Saturn in Pisces – WSAA Lecture on 9 February

Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

I will be giving my talk Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea for the Washington State Astrological Association (WSAA) on Thursday 9 February 2023 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm in Pacific time.

I will be speaking in person in Seattle at the Puget Sound Yacht Club where WSAA regularly meets. If you are not in the Seattle area, the lecture will also be simulcast on Zoom, with the Zoom room opening online at 7:15 pm. Information on how to register and attend are in this link:

https://waastrologers.org/events/saturn-in-pisces-between-the-devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea-lecture-with-gray-crawford/

I previously gave a talk on Saturn in Pisces for the NCGR in Philadelphia last November – this talk for the WSAA will be a revised and renovated version that will contain some new and different ideas and connections than the previous version. Here’s a description of the talk:

Saturn’s entrance into Pisces on March 7, 2023 will bring a sea change in collective and personal events, as the star of Kronos will begin sharing the same mutable water as Neptune. Marking the end of the Saturn and Neptune cycle that began in 1989, Saturn will spend an extended period of time in close proximity with Neptune in Pisces before eventually forming an exact conjunction with Neptune in the first degree of Aries on February 20, 2026.

This talk will explore the meaning of Saturn transiting Pisces as well as Saturn’s cyclical relationship with Neptune that has correlated with dissolution of old orders and the emergence of idealistic movements. We’ll discuss the potential of Saturn sailing through the oceanic expanse of Pisces and what we may discover washed up on shore from its tides.

I hope to see you there!

Aquarius New Moon

La Belle au Bois Dormant by Gustave Doré
Audio recording of article on the Aquarius New Moon

Aquarius New Moon

The ponderous gaze of Saturn is responsible for the care of both sides of the border between Capricorn and Aquarius. The star of wily Kronos calls both celestial landscapes its home, yet there is a meaningful division between the nocturnal sign of the Goatfish and the diurnal sign of the Water Pourer. Capricorn has more focus upon initiation attuned with the familiar structures of civilization and cultural traditions that bring enduring meaning and guidance. Aquarius beckons beyond the walls of containing systems, receiving inspiration free of the dictates of conventional society, inviting inquiry into the unfamiliar and journeys into the unknown. Collectively we are in a period of time that holds a potent Aquarian quality necessitating the release of the way things have been and entrance into a strange, emerging reality. Airy whirlwinds of decentering, fragmentation, and fracturing are necessarily part of the Aquarian process that is also procreative with innovation, intellectual sharpness, and collective awareness for how personal actions impact wider humanitarian concerns.

The Aquarius New Moon on 21 January occurs one day after the Sun’s entrance into the sign of the Water Pourer, with the exact union of Sun and Moon occurring at 01°32′ Aquarius. The monthly new moon initiates a thirty day period of Selene cycling through all of her phases. Yet the zodiacal degree of the Aquarius New Moon is close to the inception degree of two larger cycles of time: (1) the twenty year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn that began with their conjunction on 21 December 2020 at 00°29′ Aquarius, and (2) the one-to-two-year cycle of Venus and Mars that began with their conjunction on 6 March 2022 at 00°01′ Aquarius and will become regenerated at their next conjunction on 21 February 2024 at seven degrees of Aquarius. The lunation also foreshadows the ingress of Pluto into Aquarius on 23 March 2023, the first time that Pluto will shift from Capricorn into Aquarius since 1778. The nexus between the Aquarius New Moon with these larger cycles of time brings larger implications to the present trajectory of developments, facilitating deeper understanding for how our life story has changed within the immense collective changes that have taken shape since 2020. It’s an ideal lunation for gaining clarity on the alignment between your values and integrity with the state of your relationships, work and purpose. How do you need to take more risk and courageous initiative to build momentum toward fulfilling your most essential desires? Where do you need to become more grounded regarding your dreams, and what pragmatic strategies can help you manifest your vision?

With Uranus in Taurus stationing direct the day after the lunation at 14°56′ Taurus, sudden revelations may arise that overturn past narratives and reveal new insight into both your past as well as your future direction. In some cases the catalytic events corresponding with Uranus stationing can quickly shift perspective into deeper understanding of present circumstances and issues, in other cases the volatility of Uranus can suddenly swing storylines in ways that feel more disruptive than cohering. However, with Mars having stationed direct recently on 12 January and Mercury having stationed direct recently on 18 January, the intensification of Uranus during the Aquarius New Moon is most likely to serve as a propulsive push forward in growth. There is a wave of uplifting support behind the Aquarius New Moon for emboldening new plans and projects that require courageous action and initiative in the month ahead, due to the Aquarius Moon applying to an invigorating sextile with Jupiter in Aries and a flowing trine with Mars in Gemini. Yet with Mars, Mercury, and Uranus all engaged in a prolonged process of generating forward movement, it will be best to proceed with slow and steady mindfulness rather than impulsively rushing ahead.

Aquarius is the sign of the outsider and heretic, the willing exile who separates themselves from dominant cultures so they may live more freely on their own terms according to their own principles and values. The Aquarius New Moon can help coalesce understanding for aspects of past societal conditioning that need to be shed or examined more closely due to stifling the full expression of authentic creativity. As part of recentering upon deep soul desires, an Aquarian process of decentering may need to take place that applies critical thought toward analyzing the diverse factors at play within relationships and work. While it may be necessary to detach from certain emotional dynamics in order to gain clarity, it will be important to refrain from becoming overly rational so that we perceive from the heart rather than a dissociated mental state.

There are a few additional factors that mark the Aquarius New Moon as a significant turning point. It’s considered to be a “super moon” due to being at the perigee of the Moon’s orbit when Luna is as close as possible to Earth in orbit. However, this will not be a typical super moon because the Moon will be closer to Earth than it has been in 992 years, resulting in abnormally high tides that can also serve as a symbol for emotional high tides flooding awareness. Furthermore, the Aquarius New Moon will be at the southern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a confrontational square aspect with the North Node of the Moon in Taurus and South Node of the Moon in Scorpio. This also means that the Aquarius New Moon is midway between the eclipses from three months ago (the Scorpio Solar Eclipse on 25 October and the Taurus Lunar Eclipse on 8 November) and the eclipses three months from now (the Aries Solar Eclipse on 19 April and the Scorpio Lunar Eclipse on 5 May). Finally, the Aquarius New Moon is out of bounds in southern declination, appearing lower in the sky than normal.

As a result, there is an extreme quality to the Aquarius New Moon. It’s both extremely close in orbit as well as extremely low in the sky. It demarcates a crossroads where multiple storylines, perspectives, and experiences intersect. A time for envisioning the path forward while taking accountability and responsibility for your past. A time for identifying and embodying the values that are deeply rooted in your core purpose, while focusing on developing the relationships and work that are in true alignment with your principles and integrity. The extremity of the Moon can incite extreme urgency to break free from confining circumstances, yet it will be wise to take on the slow thoroughness of Saturn that can sift through potential options to discern the most effective course of action.

The brilliant intellectual gifts of Aquarius being stimulated by the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Saturn all occupying Aquarius can be a boon for analyzing issues and brainstorming solutions, yet we also need to be aware of the shadow side of Aquarius that can become fixated upon a dogmatic sense of right action. In spite of Aquarius having acclaim for community building and focusing on collective needs, Aquarian activists can stubbornly insist that others conform to their self righteous conception of what’s best for the greater good. With the Aquarius New Moon activating the lunar nodes, it will be important to focus on deep listening, holding the tension of differing perspectives, and allowing internal conflicts to have the space to work themselves out so that guidance may emerge from your deep wells of inner wisdom.

Two Candles by Gerard Richter

While the Sun and Moon are forming a conjunction at the second degree of Aquarius, Venus and Saturn will be forming a conjunction in the final ten degrees of Aquarius. There is a solidity to the Aquarius New Moon due to Saturn being at home in Aquarius, and yet the solidness supplied by Saturn will be more creatively receptive than usual due to Venus applying toward a close conjunction with Saturn. The synergy between Venus and Saturn can facilitate creative visions taking form with tangible results, though the influence of Saturn may mean that there will need to be extended time devoted toward working through a solution to any arising challenges. Venus combined with Saturn also calls for greater maturity within relationships and committing to the relationships aligned with your values. Venus wielding the scythe of Saturn will clear the ground of relationships out of alignment with your integrity, bringing awareness to the issues that can be worked through in relationship or instead are unworkable and demand severance.

During the waning half of the previous lunar cycle, Venus passed through a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on 14 January, reactivating the disruptive influence of the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated astrology in the past two years. The world has been reshaped while the tension between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius has been in effect since 2020, but now that we have arrived at their final activation we have lived through our own transfiguration and are in better position to make productive changes with their groundbreaking influence. The upcoming Leo Full Moon on 5 February will trigger both the irritable and innovative sides of Saturn and Uranus, making the forthcoming lunar cycle the grand finale of the Saturn Uranus story. With Venus and Saturn combining during the start of the lunar cycle, hone in on the heart of what you wish to create by cutting away excess and distractions so that you can maximize your use of time while focused upon what matters most to you.

The union of Venus and Saturn is also happening near the projected degree of the fixed star Deneb Algedi, the star in the tail of the Sea Goat constellation. Venus and Saturn will also be visually close to Deneb Algedi in the sky, appearing slightly to the northeast of Deneb Algedi. Venus and Saturn combining near Deneb Algedi evokes the mythology of the ancient deities Enki and Inanna. Inanna has associations with Venus and Deneb Algedi was called the star of Ea and has been linked to Enki, the Sumerian god of water, wisdom, crafts, magic, law and creation. Enki was known for bringing life to land by creating natural habitats and vegetation, and in the story of Inanna’s descent to the underworld, Enki is the only deity who took action to rescue and revive her. When Inanna was hanging lifeless on the meathook of her sister Ereshkigal, it was Enki who created and sent two beings to appease Ereshkigal and restore Inanna with the food and water of life. Deneb Algedi will have a protective and restorative influence upon the conjunction of Venus and Saturn that can help in making decisions based upon ethical considerations and personal integrity. Their combination adds to the potency that the Aquarius New Moon possesses for coming to terms with recent changes and challenges by claiming your personal authority to act with integrity, focusing upon building a strong foundation that will support the continued expression of your creative actualization.

Sparrow Hawk by Pablo Picasso

Uranus stationing one day after the Aquarius New Moon means that Uranus will be saturating the astrological landscape with its liberating, awakening, innovative, and experimental archetypal force. However, Mercury will also have an intensified presence due to stationing direct a few days before the lunation on 18 January. The Aquarius New Moon is also in the bounds and triplicity of Mercury, making your mindful recovery from the recent period of Mercury retrograde in Capricorn integral to the dynamics of the Aquarius New Moon. Pay attention to signs and synchronicities in your daily travels as well as the symbolism of your dreams at night for any messages that Hermes has to share regarding lessons from the past month of Mercury retrograde and issues to focus on during the lunar month ahead. The intensified presence of Mercury barely moving forward may feel challenging in terms of leaping forward with progress, yet Mercury will have a potent force to apply toward mental pursuits and communication.

Although Mercury is barely moving during the Aquarius New Moon, it will soon begin picking up speed while applying toward an extremely inventive trine aspect with Uranus that it will complete on 29 January. This will be the third exact trine aspect between Mercury in Capricorn with Uranus in Taurus, the first occurring on 17 December when Mercury was direct and the second occurring on 8 January when Mercury was in the middle of its retrograde journey. Reflect upon any bright ideas and innovative work that came to mind in mid December that you continued to develop in mid January but has remained in need of further work to solidify or bring to completion. The week following the Aquarius New Moon will be extremely fertile for making significant strides with all manner of mercurial work, including any form of communication or commerce.

With Mercury in the exaltation of Mars picking up speed in the week following the Aquarius New Moon, and Mars in the airy domicile of Mercury also beginning to finally gain traction with forward momentum, the additional stationing direct of Uranus on 22 January will mean that all of the planets will be moving direct in motion, supplying an immense thrust of forward momentum we can utilize with our work. There will be an extended period of time to work with all of the planets moving direct in motion, as there will not be another planet shifting into a retrograde phase until Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus on 21 April. While the Aquarius New Moon marks the time of the Chinese New Year that welcomes the Year of the Yin Water Rabbit, there is ample astrological support for giving the Aquarius New Moon the quality of initiating all of us into a new year of growth.

Within the tumult of archetypal tidal forces expanding forward in the week following the Aquarius New Moon, Venus will be shining brightly as an Evening Star and will enter her exaltation of Pisces on 26 January. Venus entering Pisces will bring a boost to artistic, creative, musical, and imaginative pursuits, further enhancing capacity for making significant strides in creative development. Venus in Pisces can also supply a safe haven of sensual pleasures and intimate connection within surrounding storms. If current events or personal experiences become overly stressful and anxiety provoking, look to Venus and her love of pleasure, music, games, food, and other creature comforts to temper nerves and restore creative agency. Notably, as the Moon waxes toward fullness on 4 February, Venus in Pisces will form a waning square aspect with Mars in Gemini that will mark a key turning point within relationship and creative process. Thus the awareness gained during the conjunction between Venus with Saturn during the Aquarius New Moon will be important to apply toward the ways in which we notice our values and desires changing as Venus approaches her square with Mars in the following two weeks.

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius is in the first decan of Aquarius, associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords, we see a swordsman pridefully watching his conquered rivals walk away, leaving him solitary in a freshly cleared domain. Venus and Saturn are the rulers of the first decan of Aquarius, yet the presence of Saturn is much more immediately recognizable in the image of the Five of Swords than Venus. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets about the decans and tarot described how Venus involves both “the sweet refuge of the familiar” as well as the “allure of the possible,” and how the Five of Swords concerns risking the familiar, abandoning comfort, embracing hope, and traversing the passage between the known and unknown that is “fraught with peril.” Chang also wrote that the Five of Swords “can be a card of longing, sharp and bittersweet . . . the double-edged sword that fans desire without satisfying it; it creates avid interest without the opportunity to pursue it.” Chang advised that the Five of Swords can indicate “impossible expectations and uncharitable thoughts directed at yourself or others,” but whenever we take the risk to leave the familiar in order to better ourselves, we embrace the Five of Swords.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first decan of Aquarius, calling it “a face of exclusion and intentional exile,” a place where “there are discoveries to be made and profit to be had on the periphery.” Coppock noted that many images in older texts for this decan “depict the difficulties of living on the margins, on the outside,” whereas others reveal figures “whose labor results in both beauty and financial reward.”  Coppock further linked the meaning of the Five of Swords to this face through the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” gained when breaking free from the orthodoxy of one’s time and accepting “the mark of the heretic.” In this way, the image of the Five of Swords card reveals how some relationships become necessarily sacrificed when entering exile away from societal norms, while new vivifying relationships will also arise in alignment with the liberated sense of Self that emerges in the process of becoming.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice, Dike, as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Coppock in 36 Faces linked Dike appearing here with “the abandonment of relationships which do not live up to Lady Justice’s high standards.” With Venus and Saturn, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius, forming a conjunction in Aquarius during the Aquarius New Moon, we can pay attention to how the sword of Justice cuts through to the heart of matters, allowing the scales of Justice to weigh the relationships that deserve our full devotion versus the ones that are misaligned with our soulful essence and personal integrity.

If you feel lacking in relationships aligned with your purpose and values, following through on intentions to embody your values and express your purpose will help in drawing resonate relationships within your sphere of relations, even if it necessitates taking the risk to the leave the comforts your present circumstances supply. Whenever we leave the security of the familiar to strike out towards the promise of the unknown, fears of conflict and the possibility of losing important relationships can keep us confined to unfulfilling circumstances. The Aquarius New Moon is an invitation to consider the life and relationships you can create by fully stepping into creative actualization of your most cherished values and deepest desires.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! On the Oak tier in our monthly classes we are exploring the fixed stars, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Full Moon in Cancer

Moon over Musashino (1909/10) by Kamisaka Sekka
audio recording of Cancer Full Moon article

Full Moon in Cancer

The Moon keeps close to us through eternal flux, constantly changing phases, waxing and waning in light. The Moon pours down the influences of the wandering and fixed stars, carrying and transmitting their messages and meaning. Reflection is the Moon’s method. Rather than generating light like the Sun, the Moon reflects the nourishment of divine light back to us. We learn of our affinities and feel our many associations through the swift movement of the Moon, gaining awareness of the relationship between our mind and body with the multitude of all life, including the multiplicity of ancestors who feed into our being. The peak light of the Cancer Full Moon takes place every year within the watery, nocturnal domicile of the Moon, zodiacal terrain where the Moon fully activates the realms of memory, imagination, dreams and the unconscious. The Cancer Full Moon on 6 January 2023 possesses a dynamic potency for descending into inner realms of intuition in order to reascend with revelatory insight. The silvery light of the Moon will illuminate the cracks and crevices of inner psyche, helping us shed and release old patterns so we may clear ground for the nourishment of new ideas and a renewal of vitality.

The Cancer Full Moon has an intense relationship with Mercury. Mercury and the Moon are the two key messengers within astrology. In combination they bridge the irrational with the rational, picking up messages from the unconscious to interpret and translate through our conscious awareness. During the exact timing of the Moon opposing the Sun on 6 January, Mercury will be simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with the Sun that will bring about a reanimation of Mercury on 7 January while the Moon remains full of light. It’s an electric atmosphere for reception of revelation, amplified by Uranus in Taurus possessing harmonious aspects with both the Moon and Mercury. Mental and emotional material will be highly activated. Depending upon circumstances, there may be a need to respond to major eruptions in storylines or mediate the turning of one’s own mind into rumination of memories, thoughts, and feelings that need to be worked out. It’s a fruitful time for both solitary contemplation as well as deep dialogue within intimate relationship. Finding ways to animate feelings such as through physical exertion, writing, or artistic expression can deliver important insights to integrate.

The Full Moon in Cancer is separating from a square with Chiron in Aries and a sextile with Uranus in Taurus while applying toward an opposition with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, a trine with Neptune in Pisces, and an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. Black Moon Lilith, the lunar symbol revealing shadowy material in need of integration or release, is also in Cancer and forming an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn. Utilizing practices for mindfulness can help deepen awareness of subconscious material rather than becoming dissociated or projecting inner issues in destructive ways through external relationships. Creatively, the days following the lunation can be powerful for research and writing, especially when needing to brainstorm and generate new ideas or ways to renovate ideas already under development. With the polarity between Cancer and Capricorn amplified during the first week of 2023, make space to reflect upon your use of time, your health routines and habits, the interplay between rest and work, and the ambitions to prioritize in the year ahead that are aligned with your larger dreams as well as the nourishment of your most soulful needs.

Athenian tetradrachm representing the goddess Athena

The Full Moon in Cancer is also applying closely to a conjunction with Pallas Athena retrograde in Cancer and a flowing trine with Vesta in Pisces. Demetra George in Asteroid Goddesses described the daimonic, angelic influence of asteroids as mediating the personal and collective, guiding us through emotional crises that bring about a metamorphosis attuned with the whole of creation. George theorized that the asteroids possess a cyclical and nonlinear nature similar to the cycles of change that the Moon is constantly setting in motion, so that “the asteroid goddesses relate to the cycle of coming and going, ” the “new archetypal principles that are currently being activated and integrated into the psyche,” serving “as agents in the transformative process of individuals.” As we continue to traverse an extraordinary period of collective crisis, it’s worth considering the meaning held by Pallas Athena and Vesta and how they can assist with the regenerative changes needing to be made.

