Total Leo Solar Eclipse

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

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

Solar Eclipse in Leo

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

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

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

ClavisArtis.3headeddragonsun

from the Clavis Artis

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

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

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

wands07

7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

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

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

total solar eclipse astronomy

by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1882)

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

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

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

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

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Ouroborus by Liv Rainey-Smith

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

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

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

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

Written by Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach

References

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Aries New Moon

phoenix in bestiary

Phoenix in flames in the Ashmolean Bestiary, MS. Ashmole 1511.

The New Moon in Aries arises on March 27 with Venus retrograde close by, for on the days surrounding it, Venus will be rising at dawn with the Sun, invisible to the eye, purified and regenerated by the light of our fiery star.  Seven hours before the New Moon, during the darkest phase of the Moon, the Moon will conjoin Venus retrograde exactly.  As we have experienced a rebirth of Venus in the days leading up to the New Moon, so does the Aries New Moon signal a shift in emphasis on astrological elements toward the Fire triplicity, a fiery movement that will continue to build in the seasons ahead.  The Sun, Venus retrograde, Mercury, Uranus, and Eris are all in Aries, with Saturn in Sagittarius forming a trine with Mercury, Uranus, and Eris.  Fire, particularly as directed centrally by Aries, is direct, passionate, impulsive, fast, and courageously creative.  As recent astrological transits have facilitated awareness of inner needs and desires, the Aries New Moon is a call to to take action with full presence to set in motion the elements of life that align with developing goals and visions.

In the collective there has already been incredibly discordant debates and violence erupting with even more building, and the Aries New Moon will signal a release that will lead to clamorous conflict akin to the hammering of enraged rams slamming horns.  As the Moon begins to increase in light it will soon come into a square with Pluto, an opposition with Jupiter, and then a conjunction with Uranus.  There are not really any current astrological transits that support reconciliation or mediation, and so the more likely outcome will be hard fought battles between entities refusing to compromise or give in.  In the personal realm it may be necessary to fight for one’s rights or stand one’s ground against encroaching threats, yet the fiery astrological transits also can facilitate incredibly inspirational collaborations that dynamically push past what we previously thought possible to create.   At the same time battle lines are being drawn and power structures are shaking in tumult, great amounts of spirited fire can be invested into creative projects that will ultimately manifest gifts to share with the world as the early visions of this time turn later into solidly developing forms.

Phoenix mosaic

Phoenix and roses detail from Phoenix mosaic (3rd Century), Antioch on the Orontes, Turkey (http://commons.wikipedia.org/)

Mars in Taurus rules the New Moon and is sextile Neptune and trine to Pluto in Capricorn.  This is a Mars that can be stubbornly fixated upon acting from a belief system that may in the end be more about a fantasy of what one hopes to be true rather than grounded in clarified reflection.  These aspects surrounding Mars can also amplify fighting between those positioning themselves for positions of power, especially seats of power that appear glamorous within consensus reality.  However, these same aspects surrounding Mars can bridge the immaterial with the material, and support drawing from imaginative vision to fuel work.  The New Moon is ideal for locating tangible resources and taking concrete action to make far reaching visions take shape.  Out of the chaotic yet fertile void of the previous lunar cycle tied to eclipses, like the creator Sun bird Bennu we can step from the primordial sea onto solid ground to set dreams in motion.

Mars is also applying to a conjunction with Ceres in Taurus, and will continue to approach Ceres until forming a conjunction on the day of the upcoming Full Moon in Libra.  What does Ceres have to teach Mars as the Moon waxes full, and what influence will Mars be having on Ceres?  An obvious correlation is the enraged Ceres of myth, hell bent on finding revenge and seeking retribution for her daughter Proserpina being abducted by the lord of the underworld.  The Aries New Moon aligned with Venus retrograde, ruled by Mars in Taurus likewise supports digging in to hold one’s ground against forces of oppression and avaricious agents seeking to plunder nature to increase power.  Ceres as an archetype of the Great Mother can also guide Mars toward protecting those who are vulnerable and in need of support rather than taking advantage of the less fortunate.

phoenix bonfire

Phoenix in bonfire photo by Adam Da Silva (2012)

Venus retrograde is combust and has only separated a few degrees from her exact conjunction with the Sun at the time of the New Moon.  Purified and regenerated, Venus retrograde has been cleansed but has not come wholly back into full presence and visibility as a Morning Star.  As the Moon waxes through its crescent phase at the end of March, Venus will emerge again as a sentinel of our rising Sun as a Morning Star.  On April 2, a day before the Moon reaches its first quarter phase, Venus will move backward into the sign of Pisces where she will remain for most of April.  The rebirth of Venus we can experience now is still somewhat unconscious and not fully formed, with remnants of old patterns still being released while new feelings slowly begin to emerge from within.

Mercury is a brilliant Evening Star at the New Moon, separating from a conjunction with Uranus in Aries and applying to a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Mercury will be a bright Evening Star as the Moon waxes toward fullness, and then will station retrograde on April 9 at five degrees of Taurus, a day before the Full Moon in Libra on April 10.  Mercury is in a strong position at the New Moon to illuminate insights that are dynamic and innovative while also being practical enough to manifest in material reality.  The conjunction of Mercury with Uranus and trine with Saturn is also not a fleeting, one time affair as Mercury will be returning to station direct in conjunction with Uranus and trine with Saturn following its retrograde on May 3.  The Aries New Moon as a result is ideal for seeding ideas that will be able to bloom more fully in the coming season of Beltane.

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2 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The Aries New Moon falls within the first face of Aries associated with the Two of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we find a conquering figure holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from atop a fortress out into an expansive terrain. It is the body of water that appears to have secured his focus in this moment, and the presence of the globe seems to imply a moment of reflection regarding expanding his influence or dominion.  The grandiose ambition and confident assertion present in the image is fitting considering that Mars rules the first decan of Aries, giving Mars both domicile as well as face dignity here.

In 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans, Austin Coppock ascribed the symbol of “The Axe” to this decan which has a long association with furiously martial figures who dominate enemies and assure victory in battle. Coppock deepened the symbolism of the axe through linking it to the splitting and separation from the One necessary for creation and growth, for example in the cutting of the umbilical cord of the child from its mother and in the use of axes in controlling nature to make a home in the wilderness. Coppock linked this separation to “building a distinct and individual life . . . the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin” (p. 54).

Mars in Taurus as previously mentioned is approaching Ceres while forming harmonious relationships with both Neptune and Pluto.  Opposing Mars and Ceres at the time of the New Moon is the true node of Black Moon Lilith, holding space in the dark waters of Scorpio.  Demetra George has taught that Black Moon Lilith can clarify the delusions of our false needs and pretensions that separate us from our essential being:

The Dark Goddess is a goddess of the self, not in the sense of selfishness or separateness, but from a stance of upholding individual integrity.  The Black Moon in us will accept nothing less than the expression of our true individuality.  When we are secure in acknowledging and expressing our authentic self, we are less likely to falsify ourselves in order to be accepted by others.  We are then not so vulnerable to becoming entrapped in situations which deny and disempower us, which is where Lilith’s self-destructive cycle begins.

— Demetra George, Finding Our Way Through the Dark

With Venus retrograde in Aries and Mars in opposition to Black Moon Lilith, the Aries New Moon facilitates drawing from the fires of anger and passion to burn off patterns of placating conformity in order to empower  and embody one’s heartfelt, deep, and authentic presence.  Allowing moments of full feeling without shame and judgment will open access to the primordial creativity found within that will not only empower one’s own individual talents but also bring empowerment to others through direct expression and sharing of our essentiality.

References

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

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding One’s Way Through the Dark. AFA.

Mercury cazimi in Scorpio

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Storm Cloud, Lake George (1923) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Mercury at the heart of the Sun in Scorpio

Mercury forms its superior conjunction with the Sun on 27 October 2016 at 4°42′ Scorpio.  The superior conjunction occurs when Mercury is moving swiftly through the zodiac on the far side of the Sun in orbit, aligning with Earth in a straight line with regards to the degree of the zodiac.  The superior conjunction of Mercury always occurs when Mercury is moving direct, in contrast to the inferior conjunction of Mercury that occurs when Mercury is retrograde and slowly moving in between the Earth and the Sun in orbit.  While Mercury retrograde in conjunction with the Sun corresponds with an intensely deep, subterranean turn within for insight, the superior conjunction of Mercury in contrast signifies a blazing flow of illumination that can bring about an epiphany of realization as long as we do not become overwhelmed in our flight of mind like an over eager Icarus.

Mercury uniting with the Sun in Scorpio brings penetrating awareness into the underlying emotional dynamics of our present circumstances.  Mercury has more difficulty in water signs in terms of being able to clearly articulate all of its perceptions, as Mercury in water signs picks up on feelings and messages that go beyond words.  Poetry, music, art, and other creative forms of expression enable Mercury in water signs to convey more of the meaning it receives, and sometimes a look or knowing presence is all Mercury in a water sign needs to do in order to transmit profound insight.  Emotions take center stage with Scorpio, and while the water element allows Mercury in Scorpio to dissolve blockages and merge with external sources, its fixed nature can make it stubborn, unbending, and controlling.  When Mercury in Scorpio lets go of needing to ensure it securely has whatever it desires within its grasp, it gains the non-attachment needed to take full advantage of its ability to discern between those who are being honest or dishonest and not only unveil the personal truth of its situation but directly communicate its truth to others.

Mercury at the heart of the Sun in Scorpio can be especially powerful in terms of picking up essential information about our relationships due to the surrounding astrological aspects today.  Mars, the ruler of Scorpio is in Capricorn and applying to a square with Uranus, signifying that unexpected shocks as well as liberating revelations could enter awareness.  Venus in Sagittarius is especially active, having recently formed a square with Neptune in Pisces and a mutually received sextile with Jupiter in Libra, and now applying to a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius.  All together, these surrounding aspects are exposing any fantasies and over idealized perceptions we have been fixated upon in our relationships.  By being willing to embrace our honest feelings about our present relationships, the Mercury cazimi in Scorpio can not only help us penetrate into our essential truth and feelings but also help us directly communicate whatever we need to state about our needs and desires to those we are in relationship with.

The last time Mercury was at the heart of the Sun was during its retrograde in Virgo on 12 September 2016. This was a potent inferior conjunction of Mercury in between eclipses that also formed a catalytic square with Mars in Sagittarius.  Following this inferior conjunction, Mercury stationed direct and reappeared at dawn as a Morning Star, a phase Mercury has remained in since then up until now.  The superior conjunction of Mercury marks the transition of Mercury shifting from its Morning Star phase into its Evening Star phase.  Whereas the Morning Star Mercury is active with curiosity and ambitiously focused upon goals in worldly affairs, the Evening Star Mercury is more reflective, discerning, and attuned with how our bodily senses integrate messages from our environment.  Mercury will not be visible as an Evening Star until around 23 November 2016 when it forms a conjunction with Saturn in Sagittarius and sextile with Jupiter in Libra.

The exact alignment of Mercury with the Sun, known as being cazimi or at the heart of the Sun, is special because although Mercury is not visible in the sky its entry into the heart of the Sun places it in the throne of our Solar Light, strengthening all of its Mercurial significations.  Mercury is traditionally considered to become invisible or “under the beams” when it gets fifteen degrees away from the Sun- this happened on 6 October 2016. Once Mercury gets within eight degrees of the Sun it is considered “combust” and somewhat weakened in its ability to manifest its significations due to it undergoing a purifying, regenerative near death experience in the symbolic flames of the Sun.  Mercury went combust around 15 October 2016 at the time of the Full Moon in Aries that was conjoining Uranus.  Since that time our Mercurial perceptions have been going through a period of having past patterns burned off, and while this doesn’t mean we haven’t been able to communicate or interpret meaning effectively, it does mean that getting in touch with the concept of Mercury finishing a cycle can help one flow better with the energy similar to being aware of the difference in experiencing a Dark Moon as opposed to a First Quarter Moon.

The first mention of Mercury being at the heart of the Sun was in the era of Hellenistic astrology, and astrologers such as Rhetorius of Egypt declared that the significations of Mercury become greatly strengthened once it is within one degree of the Sun.  Later astrologers in the medieval period asserted that Mercury needs to be within 16 minutes of the Sun by degree because 16 minutes is one half of the Sun’s apparent size of 32 minutes. On a practical level I have found that the one degree boundary works well in defining a window in which Mercury is strengthened, but if you want to get most exact about it focus on the time period in which Mercury is within 16 minutes of a conjunction with the Sun (in the Pacific time zone, this will be roughly between Midnight and 7 pm on 27 October 2016). Mercury at the heart of the Sun is a magical moment in its synodic cycle, a time of the rebirth of the Mercury archetype in our life.  We can receive vital realization or new conception concerning our present state of being, so making the space during the cazimi time period to center,  ground, and attune within is a fertile, fruitful choice today.

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Starlight Night, Lake George (1922) by Georgia O’Keeffe

Mercury within 16 minutes of the Sun in Scorpio for cazimi effect:

Pacific standard time  * 12 am – 7 pm *  27 October 2016  [exact 9:44 am]

Eastern standard time *  3 am – 10 pm * 27 October 2016  [exact 12:44 pm]

British Summer time * 8 am (27 October) [exact 5:44 pm] – 3 am (28 October)

Central European time * 9 am (27 October) [exact 6:44 pm] – 4 am (28 October)

Australian Eastern Standard time  * 5 pm (27 October) – 12 pm (28 October) [exact 2:44 am]

Libra New Moon

butterfly-by-yasui

Butterfly (1950) by Chuji Yasui

A silver quivering cocoon that shakes
from within, trying to break.
What psyche
is wrestling with its shroud?
Blunt diamonds
scrape at its casing,
urging it out.
But there is too much grief. The world
is made of days, and is itself
a shrouded day.
It stifles. It’s our world, and we
its dreams, its creased
compacted wings.

