Full Moon in Aries

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Gold Ram amulet  (ca 712 – 664 B.C.)

Aries Full Moon

The Full Moon in Aries arrives with a jolt within deeply shifting, turbulent astrological atmosphere.  The Moon full of light in Aries calls us to show up with courage to areas of life and relationship needing our undivided attention.  Aries stokes the flames of our personal sovereignty and drive to passionately go after what we want, and since the Full Moon is applying to a square with Pluto the associated feelings can erupt with immense force from our depths.  Pluto in Capricorn stationed direct last week, and the lord of the Kuiper belt underworld is barely beginning to move forward as the Full Moon peaks.  When Pluto stations in stillness it becomes necessary to address whatever feelings or needs that emerge into our awareness from subconscious burial grounds.

Pluto has its reputation for initiating us into underworld journeys for a reason, as its transit pulls us into the deepest parts of our soul, making us aware of desires we may have been resisting or denying.  Pluto in Capricorn also serves as a collective symbol of the gross inequities and oppression saturating hierarchical power structures around our planet, as well as the devastating impact numerous recent natural disasters have had on humanity that desperately are in need of systematic aid in recovery.   The Full Moon in Aries incites personal feelings to both liberate ourselves from past repression and persecution as well as to take direct action to assist others around us struggling with systematic obstacles.

In addition, last week saw the third and final exact opposition form between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries.  While this full phase between Jupiter and Uranus has multitudes of historical examples in which dynamic new horizons in art, science, philosophy and more open up, forever transforming collective worldviews, the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus also has a disruptive, dismantling impact that can feel unsettling.  Immense change amid destruction of the old occurs when Jupiter and Uranus face off, and the revolutionary fervor they inspire can be directed toward protest action in support of human and natural rights as well as by others to expand the power of certain groups over others.  When waves of change can be felt within the collective, people used to old ways that now feel threatened often react with extreme willfulness in trying to hold tight to the way things have been done before. Violent clashes and warfare often erupt alongside the creative emancipation that Jupiter and Uranus also foster.  Those in power or seeking power engage in the shadow side of Jupiter and Uranus that involves attempts to claim greater power for themselves without considering the full ramification on others.

Jupiter in Libra is now pulling away from its harmonious sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius, but Saturn does continue to form stabilizing aspects with both Jupiter and Uranus.  Saturn in Sagittarius can help temper the tumult of Jupiter and Uranus on personal levels by living and expressing oneself in accordance with inner values and integrity, being mindful of how our behavior impacts others.  While a lot of devastating and tragic events have been happening in current events, on personal levels for those fortunate to be able to work on projects of passion, the interplay between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus has brought the ability to experience breakthroughs into higher stages of development of whatever we have been working on.

The Full Moon in Aries brings the opportunity to reflect upon the transit of Jupiter in Libra we have experienced in the past year.  Jupiter in Libra is still visible at the time of the Full Moon, but soon thereafter will disappear under the beams of the Sun and become invisible to us in the sky while it undergoes regeneration.  Within the waning cycle of this lunation phase, Jupiter will ingress into Scorpio where it will eventually unite with the Sun on its way to becoming visible again in morning skies in mid November.  Think back across this past year and all of the changes brought about in correspondence with Jupiter moving through the sign of the Scales since it first moved into Libra on September 9, 2016.  Jupiter is about the wisdom we gain from our experience in life with all of its associated difficulties and inspiration.  Taking time to sift through associated experiences with Jupiter in Libra will help coalesce meaning that will be vital to integrate as we enter into a year ahead of Jupiter in Scorpio.

two lovers japanese print

Suzuki Harunobu (1766-69) Two Lovers Playing a Single Shamesin

Venus and Mars Unite

For those who look ahead to aspects surrounding future astrological transits, the Full Moon in Aries has been circled far in advance due to Venus and Mars uniting in the sign of Virgo at the same time.  Amazingly, Venus and Mars will begin a new cycle in Virgo at the same time the opposition between the Sun and Moon is peaking.  The Sun is in Libra, the home of Venus, with the Moon forming a polarity in the sign of Aries, the home of Mars.   Venus and Mars became tantalizingly close to one another back in January through March of 2017 before Venus stationed retrograde and moved away from Mars.  Many plans were altered and changed during the Venus retrograde period and thereafter, while other plans continued to develop amid changes and now are coming together in greater strength.  The cycle between Venus and Mars is one of the most important to pay attention to in astrology, and when they come together we are ready to give birth to new forms in our life.

Venus and Mars uniting in Virgo, the home and exaltation of Mercury, brings the opportunity to become fully present in the moment and discern underlying issues occurring in our relationships.  Venus and Mars both enjoy being in Earth signs, and Virgo is an especially sensual and erotic sign for their union which can be enjoyed within romantic relations.  Virgo is also an in-between sign of transitions and spreading messages, and so we can notice what changes can be felt within our relationships and how we can bring about reparation and reconciliation wherever needed.  Virgo also brings resources for Venus and Mars to use in service to others in need, as well as in service to improving how we relate to others.  We can gain critical insight into our past relationships with others and make adjustments from a healthy place of inner healing rather than from harshly negative self judgment that can become projected at others.

The last time Venus and Mars united was also in Virgo as Morning Stars in November 2015.  During the past cycles of Venus and Mars we went through an intense Mars retrograde in 2016 and Venus retrograde in 2017 that both featured intense aspects with Saturn in Sagittarius.  The current union of Venus and Mars in Virgo also involves a challenging square aspect with Saturn, as both Venus and Mars will be applying to a square with Saturn after uniting.  Saturn’s presence here demands honesty and coming to terms with whatever has been happening in our reality, stripping away illusions.  Venus and Mars uniting in square with Saturn carries enormous potential for finding and developing the structures necessary to protect and nurture the new forms we are bringing into our life in correlation with Venus and Mars.

Fascinatingly, the next time Venus and Mars unite will also be in Virgo in August 2019 though they will be neither Morning Stars nor Evening Stars at that time but rather in their invisible, liminal transition.    Just as we can look back and learn from the passage of Jupiter through Libra in this past year, so can we look back two years to the beginning of the past Venus and Mars cycle to learn from our experiences.  Venus and Mars in Virgo are in a perfect place to analyze our experience and integrate the needed lessons while letting go of what no longer serves us.

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Print of Adriaen Collaeret’s image of Mercury in decorative frame (ca 1600-30)

Mercury in Libra

At the time of the Full Moon, Mercury is combust under the beams of the Sun and approaching its superior conjunction with the Sun which will occur on Sunday 8 October 2017.  At its superior conjunction Mercury is on the other side of the Sun from our Earth in its orbit, moving at a quicker pace through the zodiac than it does when uniting with the Sun while moving retrograde in between our orbit with the Sun.  When Mercury enters the heart of the Sun on October 8 all of Mercury’s significations will be strengthened and empowered.  However, at the time of the Full Moon Mercury is at the very end of its cycle and undergoing a purification process that is ultimately bringing regenerative strength but while in the process all of Mercury’s connections may not be firing as quickly and sharply as normal.

Mercury being close to the Sun in Libra is further interesting since Mars and Venus are uniting at the same time in the home and exaltation of Mercury.  Mercury enjoys being in air signs and can help us focus on communication within our relationships to find greater balance on all levels.  Within the tumultuous astrological atmosphere, we will be working on balance with others as well as within ourselves between our conscious awareness and unconscious.  After being reborn in the fiery solar rays, Mercury will head into a direct square with Pluto followed by a sextile with Saturn and then an opposition with Uranus in Aries between October 9 and October 15.  At the end of the current lunar cycle in the dark of the Moon in Libra on October 18, Mercury will unite with Jupiter at the very beginning of Scorpio.

One of the best gifts Mercury in Libra can give us is in simply listening.  We can more deeply listen to our own inner needs, as well as more deeply listen to the needs being expressed by others in our relationships without distorting their words and underlying connective feeling with our own agenda and judgment.  Mercury in Libra also brings the gift of being able to trouble shoot impasses and conflicts with the ability to say the right thing at the right time to bring about mediation or improved harmony.

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3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Aries falls in the second face of Aries associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  As the second decan of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a proud figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second decan of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth and rulership to this face.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second decan of Aries.  Coppock described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).  Persephone is an interesting noble figure from myth who can give birth to worlds who is attributed to this face by ancient text, as the Queen of the underworld appears in the fragmentary Hellenistic text the 36 Airs.

The current astrological atmosphere of Jupiter and Uranus peaking in opposition with Pluto stationing direct has been intensifying inner dynamics at the same time external, global events around our planet continue to cause indescribable suffering and destruction. We are at a collective crossroads, and when facing the darkness of the unknown at such soulful intersections, we can turn to inner guidance and the intermediary forces that help us remember the threads and path of our destiny.  We remember the gifts we hold within and realize the good we can help bring about by developing them to share with others in our wider community.  The Full Moon in Aries is ideal for discerning what we have to share as well as for how to more effectively find outlets of expression to those who can benefit from what we have to share.

References

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

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New Moon & Uranus in Aries

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Birth of a Galaxy (1969) by Max Ernst

The New Moon on April 7 is aligned with Uranus in Aries and animates the creative field within, inciting feelings and visions of the extraordinary life we wish to manifest.   This is the first lunar cycle to follow the deep dark purging and regeneration of the previous lunar month that began with an incredibly potent Total Solar Eclipse in Pisces and peaked with  a Lunar Eclipse in Libra.  One theme of the previous lunar cycle was dredging up old wounds, patterns, attachments, and karmic complexes in need of awareness and decomposition, creating a fertile matrix through which to reveal a brighter, more essential presence.  In contrast to the blackest black sourcing of the previous lunar cycle that held the cosmic seed of potential, this New Moon in Aries gives birth to a new lunar cycle awash in flames of fiery rhapsody.  Though there are fireworks embedded in this Aries New Moon, however, the lunar cycle that commences is filled with chthonic and constrictive forces in the form of both a Mars retrograde and Mercury retrograde that will initiate during the waxing and waning of our lunar sphere.

Uranus is known as a planet that corresponds with the great revolutions of humanity, a maverick transpersonal force correlating to electrifying, liberating, shocking, and traumatic experiences.  Uranus is an awakener, a force that goes beyond human sensitivities of what feels good and nurturing versus what feels scary and troubling.  In the end when working with Uranus, it is a matter of how much you feel alive and able to radiate your being into your surroundings more so than whether or not you have the material comforts and ideal relationships in your life.  It is possible to direct the vivifying, creative matrix of Uranus toward the matter and relationships you want to develop in your life, however, and this New Moon brings an ideal opportunity to set intentions for a radical vision of what can be manifested in life.

Uranus can be a liberating force, yet in the transpersonal, unconscious realm it activates we can also find ourselves acting in scenes and faced with choices that mirror past repetitive patterns.  The liberating potential Uranus brings is the possibility that we have broken free of our old mindset and can now make a radically different and supremely empowering choice.  With this in mind, consider that Uranus in Aries is now three degrees away from its square with Pluto in Capricorn as Pluto is beginning to station retrograde.  This New Moon conjoining Uranus as a result marks a turning point in the square between Uranus and Pluto that has dominated astrology for the past several years, as Uranus will now begin to slowly separate.  While the Pluto and Uranus square is still in orb and still in effect, this New Moon offers the opportunity to embrace the Uranian side of the equation and break free from Plutonic resistance to working toward a liberated vision of what life could be.

elective-affinities

Elective Affinities (1933) by Rene Magritte

Mars is the ruler of this New Moon in Aries, yet the primal yang nature of Mars is full of constriction and constraint since Mars is stationing retrograde in range of a conjunction with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius.  Mars is going to barely move during the upcoming lunar cycle, and by the time the Moon waxes full Mars will be retrograde.  There is no way to fully know at this Aries New Moon what is to come in the upcoming Mars retrograde, and though it may lead to separation or loss from some current desires, this New Moon is a perfect time to gain clarity within the structure and pressure of Saturn for the core desires to forge in the fires of the pending Mars retrograde.

Mars is also in range of a square to Neptune in Pisces, while the Aries New Moon is in square with Pluto in Capricorn.  Furthermore, the Aries New Moon is in trine to Saturn in Sagittarius as Saturn’s retrograde movement is leading it backward toward squares with both Jupiter in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  Mars direct yet deeply constrained in forward momentum lights an inner fire increasing in magnitude yet lacking a full release.  There is enormous potency felt, an intuition of incredible change on the horizon, yet it is a slowly simmering sense of something cooking and incubating rather than full ripeness ready for birth.

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The Cardinals are Dying (1962) by Max Ernst

Venus is in early Aries, the home of Mars, at the New Moon following a Dark Moon in Aries that occults Venus at the first degree of Aries.  Venus is applying to a first quarter trine with Mars in the blackness of the new lunation, further activating a fiery sense of purposeful potential to initiate.  Venus in Aries is a strong signifier for self-empowerment and interdependent empowerment of those we are in relationship with.  In the morning sky, Venus is still visible at the time of the Aries New Moon but on the brink of making a disappearance under the beams of the Sun.  During the upcoming lunar cycle Venus will become invisible within our solar rays, entering into a purification process that will last until the end of July 2016 when Venus reappears as an Evening Star.  This New Moon is ideal for opening to receive a message concerning expression and embodiment of your Venusian nature.

Mercury is now in Taurus, the home of Venus, where the winged messenger will reside for the next two months.  Mercury is now increasing in light as an Evening Star and in a phase that will facilitate integration of all of the old karmic material stirred up by the past lunar cycle of eclipses.  Mercury in Taurus can assist in developing grounded processes that can cultivate growth from a perspective focused upon long-term rewards rather than immediate gratification, yet Hermes in the home of Venus will also delight in sensual, hedonistic pleasure when given the opportunity.  Mercury will station retrograde at the end of April resulting in Mercury remaining in Taurus through June 12, yet the Evening Star phase occurring now is a unique part of the journey to savor.

In addition to Mercury gracing our sunset as an Evening Star, a magnificent omen appearing as the Sun falls below the horizon is Jupiter rising in the east in the tropical sign of Virgo and the constellation of the Lion.  Jupiter can now be watched in the sky all night long and offers himself as a wishing star for your grandest dreams and ambitions.

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3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The second face of Aries where the New Moon arises is associated with the Three of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  As the second decan of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find a very solar image in this card of a proud figuring overlooking a numinous landscape from a mountainous peak.  There are ships heading off into the vast expanse beyond into other worlds for communication and commerce.  Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy ascribed an image made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and a great dominion to the second decan of Aries, and ancient texts are filled with the attribution of images linked to wealth, high rank, and rulership to this face.

