New Moon in Aquarius

chartres cathedral noah ark

Ark panel from Chartres Cathedral

New Moon in Aquarius

Following the flooding of last month’s Capricorn eclipse season, the Aquarius New Moon on January 24 bears light within its darkness to discover and utilize in illuminating the emerging path ahead. Eclipses bring dissolution externally and internally, and  so whether recognized or unrecognized the past month of intense astrological alignments have deeply stirred and reshaped matters. There was a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26, a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10, and the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12 that also involved the Sun beginning new cycles with Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto within a few days. The New Moon in Aquarius initiates us into the first lunation cycle of the 2020s, and further marks the Year of the Metal Rat beginning within Chinese astrology and culture.

Aquarius is the outwardly directed home of Saturn that utilizes the air element’s power of thought to diverge from the mainstream, gaining understanding that can only be found beyond the boundaries and barriers of the status quo. In the past month of Saturn commingling with Pluto, we have been invited to descend into inner depths far removed from the drama and contention impacting our surface engagement with the everyday. We have had the opportunity to confront our relationship with time, realize what truly matters, and commit toward engagement with whatever vitally moves our soul and inspires us to resiliently persevere in the preservation of life.

As the Aquarius New Moon is separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus in Taurus as well as a harmonious sextile with Chiron in Aries, there is a gale behind the lunation to catch sail with on our journey through the tumultuous astrology of 2020. There is movement within the lunation to bridge inner visions of our unconscious with our conscious participation in daily life, as the New Moon is applying toward a conjunction with Mercury in Aquarius, while Mercury is applying toward an invigorating sextile with Mars in Sagittarius. Mercury is carrying a message from the Saturn and Pluto conjunction that requires more time for gestation, since Mercury is still invisible under the beams of the Aquarius Sun. After Mercury emerges into visibility as an Evening Star on January 31 (as the waxing Moon in Taurus unites with Uranus), we will be able to receive wider understanding regarding the shifts taking shape in the past month, and greater clarity regarding the direction to follow into the future.

In order to face the future from a centered position, however, we necessarily will have to embrace and draw from our past, not only our inspiring moments of success but also how we have learned from our wounding experiences.  As we are collectively coming to an ending and beginning of a new era in 2020, we also need to acknowledge the complex and traumatic clashes of civilizations across time and how they are continuing to impact the discordant strife within current events. The objectifying nature of Mercury in the airy sign of Aquarius can facilitate listening to the underlying meaning within our interactions to discern where we need to focus for our own growth, and how we can be in service to others in need of support. For those who have felt weighed down during the past month, the Aquarius New Moon can ideally facilitate a healthy dose of detachment that can lead to innovative insights and a far ranging perspective that contextualizes present difficulties.

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Aquarius panel from Chartres Cathedral

The Aquarius New Moon is ruled by Saturn in Capricorn, with Saturn being only one degree separated from its conjunction with Pluto. The Saturn and Pluto conjunction is in the twelfth place relative to the Aquarius New Moon, in position to facilitate deep contemplation of circumstances that can bring to light issues and matters that have previously been kept hidden in darkness. There will be enduring consequences stemming from the Saturn and Pluto conjunction, and although its impact will remain in effect within a fifteen degree orb into 2021, its most significant period of being within three degrees of separation will last until February 17, toward the end of the lunar cycle initiated by the Aquarius New Moon. Saturn governs slow, arduous processes necessitating determination and discipline, and so we will need to stick with any trouble we have been experiencing, patiently working our way through any challenges. There will be significant developments related to the Saturn and Pluto conjunction coming in the forthcoming lunar cycle, so make the space to give associated events the time and space they need for sorting through.

Even though we are only at the beginning of 2020, many astrologers and astrology enthusiasts have been looking forward to the end of 2020 when Jupiter and Saturn will finally conjoin in Aquarius on December 21, only four degrees away from the degree of the Aquarius New Moon. While there is reason for astrological excitement due to 2020 transitioning us from a two hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs into a two hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs, we have a lot of ground to cover in 2020 between now and then. As Jupiter in Capricorn moves through its closing, balsamic phase with Saturn during the year while uniting three different times with Pluto, there will be collective eruptions that reflect old historical issues of oppression and injustice rooted in the old era we are bringing to a close. There will be a great death of old forms and structures to endure, leading to the question of how to best work with the processes of putrefaction while simultaneously receiving visions of new ideas over the distant horizon.

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Marc Chagall stained glass from St. Stephan Cathedral in Mainz, Germany

As the Aquarius Sun sets into darkness, Venus will be shinning bright as an Evening Star in her exaltation of Pisces that gives her access to the full range of her sensuality and aesthetics. Venus is a key player within the dynamics of the lunation, as she is separating from a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Capricorn and applying toward a heated square aspect with Mars in Sagittarius as well as an otherworldly conjunction with Neptune in Pisces. Venus will form her exact square with Mars on January 26 and her exact conjunction with Neptune on January 27. There is rich paradox within these aspects: on one side the unconditional, boundless love of Venus and Neptune that delights in merging, on the other side the fiery individualism and freedom seeking of Mars in harsh aspect that can create conflict and separation while maintaining independence.

Within the tension between Mars with Venus and Neptune, we need to strike a balance that draws upon their strengths and mediates their pitfalls. While we can summon the severing of Mars to shed the sort of illusions, projections, and over idealizations that Venus and Neptune can reveal together, we also need to discern when illusory projections are stoking desires for separation. Negatively, the crusading side of Mars in Sagittarius can become blinded by ideals to the extent of causing damage where destruction was unnecessary. Positively, although Venus and Neptune can become overly consumed by pleasure seeking and avoidant of mundane work, the catalyzing of Mars can light the fire of passions and inspire focused effort that utilizes the imaginative potency of Venus combined with Neptune. In the context of setting plans in motion with the beginning of a new lunar cycle, altogether it can be a powerful combination when focused on anything that enables integrating and bringing together the divergent elements of Mars, Venus, and Neptune.

Notably, Jupiter in Capricorn is ruling all three: Venus, Neptune, and Mars. While Jupiter is forming a sextile aspect with the Venus and Neptune conjunction in Pisces, it is also coming into range of a shadowy anti-scia with Mars in Sagittarius that will be potent between January 27 and 29. Jupiter is in position to help us learn from the challenging experiences of this period and buoyantly recover from setbacks, and is capable of coalescing growth or insight from any disillusionment, dissolution, or shedding taking place. With Jupiter co-present with Saturn in Capricorn, however, we need to guard against excess and instead focus on processes of creative contraction that take account of the constraints and limitations we are facing. Going to extremes or taking things too far with grandiose reactions can bring about a downfall that will force us to deal with difficult repercussions.

5 of Swords

5 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 1 Decan

The New Moon in Aquarius arises in the first face of Aquarius associated with the Five of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image of the Five of Swords we see a proud swordsman watching his conquered rivals flee, leaving him solitary in a newly cleared domain. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Mark of Exile” to the first decan of Aquarius, noting it “is a face of exclusion and intentional exile.” Coppock linked the meaning of this card to the independence, liberation, and “wider and deeper understanding of reality” to be found through breaking free from the orthodox and accepting “the mark of the heretic.” In this way, the image of the Five of Swords shows how we must sacrifice relationships when going into exile in frontiers beyond the known. Coppock stressed that the first face of Aquarius reveals that we often need to give up certain relationships as well as financial prosperity in order to gain the independence and spiritual understanding of the outsider.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs described the goddess of justice Dike as inhabiting the first face of Aquarius. Dike is the daughter of Zeus and Themis who is often seen wearing a laurel wreath and carrying a balancing scale so she may measure injustice. While her mother Themis is the goddess of divine justice, Dike rules over the moral justice of humanity. In one of her stories she lived on Earth during the Golden and Silver Ages when there was peace and prosperity. However, over time as humanity became increasingly corrupted and greedy, she became so full of contempt for humanity that she left the Earth forever to become a constellation in the sky. Fittingly, the two rulers of the first decan of Aquarius are Venus (descending order) and Saturn (triplicity order), signifying the boundaries of our relationships and the moral guidelines we use to determine who we form relationship with and who we separate ourselves from.

The rulerships of Venus and Saturn over the first face of Aquarius also makes me think of the individuation process of Carl Jung that demands descent into the frontiers of our inner psyche beyond our known boundaries of conventional psychology. Peter Kingsley in Catafalque goes to great length in describing passages dictated by Carl Jung that were omitted from publication in his memoir Memories, Dreams, and Reflections in which Jung used the central image of a knight in pursuit of the Grail to describe individuation. Kingsley noted that Jung stressed the crucial importance of the knight “adhering to the unwritten laws of chivalry” in order to gain the Grail, a moral code befitting of Venus and Saturn ruling the first face of Aquarius. Vitally, Kingsley’s summation of Jung’s words concluded that “the secret of individuation is that the one and only way to discover the Grail is by being it.”

Of course, the lore of the Grail demands asking “Whom does the Grail serve?” Similarly, the potent inner work that can be engaged with during the darkness of the Aquarius New Moon can also be most effectively utilized by asking yourself whom or what to serve with the regenerated light you discover within your inner darkness.

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

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

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Gabriel Orozco Extension as Reflection

Lunar Eclipse in Cancer

“Here is the medicine:

That though the heart is breaking, happiness can exist in a moment, also. And because the moment in which we live is all the time there really is, we can keep going . . . Perhaps our planet is for learning to appreciate the extraordinary wonder of life that surrounds even our suffering, and to say Yes, if through the thickest of tears.”

— Alice Walker, from the Foreward to Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Astrologers have been talking about 2020 for a long time. Not only because of the definitive conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius at the end of the year, but also due to the union between Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. I cannot remember the date of when I first looked at the chart for the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, only that when I did many years ago I needed to talk to about it with my astrologer friends. It wasn’t only that Saturn and Pluto were forming their conjunction at the same time they were uniting with the Sun in Capricorn, but also that Mercury as well as Ceres were in the same degrees, along with Jupiter conjoining the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn simultaneously. Then I realized this would be happening two days after a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer, a few weeks after a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn. Since conjunctions between Saturn and Pluto are known to correspond collectively with periods of extreme division, contraction, and gravity, I wondered what would be happening. We know what is happening now.

The United Kingdom recently experienced a landslide victory for Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, with plans to leave the European Union. Donald Trump is the president of the United States and ordered the killing of Iranian major general Qassem Soleimani, sparking missile strikes in retaliation and widespread fear of more militaristic violence to come. Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has annexed Kashmir, leading to increased tension in the region, while many Indian citizens have been protesting his nationalistic and anti-Muslim agenda. There have been riots in Hong Kong. Australia is on fire.

These events and others have led many people to be afraid of experiencing a tragedy as Saturn and Pluto come together, fearing the kind of catastrophic crises that have previously corresponded with Saturn and Pluto conjunctions such as the first World War. While there are many reasons to have grave concerns about the current state of the world, rather than becoming frozen in fear we need to come into relationship with our fears so that we can participate and creatively bring about a reordering from whatever has been falling apart. The tests, trials, and tempering we will need to face as a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto commences will ultimately enable us to reforge a purified presence. Yet we must first traverse the realm of shadow and dissolution brought by the Cancer Lunar Eclipse.

The Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 is not a total eclipse and will not result in the Moon turning rosy red in shadow. In fact, it is the weakest category of lunar eclipse with minimal shadowing in places of visibility such as Africa, Asia, Europe, and Australia since the Moon will be about twelve degrees past its own North Node. During the maximum eclipse, about ninety percent of the Moon’s disc will be partially shaded by the Earth with subtle effects to witnesses. However, it is nonetheless a penumbral eclipse occurring in opposition with the Saturn and Pluto conjunction and thus signifies an intensification of volatility in collective events. As the face of the Moon becomes consumed by shadow momentarily before having the discoloration peeled off to reveal its luminescent light, we are invited to descend within our inner darkness of memory, both personal and ancestral, and explore our inner multiplicity for what newfound presence wants to emerge from all of our past.

Yet this is not a normal Lunar Eclipse, for seated upon the solar chariot of Helios casting the shadow is none other than Hermes. Mercury, the star of Hermes, is experiencing its exact superior conjunction during the Lunar Eclipse, its celestial cazimi when it is moving fast on the other side of the Sun from our orbit. At the exact alignment of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will be a mere six arc-minutes past the Sun meaning it will be barely beginning to emerge from being regenerated by the creative potency of our solar light. With Mercury seated upon the throne of our solar chariot, its capacity for mediating polarities will be needed medicine. Mercury can help open awareness to a different way of perceiving current dilemmas and will be our guide in holding the tension of polarized conflicts until the necessary lesson and message emerges into our conscious perception.

After a new cycle of Mercury is seeded on January 10 with the Lunar Eclipse, Mercury will move forward on January 11 and January 12 to form a conjunction with first Ceres, then Saturn, and then Pluto just before the exact alignment of Saturn and Pluto on January 12. On mundane levels we can see how this strongly connects the role of technology and commerce into the inception of Saturn and Pluto, including the attention that Edward Snowden, who was born with Saturn conjoining Pluto, brought to the systematic tracking and storage of everything you do on the Internet by global powers that has now become perhaps the most profitable resource on the planet. Recently there have been new revelations regarding the manipulation of personal data by Cambridge Analytica and how it was used to manipulate unconscious tendencies of voters in the elections that led to both Brexit in the UK and President Trump in the USA.  Part of the importance of exploring inner darkness during these times is to cultivate the self realization necessary to avoid being manipulated by Plutonic powers, as well as separating yourself from the cultural conditioning of the past that can be released during this upcoming year of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all coming to the end and beginning of new cycles together.

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Gabriel Orozco (1999) Nina En  Homaca

Lunar eclipses call for us to fully participate with both sides of the polarity being activated by the nodal axis. Since November 2018, the transiting South Node of the Moon has been in Capricorn with the North Node of the Moon in Cancer, and so although the related themes have been playing out in our lives for awhile, they become stirred up and volatilized when eclipses set them off and introduce new events, relationships, and developments within our story. With Saturn and Pluto having been in Capricorn the entire time the nodes have been in Cancer and Capricorn, the South Node side of Capricorn has been overwhelmingly emphasized. The Cancer Lunar Eclipse triggers the North Node side, with the waxing Cancer Moon forming a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon on January 9. In contrast to the themes of harvesting, shedding, and emptying emphasized by the South Node side of Capricorn, the North Node side of Cancer emphasizes growth and discovering new choices, desires, and ambitions to pursue.

The polarity between Cancer and Capricorn centers around the antithetical meaning of the rulers of each sign, the Moon and Saturn. Since the Moon is ruling the eclipse from its home in Cancer while applying to an opposition with Saturn in its own home of Capricorn, the polarized tension between Cancer and Capricorn will be extremely exacerbated. The Moon and Saturn are total opposites within the traditional seven rulers in astrology, with Saturn being the outermost planet serving as guardian to the vast unknown realm of celestial stars, while the Moon is the innermost and fastest moving who tends to the constant flux of generation and corruption within the material, sublunar realm we inhabit. As the constantly waxing and waning Moon corresponds with our constantly changing emotions and thoughts, we can expect the Lunar Eclipse in Cancer to be especially emotional. The inner emotional processes we need to pay attention to will demand our awareness, and we will similarly be made aware of vital emotions occurring within our most important relationships we will need to listen to and nurture.

The eclipsed Cancer Moon setting off the side of its own North Node, while forming an opposition to the colossus conjunction of Saturn and Pluto, will uproot whatever complexes, conditioning, and emotional patterning have been intersecting with any tension between desires for new growth and fear over the unknown future. In order to holistically move forward, however, it will be necessary to go back within memories of past wounds, past identities and parts of ourselves we released or erased for one reason or another. We need to face not only the material reality of circumstances but also deepen our exploration of our inner expanse so that we may retrieve a more essential presence to align with the path forward, rather than making choices purely from a place of conforming to the systematic structures we need to engage for our material security. As collective structure collapse under the weight of Saturn and Pluto, we can imagine what enduring forms we would like to help create to take their place.

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Gabriel Orozco (1998) Building and Birds

The long anticipated conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12 will occur as part of a sequence of pivotal conjunctions within a few days. After the Cancer Lunar Eclipse forms an opposition with Saturn and Pluto on January 10, Mercury will complete a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto on January 12 before Saturn and Pluto come together, and then Ceres will form a conjunction with Saturn and Pluto after they unite. Then on January 13 both Saturn and Pluto will enter the heart of the Sun to be regenerated within its fiery celestial light. The presence of Ceres with Saturn and Pluto as all three experience the purging and purification of their solar union together evokes the mythology of Ceres needing to purge her grief over losing her daughter to Pluto before returning to fruitful productivity and bringing her gift of mystery initiations to humanity. The complex combination of Mercury, Ceres, Saturn, and Pluto all coming together in conjunctions with one another and the Sun within a few days brings a quality of underworld initiation into the reseeding and revisioning of this time period.

Saturn and Pluto periods can make us realize what core ideals and values are so important to us that we are willing to die for them. We may need to enact a sacred process of making a sacrifice of something so that its death can bring about the growth of an essential new form in our life. The first century CE astrologer Manilius in Astronomica described Vesta as tending the fires of Capricorn from her shrine, and similarly it may be helpful to envision the sacred guardian of your own inner fire that can reshape and reforge new callings and skills from within. Saturn has long been associated with contemplation in astrology, called “profound in imagination” by William Lily and signifying the “power of thought” according to Ibn Ezra. Allow for a period of reflective gestation with any new ideas or plans, letting them develop and fully emerge with all the time they need.

Furthermore, Jupiter in Capricorn is closely aligned with the South Node of the Moon during the Lunar Eclipse.  In combination with the inception of a new Saturn and Pluto cycle, Jupiter passing through the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn can pull us into questioning how aspects of our surrounding culture have been influencing our motivations, stripping away or shedding whatever is inauthentic. Jupiter is not so much in position to facilitate a linear version of progress or evolution, but more so a nonlinear process of spiraling into the past to rediscover vital aspects of ourselves we had previously let go of, finding nourishment in the putrefaction of the past. There may also be old dreams and desires from the past we realize we need to release to make space for the new potential that will be arising along with the collective changes happening as Saturn and Pluto begin a new cycle.