— Denise Levertov, Emblem (II)

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on September 30 is the first lunation to follow the Equinox, and within the shifting of the seasons supports momentum borne with reawakened focus.  The New Moon conjoins the expansive and visionary Jupiter in Libra, while in range of a square to the cathartic depths of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn.  The blackness of this New Moon has a different mixture within its matrix than we’ve experienced this year, as Mars has finally left Sagittarius for its exaltation in Capricorn, Jupiter has finally left Virgo for greater dignity in Libra, and Venus has entered the deep waters of Scorpio.  Mars in Capricorn is applying intensely to a square with Jupiter as our lights unite in darkness, demanding we be accountable for enacting our will force in pursuit of our most prioritized goals.  While the past year has involved immense tumult of mutable changes, the Libra New Moon in sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius fortunately supports  building structures to develop and express the soulful desires that have been dislodged by the catalyzing, cascading currents.

The Libra New Moon follows a dynamic month of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, and the final square between Saturn and Neptune.  If we have been able to clear out the dead weight of our lives in the past month, there is vigorous force within the Libra New Moon for launching enterprises bound to the authentic ardor welling up from within.   The eclipses of the past month combined with Mercury retrograde in Virgo forming trines with Pluto were a perfect storm for releasing the heaviness of past grievances and awakening to an enlivening lightness of spirited presence.  As the Libra New Moon is in square to the midpoint of Mars and Pluto in Capricorn, it facilitates bold embodiment of the presence liberated from previous hangups. If overwhelming loss arose during the past month of eclipses, the Libra New Moon further supports reorienting to the resulting ramifications as needed.

It is worth noting that this New Moon that is aspecting both Pluto and Mars arrives at the balsamic close of the cycle between Mars and Pluto that began on November 10, 2014.  From the standpoint that Mars and Pluto have an octave relationship in which the leading edge desires of Mars emanate from the deep well of Pluto, there can be a distillation available of all our circulating desires from the past two years that have not yet manifested.  In the coming lunation cycle Mars and Pluto will conjoin and begin a new cycle- this will happen on October 18 in the waning Moon that follows the upcoming Aries Full Moon.  Vision can be found in the blackness of the Libra Moon that lets go of what was not meant to manifest in the past two years, while opening to intimations of the potential that can be realized in the forthcoming cycle.

Venus in Scorpio

Venus rules the New Moon in Scorpio, the home of Mars, with Mars freshly in the sign of its exaltation, Capricorn.  Though Venus is separating from Mars, they are in a sextile relationship in which the subterranean sensations of Venus in Scorpio can be injected into the persevering drive of Mars in Capricorn.  Though Venus in Scorpio is in a sign opposite her home of Taurus, it pleases Venus to be in a water sign as her full feeling nature is available.  Venus in Scorpio can acclimate with an astrological climate that follows the storms of September, as Venus in Scorpio wants to dig up the roots of whatever circumstance it finds itself in order to feel how the unseen underworld has been informing what is on the surface.

The eclipses of the past month combined with a Mercury retrograde phase in Virgo that stationed direct in a trine with Pluto could have led to the uncovering of secrets or hidden material in need of being known in our relationships.  The Libra New Moon ruled by Venus in Scorpio further supports opening to the depth of mystery within the Self, being willing to embrace shadow and unconscious forces.  If there has been a lot of disorientation due to recent revelations, there can now be healing readjustment as long as we avoid the negative side of Scorpio that manipulates and controls the emotions of others due to fear of being hurt.  The virtue of Scorpio is not its fixated ability to influence the feelings of others to do its own bidding, but rather in its transformational potential to shed old skin and merge with radical presence.

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Leonora Carrington (1967) Spider

In addition to forming a sign based sextile with Mars in Capricorn, Venus in Scorpio also forms a sign based sextile with Mercury in Virgo.  Mercury direct in Virgo as a Morning Star is one of the most potent forces within the Libra New Moon enabling us to discern the most direct route toward manifestation of our goals.  Mercury has now separated from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, a square with Saturn, and a trine with Pluto, and is now applying to an opposition with Chiron in Pisces that has been a key player in the eclipses of 2016.  Mercury is at home and in exaltation in Virgo, a discriminating and rational abode for Mercury that accentuates its ability to bridge soulful spirit to the earthly matters at hand in the moment.  Mercury arises at dawn as the rays of the Sun pierce the tranquility of night, weaving the golden light into a consciousness able to awake and start the day mindful of the choices in greatest alignment with our solar purpose.  Mercury in Virgo and Mars in Capricorn, both places of their exaltation, are capable of building containers in our life that allow for a descent within that regenerates passion that can then be projected into our worldly endeavors.

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2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Libra associated with the Two of Swords tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we see a blindfolded woman crossing two swords in front of her, while sitting before an oceanic expanse. The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, the Crescent Moon the waxing cycle of the Moon’s orbit we enter at this Libra New Moon that calls us to persist on our path forward despite the regressive pull of the past. Commonly, this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to discover mindfulness and courageous equipoise, resolving previous conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to this face, suggesting it awakens us to surrounding injustice and disequilibrium on a societal level as well as in our daily personal interactions. Coppock further noted that the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra, linking the chthonic goddesses who punish transgressors of divine law to the element of this face that is concerned with natural law and justice and the revelation of hidden evidence of inequities.  Coppock captured the essence of this face in the following passage:

While fair trade and social justice are prime concerns in this face, its true object is relationships. Legal proceedings and commerce are essentially about the balance between two entities. Indeed peace or strife between individuals is what determines social order, and consensus is the very root of the law. Fairness and reciprocity must underlie all friendships and romances if they are to last. This face shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition. The core principles of ethical interaction with other beings are thus revealed in this face.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 158

The Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra, making this New Moon that conjoins Jupiter particularly fertile in terms of bringing expansive alertness to whatever has been out of balance, opening awareness to how to recalibrate the necessary elements.  Embracing our individual wholeness without denial and being willing to communicate honestly with integrity is of course always wise counsel, but the Libra New Moon is particularly responsive to those asserting their needs with healthy and respectful boundaries.  Just as the recent Libra Equinox demarcated a new season of changing winds, so does the Libra New Moon herald a new period of astrological transits that are more conducive to bringing about ample feelings of success more so than the transits that have dominated the majority of 2016 so far. We are clear of eclipses, Mercury retrograde, Mars retrograde and within the aftershocks of the squares between Saturn and Neptune, Pluto and Uranus.  The blackness of night holding the union of Sun and Moon in Libra is fecund with reception for making tangible what has previously been deeply felt and yearned for.

References:

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

Levertov, Denise. (2013). Collected Poems. New Directions.

Pisces Lunar Eclipse

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Vasily Kafanov (2013) Landscape with Fishtower on gray

The fisherman draws fish that he never saw from many fathoms beneath the water, the miner brings gold from the depths out of the earth, through which his sight cannot pierce. In this wise has God taught it.

As there is nothing so occult that it shall not become manifest, so the same must be made known. Be it in the celestial firmament, in the sea, in the earth, all things must become manifest; but through man who discovers all things.

— Paracelsus, from his preface to Magia Emblemata et Prognostici

Penumbral Pisces Lunar Eclipse

Within change and strife resides freedom and release, for every heart breaks within love that returns and gives birth.  Beyond every flower found in radiant color, ripened fruit savored, or prismatic crystal unearthed and polished, lies an infinitely more vast and invisible realm of dark fertility surrounding and shaping this and all other universes.  In fathomless oceanic depth, under waves inexorably dissolving and bringing forth life, glimmers the slippery, silvery sheen of soul we find in Pisces.

Light as dramatic as can be sensed during the Pisces Lunar Eclipse on September 16 begins to fade as soon as it has brought forth its fullness.  We stand like a willow on the banks of its vortex, trunk strong and branches unfurled toward the constant disintegration of earthly matter into water.   This week’s lunar eclipse at the end of the zodiac culminates many stories embedded in the intense mutable shifting of the past year.  Within red shadows projected upon the Moon, one’s presence of being may become lightened from the accumulated heaviness of past failures and regrets.

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.”  This emphasis on new choices and vision is amplified by the Sun being on the side of the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.

The eclipse is classified as penumbral because although the lunation is fairly close to the nodes of the Moon, the eclipse is at 24º20′ Pisces while the south node of the Moon is at twelve degrees of Pisces.  Though the shadow cast will not completely cover the Moon’s face in rosy glow, it remains a lunar eclipse that irrevocably alters the stories internally streamed from the past year of life.  Aligned with Chiron just as the Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces on 8 March 2016 was also conjoining Chiron, there is a cathartic release into the ever emptying ocean of Pisces that washes away remnants of disappointing burden that have been sticking to the flesh and circulating repeatedly in the mind.

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The Lovers Radha and Krishna (circa 1775 -1780)

Pisces is the exaltation of Venus, and the lunar eclipse occurs close to the specific degree Venus exalts in (27° Pisces).  Venus looms over the eclipse as Jupiter in Libra rules the eclipse and Venus is co-present in her home of Libra alongside Jupiter.  Pisces is the inwardly directed home of Jupiter, a place of inner expansion and vision, a faculty of intuitive gnosis merging heart with mind.  Relationships, our current relations as well as all manner of past relational patterns that inform our meeting with others, rise from the waters of Pisces at this week’s eclipse with a message of vital importance, whether found in the form of verbal language or nonverbal image.   In the twilight preceding the full illumination of the Pisces Moon, one may behold a brilliant Venus on the horizon that is continuing to brighten as an Evening Star.

Though as mentioned the shadow of this week’s eclipse is fainter than that of a total lunar eclipse, nonetheless the redness of the eclipsed shadow on the Moon evokes Pisces through its correspondences with eros that vitalizes blood flow and inspirit. The red shadow covering the Moon also has symbolic overtones with the renewal of the rubedo stage in alchemy, as it portends responding to life from a new presence free of past conditioning.  Red is also fitting for Mars being in square to the lunar eclipse, making this Pisces Lunar Eclipse a tumultuous affair.  In fact, there is little balanced about the Libra influence of Venus and Jupiter, as Venus will be applying closely to an opposition with Uranus in Aries and a sextile with Mars in Sagittarius, with Mars further in trine to Uranus.  Yet in the stillness of a Pisces pool within the surrounding bedlam, insight may be discovered.

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Scylla (1938) by Ithell Colquhoun

“The true duty of the artist is to know what she is doing and transmit her knowledge with precision. The artist must always lift up the skirts of Venus or her twin-sister Medusa; if she is incapable of that, she should consider changing professions.
Let’s thus seek out the possibility of having subtle organs that will allow us to spread a beneficial magic or receive it while cultivating the protections against the multiple venoms of the invisible world. It is only in the strange magic ocean that we can find salvation for ourselves and our sick planet.”
– Leonora Carrington, response to a questionnaire for L’Art magique, 1957

The above quote from Leonora Carrington and painting by Ithell Colquhoun were both shared by Jon Eric Graham in a presentation he gave entitled “A Stunning Revenge on All Things: Surrealism, Alchemy, and Magic” at the recent 2016 Esoteric Book Conference in Seattle I attended.  In a subsequent presentation Pam Grossman also shared the same Scylla image by Ithell Colquhoun in her talk “Witch Pictures: Female Magic and Transgression in Western Art.”  As Pam Grossman traced the history of the depiction of witches in art, highlighting the obvious shift of meaning once women had platforms to create their own witchy images, I was struck by the full archetype of the witch held within any modern manifestation of image, no matter how corporate or commercial.  Namely, that the indescribable trauma and travesty of the collective history of witches is held and honored within the same image of witchcraft a modern teenager will embrace as part of claiming her own sense of the sacred feminine.  This is not to suggest oppression will go away or that its wounds will disintegrate, only that in the dissolution of the Pisces Lunar Eclipse an empowering liberty may be discovered within our identities that have been hurt the most.

The square between Saturn and Neptune that finally culminated in the week before the lunar eclipse involves the transfiguration of collective images in meaning.  Indeed, the most intense aspect to the lunar nodes at this week’s eclipse is not the actual Full Moon Eclipse, but rather the square between Neptune and Saturn, with Saturn applying closely to a square with the lunar nodes and Neptune conjoining the South Node of the Moon.  Whatever sacrifice has had to be made in this past year of the square between Saturn and Neptune, like Odysseus passing through Scylla and Charybdis we now must resolutely with responsibility press forward on the path we have realigned with.  Any fixations on past dreams that did not manifest must now be dropped into the receding tide, with focus and accountability bound to the work needing to be done in the present moment that meets one’s own needs as well as creates valuable resources or inspiration for others.

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Colored etching of alchemical stage (18th Century). Source

The numerous catalytic aspects involved in the Pisces Lunar Eclipse unfortunately make it likely that the disasters, acts of violence, and traumatic events that have dominated current events recently will continue.  On a personal level, however, if you are somewhere securely away from overwhelming conflict the incredibly active nature of this week’s eclipse can be an enlivening impetus toward tangible realization of goals and vision worked on across time.  Mercury remains retrograde, separating from its union with the Sun earlier in the week and applying to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  Though Mercury has shifted toward its Morning Star phase in which goals and plans can be focused on with greater clarity, it is not yet visible and so there is still a chthonic fertility to all things Mercurial.

