

Venus stationing

La Paresse by Felix Vallotton (1896)

Venus stationing

Meanwhile, our Queen of pleasure, luxury, and glamour, Venus in Leo, is slowing down and preparing to station at the time of this New Moon in Cancer.  Venus is now at the final degree of Leo and in a few days will enter Virgo where she will station retrograde on July 25- meaning that basically for the next few weeks Venus is not going anywhere and holding space at the first degree of Virgo and final degrees of Leo.  This would be intense under any circumstance, but is so even more as Venus is conjunct Jupiter and in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio.  As Saturn is stationing direct at the beginning of August and will also be standing still then, this means that from now through the beginning of August we get to experience the seriousness of Venus in a last quarter square to Saturn, while simultaneously buoyed with a sense of expansive vision by Jupiter.  Venus now in Leo, soon to be in Virgo, in a last quarter square to Saturn in Scorpio, brings about a reorientation of our inner values that at times could feel severe as the scythe of Saturn cuts away the old value structures that must now be released.  At this moment, we are only at the precipice of a deep transformation with many dramatic experiences coming our way.

Thus, while we may feel a burning sense of desire through the union of Venus and Jupiter, their last quarter square to Saturn brings a constricting sense of an obstacle or major challenge standing between us and the full manifestation and experience of our desire.  Powerful work on an inner level and on an outer level through our vocation and creative expression can come about through this aspect, but we are being asked to be disciplined, focused, organized, and thorough in our approach if we wish to realize the full potential available to us.  This is not a lighthearted skip through the woods singing without a care in the world, but rather a courageous and focused trek into a deep region of the forest we have previously avoided exploring.   This is not to say that it will not be possible to experience moments of pure pleasure and luxuriation, as in fact bringing a sense of joy to our daily experience will be a vital help.  It is only to suggest that if we bring passion into our work with a sense of disciplined persistence to work through the upcoming obstacles, on the other side of these aspects we can experience a deep sense of fulfilled desire.

Cancer III Decan

4 of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer III Decan

The third decan of Cancer is ruled by the Moon and so is a potent place for a New Moon, a particularly auspicious new lunation to set intentions toward the new direction sensed from within.  In the image of the 4 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 out of thin air by an otherworldly hand.  The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, and appears to either not notice the fourth cup or be dismissive of it.  In fact, this protagonist’s stance of crossed arms, crossed legs, and eyes cast down suggests someone unwilling to go after what is being offered, perhaps until after completing an inner exploration.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces found that the third decan of signs are synonymous with the “Solve” phase of separation in alchemy in which “the constituent pieces must part ways,” similar to “the spirit forced to separate from the matter,” and “those factors which press for an abandonment of the balance created in the second” decan of the sign (p. 264-265).  Along this line of thought Coppock gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the Cancer III decan, declaring that it “juxtaposes the advantages and dangers of luxurious excess with the truth of scarcity” (p. 115).  Our cherished sense of luxury we desire is shown in contrast here to a sense of scarcity rooted in “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. 116).  Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the 4 of Cups tarot card with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, and therefore bringing up questions around choosing the extra cup of luxury.

Importantly, Coppock additionally linked the karmic significance of further investing any excess of luxury one accumulates into additional good works, so as “to be a conduit for luxury, not its endpoint” (p. 116).  Furthermore, he brought up 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 great goddess Hekate with the Cancer III decan.   Hekate  ruled over the three phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, and also crossroads, magical craft, and prophetic mediation among many other significations.  In short, we could not have a better spirit to associate with the dark richness of this Plutonic New Moon than Hekate, and it is worth remembering there is a long tradition of praying to Hekate in order to receive wealth.  Hekate is also a goddess of midwives, and therefore an apt ally for us in the intense birthing process that will follow this Cancer New Moon.

CancerNewMoonWRIGC1

References

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