The Sun as ruler of the second face of Aries is further strengthened by the Aries New Moon conjoining the exact degree of the Sun’s exaltation, enlivening the solar symbolism of this face and one’s capacity to vigorously initiate purposeful enterprises.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces described the focus of this face as being “the world which emanates from an individual” and “the qualities which they choose to embody” (p. 59).  Coppock wrote that the ability to create one’s own world found in this face leads to not only the attraction and magnetism of others of like-mind, but also to “the key to creating pocket realities which do not obey the laws of the collective reality field in which they exist” (p. 60).

With the New Moon conjoining Uranus, as well as in range of a conjunction with the paradigm bursting dwarf planet Eris, the opportunity found within the fiery electric aspects of this New Moon to manifest radical vision should be seized and not taken lightly.  Glory may fade, but in the fearless splendor of striving for our deepest desires despite the perpetual possibility of heartbreak we discover the sacred.  The ability to integrate the transpersonal, liberating, and shocking realm of Uranus into the creation of artistic worlds was described by Virginia Woolf in Moments of Being:

And so I go on to suppose that the shock-receiving capacity is what makes me a writer. I hazard the explanation that a shock is at once in my case followed by the desire to explain it. I feel that I have had a blow; but it is not, as I thought as a child, simply a blow from an enemy hidden behind the cotton wool of daily life; it is or will become a revelation of some order; it is a token of some real thing behind appearances; and I make it real by putting it into words.  It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together.  Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me.  It is the rapture I get when in writing I seem to be discovering what belongs to what; making a scene come right; making a character come together. From this I reach what I might call a philosophy; at any rate it is a constant idea of mine; that behind the cotton wool is hidden a pattern; that we-  I mean all human beings-  are connected with this; that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art.  Hamlet or a Beethoven quartet is the truth about this vast mass that we call the world. But there is no Shakespeare, there is no Beethoven; certainly and emphatically there is no God; we are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.  And I see this when I have a shock.

— Virginia Woolf

References

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

Woolf, Virginia. (1976). Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace & Company.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Aries Lunar Eclipse

Limestone Ram’s head from Egypt (300 – 400 B.C.)

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

On September 27 or 28 depending upon time zone, a total Lunar Eclipse in Aries will arise in which our Moon will turn blood red in the shadow of our Sun.  Since this eclipse is also a Super Moon, it will have a more direct, palpable impact on us than a standard Full Moon. You may question the hullabaloo astrologers make about the transformative potential of eclipses such as this one, when you know that astrologers tend to make a big deal about transits on a regular basis, and we always have at least four eclipses occur every year.  If you spend more time exploring eclipses, however, you will soon recognize that many periods of your life that suddenly took on a completely different trajectory had eclipses as part of the initiation.  This Lunar Eclipse truly does portend breakthrough experiences, not only because of it being total and the Moon being at it’s closest orbit to Earth, but also because of surrounding transits such as Pluto stationing direct, Mars square Saturn, Venus trine Uranus, and the conjunction of Mercury retrograde with the Sun.

This Aries Lunar Eclipse is total because the Full Moon and the Sun are only a few degrees away from the North and South Nodes of the Moon, creating the optical effect of a rosy red Moon from the Sun’s shadow.  Dane Rudhyar viewed this solar shadow on the Moon as symbolizing the present overcoming the past, as our solar awareness and purpose veils the lunar impact of past conditioning on our present consciousness and we can consequently embody a presence less attached to past patterns.  As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the past activation of our primal will force (Aries) becomes overshadowed by new growth found in re-adjustment, re-balancing, fairness, harmony, and discretion (Libra).  The fiery sign of the Ram is willing to use its horns if necessary to protect personal desires from being lost through assimilation in surrounding relationships, and yet in the shadow of a Libra Sun, we must balance yearning for self-centered independence within the needs of our relationships.

In Aries, the “pulsing of life” — of the creative Breath — is felt. It passes through. It surges forth — and is gone. Aries power is the power of the lightning, which descends from above, which strikes out of the darkness of the Collective Unconscious. It is the power of revelation; power of Destiny released, which burns and fecundates. Such a power, from whatever level it operates in fiery downflows, gives to the actions of an Aries person a peculiar pioneering, impersonal, perhaps cosmic and fateful strength.

— Dane Rudhyar from The Pulse of Life

The burning, fecundating quality of an Aries eclipse that sparks inspired action from within is further augmented by a Vesta retrograde in Aries closely conjunct the Lunar Eclipse and the South Node of the Moon.  Vesta as a result turns us within to focus on activating our essentiality rather than the egotistical ambitions we competitively pursue to advance within our culture.  Vesta draws us into the power found within our inner flame of divinity that is not dependent upon the trappings of status and outer success.  Any creative, spiritual, or philosophical practices and traditions that magnetize you at this time will be fertile ground to discover the self-realization that will fuel your journey in the season ahead.  While Vesta can be steadfastly independent from relationships at times, she is completely devoted to her inner passions and rapture for what she finds holds a spiritual quality.

This eclipse occurring a few days after the Libra Equinox makes it a heralding marker of the change of season.  In the perspective of the Northern Hemisphere that dominated development of astrology, the Libra Equinox initiating Autumn can be seen in the glyph of Libra that looks like a setting Sun on the horizon.  At the Autumn Equinox we honor the falling of leaves and other signs of decomposition that will fertilize new growth in the future.  The theme of death that creates new life can be further seen in the association of Libra with Venus and outer relationships, as we can experience an ego death when deeply connecting with a partner and the creation of new life through the conjoined energies of the partnership.  This aspect of Libra is further amplified at this eclipse because the relationally oriented Juno asteroid is closely conjunct the Sun and North North Node of the Moon in Libra.  Juno here sparks a procreative force within drawn to collaboration in relationships in which we can express our authenticity, and will influence us to release or alter those relationships in which we have been struggling to assert our essential nature.

The maverick side of Libra is also activated at this eclipse, as Black Moon Lilith is conjunct Juno, the Sun, and the North Node of the Moon.  Black Moon Lilith is the balance point of our lunar orbit that astrologers have been using to illustrate the exiled aspects of our consciousness we have been repressing or denying.  When Black Moon Lilith becomes potently activated, the parts of our personality and psyche that have been cast off return to heart and we begin to assert this regained quality into our relationships.  Similar to the lucid quality symbolized by the goddess Kali holding the severed head of Shiva, Black Moon Lilith will cut through any recent egotistical patterns we have experienced within ourselves and our relationships to illuminate whatever is essential for us.  As Lilith demands being treated as an equal, co-creating partner, we likewise will face issues around equality and inequality in the coming season.

Aries Lunar Eclipse

by Scott Young from http://scottyoung.us

Mars square Saturn

The astrological rhythm surrounding this Aries Lunar Eclipse has a fervent intensity, as Mars in Virgo rules the eclipse and will be separating from a square with Saturn in Sagittarius.  Mars square Saturn can bring important changes but also conflict, and the atmosphere is further amplified by Pluto in Capricorn stationing direct a few days before the eclipse.  Since Pluto in Capricorn is bound to Saturn, Pluto stationing direct following the ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius carries emboldened force into the plutonian desires flowing into awareness.  Pluto stationing direct is generally an eruptive time, as any deep desires we have been resisting can overcome us from within creating a crisis if necessary to seize our attention.  This cathartic stationing of Pluto amplifies the change of Saturn from Scorpio to Sagittarius that likewise is bringing up what we have dredged from our inner depths to feed the action we are commencing in the sign of the fiery, galloping Centaur.

The recent ingress of Saturn into Sagittarius has brought shifts of direction, and you likely have been sensing a strong urge to set off in pursuit of something related to Saturn and Sagittarius in your birth chart.  Mars in Virgo being in a last quarter square to Saturn in Sagittarius brings up a course correction sourced from attuning our desires in connection with the details of our life in the here and now.  Generally speaking, many if not most of us envision future goals in connection with past emotions, attachments, influences, and dreams.  This Aries Lunar Eclipse ruled by Mars in a last quarter square to Saturn is leveling this field so to speak with the scythe of Saturn cutting off what needs harvesting or release.  This process could involve conflict, but the positive potential of today’s turmoil can help in the reorientation toward making future goals in greater alignment with what we truly want to have happen for us now.

Both Saturn and Mars are making aspects to this Lunar Eclipse, with Saturn in a stabilizing, harmonious trine and Mars in a disorienting inconjunct.  These two aspects are an important detail of the greater movement, as it suggests the object of our deep desire may seem overly daunting, too difficult to achieve or manifest in this moment.  The danger of the Virgo inconjunct to Aries is getting lost in a perpetual cycle of procrastination in which we never feel we are truly ready, continuing to research, train, or practice instead of diving into the fray full steam and letting the dust settle where it may.  The trine from Saturn in Sagittarius to the Lunar Eclipse in Aries points us in the direction of making structural changes and taking even the simplest of steps to begin to build a structure for whatever it is we wish to achieve.  This is a perfect time for releasing the aspects of our old goals no longer serving us and taking concrete steps to build a foundation from which to launch our most viscerally felt desires from.

Aries I Decan

Two of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries I Decan

The influence of Mars on this lunar eclipse is further increased due to the first face of Aries being ruled by Mars.  The Aries I decan where the lunar eclipse occurs is also associated with the Two of Wands card in the Rider-Waite deck, which reinforces the theme of envisioning our future from a renewed perspective previously discussed above.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find what appears to be a conquering lord of some sort, holding a globe in one hand as he gazes from atop a fortress out into an expanse of terrain containing mountainous as well as watery landscapes. 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 expansion of his influence or dominion.

In 36 Faces: The History, Astrology, and Magic of the Decans, astrologer 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 as “a severance from the symbolic mother- the womb from which all things emerge,” setting up a dynamic in which “what is motherly and unifying constricts development” rather than augmenting growth:

The axe is thus a tool of the first individual, bravely severing himself from the primordial mother and building a distinct and individual life. This assertion of selfhood is undiluted yang, and in principle phallic, no matter the gender of who embodies it. The phallus in play here is a symbol of potency, yet its reality involves tremendous vulnerability, the same vulnerability that the lone individual faces in a sometimes hostile world. The axe may be the tool by which the individual liberates themselves from the collective, but it is also the cruel weapon of the primordial mother as castrator, the limiting force with which the warlike figures of this decan wrestle. This is the essence of this face- the individual yang struggling out of the collective yin.

— Austin Coppock (p. 54)

As a result, while there are astrological signs pointing toward growth through creating greater balance, fairness, and equality in our relationships, there is at the same time a raw martial force within this eclipse demanding that we clear a path forward in which we have greater freedom and less restraint.  To unify this opposition we need to respect our need to be authentic while honoring the essential nature of those we are interacting with.  Additionally, the last quarter square between Mars in Virgo and Saturn in Sagittarius simultaneously will force us to deal with the structural system of our surroundings and so to be successful, the exertion of our personal power cannot be completely untamed but rather modified in accordance with environmental conditions.

Lunar Eclipse in Aries

Eros by Paul Klee (1923)

ARIES 5°:  A TRIANGLE WITH WINGS

Keynote:  The capacity for self-transcending

In his book exploring Sabian Symbols, Dane Rudhyar described the degree of the Aries Lunar Eclipse as being “the symbol of the desire to reach a higher level of existence, of pure aspiration or devotion, of bhakti” (p. 53).  This ideal yearning Rudhyar wrote about, in which “the whole being experiences a childlike longing for its eventual realization,” is strongly charged by a grand fire trine formed at the eclipse by Venus in Leo, Uranus retrograde in Aries, and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  This is a truly visionary grand fire trine sourced at its root by the deep inner material dug up during this past period of Venus retrograde.  At the time of the eclipse, Venus will have returned to place of it’s inferior conjunction with the Sun that happened on August 15, 2015.  In fact, Venus will be less than half a degree away from this point of Venusian rebirth.  As Venus will not leave its retrograde shadow zone until October 9, the Aries Lunar Eclipse will propel us into the final two weeks of the Venus retrograde, catalyzing numerous events giving us opportunities to integrate and express our Venusian passions that have been stirred up.

As this is in addition the final eclipse to occur with the North Node of the Moon in Libra that is ruled by Venus, we are at a border crossing transition fitting for an equinoctial period.  The lunar nodes have been in Aries and Libra since February 2014, a time that was dominated in astrology by the final series of squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn.  If you take the time to reflect back on all of the numerous issues and events in your life that have been brewing since that time, especially around your sense of empowerment within your relationships, there will no doubt be a sense of resolution occurring now in the form of a final test or a peak experience.  This is not the end of the lunar nodes transiting through Aries and Libra, as they will not move into Pisces and Virgo until November 2015. However, the Lunar Eclipse will spark the final lessons we will be learning from the dragon slithering through these two cardinal signs.

Persephone in Aries

Roman marble relief (27 B.C. – 14 A.D.) copy of a Greek marble relief of 450–425 B.C. found at Eleusis. The image reveals Demeter on the left side and Persephone on the right of the relief.

Persephone

Further fitting for the time of the Libra Equinox, the Persephone asteroid #399 is at 21° Aries and so conjunct Uranus as well as part of the grand fire trine involving the goddesses Venus in Leo and Pallas Athena in Sagittarius.  For those who are already working with Eris, you can also add Eris in with Uranus and Persephone on the Aries point of this fiery triangle.  Significantly, at this time Persephone, Uranus, and Eris are all retrograde, taking us deep within for a primal rebirth of soul.  Like Persephone who claimed full embodiment of her role as the underworld Queen, we have Persephone with us in any descent into experiences that strip us of innocence while offering opportunities to cultivate greater resiliency and access to our full range of power.

With Pluto also prominent by having recently stationed direct, at the equinoctial time in which the mythic Hades brought Persephone down into his realm, we have an archetype of Persephone activated with the efficacy of a Uranian lightning strike.  Demetra George in her workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark, described the descent associated with the Persephone asteroid as enabling “us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.”  Persephone united with Uranus and in trine to Venus in Leo opens us to a time in which we will sense the invisible realm within the visible, sensing the substance of spirit in our body.

Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus in Harmony noted how Persephone is the vivifying force of vitality regenerating the world of the dead:  “Persephone imposed blood on the dead:  not, as in the past, the dark blood of sacrifice, not the blood the dead used to drink so thirstily, but the invisible blood that went on pulsing in her white arms, the blood of someone who is still entirely alive, even in the palace of death” (p. 212).  To Calasso, Persephone is the figure who created a new paradigm between our green world above and the underworld below, for as Persephone descended and separated from the world of her Earth goddess mother Demeter, “Eros penetrated the kingdom of the dead. The slender-ankled Persephone was the supple arrow Aprhrodite ordered Eros to let fly at Hades.”  As Persephone is of the earth, deep within the earth, and deeply erotic, her asteroid conjoined with Uranus and the grand fire trine of goddesses suggests the passions stirred from within us will release previously unconscious soul desires that will lead us toward greater wholeness.