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Gabriel Orozco (2004) Untitled

Amplifying the revelatory nature of the Cancer Lunar Eclipse will be the additional factor of Uranus stationing direct on the same day at 2°38′ Taurus. Uranus has been retrograde since August 11, 2019 when it stationed retrograde at 6º36′ Taurus. The stationing of Uranus saturates the astrological atmosphere with the liberating and volatilizing impact of Uranus in Taurus, increasing the potential for dramatic new storylines and developments to materialize. Uranus in general can bring disruption but also can shatter or shake things up in a way that makes us wake up to a more authentic presence and desire to pursue goals and activities that make us feel fully alive. For those with Uranus or any other important natal placements in the first three or four degrees of the fixed signs, this stationing of Uranus will demarcate the final phase of Uranus in Taurus catalyzing major developments in the associated area of your life. Uranus will remain direct in motion until eventually stationing retrograde on August 15, 2020 at 10º41′ Taurus.

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4 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 3 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse occurs within the third decan of Cancer associated with the Four of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. Since the Moon rules the third face of Cancer, the potency of this face will be in full effect during the eclipse. In the image of the Four of Cups illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith above, we see someone sitting on the roots of a tree with three golden cups ready to be filled in the foreground, with a fourth cup being magically offered by an otherworldly hand. The recipient of this magical offering appears to be engrossed in contemplative thought, allowing inner exploration to guide subsequent choice. It’s an image that also fits well with the fact that Mercury will be exactly conjoining the Sun in opposition to the Lunar Eclipse, as the alchemic antenna of Mercury may receive an important insight or change in perception for us to consider in the weighing of options.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces gave the image of “The Overflowing Cup” to the third face of Cancer, declaring that it reveals the conflict of choosing “luxurious excess” within “a world of limited material resources” in which “the attainment of luxury for one entails deprivation for others,” leading to a “hidden violence and secret competition entailed within the quest for luxury.” Coppock noted this seems to be the perspective of the young man seated in the Four of Cups with an ascetic air of refusing to accept more than he needs, questioning the choice of the extra cup of luxury or what we should do with any material excess we accumulate. Significantly, Coppock additionally noted the spiritual dimension of luxury, the “ever-refilled” cup offered by Spirit, “the endless luxury of the limitless,” the “ever present energy of the natural world- the chi which emanates from all living things” that can be found within this face.

Another living symbol indicating the immaterial resources available in the third face of Cancer is found in the Hellenistic text 36 Airs which ascribes Hekate to the third face of Cancer. Finding ourselves at a collective crossroads, facing the darkness of the unknown, we may turn to Hekate for guidance. Hekate connects with the luminosity of the Moon, as The Chaldean Oracles called her “the font and stream of the blessed noetic” who “pours forth a whirling generation upon All.” Moreover, Hekate can also be viewed as the wise crone and dark mother who connects with the nocturnal, melancholic nature of Saturn’s home in Capricorn. Hekate rules over the phases of the Moon, all realms of the upper world and the underworld, crossroads, magical craft, midwifery, and prophetic mediation among many other significations. For ages Hekate has been available to call for regenerative power during dark nights of the soul, making her a fitting guide for this period of Saturn and Pluto beginning a new cycle. Wherever or whomever you turn for guidance, make the space to align your breath with the divine and claim the authority to speak the words and make the choices that further align with your core purpose. We are at a time of endings and beginnings, new patterns emerging from the old, a time that is well deserving of contemplation and clear intent.

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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In addition, I recently participated in an online astrology panel for Nightlight Astrology on the Saturn and Pluto conjunction along with the astrologers Samuel Reynolds, Leisa Schaim, Jason Holley, Becca Tarnas, Patrick Watson, Rebecca Gordon, and Acyuta-bava Das. Here is a link to watch it:

References

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

2020 Astrological Forecast on the Energetic Principles Podcast

I joined Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast for a thorough discussion of the astrology happening in 2020. We discuss each quarter of the year, from solstice to equinox, equinox to solstice in just under three hours. This will hopefully help you prepare for the year ahead, and can also serve as an episode to come back to later in the year to listen to again as we move through each quarter of the year. The astrology of 2020 is the most impactful we have had in over a decade, making it a dramatic initiation into a new decade.

If you enjoy Melissa’s work, check out her site where you will find a Patreon page set up to support her with a monthly subscription.

If you enjoy my work in astrology, please consider supporting me 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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Capricorn Solar Eclipse: the Holly and the Axe

Gawain_and_the_Green_Knight

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Solar Eclipse in Capricorn

Once upon a Christmas time in Camelot, the court of King Arthur was filled with feasting, fellowship, carousing, and carolling. The noble knights of the Round Table were gathered along with the most lovely of ladies, surrounded by the most lavish of Yuletide decor, with the luminous Queen Guinevere and King Arthur at the center. As the revelry settled for the first sumptuous serving of supper to be served, a massive, mighty, and mountainous man appeared in the doorway, eclipsing the merrymaking with awe and amazement in all- for this fearsome figure was “entirely emerald green” in every detail of his handsome features. All of his garments were green, with green flowing hair and a green bushy beard growing down his body- even his horse was pure green in color, with a green mane groomed with gold that had been tinseled, tied, and twisted with beads and chiming bells. “His look was lightning bright / said those who glimpsed its glow. / It seemed no man there might / survive his violent blow.”

Yet the green knight wore no helmet nor armor, held no sword nor shield, “but held in one had a sprig of holly – of all the evergreens the greenest ever – and in the other hand held the mother of all axes.” The green knight demanded audience with their sovereign, and asked King Arthur to gracefully grant his wish for a game of guts. The green knight called for one present to step forward and strike him with his axe one stroke and then be struck by him in return. After King Arthur gripped the axe while the green knight calmly awaited his attack, the King’s virtuous nephew Gawain intervened and took responsibility for the daring deed. Gawain swore an oath that after striking the green knight with a blow he would be struck in return in twelve months’ time by the green knight, and then proceeded in one clean stroke to cut off the green knight’s head. As the separated head rolled across the floor, the blood covered and headless green knight stoically snatched it off the ground as he swung himself into the saddle of his steed. He held up his severed head which opened its eyelids to stare straight at Gawain and spoke a reminder of the vow he had made to receive his blow the next New Years dawn.

The late fourteenth century chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight goes on to tell the magical tale of Sir Gawain’s journey to fulfill his oath made to the green knight, a quest that serves as a mysterious test of his mettle, faithfulness, virtue, and courage. Those in pacific, mountain, and central time zones will experience the Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on the night of Christmas, while those in other time zones will experience the blackening of Sol’s light on December 26, 2019. In any case, the Capricorn Solar Eclipse occurring four days after the Solstice is a dramatic initiation into a tumultuous year that will feature another Solar Eclipse at the Cancer Solstice and will end with the epochal conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Capricorn Solstice of 2020. The rise and fall of collective fortunes that will correspond with the extremely volatile astrology of 2020 will test the character and determination of each of us, calling forth our heroic capacities, tender compassion, and creative potency. It will be a year necessitating that we engage the world as active creative agents and receptive responders to those in need, allowing ourselves to be reshaped through participating in the changes to come.

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by William Blake

“There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.”  — Aragorn, son of Arathorn

Since ancient times across many cultures, eclipses have been portrayed as a great dragon consuming our Sun and Moon, with the North Node of the Moon symbolizing its head and the South Node its tail. Like the ouroboros imagery of a dragon devouring its own tail in alchemy which mirrors the dissolution of nature that seeds new forms, the dark void of eclipses function as a fertile matrix which can suddenly unleash shifts in storylines we had not been prepared for. Realities that had been hidden from our perception can arise forcibly into our awareness, and in the weeks surrounding eclipses there can be an intensification of forms and relationships entering and leaving our lives.

Since the Capricorn Solar Eclipse is aligned with the tail of the dragon, the headless Ketu, there will be an emphasis on the sacrifice of making the changes sacred, releasing fixations and being willing to enter the mysterious unknown. Rather than focus on expansive new growth, themes such as releasing, purifying, emptying, cleansing, resting, meditating, and letting go will be favored. As the dissolution of the eclipse loosens the binding of the innumerable strands of historical and cultural conditioning bound up within and without, we may reforge our presence and knowing when immersed in stillness, just as the Sun recently stood still at the Solstice.

The December 25/26 eclipse is the second and final solar eclipse to occur in Capricorn during the 2018 – 2020 period of the transiting lunar nodes occupying the signs of Cancer and Capricorn. The previous Solar Eclipse in Capricorn was on January 5, 2019 and there will be one more powerful solar eclipse along the Cancer-Capricorn axis six months from now on June 21, 2020. While you may be familiar and used to working with whatever themes in your life have arisen with the eclipses and nodes moving through Cancer and Capricorn in your nativity, a new chapter filled with new storylines will commence as the Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiates a lunar month in which the midpoint features a Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 followed by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12.

In part due to Capricorn being the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, it was associated in ancient text with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the immortals and ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Capricorn as the southern gate that “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Capricorn is the nocturnal home of Saturn, inwardly directed zodiacal terrain that favors creation through contraction and pulling back to make empty space for new growth to germinate and take root. As Saturn approaches its exact conjunction with Pluto in the next three weeks, even those wishing to focus on external achievement are likely to become grounded by the gravity of graveyards and confronted with personal issues and lessons that need to be accepted and addressed rather than resisted. Make whatever space is needed to contemplate the darkness within, listening for the message you need to receive rather than your preconceived notion of what you want to hear.

“Down in the underworld where western logic comes from, where the roots of earth and water and fire and sky merge into a single whole, the entire world as we think we know it with all its imaginary distinctions and divisions disappears. Everything we cling on to, everything we hold important, is gone.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

Kazuki Yasuo black sun

Kazuki Yasuo Black Sun

“All around him, for as far as he could see, lay a rough land strewn with rocks, with not a drop of water, nor a blade of grass. Colorless, with no light to speak of. No sun, no moon or stars. No sense of direction, either. At a set time, a mysterious twilight and a bottomless darkness merely exchanged places. A remote border on the edge of consciousness. At the same time, it was a place of strange abundance.”

— Haruki Murakami (born with Sun and Jupiter in Capricorn) from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Year of Pilgrimage

Jupiter in Capricorn is closely conjoining the eclipse by one degree, and so is seeding the eclipse with its growth-inducing influence and significations. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse marks the end of Jupiter’s synodic cycle, as it will enter the heart of the Sun on the following day to be regenerated with the creative potency of the Sun’s stellar light. It is therefore an old, elder Jupiter ready to fall into death and rebirth that is meeting with the Solar Eclipse, another indicator that promotes investing time in reflecting on the lessons you have learned and the beliefs you have shed in the past year. Like Pan, the wild nature deity who is part of Capricorn’s constellational mythos, Jupiter in Capricorn can function as our shepherd through the fertile darkness of the eclipse, reshaping and organizing our consciousness while attuning with the flux and reordering of Nature and the natural cycles of change coming into form around us. Inspiration may be found through engaging with the constraints of our circumstances rather than through pushing for expansion.

At the same time that the Moon is conjoining with the Sun and its own South Node in Capricorn, Jupiter is also approaching a conjunction with the South Node of Jupiter in Capricorn while Saturn and Pluto are also coming together in close proximity with the South Nodes of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. This means that the orbital arcs of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be pouring down across the ecliptic at the time of the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, saturating our collective field with the putrefaction of the entire archetypal arcs of their past cycles. Not only can we no longer escape our past history at this time, it will be also be a vital responsibility to acknowledge the multiplicity of historical streams of oppression and resiliency feeding into the rising river of collective crises flooding across global civilizations. While we will be motivated to look toward a future of new intentions as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, we also need to look backward for what can be learned from not only our own past but from the legacy of our ancestors as well.

“Our modern democratic age has manufactured a personal spirituality to meet everyone’s needs which is absolutely guaranteed to be calm, sweet, peaceful, polite, positive, comfortable, reassuring, unthreatening . . . But this happens to be almost the exact opposite of the ancient understanding – which is that spirituality and the sacred offer the profoundest challenge to our complacency, as well as presenting the most radical threat . . . truth was seen as something extremely painful, even impossible, for most people to bear.

Truth, or alêtheia, had its own mythology that confronts humans with the grim but glorious reality of what they are “from the beginning”: unimaginably glorious because of their boundless inner potential and unthinkably grim because of the overwhelming responsibilities such a forgotten potential brings.

This is why it- or she, because Truth often appears as a goddess- was always intimately involved in the superhuman effort to stop that process of forgetting. Her role, above all, was to preside over the supremely urgent task of remembering not what happened yesterday or even last month but what happened in the distant past that shaped this present moment and will also produce our future.”

— Peter Kingsley, Catafalque

kali_shiva

Kalighat painting (19th Century) of Kali dancing on the corpse of Shiva

Saturn in Capricorn rules the eclipse while applying toward a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 12, two days after the forthcoming Lunar Eclipse in Cancer. Though the close balsamic phase between Saturn and Pluto has been a pivotal influence during the past year, there will be a deeper level of impact felt as they finally complete their long anticipated union. The multivalent significations unleashed in collective events during hard alignments between Saturn and Pluto (conjunction, square, opposition) were deftly described by Richard Tarnas in his tome Cosmos and Psyche. Tarnas described periods of historical darkness and gravity requiring moral courage from individuals in the face of severe collective events full of the “morally problematic aspects of human existence” and “the end to naïveté and inflated privilege.” Tarnas also gave a compelling list of artistic masterpieces produced during Saturn Pluto alignments representative of its archetypal meaning, such as The Trial, Moby Dick, Frankenstein, 1984, The Stranger, The Scarlet Letter, Death of a Salesman, Crime and Punishment, The Waste Land, The Grapes of Wrath, The Rite of Spring, Heart of Darkness, and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. As shown in these artworks, during periods of Saturn Pluto we must encounter the dark underbelly of civilization and a reckoning with humanity’s aspirations for power.

With Ceres, Mercury, and the Sun also conjoining the coming together of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, it is clear from current events how their significations are combining with Saturn and Pluto around themes such as environmental destruction and the plundering of natural resources for human consumption, grave moralistic questions concerning the use of technology and its interface with global power structures, women’s reproductive rights, as well as coming to terms with historical oppression of women and many other identities and cultures by those representing dominant cultural identities. As the volatile force of eclipse season will be mixing with the union of Saturn and Pluto, although the collective crises we are facing feel overwhelming we also have the opportunity to take responsibility for doing our part in reshaping the world that will be taking form between now and next year when Jupiter and Saturn move through their conjunctions with Pluto to initiate their new cycle in Aquarius on December 21, 2020.

The Nobel Prize winning novelist Olga Tokarczuk, who was born with Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, recently gave a powerfully penetrating acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature that evoked the quality of time we find ourselves in:

“The climate emergency and the political crisis in which we are now trying to find our way, and which we are anxious to oppose by saving the world have not come out of nowhere. We often forget that they are not just the result of a twist of fate or destiny, but of some very specific moves and decisions―economic, social, and to do with world outlook (including religious ones). Greed, failure to respect nature, selfishness, lack of imagination, endless rivalry and lack of responsibility have reduced the world to the status of an object that can be cut into pieces, used up and destroyed.

That is why I believe I must tell stories as if the world were a living, single entity, constantly forming before our eyes, and as if we were a small and at the same time powerful part of it.”

Olga Tokarczuk’s Nobel Prize for Literature speech on 12/07/19 translated by by Jennifer Croft and Antonia Lloyd-Jones

2 of pentacles

2 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 1 Decan

The Capricorn Solar Eclipse falls in the first decan of Capricorn, associated with the Two of Pentacles tarot card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image of a  juggler dancing while holding the ouroboric motion of two pentacles, against a backdrop of a pivotal sea change, embodies the capacity of the first decan of Capricorn to penetrate into structural forms and impact matter from the underlying fabric of reality. Tarot author T. Susan Chang recently posted an insightful article on the first face of Capricorn, calling it “The Difference Engine.” Chang described one of its lessons being that since “the only constant is change” we need to find the opportunities available to make our own luck, but that simultaneously it also offers greater ease communicating with the past and with ancestors while reconciling “the turn toward light and life in the midst of the darkest hour.”

Fittingly for a South Node Solar Eclipse taking place in this face, Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Headless Body” to the first face of Capricorn. Coppock stated that the first face of Capricorn “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 ancient attribution by 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 work of art or sources of sustenance.

The “atavistic consciousness” Coppock described within the first decan of Capricorn that “descends into the natural world with ease” connects well with the ancient 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, is a compelling figure in relation to the Capricorn Solar Eclipse, for he 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 the type of disciplined spiritual practice which pleases the ruler of the eclipse, Saturn in Capricorn.

Jupiter is the ruler of the first face of Capricorn, and since Jupiter is not only transiting through the first face of Capricorn but is also closely conjoining the Solar Eclipse, the meaning of this decan will be noticeable in personal and collective events. Walking with the tender awareness of Asclepius for not only the interconnectedness of our surroundings but also the visions of new forms we can churn from subconscious depths will be a way to navigate the chaotic changes that will be rippling through our global collective. Since periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning correspond with an intensification of collective scape-goating and projecting dark, unrecognized material onto others, the capacity of Asclepius for exploring one’s shadow and accepting one’s inner multiplicity through contemplation of dream images as well as passing omens and synchronicities will be vital skills to develop.

The connection of Asclepius to the first face of Capricorn is further interesting in the context of Robert Hand’s work demonstrating that through precession of the solstices that the Capricorn Solstice point in recent years has passed through the hand of the Serpent Holder (a figure often connected with Asclepius) in the Ophiuchus constellation that is holding the Serpent. Hand has connected the meaning of this alignment in current events with ecological disasters and crises in which nature rebels against human attempts to tame or control it for power and resources. Hand has stressed this alignment indicates the critical necessity for coming to terms with climate change and human consumption of natural resources for energy.