Particularly compelling to me is that the true node of Black Moon Lilith will be conjoined with Venus in Libra at the time of the lunar eclipse.  This means that Venus combined with Black Moon Lilith will be opposite Uranus in Aries and sextile to Mars in Sagittarius.  Black Moon Lilith is the oscillating shadow point that balances the Moon’s orbit, bringing the liberating quality of Uranus contacting Venus and Mars more directly into the experience of the Pisces Lunar Eclipse.  Where we have been abandoned, betrayed, felt exiled or placed at a distance on the outside, becomes in the shadowed light of the lunar eclipse a strength fortified by lack and solitude and ready to burst forth with meaning to express and share during the dissemination of the eclipsed light.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse is in the third face of Pisces, associated with the 10 of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  An image of joy, fulfillment, rainbows and giddy children, the 10 of Cups is interpreted as the quality of blissful happiness and manifestation that those who reside within the third face of Pisces not only yearn to bring about but possess the internal resources to do so.  The final decan of the zodiac from the perspective that Aries is the beginning, the third decan of Pisces is a place of magical manifestation where seeming miracles can be brought about against all odds.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to this face, describing it as a “mad quest for an ideal” and “being willing to sacrifice everything” for “the attainment of one’s greatest desire, no matter the cost.”  While Three Books of Occult Philosophy described an image of a naked man with a beautiful woman whose head is decorated with flowers, other ancient texts describe terror of loss bringing screams and cries.  Austin Coppock linked the third face of Pisces with such “heights of agony and ecstasy,” writing that “Though there can be no greater pleasure than the union with the beloved, no pain is greater than its frustration, or worse yet, the betrayal of the person or ideal whom one has sacrificed so much for.”   As a result Coppock noted the importance of applying discernment and discrimination to acts brought forth in this face.

Coppock made a brilliant connection with the fragmentary Hellenistic text The 36 Airs ascribing the daimon of hope Elpis to the third decan of Pisces.  This is the hope left at the bottom of Pandora’s box, the answer to doom pointing to “beauty, love and the real possibility of happy endings.  The last decan [of Pisces] is thus a miniature of all incarnation, asking the most important questions and offering the most impassioned answers” (p. 260).

The third face of Pisces is ruled by Mars, and as Mars in Sagittarius is in square to the lunar eclipse, the meaning of this passionate decan of Pisces must be faced.  The warnings of losing one’s beloved or cherished ideal in no way means to hold back from pursuing what enlivens the heart during the eclipse.  With Saturn in square to the lunar nodes and Neptune conjoining the south node, however, it is vital to plant seeds and develop growth in places clearly able to receive and bolster one’s ideal intentions.  There is co-creative magic found in the face of this week’s Pisces Lunar Eclipse to align with the work, path, and collaborators most resonant with one’s deepest desires.

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References

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

Paracelsus. (2014 edition). Magia Emblemata et Prognostici. Ouroboros Press.

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

Jupiter in Libra

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The Pilgrim and the Heart of the Rose by Edward Burne-Jones

Jupiter in Libra

Jupiter enters Libra on 9 September 2016 where it will remain until 11 October 2017.  Since this shift occurs at the same time as the last exact square between Saturn and Neptune, there could very well be extreme tensions in one’s life in need of balancing which Jupiter entering the sign of the Scales can facilitate.  Furthermore, Jupiter enters Libra in a period in between eclipses, with Mercury retrograde forming a hard aspect with Mars, and Jupiter itself invisible and becoming purified under the beams of the Sun.   As a result, it will take some time before the full spectrum of Jupiter’s benefits will be felt in the Libra area of your life, yet Jupiter’s entrance into Libra will still bring some welcomed positivity immediately.

Jupiter is more comfortable in Libra than in Virgo because it has triplicity dignity in Libra, meaning that Jupiter is “in its element” as it prefers to be in Air signs more so than Earth signs.  This accord comes from the Air signs of astrology being connected to the jovial sanguine temperament which is harmonious with the nature of Jupiter.  In fact, Jupiter has been said to rule the sanguine temperament.  Sanguine is uplifting and seeks cohesion in social connections, a quality of moistness becoming hot which in personality comes across as desire to be successful while also being optimistic and lighthearted, supportive and forgiving of others socially.

Jupiter’s time in Libra can direct vision toward what is pleasurable and harmonizing, as it will be in the domicile of Venus.  Libra is the diurnal, outwardly directed home of Venus where the significations of Venus occur at a swifter pace than her other home of Taurus.  Libra is also a Cardinal sign, adding a quality of initiation and gathering the impetus to strike out on new endeavors that will make this an opportune period to find ways to be more collaborative in community.

While Libra is a Cardinal sign ultimately about initiating one’s own, selfish pursuits, its place as the Cardinal Air sign ruled by Venus means it supports acting in accordance with the needs of relationships rather than being instinctually direct like its polarity Aries.  There results a mix of a rational, reflective side with the feelings and associated values of Venus pursuits, leading to a greater capacity for thought and strategizing to inform action more so than impulsive, overwhelming feelings.  However, it is also a mistake to think that everything associated with Libra is in balance, for in reality there is a constant fluctuating of things becoming unbalanced as part of its balancing act.  If balance is achieved it is only momentary, as any equilibrium gained instantly becomes vulnerable to coming out of balance again or falling into disarray.

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Libra by Johfra Bosschart

The Scales

Libra as the sign of the scales is about the perpetual balancing experienced in all of our relationships in the world.  As a symbol the scales conjure the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of the Soul after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of social justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior.  Jupiter is a planet of philosophical understanding that brings knowledge through the experience of natural law and order.  In our modern world, however, the societal conventions and laws created by humanity are often at odds with natural order.  In the constant balancing act of an individual moving through the injustices of this world, the transit of Jupiter in Libra will exacerbate tensions around injustice while seeking to stabilize efforts on behalf of social justice.

When looking upon an image of scales, even if they appear in stillness their form suggests the ceaseless, endless recalibrating going on within everyone, everything, in every moment.  Franz Kafka in his novel The Trial revealed the struggles of the individual faced with the injustices of the modern world, including ethnic tensions, class differences, and the abuse of women.  In one of many brilliant scenes, Kafka portrayed a meeting between his protagonist Josef K. and the painter Titorelli that unveiled the shadow of law and order, in that law systems claiming to be on the side of justice are in reality always on the hunt to be victorious:

There was a large figure shown in middle of the throne’s back rest which K. could not understand and asked the painter about it. That’ll need some more work done on it, the painter told him, and taking a pastel crayon from a small table he added a few strokes to the edges of the figure but without making it any clearer as far as K. could make out. “That’s the figure of justice,” said the painter, finally. “Now I see,” said K., “here’s the blindfold and here are the scales. But aren’t those wings on her heels, and isn’t she moving?” “Yes,” said the painter, “I had to paint it like that according to the contract. It’s actually the figure of justice and the goddess of victory all in one.” “That is not a good combination,” said K. with a smile. “Justice needs to remain still, otherwise the scales will move about and it won’t be possible to make a just verdict.” “I’m just doing what the client wanted,” said the painter . . .

. . . “Only it’s a pity that you can’t make out the details of his costume and pose in this picture, pastel colours aren’t really suitable for showing people like this.” “Yes,” said K., “it does seem odd that it’s in pastel colours.” “That’s what the judge wanted,” said the painter, “it’s meant to be for a woman.” The sight of the picture seemed to make him feel like working, he rolled up his shirtsleeves, picked up a few of the crayons, and K. watched as a reddish shadow built up around the head of the judge under their quivering tips and radiated out the to edges of the picture. This shadow play slowly surrounded the head like a decoration or lofty distinction. But around the figure of Justice, apart from some coloration that was barely noticeable, it remained light, and in this brightness the figure seemed to shine forward so that it now looked like neither the God of Justice nor the God of Victory, it seemed now, rather, to be a perfect depiction of the God of the Hunt.

— Franz Kafka, The Trial, Chapter 7

The Goddess of Justice in the painting is running with winged feet causing her scales to be out of balance, creating a likeness to a Goddess of the Hunt rather than Lady Justice.  Thus within the societal construct of a court system in which the individual purportedly is innocent until proven guilty, the court ostensibly concerned with justice is in actuality focused on hunting down the accused and triumphing over them.  When Lady Justice is claimed by those in seats of power who manipulate their hierarchical power structures to increase and sustain their grasp on power, the societal conventions and structures of law and order fall out of balance with Her natural law.

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung (who had Jupiter in Libra in the third decan that it rules) to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality. The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state. Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow. There is an inherent restoration of balance to our system that results that is not unlike the astrological meaning we can find in Libra, the sign of the Scales.  Though we may want to strike out against the injustices of the surrounding world during the transit of Jupiter in Libra, to be most effective we will first need to face our own shadow that comes out in relationship with others.

As Libra places importance on dialogue in relationship, expressing one’s own needs while listening to the needs of others, an additional fitting concept emphasized by Carl Jung is Auseinandersetzung, German for “taking something to pieces.”  This refers to confrontation in dialogue in which two people verbally engage without running away from the conflict.  By staying engaged in the dialogue, the differences inherent to the disagreement become clarified and distinct, making an agreement or compromise possible.  Jung believed it was also possible to engage in such a dialogue with one’s anima/us, clarifying the unconscious being projected into relationships and keeping us perpetuating past relational patterns.  To Jung we gain “mettle” when facing the conflicts between our ego and anima/us, and out of the confrontation between the conscious and unconscious arises awareness of our wholeness, what he called individuation. This sort of inner integration that supports healthy growth is the domain of Jupiter.

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Gujari Ragini: A Lady with a Vina Seated on a Bed of Lotus Flowers (17th Century) by Ruknuddin

Jupiter in the Home of Venus

When Jupiter enters Libra, Venus will be at home to welcome its visionary expansiveness into her dwelling place.  While Jupiter in Libra may signify moderation and temperance in pursuit of desire and pleasure, it can also signify the excess of Venus that pull one into wild extremities of imbalance.  Falling in love during expansive Jupiter’s journey through Libra brings to mind the ravenous rapture of the ancient poet Sappho, whose fragment 47 has been translated by Anne Carson as declaring, “Eros shook my mind like a mountain wind falling on oak trees.”  Previous inner equilibrium unravels when opening to love, as it simultaneously opens one to the torment and grief of losing love.  The negative aspects of relationships will be just as much a potential under Jupiter in Libra as they are at any other time, yet since Jupiter tends to stabilize it will support rebalancing any difficult feelings such as jealousy or the bittersweet absence of love.  If the excesses of Jupiter are kept in check, the likelihood is for Jupiter in Libra to be a balm for improved communication and relations with others.

Jupiter in Libra can expand efforts in everything associated with Venus, whether that be arts, creativity, or the pleasure found in the body as well as the aesthetics of the senses.  Taking on mundane projects such as redesigning an environment can become magical with Jupiter in Libra, and the cohesive nature of Jupiter can also be utilized to connect one’s own work of passion to the efforts of others of like mind in our global community.  New combinations of abstract and aesthetic forms can come together into new movements that draw from the past yet display a fresh assemblage of influences that match the arising zeitgeist.  Jupiter in Libra is a time to activate your creativity in your wider community.

Venus will be increasing in light as an Evening Star for the first period of Jupiter’s time in Libra, moving from Libra to Scorpio to Capricorn to Aquarius and through Pisces before stationing retrograde in Aries in March 2017.  Venus will then move retrograde back into the final degrees of Pisces, the home of Jupiter.  As Jupiter’s time in Libra is bound to the movement of Venus, the Venus retrograde of March through April 2017 (February through May 2017 if you count the “shadow zone”) will be a significant recalibration in the experience of Jupiter in Libra.

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Justice in The Allegory of Good Government (1339) by Ambrogio Lorenzetti

Jupiter in the Exaltation of Saturn

Libra is the exaltation of Saturn, and since Saturn in Sagittarius is lingering in the home of Jupiter, the entrance of Jupiter into Libra dramatically alters the relationship between Jupiter and Saturn from one of tension (the square from Virgo to Sagittarius) to one of harmony.  After a year of deconstructing change, Jupiter in Libra forming a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius is opportune for constructive building of new structures.  As Jupiter approaches a sextile with Saturn at the end of 2016, opportunities will present themselves and obstacles will be removed in order to tend to the fracturing that came about from the last quarter square between Jupiter and Saturn that dominated the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Austin Coppock has talked about Saturn’s exaltation in Libra being about the ideal of forming contracts, laws, and other binding agreements out of consensus, an interpretation I agree with.   Saturn and Jupiter are both diurnal planets that favor Air signs, and Libra also forms a trine to Aquarius, the diurnal and airy home of Saturn.  With Saturn in Sagittarius, there is increased potential through Jupiter in Libra to organize efforts on behalf of social justice that make a direct impact in local communities, as well as for legislative bodies in governments to come together into compromised agreement around issues of civil rights.  Jupiter in Libra will support building social movements that address injustice.

In my nation and government of birth, the Statue of Liberty is the Goddess of Justice, our Colossus overlooking the sea bringing tides from other lands. Though a symbol of liberty and welcoming, the Statue of Liberty’s symbolism has also been manipulated by power structures to exert control. Currently, there is a fierce debate within the United States of America over immigration, including proposed policies that seek to restrict the very issue the Statue of Liberty evokes. The astrology chart often used for the Statue of Liberty features a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in Libra, fitting as the giant goddess is made from the Venusian metal copper. With the Statue of Liberty aligned so strongly with Jupiter in Libra, it makes sense that the national elections of 2016 with Jupiter in Libra will set the agenda for how the nation deals with immigration in coming years.  In countries all around the globe, Jupiter’s presence in Libra will hopefully facilitate greater compromise that can do something positive about the immigration and refugee crises that have erupted.

