Scorpio New Moon: Mars & Pluto

andrew wyeth dryad

Dryad by Andrew Wyeth

New Moon in Scorpio

New Moons are a time of darkness.  In alignment, we go within our own darkness and set intentions for the forthcoming lunar cycle as our Moon regenerates in the heart of our Sun.  Scorpio is a zodiac sign also associated with the dark and the hidden, as well as transformation.  We have been experiencing an intense period of Scorpio amplification and a collective catharsis in correlation that has brought attention to stories of misuse of power too often denied, including revelations around sexual abuse that further link to Scorpio significations of sex, power and control dynamics.  Scorpio brings to the surface what needs to be revealed for regeneration, and so we have been experiencing a collective purging necessary to bring more widespread awareness to the suffering caused by sexual predation.  Our entrance into the year long transit of Jupiter in Scorpio has quickly been bringing awareness to what’s been lurking in the shadows, and with Venus as well as the Sun and Moon now in Scorpio we are invited to dig even deeper.  The darkness of Scorpio is ultimately the nurturing kind, the rich soil lying fecund underneath us that awaits fertilization and the metamorphic reemergence of colorful growth.  It is vital to carefully cultivate the seeds you are germinating when the Scorpio New Moon arrives on November 18.

The influx of Scorpio energy has been magnified further by the sign of Scorpio forming a square aspect with the signs of Leo and Aquarius that the lunar nodes have been transiting through.  The Sun and the Moon both faced off with the lunar nodes in the week leading up to the Scorpio New Moon, while Venus and Jupiter are heading toward a square with the lunar nodes.   The Scorpio New Moon also forms a square with the degrees of both the recent Leo eclipses (Leo Lunar Eclipse on February 10;  Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21) as well as the Aquarius Solar Eclipse coming later in February 2018, further signifying a time of collective crossroads.  Planets squaring the nodes force their associated issues to be dealt with, and so the Scorpio activation has been exposing the misuse of power by those desiring Leo ambitions of fame and status.  The lunar nodes in Aquarius and Leo bring the opportunity to discover ways of being more empowered and passionately living life more fully while also respecting the boundaries of others.  The influence of Scorpio further points to the necessity of living from one’s inner authority of ethics, purifying and shedding the toxic conditioning elements of culture such as misogyny.

The Scorpio New Moon is particularly intense due to the closely applying square between Mars in Libra with Pluto in Capricorn.  Any exact square between Mars and Pluto at a lunation is extremely catalytic, but in this case it is even more powerful due to Mars ruling the New Moon and Pluto also having modern associations with rulership over Scorpio.  Mars in Libra is in the home of Venus and a sign that is in polarity to its own home of Aries.  Mars in Libra is the warrior and protector of social justice, but to achieve this Mars must find a balanced expression that requires restraint at times, more so than direct and impulsive action.  With Mars transiting Libra while forming a square with Pluto, anger and tempers will be quick to flare over issues of oppression.  In their dynamic Mars is in the superior position of being in the tenth place from Pluto and so in position to overcome Pluto.  However, there is an old Hellenistic astrology concept of “striking with a ray” which leads to the interpretation that the dominant power structure (Pluto in Capricorn) will strike back hard to impede social activists (Mars in Libra) from gaining ground.

Andrew Wyeth carry

Carry by Andrew Wyeth

One of the keys of the Scorpio New Moon is to discern how to flow with the currents of power for the greater good.  It is an opportune New Moon for making intentions with regard to long term goals and where you want to place your daily focus in expending energy and initiative.  In natal charts, the aspect of Mars square Pluto can be challenging in terms of having grandiose vision and ambition and then being faced with all of the barriers to overcome in the process of manifestation.  These barriers involve both external and internal issues, and similarly the collective experience of this transit brings to the surface whatever has been in the way of achieving goals and developing plans.  Realizations can emerge more easily than normal regarding what we need to separate from and sever with regards to our desires.

Notably Mars is exchanging signs with Venus in Scorpio, as Mars is in the home of Venus and Venus is in the home of Mars.  This further means that both Venus and Mars are in signs that are opposite their domicile placements of Taurus (Venus) and Aries (Mars).  The influence of Venus in Scorpio makes the drive for justice with Mars in Libra more obsessive and more willing to penetrate to the depths of current circumstances.  Venus in Scorpio is forming an integrative sextile with Pluto in Capricorn, and so there is a higher lesson available in terms of how to change our own attitudes and behavior to have greater integrity as well as how to engage and listen to others coming from different perspectives and backgrounds more effectively.  However, in reality this combination will more readily lead people into heated conflict and so keep this in mind when navigating difficult situations.  When Mars and Pluto collide like this at a Scorpio lunation, there are explosive undercurrents to deal with.

Andrew Wyeth Wind from the Sea

Wind from the Sea by Andrew Wyeth

We make our way through Everything like thread passing through fabric: giving shape to images that we ourselves do not know.

–Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Another massive influence over the Scorpio New Moon comes from dreamy Neptune, as it will station direct as the Moon begins to wax in light on November 22.  Planets stationing saturate the astrological atmosphere with their influence, particularly in the case of Neptune as it will open awareness to aspects of reality normally invisible or veiled to “normal” modes of mundane perception.  Neptune has been moving retrograde since June 16, and so it is worthwhile to reflect back upon the past five months of Neptune’s backward movement.

As Neptune stations we can feel a dissolution of interior complexes and exterior structures, and an opening of awareness to a sense that we can be perceiving through a focus of consciousness that is different from our past. It can feel like we are opening to a message outside our known reality, as Neptune is a far-out planet bridging our solar system to what revolves beyond, or it can feel like a current rising from deep within our depths. We can experience moments of realization within a flood of former boundaries dissolving, yet the tendency is to fall back again into the security of the old reality instead of following the seemingly mystical call we fear is merely an illusion.  Confusion and disorientation can engulf us when we look to our former self image to provide stability, as under these waves we feel the superficial structure of its facade.

Making all of Neptunes significations even more impactful is the additional transit of Jupiter in Scorpio applying to a trine with Neptune in Pisces as it stations.  Since Jupiter’s rulership connects it directly into the Mars and Pluto square, we will be more likely to feel enough passion and motivation to set sails in the direction the Neptunian wind and current is leading us.  Jupiter will form its first exact trine with Neptune on December 2 as the Moon waxes toward the upcoming Gemini Full Moon.  As I wrote recently on the trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be a dominant influence in the year ahead:

“Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.”

Andrew Wyeth trodden weed

Trodden Weed by Andrew Wyeth

Venus is important to reflect upon at the New Moon not only because it is co-present with the lunation in Scorpio and applying to a square with the lunar nodes, but also because it has entered it’s liminal phase of invisibility, disappearing from morning skies under the beams of the Sun.  At this point in her cycle, Venus is on the far side of the Sun from us slowly approaching her Superior Conjunction with the Sun that will eventually occur at nineteen degrees of Capricorn on January 8, 2018.  Since Venus is heading toward a union with our Sun that will occur in close proximity to Pluto in Capricorn, there is a degree of foreshadowing happening in terms of Pluto being tightly bound to the meaning of the Scorpio New Moon.  As Venus descends into the underworld of her invisible phase, we may notice elements of past Venusian attachments stripping away while other elements of Venusian desire begin to take on greater prominence.

Finally, it is important to realize that we have the waxing half of the forthcoming lunar cycle to bask in the glory of Mercury shining bright as an Evening Star on its way toward a union with Saturn near the degrees of our Galactic Center.  Mercury will ultimately station retrograde close in timing with the upcoming Full Moon in Gemini, but within the darkening twilight of the Scorpio New Moon the Star of Hermes continues to bring illumination.  While this is a strong phase of Mercury for reflection and integration of recent experiences, we have also already entered the “Mercury retrograde shadow zone” of the zodiacal terrain that Mercury will later return to retrograde a second time, ultimately moving back through again a third time.  Therefore, its a good idea to check out the range of the upcoming Mercury retrograde from thirteen to twenty-nine degrees of Sagittarius and how it impacts your natal chart, and beginning to sense if you can feel what changes are coming with the upcoming retrograde movement and what elements of your life with become an important focus of attention as we head into 2018.

7_cups_RWS_lg

7 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Scorpio 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third face of Scorpio associated with the Seven of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image each of the seven chalices holds an embodiment of a desire, such as fame, fortune, lust and other earthly powers.  The veiled figure in the center brings to mind the burning desire of Sophia in gnostic texts to gain ultimate understanding, a desire it is said that cast a veil whose shadow became the material world we traverse often overwhelmed by desire like the shadowy figure in the image.  Some interpret the image as signifying that through discernment we may choose to follow the one desire that will bring clarity needed to make choices aligned with our inner values and desires.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces linked the Seven of Cups to the third face of Scorpio through their shared meaning of becoming dominated by obsessive desires.   Coppock ascribed the image of “A Crow” to the third decan of Scorpio, noting that the essence of this face involves the putrefaction of desire that leads to direct contact with the nature of desire.  Coppock posited that through the loss of unfulfilled desire, the process of separating our desire from the external objects of desires brings the ability to reseed and regenerate core desires.  Coppock wrote that the third face of Scorpio contains a “formula of liberation, for if we were not capable of laying our desires to rest, returning them to pure energy, we would be enchained forever, prisoners of what we once held dear.”