The other aspect of Persephone that fits well with the astrological climate of the Aries Lunar Eclipse is her role in accepting the souls of the dead who have been guided to her kingdom by Hermes, thereafter initiating them into the cycle of rebirth.  Thus the Mercury retrograde in Libra we are experiencing in which Mercury has taken on the psychopomp role of guiding us into core aspects of our soul has the welcoming visage of Persephone to greet us in the regeneration we are experiencing.  Peter Kingsley in Reality wrote that Persephone “is the goddess who greets initiates when they manage to make their way down to her by warmly reaching out to them with her right hand; who accepts them, welcomes them to her home, with a  kindness that defies all human logic” (p. 43).

In the time leading up the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury retrograde in Libra is square to Pluto in Capricorn and it is applying to its inferior conjunction with the Sun at the time of the eclipse.  In the week following the Lunar Eclipse, Persephone will get closer to Uranus each day until becoming exactly conjunct Uranus at the same time that Mercury stations direct, and Venus leaves her retrograde shadow zone.  The intermingling of all of these significations of rebirth is quite incredible, suggesting we truly are on the precipice of a complete change in the course of our life.  The loving embrace of Persephone and the fearless expression of her potency will guide those willing to descend into the depth of her world.

Persephone asteroid

Persephone opening a cista containing the infant Adonis, on a pinax from Locri

References

Calasso, Roberto. (1993). The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony. Knopf.

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

George, Demetra. (1994). Finding Our Way Through the Dark: an astrological companion to Mysteries of the Dark Moon. AFA.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

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

Mercury in the Core of the Aries Sun

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At the Core (1935) by Paul Klee

Mercury enters the heart of the Sun at 20° Aries today at it’s Superior Conjunction.  Demetra George has taught that Mercury’s Superior Conjunction is like a Full Moon (in contrast to it’s Inferior Conjunction during Mercury retrograde that is like a New Moon), and also like Mercury in Sagittarius because our mind can be flooded with an overload of information difficult to process and integrate yet at the same time bringing potential for inventive insight.  This is a moment to seize for inner contemplation and processing, being open to receive the message available to your mind- whether you are meditating or being active does not matter so much as being open and aware of the magic found in this moment.  In Pacific standard time, the Superior Conjunction hits on April 9, 2015 at 9:01 pm, yet in other time zones it will happen on April 10 such as in the Central Europe time zone at 6:01 am.  It’s not like you have to be doing some sort of special personal ritual at the exact moment of the Superior Conjunction, but if you can aim to be aware of the phenomenon in the general time frame and work with it, it can have more of a conscious impact on you.

The timing of Mercury’s Superior Conjunction now, with Jupiter having stationed direct on the previous day, during the disseminating trine phase of the Moon in Sagittarius following last week’s Lunar Eclipse, means that there is a powerful cosmic message to receive about your purpose in life.  If you want to be astrologically analytical about it, focus on the houses holding fifteen to twenty degrees of Aries and Libra (the range of the Libra Lunar Eclipse to the Aries Superior Conjunction of Mercury) and the aspects made in your chart, especially if you have planets in Cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) between roughly twelve and twenty-three degrees.  Last week’s Lunar Eclipse has awoken something huge in your life, no matter how completely aware of it you are at present, and when this happens a lot of fear and nervous skepticism can emerge in the face of the great changes arising in our life.  Mercury at the heart of the Sun at twenty degrees is an extraordinary position of manifesting and initiating our deepest desires.  At the moment it is best to be open to receiving the vision of the life you want to create and feeling the real possibility of it occurring, rather than knowing the exact way you will be getting there.

Invoking courage on the path we want to follow now will help open us to receive the message of how we will be getting there in the coming weeks.  The Superior Conjunction of Mercury marks the point in it’s cycle when it shifts from a Morning Star to an Evening Star- it’s just this close to the Sun, within about fifteen degrees, we cannot see Mercury.  Classical astrology views Mercury in this range of the Sun as being burned up by the rays of the Sun, and the fact that we cannot see Mercury has given it a more challenging reputation in this part of it’s phase.  However, classical astrology also sees Mercury this close to the Sun, within seventeen minutes or so, as so special that the term cazimi arose, which can be translated “as if in the heart,” and is associated with strengthening- in this case, an illumination of Mercury.  Following the upcoming New Moon on April 18, 2015 Mercury will emerge again as an Evening Star briefly at twilight on April 19, at which point Mercury will be in a conjunction with Mars in Taurus.  Boldly envisioning with faith that the most heartfelt desires that arose in the past period of the Libra Lunar Eclipse have the real potential to manifest will enable you to better receive the upcoming message from Mercury united with Mars in Taurus of how to make it happen.

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Fire Evening (1929) by Paul Klee

This Aries Superior Conjunction of Mercury is especially fiery and liberating, as it occurs within range of a conjunction with Uranus in Aries and a trine with Jupiter in Leo that stationed direct on the previous day.  As a result, there is a huge theme of Jupiter expanse and Leo creative actualization to this Superior Conjunction.  Jupiter stationed retrograde on December 8, 2014 at 23° Leo, and incredibly the last time we had a Superior Conjunction of Mercury was also at this same time at 17° Sagittarius.  In between these Superior Conjunctions of Mercury we had the Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius and the Inferior Conjunction at 11° Aquarius on January 30, 2015 (this was like the “New Moon” of Mercury that preceded the current “Full Moon” or Superior Conjunction).  With the Moon also in the fire sign of Sagittarius and in trine to this Aries Superior Conjunction of Mercury, there is more than the usual potential for the quality of your mind and thought-forms to facilitate change in the reality around you.  The note of caution is that all of this fire energy can also make those unaware more arrogant and egotistical, the “high minded” sort who are filled up with more “hot air” than they realize.  Also, as Mercury can be a trickster we should as always when working with Mercury be aware of things not being quite what they seem as well as having a healthy sense of humor about our current circumstances or predicaments.

Within all of this fiery astrology there remains the earthy, grounded positions taken up by Venus and Mars in the sign of Taurus.  Venus only has a few days left in her transit through her home sign of the Bull, but has gracefully remained in her home in order to help us receive and embody the message from this Aries Superior Conjunction.  With Venus and Mars both in Taurus, and with Mercury on a path of eventually emerging again as an Evening Star in conjunction with Mars in Taurus, a pivotal theme of this Mercury message is the necessity of patience and determination in the process of bringing our deepest desires into our reality.  Paying attention to our bodies, nurturing our own health through nutrition and active exercise, will also help ground out our mental circuits that could become over-activated by all of this fiery, creative, mental stimulation.  Ideally we can use Venus and Mars in Taurus, with the help of Saturn still in Sagittarius, to bridge our imaginal realm with our corporeal realm through the synthesis of Jupiter and Mercury that are both so active right now.  Jupiter and Mercury are associated with opposite signs of the zodiac, yet within the consolidation of their polarity is found our ability to both expand beyond previous patterns of limitation, as well as reach a state of mind that feels Whole.

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Solar Eclipse Equinox

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Pegasus and Bellerophon (1888 charcoal) by Odilon Redon

  • Saturn stations retrograde in Sagittarius on March 14, 2015 at 4°56′
  • 7th and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus on March 17, 2015
  • Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces on March 18, 2015 at 8°1′
  • Solar Eclipse in Pisces at 29°27′ on March 20, 2015
  • Aries Equinox on March 20 happens thirteen hours after the Solar Eclipse

Feared by our ancient ancestors for corresponding with increased chaos, Solar Eclipses occur when there is a New Moon close to zodiac degree with the South or North Node of the Moon.  On March 20, 2015 we will experience the synchronicity of a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces happening roughly thirteen hours before the Sun enters Aries and we celebrate the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the Fall Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.  This Pisces Solar Eclipse is about ten degrees away from the South Node of the Moon in Aries, a point on our ecliptic we associate with our past karma, our unconscious, and release as it marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, whereas the North Node of the Moon symbolizes an arising point of conscious intake and evolution as it marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic.  In a solar eclipse, the Moon crosses between us and the Sun by zodiac degree and aligned with one of it’s own nodes, magically from our perspective appears as the same size as the Sun and blackens solar light for the length of its transit.

As a result, Dane Rudhyar and other astrologers have associated solar eclipses as a moment in which our karmic past cloaks the solar light of our present, and our unconscious aspects normally hidden can become more viscerally felt in our conscious awareness.  Since this solar eclipse is occurring at the end of Pisces, conjunct the transiting South Node of the Moon, it accentuates our capacity to gain greater awareness for what has been brewing in our unconscious, and to release or resolve old karmic issues.  Taking the time to reflect upon the house of your birth chart where the solar eclipse will occur at the end of Pisces, as well as the aspects it makes with planets and other components of your birth chart will help prepare you for how your life could be impacted.  Solar Eclipses often mark a pivotal shift that can feel chaotic, but in the unsettling loss of past attachments and security we can find an opportunity to create new growth for ourselves in the areas of our life signified by the aspects made by the eclipse in our birth chart.

Further forcing us to confront ourselves at our deepest core is the seventh and final square between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that hits a few days before the solar eclipse.  Since June of 2012 we have experienced a sequence of seven exact squares between Uranus and Pluto, and with the final one occurring earlier in the week the Equinox Eclipse initiates a settling into the first quarter aspect between Uranus and Pluto for good.  By now you should know what necessity has demanded you release, end, confront, and initiate (especially connected to how 7 – 15° of Aries and Capricorn impacts your chart), so the less you can resist and the more you can open to the flow of change occurring will help you find your place in the dismantling of systems that has coincided in our collective during these transits.  On a personal level, the Uranus and Pluto square has been eliminating all of our attachments that have been blocking our ultimate growth, and so the upcoming solar eclipse (as well as the lunar eclipse on April 4, 2015) is bringing us awareness of what past attachments we have still been clinging to in one way or another in our subconscious that now need to be released as the final lesson associated with these seven squares.

The seventh square between Uranus and Pluto has associations with the seventh (crown) chakra and the seventh planet, Saturn.  Indeed, Saturn in Sagittarius stationed retrograde on March 14 and so has our undivided attention as Pluto and Uranus square and the solar eclipse ushers in the Equinox.  A connection between Saturn stationing retrograde in Sagittarius and the seventh chakra is that an activity of the crown chakra is to derive meaning through our underlying belief system.  Saturn stationing and then continuing retrograde in Sagittarius will draw us into analyzing our belief systems, calling everything into question as part of a re-structuring of our consciousness.  With a solar eclipse occurring at the same time in the final degree of Pisces, we will want to be open to listening to messages expressing eternal meaning, and guides that connect us with the archetypal field that constantly seeds, activates, and regenerates new patterns.  As the solar eclipse may make us aware of our karmic past, we thereby gain an opportunity to break away from our past restrictive patterns and liberate ourselves from old unconscious complexes that no longer serve our direction.

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White Pegasus (1908) by Odilon Redon

Marc Edmund Jones wrote that the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces where the solar eclipse occurs is The Great Stone Face, and highlighted the importance of using discernment to embody self-integrity when manifesting ideals and aligning with eternal reality, as the “individual selects the image within himself to which he would shape himself outwardly, and this he comes to resemble” (p. 329).  Dane Rudhyar updated and elucidated this Pisces 30 symbol by calling it A majestic rock  formation resembling a face is idealized by a boy who takes it as his ideal of greatness, and as he grows up, begins to look like it.  Rudhyar said this symbol brings “realization of the power of archetypes as factors conditioning life processes,” and that this self-transformational “power can be developed through visualization, when the emotions and the will are poured into the visualized mental image” (p. 288).  Rudhyar emphasized that this zodiac degree represents the latent power of the seed, and so through focusing on “clearly visualized ideals” we gain the capacity to shape and mold our future growth and life (p. 288).

Marc Edmund Jones also warned that the negative side to the sabian symbol for 30 degrees of Pisces is “wholly inarticulate and ineffectual self-realization” (p. 329).  To me, this caution links to the importance of becoming aware of as much of our shadow and hidden unconscious forces as possible during this time of the final square between Uranus and Pluto and the solar eclipse at the Equinox.  If we are going to visualize an ideal for ourselves we wish to become more alike, to be most effective we will need to embrace our shadow and rejected parts of ourselves in our process.  When we repress our shadow, it ultimately gains enough strength to completely overwhelm us.  Yet through the willingness to acknowledge and accept our shadow, we can mitigate it’s capacity to overshadow our conscious efforts toward our ideal.  For example, if the Pisces solar eclipse is occurring in the 10th house of our birth chart and we realize that we have been projecting criticism at others for egotistically self-promoting themselves, we can see how there is in actuality an ambition shadow impacting us.  As a way to work with this shadow of ambition, we could open ourselves to our need to more assertively self-promote ourselves within our ideal career path.  This will not only make ourselves more successful, but in the end will also enable us to work more harmoniously with other peers in our career path.

The fixed star Scheat is located around 29°22′ Pisces and is closely aligned with the solar eclipse on March 20.  Scheat is a deep yellow star in the leg of the Pegasus constellation, and like the winged horse was associated by ancient astrologers like Ptolemy with Mars and Mercury, and with swiftness by Manilius.  In the more modern tradition of fixed star interpretation by the likes of Vivian Robson and Reinhold Ebertin that can often veer toward extremely negative labeling of star signification, Scheat was given a malefic label of being associated with catastrophes and misfortune.  Yet Reinhold Ebertin in his Fixed Stars and their Interpretation also gave a positive potential to Scheat signifying “mental creativity,” with the cautionary note that this positive effect is only for “some people,” meaning those who “are ready to receive such an inflow,” giving examples of Goethe having Jupiter conjunct Scheat and Rudolf Steiner and Victor Hugo having Mercury conjunct Scheat (p. 82).

pegasus-and-the-hydra

Pegasus and the Hydra (1907) by Odilon Redon

This double edged combination of ambitious striving for insightful breakthroughs, with potential for a fall from the lofty heights momentarily reached, also connects to meaning associated with both the Pegasus of the star constellation and the Pegasus of myth, and could serve as a symbolic guide to the solar eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.  There is an indivisible duality of light and shadow with Pegasus:  on the one hand Pegasus is felt as a fount of inspiration and the seat of heroes, while on the other hand Pegasus was born from violence and betrayal and tied not only to the slaying of monsters but the monstrous egotistical hubris that could overcome those who rode Pegasus.  Pegasus sprung from the blood spilled by Perseus severing the head of Medusa, and Pegasus further has the complicated lineage of being born from Poseidon and Medusa, when in some versions Medusa was the victim of being raped by Poseidon in a temple of Athena, and in others Athena turned Medusa into a hideous monster after she fell for the seductive advances of Poseidon.  In addition, figures of myth such as Bellerophon who experienced the adoration of being acclaimed as a great heroic slayer of monsters by riding Pegasus to victory in battle later became so overcome by hubris that they were forced into catastrophic falls of misfortune.  In the case of Bellerophon, after believing his glory meant he deserved to be one of the Gods and fly to Mount Olympus, he was struck back down to Earth violently by Zeus.  There is a binding in which there is no good without evil, no heroes without monsters, and as Carl Jung and others have written, within our same Source of Creation from which emanates the “Good,” so also emanates the “Evil.”

