Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

max ernst seen through a disposition

Max Ernst, Seen Through a Disposition

Blood Red Moon in Aquarius

Dissonance

(if you are interested)

leads to discovery

— William Carlos Williams

Total Lunar Eclipses are one of the most dramatic visual phenomenons in astrology, as the full light of the Moon becomes enveloped in blood red shadow. Within the space of the shadow’s sojourn, we sense the dragons of ancient lore awaken, wings rustling and eyes beaming. We feel red, the redness of pungent vitality penetrating whatever has felt stagnant, smelling of decay. We’ll feel the full strength of Mars during the Total Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, moved by the red planet of indomitable courage and resilient creativity pulsating within. The shadow will nourish us through its martial heat to emerge from the shedding of old forms and identity into fuller embodiment of our nature.

Marsilio Ficino in his books on life described spirit as a subtle, hot vapor of the blood, writing that “blood serves the spirit, the spirit the senses, and finally the senses reason.” Spirits will be stirred as there is a wild, unrestrained quality to the eclipse that will burn off  the usual conscious attempts to keep deep rooted desires buried underneath the conditioned patterns we’ve felt bound by.  It will not feel so reasonable to suppress passions in order to fit in with status quo expectations, but rather unreasonable to hold back heartfelt expression. Yes, anger and conflict can get amplified at a scorching syzygy such as this, but so can feelings of liberation that prod us to finally take the actions necessary to reshape our role and rewrite our story.

Mars is opposite the Sun at the full phase of its synodic cycle, the heart of its retrograde journey in which it is closest to us in orbit and brightest red in the night sky. The glowing Mars will appear below the eclipsed Moon against the canopy of fixed stars, both aligned with the South Node of the Moon; meanwhile the Sun will be at home in Leo and united with the North Node of the Moon. We are called to make a sacrifice, to make sacred through releasing an old identity, fear, wound, pattern, ambition, or obsession into the flames of the Aquarius South Node. Growth will be found through being receptive to unconscious messages and guidance, while sustaining sharp discernment and clarifying awareness so that we do not become entangled in unnecessary conflict. Yet confrontation and mettle will be a necessity to engage with the potency of the eclipse. At times we will need to withdraw into protected contemplative space for reflection, at other times we will be required to act quickly and directly, bravely confronting whatever obstacles or dilemmas arise.

Uranus in Taurus is rocking the eclipse, making a direct strike that excessively accelerates the volatility: many collective crises will erupt, many will feel on edge or hyped up on strong stimulants. It’s not an eclipse for maintaining tight order and control. Things will be messy, hot and sweaty, dirty and fecund with germinating seeds signaling a future harvest or the falling apart of past security. If you feel passionate about working on a particular project, there is power available for engaging fully with the process while letting go of worrying about unreadiness. There’s also strong potency in the spaces of stillness where we can envision while focusing more on the release of old aspects of ourselves we are ready to lay to rest.

MSevenBremner_FructusMortis_2018_sm

Marlene Seven Bremner (2018) Fructus Mortis

Within all the tumultuous, rushing currents of the Aquarius eclipse within collective events, Hermes is sitting in stillness, consumed with penetrating thought.  Less than two days before the exact alignment of the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury is stationing retrograde at 24 degrees of Leo. Mercury remains a visible Evening Star during the time of the eclipse, having not yet descended into its invisible, underworld phase in which it plays the role of psychopomp. Mercury will be stationary as it emerges from the shifting hues of twilight for those in position to glimpse its fleeting presence, and similarly Mercury will be available to help decipher and digest the events and insights that align with the eclipse. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it becomes even more important than normal to sustain keen awareness and sharp perception not only to the usual mundane affairs, but also to passing signs that may serve as omens of guidance.

Mercury in its retrograde phase in Leo will reach its illuminating rebirth moment of aligning with the Sun only a few days before a Partial Solar Eclipse in Leo on August 11.  The gift of this Mercury retrograde in Leo will be in helping to guide perception toward what needs greater awareness, whether that be an image in a dream or a detail in a work project. With regard to the retrograde loop pattern traced in the sky by the path of Mercury, there is a fascinating element in which it is happening in southern latitude relative to the ecliptic, similarly to how the Mars retrograde is also occurring in southern latitude.  The reason for this is that both the present Mercury and Mars retrograde phases are occurring in signs that form a square to their own planetary nodes.

I was lucky to see a wonderful talk by Michelle Gould at UAC entitled Planets at the Bending in which she theorized that planets at the southern bending may have gained a more fearful interpretation compared to the north in Mesopotamian astrology because Mesopotamian civilizations were often protected by mountains to the north and vulnerable to invasion from the south. In astrology there is a lineage of thought linking planets in southern latitude to our conscious personality becoming vulnerable to greater influence from the unconscious. Mercury retrograde periods are ideal for mediating the intersection between conscious and unconscious dynamics, and will be an important point of focus in coming weeks.

