Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

 

disks-bearing-spirals-1923

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.

Kusama mirrors

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.

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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.

Mars in Aquarius

aquarius-glyph

Mars in Aquarius

“Just as all people have shadows, every society and nation, too, has shadows. If there are bright, shining aspects, there will definitely be a counterbalancing dark side.

“At times, we tend to avert our eyes from the shadow, those negative parts, or else, try to forcibly eliminate those aspects. No matter how high a wall we build to keep intruders out, no matter how strictly we exclude outsiders, no matter how much we rewrite history to suit us, we just end up damaging and hurting ourselves . . . You have to patiently learn to live together with your shadow and carefully observe the darkness that resides within you.”

— Haruki Murakami, novelist with Mars in Aquarius, in speech given after receiving the Hans Christian Andersen literature award

Born with Mars in Aquarius conjoining Mercury, author Haruki Murakami recently gave voice in an award ceremony to the dire need in these collective times to live with and explore one’s inner shadow.   Mars in Aquarius has an ability to gain objective clarity regarding inner desires perhaps more so than any other placement for the red planet, bringing greater awareness of our shadow, or whatever aspects of our psyche our persona has cast off from consciousness.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green viewed the archetype of Aquarius as having the evolutionary intention of objectifying the nature of reality at any level one focuses upon through detaching from one’s subjective emotional reality. This doesn’t mean detached dissociation, but rather that Mars in Aquarius can penetrate into the nature and structure of any dynamic and gain understanding of how to catalyze necessary growth.  Here, growth is separated from consensus, mainstream, culturally conditioned influences, and is rather rooted in the ineffable realm of soul.

When we think of Mars in astrology, the consensus mindset does not picture Aquarius, and yet there is a singular quality of Mars we can value and learn from in the sign of the Water Bearer.  Aquarius is not known as a natural place for Mars through the essential dignity of traditional astrology, as Mars only has dignity in its Egyptian bounds between 20 and 25 degrees.  This gives Mars the feel of an outsider in Aquarius, and a unique environment for Mars to operate within that brings a martial force like nowhere else.  Mars in Aries and Scorpio are known as strong placements for Mars where the red planet can be its plain self, pure and simple.  Mars can also be fierce, hot, courageous, and protective in Aquarius, yet also has a strange mix of objectivity, humanitarianism, experimentation, and determination we do not quite find in any other sign.

Aquarius is hot and moist in temperament in traditional astrology, meaning it disperses outwardly and seeks cohesion, has flexibility and strong capabilities in mutating.  The fixed nature of Aquarius brings greater persistence and perseverance to Mars than it finds in the other Air signs, and so Mars may be slower to get going at the outset in Aquarius but can sustain itself over long periods of time and resiliently foster stability in the work it directs itself into.  Since Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, Mars in Aquarius is able to set itself apart from mainstream thought and mutate in accordance with thinking, writing, philosophy, the arts and sciences, and other expressions of consciousness with kindred spirits of soulfulness.

While Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn in traditional astrology, many forms of modern astrology consider Uranus to be its ruler. In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green wrote that Mars in Aquarius “reflects an instinct to experiment with different ways of being,” desires “to create an essential courage in other people to break free from the status quo,” and unpredictably “desires progressive transformation leading to an ever-increasing realization and definition of its individuality.”  However, whether you use Saturn or Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius, in both systems Mars in Aquarius holds the desire of the Water Bearer to carry and share the enlivening water of consciousness that will nourish humanitarian impulses to cast off oppressive conditioning, opening desire to the alchemy bridging one’s heart and inner mind.

ganymede-michelangelo

Ganymede by Michelangelo

Eagles resonate with Mars in Aquarius in part because of their capacity to soar beyond barriers with focused and penetrating vision, matching the loyal, persistent, persevering, and stabilizing qualities Mars can discover in a Fixed Air sign.  Eagles like Mars in Aquarius also value interdependence in relationship, as the eagle’s nest is a home in which both partners pull equal weight while having the freedom to independently take action within committed bonds of relationship.  The eagle is also a crucial figure in the myth of Ganymede associated with Aquarius.  Ganymede to some sources is the Water Bearer of the sign of Aquarius, a beautiful young man with whom Zeus was so enamored that he swooped down in the form of an eagle in order to seize for his own. In contrast to the myth of Persephone in which Hades pulls the goddess into the underworld, in the myth of Ganymede the coveted youth is pulled upward with ascension into the heavens.

Zeus gives Ganymede the role of cup bearer, the one who serves the nectar that keeps the gods and goddesses immortal, until Hera’s complaints lead to Ganymede being placed in the stars as the constellation of Aquarius. Among other meanings, since ancient times this myth has been seen as representing the phenomenon of Spirit ascending from the body. Astrologer Jason Holley presented material on the Ganymede myth in relation to the polarity between Aquarius and Leo at the 2015 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC). His talk “Aquarius/Leo – The Journey from Fragmentation to Wholeness” explored themes associated with the myth of Ganymedes such as the split between innocence and experience, the split between the ordinary and the extraordinary, and disruptions of psycho-spiritual development that can occur as a result.  In terms of bringing Aquarius into greater wholeness, Holley stressed the importance of activating the polarity of Leo to create a growth cycle of rupture and repair.

To Holley, the stable system of self brought into coherence by Leo becomes decentered by triggering material associated with Aquarius and Uranus that activates the nonlinear field of multiplicity and leads to either: (1) achieving the challenge of expressing and integrating the new insights into self, expanding our self-concept while we continue to embody our self-identity, or (2) a shattering or splitting off from our psyche parts of our self that we feel like our environment and culture are not receptive to us embodying and integrating fully into our self-concept. If we experience the second path of feeling so ruptured that we can not embody our new sense of consciousness, we can experience difficulty experiencing full connection with others. Along these lines we can feel great anger at the world for not accepting us, and engage in patterns of avoidance and escape. However, if we are instead able to integrate and embody how we feel different from the surrounding consensus, we can re-enter the world with an openness to possibility that leads to fulfilling experiences that expand beyond the norms of consensus reality.  The task for Mars in Aquarius is to integrate and embody its far-flung and extraordinary insights into its mundane, ordinary life and relationships with full presence.

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Aquarius by Johra Bosschart

“If there is a hard, high wall and an egg that breaks against it, no matter how right the wall or how wrong the egg, I will stand on the side of the egg. Why? Because each of us is an egg, a unique soul enclosed in a fragile egg. Each of us is confronting a high wall. The high wall is the system which forces us to do the things we would not ordinarily see fit to do as individuals.

“We have no hope against the wall: it’s too high, too dark, too cold. To fight the wall, we must join our souls together for warmth, strength. We must not let the system control us – create who we are. It is we who created the system.”

–Haruki Murakami, novelist with Mars in Aquarius

Haruki Murakami is as a perfect example of a writer with Mars in Aquarius who has created fictional worlds illuminating the complex undercurrents of individuals within the collective, drawing upon influences from writers of many diverse cultures.  In his personal life he has enjoyed marathon running befitting the fixed nature of Aquarius, and his creative output took time to development yet has been sustained at a deep level for a long period of time.  Murakami has described a crucial shift in his work from being “detached” to being “committed,” moving from early worked focused upon individual darkness to the darkness found in the collective society.

As I searched for other examples of celebrities with Mars in Aquarius in preparation for this article, time and time again I was struck by the unorthodox, powerful, martial force of each individual.  It is a mistake to take the fact Mars is an outsider in Aquarius with no essential dignity to mean that Mars here will struggle to manifest desire; in fact, it could be argued that the unique atmosphere of Aquarius brings out an important aspect of Mars we cannot find anywhere else.  For example, is it really that strange that the individual many associate most with the idea of a masculine genius, Leonardo da Vinci, was born with Mars in Aquarius?  In addition to the visionary da Vinci, the individual who forever altered our conception of our solar system, Nicolaus Copernicus, was also born with Mars in Aquarius.

In terms of creative output, one of the most ideal manifestations of Mars in Aquarius is the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who was also born with Saturn and the Moon in Aquarius.  Rilke resiliently worked hard on his writing over long periods of time, being willing to go into isolation in order to contain his lucid insights within word choice and rhythm that expands the consciousness of anyone who reads his work.  Rilke not only travelled extensively beyond his native land to find his muse, he drew upon diverse mythic and spiritual influences in order to weave a unique tapestry of meaning that continues to bring sustenance and comfort to individuals within modern culture.  Rilke also lived in a time before the internet, yet sustained numerous intense, intimate relationships through letter writing all around the world.  This speaks to the capacity of Mars in Aquarius to transmit eros across all barriers of time and space, tuning into the frequency and vibration of resonant souls at great distances.

There are numerous other consciousness expanding individuals born with Mars in Aquarius, such as George Gurdjieff and numerous groundbreaking psychologists able to objectify human nature such as James Hillman, Rollo May, Alfred Adler, and Carl Rogers.  James Hillman in particular is a strong example of the passion and heated intensity that Mars in Aquarius can bring to philosophical discourse and abstract conceptualization.  Individuals with Mars in Aquarius sense the underlying importance of the philosophical worldview one embodies and its impact upon humanity, the natural world, and our world soul, and are willing to fight about it intellectually.

Among current famous figures, one of the most striking examples of Mars in Aquarius is Michelle Obama, the current First Lady of the United States of America.  Michelle Obama has an energy that lights up a room with clear energetic bravado that also emits a friendliness that has made her an extremely popular figure.  Michelle Obama is also known to become passionate about social justice causes, and at key points has delivered speeches addressed at uplifting women, racial minorities, and others facing oppression in modern culture.  During the most recent presidential election her mantra of “they go low, we go high” that became so widely quoted is also fitting for the nature of Mars in Aquarius.

Hip Hop culture contains numerous famous figures with Mars in Aquarius that displays the distinct and unusual energy found in the signature:  Tupac Shakur, Missy Elliot, will.i.am, Jay-Z, and Snoop Dogg all have Mars in Aquarius.  One of Tupac Shakur’s most famous songs, “Keep Ya Head Up,” is a perfect Mars in Aquarius anthem that ingeniously deconstructs the misogyny and racism of culture through the purposely designed aesthetic of infectious pop music.  Shakur’s lyrics are absolutely brilliant and his delivery smooth, every single word penetrating further into the complex dynamics of cultural oppression and their impact on the individual:

Actors with Mars in Aquarius possess a masculinity difficult to describe and uniquely their own, such as Gary Oldman and Adrien Brody.  Cary Grant created an otherworldly acting persona that seemed as natural playing an Angel in The Bishop’s Wife as when he was playing human beings.   Other actors and actresses with Mars in Aquarius include Ian McKellen, Winona Ryder, Scarlet Johansen, Jane Fonda, Jamie Foxx, Emma Watson, Lauren Bacall, Christopher Walken, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Justin Theroux, and Mae West.  There is a clear erotic quality involved in all of these individuals that also involves an intelligent edge of sharpness.  Two former musical stars turned successful actors, Mark Wahlberg and Justin Timberlake, also project a masculine star power that is idiosyncratic and makes them continue to remain singular, compelling personalities within popular culture.

In sports, it is quite compelling that perhaps the greatest boxer of all time, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., was born with Mars in Aquarius as well as one of the greatest figure skaters Kristi Yamaguchi who also cooly destroyed all competition.  An interesting sport that contains numerous all-time greats with Mars in Aquarius is tennis, which combines the fitting attributes of stamina while attacking with abstract strategizing:  Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl, and Stefan Edberg all were born with Mars in Aquarius.

In the realm of film, directors with Mars in Aquarius fittingly have brought some of the most distinctly avant garde expression and experimentation to cinema:  Sofia Coppola, Francois Truffaut, Lars Von Trier,  Ridley Scott, Joel Coen, Luis Bunuel, David Cronenberg, and Ang Lee were all born with Mars in Aquarius.  In comedy, we again find a list of some of the most unorthodox talents such as John Cleese, Andy Kauffman, Chris Farley, Eddie Ezzard, and Eric Idle.  Writers with Mars in Aquarius include Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Kurt Vonnegut, Tennessee Williams, Victor Hugo, David Foster Wallace, Thomas Merton, and William Wordsworth.  There is also famous children’s television personality Fred Rogers, whose role as Mr. Rogers and once again, incredibly unique expression, nurtured the development of countless childhoods.

Two current figures that illuminate not only the visionary, future-oriented qualities of Mars in Aquarius but also its shadow of becoming overly fixated upon a philosophical worldview at all costs are Julian Assange and Elon Musk.  In both of these individuals we find the capacity of Mars in Aquarius to work at the leading edge of technology and push the envelope with driving force aimed with future-oriented vision.  Yet at the same time, both individuals possess a hubris that has led to public downfalls at times due to an unwillingness to make compromises or let go of their fixation upon their belief in what they are doing is serving a purpose for the greater good.

Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green has written that Mars in Aquarius “will gradually create an entire lifestyle reflective of its instinctual feeling of uniqueness,” and this same capacity held by natives with Mars in Aquarius may be seized by all of us when Mars transits through Aquarius.  Not only can we take steps to creatively actualize our inherently unique gifts while Mars is in Aquarius, we can also encourage others to express their distinctive inner qualities that defy societal norms and conventions.  Currently the transit of Mars in Aquarius is forming numerous harmonious aspects:  a trine to Jupiter in Libra, sextile to Mercury and Saturn in Sagittarius, and a sextile with Uranus in Aries.  There is no time like the present to not only express your essential gifts within the world but also to band together with others of shared passion in order to create positive shifts within systematic structures of our global collective.

beau-vandendolder-flock-of-birds

photograph by Beau Vandendolder (2016, all rights reserved)

References

Green, Jeff. (2009). Pluto Volume II. Wessex Astrologer.

Haruki Murakami cautions against excluding outsiders. The Guardian. 1 November 2016.

Murakami asks that people learn to live with their shadows. The Asahi Shimbun. 31 October 2016.

Mercury Retrograde in Saturn’s Home

Dore_Raven15

Illustration for The Raven by Gustave Dore

Hermes I call, whom Fate decrees to dwell in the dire path which leads to deepest hell

O Bacchic Hermes, progeny divine of Dionysius, parent of the vine,
And of celestial Aphrodite Paphian queen, dark eye-lash’d Goddess of a lovely mien:
Who constant wand’rest thro’ the sacred feats
where hell’s dread empress, Persephone, retreats;
To wretched souls the leader of the way when Fate decrees, to regions void of day:
Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone’s thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.
Come, blessed pow’r the sacrifice attend, and grant our mystic works a happy end.

— Hermes Chthonian from The Orphic Hymns

Mercury Retrograde

When Mercury shifts retrograde our angelic trickster slips into his role as psychopomp, the guide of souls who can journey into the underworld and back again. On a personal level this coincides with a turn within toward awareness not as readily available when Mercury is moving direct, a process that can birth new presence and shed old habits as Mercury reemerges on the other side (Mercury will station direct on January 25 and leave the retrograde shadow zone on February 17).  Mercury retrograde is not a time to fear but rather an opening to symbolic perception that can divine messages within the darkness of our dreams as well as in the signs that appear during our sunlit daily journeying.  The Mercury retrograde that begins on January 5, 2016 initiates at the first degree of Aquarius, but spends the majority of the time in the second half of Capricorn.  Aquarius and Capricorn are both the homes of Saturn, and so this Mercury retrograde will be deeply linked with the significations we associate with that old devil, Saturn.  The link to Saturn is further intensified by Mercury crossing the South Node of Saturn while retrograde,and then returning to conjoin the South Node of Saturn again once moving direct.

Modern astrology gives the rulership of Aquarius to Uranus, and one result of this is to associate Aquarius with future-oriented, liberated forms of thought.  Yet this same meaning can be found through Aquarius being the diurnal home of Saturn, a place where Saturn detaches from the conditioned thought forms of consensus culture to develop systems of thought that break free from the constraints of the status quo.  Mercury free from other influences stationing retrograde in Aquarius would support reception of a message beyond self-centered subjectivity, in an objective and clarified mind frame detached from passions and able to rationalize feelings.  Yet instead the stationing of Mercury is painted in bold, impassioned colors by Mars in Scorpio forming an exact square at the time Mercury stations retrograde.  As Mars in Scorpio heats the emotional climate of Mercury stationing retrograde, our feelings could override our ability to be objective or communicate with restraint.  The eruption of cathartic feelings at the dawn of this retrograde will be borne by Mercury into our underworld for deep processing and purification.

The movement of Mercury from Aquarius back into Capricorn is united by both signs being the home of Saturn.  Mercury in the territory of Saturn can readily focus on systems and structures in our life, including rumination upon time and space.  Mercury stationing retrograde while bearing the water of Aquarius holds the promise of illumination that transcends our everyday conception of time, saturating our direct perception of the moment with lucidity.  As Mercury moves backward into Capricorn, goat horns protrude through the messenger’s head as the role of water bearer is released in order to invest fully into the surrounding material realm with its lusty nature.  In Capricorn, where Mercury spends the majority of its time this retrograde, Mercury shifts our focus toward achievement and ambition as well as the degree of determination and discipline that will be needed for manifestation.

In addition to entering the heart of the Sun while retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury will also form conjunctions with Pallas Athene and Pluto, and in fact will station direct conjoining Pluto.  Around the recent solstice Mercury was first conjunct Pallas Athene, and in the first week of its retrograde movement Mercury will again become conjunct with Pallas Athene in Capricorn.  Here the creative visioning of Pallas Athene combines with the symbolic perception of Mercury retrograde for penetrating perception into the structural and systematic foundations surrounding us.  In her classic Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George wrote:

Aesthetically, Pallas Athene is very strong in Capricorn representing the ability to formulate precise structures (molds) into which raw creative energy can coalesce.  Instant manifestation is often possible and can be seen as a magical process. Here, Pallas excels in the arts of architecture, drafting, and sculpture.  Capricorn’s association with time connects Pallas Athene with the art of timing- being in the right place at the right time.  Politically, this is a defender of law and order. There is a strong power drive for authority over others in political and social institutions.  The wisdom of Pallas in Capricorn is the wisdom of order- putting things in their proper sequence (p. 105).

The Sun in Capricorn is applying closely to a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn and square to Uranus in Aries when Mercury stations retrograde, and then in the weeks ahead after Mercury passes back across the face of the Sun, Mercury will eventually come into a square with Uranus in Aries and then will station direct in conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn.  As a result, this Mercury retrograde activates and re-triggers the first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that has been dominating our astrological landscape for the past seven years, most exactly in the past four years.  As predicted the Pluto-Uranus square has correlated with seismic shifts around our planet, and so this Mercury retrograde is profound for reflecting upon the immensity of change that has passed through our lives.  Furthermore, it’s a potent period for reorienting our plans and structures in greater harmony with the insights we receive for how our world has been altered and continues to change.

Dore_Inferno1

Illustration for Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

Does it really exist, Time the Destroyer?
When, on the peaceful mountain, does it crush the fortress?
And this heart, always the gods’ possession,
when does the Demiurge pillage it?

Are we really so anxiously brittle
as Fate would have us believe?
Is childhood, so deep, so rich with promise,
in the roots- later on- stilled?

Ah, the spectre of transience,
through the guilelessly receptive
it passes like wisps of smoke.

And we, with our driving, our striving,-
the abiding Strengths assume
that the gods have some need for us.

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Retrograde

Hermes is a god of boundaries, with a tradition of demarcating divisions between profane and sacred territory, between rural and urban landscapes, between the graveyards of the dead and the playgrounds of the living.  When Mercury stations retrograde, this normally swift planet gives off the appearance of putting down roots into solid stillness, and as it disappears with a flash of light at sunset there is a cosmic message transmitted.  As Mercury moves retrograde under the beams of the Sun it is not visible, and being in between our planet Earth and our fiery Sun it is symbolically considered to be journeying through our underworld.  Demetra George has connected Mercury retrograde with the work by Jungian Murray Stein on the borderline spaces we inhabit during transitions and gaps between conscious realities.  As Hermes is a god of thresholds and passages between realms, Demetra George has taught that the stationing of Mercury retrograde marks a liminal time in which we are separated from a clear sense of where we are, as Hermes guides us through a transition of an old identity dying and the emergence of a new sense of Self.

This Mercury retrograde primarily occurring in Capricorn introduces the Mercurial theme of the earth element in 2016, as the following two Mercury retrograde periods this year will also occur in the earth signs of Taurus and Virgo.  This brings to mind the unconscious symbolism of the forest as well as other oracular associations with soulful matter such as rocks, plants, and other elements of our natural world.  Capricorn is distinguished in part from the other earth signs through it being the home of Saturn, and the transiting Saturn in Sagittarius is fittingly forming some of the most significant astrological aspects during this Mercury retrograde.  Transiting Saturn being in Sagittarius colors Mercury’s time in Capricorn with a more strident, visionary vibration.  The last quarter square between Saturn in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces that has been an intense astrological factor over the past couple of months continues to be so during this Mercury retrograde, and in fact becomes all the more dramatic with the passage of Venus triggering their dynamic.

As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is applying tightly to a square with Neptune, within minutes.  Venus is also four degrees away from Saturn in Sagittarius as Mercury stations, and as Mercury moves retrograde over the following week Venus will conjoin Saturn on January 8 at a Dark Moon in Capricorn.  The square between Venus and Neptune portends a crisis in our relationships, and as Venus is overcoming Neptune in the square while also approaching Saturn, the dreamy unconditional side of our feelings can be overcome by the conditions of circumstance in front of our face, what we feel are the cold hard facts of reality.  However, the square of Neptune in Pisces to Venus and Saturn combining in Sagittarius also reveals that there is a deeper and more far reaching truth to discern, such as the fact that what we are perceiving to be our reality is based more upon our current beliefs than actual reality.  While Saturn can bring up feelings of wanting to cut something off and separate, it is also true that Venus can soften up the old ringed devil for reconciliation.  At a higher potential, we can utilize these aspects during the Mercury retrograde to penetrate into our subjective feelings and perceptions and unveil a vaster conception of personal truth.

At the outset of Mercury stationing retrograde, with Mars in Scorpio in square to Mercury in Aquarius, we will want to keep in mind that disillusionment and feelings of disorientation are likely to come up in our relationships and that this amplified aspect between Mars and Mercury can erupt easily into bitter conflict.  While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is a risk that the detached side of Aquarius could combine with the fury of Mars at full force in Scorpio, resulting in explosive fights.  Yet the anger coming out in conflicts at this time has a source within, and it will be the task of this Mercury retrograde to journey within and explore the full ramifications of where these feelings are coming from.  It is important to realize that the feelings and thoughts dislodged at the beginning of this Mercury retrograde by Mars square Mercury, Venus and Saturn square Neptune among other things, is not the end of the story but merely the beginning.  Mercury will be journeying in the retrograde all the way back to unite with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there will be a vital message for us to receive about ourselves connected to the impassioned feelings provoked at the outset of this Mercury retrograde.

There is also the potential that we can rekindle passion from the Mars square in order to then harness corresponding desire to determined effort going forward.  Mercury retrograde in the home of Saturn will reward hard work and effort, and so the square from Mars to Mercury can jolt us into awareness of where we need to concentrate and work with full force.  This square between Mercury and Mars is even more intense as it is the second one to occur within the same week.  The first square in this cycle was on December 29, 2015 with Mercury at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star at 28° of Capricorn, and Mars at the same degree of Libra.  There is something hugely significant to find within this square between Mercury and Mars that will fuel our work in the year ahead.  Mars and Mercury will form their third square in the beginning of March 2016 with Mercury at the very end of Aquarius and Mars and the very end of Scorpio.  It may take until this later time a few months from now to fully come to terms with the work that will be involving this intense aspect between Mercury and Mars, and in the meantime we will need to persevere in the face of any daunting obstacles.