In part, this type of Pegasus shadow complex connects with the huge buildup of planets that have been aspecting the South Node of the Moon in Aries leading up to the final square between Pluto and Uranus and the Pisces Solar Eclipse.  We have had Venus conjunct the South Node then Uranus and then Eris in Aries, and more recently we have had Mars conjunct the South Node, Uranus, and now Eris at the time of the solar eclipse.  When we also integrate the other planetary nodes besides the Moon’s, we can see that the South Nodes of Jupiter and Pluto are now conjunct the transiting Ceres in Capricorn, all in square to the transiting conjunction of Mars and Eris in Aries.  The solar eclipse at thirty degrees of Pisces is also in square to both the North Node of Jupiter (at 30° of Gemini) and the South Node of Mars (at 30° of Sagittarius).  This extremely complicated mix of transits and aspects to planetary nodes can be synthesized through the concept that our current moment of world civilization sits within a past of extraordinary oppression, violence, and strife that impacts all of us on a traumatic level in our unconscious, in more of a consciously traumatic manner for those who have experienced horrific terrors firsthand.  We cannot imagine these difficult, sometimes hidden shadows of our psyche away by thinking we can focus only on the “good” such as “white light” that will make the dark go away.  Instead the path forward for our growth is acknowledging and working with these darker elements of our Self in a manner that helps us work toward our conscious goals instead of undermining, blocking, or limiting our endeavors.

the-young-poet

The Young Poet by Gustave Moreau

Yet poetic inspiration and creative inventiveness is also available in even the most difficult of times, and so through discernment in our daily choices we can strive towards our ideals without the pitfalls of hubris.  In classical astrology, the entire system is set up in part through the opposition of the Mutable sign domicile rulers being Mercury and Jupiter, as Jupiter rules Pisces and Sagittarius, and Mercury rules their opposite signs of Gemini and Sagittarius.  Fusing and synthesizing the archetypal polarity of Pisces and Virgo, for example, through the contrast between Mercury and Jupiter can be illuminating.  Sagittarius can have a shadow of a know-it-all, while Pisces can have a shadow of a godhead-  in both cases these classical signs of Jupiter can be overtaken by the archetypes when working with them with the negative consequence of becoming self-absorbed or overly egotistical in the process.  There is something in the ability of the Mercury-ruled signs of Gemini and Virgo to act as an evolutionary polarity to Sagittarius and Pisces and help ground us in the soulfulness of our immediate environment and relationships in the moment.

In modern astrology, Neptune is viewed as a ruler of Pisces, and there is amazing synchronicity that on March 18 during the Dark Moon in Pisces prior to the Solar Eclipse, Mercury will be exactly conjunct Neptune at eight degrees of Pisces.  Mercury can be our guide of soul once again during this week by activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine.  Mercury can help us logically and linearly organize mental concepts to help us navigate our world while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul.  Mercury conjunct Neptune in Pisces is the Poet who follows the flight of the winged horse Pegasus, a companion of the Muses and a source of inspiration in times of immense challenge.  When we open to the modern signification of Neptune connecting us to our collective unconscious, we realize that through Mercury at the clearing time of the Dark Moon before the Solar Eclipse, there is profound insight into how we have been impacted by the collective unconscious to unveil.

In the film Bright Star by Jane Campion about the life of the poet John Keats and his love for Fanny Brawne who became a Muse for his writing, there is a scene in which John Keats is speaking to Fanny about his philosophy of poetry in a way that crystallizes how the Mercury conjunction with Neptune in Pisces can help us now:

A poem needs understanding through the senses. The point of diving into a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore but to be in the lake, to luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out, it is a experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept the mystery.

— from the film Bright Star (2009)

In addition to Mercury becoming conjunct Neptune on March 18, another helpful guide to prepare us for the Pisces solar eclipse and new Equinox is the ingress of Venus into Taurus on March 17.  Venus is at home in Taurus, and at this time of year the North Node of Venus is also at the beginning of Taurus.  As a result Venus will be activating her own evolutionary direction and in Taurus this means going within, following the wisdom in our bodily senses and centering within to discover how our inner values need a re-formulation to align to a greater extent with the inner and outer changes occurring in our life.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

The Pisces III decan where the solar eclipse occurs is ruled by Mars and associated with the 10 of Cups in tarot.  In the image above illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, we find a union of lovers enjoying the wealth of a mutually created home and family that emotionally fulfills them.  In 36 Faces, Austin Coppock analyzed this final decan of the zodiac as being about “the attainment of the heart’s desire, the reunion with the beloved,” and “the quest for true and perfect love” (p. 259).  Yet Coppock revealed the passionate depth and duality of this Mars-ruled decan by also noting it signifies a “mad quest for an ideal” that has an “unwillingness to accept anything but what is utterly right” and “a place of martyrdom, of being willing to sacrifice everything” (p. 258).  The lesson for those traversing the third decan of Pisces is thus to realize their propensity for dramatic sacrifice for their ideal love, and to learn to discern their true love from illusion:

This face thus contains heights of agony and ecstasy.  The pain of betrayal results from investing in the wrong ideal, mistaking the face of the beloved. The eagerness to enact the romantic quest can lead one to overlook whether the situation in fact warrants it. If those who roam this decan are to be spared repeated disappointments, they must learn to discriminate.  Yet even the most discriminating will see some dreams shatter, some sacrifices rendered vain . . . The third face of Pisces, the last of the decans, looks always to the end, the ultimate meaning of the entire cycle.  Moros [daimon of doom] whispers that it is pointless, and that the wheel of incarnation is merely a cruel carnival ride.  In argument, Elpis [daimon of hope] points to beauty, love and the real possibility of happy endings.  (p. 259-260)

At the end of Pisces, experiencing a solar eclipse at the final degree of the zodiac half a day before the initiation of the Equinox, we can simultaneously experience the hope of our most cherished ideal manifesting and the fear that we are doomed to be disappointed or disillusioned in the end.  The vital point to realize is that our hope is not misplaced when we have connected with ourselves on a soul level and have done the inner work necessary to realize our true desires.  Yes, Pisces can symbolize falling victim to an illusion, yet Pisces also symbolizes the reality that we can experience the complete bliss of our own personal happy ending.  This week it is as important as ever to follow the popularized mantra of Joseph Campbell to follow your bliss.

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Nigredo (1984) by Anselm Kiefer

From now on we will finally be settling into the First Quarter square phase between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn, with no more dipping back into their waxing Crescent phase square.  The first quarter square phase in the tradition of Dane Rudhyar’s lunation cycle is a crisis of action in which we must establish a form to house the vision that came in at the new phase conjunction, in this case the Uranus and Pluto conjunction in Virgo that occurred in 1965 and 1966.   For example, in collective events there is an obvious connection in the United States between the Civil Rights movement that struggled to assert and initiate progress at the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto in Virgo, with the current struggle to rectify inequities in the criminal justice system in the United States based upon perceived differences in race or ethnicity.  This is a struggle to address aspects of the vision that came in at the conjunction that have not securely taken form, and we can also sense the unconscious shadow of past struggles and violence coloring the atmosphere with passionate emotions and drama.  Although the new Equinox is symbolically a time of balance and new beginnings, collectively we have clearly been undergoing a dark night of the soul.

On a personal level, this time of darkness has resonance with the concept of Nigredo worked into the resurrected alchemy of Carl Jung and other modern thinkers.  The Nigredo, blackening phase is an extreme sense of despair that is necessary for our ultimate personal development and individuation, for it brings our painful shadow aspects into greater realization.  In the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, Uranus correlates with Jung’s concept of individuation and symbolizes our liberation from all external and internal conditioning that led to our past personal identity, so we can open to the evolutionary growth of our soul.  In this way the first quarter square from Pluto to Uranus has forced us to lose some of the attachments that previously brought us our most secure sense of identity, whether that be a particular relationship, job, or personal image.  The important thing is that we need take action now- we are only at the beginning of the first quarter phase between Pluto and Uranus, so instead of withdrawing or resisting out of fear over not being sure we know which direction to follow or identity to take on, take whatever steps are possible to establish a new form for yourself in whatever way that you can.  As Saturn moves retrograde over the next four months or so, eventually stationing direct in the beginning of August 2015 at the end of Scorpio, uses this Saturnine pull within to sharpen your sense of direction and aim while making concrete steps forward at the same time.  The new path will not be set in stone at this time, but it does require some tending and trail blazing.

PiscesSolarEclipseWRIGC1

AriesEquinoxWRIGC2

References

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1971). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Jones, Marc Edmund. (1969). The Sabian Symbols in Astrology. Sabian.

Judith, Anodea. (2004). Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self. Celestial Arts.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1974). An Astrological Mandala: the cycle of transformations and its 360 symbolic phases. Vintage.

Tending the Fire of the Virgo Full Moon

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Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

The Full Moon on March 5 glows radiant in the sign of the winged Virgin, and her presence can help us tend the fiery trine between Jupiter retrograde in Leo and the new conjunction between Venus and Uranus in Aries.  What’s more, the flames of the exact trine between Jupiter, Venus and Uranus are further ignited by Saturn in Sagittarius and an exact conjunction between Mars and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Virgo is an internally contemplative sign, and so this Full Moon appearing with Jupiter in the depths of its retrograde journey will reveal the self-absorbed delusions of grandeur we have been harboring that need mitigating.  As a result the inspiration of the grand fire trine of transits can spark realization of how to shed ego obsession and re-align to serve the larger whole of our reality, a helpful course of action considering the multitude of people angrily operating without self-awareness currently.  Yet we do not want to hold ourselves back with self-criticism to the extent that we rationalize away the possibility of pursuing our dearest desires, or avoid examining pressing issues out of fear of wounding ourselves.  Instead, like the woman in the alchemical image above minding the fire cooking her cauldrons, it will be best to take action aligned with our vision and withstand the heat to remain actively mindful of the ever-changing point we are enacting in our process.

Mercury in Aquarius rules the Full Moon and is our guide to how to infuse spirit into our work and inspired vision into daily grounding.  Crucially, Mercury at the time of the Full Moon is closely conjunct Vesta in Aquarius and so integrates the focused, sacred fire sustaining priestess into a greater clarification of Aquarian perception.  In the classic Hermes: Guide of Souls, Karl Kerenyi described the connection between Hermes (Mercury) and Hestia (Vesta):

Hermes’ connection to the center of the house, to the goddess of the hearth, is attested by a Homeric hymn to Hestia . . . He guides souls out of his realm- the world of paths and roads- back into the warm life of the household, which in Greek signifies the “family.” In his official capacity as mediator between the worlds of night and day, spirits and men, and (standing before the temple) between the worlds of gods and mankind, he is . . . closely related to door hinges and therefore to the entrance but also to a middle point, to the socket, about which revolves the most decisive issue, namely the alternation life-death-life . . . Through Hermes, every house became an opening and a point of departure to the paths that come from far off and lead away into the distance.  Standing at the doorway, he indicates that here is a source of life and death, a place where souls can break in, as through he were pointing out a spring of fresh water.  — Karl Kerenyi, Hermes: Guide of Souls, pages 102-103

Being centered at “home” will accentuate our ability to receive the light of this Virgo Full Moon, and the revelation could guide us into how best to house the vivifying spirit or soulful desires we feel deeply and wish to experience manifested.  We do not need to be living in our ideal home or even necessarily have a home, but rather we need to claim a personal space to feel secure within and create an outlet through which to express ourselves.  Since Mercury was recently exactly opposite Jupiter in Leo, our Hermetic guide brings an objective analysis of our developing truth to its conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius.  Vesta unveils the importance of focused, determined action and concentration we can wield with discipline to cut through any fogginess or cacophonous clutter in our environment.  With the illumination of this Virgo Full Moon, Mercury has finally exited its retrograde shadow zone and so the mental processing we have been engaged in since the recent Mercury retrograde cycle began on January 21, 2015 can now more fully elucidate the relevant issues.  Since Mercury and Vesta in Aquarius are also now sextile to the Uranus and Venus conjunction in Aries, the full reflected light of this coming full moon can bring breakthrough insight to help solve our recent dilemmas.

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Sardonyx cameo of a nymph riding a centaur (Hellenistic, 1st century B.C. – 1st century A.D.)

Our two great lights of this Full Moon are each conjunct symbols of wounding, rejection, and heroic salvation, with the Sun in Pisces conjunct Chiron, and the Moon in Virgo conjunct Black Moon Lilith.  Since Mars is also conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, we could experience amplified feelings of anger and frustration if we become overwhelmed by shadow side connections to Virgo such as guilt, lack, emptiness, and perfectionism that leads to self-criticism for falling short on our ideals.  However, Mars affixed to the South Node in Aries can also coincide with an impulsive or instinctual release of an essential element of our nature that will be vital for us to reflect upon.  In this atmosphere the full light of the Virgo Moon will spiral deep within our core, and the reflected awareness will sharpen our discernment on which practical strategies will be best to focus on to modify our behavior and goals to flow more harmoniously with the chaotic changes erupting in our surroundings.  The key is to tune into the spirituality we can find in the ever changing moment of our mundane livelihood, and to listen to the messages found in the soul material of our environment.  A Virgo Full Moon is perfect for shining light on a prudent path to follow that will help us utilize our essential gifts if we keep our consciousness focused on self-acceptance rather than harsh self-judgment.

In this way it is important to realize this Virgo Full Moon is in a harmonious aspect to Pluto in Capricorn and is connected to the seventh and final first quarter square between Pluto and Uranus that will occur in a couple weeks in the waning phase of the current Moon cycle.   The Virgo Moon will be in trine to Pluto and the Pisces Sun will be in sextile to Pluto, meaning that instead of resisting or being in denial of the deep pull of our Plutonic soul desires, the Full Moon can help us realize the changes of necessity we will need to surrender to that we can no longer avoid experiencing.  With the Sun conjunct Chiron and the Moon conjunct Black Moon Lilith, we can then not only uncover and embody more of our deepest nature, we can also foster the courage to assert our beliefs and passions in the face of surrounding criticism, knowing that by pursuing our deeply felt passion we will in turn manifest a creation that will be meaningful for others of like-mind.