The influence of subconscious, irrational lunar forces are further amplified by the eclipsed Moon being out toward the far point of its orbit relative to Earth, and so not far from Black Moon Lilith. There’s an aspect of our nature we’ve been in denial of or have suppressed to uncover here. Sometimes we project this material and identity on to others we end up becoming triggered by, but normally once we begin the process of accepting and integrating this aspect of ourselves we are able to not only feel more whole, but our life trajectory also tends to shift into greater flow with opportunities in life appearing to embody the new found presence.

Paul Klee gaze of silence

Paul Klee, Gaze of Silence

Venus in Virgo is separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying toward a close trine with Pluto in Capricorn during the eclipse. As a result Venus is playing an important mediating role behind the scenes of the eclipse in placing us in deeper contact with soulful feelings through our inner senses. Venus in Virgo has been stirring up a lot of material for us through relationships, and with all of the retrograde action some of this material could relate to the realm of memory and the stories held within of past relationships in addition to current. Venus moving from Neptune to Pluto can reveal how we have given our power away in the past through relationship, how we have felt abandoned or betrayed by those we have trusted, and how we can come to acceptance with how all of this has impacted our present state and the way we interact with others.

Though some material arising within may feel uncomfortable and difficult to face, ultimately Venus is in a position of empowerment. The trine from Pluto in Capricorn to Venus in Virgo within the dissolution of Neptune can foster the softening of old, stubborn patterns that have weighed us down like heavy rocks of burden. Venus is in the home of Mercury which is the reason it is considered to be in “fall” in Virgo, yet with Mercury stationing retrograde at the eclipse there is potent analytical force available for Venus to bring to our inner depths.

Michael_Maier_Atalanta_Fugiens_Emblem_03

Emblem 3 from Atalanta Fugiens by Michael Maier

Mars being opposite the Sun within a day before the exact alignment of the Total Lunar Eclipse means the red planet is entering the most “hot and dry” phase of its synodic cycle. As Mars is already considered to be at an extreme of heat and dryness, in the aftermath of the eclipse we will need to focus on how to most effectively separate ourselves from the situations that no longer feel tolerable for us. Some may feel like “burning the house down,” so keep in mind how to best make changes in ways that will not unnecessarily exacerbate conflicts.

The above image from Michael Maier’s Atalanta Fugiens shows a woman cleansing clothes soiled by the dirt of earth through the other elements: the soaking in water raised to high heat from fire, with the ensuing exposure to air and the heat of the Sun completing the purification. She is a worthy image of the Water Bearer holding the space of Mars retrograde, the South Node of the Moon, and the Total Lunar Eclipse. As the text of the Atalanta Fugiens states, “whatever faeces or Crudities are in [the Philosophick Subject] will be purged and taken away by the infusion of its proper Waters, and the whole body will be brought to a great perfection and cleanness.” We are working here with what the Rosarium Philosophorum called the “Philosophic Fire” and “Philosophic Water.” We can also see in the image the woman is wielding a variety of materials in order to stoke a variety of heat for the process.

It may be helpful to work with a similar image of cleansing and purification with whatever material comes up in correspondence with the Total Lunar Eclipse. Allow yourself to work with the material, to heat and soak it, and expose it to air and solar heat for further treatment. Astrological events such as this Aquarius Lunar Eclipse signify change and a greater capacity to rewrite our life narratives and change the course of our coming life in a more authentic direction. It doesn’t mean the process will be easy and pleasant, but it does mean a great reward may be found in the end through doing the work.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The blood red shadow arises across the face of the full Moon in the first decan of Aquarius, associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the 5 of Swords card illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we see a swordsman pridefully watching his conquered rivals walk away, leaving him solitary in a freshly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces noted that Aquarius I “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” and that a lot of images in older texts “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside” (p. 226).  Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic” if necessary (p. 227). In this way, the image of the 5 of Swords card above shows how many relationships become sacrificed when one goes into exile away from societal norms, though also bringing the potential that new relationships will arise in alignment with the liberated sense of Self.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice Dike as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Coppock in 36 Faces linked Dike appearing here with “the abandonment of relationships which do not live up to Lady Justice’s high standards,” an idea which makes sense. Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), signifying the boundaries of relationship. While we may feel like severing certain relationships as we pass through the shadow of the eclipsed Moon, the real gift offered here is awareness of what ideals, ethics, and values are important for us to embody with integrity as well as have present in the bonds of relationship we form with others. The more we gain awareness of these qualities and most importantly hold ourselves accountable to living from them, the more likely we will also experience a deeper resonance with these values within our relationships. It will be important to not waste energy projecting judgment toward “scape goats” we judge as being out of alignment with our values, but instead draw upon our full reservoir of energy to create with integrity a life more resonant with the discovered essentiality.

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.

de-chirico-the-anxious-journey

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.

alexei-savrasov-landscape-with-rainbow

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.

rainbow-emblem-x

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.