While there are no easy answers to fix the myriad collective issues demanding attention, individually we can each take steps to nurture reservoirs of inner strength to draw upon when needed in response to difficulties or when devising creative solutions. The Capricorn Solar Eclipse initiating our entrance into the new decade of the 2020s serves as a fitting omen for the new year bringing to a close an old way of being while intimations of a reordering to help shape comes into greater awareness. As the Solar Eclipse conjoining the South Node suggests letting go of old patterns, we can shed and release any beliefs we have been holding or actions we have been taking that are not aligned with our values and do not serve the greater good.  Make the time and space to explore your inner darkness, listening for the gifts you possess to cultivate and share with the wider world. Be open to connecting with creative collaborators with whom you can combine skills and strengths while mutually supporting one another. Claim the courage to creatively actualize more of your potential in 2020 and help make the changes you wish to see happen.

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References

Armitage, Simon. (2018). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Revised edition. Faber & Faber Ltd.

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

Hand, Robert. (2014). The Precession of the Capricorn Solstice and the Importance of 2017 to Humanity. The Mountain Astrologer. October/November 2014 issue.

Kingsley, Peter. (2018). Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity. Catafalque Press.

Murakami, Haruki. (2014). Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.  Alfred A. Knopf.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs  (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

 

Full Moon in Gemini

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Sasanian silver plate (5th – 6th Century CE)

Full Moon in Gemini

“Fair Hermes, crown’d with feathers, fluttering light / I had a splendid dream of thee last night: / I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold, /  Among the Gods, upon Olympus old,  / The only sad one; for thou didst not hear / The soft lute-finger’d Muses chanting clear, / Nor even Apollo when he sang alone, / Deaf to his throbbing throat’s long, long melodious moan. / I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes, / Break amorous through the clouds, as morning breaks, / And swiftly as a bright Phoebean dart / Strike for the Cretan isle; and here thou art!”

— from Lamia by John Keats

The Full Moon in Gemini on December 11 pours down its light of silvery synthesis into places where rigidity has taken root in fearful or judgmental beliefs. The crater patterning of its reflective glow transmits the wink of sly Hermes, a reminder that we don’t know the whole story or the pattern being weaved from the warping and wefting of our thread. Multiplicities and multitudinous musings unravel in the Gemini Moon, inviting new questions, curious investigations, and willingness for a new narrative voice to shift the storyline we have been telling ourselves.

The Gemini Full Moon is ruled by swift Mercury riding a speedy Sagittarius stallion into the beams of the Sun. As the Full Moon peaks, Mercury will be making its final appearance as a Morning Star before entering its invisible phase in which it moves at its fastest speed on the other side of the Sun from us in orbit. Before disappearing from view, Mercury turns to deliver a message we need to hear, a riddle to ponder and contemplate during the darkness approaching over the horizon. There is a bigger picture we need to see and connections we need to make, with a willingness to look in places overlooked by most, to listen to voices who many do not listen to.

Although the Full Moon is separating from a square aspect with Neptune in Pisces, the enchantments and imaginal inspirations of Neptune will be washing over our sensations as the Moon waxes toward peak fullness.  For those who have been working hard with focused seriousness recently, it can be an ideal time for respite within regenerative fantasy. For those who have been neglecting duties or details, there may be a sudden awakening to what needs to change and what needs to be taken care of. For those who have been deceiving themselves, the fog of illusion may part to reveal personal truth and self realization.

With Mercury, the Sun, and Neptune all under rulership of Jupiter in Capricorn, it’s vital that Jupiter is separating from a catalyzing square with Chiron and applying toward a flowing and innovative trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus. Furthermore, it’s significant that Chiron in Aries is stationing in stillness at 1º26′ Aries, with Mercury in Sagittarius also separating from a trine with Chiron. Altogether, these aspects will be most effective when questioning any dominant paradigms and cultural influences that have made you feel disappointed in not living up to whatever you feel you “should” be achieving, or has led you away from whatever brings you real happiness. Being willing to experiment with an adventurous spirit may not manifest your idealized results right away, but the shake-up to your status quo will dislodge essential insights that will bring rewards by choosing a dynamic direction rather than sustaining whatever has become stagnant or unfulfilling.

Whether you want things to change or stay the same, deep shifts and changes are on the horizon as we come to the end of a decade with a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn as the final lunation of the year on December 25 or 26, depending on your time zone. The Gemini Full Moon demarcates the threshold of entering “eclipse season,” in which the Sun moves within range of nineteen degrees away from the transiting South Node of the Moon. This means that eclipse related events will begin occurring during the waning half of this lunar cycle, events which can sometimes have a strange and unexpected quality along with a far reaching impact. Eclipses release the unmanifest into manifestation, with new relationships and storylines entering our life at the same time that old ones pass away. Since the eclipse is aligned with the South Node of the Moon, there is a stronger focus on release, purification, and harvesting of the past more so than a surge of new growth. The impact of changes will be most apparent for those with natal chart placements close to 4°06′ Capricorn where the darkening of the Sun’s light will occur.

 

Aphrodite_Epitragia

Roman Cameo, 1st Century BC – 2nd Century

“Are then regalities all gilded masks? / No, there are throned seats unscalable / But by a patient wing, a constant spell, /  Or by ethereal things that, unconfined, / Can make a ladder of the eternal wind, / And poise about in cloudy thunder-tents / To watch the abysm-birth of elements. / Ay, ‘love the withering of old-lipp’d Fate / A thousand Powers keep religious state, / In water, fiery realm, and airy bourne; / And, silent, as a consecrated urn, / Hold sphery sessions for a season due. / Yet few of these far majesties, ah, few! / Have bared their operations to this globe — / Few, who with gorgeous pageantry enrobe / Our piece of heaven– whose benevolence / Shakes hand with our own Ceres; every sense / Filling with spiritual sweets to plenitude, / As bees gorge full their cells. And by the feud / ‘Twixt Nothing and Creation, I here swear, / Eterne Apollo! that thy Sister fair / Is of all these the gentlier-mightiest. / When thy gold breath is misting in the west, / She unobserved steals unto her throne, / And there she sits most meek and most alone; / As if she had not pomp subservient; / As if thine eye, high Poet! was not bent / Towards her with the Muses in thine heart; / as if the ministering stars kept not apart, / Waiting for silver-footed messages. / O Moon! old boughs lisp forth a holier din / The while they feel thine airy fellowship. / Thou dost bless everywhere, with silver lip / Kissing dead things to life. The sleeping kine, / Couch’d in thy brightness, dream of fields divine: / Innumerable mountains rise, and rise, / Ambitious for the hallowing of thine eyes, / And yet they benediction passeth not / One obscure hiding-place, one little spot / Where pleasure may be sent: the nested wren / Has thy fair face within its tranquil ken, / And from beneath a sheltering ivy leaf / Takes glimpses of thee; thou art a relief, / To the poor patient oyster, where it sleeps, / Within its pearly house; — The mighty deeps, / The monstrous sea is thine– the myriad sea! / O Moon! far spooning Ocean bows to thee, / And Tellus feels his forehead’s cumbrous load.”

— from Endymion, Book III by John Keats

Venus in Capricorn is in a quincunx aspect with the Full Moon, but most vittally is separating from a conjunction with Saturn and applying toward a conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn. There has been incredible intensification during the past year in whatever areas of your life are connected with Capricorn, as Saturn, Pluto, the South Node of the Moon, and eclipses have shaken and reshaped matters. Now that Venus and Jupiter have joined the Sea Goat’s procession, we can feel revivifying winds blowing through the rocky terrain of Capricorn that bring awareness of how to mend and tend to whatever has been been triggered or fractured as Saturn and Pluto have moved within close proximity during 2019. Visions of essential growth can arise through the stillness of surveying the many sides of your circumstances, sparked by the stones of Necessity. Yet dreams of new creative endeavors will require the time it takes to construct a secure and stable foundation before they can take form and successfully put down roots in your community. The astrology of upcoming months supports long-range goals that will require incubation and adjustment, but can ultimately manifest into enduring forms of shelter and support.

When Venus is uniting with Pluto during a Full Moon, there is a greater intensity of depth within relationships, with volcanic and volatilizing feelings breaking through awareness. The potency of Pluto’s influence on Venus penetrates under the surface of relational dynamics, bringing the potential for honest communication and the cultivation of greater intimacy or mutual empowerment if both sides are able to listen and share. However, Venus is coming to Pluto soon after meeting with Saturn, and so the manner in which we addressed whatever issues arose as Venus united with Saturn in the week before the Full Moon is pivotal. If the austereness of Saturn’s influence on Venus led to strained conversations, harsh criticism, or feelings of not being heard, it will be especially important to resolve any lingering issues before they fester and foment a larger implosion. Since Pluto dramatically amplifies compulsive and obsessive feelings, it will help to sift through the feelings being stirred up to contemplate what truly needs to be communicated versus what does not.

Venus weaving in between Saturn and Pluto during the Full Moon is perfect for attuning to the larger changes taking shape in correspondence with the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto that will happen on January 12, 2020. Richard Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche used extensive research to show that periods of Saturn and Pluto aligning involve uncompromising, polarized conflicts that lead to fears of being overwhelmed by disruptive forces out of our control. This leads some to feel a need to restrain instinctive desires that feel threatening to established orders, others to project their own shadowy material onto others who serve as scapegoats. The reflective light of the Gemini Full Moon can illuminate inner depths and the complex, contradictory multiplicities we all have within us.

With Mars in Scorpio applying toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces, allow yourself to face the lessons you’ve learned from failure, acknowledge the unsavory aspects of yourself you prefer to keep hidden from others, while resurrecting a more essential image of your creative potential to strive toward in the year ahead. It’s often the case that our frustrations with current relationships and scenarios mirror issues within our inner darkness, but during the time period ahead dominated by Saturn and Pluto it will be especially important to take responsibility for one’s own issues and to relate with the actual presence of others instead of the unconscious material we are projecting onto them. By descending within our own darkness we can not only connect with desires that will truly activate our creativity and presence, we can also take advantage of the transit of Mars in Scorpio harmoniously interacting with Saturn and Neptune to generate new forms and growth from imaginal sources.

swords09

9 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 2 Decan

The Full Moon peaks at 19º51′ Gemini, the very end of the second decan of the Twins. Associated with the Nine of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith, the image of nightmarish worry and anguish under a cover of astrological symbols 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 9 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, and numerous ancient texts have ascribed 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.

There has been a palpable sense of fear in many who follow astrology concerning the transits of 2020 such as the alignment of Saturn and Pluto that begins the year. While it is true that the astrology transits of 2020 portend a period of major endings and beginnings, remember that within the same fear over what could happen you will discover the vivifying excitement of creative potential you want to make happen.  In The Myth of Analysis, James Hillman 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 . . .” As we draw to the end of the year, the end of the decade, and the liminal time of two-faced Janus, allow any fear concerning the unknown future to help clarify what you want to devote yourself toward bringing into being.

 References

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

Hillman, James. The Myth of Analysis.

 

Jupiter in Capricorn

Jupiter Capricorn Pan no text

Cropped image of Pan from Spring Evening by Arnold Bocklin; Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Jupiter in Capricorn

Jupiter descends from its elevated, fiery home of Sagittarius on December 2, 2019 to enter its fall in Capricorn, where it will remain until December 19, 2020. As Jupiter dismounts from its swift steed of Sagittarius and takes off its saffron robe encircled in patterns of star-fire, Jupiter wanders into the rocky and treacherous terrain of Capricorn where Pan-like it will mix with the spirits of land and nature. Like a goat-horned and hoofed deity who dances with nymphs and lives in complete accordance with nature’s cycles, Jupiter in Capricorn brings the force of Eros underneath the surface of matter to catalyze growth and expansion from subterranean sources underlying the roots of appearances.

During 2019, the transit of Jupiter in Sagittarius was the most positive and beneficial astrological force during a year in which we collectively had to come to terms with the intensifying alignment of Saturn and Pluto ending a cycle together in Capricorn while also conjoining the South Node of the Moon and eclipses. The astrologer André Barbault called the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto “a double star that evokes the death wish of Thanatos,” and as the major alignments of its cycle have corresponded with shattering collective events such as the outbreaks of the first and second World Wars as well as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, there has been a lot of fear for what destructive events could erupt during 2020 as they begin a new cycle on January 12. It’s significant that Jupiter will be ending and beginning cycles with both Saturn and Pluto during 2020, while occupying Saturn’s nocturnal home of Capricorn. In the wild, dark forests of Capricorn, Jupiter in Capricorn will have to confront the living ghosts of the past and all of the complex, interweaving strands of historical conflicts found in the shadows of present collective crises.

While Jupiter will bring its strength for reconciling meaning into the widespread decay, breakdown, and power conflicts incited by Saturn and Pluto conjoining in Capricorn, it will no longer be able to purely express itself directly as it could while in Sagittarius. Being under rulership of Saturn, Jupiter in Capricorn will necessitate finding growth opportunities and cohering meaning within the constraints of circumstances and available time and space. Jupiter will need to create from contraction and consolidation, determinedly building what Saturn deems worthy of our investment, stripping away the inessential in the process. As Jupiter comes to the end of its cycle with Saturn, we will need to temper our imaginative visions of expansion with methodical reordering which addresses not only our realizations ripening for harvesting, but also the death of old forms, past issues surfacing for resolution, and the collective changes out of our control we will have to respond to.

zeus amalthea

Giulio Bonasone( 1531-76), Jupiter suckled by the goat Amalthea

Indeed, the year 2020 is not only significant due to initiating a new decade within the Gregorian calendar, it also happens to align with an epochal shift within broader astrological cycles. The last time Saturn and Pluto united was in 1982/83, while the last time Saturn and Jupiter united was in 2000; however, the Saturn and Jupiter conjunction in 2020 also brings to an end a larger two-hundred year cycle of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in earth signs, while firmly establishing a new two-hundred year era of Jupiter and Saturn uniting in air signs. Since the year begins with a conjunction between Saturn and Pluto on January 12, ends with a conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, and features Jupiter uniting with Pluto three times in between, the transit of Jupiter in Capricorn is a key transit due to cohering the meaning of numerous planetary cycles together in 2020.

Historically, there has often been a triggering of increased volatility and amplified change and revolution in collective events when Jupiter has moved in between alignments with outer planets like Saturn and Pluto to connect them across broad stretches of time, similar to the “translation of light” caused by the Moon moving in between aspects within planets on a daily basis. Here are some dates for Jupiter forming major aspects with Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto during the next year:

  • Jupiter in Capricorn will form a flowing and innovative trine aspect with Uranus in Taurus on December 15, 2019. This is the only exact aspect between Jupiter and Uranus, but although a passing transit it will correspond with important insights and manifestations of visions we have been experimenting with. In particular, we may experience vital development on ideas we have been developing since the opposition between Jupiter and Uranus that occurred in 2017.
  • Jupiter in Capricorn will form three harmonizing sextile aspects with Neptune in Pisces in 2020 on February 20 (18º), July 27 (21º), and on October 11 (19º). The supportive, waning sextile aspect between Jupiter and Neptune can help ground and structure whatever imaginal visions were developed during the last quarter square formed between Jupiter and Neptune in 2019. It can also help us stabilize any major changes in life direction made in recent years while remaining open to new potential.
  • Jupiter will form three conjunctions with Pluto in Capricorn during 2020. The first with both direct on April 4 (25º), the second with both retrograde on June 30 (24º), and the third with both direct on November 12 (23º).
  • Jupiter will finally form a conjunction with Saturn at the first degree of Aquarius on December 21, 2020. Jupiter and Saturn will be co-present in Capricorn for most of 2020 except between March 21 and July 1 when Saturn will be in Aquarius. Saturn returns to Aquarius for good on December 17, 2020.
Fall of Thema Mundi with Moon

Planets in Fall arranged with the Thema Mundi

Fall of Jupiter

One of the first principles in contemplating Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn in the year ahead is understanding the meaning of Jupiter being in its fall. The graphic above is arranged with the planets in their fall placed into the houses of the Thema Mundi, the mythic horoscope for the birth of the universe.  The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn all have their fall in the sign opposite their exaltation. The origin of the terminology for “fall” comes from the Greek term “tapeinoma,” which means a depression in the ground or a low-lying place. As Demetra George wrote in her tome Ancient Astrology,  the terminology of fall “carries both the meaning of lower status- humbled, base, low-born- and the corresponding state of melancholy; downcast spirits.” Melancholia and pessimistic beliefs that can come from skepticism are indeed some of the potential downfalls when Jupiter inhabits the cold, dry, and densely earthen home of Saturn.

The schema of exaltation and fall is related to the relation of astrology with the intersection between the eternal realm of Spirit (generally associated with the Sun) with our material realm of Fortune and constant generation, corruption, death, and birth (generally associated with the Moon). Planets in exaltation occupy an idealized, peak expression of the planet capable of receiving fame and acclaim within society. Yet according to William Lilly, exalted planets when unimpeded can describe someone “of haughty condition, arrogant, assuming more to him than his due.” In contrast, planets in fall can be viewed as falling out of the mainstream and the exalted power structure of social hierarchy. Planets in fall may signify matters undervalued by  the dominant culture or falling outside what consensus society esteems as elite or idealized. Planets in fall may also become drawn toward working on behalf of those marginalized by societal structures. While exalted planets can tumble from lofty heights, planets in fall can rise up.

I like to frame planets in fall in accordance with the thema mundi since the Sun in Libra is found in the subterranean angle of the fourth house within the mythic horoscope. The Sun being in the place of the underworld evokes the dangerous and death-defying  journey that Ra, the Egyptian Sun god, has to undergo each night through facing the serpent Apophis. An embodiment of chaos, Apophis comes perilously close to devouring the Sun in the depth of night and in this way reveals the symbolism of planets in fall needing to undergo an underworld initiation. Though planets in fall can bring us down into dark nights of soul, through difficult initiatory experiences we can ultimately receive deeper understanding into being an eternal soul who has fallen into incarnation in a world of constant flux.