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Bronze Ganesha (15th Century) Thailand

Key Transits of Jupiter in Libra 2016-2017

As Jupiter moves across Libra, it will gain additional dignity when it enters its own bounds at fifteen degrees and then again when it crosses twenty degrees into the third decan of Libra it rules.  Jupiter in the third face of Libra could be especially potent, as Jupiter’s rulership of the third decan signifies that there is a special quality of Jupiter to access here.  Jupiter will enter the third face of Libra at the end of December 2016 and then leave it retrograde in March 2017 during the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Jupiter will return to the third face of Libra in August 2017 just in time for a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that will be visible and especially potent in the United States of America.  Jupiter will remain in the third face of Libra until it enters Scorpio in mid October 2017.

Toward the end of 2016 we will enter the full phase of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, as Jupiter will form an exact opposition on 26 December 2016 with Uranus. While the full phase is always about managing opposing desires for external relationships versus internal independence, this conflict will be further exacerbated by Jupiter being in the relationally oriented sign of Libra and Uranus being in the independently oriented sign of Aries. During this phase we will explore the full meaning of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle that began in 2010, with support from a waning sextile formed within the Jupiter and Saturn cycle, and a disseminating trine formed between Saturn in Sagittarius with Uranus.   The combination of Saturn in trine to Uranus, as Jupiter opposes Uranus and forms a sextile with Saturn, brings the potential to liberate our personal vision from the restraints of our past framework, restructuring essential elements of life in support.

However, in the dark far reaches of outer space awaits Pluto in Capricorn holding a significant challenge for Jupiter in Libra.  Pluto in Capricorn will form a last quarter square with Jupiter for much of Jupiter’s time in Libra beginning in November 2016.  As a result,  Jupiter will re-connect the square between Uranus and Pluto in its aftermath, providing opportunities for social relationships and contracts to arise that remedy some of the fracturing that came about within the tectonic shifting of the square between Pluto and Uranus that was most strong from 2011 – 2015.  Though Jupiter in Libra ideally signifies peace, there will no doubt be many great conflicts and disruptions that arise during this period that resonate with the issues which erupted in the global collective during the years of the square between Pluto and Uranus.  At its best, Jupiter can inject its collaborative focus on social justice into the Plutonic power structures and systems during this period.

As previously mentioned, the Venus retrograde from March through April of 2017 will be one of the most disruptive periods of Jupiter’s time in Libra, as Jupiter will be under the influence of a rebellious Venus.  As Jupiter’s time in Libra will be significant for the generations of people born with Pluto in Libra, Neptune in Libra, Uranus in Libra, Saturn in Libra, and Jupiter in Libra, the Venus retrograde in Aries will be extremely catalytic for those born with these planets in between zero and fourteen degrees of Libra, since Venus will move back and forth across these degrees in opposition through her retrograde movement.  As a member of the Pluto in Libra generation, I am particularly curious about the impact of Jupiter’s transit through Libra on our generation, as we have come of age into greater access of power and responsibility, with greater capacity to make an impact with Jupiter conjoining our Pluto placements.

Carpe diem can be an overused motto, but truly Jupiter in Libra signifies a period in which to seize the day.  Jupiter in the home of Venus can amplify and accentuate all of the elements of our life that bring pleasure, beauty, harmony, and joy.  If you have been holding back in any way from attempting to make your life as extraordinary as possible, the ingress of Jupiter into Libra signals a time to expand the parameters of what you believe you can achieve and act accordingly.

References

BBC Radio. (2014). In Our Time: Culture. Kafka’s The Trial.

Kafka, Franz. (1925). The Trial. Translated from the German by David Wyllie.

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

 

Leo New Moon

Anselm Kiefer midsummer

Midsummer Night (1980) Anselm Kiefer

The Leo New Moon on August 2 is as black as all new moons go, but the dark night sky will be bejeweled with more glimmering objects than normal as all five visible planets will be on display following the setting of the Sun.  Mercury is more briefly aglow at sunset while Venus sustains her brilliance through twilight, with Jupiter also shining above as Mars inches toward Saturn in the depth of each night.  This is also the pagan holiday time of Lughnasadh, one of the eight sabbats that in the Northern Hemisphere is our Mid-Summer, a traditional celebration of harvest and communal festivities.  There is a harvest to reap and share with others in the coming lunar month, and in the twilight hour when cobalt shadows nourish imaginative vision the visibility of all five planets likewise beckon visions of love and creativity.

Leo signifies the radiance of the Sun, the radiance of the heart that expresses an audacious glow in the face of the unknown future.  The Leo New Moon is separating from a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and marks the return of Mars to the fiery sign of Sagittarius, with Venus co-present in Leo.  This New Moon is an opportune time to figure out what you want and then set your life in motion to go after it through heart-centered expression that unites mind, body, and soul.  Saturn continues to be square to the transiting lunar nodes and Neptune, and is slowing to a standstill as it will station direct on August 13.  As a result, Saturn is at the crossroads similar to Hekate, serving as the guardian of the threshold holding the wisdom of what needs to be both released and given birth to.  The creative actualization of the Leo New Moon needs us to access Saturn through being honest about our essential needs and taking the responsibility to seize the moment with flair and immediacy.  The emphasized element of fire in this New Moon is a torch held by Hekate to illuminate a karmic path forward, while disintegrating the fogginess of former illusions.

It is important to realize that there is absolutely nothing in the air element at this New Moon, and that in contrast there is a great deal of fire with the Sun, Moon, and Venus in Leo, Saturn and Mars in Sagittarius, and Uranus in Aries.  Fire signs are passionate, inspirational, and direct in ardor, and this is great as long as our relationships are aligned with similar goals and needs.  Fire signs are not as adept in patience and empathy, or being able to listen to not only the words but the emotions of others and communicate with compassion.  Since there is nothing transiting in air signs to help facilitate communication, it will be vital to focus on listening with active presence to the underlying message from others without taking personally the language form or undertones that trigger sensitivities.  This is even more the case considering that Mars is in range of a square to both Mercury (separating) and Venus (applying).

Magritte,_The_Palace_of_Memories,_Le_palais_des_souvenirs,_1939

The Palace of Memories (1939) by Rene Magritte

Uranus stationed retrograde in Aries a few days before the New Moon and so is saturating the lunation in shattering Uranian impulses and insights that bring liberating clarity.  Venus in Leo is separating from, but still in range of a trine with retrograde Uranus and so whatever the immediate impact was of Uranus stationing in trine to Venus has already been felt.  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.  As a result the Leo New Moon has an amplified charge of facilitating a fresh start in an area of life that had become stagnant or limiting.  Uranus in its early stages of slowly creeping backwards is potent for opening to unconscious forces as best we can, surrendering to the messages from dreams or the stillness of a moment that gives access to whatever is arising from within.  Uranus here can bring sudden revelations that feel more like remembering rather than striving to learn something new.

In recent years Uranus has been stationing retrograde toward the end of July, last year stationing retrograde simultaneously with Venus stationing retrograde.  In contrast, this time Uranus is stationing retrograde in trine to Venus increasing in light as an Evening Star.  Uranus stationing with so much in Leo surrounding it can spark playful rebelliousness and wild abandon, taking whatever opportunities present themselves for claiming the freedom to act from the heart without consideration of societal constructs and conditioning.  In the drama of life, the stage is set at this Leo New Moon to imbue your role in life with self-assured panache.  Uranus will be retrograde until December 29, 2016 when it will station direct at 20º33′ of Aries.  The astrological landscape will be completely different then, with Jupiter in Libra opposing Uranus, and Saturn in Sagittarius in trine to Uranus and sextile to Jupiter.  Thus the curtain lifts at the Leo New Moon to unveil the storylines that will coincide with these next five months of Uranus retrograde, and so there is no time like the present to courageously initiate the actions you want to take without reservation.

At the same time that Uranus stationed retrograde in the days leading up to the New Moon, Mercury at the end of Leo formed an exact last quarter square with Mars at the end of Scorpio.  The square between Mars and Mercury has been a pivotal theme of 2016, as the year began with Mercury forming a square at the beginning of Aquarius to Mars at the beginning of Scorpio.   In addition, because Mercury will be retrograde in September there will be two more squares between Mars and Mercury in coming months that could tie back to this time:  in September with Mercury retrograde in Virgo and Mars in Sagittarius, and in October with Mercury in Libra and Mars in Capricorn.  Mars and Mercury forming a square can correspond with intense arguments, conflicts or anger, yet the volatile nature of these planets are also intrinsic to forcing change.  In combination with the stationing of Uranus, the Leo New Moon follows significant catalysts for growth that may have felt uncomfortable but forced an issue needing to be revealed in order to create a necessary shift.

titan's goblet

The Titan’s Goblet (1833) Thomas Cole

The re-entrance of Mars into Sagittarius at the same time as the Leo New Moon seems to be one of those cosmic messages of a vital initiation into a new level of our journey.  Mars being in Sagittarius will start to make the movement of Mars moving forward again since being retrograde feel faster and like events in life are picking up again with everything set in motion.  Unlike the time period of March through May in which Mars entered Sagittarius only to then stand still and slowly move backwards into Scorpio, this time Mars is on a quest straight through the sign of the Centaur that leads to a conjunction with Saturn and the fixed star Antares at the end of August.  Bernadette Brady in her book on fixed stars said that Antares being a Royal Star “offers great success” but “also indicates that the person may well cause their own undoing,” stating that the essentiality of Antares “to generate success by going through a cleansing life-and-death experience can cause a person to seek this intensity even when it is not required” (p. 287).  Since Saturn is also involved in this triple conjunction, the trine of Saturn to the Leo New Moon is opportune for responsibly getting a handle on desires as the month begins in order to creatively manifest whatever is in the highest good rather than set things up for a fall into destruction.

At the 2016 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC), Jason Holley gave an insightful talk about Leo entitled Leo and the Solar Field: Creative and Destructive Forces of Narcissism.   Holley illuminated both the creative potency and pitfalls associated with Leo through exploration of Herakles wrestling with the Nemean Lion and gaining its impenetrable skin to wear as armor in his following labors. Holley compared the wrestling of Herakles to wrestling with the archetypal field, as the Nemean Lion was an archetypal force that fell from the Moon at the bidding of Hera to destroy Herakles.  Holley also focused on the rejection felt by Herakles after returning to King Eurystheus to proudly show off the lion skin he was wearing, only to have Eurystheus become so frightened he hid in a subterranean wine jar.

Archetypes are forces that move through us, yet in the myth Herakles merged with the Nemean Lion through wearing its skin, akin to over identifying with an archetypal force in order to inflate the self.  Holley linked the narcissism that can come from Leo to prior rejection of the self in childhood or relationships, leading to the compensation of putting on the lion skin and becoming an archetype to generate a field of magnetism for others to orbit around and mirror.  Feelings of failure in the ordinary world lead to withdrawal into the extraordinary world in order to preserve a feeling of specialness through charismatic channeling of the archetype.  Yet the resulting disconnect with the ordinary brings relational isolation, as becoming a performer adored by an audience also means people are not necessarily connecting with the real person underneath the persona.  Holley said while this can be a soul saving gesture in terms of protecting a sense of specialness, the act of making oneself into a performer possessed by an archetype can lead to pressure to perform and no identity outside of achieving ambitions and acclaim.

One of the antidotes for destructive narcissism Holley brought up is the need for relational mediation, in which the relational field created with another helps step the archetypal force down into metabolizable parts so that both one’s specialness and ordinariness are embraced, and the individual can feel gifted while also an interdependent part of the group, a star amongst a vast field of stars.  This is an important point that can be further connected to the month ahead that also features Mars and Saturn coming together in Sagittarius in addition to the Sun in Leo and Uranus in Aries.  Finding and valuing the relationships in which both our ordinary and extraordinary sides are accepted will help us embrace being ordinary, instead of becoming so upset or impatient that we are not achieving our extraordinary ambitions that we sabotage or neglect important areas of our mundane reality and responsibilities.

Fire by Kircher

Diagram showing the interconnectedness of fire within the earth by Athanasius Kircher from Mundus Subterraneus

Mercury will play the role of mediator with great aplomb in the coming lunar month, as the planet of Hermes has returned to Virgo, both its home and exaltation.  Because Mercury will station retrograde at the end of August, Mercury will continue to be in Virgo through October 7, an excessively long time for Mercury to inhabit one sign.  Currently Mercury is both dignified and increasing in light as an Evening Star, a herald of the twilight hour who can help reflect upon and digest the essential learning of each day’s experience.  Mercury has also been making pivotal aspects by transit, having moved from conjoining Venus to being square to Mars in the recent past, and in the week following the New Moon will move forward to engage the square between Saturn and Neptune.  Mercury opposite to Neptune and in a superior square to Saturn will help clarify any disorientation that has been occurring in sync with the ongoing square between Saturn and Neptune.  As Mercury will then cross over the North Node of the Moon, Mercury is not only mediating but guiding awareness toward new opportunities for growth.

Returning to Jason Holley’s talk Leo and the Solar Field:  Creative and Destructive Forces of Narcissism, Holley made a brilliant point about Virgo and Mercury rooted in the concept of the natural zodiac utilized in Evolutionary Astrology.  Holley stated that when there has been too much narcissistic Leo identification with archetypal forces, then the Virgo Mercury role will become overly perfectionist due to the pressure of needing to perform at a high level, feeling both stress and inner judgment in relation to achieving ambitions.  Furthermore, just as Herakles performed his labors as an act of atonement so can Virgo Mercury succumb to overworking from a place of guilt more so than intrinsic desire.  In contrast, if the mediation of Virgo Mercury can help bring down the narcissism of Leo to being special while also grounded, then the Virgo Mercury can have genuine humility (instead of self punishing humility) and the sort of magical attention to detail and the moment that imbibes the mundane with all of the enchanting Leo magnetism and wonder.

wands06

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 2 Decan

The New Moon falls in the second face of Leo associated with the 6 of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, in which we see a victorious champion riding a triumphant steed and hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Crown of Laurels” to this face, analyzing the second decan of Leo 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 is fitting as Jupiter rules the second face of Leo.  Coppock emphasized that the victory signified by this face “comes through authenticity, not the perfection of character or moral virtue,” and that it is “the temptations of selfishness and cruelty which stain the triumphal nature of this decan, for nothing tests the character so much as victory” (p. 128).  While Coppock wrote that few can rejoice in the light of a lavishly fed ego without becoming blinded, he concluded that the potential of the decan necessitates the alchemy of mediating an authentic connection between the persona one projects into life and the spirit fire within.