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The Passing of Venus (1898) Sir Edward Burne-Jones

Indeed, the burning fires of passion that can coincide with Venus being conjunct Uranus in Aries and in trine to Jupiter retrograde in Leo is the great gift of this Full Moon to open.  In the sequence of zodiac signs that begin with Aries and end in Leo, there is a journey of our personal development from a sense of essential individuality in Aries to it’s ultimate creative actualization in Leo.  The brilliant light of Jupiter illuminating our night these days is like the traditional wishing star that pulls forward our unique gifts and talents (Venus conjunct Uranus in Aries) into such a strong desire to make them real that we discover a way for us to make our sense of destiny actually happen.

Virgo is the sign that follows Leo and tempers the Lion’s delusions of grandeur so that we can interact harmoniously in our intimate partnerships and effectively in our collaborative relationships.  Virgo also makes the tense and awkward 150° inconjunct aspect to Aries, and this Virgo Full Moon will be closely inconjunct the conjunction of Venus and Uranus in Aries.  In evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, this waxing inconjunct aspect is associated with the Virgo archetype and correlates to a feeling of special destiny or vision that we feel deeply called to pursue, and yet simultaneously brings a sense that we are not ready to achieve our ambition.  A potential negative consequence is that instead of taking action toward our desire we instead make excuses through rationalization why we should not bother asserting ourselves toward our dream, all the while observing with tremendous envy other individuals successfully actualizing the same desired path, ambition, or vocation.  The conjunction between Venus and Uranus that is also in trine to Jupiter in Leo is so full of great promise that it would be a huge missed opportunity to follow this line of thought and talk ourselves out of making liberating choices forward.  A solution is to focus on understanding why we do not feel ready to successfully manifest our dream, and then actively engage in strategies and actions to improve and work on the areas of our Self we realize we need to enhance in order to be effective.

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The Mirror of Venus (1875) by Edward Burne-Jones

We are filled with a sense of magic and lightness when we stare into a luminous Full Moon, and this lustrous dazzlement is a moment to seize in remembrance of what we hold dear to our hearts, in contrast to the heartache caused by the disappointments felt in our day-to-day existence.  For those tuned into the news cycle of current events, there is no end to the horror show of savage murders, betrayals, and mass killings berating our perception.  In our personal lives, the huge influx of Mars, Venus, Uranus, and the South Node of the Moon combined in Aries has likely made us need to confront anger from others or feelings of anger wanting to erupt from within ourselves.  The South Node of the Moon is often connected to either our past lives or habitual complexes in astrology, but remembering that all of the planets have nodes and not just the Moon, we can also think of it as signifying the entire past arc of the Moon archetype in our lives.  Mars and Venus having initiated a new cycle of relationship and desire for us around the time of the past New Moon, at this Full Moon we can feel a burning sense of all our past desires we have not yet experienced, or confront issues from our past that did not turn out the way we had originally hoped.

Instead of feeling guilty or mired in lack, wanting to distract ourselves with meaningless busyness, gaze into the mirror reflection of this Full Moon with the awareness of how beautiful it is also to be simply alive and incarnate in your body.  In the space between our current self and societal position and the sense of where our higher nature wants us to be, open your mind with discrimination toward practical, simple steps you can begin to take today to bridge the distance.  There is a Mercurial discernment of Venusian refinement into our essential nature available now that will lead to discovery of key ingredients in our process of creating our desired work of beauty.

pixie imagination

by Pamela Colman Smith

Opening our mind to new visions found along our daily path can bring true inspiration now.  Instead of searching far and wide for an imagined ideal Muse, sometimes we need to remember that we already have Muses surrounding us and we simply need to invite them to lay down with us in our field of awareness.  When the Moon is full in Virgo in opposition to the Sun in Pisces, we receive signs of how we can align our personal will with a higher will, how we can align our thoughts and behavior with the soul of our surroundings.  This current Virgo Full Moon is in trine to Pluto in Capricorn and so brings in productive, fertile earth energy into an otherwise stormy mix of planets in fire, air, and water signs.  A personal sojourn into the green world, removed from as much of the modern excess of electronics as possible, will be a fantastic activity for this Full Moon time if you can manage it.  Connecting with trees and birdsong on wild paths of untended decomposition and burgeoning growth is a perfect setting to contemplate the concerns coinciding with a full lunation in the mutable Earth sign of Virgo.

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9 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

This Virgo Full Moon by zodiac degree falls within the Virgo II decan which is ruled by Venus.  The associated tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith displays a golden aura surrounding a Venusian figure lifting her trained falcon within a grapevine estate.  This tarot card is traditionally associated with gains in wealth, and Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces astutely analyzed how the hooded falcon (a symbol of spirit enclosed in matter) is a protector of the grapevine resources linked to her wealth since it is a bird of prey that feeds on the creatures who would damage the growth of the grapes.  In this way, Coppock stated that when we delight in the end product of a glass of wine, “The beauty of the finished product of the process conceals the pain and toil utterly necessary for its creation . . . It is only through heat, force and sweat that the most delicate and elegant works are created” (p. 145).  Coppock found a theme of continual reshaping and refinement of matter in this decan that unveils the diverse extremes of experiences that unite within the final form of a created work that contains spirit:

Alchemically, this face provides understanding of the many beautiful and repulsive states the matter attains throughout the Magnum Opus.  On an emotional level, the visions that stain this face teach one not to be repulsed by process, nor to be glamoured by the apparent perfection of a finished thing.  On a practical level, this face brings one to inspect material processes and note the efficiency or lack thereof.  The residents of this decan oversee the ever-transforming world, guiding and shaping the Great Work on a microcosmic level.

–Austin Coppock, 36 Faces, p. 146

There is nothing easy about this time we inhabit, but the hard work we exhibit today, the monstrous emotions we feel temporarily overwhelmed by, the radiant glow of bliss we contact in a perfect moment, it all feeds the form we are breathing within in this moment.  Discard feelings of anxiety over not being in the exact job or relationship you want right now, or having not enacted your envisioned plan yet.  This is an important Full Moon to listen to, as it prepares us for the upcoming eclipse season that stretches from the March Equinox into the month of April, pointing us in the direction of necessary modifications needed in our current process.  In the end we will all benefit from the final product you create out of your present dilemmas and circumstances.

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References

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

Kerenyi, Karl. (1976). Hermes: Guide of Souls. Spring Publications.

Rebirthing the Matrix

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Our Galactic Center

  • Jupiter station retrograde in Leo (23°) on December 8, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Sun in Sagittarius (17°) on December 8, 2014
  • Venus ingress into Capricorn on December 10, 2014
  • Uranus in Aries square Pluto in Capricorn on December 14, 2014
  • Mercury ingress into Capricorn on December 16, 2014
  • Venus conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 20, 2014
  • Mars in Aquarius sextile Uranus in Aries on December 20, 2014
  • Uranus station direct (13°) on December 21, 2014
  • New Moon on the Capricorn Solstice (December 21, 2014)
  • Saturn ingress into Sagittarius on December 23, 2014
  • Mercury conjunct Pluto in Capricorn and square Uranus in Aries (13°) on December 24, 2014

Merry Solstice to one and all.  Our Sun was recently conjunct our Galactic Center, as it does every year as we approach the regenerative nature of the Capricorn Solstice that heralds Winter in the northern hemisphere, Summer in the southern hemisphere.  Accordingly we are in a dark and potent re-centering time, a dark moon solstice (with the Sagittarius Moon conjunct our Galactic Center) that is dominated by Uranus stationing direct simultaneously.  This year’s Capricorn Solstice is as fertile for intention setting as it gets, as a couple of hours after the solstice we experience a New Moon at the dawning of Capricorn.  In the moist darkness of this solstice, within awareness of the shadow cast by our unconscious, we can consciously plant a seed that will ultimately burst free with our full color from the deep roots we set as our foundation now.  Uranus in Aries is calling us to completely liberate from the past conditions restricting our growth up until this moment, and with Venus, Vesta, and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes, we are entering a space to change the set of conditions we live our life from, rebirthing the matrix that shapes our lives on both personal and collective levels.

A matrix has been defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something (such as a situation or a set of conditions) in which something else develops or forms,” and also as “a container that can be filled with a material to give the material a new shape.”  Fittingly the etymology of matrix connects to feminine procreation, and like the patterns found in an astrology chart, a matrix has also been defined as “something shaped like a pattern of lines and spaces.”  For those who spend time working with their astrology chart, there can be a tendency to fixate on certain interpretations that reinforce the repetitive patterns we develop our choices and responses to life from. Yet the brilliance of astrology can be found in the awareness it brings to us of our repetitive patterns so that we can liberate ourselves from the patterns that have left us unfulfilled, restricted, or stagnated, even when from an outside perspective it may appear that we are reaching the goals that we chose to focus upon.  The Capricorn archetype prominently featured in current transits connects with the potential that we can climb a mountain or overcome great odds in pursuit of a personal ambition, only to find within our successful achievement that it was not a goal that could bring us a sense of fulfillment.  Venus and Mercury joining Pluto in Capricorn can facilitate a plunge into our fathomless depths to change our structural nature, so we can assume a regenerated presence of form more naturally attuned to our desires that intrinsically motivate and satisfy our whole being.

CapricornSolsticeWRIGC1Going along with this idea of deep re-structuring, Mercury in Capricorn is sextile to Neptune in Pisces at this Solstice, and the Capricorn New Moon that arrives about two and a half hours after the Solstice is also sextile to Neptune in Pisces.  Furthermore, Venus and Pluto in Capricorn are sextile Chiron in Pisces, and Vesta in Capricorn is at the mid-point of a sextile to both Neptune and Chiron in Pisces.  The sextile between Capricorn and Pisces is insightful to ponder now, and brings to mind the sea-goat symbol of Capricorn with it’s watery tail dipped into an ocean of collective unconscious.  Capricorn and Pisces are both much stronger and effective when each draws upon the strengths of the other:  for Capricorn, it is letting go of control and manipulation in order to open their emotions with empathy to both nurture others through their striving as well as to flow with where the watery currents of their true soul desires lead them, instead of where their cultural conditioning expects them to go.  For Pisces, the harmonious help from Capricorn comes through making the unmanifest manifest, taking concrete steps to bring structure and form to their visions and ideals so that their imaginative impulses enter our reality to impact others through a creative expression of some sort, as well as owning the responsibility to be accountable to the demands of life in order to sustain a more stable life from which to continue to produce work.

In the recent past there were a number of planets passing through Sagittarius in square to Neptune and then Chiron in Pisces, and so now that we have a group of planets in Capricorn passing through sextile to Neptune and Chiron in Pisces, we can utilize any disillusionment and dissolving we have experienced to re-align and re-structure our lives at a source level so we can live closer to our personal truth.  If we became unbalanced on the Sagittarius side of things, we may also need to reflect upon how we became too dogmatic, too self-centered and narcissistic, or too over-confident that a belief system we felt encapsulates the truth holds more weight than other perspectives, becoming a self-proclaimed guru or fanatic in the process.  In comparison, if we became unbalanced on the Pisces side of things, we may need to realize that we have been victimizing ourselves to an unhealthy extent through our oversensitivity, or becoming so wrapped up in a self-centered illusion that we became completely in denial to vital issues in our environment that require our full awareness.  Since we remain in the wake of a square between Uranus and Pluto, with Uranus stationing direct, there is no doubt something very significant that has been dislodged from our depths for us to work with, confront, or integrate.

Indeed, a week ago we experienced the sixth of the seven squares between Uranus in Aries and Pluto in Capricorn that have been ongoing since 2012.  We only have one more exact square in this cycle, which will occur days before the Aries Equinox and a Solar Eclipse. The seven squares between Uranus and Pluto bring to mind our seven traditional planets and our seven chakras, and the associated symbolism.  As a result, the sixth square connects to the sixth chakra as well as the sixth planet, Jupiter.  This symbolism works out perfectly, as Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo prior to the sixth square, bringing the Jupiter archetype into prominence as well as the intuitive shift that comes with its station into a retrograde perspective.  When Jupiter stations and turns retrograde, we have a greater capacity to turn away from the expectations of others and the conditioning of our culture that cause us to act from a false sense of self to meet outside demands, in order to turn within to recover our personal truth and motivation to pursue desires that bring us genuine vitality and fuel our passions.

The traditional symbolism of the sixth chakra also resonates with the astrological aspects surrounding the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto, as issues such as intuition, imagination, insight, image, dreams, and visualization come to mind.  Anodea Judith’s Eastern Body, Western Mind analyzed the developmental tasks associated with this chakra to be about the establishment of our personal identity as well as our capacity to perceive the patterns of our life.  If balanced, we can have a perceptive intuition that can think symbolically, visualize, and both recall and work with the material found within our memories and dreams.  In contrast, if out of balance we can have issues around insensitivity and difficulty with our memories, vision, and imagination.  We can also find ourselves in denial, delusional, obsessive, and becoming fixated that our way is the only way.  Judith also analyzed associated traumas and abuse that I find resonate with the potential danger of this sixth square:  “what you see doesn’t go with what you’re told,” “invalidation of intuition and psychic occurrences,” and “ugly or frightening environment (war zone, violence).”  These same concepts further connect with the sixth planet Jupiter’s rulership of Sagittarius, an archetype featured strongly at this sixth square, as the chart below reveals:

6thUranus-PlutoSquareWRIGC1

When the sixth square between Uranus and Pluto became exact on December 14, the Moon was at the beginning of Libra with Jupiter retrograde conjunct Juno in Leo, highlighting an additional link between the intensity of this square and all of our personal relationships, including our relationship to our surrounding collective culture and conditioning.   In fact, this last Pluto and Uranus square has a relational impact within our psyche that truly goes beyond the ability of words to capture in its intensity, since the lunar nodes are in the relational signs of Aries and Libra, with Uranus conjunct the South Node of the Moon and opposite the North Node of the Moon, and Pluto in Capricorn square both the South and North Nodes of the Moon.  Moreover, the North Node ruler is a Venus in Capricorn conjunct Pluto and also in square to the lunar nodes, and the South Node ruler is a Mars in Aquarius that is in sextile to Uranus and the South Node in Aries and in trine to the North Node in Libra.