I have not conducted extensive research to develop a meaning for Pallas Athena retrograde in contrast to direct motion, but one idea that comes to mind is that perhaps her Athena Nike quality obsessed with victory in the moment could give way to her more prophetic side that is less focused upon engaging in battle and more open to biding her time while divining the full scope of circumstances and developing strategies for future success. In myth, Pallas Athena and her glimmering gray eyes possess an “in-betweeness” like Hermes that can utilize disguise, deception, subterfuge, and cunning dialogue in her quests and heroic mentoring, attributes that fit well with her forming an opposition to Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. Pallas Athena can scan the personal and collective environment for root causes of ills, devising practical solutions that lead to the building of forms that facilitate success within civilization. The combination of Pallas Athena with Vesta creates a laser focus that can penetrate into the heart of a multitude of issues, whether we are invested in matters of health, creativity, the arts, or political change and activism.

The watery trine between the Full Moon and Pallas Athena retrograde in Cancer with Vesta in Pisces emphasizes the importance of creating sacred space for contemplation within a boundary of protection. With Pallas Athena retrograde also in aspect with Chiron in Aries, any techniques that can enhance mind-body connections will be extremely helpful, including the use of guided visualization. If you’ve been dealing with excessive stress recently, create an immersive environment of imagination in which you can experience restoration and realignment with your deepest dreams and desires. Allow for solutions to emerge from imaginal realms and relationships with spirit, discerning how to make practical use of received messages. The aegis armor of Athena may need to be cast aside temporarily, as well as attachment to societal status and ambitions in order to gain the necessary understanding of issues involved in present challenges. Pallas Athena on the prowl is known for her invulnerability, but her retrograde configuration with the Cancer Full Moon and Mercury retrograde in Capricorn indicates that letting down her guard to access the profound inner wisdom of her mother Metis and grandmother Tethys will deliver the vision and insight needed for ultimate success.

Pallas Athena and Herakles (480 – 470 BC)

Less than a week after the Cancer Full Moon, Mars will station direct on 12 January at 8°08’ Gemini. There will be a burning intensification of all things Mars that will become progressively louder each day following the lunation. Fitting for stationing in the sign of the Twins, the glowing redness of Mars will be situated above the bright redness of the royal star Aldebaran in the night sky. The burning, sacred eye of the bull, Aldebaran’s alliance with Mars will amplify the potential for gathering resources and honing strategies. If possible to wait for implementing plans of action, let yourself recover from whatever fiery process of internal transfiguration you have experienced since Mars stationed retrograde in Gemini on October 30. With the cunning presences of Pallas Athena and Mercury illuminated by the Cancer Full Moon, focus on integration and allowing for inner insights to deepen. The end of January following the Aquarius New Moon on 21 January will be ripe for direct action and riding a tidal wave of forward momentum.

In contrast to Mars and Mercury, Venus will be moving in direct motion while increasing in brightness and visibility as an evening star. Venus in Aquarius will form a flowing trine aspect with Mars in Gemini on 9 January during the same time that Mars is stationing direct. During the Full Moon in Cancer, Venus in Aquarius will be separating from a creative sextile aspect with Jupiter in Aries and applying toward the trine with Mars. Venus in Aquarius possesses intellectual and artistic brilliance that can enhance whatever grand plans for future adventure that Mars is presently incubating. Venus in Aquarius can detach and dissociate from overwhelming emotions to gain a cool comprehension of complex interpersonal dynamics, analyzing the most artful and productive path forward.

3 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Cancer will illuminate the second decan of Cancer associated with the Three of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The merry image of dancing women evokes the three graces and signifies creative collaborations as well as reception of pleasure. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Walled Garden” to the second face of Cancer, adding an element not obvious from the image above: the need of protection to create a nurturing space that can bring forth joy, beauty, and abundance. Mercury and Mars are the rulers of the second decan of Cancer, as the cunning creativity of Mercury needs the fierceness of Mars to secure a container within which the magic of Mercury may manifest desires.  

In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the fertile capacity of the second face of Cancer for bringing “wealth, cheerfulness, joy, and love of women” are shown through the images of “a man dressed in beautiful clothing” and “a man and woman sitting at a table playing.” The 13th century Picatrix gave the gifts of “games, wealth, joy and abundance” to the second face of Cancer, describing the image of a beautiful woman wearing a crown of green myrtle while delicately holding a water lily and singing songs of love and joy. Similarly, the 12th century philosopher and astrologer Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described the image of a beautiful women wearing a myrtle crown who has pleasant speech and desires music and wind.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces made the astute insight that “the great secret” of the second face of Cancer “is the power of right incubation.” In relation to present transits this is a perfect fit for the retrograde phases of Mars and Mercury happening during the Cancer Full Moon, the two rulers of this face. Coppock connected the co-rulership of Mars and Mercury as signifying “the protective, guiding power of the mother goddess” that can cultivate gardens where “rare pleasures bloom.” Similar to how the Moon has both a dark and light side, Coppock discerned that the connection between the mother goddess with the second face of Cancer is that “while we may find pleasure in being coddled, the wise mother orchestrates challenges that her children might become heroes and heroines.” Coppock described how this is illustrated by the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribing the ancient Greek hero Heracles to the second face of Cancer, as “though on the surface Heracles is a symbol of masculine potency, his entire story, from before birth until after death, was orchestrated by Hera, the mother.”

The mother goddess making her home in the second face of Cancer is shown in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis, as it pictured the body of a vulture with the face of the great goddess Isis wearing a crown. Furthermore, Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus, possibly around 50 CE) gave the image of “Woman, entire body winged as if flying, plaited wreath upon her head” to the second face of Cancer.

These winged feminine images evoke the story of Isis searching for her dismembered lover and twin Osiris by transforming into a kite, a winged raptor that feeds on the dead like vultures. The relentless courage of Isis to locate and reanimate Osiris was necessary to give birth to their new storylines of Osiris becoming lord of the underworld and Isis becoming the mother of Horus. Under the light of the Cancer Full Moon, feel into how the trials by fire you have endured over recent months have proven essential in shaping your personal growth and the new skills, talents and opportunities emerging for you to develop in the new year.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic. 

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

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

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

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

The Faun Musician by Pablo Picasso
  • Mercury enters shadow zone: 12 December 2022 at 8°08’ Capricorn
  • Mercury at maximum elongation as evening star (becoming slower than Sun): 21 December
  • Mercury stations retrograde: 29 December at 24°21’ Capricorn
  • Mercury inferior conjunction: 7 January 2023 at 16°57’ Capricorn
  • Mercury stations direct: 18 January at 8°08’ Capricorn
  • Mercury at maximum elongation as morning star (becoming faster than Sun): 30 January
  • Mercury leaves shadow zone: 6 February at 24°21’ Capricorn

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn

Mercury delights in questioning categorization and fixed concepts. It’s the only planet that refuses to be limited to singular categories, as it can be benefic or malefic, nocturnal or diurnal, masculine or feminine depending upon the surrounding influences it mixes with. In popular astrology Mercury is often described as linear and logical, yet the ease with which Mercury can interface with the irrational and nonlinear, such as in the interpretation of dreams and omens, reveals how its affinity for deconstruction and destabilization is an essential element of its capacity to bring about primal reordering. When Mercury shifts into its retrograde phase, the star of Hermes makes its home in the liminal, in threshold experiences of leaving one state to enter another. Mercury retrograde delivers transitions and twists in storyline, teaching pivotal lessons from unexpected circumstances. With Mercury stationing retrograde in the final days of 2022, it’s fitting that Mercury will play a major role in ushering us across the threshold into a new year.

Mercury will station retrograde on 29 December 2022 and embark upon a twenty day journey of backtracking from 24°21’ to 8°08’ Capricorn when it stations direct on 18 January 2023. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from eight to twenty-five degrees of Capricorn, he will excavate material that we need to deepen our engagement with, returning our perception to issues we need to release, rework, or reintegrate. Yet the retrograde of Mercury is not limited to review and redo, as the star of Hermes will deepen development in areas of focus as well as reseed vital ideas and inspiration to enliven work in the season ahead. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification, we will experience renewal on the other side once Mercury has returned to visibility and direct motion in the morning sky. Mercury first crossed 8°08’ Capricorn on 12 December and will not move beyond 24°21’ Capricorn until 6 February, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

Of course, the reverse direction of Mercury is an illusion stemming from Mercury orbiting in between the Earth and Sun while retrograde. With Mercury’s presence intensified due to being as close to Earth as possible in orbit, the slowness of its backward motion produces a churning quality that can dredge up issues that had been hidden from awareness. With Mercury retrograde in an earth sign, messages and material carried by our body and bodily senses that we have been mentally neglecting will rise into awareness. Due to Venus forming a conjunction with Mercury on 29 December while Mercury is stationing, followed by Venus forming a conjunction with Pluto on 31 December, there will be a wealth of deep-rooted material held within the body and inner recesses of psyche to uncover and explore. The connection between Venus and Pluto will activate longstanding relational patterns, with the ghosts of past relationships emerging within the present relational circumstances we find ourselves within.

There is an important connection between the alignment of Mercury, Venus, and Pluto at the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023 with the previous alignment of Mercury, Venus, and Pluto that took place at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022. While the planetary combination is repeating, the solar phases of Mercury and Venus are opposite. Last year Venus was retrograde while Mercury was freshly visible in its evening star phase, whereas this year Mercury is retrograde while Venus has recently become visible as an evening star. While there may be specific relationships from last year that have mirroring issues emerge again to address, there is most likely a connection taking place between major relational patterns we needed to address at the end of last year that will be emerging again in new forms. We may realize ways in which we have experienced significant growth while also recognizing aspects of ourselves that will be requiring more inner work.

The Mercury retrograde passage in Capricorn that began in 2023 marks the first of three consecutive Mercury retrograde periods in 2023 that will take place wholly in earth signs. Last year we gained a taste of Mercury retrograde in earth signs due to the retrograde periods ending with Mercury stationing direct in each of the the three earth signs after spending most of its retrograde phase in each of the three air signs. Taking note of lessons learned from last year can help in orienting to the meaning of Mercury being retrograde in the areas of your natal chart occupied by the all three of the earth signs in 2023. A fascinating aspect of Mercury retrograde during 2023 is that the first three retrograde periods of the year in earth signs all feature Mercury in either a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus or being in close proximity to Uranus. The innovative and liberating influence of Uranus upon Mercury retrograde during 2023 will create opportunities for breaking free from past patterns and making the changes that can accelerate creative development.

In addition to paying attention to information found within your body and its connection with your mind and expression, the fact that Mercury will be retrograde in all three earth signs during 2023 will make it important to analyze and review practical structures and routines in your life as well as the infrastructure and organizational systems you utilize in your work. Capricorn is the cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn that also exalts Mars, and so Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can help initiate the fundamental changes that need to be made within personal structures of all sorts, from exercise and nutritional considerations to the ways in which you manage time and space. Take stock of habits getting in the way of efficiency or that are needlessly wasting time that can be purged or reformulated during the retrograde motion of Mercury. Discipline is pleasing to Capricorn, and so it will be an opportune time for getting daily plans and routines adjusted and set in place that you can commit to following through within the year ahead.

Mercury retrograde in the nocturnal, cold, dry, and earthy sign of Capricorn has a strong skillset for sorting through and separating factors at play to diagnose the reforms needing to be made. The melancholic quality of Capricorn may influence Mercury to take on a downcast quality at times, brooding over anxieties and worries, but the imaginative nature of Capricorn combined with Mercury forming three sextile aspects with Neptune (on 24 December before stationing, 1 January while retrograde, and 6 February while direct) can also create opportunities for imaginative exploration that can help in re-dreaming your vision for what to produce in the new year. The cold and dry quality of Capricorn will also be tempered by Venus forming a conjunction with Mercury at the beginning of its retrograde passage, signaling that Mercury’s descent into the underworld while retrograde can facilitate a pivotal renewal of our creative potency and agency.

Mercury will not only be retrograde in the earthy domicile of Saturn, it will also be ruled by Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius. The powerful influence of Saturn combined with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will emphasize our relationship with collective influences such as societal conditioning from systemic structures. Societies are formed by laws, regulations, norms and taboos, yet we can forget at times how our habitual conformity with certain societal norms can keep us stuck in limiting patterns we wish to break free from. Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will destabilize our perception of societal norms and rules, heightening awareness of ways we have been restricting our authentic expression, As we deepen into a process of revelation, the flowing trine aspect that Mercury retrograde will eventually form with Uranus in Taurus on 8 January will unveil a more vibrant presence and creative expression to take on through our work. The mature and responsible nature of Capricorn can facilitate Mercury retrograde guiding us through a process of taking greater accountability for the work we desire to manifest and embody through our contribution to our wider community.

Pan (1899) by Mikhail Vrubel

We drive and are driven. / But time’s stride– / think of it lost / in the ever-remaining.

All that’s hurrying / will quickly be past; / only what lingers / grants us credence.

Boys, don’t fling your courage / into the thrill of speed / or attempts at flight.

All that is is at rest– / darkness and morning light, / flower and book.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, #22

Like the ancient Saturnalia in which societal conventions are overturned, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will invert norms in ways that bring awareness to social conformity and taboos. A subconscious portal into exploring our constructs of time and space will open so we may renew our relationship with phenomenal reality. In Capricorn, the star of Hermes takes on the likeness of his goat-horned and hoofed progeny Pan who can shepherd us through a journey into our vast inner multiplicity that mirrors the multiplicity of stars above. As Mercury descends from visibility as an evening star at sunset at the end of 2022, the new year will begin with Mercury shepherding us through its invisible phase in which it serves as psychopomp to our own underworld journey.

The association of Pan with the scapegoat is relevant, as unrecognized inner material emerging into awareness can be projected onto an Other of one sort or another. Intersecting with societal oppression, the collective discharge can often be projected through the lens of collective constructs around ideas of race, gender, or other forms of identity, taking on the ugliness of racism or sexism. When facing inner conflicts around taboos or aspects of ourselves we have been denying, we can utilize Mercury retrograde in Capricorn for coming into greater acceptance of our diverse inner nature and multiplicity of identities rather than projecting what we don’t want to look at about ourselves. In addition, feelings of scarcity or not having enough can become heightened due to the combination of collective economic uncertainty and the emphasis on Capricorn, so there will be a need to take personal accountability and transfigure anxieties into creative production generated from inner strength rather than out of fear or control.

There will be a likelihood of harsh words and wounding projections due to the powerful interplay between Mercury retrograde in Capricorn with Mars retrograde in Gemini in the beginning of 2023. There is a mutual generosity of Mercury being in the exaltation of Mars while Mars is in the domicile of Mercury. Though you may think of Capricorn and Gemini as being averse to one another due to them sharing nothing in common (nocturnal-cold-dry versus diurnal-hot-moist), their aversion is mitigated due to Capricorn and Gemini being signs of equal ascension that share the same speed as well as being contra-antiscia to one another. Planets in exact contra-antiscia form a midpoint at zero degrees of Aries, bringing the diversity of their differences together into a potent marriage of manifestation in the world.

Mercury will become exactly contra antiscia with Mars on 3 January when Mercury is at 21°21’ Capricorn and Mars is at 8°39’ Gemini. Moreover, since Jupiter is close to zero degrees of Aries, Mars and Mercury will form an exact midpoint with Jupiter on 1 January 2023. As a result, the first few days of 2023 possess a potent planetary picture of Mercury-Jupiter- Mars. The effects of this combination will be multivalent, ranging from extremes of destruction in current events to incredible creative production in our own personal sphere. Due to both Mercury and Mars being in retrograde phases, it will be an especially fruitful time for gathering resources and doing renovation that builds a stronger foundation for our visible work to emerge later in the year.

The powerful interplay between Mercury-Jupiter-Mars will occur at the same time that Mercury will be entering combustion to burn off excess under the beams of the Sun. The image of Temperance from tarot can be helpful during this time, as we will need to undergo a process of purging that acknowledges excess in order to bring about a restoration of balance. With Jupiter at the midpoint of the contra-antiscia dynamic between Mercury retrograde and Mars retrograde, we can experience a powerful initiation into a new stage of growth and development. Yet to realize the potential available we will need to take note of our areas of excess so we can become focused more clearly upon what needs to be purged and consumed by the flames of the Sun as Mercury approaches its solar conjunction on 7 January.

Orpheus, early 16th Century

O come and go. You, still almost a child, / with your spell transform for an instant / the dance figure make it one of those pure / constellations in which we fleetingly

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused / to full hearing only when Orpheus sang. / You were still swayed by those ancient chords / and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock / before it followed where your hearing led. / You still knew the place where the lyre / rose resounding–; the undreamt-of center.

For it you practiced those beautiful steps / and hoped one day to turn toward / total happiness your friend’s face and stride.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus #28

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on 7 January 2023 at 16°57’ Capricorn, a day after the Cancer Full Moon that will take place on 6 January. As a result, the light of the silvery Moon in her watery domicile of Cancer will fully illuminate the reseeding of Mercury in solar light. The regeneration of Mercury occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible morning star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.”

Although the inferior conjunction of Mercury is typically felt in hidden, interior spaces, the regenerative conjunction between Mercury with the Sun on 7 January will pack a louder punch than normal due to it being illuminated by the Full Moon in Cancer while also forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus that will take place on 8 January. The more we can let go of excess and outdated patterns in the lead up to Mercury’s inferior conjunction, the better we will be able to receive the emancipatory messages of Uranus in Taurus. This can be a powerful time for research and writing, especially when needing to brainstorm and generate new ideas or ways to reorganize and reconceptualize ideas already under development. It can also be a potent time for creating sacred space to nurture our imaginal, tender connections with the interconnectedness of all.

Mercury’s inferior conjunction will be just over one degree away from the fixed star Vega, a fixed star currently projected onto the ecliptic at 15°37’ Capricorn. Mercury will be within a degree of Vega’s ecliptic degree when forming its flowing trine with Uranus on 8 January. Vega is one of the brightest stars in the entire sky and has ancient significance in skylore. As the brightest star in the Lyra constellation it possesses a direct connection to the birth story of Hermes told in the Homeric hymn, an amazing synchronicity as the star of Hermes becomes reborn at this time. After Hermes was born in a cave, his immense curiosity soon led him to journey outside where he encountered the cattle of Apollo, stealing them and marching them backwards to conceal his theft in a manner mirroring the retrograde motion of the planet named after him. But stealing cattle was not all that Hermes was up to on his first journey into the world, as he also encountered a tortoise whose shell he transformed into a lyre. Once Hermes was confronted by Apollo for stealing his cattle, he sang a song with the lyre and gifted it to Apollo, enchanting the Sun god in the process.

Enchantment is central to Vega. Ptolemy linked Venus and Mercury to Vega, a further sync with the conjunction of Venus and Mercury in Capricorn initiating us into the stationing of Mercury retrograde. Bernadette Brady described Vega as bringing “creative, mysterious skill which can be used for artistic, spiritual expression or in a negative reading as a tool of deception,” with a presence that gives “charisma and the suggestion that one has been touched by the other world.” Vega is one of the fifteen Behenian stars long associated with astrological magic, possessing magical properties that amplify creativity as well as bringing protection against demons and nightmares. It’s deceptive, creative, and protective capacities are an exact match for the hidden powers of Mercury that become alive when it passes through its regenerative conjunction with the Sun, especially when also forming a flowing trine aspect with Uranus.