Jupiter has its fall in Capricorn, a place where Mars is exalted; conversely, Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, a place where Mars has its fall. Rhetorius, an astrologer from the 6th or 7th Century CE, wrote that since “Jupiter is the ruler of life and abundance, but Mars of death,” it means that since “the breath of life increase” in Cancer that “the quality of death” has its fall there. Furthermore, Rhetorius wrote that since death increases in Capricorn, “there is life in its fall.”  Jupiter in Capricorn is in a sign that favors the combative strength and courage of Mars that deals with survival and death more so than the nurturing strength of Jupiter which focuses on generation and abundance.

There are also ancient associations of Cancer, the sign of the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, being associated with life and the descent of souls into incarnation, whereas Capricorn, the sign of the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, was associated with the ascent of souls following death to the realm of the ancestors. Porphyry in On the Caves of the Nymphs described Cancer as the northern gate “adapted to souls descending into generation,” and Capricorn as the southern gate that is “adapted to ascent” and which “dissolves life” and “sends it upward to the heat of a divine nature.” Thus Jupiter in Capricorn finds itself within ancestral land set apart from farming and fertilizing, where the putrefaction and deep contemplation of Saturn finds its home.

While Capricorn’s association with death and ascent to the realm of immortals could be interpreted as revealing the priestly nature of Jupiter in Capricorn being particularly attuned to communing with ancestors, it also shows the difficulty that the generous and optimistic nature of Jupiter encounters in Capricorn. Faced with fear of survival or scarcity of resources in the rocky expanse of Capricorn, Jupiter’s impetus for growth and expansion can become overly materialistic with ambitious desire to attain status and control outcomes. Jupiter in Capricorn potentially can conform to a crystallized, Saturnian concept of cultural expectations for success rather than an authentic path that necessitates straying from mainstream beliefs and values. In order for Jupiter in Capricorn to access its higher gifts, it needs to follow the higher path of Saturn which involves setting oneself apart from the consensus to discern inner truth.

There is also a unique creative expression that can be accessed through each planet in fall, in accordance with the nature of its ruler. In Capricorn, Jupiter has the resources of Saturn at its disposal that can enable the manifestation of imaginal vision into enduring forms and structures through the hard work and disciplined determination which pleases Saturn. There is a long list of Jupiter in Capricorn natives who achieved immortality through their creativity such as John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Charlie Chaplin, Isadora Duncan, Louis Armstrong, Oscar Wilde, Stéphane Mallarmé, Jean Cocteau, and Beethoven, as well as modern visionary groundbreakers such as RuPaul and Mark Zuckerberg (Zuckerberg also being an example of Jupiter’s excessive potential ambition in Capricorn). There is a steadiness found with Jupiter in Capricorn that can be utilized to strategize ways of persisting through obstacles and setbacks in order to achieve longterm goals.

In keeping with the philosophical nature of Jupiter being placed in the home of contemplative Saturn, there are also numerous notable intellectuals and philosophers such as William James, Karl Marx, Albert Camus, and Martin Heidegger born with Jupiter in Capricorn. Heidegger is particularly interesting in connection with Capricorn as a place of death, as his philosophy involved making an authentic change through facing death and taking the responsibility to resist conforming to dominant social norms and conventions. Jupiter in Capricorn is also found in the horoscope of metaphysical visionaries Emmanuel Swedenborg and Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, both of whom worked within the sympathy found between the celestial realm above with the earth below. During the challenging times portended by the coming transits of 2020, we will need to rely upon Jupiter in Capricorn’s capacity for bringing imaginal vision into the stark reality of circumstances with a focus on making pragmatic results that address the collective breakdown and disintegration occurring.

Pagan Otherworld Devil Arcanum

Devil Arcanum from Pagan Otherworlds tarot deck

Jupiter & Pluto in Capricorn

Perhaps the most massive influence upon Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn will be the three conjunctions it will form with Pluto. The most recent unions between Jupiter and Pluto took place in 2007 in Sagittarius, in 1994 in Scorpio, in 1981 in Libra, in 1968 in Virgo, in 1956 in Leo, in 1943 in Leo, in 1931 in Cancer, and in 1918 in Cancer. When Jupiter combines with Pluto, new knowledge and growth opportunities come from eruptions and catharsis that expand vision beyond previous restrictions. Jupiter can help cohere whatever has fallen apart during the alignment of Saturn and Pluto in the past year, regenerating visions of possibility from the breakdown and decay while asking difficult questions and exploring the taboo. While it’s common for people to resist the deep shifts stirred up by Pluto, the potential explosiveness of its melding with Jupiter will make it important to follow inner promptings for change so that repression does not ultimately lead to implosion.

Pluto conjoining Jupiter will bring expansion through deep penetration into the roots of material circumstances, retrieving lessons, wisdom, and treasure from the inner depths of our unconscious. We will work best with Jupiter and Pluto when finding joy in creation and devoting ourselves to work that intensifies our fulfillment in being alive. Yet we need to be mindful of how Pluto can amplify the inflated ambition of Jupiter to an obsessive degree that can subdue our sense of spirit, generosity and compassion. Indeed, there will likely be numerous power grabs and conflicts erupting amongst the plutocracy as those in power attempt to further secure their grip on resources.  However, since the 2020 conjunctions between Jupiter and Pluto will occur in the same year as a new cycle begins between Saturn and Pluto, the potency of change incited by these new cycles will be so intense that many in power will not be able to hold on to their control.

The limitations of time and space brought by the influence of Saturn upon Jupiter and Pluto will hone our core purpose and temper excessive aspirations. As Jupiter moves through its three conjunctions with Pluto on its way toward uniting with Saturn at the end of 2020, we will be most effective when working with natural cycles and aligning with the seasonal changes of nature, allowing intentions for growth to be determined by the necessity of adapting to the environment and contending with constraints. It will be important to discern when it will be best to rest and recover from collective storms in the caves of Capricorn, and when it will be necessary to climb across boundaries, take action, and participate in creating the change we wish to see happen.

Planetary Nodes of Jupiter.jpg

South Node of Jupiter

Another fascinating aspect of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all beginning new cycles together in 2020 is that all three will be conjoining their own south nodes as we cross the threshold from 2019 into 2020 [note: if you would like to read a more extensive article I wrote about the planetary nodes through focusing on the nodes of Neptune click here]. Just like the lunar nodes demarcate the intersection of the ecliptic (the apparent path of our Sun that forms the zodiac) with the arc of the Moon’s orbit, so do the planetary nodes of Jupiter mark the intersection of its orbit around the Sun with our orbit on Earth around the Sun. Currently, the heliocentric South Node of Jupiter is between 10-11º Capricorn, while the heliocentric South Node of Saturn is about 23º Capricorn and the heliocentric South Node of Pluto is about 19º Capricorn.

The graphic above containing the planetary nodes of Jupiter shows the four points of dynamic change within its relationship with its own nodes. When Jupiter moved through a conjunction with the North Node of Jupiter in Cancer in 2014, it moved from being in southern latitude into being on the ecliptic when uniting with its North Node. It then moved into northern latitude until reaching its peak elevation in northern latitude when forming a square with its nodes in Libra, another dynamic point of change called the northern bending. Jupiter then descended from northern latitude to where it finds itself now, conjoining its own South Node on the ecliptic. In the years ahead, Jupiter will continue to further descend into southern latitude until reaching its southern bending in Aries and then beginning to head back toward the ecliptic and the North Node of Jupiter in Cancer.

Since Jupiter will be conjoining the South Node of Jupiter, it means by latitude it will be moving south across the ecliptic, inhabiting the point at which our orbit on Earth intersects with the orbit of Jupiter around the Sun. Dane Rudhyar in The Planetary and Lunar Nodes interpreted the alignment of a planet with its South or North Node as more readily saturating and flooding our earth-based consciousness with its influence since it is connecting with the orbital plane of our planet Earth. Rudhyar associated the North Node of planets with absorption of new material and stressed the importance of properly digesting and integrating the new material so it will not lead to negative issues when the planet reaches its South Node. The South Node to Rudhyar involves both a seed-like re-channeling into mental, creative, and spiritual development as well as the disintegration and putrefaction of poisonous, toxic material. What Jupiter related themes are you now facing that have their source in 2013 through 2014 when Jupiter conjoined its North Node in Cancer?

Rudhyar further distinguished between the impact of a planet crossing its north node, which he saw as involving a greater degree of cooperation between the archetypal force of the planet and the Earth, with the impact of a planet crossing its own south node, which he saw as being challenging in terms of an outpouring of the archetypal force descending across the ecliptic. Rudhyar wrote, “At its south node the characteristic quality of a planet is almost forcibly thrown upon the Earth.” Because Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto will all be conjoining their South Nodes as we enter 2020, it is as if the entire orbital arcs of all three planetary archetypes are demanding assimilation, processing, and release. We can feel their impact acutely in the innumerable crises of civilization erupting across our planet that involve complex knots of intersecting karmic strands reaching far back into the history of civilization.

While Jupiter will not be exactly crossing the ecliptic at zero degrees of latitude until February 2020, it will be close to its own South Node when Jupiter forms a conjunction with the Capricorn Solar Eclipse on December 25 or 26 that is also conjoining the South Node of the Moon. A couple weeks later Jupiter will form an exact conjunction with the true node calculation of the transiting South Node of the Moon in Capricorn on January 8, 2020. Although there is an unexpected quality to the impact of eclipses that makes predicting specific events difficult, the proximity of Jupiter with the eclipse, its own South Node and the South Node of the Moon suggests our experiences will call us to question our beliefs and obligations, shedding what we no longer resonate with and deepening our faith and devotion with whatever feels authentic.

Within the dark forests, barren fields, thorny wilderness, and mountainous landscapes of Capricorn, Jupiter in Capricorn will embark upon an epic journey holding the key for both the downfall of global powers as well as how to mediate division and bring about regenerative recovery. Stripped down from all of its inspirational resources in Sagittarius, Jupiter only has room to focus on the essentials within the Capricorn terrain ruled by Saturn. What old dreams, desires, drama, and other personal issues from the past need to be released from your attachment in order to lighten the load and make space for the new potential that will be arising with the collective changes coming in 2020? Jupiter in Capricorn awaits your engagement and full participation in building and crafting the structural supports needed to not only survive and thrive within the coming changes, but also to uplift and inspire others to do the same.

If you would like to explore the meaning of Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn in greater depth, I will be conducting a webinar on Sunday, December 8 entitled “Pan’s Return: Jupiter in Capricorn” that you can sign up for by clicking here.

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.

References

Barbault, André. (2014). Planetary Cycles Mundane Astrology. The Astrological Association.

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

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs (1917) English translation by Thomas Taylor.

Rhetorius the Egyptian. (2009). Astrological Compendium Containing His Explanation and Narration of the Whole Art of Astrology. Translated from the Greek by James Holden.

Rudhyar, Dane. (1971). The Planetary and Lunar Nodes. CSA Press.

New Moon in Sagittarius

Ultimum+Conjunction Marlene Seven Bremner

Ultimum Conjunction: Jupiter and the Royal Eagles of Projection (2019) by Marlene Seven Bremner

Sagittarius New Moon

The cosmos works / by harmony of tensions, / like the lyre and bow.

— Heraclitus, fragment 56, translated by Brooks Haxton

The New Moon in Sagittarius on November 26 brings us to the final days of Jupiter’s time in its fiery home of Sagittarius where it expresses its full essential nature. As the tension of the Centaur’s bowstring readies to launch inspired arrows of targeted will, a bonfire warms the cold, encroaching darkness where a bard sings songs celebrating heroic deeds and gathered wisdom. While there are unknown perils and conflicts waiting to be enacted beyond the horizon, as the Moon darkens there is star fire to kindle within and carry forward on the journey ahead. Use the New Moon to consider your core purpose and the top priorities you need to focus on to create the vision of life you wish to live in the year ahead.

The Sagittarius New Moon initiates us into the lunar cycle that leads toward the eclipse season demarcating the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. The next New Moon will be an Annular Solar Eclipse in Capricorn on December 25/26 conjoining Jupiter in Capricorn, followed by a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse in Cancer on January 10 which will occur two days before Saturn and Pluto unite on January 12. The tightening conjunction between Saturn and Pluto will bring increased tension and pressure in the next couple of months, but within the fracturing and disintegration we can already witness occurring in collective events we can begin to sense how we will need to be revisioning plans in response. The intentions lit today with Sagittarius fire will be honed into sharper focus in December and January, separating essential goals and desires from the inessential.

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the New Moon while occupying 28º38′ of the Centaur’s zodiacal terrain, giving the star of Zeus less than two degrees to cross before entering its fall in Capricorn on December 2. Jupiter at this point is seasoned in the symbolism of Sagittarius and ready for a change in fortune. It will be worthwhile to reflect upon your experience of Jupiter in Sagittarius during the past year for lessons you can apply toward Jupiter’s approaching journey through the wild woods and mountainous landscapes of Capricorn. What aspects of your beliefs have you needed to shed in order to align with a more authentic truth, and where has your faith deepened? Where did inflated hopes lead you astray, and what risks did you take that led to increased creativity, abundance, gratitude, or fellowship? While 2020 contains challenging and difficult astrological transits, it also will bring opportunities for dramatically increasing strength and skill through pursuing the vision you have cultivated during the past year of Jupiter in Sagittarius.

[Note: if you are interested in learning more about Jupiter’s transit through Capricorn, I am conducting a webinar on December 8 exploring the meaning of Jupiter in Capricorn you can sign up for here.]

Pan, cornucopia, cupid, herm

Giulio Bonasone (1550-60) Etching of Pan, Nymph, & Cupid in front of a Herm

As the curtain opens on the change in scenery brought by the Sagittarius New Moon, Venus shining bright as an Evening Star is playing a pivotal role. Within the darkness of the lunation, Venus has made a dramatic costume change into the carefully arranged aesthetics of Capricorn while applying to a conjunction with productive Ceres. Since Venus is receiving Uranus in Taurus through a flowing trine which will complete on November 28, she is bringing the inspired revelations gathered from her recent union with Jupiter into contact with the electrifying and experimental influence of Uranus. As Venus is also forming a receptive sextile with Mars in Scorpio, there is a vivifying potency for Venus to direct toward innovative solutions that possess a grounded and realistic creativity.

The entrance of Venus into Capricorn initiates us into a time period of intensified Capricorn influence, as Jupiter will follow the path of Venus through Capricorn in the weeks ahead. Jupiter will enter Capricorn on December 2 as Venus applies to a conjunction with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn and a harmonizing sextile with Mars. The combined influence of the South Node of the Moon, Mars, and Uranus on Venus favors a frugal and efficient use of assets, finding inventive ways to artfully harvest value from available resources. As Jupiter will be simultaneously descending into the material concerns of Capricorn, growth will be found through tending to the roots of matters and wisely working within the constraints of time and space.

Venus will be getting closer to conjoining Saturn each day of the forthcoming lunar cycle, forming an exact conjunction with Saturn on December 11 as the Full Moon in Gemini reaches peak light. Although the passage of Venus through Capricorn will not be pleasantly easy, Venus can help us bring enlivening Eros into circumstances of Necessity through a measured approach that steadily builds step by step. The challenging sequence of conjunctions Venus will form with the South Node of the Moon (December 3), Saturn (December 11), and Pluto (December 13) will coalesce a deeply felt sense of what needs our attention, care, and nurturance as we approach the monumental shifts that will come with the new cycle of Saturn and Pluto forming in January 2020.

Remedios Varo Los-Reinos-Combatientes-1961

Remedios Varo (1961) Los Reinos Combatientes

Providing an underlying jolt to the lunation is the lingering effect of Mars in Scorpio  separating from an opposition with Uranus in Taurus that occurred on November 24. While the opposition between Mars and Uranus corresponded with amplified conflicts and mass protests in world events, on personal levels there likely was an unexpected change or rapid acceleration in events that forced buried issues to the surface. Since Venus is applying toward a receptive sextile with Mars during the Sagittarius New Moon, there will be opportunities to mend any difficult material that was stirred up by the opposition between Mars and Uranus. There is also enormous creative potency within the aspects between Mars, Uranus, and Venus that begs for taking creative risks within design and implementation of any projects being worked on.

After Jupiter exits from Sagittarius on December 2, the two strongest transiting planets in terms of essential dignity will be Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Capricorn until Mars enters Sagittarius on January 3. Moreover, Mars will be applying toward a receptive sextile with Saturn that will eventually complete on December 19. The strengthened positions of Mars and Saturn during the forthcoming lunar cycle emphasize the need for hard work and courageously persisting with resiliency through whatever obstacles, opposition, and setbacks we must endure. It will be necessary to take action and mix it up with others in order to access the potential available, but it will also be important to make sure we are investing energy into worthwhile enterprises that are aligned with our core purpose. As long as we are following our authentic path, any strife we experience will ultimately make us stronger.

Remedio Varo-Personaje-1960.jpg

Remedios Varo (1960) Personaje

The other major aspect of the Sagittarius New Moon involves Mercury strongly applying to a flowing trine aspect with Neptune stationing direct in Pisces. When Neptune stations it saturates the astrological atmosphere with insight that can be found in the imaginal realm or when entering liminal spaces of a spiritual practice or artistic process. Meanwhile, Mercury is not only direct and visible again as a Morning Star, it is also picking up speed as it reaches its maximum elongation on November 28. During this phase of Mercury’s cycle it’s important to implement and take action on whatever new ideas were cultivated during the past month of Mercury retrograde, as well as embracing the new presence that Mercury retrograde guided us to embody. With Mercury in Scorpio, we can cut through the superficial to penetrate into the core meaning we need to receive or communicate.

After Mercury completes its trine with Neptune it will next form a harmonizing sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29 followed by another sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2. Thus, Mercury is in prime position to transmit the otherworldly emanations of Neptune into tangible, creative vision we can manifest with disciplined determination. With Mars co-present in Scorpio and joining Mercury as a Morning Star heralding the rise of the Sun each morning, there will be amplified potential to exert focused effort and make significant progress on goals.

wands08

8 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Sagittarius 1 Decan

The Sagittarius New Moon is in the first face of Sagittarius associated with the Eight of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The Eight of Wands signifies a multiplicity of developments as well as the speed of thought and imagination applied to a passionate goal, which fits well with Mercury being the ruler of the first face of Sagittarius. Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Poisoned Arrow” to the first decan 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.” Coppock also remarked on the attribution of daimons of plague by the Hellenistic text 36 Airs to this face, noting this decan also involves “the secrets of propaganda” and other viruses that can “infect the psyche” and hijack our bodies, emotions, and minds.