While Coppock pointed out that many older images associated with the decan hold the symbolism of drunken, uncontrolled desires of a ferocious and violent quality, I am most intrigued by an image in the Liber Hermetis that contains “a human body and the form of a he-goat, holding eggs hanging from a thread in both hands.”  The eggs strung by thread suggests to me a meaning we can find in the final face of Scorpio that involves the fertility of destiny and the ripening of the moment.  Along these lines, it is further fascinating to consider that the ancient Hellenistic fragmentary text 36 Airs ascribed Kairos to the third face of Scorpio.  You are likely familiar with the term kairos referring to the opportune moment for something to occur that is not confined to the demands of chronological time.  Yet Kairos in Greek myth was the youngest son of Zeus as well as the lover of Fortuna, an embodiment of luck and favorable opportunities.  Kairos was seen as always moving with winged feet, carrying a razor or scales that represent the fleeting moment in which opportunity comes and goes, the moment we need to seize and not neglect.

The Moon rules the third face of Scorpio in the triplicity rulership scheme, lending added potency to the New Moon and unlocking the gates of this decan’s meaning.  The square from Mars to Pluto brings the fires of urgency to the moment so that we will be ready to take action when the opportune moment arises.  The time has come to let go of what has come to pass, opening fully to the soulful desires felt within the presence of our quiet contemplation.

Joy is inexpressibly more than happiness. Happiness befalls people, happiness is fate, while people cause joy to bloom inside themselves.  Joy is plainly a good season for the heart; joy is the ultimate achievement of which humans are capable.

— Rainer Maria Rilke

References

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

Rilke, Rainer Maria (2006). Letters on Life. Edited and translated by Ulrich Baer. The Modern Library Classics.

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Taurus Full Moon: Unveiling Essence

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Selene on her chariot, detail from sarcophagus with the myth of Endymion and Selene.

Full Moon in Taurus

The Full Moon in Taurus arrives in the cross quarter holiday time of Samhain, the turn of the wheel in the Northern Hemisphere into the dark season.  Traditionally this is a time in which the veils separating our material awareness with the otherworldly realm of spirits and ancestors thins, supporting rituals that shed what we need to release and invite embodiment of the harvest we want to reap in the year ahead.  Fittingly, the aspects surrounding the Taurus Full Moon facilitate opening our bodily senses and extrasensory perceptions to guidance that incites inspiration toward new horizons of passionate pursuits.  While the Moon reflecting the full light of our Sun is always a peak moment of bringing down cosmic messages for us to receive, the Taurus Full Moon is particularly potent in terms of integrating the luminosity within subjective senses and bodily awareness.

The Taurus Full Moon is opposite both the Sun and Jupiter in Scorpio, and forms harmonious aspects of a sextile with Neptune and a trine with Pluto.   A full lunation in the Moon’s exaltation forming a pleasant sextile with Neptune in Pisces is ideal for making the personal space to sink into one’s skin and inner realms, luxuriating in whatever will help calm nerves and soothe the stress of recent events.  In the context of our 2017 calendar year, the Taurus Full Moon is marking our passage into its final stage, making this a perfect time to reflect back on events of the past year in order to intuit any realignments needed.  The past year has had a lot of fiery astrological aspects akin to wildfires out of control, and so the emphasis of this lunation on the water and earth elements can help cool and ground being.  As you center into the imaginal fertility of the Taurus Full Moon, ask for guidance regarding the gifts you have been carrying that are ready to be brought forth into the wider world.

The Full Moon is forming a tight square to Ceres in Leo, and a wide square to the transiting lunar nodes.  In addition to the square with Ceres in Leo, the Taurus lunation is in a sign based square with the series of eclipses occurring in Leo and Aquarius.  These aspects intensify and deepen the capacity of the Taurus Full Moon to help you connect with creative actualization of your soul gifts and talents.  There will be a need for hard work and discipline in bringing them to the fruition of their promise, yet the type of passionate work involved in this type of process brings the happiness of actualized fulfillment.  Let the stress and grief of the past dissolve as much as possible in the silvery light of the Moon so that you can more fully feel what wants to be expressed more freely.

leonoracarringtonthepomp

Leonora Carrington (1947) The Pomps of the Subsoil

Mercury in Scorpio is emerging from under the beams of the Sun as the Moon waxes full, meaning that Mercury will now begin to be a glimmer of an Evening Star momentarily at sunset.  This is an oracular moment in Mercury’s synodic cycle in which the Star of Hermes brings forth a message that illuminates what has previously been hidden.  There has been a huge emphasis recently on the secretive realm of Scorpio, with the recent of ingress of Jupiter in Scorpio, Mercury entering Scorpio to unite with Jupiter, followed by the Sun entering Scorpio and uniting with Jupiter a week before the Full Moon.  Mercury has been attuned to the microbes within the soil underlying our reality, and now emerges in twilight to announce its findings.  Mercury will be increasing in light as an Evening Star each successive day at sunset, creating ample opportunities to integrate what has been incubating inside ourselves to bring forth into outward expression.

In contrast to Mercury becoming visible again at the Taurus Full Moon, Jupiter remains invisible and combust under the beams of the Sun.  Jupiter began a new synodic cycle with the Sun a week before the Full Moon, bringing us visions of what we can create and actualize in the year ahead as well as a portal into underlying dynamics of our life.  Jupiter is now involved in the purifying process of separating from the Sun, and though its new cycle has begun it is still within a phase that calls us to reorganize elements of our life to establish better conditions to support our new developing priorities.  Jupiter in Scorpio calls us to go deep within ourselves and make honest appraisals of how we have been finding meaning and what we have been prioritizing in this process.  Jupiter in combustion is a transformative experience that aligns with the metamorphosis of Scorpio:  Jupiter has shed its skin but is still in process of coalescing into its new form.  As the Moon wanes in the cycle ahead, Jupiter will become visible again as a Morning Star and we will in correspondence become more securely anchored within our experience of the new meaning brought to us by Jupiter in Scorpio.

I am an Amateur of Velocipedes 1941 by Leonora Carrington 1917-2011

Leonora Carrington (1941) ‘I am an Amateur of Velocipedes’

The electrifying excitement of the Taurus Full Moon is brought by the lady of the lunation, Venus in Libra.  Venus in Libra rules the Taurus Full Moon while forming an exact opposition with Uranus in Aries, adding a spontaneous and free spirited quality demanding activation.  Since the previous New Moon in Libra was opposite Uranus, Uranus in Aries has been holding an immense influence over the current lunar cycle that will now become fully illuminated.  In addition, since Venus last formed a conjunction with Uranus back in June, we can additionally gain enlightenment regarding storylines that emerged in our life five months ago.  Fear and concern often gets generated in astrological circles regarding oppositions between Venus and Uranus, since the harmoniously pleasant significations of Venus are at odds with the more shocking and rebellious significations of Uranus.  It’s easy to imagine unexpected disruptions and accidents foiling our carefully tended plans to bring about Venusian joy, or wreaking havoc in our personal relationships.

However, though there is great tension stoked between Venus and Uranus at the Full Moon, there are ways to find outlets of expression for it.  Essentially Uranus wants us to be authentic and seize the necessary freedom and independence to express our force of spirit in the world around us.  If we are in relationships that foster and nurture our ability to freely express ourselves, there are creative breakthroughs that can come about through the Venus Uranus opposition rather than breakdowns.  This potential is aided by Venus being in her own sign of Libra, giving her all of her resources needed to have a good time with the Uranian vibration.  In addition, Uranus is in the home of Mars, and Mars is in Libra, the sign of Venus.  This again gives some emphasis to Venus within the dynamic tension, and the capacity for this transit to bring inspirational experiences in relationships and creative expression.

At the same time, the dynamic tension between Venus and Uranus can certainly coincide with unexpected events arising that disrupt our preconceived expectations.  It will be important during the time surrounding the Full Moon to be ever ready for spontaneous responses and to keep ourselves centered whenever changes erupt suddenly that could be sources of increased stress.  Uranus has been a major factor in astrology during 2017, and so Venus now opposing it from her own sign of Libra will generate deeper understanding of all of the underlying shifting that has been going on within our lives this past year.  We are at the same time shifting into the final period of Venus being visible as a Morning Star, for once she enters Scorpio as the Moon wanes in light in the week ahead, she will begin to move under the beams of the Sun as she approaches a euphoric union with Jupiter at the same time.  Venus is closing out her period of visibility with exciting aspects that will bring vital insights.