Jupiter in Virgo at the time of the New Moon is within a degree of where it stationed retrograde in January 2016, and as it has been moving away from its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its square with Saturn, it is applying toward an opposition with Chiron and a quincunx with Uranus.  There is an essential adjustment to be made in tandem with Jupiter to fully engage with life in all of its mundane details, projecting soulful spirit into the world through our heart-centered essence instead of projecting everything into a relationship or other external dependencies.  The bold, passionate immediacy of Leo is a thing of beauty, paraphrasing John Keats, that is a joy of increasing loveliness forever.  Find this place of joy within at this fiery Leo New Moon and share its love and beauty with life.

References

Brady, Bernadette. (1998). Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars. Weiser.

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

Interview on Mercury & Gemini

hermaphrodite from rosarium philosophorum

from Rosarium Philosophorum

I am excited to share an interview I did with astrologer Mary Jo Wevers about the sign of Gemini and its ruler Mercury on her radio show “Astrology: The Theory of Everything.”  We spend a lot of time speaking about Mercury retrograde, and this show was in fact recorded right before Mercury stationed retrograde in Taurus this past April.

During the show I mentioned that when Mercury transited the Sun at its Inferior Conjunction it was conjoining its Heliocentric North Node.  I learned this information from Dane Rudhyar and other astrologers, and astrologer Gary Caton corrected me (after this interview was recorded) by pointing out that if you actually look at the orbit of Mercury you can see that its Heliocentric South Node is actually Taurus.  So, point being that when Mercury conjoined the Sun in May it was conjunct its Heliocentric South Node in Taurus, not its North Node.

Click the link below to listen to the show on the official site:

http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/91928/gemini-bridging-connections-and-navigating-changes-with-retrograde-mercury#.V2H311duLzI

Click the player below just to play the show:

The Radical Moisture of Neptune

jung red book 131

Image 131 from Liber Novus by Carl Jung

The tension of the future is unbearable in us. It must break through narrow cracks, it must force new ways. You want to cast off the burden, you want to escape the inescapable. Running away is deception and detour. Shut your eyes so that you do not see the manifold, the outwardly plural, the tearing away and the tempting. There is only one way and that is your way; there is only one salvation and that is your salvation. Why are you looking around for help? Do you believe that help will come from outside? What is to come is created in you and from you. Hence look into yourself. Do not compare, do not measure. No other way is like yours. All other ways deceive and tempt you. You must fulfill the way that is in you.

— Carl Jung, Liber Novus, 130

Neptune stationed retrograde at 12º2′ of Pisces on 13 June 2016, with Saturn retrograde closely applying to a last quarter square at 12º20′ of Sagittarius.  Saturn will perfect its square with Neptune on June 17 or 18, depending upon your time zone.  There is an astrological construct that Saturn has the upper hand in this tension as it is in a “superior” square to Neptune, meaning that Sagittarius is the tenth place from Pisces.  When a planet stations, however, it takes on far vaster significance than normal.  In the case of Neptune stationing retrograde, its numinous significations corresponding to everything Saturn blocks with its stalwart boundaries possess an inexorable tide of salty seawater disintegrating the structures that have been defining one’s identity.  Many are undergoing personal crises in which an identity, relationship, or path they had been attached to has been dissolving.  In the wake of the familiar gone, the once ideal awash in bitter disillusionment, one’s ability to act with integrity can be corrupted by fear, anger, confusion, and insecurity.  Neptune can be difficult to work with because its emanations do not fit neatly into consensus reality like those of Saturn.  Yet when an exact square forms, we need to open to Neptune and begin to integrate what it is asking of us if we wish to be avoid becoming overwhelmed by the dynamic.

In the final paragraph recorded by Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections he quoted Lao-tzu:  “All things are clear, I alone am clouded.”  It is the illusions we carry, picked up from outside sources, that cause us to become disoriented by a Neptune transit. When we realize that a beloved hope we had trusted to bring happiness or meaning is in fact illusory, a sense of drowning and disassociation can envelope our being.  Carl Jung’s work illuminated the sense that both good and evil come from the divine, that the “world into which we are born is brutal and cruel, and at the same time of divine beauty” (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p. 358).  This is the realm of Neptune, a planet that signifies both the most wretched states of existence found in suicidal addictions, as well as the most fulfilled feelings of bliss and joy found in true love.  At today’s juncture of the square between Saturn and Neptune, humanity is facing the terror of its own mass destruction, as numerous collective illusions have coalesced into an era filled with mass murder and environmental devastation.

While Neptune is not truly analogous to the prima materia of alchemy, when Jung in “The Visions of Zosimos” wrote of the radical, root moisture that connects the prima materia with the soul, there is a link to the numinous nature of Neptune we sense whenever we tap into the soul of the world.  Contact with Neptune opens us to the collective unconscious, the wisdom found in the images of our dreams, and wherever we feel the presence of the interconnected, underlying field and fabric of reality.  In the dewy mist coloring the earth as we awake from dream, as the solar rays prepare to emerge once again from the fertile night, we are given another opportunity to release ourselves from the illusions of our past and engage with the arising inspiration that brings life to our imagination and being.  While Neptune transits can feel so disillusioning that we lose sense of meaning in life, they can also revivify our connection with the animating spirit of our universal matrix.

Carl Jung in relation to Neptune has been on my mind a great deal recently as I was fortunate to hear two talks given by Richard Tarnas at the Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) of 2016.  In both talks Tarnas spoke of the important influence the modern emphasis on individualism and the solar heroic self has had in terms of supporting the capacity of people to liberate themselves from oppressive authority and prevailing worldviews in order to discover their own authentic nature and beliefs to live from.  Yet this emphasis on the individual also led to the disenchantment of the universe, a dissociative illusion of separateness from the interconnected streams of the Anima Mundi in which humanity has brought itself to the brink of extinction.  Vitally, Tarnas emphasized that the Sun not only ascends, but descends, and that it is the descent into the many of the pregnant night where we experience alchemical transformation in our night sea journey, where the solar hero sacrifices itself to the whole, embraces and loves the whole, succumbs to the multitudinous of the moonlit night.  This is not unlike opening the rigid, dogmatic confines of Saturn to the numinous realm of Neptune.

jung red book 55

Image 55 by Carl Jung from Liber Novus

One word that was never spoken.

One light that was never lit up.

An unparalleled confusion.

And a road without end.

— Carl Jung, translation of text from image 55, Liber Novus

Carl Jung is exemplary as an individual willing to descend into his depths in order to bring back knowledge to share with the collective, not only because of the testament of his work such as the Red Book/Liber Novus, but also within the symbolism of his birth chart.  Jung was born with a setting Sun in Leo, the very image of the solar self’s descent.  Furthermore, Jung was born with an exact square between Neptune in Taurus and his Leo Sun.  When Jung famously had his vision of the coming world war while riding the train to Schaffhausen, Switzerland in October 1913 (overcome by a vision of blood flooding the European landscape, with the Alps protecting his homeland), Uranus was directly on his ascendant in opposition to his Sun while Neptune was coming into range of a conjunction with his Sun and a square to his Neptune.

During Jung’s years of his descent into his depths of fantasies and communication with his unconscious from 1912 through 1917, Neptune approached and formed an exact conjunction to his natal Sun and square to his natal Neptune (this period also saw Uranus conjoin his ascendant, oppose his Sun, and then oppose his own natal Uranus).  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung called this time of exploring his inner images the most important period of his life, “the prima materia for a lifetime’s work” he compared to a “stream of lava” in which “the heat of its fires reshaped my life,” calling his later works “a more or less successful endeavor to incorporate this incandescent matter into the contemporary picture of the world.”

Richard Tarnas gave a lecture at NORWAC 2016 entitled “The Natal Sun: The Solar Journey & the Forging of the Self” in which he used Carl Jung as a primary example for aspects between Neptune and the Sun. Tarnas illuminated the significance of Jung’s natal square between the Sun and Neptune, and how he serves as an example of how a square can be so well integrated in the course of one’s life that something is brought forth that had not existed previously, in Jung’s case the understanding of the Self with a capital “S” and “his sense that we are always moving toward wholeness and we need to have a coniunctio, a sacred marriage between the conscious and the unconscious, and in this case what he meant by the unconscious was the archetypal psyche and the whole Neptunian dimension.” Tarnas brilliantly made the point that the very word Self with a capital “S” is a great example of the Sun and Neptune together, it being a transpersonal level of the self and “a higher self that guides us to becoming ourselves in our own individuated flowering.”  Tarnas also made the point that Jung’s concept of active imagination is a perfect description of the square between the Sun and Neptune in Jung’s birth chart.

Furthermore, Tarnas focused on the transit of Neptune conjoining Jung’s Sun and forming a square to his natal Neptune in which Jung had to hold on to his solar identity “against this tremendous influx of the Neptunian realm, of the archetypal psyche.”  Tarnas spoke of Jung’s firsthand knowledge that we all need to encounter the Neptunian dimension in order to recover our sense of soul and meaning in life, as “the archetypal domain is where all our sense of meaning and purpose ultimately exists.”  Yet, Jung also taught caution around descent into the archetypal realm, as Neptune also brings the danger of drowning with the influx of the deep psyche.  Tarnas made the point that while the Sun is our center and sense of clarity, Neptune dissolves and disorients it.  Tarnas said the influx of the numinous dimension ruled by Neptune into the solar principle can lead to not only divine inspiration but also inflation, a delusional messianic state.  Tarnas said Jung believed that in most cases of westerners entering the archetypal realm of Neptune that they are likely to enter a state of inflation that must be guarded against, as Jung himself had to face.  Tarnas explained that the western psychological emphasis on forging a sense of individual selfhood and egotism can more often than not lead to Neptunian inflation, instead of an ability to transmit the realm of Neptune with a self that has become “transparent to the divine that is coming through.”

As Jung stated in Memories, Dreams, Reflections:

Numinous experience elevates and humiliates simultaneously . . . Wherever the psyche is set violently oscillating by a numinous experience, there is a danger that the thread by which one hangs may be torn.  Should that happen, one man tumbles into an absolute affirmation, another into an equally absolute negation.  Nirdvandva (freedom from opposites) is the Orient’s remedy for this.  I have not forgotten that.  The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.  The numinosum is dangerous because it lures men to extremes, so that a modest truth is regarded as the truth and a minor mistake is equated with fatal error.  Tout passe–  yesterday’s truth is today’s deception, and yesterday’s false inference may be tomorrow’s revelation.  This is particularly so in psychological matters, of which, if truth were told, we still know very little.  We are still a long way from understanding what it signifies that nothing has any existence unless some small- and oh, so transitory- consciousness has become aware of it.

— Carl Jung

The generation born with Neptune in Sagittarius will experience a square from Neptune as it transits through Pisces, and for those born in the same time period as myself we have Neptune exactly squaring our natal Neptune today while Saturn simultaneously is conjoining our natal Neptune.  Others may have the current Neptune square with Saturn making other catalytic aspects in their natal chart in one way or another.  Carl Jung serves as an example of someone who went into the realm of Neptune and came back with knowledge to share with and heal the greater collective.  He did this through active imagination and making the effort to understand the inner images he experienced, writing in Memories, Dreams, Reflections that he tried “to plant the results of my experience in the soil of reality; otherwise they would have remained subjective assumptions without validity.”

As we head into the time of the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day in which the Sun reaches the zenith of its ascent and begins its descent that will lead us into the regeneration of Fall and the darkness of Winter, a Mutable Grand Cross will form involving Mercury in Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius, both in square to an opposition between Neptune in Pisces with Jupiter in Virgo.  This could lead to a breakdown or a breakthrough, and to experience the latter Jung’s emphasis on centering within is sage advice.  In Memories, Dreams, Reflections Jung declared, “There is no linear evolution; there is only circumambulation of the self.” Circumambulating, circling around our sacred center instead of becoming spun out in disparate directions through forces within our outer environment, can facilitate the grounding needed to gather insight rather than delusional, disillusioning experiences.

jung red book 107

Image 107 by Carl Jung from Liber Novus

I accepted the chaos, and in the following night, my soul approached me.

— Carl Jung from Liber Novus, 106

References

Jung, Carl. (2009). The Red Book: Liber Novus. Edited by Sonu Shamdasani. Norton.

Jung, Carl. (1967). Alchemical Studies. Bollingen.

Jung, Carl. (1965). Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Recorded and edited by Aniela Jaffe. Vintage.