The other major astrological aspect occurring as Mercury stations retrograde is that a couple of days after Mercury stations retrograde, Jupiter in Virgo will also station retrograde closely conjoining the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  There is a powerful connection here with Mercury as the conjunction between Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon is occurring in Virgo. In fact, as Mercury moves retrograde into Capricorn this connection will intensify as Mercury will be receiving Jupiter through a trine.  With Mercury in the home of Saturn, Saturn in the home of Jupiter, and Jupiter in the home of Mercury during this retrograde, despite some of the otherwise challenging aspects there also appears to be a confluence of forces supporting us finding a vision for our life that will bring us a fulfilling sense of purpose.  Jupiter moving retrograde also brings an inner visioning in terms of reorienting toward a more authentic personal truth.  Jupiter was previously retrograde in Leo between early December 2014 and early April 2015 if you want to contemplate events associated with the prior Jupiter retrograde.  Jupiter will remain retrograde until the beginning of May 2016, at which time it will station direct in range of an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.

mercury passing in front of the sun

Mercury Passing in Front of the Sun by Giacomo Balla (1914)

Only he who has also raised
his lyre among shadows
may find his way back
to infinite praise.

Only he who has eaten with the dead
from their stores of poppy
will never again lose
the softest chord.

And though the pool’s reflection
often blurs before us:
Know the image.

Only in the double realm
do the voices become
eternal and mild.

–Rainer Maria Rile from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury into the Sun

Mercury’s inferior conjunction occurs when Mercury retrograde reaches the same zodiac degree as the Sun, and as Mercury during its retrograde is passing between our Earth and Sun, I am part of the astrological community who interprets this as being similar to a New Mercury.  This is a moment of cazimi, in which Mercury is reborn in the radiance of our solar light, regenerated and purified within the golden rays of the fiery Sun.  On a personal level, this is a moment of new conception regarding the significations of Mercury within our life, and a powerful moment within to attune to an oracular message we may receive.  In Pacific standard time, this magical Mercury moment occurs at 6:05 am on January 14, 2016, while in the Central European time zone this will occur at 3:05 pm on January 14.

Mercury and the Sun will be at 23º50′ tightly in trine with Jupiter in Virgo at 23º10′ and the true North Node of the Moon in Virgo at 23º30′.  Amazingly, the waxing crescent Moon at the moment of Mercury cazimi is at 22º30′ of Pisces, closely applying to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon, a sextile with the Mercury and Sun conjunction, and an opposition to Jupiter in Virgo.   These aspects are remarkably suggestive of the interpretation that Dane Rudhyar gave to the Crescent Moon as fighting off the ghosts of the past, as there is an activation of past patterns of awareness at the same time we sense new choices and opportunities linked to a reborn vision of meaning.  While we may feel a pull back toward the normalcy of old patterns, we can consciously with determination propel ourselves into the unknown with faith despite the fears arising that we will not have what we need to be successful in the new direction.  The close trine between Mercury conjoining the Sun and Jupiter conjoining the North Node of the Moon indicates that we will in fact be able to access the resources we need to successfully transition in the new, unfamiliar direction.

In addition, the inferior conjunction of Mercury will be almost exactly conjunct the geocentric South Node of Saturn, and a few degrees away from a conjunction with the geocentric South Node of Pluto.  This intensifies the connection of this Mercury retrograde cycle with the full archetypal arcs of both Saturn and Pluto.  In evolutionary astrology, Jeff Green teaches that the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto being in Capricorn symbolizes the vast shadow cast by the patriarchal paradigm that seized power from a matriarchal collective ages ago.  Mercury retrograde united with the Sun at the South Node of Saturn suggests penetrating insight into the foundation of the structural systems surrounding us will be available.  It also portends we can discern how our behavior in the moment has been conditioned by the vast history of hierarchical power structures vying for power, control, and dominance.

Finally, there are additional indications that Venus is demanding attention from us during this Mercury retrograde, and that the retrograde commencing with a tight square between Venus and Neptune is a sign that we have a deep message regarding our Venusian nature to uncover.  At the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from a trine with Uranus in Aries and applying to a square with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo, as well as a square with the Moon in Pisces and the South Node of the Moon.  Well, we’re always focused on Venus and looking for messages about her, right?  Nonetheless, Venus is holding aspects suggestive of being at a crossroads at the time of this Mercury inferior conjunction, and as she will be received by Jupiter it is yet another sign of the Jupiter conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in Virgo being a beacon of light leading us out of the Mercurial underworld.

Dore Gustave Inferno_Canto_1_spirit_guide

Virgil leads Dante by Gustave Dore, from the Divine Comedy

We puzzle over flower, vine-leaf, fruit.
They speak not just the language of the year.
A thing of succor rises from the dark
and its hues may gleam with the jealousy

of the dead, those who strengthen the earth.
What do we know of their share in it?
It has long been their practice to enrich
the loam with their own free marrow.

The question is: do they do it willingly? . . .
Does this fruit, a work of sullen slaves,
push through clenched to us, to their masters?

Or are they the masters, sleeping among
the roots and granting us from their profusion
this hybrid of mute strength and kisses?

— Rainer Maria Rilke from Sonnets to Orpheus

Mercury Stations Direct

Mercury ultimately will station direct on January 25, 2016 at 14º55′ of Capricorn, closely conjoining Pluto at 15º54′ of Capricorn.  As Mercury appears to stand still when stationing, this means we will have an extended period of Mercury and Pluto being a degree apart (roughly January 21 – February 1, 2016).  On January 20 when the Sun ingresses into Aquarius, Mercury retrograde will also form an exact square with Uranus in Aries, and Mercury will still be in range of a square to Uranus when it finally stations direct.  There is deep reckoning to be found in this stationing direct of Mercury, much more so than normal as it is intimately bound to the influence of the Pluto-Uranus square.  This may or may not be a pleasant time depending upon your circumstances, but there is no doubt that an aspect of your ineffable soul will be available to perceive.  Whether you are able to schedule some downtime for yourself or whether you will be forced to be engaged in numerous intense activities, there is immense catharsis found in these aspects surrounding Mercury stationing direct.  There is also a harmonious sextile formed between Mars in Scorpio with the stationing Mercury in Capricorn, suggesting that a level of resolution could be reached concerning whatever was stirred up by Mars being square to Mercury at the beginning of the retrograde.

Adding to the vast depth of this time is that Mercury will be stationing direct closely conjoining the geocentric South Node of Jupiter, and also a couple of degrees away from a conjunction with its own geocentric South Node of Mercury.  This is yet another potent activation of the Jupiter archetype during this Mercury retrograde, and points toward Jupiter taking on the role of a guiding shepherd.  As Mercury begins to move direct again as an explorative Morning Star, it will once again begin applying to a trine with Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Those who have been working hard with due diligence and determination during the Mercury retrograde will be rewarded during this final period of Jupiter in Virgo receiving Mercury in Capricorn through a trine.  By willingly descending into underworld darkness during the Mercury retrograde, we will reascend nourished by a regenerated vision of life focused upon our essential fulfillment.

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. (2004). Sonnets to Orpheus. Translated by Edward Snow. North Point Press.

Leo Full Moon

sekhmet

Sekhmet

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits

— John Keats, Endymion

Today’s Full Moon in Leo arrives at the time of Imbolc, the pagan holy day marking the mid-point between the Solstice and the Equinox, a period in which the new impulses seeded at the Solstice that have taken root find a home in our imagination, body, and reality.  Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere is when we sense the coming solar radiance of Spring on the distant horizon, a time to conduct rituals of purification in our home through the lighting of fire. The Celtic Goddess Brigid holds strong resonance with this holy time, a Goddess of poetry, arts, crafts, medicine, sacred wells, and serpents among other significations.  This symbolism is perfect for the astrology expressed through today’s Full Moon, as our solar time in the detached, independent, rational, and analytical Aquarius receives a jolt of passionate creativity from the lustful sign of the Lion-hearted.  Mercury retrograde in Aquarius brings potential to penetrate deeply with our perceptions freed from the constraints of consensus conditioning, and so this Leo Full Moon can feel like an imbibing of poetic inspiration to soak up and more fully feel our recent experiences, expressing ourselves from our inner source of images and vision.  This is an auspicious time to set an intention and create an art or craft to represent our wish for fulfillment.

Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven,
Aquarius! to whom king Jove has given
Two liquid pulse streams ’stead of feather’d wings,
Two fan-like fountains, – thine illuminings
For Dian play:
Dissolve the frozen purity of air;
Let thy white shoulders silvery and bare
Shew cold through watery pinions; make more bright
The Star-Queen’s crescent on her marriage night:
Haste, haste away!

— John Keats, Endymion

This is a Jupiterian Full Moon of purified vision, with a retrograde Jupiter conjunct the Full Moon that is drawing us more deeply inside the personal direction for us to follow in the coming season.   Aquarius is able to help us both de-condition as well as re-structure: in the libation of the Water Bearer we are able to apply reason to our passions, analyze our place within society, and speak out or stand in solidarity against aspects of the status quo that lack humanity. Yet Aquarius likes to have a structure, and being traditionally ruled by Saturn is an excellent conduit for the brilliantly intuitive and non-linear visualization of Jupiter that expands us beyond our previous limitations, yet also needs structure to help our vision take effective form in our reality.  This Full Moon highlights the polarity of Leo to Aquarius that re-focuses our detachment from what we no longer want in our lives into a passionate actualization of the creative destiny we desire to manifest.

griffins horned in gold

Horned Lion Griffins in gold (Iran, 6th -4th Century B.C.) from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Modern astrology schools such as evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green connect Uranus as a ruler of Aquarius, and today’s Leo Full Moon ushers in a renewal of the dynamic interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in a first quarter trine.  At the time of the Full Moon Jupiter and Uranus will be within five degrees of one another, and by the end of February they will be exactly trine.  While Jupiter and Uranus in trine can coincide with dramatic, liberating breakthroughs in thought that take us beyond our former conception of our reality, there is a paradox in today’s astrological aspects that also take us into our past, in a spiral like process of returning to the moment in a new frame of mind.  This is because Jupiter is retrograde in Leo, Uranus is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and we are also still within the Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius.  I do not mean to suggest that we will be stuck in the past, or continuing to re-cycle old patterns of our past, but instead that our sense of our past, the telling of our personal story, can radically shift now and bring us into a place in which we can receive new images and messages about our self and our surrounding world.  Let what is arising within now germinate instead of thinking you need to immediately take action-  this Full Moon in aspect to Uranus is unveiling a message that is in a process of taking form, and we will be gaining greater clarity regarding how to best take action on behalf of it in the coming weeks.

In addition to today’s Leo Full Moon being in trine to the South Node of Moon in Aries, it is also in sextile to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result there is also an important message regarding our relationships to receive now, something that no matter how jarring or upsetting is vital in our process of creating and sustaining relationships that nurture our creative authenticity instead of repressing or limiting it.  This is further emphasized by Mercury retrograde in Aquarius being opposite Juno in Leo in the past week.  Furthermore, with Mars and Venus both in Pisces and in balsamic phase, with Venus conjunct Neptune and Mars conjunct Chiron, this Full Moon heralds a time of releasing the relationships that no longer serve us and magnetizing the relationships that will more effectively help us actualize the vision of our future life we can sense developing from within.  We can feel big love now that is expansive and grandiose like Jupiter, boundless and ethereal like Neptune.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Venus and Neptune in Pisces, we will be confronted with aspects of our reality that may feel challenging, yet can also be seen as guides for how we will need to structure our idyllic intention so that it can effectively exist in reality.

I have clung
To nothing, lov’d a nothing, nothing seen
Or felt but a great dream! O I have been
Presumptuous against love, against the sky,
Against all elements, against the tie
Of mortals each to each, against the blooms
Of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs
Of heroes gone!

— John Keats, Endymion

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6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The association between Jupiter and this Leo Full Moon is further accentuated by the Full Moon being in the second decan of Leo, a decan that is ruled by Jupiter.  The tarot card linked to the second decan of Leo is the Six of Wands, a card that tends to have images associated with triumphant victory such as the strident champion riding a white horse drawn above by Pamela Colman Smith, a conquering hero hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock has analyzed this decan as holding the triumph of great acts performed by those who have created an authentic persona and ego-structure through which  to project their spirit:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees.  Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces

Often times the persona we develop has been molded to acclimate to the relational dynamics within our family and early development, within our community and culture, within our educational system, and within the network of relationships involved in our career path and daily responsibilities.  The polarity from Leo to Aquarius highlighted by today’s Full Moon illuminates the importance of being able to detach from the influences of our surrounding conditioning to the extent necessary for us to find our true voice instead of mimicking those we think will help us succeed in the culture.  Yet while we need to detach enough so that we can self-reflect and discover our personal authenticity, we also need the fixed perseverance of Aquarius and Leo to stand apart and courageously follow the beat of our own heart.  Most vitally, we need the burning passion of Leo to invigorate our cool, purified Aquarian vision with a heart-centered focus that keeps us connected to the needs of our surrounding environment while also bringing forth the unique gift we have to offer from our inner spirit.  When Aquarius connects us to a group of like-minded associations, we inevitably come under the influence of feeling like we need to conform to the norms of the group- for Aquarius to come into it’s full strength we need to activate the Leo polarity of following our own heart instead of the group-mind.

rudy shepherd boko haram

Drawing by Rudy Shepherd of 13 year old girl recruited by ‪‎Boko Haram‬ to blow herself up in Kano, Nigeria, but refused to go through with it.

This Leo Full Moon comes about four days after the core of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Aquarius when Mercury entered the heart of the Sun on January 30, 2015.  Mercury retrograde is now coming into a conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, lending increased levels of focus and perseverance to our Mercurial journey into our depths.  Indeed, all of the major asteroid goddesses are active at this Full Moon, with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius in square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces, Juno in Leo opposite Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, and Ceres coming into a close balsamic conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, in square to Uranus and the nodes of the Moon.  Demetra George has taught that since the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio, they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  In this way the asteroid goddesses are facilitating the journey of Mercury retrograde, and since the Mercury retrograde began at the Aquarius New Moon that has ripened to today’s Full Moon, they are also part of facilitating an important message to us about our place within all of the momentous collective issues arising now.

Indeed, once open to her Pallas Athena and her creative visioning becomes more important, as she is in trine to the Full Moon in addition to being square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces.  There is a fertile opportunity for our beliefs to shift and re-align at this time away from our past conditioning, and the new cycle between Mars and Chiron is important to tune into for a place in your chart where a profound re-vitalization of your Will and desire nature is occurring. There is also a profound yod formed by the Leo Full Moon that is triggered by the Aquarius Sun and anchored by the sextile between Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn.  This waxing, crescent sextile between Mars and Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn is a tremendous growth opportunity for how we can pursue personal desires that also help others in our global environment, all within the network of systematic power structures.  Look to where 14-15 degrees impacts your chart, especially in the signs of Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Leo.

Finally, there is also an intense aspect involving Venus conjunct Neptune and square to Saturn in Sagittarius and in t-square with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo.  There may be feelings to overcome of how we have previously felt rejected by a culture or group, and disillusioning events and experiences that momentarily make us feel lost or confused, but in the end these are all experiences that can be used to shift the way we are interacting in order to be less accommodating to others and more attuned to the direction coming from our Self.  Saturn in square to Venus and Neptune can also bring benefit to anyone willing to put in some disciplined and focused work toward their dreams now.  Feel with your heart and deep within your body the burgeoning new vision and life that is currently underground, beginning to move toward shooting up new shafts of green into your reality.

LeoFullMoonWRIGC1

References

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

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

moonrise

The Pond – Moonrise (1904) by Edward J. Steichen

Mercury retrograde is an inner alteration that comes to us three times a year, and our first of 2015 that begins on January 21, 2015 in Aquarius initiates a year of Mercury retrograde phases in each of the three Air signs of reflection, thoughts, and ideas.  Being afraid of Mercury retrograde is like being afraid of making a mistake, being afraid to go into the darkness of our inner realm and shadow work.  Mercury in myth is the psychopomp of Soul, the messenger who can bridge the underworld with the upper world, and guide us into our inner depths in order to help us shift our external presence and perspective.  Some of us have astrology charts that naturally resonate with Mercury retrograde times more than others, but the key is to open perception to the world of symbols, signs, omens, dreams, and what we can sense from our unconscious.  If things become disorienting or confusing, perceiving through intuition can help guide us more so than reaching for rational clarity.

Aquarius in astrology is a Fixed Air sign, and so the fluid Mercury in retrograde can help us shift some deep rooted and fixated patterns of habitual thought.  Modern astrologers look to Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius while classicists look to Saturn as the lord of the Water Bearer:  both Saturn and Uranus are at center stage now, with Uranus square Pluto and conjunct the South Node of the Moon, and Saturn freshly in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune and Mars in Pisces, as well as passing through a square with Venus during the upcoming Mercury retrograde. The sextile between Sagittarius holding Saturn and Aquarius holding Mercury retrograde unveils the potential of this Mercury retrograde to take us into the mystery of fundamental change and re-structuring of our thought process and its interplay with our expression.  Aquarius symbolizes the paradox of both conformity to an established tradition as well as complete rebellion against an established tradition, through the common purpose of breaking free from consensus conditioning.  Yet there is also the collective phenomenon that following ground breaking revolution a heavy hand of Saturn control is often re-asserted by a new power structure.  This Mercury retrograde will call us to re-examine our inter-personal relationships as well as systematic relationships, including the relationship between global, national, and local structural systems.

In the global collective, the World Economic Forum annual meeting (in ski resort Davos, Switzerland this year) commences on the day Mercury stations retrograde in Aquarius.  One issue that Aquarian activists hope will be addressed is global economic inequality, as a recent study by the charity Oxfam predicted based upon current trends that in 2016, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.  While this is a prediction that the richest 1% of the world will own more than 50% of global wealth in 2016, the Oxfam study published on January 19, 2015 revealed “that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.”  The inequity of wealth distribution will not be changing anytime soon, but during the retrograde cycle we can work on shifting patterns within that are connected to our relationship with wealth and how we define what it means to have wealth.  Is it simply a matter of having more money, or is it more about the quality of our life- in this way, what sort of quality do we want?

The day before Mercury stations retrograde is a New Moon at the very beginning of Aquarius, and two days before Mercury stations retrograde there is an opposition between Venus in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, and a conjunction and new cycle between Mars and Neptune in Pisces.  These are extremely fertile astrology aspects in which to root a Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius, and suggest that our past values and visions will be challenged on a foundational level in order to test how much they truly align with what we can create and draw upon in our surrounding reality, as well as to what degree they nourish and catalyze us to consequently impact or inspire our community.  When Mercury stations retrograde, the Moon will be passing over Mercury in conjunction while the stationing Mercury opposes Jupiter retrograde in Leo:

MercuryRetroStationWRIGC7

Mercury and Venus have recently been glorious evening stars beautifying our twilight.  On January 14 when Mercury was at its maximum elongation, I savored a sojourn of staring at a bright Venus and Mercury aligned symmetrically in the shifting blue hues of sunset turning indigo toward the dark of night.  The recent companionship of Mercury and Venus in Aquarius has brought something into the awareness of each of us, and as Venus moves forward in the direction of Pisces while Mercury turns back to retrace Aquarian steps, there is something significant for each of us to realize.  Take the time to explore the Aquarius house of your birth chart, and any important planets or aspects you have with the first eighteen or so degrees of Aquarius to help you deepen your self-reflection.  With its stationing, Mercury will now descend from view at twilight as an evening star into our underworld, not to return again for us to view until it has stationed direct and moved forward again to become a morning star heralding our dawn.

Though Mercury and Venus were delightful to view in twilight together recently, their time together in Aquarius has most likely coincided with events that opened your emotions to sadness or pain in one way or another.  The point where Aquarian detachment can go awry is when we choose to be in denial of our sadness, distracting ourselves away from our pain to pretend like visualizing positive fantasies will take our troubles away.  It is necessary to deal with our sadness and grief by fully feeling our emotions, without denial and the distraction of coping strategies to construct an artifice of control.  Paramount at this Mercury stationing is Pluto in Capricorn exactly in square to the lunar nodes of the Moon, with Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon.  There is no escaping the dark night of the soul that can arise with this aspect:  if we attempt to escape from it or resist it, incoming events will reinforce the issue even more strongly than before. Yet this is the blessing of experiencing a Mercury retrograde, as Mercury is the messenger who can mediate with Pluto in our depths. While we may feel adrift, lost in a space of past attachments dissolving, remember Mercury is the trickster who facilitates our crossing of the borderline space in between significant transitions of our life.

Indeed, this Mercury retrograde is not something to complain about but instead seize for its potential to take us into the deep.  Aquarius brings a capacity to objectively analyze, and so this Mercury retrograde can be like our own inner Jungian analyst who can help us find the cause of our current issues through interpreting the symbolism of our daily experiences with dreams and other signs in our environment.  Insights will arise in the coming weeks especially if we refuse to numb or shelter ourselves from the issues and feelings demanding our attention.  This is a time period in which to take responsibility for our emotions and the way our behavior is impacting the emotions of those we are in relationship with.  With Pluto in Capricorn, this involves us having to face the countless examples of systematic oppression we encounter in our daily environment, as well as how on a personal level we can attempt to deal with our emotional vulnerabilities though seeking control of others in one way or another, or by giving our power away to others in order to have someone else take care of us.  Furthermore, with Mercury stationing opposite Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, we may become triggered by interactions bringing up issues of past rejection, or fear that we will not be accepted or chosen for relationship due to a feeling of alienation.  Yet within the drama of our subjective inner world we can sense our personal truth struggling to find its voice, and by courageously expanding further into our essential nature we will initiate a retrograde phase that will lead us to become more authentically alive.

Relationships, our old patterns of relationship, and the new way of being we can now embody in our relationships is an overarching theme of this Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, in part because Mercury is stationing in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra and in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Uranus in Aries.  Moreover, this Mercury retrograde cycle is taking us through the balsamic phase of Mars and Venus toward a new cycle of Mars and Venus that will begin on February 21, 2015 at two degrees of Aries.  This is the closing of a cycle between Mars and Venus that began on April 6, 2013 at 19°57′ of Aries.  Think back to this time period of April in 2013 and what relationships entered your life, or what was shifting in relation to external connections with others in your life.  Everything that has transpired in our relationships in these past two years, that has happened in connection with our passions, desires, and inner values, is now at a time of clearing in order to let go and release with finality what is no longer serving us and to re-seed what is in accord with our new vision for the relationships of our present and future.

black-in-deep-red-1957

Black in Deep Red (1957) by Mark Rothko

On April 6, 2013 we entered a new cycle between Mars and Venus, and since then we have gone through a Venus retrograde in Capricorn as well as a Mars retrograde in Libra while experiencing the sequence of squares between Pluto and Uranus.  In 2015 three times will be the charm with the new cycle between Mars and Venus, as we will experience three conjunctions between them before they finally settle into their new cycle. After Venus and Mars conjunct at two degrees of Aries on February 21, Venus will move forward and get beyond a semi-sextile aspect with Mars before stationing retrograde at the beginning of Virgo to move back into Leo and reunite with Mars again on August 31, 2015 at fifteen degrees of Leo.  After Venus stations direct in Leo, it will move forward again and catch up with Mars for a final conjunction and initiation of the new Mars and Venus cycle on November 2, 2015 at twenty-five degrees of Virgo.  As a result, while we will experience a new initiation and rebirth in our relationships following this Mercury retrograde, we still have a lot more to work out between Mars and Venus during this year before we finally settle into our new relationship dynamic.  With the final conjunction occurring in Virgo, there seems to be a Mercurial aspect to the incoming Mars and Venus cycle, as the three conjunctions this year will also be preceded by the three Mercury retrograde phases in each of the Air signs.