The otherworldliness of Vega can also be found in its mythic associations with Orpheus who played the lyre so beautifully that the music was said to enchant all of life, everything from animals to stones. Orpheus was even able to enchant the guardians of the underworld, permitting him to journey into the underworld in order to retrieve his beloved Eurydice. In addition to the ability of Orpheus to travel to the underworld and back again mirroring the psychopomp capacities of Hermes as well as the symbolic underworld journey that Mercury retrograde guides us through, there is additional chthonic associations with Vega through the image of the vulture. Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy listed the vulture as a magical image for Vega, and Vega has also been viewed culturally as the brightest star in a constellation featuring the form of a vulture rather than a stringed instrument. Vultures play a vital role in the life cycle through feeding upon the dead, and in another ancient myth it was the form of a kite (a bird of prey that also feeds on carrion) that the goddess Isis took when resurrecting her beloved Osiris from death.

Altogether, Mercury forming a conjunction with Vega as it passes through its conjunction with the Sun and trine with Uranus signifies the immense creativity that can become regenerated and activated during this time. Listen for the song to sing or play your creation into being in the world.

Pan, 1st Century BCE

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

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

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

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

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Sonnets to Orpheus, #27

After Mercury becomes regenerated by the Sun, the middle of January will be dominated by the intensification of Mars stationing direct on 12 January at nine degrees of Gemini. With Mars barely moving in the airy domicile of Mercury, it will gather and focalize energy to solidify new movement. If you have been unable to gain traction on all of the new creative directions you have been inspired to pursue since Mars stationed retrograde on 30 October 2022, the week surrounding the stationing of Mars can be a potent time for committing to making it happen. Amazingly, around the same time that Mars stations direct, Mercury will also become intensified through its heliacal rising, becoming visible again as a morning star heralding sunrise. The divine presence of Hermes will be strongly alive and mediated by Chiron – for Chiron in Aries will form an exact square aspect with Mercury on 11 January, while Mars stations in range of a received sextile with Chiron. There may be an old wound to work through in mid-January that will ultimately prove to be an essential aspect of your work to come.

Moreover, Mercury will station direct less than a week after Mars on 18 January at 8°08’ Capricorn in an exact quincunx aspect to the degree and minute where Mars stationed direct. It will be extremely important to practice mindfulness during this time, paying close attention to any signs or omens in dreaming or waking life that reveal important lessons or insight into the choices you need to make. It will also be important to pay attention to triggers of conflict and restrain from creating additional conflict needlessly through words or behavior. At the same time, this can be a profoundly rich time for creativity and embarking upon new directions. Those involved in research or writing projects can discover deep wells of focus to apply to their work. 

Less than a week after Mercury stations direct on 18 January, Uranus in Taurus will station direct on 22 January. Combined with the New Moon in Aquarius on 21 January that demarcates the Chinese New Year of the Yin Water Rabbit, the week following the stationing of Mercury will bring an extraordinary turning of the tide and a massive shift into generative forward motion. After Uranus stations direct on 22 January, all of the planets will be moving direct until the end of April when Mercury will station retrograde once again in Taurus. In the week following the Aquarius New Moon, Mercury in Capricorn will complete its final square aspect with Chiron in Aries on 27 January with Mars three degrees away from an exact sextile with Chiron. Pay attention to how the tests and trials of the past month have led to newfound strength and courage to face adversity and push forward with your goals and growth.

Matching the forward momentum of this time, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a morning star on 30 January. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates another threshold to cross, as it initiates us into the phase of Mercury speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. With Mars in Gemini also beginning to generate more forward momentum, this will be a key period to take direct action on whatever you have been developing.

Interestingly, Mercury will complete its final sextile with Neptune in Pisces on February 6, the same day that it moves beyond the place where it originally stationed retrograde. A few days later Mercury will finally complete an exact conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on 10 February before leaving Capricorn to enter Aquarius on 11 February. These final major aspects for Mercury in Capricorn will take place around the same time as an extremely potent Full Moon in Leo on 5 February that will be forming a square aspect with Uranus while applying toward an opposition with Saturn in Aquarius. The Leo Full Moon will be the final major activation of the square aspect between Saturn and Uranus that has dominated astrology during 2021 and 2022.

As a result, two of the longstanding transits that will be ending in 2023 – the transit of Pluto through Capricorn and the square between Saturn and Uranus – will both be stirred up as Mercury finally finishes its passage through Capricorn. Of course, the new year will not bring the final end of Pluto in Capricorn, as Pluto will only be in Aquarius from 23 March until 11 June, and we will continue experiencing Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Though you have already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008 in relation to Pluto’s transit, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has reshaped your life and perception. May Mercury help us receive and integrate the lessons and meaning we need to learn.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic. 

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References

Brady, Bernadette. (2008). Star and Planet Combinations. The Wessex Astrologer.

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

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

New Moon in Capricorn

Aurora Borealis (1882) from The Trouvelot Astronomical Drawings
Audio recording of article

New Moon in Capricorn

Capricorn is zodiacal terrain that holds the duality of civilization and the wilderness. The wildness of Capricorn demands survival skills and sharp strategy, while its affinity for societal systems emphasizes cultural conditioning influences we must interface with. It’s the only zodiacal sign where Saturn and Mars are both glorified and fortified, a place of courageous initiative as well as cutting contraction. The New Moon in Capricorn on 23 December is fertile with creative visioning and pragmatic grounding, possessing the serendipity of cloaking the turning of the seasons in black, moonless night. The fertile darkness of the lunation will be aligned with the solstice when the Sun stations at the extreme of its declination, a time of extreme darkness giving way to the return of light in the northern hemisphere. It’s the darkest time of the year with the longest nights in the northern hemisphere, as the Sun reaches the nadir of its lowest declination while it rises and sets in the same place for several days; in the southern hemisphere the Sun pauses while at its greatest height in declination during the longest days of the year. In the spirit of transitional Janus, we may simultaneously reflect upon the growth of the past year while turning toward the bright beginnings of new goals and resolutions for the year ahead.

The Capricorn New Moon occurring during solstice means it is on the World Axis, the axis mundi centered upon zero degrees of the cardinal signs in the tropical zodiac. Moreover, Jupiter is further activating the Aries Point by occupying zero degrees of Aries, while Ceres is at 1°09′ Libra and Uranus is at the cross-quarter of fifteen degrees of Taurus. The first degrees of Aries and Libra are the nodes of Earth, the intersection of the celestial equator with the ecliptic that defines the zodiac. Activations of the Aries Point focalize manifestation of archetypal forces through the World Soul into worldly events, and so the planetary combination of Sun, Moon, Jupiter, and Ceres will combine their influences so that issues around justice, wealth, food supplies, labor movements, freedom, faith, grief, and purification will come into prominence within current events. In our personal lives, we will have amplified support for opening to reception of abundance in the year ahead and enlarging the scope of vision to engender plans and strategies for burgeoning creative directions.

In addition to Jupiter boosting the beneficence of the Capricorn New Moon, Venus and Mercury will also be present within Capricorn and glowing brightly in the night following sunset. In fact, all of the visible planets will be visible in the darkening sky following sunset in the days surrounding the lunation. The star of Aphrodite will be especially emboldened with resilient hope and creative ripeness, as she has recently emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and will be continuing to increase with brighter and brighter light in the months ahead. Venus is receiving the liberating and innovative force of Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine aspect, accentuating our capacity for breaking free into new storylines freed from restrictive patterns of the past. Venus and Mercury will both be separating from trine aspects with Uranus while applying toward creative sextile aspects with Neptune in Pisces, with Mercury forming an exact sextile with Neptune on 24 December and Venus on 28 December. With Venus and Mercury carrying a Promethean torch to light the way forward, their combined presence in Capricorn will kindle new ideas for creative development while also enhancing capacity for devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions.

The Capricorn New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Aquarius. Saturn is in a solitary place of forming no major aspects with other planets besides separating from its longstanding square aspect with Uranus in Taurus that has been the dominant astrological influence during the past couple of years. Saturn is six degrees away from Uranus on the day of the New Moon and will be almost ten degrees past Uranus by the end of the forthcoming lunar cycle. The tension between Saturn and Uranus during the past couple of years has been the driving force behind systemic collapses, movements for change, and the overturning of old and familiar storylines and structures in our personal life. Within their friction is the consolidated contraction of Saturn that slowly builds enduring structures, set against the accelerated vision of Uranus that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. Although their disruptive influence is ultimately on the way out during 2023, there will be a final activation of Saturn and Uranus during January and February. Utilize the stillness of the solstice and the darkness of the New Moon for reflection upon the ways in which your life has been reordered and reshaped by Saturn and Uranus since the end of 2020, and how you can utilize the final months of Saturn occupying its airy domicile of Aquarius to solidify the foundations and structures of whatever changes have taken shape.

During the forthcoming lunar cycle Saturn in Aquarius will be nearby the fixed star Deneb Algedi in the tail of the celestial Sea Goat (the Capricorn constellation). Saturn’s proximity to Deneb Algedi will bring additional emphasis to envisioning ways of generating greater wealth and material manifestation, as well as how to protect and preserve resources that have already been acquired. Deneb Algedi is a fixed star often associated with the ancient creator deity Enki aka Ea who dwells in subterranean water. A trickster and wise magician, Enki reorders the conventions of civilization from the depths, transfiguring the landscape so that the resources needed to fuel civilization can grow and take root. As Deneb Algedi also connects with the law and order of conventional society as well as the metaphysical principles of natural law, Saturn’s presence with the Sea Goat’s starry tail will call attention to where we need to free ourselves from conventional conditioning in order to claim the authority for steering our lives forward from a place of authentic desires and presence.

Pan and Fortune (1793) by William Blake

The month following the Capricorn New Moon will place extra focus on Capricorn, with Venus forming conjunctions with Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn and Mercury undergoing a retrograde passage that will keep the star of Hermes within the confines of Capricorn until 11 February. There is a mercurial quality to the lunation as the Capricorn New Moon is in the bounds of Mercury while Mercury is at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star, the point of its solar cycle in which it begins to slow down in preparation for stationing retrograde. Mercury will ultimately station retrograde in Capricorn on 29 December while forming a conjunction with Venus only three degrees away from Pluto. Venus will then form an exact conjunction with Pluto on 31 December. The union between Venus and Mercury will be particularly powerful due to Mercury stationing retrograde on the same day, facilitating penetrating insight into the underbelly of your relational dynamics and creative processes. There will be a deep well of unconscious forces to investigate that can uncover meaning that had been buried in subconscious recesses as well as insight into your relationships with power and societal conditioning.

Since Pluto will exit Capricorn to enter Aquarius next year on 23 March 2023, the potent activation of Pluto by Mercury and Venus will make the month ahead an opportune time for contemplating the many ways in which your life has changed since Pluto entered Capricorn in 2008. During 2023 and 2024 we will experience Pluto moving back and forth between Capricorn and Aquarius until finally entering Aquarius for good on 19 November 2024. Pluto’s archetypal meaning includes death and rebirth experiences as well as the wealth and treasure that can be retrieved during underworld journeys. Pluto signifies our inner subterranean realm, the deep soul patterns circulating in our unconscious that often drive our instinctive reactions without our awareness. Pluto is also connected to desire for power, dynamics of power and control, and power struggles. When we resist the transformative change of Pluto for security reasons we can experience upheaval and breakdown, but as we surrender to its process of decay and regeneration we may experience a purification in which we burn away old restrictions and evolve into a more potent vitality. Though you have likely already experienced immense regeneration in the Capricorn section of your natal chart since 2008, the months ahead will bring opportunities for receiving deeper lessons of insight into the ways that Pluto in Capricorn has brought about pivotal confrontations that have reshaped your life and perception.

Fortunately a powerful ally and mentor for exploring the shadowy realms of Pluto will be stepping forward: Chiron. Chiron will have a more amplified presence than normal due to stationing direct at 11°56′ Aries on 23 December, the same day as the Capricorn New Moon. Moreover, Chiron is occupying the fiery domicile of Mars while engaging in a receptive sextile aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini. As Chiron slowly begins to generate forward momentum in the weeks following the Capricorn New Moon, Mars will finally end its retrograde passage and station direct in stillness on 12 January 2023. Chiron in myth and astrology mediates the division between wilderness and civilization, helping us gather the guidance of our ancestors and the resilient resources found within the recesses of inner psyche. Residing in his shadowy cave on the outskirts of society within a wild landscape of medicinal plants and mountainous terrain, Chiron is the wise hermit who trains the alienated in cultivation of the unique qualities they can share as part of finding a role in community. Whatever difficult issues, tests, and wounds have been stirred up by the retrograde passage of Mars, the stationing of Chiron can help in attuning to the deeper lessons and wisdom to retrieve from the turmoil and challenges.

With Jupiter also co-present in Aries along with Chiron, the Capricorn New Moon also serves as an initiation into the buildup of Jupiter slowly approaching a conjunction with Chiron that will take place on 12 March 2023. There is an excellent article written by Brian Clark about the Jupiter-Chiron cycle and their conjunction in Aries in 2023 you can read here. Amongst many other themes, Brian Clark deduced that the start of a new cycle between Jupiter and Chiron in 2023 will highlight mundane issues centered around educational changes, medicinal wisdom, indigenous reconciliation, refuge for the displaced, and natural and psychic wilderness.

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The New Moon in Capricorn will rise in the first decan of Capricorn associated with the Two of Pentacles image illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a juggling magician set against a backdrop of sea change embodies the capacity of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Fittingly for a decan focused upon shaping material fortune, the first face of Capricorn is ruled by both Jupiter and Saturn. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that Jupiter’s rulership of this face is shown through the metaphysical lesson of the Two of Pentacles: “the only constant is change.” Chang wrote that while the Two of Pentacles portends that nothing will be remaining the same, its connection with the first decan of Capricorn also signifies that there will be opportunities opening up to take advantage of for new growth and experiences. As we bring the volatile year of 2022 to a close, the New Moon in the first face of Capricorn is a boon for gleaning the new goals for growth we can gather from the many changes we experienced during the past year.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn, stating it “entails the descent of the spirit into the body of the world itself,” bringing consciousness to deeper and deeper levels of matter to “set those powers in motion” as well as “use the higher, logoic functions to guide them along their course.”  Coppock analyzed the attribution by the 12th century philosopher and astrologer Ibn Ezra of a bestial man carrying a cattle prod to this face, suggesting it reveals the capacity of this decan to not only set material forces in motion but also steer them in order to create change such as new sources of work and sustenance. Coppock further illuminated that since “the figures which roam this decan can root deeply into what soil they find themselves in,” using discernment in choosing which location to lay down roots within is critical. If we wish to utilize the capacity of Capricorn for building a sturdy foundation that will support the development of enduring structures, we need to be mindful where we choose to begin construction.

While Coppock cited the image of a headless man holding a sword found in the Hellenistic text Liber Hermetis as the inspiration for his image of “A Headless Body,” it’s further interesting that it also directly connects to the image for this decan found in Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE): “Body of a man without a head, dressed in a scarab skin wrapped around his chest, small water urn in right hand, left hand stretched out upon thigh.” While the image of scarab skin in The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius fits well with the scarab-faced deity Khepri in Egyptian religion who represents the rising sun, creation, and the renewal of life, the fact that the figure is also carrying a water urn reveals the purification and spiritual regeneration that can be experienced during the solstice when the Sun enters the first face of Capricorn. Like the headless Ketu associated with the South Node of the Moon, the headlessness of figures associated with the first decan of Capricorn also reveals the extraordinary power of this face for attuning with the spirits of material forms.

Moreover, the “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributing the ancestor of earth and body-based healers, Asklepios, to the first face of Capricorn. Asclepius, son of the Sun god Apollo and a mortal woman, embodies a centered focus which integrates all surrounding realms, both material and immaterial.  Rooted in Earth, Asclepius is a healer who emerges in times of crisis and cathartic change, reverent of Nature, in balance with masculinity and femininity,  and reliant upon ritualistic incubation to find healing cures. Asclepius is associated with healing through dreams, an incubatory process that reveals the connection between external symptoms and the underlying unconscious.  With his hermetic staff planted in the ground, Asclepius weaves together meaning from celestial and chthonic realms through discernment centered in his sensual nature, applied to his work through disciplined spiritual practice.

The capacity of Asclepius to monitor synchronicities in waking and dreaming life for deeper meaning will be especially helpful to cultivate with Mercury stationing retrograde in Capricorn within a week of the New Moon. We can expect another great wave of change to take place during 2023 due to Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all entering new signs, and so the New Moon occurring in the first decan of Capricorn is ideal for envisioning how to be co-creative with the changes underway. May the stationing of the solstice Sun during the darkness of the New Moon in Capricorn aid you in dreaming the creative life you wish to embody in the year ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron! Beginning in January we will be exploring the fixed stars in the Oak branch tier, including the mythology of the stars and how to work with them not only in natal and mundane astrology but also how to develop relationships with them through ritual and astrological magic.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Full Moon in Gemini

Moonlit Night on the Dnieper (1880) by Arkhip Kuindzhi
Audio recording version

Full Moon in Gemini

Gemini possesses extraordinary mental deftness. It’s the sign of the Twins and the back and forth. Gemini is paradoxically a place of the binary and duality as well as the perspicacious perception that discovers non-dualities within the conflicts of duality we suffer. Gemini is prone to fragmentation yet also discovers unity within the multiplicity of fragments its questioning breaks open. Just like the Twins symbolize symbiosis in the womb that becomes differentiated into separate paths emanating from a shared source, Mercury’s rulership of Gemini reveals its capacity for mediating polarities and considering the nuances in between opposing perspectives. Gemini delights in languages and sounds of the sacred, finding pleasure in transmitting their complex meaning through handiwork such as writing, weaving, and sculpting material forms. While Full Moons in Gemini tend to be an especially active time for mental pursuits and social engagement, the mental wattage of the Gemini Full Moon on December 7 will be excessively amplified due to the Moon closely applying to Mars retrograde in Gemini.

The darkness of the night will be set against the glowing orb of the Moon and the brilliant redness of Mars, as Mars will be in its brightest phase and as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mars to be. As the Sun sets in the west, the Moon and Mars will rise together in the east. Yet just as we will be able to witness Mars in its peak redness within the blackness of night, there will be a lunar occultation of Mars (in some locations) that will temporarily consume our visual sight of the red planet. The Moon’s disappearing act with Mars is a potent sky omen that speaks to the deeper meaning of Mars reaching its solar opposition phase. I find resonance with the perspective of astrologer Adam Gainsburg who has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as initiating us into a radical commitment to our authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs. The Full Moon in Gemini will spotlight how to direct the fiery impulses of Mars into forms and expressions that can serve the needs of your community or audience.

Gemini like its ruler Mercury has affinity for the crossroads where one path separates into a choice of options. As we come to the end of 2022 and the season of increasing darkness in the northern hemisphere, the illumination of the Full Moon in Gemini will provide penetrating insight into the changing nature of storylines from the past year and the choices which need to be made on the direction to follow in the year ahead. Though Gemini is known for becoming scattered and becoming burdened by too many interests and potential paths to pursue, the close application between the Full Moon with Mars will provide a burning intensity that can cut to the heart of the matter and the core values and desires that need to be honored in any decision. There may be a need for meditative and other calming practices to mediate an increase in mental anxieties provoked by Moon and Mars adhering to one another, yet when channeled into work, art, and creativity the amalgamation of Moon and Mars can bring an immense activation of drive and resilient tenacity in making forward strides and significant development despite whatever obstacles we may be facing.