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Chiron with Peleus and Achilles from the Golden Porch: A Book of Greek Fairy Tales (1914)

The other major aspects of the Full Moon involve Saturn in Sagittarius, Chiron in Pisces, and Uranus in Aries.  Saturn is separating from a catalytic square with Chiron and applying toward a stabilizing trine with Uranus, weaving together our experiences of two of the biggest astrological aspects in transit during the past year.  Previously in March and April of 2017 during the Venus retrograde transit, we experienced another intensification of these aspects as Venus stationed direct conjoining Chiron and in square to Saturn.  Now Venus is forming a harmonious sextile with Saturn as it opposes Uranus, and Mercury in Scorpio is also mediating through a trine with Chiron. Altogether we have the conditions for the Taurus Moon to bring us the deep wisdom of the lessons Saturn, Chiron, and Uranus have been teaching.

Chiron has the astrological label of the “wounded healer” for a reason, as we often do experience pain and hurt when facing the tasks brought by Chiron transits.  However, whatever struggles we have had to face with our identity or capacity to self actualize, we are now at a more seasoned place in our experience of the series of squares between Saturn and Chiron to embody the strength we have been cultivating.  Chiron bridges the realm within Saturn with the realm beyond where Uranus resides, and can help us both in opening to our gifts as well as developing the resiliency and discipline needed to bring our talents into full manifestation.

Furthermore, as the Moon’s light wanes in the cycle ahead, we will experience the third and final exact trine between Saturn and Uranus on November 11.  Saturn and Uranus were previously exactly trine on December 24, 2016 and again on May 18, 2017 following a catalytic Mercury retrograde phase that intensified the Uranian energy as Mercury stationed direct in range of a conjunction with Uranus.  The trine between Saturn and Uranus in the past year has been a call to take bold leaps of invention in our work while simultaneously sustaining grounded structures to make sure we develop our projects in ways that will make a tangible impact in the surrounding collective.  Let the Full Moon help you brainstorm unexpected improvements to whatever plans you have been working on, and then push forward with work as the trine between Saturn and Uranus perfects in the week ahead.

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6 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Taurus 2 Decan

The Taurus Full Moon falls in the second face of Taurus associated with the Six of Pentacles 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, and the image of the scales could further be interpreted as signifying a sense of internal balance and authenticity in the process.  Through inner harmony transmitted through 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” (p. 75).  Coppock referenced that the Hellenistic text 36 Airs ascribed the Horae to the second decan of Taurus, a trinity of goddesses of the seasons and natural cycles of time. Coppock wrote the Horae point towards the need for “passion and discipline merged in rhythmic union” utilizing the virtuous character traits of “peace, order, and justice.”

The Moon rules the second decan of Taurus, making the tremendous potency of the decan fully activated by the Full Moon.  The Moon in its own face, triplicity, and exaltation, ruled by Venus in her own sign, means its bright light can open gates of awareness to exactly what we need to know and feel about the present and how to expand into greater abundance moving forward.  Enjoy.

References

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

 

 

Jupiter in Scorpio

Hokusai_Dragon

Dragon by Hokusai

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

transcend dull ordering Nature. For she was roused
to full hearing only when Orpheus sang.
You were still swayed by those ancient chords
and a bit annoyed if a tree took stock

before it followed where your hearing led.
You still knew the place where the lyre
rose resounding—; the undreamt-of center.

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

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter enters the dark waters of Scorpio on October 10, 2017 and remains within its shadowy depths until November 8, 2018.  Scorpio is not a natural match for Jupiter in terms of its intrinsic meaning aligning smoothly with the uplifting purpose we receive through Jupiter.  Yet the tension between the meaning of Scorpio and Jupiter is fertile ground for provoking the types of struggles and determination necessary to foster greater strength in developing past previous limitations and obstacles to growth.  The signs of Cancer, Sagittarius, and Pisces are considered to be the zodiacal terrain most akin to the essential nature of Jupiter, yet Scorpio may be embraced as a sign in which we can work with Jupiter for unique ends like nowhere else.  Jupiter descending into the underworld atmosphere of Scorpio brings passion for penetrating into the heart of the matter and unearthing wisdom from the deepest levels of focus and experience.

Scorpio is a sign transitioning Jupiter from Libra, the airy home of Venus which is comfortable for Jupiter, into its fiery home of Sagittarius where it enjoys all of its resources needed for grand visions of imagination and higher mind.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio, however its time in Scorpio is absolutely necessary in terms of helping us delve deeper into our own subconscious as well as gain insight into the sea of collective unconsciousness swirling around us.  There are numerous mythic figures who reveal aspects of the meaning we can find with Jupiter in Scorpio, such as Dionysus the subterranean Zeus whose epiphanic experiences include chaotic moments of being torn apart so as to be brought back together again into wholeness.   We may also consider Osiris, the generous and noble cultivator of ancient civilization whose destiny necessitates descent into the underworld realm of spirits and ancestors.  The more we are willing to probe within and contemplate our depths, facing our fears and whatever else has been buried inside, the more we will be able to leap and embody the potential of Jupiter’s time in Sagittarius which will begin in November 2018.

Jupiter does possess a level of essential dignity from nineteen degrees and beyond of Scorpio:  the Egyptian bounds of Jupiter within Scorpio extends between nineteen and twenty-four degrees, and Jupiter is also the ruler of the third decan of Scorpio within the triplicity rulership scheme.  Jupiter will be in these degrees from mid January 2018 through the beginning of May 2018 and then return again at the beginning of September 2018 for the rest of its transit through Scorpio.  These degrees are more within the domain of Jupiter than the rest of Scorpio, and we may find that in correspondence we can more readily transmute our experience of Jupiter in Scorpio into the sort of wisdom we can integrate into our daily life.

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by Georgia O’Keeffe, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Player Piano)

Jupiter loves to coalesce meaning from experience, stabilizing our lives at the same time it expands, elevates, and progresses personal narratives.  Since Scorpio is a water sign, it brings Jupiter the opportunity to do this through penetration into personal feelings and emotions, allowing our watery depths to both absorb lessons while dissolving old hangups and restrictive patterns.  Jupiter does not have triplicity rulership over water signs, yet finds both its exaltation (Cancer) and inner home (Pisces) in the other two water signs.  Perhaps it is the fixed nature of Scorpio that can bring both obsession and stubbornness that makes Scorpio a more challenging testing ground for Jupiter.  However, the fixed quality of Scorpio does align with the stabilizing nature of Jupiter, for Scorpio will fight for security against all odds.

Scorpio as a fixed water sign can help us deepen the relationships and projects we initiated during the past year with Jupiter in Libra into long lasting enterprises nurtured by strong foundations.   Scorpio facilitates merging with others, and so during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio we will be able to dive deeper through sexuality and cultivate new levels of intimacy with partners.  Jupiter in Scorpio also bolsters realization of higher meaning through intensifying studies of spiritual or philosophical bodies of knowledge.  Through philosophical studies and spiritual experiences with Jupiter in Scorpio our entire being can become transmuted so as to realize a vaster whole that contains our expanding perceptions.  We will need to be careful at times of becoming overly obsessed with merging with external sources and remember to re-center and ground within following experiences of cathartic, transformative union that bring a new sense of self.

The inward energy of Scorpio supports allowing things to take shape more at their own pace, yet the gifts Scorpio possesses for Jupiter need to be activated by courageous determination rather than passive acquiescence. The stability we can experience with Jupiter in Scorpio needs to be balanced with a willingness to push the envelope and pierce the veil of material illusions to discover the animated soul qualities underpinning our reality.  Jupiter in Scorpio does not necessarily involve spiritualism, however, and in fact could also correlate with those exploring atheist or existential lines of thought.  The unifying feature of Jupiter in Scorpio is engagement in obsessive pursuits in which our entire being is thrust into embodied exploration at the deepest levels of wherever we direct focus.  We will need to temper going overboard with obsessive desires and remember to be respectful of ethical boundaries.

In particular we will need to be honest about inner feelings and be curious and open with whatever arises from within our unconscious into awareness without denial.  Exploring the shadow of whatever is in our conscious awareness is a constant balancing act we will need to be engaged in, for the slippery shadow continually mutates as we bring light to our own darkness.  We will be rewarded in the year ahead with Jupiter in Scorpio when we take responsibility for nurturing our inner wounds and embracing natural change, avoiding emotional manipulation of others or refusing to compromise in manipulating the desired outcomes of effort.  Jupiter in Scorpio brings ample stores of determination and willpower to infuse into whatever we are developing, pursuing, or protecting.

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.”