Indeed, traditional texts on the first decan of Sagittarius are filled with images of armed figures capable of striking and overcoming their target with speed. While Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy described an armored man holding a sword, Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom contained a shouting centaur holding a bow and arrows. Similarly, the Yavanajataka described a golden man with drawn bow and “instruments for the sacrifice” who knows about chariots and weapons and possesses “speed as violent as a horse’s.” And in Liber Hermetis we find the image of “a man having the head of a dog” who is holding a small, sharpened weapon in his left hand. Though capable of causing havoc and destruction, the forces within this decan can also be powerful allies when aligned with our true path.

Thus, while the Sagittarius New Moon can facilitate swift application of targeted effort and will toward envisioned goals, we need to be mindful about the sources behind our  inspired dreams.  Are we clear that the desires we are pursuing come from our authentic self, or are they instead being shaped by the thoughts and values we have been encountering in the media, in movies, on social media, or within the social networks we interact with? Have we also taken the time to consider the full implications of what we wish to set in motion and how it can impact us and others far into the future? It will be worth taking the time needed to gain clarity, so that our imagination and effort will be focused on building the foundation of where we truly wish to call home.

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

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

 

Full Moon in Taurus

Watercolour showing a surrealist moonlit landscape [c.1927-30] by Ithell Colquhoun 1906-1988

Ithell Colquhoun (1927-30)

Full Moon in Taurus

The Taurus Full Moon brings illumination into the underlying pathways between our inner sense of purpose and our external work and presence in the world. Although the Full Moon is exalted in Taurus, there is volatility fermenting underneath its light since it is separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde while applying to a flowing trine with Pluto in Capricorn. As a result, it will be important to monitor any deep seated shifts we notice are altering our internal landscape, so that we can begin reordering and rearranging our outer expression in accordance.  The Taurus Full Moon can be utilized for taking a break from recent conflict in order to gather one’s resources and discern the way forward based upon whatever inner changes in values have been taking shape.

The Taurus Full Moon is not only separating from an opposition with Mercury retrograde, but also from a harmonizing sextile with Neptune in Pisces and a stabilizing trine aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. As the Taurus Full Moon is further applying to a trine with Pluto, it is in an ideal position for bridging our vision of what we desire to manifest with the hard reality of our circumstances and the necessity of needing to address certain issues. The influence of Mercury retrograde upon the lunation demands turning toward tension and utilizing the friction of resistance to deepen in your resolve for taking the responsibility to complete whatever you have already set in motion.

Playing the role of an angelic kindler of inner light is the asteroid Vesta, as it is forming a conjunction with the Full Moon in Taurus. The influence of Vesta in Taurus on the lunation sharpens focus for whatever current resources and issues are truly valuable and necessary for us to engage with, versus which ones are distracting us from our greater purpose. Vesta in Taurus brings clarity of consciousness and transfigures tension into creative expression when we are fully embodied with our higher purpose and centered in devotion to our essential values and authentic presence. Pay attention to any areas of life in which you feel out of alignment, for the Taurus Full Moon and Vesta can facilitate any retuning and rebalancing that is needed.

marlene-seven-roasting-cinnabar

Roasting Cinnabar (Dragon’s Blood) by Marlene Seven Bremner (2017)

The Taurus Full Moon arises at the midpoint of Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, just a day after Mercury experiences a rebirth in the heart of the Scorpio Sun on November 11. As a result, the Moon’s full light will shine down upon whatever new thoughts, ideas, plans, and intentions have been seeded by the union of Sun and Mercury. Moreover, the Full Moon will also illuminate previously concealed aspects of self and circumstance that we can begin to address and integrate as Mercury retrograde continues its process of dissolution. Now that the most intense period of decay and decomposition with Mercury retrograde is over, we can gain clarifying insight into the matters that have come up for review and resolution since Mercury stationed retrograde at the end of October.

As the Moon wanes in light during the week following the Taurus Full Moon, Mercury will remain within its chthonic invisible phase as it begins to tunnel up from its underworld passage. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio will form a collaborative sextile aspect with Saturn in Capricorn as well as a flowing trine aspect with Neptune in Pisces on November 13, creating a potent period in the days following the Full Moon to intuit how to reorder plans and structures in our life to come into greater alignment with whatever core changes have been emerging into awareness. Up until Mercury re-emerges into visibility again on November 19, it will be more important to imaginatively explore new insights and ideas to the fullest extent possible than to try to rush into making them fully manifest

Mercury will finally return to visible light again as a Morning Star on November 19 while beginning to station direct, a week before the New Moon in Sagittarius on November 26. As Mercury undergoes a process of recovery from its retrograde motion after stationing direct on November 20, it will gain an added dose of vitality from the entrance of Mars into its watery home of Scorpio. The co-presence of Mars in Scorpio with Mercury stationing direct will catalyze forward momentum in implementing the revelatory insights received in the light of the Taurus Full Moon.

ithell-colquhoun-gorgon-1946

Ithell Colquhoun (1946) Gorgon

The Full Moon in Taurus is ruled by Venus in Sagittarius. In contrast to Mercury,  Venus is shining bright in twilight as an Evening Star while heralding the rise of the Moon in Taurus. Although Venus has little essential dignity in the fiery home of Jupiter, she is within her Egyptian bounds at the time of the Full Moon giving Venus greater capacity to direct her interests in pleasure and harmonious aesthetics than normal in Sagittarius. Venus is not forming a major aspect with the Full Moon, but is applying to a catalytic square aspect with Neptune in Pisces that will complete on November 14. The tension between Venus and Neptune may be felt in the disconnect between the reality of present circumstances and idealized visions of what we desire to manifest. If the Full Moon’s light unveils disillusionment regarding certain hopes or dreams, Venus will be in position to facilitate a reorientation with realistic visions of growth and a shedding of unrealistic expectations during the waning half of the lunar cycle.

After Venus completes her square with Neptune she will begin applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius that will complete on November 24. As a result, during the waning half of the lunar cycle Venus will trigger the last quarter square phase between Jupiter and Neptune that has been one of the dominant astrological themes of 2019.  While the last quarter square phase between Neptune and Jupiter may have led you to release old illusions during the past year, it also has brought invitations to embrace a more expansive vision of the creative gifts you have to share with others. Venus can therefore bring encouragement in taking the risk to embody more of your potential, as in Sagittarius she enjoys the thrill of adventure when following quests into the unknown.

In addition to Venus being co-present with Jupiter in Sagittarius, Mars in Libra is applying to an exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Full Moon in Taurus. The harmonizing sextile between Mars and Jupiter is a further boost for embarking on an expansive pursuit of vision. In previous weeks, Mars in Libra has traversed a difficult passage of moving through intensifying square aspects with the lunar nodes, Saturn, and Pluto that stirred up conflict and has made us acutely aware of the obstacles and barriers we must contend with. As Mars moves through its stabilizing sextile with Jupiter its broken sword becomes reforged and its courage revivified. Likewise we can feel our resolve for resiliently persisting through whatever difficulties we have been facing renewed.

pents06

6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Full Moon peaks in the final degree of 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, whether that be through monetary sources or tactile, healing touch. The unifying theme is that 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.

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 that mirrors the second face of Scorpio where the Sun is currently residing. Notably, Coppock advised 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” (p. 75).

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 with the Full Moon in Taurus suggests the wisdom of knowing the right time for action performed in the right way.

The Moon rules the second face of Taurus, giving the Full Moon the powerful essential dignity of being in its exaltation, triplicity, and face. While we are each bound to the constraints of our current situation, we each also have the ability to put our whole heart and soul into expressing and sharing whatever resources and gifts we are able to harvest from our circumstances. May the potency of the Full Moon’s light pour down upon whatever hopes and dreams you are nurturing and whatever purposeful vision you are enacting with your fully lived life.

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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.

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

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

psyche and cerberus bertel thorvaldsen

Psyche and Cerberus (1838) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

Call me to that one among your hours / that incessantly resists you: / beseechingly near like a dog’s face, / yet ever again turned away

just when you think to grasp it. / What’s thus withdrawn is most your own. / We are free. We were dismissed / at the very place where we expected welcome.

Afraid, we yearn for some handhold, / often too young for what is ancient / and too old for what has never been.

And yet: only just when we praise, / since, ah, we are the branch and the axe / and the nectar of ripening risk.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 23)

On October 31 within the liminal space of twilight, with the setting Scorpio Sun descending into it’s underworld journey of night, the twinkling star of Hermes will pause to prepare for its retrograde journey backwards through the putrefying waters of Scorpio. As Mercury in its retrograde phase takes on its chthonic role of a psychopomp who guides us into and out of underworld experiences, it is fitting for its stationing to take place on the holidays for honoring and communing with ancestors and the living otherworld. Mercury is known for its dissolving and blending capacities which mediate polarities such as between the solar and lunar, the conscious and unconscious, the sacred and mundane, and so on. The dark watery climate of Scorpio will nurture and amplify the ability of Mercury retrograde to absorb atmospheric undercurrents and penetrate under the surface of dynamics to reveal what has been hidden in the root of the matter.

Although Mercury retrograde has been demonized by many, it is in fact an essential phase within the totality of Mercury’s entire solar cycle that delivers necessary messages. Rather than cursing the fate of being gripped by the cunning Hermes, it is advisable to keep an open and curious mind regarding whatever changes begin to take shape. Part of Mercury’s core purpose in astrology is to destabilize dynamics in order to loosen control, break up accumulated dross, and bring about a turning point in narrative and meaning. When Mercury is stationing retrograde, it signals that we are crossing a threshold into a passage of putrefaction and dissolution in which matters will need to be broken apart in order to bring about a process of purifying reassembly.

Mercury delights in gray areas between fixed categories of meaning, as it is a gender bending planet that moves easily between states of day and night, good and bad, reason and imagination, depending upon its surrounding influences. It is therefore pivotal that Mercury is stationing retrograde while forming a conjunction with Venus in Scorpio. The impact of Venus in Scorpio upon Mercury is complex, for while Venus brings a unifying and harmonizing influence to Mercury, their union in Scorpio means that death, decay, and decomposition will be necessary in order to fertilize and produce the fruit we can eventually savor from their conjunction. In fact, we may discover it is the difficult experiences we must persist through that ultimately brings us closer to others. As Haruki Murakami once wrote:

“One heart is not connected  to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”

— Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage 

Mercury’s fluid nature that weaves between divergent perspectives and embraces multiplicity can be helpful in dislodging us from stuck, habitual patterns when retrograde. The more we can let go of our fixed conceptions of identity, the more that we can utilize Mercury retrograde for sifting through our many inner parts in order to reintegrate fragmented aspects of ourselves. The influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde can open receptiveness to insightful ideas to be curious about and investigate as Mercury moves retrograde in the weeks ahead. In addition, the Moon will also be inciting inspiration through forming a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius as Mercury stations retrograde. Pay attention to not only the events happening around October 31 when Mercury stations, but also the signs and omens that cross your path and bring premonition regarding the liminal process you are entering. It can be a particularly powerful period to intensely focus on research applied to creative output, so notice what grabs your interest in exploring to a deeper level.

Hermes Argus Bertel Thorvaldsen


Mercury about to kill Argus (1818) by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow’rful arts could watchful Argus kill:
With winged feet, ’tis thine thro’ air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse:
Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine:
With pow’r endu’d all language to explain, of care the loos’ner, and the source of gain.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Thine is the wand which causes sleep to fly, or lulls to slumb’rous rest the weary eye;
For Persephone thro’ Tart’rus dark and wide gave thee forever flowing souls to guide.

— from the Orphic Hymn to Chthonic Hermes translated by Thomas Taylor

Despite the unifying influence of Venus upon Mercury stationing retrograde, there will be strife and conflict to contend with since Mercury will be retrograde in a sign ruled by Mars. Moreover, Mars in Libra will be forming an intensifying square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn at the same time that Mercury stations. The square between Mars and Pluto can stoke inner drive and ambition, with a willingness to persist through obstacles or break free from constraining influences.  While Mars will be forming a harsh aspect with Pluto, however, Mercury will begin moving backward toward a harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto once it shifts retrograde. As a result, it will be vital to listen to messages from the stationing of Mercury with regard to where we will need to alter plans to avoid unnecessary discord, versus where it will be important to lean into the difficulty and tread into uncertain ground. Mercury’s stationing can help clarify what will be worth fighting for to protect and cultivate in the weeks ahead, as well as what instead needs to be laid to rest.

Mercury retrograde under rulership of Mars wields weapons which disarm fixated viewpoints, nudging us off guard enough to deliver insight that cuts through old defense mechanisms. In myth, Mercury played the role of slayer at times, such as lulling the giant Argus to sleep in order to go in for the kill. When retrograde, the magical wand of Mercury may charm us with seeming distraction, yet eventually as we regain our bearings we can realize there was a larger purpose behind the enchantment no matter how frustrating it felt in the moment. Although Mercury retrograde in Scorpio may lead us into strife and experiences of separation, it will be worth the risk to resiliently accept and work through the difficulties in order to comprehend the message that Mercury’s sleight of hand is delivering. When it doesn’t feel possible to let go of wounds or loss, the ineffable depth of Scorpio’s waters can help dislodge feelings of grief that need to be released.

viridarium-05


from Viridarium Chymicum (1624)

Mercury’s retrograde phase occurs during the part of its orbit in which it is as close to us as possible, moving in between the orbit of our Earth and the Sun. The close proximity of Mercury intensifies its presence in mundane matters, which can be beneficial when focusing on research or writing, difficult when experiencing mental overwhelm. As Mercury shifts backwards while the Sun moves directly towards it, Mercury mutates from being a visible Evening Star into its chthonic invisible phase. Mercury will be visible in some localities as an Evening Star when it stations on October 31, but by November 4 it will definitively move into its invisible phase by getting within fifteen degrees of the Sun. As we can no longer see Mercury in the sky at this point in its cycle, Mercury symbolically takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding our soul into a liminal, underworld period of regeneration.

During the week from November 4 when Mercury disappears until November 11 when Mercury will be revivified through its conjunction with the Sun, we will experience the most intense process of putrefaction, decomposition, and release. During this week you can align with Mercury by mindfully purging whatever from the past is ready to be burned off by the fiery Sun. As Mercury gets closer and closer to the Sun during this week, it will simultaneously take on more of the hot and drying qualities of the Sun that can aid in separating us from whatever needs to be released. It can also be a powerful time of receiving imaginal inspiration that will seed ideas to nurture and work on during Mercury’s journey through darkness.

The watery landscape of Scorpio is not only a place of burial and decomposition, but also a place in which decay nourishes and feeds the growth of orchards and vineyards that can eventually produce fruit. The day after Mercury stations retrograde, Venus will enter Sagittarius on November 1 and will begin her pilgrimage to conjoin Jupiter that will occur on November 24 just after Mercury stations direct. The co-presence of Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Mercury retrograde period can be helpful in lifting vision to expansive heights whenever we feel like we are getting stuck in the quagmires of Scorpio.

It’s worth considering that while popular astrology dogma warns to not sign any contracts or begin initiatives during Mercury retrograde, it is in fact possible to sign contracts and begin enterprises that will turn out to be successful during Mercury retrograde periods. However, it is important to listen closely to your intuition, bodily senses, and synchronous signs that illuminate inner guidance.  If something about a new project or move seems off for some reason, it will be wise to investigate further before making a commitment. If all evidence points toward making a positive change in direction, there is no reason to prevent yourself from acting due to worry over Mercury being retrograde. If a decision can wait, however, clarifying insight can be received after Mercury is regenerated through its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) The Swan, No. 10, Group IX

Mercury transit of the Sun

Will transformation. O be ravenous for the fire / in which a thing boastful with change forever eludes you; / that designing Spirit which plots earth’s flourishes, — / it loves most in the figure’s élan the moment of turning.

What shackles itself in survival already is rigidity; / does it feel itself safe in the shelter of nondescript gray? / Beware, from afar the hardest is warning the hard. / And woe–: an absent hammer is lifting!

Whoever pours forth as wellspring, Recognition greets; / and she guides him enthralled through the serene Creation / that often ends with beginning and in ending begins.

Every happy space through which they walk marveling / is child or grandchild of Separation. And the transformed Daphne, / feeling so laurel-like, wants you to change into wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 12)

Mercury will be revivified and reseeded by its chthonic conjunction with the Sun on November 11 at 18º55′ Scorpio. During its inferior conjunction Mercury becomes purified and regenerated while aligned in orbit between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as it is possible for Mercury to be. During the time that Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so while Mercury is within sixteen minutes of its solar conjunction, there will be enhanced potential to experience clarifying self-reflection and reception of key insight. Old astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun, when Mercury is seated upon the throne of the Sun and revitalized with the creative potency of our solar light.

“The protected space at the heart of the Sun is the sanctum sanctorum, the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations.”

— Demetra George, Ancient Astrology

All inferior conjunctions of Mercury are not equal, however, and in fact the one on November 11 has a special quality. Due to Mercury’s union with the Sun being within a degree of the heliocentric North Node of Mercury, visually a small black form of Mercury will be able to be seen transiting across the face of the Sun during its solar alignment. This is similar to what happens during a Total Solar Eclipse in which a New Moon forms close to one of the Moon’s nodes, but the difference is that Mercury is visually too small from our perspective to eclipse the light of the Sun in blackness. This means Mercury will literally be in the heart of the Sun, making it an intensified rebirth for Mercury befitting its placement in Scorpio.

Make sure to create space for inner contemplation on November 11, for Mercury’s transit of the Sun only happens thirteen or fourteen times a century. The last time there was a Mercury transit of the Sun was in May 2016 with Mercury retrograde in Taurus conjoining the heliocentric south node of Mercury. It will not happen again until November 2032. Mercury’s chthonic cazimi aligning with its North Node will amplify penetration into inner depths to discover self realization of material that had been hidden from our awareness. Whatever inner space was cleared through emptying and shedding during the first half of Mercury’s retrograde can now be seeded with new ideas and desires to nurture in the forthcoming cycle of Mercury. Adding to the potency, Mercury will be entering its own Egyptian bounds as it enters the heart of the Sun, giving Mercury greater capacity to redirect insight into material manifestation.