Though the Gemini Full Moon is an incredible alignment of both the Moon and Mars cycles coming together at the same time, it’s not unusual – for comparison, you can reflect upon past times this has occurred such as the Full Moon in Sagittarius conjoining Mars retrograde in Sagittarius on 21 May 2016, and the Lunar Eclipse conjoining Mars retrograde in Aquarius on 27 July 2018. Some of what sets the present alignment apart is it occurring in Gemini with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces in the tenth place from Mars, giving Jupiter a superior influence over Mars. Furthermore, Venus in Sagittarius is separating from Neptune and applying closely toward a catalyzing square aspect with Jupiter that involves mutual reception, due to Venus occupying the fiery home of Jupiter and Jupiter occupying the exaltation of Venus. James Hillman in The Myth of Analysis captured some of this meaning when he wrote that “Those twins, compulsion and inhibition, are familiar enough in all creative efforts where one is both driven and blocked, enthusiastic and critical, on fire and fearful . . . Demon and daimon are one; if we suppress the compulsion, we lose touch with the guiding voice of the daimon . . . At the deepest level of fear an eros appears . . .” The synergy between the Moon and Mars may not be pleasant, and could bring distressing fears to the surface. Uncovering the daimonic eros emerging out of your recent trials and tribulations will provide the lodestar needed for navigating out of the storm.

Saturn in Aquarius is in position to provide stabilizing support, as the Gemini Full Moon is applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn that can help with centering upon one’s core purpose and walling off the distracting noise of the nonessential. Moreover, Mercury in Capricorn as the ruler of the Gemini Full Moon is also in a place of pragmatism due to occupying the nocturnal and earthy home of Saturn. Mercury excels in holding the tension of paradox, probing the meaning that weaves together differences, and questioning the certainty of righteousness in order to tease out the insight necessary for a deeper engagement. In Capricorn, Mercury is particularly adept at devising plans of action that can adjust to changing conditions, making decisions in a grounded manner that recognizes the reality of what will work while staying aligned with the required integrity. As the Full Moon peaks in light, Mercury in Capricorn will be on its own without any immediately applying aspects, giving the star of Hermes space to contemplate the recent messages it received from its fiery conversation with Jupiter in Pisces on 5 December. In contrast to Venus becoming enflamed by the Moon, Mars, Neptune, and Jupiter, Mercury in Capricorn is in a cool, solitary place of contemplation that will facilitate separating the wheat from the chaff.

dating c. 520 – c. 510 BCE, depicting Herakles wrestling Triton

Mars has spent the first half of its retrograde phase locked into a battle with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces that has ranged between chaotic confusion and creative inspiration. As Mars reaches the alchemizing midpoint of its retrograde movement during the Gemini Full Moon, Mars is beginning to gain significant separation from its last square aspect it completed with Neptune on 19 November. With Neptune stationing direct on 3 December in the week before the lunation, Mars and Neptune will now be moving in different directions away from one another until they much later come back into one final square aspect on 14 March 2023. Though the combined presence of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces is still holding an influence over Mars during the Gemini Full Moon, the flowing trine aspect between the Gemini Full Moon with Saturn in Aquarius can facilitate discernment regarding whatever deep wells of imaginal material have been stirred up by Mars clashing with Jupiter and Neptune. The cutting intellectual blade of Mars retrograde in Gemini can be utilized to slice through beliefs, ideologies and illusions you have been adhering to without question. Whether you have disillusionment or inspired idealism to sort through, allow the presence of Jupiter and Neptune together to bring the underlying truth of your experience to the surface.

While the Gemini Full Moon is applying toward a trine aspect with Saturn, Mars is gaining further separation from the exact trine aspect it formed with Saturn on 28 November while applying toward a resonant sextile aspect with Chiron in Aries. Mars separating from a trine with Saturn and applying toward a sextile with Chiron while in the heart of its retrograde phase signifies initiation. Mars will form an exact sextile aspect with Chiron on 19 December 2022 at the same time that Chiron will be stationing direct on 23 December. The sextile between Mars and Chiron that will be slowly building from now until the Capricorn solstice is potent due to the activation of Chiron’s presence through stationing while Chiron is also being received by Mars into its fiery home of Aries. The reception between Mars with Chiron brings a critical test and training that has the ultimate expression of Mars for the greater good in mind. The interplay between Saturn, Mars, and Chiron may bring up painful wounds and difficult patterns to awareness, yet the harmonious reception between Chiron and Mars indicates there is something important about your relationship with Mars that is being sharpened, honed, and developed.

Reflecting upon the previous sextile aspect between Mars in Gemini with Chiron on 17 September 2022 may give insight into the process underway for you with Mars and Chiron, as well as issues that came up around the Full Moon in Aries that was conjoining Chiron on 9 October. For example, you may have gained increased awareness of patterns stemming from past wounding and alienation that have been creating important matters to work through in relational dynamics. Or issues involving the intersection between societal systems of oppression with one’s identity and core purpose, and whether you feel you have the agency to pursue what you want to create in life. Do you feel disempowered due to a sense of futility in the face of obstacles, or are you acting as an agent of societal institutions rather than following your genuine desires? Let Chiron coax a more empowered expression of Mars in your life.

Chiron ultimately functions as a mentor archetype, shown through both his mythology and astronomy. In myth, Chiron was a wise centaur who fostered and trained heroes. In astrology, Chiron’s eccentric orbit that weaves in between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus symbolizes how it facilitates a deeper connection with our nonconformist side that does not fit easily into conventional society. Chiron in Aries combined with Mars retrograde in Gemini will bring opportunities to recover whatever you have felt you needed to abandon about your essential purpose to fit in with cultural expectations. What have you been sacrificing about yourself in order to meet the material demands of society? Who are you serving with your power?

The application of the sextile between Mars and Chiron will extend through the rest of the time period that Jupiter will be occupying its watery, nocturnal home of Pisces. Jupiter will exit Pisces to enter Aries on 20 December, a day before the Capricorn solstice. Jupiter will not be in another one of its domiciles until entering Sagittarius in 2030 and will not be in its exalted sign of Cancer until 9 June 2025. Utilize the final days of Jupiter directly expressing its procreative life force through Pisces to envision the life you most dearly wish to create, allowing your imagination to run wild. The activation of the Aries point by Jupiter at the same time as the Capricorn solstice will make it a powerful time for dreaming on the darkest day of the year, conceiving the plans and projects you can take direct action on in the year ahead.

During the waning half of the lunar cycle, in the darkest time of the year in the northern hemisphere, Venus and Mercury will be adorning the evening twilight with their light. The return of Venus to visibility as an Evening Star is especially powerful, as it marks the end of her long underworld journey of invisibility that lasted from September through November. The renewal of Venus into visible light will ignite a revived embodiment of desires that can guide decision making. Whatever was emptied and purified during the past three months of Venus traversing the celestial underworld can now be transmuted into dynamic creativity and renewed values. By December 10, both Mercury and Venus will be traveling together in Capricorn for the rest of December, creating a supportive astrological atmosphere for generating creative possibilities as well as refining options into focused goals you can develop strategies to achieve.

The waning Moon during the solstice on 21 December will add to the potency of the fertile darkness that will contain all five visible planets in the sky following sunset. Mercury will be at its maximum elongation as an Evening Star during the solstice while separating from a flowing trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus it will complete on 17 December. Meanwhile, Venus will be applying closely to a liberating trine aspect with Uranus that will become exact on 22 December. With both Mercury and Venus carrying a torch of Promethean fire, we can experience an emboldened pursuit of innovative creative directions. Combined with Jupiter occupying the first degree of Aries, it will be a powerful time for reflecting upon the changes and growth you have experienced during the past year while turning toward the new year to envision what you wish to create.

9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Gemini Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Gemini associated with the Nine of Swords arcanum illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Nine of Swords involves an image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols. The image for the Nine of Swords takes on new meaning when considering that Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Hermaphrodite” to this face. Coppock described the second face of Gemini as being a place of mediating “continuing duality” in which “we must learn to reconcile angels and demons within a single soul.” The obsessive, negative thought cycles shown in the Nine of Swords through this lens reveals an “inability to reconcile dualities within oneself, within the world,” to Coppock, “the moments of despair” which can occur within the “irreconcilable places” found within this decan. Yet to Coppock there is a great gift to cultivate in the second face of Gemini in terms of recognizing how each side of dualities like love and war perpetually turn back into one another through the “arts of union and separation.” Coppock concluded that whoever “accepts these oscillations comes to understand the whole of interaction- they are unbothered by either, knowing the other waits in turn.”

Fittingly for a hermaphroditic decan, the second face of Gemini is ruled by both Mars and Venus with numerous ancient texts ascribing images of dualistic forms. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs attributed the ancient goddess Cybele to this face, whose creation story involves an original hermaphroditic form. The Liber Hermetis described a double faced man holding a bow and arrows, treading on rabbits with both feet. Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described another man holding a bow and arrow, but one whose head is bound in lead with an iron helmet featuring a silk crown, who is enjoying “ridicule and mockery” while walking around a garden playing music and picking flowers. While the Picatrix described an eagle-faced man also with bow and arrows, iron helmet, and silk crown, the Yavanajataka described a graceful black woman in bright garments who delights in the arts, singing and storytelling and who is pleased to be holding a lyre.

The storytelling and songs contained in the image from the Yavanajataka are mediums through which the complexity of the second face of Gemini can be expressed, as the artistic artifice of storytelling can create space for the tension between dualities to reveal insight and revelations. In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the capacity of the second face of Gemini for mediating dualities is shown through the form of a trickster figure: “In the second face [of Gemini] rises a man who holds in one hand a [shepherd’s] pipe and has the other curved and digging into the earth. [This image] signifies infamous and dishonest actives, such as jesters and tricksters, and signifies labors and laborious searches.”

The Gemini Full Moon conjoining Mars in its own face of Gemini will amplify the symbolism of the second face of Gemini. While this can be an extremely cunning, strategic, and cruel placement for Mars, Agrippa’s image of a trickster digging one hand into the earth reveals a higher calling for Mars that can also be found here. In the Orphic hymn to Ares, Ares is petitioned to turn his fury and weapons into the procreative production of Demeter that discovers abundant riches within the earth. With the star of Ares in his peak light aligning with the peak light of the Moon, consider how you can transmute the tenacious frenzy and passion of Mars into useful creativity and brilliant insight that is grounded in practical application.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – there are new additions such as videos and guides for electional astrology charts, including astrological magic elections.

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 References

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

Hillman, James. (1978). The Myth of Analysis. Harper Colophon.

Sagittarius New Moon

Greek, 460 – 450 BC

Sagittarius New Moon

Sagittarius kindles the fire that warms the spirit and sparks the inspiration needed to persevere through challenges. Sagittarius ignites the burning motivation needed to take action and set things in motion just when we’d thought all had been lost. The Sagittarius New Moon on November 23 brings a welcomed boost of celestial fire to apply toward the bigger picture of what we wish to develop and accomplish in the months ahead. It’s the first lunation to follow the incredibly intense eclipse season that featured a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio followed by a Lunar Eclipse in Taurus. Eclipses in fixed signs bring long term changes and with the eclipses activating the tension between Saturn with Uranus, the changes that have been taking shape during the past year of eclipses in the same sign as Uranus have been especially unsettling and destabilizing for many. The New Moon in Sagittarius arrives just in time to help adjust to the plot twists that have manifested in the past month while re-configuring long-term goals and plans in accordance. The fiery Sagittarius Moon is applying to a conjunction with Venus and Mercury closely together in Sagittarius, providing an ideal lunar mixture for deepening into a renewal of values and desires that can fuel our work with resilient, procreative force.

The Sagittarius Moon will unite with Venus and Mercury at the very beginning of its lunar cycle, producing a richly creative time for gathering ideas that can be implemented into form and set into motion. The influence of the mutable fire of Sagittarius will accelerate the pace of events while also possibly dispersing our focus with too many issues or choices to handle at once. However, being the fiery, diurnal home of Jupiter, Sagittarius is a place where Venus and Mercury can join forces in applying their fused artistic and creative capacities to focused goals. Whereas Venus can accentuate sensual perception and mixing of relational dynamics, aesthetic arrangements, and creative options, Mercury can help in distinguishing options, blending influences, and making decisions. While it’s an exceptionally inspirational mixture of influences, we need to be mindful of the quick sharpness of Sagittarius that can set off wildfires with the enthusiastic speed with which it can gallop ahead without pausing for reflection.

Providing a presence of hopeful resiliency is Jupiter stationing direct at 28º48′ Pisces at the same time as the Sun and Moon unite on November 23. Jupiter stationing in stillness will deliver the numinous presence of life giving Zeus more strongly into the world in the days surrounding the Sagittarius New Moon. Jupiter stationed retrograde at 8º43′ Aries on July 28, and so it will be fruitful to consider the ways in which you have grown or needed to release matters during the past four months. Marsilio Ficino in Three Books on Life wrote that “no star supports and strengthens the natural forces in us – indeed all the forces – more than does Jupiter, nor does any star offer more or more prosperous things.” Ficino elaborated that although the bodily forces of attraction, retention, digestion, and expulsion are all aided by Jupiter, that the star of Zeus is especially beneficial for “the power of concocting or digesting and of generating, nourishing, and growing, because of his airy and abundant moisture and his ample heat which moderately dominates the moisture.” With Jupiter stationing in its own domicile, no matter how dark the night of your soul appears, search for the ways in which you are being guided toward a renewal of nourishment, growth, and meaningful vision.

While the moderate heat of Jupiter can enliven the cold, nocturnal water of Pisces, the wet and downward-trending nature of Pisces combined with the temperate moistness of Jupiter and the oceanic vastness of Neptune can also lead one to become temporarily lost in a maze of psyche, imaginal meandering, and external stasis that will requiring passing through a phase of confusion and disorientation en route to recovering deeper truth and purpose. Jupiter stationing direct only six degrees away from Neptune in Pisces brings the renaissance of their conjunction on April 12 back into effect for one final passage from now until December 20 when Jupiter will enter Aries. As I previously wrote about the passage of Jupiter through Pisces in 2022:

“. . . the inwardly directed nature of Pisces allows for extraordinary insight and inspiration to be found through exploration of our boundless inner realms. In contrast to Sagittarius, the fiery domicile of Jupiter where it swiftly gallops with outward enthusiasm, the nocturnal water of Pisces slows down the pace of Jupiter and invites inward exploration that can enable us to sink into embodiment of our soulful essence. The waves of Jupiter in Pisces can wash over and weave in between the places where we have been fragmented, coalescing a presence that can bring together parts of our inner multiplicity that have become disconnected. By taking our time and acting with the flow of surrounding natural cycles rather than trying to force things to happen, Jupiter in Pisces can create an experience of abundance that allows us to feel more expansive with less by aligning us with our authentic nature and values.”

Jupiter in Pisces stirring our internal, watery unconscious can create a downward spiral in need of mediation, yet within its oceanic domain the star of Zeus is more than capable of revealing profound treasure. More so than the luxurious treasure of the material realm, the immaterial prowess of Jupiter in Pisces can deliver the treasure of our own essential nature and creative potential. Jupiter will remain in Pisces through the waxing phase of the present lunar cycle and most of the forthcoming lunar cycle until entering Aries on December 20 during a waning Moon in Scorpio. The weeks following the Sagittarius New Moon with Jupiter generating forward movement in Pisces will be ideal for coalescing insight from whatever visions and deepening of purpose you have gathered during 2022 in order to develop plans for how to implement them into your life. Jupiter will be making it clear which dreams of vision have traction and can be developed into strong foundational structures and which ideas need to be washed away by oceanic tides.

Morrígan as a crow

Mars retrograde in Gemini has been playing tricks and causing disruption now that it has picked up speed in its retrograde motion and passed through its second volatile square aspect with Neptune in Pisces on November 19. Although Jupiter in Pisces is traditionally labeled a purely beneficial influence, as we know human nature can become morally corrupted and utilize the nourishing growth of Jupiter for excessive enlargement of power, overconsumption of resources, and invasive conquering stimulated by misguided notions of manifest destiny. Mars retrograde in Gemini will be remaining in a whole sign square aspect with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces, though at the same time Mars will be slowly backtracking away and creating greater space between them in the lunar cycle ahead. The catalyzing of conflict, tension, and friction within mutable signs by Mars, Jupiter, and Neptune has created an atmosphere of pivotal transition that comes with great uncertainty, and so we may have had to face issues of unreliability in the places we had come to depend on, or faced personal conflicts of self-doubt and confusion. Ultimately, Mars retrograde in Gemini will be forcing change. With Mars intensifying in strife in the weeks ahead it will feel uncomfortable and unsettling at times, yet we can also allow for Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces to open up a larger picture for us within which we can place the temporary conflicts of this time to gain perspective on the ways in which we need to make changes in our lives and develop new creative directions.

There will be a heated buildup of tension and activity between the Sagittarius New Moon and the Gemini Full Moon on December 7, for the upcoming Gemini Full Moon is not only forming a conjunction with Mars, it is also creating a lunar occultation of Mars. The Full Moon temporarily obscuring the sight of Mars is an incredible celestial alignment due to it being the peak moment of both the Moon’s cycle and the retrograde phase of Mars. As a result, the illumination of the Gemini Full Moon will plunge us into the initiation that comes at the midpoint of the retrograde journey of Mars when the star of Ares is closest to us in orbit and at its brightest red coloring in the night sky. As the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east; as the Sun rises in the east, Mars will set in the west. Adam Gainsburg has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as being a period for making a radical commitment to one’s authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs. As the Moon’s peak light overcomes Mars in the night sky, we can gain insight into the transmutation of deeper mission in life, and greater clarity into how to act on our larger personal vision. 

Crucially, Mars retrograde in Gemini will be applying to a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that will become exact on November 28. As Jupiter in Pisces begins to gain forward momentum in the week following the Sagittarius New Moon, Mars and Saturn will be open to exchanges with one another that can facilitate a separating from what needs to be shed or released from the past, while simultaneously making solid and steady progress in the development of goals. As we come into deeper relationship with what dreams or visions have emerged from the recent season of astrological chaos, the flowing trine between Mars and Saturn is ideal for applying discipline toward our life, cutting away excess, and focusing our energy and time into the work and relationships that truly matter to us.

8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Sagittarius is in the first decan of Sagittarius associated with the Eight of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of eight staffs sailing swiftly across the sky above a flowing river evokes a focus on fast movement that is fitting for the Sagittarius New Moon and its forthcoming waxing phase. Mercury is the ruler of the first face of Sagittarius, revealing the necessity of managing and mediating a multiplicity of developments while applying the speed of thought to passionate goals. T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets described the Eight of Wands as signifying the movement of goods, thoughts, and ideas as well as taking quick action on insightful revelations. Change wrote that the speed of Mercury combines with the “great range to shrink distances and shorten times” of Sagittarius to enable fast action that can be deadly accurate. As a result, the fast moving powers of the first decan of Sagittarius stress the importance of creating the internal space necessary to ensure we are acting from our own integrity and are aware of then consequences of our actions.

In Henrich Cornelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, the swift directness of the image for the Eight of Wands is directed toward warriorship: “In the first face of Sagittarius rises the form of a strong man armed with a coat of mail, holding a naked sword in his hand: the operation of this is for boldness, militancy, and freedom.” Austin Coppick in 36 Faces combined the militancy of Agrippa’s image with the velocity of the Eight of Wands image into the symbol of “The Poisoned Arrow” for the first decan of Sagittarius. Coppock described “the speed of an idea or vision, the velocity of imagination” as being the chief meaning of the first face of Sagittarius, writing that “the essence of this decan entails the swift emergence of a motivating vision and the attainment of a vehicle to move one toward the pictured goal.” Yet Coppock also stressed the importance of realizing how our thoughts can be manipulated by external sources, noting that the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the daimons of plague to the first face of Sagittarius. Coppock noted that “the secrets of propaganda” and other viruses that can “infect the psyche” and hijack our bodies are also amongst the spirits of the first face of Sagittarius. Coppock elaborated that since the “energy patterning of this decan is linear and ruthless,” that manipulative propaganda can strike like an arrow show with violent precision at a target.