 

 

Venus & Mercury Retrograde in Taurus

Venus receives Mercury Retrograde

Venus conjoins Mercury Retrograde in her own home of Taurus this Friday, May 13.  Venus unifies, harmonizes, brings us pleasure, and in the earthy, body-centered lair of Taurus, she wants to delight our bodily forms and the deepest recesses of our sensory, sensual natures.  Mercury in astrology can destabilize, contest, and create volatility in contrast to the unifying nature of Venus, yet Mercury is also the connective mediator between the world animating spirit and our bodily, material realm.  With Mercury retrograde in Taurus, with Mercury recently having passed through a purifying conjunction with the Sun while conjoining its own heliocentric South Node, Mercury is pulling us deeply within our senses to the inner source of our thoughts and discernment.  If you are lucky enough to be in love in this moment, it is an ideal transit of pure pleasure.  If you are alone or dissatisfied in relationship, this is an ideal time for Self nurturance and getting in touch with your deepest feelings and needs in relationship.  By embracing being alone and out of relationship at this time, the inner process that is supported by this transit will help magnetize a deeply resonant relationship that aligns with the uncovered inner values and needs when the time is right.

This lovely transit of Mercury retrograde uniting with Venus in Taurus is embellished by it being in an exact trine with Pluto in Capricorn, and also in range of a trine to Jupiter and the North Node of the Moon in Virgo.  Mercury during its retrograde plays the role of the Herald to Hades, and so aligned with Venus will help release resistance to whatever cathartic changes Pluto in Capricorn has been calling for in our life that we have not yet answered with full presence.  In the next few days there is a lovely opportunity to accept the underlying changes in our life that in the past has created stress, worry, and grief, and instead allow ourselves to be present and open to what has been created for us in this moment out of the destruction.

remedios varo and husband

Remedios Varo

These lovely aspects surrounding Mercury uniting with Venus in her home are happening as the Moon waxes in light, en route to an electrifyingly dynamic Full Moon next week that is aligned with the heart of the current Mars Retrograde.  Furthermore, all of this is happening within the tightening of the tension involving Saturn in Sagittarius in square to the opposition between Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  With Mercury moving slowly backward in its retrograde, it will be lingering longer than normal in its embrace of Venus, and lucky Hermes is getting to enjoy the experience in the home of Venus.  Although many elements of our lives may feel scary with the degree of changes signified by the surrounding astrological transits, the commingling of Venus and Mercury now can facilitate inner access to the authentic change and growth occurring for you, rather than the collective fears of change circulating in the atmosphere now.

The ideal situation, as far as we can see, is when the ego, with a certain plasticity, obeys the central regulation of the psyche. But when it hardens and becomes autonomous, acting according to its own reasons, then there is often a neurotic constellation.  This happens not only to individuals, but also collectively, which is why we speak of collective neuroses and psychoses.  Whole groups of mankind can drift into that split situation and deviate from their basic instinctual patterns, and then disaster is close.  That is why in hero stories there is nearly always an exposition of a terrible situation . . . Whatever this terrible story is, the hero has the task of putting it right . . .

The hero, therefore, is the restorer of a healthy, conscious situation. He is the one ego that restores us to healthy, normal functioning in a situation in which all the egos of that tribe or nation are deviating from their instinctive, basic totality pattern.  It can therefore be said that the hero is an archetypal figure which presents a model of an ego functioning in accord with the Self.

—  Marie-Louise von Franz

References

von Franz, Marie-Louise. (1996). The Interpretation of Fairy Tales. Revised edition. Shambhala.

film clip from the film Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965) written and directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

Venus in Leo

Venus in Leo Bastet

“Aegis” of Egyptian goddess Bastet, 9th-8th Century BC

Venus in Leo

Venus in Leo has claimed center stage in our sky at night as she should, brilliantly radiating at her maximum elongation from the Sun over the past few days.  Venus in Leo is on her way toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Leo, and these two beautiful lights will be getting closer and closer each night, finally uniting at the Full Moon in Capricorn on July 1, 2015.  Leo is an elegantly brazen place of residence for Venus, and so her dance with Jupiter over this next month will encourage us to ignite with passionate purpose from within and confidently express our own unique style of creativity in our environment.  We have a long time to work with Venus in the fixed, fiery sign of Leo as Venus will be in Leo for the next four months save for the period of July 19 -31 when Venus will enter Virgo and station retrograde.  Venus will be retrograde, mostly in Leo,  from July 25 until September 6 and will not leave the Venus retrograde “shadow zone” until October 9, 2015 when Venus re-enters the sign of Virgo at last (Venus enters the “retrograde shadow zone” on the Solstice of June 21, 2015 when it crosses over 14 degrees of Leo).

Anahita on Lion as Venus in Leo

Anahita on lion

As Leo is ruled by the Sun, those born with Venus in Leo have their solar soul purpose intimately linked to all things Venusian.  Celebrities with Venus in Leo include Madonna, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Tim Burton, Stanley Kubrick, Coco Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Greta Garbo, Alfred Hitchcock, Andy Warhol, Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Michelle Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Tobey Maguire, Daniel Radcliffe, Mother Teresa, and the 14th Dalai Lama. Star power can radiate from natives with Venus in Leo like beams of light, and there is a penchant for grand gestures and drama.   Perhaps the Leo in the Venus of these natives likes getting attention, but the attention Venus in Leo attracts has less to do with attention seeking and more to do with authentic allure and magnetism that flows with scintillating vibrations from them.

By Transit, Venus in Leo tends to spark inspirational thoughts and desire to actualize our creativity in everything from our daily tasks to projects associated with our life’s work. As Venus in Leo will form a square or an opposition to any planets one possesses in the other fixed signs (Scorpio, Aquarius, Taurus), Venus in Leo also tends to shake up places that have become stagnant through resisting change in favor of the comfort of stability.  As Venus in Leo forms a sextile to the signs of Gemini and Libra, and a trine to the signs of Aries and Sagittarius, if you have planets in these signs you can look forward to Venus enlivening your experience with stimulating impulses toward intensifying growth in whatever astrological significations are activated.  Venus in Leo brings inner awareness of the fertile potential we each possess, and lights a burning desire to actualize our creative gifts into the world around us.

Sekhmet as Venus in Leo

Sekhmet from the Sanctuary of Khonsu Temple in the Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak Temple

The Egyptian goddess Sekhmet is a compelling mythic figure to contemplate in relation to Venus in Leo.  Sekhmet in myth can be a fierce and wrathful goddess, but she also seems to be a regenerative one whose fire burns away the inessential in preparation for a rebirth.  Though she is linked in myth to mass destruction and warfare, she also has a strong connection to healing as her son Nefer-Tem is a god of healing and she also had significations and names directly evoking medicine.  Sekhmet is primordial and one of the most powerful goddesses in all pantheons.  As Leo is ruled by the Sun, and the Sun in astrology is said to have an all-pervading power that can overwhelm any planets that go under it’s beams or combust, Sekhmet similarly signifies the celestial fire of the Sun that can weaken and destroy, or heal and stimulate.   Sekhmet wears a solar disk with a serpentine uraeus that further connects her with kundalini energetic awakenings, the divine rulership of pharaohs, and the judgement of souls commonly connected with the goddess Ma’at.

Likewise Leo is a limitless placement for Venus in the sense that Venus in Leo knows no limits, roaring in the face of any source of limitation.  Venus in Leo does what she pleases, and never asks permission for what she can or cannot do- she simply, confidently does.  As we will have a stronger pull than normal to activate what we sense is our creative destiny with Venus in Leo, we need to realize that when we do not receive the attention we feel is our deserved due that we can become angry on the one hand, withdrawn on the other hand.  Venus in Leo is ambitious, yet we must monitor feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy that could come up if we feel we are not being given positive validation tantamount to the level of ambition we were aiming for.  With Venus in Leo getting closer and closer to Jupiter in Leo each day in the month ahead, it is imperative for each of us to make choices each day to actualize whatever we feel strong desire to create from within.  In the end, being brave enough to manifest our creative purpose in our surroundings is much more important than whether or not we receive the amount of acclaim we were hoping for or perfectly manifest material in accordance with our idealized intentions.  A lot can shift once Venus goes retrograde at the end of July, and so this is an ideal time to set intentions and initiate action while Venus is direct and shining with the most brilliant light of her cycle at night.

Union of Isis and Osiris

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Aegis of Isis (Copper alloy ca. 900 – 600 B.C., Egypt)

  • On April 28, 2015 the Isis and Osiris asteroids conjunct at 6° Leo
  • Previously on March 2, 2013, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 11° Aquarius
  • In June 2011, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 12° Leo
  • In April 2009, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 13° Aquarius
  • In August 2007, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 21° Leo
  • In August 2005, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 23° Capricorn
  • In October 2003, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 0° Virgo
  • In October 2001, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 14° Capricorn
  • In December 1999, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 7° Virgo
  • In December 1997, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 18° Capricorn
  • In May 1996, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 16° Leo
  • In January 1994, Isis and Osiris were conjunct at 22° Capricorn
  • The next conjunction of the Osiris and Isis asteroids will be on January 27, 2017 at 8° Aquarius

On April 28, 2015 we experienced a union of the asteroids named Isis (#42) and Osiris (#1923).  Since their last conjunction at the beginning of March 2013, I have been working with a theory that each time the Isis and Osiris asteroids join we experience a resurrection of their archetypal themes in our lives.  In particular, I have been theorizing that their conjunction could connect on an archetypal level with the moment of myth in which Isis melds the dismembered body of Osiris back together, fashioning him a new phallus she thereby inserts inside herself in an act of sexual magic that leads to the birth of Horus.  Along these lines, there could theoretically be an impact of re-animating the Osiris archetype in our collective at the time of their conjunction.

Following their previous conjunction in March 2013, I wrote articles about the Osiris and Isis asteroids you can read here:  (1) Osiris: Alchemic Archetype, and (2)  Isis: Archetype of Love and Devotion.  My aim in this article is to return to these archetypes and explore how this new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids fits within our current astrological transits and chaotic current events.

Isis and Osiris in temple of Isis

Isis with her wings around Osiris, from Temple of Isis, Philae, Egypt

Some say Osiris and Isis fell in love in the womb of Nut, the Egyptian Night Sky Goddess, twin lovers who were born from the mating of Sky (Nut) and Earth (Geb).  Nut and Geb also gave birth to two other siblings, Set and Nephtys, and these four siblings grew up within epic drama.   Osiris was a fertile Nile River god who ruled as pharaoh with Isis (whose name meant “throne”) as his mate, a goddess of magic and nature.  There are different versions of their story, but common to the plots is the characterization of Set as being jealous of Osiris and hungry for his seat of power.  In some versions Set’s anger is intensified when his wife Nephtys seduces Osiris by disguising herself as Isis, giving birth to the jackal-headed Anubis from their mating.

The pivotal turn of the plot comes when Set tricks Osiris into climbing into a coffin which he then seals and sends down the Nile River in order to claim the rulership of Osiris for himself.  After Isis searches for and finds the coffin holding Osiris in a journey that contains parallels to the myth of Demeter searching for her daughter Persephone, Set steals it and cuts the body of Osiris into fourteen pieces.  Isis responds by transforming herself into a winged kite and flying to retrieve all of the missing fragments of her lover’s body except for his phallus.  While there are different versions describing how Isis restores her husband’s sex organ, including one in which Thoth retrieves it for her from a fish, in all versions Isis manages to completely reassemble and reanimate Osiris long enough to make love to him and become impregnated with their offspring Horus. Ultimately, Osiris descends to the underworld and resurrects himself as the ruler and healer of souls of the dead.

There are themes of Taurus and Scorpio in the story of Osiris and Isis, as the Venusian love of Isis (Taurus) brings her lover Osiris back from death (Scorpio), transforming his fertile earth rulership (Taurus) into the realm of Soul and Spirit (Scorpio).  Fittingly, this new conjunction between Isis and Osiris fell within the lunar cycle of a waxing Moon ripening toward a Full Moon in Scorpio in the coming days ahead.  In the polarity between the fixed, potent signs of Taurus and Scorpio we feel the full spectrum of what it means to be Soul incarnated in the flesh of our human bodies and mind.  In the week leading up to the recent conjunction between Osiris and Isis and in the week since, current events such as the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the riotous protests in Baltimore have been collective points of focus that have been both gut wrenching and heart opening.  In moments of collective trauma, especially now with the widespread access to images and information through social media, the hearts of humanity can become united to a greater extent.  This is true even in polarizing events such as the riots in Baltimore that provoke intense arguments between divergent perspectives.  The story of Isis and Osiris holds the intensity of their love that can weave together the most disparate of parts, and heal the dismembered and fractured parts of our being.  In the astrological wake of the seventh square between Pluto and Uranus, and the Libra Lunar Eclipse on April 4 that re-activated it, we have all had core emotions and issues stirred up to work through with love.

Isis by Yaroslav

Isis (2013) by Yaroslav Gerzhedovich

Isis is a synthesizer of love and wisdom from our experiences, and by transit and aspect in our natal chart the Isis asteroid (#42) signifies unity, loyalty, devotion, sustaining, reassembling, resurrection, soul retrieval, healing of fragmentation, and finding wholeness of Self in relation with the Other.  Unlike her son Horus who wanted to avenge his father’s death at the hands of Set, Isis did not attempt to destroy Set but rather through love transcended their conflict, reuniting with her lover Osiris and propelling him into a deeper realm of power as the judge of the dead in the underworld.

There are many authors who have interpreted the story of Isis and Osiris through a depth psychology perspective, and in the alchemical work of Carl Jung the goddess Isis has been linked with the Prima Materia of alchemy.  As the Prima Materia is a primal, formless Source of all matter containing All, in a similar way through time Isis became a goddess who unified many goddesses from diverse cultures into herself.  At one point, she was depicted as the wife of the pharaoh with the hieroglyph for a throne on her head, but eventually became merged with the goddess Hathor as she also became a mother depicted with the cow horns and solar disk of Hathor on her head. As the figure of Osiris gained prominence, her mythic story also shifted to incorporate him, and their story became an important mystery ritual for ages. Moreover, following the traumatic invasion of Alexander the Great through the region, a figure whose conquests linked ancient teachings from Greece through Egypt, Babylonia, and India, Isis continued to synthesize and merge with other cultures, becoming associated with Aphrodite, Demeter, and many other goddesses and known as the Queen of Heaven.