Furthermore, there will also be an underlying influence of Uranus in Taurus on Mercury’s rebirth, as the waxing gibbous Moon in Taurus will be conjoining Uranus as Mercury forms its inferior conjunction with the Sun on November 11. This is especially significant since Mercury stationed retrograde in Scorpio on October 31 in the week following a New Moon in Scorpio that was opposite Uranus. The effect of Uranus on Mercury’s solar conjunction can incite unexpected events and revelations which lead to dramatic changes as the Full Moon in Taurus brings further illumination on November 12. The impact of Uranus can also manifest through forging deeper connection with allies and collaborators who share similar passions and interest in forming supportive communities, whether in person or through long distance technology.

hilm af klint group VI evolution


Hilma af Klint (1908) Group VI, Evolution, No. 9

Morning Star of Hermes

Behold the flowers, those true to the earthly, / to whom we lend fate from the edge of fate,– / yet who can say? If they regret their fading, / it is for us to be their regret.

Everything wants to float. And yet we move about like weights, / attaching ourselves to everything, in thrall to gravity; / O what wearisome teachers we are for things, / while in them eternal childhood prospers.

If someone were to take them into his inmost sleep / and sleep deeply with them–: O how light he’d emerge, / changed, to a changed day, from the mutual depth.

Or perhaps he’d stay; and they’d bloom and praise him, / the convert, become now like one of their own, / all the quiet brothers and sisters in the meadow’s wind.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus (Second part, 14)

From the Full Moon in Taurus on November 12 until Mercury stations direct on November 20 at 11º55′ Scorpio, Mercury will move retrograde through its final phase of invisible darkness. During this week Mercury retrograde will form a harmonizing sextile with Saturn in Capricorn on November 13 and a flowing trine with Neptune in Pisces later on the same day. Moreover, at the end of November after Mercury stations direct and is visible again, Mercury will complete an additional trine with Neptune and sextile with Saturn. As a result, in the afterglow of the Full Moon in Taurus make space and time to imaginatively explore the insights and ideas seeded during Mercury’s chthonic cazimi to the fullest extent possible, without worry of making them fully manifest until Mercury returns to visible light. Mercury retrograde in Scorpio this year bears the gift of providing not only the imaginal support of Neptune, but the tempering and practicality of Saturn in Capricorn that will help facilitate finding ways to transfigure imaginative vision into tangible forms that can meet the needs of others in your wider community.

Mercury will finally return to visible light again as a Morning Star at the same time it stations direct on November 20. As Mercury undergoes a process of recovery from its retrograde motion, it will gain an added dose of vitality from the entrance of Mars into its watery home of Scorpio on November 19. Mars at the beginning of Scorpio is in a place of extreme strength as it is in its own home, bounds, and triplicity. It’s co-presence with Mercury stationing direct will supply ample fuel to begin moving forward with implementation of the ideas developed during Mercury’s twenty day journey retrograde. Just as it is important to pay close attention to Mercury when stationing retrograde, so it as well extremely important to be mindful when Mercury stations direct in order to receive necessary guidance.

In addition to the ingress of Mars into Scorpio brining an extra charge of resilient determination into the stationing of Mercury direct, Venus will be applying to a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius and providing a fount of providential inspiration. Venus will complete its exact conjunction with Jupiter on November 24 as Mercury is finally beginning to move forward again. If you have become motivated to make dramatic changes during Mercury’s retrograde motion that also makes you fearful due to the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of following through, the union of Venus and Jupiter will provide uplifting support for taking the risk to break free from whatever restrictive influences have been holding you back. As Mercury returns to visible light in the pre-dawn sky, so may we experience ignition of an inner fire to strike out in pursuit of revivified passion and desire.

Copper alloy sculpture from Sumer (ca 3000 BC) of figure with ibex horns and raptor wings

The final phase of the Mercury retrograde process begins as Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star, which will occur about eight days after Mercury stations direct this time around. The threshold of Mercury reaching maximum elongation as a Morning Star demarcates the stage at which Mercury returns to matching the speed of the Sun and then shifts into moving faster than the Sun as it continues to travel through its Morning Star phase. Gary Caton in his book Hermetica Triptycha compared this phase of Mercury with the rubedo stage in alchemy (Caton also compared the opening stage of Mercury retrograde to the nigredo stage, and the time following the inferior conjunction to the albedo stage of alchemy). 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 the shift into a new way of being as Mercury picks up speed and moves through its Morning Star phase.

Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on November 28 at seventeen degrees of Scorpio, at the same time that Neptune is stationing direct on November 27 in an exact trine aspect with Mercury. Furthermore, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star at the same time that it will form its third and final sextile aspect (since the middle of October) with Saturn in Capricorn on November 29. A few days later, Mercury will complete its third and final harmonizing sextile aspect with Pluto in Capricorn on December 2, the same day that Jupiter leaves its fiery home of Sagittarius in order to enter its fall in Capricorn. Finally, Mercury will leave its retrograde shadow zone and pass through the same degree where it originally stationed retrograde on December 7.

As a result, Mercury will be engaging with supportive aspects from Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto as it picks up speed and heralds the rise of the Sun with its morning light. The beginning of 2020 will be dominated astrologically by the conjunction of Saturn and Pluto on January 12, and so Mercury will be in position to help with attuning and adjusting to the larger changes in collective structures taking place. More importantly, Mercury will also be supportive in melding imaginative vision with the disciplined determination needed to fully manifest creative expression into forms that can offer solace and support to others in need of what we have to offer. As the coming astrology of 2020 suggests monumental, tectonic shifts in collective events are on the way, it will be up to each and everyone of us to claim the responsibility to do our part in cultivating our skills and talents to share with others in mutual support.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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New Moon in Scorpio

max ernst in praise of freedom

Max Ernst (1926) In Praise of Freedom

New Moon in Scorpio

“Every development leads through the undeveloped, but capable of development. In its undeveloped condition it is almost worthless, while development represents a highest value that is unquestionable. One must give up this value or at least apparently give it up to be able to attend to the undeveloped. But this stands in the sharpest contrast to the developed, which perhaps represents our best and highest achievement. The acceptance of the undeveloped is therefore like a sin, like a false step, a degeneration, a descent to a deeper level; in actual fact, however, it is a greater deed than remaining in an ordered condition at the expense of the other side of our being, which is thus at the mercy of decay.”

— C.G. Jung, from Appendix B of Liber Novus (aka The Red Book)

The regenerative blackness of the Scorpio New Moon on October 27 (PST) comes in the days leading up to Samhain, the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, and Halloween. In the northern hemisphere it is the season of embracing the increase of night and falling leaves by honoring ancestors and the living otherworld. There is a profound stillness to be found within the darkness of this lunation, an emptying as well as a reception of inner insight. The New Moon in Scorpio is exactly opposite Uranus in Taurus while its ruler Mars in Libra is in an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, marking it as a key gateway between all the diverse developments of 2019 and what is to come in the ending and beginning of a new year. The wet, boggy landscape of Scorpio is filled not only with decomposition and burial mounds, but also the fecund, fructifying growth that emerges from putrefaction. Issues from the past may emerge in need of laying to rest with the sanctity of funeral rites, yet simultaneously our inner senses will reveal burgeoning desires to be curious about and follow in unexpected directions.

The Moon has its fall in Scorpio, and so it’s further significant that the New Moon is only one degree beyond the exact degree of the Moon’s fall at 3º Scorpio. As a result, there is an extremely fallen quality to the Scorpio New Moon that can bring us low to the ground, like venturing into a depression under the earth with an intensity of underworld initiation. Scorpio is a place of obsession and fixating on plans of development, insisting on certain outcomes against all odds to such an extent that one can become flooded with emotional overwhelm when things do not manifest as desired. Since Venus will also be conjoining Mercury in Scorpio within the darkness of the New Moon, as Mercury is simultaneously stationing retrograde, it will be important to release attachment to controlling outcomes and instead flow with the trajectory of events with a willingness to modify plans as necessary.

The New Moon arrives at the heart of the Uranus retrograde, when Uranus is as close to our Earth in orbit as it gets within its cycle. Uranus stationed retrograde on August 11 at 6º36′ Taurus and will eventually station direct on January 10, 2020 at 2º38′ Taurus. This means Uranus will eventually station direct at the same time as the exact conjunction between Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn on January 12, 2020. As the Scorpio Moon melds into the Sun while opposing Uranus, unforeseen revelations regarding the path to follow into the unknown future may strike suddenly. Uranus electrifies the fallen quality of the Scorpio New Moon, like an otherworldly vision of healing received while laying on the ground, incubating.

Unlike the frenetic quality of oppositional aspects when Uranus was in Aries, the opposition between Uranus in Taurus with the New Moon in Scorpio cultivates a brooding intensification of inwardly directed senses. Rather than attempting to control natural surroundings, Uranus in Taurus promotes finding ways to merge the magic of nature and all of its constant changes into one’s creative process of invention. The scholar and philosopher Peter Kingsley has spoken and written extensively about the sacred ground of our inner senses and how we can become “a farmer in the unseen worlds” engaging in a “whole process of inner agriculture.” If you feel like giving up due to obstacles or nothing seeming to work out as planned, make space for quiet immersion within inner senses to discover guidance for the next steps to take from Uranus.

Magritte the fanatics

Rene Magritte (1963) Les Fanatiques

Mars in Libra rules the Scorpio New Moon and is beginning to separate from an exact square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn while applying toward a square aspect with Pluto in Capricorn. The influence of Mars will amplify frustration and anger regarding barriers restricting achievement of goals, as well as over anything feeling unjust or out of balance within personal as well as societal relationships. While resiliency and persistence will be necessary allies on whatever quest you have undertaken, it will do no good to try to fight your way through unmoveable obstacles as it will only achieve exhaustion. Mars in Libra needs to instead find ways to utilize the tools of Venus in order to manipulate power dynamics through intellectual invention and social charm.

The traditional astrological concept of essential dignities is worth considering in relation to the catalyzing square between Mars and Saturn, as Mars and Saturn are in mutual reception due to Mars occupying the exaltation of Saturn and Saturn residing in the exaltation of Mars. It’s further notable that this is reception based upon the idealized grandeur of exaltation rather than the grounded security of domicile. While exaltation correlates with peak experiences, whatever goes up to great heights can also fall from grace. William Lilly famously described angular, unimpeded planets in exaltation as signifying arrogance, haughtiness, and “assuming more to him than his due.” Thus it is worth contemplating whether or not you are trying to fight for more than your fair share of resources, or if you are becoming frustrated over not manifesting desired results due to setting your expectations too high.

While Saturn is strongly secure in its home of Capricorn, it is also undergoing an intense process of shedding and honing due to being in between the South Node of the Moon and Pluto in Capricorn. In contrast, Mars is journeying far away from its home with few resources in Libra, yet since it is in a superior position of being in the tenth place from Saturn it can incite a volatilized charge against the constraints of Saturn. It will be wise to avoid unnecessary conflict, as fights can quickly become amplified with viciousness. The friction between Mars and Saturn can be best utilized through hard work and determination applied to productive effort, releasing attachment to the inessential, using the tension to discern what you truly value the most.

Although Mars is lacking in essential dignity, the New Moon in Scorpio is in the most powerful degree range of the zodiac for Mars since it is in the domicile, face, and bounds of the red planet. Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens (2nd Century CE) described the first seven degrees of Scorpio where Mars has its bounds as “frenetic, tending towards anger, and a bold, free speaking style- the kind to say what is necessary at any given time.” Positively, the Scorpio New Moon can be supportive for doing what needs to be done to separate and protect yourself from negative, toxic influences. Since Mars is in Libra, however, a more measured approach of strategic intervention will be favored over impulsive, direct action.

After Mars persists through challenging square aspects with Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn during the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle, it will eventually form a stabilizing sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius during the Full Moon in Taurus on November 12 that can help with recovering from conflicts and taking inspired action. As the waxing Moon will also unite with Uranus on November 11 just before reaching fullness, there is potential to liberate yourself from stuck places and ultimately achieve greater self actualization through maintaining courageous resiliency in the face of difficulties in the lunar cycle ahead.

Gustave_Doré_-_Dante_Alighieri_-_Inferno_-_Plate_7_(Beatrice).jpg

Beatrice with Virgil from Dante’s Inferno by Gustave Dore

The Scorpio New Moon has a quality of strange stillness and suspense due to Venus applying to a conjunction with Mercury, as Mercury is simultaneously stationing retrograde. Mercury will station retrograde on October 31 at 27º38′ Scorpio, moving backwards through Scorpio until stationing direct at 11º35′ Scorpio on November 20. It is always important to increase practices of mindfulness and pay close attention whenever Mercury is stationing, as we may receive early signs and messages regarding elements of life that will require focus, release, repair, as well as in depth research during the retrograde journey of Mercury. As Venus unites with Mercury on October 30 at the threshold of Mercury shifting retrograde, we may become drawn toward applying intense creative focus toward a project to develop in the month ahead as well as realize ways we need to make radical changes within certain relational dynamics with others. 

As Mercury turns back to retrace its steps through the watery landscape of Scorpio, it will be entering its invisible phase in which it will play the role of a psychopomp guiding us into the insight we may discover in shadowy places and inner senses. Whereas Mercury will demand an unflinching examination of any cracks in foundational elements of our life in need of mending, Venus will be calling for us to embrace and integrate whatever core purpose brings inspiration. Venus will be increasing in brightness as an Evening Star, glowing radiant in twilight as she also becomes a stronger presence in our lives during the month ahead. Venus in Scorpio will be mutually exchanging signs with Mars in Libra through November 1, deepening engagement with new desires and interest in magnetizing support within relationships. Venus holds particularly potent desires within the final ten degrees of Scorpio she is traversing, as she has the resources of being in her own face and triplicity. Let Venus fertilize a fascinating mission for Mercury to undertake during its retrograde phase in November.

After Venus leaves the deep waters of Scorpio on November 1, she will enter the expansive territory of Sagittarius in which she will steadily make her way toward a conjunction with Jupiter that will complete on November 24. The co-presence of Venus and Jupiter in Sagittarius during November will be beneficial in synthesizing ideas and beliefs into a larger vision to build towards through our daily effort in spite of any difficulties we must contend with.

The_Vision_of_The_Valley_of_The_Dry_Bones

Gustave Dore The Vision of the Valley of the Dry Bones

The other major aspects of the Scorpio New Moon involve harmonizing aspects with Saturn in Capricorn. While Saturn is mutually applying toward a sextile aspect with Neptune retrograde in Pisces, the Scorpio New Moon is also applying toward a sextile aspect with the South Node of the Moon, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn. Meanwhile, since Mercury will be moving backwards through Scorpio, it will eventually form sextile aspects with Pluto, Saturn, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn in November. Saturn will complete its exact sextile with Neptune retrograde on November 8 at 16º01′ degrees of Capricorn and Pisces, making it an especially powerful season of Samhain to honor and commune with ancestors.

The karmic caravan of Ketu, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn has dredged up personal, ancestral, and societal issues in need of reparation during 2019. During the recent Libra season, this deep rooted material was stirred up and catalyzed through the Sun, Moon, Venus, and Mercury moving through the same square aspects with Ketu, Saturn, and Pluto that Mars is engaging during the Scorpio New Moon. While Mars is heating up and volatilizing all of the myriad strands of historical and contemporary injustice and oppression contained within the karmic configuration, on a personal level the harmonious aspects formed by the Scorpio New Moon and Neptune open an opportunity for dissolving old, restrictive patterns in order to reconfigure our relationship with the associated material and discern a new way forward. The gravity and weight of Saturn and Pluto coming together in a new cycle will be intensifying in the next three months, and so the Scorpio New Moon is ideal for making space to reflect upon ways to realign and flow in greater harmony with the currents of change taking shape.

cups05

5 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 1 Decan

The Scorpio New Moon arises in the first decan of Scorpio associated with the Five of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. The image appears desolate at first, as a despairing figure stares with fixation upon three spilled chalices. However, upon closer look there remain two upright chalices behind the figure, suggesting hope. There is also a river flowing underneath a bridge behind the figure, evoking the flux philosophy of Heraclitus that no one ever steps in the same river twice since the river is always changing as well as the person. It is a fitting image to associate with the first decan of Scorpio as it captures the fundamental nature of having desires within our constantly shifting world in which we must deal with the loss of what we desire most in the world.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Jawbone” to the first decan of Scorpio, declaring hunger as its chief concern. Coppock synthesized the ancient textual images of this face around the constantly circulating cycle of desire, including consuming hunger, satiation, the loss of what one desires, and the competitive violence of pursuing desires. Curiously, the ancient Hermetic text Liber Hermetis described “a crab having wings” residing in the first decan of Scorpio, indicating that liberation may be possible once we face the compulsive nature of the cycle. The Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the Numphai (Nymphs) to this face, feminine nature spirits who reside in sacred streams, groves, and grottoes. The obsessive nature of this face brings to mind the figure of Dionysus who often ran with wild nymphs and whose all consuming desires incite dismemberment and rebirth. Fittingly, Mars is considered to be the ruler of this face.

The importance of following desires into a fully lived life, as well as the mysterious initiations and soul reckoning we experience as a result, was stressed in the depth psychological work of Carl Jung. In commentaries on Liber Novus (found in Appendix B of the tome), Carl Jung described Eros and Logos as “fundamental psychic powers that form a pair of opposites, each one requiring the other.” While Jung connected Logos with “ordering and insistence,” he described Eros as “dissolution and movement” as well as “desire, longing, force, exuberance, pleasure, suffering…” Jung declared Eros to be “a principle that contains a commingling of all the fundamental activities of the soul,” stating that it “is not form-giving but form-fulfilling; it is the wine that will be poured into the vessel; it is not the bed and direction of the stream but the impetuous water flowing in it.”