Venus begins this Mercury retrograde opposite Jupiter, then ingresses into Pisces and forward into a square with Saturn and conjunction with both Neptune and Chiron, while Mars is initiating a new cycle with Neptune at Mercury’s stationing to move forward in the direction of Chiron.  By the time Mercury stations direct, Venus and Mars will be in a balsamic conjunction in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac and a fitting place for Mars and Venus to release their previous cycle.  While Venus is in Aquarius during the first week of the Mercury retrograde, we may have a greater capacity for detached analysis of the inner values we have gained from conforming to an external source, whether that be from the consensus culture or from a subculture rebelling against consensus values we gravitated toward out of a sense of disenchantment or frustration with the status quo.  During this time of Venus moving through the final decan of Aquarius we can sense the values we have been living from that do not truly resonate with our unique individuality, and we may perceive intimations of how we can begin to actualize a more authentic value system.  With Mercury being retrograde, mixed into this process may be perceptions from a new perspective along with rumination into memories of previous relationships and the values we took on through old relationships.

Venus in Aquarius can detach to prevent us from becoming overcome by our emotions, while Venus in Pisces is more likely to merge into our inner feelings as well as with others. Leading up to the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun, Venus will ingress into Pisces and will have entered into a first quarter square with Saturn in Sagittarius and a balsamic conjunction with Neptune when the angelic messenger unites with our Sun:

Mercury-SunconjunctionWRIGC8

The inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun is ideal for intention setting if you can be alert to its timing.  This is a moment of conception that can signal a shift in our state of mind similar to a new moon.  Look to where 10°20′ of Aquarius is in your astrology chart by house and aspect to analyze how this impacts you specifically.  In connection with the theme of relationships, it is fascinating that the inferior conjunction of Mercury is opposite Juno retrograde in Leo.  Our passionate Juno side that can have the drive of a lioness in pursuit of creative desires has an opportunity here to integrate into our presence in community and bring a more heart-centered focus to the oftentimes cool and detached Aquarian mindset.  It could also signal a time to break from a current relationship drama in order to re-center, like Juno re-sourcing herself in her sacred bath.

The relationship theme is further emphasized by Venus being balsamic conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and in square to Saturn in Sagittarius, with Mars balsamic conjunct to Chiron in Pisces.  The Venus-Neptune and Mars-Chiron cycles ending now to begin again both go back to early 2013, when Mars and Chiron began the current cycle in Pisces in February and Venus and Neptune began their current cycle in Pisces at the beginning of March (Mercury was also retrograde in Pisces when Venus and Neptune were last conjunct).  The first quarter square from Pisces Venus to Sagittarius Saturn is coming off their conjunction in mid-November 2014 in Scorpio.  All of these aspects coinciding with Mercury’s inferior conjunction point toward illumination concerning the ideals we hold in our relationships versus the actual reality of our relationships.  The more we accept ourselves for who we actually are and not the ideal persona we want to create about ourselves, the less likely we are to project our ideals on a relationship that ultimately leads us to disillusionment because we are not taking care of our own work.  The more we live with integrity in line with our deeply felt values, the more likely we are to magnetize relationships that are aligned with our ideal path, and this inferior conjunction of Mercury is a moment to set such an intention.

There is also a paradoxical potential to these aspects that could align with great wounding as well as groundbreaking strides toward a cherished vision.  Mars aligning with Chiron could take us deeply into our wounds, and Saturn can have a very heavy hand with a Venus wanting to drift away in a Piscean illusion, all the more so with Uranus closely conjunct the South Node of the Moon and in square to Pluto at the inferior conjunction.  Uranus has to do with unexpected shattering which can be both liberating as well as traumatic, but in any event has to do with some sort of large energetic shift arriving unannounced.  Chiron is a mediator between Uranus and Saturn, and so these same aspects point to an opportunity for us to re-direct incoming energy into our work and relationships with our surrounding environment.  Chiron is a courageous and wise archetype for Mars to re-formulate our sense of will around at this time of the inferior conjunction, and we can work with him better if we bravely step into a mediating role between conflicts, be present for healing in our interactions, and if necessary make a sacrifice not out of a sense of masochism or victimization but out of authentic desire to purely serve.

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Moon Woman (1942) by Jackson Pollock

As we move away from the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun toward the period of Mercury stationing direct, Venus gets closer each day to Mars in Pisces making the clearing of previous relationship patterns deeper.  This is a great couple of weeks to claim as a severing of what no longer serves us in our previous patterns of relating to others as well as our self.  Yet clearing does not mean clean cut or simply cut off, but rather this letting go could become a messy affair, a spiral-like process that brings up deeply felt emotions from old relationships we had tucked away, or feelings about a current partnership we had been ignoring or distracting ourselves from.  Pisces is a compassionate place for this release to take place, and drawing on the Piscean ideals of compassion and acceptance with ourselves and in our interactions will help us let go of old wounds and patterns we will soon realize we had been sorely needing to release.  We will also get another opportunity for relationship clearing later this year since Mars and Venus conjunct two more times before settling in for good into their new cycle, but Mars and Venus will not be in Pisces at that time.

Between Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun and Mercury stationing direct, Ceres in Capricorn also enters a balsamic clearing with Pluto in Capricorn, evoking a strong Dark Moon aspect between these rivals of myth.  In addition to it’s themes of nurturance and attachment, Ceres can show us where crisis has led us to attempt to cope through vengeful anger or the taking of control, and how through surrendering to acceptance as well as through taking assertive mediation we can reclaim our personal authority and ability to be productive.  This conjunction in Capricorn brings up both the oppressive nature of the power structure as well as our capacity to claim the authority to take action within the system to bring perpetrators of wrongdoing to justice.  In the myth, Ceres ultimately stands up for herself and forces Jupiter to make a deal with her, thereby sending Mercury into the underworld to retrieve her beloved daughter Proserpina, or Persephone.  In synchronicity with the Northern Hemisphere experience of this Mercury retrograde occurring in deep Winter, with an upcoming Solar Eclipse occurring at the Spring Equinox, this Mercury retrograde descent to the underworld has resonance with the reclaiming of a beloved to reappear in the coming rebirth of Spring.  Ceres combining with Pluto in Capricorn now suggests that instead of attempting to tear down the entire power structure, instead look to where there are aspects of the system to connect with and use to promote your personal truth.

In the Homeric hymnal version of the Demeter and Persephone myth, the Moon Goddess Hekate directs Demeter to seek counsel with Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Demeter the knowledge that Hades took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Similarly we will be able to receive our own lunar divination around February 3, 2015 when there will be a Full Moon in Leo at the time of the cross-quarter holy day of Imbolc.  The Full Moon will be conjunct Juno and Jupiter in Leo, in between them, with both Juno and Jupiter retrograde, once again highlighting the theme of relationships.  In line with the balsamic relationship between Mars and Venus in Pisces co-occurring at the same time, this Full Moon will bring up a significant relational issue for us to integrate when Mercury stations direct at the beginning of Aquarius in the following week:

MercuryDirectStationWRIGC9

Mercury stations direct near the same degree of the New Moon of January 20, 2015 bridging the intentions we set at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde with it’s completion.  Mercury will station in conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, bringing added focus, centeredness, and commitment to this stationing direct.  Vesta combined with Mercury in Aquarius could find us feeling somewhat alienated from others as we process and integrate the inner shifting that came during the retrograde phase of Mercury, and we may need to take some time for solace in solitude.  Ceres closely combined with Pluto in Capricorn in square to the lunar nodes and Uranus, with Venus conjunct Chiron in a balsamic conjunction with Mars may give us further cause for taking a break from busyness to re-center and re-intergrate.  Some of us may not be so lucky to get away from others and our daily work while Mercury is stationing, and so the focused energy of Vesta combined with Mercury will help us fulfill professional responsibilities and remain dedicated toward completing the responsibilities associated with the goals we are working toward.

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Mercury stationing direct heralds the fleet footed messenger’s return as a Morning Star welcoming our Sunrise.  While Mercury as an Evening Star is associated with the cool, reflective hindsight of Epimetheus, Mercury as a Morning Star is associated with Prometheus and a more fiery foresight that operates best consciously in daylight hours.  The Messenger at this stage is curious, inquisitive, and eager for a new adventure with a mind ready to race ahead toward the future horizon. The ability of Mercury at this time to help us re-focus on our goals in line with the changes unfolding in our life will be a great benefit, as there is plenty ahead to keep Mercury busy as in March we will experience Saturn in Sagittarius stationing retrograde, the seventh and final square between Pluto and Uranus, and a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.

References

Demetra George:  Hermes Guardian of Thresholds

Mars Retrograde in Libra

Aries kneels before Aphrodite

Mars Initiation

  • Mars entered his retrograde shadow zone (9-10 Libra) on December 27, 2013
  • January 16, 2014:  Venus retrograde (19 Capricorn) squared Mars (19 Libra)
  • February 28, 2014:  Mercury stationed direct at 18 Aquarius /// New Moon at 11 Pisces
  • March 1, 2014:  Mars stationed retrograde at 28 Libra
  • March 2, 2014:  Saturn stationed retrograde at 24 Scorpio /// Venus (28 Capricorn) squared Mars retrograde (28 Libra)
  • March 6, 2014:  Jupiter stationed direct at 11 Cancer
  • Mars retrograde will create a Cardinal Grand Cross in April with Jupiter in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn around 12-14 degrees of the cardinal signs. The grand cross will be intense in the days surrounding April 23, with a Lunar Eclipse on April 15 and Solar Eclipse on April 29.
  • Mars will station direct on May 19 at 10 Libra
  • Mars will leave his retrograde shadow zone on July 22, 2014

March fittingly began with its namesake Mars claiming center stage by stationing retrograde at the end of Libra, in between Mercury stationing direct the day before and Saturn stationing retrograde the next day.  A few days later on March 6, Jupiter stationed direct, creating an extraordinary week of intensity.  Every time a planet stations it means their energy is saturating our astrological atmosphere:  with so many occurring at the same time the effect was dizzying and disorienting, but since Mars only goes retrograde about every 26 months or so, his stationing was especially dramatic.  A raised Mars vibration became even more pronounced at this time because his stationing occurred in conjunction to the shift of the true node of the Lunar North Node into the sign of Libra, meaning that Mars also became the lord of the South Node of the Moon in Aries.    As Mars is occupying the sign of Venus, conjunct the North Node of the Moon ruled by Venus, we are at a time of a Mars initiation under the auspices of Venus.

Mars initiating a collective and personal shift at this time was symbolized in current events by Russia invading the Crimea region of Ukraine at the time of Mars stationing retrograde.  Mars is of course the god of war, with an ancient link to the Greek Ares who was particularly bloodthirsty in battle and obsessed with creating conflict and strife.  The Russian invasion also connected to the shift of the South Node of the Moon into Aries that is ruled by Mars, as it brought to the collective mind a fear of another great war breaking out between global super powers, all the while evoking collective memories of the cold war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  However, fitting to a Mars retrograde occurring in Libra at this time, instead of an actual world war of mass killing breaking out what instead has occurred so far is a war of diplomacy and behind the scenes maneuvering of diplomats and dictators.

While Mars does have a mythic connection to the Greek Ares, his appearance in Roman culture was of supreme importance as Mars was a founding father of the Roman people through his fatherhood of Romulus and Remus.  In addition to being a god of aggression and violence, the Romans also saw Mars as a passionate, and scandalous lover- in fact the lover of Venus who was quite willing to ignore the fact that Venus was married to Vulcan.  This love affair between Mars and Venus was also found in the Greek version of numerous love affairs between Ares and Aphrodite who likewise transgressed the marital vows of Aphrodite and Hesphaestus (the Greek Vulcan).  Through the heated passion and sexual intercourse between the Mars and Venus of myth we can also find the astrological meaning behind Mars as an indication of our passionate and erotic desire that resists restrictions or limitations of any kind.

Another ancient connection to Mars was as a harbinger of plagues, pestilence, and disaster, as can be seen in his traditional association with the XVI Tower card of the Tarot Arcana.  I feel through modern astrology we have come to associate outer planets like Pluto and Uranus more so with crisis and calamities, but it is important to remember that Mars was always seen in this role and connected with disastrous events such as the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine at the time of a Mars stationing.  As a result, we can apply the theme of the XVI Tower card to events at this time, with the higher potential of this correlation being that we can become electrified and shook wide awake by dramatic events.  Indeed, Mars is also one of the traditional malefics of astrology along with Saturn, seen in night charts as representing the sorts of challenges that make us stronger and in day charts the sorts of challenges that simply make us lose our shit.  Through the myths and astrology of ancient Babylon, we can find all of these meanings, as Nergal (the God associated with the planet Mars in Babylon) was also a god of violence, plague, and disaster, who was also the  brother of Ninurta (the Babylonian Saturn, the other traditional malefic of astrology).

Michael Baignet in his incredible book From the Omens of Bablylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia analyzed translations of ancient tablets and text to reveal a vivid portrait of the Babylonian Nergal who was associated in astrology with the planet Mars.  Nergal was like a combination of the Mars and Pluto of myth, a lord of the underworld who was considered to be evil and violent in addition to being a judge of the dead.  In fact, through Nergal we can discover the patriarchal takeover of the underworld as he forced himself unto the goddess of the underworld and into a seat on her throne.  The story began when Ereshkigal, the goddess of the underworld, sent an emissary to represent her at a feast of the gods.  Nergal intentionally gave a sign of disrespect to the emissary that led Ereshkigal to demand that Nergal be sent down to her so that she could kill him as punishment.  Nergal was unable to argue his way out of being sent down for retribution to Ereshkigal, but he was able to successfully negotiate the right to take fourteen of his companions down with him for protection, giving him one guard for each of the fourteen doors in the palace of Ereshkigal (this mythic action also reveals the Mars skill in manipulation, negotiation, seduction, diplomacy . . . ).  After placing a guard at each of the doors of the goddess of the dead, Nergal charged full speed ahead into the throne room where he took Ereshkigal by surprise, forcibly grabbing her by the hair and forcing her into the floor with a knife to her throat.  Somehow this great goddess found herself pleading for her life and making an offer to become his bride in exchange for Nergal letting her live.  And so Nergal became the husband to Ereshkigal, the lord of the underworld, the god and judge of the dead.

The connection between Mars and Pluto we can see in Mesopotamian myth is also found in modern astrology where Pluto is considered to be a higher octave of Mars by many astrologers.  The ancient embodiment of Mars as lord of the underworld in myth goes well with the effective use of Mars as the ruler of Scorpio in Hellenistic and other traditional forms of astrology, while there are also some modern astrologers who have done powerful work using Pluto as the ruler of Scorpio.   The link between Mars and Pluto is especially important in the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, in which the analysis of Mars is a key window into the desires radiating from the soul.  To Green, Mars correlates with our instinctual hunger to act on the desires coming from our soul and so the Mars archetype can help us become aware of our continuous state of becoming through activity.  Mars has a thirst for freedom and an aversion to restriction of any kind:  when Mars is moving direct, we take action that moves out from our soul.  In contrast, when Mars goes retrograde we take instinctual action that returns us to our center instead of moving out from our core.  Mars retrograde inverts the desires emanating from our soul so that we pause and reflect before taking action, leading to “considered action versus an impulsive action” (Green, p. 255).  As a result, the period of Mars retrograde can help our personality align to a greater extent with our soul’s intentions and eliminate or remake what is not serving our soul purpose.  In this way, during a Mars retrograde time-frame we have an opportunity to counterbalance past compulsive and overly willful egocentricity through listening inwardly, looking before we leap.

At this time of the Ides of March approaching, I am reminded of the famous speech given by Marc Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that to my mind is exemplary of both a Mars stationing and a Mars retrograde sort of action.  Here we have an excerpt spoken by Marlon Brando, an actor filled with the vigor of Mars in every performance:

Marc Antony would have been full of rage at the murder of Caesar, yet instead of reacting with destructive violence or direct attack he paused and considered how to craft persuasive language that would ignite the people of Rome to mutiny against the assassins of Caesar.  The dramatic atmosphere of this moment ripe with the potential for war is fitting for a time of Mars stationing like we experienced last week.  Yet through taking the time to reflect upon how to craft the most persuasive language possible instead of impulsively shouting diatribes against the plotters who tried to seize the throne through killing Caesar, Marc Antony’s speech also connects to the energy of a Mars retrograde.  Furthermore,  Marc Antony’s speech also contains a deft use of Libran diplomacy, seduction, and social manipulation, as he cleverly called the murderers of Caesar honorable while nimbly weaving words and phrases that would arouse the passions of the Roman people to his cause for revenge.  Each time he called Brutus or the other assassins “honorable,” he created an increasingly “dishonorable” impression of them in his audience through his considered choice in language that made his audience feel his own sense of wounding and wrongdoing.

As our current Moon cycle is waxing toward the Virgo and Pisces Full Moon of March 16, we have entered an energy field that is settling into the energy of the Mars retrograde more so than the more catalytic and disruptive energy of the Mars stationing last week.  In the same way that Venus retrograde cycles can coincide with fateful events carrying a sense of destiny in some personal birth charts, so can Mars retrograde cycles also be especially fateful for certain birth charts.  If Mars is a major factor in a chart a Mars retrograde cycle may always be significant, whereas for other charts it may have more to do with the specific zodiac degrees involved in the retrograde cycle.  For our current Mars retrograde cycle, you will want to pay close attention to the area of your chart holding nine to twenty-eight degrees of Libra (the Mars retrograde zone) as well as nine to twenty-eight degrees of every other cardinal sign in your chart (Aries, Cancer, and Capricorn- the Mars retrograde will be forming a square or opposition to these points), or other Air and Fire signs (Gemini, Aquarius, Leo, and Sagitarius- the Mars retrograde will be forming a trine or sextile to these points).  If you want to think about personal experiences relating to past Mars retrograde cycles, I will include some of the dates below.  You can also add in a couple of months before and after these stationing dates in order to capture the full retrograde shadow journey of Mars:

  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24 Virgo and stationed direct at 4 Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20 Leo and stationed direct at 1 Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13 Cancer and stationed direct at 25 Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24 Taurus and stationed direct at 9 Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11 Pisces and stationed direct at 1 Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30 Sagitarius and stationed direct at 16 Sagitarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13 Scorpio and stationed direct at 25 Libra.

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Mars in the sign of Venus

Mars stationing retrograde in Libra is very significant in relation to Venus, including that Mars is considered to be in “detriment” in Libra.  The detrimental label of Mars in Libra connects to Libra being the polarized opposite of the sign Aries that Mars loves being in, as well as that Libra is a sign ruled by Venus.  Astrologers often think of Libra as a sign of balance, overly concerned with relationships and the needs of others, a sign of beauty that doesn’t quite jive with the freewheeling nature of Mars that will strike up conflict and want to have things its own way.  However, though balance is the aim of Libra, many Librans are in reality extreme in behavior and more in a process of searching for balance through extremity of behavior than beings whose every gesture is of rarified air.  Libra can have a manipulative talent for diplomacy, for getting its way through cooing negotiation, and for becoming enraged over social justice issues and oppression, all behaviors that do correlate to the willful Mars.  And just because the red planet is moving backwards in the sign of Venus does not mean we should think it a detriment, when instead we can celebrate the fact this planet of desire is moving under the guidance of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

Jeff Green’s perspective in evolutionary astrology I feel is beneficial to consider regarding Mars in Libra because he doesn’t get hung up on analyzing it as a “detriment” but instead looks at it as it is what it is, so let’s explore what it is.  There are a number of issues connected to Mars in Libra in Green’s evolutionary astrology I have been sensing connect with the current retrograde transit:  learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

Again, since the retrograde movement of Mars inverts the energy of the red planet toward our soul, instead of more impulsively acting out from our soul desires, during this retrograde transit the issues we encounter surrounding our relationships will help us eliminate what is not truly “us” in our behavior, and help us align to a greater extent with our soul purpose.  While this inverted energy of Mars may heat up our inner sexual desires, it does not necessarily mean we will be impulsively leaping into wild, lustful encounters with the people we become attracted to at this time, but in contrast we may find ourselves with an opportunity to pause and consider the reasoning behind the sexual desire we feel inside, helping us to better understand our own sexual nature in the process.  Jeff Green has also drawn attention to the link between Mars in Libra and sexual karma, and the karmic binding we create even in one-time sexual encounters.  In his second Pluto book, Green made the point that the archetype of Mars in Libra emphasizes the need to make our sexual intentions conscious so both partners are aware, from a one-night stand to a new attraction developing outside the boundaries of a monogamous relationship.  Along these lines Green stressed the importance of being honest or resolving the karmic agreement of the current relationship before entering into sexual relations with the new attraction.  The concept of mirroring, in which our relationships will mirror active elements of our psyche to focus on and learn more about, will be very active during this Libran retrograde and so acting with integrity in our relationships will be even more important than normal.

Along these lines, we will want to make sure that we are listening to the true needs of others in our relationships instead of what we want to hear, as well as making sure that we are likewise expressing our true needs in our relationship and having the personal integrity to believe and expect that our needs will likewise be acknowledged and honored.  Jeff Green also illuminated the tendency of the Mars in Libra archetype to be so overly concerned with the needs of others that they lose touch with their own needs.  This leads to great difficulty such as others projecting their own needs and expectations on us that have nothing to do with our actual reality, as well as our own danger of becoming incredibly angry at our needs not being met and at risk of projecting this anger on anyone that crosses our path.  While the sacred concept that the receiving is in the giving will be something we can experience at this time, we will want to take accountability to maintain the balance that our own needs are also being met and that communicating our needs will always be a good choice for us to make in the type of relationship we want to truly be inside.  If we have been someone who has been the scapegoat of our family, or have been carrying around karma and issues that are not even our own and have been projected onto us from others, we can at this time come into greater awareness of the nature of these projections from other people and clear out what does not truly belong to us.

If we are not feeling stirrings for new relationships at this time, or working on re-making an existing relationship to be more fulfilling, another area we may find connection to Mars being retrograde in Libra is through artistic work or creativity in any medium or material.  Libra is a Venusian sign of creativity and artistry, and so this Mars retrograde time will be opportune for entering into a sacred space of artistic creation, making sacred art that calls to our soul, viewing or experiencing art that feels sacred or soulful, or making choices to practice simple acts of creativity and joy whenever a moment arises.  Entering into an artistic or creative process of any kind, being open to observing whatever emerges, can be another helpful guide for us to align to a greater extent with our soul purpose and intention at this time.