In plain English, this symbology points to the most primal issues connected to our relationship choices, no matter how hidden they have previously been in the far reaches of our consciousness, erupting forward into our present mindset and surrounding environment for us to face.  The silver lining of serendipity within this intensity is the Mars in Aquarius making the previously mentioned harmonious aspects, bringing with it the potential to liberate ourselves from our previous patterns that have disempowered us in relationship, in order to integrate our burgeoning self-awareness into re-structuring our present conditions into a transformed presence more attuned to the vision of life we hold dear to our hearts.  Mars in Aquarius brings a detached objectivity that enables us to step back from the past conditioning that has influenced our sense of will in the direction of consensus reality structures.  With Mars in Aquarius we can feel and realize what about our recent identity and behavior is not truly who we are at heart, giving us the chance to experiment with, rebel against, and change the circumstances that have led up to our present moment.  Mars in Aquarius can sense the future and in correspondence we can make modifications to creatively actualize more of the unique purpose we were born with in order to serve our surrounding collective.

With Saturn at the very end of Scorpio, preparing to enter Sagittarius in a few days, all of the deep rooted feelings we have not yet faced and addressed are coming up now with an intensity to match the level of resistance we have been projecting onto them.  Saturn rules Capricorn where Venus is currently conjunct Pluto in square to the lunar nodes, and so our collective north node direction in Libra demands that we do this important inner work, realize what aspects of our shadow have been impacting our relationships despite our denial, and realize how we have been acting in order to meet the expectations of family or culture instead of our own Self.  Mars in Aquarius has a polarity of Leo, where Jupiter is retrograde conjunct Juno, and so we must take the courage of the Lion to heart in order to break free from the old structures of our life and the status quo we have become acclimated and attached to.

Finding and living from a true sense of personal justice in our relationships is an important theme of this Capricorn Solstice, not only because of the North Node of Libra ruled by a Venus conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus, but also because of the asteroid goddess Themis #24 being at zero degrees of Sagittarius on the day of the Solstice and New Moon, and so conjunct Saturn as it leaves Scorpio to enter Sagittarius. Themis  is the Titaness of natural law, divine order, justice, and custom, the daughter of Gaia who is connected with “divine law” more so than “human-made law.”  Themis connects to the principle that conditioning and law is not necessarily bad, for it is necessary for many to learn how to act and think in accordance with the highest good for all beings in all of our dimensions.  In fact, when we go against the divine law of Themis, we invite the wrathful retribution of Nemesis.  Unfortunately, not all human-made laws and conditioning factors of our culture are actually in harmony with Themis and divine law, and so it is necessary at this Solstice and New Moon to make intentions to re-discover our personal truth liberated from the oppressive aspects of surrounding culture.  Themis was also a mediator of oracular power, and so also connects to the potential of using Mars in Aquarius to guide us toward our liberated future vision.

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Black Buddha Mandala (1944) by Morris Graves

It is important to further reflect upon the meaning of the New Moon lunation occurring on the day of the Solstice.  Unlike the powerful Capricorn Solstice of 2010 that was a Total Lunar Eclipse and so a Full Moon of peaking polarity, the Capricorn Solstice of 2014 is more of a New Moon born out of dark, waning lunar tides.  Therefore it is insightful to reflect back upon events surrounding the pivotal peak of this past lunation cycle, the Gemini Full Moon that occurred on December 6, 2014.  This Gemini Full Moon was a catalytic spark to the issues erupting during this time of Solstice and the square between Uranus and Pluto (I was on Kristin Fontana’s Guiding Stars radio show discussing this Gemini Full Moon that you can find an archived recording of here).  Especially important to the context of Uranus stationing direct on the Solstice, the Gemini Full Moon of December 6 was conjunct the North Node of Uranus in Gemini, and the Sun at the time was conjunct the South Node of Uranus.  This means that the entire arc of how the Uranus archetype impacts our life has been completely lit up and illuminated with all of its shattering spectacle in these past few weeks, culminating in Uranus stationing direct at this Solstice.

Working with Uranus can be difficult for many because Uranus demands change and liberation despite your current attachments, and so the things we possess and cling to tightly can explode in the face of a Uranus transit.  In situations in which we have felt oppressed or restricted and yearned for a change of conditions, the implosions of Uranus can also create space and opportunities for us to finally make the changes to our structure that have felt long overdue from a soul perspective.  Following the Gemini Full Moon that lit up the Uranus archetype a couple of weeks ago, two further important astrological events occurred:  (1) Jupiter stationed retrograde in Leo as previously mentioned, and (2) there was a superior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun in Sagittarius.  This visionary Mercury transit gave us an opportunity to perceive a vision of our future that we can now work to develop with Mercury in Capricorn and conjunct Pluto.

Interestingly in connection to current events, the superior conjunction of Mercury in Sagittarius on December 8 was in trine to the superior conjunction of Mercury in Leo that occurred around the time of the Aquarius Full Moon of August 10, 2014 that was furthermore in trine to the Gemini Full Moon of December 6.  It was at the time of this Aquarius Full Moon that the eruption of events and protests surrounding the death of Michael Brown at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri occurred.  While there is nothing new about police brutality and inequitable treatment of people of color by law enforcement, something about the incredible liberating energy of that Aquarius Full Moon and Superior Conjunction of Mercury illuminated awareness that elevated public protest was necessary.  The trines from that time to the recent Gemini Full Moon correlate to the further intensification of public protest following the non-guilty verdicts for the officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.  As additional episodes of police killing people of color entered the news cycle, public protest and acts of civil disobedience in connection intensified. This public movement has direct symbolic correlation with the astrology of this time, in particular the prominence that the Uranus archetype has been demanding.

Mars entered Aquarius on the same day that the non-guilty verdict of the officer who strangled Eric Garner to death was announced.  Mars in Aquarius brings with it an energy of potential rebellion and radical action, but when working with Mars in Aquarius on personal levels as well as with intention to create change in the collective, it is vital to use Aquarian foresight in order to structure focused, impactful choices for protest and rebellion.  One of the shadow sides of Mars in Aquarius can be in becoming so intense in the face of oppressive conditions that our desire for change and protest leads us to rebel against not only the system but also our own well-being, or the greater well-being.  For example, in public protest acts of civil disobedience can be very powerful in certain circumstances, but they have the greatest impact when carefully designed to hit a target while spreading a message, instead of simply being about blowing something up.  In our personal lives, we will want to work with the shattering energy of Uranus to carefully re-build our lives and the surrounding system from the inside out, instead of simply rebelling for the sake of rebelling without purposeful intention.

In addition, Mars in Aquarius can become so detached that we emotionally disassociate from the impact of our behavior on the feelings of others, or we do not allow ourselves to feel all of the emotions that can help us nurture the needs of our relationships.  Similar to how we need to integrate the nurturing archetype of Cancer to the polarity of Pluto, Venus, and Mercury in Capricorn now, we also need to bridge the personal archetype of Leo to the impersonal collective polarity of Mars in Aquarius.  From a place of Aquarian actualization that is heart-centered, we can regain our solar Leo luminosity to radiate our pure Self in a manner that lights a path of inspiration for others.

Penseroso_&_L'Allegro_William_Blake

The Great Sun by William Blake

In the evolutionary astrology system developed by Jeff Green, Uranus has an additional meaning connected to our long-term soul memory, meaning not only all of the memories we have stored from our present lifetime that we may or may not consciously remember in this moment, but also all of our memories from past incarnations that we do not consciously remember.  Some people do gain awareness for past life memories, however, and the potent astrological context that Uranus is stationing within now points to the potential for deep soul memories to emerge from our unconscious.  Whether these are memories from past lives, or memories from the current lifetime that have been buried, or a new perspective gained regarding our present behavior that we had previously been in denial of, this Uranus stationing will be bringing something extremely significant to the forefront of our consciousness.  We need to take time out to nurture ourselves with loving care, feel compassion for where we currently are in our development and not be overly critical of ourselves for not being where we think we should be.  Wherever we are, it is a necessary place in our process to be in, and with loving care we can facilitate growth within that will take us beyond any disheartening, distressing, restrictive, or oppressive circumstances in our present or recent past.

“Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads ―at least that’s where I imagine it― there’s a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you’ll live forever in your own private library.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

This awareness of something from our past being recycled and stirred up in order to help us embody a reborn presence is further reflected in the current balsamic phase between Mars in Aquarius and Venus in Capricorn, with Uranus in Aries being sextile Mars in Aquarius.  Mars and Venus in a balsamic phase will bring significant relationship issues and partners to the surface that are connected with our past patterns.  This is a time of facing the way we have been in the past with relationships with an open heart, allowing us to feel all of our emotions no matter how dark or discomforting.  By taking it all in now, we can dissolve and release the relationship patterns that no longer serve us so we can create the relationships that will serve our needs as well as gain a clearer capacity to listen to the needs of all of our relationships.

Following the Solstice New Moon, Saturn will enter the sign of Sagittarius and Mercury will re-ignite the square between Uranus and Pluto by becoming conjunct Pluto, in square to Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and also in square to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  When a pivotal planet like Saturn ingresses into a new sign, we get an immediate sense of some of the major issues that will be coming our way in the next phase of life, and the information we receive through our interactions with others could be very intense considering the fact that Mercury will be conjunct Pluto and in square to Uranus and the lunar nodes at the same time.  As a result, this next week is another important threshold for us to enter with Mercury present as our guide.  With Mercury and Venus both still in Capricorn, taking personal responsibility for our responses to what is coming at us in our life will be paramount, integrating the Cancer polarity of nurturing our Self and our loved ones.

Mystery of Stillness

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The Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, 2nd Century Alexandria: “One is the All”

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— e.e. cummings

In the last few days our Moon has eclipsed Mercury, Venus, the Sun, and Saturn in order.  Writing in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America, I am looking through a window upon the Japanese Maple in my front yard releasing its flaming red astral leaves in the wind. A stormy gale is blowing through the tall trees and evergreens in view, with intermittent showers of rain descending upon the soaring crows, broken up at times by a white cloud break of sky blue.  Similar to a reflective response to today’s tumultuous weather, there is not much more we can do to prepare for eclipse season than to center in our being within the field of chaos and change.  While we are still in range of eclipse aftershocks, the eclipses of this season are now finished until the next equinox (there will be a solar eclipse on March 20, 2015).   If we can create a sacred or womb like sphere of contemplation, insight is beckoning discovery.

Although this recent solar eclipse was partial and not full, the fact that Venus was also involved in the eclipse in the same period of the superior conjunction of Venus with the Sun, with Mercury simultaneously stationing direct in the sign of Venus, means that the ripples of this time will have far reaching effect.  The superior conjunction of Venus and the Sun happens when Venus is moving direct, on the other side of the Sun from our home planet, uniting in the same degree of the zodiac as the Sun and beginning a new cycle that will lead to Venus arising nightly as an evening star.  In the thirty or so days before and after this moment, Venus disappears from our view in the sky under the rays of the Sun, and so the superior conjunction is a sort of wintery solstice moment in the sense of promising a return of her light.  Archetypal and mythic astrologers are especially prone to link the cycle of Venus with underworld goddess myths such as the story of Inanna and Ishtar, and Her descent to the underworld to face Ereshkigal, the Great Goddess in the land under the earth, the land of the dead.  From this perspective the superior conjunction of Venus is a pivotal moment of soul searching and regeneration in her cycle.

However, I feel a key to tune into is Mercury, our winged angel at the threshold, our soul guide in between boundaries of the upper and underworld, as Mercury from our perspective on Earth is as still as it ever gets, stationing to move forward again.  If you remember, Mercury originally stationed retrograde conjunct the point of the Solar Eclipse and the superior conjunction of Venus on October 4, 2014.  Now, it has completed its retrograde and stationed direct conjunct the North Node of the Moon, and opposite Uranus and the South Node of the Moon.  Corresponding with Dane Rudhyar’s description of Mercury as the weaver of patterns of relationship, commingling meaning out of commerce with the multitude of information sources accessible to our perception, we have a unique moment now to cut through our awareness of past patterns of relationship in order to weave together new patterns of relationship connected with our future, ever changing sense of self.

Mercury stationing direct is not always interpreted as being the most “razor sharp” moment of thought and consciousness, yet I feel that has to do with your perspective on consciousness.  Mercury stationing direct is similar in my mind to waking consciousness, when we emerge from our dream world into an awakened world, yet we are still connected to our time in dreams and we may have moments of not knowing what is dream and what is waking.  At this time we are beyond the duality, we are both at once, and each is all of our awareness.  Yet far from fogginess, we may receive a startling comprehension as described by William Blake: “Knowledge is not by deduction but Immediate by Perception or Sense at once . . . Forms must be apprehended by Sense or the Eye of Imagination.”  The more we open to this sense of Blake’s that “Man is All Imagination,” the more Mercurial knowledge into our deep nature will be revealed in line with Blake’s understanding that “The Imagination is not a State: it is the Human Existence itself”  (Damrosch, p. 14 – 16).

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Mercury stationing direct now is fortuitous as it will allow for greater integration of the recent lunar eclipse in Aries, and the solar eclipse in Scorpio.  My understanding of eclipses is heavily influenced by Demetra George’s workbook Finding Our Way Through The Dark as she succinctly crystallized an essential message regarding eclipses through the lens of two intellectual figures I admire, Carl Jung and Dane Rudhyar:

In general, eclipses are said to be negative, but this is a misunderstanding of the shadow function. In both solar and lunar eclipses, the light of either the Sun or Moon is obstructed from reaching the Earth. When the light of consciousness is temporarily blocked, something else is revealed- that which is normally hidden. Called windows into secret realms and open doorways into the subconscious, eclipses allow us to access that which has been concealed or repressed in our lives. Eclipses are said to be karmic in nature, because they relate to issues that lie outside of our consciousness.

If we are out of touch with this hidden material which Carl Jung calls “the shadow,” then we may judge it as bad and destructive. We are shocked because this material seems to come out of nowhere, when in fact it was with us all along. To the extent that we have tried to repress the shadow material, we will call the results of the eclipse disastrous.  But to the extent that we are open to the unconscious and the surfacing of hidden problems, we will experience the emergence of this material as neutral, revelatory or healing.

Dane Rudhyar said that at the New Moon solar eclipse, the present is blotted out by the past, while at the Full Moon lunar eclipse, the past is obscured by the present. This statement suggests that at a solar eclipse, the Sun- which represent our consciousness awareness- when obscured, allows the forces of the past which lie buried in the unconscious as psychic complexes, to be seen, confronted, and experienced with the possibility of integrating these previously unconscious energies into the present awareness. During a lunar eclipse, it is the past, symbolized by the Moon, which is obscured and can be released.  In the absence of the conditioning of the past, the possibility emerges of meeting experiences in a new manner.