In the coming months as all things related to Saturn and Pluto intensify in correspondence with their approaching conjunction, we will all need to adjust to the reordering of numerous societal factors as cultural structures deepen into the process of breakdown and regeneration already underway. Within the darkness of the Scorpio New Moon, make a trip to the ever flowing stream of Eros in order to fill a flask of vivifying fluid to bring on the journey ahead. Allow the refreshment from the waters of the Scorpio New Moon to cleanse what needs to be purified and to arouse the passion needed to make life meaningful. There will be lessons of longing and suffering we will need to survive if we wish to help create the world we truly desire to inhabit.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron!

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References

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

Jung, C.G. (2009) The Red Book (Liber Novus). Translated by Mark Kyburz, John Peck, and Sonu Shamdasani. Philemon Series. WW Norton & Company.

Kingsley, Peter. (2006). Return to Eternity: a transformational workshop with Peter Kingsley.

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

Vettius Valens of Antioch, Book One. Rendered from ancient Greek into  modern English by Andrea Gehrz. (2016). Moira Press.

 

Full Moon in Aries

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Group X, No. 2, Altarpiece

Full Moon in Aries

The Full Moon in Aries on October 13  amplifies the polarity between Eros and Necessity, our most passionate desires for what we wish to manifest versus the constraints of our circumstances. Whether you are facing difficulty surviving materially or simply frustrated over past effort not manifesting what you had hoped, on a deeper level the vast inequities embedded in the present forms of culture and civilization will be amplified and highlighted. While the propulsive force of the Aries Full Moon can incite anger and anguish over witnessing injustice inflicted on others or ourselves,  it also will illuminate what needs our persistent attention and focus to address and remedy.  There are no easy answers to be found in the light of the Aries Full Moon, but there is a resilient and inspirational quality within its aspects that can help in bringing the unifying force of Eros into relationship with the demands of Necessity.

The Aries Full Moon weaves together the dominant astrological themes of 2019, namely the uplifting striving brought by Jupiter in Sagittarius and the intensification of shedding and honing brought by the combination of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. As the Aries Moon waxes toward fullness it forms a square aspect with its own nodes as well as Saturn in Capricorn, and will be tightly applying toward a square aspect with Pluto during its moment of peak illumination. This means that the Aries Full Moon is also forming a square aspect to the sequence of eclipses in the past year in the signs of Cancer and Capricorn (Capricorn Solar Eclipse on January 5; Cancer Solar Eclipse on July 2; Capricorn Lunar Eclipse on July 16), and so will force awareness to contend with the events and stories stirred by the eclipses this past July and how they have mutated in form in the past few months.

Yet the Aries Full Moon is not only illuminating the trajectory of past events, but also bringing premonition with regard to the waves of change coming in 2020. On January 12, 2020 a new cycle between Saturn and Pluto will begin as they conjoin at 22º46′ Capricorn while also within a degree of conjunction with Mercury, Ceres, and the Sun in Capricorn. Though there will be many unexpected developments between now and then, take time to reflect upon the current status of whatever you have been cultivating with an eye toward how you want things to develop in 2020. The Full Moon in Aries is intrinsically action-oriented and can be helpful in making a rapid response to however you may need to make personal adjustments as well as how others may be in need of your assistance.

Due to the exact square forming between the Aries Full Moon and Pluto, there is an opportunity to penetrate under the surface of whatever you have been fixated upon achieving in order to come to terms with the underlying issues behind your motivations.  The friction between the Full Moon and Pluto will be most overwhelming for those engaged in power struggles or feeling a need to control a particular scenario, placing importance on making sure you are not acting out of alignment with your inner integrity when aggravated or threatened. The influence of Pluto on the Full Moon can be an aid in cutting through mental static to realize the essential purpose that is most important to focus time and attention on in the months ahead, as well as what has been getting in the way and needs to be eliminated.  There is an empowering side to the Aries Full Moon that can rekindle enthusiasm for making the most out of your present situation.

Beneficially, the flowing trine aspect formed between the Aries Full Moon and Jupiter in Sagittarius can help in coalescing a larger vision that takes account of present difficulties while also noting how to fertilize new growth. Aries is a place of pioneering initiative, described by William Lilly as signifying “Lands newly taken in, or newly ploughed.” The combination of the Full Moon being in harmony with Jupiter while in tension with Saturn and Pluto can ideally be utilized to envision how to expand in growth while also realistically taking account of the resources you will need to be successful. While the sign of Aries is not known for encouraging tact and sensible estimation, the impulsive nature of the Aries Full Moon in trine with Jupiter can help lift vision up from stuck places and invigorate passion where things have become stagnant.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Group IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 7

Mars in Libra rules the Full Moon, further inflaming the polarity between the Sun in Libra opposing the Moon in Aries. Both Mars and the Sun are known as hot and fiery archetypal forces that can find it challenging to express their full force in Libra, the airy, aesthetically and intellectually oriented home of Venus. Mars in Libra wields weapons of charisma and charm, strategy and diplomacy in order to manipulate power dynamics and achieve outcomes.  Positively, the influence of Mars in Libra on the lunation can promote interest in collaborative enterprises and discovering ways for your actions to benefit others and serve the needs of your broader community. Yet Mars is more likely to vacillate between options in Libra than in any other sign, and so it will be imperative to focus on responding promptly and decisively when necessary.

The Aries Full Moon marks an important threshold for Mars to cross as it will finally become visible again as a Morning Star in the days following the lunation.  Mars has been in its invisible, underworld phase in the past three months and so will bring awareness to fresh desires as it likewise returns to sharing its light again in morning skies. Take the time to consider and come into relationship with whatever shifts you notice taking shape from within. Whatever new desires corresponding with Mars that you notice will have to contend with the tests and limitations of Saturn, as Mars in Libra will simultaneously be heading toward a catalytic square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn, the lunar nodes, and Pluto. Mars will form a square aspect with the lunar nodes on October 21 and a square aspect with Saturn on October 27, the same day as the New Moon in Scorpio.

As a result, during the waning half of the lunar cycle there will be increased conflict and contention within collective events as Mars volatilizes the lunar nodes followed by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn.  There may be numerous personal dramas to deal with as well as having to change course due to barriers or restrictions in the way. There is nothing pleasant about Mars forming a harsh aspect with Saturn, but their tension can be utilized in working hard with resilience and tenacity.  Since Mars in Libra is acutely sensitized to issues of social justice, a productive outlet for energy can be found through  activist work on behalf of others in need. Mars in Libra also has strong propensity for exploring new desires in relationship, and so it will be more effective reaching out for help and support from others, or initiating greater personal involvement in community, rather than trying to take on all of the challenges coming from Mars and Saturn in the coming weeks on your own.

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Hilma af Klint (1915) Group IX/SUW, The Swan, No. 9

The final major aspect involved in the Aries Full Moon is the opposition between Venus in Scorpio and Uranus in Taurus which culminates on the day before the lunation. The back and forth tension between Uranus and Venus can feel like a wildly oscillating see saw out of control for those unaccustomed to reconciling the dissimilar natures of Venus and Uranus. Whereas Venus has an essential purpose to harmonize, please, and bring things together, Uranus does not care about whether others like what you are doing or not, only that you are doing what makes you feel the most authentically vital. The unpredictable nature of Uranus can also bring sudden changes that feel discordant to attempts by Venus to stabilize and carefully arrange the aesthetics of presentation. Easing the harsh aspect between Uranus and Venus is the fact that Venus is receiving Uranus due to Uranus inhabiting the inwardly directed, earthy home of Venus.

Uranus electrifies, vivifies, and fully awakens the sensuality of Taurus, volatilizing its fixed yet fertile earth with the stimulus needed to break free from past limitations and generate new growth.  Venus receiving Uranus while occupying Scorpio brings to my mind the description given by William Lilly in Christian Astrology of Scorpio being a place of not only “muddy, Moorish Grounds” and “ruinous houses near Waters,” but also the fecundity of gardens, orchards, and vineyards.  Venus in Scorpio will require placing old desires into the compost, putrefying and decaying old matters of relationship in order to bring forth the fruit of new growth.

Deep hunger for new desires within relationships, creative expression, and all things related to Venus will be felt strongly not only due to Uranus exciting and invigorating Venus but also due to Venus re-emerging into visible light as an Evening Star. While Venus was in the invisible, underworld phase of her superior conjunction with the Sun in recent months (since the time of the Cancer Solstice on June 21),  she was as far away from us in orbit as possible within her cycle. Now that Venus is visible again as well as beginning to move closer to our Earth in orbit, the power and virtue of Venus will likewise become more apparent within our material realm. Fascinatingly, Venus will be shining her light again in the darkly alluring attire of Scorpio where she may conceal feelings until gaining a sense of being in a secure dynamic she can trust.

During the journey of Venus through the quagmires of Scorpio she will also be mutually exchanging signs with Mars, since Mars is occupying the outwardly directed home of Venus and Venus is inhabiting the inwardly directed home of Mars.  Although both Venus in Scorpio as well as Mars in Libra are considered to be in detriment, the fact that they are occupying one another’s signs still means they will be able to support one another and so will cultivate greater congruence in pursuit of desires. While Mars in Libra will seek out new connections, Venus in Scorpio will focus on exposing hidden dynamics and penetrating into the underlying emotions of our relations. It’s certainly possible for Mars in Libra and Venus in Scorpio to lead us into messy situations or into obsession with a new attraction, but they can also be utilized to cultivate increased honesty and expression of emotional needs within relationship.

Meanwhile, Venus is not alone in the bogs of Scorpio, for leading her way through the watery terrain is Mercury who is also in its Evening Star phase and becoming more powerful in mundane matters.  In fact, Mercury will be waiting for Venus at the end of Scorpio, as Mercury will station retrograde at the end of October, sustaining stillness in order to unite with Venus in Scorpio on October 30 a few days after the New Moon in Scorpio.  Pay attention to whatever is signified by Scorpio in your natal chart, as this will be an area of life that will undergo intense reconstruction in the next couple of months as Mercury will move back and forth through Scorpio in its retrograde phase during November. During the waning half of the current lunar cycle, Venus and Mercury in Scorpio will be guiding us directly into the material that will be part of this regenerative process.

4 wands

4 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 3 Decan

The full light of the Aries Moon will peak in the third face of Aries associated with the Four of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. A card that has been associated with completion, the perfection of work, and rituals celebrating the crossing of a new threshold, in the image we can observe two figures being honored on stage.  This card and image fits well with the place the Aries Full Moon occupies in the trajectory of 2019’s astrology, for the lunation is at the bending of the lunar nodes, the axis forming a cross with the places of the year’s eclipses and the intensified destruction and restructuring brought forth by Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn. Looking back on how far you have come this year and considering whatever you have had to overcome in pursuit of your desires, it is a fitting time to hold your own ritual celebrating the terrain you have crossed this year.

Venus rules the third face of Aries, which is interesting since Venus is considered to be in detriment in Aries due to Venus being placed in the home of Mars. This means that the third decan of Aries gives Venus the capacity to manifest success despite being in a sign  of the fiery, assertive ambition of Mars. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Burning Rose” to the third face of Aries, attributing to it “the power of art to overcome hostility,” and “the power of the spirit to unify and seduce, to motivate and to bond those of confluent passions,” while also requiring “the martial heat of the battlefield.” Coppock noted that it is the battle-ready ferocity of Aries turned toward artistic performance and charismatic presentation that gives this decan its power “to create a commonality of spirit even in the most hostile conditions.”

Aries 3 Decan by Francesco Del Cossa

Third decan of Aries image from Allegory of March: Triumph of Minerva (1476) by Francesco del Cossa

The image above by Francesco del Cossa of a figure who resides within the third face of Aries encapsulates aspects of numerous images found in ancient text. The trinity of Three Books of Occult PhilosophyPicatrix, and Liber Hermetis all reveal figures dressed in red and holding a staff or sword. This passionate figure is wearing either a golden or wooden bracelet depending on whether you consult Three Books of Occult Philosophy or the Picatrix, but both texts indicate the figure embodies the unrest of not being able to do desired good. The reason for not being able to manifest these good wishes is not stated, but Three Books proclaims there is “talent, tameness, joy, and beauty” to be found here. The figure in the Picatrix is an iron worker and so has a medium through which to transfigure frustrated anger into works of vivifying creation.

In contrast, the figure in Liber Hermetis wears a gold crown with glistening emeralds decorating her belly. She is full of magic and her staff has the heads of four serpents facing a polarity of directions. Her garments of dark rose are lined with golden strings and she seems to possess the grace of the figure painted by Francesco del Cossa rather than the fury over constraints described by other texts. The focused countenance in del Cossa’s figure suggests they have an inner knowing of being able to make a targeted impact, as they seem to be summoning an inner force to project through the golden bracelet held delicately with their fingers. Francesco del Cossa placed an arrow in the other hand, evoking the mythic Eros or Cupid.

Eros is in fact resonant, as the Hellenistic text 36 Airs of the Zodiac ascribed the figure of Eros to the third face of Aries: the capacity of Eros to arouse passions into creations that inspire collective forces lies at the heart of the decan’s meaning. While some spiritual lineages place Eros as a primordial, hermaphroditic deity at the dawn of Creation, later traditions made Eros into the cunning son of Aphrodite who constantly stirred up the troubles brought forth by lust in both mortals and gods with his bow and arrows. Austin Coppock in 36 Faces stated it is more likely that the 36 Airs had the son of Venus in mind with the third face of Aries as “Eros’ escapades make clear that the desire for unification is inflamed by separation, love by war, lust by forbiddance.”

Another version of Eros is found in Plato’s Symposium, where Eros is described by Socrates as the child born from the sexual union of the divine forms of Poverty and Resource. To Socrates, Eros or Love is always poor, always in a state of need, but is also always resourceful in being able to gain what it needs. Within the polarity between Poverty and Resource, the daimonic force of Eros weaves together awareness of the wisdom to be found through our earthly desires. As the light of the Aries Full Moon begins to decrease in the waning half of the lunar cycle, create protected space from whatever difficulties you have been experiencing in order to envision what you truly wish to create and contribute for the greater good in the year ahead. Let the restrictions of the established power structure and status quo serve as the stone that kindles the inner fire that will sustain your determination in the journey ahead.

If you enjoy my writing or have been helped in some way by my articles on astrology, please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page.  My intention with Patreon is to receive enough support to not only help me continue to offer the articles I have been doing for free, but to also expand the scope of what I am offering. Take a look at my Patreon page for more details.

References

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

Lilly, William. (2004 edition). Christian Astrology. Astrology Classics.

New Moon in Libra

Chicago_Hrosvitha Test Plate, 1979

Judy Chicago (1979)  Hrosvitha Test Plate

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon on September 28 arises in Libra, the airy home of Venus, the exaltation of Saturn, and the living image of the Scales. When gazing at scales, even if they appear to be still their form suggests the ceaseless, endless calibration going on within everyone, everything, in every moment. Libra as the sign of the scales is a place of perpetual balancing within all of our personal relationships as well as how we relate to our environment and arrange elements of time and space to meet our own needs as well as the needs of others. The Libra New Moon comes at a pivotal juncture of 2019, as the lunar cycle it initiates is at the northern bending of the lunar nodes, forming a catalyzing square aspect with the transiting lunar nodes as well as the zodiacal degrees of the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse that occurred in July.  As a result, numerous strands of stories that have been stirred up in recent months will become activated, and as we sense how things are settling and coalescing we will have the opportunity to make a measured response. Traditional Libra keywords such as rebalancing and recalibrating elements that are in a volatile state of oscillation will be needed.

The symbol of the scales also conjures the Egyptian imagery of Maat and the weighing of souls after death, at which time the heart would ideally be as light as a feather instead of heavy with the gravitas of unresolved issues.  Maat is also the balancing of natural, terrestrial, and cosmic order arising from the field of chaos and its constant flux.  From this comes a sense of social justice felt by a heart aligned with natural order, as well as the social conventions of how a society ascribes judgment to what is appropriate or inappropriate behavior. As the Libra New Moon is separating from a tense opposition with Chiron retrograde in Aries, while also applying toward a harmonizing sextile with Jupiter in Sagittarius, focus will be brought to how the societal conventions and laws created by humanity can often be at odds with natural law and order. For example,  it was estimated that approximately six million people around our planet took part in protests over the impact of human pollution on climate change in the week before the Libra New Moon as the Libra Sun formed an opposition with Chiron.

Fittingly for a Libra New Moon, both sides of the scales balancing benefic and malefic astrological influences are fully loaded. On one side, Pluto is in the process of stationing direct within the darkness of the Libra New Moon while Saturn is forming an exact conjunction with the true South Node of the Moon, bringing focus to whatever needs to be shed and released.  On the other side, both the New Moon as well as Venus in Libra are applying to a harmonious aspect with Jupiter, inciting visions of how to address whatever has come out of balance in order to fertilize and nurture productive growth forward.  It will also be important to not only find balance in our external work in the world however, but to also descend within one’s inner darkness to discover what is in need of mending within our psyche.

Enantiodromia is a term from ancient Greek meaning “to run counter to,” that was unearthed in the work of Carl Jung to demonstrate his understanding that anything at an extreme state will turn into its opposite quality. The concept of a unity found in oppositions goes at least as far back as the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, whose famous statement that no one steps in the same river twice was embedded within a philosophy of flux that saw that everything in existence contains and turns into its opposite state. Jung brought this concept into his theories about the interplay between our conscious and unconscious, and how what we repress in our subconscious can erupt in polarity through our shadow. The inherent restoration of balance to our system that results from this process will be important to pay attention to in the forthcoming lunar cycle. Insight will be gained by paying attention to signs indicating how our unconscious is mediating what we have been consciously attempting to achieve, such as drawing us to focus on an area of life we had been neglecting.

pelican brass 15th century

15th Century brass Pelican plate from Netherlands

Venus in Libra rules the New Moon while forming an exact sextile aspect with Jupiter in Sagittarius. Moreover, within a day of  the lunation the waxing Moon will form a creative sextile with Jupiter followed by a potent conjunction with Venus. At the same time, Venus is also in the middle of a process of separating from a catalyzing square aspect with Saturn and the lunar nodes while applying toward an intense square aspect with Pluto that will complete on September 30. Venus is sovereign and securely at home in Libra and so can draw on the strength of her own resources to mediate and mend the complicated dynamics she is engaging.  While in some areas of life we will need to realize that we need to let go of our attachment to things working out a certain way and instead surrender to the process of change at work, in other areas of life it will be possible to initiate important new stages of development.  Instead of resisting whatever change is being demanded from the stationing of Pluto on October 2, see how you can integrate the deep shifting into your creative engagement with the world.