Parnasse,_by_Andrea_Mantegna,_from_C2RMF_retouched

Affairs of the Heart

In the painting Parnassus above, painted in 1497 by Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna, we can see the lovers Mars and Aphrodite standing tall over a dance of the nine muses, with Mercury standing watch in the foreground, and the husband of Aphrodite, Vulcan, looking distraught in the background.  Over the past year the planets Mars and Venus have been involved in an intense affair, as their new cycle began around April 6, 2013 with a conjunction at 20 Aries.  Today we are just past a very long first quarter square phase that took months to complete:  the first time Mars and Venus squared was on September 28, 2013 with Mars at 20 Leo and Venus at 20 Scorpio.  Next, they squared on January 16, 2014 during the Venus retrograde with Mars inside his retrograde shadow zone, with Mars at 19 Libra and Venus retrograde at 19 Capricorn.  Significant to the Venus retrograde cycle of that time, Venus was just arising from the underworld as our Morning Star at this time following her inferior conjunction with the Sun on January 11.  And then last week on March 2, 2014, the third time was the charm as just at the time that both Mars and Saturn stationed retrograde, we had the final first quarter square with Mars retrograde at 28 Libra and Venus moving direct at 28 Capricorn.  Amazingly, this means that this final square between Mars and Venus in this cycle occurred at the exact time Mars was stationing retrograde and Venus was leaving her retrograde shadow journey.  Even more astounding, at the final square of this series on March 2, Mars retrograde was conjunct the North Node of the Moon ruled by Venus, and Mars at the same time was the ruler of the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Meanwhile, Venus in Capricorn was in a square to the lunar nodes, making the intensity all the more grandiose.

What does a first quarter square between Mars and Venus mean?  It means, relative to this cycle that began on April 6, 2013, that we have crossed through a significant gate of challenge and crisis, made more so in this case because it took about five months to complete and involved retrograde cycles of both Mars and Venus.  From the lunar phase perspective, a first quarter square is about establishing the roots of our new direction, a phase full of tension, strength, and force that requires the building of a structure that can house the new purpose.  This phase requires a pioneering spirit that must confront and overcome past patterns and deal with their own sense of rage at having to face limitations and perhaps vestiges or triggers of past issues.  From this perspective, look back at what began last April of 2013:  any new relationships, projects, or desires? Was anything culminating or clearing in the time leading up to last April?  Likewise, where is 20 Aries in your birth chart for the start of a new cycle?  Where are all the degrees of the first quarter square- 20 Leo, 20 Scorpio, 19 Libra, 19 Capricorn, 28 Libra, 28 Capricorn?  From last September until now, through two of our four seasons, we have been facing crises and challenges connected to whatever new soul intention connected with our Mars and Venus we begun last April.

I want to come back once again to Jeff Green and evolutionary astrology, because I believe Green developed some valuable insights illuminating the archetypes involved in the phasal relationship between Mars and Venus:

From an evolutionary point of view, the phasal relationship between Mars and Venus will correlate to how the Soul is oriented to actualizing the relationship dynamics for itself, and how its needs for necessary freedom in order to actualize its overall evolutionary and karmic intentions interrelate.

–Jeff Green, Pluto Volume II, p. 259

From this same perspective, the first quarter square phase we just completed made us aware of new ways for us to be in relationship that reflect a new understanding we have for ourselves and how we relate to our soul.  At the first quarter square, we develop the courage to stand up for ourselves and assert our individual values whether or not others around us share the same values.  Part of the crisis of this stage then comes from the fact that we have a new sense of individuality we are developing that we fear we could lose by entering into relationships with other people, especially into intimate relationships where merging and bonding can occur.  As a result we can come into conflicts in our relationships because we may not truly commit, keeping our options open for an escape due to a fear of losing our individuality in the relationship.  To Green, the lesson of this stage “is for the Soul to realize that the individuality that has been established will not be lost, that this fear is a fear only, and to align with other individuals who have the same courage to project their own individuality in the face of the consensus . . . they need to choose an intimate other who is evolutionarily evolving in the same way” (Green, p. 262).  If we are currently in a relationship, we may need to reflect upon the dynamic and see if things can be reworked for greater harmony and a sense of personal freedom to develop in accordance with the calling of the soul.  If we are lacking relationships, we can hopefully find a new group of like-minded souls for friendship and collaboration, as well as gain greater clarity for the type of intimate partner we wish to eventually commit to.

For the rest of March we will be inside this first quarter phase of the Mars and Venus cycle, but at the very end of March we will have an opportunity to creatively actualize more of our new direction because Mars retrograde at 23 Libra will form a trine to Venus at 23 Aquarius on March 29, 2014.  This does not mean everything will become easy for us, but it does mean that whatever desire, issue, project, or relationship we are working on in connection to this Mars-Venus cycle will demand more of a yearning from us to manifest it to a greater extent, and with Venus being in Aquarius no doubt this will feel like a burning sense of liberation from within us.   This new, impulsive, liberating energy will be all the more intense because there will be a New Moon on March 30 that is conjunct Uranus in Aries, square Jupiter in Cancer, and square Pluto in Capricorn.   Events at this time will help us become aware of all the myriad of issues that have led up to this point, and with making the whole process more conscious we will have increased capacity to make our soul desire more of a reality, or at least create an effective plan to make it happen eventually.  Using this time for this purpose of clarifying our soul desire and then beginning the process of actualizing it in our life is of supreme importance because as we enter April we enter a time of intense aspects that many astrologers are signalling high alert to the collective regarding- a lunar eclipse, a cardinal grand cross including an exact square between Pluto and Uranus, and a solar eclipse among other things . . . These intense aspects also are fitting for the Chinese astrological perspective of this being the year of the Wood Horse, because although this energy could indeed correlate with some crises and stressful experiences, it is also the type of energy that can completely liberate us from our past and help us break free into uncharted territory- the transits have an extraordinary pioneering spirit to them at the same time they portend extremely challenging events.  But what does a pioneer do except face the greatest challenges and obstacles imaginable?

As we enter this intense April time period, we will likewise enter the gibbous phase of this Mars and Venus cycle around April 9 or so with Venus at the beginning of Pisces conjunct Neptune in Pisces.  This gibbous phase will take us through the  eclipse season and cardinal grand cross of the rest of April because we will not hit the full phase of Mars and Venus, their opposition point, until around May 11, 2014.  Fitting for the intense astrological climate of April, the gibbous phase of this Mars and Venus cycle could have us needing to withstand extreme criticism from our relationships and surrounding environment concerning the soul intention we are desiring to pursue as part of this cycle.  Part of the crisis we can experience in our relationships during April will be to help us make modifications in our relationship patterns so that we can adjust to the energy of others in our environment and learn to interact in more of a balanced manner.  Since this phase will begin with Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces, there could be a very idealized aspect to our soul desire- it will be good to take time to pause, reflect, and center in accordance with the Mars retrograde and discern if this is a truly spiritualizing desire or more of an illusory escapist sort of Neptune desire.  Venus and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, however, can also help us step into a higher vibration of love in all of our relationships and more of an unconditional acceptance for the people we care about and where they happen to be in the moment with their own issues.  In line with a gibbous phase, we will also need to practice acceptance and unconditional love for ourselves because this phase of the Mars-Venus cycle can often correlate with becoming self critical and focusing on what we perceive as our own “shortcomings, inadequacies, imperfections, indiscretions, and lacks” (Green, p. 263).  If we are also being criticized harshly in our personal environment we will need to be careful of taking on projections and victimizing ourselves to such an extent that we become so angry that we cause destruction in relationships that are important to us.  Jeff Green views this phase as reflecting the need of the soul to humble itself and move out of any superior complexes in relationships that come from an actual inferiority complex underneath it all- we are called at this time to make modifications to how we take in criticism from others and learn that they mirror in a way our own self-criticism.  The lesson we can learn from all of this is how to make effective adjustments in how we interact with the greater world, which in the end will help us actualize our soul intention connected with this Mars-Venus cycle to a greater extent.

Fittingly our current Mars-Venus cycle reaches its halfway point, or full phase opposition point, toward the end of the Mars retrograde cycle with Mars beginning to station again.  This will occur on May 11, 2014 with Mars retrograde at 10 Libra and Venus at 10 Aries.  We will have accumulated a huge amount of information from the eclipse season of the cardinal grand cross that is simply impossible to predict at this time- whatever that information and events turn out to be, however, will add incredible understanding of our personal issues linked to this Mars and Venus cycle.  Since Mars will be entering a time of stationing at this time, although we may not be able to predict specific events we can know that most likely events will be very dramatic and possibly cataclysmic, and so we will want to be prepared to pause and reflect for our optimal response to whatever situation occurs.  Incredibly, in the following week around May 19 Venus will return to the same degree she was at the start of this cycle, 20 Aries, at the same time that Mars stations direct.  This is so beautiful and perfect in its pattern that it gives me great hope for this upcoming time period no matter how difficult our life may appear in moments of desperation.   Although events at this time may seem overwhelmingly challenging, the full phase point of the Mars-Venus cycle occurring as Mars stations direct is also perfect for Mars intensifying the energy of Libra, as the lesson of this phase between Mars and Venus is for us to learn how to cultivate equality in our relationships, find greater balance in our giving and our receiving, and learning how to integrate our unique soul needs into our social environment so that we can get what we need from our environment.  Difficulties in relationships can be learning tools that help us learn how to truly listen to what others need instead of what we think that they need:  as we learn to objectively understand the reality of others around us we will likewise attract a partner or relationships who have this same objective awareness of us.  We will also need to learn how to balance our feelings for spending time alone versus spending time in relationship:  the retrograde movement of Mars will help us tune into our instinctual soul desires of when we really need to spend time by ourselves, for example, and so we must have the personal integrity to honor these feelings and not succumb to pressure from others to socialize needlessly when we are not truly called to socialize.

We also will want to honor our sexual feelings and desires and come to greater awareness and understanding of our sexual nature at this time.  As previously stated, the retrograde movement of Mars through Libra will heat up our inner sexual vibration through the inversion of Mars energy- the soul intention of this will be to come to greater awareness of our erotic nature so we will want to avoid judging and shaming ourselves.  With all of the eclipse and cardinal grand cross intensity, putting shame into our game ain’t gonna make things easier.  Coincidentally, I recently had an epiphany regarding self-shaming of sexuality through attending a webinar by Demetra George on the fifth house of good fortune, where Venus has her Joy and greatest affinity from a traditional Hellenistic perspective.  In her webinar Demetra traced how the love affairs associated with the fifth house over time came to be labeled as being scandalous and risk-taking of the adulterous variety, much like the celebrated extra-marital affairs of Mars and Venus in myth; she did so in order to make the counter-point that the sexual desires where Venus has her Joy are in actuality divine and life infusing, fortunate and inspired by gods, noble and pleasurable.  Demetra incorporated a lesson from Plato’s Symposium to make her point, wherein Phaedrus described how Eros and our beloved can inspire us to act with greater integrity and aspire to the divine, so that we will be held in high esteem in the eyes of our beloved.  During this Mars retrograde in Libra we will have the opportunity to become clearer about the relationship we want to be in, the type of partner we want to attract, as well as gain clarity on our true values and desires we will live from that will simultaneously help attract our desired partner or relationship.  We will want to honor the sexual desires we experience as providing us with pleasure, inspiration, and even important information instead of judging or shaming ourselves- for example, if we experience attraction outside the boundaries of a personal relationship, we will want to remember to have integrity with how we deal with the situation, instead of acting from a place of shame and judgment toward our self.

In addition to relationship attractions and issues, the Mars and Venus square can connect with our inner masculine and feminine, as well as social justice issues such as the fact many do not even believe in concepts like masculine and feminine and suffer oppression in our society as a result.  Through the internalizing energy of the Mars retrograde we have the opportunity to cultivate greater balance between our inner yin and inner yang energy.  However, as Mars is moving retrograde all the way back to creating an extraordinary cardinal grand cross in April of 2014 that will occur during eclipses and another exact square between Pluto and Uranus, lets just say that many people around us will not exactly appear to be balanced and we could be witnessing examples of oppression as well as feeling oppressed ourselves by how fucked up the world has become.  What can we do?  We can use the retrograde energy of Mars in Libra to feel the oppression around us but instead of just becoming angry and destructive, move the energy into compassion for others, being a good listener to the problems and struggles of others, learning to listen to what others truly need, as well as being willing to express our own needs for help and support and being willing to receive and accept help and support from others.  Mars in Libra can correlate with us forming not only new relationships, but coming into contact with a diversity of experience from others that are different from our own experience, which in the end will help us develop a greater understanding of reality outside of our own subjective experience and perspective.  As a result, we will have the opportunity to learn how to accept and support the individual reality of others, no matter how different they may appear to be from us, or how different their background and culture is from us.  As we learn more about the relativity of truth through the perspectives on truth from different people with different opinions and values, in the end we will have the opportunity to expand our consciousness and understanding of the world in a way that will enable us to better support and give to others in need, as well as will enable us to more effectively achieve and manifest the soul purpose associated with this current Mars and Venus cycle.

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Post-script:  Vesta in Libra

I may later write another post about this, but I would like to briefly mention the amazing synchronicity that at the same time Mars stationed retrograde to move back through Libra in conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the asteroid Vesta did as well.  In addition, Ceres was also nearby at the beginning of Scorpio and Ceres will also eventually be stationing retrograde to move back into Libra by the end of March.  However, since Vesta never made it to Scorpio and turned around at the same time with Mars at the end of Libra, I feel Vesta has helped initiate our transition into this Mars retrograde in Libra that will be taking us all the way to a cardinal grand cross in April of Libra Mars, Cancer Jupiter, Aries Uranus, and Capricorn Pluto.   It is a further sign, along with Venus ruling the North Node of the Moon that Mars retrograde is conjunct, that the retrograde journey of Mars is being initiated by goddesses, including the magnetic, celestial, and earthly Aphrodite, and the focused, sacred, and independent Vesta.  Vesta being part of this initiation means that we will be re-focusing our energy and will to experience more of our authentic self, in a space outside of relationship at times, even though Vesta in Libra enjoys relationship as all celestial spheres do in the sign of the scales. Even if we are in a relationship we will be re-focusing and re-establishing our presence inside of it, as Vesta is an independent goddess who belongs to no man and does not make herself dependent upon anyone else. As Demetra George has taught, Vesta “teaches the wisdom that periodic retreat from others in order to cleanse and regenerate the self can lead to a clarity of vision and purpose” (Asteroid Goddesses, p. 34). Vesta’s presence at the initiation of a Mars retrograde that happened in a square to Venus also means we will be re-focusing our sexual nature and desire, including sexual issues around fear, projection, repression, judgment, sin, sacredness, and sexual discernment in choice of partners.  Vesta in Libra carries with her all of the issues associated with Libra I have previously mentioned here in connection with Mars, but Vesta in particular has a gift for focus.  As a result she will help us focus to a greater extent on our soul intention through the inverted movement of Mars within us, and eliminate what is not in alignment with our soul purpose in our relationships, self, and life.

References

Baignent, Michael. (1994).  From the Omens of Babylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.  Penguin Arkana.

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986).  Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009).  Pluto Volume II:  The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.

Mercury Retrograde at the Gate of Neptune

water nymph by John Collier

Mercury stations conjunct Neptune in Pisces

  • Mercury stations retrograde on February 6, 2014 at 3º20′ conjunct Neptune in Pisces (Neptune will be at 4°25′) at 1:43 pm PST.

  • Mercury returns to Aquarius on February 12 having been between zero and four degrees of Pisces from January 31 – February 11 (take note people with planets between 0 – 4 degrees of Mutable signs).

  • Inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde and the Sun on February 15, 2014 at 27º4′ of Aquarius.  This inferior conjunction will be square Saturn in Scorpio and in trine to Mars in Libra.

    • Full Moon the day before the Inferior Conjunction at 26°13′ of Aquarius and Leo.

  • Mercury stations direct on February 28, 2014 at 18º9′ of Aquarius.

  • Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow zone on the Equinox of March 20, and will be exactly conjunct Neptune at 6°02′ of Pisces on March 22, 2014.

“The Water Nymph” painting above is by an artist, John Collier, with an interesting connection to this astrological moment- he was born in 1850, the last time Neptune was in Pisces at its current area of Pisces, and he also was born with an Aquarius Mercury in the same place as the upcoming inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde and the Sun.  To me, the “nymph” in the image is completely absorbed into nature, her natural surroundings, the Soul of the world, opening her to a direct connection with Spirit.  While this connects with Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces, so does her gazing at her reflection in the water connect with a Mercury retrograde cycle beginning in Pisces.  During Mercury retrograde we have the opportunity to reflect upon our perceptions, imaginings, and just exactly where are thoughts are coming from.  This can be an internal experience, but we will most likely get a sense of how our inner dynamics are operating through our relationship to the outer world and interactions with others, including conflicts.  There are astrological signs we will experience challenges in the external world at this time, as calming as Mercury stationing retrograde conjunct Neptune in Pisces may sound.  This is because Mercury stationing retrograde happens at a first quarter Moon of Taurus at 19 degrees that is especially intense, as the Aquarius Sun and Taurus Moon forms a t-square with Saturn in Scorpio at 23 degrees.  This is happening simultaneous to the other big t-square of Cancer Jupiter opposite Venus and Pluto in Capricorn, all in square to Uranus in Aries.  Beginning on February 6, we will be facing these challenges with Mercury descended to the underworld, acting as the Psychopomp guide of our souls.

The Sabian symbols as interpreted by Dane Rudhyar give us a clear warning for this upcoming Mercury retrograde- desires and thoughts not aligned with Soul and Spirit, or Source (or Gods, Goddesses, God, what have you) will not only crash on a wave of disillusionment but may bring significant karmic repercussions to not just ourselves but the wider collective of our world.  The Sabian symbol for Mercury stationing retrograde is “heavy car traffic on a narrow isthmus linking two seashore resorts,” while the symbol for Neptune at this time is “a church bazaar.” Huh? Well, Rudhyar explains the isthmus traffic jam as a relic of the fact that the Sabian symbol transmissions went down in the San Diego, California area where such structures exist.  Since traffic jams are an astrological stereotype connected to Mercury retrograde periods, this may make sense, but the meaning of this symbol is much deeper.  Part of the meaning is a “traffic jam” of thoughts and information, as anyone who has been on social media is familiar with.  Thoughts have always been viral, with any thought carrying the potential to become swept up into the whirlwind of the collective zeitgeist and infecting multitudes, with many not even aware of how their previous thoughts have been shifted by the new viral thought pattern.  However, social media and things like facebook have made this phenomenon more extreme- facebook in particular being problematic as its feedback mechanism circulates posts from people you have “liked,” so the tendency is a feedback loop of people with similar perspectives or interests.  Rudhyar notes in the symbol that the sea surrounding the isthmus of traffic “stresses the collective nature of social experiences and of what may appear to be ‘individual’ achievements” (p. 271).

Rudhyar also highlights words such as “commerce and social interactions in a new form,” and “the need to establish unceasing dynamic relationships between all aspects and functions of the social life” (p. 270-1).  There is a danger in establishing new forms of interactions and relationships if we are not discerning, however, as the “church bazaar” symbol for Neptune connects with the social fabric of religions, the Church, or any group coming together for a spiritual purpose, from the New Age to the old.  The Neptune/Mercury/Pisces danger is that these social groups create a code of being that “justifies human behavior by blessing it with a divine Revelation of what is good and valuable” (Rudhyar, p. 271).  Spiritual doctrine guiding “right human relations” is valuable, however, there is also a Neptune trap of individuals justifying or rationalizing their behavior because of a belief it is of divine origin, or what God wants them to do, when in actuality it is more about their own selfish desire at the bottom line.  This is an important aspect of the Neptune archetype developed by Jeff Green in his soul-focused Evolutionary Astrology:  that while Neptune can help us spiritualize our life and connect with a timeless sense of ultimate meaning, we can also project delusional beliefs concerning ultimate meaning and can deceive ourselves and others that our selfish, separating desires are connected to Divine Will.

I see this connecting to the Sabian symbol for where Mercury is stationing direct at 19 Aquarius, “a forest fire is being subdued by the use of water, chemicals, and sheer muscular energy.”  As Rudhyar analyzed, forest fires can often be caused by humans and their modern inventions of technology, the tools of commerce and communication referenced in the Sabian symbol for where Mercury stationed retrograde.  And yet, at the same time the dynamic capacity humans have for communication and ingenuity can help us recover from disasters and come to the aid of life in danger of eradication.  Along these lines, the dynamic modes of communication indicated by the stationing symbol could also relate to us coming into contact with like-minded people, groups of people, on a global level, using technology to connect with others across great distances.  However, as Rudhyar noted in his analysis, the stationing degree symbol for Mercury indicates we will have our “strength, ingenuity or emotional stability” tested at this time, and that with faith we will have to draw from every resource available- “emotional, mental, physical” (p. 261).  Thus, whatever collective calamities will be arising that many of us are partially responsible for, we can use this Mercury retrograde cycle to re-formulate ourselves and prepare for the challenging times ahead, connecting with others who will be mutually benefit supports with us.  The Sabian symbol for the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun is aligned with this idea:  “a tree felled and sawed to ensure a supply of wood for the winter.”  I feel this line of analysis from Rudhyar is very pertinent for now:  “In meeting the hardships inherent in an existence close to nature, strength, efficiency and intelligence are needed, but they are incorporated in a life in which every act can be part of a harmonic and beautiful ritual permeated with deep significance” (p. 266).  The more we can use this Mercury retrograde to go within, to question and discern our thoughts and perceptions and their source, the better.  The more we can sense and feel the soul of everything, everyone, everywhere we go in our daily experiences, the more we can connect with the correct current of Neptune for us to float down during this retrograde.  Neptune transits can be confusing, and so a Mercury retrograde cycle initiated by Neptune in Pisces sounds like perhaps the most disorienting of all: yet while these Sabian symbols and the deeper meaning of the astrology do suggest we need to be discerning in navigating through a Pisces fog, there is at the same time a tremendous inner resource available for us to cultivate with work that will help us persevere through the challenging times ahead on the horizon.

Mercury is traditionally not seen as operating smoothly in Pisces, since Pisces is the opposite sign of Virgo that is ruled by Mercury.  While Virgo embodies incredible tools and techniques for smooth, clear, and effective communication, Pisces still carries its own unique gifts into Mercury.  However, keeping the “viral” idea of thoughts in mind is important for Pisces, a sign that can be overly sensitive to its environment (and why Pisces people usually sense on their own when they need to take some time to themselves away from the thoughts of others).  Spending time going within is key now- reflecting, meditating, whatever will help us re-center and realize whether or not our desires are coming from an authentic affinity for soul and spirit or if instead they are being manipulated by outside sources or overly selfish desires. Mercury in Pisces is more intuitive and poetic than it is in other signs, perhaps open to misinterpretation but capable of expressing incredible emotion, perceiving and communicating the essence of the soul embedded in every aspect of our environment.  Looking at a list of people with Mercury in Pisces is a look at genius in a variety of fields:  Dane Rudhyar, Rudolph Steiner, Charles Darwin, Copernicus, Gallileo, Bach, Houdini, James Joyce, Stephane Mallarme, Charles Baudelaire, Milan Kundera, Roberto Assagioli, Kurt Cobain, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, Auguste Renoir, and Piet Mondrian.  Creating a structure or form for Mercury in Pisces is absolutely vital, however, so that there is a way to communicate the insights a Pisces Mercury can perceive in a form other people can understand.  This Mercury retrograde will be an opportune time to create a daily practice of some form where we can process our experience.  This sort of practice can be even more beneficial given that Venus has recently stationed direct and is now moving forward back across her retrograde shadow zone.  In fact, on the same day of Mercury’s Inferior Conjunction with the Sun-  February 15, 2014-  Venus will be shining at her peak level of brightness as the Morning Star.