The daughter of Night (Nut) and Earth (Geb), Isis has been commonly connected to the sign of Virgo in astrology.  The Virgo rulership of Mercury is interesting to ponder in association with Isis, as Mercury can move between the upper world and underworld and weave a web of connections between seemingly disparate points of focus.  Virgo also has an archetypal link with Isis through it’s polarity with Pisces, as Isis is a mythic figure who embodies the ability to integrate the detailed practical magic of Virgo with the expansive love and compassion of Pisces that flows in search of ultimate understanding.  We can also find themes of Virgo and Pisces in the form of the winged kite that Isis transforms into when searching for her dismembered beloved:

Kites have symbolic association with the underworld and psychic regeneration similar to Isis, as red kites often feed on dead animals in addition to the smaller mammals that they hunt.  In this way they provide a service to humans and their environment by helping to dispose of the dead that could otherwise rot, and they do so with a graceful flight that is an apt image for the times we can flow within the polarity between Virgo and Pisces.  Transformed into a winged kite in search of the fragmented pieces of Osiris, Isis draws upon the detailed discernment of Virgo to not only find all of him but to also magically reanimate him through a Piscean act of love.  For these reasons Isis has also been linked to both the Virgin Mary as well as Mary Magdalene and their love for Jesus, another story with strong Virgo-Pisces themes.

With the recent conjunction of Isis with Osiris occurring in Leo, we receive guidance that courage and loyalty will be of vital importance in our journey ahead, loyalty to the pursuit of our own creative actualization in the face of societal limitations and oppressive conditions.  Isis does not call for us to be perfect, but rather to embrace our flawed humanity and live from as authentic a place as possible, full of love for the life we are living and the beloved we hold dear to our hearts.

Osiris_E3751_mp3h8829-b

Osiris (circa 664 – 332 BCE) photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr

The Osiris archetype involves themes of becoming, fertility, regeneration, individuation, destruction, death, and rebirth.  Aspects by transit or in the natal chart with the Osiris asteroid (#1923) can also connect to places we have been wounded by societal conditioning and where we need to explore and transform ourselves.  Approaching the archetype of Osiris brings us into our vast collective unconscious, as he has served as a nature god of fertility, a ruler of kingdoms, and the lord of the underworld who judges and heals the soul of the dead.  As Neptune is an astrological signifier of our collective unconscious, it is fascinating to note that the recent conjunctions of the Isis and Osiris asteroids have fallen conjunct either side of the nodes of Neptune.  The South Node of Neptune is around 11° of Aquarius, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was at or near this degree in March 2013, April 2009, and will be again in January 2017.  The North Node of Neptune is around 11° Leo, and the Osiris-Isis conjunction was near this degree in June 2011 and the current conjunction this past week was about five degrees away.  In addition, with the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in trine to transiting Neptune in Pisces, there is a significant Neptunian potential within the recently past and freshly begun cycles between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.

A clue to what this could mean exactly is found in the book Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, in which Dr. Thom Cavalli interpreted the Osiris story through an alchemical Jungian lens and connected Osiris to the Prima Materia just as other authors have connected Isis:

Osiris is a model of submission. He allows all the terrors that befall him to occur, just as the prima materia endures the tortures of the laboratory. Such deliberate sacrifice is meant to serve as a model for personal individuation. It justifies all the pain we daily suffer in order to transcend this world and leave it wiser and more enlightened. Submission and trust in this process allow love to enter the vessel. We are then embraced by the Mother and taken into her arms. Her only aim is that we bring something new and unique into the world. (p. 205)

Osiris has strong association with Scorpio and Taurus through gaining mastery of unconscious forces (Scorpio) that can be utilized as an inner resource (Taurus).  As Dr. Cavalli wrote, “Osiris, then, is the archetypal energy activating the unconscious so that it is not only a repository of memory, but also an incredible resource in everyday life” (p.41).  With the upcoming Full Moon in Scorpio being in square to Jupiter in Leo, and the new cycle between Isis and Osiris also beginning in Leo in range of a wide square to the Scorpio Full Moon, we can viscerally feel the difficulty of our path at this time and how we can feel dismembered at times by experiences of trauma and oppressive aspects of society that can condition us if we do not consciously resist them.

Yet there is Light to lead us courageously forward on our path within our conscious ego and unconscious, if only we keep faith to find and receive it.  This golden navigating ability is found within our own darkness and shadow.  As Dr. Cavalli wrote in Embodying Osiris, “From time immemorial there have been taboos to keep one from discovering this divine inner light, for unless we are ready to receive it we will either misuse this sacred light or destroy ourselves” (p. 101).  This brings up the archetype of Scorpio the Full Moon will be illuminating in a few days, and how we can find our true authenticity through the testing of taboos and boundaries of our surrounding culture no matter the temporary shaming by others it may bring.  When our passionate Leo desires help us breakthrough the rigidity of Taurus to change and merging, we can develop our inner Scorpio capacity of how to use and merge resources with other for the greater collective benefit.  Through the Pisces surrender of transiting Neptune and the Capricorn responsibility of transiting Pluto, we can flow with the changes occurring around us while standing firm within our sense of essential nature.  We can then liberate ourselves from the aspects of societal condition that go against our authenticity, not out of action that breaks cultural taboos for the sake of rebellion only, but rather for the sake of making clear choices that align with our personal truth.

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Horus in relief block from building of Amenemhat I (ca. 1981 – 1952 B.C.) in Egypt

When we additionally bring in the figure of Horus who was born from the love between Isis and Osiris, we integrate another elemental theme:  justice.  Among other significations, justice will be an essential theme of Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius, and the complex ripples of effect that are created from choices to seek vengeance out of a sense of personal or collective justice.  As Sherman Alexie wrote in his novel Flight, “Is revenge a circle inside of a circle inside of a circle?” The more we look into the conflicts surrounding us in our collective, the more we can see perpetuating cycles of wrongs being attempted to be made right.  Horus is the child of Isis and Osiris and the restorer of justice for Osiris, focused on avenging his father through removing Set from power. In Embodying Osiris: The Secrets of Alchemical Transformation, Dr. Thom Cavalli portrayed Horus as a liberator of humankind’s individuality in the face of collective conditioning, “representing the incorporation of inner values and with it, an individuation process that perfects the uncivilized shadow that dwells within each of us” (p. 185). As Osiris ultimately judged the souls of the dead in balance with the feather of Ma’at, Dr. Cavalli wrote that this desired quality of ma’a-kheru that can be translated as “true of voice” can also be applied to individuals such as Horus who come to terms with “their own heart rather than merely giving blind obedience to the state” (p. 185).

Fascinatingly, the Horus asteroid (#1924) has been transiting conjunct Venus in Gemini this week during the initiation of a new phase between the Isis and Osiris asteroids.  As transiting Venus is the ruler of the transiting North Node of the Moon in Libra, and Pluto retrograde in Capricorn is still within range of a square to the lunar nodes, there is an evolutionary potential for each of us to gain a greater sense of our true heart and voice within the societal dynamics surrounding us.  In this way whatever has been frustrating as an obstacle or limitation, or even as an oppressive source of suffering, can be seen in another way as a force demanding that we speak and embody our truth.

References

Cavalli, Thom. (2010). Embodying Osiris: the Secrets of Alchemical Transformation. Quest Books.

Saturn in Sagittarius

Saturn in Sagittarius infrared rings

Saturn’s rings in infrared courtesy of NASA

Saturn in Sagittarius

On December 23, 2014 following a Solstice New Moon, the demanding task-master Saturn entered the shifting, fiery, and focused sign of Sagittarius.  This new transit of Saturn in Sagittarius has resonance with the Solstice, as Saturn will not leave Sagittarius for good until the Capricorn Solstice of 2017.  Saturn holds together the structure of our consciousness within our skeletal system on a personal level, and on a collective level coordinates the innumerable ingredients that form our consensus reality, or the predominant agreements that define what we mean by “reality.”  Saturn has a palpable impact on our lives by transit, and we can immediately feel the impact following its ingress into a new sign through personal experiences and collective events.  For example, both the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical Parisian newspaper that sparked the “Je suis Charlie” movement around freedom of expression, and the publicity surrounding the plan of Pope Francis to present an encyclical on climate change that will urge action are signs reflecting the shift of Saturn into Sagittarius.

Yet to claim I know that these recent events are connected with Saturn shifting into Sagittarius from a tropical zodiac perspective brings up the potential shadow of Saturn in Sagittarius reflected by a rigid belief that “I know.”  In the recent massacre in Paris, dogmatic religious beliefs led the perpetrators to believe that they “knew” that their violent terrorism was justified, just as in 1956 when Saturn was previously in Sagittarius the racist beliefs of White Southerners in the United States led them to believe that their violent terrorism against Black Southerners protesting for equal rights was justified.  Cultivating a perspective that we “do not know” with Saturn in Sagittarius will help us open our mind to direct experience of the moment that is less conditioned by our previous beliefs and cultural understanding.

“Not knowing” also connects with how Carl Jung’s idea of archetypes has been integrated into astrology, in that although Jung saw archetypes as being archaic patterns connected to the farthest reaches of time, he also defined the concept of archetypes as a manifestation of archaic patterns that are forever changing.  It is worth remembering that when Jung described the meaning of archetypes, he said that we can never actually consciously “know” them, we can only deduce their meaning as reflected in such things as stories, symbols, and images.  Astrology or any other methodology of belief we utilize to help us navigate our reality can lead us astray when what we believe we know becomes so crystallized that our fixation on our own perspective causes us to be in denial of our actual reality.  While this is one potential pitfall of Saturn in Sagittarius, at the same time Saturn in Sagittarius brings the potential to deepen our understanding of reality through focused exploration of a belief system, practice, or subject matter.

Saturn in Sagittarius centaur

Fresco by Baldassare Tommaso Peruzzi (1520)

Bearing in mind that our current transit of Saturn through Sagittarius is within a different astrological climate and collective milieu than previous Saturn in Sagittarius transits, we can draw upon archetypal understanding of Sagittarius to give us a perspective upon potential matters Saturn will concretize in our life.  The two most common images associated with Sagittarius are the Archer and the Centaur, and both cast their shadow over astrological analysis of Saturn’s time in this mutable fire sign.  The archer embodies the active, focused, and disciplined side of Sagittarius, as we will be called upon to take action on our visions that arose to our awareness during Saturn’s time in Scorpio.  To be successful we will need to apply the determined concentration of an archer keyed into a target, and in Sagittarius we will want this goal to be deeply resonant with the purpose and meaning we are currently finding in our life experience.

In the centaur we find unity beyond the duality of animalistic instincts and human rationalism, and connection with Creation and Nature.  As a result Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius is timely in addressing collective crises involving the quality of life in our water, in our air, and in the plants, animals, and life inhabiting our Earth.  In the figure of the evolved centaur Chiron, we find union with the medicine of creation and everything in our surroundings.  Chiron cultivated wholistic practices to create greater energetic balance, such as herbalism, astrology, meditation, and the martial arts.  During Saturn’s time in Sagittarius, we will have an opportunity to sharpen our skills and knowledge in daily practice, study, or exploration of a structured belief system that brings us greater understanding into not only the nature of our reality, but into our daily action and movement.  We also may come into conflict with others studying the same general subjects of focus from a different perspective of belief, especially in fields such as Astrology, Economics, Politics, and Religion that have a high level of theoretical underpinnings.  Ideally, by keeping an open mind in our dialogues with others, instead of defensively debating without listening to the other perspective, we can gain a sharper focus into the depths under sourcing our beliefs through cultivating thoughtful conversations with people holding vastly different perspectives.

The Guru is another strong association we have with Sagittarius, and Chiron was the guru of not only the centaurs, but countless humans who came to him at a pivotal stage of their hero’s journey.  When learning from guru sources, whether in an actual person or in a body of knowledge, we will want to remain rooted in our direct experience instead of over-consumed by the experience of the guru source.  The more we ground our learning into our daily life, we will glean the message most essential for us on a personal level, and this message then will become something we can offer to others in our community.  Yet, remembering the shadow side of Sagittarius, there is also the potential to become self-absorbed when digesting profound belief systems, with the danger of becoming so narcissistic in our integration of knowledge that we begin to unleash dogmatic diatribes or self-righteous preaching to others in our environment.  Ambition can overcome us in Sagittarius through overconsumption with desires for personal recognition, burning desire for whatever we desire, with self-centered awareness of the impact of personal action on others in the surrounding environment.  Unfortunately, where dogmatism and violent extremist behavior intersect, Saturn in Sagittarius will bring us face to face with with explosive traumatic events in the collective propagated by terrorists as well as heads of state.