— Terrence McKenna, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio is within the home of Mars, and so the wisdom we gain will often come through displays of willpower and determination in the face of difficulties, through resiliency while struggling with conflicts.  According to the ancient philosopher Empedocles, the constant fluctuating between forces of Strife and Love are at the root of Creation and our experience.  Peter Kingsley in his book Reality argued that our modern wishful thinking idealizes Love and demonizes Strife, but reading of Empedocles indicates the necessity of Strife in developing presence and cultivating awareness to enable direct experience.  Kingsley wrote we can work with Strife to destroy “our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the way things are,” as “the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die” (p. 435).

In contrast to the significations of harmony and union brought by Venus to Jupiter transiting through Libra in the past year, Mars brings significations more aligned with challenges requiring courage.  Our process of learning lessons through Jupiter in Scorpio will include the alchemy of elements becoming separated in order to become purified and brought back together into a cohesive whole.  Jupiter in Scorpio will facilitate severing yourself from past toxic addictions and patterns, bringing determined willfulness into intentional alterations and change.  Through whatever struggles we endure with Jupiter in Scorpio, a more meaningful approach to life imbibed with intrinsic purpose may be distilled.

Mars signifies the warrior and protector, and so Jupiter in Scorpio will also amplify efforts of political activism centered around protecting human and environmental rights.  Jupiter in Scorpio will help deepen bonds of camaraderie among those aligned in purposeful value, intensifying efforts to promote social justice that were triggered during Jupiter’s catalytic transit through Libra that featured powerfully charged interactions with transiting Uranus and Pluto.  Notably, Jupiter in Scorpio will now be heading toward harmonious aspects with the outer planets Neptune in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn, bringing opportunities for profound integration of wisdom from our experiences.

Monet_waterlilies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter trine Pisces Neptune

The ocean-like immensity of joy

Arising when all beings will be freed,

Will this not be enough? Will this not satisfy?

The wish for my own freedom, what is that to me?

— Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

Perhaps the most exciting element of Jupiter’s time in Scorpio will be its trine to Neptune in Pisces that will open greater access to the potential of Neptune’s transit through Pisces.  Jupiter previously formed a trine to Neptune in Pisces when it was in Cancer in 2013, however Jupiter’s time in Cancer then also involved it being opposite Pluto and in square to Uranus.  The stability of the trine between Jupiter and Neptune across the next year will be more easily accessed, and it should also help that Jupiter will be in a harmonious aspect with Pluto.  There is enormous potential for spiritual insight, cathartic works of imagination, and the shedding of beliefs we realize are illusory.

Neptune can be associated with escaping the harshness of reality through various forms of illusions, yet the trine from Pisces Neptune to Scorpio Jupiter calls us to awaken and courageously meet the world as it is with all of its suffering, without denial.  Like a Bodhisattva willing to return and return again in order to help enlighten and liberate others, Jupiter in Scorpio will support persevering through uncomfortable truths in order to engage the world wholeheartedly and to compassionately serve the greater good.  Jupiter in Scorpio will support testing and probing our beliefs, discovering where we are truly being mindful in the moment and where we have been led into deception.  In addition, for those who study astrology, other esoteric arts or spirituality, as well as other forms of philosophy and science, the year ahead with Jupiter in trine to Neptune holds extraordinary potential for deepening understanding.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between mid November and mid December of 2017, becoming exact on 2 December 2017.  Jupiter will again be within three degrees of a trine with Neptune between May and September of 2018, becoming exact on 25 May 2018 and again on 19 August 2018.

Monet, water lillies

by Claude Monet, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Scorpio Jupiter sextile Capricorn Pluto

“And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, born with Jupiter in Scorpio (from his novel Slaughterhouse Five)

In Scorpio, Jupiter shifts from being in a harsh square with Pluto into a harmonious sextile, bringing the opportunity to integrate vital lessons from the past year of Jupiter being shook by intense aspects from Uranus and Pluto.  Many modern astrologers associate Pluto with rulership of Scorpio, but no matter your astrological framework the sextile between Jupiter and Pluto brings the potential for gaining empowerment through embodying integrity and purging inauthentic aspects accumulated through cultural conditioning.  With Jupiter harmoniously interacting with both Pluto and Neptune, we have the ideal climate for a heartfelt dive into Soul for guidance.  In Scorpio, Jupiter will support breaking free from cultural judgments, conditioning, and taboos that have previously repressed expression of essential nature.  It will be necessary in this process to contemplate the parameter’s of one’s ethical framework so as to act within the bounds of our values and ideals.

As Jupiter forms its sextile with Pluto, Saturn will also enter Capricorn and begin to complete the end of its cycle with Pluto.  Those already entrenched within power structures will be likely to use whatever means necessary to hold on to their control, and here we will experience the dangerous manipulative side of Jupiter in Scorpio through attempts to coerce public opinion with deceptive tactics.  For those seeking to expose the corruption of hierarchical systems of power, however, Jupiter in Scorpio while in sextile with Pluto brings enormous capacity for discovering and revealing information that can bring corrupt tyrants to their downfall.  The polarized political climate around the world is likely to get even more combative with Jupiter in Scorpio, but the resources Scorpio provides for revelation of truth can be utilized for significant results and progress by activists fighting for social justice.

Jupiter will be within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from the end of December 2017 until the beginning of May 2018, becoming exact on 15 January 2018 and again on 13 April 2018.  Jupiter will once again come within three degrees of a sextile with Pluto from late August 2018 until the end of September 2018, becoming exact on 12 September 2018.

The Woman in White 1871 by Frederick Walker 1840-1875

by Frederick Walker, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Jupiter in Scorpio at the Bending

Jupiter in Scorpio will pivotally begin to form a square to the transiting lunar nodes as it moves through the sign of the Scorpion.  Ancient astrology called this aspect being at the bendings, as planets in square to the lunar nodes are at a far away bend of arc away from the lunar nodes.  Planets in square to the lunar nodes must be dealt with and have an air of unavoidable necessity in our lives.  In our personal lives the impact of Jupiter in Scorpio in square to the lunar nodes will be karmic, since the nodes are intersection points for the paths of the Sun, signifying our source of Soul, and the Moon, signifying our incarnated bodies in reception of Soul.

As a result, all of the significations of Jupiter in Scorpio have something vital to add to our experience of the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius.  The penetrating depth of insight brought by Jupiter in Scorpio will bring increased awareness into how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms, and how we can share our gifts in service to community.  The Leo North Node of the Moon emphasizes creative actualization and pursuing desires that bring visceral vivification rather than restraint.  With the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, we are experiencing a purification of our humanitarian ideals and how we can contribute to creating the type of global community we wish to exist within.  Jupiter in Scorpio will thrust us into exploration of difficult questions and answers, enabling us to get at the underlying roots of our current circumstances.

Since the lunar nodes mark the places of eclipses, this also means that Jupiter in Scorpio will be forming catalytic squares with the degrees of Lunar and Solar eclipses and will be a key influence in collective and personal events emanating from the eclipses.  Judith Hill in her book Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides put together the following list of mundane events influenced by the planet Jupiter impacting eclipse degrees:

Popes, organized religion, schools, large craft, the air travel industry, trains, large ships, trains, trade, immigration/emigration, travel industry, loans, stocks, speculation, publishing, great men, philanthropy, famous benefactors and philanthropists, benign legal decisions, elections of good people, judges, great generals, benign or beloved heads of state, bail-outs, charity, senators, congress, congressmen, conferences, colleges, education, advertising, publicity, expansions, liberal laws, lawyers . . . joyous celebrations, heads of organized religion, great saints. (p. 130-131)

Jupiter will end up stationing retrograde in range of a square to the Leo and Aquarius eclipses on 9 March 2018 at 23º13′.  This degree forms a tight square to the first Leo Lunar Eclipse that occurred on 10 February 2017.  It also is within range of a square to the monumental Total Solar Eclipse in Leo that occurred on 21 August 2017.  The stationing of Jupiter in mid March will catalyze storylines that developed in accordance with these past two Leo eclipses.  In addition, there is a Solar Eclipse in Aquarius that will occur on 15 February 2018 at 27º Aquarius that will add another major wave of influence into the narratives that will be further amplified when Jupiter stations retrograde in March.

The internal darkness of Scorpio will help nurture our experience of Jupiter so as to help transform our beliefs and faith into greater alignment with the underlying natural order and fabric of our reality.  We will feel compelled to challenge and confront the dictates and doctrines of the dominant paradigms found within society, including religious, political, and metaphysical systems.  There will be many treasures to uncover from within the waters of Scorpio in the coming year as long as we maintain the fortitude necessary for the dive.

How the cry of a bird can move us . . .
Any shaped, created cry.
But children, playing out in the open,
cry beyond real cries.