Of further importance is the fact that the Sun in these last two eclipses was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra, suggesting forward drive through the chaos toward our desire, and a stirring up of new ways to approach future-oriented growth.  Mars also ruled both eclipses, from the perspective that the Moon was in Aries in the lunar eclipse and the Sun and Moon were in Scorpio during the solar eclipse: another sign of desire compelling our will forward.  Since the lunar eclipse was in the cardinal sign of Aries and conjunct Uranus, it may have had more of an immediate impact on our perception through a dislodging of past patterns to be released.  In contrast, the partial solar eclipse occurring at the very beginning of the fixed sign of Scorpio may not have made such an instantaneous effect in your life, unless the beginning degrees of Scorpio make significant aspects in your natal chart.   However, the deep, fixed nature of Scorpio, as well as the additional power of Venus and Mercury in association, means that the solar eclipse could have sweeping, extended, and drawn out repercussions.

Again, Mercury is an important focus as it has stationed direct more tightly conjunct the North Node of the Moon than the solar eclipse, closely opposite Uranus and the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Fascinatingly, the Moon eclipsed Saturn in Scorpio at the same time Mercury stationed direct, symbolically opening the gates of Saturn to the Uranian, transpersonal vision of the outer planetary bodies.  Many astrologers believe that Uranus is a higher octave to Mercury, and in this moment of Mercury stationing direct opposite Uranus, there can be no argument that Mercury in Libra is actively receptive to Uranus and weaving new patterns of inter-relationship that go beyond our usual conditioning of culture and Saturnine boundaries.  Mercury can be our guide, but Mercury can also serve us and other components of astrology like Jupiter- the consciousness we apply to Mercury, the way we look through Mercury at our world matters.  If we are wrapped up in fear now, we may weave together new ways to be afraid; if we are overcome by greed and motivation for greater status, we may weave together new ways of manipulating other people to serve our own benefit.

Moreover, since Pluto in Capricorn is also in square to Mercury in Libra, meaning that there is a t-square between Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus with the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and Mercury with the North Node of the Moon in Libra, the full effect of all of this on us can be cathartic and shattering.  The more we claim this moment to go deeper into our nature if we have already been soul searching, or choose to engage in a new pattern that is more about our Self than our fears or compensation for our insecurity like greed, the more we will participate in the active change serving the higher good that is possible in the collective now.  Unfortunately, since many people are not doing this hard work of Self, these same astrology aspects going forward could correspond with continued and increasing warfare, violence, and oppression in our collective consciousness.

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Chrysopoea of Cleopatra

Venus was also part of the Scorpio solar eclipse, though not part of the visual phenomenon as she was on the other side of the Sun from the Moon and already invisible.  However, since Venus recently was conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Libra as well as Mercury retrograde in Libra, Venus beginning a new cycle through the heart of the Sun holds a new relationship we can have with our future development that at the same time involves confronting our past patterns of relating.  We may be reminded of a past relationship behavior, we may be triggered by something that has more to do with an old relation than our present heart and mind, but in any case these associations with our previous values and ways of relating are here to reveal to us that we can release what has held us back in the past:  we are not stuck or incapable of change and evolution.

As previously mentioned, the Venus superior conjunction at the beginning of Scorpio is also a strong link to the underworld goddess myths and tests of diverse cultures, bringing a sense of the heroine’s journey and the need to answer the call. Yet Venus is known to be in detriment in Scorpio traditionally in astrology, and Venus being eclipsed by the Moon in Scorpio shortly before her superior conjunction has an added dimension that the Moon is considered to be in its fall in Scorpio.  Piercing through these labels, the lessons we may find here revolve around our deepest, core, unconscious feelings and values, emotions that may feel unsettling to unearth from our psyche.  Give yourself at least a month of focused intent to burn off the past issues or karma that no longer serve you.  In thirty days or so, at the end of November, Venus will arise again with her brilliant white light, illuminating our evening sky momentarily at first, staying with us longer in the evening hours each successive day.

From the perspective of declination in astrology, what is even more amazing about the end of November will be that at the time Venus arises again as an evening star, she will be united with Mars in declination, barely within the bounds of the Tropic of Capricorn.  In this same period Venus in Sagittarius will be in a Grand Fire Trine with Jupiter in Leo and Uranus in Aries, more closely in trine with Uranus.  On an archetypal level, this could be a time of integration between masculine and feminine energies within, our receptive magnetism and active energy, the Jungian concepts of the animus and the anima.  It also makes me think of the Axiom of Maria concept from alchemy that Carl Jung took into his concept of individuation, that out of the One (unconscious wholeness) comes Two (conflict of opposites), Two becomes Three (transcendent resolution), and the Third becomes the One as the Fourth (transformed, whole consciousness).  This process represents the idea of all the unconscious energy that has become stimulated now eventually leading us into a more fully realized individual consciousness:  just remember it is a process that takes time.

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“Stars and dec” by Tfr000 (talk) 16:58, 13 June 2012 (UTC) – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-via Wikimedia Commons

In case you do not understand the concept of declination illustrated flatly above, in declination we pay attention to the location of celestial objects within the relationship between the Earth’s equator and the ecliptic, the apparent motion of the Sun on our celestial sphere.  The high and low points shown in the red ecliptic line on the above graphic are important, as they are the Tropic of Cancer to the north and the  Tropic of Capricorn to the south.  The Tropic of Cancer is 23º26′ north of the equator, and the place of the Sun at the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere that occurs in June.  Similarly, the Tropic of Capricorn is 23º26′ south of the equator, and the place of the Sun at the Summer Solstice in the Souther Hemisphere that occurs in December.  Using Mars as an example, if Mars goes further than 23°26′ north or south of the equator it would mean that Mars is “out of bounds” or in extreme declination.  This gives a wild, maverick, independent streak to whatever celestial object is out of bounds, essentially meaning that the associated archetype is going to be its own ruler, think for itself, and go after what it wants.

Since the beginning of October 2014, Mars has been in extreme declination, meaning that the wild bounding nature of the centaur associated with Mars being in Sagittarius has been even more intense, further adding a wild personal will into the Grand Fire Trine that happened between Mars in Sagittarius, Jupiter in Leo, and Uranus in Aries.  Mars reached its peak extreme in declination at about the same time as the solar eclipse in Scorpio, and current events in North America revealed the shadow side of the aggressive red planet out of bounds:  the shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, another attempt to jump the fence at the White House in Washington D.C. (this one taken down by security dogs), and a horrific shooting at a high school in Marysville, Washington that ended in suicide.  Yet the other side to this out of bounds Mars is an out-of-the-box sense of will, power, and desire that is essentially out-of-this-galaxy, as Mars at the end of Sagittarius has been conjunct our Galactic Center.  In combination with Mercury stationing direct opposite Uranus and conjunct the North Node of the Moon, this could be difficult chaos or liberating illumination depending upon how you respond or in what environment you enter.

During this time of Mars in extreme declination, as well as its time in the Grand Fire Trine, Mars has been in a balsamic or dark phase with Pluto in Capricorn.  And now we enter a period in which Mars enters the sign of Capricorn, the sign of its exaltation, in order to conjunct Pluto on November 10, 2014 and begin a new cycle.  As a result, we are currently at the close of a Mars and Pluto cycle that began at the end of November in 2012, and so a dissolution of our deep soul desires that have arisen in the past two years.  In Pluto Volume II:  The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships, Jeffrey Wolf Green wrote the following about the balsamic semi-sextile aspect between Mars and Pluto that we entered around the time that Mars went out of bounds:

Some individuals will experience this as a sense of meaninglessness and emptiness, and will manifest a diffuse or undefined personal identity or purpose . . . The key is to let go of the past and to allow new patterns, ideas and impulses to enter the consciousness of their own accord.  Approached in this way, these new thoughts, ideas, and impulses become the light that illuminates the path to the individual’s future.

Continuing the amazing 2014 theme of Mars and Venus, when Mars conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn on November 10, Venus will be approaching a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio.  From now until then, coming out of the insights gained from the eclipses and Mercury stationing, become as clear as possible about the future life you want to live and do the hard inner work to clear whatever obstacles are getting in your way of pursuing your desired life.  As Neptune in Pisces will also be stationing direct in mid November, it could be a great time to set a powerful intention for a new beginning.

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page 54 in Carl Jung’s Liber Novus

On page 54 of his Liber Novus, Carl Jung illustrated the above image with the translated words:

Amen, you are the lord of the beginning.

Amen, you are the star of the East.

Amen, you are the flower that blooms over everything.

Amen, you are the deer that breaks out of the forest.

Amen, you are the song that sounds far over the water.

Amen, you are the beginning and the end.

In The Red Book: Liber Novus, Carl Jung in a section labeled “Refinding Soul” recounted the impact of his vision of a flood in October 1913 when he was thirty-eight years old.  At this time, Jung said “I had achieved everything that I had wished for myself. I had achieved honor, power, wealth, knowledge, and every human happiness. Then my desire for the increase of these trappings ceased, the desire ebbed from me and horror came over me” (p. 232).  Jung went on to describe his “unbearable inner longing” in his search for his soul that included the following passage:

He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul.  If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world.  He becomes a fool through his endless desire, and forgets the way of his soul, never to find her again. He will run after all things, and will seize hold of them, but he will not find his soul, since he would find her only in himself. Truly his soul lies in things and men, but the blind one seizes things and men, yet not his soul in things and men.  He has no knowledge of his soul.  How could he tell her apart from things and men?  He could find his soul in desire itself, but not in the objects of desire.  If he possessed his desire, and his desire did not possess him, he would lay a hand on his soul, since his desire is the image and expression of his soul.

–Carl Jung

References

Damrosch, Leopold. (1980). Symbol and Truth in Blake’s Myth. Princeton University Press.

George, Demetra. (1994).  Finding Our Way Through the Dark. AFA.

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

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

Aries and Individuation

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The Birth of Archetypes

In Botticelli’masterwork The Birth of Venus we can sense the initiatory impulse of Aries:  a Goddess arising out of an oceanic expanse, naked and primal, radiant and yet revealing an inclination to slightly cover up her exposed beauty.  Or perhaps that slight insecurity is coming from the woman rushing in to cloth her, a woman who seemingly is from consensus culture because she seems to be frantically attempting to uphold the consensus rule that a woman should not be revealing her full glorious form so openly in public.  In popular astrology we are familiar with linking the sign of Aries with the sort of bravado that could lead one to skinny dipping in public, but the deeper astrological symbolism of the sign links it with the courage necessary to fully individuate ourselves, open ourselves to exposing our pure Soul and living our True Path in the world, despite influences of societal conditioning that would have us conform to consensus expectations of behavior rooted in the past and present.  In this way Aries is linked to the initial impulse to emerge in the process of Individuation developed by Carl Jung, a transformative process in which we develop an identity of our true Self through integrating different elements of our psyche into a functioning whole and holistically healing ourselves as a result.

The image of The Birth of Venus is reflected in the Sabian Symbol for the very first degree of the zodiac, the first degree of Aries:  “A woman just risen from the sea” who is embraced by a seal, and represents the “Emergence of new forms and of the potentiality of consciousness” (Rudyar, p.49).  Dane Rudhyar’s An Astrological Mandala works with the Sabian Symbols originally written about by Marc Edmund Jones, re-interpreting them as an American I-Ching in which there is a symbolic image and description for every one of the 360 degrees of the zodiac, “considered as a cyclic and structured series which formalizes and reveals the archetypal meaning of 360 basic phases of human experience” (Rudhyar, p.5).  Rudhyar gives this analysis of the first degree of Aries:

This is the first of the 360 phases of a universal and multi-level cyclic process which aims at the actualization of a particular set of potentialities.  These potentialities, in the Sabian symbols, refer to the development of man’s individualized consciousness- the consciousness of being an individual person with a place and function (a “destiny”) in the planetary organism of the Earth, and in a particular type of human society and culture.

To be individually conscious means to emerge out of the sea of generic and collective consciousness- which to the emerged mind appears to be unconsciousness.  Such an emergence is the primary event.  It is the result of some basic action:  a leaving behind, an emerging from a womb or matrix, here symbolized by the sea (p. 49-50).

In Evolutionary Astrology taught by Jeffrey Wolf Green, the cardinal archetypes like Aries have an energy of two steps forward, one step back.  This new initiation of energy that is prone to reenacting past patterns at the same time, can be found in the first Sabian Symbol of Aries in the form of the seal who is embracing the woman who has emerged from the sea.  According to Rudhyar, the seal symbolizes a “regressive step” since it is a creature of the ocean clinging to the woman attempting to emerge from the deep water.  Rudhyar illustrated this symbol as a representation that “every emergent process at first is susceptible to failure,” and that when initiating new changes we become surrounded by memories and “the ghosts of past failures during previous cycles,” and in danger of falling prey to “regressive fear or insecurity” (p. 50).  In the painting The Birth of Venus by Botticelli above, we can see this sense of insecurity even in the Goddess Venus herself, as she feels a need to slightly begin to cover herself.   However, this is exactly why the strong “impulse to be” of Aries is so important, to propel us forward into birthing our true selves into the world through actualizing new choices more aligned with our true desires, a sense of self that is not limited by past negative thought patterns or restrictive habits of behavior, and that carries the courage necessary to break free from outside expectations.

In Esoteric Astrology, Aries is directly linked to the idea of birthing new archetypal ideas into collective consciousness.  Alice Bailey in Esoteric Astrology described Aries as the “searchlight of the Logos” and the  “Light of Life Itself . . . where the Will of God is known” (p. 329-30).  Alan Oken expanded on this idea  in his  Soul Centered Astrology by claiming that this “initiating focus” of Aries makes it “the birthplace of ideas, according to the Ancient Wisdom Teachings, as all of manifestation has its beginnings as Divine Ideas” (p. 162).  Oken explained that Mercury is the esoteric ruler of Aries because “Aries is the fiery channel that provides for mercury’s expression, allowing for the birthing of a true Idea coming from the Mind of God . . . a spiritual impulse taking form” (p. 165).  In this way, Oken described  Mercury as linking “the Higher Mind with the lower so that the inner realization of one’s place in the Plan of Life may be recognized and then, through the use of applied logic, externalized” into the lower realms of our personality (p. 162-3). This esoteric view of Mercury is similar to the Hermes of ancient myth who was capable of crossing back and forth between the thresholds of the underworld and the upperworld.