Excess of all sorts can be found in the shadow of Sagittarius, a sign ruled by Jupiter.  Jupiter is also known as a guru and teacher, a storyteller whose narratives reveal our underlying nature.  Just as we can become excessively self-righteous, we can also become excessively self-critical, and Saturn in Sagittarius also carries a message for those who have been fearfully holding themselves back from their full actualization in the world around them.  Astrologer Liz Greene in her classic Saturn: a New Look at an Old Devil analyzed that a fear of failure is vital to overcome when Jupiter and Saturn are working together in our birth chart, because it can take courage to follow the intuitive guidance of Jupiter when its visionary quality calls us to leave the comfort zone of our consensus cultural conditioning.  If we allow our Saturn side to inhibit our Jupiter side, we can play it safe working a job that meets our basic survival needs yet does not serve the needs of our deeper Self that our Jupiter side can sense.  Sagittarius is a sign of vision, and Saturn here brings opportunity to take concrete action to structure our life around transformative impulses that transition us away from where we have been previously repressing ourselves through a limitation of belief:

Jupiter’s function in a psychological sense seems to be connected with the intuition and the faculty of creative imagination or visualisation. It is this intuitive faculty which responds to the meaning of a symbol and which makes us capable of apprehending the basic meaning or “soul” of an experience or a person without prior analysis. The direct experience of the inner world of meaning establishes the quality which we term faith; it is not built on any deductive reasoning nor on any practical experience, and it is not- contrary to the usual definition of the word- belief in the sense that it is a wish for something to be true. The man who has genuine faith has it because he knows, in an intuitive and non-rational way, that there is meaning and purpose to his experience and that it will unfold according to a pattern which contains intrinsic wisdom and purpose . . . The contact of Jupiter with Saturn appears to suggest the psychological necessity of transforming this faith into practical living so that the individual can live out what he intuitively senses to be the purpose of his life.    –Liz Greene, p. 122-123, Saturn: a New Look at an Old Devil

Saturn in Sagittarius will test our personal truth, bringing experiences that will challenge whether or not the vision we believe embodies our authenticity is taking us on a journey for a holy grail or a false grail.  The self-absorbed side of Sagittarius can also lead us to become encaved in isolation while taking in new forms of knowledge that bring us a satisfying sense that we are undergoing a significant process of individuation, and yet at the same time a realization that we have become detached from our surrounding community.  The polarity of Gemini to Sagittarius brings a movement to communicate the visionary Sagittarian ideas back into our collective, with a Mercurial sense of how to express our new insights in a medium of expression that can be understood by others, bridging our new vision with the prevailing one.  As easy as it is to write this or read this in a sentence, it is much more challenging to put into practice, and each lunar month this dynamic of Saturn in Sagittarius will be triggered by the Moon passing through the opposite degree of Gemini, as well as in April – June 2015 when Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the Sun pass through Gemini in opposition to Saturn in Sagittarius.

Saturn in Sagittarius ultraviolet rings

Saturn’s rings in ultraviolet courtesy of NASA

The mutable and expansive nature of Sagittarius is vital to comprehend when discerning how the current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius fits inside a different astrological context than past transits.  Saturn in Sagittarius has already entered a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, and will eventually also move into a square aspect with Chiron in Pisces:  both of these are last quarter squares signifying as Dane Rudhyar taught, a crisis in consciousness. Jupiter will also become mutable in 2015 when it enters Virgo, eventually leading to a last quarter square between Jupiter in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As the lunar nodes will also shift in 2015 into the South Node of the Moon occupying Pisces, and the North Node of the Moon occupying Virgo, the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius marks the beginning of a new transitionary time of mutability that could feel chaotic at times within the falling apart of the familiar.

A Sagittarius Saturn in square to a Pisces Neptune initiates our entrance into this mutable time portal of decomposition that could lead to disillusionment, and many astrologers feel this intense Saturn-Neptune aspect could encase a sobering, leadening restraint around our personal dreams.  There remains potential within this aspect to build and structure significant steps along a path leading to our cherished vision, but in general this will be a time of gaining deeper awareness into the meaning behind our vision.  The last quarter square, the phase that Saturn in Sagittarius will experience with Neptune in Pisces, Chiron in Pisces, and Jupiter in Virgo, is a crisis of thought in which our old beliefs are called into question as we realize our old values and life structures no longer align with our evolving consciousness.  While this can be a time of deconstruction, destructuring, and deconditioning, we can also realize what aspects of our old belief and value system holds authentic truth to sustain as a point of focus. Saturn will move back into Scorpio during the Summer of the Northern Hemisphere and Winter of the Southern Hemisphere, and ideally this will re-connect us with one of the most important themes of Saturn in Scorpio:  honesty.  Sagittarius can have issues with dishonesty, and so we can keep in mind that one of the best remedies to help keep us honest is a staunch commitment to utilizing self-reflection to avoid being in denial.

Since Saturn in Sagittarius is a mutable fire sign, it will prod us into being actively engaged with the obstacles and challenges associated with the first quarter square between Pluto in Capricorn and Uranus in Aries, and all the deep shattering of personal and societal systems that have come with it.  In March 2015, Saturn in Sagittarius will station retrograde within a week of the final of the seven squares between Pluto and Uranus, after which we will finally move beyond the demarcation of their first quarter square.  Saturn asks us to be accountable for our choices that align with our goals, and while Sagittarius is an ambitious sign of determination, it’s mutable nature will allow our vision to shift in accordance with the manner in which our sense of personal truth evolves in the face of coming experiences. The inherent quality of our vision, and whether it is essentially about our own self-interest or serves the true needs of our surroundings, is key.  The fiery nature of Sagittarius brings a more inspirational, courageous, and creative initiative to Saturn, yet this same quality has the negative potential of selfishness, opportunism, and a lack of awareness of how our actions impact others.  Remembering the sextile between Sagittarius with Aquarius and Libra, it will be helpful to utilize objectifying self-reflection to be present with how well we are listening to the needs of our many relationships and how well we are responding.

The meaning of Saturn’s transit in Sagittarius changes generationally, yet there is a common thread through differing cosmic climates as can be seen in a list of famous individuals born at different times with Saturn in Sagittarius:  pop stars Madonna and Lady Gaga, civil rights leaders Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, the shadowy Osama Bin Laden and Heinrich Himmler (leading figure of Nazi Germany), and bringers of light Anne Frank and Teresa of Avila.  Charles Darwin, a man whose theoretical scientific research helped to fundamentally change the way the general human populace views reality, was also born with a Saturn in Sagittarius conjunct Neptune in Sagittarius and his Ascendant in Sagittarius.  One theme of Saturn’s time in Sagittarius that will be strong in the coming years will be the connection of Sagittarius with personal truth and law, in particular the interplay between natural law and human-made law.  There was a compelling synchronicity that as Saturn entered Sagittarius this past month it was conjunct the Themis asteroid #24, as Themis is a daughter of Gaia and the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom.  One battleground we will obviously see debates raging over law, legislation, and our natural environment will be climate change, and so it is fascinating that at the same time that Saturn entered Sagittarius it became widely publicized that Pope Francis would be forthcoming with an encyclical urging action that would be distributed throughout the global Catholic network of priests.

Pope Francis and Saturn in Sagittarius

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is an insightful figure to think about in connection with our current transit of Saturn in Sagittarius, and indeed he was born with his Sun conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Sagittarius.  While he inherently takes the role as a leader of a dogmatic religion into every environment he enters, he also has evolved the vision underlying the way in which his papal role interacts on the global stage.  First and foremost, he is our first Pope Francis, evoking the figure of Saint Francis who was an instrument of Spirit on behalf of the poor, the outcast, and the natural world.  Saint Francis never took vows of chastity or demanded conformity to all of the regulated rules of the Christian Church, and also was open to women taking on equal roles of spiritual authority.  Saint Francis lived a life of poverty and only asked to love Nature and for each to love and know God according to their own capacity.  The choice of Pope Francis to actively encourage action on climate change evokes the love of Saint Francis for creation, and is a use of his spiritual authority on behalf of nature and humanity.

Pope Francis has also re-focused the attention of the papacy on people living in poverty around the world, and he has made a constant effort to put humans first from a perspective that humans are part of creation and are not meant to be instruments of some industrial machine.  In a Christmas speech he criticized the existential schizophrenia of a Vatican he sees as being filled with gossip and rivalry, with priests hiding behind papers as part of a mechanism instead of opening up with human sensitivity to others.  Pope Francis was also instrumental in the process of President Obama opening up diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, and he also seems to be intent on breaking through places of crystallized, dogmatic separation between world leaders.

One of Saturn’s three trips through Sagittarius in the 20th Century was between the years of 1956 to 1958, and at this time another leader who became the voice of those oppressed and in poverty arose in prominence, Dr. Martin Luther King.  Martin Luther King was born with a Saturn in Sagittarius and experienced an extraordinary Saturn return that began during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, leading to his home being burned down by Southern racists at the end of January 1956 with Saturn at the early degrees of Sagittarius. When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, sparking the extraordinary Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Saturn was at the end of its transit of Scorpio.  There is some resonance here with our own recent time of Saturn closing out a transit of Scorpio, with a number of protest movements arising around issues of oppression.  What made the Montgomery Bus Boycotts so incredible was the amount of collective commitment and creative strategizing that was employed to shut down the system.

Martin Luther King and Saturn in Sagittarius

Martin Luther King during the Montgomery bus boycott of 1956

The year of 1956 when Saturn entered Sagittarius around January 13 has some similarities with Saturn’s transit in 2015, as just like this year Saturn stationed retrograde in March 1956 and then moved back into Scorpio again for a few months.  During Saturn’s initial time in Sagittarius the Montgomery activists faced a strong pushback from the legal system, including Martin Luther King being ordered to pay a fine or serve time in jail around the time Saturn stationed in March.  King’s decision to serve time in jail helped propel the movement further through media coverage, and by November 1956 when Saturn had returned again to Sagittarius the Supreme Court outlawed segregation on bus lines.

There remains the possibility that some of the investigations conducted by the U.S. federal government into the police killing of black men that dominated the headlines during 2014 will also lead to federal intervention through the legal system.  What is clear is that there is clear resonance between the rise of Martin Luther King into prominence when Saturn entered Sagittarius in 1956 with today’s transit, as well as the fact that events in Selma, Alabama that Martin Luther King was actively engaged in during the time of the Pluto and Uranus conjunction in 1965 have now been released as a major Hollywood film at this current time of the Pluto and Uranus square and Saturn again in Sagittarius.  King’s courageous, impassioned leadership combined with his role as a religious authority has clear connection to Saturn in Sagittarius, and his ability to stir up a collective torrent of debate over beliefs while remaining constant with a message of love in the face of hatred holds a powerful lesson that remains significant today to learn from:

If we are arrested every day, if we are exploited every day, if we are trampled over every day, don’t ever let anyone pull you so low as to hate them. We must use the weapon of love. We must have compassion and understanding for those who hate us. We must realize so many people are taught to hate us that they are not totally responsible for their hate. But we stand in life at midnight, we are always on the threshold of a new dawn.

— Dr. Martin Luther King in a speech during the Montgomery bus boycotts

A further interesting connection with the figure and life of Martin Luther King and the upcoming mutable astrology time period is that Dr. King had a mutable t-square in his chart, with Mars in Gemini (2nd House) opposite Saturn in Sagittarius (8th House) with both in square to the Moon in Pisces (11th House).  Martin Luther King was able to use this intense mutable aspect in his chart to be a powerful storyteller and speaker who could communicate a message embodying deep meaning while being understood by a wide populace.  In our current upcoming transit, we can all learn from King’s ability to take decisive action when the time calls for action, and to communicate a heart-centered message of love while creating opportunities for discussion on societal issues that need to be addressed and not covered up or ignored.

The next period with Saturn in Sagittarius was between the years of 1986 and 1988, and during the entire transit Saturn was approaching a conjunction with Uranus that happened at the very end of Sagittarius.  There were once again strong African American voices in American culture in this period, for example with Jesse Jackson running for President, but most dominant in popular culture was the pre-eminence of Hip Hop in American popular music.  Two groups arose to celebrity status during the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius that exemplified it’s themes:  Public Enemy, whose 1987 album had the Sagittarian title Yo! Bum Rush the Show, and N.W.A. who released Straight Outta Compton at the end of Saturn’s transit in Sagittarius and made famous the Sagittarian line, “You are about to witness the strength of street knowledge.”

However, collectively the most major shift that occurred during this time was in Eastern Europe as the movements that led to widespread revolution in the region and later epochal events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic took place.  While these later events occurred during Saturn’s transit of Capricorn, there were pivotal developments that made them possible during the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius such as Perestroika in the Soviet Union.  For example in Poland, a country that used the political innovation of “Round Table agreements” to facilitate a democracy that would give them greater independence, there were a series of crucial strikes that happened in 1988 with Saturn in Sagittarius that were essential.  Similarly, our current transit of Sagittarius will bring opportunities for collective movements that could lead to huge structural and systematic changes in four or five years.

Saturn in Sagittarius and Capricorn

Zodiac frieze from Venice, Italy (1530-40) courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art

Saturn in Sagittarius is currently in a balsamic phase with Pluto in Capricorn, and so we are in a time of clearing, re-seeding, and re-visioning in their cycle until the beginning of 2020 when Saturn becomes conjunct Pluto at 23 degrees of Capricorn.  Jupiter will also be in Capricorn in 2020, and around the Capricorn Solstice on December 21, 2020, the next conjunction in the Saturn and Jupiter cycle will occur at 00º29′ Aquarius.  As a result Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius is a key transition to this incredibly important 2020 time period.

However, let’s not forget Uranus, the next planet beyond Saturn and important player in Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius.  Saturn in Sagittarius will form a trine with Uranus in Aries in 2016, and in 2015 Jupiter in Leo will be trine to Uranus in Aries on March 3 and on June 22.  As a result in the next six months the Jupiter and Uranus cycle can help us unlock the Saturn gates of our consciousness to more expansive perspectives, and then later in August 2015 when we hit the last quarter square between Jupiter in Leo and a stationing direct Saturn in Scorpio, we will face challenges and even crises forcing us to critically examine what in our life needs to be discarded and let go and what is essential to keep as we begin to focus on what we will utilize in seeding our future.

We end with a few quotes from Anne Frank, who was born with Saturn in Sagittarius:

“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”

“There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.”

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.”

©2015 Gray Crawford Astrology, All Rights Reserved

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.