Botticelli-primavera

The Botticelli painting above, commonly called “La Primavera” or “Allegory of Spring,” contains two pivotal archetypal figures of this astrological time, Mercury on the far left pointing toward the celestial heavens, and Venus honored in the center.  The Botticelli painting above is also fitting for this Mercury retrograde because Mercury will not leave its retrograde shadow zone until the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring Equinox of March 20, 2014 (the Autumn Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere- but Botticelli lived in the Northern Hemisphere).  In his extraordinary book The Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino, Thomas Moore analyzed this work through the soul-focused perspective of Marsilio Ficino, a Renaissance astrologer and philosopher who had an enormous influence over Bottitcelli.  Moore wrote that Mercury “looks to the clouds, not because he has no place in the scene or is not interested in life’s graces, but because it is his office and function to see behind the facade of things, to find the significance and value which lay hidden in the folds of ordinary existence” (p. 142).  Moore also elaborated at depth on how this image embodies the perspective of Ficino that Venus is both an earthly and celestial goddess, concluding that “Venus leads the soul into the body and through the body to spirit.  From spirit, to body, back to spirit” (p. 142).  Ficino saw spirit as being like the “fire of the stars,” and intrinsically connected to soul, emphasizing the importance of imagination in finding our path and calling in the world (p. 49).  Moore wrote that Ficino valued imagination because it “allows of a vision that penetrates the surface of things and grasps those factors that have significance for the psyche” (p. 50).  With Mercury retrograde descended to the underworld at this time, our imagination will be an important skill to use in our daily life because Mercury in this soul-guide role will open us to perceiving information in dreams, omens, synchronicity, and other signs we will pass on a daily basis.

Although there is potential for us to find our path through allowing ourselves to be guided by soul during this Mercury retrograde, Ficino like many other spirit guides from history emphasized the importance of self-awareness and getting to know one’s self on a deep level:

Whoever discovers his own genius through the means we have stated will thus find his own natural work, and at the same time he will find his own star and daimon.  Following these beginnings he will do well and live happily.  Otherwise, he will experience misfortune and feel the enmity of heaven.

–Marsilio Ficino, The Planets

Mercury retrograde in Pisces conjunct Neptune at this time, with Venus slowly moving direct conjunct Pluto in Capricorn, are two celestial configurations to draw from in opening our perception to the Soul of our surroundings and a connection with Spirit.  Venus in particular can help us get into touch with our soul through our body and physical surroundings at this time, as she is still close to Pluto after her long retrograde journey.  However, both being personal planets that are highly charged at the moment, they are also both pivotal archetypes to utilize at this time for deep internal reflection and gaining a deeper awareness for what is going on in our inner relationship with our Self.  Indeed, Venus is opposite Jupiter in Cancer at this time, and Jupiter is the traditional ruler of Pisces where Mercury is stationing retrograde.  Jupiter in Cancer is also retrograde in a Water sign like Mercury, so going into our emotions at this time can be very fruitful and revealing.  We will want a practice of some sort to access this information- it can be contemplative like taking some time to simply breathe or meditate, or it can be more active like playing music, creating art, or writing.

Venus is a potent ingredient to this Mercury retrograde not just because she is currently conjunct Pluto and opposite Jupiter, however, but also because at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde she is ruling the transiting South Node in Taurus.  Significantly, in the days leading up to Mercury stationing direct, the lunar nodes will switch signs with the South Node becoming Aries, and the North Node becoming Libra. As a result, when Mercury stations direct Venus will have become the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon.  This is another sign of an important bridge at this time between our own individual experience with the wider collective experience-  take the responsibility to create the life you want to live, instead of wasting energy through complaining about what other people are doing.

Rudolf Steiner pencil sketch

Aquarius Alchemical Vessel

The inferior conjunction of Mercury retrograde and the Sun will be at 28 degrees of Aquarius on February 15, but will still carry overtones from the retrograde initiation of Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces.  The above pencil sketch was drawn by astrologer and philosopher Rudolph Steiner, who was born with Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces and is a good example of the sort of limitless perception a Pisces Mercury-Neptune combination is capable of embodying.  Relevant to the meaning of Mercury retrograde, Steiner once said,  “Thinking … is no more and no less an organ of perception than the eye or ear.  Just as the eye perceives colours and the ear sounds, so thinking perceives ideas.”  He also wrote Mystery plays with titles fitting to this Mercury retrograde:  The Portal of InitiationThe Souls’ ProbationThe Guardian of the Threshold and The Soul’s Awakening.  The upcoming inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun will be in Aquarius, however, a sign with a very different energy than Pisces.   Aquarius is the water bearer, but the water borne by Aquarius is illuminating and purifying, more of a cleansing energy than the fertile waters of Pisces that can get us rather muddy.   The inferior conjunction is like the New Moon for Mercury and the Sun, a new point of conception for our Mercury function and archetype in the world.   In contrast, the time leading up to this inferior conjunction, from February 6-14, will be more like a Balsamic Moon for Mercury, a time of releasing old thought forms, patterns, and embedded concepts in preparation for the new Aquarius vision to come after February 15.  We can feel confused at this time if we are insisting on being overly logical or rational, because the more “irrational” or unconscious mode of perception will be open to a greater extent, with information arising around us in dreams, signs, and symbols.

The inferior conjunction happening in Aquarius is perfect for a new vision, and the fact Mercury will re-enter Aquarius a few days before will help us objectify and detach from old thought forms in order to clear them for good.  Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius, and Saturn in Scorpio will be very significant in this time period as the inferior conjunction will be in square to Saturn in Scorpio, and when Mercury finally stations direct on February 28, Saturn will be stationing to turn retrograde a few days later on March 3.  In addition, during the Mercury retrograde there will be a lunar occultation of Saturn in Scorpio on February 21.   Saturn has correlations in astrology to the alchemical process in association to the lead or base of conscisousness, a darkness that paradoxically contains its own light and gold.  This is the Jungian idea that by going into our darkness and shadow, we can alchemize and heat up our inner spark of gold- in this case events associated with transiting Saturn in Scorpio.  Aquarius will lend it’s penetrating insight to this inferior conjunction of Mercury as well as Mercury’s eventual stationing direct at the end of February, a perceptual awareness that can detach from emotional compulsions and can facilitate us liberating ourselves from habitual patterns of thought that have been limiting us.  We can use Aquarian insight to help us structure our own alchemical vessel within, mindful of the concept in verse 10 of the Tao Te Ching in which Lao Tzu states that “Clay is moulded to form a vessel, but it is the emptiness inside that gives the vessel its use.”   If you prefer to use Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius like most modern astrologers, then you don’t need to look farther than Uranus in Aries being in a t-square to Cancer Jupiter and Capricorn Pluto/Venus at this time for the star fire to heat your alchemical vessel.  No matter what your rulership perspective is, however, there is more than enough star fire going around in various transits to heat  your experiences into greater clarification.

While a square from Saturn in Scorpio to the Sun and Mercury in Aquarius may sound intense, there is also a tradition that there is sympathy in the square between Aquarius and Scorpio because they “see” one another as a result of being signs of equal power.  I recently watched an excellent webinar by Seattle astrologer Kate Petty called “Reflections Across the Cardinal Axis” that is available from Kepler College in which she very clearly illustrated this ancient concept if anyone is interested in learning more about this (basically it has to do with the fact that Scorpio and Aquarius are equi-distant signs from the Solstice, or Capricorn/Cancer axis).  In addition, since Saturn is the traditional ruler of Aquarius there is an affinity here, and with Saturn being in Scorpio we can add in a soul-focus to this affinity that connects to the humanitarianism of Aquarius.  There will also be a trine from Mars in Libra to the inferior conjunction in Aquarius of Mercury and the Sun, which will give us an opportunity to link our new vision into social justice concerns and issues, or into the development of new relationships.  Mars will be stationing retrograde in Libra immediately following Mercury stationing direct in Aquarius, and so this trine between Mars and the Mercury inferior conjunction is a powerful omen of an auspicious link between the two cycles to take advantage of for an increased self-awareness that will ultimately help us face oppressive conditions and other issues related to social justice in the collective global community.

Saturn in Scorpio is a karmic placement not unlike the deities Kali and Mahakala, and Saturn will suffer no fools at this time.  As a result, if we are operating from some delusional beliefs or selfish desires we will no doubt have something loudly and boldly thrown in our face, so to speak, or experience profound disillusionment from within.  If our imagination becomes activated, we will no doubt face tests of whether we are perceiving true or fabricated imaginal thought; likewise, if we feel a spiritualization occurring we will face tests of whether we are perceiving a true or fabricated connection to spirit.  Avoid clinging to denial out of defensiveness at this time and be open to questioning any beliefs or thoughts you have been operating from.  As Scorpio and Aquarius are both fixed signs, if we are unwilling to shift or flow with the current of our life we will add fuel to the fire of conflict arising around us.

Moon pamela colman

Leo Full Moon squares Scorpio Saturn

Prior to the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun we will have a huge build up of energy with a  Leo Full Moon occurring on the previous day, in square to Saturn in Scorpio.  If you haven’t been paying attention, that means Feburuary 14, the traditional “Valentine’s Day” of romantic fantasy and illusion in our culture.  Perfect, right.  Remember that as we approach this build of energy that Mercury is in the underworld guiding our soul experiences and so we will want to attune to and align with the signs arising around us indicating the path forward.  This is a powerful lunar cycle:  the New Moon began the day before Venus stationed direct conjunct Pluto and opposite Jupiter, and then the Full Moon happens the day before the inferior conjunction of Mercury and the Sun, all in square to Saturn in Scorpio.  I feel having some strong Leo lunar energy at this time will be a true blessing of the goddess, as we will be saturated so much in Aquarius and Scorpio energy.  This will be an important time for self-love and to pamper yourself like you would a lover; if you are lucky enough to have a true lover in your life, this can of course be a mutual experience.  Just don’t get caught up in the blown-up romantic expectations of our cultural Valentine’s Day driven by selfish corporations who want you to purchase their ethically questionable chocolate.  If we have been behaving in an overly selfish manner, or projecting our opinions and desires in an unbalanced way into our environment in order to over-compensate for inner wounding or lack of true confidence, the Leo Full Moon may illuminate these issues strongly through the  square from Saturn in Scorpio.

7th Harmonic

7th Harmonic in February

Finally, I briefly want to comment upon how a 7th Harmonic could possibly be affecting your natal chart at this time.  The above diagram was drawn by Olympia astrologer Rosie Finn, who has taught my information concerning the 7th Harmonic.  The seven pointed star you can see above is activated in February by Mercury stationing with Neptune in Pisces, Venus stationing with Pluto in Capricorn, and Saturn in Scorpio- the other missing points are 26 Aries, 17.5 Gemini, 9 Leo, and 0.5 Libra.  You can look for transits to these points, or perhaps they are active in your natal chart through an aspect of some manner.

The 7th Harmonic is a strange harmonic, made up of septiles (51.5 degrees), bi-septiles (103 degrees), and tri-septiles (154.5 degrees).  I’ve learned from Rosie that these septiles can involve magical creativity and vision, a mystical sense of information descending from another realm, or a transfiguration.  They have an energy similar to the dissolving of boundaries and transcendence of “normal” reality that we often associate with Neptune and a Mercury retrograde period initiated by a conjunction of Mercury and Neptune in Pisces.  The 7th Harmonic can be highly creative and spiritual, can appear weirdly anomalous and difficult to occur naturally.  In a class one time Rosie gave Beethoven as an example of someone with a strong 7th Harmonic who created highly spiritual art yet also had to persist through the pain and suffering of being deaf (in contrast to Mozart who had a strong 5th Harmonic).  The bi-septile and tri-septile aspects of the 7th Harmonic stress the importance of integrating creativity into our purpose and process and making the necessary adjustments to manifest the inner revelations of this process and purpose back out into the external world. As the 7th Harmonic is a strange one, this isn’t exactly easily done.  However, anyone having experiences resonating with this description will be able to draw upon this Mercury retrograde process at this time to make the inner adjustments necessary to ultimately express whatever epiphany is being experienced within.

References

Moore, Thomas. (1990). The Planets Within: the astrological psychology of Marsilio Ficino. Lindisfarne Press.

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

Rites of Lilith: Venus stations at a New Moon in Aquarius

rites-of-lilith

Venus Stations Direct conjunct Pluto

  • Venus stations direct on January 31, 2014 at 13º34′ conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (12:49 pm PST).

  • January 31 to February 1 is the traditional time of Imbolc, a holiday at the cross-quarter between the Solstice and Equinox (by zodiac degree, however, this will be happening more like February 3 – 4 when the Sun hits 15 Aquarius).

  • There is a NEW MOON on January 3o at 11 Aquarius at 1:38 pm PST, the day before Venus stations direct.

  • LILITH in her triple form is activated by this New Moon.  The asteroid Lilith (#1181) will be at 14 Leo (retrograde) opposite the New Moon.  The true node of Black Moon Lilith will be at 2 Leo squaring the North and South Nodes of the Moon in Scorpio and Taurus.  The Dark Moon (or Waldemath) Lilith will be at 25 Taurus opposite to Saturn in Scorpio.

Anytime Venus is stationing brings added intensity as she stands still from our geocentric perspective, concentrating Venusian themes in our lives and drawing us to face or contemplate our inner relationship with her archetype.  However, this week is more intense than normal, as Venus is stationing conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and in direct opposition to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  Additionally, less than twenty-four hours before she officially stations direct, there is a New Moon in Aquarius which also ushers in the Chinese New Year of the Wood Horse.  The day of Venus stationing direct is also a holiday in Gaelic and other “pagan” cultures, the traditional time of Imbolc which is at the cross-quarter of the Solstice and Equinox, heralding the coming Equinox.  In the Northern Hemisphere this is also the time of our “groundhog day” when we look to a groundhog to tell us when Spring is approaching.

The South Node of the Moon at this time is still in Taurus, ruled by Venus.  Whether your astrological frame of reference calls you to consider the transiting South Node of the Moon to be an indication of personal or collective past lives, connections, comfort, or attachments, most likely you have a sense of the Lunar South Node indicating a comfort zone of security in one form or another, like a habit impossible to break without conscious work and effort.  Add in a square from Uranus in Aries to Venus, and you can see how Venus is highly charged at the moment for all of us (though anyone with planets or angles at 11-15 degrees of cardinal signs should especially take note).  As many people have a perspective that connects Venus to goddesses, the divine feminine, and mythic heroines, her influence at this time in conjunction to Pluto and in opposition to Jupiter is even more pronounced when you factor in the placement of Lilith in her astrological forms at this time.

Lilith has become a popular archetype in astrology in relation to Black Moon Lilith, the empty focal point of the Moon’s orbit that some calculate through the true node, others the mean node.  From my own experience, I have come to favor the true node placement, but both the true and mean nodes of Black Moon Lilith at this time are significant:  the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes, resolving toward the South Node that Venus is ruling, and the mean node of Black Moon Lilith is in Cancer in opposition to the degree of Capricorn that Venus stationed retrograde on the December solstice of 2013.  There is also a Lilith asteroid #1181 that is moving retrograde in opposition to the Aquarius New Moon on January 30.  Finally, there is also the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith, a more controversial Lilith placement that I personally do not use much, but that Demetra George and others have integrated into this triple goddess form of Lilith for precisely the reason that its controversial nature reflects the Lilith archetype to such a large degree.  Speaking of Demetra George, I utilize her triple goddess theory of the meaning of Lilith that looks to the Lilith asteroid as a point of wounding, repression, or suppression that potentially can erupt into anger from us and cause us to become alienated or ostracized (this point is being triggered by the Aquarius New Moon).  Along these lines, the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith is a point where we can gain a vengeful rage of indignation at our persecutors and develop an unhelpful victim mentality that can get us into difficult situations (this point is being triggered by Saturn in Scorpio).  Finally, in this context the Black Moon Lilith placement is the resolution point where we can work through and integrate this past wounding or repression, cut away delusional or false aspects of ourselves or patterns, and come into more of an authentic presence reflecting more of our true nature (this point is being triggered by the lunar nodes).  The energy of the Black Moon Lilith is like the Dark Goddess of the Dark Moon phase in the lunar cycle, a clearing energy to prepare for the new phase, perfect for a New Moon in which Venus is stationing direct conjunct Pluto.  However, since the true node of Black Moon Lilith is in a square to the lunar nodes at this time, it suggest that what needs to be cut or cleared may be an intense issue or pattern we have been deeply attached to:   in other words, shifting whatever this pattern may be will be much easier said than done.

The ability of Black Moon Lilith to help us cut away what is false in our thoughts and beliefs goes well with the Sabian symbol for 14 Capricorn where Venus is stationing direct: “an ancient bas-relief carved in granite remains a witness to a long-forgotten culture.” Dane Rudhyar in his Astrological Mandala found the keynote for this symbol to be “The will to unearth, in our culture as well as in any culture, what has permanent value, and to let go of nonessentials” (p. 237).   Lilith for many is a long forgotten goddess or heroine of wisdom who was cast out and ostracized from Biblical, monotheistic religion and portrayed as a deadly femme fatale of evil seduction, when upon closer inspection of myth we get a sense that all she wanted to do was be on an equal level of power to Adam and preserve a sense of her own independence in their relationship.  The following quote from Joseph Campbell (in a new book published in December 2013 when Venus was first conjunct Pluto and entering her retrograde shadow zone) cuts with insight to the core problem resulting from traditional monotheistic interpretations of the Bible that neglect the divine feminine:

Freud asks in “Moses and Monotheism” why it was that just when all the other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean were learning to read their myths poetically, the Jews became more confirmed than ever in the concretist (Freud calls it “religious”) way of interpreting their idea of God.  The obvious reason, I would say, is that both they and their tribal deity failed to realize that the waters of the Deep (tehom) over which Elohim was brooding and blowing in the first two verses of Genesis I was not just water, but the old Babylonian goddess of the primeval sea herself, Tiamat (ti’amat), and that his failure to appreciate the poetry of her presence there was the beginning of his whole misunderstanding even of himself.  It was to her, his cosmological wife, that he should have turned to listen, occasionally, when moved to throw the Book at their disobedient children.

–Joseph Campbell, Goddesses, p. xxv

Lilith is a polarizing figure in myth and religious doctrine that goes well with the polarity between Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing the conjunction of Pluto and Venus stationing direct in Capricorn.  On the one hand, if we are fixated on a particular belief system and lock horns in argument with another individual with an opposing belief system they are equally fixated upon and attached to, we could come into great conflict at this time in the outer world of mundane events.  On an inner personal level, however, I see the totality of these archetypal signs indicating an opportunity for us to do deep inner cathartic work on the ideas and thoughts operating inside us, that we act from, the sort of habitual patterns we have been living from and at times forgetting we have the power of choice to work on and change if they are not in alignment with what we want to attract and manifest in our lives.  Leading up to this New Moon and Venus stationing is an opportune time to do the inner work of lovingly questioning ourselves and our inner relationship with our Self, becoming more aware of how we talk to ourselves or emotionally react to a triggering comment from everyone from a passing stranger to an intimate partner.

Indeed, the sabian symbol for this New Moon at 11 Aquarius is “during a silent hour, a man receives new inspiration which may change his life.”  Dane Rudhyar even connected the inner work revealed through this sabian symbol with our “need to rely upon inner inspiration and guidance at the start of new developments,” again another fitting correspondence to a New Moon with Venus stationing (p. 255).  Rudhyar described this process as finding the “value of keeping open to the descent of spiritual or Soul forces, especially when a new period of individual activity is about to begin” (p. 255).  To connect with our Soul requires work, effort, and the use of our Will:  the term “transformation” is often used in this context because it can feel like we are becoming a new person, even though it may accurately be more like becoming the person we truly were the entire time underneath it all.  There is one more part of Rudhyar’s interpretation of this New Moon sabian symbol I want to include here, because it also connects this process to the creation of art and what we can find within when we are willing to take the solitary dive inside of ourselves:  “There is a creative power within, a power that can be tapped, or rather that should be allowed to flow into the brain-consciousness or the hands which write or fashion materials into original forms” (p. 255).  True, that:  making art, writing, or any other creative act that can help us process our emotions at this time is felicitous.

Jupiter retrograde in Cancer opposing Venus and Pluto in Capricorn can relate to the family karma we know from our own lifetime, as well as more ancestral karma we may get inklings of from time to time.  Since Jupiter and Venus are both synthesizers that can transcend the challenge of their current polarity, setting intentions at this time to clear the issues that we are not truly responsible for, and to face and be accountable for the karma and patterns we are responsible for can be very powerful.  Venus can be the fire in an alchemical process of these elements, by allowing ourselves to feel the burning sense of what is truly passionate and joyful at our core, there is a new presence for ourselves to feel and embody that brings together the polarity represented by Cancer Jupiter retrograde/Capricorn Pluto.  Jupiter is capable of great projection from a deep inner realm of bottom line principles and thoughts, like an underworld ruled by Pluto, we live from.  Any external conflict at this time can be utilized to reveal past inner dynamics we have been perceiving and intuiting from that are ultimately limiting for us, that we have been operating from more as a result of the conditioning from our early childhood, family, or society more so than our true nature.  Now is the time to set intention for any such inner adjustments or modifications.

Pluto usually has a regenerative quality to the intensity of his aspects, and so whatever Venusian tumult we could be experiencing on a Jupiter-like scale at this time most likely is offering us something to work on to become more aware of our soul and true presence.  Jupiter always wants us to grow, so moving retrograde in Cancer in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn is calling for a descent into the inner emotional feeling realm for greater Self-awareness.  The fact the exact opposition of Jupiter and Pluto at this time is fairly close in orb to a t-square with Uranus in Aries is a reflection to the years of 1968-1969 when Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto were in a triple conjunction.  In Cosmos and Psyche Richard Tarnas noted this time was like the peak culmination of many 1960 themes involving the Pluto-Uranus conjunction in Virgo we are now feeling the first square from:  riots like Stonewall and the Chicago 8, protests, Woodstock, and notable for the type of inner work I am speaking of, this was also the time in which Stanislov Grof founded Transpersonal psychology, James Hillman founded Archetypal Psychology, and the man formerly known as Richard Alpert stepped into being Ram Dass.  During this past month, if we have been utilizing the Venus retrograde cycle for a spiritual or artistic practice of some sort that has been working with and releasing a lot of the energy that otherwise could have built up in this time, we have an amazing opportunity at this time to birth a new presence for ourselves.  However, no matter our recent experiences, this is an important New Moon on which to set a clear intention going forward.