As we live in a time period in which so many people attached to their phones and other devices of Internet streaming also means that more people than ever are vulnerable to manipulative propaganda, the Sagittarius New Moon is a call for remembering our essential integrity and how our mind, body, and emotions are vulnerable to infections from external sources. For the first face of Sagittarius not only contains the perils of spirited propaganda, it also provides habitation for the spirit of our own inviolable soul. Indeed, Austin Coppock stated that while we can become infected by the enthusiasm of external propaganda within this face, we can also encounter “the ideal self, the half divine hero . . . composed entirely of spirit fire” and from whom “a story unfolds – a quest, a target, a driven myth.” May the fertile darkness of the Sagittarius New Moon lead you to encounter the mystery of the essential myth most aligned with your creative destiny.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Ficino, Marsilio. Three Books on Life. A critical edition and translation by Carol Kaske and John Clark. (1998). Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

Saturn in Pisces Talk

by Gustave Courbet, born with Saturn in Pisces

Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

I will be giving a talk on Saturn in Pisces for NCGR in Philadelphia next Sunday, November 20 from 2 – 4 pm in Eastern standard time. It will be online via zoom and the suggested donation is $10.

It’s called “Saturn in Pisces: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.”  Here’s a description:

Saturn’s entrance into Pisces on March 7, 2023 will bring a sea change in collective and personal events, as the star of Kronos will begin sharing the same mutable water as Neptune. Marking the end of the Saturn and Neptune cycle that began in 1989, Saturn will spend an extended period of time in close proximity with Neptune in Pisces before eventually forming an exact conjunction with Neptune in the first degree of Aries on February 20, 2026.

This talk will explore the meaning of Saturn transiting Pisces as well as Saturn’s cyclical relationship with Neptune that has correlated with dissolution of old orders and the emergence of idealistic movements. We’ll discuss the potential of Saturn sailing through the oceanic expanse of Pisces and what we may discover washed up on shore from its tides.

Here’s a link to register:

I hope to see you there!

Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

Red Sunset on the Dnieper (Dnipro) by Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi

Total Lunar Eclipse in Taurus

The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on November 8 has carried a big reputation long before its manifestation. For starters, it’s a Total Lunar Eclipse in which the face of the Moon will become completely veiled by red shadows. Secondly, it is igniting the friction between Uranus in Taurus and Saturn in Aquarius that has dominated the astrological landscape since the beginning of 2021. The clash between Saturn and Uranus has correlated with systemic disruptions and collapses across global societies, while within the personal sphere many have experienced drastic and immense changes in life direction. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse will loudly open the final chapter of the Saturn-Uranus story with a bang. The eclipse at 16º00’ Taurus will be applying closely to a conjunction with Uranus retrograde at 16º56’ Taurus, with the North Node of the Moon nearby at 13º24’ Taurus and Saturn occupying the ninety degree angle of 18º48’ Aquarius. Adding to the volatility of these aspects is the tricky presence of Mercury, who will be adding a large dosage of regenerating spice into the mixture due to forming a reanimating conjunction with the Sun at the same time as the eclipse.

One of the reasons astrologers predicted 2022 would be an extremely volatile year was due to not only one, but two total lunar eclipses occurring in hard aspects with Saturn and Uranus. Total lunar eclipses do not happen every year, and in fact after the Taurus Lunar Eclipse there will not be another total lunar eclipse until 14 March 2025. While new moons and full moons set the rhythm of events on a monthly basis, eclipses carry a larger charge of impact that can last at least six months long, with total eclipses tending to have the most jarring influence. One way astrologers forecast the length of an eclipse’s impact is by how long the light is consumed by shadow, and so it’s also significant that the Taurus Lunar Eclipse has an unusually long duration of totality of around 85 minutes. Moreover, the eclipse occurring in a fixed zodiac sign further magnifies the interpretation that the eclipse will mark turning points in storylines that will have long term ramifications.

Saturn facing off with Uranus demands change. However your life has changed in the past couple of years, the eclipse setting off Saturn and Uranus will demand coming to terms with the larger implications of your choices at the same time new developments and information will require digestion and integration. As we have witnessed over the course of the past couple of years the process of Saturn and Uranus at times can involve a slow buildup of tension that eventually erupts with a propulsive release, at other times striking unexpectedly with the force of lightning while instantly changing everything. Saturn involves consolidated contraction that can build enduring structures at a slow and steady pace, whereas Uranus operates with accelerated vision and movement that resists restrictions and insists on making innovative changes to the status quo. If there remain places within life where you have been resistant to letting go of past dynamics that have kept you from fully stepping into a more vibrant and exciting path forward, the Taurus Lunar Eclipse can serve as the catalytic astrological influence needed to jettison you forward into the new direction.

With the Sun and Mercury combined together in Scorpio near the South Node of the Moon, and Venus not too far away in Scorpio, it will be important to make space for reflection and contemplation of the past patterns and dynamics that have led to present circumstances. The chaotically creative combination of the eclipsed Moon with its North Node and Uranus can be exciting yet can also lead us into becoming overwhelmingly swept up inside the collective storms that will be sweeping through current events. The inward nature of Scorpio being catalyzed by the contraction of Saturn calls for a turn within and focus upon the depth of the in-breath rather than rushing toward the release of the exhale. With Mercury rushing at full speed into the heart of the Sun in Scorpio, the star of Hermes is calling for a descent into embodiment of one’s essential character in order to act and speak from one’s core values rather than being rashly reactive to the unsettling winds of change that will be blowing through collective and personal events.

Mercury is the ultimate mediator of polarities within astrology. While Mercury has a disruptive side that will show up in events aligned with the eclipse, its capacity for mediating polarities can also facilitate important internal growth and development. It’s superior conjunction with the Sun is unusually significant due to it occurring within a few degrees of its own node, with Mercury descending across the ecliptic from north to south in latitude. Mercury aligning with the Sun near its own node means that it will truly be in the heart of the Sun during the eclipse. Within external events we can expect that significations of Mercury such as communication, technology, commerce, and the media will be major themes within the big eclipse stories that will be emerging, an obvious example being the longterm implications of the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk. Yet with Mercury experiencing the purifying, reanimating, regenerative renewal of its solar conjunction at the same time as the eclipse, turning our attention within can help us attune to the seeds of new ideas that will play pivotal roles in our future development. We can also shed the influence of past conditioning on our thoughts and perception more readily. Consider what thought-forms and opinions you hold due to being told you have to think that way, or due to wanting to conform with or be accepted by others. Mercury in Scorpio is in position to help you cut through to the heart of your present state of being.

Whether or not your external life has dramatically changed during the past couple years of Saturn facing off with Uranus, the internal changes you have experienced will be essential to reflect upon. In what ways have you been releasing yourself from past conditioning and attachment to past sources of security? The emancipatory presence of Uranus will be extreme within the eclipse, and while this will correlate with unsettling news and changes in many cases, it can also shake us free from where we have been stuck. Due to the Sun forming an opposition with Uranus at the same time as the eclipse, Uranus will be as close to us as possible within its orbit. Listen to what messages Uranus is sharing amidst all of the tumult for how to become more engaged with your authentic presence and follow a more creatively fulfilling direction forward. Before being able to follow the path illuminated by Uranus, however, the eclipse will also bring up the old issues and emotional material in need of resolution.

Bison in red ochre in the Cave of Altamira, Spain, from upper Paleolithic era (36,000 BC)

Eclipses come in families connected with the Saros cycle. The origin of their ancestry begins at either the south or north pole and then traces a serpentine path around our world every eighteen or so years, moving ahead eleven degrees of celestial longitude each time. The Taurus Lunar Eclipse is part of the Lunar Saros 136 family that have all occurred at the north node of the Moon, with the most recent eclipses in the family happening on 28 October 2004, 17 October 1986, 6 October 1968, and 26 September 1950. The origin eclipse in this family occurred on 13 April 1680 and involved a conjunction between Mars and Uranus in Aries that was in a square aspect with Pluto, as well as a square aspect between Jupiter in Taurus with Neptune in Aquarius. The combination of Mars, Uranus, and Pluto seeding the origin eclipse gives this family a theme of disruptive, volcanic force that fits well with the turbulent aspects within the Taurus Lunar Eclipse. The contact between Jupiter and Neptune in the origin eclipse also adds further weight to another significant aspect within the present eclipse: Jupiter and Neptune together in Pisces forming a square aspect with Mars retrograde in Gemini.

After the Taurus Moon passes through a conjunction with Uranus and a square aspect with Saturn, it will move into a sextile aspect with Neptune retrograde in Pisces followed by a trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn and then another sextile aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Pisces. More impactful than the sextile between the Taurus Moon with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces, however, is the square aspect between Mars retrograde in Gemini with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. Within a week of the recent Solar Eclipse in Scorpio, Mars stationed retrograde in Gemini on October 30 and so Mars has barely been moving during the strange vortex of time that occurs in between eclipses. Mars stationing at a standstill is always incredibly dramatic, as Mars stations retrograde less frequently than the other planets and the stationary status of non-movement is at odds with the action oriented nature of Mars. Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked. The simultaneous friction between Mars with Jupiter and Neptune can be disorienting and amplify frustrations due to difficulty in focusing.

Mars stationing retrograde requires adjustment and although it can coincide with difficult feelings and experiences, it is an extraordinary agent of change in our lives. Mars may not be moving much by zodiacal degree during the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, but we will nonetheless be experiencing an intensification of its heat in ways that can shatter our complacency and unleash new desires that pierce our defenses and call us to shift directions. Moreover, the Sun, Mercury, Venus, and the South Node of the Moon are all transiting through the nocturnal, watery domicile of Mars and so the red planet will be claiming a powerful role of influence in the week ahead until Venus leaves Scorpio for Sagittarius on November 15, Mercury does the same on November 17, and the Sun follows them into Sagittarius on November 22. With all of the Scorpio placements activated during the eclipse, deepening into whatever processes of putrefaction, purging, and shedding you are experiencing will provide the compost needed to nurture whatever new fiery desires of Mars emerge.

The more we can become clear about our goals and what we wish to create in the month ahead, the better we will be able to make use of the abundant creative potential available through Mars activating the combination of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces is an immensely imaginative combination. However, we can be in danger of merely daydreaming with Jupiter and Neptune or becoming drawn into internal processes to such an extent that we have difficulty expressing their imaginal insight through material forms. The positive side of an intensified Mars volatilizing Neptune and Jupiter is that we can become activated to bring creative visions into form. Setting goals and making space to focus on the steps required to achieve aspirations will help us be focused and productive rather than distracted and dispersed. A helpful aid in focusing on work will be the flowing trine aspect between Mars retrograde in Gemini with Saturn in Aquarius that will continue to build with intensity until becoming exact on November 28. The harmonious aspect between Mars with Saturn will be helpful for making significant strides in our most meaningful work.

Though there is a positive side to the tension between Mars retrograde with Jupiter and Neptune, we need to be wary of becoming blinded by our beliefs under their influence or acting like a self-righteous crusader against perceived evildoers. All of us live in an illusion in one way or another, the difficulty being that we typically have no idea that we are living in an illusion and instead become critical of those acting in ways that go against our own illusions and beliefs about reality. Jupiter and Neptune combined in Pisces can become overly inflated about beliefs, with the intense heat of Mars leading us to persecute and attack others who appear to go against our beliefs. Rather than being dogmatic or fixated in your beliefs, be curious about asking questions and make it a point to practice active listening skills so you can relate to where others are coming from instead of projecting on them where you believe they are coming from. Though many portray Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces as fostering delusion, their combination can actually reveal deeper truths about reality when we are willing to experience disillusionment and pierce through our self illusions.

Roses in a Vase (1881/83) by Georges Seurat

Venus in Scorpio rules the Taurus Lunar Eclipse while under the beams of the Sun and separating from a square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius. Venus is still traversing her underworld journey due to being in her invisible phase with the Sun, and so with both Venus and Mercury being too close to the Sun to be visible, there will be ample support available for internal processing and descending into hidden depths and places of psyche to attune with the ways in which our internal landscape has been shifting. Venus formed her superior conjunction with the Sun on October 22, and since that time we have been in a process of incubating the new sense of values and desires that will be emerging. Venus will not become visible as an Evening Star for another month, and so the changes brought by the eclipse will help facilitate greater awareness for the ways in which we have been internally shifting. Venus is in the third decan of Scorpio that she rules during the eclipse, and her dignity within the third decan of Scorpio is ideal for deepening into the depths of desires to bring about regeneration. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces wrote that the essence of the third face of Scorpio involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire. Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires. Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

Mercury and Venus will remain in Scorpio in the week following the eclipse while in their invisible phases and forming flowing trine aspects with Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces. Venus will trine Neptune on November 10, Mercury will trine Neptune on November 12, Venus will trine Jupiter on November 15, and Mercury will trine Jupiter on November 16. As you lay to rest whatever old desires need to be fully let go, listen deeply to whatever new creative desires and ideas flow into your awareness as Venus and Mercury pass through their harmonious aspects with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. If you are experiencing difficulties in connection with events that erupt with the timing of the Taurus Lunar Eclipse, do your best to make some time and space for creative brainstorming. With Jupiter and Neptune in the exaltation of Venus, Venus in particular will be able to receive the imaginative revelations of Jupiter and Neptune in ways that can open up exciting new avenues of creative development.

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Moon will become eclipsed in the second decan of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we witness a mercantile figure carrying scales of balance in his left hand, while dispensing gold coins with his right hand to figures kneeling on the ground with tattered blankets begging for money. The Six of Pentacles card is typically associated with giving and receiving on the material plane. Like in the prayer of Saint Francis, there is receiving found in the giving and giving found in the receiving, with the image of the scales further signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity found in the process. Through inner harmony transmitted within collaborative exchanges with others, great success and productivity can be achieved in the material realm. Despite whatever difficulties we face with the Moon becoming eclipsed in the second face of Taurus, focusing on the mutual support available within our relationships will be a key to navigating any unexpected challenges that arise.

The Moon is the ruler of the second face of Taurus, adding to the potency of the Moon in her exaltation becoming eclipsed. T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets on tarot and the decans described the second face of Taurus as involving “Mysteries at the Threshold,” in part due to the major arcana of the High Priestess (Moon) and Hierophant (Taurus) having symbolic association with the second face of Taurus. Chang noted that the Six of Pentacles card involves both “an act of benevolence that visually echoes the Hierophant card,” while the High Priestess is also involved in the image of the Six of Pentacles as “the spirit that moves one to generosity.” Chang further wrote that the Six of Pentacles reveals the importance of taking the opportunity that arises within a window in time, “a moment in weaving when the warp threads have separated just enough for the shuttle to fly through.” Chang advised that drawing the Six of Pentacles can indicate finding “harmony between your inner and outer selves,” accepting and creating “material opportunities, for yourself and others,” as well as finding “the sweet, cross-quarter magic of the present moment.”

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Linga-Yoni” to the second face of Taurus, bridging images of “procreative unions” and “wanton fertilization” with the practice of virtuous action. Coppock described an alchemical process for the second face of Taurus, advising that the matters generated in this face “must be attended to carefully and consistently,” as “dedication must join fecundity and passions to complete the picture this face provides . . . Passion is necessary for continuing fructification, but those raw powers must be tempered by means of an ordered effort.” Coppock’s description of alchemical effort fits well with the transit of Mars retrograde in Gemini forming an activating square aspect with Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces during the eclipse, with Mars also applying toward a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius that will support the ordered effort needed to bring the fruits of Jupiter and Neptune into form.

The Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horai to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time who are the daughters of Zeus and Themis, goddess of divine law and order. Diodorus of Sicily wrote in the 1st century BC that each of the “Horai was given a responsibility named after her for the ordering and arranging of life for the greatest benefit of mankind” and “furnishing a prosperous life” through “lawfulness {eunomia}, justice {dike}, and peace {eirene}.” In keeping with the Taurean metaphor of cultivating crops, the Horai were worshipped by those planting and tending their field of harvest in alignment with the rising and setting of stars. The presence of the Horai in the decan where the Moon will be eclipsed suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time for action performed in the right way. Rather than reacting rashly to challenges or trying to rush ahead too fast in pursuit of desires, keep in mind the long game as you listen to what your situation demands and respond from your core values of integrity.

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References

Anthology of Classical Myth: Primary Sources in Translation. (2004). Edited and translated by S.M. trzaskoma, R.S. Smith, and S. Brunet. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Full Moon in Aries

scarab ca. 1550 – 1480 BC

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 9 will bring the rapid rushing and instinctual speed of the fire element into personal and collective events. Aries is the fire sign ruled by Mars that can foster decisive action and burning desires that lead to swiftly moving pursuits and instantaneous action. With the Sun and Venus in Libra forming an opposition with the Moon in Aries, however, there will also be an amplified polarity activated between Aries and Libra that can lead to powerful insights following a period of active contemplation. There is always much more happening under the surface of Libra than appearances suggest, as it is a sign possessing extraordinary prowess in thinking through matters and weighing the balance of numerous factors at play within any dynamic. The propulsive power of the Full Moon in Aries will speed up the tempo of events and push matters to a head in need of a decision, yet we can utilize the artful mentality of Libra to discern the best choice to act on. The Aries Full Moon will initiate us into a month of monumental turning points occurring in storylines, with the two weeks following the lunation ideal for making progress on plans and preparing remedies for any arising difficulties. The next lunation to follow will be a Solar Eclipse in Scorpio on October 25 that will open up a tumultuous and extremely volatile eclipse season.

The Aries Full Moon at 16°33′ Aries  is separating from a conjunction with Chiron and an opposition with Venus while fully illuminating the opposition between Chiron in Aries and Venus in Libra that will become exact on October 10. Chiron retrograde in Aries will oppose Venus in Libra at fourteen degrees of each sign, creating opportunities for deepening awareness of numerous issues occurring within our relationships, particularly the way in which our own inner patterns connected with past wounding and alienation have been creating important matters to work through in our present relational dynamics. Attuning with whatever issues arise with the opposition between Chiron and Venus can further deepen our relationship with the underworld journey Venus in Libra will be experiencing in October. Venus in Libra is at the end of her Morning Star phase and approaching a liminal rebirth with the Sun on October 22. Her present phase invites engagement with processes of release and renewal, laying old relational issues to rest, being present with difficult emotions that emerge, and undergoing a purgation of old matters that can help bring purification when Venus unites with the Sun.

The Full Moon is also separating from a conjunction with Jupiter retrograde in Aries. With the full Moon illuminating the sign of Aries, it’s an ideal time to reflect upon the passage of Jupiter in Aries that will be coming to an end during October. Jupiter has been residing within the fiery, galvanic sign of Aries since 10 May 2022 and will return to its nocturnal home of Pisces on October 28. Jupiter being co-present with the Full Moon in Aries can help in coalescing growth-oriented insight from whatever tension becomes triggered by the opposition between the Sun and Venus in Libra with the Moon and Chiron in Aries. We may gain realization of inner patterns and issues that are getting in the way of us reaching the next stage of our external development or embodying our authentic creativity through our work and relationships in the greater world.

It’s likely that deep seated internal patterns and issues will be rising to the surface of awareness due to Pluto stationing direct at 26°07′ Capricorn on October 8, a day before the lunation. Pluto stationing and changing directions will bring the gravity of the distant lord of the kuiper belt much closer within our visceral senses, with the significations of Pluto saturating collective and personal events with its influences. While previously hidden information especially concerning power plays and power dynamics may be revealed, within personal spheres there will be a necessity of coming to terms with feelings and information that’s been veiled within our inner darkness as Venus and Chiron oppose one another at the same time. We may also feel a surge of empowerment and a drive to claim more of our personal power and agency within situations in which we have previously resisted asserting ourselves or repressed our full engagement. Pluto will call us to peel back the way we have been conditioned to view our motivations to deepen awareness of the true desires operating within the depths of our being. Though this will not be the final time that Pluto stations direct in Capricorn, the direct motion of Pluto this time around will take it all the way through Capricorn into Aquarius for the first time next March 23, making it an especially potent turning point for Pluto.