Cry hazard. Into the narrow crevices
of this world-space (through which the uncaught
bird-cry slips, the way we enter dreams—)
they drive their shrieking’s wedges.

Alas, where are we? Drifting freer and freer,
like kites torn loose from their strings
we lurch about in midair, frayed by laughter,

ripped by winds. —O array the criers,
singing god! Let them awake as a roaring,
one deep current carrying head and lyre.

from Sonnets to Orpheus by Rainer Maria Rilke, born with Jupiter in Scorpio

Rodin, Balzac photo

Balzac, Toward the Light, Midnight (1908) Photograph by Edward Steichen of Auguste Rodin’s Balzac statue. Rodin was born with Jupiter in Scorpio.

References

Hill, Judith. (2013). Eclipses and You: How to Align with Life’s Hidden Tides. Stellium Press.

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

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

Shantideva. (1997). The Way of the Bodhisattva. Translated by the Padmakara translation group. Shambhala Library.

Libra New Moon: Balancing Uranus

Man_Ray,_1922,_Untitled_Rayograph

Untitled Rayograph (1922) by Man Ray

New Moon in Libra

The New Moon in Libra on October 19 is opposite Uranus in Aries, creating a polarized atmosphere of torrential winds making the oscillating scales of Lady Justice challenging to bring into balance.  Notably the Libra New Moon reactivates the catalytic opposition between Jupiter and Uranus that has dominated the past year of astrology, since the New Moon is at the same place in zodiac that Jupiter was recently occupying in its opposition to Uranus.  Jupiter has now moved into Scorpio, yet is still less than eight degrees away from an opposition with Uranus.  The cycle between Jupiter and Uranus is one of the most dramatic in astrology in terms of dismantling dominant paradigms while opening new horizons of awareness, and this past year we have been experiencing an initiation into its peak phase. Considering we are in a time period in which many unexpected events are occurring on a daily basis, it makes sense that Jupiter and Uranus have been one of the biggest influences and that the current New Moon in Libra is reactivating their dynamic.

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

The liberating energy of Jupiter and Uranus that can open mainstream perspectives to new horizons of greater openness could at the same time be said to provoke fear in those afraid of change and the breaking apart of old traditions that have been a source of comfort and security.  Perhaps it is this fear that leads some to become entrenched in political or religious identities that bring a sense of security, even when associated actions and policies promote systematic oppression of other identities.  Uranus can promote liberation from any dynamics infringing upon personal sovereignty, yet the dynamics of independence within the complex networks of power and oppression across our planet leads to aggressive conflicts rather than engaged collaboration.  In personal spheres remember it can be possible to work with Uranus in collaborative ways of shared energy that can bring a sense of empowered presence to all participants.

Saturn in Sagittarius is playing a mediating role between Uranus opposing the New Moon in Libra, similarly to how Saturn was also in a position of mediation between the opposition of Jupiter and Uranus.   Astrologer Charlie Obert wrote an article entitled Astrology, Geometry and Politics in which he reflected that when dealing with an opposition in astrology, it is always beneficial to find the zodiac degrees forming a harmonious trine or sextile to the opposition points, as they are in places capable of mediating the polarizing tension in order to find a third point that can transcend and harmonize the dualistic acrimony of opposing forces.  Today we are experiencing both Saturn and the transiting lunar nodes in places that are forming both trine and sextile aspects to the opposition between Uranus and the New Moon.  While this offers a sign of hope, in order to reap the full benefits Saturn in Sagittarius calls for us to speak and act in complete integrity with our values, being willing to question and reflect wherever we are holding on to viewpoints that feed into systematic oppression.

When Uranus repeatedly becomes triggered by transits as we have been experiencing in recent months, as individuals we become tapped more directly into the collective, underlying field of shared realities.  Libra is the airy home of Venus which supports acting in accordance with the needs of relationships, and its symbol of the scales signifies its constant fluctuating of things becoming unbalanced as part of its balancing act.  The New Moon in Libra will guide us to notice whatever is out of balance between our conscious and unconscious as well as between ourselves and our external relationships.  Uranus brings the capacity to liberate ourselves from old wounds and limitating patterns that separate us from a fully empowered presence.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can grieve our old wounds while ceremonially shedding our old, dead parts in order to access the essential power we hold in the moment to direct into our callings of the future.

man ray nusch eluard

Nusch Eluard by Man Ray

Venus in Libra

The most auspicious aspect of the Libra New Moon is that it is ruled by Venus in her own home.  Venus can deliver the needed resources to make communication and interactions between participants in the Libra New Moon nourished and inspirationally animated.  Libra is the Cardinal, outwardly directed home of Venus where the significations of Venus occur at a swift pace and add impetus to strike out on new endeavors and become more collaborative in community.  Venus at home in the same sign as the New Moon also supports us staying engrossed in difficult yet necessary conversations within all of our relationships, from the personal to the professional to the passing.  The polarized, argumentative collective climate requires engagement in dialogue that brings up uncomfortable feelings without running away from the interaction.  Through listening, disagreements can become clarified and create openings for compromise.

Venus is applying to a sextile with Ceres in Leo at the New Moon, bringing dynamic creative strength to help those who can benefit from our service as well as to protect those suffering or reeling from systematic oppression.  Demetra George wrote that in the natal chart Ceres in Leo “people identify nurturance with self-expression” and “can nurture others by helping them to express their creativity- thereby making a unique impression upon the outer world.”  Similarly the transit of Venus harmoniously interacting with Ceres amplifies our ability to further develop expressions of soulful artistry and creation that can bring aesthetic nourishment and to others in need of inspiration and hope.  Venus and Ceres together also can bring practical, pragmatic aid in the form of actual food for nourishment as well as in facilitating networks of community resources.

As the Moon waxes Venus will form a square with Pluto in Capricorn on October 27 as we approach the cross-quarter holy day of Samhain, known as the witches’ new year.  The square between Venus and Pluto can take us even deeper into old wounds, and Venus at home in Libra challenging Pluto in Capricorn is a clear symbol of empowered feminine forces speaking out against patriarchal abuse.  Uranus being triggered by the Libra New Moon combined with the coming square between Venus and Pluto brings the opportunity to shed the parts of us that are haunted from the past and need release.  This doesn’t mean the pain of the past will go away or we will no longer need to grieve, only that we can gain more direct access to our inner power and the capacity to act with greater integrity and stronger boundaries moving forward.  This can be a powerful time for focusing on nurturing and healing from within as well as being a source of support for others in need.

man ray rayograph film reels

by Man Ray

Jupiter & Mercury in Scorpio

The most dramatic recent shift in astrology has been the entrance of Jupiter into Scorpio.  At the time of the Libra New Moon, Mercury is separating from a conjunction with Jupiter as both of them are in the symbolic underworld of being invisible under the beams of the Sun.  Interestingly, Jupiter is moving deeper into darkness and it’s coming union with the Sun, while Mercury is heading toward emergence from the underworld and becoming visible again as an Evening Star.  Mercury’s union with Jupiter takes us more deeply into the meaning Jupiter will be bringing us in the year ahead while traveling through the dark depths of Scorpio.  It’s fitting that both Jupiter and Mercury are in the astrological underworld as they unite in Scorpio, as Jupiter in Scorpio brings the necessity of penetrating into our unconscious depths as well as the deepest levels of reality we can comprehend.  Jupiter does not feel as comfortable in Scorpio as it did in the more uplifting sign of Libra, however there is vital purpose and meaning to be found in Jupiter’s journey through the sign of the Scorpion.

The Libra New Moon brings a powerful opportunity to reflect upon the experiences of the past week with Jupiter freshly in Scorpio to gain awareness of shifts we are experiencing in correspondence with Jupiter shifting signs.  The events and storylines of Jupiter’s opposition to Uranus will continue to play out during Jupiter’s time in Scorpio, with Jupiter in Scorpio bringing the capacity to probe into the underlying meaning of our experiences and reach greater integration of the wisdom to be found, as well as shedding what needs to be let go.  Jupiter in Scorpio can signify becoming obsessed with pursuits of passions and fully engrossing ourselves in certain projects or relationships, and so you may already notice your intrinsic desires beginning to center and focus on endeavors to more deeply explore.