In the chart below for the New Moon on January 30, you can see how the true node for Black Moon Lilith is in square to the lunar nodes.  Again, the mean node of Black Moon Lilith can be placed into this chart at 26 degrees of Cancer (opposite the degree that Venus stationed retrograde on December 21, 2013), the Lilith asteroid #1181 can be placed at 14 degrees of Leo retrograde (opposite the New Moon), and the Dark Moon or Waldemath Lilith can be placed at 25 degrees of Taurus (opposite Saturn in Scorpio):

AquariusNewMoon2014WRIGC1

If we have been experiencing some recent events that have triggered feelings of past repression, suppression, judgment, alienation, or persecution, if the archetype of Lilith being active at this New Moon and Venus stationing feels resonant for you, then there is also a strong possibility of this past wound being opened wide at this time.  But in the end this can lead to the sort of heart opening that makes true healing possible, the type of healing that allows us to move forward no longer burdened by that past pain or repressive pattern any longer.  Remember, even though Venus is stationing direct, she will still be in her retrograde shadow zone until March 4, 2014 which will also take us through an entire Mercury retrograde cycle (most of February 2014) and into the beginning of a Mars retrograde transit in Libra (March 1 – April 20, 2014).  The fact that this New Moon with Venus stationing leads us into Mercury stationing retrograde a week later in conjunction to Neptune in Pisces makes it even more important to state very clear intentions for ourselves at this time.  What do we truly want, not out of a sense of need, but out of a true sense of what will bring us joy?  We have a full Mercury retrograde cycle, and then the beginning of a Mars retrograde cycle to experience before Venus will finally leave her retrograde shadow zone, so there is still a lot of inner work to be done even though we may become increasingly called to focus on external events and actions.  Today and the Imbolc season that follows is a perfect time to re-assess and re-form our purpose, vision, and goals moving forward.

slow-swirl-at-the-edge-of-the-sea(1)

Mark Rothko and Venus Retrograde

As we are entering a time in which we are leaving a Venus retrograde transit only to enter a Mercury retrograde cycle as Venus is still moving through her retrograde shadow zone, a historical figure I feel is interesting to consider is the artist Mark Rothko, born with a Mercury retrograde in Libra and a Venus retrograde in Virgo.  If you noticed, this means his Mercury and Venus were in mutual reception, with his retrograde Venus ruling his retrograde Mercury, and his retrograde Mercury ruling his retrograde Venus.  Fitting to such a natal aspect, Mark Rothko was a deeply contemplative artist whose artistic expression and perception were rooted to his core inner Self more so than consensus cultural norms of society or the art world.  When we work with planets moving in retrograde, we have the opportunity to turn inward to find new ideas and ideals we can ultimately bring forth into the world.  The progression of Mark Rothko’s art in his lifetime was a fascinating example of this internal/external process in motion.

For example, in the painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, Rothko had entered a new phase in his art in which he was painting with greater abstraction:  this painting supposedly relates in some ways to his romance with the woman who became his second wife, while some have also interpreted it as integrating a reference to Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”  In any event, the energy of love, movement, passion, and music found in the image certainly connect to Venus, but the more abstract depiction of Venusian themes is what had changed in this period of Rothko’s art.  Previous to this period, Rothko painted more realistic depictions of ideas that often connected to myth and other subjects of timeless meaning.  Rothko was known to be a great admirer of Nietzsche, Carl Jung, James Joyce, and T.S. Eliot, with the sort of internal, mythic perception of soul in matter found in people with Mercury and Venus retrograde in their charts.  Eventually, Rothko shifted into further, or maybe better said, purer abstraction in a style that has been called “multi-form” and involved large fields of color:  this is the style that ultimately brought him his greatest fame.  About his art at this time, he made a very Mercury/Venus retrograde statement of saying, “my paintings’ surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles, you can find everything I want to say” (wikipedia).  The depth of feeling he put into his work was further exemplified when he said he was only interested in “expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions . . . The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationship, then you miss the point” (wikipedia).

The painting “Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea” above, as well as the painting at the beginning of this post, “Rites of Lilith,” were both shown in 1945 following a dramatic shift in Rothko’s art.  In a letter to the Art Editor of the New York Times you can read here, Mark Rothko and Adolph Gottlieb articulated a manifesto expressing a re-visioning of their art away from a more literal representation of myth in their painting into a form inspired by surrealist and abstract art from Europe.  This letter came out immediately following Mercury stationing direct in June of 1943, still in its shadow zone.  A few months later in August of 1943 there would be a Venus retrograde transit of Virgo matching the same Venus retrograde cycle in which Rothko was born.  Thus this shift in the art of Rothko (which would become even more dramatic in a few more years) was a good example of Mercury-Venus inner work, an inner change of values, ultimately re-emerging into a new vision for external manifestation.  This is exactly the sort of opportunity available for all of us at this time, in whatever realm of thought and action your current interests are found.   Here are a few of their key points found in their manifesto:

  1. To us art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take the risks.
  2. This world of the imagination is fancy-free and violently opposed to common sense.
  3. It is our functions as artists to make the spectator see the world our way—not his way.
  4. We favor the simple expression of the complex thought. We are for the large shape because it has the impact of the unequivocal. We wish to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.
  5. It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it  is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing. We assert that the subject is crucial and only that subject matter is valid which is tragic and timeless. That is why we profess spiritual kinship with primitive and archaic art.

Over a half century later, excerpts from this manifesto appeared in a song crafted by another artist with a link to retrograde personal planets, Kathleen Hannah, born on November 12, 1968 with a Scorpio Mercury direct a few degrees out of it’s retrograde shadow zone of October 3-23, 1968 when she was in her mother’s womb:

Of course, Kathleen Hannah is no stranger to manifestos as she wrote a Riot Grrrl manifesto including lines like “BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t” and “BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-hierarchical ways of being and making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.” She is a strong example of how to use a Mars in Libra with power and force for social justice through art (she also has a Uranus conjunct Mars in Libra, also conjunct Jupiter at the very end of Virgo).  As Mars in Libra in March will station retrograde following the upcoming Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius (that’s going to be February 2014), we will no doubt hear from many astrologers how Mars “doesn’t like” being in the sign of Libra.  Look no further than Kathleen Hannah to learn you can kick ass with Mars in Libra when working for social change.  Now is a good time to figure out where you want to re-focus your energy to ultimately become the change you want to see in the world.

References

Campbell, Joseph. (2013). Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine. New World.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1973). An Astrological Mandala: the Cycle of Transformations and its 360 Symbolic Phases. Vintage.

Rothko, Mark. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Asteria Alchemy of Asteroid Goddesses

T15.1Asteria

Emotional transformative crises are changing our psychospiritual vibrations so that we may attune our individual frequency to the spiritual core which resonates with the whole of creation. The positions of Ceres, Pallas Athene, Juno, and Vesta in our charts describe a personal way whereby we can effect this change.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5

Asteria or the “starry one” is a Titan Goddess of oracles found in the night such as the interpretation of dreams or the reading of the wandering celestial spheres in the stars above. From the same “Greek” traditions come Ceres, Vesta, Juno, and Pallas Athene, Goddesses represented in astrology through being the first four asteroids discovered, their archetypal meaning described in the classic text Asteroid Goddesses written by Demetra George with Douglas Bloch.  Astrology is “read” by many through a concept defined by humans to represent Mystery- archetypally– and it is important to remember that the term archetype was created to reflect the ever changing nature of the primordial themes astrological terminology attempts to describe.  Embedded in the concept of archetypes is the paradoxical significance that the power symbolized by our astrological concepts can never adequately be defined into crystallization by human language, that although there are repetitive patterns we can recognize through time that seem similar in operation to the concept of fractals in chaos theory, they are at the same time always changing in a process of creation.  Demetra George intended for her work on the many Goddesses we can find among the asteroids to deepen our understanding of archetypal themes operating within our own chart and in the greater world around us, including how archetypal understanding in astrology is currently changing and has changed across time (for example at the time Asteroid Goddesses was published in 1986 it reflected a previous wave of feminism, and today we have movements around gender that are not limited into binary definitions such as masculine and feminine).  Some feel that integrating asteroids can muddle or murk up the clarity of focusing solely on the traditional seven wanderers or the modern ten that integrates Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto-  however, in my opinion while bringing in too many asteroids into astrological analysis can indeed become overwhelming for clear comprehension, at the same time ignoring the Goddesses of the asteroids means missing out on cosmic magic.  Today is no different, as amazing as the current complex brew of traditional astrological planets is at the moment, it is even more extraordinary once realizing where the fabulous four of Vesta, Juno, Ceres and Pallas Athene are at the moment.

heres-a-jaw-dropping-satellite-image-of-typhoon-haiyan-as-it-approached-the-philippines

The sattelite image of typhoon Haiyan above gives a small sense of the immense magnitude of this cataclysmic storm that has devastated a global region, an event that occurred in the same time period of nuclear radiation fears connected to repairs at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan.  Apocalyptical themes have been rampant in popular cultures for years, and continue today such as the Radiolab Live tour from NPR simply called “Apocalyptical” that just passed through the Pacific Northwest of the USA this past week.  I recently realized that the term apocalypse is also connected to ancient Greek culture, but that instead of it meaning an “End of Time” scenario it actually means an “uncovering” or a “revelation.”  I first came across this definition in an article by Kate Petty which included a number of astrology charts examining the nuclear radiation situation in Japan, and have since come across many other writers focused upon archetypal themes connected to an apocalypse such as this chapter from an academic thesis entitled “Modern Apocalypse: Expanding the Nuclear Metaphor.”

With the heavy concentration of Scorpio energy through a Solar Eclipse conjunct Saturn in Scorpio as well as the recent Scorpio Mercury retrograde cycle that criss-crossed over the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio, we have been experiencing an uncovering of many frightening concerns on our planet that can be difficult to fully acknowledge and face, and yet recent events have made it much more difficult to remain in denial of the need for us to re-structure in order to re-align with the changes occurring on our planet.  For example, we may continue to argue in our culture whether global warming is caused by humans or not, but we can no longer argue against the unavoidable fact that ocean temperatures are rising and so is the magnitude of storms that are making complete devastation of human communities more likely.  We likewise can no longer honestly argue that nuclear energy is safe and clean and poses no great risk to our environment, as the cataclysmic danger of another great storm striking Japan or a different nuclear reactor somewhere else on the planet makes obvious.  Planet Earth will survive with or without us, there is no end game with regards to Earth except for whether or not as a human species we will be able to re-align ourselves and our societies in order to survive here.

The planets above reflect an opportunity for us to make deep modifications to how our personal path impacts our collective path, as there are a number of significant current transits bridging the personal issues of the inner planets with the collective issues of the outer planets, such as the current movement of Mercury in Scorpio becoming exactly conjunct Saturn in Scorpio again, as Mercury afterwards will begin to move out of its retrograde shadow zone in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Cancer.  If you are reading this article you are likely to already know we are in the middle of a series of seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, and part of this greater collective meaning is the birth of new archetypes and understanding through Uranus in Aries to confront the break-down and re-generation of systematic structure through Pluto in Capricorn.  At the recent “Plants and Planets” talk by my astrology teacher  Rosie Finn, she illuminated me to the fact that as we shift into the calendar year 2014 there will be significant higher octave activation of personal planets, that potentially can help us on an inner level align with the huge outer shifts occurring:  Venus in Capricorn will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013 and will work with Pluto as a higher octave on our desires, in February the messenger planet Mercury will station retrograde in Pisces and work with Neptune as a higher octave on our perceptions, and then in March the willful planet Mars will station retrograde in Libra and work with Uranus as a higher octave on our ability to take leadership of our lives, an opportunity to step into our authentic power amid unexpected drama and shifting.

In synchronicity, at this time we have the aid of the Goddesses in our personal transformation work:  Ceres and Vesta in Libra working directly with Pluto and Uranus, Pallas Athene in Virgo working directly with Neptune and Chiron, and Juno in Aquarius working directly with Saturn in Scorpio (and Mercury too this next week in Scorpio).  In Asteroid Goddesses Demetra George explained how the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio because they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  If you do not like the binary gender labeling of the Goddesses being linked to a feminine archetype then it may be more helpful to think of these Goddesses as being yin archetypes that reflect themes of receiving, gestating, and giving birth.  Like yin energy, the asteroid Goddesses in our charts and by transit reveal how we can receive impressions from our environment to activate our self-transformation from personal to collective awareness:

The essence of the feminine principle is symbolized by the moon.  As the motion of the physical moon is cyclical in nature, phases of waxing and waning affecting the ebbs and flows of the tides, so essential teachings of the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going.  This is also known as the cycle of transformation.  Not only do the asteroids relate to new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche, but also they serve as agents in the transformative process of individuals.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, page 5 -6

CHT163393Ceres in Libra

Ceres has now been elevated from asteroid to dwarf planet status, and is correspondingly beginning to take on a more significant role in astrological interpretation.  At the moment she is holding her ground with two of the heavyweights of astrology:  in the sign of Libra, she is opposite Uranus in Aries and in square to Pluto in Capricorn.  In addition, she is conjunct her sister Vesta in Libra.  At the moment, Ceres is pretty much exactly in opposition to Uranus, and so will become a tighter square with Pluto next week on November 28.  All through the first week of December 2013, however, Ceres will remain in a fairly close t-square with Uranus and Pluto.

Ceres during this time in Libra is ruled by a Venus in Capricorn that was recently conjunct Pluto, will station retrograde on the Winter Solstice of 2013, and then around Candlemas of 2014 (January 31) station direct conjunct Pluto again in Capricorn.  In myth, Pluto is the nemesis of Ceres who takes her daughter Persephone away from her and the upperworld she rules in order to rule with him from the underworld during part of the year.  Similar to how there are myths associated with Venus and the underworld such as Inanna’s descent and trials, or the test given by Aphrodite to Psyche to face Persephone, we will all be entering an upcoming time of deep descent of our Venusian nature into our personal and collective underworld.  Ceres in myth is the Great Goddess of Abundant Life on Earth who reacts to the underworld descent of her daughter with such powerful emotions that she loses her sense of productivity, refusing to create new life on earth, and attempts to cope with strategies similar to what many continue to do today: the use of opiates to numb her pain, the ebb and flow between denial and depression.  Ultimately, Ceres had to face the ultimate questions of life and death, and accept that creation and transformation involves both life and death, loss and birth.

Ceres in Libra will bring greater focus on relationships, and the necessity of interacting with others triggering whatever relationship issues we are currently facing.  Harmoniously, Ceres in Libra can connect with nurturing others, cooperating with others, and learning to initiate and respond in relational dynamics in a manner to create greater equity or an egalitarian quality.  Ceres in Libra can also connect with social justice issues such as oppression and how our various social identities play into us becoming targets or agents of oppression: again, in a more harmonious intent, we can work through our own personal issues to discern how to be an ally for others or ourselves to overcome oppression.  None of the above will be exactly easy at this time, however, as the opposition to Uranus and square to Pluto can coincide with extreme grief over the loss of loved ones or other cherished personal objects of desire; or, with difficulty forming deep intimate bonds with others due to a lack of emotional nurturing from one’s early or recent home environment; or, with a feeling of hopelessness with the state of environmental destruction and human oppression that begins to constrain our ability to be effectively productive.  There could be a temptation to reach for coping strategies such as drugs or other escapism from the pain of emotional attachment and connection, or difficulty breaking a cycle of depression or social anxiety that keeps one within limiting confines of relation.

I’m sensing one of the great potential transformations that can come from these intense aspects to Ceres could take us from an initial reaction that is imbalanced into a process of re-aligning ourselves with the structural and systematic destruction going on in society and the environment.  Moving through this tension will strengthen our capacity to birth a new presence in the world in which we are vibrating our being in greater connection with how to respond to what we are receiving for the highest good of all beings in all dimensions.  Ceres can create profound beauty everywhere she goes, artistically directing energy at all times into everything, sustaining an energy of abundance.  We may ebb away at times from this feeling into clearing times of depression that feel stagnated, but cyclically we will flow back into resiliently re-aligning our ability to feel productive, abundant, or grateful. At the same time, we do not want to lose ourselves in an imbalanced Libra use of the Ceres archetype by overly focusing on the needs of others to such an extent that we stop living in accordance with our own values or well-being, either.  Sister Vesta being nearby in Libra should help with this, as Vesta adds an archetypal energy that is aware of how to take time alone to re-center, from a spiritual practice to a walk in the green world.  However, since Vesta is also in Libra it still warns of a potential danger of losing ourselves in our interactions with others.

hestia-2Vesta in Libra

Vesta is currently in Libra conjunct her sister Ceres, and is moving toward her own t-square with Uranus and Pluto like Ceres is currently experiencing.  Vesta will more strongly enter the t-square in the first couple of weeks in December, but she is still in range of being conjunct Ceres in Libra and not very far from an opposition to Uranus in Aries at the moment- her opposition to Uranus will be gaining in strength the next few weeks and so the Vesta archetype may become visible to a greater extent in the collective culture as we move into December.

Vesta is the sacred Hestia, the keeper of the sacred flame, a priestess of sacred sexuality, a visionary mystic.  She will be lending a more focused and determined energy to Ceres through their conjunction in Libra this next month, impacting relationships through more of a tendency to move away from partnership at times to be alone.  However, Vesta in Libra desires to be in relationship and to focus energy through collaboration with others.  Vesta coming into range of an opposition to Uranus with a square to Pluto could create a more competitive energy in our work environment with an over-emphasis on wanting others to like us or admire us, all of which takes us out of alignment with our true way of being in the world.  Yet if we can successfully re-balance our focus on personal priorities versus the needs of others, a triggered Vesta in Libra archetype can harness extraordinary energy into dynamic collaboration with others that draws on the strengths of all members.  Vesta in Libra can help activate our perceptions of who we can team up with, collaborate with, or partner with at this time in order to achieve mutually beneficial goals.  Vesta and Ceres together in Libra gives desire to devote time to the needs of one’s family, nurture others through service in our work, or nurture ourselves through spiritual practices or visioning time in nature.

However, we may be challenged in our ability to do this at this time by the intense context of collective destruction and transformation occurring around us.  In particular with the strengthening opposition between Vesta and Uranus, we may need to stop ourselves from angrily over-reacting with a waste of rebellious energy that is more destructive than regenerative.  We will have strong energy available to us through Vesta facing Uranus, and so we can be most productive with it by focusing it at targets in the system that will create the greatest effect with our energy.  We will want to center and aim before taking action, but Vesta in Libra promises ample focus and determination to get the job done.  We may be able to make innovations into the old structure of things, or instead build a new order or structure that will bring healing or constructive changes.

In relationships, the deep issues of sexuality connected to the Vesta archetype could also correspond to sexual obsessions or compulsions with the square to Pluto and opposition to Uranus.   We could go to the depths of sexual desire or instead experience repression, isolation, or self-absorption with a stressed Vesta in Libra. Yet if we can use the deep Scorpio energy of this time to not just uncover a deeper layer of our sexuality but to uncover a deeper layer of reality and understanding, we can use Vesta focus to penetrate to the core of current issues in order to problem solve a solution to work toward.  Having a broader social cause, a social ideal of justice to work toward, finding a community of like-minded collaborators to work with toward a humanitarian social change and transformation will help us with Vesta being in Libra, and these same social change agents will also be helpful for us with Pallas Athene being in Virgo.

athena by klimtPallas Athene in Virgo

It pleases Pallas Athene to be in Virgo, a zodiac sign with strong associations to her archetype.  However, she must now face the Ocean God as Pallas Athene in Virgo is opposite Neptune in Pisces.  In myth, Pallas Athene has already proven herself worthy of defeating Poseidon as they each competed to be the ruler of Athens and Pallas Athene won through her gift of the olive tree that was selected for its beauty and functionality, its practical use in healing, shelter, and other expressions that benefit society.  Similarly, Pallas Athene being in Virgo at this time also lends us a powerful archetypal tool-set to utilize in our personal and collective projects.  Just as Jupiter along with Pallas Athene were held in highest regard in classical Greece, so today can we not only utilize Jupiter being in Cancer to assist us in our endeavors, but also draw from Pallas Athene in Virgo to help us, in her case through a sharpened focus and discernment to penetrate to the core of any issue with her analysis.  In opposition to Neptune in Pisces, however, she must be careful of delusion and illusion, falling under the influence of blind faith or an inability to distinguish between what is real and unreal in our environment.  Yet, these potential pitfalls of Neptune being in opposition to Pallas Athene are the exact sort of obstacles that Pallas Athene being in Virgo is equipped to combat:  in Virgo, according to Demetra George, Pallas Athene has an “analytical perception” that can sense “the essence of things in their simplest forms apart from the surrounding superfluous complications,” like “separating the wheat from the chaff” or “the wisdom of discrimination” (page 103).

Therefore, we can have no greater ally in our personal transformation at this time than Pallas Athene in the development of our ability to scan our collective environment for the root causes of societal ills and to begin devising practical solutions to help us on both personal and collective levels.  Whether we are focused on food and nutrition, creativity and the arts, protest, activism, or political change- in all areas of life Pallas Athene can give us a laser focus of penetrating to the heart of the matter, as long as we are also aware of the need for us to question our own beliefs and possible illusions since she is in opposition to Neptune in Pisces.  If we can examine our perceptions enough to discriminate whether or not we are being delusional, we can use the opposition of Neptune in Pisces to make our Pallas Athene perception divinely inspired and even more powerfully attuned to the needs of the moment in all dimensions.

In myth, according to Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses after Poseidon lost to Pallas Athene in their contest to win the hearts of the people of Athens, Poseidon created a great flood to demand attention, and in the process of appeasing him the male rulers of Athens deprived Athenian women of their citizenship, voting rights, and the right to pass their family name down generations through their children.  In addition, in the classic Greek version of myth, Pallas Athene is given birth through the head of her father, Zeus, instead of through the womb of her mother.  This symbolic aspect of her myth parallels the use of her wisdom by the Greek patriarchy in their military strategies and conquests, as Pallas Athene originally is more of a Libyan Warrior Queen who was then integrated into the Greek pantheon of deities.  Today, we tend to view the Pallas Athene archetype as a result with the sort of gender issues that female consciousness faces in a male dominated society.  Pallas Athene is with the woman who feels like she is taking on more of a professional “masculine” or “yang” identity in the work environment in order to compete or collaborate with male rivals or co-workers, and she is also with any of us who face conflicts pursuing our vocational goals in the outer world in a culture that tends to reward logical and rational thinking and behavior we have been conditioned to associate with “masculine” behavior.  Pallas Athene reminds us that whether we identify as male, female, queer, or another gender label, we all have within us the intelligence and creativity necessary to be successful, and that more “intuitive” or “receptive” skills we have been conditioned to associate wtih being “feminine” are of equal benefit to those we have been conditioned to view as being “masculine.”