The productive potential of the Aries Full Moon can be found in the way it is separating from hard aspects with Jupiter and Venus and applying to harmonious sextile aspects with Saturn in Aquarius and Mars in Gemini. These harmonious aspects between the lunation with Saturn and Mars are ideal for problem solving and dissecting dilemmas in order to figure out the next course of action as well as make productive strides forward in spite of any challenges we are facing. It will be a good time for making distinctions between options and separating yourself from paths and circumstances that are not aligned with the work you need to be doing in order to focus on the tasks at the heart of what matters most to your core purpose.

Moreover, after Mercury enters Libra on October 10 there will be a predominance of planets in the air element, making it an ideal period for becoming inspired, engaging creative influences and bringing together ideas, and taking direct action on behalf of your idealistic vision for whatever you wish to create with your life. In the waning half of the lunar cycle there will be an air triangle forming within the zodiac that can coincide with getting into a flow of many ideas coming together: the Sun in Libra will form a flowing trine aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on October 11, Venus in Libra will trine Saturn in Aquarius on October 13, the Sun in Libra will trine Mars in Gemini on October 17, Venus in Libra will trine Mars in Gemini on October 18, and Mercury in Libra will trine Saturn in Aquarius on October 22.

Mars by George Pencz

Mars in Gemini

Mars in Gemini rules the Aries Full Moon and will be receiving the Moon into its fiery home through a creative sextile aspect that will promote action and assertion. With Saturn in Aquarius also in range of a trine aspect with Mars and a sextile aspect with the lunation, the Aries Full Moon will illuminate the major dynamics of any difficulties we are facing so we can become more aware of what needs our focus and where we need to take decisive action. However, there is also a complicated and tricky relationship with Neptune in Pisces that Mars must face: Mars in Gemini will form a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces at 23°21′ of each sign on October 11. The applying friction of the square aspect between Mars with Neptune makes it an overriding influence over the lunation, and so we will need to be mindful of becoming overly idealistic and self-righteous with our beliefs so that we do not needlessly amplify conflict through the illusions of dogmatic perspectives. Moreover, since Mars will station retrograde on October 30 at 25°37′ Gemini, the catalyzing square aspect that will be forming between Mars and Neptune during the Aries full moon will endure across the entire month ahead as Mars will ultimately form a second square aspect with Neptune on November 19.

As a result, we will need to find the balance between the life-affirming inspiration and idealism that can be kindled from the heat kindled between Mars clashing with Neptune versus the kind of delusion that clouds critical thinking that comes from dogmatic belief systems. As we prepare to enter an extremely volatile eclipse vortex at the end of October, it will be imperative to apply critical thinking skills to question not only others, such as information sources in the media, but to also question our own belief systems. Mars is incisive and can cut through matters, and while Neptune can bring a misleading fog to perception, it can also open up new vistas of perspective that we have been unwilling to accept within our conception of reality. There will be numerous ideological wars erupting around the world as Mars and Neptune create friction together during the next month, yet we can also utilize their tension to cut through the places we have deluded ourselves, allowing our experiences to reveal deeper truths and insight that bring about a reorientation to our reality.

The square aspect between Mars and Neptune does not need to be illusory and instead can be utilized in extraordinarily creative ways. Entering a period of accelerated collective change can lead to creative breakthroughs in our personal lives, and the astrological aspects during the waning half of the lunar cycle will support applying energy and focus to our creative pursuits. Injecting spirituality, archetypal forces, imagination, fantasy, the ancestral realm, or any other way of embracing more of the interconnected field of reality into our creativity can help give avenues for Neptune to stream through whatever we are applying the heat of Mars to in our work. The square between Mars and Neptune can also unify mass groups of people aligned together through social justice protests, especially with Mars in Gemini also forming flowing trine aspects with Saturn in Aquarius as well as the Sun and Venus in Libra. The mass protests in Iran over the oppression of women are one of many examples that will be able to continue building momentum like the breaking waves of storms at sea.

Mercury by George Pencz

Mercury: from Virgo to Libra

The Full Moon in the element of fire can also help distinguish and separate insight that has accumulated from the recent retrograde phase of Mercury, as Mercury will be picking up speed due to having reached its maximum elongation as a Morning Star on October 8. During the time of the exact Full Moon, Mercury will be at 28°41′ Virgo in its own exaltation and domicile as it’s simultaneously picking up speed, bringing numerous opportunities for analyzing and integrating whatever changes and transmutational processes occurred during its retrograde phase last month. Mercury moving increasingly faster can add to the atmosphere of volatility, disruption, and contention, yet the curious activism of Mercury moving fast as a Morning Star will be helpful in mediating polarities of tension, asking questions that will elicit the answers we need, and making the adjustments necessary to move into a more dynamic phase of life.

As I previously wrote about in my article on Mercury retrograde in Libra and Virgo, an essential aspect to track has been the three trine aspects Mercury formed with Pluto in Capricorn as well as the three opposition aspects Mercury forms with Jupiter in Aries. As the Moon reaches peak illumination in Aries, Mercury will be separating from its third and final trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn (previous ones were on October 6 while direct in Morning Star phase, September 27 while retrograde, and August 22 while direct in Evening Star phase) and applying toward its third and final opposition with Jupiter in Aries. Mercury will enter Libra on October 10 and then complete its third and final opposition with Jupiter in Aries on October 12. Pay attention to storylines that have developed across the three oppositions between Mercury and Jupiter on September 2, September 18, and October 12 and how the final opposition ties the meaning of experiences together. We can expect major movements in the storylines of current events that have been developing across this time, and in our personal lives we can utilize the tension between Mercury and Jupiter to take account of additional factors that can help in synthesizing meaning from whatever ideas or work we have been developing.

The amplification of the air element that will follow Mercury entering Libra on October 10 can make the two weeks following the Aries Full Moon an intellectually stimulating time with vast potential for generating and synthesizing ideas, yet the instability of the air element also stresses the importance of flexibly shifting with the larger changes taking shape in the collective. With the Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Libra in flowing trine aspects with Saturn in Aquarius and Mars in Gemini, the overabundance of information circulating could become overwhelming and anxiety provoking. Engaging in reflective and centering practices can help with being productively focused on the tasks that need completion while remaining motivated by larger inspiration. It can be a powerful time for research and gathering many strands of information together to form effective strategies for whatever problems we are facing. It will be easier than normal to become distracted by the swirling cacophony of crisis and change that will be sweeping through collective events at an accelerated pace as we approach the end of October, yet it can also be an extremely generative period for growth and creativity when we are able to make the space to focus on our work.

Venus by George Pencz

Venus in Libra

Venus in Libra will be entering the heart of her underworld journey during the rest of October as she approaches her superior conjunction with the Sun on October 22 at 29°26′ Libra. The superior conjunction, also called the exterior conjunction, for Venus occurs when Venus is on the far side of the Sun from us in orbit, moving direct and fast in speed. In contrast to her inferior/interior conjunction when retrograde in which Venus is as close to us in orbit as possible, the distance of Venus can make the underworld process of release and renewal she experiences when approaching her superior conjunction less gut wrenching than when she is retrograde. Nonetheless, as Venus is at the end of her Morning Star phase it will be important to apply mindfulness as we engage in a process of releasing and emptying old relational and aesthetic patterns in preparation for the reanimation of Venus by the Sun on October 22. During the weeks surrounding the purifying solar conjunction of Venus, pay attention to ways in which you are shedding old values, needs, and desires as well as the ways in which your sense of aesthetics and relational dynamics are transmuting.

Before experiencing her rebirth, however, Venus will pass through a trine with Saturn on October 13, a trine with Mars on October 17, and a square aspect with Pluto on October 19 that will accentuate the process of underworld purgation she is passing through. Moreover, at the same time that Venus will be in the heart of the Sun on October 22, Saturn will also be stationing direct at 18°35′ Aquarius. The stationing of Saturn in Aquarius has a great deal of synergy with the superior conjunction of Venus not only due to the wide trine aspect between them, but also due to Venus and the Sun being in the exaltation of Saturn. Moreover, Mercury in Libra will also be forming an exact trine aspect with Saturn on October 22 which will be extremely potent due to Mercury being in the exaltation of Saturn as well as the airy domicile of Venus at the same time she is experiencing her rebirth. Altogether, these harmonious aspects between Mercury with Saturn stationing makes it an incredibly fertile time to seize for making a pivotal turning point in your creative and intellectual life, opening to whatever new styles, desires, inspirational lineages and influences emerge to grab your attention.

Arielle Guttman in her book Venus Star Rising about the monumental significance of the Venus synodic cycle highlighted the extreme significance of the Venus superior conjunction we will experience on October 22 that has far reaching implications beyond the present moment. It will be the first union between the Sun and Venus in Libra since 1879 and will initiate a new era of solar conjunctions for Venus in Libra that will occur over the course of the next century. Venus forms a five pointed star of “Venus star points” within her eight year synodic cycle, and the star point renewal we will experience on October 22 has been in Scorpio ever since 1926. However, four years from now in 2026 there will be one final Venus inferior conjunction in Scorpio on 24 October 2026 before the full transition into the Libra star point takes effect in October 2030. Guttman wrote that the eight-year transitional period from 2022 to 2030 “will be an eight-year period of tumult and uncertainty, such as those that often occur when there is a major shift,” and further shown by the 2022 superior conjunction forming a square aspect with Pluto, which she described as “the mastermind of transformation (death and rebirth).”

Indeed, the last time we experienced a transitional period in between Venus star point sign changes was when the Taurus star point transitioned into the Aries star point from 1929 through 1937. This period involved the stock market crash, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, and the buildup to the second world war. The previous time before this that we experienced a transitional star point period was when the last Libra star point transitioned into the Virgo star point from 1875 through 1883. This period encompassed the “Long Depression” from 1873 through 1879 that had been known as the “Great Depression” until the economic depression in the 1930s claimed the title. Clearly this is one further astrological indicator that the numerous economic issues occurring around the world that have been exacerbated by the global pandemic and warfare will be taking us into a period of great economic uncertainty and volatility.

Fascinatingly with regard to the history of the USA, the last time we experienced a transition between the Venus in Scorpio and Venus in Libra star points was in 1771 during the buildup to the Revolutionary War. This also happened to be yet another transitional star point period that involved the transition from the Scorpio star point into the Libra star point from 1771 through 1779. As Pluto was also in Capricorn then at the same degree it is today, this overlap between the Venus star point transition and the Pluto cycle considerably amplifies the significance of the Pluto return the United States of America has been experiencing. Taking this larger cyclical context into account broadens the scope and significance of the numerous ideological battles occurring around the world, particularly those involving the oppression of women as Venus has a long history in astrology of having significations connected with women’s issues. We are in the middle of monumental societal changes and when caught up in the difficult crises and trauma occurring in the present it can be difficult to have a sense of the much larger societal shifts that they are part of.

In our personal lives, the initiation into a new Venus star point in Libra can correlate with innovations, emerging desires, and new creative directions related to any of the significations of Venus. It can be especially fruitful for anyone engaged in the creative arts due to the strong link between the arts and humanities with Venus in the humanitarian sign of Libra, but there will be many other ways in which we will be able to notice changes taking shape in our lives in correlation. Moreover, simply having Venus close to the Sun in Libra up until October 23 can bring greater ease and opportunities for pleasant social interactions and gatherings during a time period that otherwise involves a lot of volatile astrological factors building with intensity. Making space and time for the pleasures of Venus will be an antidote to the troubles of the times during the waning half of the lunar cycle.

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

The Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Aries associated with the Three of Wands minor arcanum illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. As the second face of Aries holds the degrees of the exaltation of the Sun, we fittingly find an image of solar sovereingty with a heroic figure 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.  Similarly, numerous ancient texts attribute images to the second face of Aries that depict resources and rulership. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Three of Wands goes with “faith in the good efforts you have already made,” investing “in well thought through acts of benevolence,” and “mak[ing] your own rules, and liv[ing] by them.” The sovereignty of being able to create your own world according to your own rules fits well with the fact that the Sun is the ruler of this decan in both the descending and triplicity rulership schemes, the only decan in which the Sun is the ruler for both.

In Henrich Corenelius Agrippa’s The Celestial World, translated by Eric Purdue, the second face of Aries is clearly shown as being rooted in sovereignty: “In the second face of Aries rises the form of a woman, dressed in red garments on the outside and under them white. She is stretching out her foot. This image is made for nobility, loftiness of kingdom, and great dominion.” While the color red is a match for the sign of Aries and its ruling planet Mars, it also can symbolize the living of a passionate life with embodied eros through acts of creation. In alchemy the color red is associated with the rubedo or reddening alchemical phase that is not only known as the “crowning” stage of the opus, but also involves the incarnation and embodiment of freshly enlightened consciousness into the blood and flesh of the body. The woman stretching out her foot further shows the expansiveness inherent in this decan that can nurture a stretching of forms through creation into new territories of development.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Crown” to the second face 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.”  Coppock wrote that the potent capacity 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.”  These associations with the second face of Aries work well with the Full Moon in Aries initiating us into a period of accelerated collective change, as it will be vitally important for individuals to claim their authority and agency in creating their own world as part of helping to reshape the larger world in life affirming ways.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs attributed Persephone to the second decan of Aries, an interesting association as she is also a noble figure who bridges the world of the visible and invisible, the goddess who rules the underworld of soul, death, release, and resurrection. The association of underworld sovereignty can also be gleaned from Demetra George’s translation of The Sacred Book of Hermes to Asclepius (a Greek language text ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus during early Roman Imperial period, possibly around 50 CE) as she revealed an image for the second face of Aries associated with another guardian of the underworld: the dog. George translated the image for the second decan of Aries as being a figure with the face of a dog, sceptre in right hand, disc in left hand, robed to the ankles. Whether or not this dog faced sovereign is associated with the underworld, Persephone’s presence with the Aries Full Moon calls us to honor being an eternal soul fully embodied within a material realm of continual life and death.  While we must reconcile ourselves to living in a world of great suffering and death, Persephone also signifies our capacity for discovering newfound power and strength within ourselves in spite of the wounds we must bear. An image of underworld sovereignty is further fitting for the period that follows the Aries Full Moon as Venus in Libra will be traversing the underworld en route to becoming enthroned in the chariot of the Sun on October 22.

Under the spotlight of the Aries Full Moon, allow yourself to envision the creative realm you can create and inhabit through the wielding of your own sovereign gifts and talents. Not only will claiming this agency bring about a renewal of life force within your own personal sphere, it can also provide uplifting inspiration for others to do the same.  

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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References

Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius. (2021). Three Occult Books of Philosophy. Translated by Eric Purdue. Inner Traditions.

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

George, Demetra. (2021). Egyptian Decans: Star Gods of Time. Astrology University.

Guttman, Arielle. (2019). Venus Star Rising: A New Cosmology for the 21st Century. Sophia Venus Productions. First edition, second printing.

New Moon in Libra

Justice (1550/69) by Bernardino India

New Moon in Libra

Libra is a sign of weighing balances, associated with the fall equinox in the northern hemisphere and the spring equinox in the southern hemisphere when there is an equality of day and night around the world. The New Moon in Libra on September 25 is only a few days after the equinox, initiating us into a new season that will feature the most volatile astrology of the year. Libra excels at contemplation, intellectual pursuits and aesthetic arrangement, a sign that exalts the calculations of Saturn and consideration of consequences, a place where the centeredness of the Sun has its fall. The New Moon in Libra following the equinox so closely makes it ideal for reflection upon our path, ruminating upon the many strands of present development to lay plans for the meaning and purpose we wish to explore for the rest of the year.

The Libra New Moon is opposite Jupiter retrograde in Aries, amplifying themes of justice associated with the sign of the Scales and the necessity of taking the time needed to think through options and issues in order to distill the essence of what needs our focus. The Sun in Libra will oppose Jupiter a day after the lunation on September 26, an alignment that demarcates the heart of Jupiter’s retrograde passage when Jupiter is at its brightest peak in the night sky, as close to earth as it gets within its orbit. As a result, Jupiter is in a liminal passage during the Libra New Moon, transitioning from its morning star phase into its evening star phase that will bring increased opportunities for aligning our purpose with the needs of our surrounding community. The brightness of Jupiter can illuminate the deeper meaning within our circumstances, helping us to separate from what is no longer serving our purpose and distinguishing the decisions that need to be made in our next steps forward. 

The tension of the opposition between Jupiter and the lunation invites the objectifying analysis of Libra that can reflect upon ways in which we may have been too full of hubris, too ungrounded with the visions we are developing, too idealistic or too righteous in our own personal sense of justice. Not only is the Sun in its fall of Libra, but Venus as the ruler of the Libra New Moon is also in her fall of Virgo. As a result, there’s a need to ground and step back from ambitions enough to analyze if the goals we are developing our truly aligned with our authenticity or focused too much on fitting into cultural standards and conditioning of success. 

Fortunately, there is a productive trine aspect between Mars in Gemini with Saturn retrograde in Aquarius that will become exact on September 27 a couple of days after the lunation. The flowing trine between Mars in Gemini with Saturn in Aquarius can help in focusing the inventive qualities of Mars in Gemini that can become too scattered at times or indecisive regarding the numerous options available to pursue with its multifaceted talents and skills. Due to Mars stationing retrograde at the end of October, this will be the first in a long sequence of trine aspects that will be forming between Mars and Saturn over the next six months, with the next exact trine occurring on November 28 with Mars retrograde and Saturn direct in motion. The careful consideration of the Libra New Moon can be applied to contemplating one’s present relationship with Mars as the red planet begins to slow down over the course of the subsequent lunar cycle. Mars in Gemini will have an increasingly intensified presence, and while it may bring increased volatility it also holds the promise of dramatic change and exciting new desires and passions to pursue and cultivate. 

Aphrodite by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Venus rules the New Moon while separating from an opposition with Neptune and applying toward a trine with Pluto in Capricorn and toward a conjunction with Mercury retrograde in Virgo. The flowing trine between Venus and Pluto is the closest aspect within the lunation, and combined with Mercury simultaneously applying toward a conjunction with Venus and a trine with Pluto brings penetrating depth of insight into hidden patterns and patterns that have been operating under the surface. Both Venus and Mercury are in the midst of underworld journeys while empowered by the forces of Pluto. Mercury recently was reborn by its union with the Sun on the Libra Equinox, but is still in its invisible phase due to being in close proximity with the Sun. In contrast, Venus more recently has descended into the underworld in her invisible phase and will eventually become reanimated through her solar conjunction on October 22. Mercury and Venus are considered to be the two rulers of the third decan of Virgo (Mercury in descending order; Venus in triplicity order), a face that facilitates incisive awareness regarding the consequences of actions.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces on the decans ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to the third face of Virgo as there are many associated images of decay in old texts. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” There is a strong contrast of essential dignities between Venus and Mercury, with Venus in her fall and Mercury exalted as well as fully resourced by being at home. There are themes of Nemesis and Necessity within the relationships between Venus, Mercury, and Pluto, with the potential to cut through places we have obscured our viewpoint by pride in order to open deeper awareness. Venus in her present phase mirrors the mythology of Inanna’s descent to the underworld during which she must remove her talismans and release her pride in order to prepare for the mystery of her rebirth.