As the Moon waxes Mercury will enter into a trine with Neptune on October 24 that will be full of imaginative, creative potential to access.  The trine between Mercury and Neptune also foreshadows the coming trine between Jupiter in Scorpio and Neptune in Pisces that will be one of the biggest influences in the coming year and will open greater access to the full potential to be found with Neptune transiting through Pisces.  In addition, as the Moon waxes toward fullness the Sun will enter Scorpio and bring to end its current cycle with Jupiter on October 26.  Jupiter in the heart of the Sun in Scorpio marks the beginning of a new cycle for Jupiter as well as time to gain an even deeper impression for what Jupiter will have in store for us while in Scorpio.  There can be greater levels of determined faith to access that is rooted in the difficult challenges of our reality rather than being bound to illusions of denial.

swords04

Libra 3 Decan

The New Moon falls in the third decan of Libra associated with the Four of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith. In the image above we see what looks to be a knight in prayer, or perhaps a sarcophagus, under a stained glass window of “PAX” or “peace.”  This image also evokes a pilgrim in meditative silence within a protected, sacred space, and likewise it can help us find our own balance at this time if we can manage to create our own space for solace in silence.  Johannes Fiebig and Evelin Burger in their book on the tarot noted symbols in the image that contrast “inner and outer issues, the abstract world and daily life, perfect ideals and limited reality.”  Within the balance of these dualities, we can sense how the figure’s positioning is like a re-balancing of our body and mind, the sword below the figure a tool to cut away the false in order to reveal our essential and genuine presence that can emerge now.

Jupiter rules the third face of Libra in the descending rulership scheme, a decan that Austin Coppock ascribed the image of “A Gyroscope” to in 36 Faces.  Coppock equated the third face of Libra with “equilibrating movement through a chaotic universe,” linking its meaning to the Four of Swords image with facing that “justice must reconcile itself to an injust world, and peace to a world riven with conflict.”  Coppock notably pointed out that earlier images associated with the third decan of Libra as found in such text as the Picatrix and Three Books of Occult Philosophy featured images of “furious indulgence” and “extremes of revelry” such as “violence, gluttony, deviant sexuality, and boisterous joy.”  If we can find balance within the wild forces moving through this decan, Coppock suggested it “allows one to see through the eye of the storm” to learn that “equipoise may be maintained in any circumstance- shelter in any storm” (p. 168-70).

Since Mercury and Jupiter are uniting in Scorpio at the New Moon, it is further interesting that Mercury is also considered a ruler of the third face of Libra in the triplicity rulership scheme.   There is no question we are all living in times of great suffering in which every day is filled with heart breaking current events.  Mercury uniting with Jupiter in Scorpio, within the rest of the Libra New Moon’s amalgam of transits, asks us to realize why we are here and what do we have to contribute toward co-creating a more equitable and just reality for all beings across our planet.  The shift in emphasis toward Scorpio in the coming lunar cycle does not shy away from difficult questions or avoid interactions for fear of having hurt feelings.  We are entering a time period in which to fearlessly enter the world with our gifts to share and our hearts and ears open to others.  In the darkness of the Libra New Moon, we can open ourselves to deeper empowerment that can be used to protect and nurture what we hold most dear.

References

Burger, Evelin & Fiebig, Johannes. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot. Llewellyn Publications.

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

George, Demetra.  (1986). Asteroid Goddesses. ACS Publications, Inc.

Full Moon in Aries

1989.281.98

Gold Ram amulet  (ca 712 – 664 B.C.)

Aries Full Moon

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

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

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

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

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

two lovers japanese print

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

Venus and Mars Unite

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

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

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

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

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

Mercury in Libra

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

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

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

wands03

3 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Aries 2 Decan

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

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

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

References

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

Pisces Full Moon & Neptune

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Fishermen at Sea (1795) by J.M. William Turner

Full Moon in Pisces

The Full Moon in Pisces on September 6 is united with Neptune, bringing amplified access to imaginal fields in which our extrasensory perception can pick up sensations and messages that would normally escape our awareness.  The floodgates opened by this lunation are especially powerful due to it being the Full Moon that follows the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo, with Mercury also stationing direct and ending it’s three week retrograde in Virgo and Leo at the same time.  It was obvious looking far in advance to this lunation that it would correlate with major life changing events due to these elements, and unfortunately in the collective there have been numerous traumatic natural disasters including monstrous floods and out of control wildfires. We can feel the dissolution of Neptune within these tragedies, as political, religious and other societal divisions between people wash away in empathy for those suffering and in united collective responses to bring aid.  For those fortunate to be out of harm’s way at this Full Moon, on personal levels this Neptunian lunation is ideal for taking a break from the fiery ambitions stoked by recent transits in order to rest, recuperate, and dream.

The opposition between the Sun and Neptune is a peak moment in our experience of Neptune, magnified to the extreme with the Full Moon additionally aligned with Neptune.  When the Neptune archetype demands our attention, we can feel more like embracing a loved one, getting lost in thoughts or images, or engaging in spontaneous creative processes rather than focusing on the details of deadlines in our daily responsibilities.  With Neptune it is easier to let ourselves flow, relax, and envision as much as our schedule will allow us to, and if it is necessary to be tightly focused on a schedule it will be important to concentrate on our use of time more so than normal.  Neptune can warp our experience of time which is not necessarily a bad thing, but can make it more difficult to keep sharp focus and make quick decisions of clarity.

Whatever was stirred up for us by the Total Solar Eclipse will now become illuminated, and with Neptune involved there is boundless potential unhindered by limitations of thought to fuel our vision for the future.  I was fortunate to make it within the band of totality to view the Total Solar Eclipse with a clear sky featuring Venus glowing bright in the otherworldly shadows at the midheaven.  There is no way for me to articulate the meaning of what can only be described as a mystical experience, but whether or not you were able to view the total blackness of the eclipse most likely you have already begun to feel irrevocable shifts in your life in correspondence with the timing.  Neptune united with the Full Moon is not the best for gaining objective clarity of the meaning of it all, but it is optimal for letting yourself open fully to the realms of inspiration and imagination.  It’s not necessary at this time to have everything analyzed and classified with interpretation, only to let yourself soak everything up and allow what wants to be born come forth.

Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory)  - the Morning after the Deluge - Moses Writing the Book of Genesis exhibited 1843 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) by J.M. William Turner (1843)

Mercury Stationing

The Pisces Full Moon receives a jolt of volatility from Mercury, as the Star of Hermes stations direct less than twenty-four hours before the lunation on the same degree as the recent Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mercury will remain in Leo picking up speed until September 9 or 10, depending upon your time zone.  With Mercury direct we now have all five traditional planets direct in motion and ready to support forward movement on goals and plans.  Mercury stationing direct can feel like waking up from a powerful dream and needing to reorient yourself to the reality of your circumstances in the shifting colors of dawn.  Once focused upon the tasks of the morning hours, however, you notice a keen mental sharpness restored able to focus at length on whatever needs to be accomplished.  Mercury’s faculties are further amplified by its conjunction with the North Node of the Moon and its formation of a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.

Mercury stationing is also inciting the applying opposition between Jupiter in Libra and Uranus in Aries that will be building throughout September.  Jupiter and Uranus make their final exact opposition on September 28 (after previously opposing one another on 26 December 2016 and 2 March 2017), and so the tension of their opposition looms over all events in September.   The peak phase between Jupiter and Uranus brings about collective revolutions that can be inspiring due to opening up new horizons of exploration, yet simultaneously other global events can feel traumatizing due to massive upheavals and dismantling.  The shadow of Jupiter and Uranus involves obsession with grandiose ambitions that leads to an over-reaching and subsequent sudden downfall, and unfortunately when global empires use military force to pursue greater amounts of power we suffer increased levels of destruction as a result.

Mercury is at least making the harmonious aspects of a sextile with Jupiter and a trine with Uranus, leading to the potential for ingenious breakthroughs in thought that can be immediately put into action.  The trine between Mercury and Uranus is especially close, and we may even find that ideas we began developing at the previous Mercury retrograde in Taurus and Aries (that saw Mercury station direct in union with Uranus at the beginning of May) now taking clearer shape in ways bringing about their manifestation.  Any projects you have been working on developing that haven’t quite coalesced together in completion can now enjoy the benefit of Mercury direct and forming strong harmonious aspects with Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus.  In addition, with Black Moon Lilith united with Saturn in Sagittarius, there is an opening available to more fully embody essential aspects of Self that have previously been repressed or exiled due to fear of judgment.  This is an excellent period to use the inspirational force of a Full Moon aligned with Neptune to make big movement within whatever you have been working on creating.

PartOfAMenat-HariesisStandsBySehkmetFlankedByWadjetAndNekhbet

Part of a meant necklace showing Horus extending a sistrum to Sekhmet, surrounded by the protector goddesses Wadjet as the cobra and Nekhbet as the white vulture.

Mars in Virgo; Venus in Leo

Venus is finally coming toward completing her cycle with Mars at the Full Moon, approaching her union with the red planet that will occur at the time of the next Full Moon in Aries on October 5.  Venus in Leo is forming a waxing quincunx with the Full Moon and Neptune in Pisces, an aspect that Jeff Green in evolutionary astrology connects with embracing humility.  The importance of this aspect to Green centers around preparation to interact in society as an equal, in order to effectively express and integrate developing visions into the surrounding social environment. Humbling is needed in order to make adjustments to overly willful and inflated desires, a potential that is very possible when we are also dealing with an opposition between Jupiter and Uranus and an extended conjunction between Mercury and Mars. The purpose behind the Gibbous re-adjustment is to analyze the structure of the surrounding social environment in order to discern how to integrate developing visions into work or service that is needed by the greater whole.