As Pallas Athene over the next month will begin to move away from an opposition to Neptune in Pisces and into an opposition with Chiron in Pisces, issues around our gender identity could become part of the collective Chironic wound that gains more attention.  No matter what personal or collective issue we will be facing however, Pallas Athene is the type of mystic warrior, visionary activist, and artistic worker who will be able to hold her own with an opposition to Chiron and utilize whatever sort of wounds or triggers arise inside us to make our work in the world even more powerful and deep.  Her opposition with Chiron also points to the importance of paying attention to the impact of our mind-body connection on our health more so than normal- techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, tai chi, meditation, mind-based practices such as guided visualization, or therapeutic practices focusing on holistic approaches to our psyche, can all assist us at this time to help re-balance ourselves in order to re-align with changing events.  The deep creative wisdom embodied by Pallas Athene is highly attuned to the worlds of the arts, healing, and political activism- all areas that Chiron also enjoys working with, all areas of supreme importance to focus on in the world at this time of cataclysmic change.

junoJuno in Aquarius

Juno is on her throne in Aquarius at this time, and the Great Goddess has her hands full with an intense square to Saturn in Scorpio that at the moment also involves Mercury conjunct Saturn in Scorpio.  The added intensity of Mercury in Scorpio finishing off the end of its retrograde shadow movement in conjunction with Saturn today is giving our Queen Juno all she can handle from her humanitarian seat in Aquarius-  this added intensity will dissipate over the next week, but Juno will remain in a square to Saturn through our last month of 2013. This intense square between Juno with Saturn and Mercury in Scorpio to me represents the alchemist image of the King and Queen melting together- we may feel extreme weight and heaviness at this time from Saturn and Mercury teaming up in Scorpio in their square to Juno in Aquarius, but remember Juno is also the Great Goddess who can melt the hearts of even the Scorpio duo of Mercury and Saturn together.  The sacred heart of Juno may give one the impression of being coldly objective or detached in the sign of Aquarius, but our lady Juno always has a burning heart and she will help us move through any floods of watery depression or emotions at this time to re-focus our energy on a greater social cause that will benefit us on both a personal and collective level.  Her seat in Aquarius at this time will let us use a more detached and objective perspective to help us re-align with our deepest passions.

Jealous Juno is an image of this Goddess we have been collectively conditioned to think of, and indeed a square between Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to her can certainly correlate to tremendous feelings of jealousy if we have not been working on personal issues relating to our insecurity or possessiveness in general.  Juno being in the sign of Aquarius can also connect with a feeling of being too frozen to melt into a deep commitment of intimacy with a potential partner at this time, a fear of attachment rooted in the fear of loss, like when the death of a loved ones makes us afraid of creating another bond we will ultimately lose again in heartbreak.  However, any limiting beliefs we carry within us connected to our relationships can be exposed at this time, with a square from Scorpio to Aquarius this can further mean in an intense manner that rocks us to our core.  As a result, we may realize how much we are limiting our ability to form a new relationship in connection to fears of abandonment, intimacy, loss, or dependency, or it may dawn on us that we have been staying in a relationship that has not been meeting our true needs out of a sense of societal expectation, an obedient sense that we are expected to remain in this partnership even if it is making us incredibly upset.  If we wish to sustain a relationship that has been creating oppression or frustration in our lives, we may be forced by events to break down the belief systems of each partner about the relationship in order to discover if the relational dynamic can be re-built in a manner that will benefit each partner.  If we wish to enter into a new relationship, we may be forced to confront the limiting beliefs about relationships we have accumulated from our past in order to clear the space for a new partnership to be born in 2014 that can fulfill us to a greater extent than past relationships.  In all relationships, we will want to listen without judgment to the concerns of the person we are interacting with and avoid attempting to manipulate the situation purely for our own benefit- the square from Mercury-Saturn in Scorpio to Juno in Aquarius otherwise could place us into some intense confrontations at this time.

Juno in Aquarius will also focus our relationship needs on finding a community of like-minded people who are commited workers, serious partners of deep work and dedication who will assist us in boldly confronting reality and devising creative solutions to address our collective concerns.  If we have been focusing a lot of our energy into an intimate partnership or into a limited number of relationships, the energy of Juno in Aquarius will bring a desire for greater freedom in our relationships to us.  This could for some creating the sense of wanting a more “open” relationship, but for others this will simply mean expanding the scope of our relationships, expanding our community of people we network and collaborate with.  We may be called upon at this time to experiment with the form our relationships take, or experiment with joining a new community of collaborators to test if we can discover greater inspiration for ourselves.

References

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986).  Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Ceres Sun Leo / Full Moon Aquarius

Venus of Laussel

Ceres at the Crossroads

The legacy of Goddesses in all Her forms will be lit by the Full Moon in Aquarius occurring on August 20, 2013 at 6:45 pm here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, as Ceres will be conjunct the Sun and Mercury in Leo at the time of the lunation.  This Full Moon will be about us recovering our authentic creative Self, a process which involves a Shadow integration that has it’s roots in the story of Goddesses.  Ceres is a dwarf planet that has the Roman name of the Greek Goddess Demeter, who is commonly known as a Goddess of fertility and the earth, but in more ancient times was also known as the Mother of the Dead, similar in a way to the Sumerian Mother of the Underworld, Ereshkigal (Shlain, p. 31).  The “Venus of Laussel” above was discovered in a cave in Southern France and believed to be at least 22,000 years old, from a time in which Goddesses were sacred to the hunter-gatherer people of the time on Earth.  Researchers into myths of the Goddess such as Anne Barin and Jules Cashford (The Myth of the Goddess) believe that there were two prominent myths of the time, one involving a Mother Goddess who was linked to fertility, the sacredness of life, transformation and rebirth, and a second myth involving a Hunter who was more connected with survival, including the ritual act of taking life in order to survive (Shlain, p. 31).

Ceres is an archetype that not only goes all the way back to the original Great Mother, but also moving forward through time she encompasses many of the most prominent Goddesses of myth such as Isis and Hekate.  Eventually, around the time documented by Homer or so, Ceres as Demeter became a Goddess who was regulated to being simply a sister of Zeus/Jupiter, instead of his Great Mother.  This is in part due to invasions of the ancient Matriarchal cultures of Goddesses by invaders who became increasingly Patriarchal over time and re-wrote myths from the perspective of masculine Gods holding power over the Goddesses, bringing some cross-pollination to myth between cultures of the time in the process.  As a result, we can see many parallels in the myths between cultures who came into contact, such as the fact that Isis made Osiris whole again by synthesizing his fragmented pieces of his body together again, and in other myths Demeter (Isis) put the severed limbs of Dionysus (Osiris) back together again (Jung, p. 237).  In his book, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, author Leonard Shlain constructed a theory proposing that the development of alphabets and written records coincided with the subjugation of Goddesses and the ascendancy of Gods as sitting atop the hierarchical power pyramid of myth:

Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, presided over what had traditionally been considered the quintessential feminine essence:  water.  Many bulls inhabited his home in the deep.  The image of a bull inside a body of water or in an underground labyrinth is evocative of the female’s reproductive organs.  In the myth that precipitates Cadmus’s fateful journey to Greece, a bull carries a terrified young woman out to sea on his back. Initially, she trusted the intentions of a creature that had been associated with her gender for eons.  Zeus chose to rape her at Crete, the island culture consecrated to the Goddess.  Europa’s violation by a feminine totem is allegorical:  it is the incident that initiates the mythical transfer of the alphabet from Phoenicia to Greece.  With the beginning of alphabetic writing, women would have reason to fear the bull, which came to represent lustful virility.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 125

Shlain further depicts mythic plot lines developing in accord with the work of Homer, whose stories such as The Illiad “glorifies masculine values and denigrates feminine ones,” as it is focused upon “the deeds of men, and the story line is drenched in male-death consciousness”  (Shlain, p. 127).  The oppression of Goddesses becomes even more apparent when we consider how Gods became more important to the birth/release of many Goddesses more so than a Mother Goddess, such as Aphrodite being born from the severed testicles of Uranus by Kronus, Athena being released into the world from the head of Zeus, and Demeter, Hera, and Vesta being freed by Zeus from the belly of their father Kronus who had devoured them:

The birth stories of these three goddesses [Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena]- remnants of the Magna Mater- are so peculiar that they could only have been devised by a male mind intent on changing the perceptions of society.  Each goddess emerged from the insides of a male, though this required convoluted plot twists . . . Not only did all three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, enter the world by way of a man instead of through the birth canal of a woman, but none of these examplars of the Great Mother was nutured during childhood by a mother.  This resulted in the paradox that these three representatives of the Great Mother were themselves motherless!  New myths are frequently imposed on a culture by the needs of a dominant ruling class.  What better way to discredit women’s roles in the creation of life, and by extension, the Great Goddess, than to have your goddesses born of gods?  The Iliad, the Theognis and the Old Testament turn barnyard commonsense upside down by asserting that birthing is a man’s job . . . The death throes of the Great Mother can be read between the lines of these sexist credos.

–Leonard Shlain, The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, p. 130-131

Ceres being such an vital aspect of the herstory of myth on our planet is significant at this time, as in astrology we are experiencing a Full Moon in Aquarius, with the Leo Sun being conjunct the planet Mercury as well as the “dwarf” planet Ceres.   The Leo Sun and Ceres have actually been conjunct this entire past week during a lot of intense astrological energy, with Jupiter in Cancer in a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn and coming into a first quarter square with Uranus in Aries, plus the Grand Water Trine we have been talking about still occurring, now more prominently involving Jupiter in Cancer, Chiron in Pisces (with Neptune), and the North Node of the Moon in Scorpio (with Saturn).  Demetra George is my favorite author concerning the astrological meaning of Ceres, and many of the issues that Demetra associated with Ceres in her book Asteroid Goddesses are connected with the modern oppression of women and femininity that have clear connections to the mythstorical oppression of Goddesses by Gods.  For example, as Ceres is a Goddess of food and nourishment, she can be connected with the eating disorders many modern women have experienced, disorders that are connected to a psychological complex rooted in misogyny and the oppressive depiction of women in media such as movies, commercials, and popular music.

Demetra also analyzed how the pre-Hellenic versionof Ceres was a universal archetype of the Great Goddess that emerged in Crete and Greece in association with figures such as Isis, Ishtar, Inanna, Gaia, Rhea, and Tara.  Ceres as the Great Mother in Crete was integral to fertility rituals such as being the corn priestess at the Autumn Equinox who lays with her lover Iasion in a field in order to birth Plutus, who was the god of wealth found in the Earth, “a symbol of that rich bounty that the earth produced when it was so honored by the Sacred Marriage” (George, p. 45).  In the later versions of myth, however, after Demeter takes her younger lover Iasion out to a field during the marriage ceremony of Cadmus and Harmony, Zeus angrily strikes him dead with a bolt of lightning upon discovery.

Similar to this re-write of the myth, Demetra George also described how it was not until Homer’s Hymn to Demeter that the rape of Persephone appears in myth, as it had “no precedent in the earlier cult versions” (George, p. 45):

Historically, Persephone’s rape symbolizes the power struggle that was occurring between the patriarchal cultures (Pluto) and the indigenous matriarchal goddess cults (represented by Ceres).  The final outcome of the story points to a clear victory for the northern Zeus worshippers.  The Great Mother not only had to stand by and watch her daughter being raped and abducted, Ceres was also forced to share her beloved Persephone with the enemy.  Hence, she had to abdicate a portion of her powers over the birth and death rituals, a dominion that was eventually wrestled from her in its entirety.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 45

In the popular version of the Persephone myth, Ceres/Demeter is no longer identified with the powers associated with Hekate, and in fact Ceres deep in grief comes into contact with Hekate, looking for guidance.

HekateHekate

Hekate is often depicted as a crone goddess representative of the triple goddess, a goddess of the moon, magic, and plant medicine, a goddess who stands at the crossroads.  In stunning synchronicity to today’s full moon in Leo and Aquarius, Hekate in the Persephone myth directs Ceres to seek guidance from Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Ceres the knowledge that Pluto took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Today at the time of this Full Moon, many of us are standing at our own crossroads, coming into knowledge of the root causes or sources of intense personal issues and experiences that are coinciding with the intensity of outer planet transits we have been experiencing:   in particular that  Jupiter in Cancer has now come into the full first quarter phase of it’s square with Uranus in addition to a full opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.

But what does this mean, you may ask?  For one, Jupiter in Cancer, considered an exalted aspect by ancient astrologers, entering such intense aspects with outer transpersonal planets difficult for us to integrate on a personal level but which consistently correlate with cataclysmic and paradigm shifting events in our human collective, has been coinciding with many of us having to realize once again how many of our beliefs we hold dear are ultimately speculative in nature.  I am not debating that there is an actual Truth, only that we humans tend to believe what we believe and on this level of relativity two people can view and interpret the same experience completely differently, arguing from a perspective rooted in belief systems that on the surface seem to hold no common ground.  This experience can feel especially debilitating when one is feeling oppression from a belief system connected to a dominant culture that one knows is not actually the Truth, but which still holds tremendous power of control over us nonetheless (or at least will try to control us).  We could be finding ourselves in a similar position to Ceres, enraged at the violation to our own divine femininity inside of us.  However, the version of her myth involving the descent of Persephone to the underworld also holds an important moral lesson, as Ceres had been extremely possessive of Persephone prior to her descent, and she reacted to the loss of her daughter with anger and bitter vengeance, refusing to nourish the Earth with food, flowers, and vegetation out of protest.  Ultimately, Ceres had to come to a place of letting go of her attachment to having Persephone with her at all times, as well as come back to a place of being productive with her unique calling and gift of food and nourishment that sustains life on our planet.  This does not mean we need to be mushy and passively accepting of oppression we experience or witness, but it does mean that we can be more productive and effective when acting from our hearts instead of out of anger or bitterness.  Going through the raw pain of crises does at least give us an opportunity to open more of our heart in the end of the process if we do our deep work.

As a result it is fascinating to me that the Sun has been conjunct Ceres at this exact time, an event that typically is not drawing a huge amount of attention from astrologers, although it most likely will be briefly mentioned in numerous “Full Moon reports,” such as something along the lines of “mother issues” or “baking bread” for someone.  Traditional astrologers barely even acknowledge Ceres, as they have a deep learning of astrology that can work limited to only the original seven planets of the Sun through Saturn.  However, even amongst the modern late 20th Century astrologers who have taken great leaps of thought with our ancient study of astrology, with the exception of Demetra George and others of like-mind, Ceres has not been developed to a great extent as an astrological archetype.  Astrologers do use her, but I find that she tends to draw less attention as a general rule, and many question the validity of even paying much attention to her in the first place.

ceres

One reason many question using the asteroids (although again, Ceres is not even an asteroid! She is now a dwarf planet on the same level of Pluto!) is why we should integrate the myth of a particular culture with a particular myth, to an asteroid that some astronomer just chose to give a certain name to.  However, in answer to this argument Ceres has a knowing smile.  At the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology conference near Portland, Oregon I witnessed Demetra George giving an electrifying talk about the mythology and astrological significance of Ceres, following a trip Demetra took taking astrology students to the specific locations of the myth.  Demetra shared with us that when Ceres was discovered in 1800 by the astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi, she was discovered in an astro-lab that was near the exact site of Persephone’s abduction in myth.

In actuality, although Ceres has still not generated a tremendous amount of astrological writing, since the 2006 astronomical controversy in which Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status, and Ceres was elevated to dwarf planet status, Ceres is today on the same level playing field as the other celestial bodies that modern astrologers tend to obsess over since Pluto isn’t going anywhere in terms of astrological significance.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George presented an ingenious thesis for the astrological meaning of Ceres that I have found is deeply compelling and typically makes sense in the context of natal birth charts.  In this book Demetra associated Ceres with the signs of Cancer (nurturing issues), Virgo (productivity issues), and the Taurus-Scorpio axis (issues of attachment and letting go for transformation).

Again, as I spent time outlining the subjugation of the Great Mother for a reason, it is important to take our Ceres placement in our birth charts in consideration of the context of the oppression of women in our global culture and the effect this has had on our individual growth and development.  For example, Demetra George brought up the fact that hospital births in which the infant is separated from the mother in a sterile and isolated hospital crib first came into dominance in the 1930s, and as a result contributed to the plethora of relationship issues that have been handed down to ensuing generations since that time.  If we do not receiving the nurturing we need as an infant, a child, and/or an adolescent, we in turn have difficulty nurturing others in relationship, including our own children, and as a result a psychological complex such as an “attachment disorder” can be transmitted down the line of generations of family karma.  It is possible, however, with deep work and processing, to overturn complexes like attachment disorders we can become stuck to in our development, and as we each do our own unique personal work in this manner, and support others in their own deep work along these lines, we can help add to a great paradigm shift of anti-oppression work in the world around us.

When we talk about integrating our Shadow into helping us actualize our unique Self, this is exactly what we are talking about:  becoming aware of the rejected feminine aspects of ourselves (even if we are a macho dude) that have been cast off or suppressed in the face of cultural conditioning.  With Ceres lined up with the Sun and Mercury in Leo at this time of a Full Moon in Aquarius, we have a clear sign from above that a more authentic version of our actualized creative Self could become available to us at this time.  In Asteroid Goddesses, Demetra George wrote the following about having Ceres in the natal birth sign of Leo:

Ceres in Leo people identify nurturance with self-expression.  Ideally, the parents will foster in the child a sense of pride, confidence in his/her abilities, and an appreciation for the creative efforts of others.  These people can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity-  thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.  Self-acceptance is based upon one’s ability to create and share something he/she takes pride in.  The inability to do so may bring self-rejection and a lack of self-confidence.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p.  64

Since we are at a Leo-Aqurius lunation, it brings up the natural square to the Taurus-Scorpio axis that Demetra George wrote about Ceres ruling, associating it with issues of abandonment and attachment.  The reason people enacted Eleusinian rites of death for so long based upon the myth of Ceres and Persephone was to overcome a fear of death in the collective, as well as perhaps to gain a sense of the transformation and regeneration available in the process of death.  In Esoteric Astrology, Alan Oken and others have talked about the significance of the Taurus-Scorpio axis involving a death and destruction of form that helps humans open themselves to the heart-centered opening of the fixed cross.  It is through death of form, of learning to let go of attachment and experience rebirth, that we learn to open our hearts as well as come into closer contact with our Soul nature:

To prepare for the moment of death, one must learn to experience “little deaths” every day through the process of letting go.  While letting go may seem frightening at first, it is actually a necessary part of the cycle of life/death/renewal.  In this transformative process, nothing new can be reborn until something old first dies.  Thus, whenever we cling to a person, thing, or situation that has outlived its purpose, we only prevent ourselves from experiencing the abundance of renewal.  At this point, a Ceres transit will inevitably come along, denoting our need to confront our fears of dying and to realize the truth of the Ceres-Scorpio death secret-  that release is the precursor to rebirth.

–Demetra George, Asteroid Goddesses, p. 55

Back in February of 2013 during a time of incredible planetary Pisces energy, Mercury and Ceres both stationed retrograde in square to one another-  Mercury around 20 degrees of Pisces, Ceres around 20 degrees of Gemini.  Since Mercury is now conjunct both Ceres and the Sun in Leo at this time, if we have been doing the work to let go of what has served its purpose, we may be experiencing a renewal of energy.  In contrast, if we have held on tightly to something that has outlived its purpose, we may be experiencing an intense climax of energy requiring us to make a definitive decision to let go of what is clogging up the process of transformation that could otherwise be available.

This point of 20 degrees of Gemini that Ceres previously stationed retrograde at this year is significant as it is the Heliocentric north node of Ceres.  During her talk on Ceres at the 2011 Evolutionary Astrology Conference, Demetra George pointed out that Ceres has Heliocentric nodes in square to the nodes of Juno and Pallas Athena, all on the mutable cross:  Ceres at 20 degrees of Gemini (north) and Sagitarius (south), Pallas Athena at 23 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south), and Juno at 20 degrees of Virgo (north) and Pisces (south).  As in traditional astrology this means that all three of these Godesses have Heliocentric north nodes ruled by Mercury, and south nodes ruled by Jupiter, Demetra synthesized that the evolution from “faith to reason” is at the evolutionary core of the feminine in our solar system.  At first I was surprised to hear this, as it seemed to suggest the divine feminine should become more rational and less intuitive, and then upon more thought I realized that this would be exactly the evolutionary point.  Thus the divine feminine could gain strength through developing its rational side while drawing upon its great powers of faith, not neglecting its intuitive abilities.  Becoming more rational, developing the ability to objectify our experiences instead of being overridden by emotional responses to our experiences, ultimately will help all of us come to a better understanding of the oppression the Shadow side of our Self has experienced.  As a result, we can ultimately realize and actualize more of our whole Self in the world, coming into a stronger embodiment of our unique power of creation and expressing more of the full Virgo sense of productivity associated with Ceres.  This also means carrying the Leo-Aquarius meaning of this Full Moon out into appreciation and sharing in joy of the work of other creators around us, instead of viewing other creators with envy, jealousy, or competitiveness.  Enjoy this Full Moon and soak up its lunar rays!

Ceres statue

References

George, Demetra. (1986). Asteroid Goddesses.  ACS.  (with Douglas Bloch)

Jung, Carl. (1967 edition revised from original 1912). Symbols of Transformation. Bollingen.

Shlain, Leonard. (1998).  The Alphabet versus the Goddess:  the conflict between Word and Image.  Viking.

The Neptune and Jupiter Cycle

Love Angel

Grand Water Trine of July 2013:

Trinity in the Neptune-Jupiter cycle

Angelic grace or imaginal joviality may be evoked by the conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter, but their cycle has a deeper relationship with the evolution of consciousness.  In July 2013 we are now in the first quarter trine phase of this most recent cycle, and this current trine between Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces has demanded a great deal of attention as it has been part of a grand water trine with Saturn in Scorpio (Saturn in Scorpio is in a disseminating trine to both Jupiter in Cancer and Neptune in Pisces).  I recently came across a copy of  Dane Rudhyar’s 1958 article about The Jupiter and Neptune Cycle, originally published in Horoscope magazine, and have been thinking about it in relation to the current phase involving Jupiter and Neptune.

Rudhyar believed the Neptune and Jupiter cycle is one of the most important planetary cycles to contemplate because it is the only one with a consistent pattern of successive conjunctions between the planets occurring in successive signs of the zodiac.  As a result, Rudhyar placed it with the Jupiter-Saturn cycle and the eclipse cycles to be one of the most important cycles to ponder in relation to historical analysis.  Rudhyar also highlighted the lunar phase quality of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle because it occurs in relation to the number 13, with the entire cycle lasting for 166 years (adds up to 13) and each successive conjunction happening every thirteen years.   The fact that Neptune functions as the Sun in this analogy, and Jupiter as the Moon, is interesting in light of Rudhyar’s analysis because he viewed Jupiter as corresponding to societal beliefs and attitudes we may conform to for security purposes, and Neptune as corresponding to more of an evolutionary Soul path forward for us to follow, albeit a more disorienting one that can be difficult for many human beings to integrate in a grounded manner.

In his article Rudhyar stressed the fact that Jupiter and Saturn as planetary archetypes both connect to the concept that human beings interact in groups and form societies and cultures, producing communities within these that have shared values, ideals, needs, and memories.  As a result there also ends up being a shared language, laws, religions, institutions, and cultures. Rudhyar further reasoned that while Saturn correlates with the boundaries a person embodies in their participation through the role, function, and place they act from, Jupiter gives each individual person the feeling that they belong or are connected in a community through shared knowledge and belief.  Rudhyar explained that Jupiter does this because it “deals particularly with social-cultural-religious feelings and the expansion that comes to the individual who operates warmly in terms of these feelings, reiciprocated (usually) by others, either emotionally (happiness) or in terms of concrete values (wealth)” (Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraph 18).