In the week leading into the Libra New Moon, Mercury re-emerged into visibility as an Evening Star and brought numerous significant announcements in collective events. At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is forming a conjunction with the zodiacal degree of the fixed star Spica.  Across diverse cultures, Spica is universally known as a supremely positive fixed star and marks the ear of wheat in the left hand of the Winged Goddess in the Virgo constellation. Spica has also been connected with images of lamps, pearls and other symbols of bringing knowledge like the wheat cultivating Ceres. Known as the Spike of the Virgin, it has been said that the light of Spica which symbolizes the wheat held by the Winged Goddess is a source of cultivating knowledge and bountiful gifts. Bernadette Brady wrote that Spica brings “a gift of brilliance, an innate talent, skill or ability which is out of the ordinary,” a “symbol of knowledge and insight.”  Brady wrote that the wheat sheaf symbolism of Spica “can be considered a symbol of her [the Goddess] gifts to humankind.”

Traditionally both Mercury and Venus have been associated with the nature of Spica, and so it is compelling that not only is Mercury forming a conjunction with Spica but also that in the following week Venus will form a conjunction with Spica on October 3 as she is finally re-emerging into visibility as an Evening Star. Doubling down on the symbolism of the goddess bearing the gift of wheat for humanity,  the dwarf planet Ceres is applying toward a conjunction with Jupiter in Sagittarius at the same time.  While the transits of 2019 have been difficult, they will not be getting any easier in 2020 and in fact will bring increased levels of volatility into collective events. As a result, it will be vital for each and everyone of us to reach into our depths to bring out the gifts and talents we possess to share with others who are in need of what we have to offer.  As the Libra New Moon waxes into light, as Mercury and then Venus forms a conjunction with Spica, make a commitment to cultivating the skills you have to offer than can help shape the world to come for the highest good of all.

judy-chicago-in-the-shadow-of-death_8x10-at-300-dpi-jpg

Judy Chicago (2015) In the Shadow of Death

2019 has been dominated by the movement of Saturn, Pluto, and the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, and so it is not a surprise that they are also a primal influence upon the forthcoming lunar cycle. Since Pluto will station direct a few days after the Libra New Moon on October 2, its stillness will saturate the astrological atmosphere with its significations of being initiated into an underworld process of transformation. Furthermore, since Saturn is forming its final exact conjunction with the true South Node of the Moon in Capricorn, the Libra New Moon also serves as a threshold to cross of Saturn finally beginning to separate from the transiting South Node of the Moon.  While the influence of Saturn combined with the South Node of the Moon will persist in the month ahead, and the influence of Saturn and Pluto coming together in a new cycle will be intensifying in the year ahead, the influence of Ketu upon Saturn and Pluto will finally begin to lessen.

As a result, within the darkness of the Libra New Moon take the time to reflect upon what has needed to be released and what has been honed to a more essential form in your life during the past six months of Saturn traveling close together with the South Node of the Moon in Capricorn. In the past year of eclipses setting off the combination of Saturn and Pluto uniting with the South Node of the Moon, what can you now see more clearly has coalesced out of the dissolution that came with their influence? While Saturn in Capricorn promotes hard work, it will also be necessary to simply sit and reflect upon all of the destabilizing changes that have happened in correspondence. If things have felt too overwhelming to handle, as Saturn begins to separate from the South Node you will likely gain increased clarity for how to best respond.

swords02

2 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Libra 1 Decan

The New Moon arises in the first face 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.  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.

Since the Moon is the ruler of the first decan of Libra and the Moon is being regenerated in its own face, the meaning of the first decan of Libra will be amplified. Austin Coppock described the meaning of this face as not only illuminating dynamics of “fairness and reciprocity” based upon “core principles of ethical interaction with other beings,” but also inciting assertive attempts to address injustice.  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.  Thus it is likely that those who have been extremely out of balance will  be facing a karmic reckoning.

As a result, it will be important to reflect upon levels of equity within your interactions with others in the forthcoming lunar cycle and making sure you are acting with integrity. As the Moon waxes in light, Mercury will enter Scorpio on October 3 followed by Venus on October 8, with both immediately forming an opposition with Uranus in Taurus. Meanwhile, Mars will enter Libra and begin heading toward harsh aspects with Saturn and Pluto as the upcoming Full Moon in Aries on October 13 forms a catalytic square aspect with the lunar nodes, Saturn, and Pluto.  The combination of these aspects means that hidden dynamics within relationship are likely to be exposed. While there are supportive aspects in the coming lunar cycle for cultivating growth and making progress on goals, it will be necessary to make an honest appraisal and adjustment to the balance of giving and receiving in relationship.

References

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

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

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

Full Moon in Pisces

the unicorn is found

The Unicorn is Found (1495 – 1505)

Full Moon in Pisces

The silvery glow of the Full Moon in Pisces will stir imagination and set flight to fantasy with the enchanting trance of Neptune. The waxing Pisces Moon will conjoin Neptune on September 13 while also forming catalyzing aspects with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. While the actual peak illumination of the Pisces Full Moon will occur on either September 13 or 14 depending upon your time zone, the thrust of emotions and passions corresponding with its light will be deeply felt on both days. Pisces is a nocturnal sign well suited to dissolving dualistic distinctions between the rational and irrational, bridging awareness between our conscious conditioning and the unconscious urges of soul that compel us from within. The Full Moon in Pisces will be revelatory and revealing, opening perception to a more expansive vision of circumstances. Like the inspired musing that comes from close encounters with the ocean, we may feel accumulated stress and anxiety wash away enough to envision new potential where we had feared none existed.

The waxing Moon’s journey through Pisces on its way toward fullness will be in range of a major aspect with every other planet, in particular connecting the cycles between Jupiter and Neptune as well as Saturn and Pluto that have been the most dominant longterm transits of 2019. With the Pisces Moon passing through a trine aspect with its North Node in Cancer and a sextile with its South Node, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn there is an opportunity to discover ways to connect creativity and imagination with the grounded structure and focused discipline needed to manifest inner visions. Rather than feeling unproductively restrained by restrictions and barriers, we can realize how to utilize whatever limitations we have been facing to artfully create results that make the most out of our available resources. As the Pisces Moon also moves through a square aspect with Jupiter on its way toward a conjunction with Neptune, we may also receive a jolt of inspiration that brings forth exciting new ideas to develop as well as insight into how to improve projects already under construction.

On a deeper level the Full Moon in Pisces is a calling to explore the underbelly of dreams, lifting up the fabric of ideals to see what is subsisting in the shadow of whatever you desire to attract into your life. The propulsive force that the Full Moon uniting with Neptune unleashes from subjective senses can bring realization regarding whatever has been driving actions and goals for achievement from hidden realms within. It’s a good time to contemplate where you have been looking to find wisdom, who you have been listening to, which influences you have been allowing to shape you and which ones you have been shielding yourself from. If feelings of disillusionment arise over old dreams of who you aspire to be in the world, allow yourself to release attachment to them in order to create space for a vital new vision of your future growth to emerge.

Gustave_Courbet_the wave

Gustave Courbet (1869) The Wave

Jupiter in Sagittarius rules the Pisces Full Moon while in the midst of intense aspects from Mars and Neptune.  In the week leading into the Full Moon, the fiery natures of the Sun and Mars volatilized Jupiter through forming change inducing square aspects with the star of Zeus. When we become fully activated in correspondence with Jupiter in Sagittarius we can become overwhelmed by desire to journey far in search of knowledge or expand aspirations beyond previous constraints. Yet before leaping into the unknown, it will be best to let the light of the Pisces Full Moon illuminate whatever underlying myth or personal narrative has been shaping plans and goals. Before writing the next scene of the story you want to live, take time to consider the quality of life you truly wish to cultivate for yourself and others through your endeavors. What core values and priorities will serve as your guiding star forward?

As the Full Moon peaks, Mars in Virgo will be separating from a catalytic square aspect with Jupiter while applying tightly toward a tense opposition with Neptune in Pisces. Mars in Virgo is moving at its fastest speed at the beginning of a new cycle with the Sun, but remains combust and vulnerable in its regenerative underworld phase as it faces off with Neptune. The impact of Mars on the lunation can incite self righteous crusades and dogmatic diatribes in those unwilling to question their beliefs. Conflicts will erupt in which each side of the opposition feels certain they know what is best, unable to see past the illusions encircling their anger and rage. In certain cases it will be best to avoid confrontation due to the unlikelihood of being able to facilitate compromise out of a genuine exchange of perspective.

On the other hand, there is also a constructive side to the invigorating impact of not only the Sun and Mars setting off the square between Jupiter and Neptune during the Full Moon, but also the fact that within the present lunar cycle that both Venus and Mercury in Virgo previously did so as well. It is remarkable that Mercury, Venus, and Mars have all begun new cycles with the Sun recently while simultaneously forming a square aspect with Jupiter and an opposition with Neptune. If you have felt disillusionment regarding yourself or others during this time, the putrefaction of past perception can fertilize a revitalized sense of self in the light of the Pisces Moon. Allow yourself to find acceptance for past mistakes and lay them to rest, gathering the wisdom of the lessons you have learned to inform your presence in the moment. As the destructive storms stirred up by Mars opposing Neptune clear, there can be a new sense of potential to embrace through dislodging yourself from the constraints of old beliefs that have been dictating what you feel is possible to achieve.

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Inner Eye Eagle with Chalice by Morris Graves (1941)

The Full Moon in Pisces will serve as a threshold gateway to pass through en route to the final last quarter square aspect that will occur between Jupiter in Sagittarius and Neptune in Pisces on September 21. This will be the third square aspect between Jupiter and Neptune this year, with the first occurring on January 13 and the second occurring on June 16. It will be wise to take time to reflect on significant insights and events that emerged around the time of January 13 and June 16 when the square between Jupiter and Neptune previously intensified. The present cycle between Jupiter and Neptune began in 2009 in Aquarius, which means we are now entering the final quarter phase of their cycle which will come to an ending and beginning in 2022 at 24º Pisces. It will thus be revealing to consider what new creative or spiritual directions were initiated in 2009 that have now reached a stage of development for us to harvest and share with others, as well as how we may be realizing a need to shed old beliefs while engaging in a change of direction from what was begun in 2009.

At its heart the intensified relationship between Jupiter and Neptune beckons us to consider possibilities and potential rooted in soul more so than our material circumstances. Jupiter and Neptune in combination become visionary planets connected with spirituality, imagination, as well as attuning to the interconnected soulfulness of our world more so than the limitations of our mundane life.  The last quarter square ripening between Jupiter and Neptune can pull perception far beyond the distant horizon toward our most idealized dreams and fantasies of what we desire to create. We may receive glimpses of a future self to grow into, or a different facet of our identity we have been neglecting that now demands attention and engagement. Since the visions incited by Jupiter and Neptune may feel at odds with our present responsibilities, it will be important to find ways to begin manifesting them rather than pulling back into the comfort of the status quo and known security. Jupiter and Neptune can direct awareness toward the cutting edge of our potential and following alternative paths into an unknown future where we have not already established stability.

Fortunately, due to the Pisces Full Moon also moving through harmonizing sextile aspects with its South Node, Saturn, and Pluto in Capricorn there is greater likelihood of sensing a way forward that combines a grounded appraisal of necessary responsibility with imaginal inspiration. The severe gravity of Saturn and Pluto coming together in Capricorn within four months can cast a large shadow which includes fears of being at the mercy of larger societal forces. There is nothing easy about dealing with experiences related to Saturn and Pluto, but the cathartic intensity they force us to endure aids in developing inner focus, determination, and courage. The Full Moon mixes together the uplifting qualities of Neptune and Jupiter that can see the bigger picture and sustain belief in our capacity to help build new forms that can take the place of the societal structures currently in a state of decay and breakdown.

Remedios Varo creation of the birds

The Creation of Birds (1957) by Remedios Varo

At the time of the exact Full Moon in Pisces, Mercury and Venus will be barely separating from a conjunction in the final degree of Virgo.  Mercury blending its nature with the unifying and harmonizing significations of Venus at the end of Virgo brings a piercing awareness into our present relational dynamics with others as well as the state of our own creative processes. As Venus and Mercury remain hidden under the beams of the Sun, continuing to regenerate strength, so may we feel an instinctive impetus for change and a rebalancing of both our relationships as well as our use of creative focus. The last time that Venus and Mercury formed a conjunction was on July 24 with Mercury retrograde at the end of Cancer, and so there may be many issues that were stirred up by the eclipses in July that we can now discern ways to mend or resolve.

Following the culmination of the Pisces Full Moon, both Mercury and Venus will enter Libra on September 14 where they will soon be opposed by the waning Moon in Aries. Since the air element has been absent from recent astrological transits, the return of Venus to its airy home of Libra while accompanied by Mercury will bring a boost for increasing harmony and effective communication within social interactions. Significantly, Venus and Mercury will continue to remain within five degrees of one another in Libra for most of September, making it an ideal month to revitalize our sense of style and arrangement of aesthetics. It can also be a fruitful time for constructing collaborative arrangements that bring together disparate talents and gifts into a unified, artful whole of creative expression.

During the waning half of the present lunar cycle, the most pivotal period of Venus and Mercury’s transit through Libra will occur between September 22 and the New Moon in Libra on September 28, as Venus and Mercury will pass through change inducing square aspects with Saturn and the lunar nodes, followed by a harmonizing sextile aspect with Jupiter and then another square aspect with Pluto. During the week of the Libra Equinox we can gain a stronger sense for however we need to rearrange our priorities and goals in light of whatever deep changes have been happening this year. Whatever has come out of balance will be obvious, and we will feel driven to make reparations in personal as well as collective spheres of engagement.

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10 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Pisces 3 Decan

The Full Moon arises in the third face of Pisces associated with the Ten of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. An archetypal image of wish fulfillment and idealized happiness, it’s form of a joyous couple enraptured by a rainbow, their children blissfully dancing in front of their picturesque home in the countryside is merely one possible manifestation of the countless images that could be used to capture a sense of the inspirational vision underlying and driving inner motivation. An earlier image for this face is found in Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy in which a nude male is present near a beautiful maiden whose head is decorated in flowers. Other older images show the other side of having a great dream through the terror of loss, such as Ibn Ezra’s The Beginning of Wisdom in which another nude male is armed with a lance and yelling for fear of thieves and fire. The Full Moon in Pisces ripening in this face asks us to contemplate the inner images of inspiration that have been motivating all of our work in the world, the full implications of our dream as well as how well it truly fits our sense of soul purpose.

The rainbow pregnant with abundant cups in Pamela Colman Smith’s image for the Ten of Cups evokes the great daimon of Hope found in the ancient story of Pandora’s box in which Elpis, the spirit of Hope, is the only presence left in the box after its many ills and evils were unleashed into the world of humanity. It’s the spirit found in cultural ideals such as a young Judy Garland wistfully singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” musing that somewhere exists where the most precious dreams you dare to dream really can come true. Fittingly, the ancient Hellenistic text The 36 Airs of the Zodiac attributed the figure of Elpis, the daimon of Hope, to the third decan of Pisces. The guiding star we wish upon, the guardian angel we pray to for assistance, the hope we are able to muster in even the bleakest and most desperate of times, is essential to the meaning found in the third face of Pisces, the final face of the zodiac full of the passion required to move through the end and rebirth of the entire cycle.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Cup of Blood” to the third face of Pisces, describing it as a place revealing one’s willingness to “sacrifice everything” for the “attainment of one’s greatest desire, no matter the cost.” Noting the images of romantic happiness found in the Ten of Cups card as well as in Agrippa’s masterwork, Coppock wrote that the third face of Pisces “inspires the lust and desire implied” by the images, “but the true object of the passions is a merger with the universe itself . . . The face and body of the beloved are a mask, an entry point into the experience of all-as-bliss.” Coppock noted that “the third face unfolds as the quest for true and perfect love,” yet the willingness to sacrifice all for the dream leads to the third face of Pisces becoming “littered with broken dreams and failed martyrs- those who sacrificed themselves for an illusion.”

The grandiose dreams of ecstatic bliss as well as the agony of loss that comes from misguided investment in ideals that Coppock attributed to the third face of Pisces are further shown through the fact that Mars is the ruler of this decan. As previously mentioned, during the Pisces Full Moon the fiery red planet will be occupying the opposite place of Virgo and forming a perfect opposition to the planet of dreams and illusions, Neptune. Mars in Virgo is at the earliest stages of its synodic cycle, having recently been reborn in the heart of the Sun on September 2, a few days after the inception of the present lunar cycle. Open yourself at the Pisces Full Moon to the unveiling of the inner dream driving everything you sacrifice yourself for, questioning whether the vision’s source is from external conditioning or from inner sources of soul. Rather than rearranging the surface elements of daily goals and to-do lists, it may be necessary to go to the heart of your inner storyteller to re-conceptualize and rewrite the source of the story you are living in the moment.

References

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

Exploring Soul on the Energetic Principles Podcast

Exploring Soul in Astrology

I was recently interviewed by astrologer Melissa LaFara on her Energetic Principles Podcast. We talked about the ineffable topic of exploring soul in astrology, including what we mean by soul, the impact of Carl Jung and James Hillman’s work on astrology,  and ways to relate with difficult placements and challenging configurations in natal astrology through a soul perspective. I enjoyed our conversation and hope you do too!

Mel has a weekly podcast that begins with an interpretation of the coming week’s astrology: our talk begins around the 28 minute mark of the episode, and she included a marker in the soundcloud for the beginning of our interview for your convenience.