Mars is in an especially Mercurial section of Virgo at the Full Moon, not only being in the home and exaltation of Mercury but also within its bounds.  Though Mars at the time of the Full Moon has separated by sign from Mercury, by September 10 the Star of Hermes will have returned to Virgo and will begin to apply to another conjunction with Mars.  Mercury will eventually form its second conjunction with Mars in Virgo on  September 16, giving us an extended period of time to mediate the forces of Mercury and Mars coming together.  Though this can certainly correlate with heated conflict, if we can keep a cool head there is immense power involved in the union of Mercury and Mars to imbibe into good works for the greater good.   Mars and Mercury uniting at the end of Leo as Mercury stationed, at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse, brought the sort of scorching heat needed to melt old structures down into more fluid states that can now be rearranged in ways aligned with one’s authentic heart in the moment.  After Mercury re-enters Virgo in coming days we will experience greater ease in melding the forces of Mercury and Mars together into practical problem solving and invention.

Mars entering Virgo while Mercury is in the process of passing back and forth across the threshold of Virgo means that both are in the vicinity of the great fixed star Regulus.  Regulus spent over two thousand years in the tropical zodiac sign of Leo until the year 2012 when it entered Virgo. Regulus is the heart of the lion in the Leo constellation, a multiple star system with ancient associations with Mars, Jupiter, and the characteristics of leadership, described by Reinhold Ebertin as conveying “royal properties, noble mind, frankness, courage” (p. 52), and by Vivian Robson as making one “magnanimous, grandly liberal, generous, ambitious, fond of power, desirous of command, high-spirited and independent” (p. 195). If we are someone accustomed to ambitiously pursuing power, we may be confronted with experiences making us question how we have been impacting others.  If we are someone who has been repressing the expression of our gifts, a burning inner fire may propel us to seize opportunities to develop our works of passion and to realize ways in which we can more confidently present ourselves and help others as a result.  Bernadette Brady astutely warned in her book on Fixed Stars that while Regulus can bring power and success, if we take revenge on others from a place of wounding and anger than we can experience a sudden fall from grace.

Venus will move across Leo into an applying conjunction with the North Node of the Moon by the coming weekend, eventually reaching a union with the head of the dragon on September 14 as the Moon wanes in Cancer and in opposition to Pluto in Capricorn.  In the past month we have had a lot of action centered around the North Node of the Moon, with Mercury, Mars, the Sun and the Moon all passing over it, and now Venus takes her turn.  As Venus approaches the North Node, she will also enter into a trine with Saturn in Sagittarius and receive Jupiter in Libra through a sextile. Since so much Leo North Node energy has already been stirred up and volatilized, Venus moving across the head of the dragon can bring some reconciliation and harmonizing of whatever was previously torn or wounded.  Take time to not only pursue Venusian endeavors but to also make space for your own emotional nourishment, using the significations of Venus as a balm to calm nerves.
cups09

Pisces 2 Decan

The Full Moon falls in the second face of Pisces associated with the Nine of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  Jupiter rules the second face of Pisces, and we can see the jovial opulence of the great benefic in the image of rather smug satisfaction.  The Nine of Cups card is often associated with wish fulfillment, enjoying pleasure and satisfaction, and getting what we think we want. Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Net” to the Pisces second decan, a face in which “the central conflict is how to reconcile one’s understanding of the true nature of reality with the world-as-it-is,” a “phase in which we are challenged to reconcile beliefs, ideals and the way things are” (p. 251).  Coppock illuminated in 36 Faces that the crux of this decan is that fulfillment can come from harmonizing one’s inner perceptions with one’s outer life, yet torment and grief will overcome those unable to harmonize their outer and inner worlds.

Though Jupiter is not within the second face of Pisces at the Full Moon, Jupiter does have face dignity as it rules the third face of Libra it is currently transiting.  In addition, Jupiter is separating from a sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius and applying toward an opposition with Uranus in Aries-  this not only supports us daring to dream what we most desire but also finding the way with structural supports to manifest and actualize our desires.  Since the Full Moon is conjoining Neptune, the perception into underlying reality signified by their union is fitting for the meaning Austin Coppock gave to the second decan of Pisces, as the lunation will call us to integrate this depth of awareness into our daily life.  Discernment will also be needed to make sure that our dreams and goals are not out of alignment with the myriad elements of reality developing around us.  There is a strong component of visioning at this Full Moon able to be accessed, with our imagination supported by a sturdy foundation that will nurture the roots of the dream to ensure flourishing growth and development.

References

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

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

Ebertin, Reinhold. (1973). Fixed Stars and their Interpretation. Ebertin-Verlag.

Robson, Vivian. (1969). The Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology. The Aquarian Press.

OAA events: September 15 & 16

OAA graphic

Oregon Astrological Association

4312 SE Stark Street (Friend’s Meeting House)

Portland, Oregon 97215 

Friday 15 September 2017

Saturday 16 September 2017

If you are in the Portland, Oregon area, on the weekend of September 15th and 16th I will be presenting a talk and workshop for the Oregon Astrology Association about relationships and astrology. On Friday 15 September I will be giving a talk on relational astrology in general, and then on Saturday 16 September I will be giving a workshop focused upon understanding evolving relational dynamics through the secondary progressed chart.

Our Astrological Narratives in Relationship

  • Friday, September 15, 2017
  • 7:00 – 9:30pm
  • $10 for OAA members, $15 for non-members

Understanding relationship dynamics is one of the primary reasons people delve deeper into astrology. Whether we desire to heal our own relationships or want to help clients gain insight into their relationships, a fundamental skill is discerning the relational narratives found in the natal chart. Once we become aware of the relationship story found in our birth chart, we arrive at a deeper understanding for why patterns continue to resurface in relationships and why certain types of partners appear in our lives. In this talk Gray Crawford will share methods for how to distill the diverse elements of astrology charts into a coherent relationship story that reveals why we have been engaging in the types of relationships we have been, as well as how our astrological narrative continues to evolve as our relationships change. This talk will also reflect upon how to effectively use synastry and composite techniques in astrology.

Opening to the Other – Relationships in Progression

  • Saturday, September 16, 2017
  • 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm
  • $40 for OAA members, $60 non-members

The secondary progressed chart is a powerful astrology technique that penetrates into the evolving quality of the natal chart across time. We know that as time passes so do our desires for relationship transform. This workshop will explore how changes in our secondary progressed chart reveal insight into how we are opening to the relationships of our life in new ways.  This workshop will both instruct as well as give space for participants to actively gain deeper understanding into how planets shifting signs and houses through progressions reflect the changes we experience in all of our diverse relationships.  We will also explore how the changes in the interpersonal dynamics within long-term relationships can be seen in the interplay between the changes in the progressed charts of each partner.

You can order tickets from the Oregon Astrological Association website

Total Leo Solar Eclipse

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

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

Solar Eclipse in Leo

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

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

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

ClavisArtis.3headeddragonsun

from the Clavis Artis

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

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

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

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7 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 3 Decan

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

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

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

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

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

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

total solar eclipse astronomy

by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot (1882)

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

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

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

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

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Ouroborus by Liv Rainey-Smith

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

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

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

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

Written by Gray Crawford and June Rose Trimbach

References

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

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

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

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

 

 

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo & Leo

Iris

Iris

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary – and toward this point our development will move, little by little – that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

In times of destiny, when the threads of fate become loosened to be rewoven within momentous change, we can count on Mercury to slyly guide us in beguiling fashion.  Though Mercury when retrograde has become a scapegoat within popular culture, experience reveals that the Star of Hermes when retrograde enacts its namesake’s role of a psychopomp, or guide of souls.  Even the most frustrating or upsetting events that occur during times of Mercury retrograde ultimately tend to lead us onto a path that will take us into the experiences we need in order to reach our next level of growth.

Thus it is fitting that in between eclipses, periods of time that always signify vital turns of fortune and fate, Mercury will station retrograde and disappear into the invisible realm of the solar underworld at sunset.  While Mercury is retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse, both the Sun and Mars uniting with the North Node of the Moon, Saturn stationing direct, and Jupiter finally perfecting its long anticipated sextile with Saturn.  Factor in that Mercury begins its retrograde while opposite Neptune and ends its retrograde conjoining Mars at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse, while a Pisces Moon waxes full in union with Neptune, and we have an incredibly volatile and fertile mix of astrological transits that promise to bring dramatic changes and opportunities for profound growth.