At the same time, with both Venus and Mercury in range of an opposition with Neptune we can open perception beyond the ways in which we typically restrict our awareness, sifting through any recent experiences of disillusionment in order to realign with the deeper truth we are coming into relationship with. With Venus separating from Neptune and applying to both Mercury and Pluto, there will be opportunities for grounding and coming back into more pragmatic relationship with reality if we have more recently been overly idealistic or inflated. Mercury will not complete an opposition with Neptune due to stationing direct in Virgo on October 2, yet will remain in Virgo in range of an opposition with Neptune during the waxing phase of the forthcoming lunar cycle. As a result, as the Moon waxes toward fullness we will have opportunities for coming to terms with our larger dreams and inspirations, our idealistic hopes that can sustain our excitement about life despite difficulties we are facing. Neptune will be a key player in the volatile astrology that will developing in the season ahead, and so it will be worthwhile to utilize the Mercurial focus available within the Libra New Moon for cutting through illusions to come into relationship with the deeper truths and meaning that can be revealed by Neptune.

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon in Libra is in the first decan of Libra associated with the Two of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image a blindfolded woman sits in front of an oceanic expanse while crossing two swords in front of her.  The blindfold and ocean suggest contact with the instinctual inner realm and unconscious, and indeed this card in tarot has a meaning of mediating between opposing forces to find equipoise, resolving conflicts within a protected space of exploring internal balance.  T. Susan Chang in her book 36 Secrets stated that the blindfolded woman reveals how the “Swords have do to do with what can and can’t be known,” and that the covered eyes in the image “represent minds that only partly grasp their situation” yet want to know more. Chang links the Two of Swords with setting aside preconceptions, giving opposing points of view “equal airing,” utilizing practices that help “clear your mind, and listen for silence.” It’s a fitting image for the New Moon involving an opposition between the lunation with Jupiter as well as an opposition between Venus and Mercury with Neptune.

Austin Coppock in 36 Faces referenced Smith’s illustration by ascribing the image of “A Blind Fold and a Sword” to the first face of Libra, describing it as a place which awakens awareness to injustice and disequilibrium within both societal and personal levels of interaction. Coppock wrote of the significance of the Two of Swords holding symbols that “allude to the arousal of an as yet unconscious force” such as the nocturnal and oceanic setting making it a landscape “beneath the threshold of waking consciousness.” Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being reanimated within its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Coppock emphasized the essence of this face being about relationship and “the balance between two entities” in all forms within the social order, stating it “shines a light on these dynamics, bringing what is troublesome to the light of conscious recognition.” Coppock declared that the first decan of Libra not only illuminates dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also can incite assertive attempts to address injustice or imbalances. 

It is further notable that the Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Erinyes (also known as the Furies) to the first face of Libra. As the Erinyes are chthonic goddesses who serve natural law and punish transgressors, the first face of Libra is a place of becoming aware of previously hidden evidence that reveals inequities.  The fearless insight into hidden matters signified by the Furies fits well with both Venus and Mercury being in the middle of invisible, underworld phases while also forming flowing trine aspects with Pluto. If you have been feeling the festering of the Furies within, make space for purifying and releasing the associated toxic components while coming to terms with the deeper meaning found within your own shadowy inner realm. The image of blind Justice fits well with the darkness of the Moon opposing the full brightness of Jupiter retrograde in Aries. Making space to explore the inner patterns behind recent events in the days following the Libra New Moon will help in coming to terms with the adjustments to plans and goals that will be needed in the season ahead.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in the Oak branch level we are presently exploring the meaning of the planetary nodes and deepening our understanding of the lunar nodes. 

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press. 

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

Full Moon in Pisces

The Ocean by Harry Brodsky

Full Moon in Pisces

Pisces is a zodiacal place of unbounded vision and emotion, the watery sign that exalts the star of Aphrodite and serves as the nocturnal home of Jupiter. The oceanic expanse of Pisces invites union and deep merging, making the yearly Full Moon in Pisces an opportune time for dissolving restrictions, releasing inhibitions, and opening sensations to deeply feel the fullness of being. With the Full Moon in Pisces on 10 September 2022 applying toward an enlivening sextile aspect with Uranus and a dissolving conjunction with Neptune, siren songs from the deep below will call from the realm of dream, luring us away from straight and narrow paths to take in more of everything that lies beyond the limitations of our conditioning. The deep well of feeling accessible through the lunation may bring about an immense emotional release concerning all we are suffering, yet the flooding of feeling can help in dislodging us from where we have been stuck to bring about a renewal of perception. The Full Moon in Pisces will illuminate the dream that makes life worth living, the hope that inspires resiliency when facing the darkest nights of our soul.

The Full Moon in Pisces is separating from a volatile square aspect with Mars in Gemini while applying toward creative aspects with Uranus and Neptune, creating opportunities for channelling the drama of life into creative insights that can be developed in the weeks ahead. Recent current events have been filled with stories of economic collapse, massive food shortages, and other immense disruptions to societal systems, all stories that correspond with the longstanding square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus. Yet the Full Moon in Pisces is not in relationship with the cold walls of Saturn and instead will be activated by the electrifying storms of Uranus, creating a window of time that can bring focus to the liberating experimentation of Uranus combined with the transcendent expanse of Neptune. It’s an excellent time for brainstorming and being patient with an upwelling of ideas, allowing a process of reordering and clarification to take shape in the coming weeks.

Illustration by Willy Pogany (1911) from Walk Me Through My Dreams (A Picture book of Verses) by Joe Lindsay

“This road / As far as one can see / A string of valleys deep / This road.

Late Trees stripped naked / By sweeping winds / Soy and corn are harvested / I sift through season’s end.

The dreaded part is not the past / Nor the state that I am ridden / Not the sight of numbing end / But being captive to what’s hidden.

. . . Forgive us as we forgive . . . / Lead us over pastures, Lord / And the weight of our chores / To trespass no more.”

Verse from Walk Me Through My Dreams, Again by Joe Lindsay

The Full Moon in Pisces is ruled by Jupiter retrograde in Aries. Although Jupiter put some distance between itself with Neptune after entering the fiery home of Mars on May 10, the star of Zeus stayed within an orb of fifteen degrees from Neptune and at the time of the Pisces Full Moon has returned to being in an almost exact contra-antiscia relationship, bridging the archetypal forces of Jupiter and Neptune together. Planets in contra-antiscia occupy zodiacal signs of equal ascension that agree on their journey through traveling at the same speed, while also forming a midpoint at zero degrees of Aries and Libra, a zodiacal point many astrologers connect with the world axis due to it’s potency in channeling archetypal forces directly into world events. With the Full Moon applying to a conjunction with Neptune that will take place later in the day on September 10, and then waning through its full phase into a subsequent conjunction with Jupiter retrograde in Aries on September 11, the Moon will be pouring down the dissolving, creative, and visionary influence of Jupiter and Neptune into daily life.

While the lunation is kindling the spiritual, creative fire of Jupiter and Neptune, Mercury will be saturating the astrological landscape with its archetypal presence due to stationing retrograde less than seven hours before the lunation. Moreover, Mercury retrograde in Libra will begin slowly peeling backwards in the coming week toward applying to an opposition with Jupiter that will eventually be completed on September 18. Thus not only is the Moon in Pisces opposite the Sun in Virgo during the lunation, but Jupiter as the ruler of the Moon and Mercury as the ruler of the Sun are also applying toward an opposition with one another. The stillness and intensification of Mercury invites applying mindfulness and being curious about exploring the meaning of signs and omens that appear within our dreaming and waking life for guidance.

Even though Mercury has stationed in order to move backwards through the zodiac, it will still be possible to move forward with actions, business dealings, and intellectual pursuits. In fact, the drawn out opposition between Mercury with Jupiter can make the waning half of the present lunar cycle particularly creative and thought provoking. Yet the intensity of Mercury is not to be taken lightly, and instead requires conscious relationship with however the tricky nature of Mercury will be leading us to make insightful connections. Making time and space from the busyness of life for deep reflection and contemplation will be especially helpful.

The other major aspect taking shape within the astrology of the Pisces Full Moon is the waxing square being formed by Venus in Virgo and Mars in Gemini that will eventually become exact on September 16. With both Venus and Mars under rulership of Mercury retrograde in Libra, it will be important to bring extra attention to listening within relationships with others as well as listening to the ways in which our own needs are changing. The influence of Mercury retrograde in Libra approaching its regenerative conjunction with the Sun upon Venus and Mars will create a process of burning off past relational dynamics at the same time we experience the friction of new desires emerging. The waxing square between Venus and Mars can constellate passion and desire to pursue the new sense of direction emerging from within. In the context of the overall cycle between Venus and Mars, the present waxing square is rooted in the past conjunction between Venus and Mars that took place on March 6, 2022 at 00°01’ Aquarius and so there are likely key relational dynamics emerging now directly linked back to March.

Yet the initiation of the present Venus and Mars cycle actually involved three conjunctions, with the first two occurring on 13 July 2021 at 19°48’ Leo and on 16 February 2022 at 16°53’ Capricorn. The second of these conjunctions on February 16 was especially powerful due to Venus having recently reemerged into visibility in her Morning Star phase following an extended retrograde phase in Capricorn. Fascinatingly, the conjunction between Venus and Mars at seventeen degrees of Capricorn on February 16 (that occurred at the time of a Full Moon in Leo) forms a harmonious sextile aspect with the Full Moon taking place at 17°41’ Pisces. Moreover, while Venus had recently begun her Morning Star phase of visibility on February 16, she is now at the end of it as she is in process of descending into the underworld of invisibility, regeneration, and rebirth en route to her reanimating conjunction with the Sun that will occur on October 22. As a result there are aspects of relationship and creative desire that need to be released and laid to rest at the same time we are coming into a deeper sense of the desires being reseeded and activated.

Altogether the Pisces Full Moon will be illuminating a pivotal stage within our relationship with Venus and Mars, the planets of night which connect us with passion and not only what we find valuable and pleasurable, but also what activates us to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable. With Venus and Mars coming into a catalyzing square aspect over the next week, we may feel anger when facing limitations especially when they reflect old issues that have led to suffering or heartbreak in the past. It will be necessary to hold the tension of courageously standing up for our values while mediating relationships that may or may not align with our values to varying degrees. As we come into deeper relationship with the ways in which our desires and values may be changing, it can also become an opportune time for discovering new collaborators, alliances, and relationships that involve a resonance of values and shared purpose.

9 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon in Pisces will illuminate the second decan of Pisces, a face associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image we see a pleased figure in a scarlet cap with a showy plume, signifying his passionate mind dressed with the Eros of his desires. The Nine of Cups is often associated with wish fulfillment, with the golden cups behind the figure signifying the resources needed to gain greater abundance being found within the unconscious and unseen realm of Spirit. The Nine of Cups has also been associated with happiness on both external and internal levels, enjoying feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want.  T. Susan Chang in 36 Secrets astutely observed that the Nine of Cups is “the card of wishes, not expectations” that involves the necessity of “appreciating the unexpected,” a good reminder with the Pisces Full Moon in aspect with Uranus. Fittingly, Jupiter is supremely powerful in this face, as it is not only the domicile ruler of Pisces but also the ruler of its second decan.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the second decan of Pisces in honor of Indra’s net with its many mutually reflective jewels, an overhanging cosmic net that has been interpreted as signifying magic and illusion as well as the interconnectedness of our universe. Coppock wrote that the luxurious satisfaction of the figure in the Nine of Cups card is the product of engaging the process of maintaining “a harmonious relationship between material and spiritual layers of life . . . [such as in] the art of following the Tao itself . . . at play in the material world but not beholden to it.” Coppock declared it to be a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals, and the way things are.”

Coppock concluded that the crux of this decan centers on fulfillment coming from the harmonizing of one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, as torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds. Seeking fortune for fortune’s sake will not bring happiness if our visible goals are misaligned with our invisible priorities. As older forms of astrology prioritize the relationships between Daimon and Fortune as well as Eros and Necessity, we must enact Daimon and Eros from our depths rather than only responding to the Necessity and Fortune of our times.  The satisfaction and joy that can be reached through the second face of Pisces comes from a deeper success that is aligned with our soul purpose and embodying the meaning of why we are here at this time. 

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the daimon Dolos to the second face of Pisces, a spirit of deception and trickery. Dolos was an apprentice to Prometheus who famously attempted to duplicate a statue of Aletheia (Truth) that had been perfectly constructed by Prometheus, yet ran out of clay before being able to complete its feet. In Aesop’s version of the tale, the duplicate statue was called Pseudologos (Falsehood) and brought the moral that something false can start off successfully, but with time the real truth will be revealed. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces wrote that the “protean” figures of the second face of Pisces can be “tricksters, liars who try to paint the portraits of their understanding and sculpt the form of their visions,” yet they necessarily fall short as “form utterly fails the profound,” and “the truth cannot be copied.” In fact, Coppock concluded that their creative acts are essential to the meaning of this face, as their “flawed copies are the only manner in which dreams can become real.” 

With the Pisces Full Moon applying toward a conjunction with Neptune while Jupiter and Neptune come together through contra-antiscia, the balance of the Scales amplified by Mercury simultaneously stationing retrograde in Libra will be important to keep in mind. A balance will need to be found by allowing flights of fantasy to stoke inspiration while not allowing yourself to become carried away by an illusive reflection of your true inner needs and desires. The more we can open to our deepest desires becoming illuminated by the Full Moon in Pisces, the better we will be able to prioritize our most important values during the coming months that feature chaotic astrological signatures.

The link between the second face of Pisces with the depths of the underlying source of our visible reality is especially relevant given that the Pisces Full Moon is applying toward an invigorating sextile with Uranus and a dreamy conjunction Neptune. The 12th century philosopher and astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra in The Beginning of Wisdom described an image of a beautiful woman sitting on a ship at sea for this decan, wishing to come to land. Similarly, Coppock described the figures of the second face of Pisces as being “anchored in the invisible, yet step forward to play important roles in the visible world.” Make space during the Pisces Full Moon to discover the aspects of your inner beauty that have been patiently waiting in the oceanic realm of your unconscious, ready to come to shore to be realized. 

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in the Oak branch level we are presently exploring the meaning of the lunar nodes as entryway into understanding the meaning of the planetary nodes.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

Mercury Retrograde in Libra and Virgo

Victor Brauner, The Nuptial March of the Sorcerer

Mercury Retrograde in Libra

Mercury in astrology is known for guiding us across thresholds and making his presence known in the plot twist, sudden slip or surprising boon that changes the direction of narratives. When Mercury stations retrograde, the star of Hermes demarcates a turning point in events as well as whatever processes of development we have been experiencing. Mercury’s retrograde in Libra and Virgo in 2022 will be especially pivotal as it’s regenerative process will be centered upon the Libra Equinox with Mercury helping to bridge the change of seasons from summer to fall in the northern hemisphere, winter to spring in the southern hemisphere. Just like the time of the harvest in the northern hemisphere in which cool air begins to rebalance the excessive heat of summer, Mercury’s retrograde movement from Libra to Virgo will facilitate a separation of wheat from the chaff, stepping back from heated dynamics to gain clarity for what to deepen in cultivation versus what needs to be released or reformed.

Mercury will station retrograde on September 9, embarking upon a three-week journey in which the star of Hermes will backtrack from 8°55’ Libra until stationing direct at 24°11’ Virgo on October 2. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from twenty-four degrees of Virgo to nine degrees of Libra, personal material in need of deeper engagement will become excavated, bringing opportunities for insight that can catalyze significant growth and foster breaking out of stuck patterns. As part of the process, however, we may need to return to longstanding issues in need of release, reworking, or reintegration. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification that will be especially intense leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun on the September 22 equinox, we may experience renewal on the other side as Mercury returns to forward motion in October. Mercury first crossed 24°11′ Virgo on August 20 and will not move beyond 8°55’ Libra until October 16, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

Mercury will station retrograde in Libra as the Moon in Pisces will be waxing toward fullness, with the Full Moon in Pisces on September 10 applying to a conjunction with Neptune. The lunar spotlight upon Neptune at the beginning of Mercury’s retrograde passage is fitting, for Mercury’s descent through his underworld, retrograde journey will mine the underbelly of idealistic dreams to aid us in examining how to build a more solid foundation underneath the visions for creative expression and growth that have been developing. By questioning our beliefs and being willing to consider where we are misleading ourselves with illusions, by the end of Mercury’s retrograde we will be able to realize what aspects of our future visions are too idealistic and lack grounding in practical potential. Mercury will be in position to stress-test dreams due to beginning his retrograde with a prolonged opposition with Jupiter that will not become exact until September 18, and ending his retrograde by stationing direct on October 2 in range of an opposition with Neptune. In the bigger picture, Mercury’s retrograde passage will draw us into deeper exploration of whatever meaning, plans, events, and relationships have been developing in correspondence with a new cycle between Jupiter and Neptune commencing during 2022.

The conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces on 12 April 2022 was one of the most important astrological alignments of the year, as it was both the beginning and end of another cycle within the transcendent dance between Jupiter and Neptune. Jupiter and Neptune form conjunctions every thirteen years or so, but their union in Pisces was especially potent due to it taking place in the nocturnal domicile of Jupiter with the star of Zeus receiving Neptune into its oceanic home. Unions between Jupiter and Neptune evoke the feeling of dreams coming true, yet the waves of expansive hope and inspiration that correspond with their conjunction can also be counterbalanced by experiences of disorientation and disillusionment. While Jupiter and Neptune created powerful tides during the first five months of 2022 while they were co-present in Pisces, they have remained within fifteen degrees of one another after Jupiter entered Aries on May 10. In fact, they were brought back together into a sacred marriage of intermingling influences by being contra-antiscia to one another during the first two weeks of June. Crucially, at the time of Mercury stationing retrograde on September 9 there will once again be a close contra-antiscia relationship formed by Jupiter and Neptune. Planets in contra-antiscia have their midpoint on the world axis of zero degrees of Aries (the point at which the celestial equator of Earth intersects with the ecliptic), bringing their combined influence into a powerful impact within world events.

Not only will the influence between Jupiter and Neptune be powerful within current events when Mercury stations retrograde on September 9, there is the added significance that Jupiter’s retrograde motion will eventually lead it back into Pisces on October 28 and into close proximity with Neptune. Jupiter will remain in Pisces with Neptune until 20 December 2022, creating almost two months of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces once again rippling their tidal forces through personal and collective events. Thus the reorientation toward the meaning of the new cycle between Jupiter and Neptune we can gather through Mercury’s retrograde passage will be helpful not only in reflecting upon connections between our present circumstances with experiences and ideas that developed during the previous conjunction between Jupiter and Neptune in April, it can also provide a beneficial review of where we currently stand in relation to our creative visions so we can be better prepared to bring our dreams into material manifestation when Jupiter and Neptune combine forces in Pisces again at the end of October.

The dissolving impact of Jupiter and Neptune combined in Pisces during 2022 has been amplified in intensity due to it occurring during the same time as the shattering square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus that has been dismantling global systems that previously brought a sense of security to many. The influence of Jupiter and Neptune can be tricky to handle due to it washing away the stability of the familiar while simultaneously revealing the deeper truths that will endure the mists of misguided perception. Dane Rudhyar in a 1958 article described the confusion that accompanies the call from Jupiter and Neptune to take a visionary step forward, writing that many people out of fear can experience a regressive pull back toward the security of familiar institutions and beliefs rather than risk the unknown.