In connection to the Neptune cycle, and how we tend to think of Neptune as corresponding to our connection to Goddess/God/Spirit, we can thus infer that Jupiter and Saturn deal with the shared societal aspects of organized religion, and the ways in which one should behave in society as a follower of the particular organized religion one follows.  In case one is not religious, Jupiter and Saturn would thus connect with the shared societal aspects of how one “should” or “should not” act if one would like to be viewed as “successful” by the consensus culture with which one belongs.  Yet as we know from experience, sometimes what the consensus culture defines as normal, such as ignoring a homeless person on the street or keeping a secret about a wound from person in authority over us so as not to damage the associated institution, may not feel inside us like it is how we truly want to act in the moment.  As a result, Rudhyar made the astute observation that although Jupiter is usually described as the “great benefic” among astrologers, in reality it often can correlate with conformity and resisting the call of an evolution in consciousness:

Astrologers are haunted with the idea that Jupiter is “the greater fortune” and a symbol of all that is “good.”  But good and fortunate for what-  for the easy way of complacent and nearly automatic repetition of the past!  Jupiter gives good fortune to those who conform, who follow the rules of the social game, the political game, the religious ritual, the way of the “classical” great masters in the arts.  Truly, there is nothing wrong in conforming; and there are vast practical benefits in doing so.  But conforming is not taking the new evolutionary step.  This step-  this new transformation or “mutation”-  requires, like the taking of any walking step, an initial loss of balance, a “fall,” immediately followed by a “recovery.”  To walk is constantly to lose one’s balance, then recover it as the foot again touches the ground a yard or so ahead.

The Jupiter-Neptune cycle is very much like a walking process.  Every 13 years-  and, even more, every 166 years-  mankind should take a step forward, even if only a tiny one.  It should be a step ahead of our past traditional, social, cultural, and religious sense of human relationship.  Unfortunately, such a step tends to lead at first to confusion, disarray, dismay, perhaps temporary blindess and panicky escape “back to the womb” of what may be thought to be a secure and familiar institution or religious organization.  However, progress is only through the confusion and the glowing mist over the hills, yonder.  There is no way ever of going ahead, except through!

–Dane Rudhyar, The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle, paragraphs 23 and 24

The connection between Jupiter and Saturn with what can fall within the boundaries of consensus thought links to the fact that for a long time Jupiter and Saturn were the outermost known planets of our solar system.  With each successive planetary discovery, first Uranus, then Neptune, then Pluto, and now we know that there is a vast array of celestial objects even beyond this, with each new discovery a new collective evolution in consciousness occurred, such as Uranus being discovered during revolutionary times in the United States and France, and Neptune being discovered during a time of spiritual movements in the 19th Century.  In his article on the Jupiter and Neptune cycle, Rudhyar described that along these lines Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are galactic ambassadors for us connecting us to another level of reality, a “stage of transition between the solar system unit and the vaster cosmic whole, the galaxy; more precisely, they refer to certain basic modes of activity by which this galactic whole constantly impresses its powers upon our tiny solar system, ‘feeds’ (in a sense) this solar system and works toward its closer integration into the galactic field” (Rudhyar, paragraph 19).

However, these outer planets prove difficult for us to integrate and more often than not impact us in a manner that reveals how we are not wholly integrated with our true soul path and work in the world.  While Uranus can be an awakener that unexpectedly shocks us and shakes us free from the Saturn role or Jupiter belief we have identified our ego and personality with in society, Rudhyar illuminated that it is Neptune that then dissolves the shattered remnants of this formerly crystallized identity, exposing our consciousness wide open with the potential to feel  vulnerable and disoriented.  When we respond to this heightened sensitivity and openness by clinging to escapist pursuits in order to grasp at a sense of security or familiarity, we bring in the side of Neptune described as being illusionary, foggy, glamorous, or unfocused.  Yet Neptune is a universal archetype of unity and unconditional love, and as Rudhyar described “an agent of the vast galactic field of cosmic existence . . . an emissary of the greater to the lesser” that “dissolves the obsolete narrowness of the Saturnine focus” because of the deep compassionate nature of its archetype (Rudhyar, paragraph 21).  This is how Neptune represents the future in relation to Jupiter.

Rudhyar concluded that the Neptune and Jupiter cycle therefore symbolizes the steps we can take as an individual in transforming our established social beliefs, and the manner in which as a society of people we are moving forward in our collective evolution.  Rudhyar emphasized that the Jupiter-Neptune cycle by itself does not necessarily correlate with startling events, but instead emerges more as a change in feeling regarding what our human interactions mean.  The following chart image is taken from the Rudhyar Archival Project’s republication of his article that was originally published in September 1958 in Horoscope Magazine:  you can see that the conjunction happened in a successive sign of the zodiac every cycle except for the cycles of 1984 and 1997 that each happened in Capricorn, and the cycles of 1779 and 1792 that each happened in Libra.

jupiter_neptune_dates

In his article Rudhyar analyzed how you can compare the previous cycle of Jupiter and Neptune conjunct in a zodiac sign in order to help understand the meaning of the new cycle.  For example, when he wrote this article in 1958 Jupiter and Neptune were having their conjunction in Scorpio, which connected to the previous Scorpio conjunction in 1804.  Rudhyar noted that 1804 found Napolean Bonaparte an Emperor of France following the previous conjunction in Libra in 1792 that found the monarchy abolished and France declared a republic.  And just think of what occurred alone in the United States of America between the Scorpio conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1958 and their next conjunction in Sagitarius in 1971!  Thus, from this viewpoint while the tumultuous events of the 1960s are often associated with the conjunction between Pluto and Uranus that occurred in Virgo, we can also connect them with the theme of Scorpio that was introduced in 1958 through the Jupiter-Neptune cycle.

Similarly, while we associate the intensity of events occurring today with the square occuring between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, we can also interpret them through the Jupiter-Neptune archetypal theme of Aquarius that was introduced in 2009.  Looking back to the last Aquarius conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in 1843 could possibly give us some guidance (for example, in the realm of philosophy I noticed that Kierkegaard’s Either/Or and other writing was published in this year and that Friedrich Nietzsche was born a year later- two of the “fathers” of Existential philosophy which objectified and analyzed in an Aquarian manner the individual’s role in society and religion), but events of today are obviously very different from events in 1843.  When we consider our current cycle between Jupiter and Neptune that began on May 27, 2009 in Aquarius, one major news event happening in the United States was the first phase of newly elected President Barack Obama’s administration attempting to successfully establish itself following the infamous “first hundred days” period.  The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the USA was an Aquarian event that liberated the U.S. presidency from past patterns, as he was the first African-American to be elected, as well as the son of a single mother who had a compelling story that resonated with many of the U.S. people.  One of his administration’s first intentions was the Aquarian ideal of reforming the U.S. Health Care system through opening up health care to citizens with pre-existing health issues, among other reforms.  This action had a parallel to a previous Jupiter-Neptune cycle initiated during the first term of a presidency- the 1932 cycle in Virgo that saw Franklin Roosevelt (born a half year later than the  Jupiter-Neptune conjunction of 1881) elected, and then his “New Deal” passed a year later.  Similarly, after a process of excessive political gamesmanship between political enemies and competing interests which connected more with the conforming aspect of Jupiter that Rudhyar referenced in his article, the Obama administration was able to pass an imperfect compromise.  In connection to the recent first quarter trine, it is nonetheless interesting that in the same week as the exact trine happened, President Obama finally made a new public stance and push in order to promote the Affordable Health Care for America Act, or what has now been commonly referred to as “Obamacare.”

Of course, much more has been going on in this time period than attempts at health care reform, as we have been in an intense Aquarian storm in the sense of dramatic events and crises that have evoked a collective emphatic response from humanity.  One of the most obvious connections to the Aquarian themed archetype of this phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle has been issues and ethical questions surrounding the world-wide web, the Internet, and social media.  For example, we have had the Wikileaks scandals, the Bradley Manning leaks, and now the “Snow Man” leaks in which we have learned the U.S. government can access all of our social media and Internet communication anytime it wants.  There have been a lot of attempts from activists and others seeking to liberate (Aquarius) information to the public, with a sharp backlash from power players/institutions (Leo) wanting to keep control.  For example, academic institutions have prosecuted people, at extremely high monetary value, they have labeled as being hackers for attempting to open public access for free to academic journals one would have had to pay a fee for in the past.  This has been in contrast to the “open source” movement that has been popular among many at the forefront of technology in which they have intentionally made all of their information public and free in order to receive “outside the box” criticism and feedback from members of the public who would normally not have the access.  With regards to the current NSA control of cell phone and Internet records, to the wide array of issues that have come up through the instantaneous manner in which the global community is now connected through social media, we have been in a Neptunian fog so to speak with how exactly to work out these issues.  However, the potential power of these forms of communication have become very clear, as one of the greatest Aquarian uses of social media in this time period has been through the use of it in organizing revolutions such as the Arab Spring.  Looking back upon the last year of intense events that are far too many to even begin to document here, it is also important to remember that with regards to Jupiter and Neptune, we also experienced a first quarter square between Gemini Jupiter and Pisces Neptune that first occurred in June through July of 2012, and then in a wider aspect again in January through March of 2013 after a retrograde phase of Jupiter in Gemini.

Aquarius 2009 Cycle

Trayvon Martin by Rudy Shepherd

The above image of Trayvon Martin and his father was made by the artist Rudy Shepherd, an old college friend of mine who attended a private and religiously-affiliated university with me in the Southeast of the United States of America.  Being from the South in the USA (I grew up outside New Orleans, Louisiana and then Atlanta, Georgia) I am very familiar with the racial dynamics that recently exploded here surrounding the verdict on George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin.  The Grand Water Trine involving the Neptune-Jupiter trine coincided with a cathartic emotional release and rage from the African-American community and other people of color who have lived under the constant threat of racial profiling from the American criminal justice system.  In addition, there has also been a lot of bickering between people who consider themselves to be “White allies” and people who appear to be either ignorant or nonreflective of the “White privilege” they intrinsically possess as being a member of society in the USA.  Whether you agree with the verdict or not, the indisputable facts are that George Zimmerman believed (Jupiter) he had the community-sanctioned authority of being in a “Neighborhood Watch” role (Saturn), and chose to focus on Trayvon Martin, an African American youth wearing a hoodie and buying skittles, he did not recognize as being suspicious and a potential criminal threat.  A response from someone with a different set of beliefs may have been to walk up to Trayvon and have a brief friendly conversation, but instead Zimmerman chose to follow him with a gun, call the police, and continue to stalk Martin despite being told not to by the police.  There is in fact no way to separate out the racial profiling aspect of this situation, and whatever altercation between these two individuals that followed does not change the fact that the entire situation was rooted in racial profiling.  Racial profiling is a serious and well-documented aspect of American culture, and this particular event drew a collective emotional connection through Aquarian aspects of social media technology and group mind connection.  The quick manner in which a story like this can circulate throughout social media, and the strong emotional response it can manifest that then can quickly turn into a massive emotional reaction  (perhaps in this case having a stronger than normal correlation to the grand water trines between Jupiter-Neptune-Saturn and Mercury-Chiron-North Node of the Moon) is to me a perfect example of this being an Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle.

The opportunity presented by the grand trine between Cancer Jupiter, Pisces Neptune, and Scorpio Saturn that happened at this time inside of the larger Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, is for a new dialogue concerning issues of race to occur in the United States of America with the hope to throw off and liberate consensus thought from some of it’s past limitations of mainstream belief concerning racism.  There is also the opportunity now for people outraged by racial profiling and other aspects of racism in America to re-organize themselves into more productive groups and organizations to do something pro-active about this situation in an Aquarian manner.  In the community college classes I have taught to many members of the Neptune-Uranus generation born in the 1990s, many students of this generation do not believe that “race” even exists and can be initially reluctant to examine dynamics between oppression and race in the USA.  In class I would respond that while I agree with them that “race” does not necessarily exist besides the idea of a “human race” (Neptune), the fact that there is a strong cultural belief in “race” and “racism” (Jupiter) means that it is an issue in need of examination.  Despite some talk from some people of us existing now in a “post-racial” society because we have an African-American President for the first time, the Trayvon Martin killing now stands as a historical landmark clearly revealing to everyone the extent of racism that still exists in this country.  If we hope to move forward as a people and a collective and survive on this planet in the looming Age of Aquarius, it is imperative for us to initiate new conversations and work at healing the gaping wounds individuals and groups carry with regards to racism and a lack of equity and inclusiveness.  This is not easy work, and during a time of incredibly destructive religious wars occurring across the planet, it may seem impossible.  However, the 2009 celestial partnering of Neptune and Jupiter in Aquarius indicates that working on our group dynamics as a people is one of our tasks in our collective evolution.

With regards to our current President Obama, a leader who has a Pisces Chiron currently conjunct transiting Neptune and in trine to transiting Jupiter in Cancer and Saturn in Scorpio, the Trayvon Martin story finally either pushed him or gave him the inner strength to publicly talk openly to the American people about the racism and judgment he has experienced as an African-American male in this country.  While some think this was a politically motivated talk or want to demean it on account of various transgressions enacted by his administration, the fact that a President of the United States openly talked to the press about hearing car doors locked as he walked down the street and being followed by clerks in stores when he has been shopping is a huge monumental event in the history of the United States.  With regards to President Obama on a personal level, the grand water trine coincided with an opportunity for the issues of his Pisces Chiron in his first house, issues that in part relate to his identity as a mixed race son of a single white mother, to be released- watching video of his “speech,” you can visibly see how energetically confining his public role has been for him and the incredible amount of restraint he has carried in completely avoiding talking about his identity as an African-American male to the American people.  With regards to the effect of this speech, it gave an opportunity for many African-Americans and people of color for the first time to hear the ultimate public authority in the United States speak from direct experience of experiencing racism in the USA.  Maybe it is my own Aquarian ideals speaking here, but I strongly feel it is important to not discount this moment and the potential opening that could result.  However, for productive growth to occur it will important to focus on how to most effectively utilize the Aquarian concepts of collectivity, technology, communication, inventiveness, protest, and liberating thought in order to most effectively create new change.

Keeping in mind that the grand water trine of Jupiter, Neptune, and Saturn is occurring within a first quarter square between Uranus and Pluto, we can directly connect these events to the mid-1960s when Pluto and Uranus first came into range of the conjunction in Virgo they are now in a square to each other from in the signs of Aries and Capricorn.  Fittingly, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Dr. Bernice King, gave a public statement on social media following the verdict in the Geogre Zimmerman case that connected these events with the civil rights movement her father helped lead in the 1960s.  Again, remember events in the 1960s can be connected to the Scorpio cycle of Neptune and Jupiter that was initiated in 1958, so it is also interesting that Saturn is in Scorpio today:

It’s ’63 again.  NOT GUILTY.  Just like those who got off for the bombing of the 16th Street Church in Birmingham back in ’63.  I’m stunned and disappointed.  It’s a sad day in the history of American jurisprudence that our justice system continues to fall short of the truth, especially when a person can be going about their daily business and ultimately be killed because of a false assumption.  In the words of a friend, “any law that justifies the actions of Zimmerman is an unjust law.” In the words of my father “We’ve got some difficult days ahead.” Let us seek God for his guidance during this time. God is a God of Justice, mercy and grace. All protests against the verdict must demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to Nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced. Now is the time to create a culture of Nonviolence.

–Dr. Bernice King, facebook post on July 13, 2013

Dr. King’s call for a nonviolent protest again connects these events with the Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle we are currently in.  Her reference of God is also interesting as an example of the interplay between Jupiter and Neptune as archetypes.  During the Zimmerman trial, the prosecution played a video tape of George Zimmerman also invoking God in relation to his actions.  In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, in response to being asked if he could go back in time if he would have done anything differently that day, Zimmerman replied not only that he would not do anything differently, but that in fact it was God’s plan that he did what he did.  These contrasting uses of God in relation to this situation is a good example of how human beings can get themselves to believe anything, or another way of saying that is we can create and believe any illusion that we want to.

Although in his article Rudhyar pointed out the “lower” side of Jupiter that can be not only conforming but also fanatical about consensus beliefs that may not truly reflect the evolutionary trajectory of the moment, when we examine the glyph for Jupiter, a half circle sitting on top of a cross, we can see how the half circle representing higher mind or Soul being above the cross of matter corresponds to the potential of Jupiter to help transmute human consciousness above attachment to matter.  Therefore, Jupiter as an archetype is receptive to a close connection with awareness from the Neptune archetype, but the trick is in the discernment and spiritual or esoteric discrimination one employs in navigating these energies.  Again, just because Jupiter can correspond to what one “should” or “should not do” is not intrinsically an issue- however, it can become an enormous issue of our psyche if we have refrained from acting in accordance with how our true heart would call us to act for fear of breaking or going against a Jupiterian belief or taboo associated with consensus thought, religion, society . . .  In this way we cut ourselves off from our true perception, communication, interaction, and Self.  Alan Oken has taught about how one can employ esoteric discrimination through intuitively aligning with certain energies or vibrations without the need to label them as “good” or “bad,” because if our hearts are open, we do not need someone to tell us that we want to nurture a baby instead of harming a baby.

In Evolutionary Astrology, Jeffrey Wolf Green taught that Jupiter corresponds to beliefs and is a key factor in helping us align with Natural Law to a greater extent.  Green taught that the Jupiter archetype corresponds to how human beings form beliefs, and that there also can be a difference between what one believes and what the ultimate Truth of the situation is.  Green also defined the knowledge we can gain with Jupiter as not being a result of our beliefs, but instead is a result of our direct experience with the actual truth of anything.  In comparison, Green taught that Neptune as an archetype correlates with the ultimate meaning of anything, including the meaning of the nature of our ultimate Source of Creation.  As a result, Green taught that through the combination of Jupiter and Neptune humans can create any illusion, delusion, or belief that they want, including a connection to the ultimate meaning of God/Spirit/Source.  Furthermore, Green taught that because there is a natural square between the archetypes of Sagitarius and Pisces, zodiac signs commonly associated with Jupiter and Neptune, a crisis of consciousness can result when we discover that our beliefs do not align with the actual truth of a situation we realize through direct experience.  As a result, Green taught that the evolutionary purpose of experiencing disillusionment is so that we can ultimately align ourselves to a greater extent with the actual truth of anything, including the ultimate meaning of anything.

Perhaps it can be helpful for any of us experiencing profound disillusionment at this time to consider this evolutionary purpose of disillusionment described by Jeff Green.  This concept of a crisis in consciousness also hearkens back to who I believe is the originator of the term “crisis in cosciousness” in astrology, Dane Rudhyar, and his analysis that experiences connected with the cycle of Neptune and Jupiter will most likely involve a “fall” that is full of “disorientation” and “confusion.”  But instead of running “back to the womb” of our comfort zone and habitual comforts, we can draw up the strength to recover and step forward on our evolutionary journey.  In connection with the potential for profound collective soul work that could come from this Aquarius phase of the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, it is also important to remember that it sometimes takes intense crises to liberate the hearts and minds of people into a united focus upon a cause.

Poseidon

Owen Barfield

Jupiter first quarter trine to Neptune at Birth

As a way to come at an additional understanding of how the Jupiter-Neptune cycle can play out in birth charts, I thought it would be interesting to give a historical example.  When considering a conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in the birth chart, the individual could in many ways be instinctively tapped into the wave of the future, without perhaps being as consciously aware of the new vision as someone with a different aspect between the planets.  One example of this would be the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, born during the Libra conjunction of Neptune and Jupiter in 1792.  While Shelly did achieve a level of fame in his meteoric lifetime, he was also criticized as a dilettante and crazy political radical by contemporaries living from the consensus Jupiter-Saturn thought patterns of the time.  However, in connection with the future-oriented meaning of this cycle in Libra,  in the successive generations following the death of Shelley he became a major inspiration in not only the field of poetry, but also in activism through his written proclamations concerning non-violent resistance in political protest and a vegetarian lifestyle.

In Evolutionary Astrology a first quarter trine aspect between Pluto and a planet is connected with the individual being “full” of their evolutionary purpose, and I feel in a similar fashion an individual with a first quarter trine aspect between Neptune and Jupiter could also be full of a new vision to manifest, including a conscious awareness of how to actualize a personal reality aligned with the vision.  A profound example of a birth chart containing a first quarter trine between Neptune and Jupiter is Owen Barfield, who was born on November 9, 1898 in London, UK.  The previous conjunction between Neptune and Jupiter would have been at 14 degrees Gemini, and is the place where Barfield has his Pluto.  So being born five years after the Jupiter and Neptune conjunction here, Barfield also has his Gemini Pluto conjunct his Gemini Neptune.  He also had a Mercury conjunct Chiron conjunct Uranus on the Scorpio/Sagitarius cusp, among many other fascinating natal chart aspects.  However, for our purposes here of examining a first quarter trine aspect between Jupiter and Neptune, the life and work of Owen Barfield is a beautiful example.  The following video is summarizes many of the innovations in thought provided by Barfield:

The fact Barfield has been held up as one of the most innovative thinkers, writers, and teachers of the 20th Century aligns completely with him being born with a trine between Neptune and Jupiter following their conjunction in Gemini in 1894.  With a Jupiter in Libra he formed relationships with and inspired two of the most influential novelists of the 20th Century, Tolkien and Lewis, the authors of The Lord of the Rings and the Narnia stories, and he was able to create channels through which to express his Neptunian-informed thought. We can see the influence of Neptune on his thinking in his ability to discover aspects of the evolution of consciousness through his Gemini exploration of the history of the English language.  He perceived how metaphors reveal a significance beyond a materialistic outlook, and how the fact that metaphors can only be understood by the imagination but not by logical reasoning does not mean they are not real.  As the video above quoted, he saw how a butterfly and a flower are a “material manifestation of an immaterial unity from which both the butterfly and the flower sprung, an invisible common ancestor if you like.”  His writing and thoughts on “thinking about thinking,” the “evolution of consciousness,” “collective representations,” and “original participation versus final participation” are all lovely examples of a human chanelling Neptunian thought through Jupiterian expression.

It may be of interest that I recently discovered Owen Barfield during this time of the Jupiter-Neptune trine through a social media (Aquarius) post by the Seattle astrologer Kate Petty and so for me coming across Barfield’s writing has been a great synthesis of many aspects of my recent thinking.  In particular I am drawn to his concept of participation and how humans became cut off from nature with a feeling of being isolated and enclosed in their physical bodies, but by developing our imagination we can return to an awareness of our participation with Nature without losing our independent self-consciousness.  He further described our consciousness as being more enclosed within the world as a whole than within the confines of our skin and skull.  He invited us to release our attachment to viewing our minds as having evolved from a material and unconscious universe, to seeing that in the history of our world that matter has emerged from mind, and not mind from matter.  The following poem is quoted among others at the end of the video:

Meditation

Light in the world-

World in the mind-

Mind in the heart-

Heart in the night-

Pain in the day-

Strength in the pain-

Light in the strength-

World in the light.

–Owen Barfield, from Orpheus:  A Verse Drama

It is also interesting examining the life of Barfield, in connection with the Neptune-Jupiter cycle, that he chose to take on a more consensus Jupiter-Saturn role at one point in order to help out with his family business.  However, he eventually returned to his true Soul work of communicating liberating thought through a prolific period of writing and publishing books that took up the rest of his lifetime.  As the video quoted at the end, Barfield’s work served the Jupiterian and Neptunian purpose of revealing that there is a meaning of meaning, that the world has deep meaning, and that if we learn to properly listen we will hear its meaning.   May we likewise have the courage to continue forward on our own evolutionary journey of consciousness.

References

Rudhyar, Dane.  (1958).  The Jupiter-Neptune Cycle.  Horoscope Magazine.