Uranus being the higher octave of Mercury, and Uranus being in Aries and being triggered by numerous intense transits recently, it would seem we are in a period of time in which new archetypal ideas could be entering our collective consciousness.  On March 28, 2013 there were several incredibly potent conjunctions in Aries:  the Sun and Venus at 8 degrees of Aries, Venus and Uranus at 9 degrees of Aries, and the Sun conjunct Uranus at 9 degrees of Aries.  In addition, Venus, Uranus, and the Sun were also conjunct Mars within an approximate orb of four degrees.  Since this stellium conjunction also happened to be in orb of a square to Pluto in Capricorn, and also happened to form a yod with Jupiter in Gemini pointing to Saturn in Scorpio, the week of Easter this year has been fertile with fateful astrological energy.  If you lack extensive knowledge of astrology and do not really understand the significance of the astrological transits I just mentioned, just know that if ever Aries could be linked to the idea of birthing new forms of archetypes in our collective consciousness, this would clearly be the time.  At the time of this writing we still remain with the vortex of incredible Aries energy, as Venus at the moment is headed for her cyclic two year or so conjunction with Mars, which will happen on April 6 at 20 degrees of Aries, here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

The term “archetypes” at this point in the history of astrology is usually tossed around by writers without reflecting upon the origins of the word, which in published authorship can be traced to one Carl Jung.  In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas explained that it was in part through his research on synchroncities that “Jung came to regard archetypes as expressions not only of a collective unconscious shared by all human beings but also of a larger matrix of being and meaning that informs and encompasses both the physical world and the  human psyche” (p. 82-3).  Tarnas goes on to explain that he believes astrology primarily effects our lives as humans through an archetypal process, noting that while “the original Jungian archetypes were primarily considered to be the basic formal principles of the human psyche, the original Platonic archetypes were regarded as the essential principles of reality itself, rooted in the very nature of the cosmos . . . Integrating these two views (much as Jung began to do in his final years under the influence of synchronicities), contemporary astrology suggest that archetypes possess a reality that is both objective and subjective, one that informs both outer cosmos and inner human psyche, ‘as above, so below'” (p. 85-6).

Recently, I have felt compelled to read some of Jung’s own original writing regarding archetypes and how he came to describe them.  In his book Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung criticized the connotation of the term “archaic remnants” created by Freud to describe dream imagery evoking ancient myths because it suggested that they were psychic unconscious elements collected by the conscious mind like a trash can.  Instead, Jung argued that his term “archetypes” carried the meaning that instead of being lifeless “remnants,” that these archetypal associations and images “are an integral part of the unconscious, and can be observed everywhere,” and that they “form a bridge between the ways in which we consciously express our thoughts and a more primitive, more colorful and pictorial form . . . that appeals directly to feeling and emotion” (p. 47-49).  Jung believed that archetypal images and associations connect our “rational world of consciousness” with our “world of instinct” (p. 49).

My views about the “archaic remnants,” which I call “archetypes” or “primordial images,” have been constantly criticized by people who lack a sufficient knowledge of the psychology of dreams and of mythology. The term “archetype” is often misunderstood as meaning certain definite mythological images or motifs. But these are nothing more than conscious representations; it would be absurd to assume that such variable representations could be inherited.

The archetype is a tendency to form such representations of a motif- representations that can vary a great deal in detail without losing their basic pattern.  There are, for instance, many representations of the motif of the hostile brethren, but the motif itself remains the same. . . .

Here I must clarify the relation between instincts and archetypes:  what we properly call instincts are physiological urges, and are perceived by the senses.  But at the same time, they also manifest themselves in fantasies and often reveal their presence only by symbolic images.  These manifestations are what I call the archetypes.  They are without known origin; and they reproduce themselves in any time or in any part of the world- even where transmission by direct descent or “cross fertilization” through migration must be ruled out.  (p.67-69)

–Carl Jung from Man and His Symbols (1964)

Thus according to the man who coined the term “archetypes,” they are not in fact locked in to rigid definitions or classifications, but are indeed open to being birthed into new representations like the Esoteric Astrology interpretation of Aries, as long as they retain their basic pattern.  In Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas highlights the “factor of human co-creative participation” in contemporary astrology, and how “planetary archetypes . . . not only endure as timeless universals but are also co-creatively enacted and recursively affected through human participation” (p.86).  Tarnas emphasized that planetary archetypes “must be formulated not as literal concretely definable entities but rather as dynamic potentialities and essences of meaning that cannot be localized or restricted to a specific dimension,” and so archetypes should be “evoked” instead of “defined,” and are “better conveyed through a wide range of examples that collectively illustrate and suggest the enduring intangible essense that is variously inflected through the archetype’s diverse embodiments” (p. 89).

Fittingly enough, I had the opportunity to hear Alan Oken speak for the first time on Easter Sunday of 2012 at the NORWAC astrology convention here in the Pacific Northwest.  He spoke of the ancient battle between Kronus or Saturn, one who is frightened of the timeless and wants to create finite strucutres, and Ouranos or Uranus, one who wants to break finite structures up.  He referenced the mythology of The Birth of Venus painting by Botticelli, describing how when Saturn castrated his father Uranus, the Sky God who was the father of the archetypes, he threw his testes into the oceanic realm of Poseidon or Neptune, creating a fertile matrix in the process that gave birth to Aphrodite or Venus.  Oken said as the father of the archetypes, Uranus breathes new creative fields and has no more powerful place than its current residence in Aries, as new ideas will pour into the collective consciousness.  This influx of new images and insights, Oken elaborated, is due to the fact that Uranus individuates and is the place of the unexpected where you do not follow the norm.  Like I previously mentioned, the link between Uranus, Aries, and Individuation is fascinating from an esoteric perspective since Mercury rules Aries in Esoteric Astrology, and Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury.  With these dynamic descriptions of archetypes in mind, and in consideration of the intense Aries focalizing of energy at this time in the form of the Sun, Venus, Uranus and Mars, the time appears to be ripe to individuate a new sense of the archetypes for ourselves that can likewise be integrated into the greater collective consciousness.  For example, in our modern astrological context, we tend to view Saturn as being the representation of consensus rules, regulations, and expectations of behavior.  What this consensus reality looks like is constantly shifting in modern times, with each new generation ascending with all of its myriad fractals of individuation occurring inside.  In Evolutionary Astrology and other teachings, Uranus carries an energy of collective trauma that can be seen in the myth by Uranus being castrated by Saturn, while also carrying an unstoppable energy of individuation as a result of overcoming the societal conditioning of Saturn, as seen in this castration giving birth to the radiant Goddess Venus.  How each of us interprets this myth in our own time, the specific images that may come to mind as representations, will vary widely and will be shifting with time.  However, the basic pattern remains nonetheless.

800px-Sidney_Hall,_Aries_and_Musca_Borealis,_1825

Individuation

The archetype of Aries has been linked with individuation in many works of astrological literature.  In Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul,  Jeffrey Wolf Green describes the evolved Aries archetype as having the “intrinsic courage and capacity to break new ground in whatever aspect of life that they apply themselves to, and can give courage to others to do the same thing” (p. 51).  Green describes people with Pluto in Aries or the First House as sensing that they have a “special destiny on a very instinctual basis,” and that as a result they desire to have the “freedom and independence to initiate and fulfill any desire or experience they deem necessary, because experience is the vehicle through which they discover or become who and what they are” (p. 43).  Thus, in Evolutionary Astrology, Aries  embodies an instinctual “sense of personal self-discovery that is felt at every moment” (Green, p. 43).  Whether we have planets in Aries or not, when we follow our instinctual inner drive to fulfill our desires, we begin to set off on our own personal path toward individuation, much like the Fool in the tarot.

When terminology like “individuation” becomes so popular and commonplace in astrology and psychology that we talk and write about it like it is already understood by everyone in the same manner, it can be helpful to research the roots of the words and when it entered the mainstream of psychological literature.  In Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbols, Marie Louise von Franz wrote a series of articles brilliantly illuminating the definition and meaning of individuation.  Especially compelling to me is her use of a pine tree seed as a symbol for individuation, and how the totality of a full-grown pine tree lies latent within the being of the seed:

 The seed of a mountain pine contains the whole future tree in a latent form; but each seed falls at a certain time onto a particular place in which there are a number of special factors, such as the quality of the soil and the stones, the slope of the land, and its exposure to sun and wind. The latent totatlity of the pine in the seed reacts to these circumstances by avoiding the stones and inclining toward the sun, with the result that the tree’s growth is shaped.  Thus an individual pine slowly comes into existence, constituting the fulfillment of its totality, its emergence into the realm of reality.  Without the living tree, the image of the pine is only a possibility or an abstract idea.  Again, the realization of this uniqueness in the individual man is the goal of the process of individuation.

From one point of view this process takes place in man (as well as in every other living being) by itself and in the unconscious; it is a process by which man lives out his innate human nature.  Strictly speaking, however, the process of individuation is real only if the individual is aware of it and consciously makes a living connection with it.  We do not know whether the pine tree is aware of its own growth, whether it enjoys and suffers the different vicissitudes that shape it.  But man certainly is able to participate consciously in his development.  He even feels that from time to time, by making free decisions, he can cooperate actively with it.  This co-operation belongs to the process of individuation in the narrower sense of the word.

Man, however, experiences something that is not contained in our metaphor of the pine tree.  The individuation process is more than a coming to terms between the inborn germ of wholeness and the outer acts of fate.  Its subjective experience conveys the feeling that some supra-personal force is actively interfering in a creative way.  Once sometimes feels that the unconscious is leading the way in accordance with a secret design.  It is a as if something is looking at me, something that I do not see but that sees me-  perhaps that Great Man in the heart, who tells me his opinions about me by means of dreams.

But this creatively active aspect of the psychic nucleus can come into play only when the ego gets rid of all purposive and wishful aims and tries to get to a deeper, more basic form of existence.  The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth.  Many existentialist philosophers try to describe this state, but they go only as far as stripping off the illusions of consciousness:  they go right up to the door of the unconscious and then fail to open it (p. 162-163).

–Marie Louise von Franz, from Man and His Symbols 

Because of the dominance of popular astrology and the use of pop astrology stereotypes, for example associating an infantile, headstrong, or selfish egotist with the sign of Aries, people can make the mistake of assuming that Aries energy is meant to come off as pushy and aggressive.  Aries energy can be headstrong in the sense of being determined to follow an individuation process in the face of cultural pressure to conform, but the manner in which Aries energy can initiate this process can be more of a surrendering to one’s inner nature than a forceful assertion of one’s inner nature.  Again, in Man and His Symbols, Marie Louise von Franz uses the pine tree seed as an apt metaphor for this individuating process:

….in order to bring the individuation process into reality, one must surrender consciously to the power of the unconscious, instead of thinking in terms of what one should do, or of what is generally thought right, or of what usually happens. One must simply listen, in order to learn what the inner totality- the Self- wants one to do here and now in a particular situation.

Our attitude must be like of the mountain pine mentioned above: It does not get annoyed when its growth is obstructed by a stone, nor does it make plans about how to overcome the obstacles. It merely tries to feel whether it should grow more toward the left or the right, toward the slope or away from it. Like the tree, we should give in to this almost imperceptible, yet powerfully dominating, impulse- an impulse that comes from the urge toward unique, creative self-realization.  And this is a process in which one must repeatedly seek out and find something that is not yet known to anyone.  The guiding hints or impulses come, not from the ego, but from the totality of the psyche:  the Self.

It is, moreover, useless to cast furtive glances at the way someone else is developing, because each of us has a unique task of self-realization.  Although many human problems are similar, they are never identical.  All pine trees are very much alike (otherwise we should not recognize them as pines), yet none is exactly the same as another.  Because of these factors of sameness and difference, it is difficult to summarize the infinite variations of the process of individuation.  The fact is that each person has to do something different, something that is uniquely his own  (p. 162-164).

–Marie Louise von Franz, from Man and His Symbols

This idea of surrendering to the perhaps unconscious potential of the Self fits well with the current astrological time period and the acceleration of Aries energy occurring, having come after a time period with excessive astrological energy in Pisces.  The long Mercury retrograde in Pisces combined with Neptune, Chiron, Mars, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun all moving through Pisces may have coincided with us discovering at least a hint, if not a definitive calling, from our Soul purpose in the world, the latent potential of a glorious mountain pine tree that could grow from the seeds of our current thoughts and desires.

william blake angels appearing before shepherds

In ancient myths and spiritual texts such as the Bible, shepherds often receive divine messages, such as in the painting above by William Blake of angels appearing to shepherds.  The tending of sheep is important in all of the Abraham faiths, since Abraham, Isaac, Moses, David, and Muhammad were all shepherds.  In his Complete Astrology, Alan Oken noted that the symbol of Aries, the ram, was always the sacficial animal in ancient works such as the Golden Fleece and Moses.  Moreover, Oken cites the fact that many believe that “Moses, the leader of the Exodus, was born under the sign of Aries” (p.59).   As the Christian version of Easter occurs during the time of Aries, it is fitting that we are used to associating the image of the “Lamb of God” with Jesus of Nazareth.  Alan Oken in his Complete Astrology brilliantly analyzes this connection between Jesus and lambs with the individuating purpose of Aries individuals:

In the Christian ethic, Christ was known as the “Lamb of God.”  The crucifixion was symbolic of the ancient sacrificial rites in which a lamb or a ram was offered to the Deity.  Jesus used his physical body to represent the ego of Man (the lamb) on the altar of sacrifice (the cross, representing the nature of the material world).  Through His death and resurrection, Christ illustrated that man must transcend the desires of his personality so that he can gain admittance into the Kingdom of Heaven (conscious immortality in the Spirit).

Thus the Aries individual, although always seeking to express himself in some new aspect of the life experience, is often obliged to disregard his or her own personal desires in order to make a bright future for others.  He must give of his own life-energy so that Mankind may be recharged by the force of life which the Ram embodies (p. 60)

In this time of Easter, with a potent conjunction of Venus, the Sun, Uranus, and Mars all occurring in Aries (not to mention that this Aries stellium is square Capricorn Pluto and forms a yod with Jupiter in Gemini pointing toward Saturn in Scorpio), we can resurrect our true Self or Soul, our true Genius or Juno, however you want to describe it, but the soulful callings of our life purpose we can hear in the wind, which may have fallen dormant in years past, now is burning like the bush calling out to Moses, calling on us to liberate our true being from within and actualize our true Path in the World at this time.

Agnus Dei or “Lamb of God”

by Gabriel Fauré

References

Bailey, Alice. Esoteric Astrology.

Green, Jeff. (1984). Pluto: the Evolutionary Journey of the Soul. Llewellyn.

Jung, Carl and M-L von Franz, Joseph Henderson, Jolande Jacobi, & Aniela Jaffe. (1964). Man and His Symbols. Aldus.

Oken, Alan (1980). Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology. Ibis.

Oken, Alan. (1990). Soul-Centered Astrology: a key to your expanding self.

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

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