Yet while we are collectively traversing a period of accelerated destruction of familiar institutions and beliefs that will become even more intense during the eclipses in October and November that will accompany the return of Jupiter to sharing the sign of Pisces with Neptune, there will be increased opportunities for seeking success free from the dominant power structures instead of feeling a need to conform to them. Ultimately, Dane Rudhyar wrote that it can be the accumulation of the smaller changes with our relationships that occur in correspondence with the merging of Jupiter and Neptune that later allow for the greater revolutionary events in the wider world to materialize. Mercury’s retrograde journey that will take it from an opposition with Jupiter into an opposition with Neptune will be an ideal time for recalibration of relational dynamics and deepening into the path that will lead us into creating the life we truly desire to live rather than resigning ourselves to fitting into societal systems that are falling apart.

Mercury functions well in the airy, intellectual environment of Libra and is at his greatest strength in his earthy home and exaltation of Virgo, and so the skill Mercury possesses for recalibrating dynamics and mediating polarities will be amplified during his retrograde journey. Mercury’s initial retrograde passage in Libra will beckon re-examination through the Scales, a re-balancing that necessitates extremes, tension, polarity, counterpoints, and contrariness. The awareness we can access through Mercury retrograde can help us transcend rigid parameters of duality by swinging wildly at times between extremes of perception in a continual process of experiencing oscillating oppositions. It’s necessary to embrace being in between states and forms during periods of Mercury retrograde, and while it will be possible to bring matters into definite form, in some situations we will need to accept the flux of formlessness and fluidity, recalibrating our perceptions and decisions in accordance with changing conditions. With Mercury beginning his retrograde passage while engaging Jupiter in a tense oppositional aspect, a major theme that will initially emerge will be justice; there will be an exacerbation of tensions around injustice, while many will also be inspired to take action on behalf of social justice.

Themis and Nemesis by Nicolai Abraham Abildgaard

Once Mercury moves within fifteen degrees of the Sun on September 14, he will be considered to be invisible under the beams of the Sun by traditional definition. Mercury at this point in his solar phase takes on the role of psychopomp guiding us into interior depths with a chthonic sense of penetrating insight, yet we may find we are more effective at gathering and exchanging information away from the spotlight. Mercury retrograde periods can be excellent for in-depth research in general, but during the initial phase of Mercury’s retrograde passage we can get especially powerful results when breaking free from stuck patterns and old habits as well as when releasing ourselves from aspects of our past that need to be burned off. The closer Mercury gets to his conjunction with the Sun on September 22, the greater his capacity will be for purgation and putrefaction of the past. Since Mercury will simultaneously be picking up the influence of Jupiter leading up to their exact opposition on September 18, we will also become aware of new opportunities for growth that can emerge from the composting of past dynamics.

At the same time, issues involving fairness and balance within relational dynamics will draw our attention as there will be a catalyzing square aspect between Venus in Virgo with Mars in Gemini on September 16 at 14°23’ of each sign. Since both Venus and Mars will be occupying the domiciles of Mercury, the regenerative influence of Mercury being retrograde will facilitate a release of old relational dynamics while we simultaneously come into deeper relationship with new passions, desires, and ways of relating that feel more genuine and authentic. The waxing square between Venus and Mars links back to the previous conjunction between Venus and Mars on March 6, 2022 at 00°01’ Aquarius, another sign that there is an important connection between Mercury’s retrograde movement this month with the experiences that were taking shape in the beginning of the year.

While Venus relates to what we find beautiful, pleasurable, valuable, and distasteful, Mars represents our ability to pursue our desires, fight for our values, and separate ourselves from whatever we find intolerable or displeasing. The waxing square between Venus and Mars signifies a period for discovering the emerging desires we will want to pursue, embody, and protect, yet the new desires we wish to experience may create instability and volatility within our relationships. With Venus and Mars clashing while in both signs of Mercury, it will be important to make space for listening to our own needs within relationship and then finding ways to effectively communicate them to those we are in relationship. Even though periods of Mercury retrograde are characterized in popular astrology as signifying communication mishaps and breakdowns, the intensified presence of Mercury during its retrograde in actuality can lead to breakthrough conversations when both people are committed to engaging and working through whatever trouble is present within relational dynamics.

Mercury by Bertel Thorvaldsen

In the Heart of the Equinox

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on September 22 at 00°14′ Libra, the same day as the Libra Equinox when we experience equal day and night everywhere around the globe. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible morning star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

The inferior conjunction of Mercury occurring on the same day as the Libra Equinox, the day of equal day and night that marks the turning of the seasons, is unusual. In mundane astrology, Libra ingress charts for when the Sun enters Libra are used to forecast the three month season that follows for events occurring in the location of the chart, and so Mercury applying to its regenerative conjunction with the Sun will be a theme that shows up in different ways and plays an important role in charts forecasting the season ahead for nations and cities. Moreover, zero degrees of Aries and Libra has been likened by some astrologers to being the nodes of the Sun, as it marks the intersection between the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun that defines the zodiac) with the projection of the celestial equator of the Earth; when the Sun enters Libra it is at this exact intersection en route in the northern hemisphere to descending to the nadir of its southern declination during the Winter Solstice when the Sun enters Capricorn. Mercury will be applying within thirty arc minutes of its union with the Sun when the Sun enters Libra, bringing the death and rebirth process of Mercury into world events with more intensity than normal.

Though the Libra Equinox is traditionally a day for sacred attunement and renewal, it will be especially potent this year when making sacred space for reflection and rebalancing. Allow Mercury to help guide you into insights and realizations regarding whatever has led you to the present moment in your personal journey, letting go of what needs to be released from the past while opening to new directions that may emerge to follow in the season ahead. It will be a powerful time for reseeding ideas and listening for messages and signs indicating new directions to follow in creative and intellectual pursuits.

Astarte by John Singer Sargent

Mercury Stationing Direct in Virgo

Mercury’s underworld journey will bring him into chthonic connections with Venus and Pluto once he leaves Libra and enters Virgo soon after uniting with the Sun. Mercury will backtrack into Virgo on September 23 and immediately apply toward a conjunction with Venus in Virgo that will be completed on September 26, as well as apply toward a flowing trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn that will be completed on September 27. Both Mercury and Venus will be in the midst of underworld journeys when they meet, with one crucial difference. While Mercury will have already experienced its rebirth from its union with the Sun, Venus will still be experiencing her descent into darkness that will eventually lead her to be reanimated by a conjunction with the Sun during her superior conjunction at 29°26’ Libra on October 22, 2022. Moreover, in addition to Mercury and Venus being invisible under the beams of the Sun, the Moon will also be veiled in darkness as there will be a New Moon in Libra on September 25. The waning dark Moon will form a conjunction with Venus and Mercury on September 25 before the New Moon occurs later in the day. There will be a mysterious exchange in the heart of darkness between the Moon, Mercury, and Venus at this time that invites curiosity. If feelings become difficult or emotions spiral, keep in mind that it could be part of a larger process of release and shedding taking place.

The meeting between Venus and Mercury at 26°47’ Virgo will take place in the third decan of Virgo, a decan ruled by both Venus and Mercury. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces on the decans ascribed the image of “The Sarcophagus” to this decan as there are many associated images of decay in old texts. Coppock stated that the third decan of Virgo “has the power to break the pride of all created things by showing them their inevitable end,” yet through facing this inevitability “it grants far reaching sight . . . the ability to look beyond the present, seeing consequences as clearly as actions.” The potency this decan possesses for revealing what is truly valuable will be worth remembering during Mercury’s extended stay here from September 23 through October 10, but especially while Mercury and Venus are both present here from September 23 through September 29. There may be hard experiences related to whatever needs to be laid to rest from the past, but the process of putrefaction will be capable of revealing potent insights regarding the path forward.

After Mercury passes through its conjunction with Venus and trine with Pluto it will slow down in speed until stationing direct at 24’12 Virgo on October 2. Mercury’s stationing degree places it within range of an opposition with Neptune in Pisces and a trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. With Mercury stationing in its place of domicile and exaltation rulership, there may be volatile events and changes in direction to traverse, yet Mercury will be capable of providing a sobering analytical perspective grounded in the details we need to pay attention to.

Once Mercury is moving direct it will form its final exact trine aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on October 6, only two days before Pluto stations direct on October 8. The intensified prescence of Pluto will be picked up and transmitted by Mercury at the same time that Mercury will be reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star on October 8. The maximum elongation of Mercury demarcates another threshold to cross, as it initiates us into the phase of Mercury speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. With Mercury forming its final trine aspect with Pluto at the same time Pluto is stationing, we can expect the sort of chaotic processes to emerge that can also give birth to exciting new forms of creative expression and presence.

Mercury will return to Libra on October 10, form its final opposition with Jupiter in Aries on October 12, and then leave its retrograde shadow zone on October 16. As Mercury continues to pick up speed this week, pay attention to how storylines shift as Mercury completes its final opposition with Jupiter. The first opposition in the series was on September 2 with Mercury moving direct, followed by the second opposition on September 18 with Mercury in the middle of its retrograde journey, and so there may be insights to be found within the arc of narratives across these dates. With Mars stationing retrograde in Gemini and Jupiter returning to Pisces at the end of October at the same time we enter a powerful eclipse season, there will be immense changes taking shape on the horizon. May the fleet footed messenger guide us into reflection, focus, and action on the matters that need our attention as we enter another period of accelerated collective and personal change.

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References

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

George, Demetra. (2019). Ancient Astrology in Theory and Practice: a Manual of Traditional Techniques. Rubedo Press.

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

Full Moon in Aquarius

Still Life with Fragments by Paul Klee

Full Moon in Aquarius

The annual Full Moon in Aquarius always activates the inherent polarity between Leo and Aquarius, zodiacal signs that serve as the celestial homes of the Sun and Saturn. Selene reflecting her fullness of silvery light in Aquarius can bring opportunities to question and probe experiences, sifting through the fragmentary artifacts of memory within our psyche in need of reflection. While the Sun in Leo has a centering force that helps us embody our authenticity and express our essential creativity, the Full Moon in Aquarius offers the prospect of intellectual distancing and the degree of detachment necessary from recent drama to contemplate the next steps needed for effective growth or inner integration.

The polarity between Aquarius and Leo will be especially acute during the Full Moon in Aquarius, as the Moon will be applying toward a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius and the Leo Sun will be approaching its annual opposition with Saturn that it will complete on August 14. Moreover, the Aquarius Full Moon will illuminate the key turning point in Saturn’s synodic cycle when the star of Kronos comes closest to Earth within its orbit during its solar opposition, glimmering at its brightest level in the night sky. Adam Gainsburg has taught that Saturn initiates us into a pivotal stage of our relationship with external and internal authority when we cross the threshold demarcated by Saturn’s retrograde passage forming an opposition with the Sun. There is a maturation available in how we participate authentically within the world around us, as new potential emerges to gain greater confidence in taking the responsibility to contribute meaningfully based upon a process of having questioned the reliability of external and internal authority figures since Saturn began its retrograde passage on June 4. The activation of Saturn’s opposition with the Sun by the Aquarius Full Moon is especially powerful due to the necessity of each of us taking greater personal responsibility mediating the volatility of current events in which societal structures have been falling apart in correspondence with the longstanding square aspect between Saturn and Uranus as well as the more recent tumult triggered by Mars forming a catalyzing conjunction with Uranus and a stormy square aspect with Saturn.

Indeed, the Aquarius Full Moon not only will illuminate a major shift in the solar cycle of Saturn, it also will spotlight a critical turning point of 2022. The Full Moon in Aquarius on August 11 is situated in between the eclipses that occurred on April 30 and May 15 and the eclipses that will occur on October 25 and November 8. The Aquarius Moon will be at the southern bending of its own nodes, separating from a square aspect with Uranus while applying toward a square aspect with Mars as well as the lunar nodes. The Aquarius Moon at the bending of its own orbit brings an additional level of objectivity and detachment from mundane affairs, as the Moon will be at its greatest southern latitude and the farthest distance the Moon can be within its orbital plane from the path of the Sun. With the Moon at its lowest point in its orbit, the Aquarius Full Moon is a calling to sink into sensation and get to the bottom of root causes in circumstances. The proximity between the Moon with Saturn can further accentuate contemplation in order to bring about needed reordering from our inner depths.

Recent world transits have had the symbolic impact of the Tower arcanum, as Mars moved from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and Uranus in Taurus on August 1 into a harsh and combative square aspect with Saturn in Aquarius on August 7. Moreover, Venus in Cancer recently formed an opposition with Pluto in Capricorn on August 8, dredging up deep emotional and relational issues that have been impacted by the shattering shocks and liberating releases that were unleashed in correspondence with Mars, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon joining forces while clashing with Saturn. As a result, the Full Moon in Aquarius will bring light into the darkness of whatever has been stirred up on unconscious levels as well as facilitate realizations regarding how to adapt to larger collective changes taking shape.

Enki

The Aquarius Full Moon applying toward a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius has deeper meaning when considering that Saturn is still in range of a close conjunction with the fixed star Deneb Algedi. Deneb Algedi is the star marking the tail of the Sea Goat constellation and is associated with the Babylonian creator god Ea and the Sumerian creator god Enki who brought the gifts and arts of civilization from his realm of subterranean water. A trickster and wise magician bent on reordering civilization with the greater good of the community in mind, the flowing freshwater of Enki transfigures the landscape of dry land, creating wetlands and fertile soil in which the food and resources needed to fuel civilization can grow. Gavin White in Babylonian Star-lore wrote that “Enki’s waters bring progeny to all creatures” and “bring life to the cultivated fields.” Similarly, old magical texts on the fixed stars declared that the image of Deneb Algedi brings prosperity and increases wealth, as well as enhancing one’s home and keeping it secure.

Furthermore, the vast intellect and sacred eye of Ea/Enki understands the fathomless depths of metaphysical laws and how they may be integrated into human systems of law and order. Bernadette Brady wrote that like the “justice-oriented ancient god who was seeking to bring civilization to his people,” the star Deneb Algedi “continues to be reflected in the laws of the establishment, and the structure of civilizations that yield ordered societies.” Yet while Deneb Algedi can correspond with established law, its deeper meaning lies within the type of reordering law from chaotic change that we have been collectively experiencing and will continue to experience in the years ahead.

As the Aquarius Moon waxes full near the star of the Sea Goat’s tail in the sky, we can turn awareness into the oceanic, immaterial expanse underlying our reality where the roots of form take shape. Take space from the cacophony of current events to discover how you can reorder personal structures and systems to be in flow with the changing currents altering the landscape, while staying centered within your own sense of integrity. Deneb Algedi is a powerful ally when reflecting upon the visions from subconscious senses ready to manifest without regard for external standards of judgement, while simultaneously discerning how to integrate innovate ideas into the societal systems and codes of laws presently operating in the world. It may not be clear how to bring new ideas into reality yet, but by setting intention to nurture and foster their manifestation we can begin the process of patiently discovering the best course of development for them.

Destruction and Hope by Paul Klee

The cunning wisdom of Enki will be further available through the fortunate role that Mercury in Virgo will be playing within the surrounding field of astrological transits. Mercury is visible as an Evening Star within its domicile and exaltation of Virgo, while applying toward a flowing trine with Uranus and the North Node of the Moon in Taurus it will complete on August 16. Mercury is out of aspect with the polarity between the Leo Sun and Aquarius Saturn, instead picking up the emancipatory revelations available to be accessed through the close proximity between Uranus and the North Node of the Moon in Taurus. Mercury is the ultimate mediator of polarities, and its potent capacity for analysis and reflection while in Virgo will be needed medicine for whatever difficulties we will be facing.

The Aquarius Full Moon will also illuminate the entrance of Venus into Leo. Venus in Leo loves to spark inspiring desires to actualize our creativity in everything ranging from daily tasks to larger projects connected with our life purpose. The dramatic flair that Venus in Leo possesses for bringing awareness of our fertile potential and igniting desire to actualize it will be amplified due to the fact that Venus will be applying to a flowing trine with Jupiter in Aries. Venus will complete her trine aspect with Jupiter retrograde in Aries on August 18, and so we will have a week following the lunation to be creatively active with the supportive fire of Venus in Leo and Jupiter in Aries. Since Venus in Leo will simultaneously be heading into an activation of the volatile fixed cross that the Aquarius Full Moon is also triggering, Venus in Leo will be in position to shake up the places that have become stagnant through resisting change in favor of the comfort of stability. If you have already been embracing change while in a process of dismantling the stability of the past, Venus in Leo can help in finding greater flow and harmony within the changes taking place. During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, Venus in Leo will form a square aspect with the lunar nodes in Taurus and Scorpio on August 25, a square aspect with Uranus in Taurus on August 26 (at the same time Uranus will have an intensified presence due to stationing retrograde on August 24), and an opposition with Saturn in Aquarius on August 28.

The capacity of Venus in Leo to help us adapt to our present state of becoming within volatile current events will be further amplified due to the co-presence of Venus and Ceres in Leo. Venus is applying toward a conjunction with Ceres in Leo that she will complete on August 22 at 13º24′ Leo. The last time Venus formed a conjunction with Ceres was on 3 April 2021 in Aries, and so it could be helpful to reflect upon the changes that have taken place over the course of their cycle together. Ceres connects with many of the current issues impacting world events, such as the food shortages and economic collapses occurring around the world. Yet Ceres also has psychological significations connected to the grief and difficult emotions many are experiencing due to not only personal experiences but also the wider field of intergenerational trauma that can be activated during the kind of volatile astrological world transits we have been experiencing. As Venus in Leo moves through a conjunction with Ceres into a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus during the waning half of the lunar cycle, it will be necessary to strike a balance between the abundant productivity Ceres is capable of nurturing and making space for rest and release of emotional material as we process the complex and difficult emotions that arise during times of immense collective and personal rebirth.

6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The Aquarius Full Moon will illuminate the second decan of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords. The six swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounded focus. Yet the swords are also staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory. The ferryman is in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury, which is fitting since Mercury is the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. T Susan Chang in 36 Secrets wrote that the Six of Swords excels at “problem solving,” being “excellent for symbol manipulation and masterful at metaphor . . . good for writing your way out of a paper bag and thinking outside of the box.” 

As the ferryman in the Six of Swords is creating a network in between shores, linking the known with the unknown, he is an apt symbol for Mercury being the ruler of the second face of Aquarius. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom,” as well as that the fixed nature of this face “stabilizes commerce between heaven and earth” while also establishing “independence between multiple worlds.” Coppock declared it to be a decan “of independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles” so that one may “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them.” Like the ferryman and Hermes, those who occupy this face mediate a “steady commerce between heaven and earth” according to Coppock, allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown” as well as “the ideal and the practical.”

Furthermore, the Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed Phobos to the second decan of Aquarius, the divine son of Ares and Aphrodite who is associated with the fear evoked in battle and war. Austin Coppock noted that as Phobos is connected with the etymology of “phobia,” its presence in this face also reveals “the fear that people have of what lies outside their small worlds.” It also brings to mind the double edged sword of fear that can also be associated with Saturn, in the way fear can lead to poor choices rooted in paranoia as well as the kind of inspired action that erupts when we have our backs against the wall and the odds stacked against us. If paralyzing fears arise in the time surrounding the Full Moon in Aquarius, seek the steady hand and patient pace of Saturn in Aquarius that can help in grounding into the present moment and addressing the practical issues most in need of our attention and action. May the mountainous magnitude and solid sentience of Saturn be available for guidance, bridging the eternal with the present moment, illuminating the next steps to take in our process of becoming.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to discover the benefits and learning opportunities you will gain by joining.

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References

Chang, T. Susan. (2021). 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Anima Mundi Press.

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

White, Gavin. (2007). Babylonian Star-Lore: An Illustrated Guide to the Star-lore and Constellations of Ancient Babylonia. Solaria Publications.