Even though popular discourse labels periods of Mercury retrograde as disastrous aberrations that bring misfortunes and mishaps, the phase of Mercury retrograde is a regular cyclical phenomenon that happens at least three times every year, an essential aspect of Mercury’s orbit.  Unlike the astrological stereotypes, important actions can be initiated during Mercury retrograde as well as successful contracts signed.  However, during Mercury retrograde it is advisable to sustain mental alertness and be open to signs, symbols, and information in your environment that can help guide your intuition toward which actions to take or commitments to make.

Mercury retrograde is intrinsic to Mercury in astrology, a planetary archetype of contesting and contrasting.  While Mercury signifies insight in addition to communication, the lessons of Mercury do not always come from stability, as experience shows that chaos and disorientation can lead to illumination and realization.  Once Mercury moves retrograde it descends from being a visible Evening Star into an invisible, subterranean guide of soul catalyzing change and growth in situations that range widely from the maddening to the vivifying.  Flowing with Mercury retrograde involves letting go of strict control, opening to the wisdom coming from unexpected sources.   As the changeable nature of Mercury is found in its extremely variable speed, when Mercury slows down to station it is important to pay attention to its aspects in the natal chart as well as to other planets by transit.

This is the second year in a row that we are experiencing Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo during a time of eclipses, as last year in 2016 Mercury stationed retrograde in Virgo two days before an Annular Solar Eclipse.  This year’s version has a more mysterious opening act, however, due to it occurring in between eclipses rather than just before the beginning of eclipse season.  The days in between eclipses are always full of unexpected shifts and significant encounters, and so adding in the beginning of Mercury retrograde will amplify the strange fatefulness of the time.

Iris as Mercury and Vesta

Mercury stations retrograde while united with Vesta in Virgo and opposing Neptune in Pisces.  During the build-up to Mercury retrograde, which included the Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, Mercury formed two exact conjunctions with Vesta (Mercury has been within three degrees of Vesta in Virgo since July 26).   A figure of myth who encapsulates the symbolism of Mercury united with Vesta in opposition to Neptune is Iris, handmaiden of Hera (Juno) and messenger to the gods.  Like Hermes, Iris also carries a caduceus, yet the other magical tool she carries, the water pitcher, helps show how her function as messenger differs from Hermes.  Golden-winged and radiant, Iris is a goddess of sea and sky who connects heaven and earth, watering the clouds with her water pitcher full of the enlivening waters she collects from the sea.  She therefore helps produce the rain that brings fertility and cleansing to our Earth, yet she is perhaps most known for her association with the rainbow she also creates.  Iris is as swift as stormy winds, able to descend into the depths of both the ocean as well as the underworld.  Similar to Hermes, Iris connects the world of gods with the world of humanity.

The union of Mercury with Vesta in opposition to Neptune signifies that through devotional focus we may perceive powerful messages and guidance, while at the same time suggesting a downfall could occur when engaged with deception.  One of the mediating roles that Iris plays between humanity and the gods is through facilitating the fulfillment of the prayers and wishes of humans by illuminating them to deities in position of assistance.  Indeed, the golden wings of Iris are capable of bringing light to the most dark of places.  Yet, for those who break oaths or knowingly express falsehoods, Iris will put them to sleep with the water she has collected from the River Styx in the underworld.   Similarly, with Neptune in Pisces playing a monumental role during the period of Mercury retrograde, it will be vital to maintain focus on being honest and authentic so as not to fall into the realm of Neptunian illusion that will be capable of wreaking havoc like a tidal wave.

The association between Iris with rainbows is a beautiful symbol to work with during the upcoming Mercury retrograde that will take us into the zone of an immensely powerful Total Solar Eclipse.   Rainbows not only link heaven and earth with their transcendent and otherworldly colors, they also help to inspire hope and the capacity to believe it is possible for us to lead a more fulfilling life than current circumstances indicate.  It is further fascinating that in some versions of myth that Iris is married to Zephyrus, the west wind, and that their union gave birth to Pothos, one of the winged gods of love (the erotes) whose name translates as “yearning” and is associated with strong desire and longing for a loved one who is oftentimes absent.  It will be important to stay grounded in our earthly realm (Virgo) with clear focus (Vesta) during this Mercury retrograde period, and yet at the same time to fully realize the available gifts we will need to allow our imaginations and desires to open us to potentials that go beyond the confines of our present reality (Neptune).

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The Apparition (1917) by Marc Chagall

Mercury opposes Neptune

The union of Mercury and Vesta in Virgo in opposition to Neptune dominates the beginning of this Mercury retrograde period, with Venus in Cancer playing a facilitating role.  As Mercury stations retrograde, Venus is separating from harmonious aspects with both Neptune and Mercury (a trine with Neptune; a sextile with Mercury), as well as separating from a recent conjunction with Ceres in Cancer.  During the retrograde movement of Mercury, Venus will move on to catalytic aspects with Pluto in Capricorn, Jupiter in Libra,  and Uranus in Aries.  The influence of Uranus is further strengthened by the Moon applying to a conjunction with Uranus as Mercury stations retrograde, as well as the fact that Mercury will ultimately station direct in a helpful trine with Uranus.  However, since Mercury will also station direct less than a day before a Full Moon in Pisces that is united with Neptune, there is an unmistakeable looming influence of Neptune upon the course of events that will accompany this period of Mercury retrograde.

While the totality of the aspects listed above could coincide with many diverse forms of challenge, all of them are amazing catalysts in the realm of artistry and inspiration.  Mercury has incredible strength in Virgo, being both its home and exaltation, and so as Mercury slowly begins to peel itself backwards it can help facilitate deep focus on artistic and academic projects of all mediums and forms, especially those that involve a component of research and analysis followed by expression.  Nine days after Mercury stations retrograde we will experience a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mercury will function more as a subtle guiding influence than a dominant component of the  portal opened with the syzygy.  During powerful eclipse alignments like we will experience this month, new manifestations will appear in our lives coinciding with other elements fading away.  It is a blessing Mercury is retrograde in Virgo, as it is a mutable earth sign that can aid us in staying connected within our bodies and all of the mutating details of our daily lives.

With the strong transpersonal influences of Neptune, as well as Uranus and Pluto, upon the Mercury retrograde, the capacity of Mercury to bring nonlinear and unexpected messages from oracular sources is heightened.  Pay close attention to the messages received from synchronous alignments of your daily path with animals, plants, minerals, music, and all manner of symbolic signs.  Allow your intuition and bodily instincts to transmit impressions that you value at least as much as whatever your rational mind is constructing.  It may prove very difficult to keep events moving in accord with carefully made plans, however opening up plans and projects to the flow and all of the changes that will coincide with the month ahead can improve end results.  Oftentimes the frustrating experiences of Mercury retrograde illuminate the exact components of life that needed our attention in order to be reworked or strengthened.

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The Creation of Man (1958) by Marc Chagall

Mercury in the Heart of the Sun

The rebirth moment for Mercury during its retrograde comes on August 26 when Mercury aligns with the Sun at the exact degree and minute.  This is known as Mercury’s cazimi moment in which it enters the heart of the Sun to be purified and regenerated.  In contrast to the Mercury cazimi that occurs when Mercury is moving direct on the other side of the Sun from our orbital position (known as its superior conjunction that last happened at the Cancer Solstice), the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun occurs during its retrograde when Mercury passes in between our orbit with the Sun.  Symbolically, the superior conjunction tends to bring more spiritual epiphanies or sudden insights weaving disparate strands together, whereas Mercury at the heart of the Sun during its retrograde tends to bring a deeper, penetrating insight into the current reality of our material lives and the pang of incarnation in our earthly flesh.  In the days surrounding August 26 we may feel like resting our Mercurial functions as a part of its regeneration, however, the period of time in which Mercury is within a degree of the Sun on August 26 will bring added strength and power to all Mercurial activities such as all forms of research and expression.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun at 3º48′ of Virgo, an incredibly powerful placement of Mercury.  The fourth degree of Virgo is in both the home and exaltation of Mercury as well as within its own Egyptian bounds, signifying that this a section of the zodiac in which Mercury not only has important work to do but also has extraordinary strength.  The Sabian symbol for the fourth degree of Virgo, black and white children play together happily, was interpreted by Dane Rudhyar as signifying “the overcoming of socio-cultural prejudices.”  Though it may seem laughable during a time of such widespread vitriolic discourse in global politics full of prejudice that any sort of collective evolution could be occurring around oppression and prejudice, it is worth bearing in mind the play space of children in which the influence of cultural conditioning has not yet taken hold.  The Sabian symbol for the degree of Mercury cazimi suggests perceptions can awaken that go far beyond the constraints and limitations of how we have been conditioned by surrounding culture to perceive and judge the worth of others.   The idea of playing together happily also highlights the theme of imbibing daily life with as much playful creativity as possible during this time of tumultuous astrological transits.

Mercury will enter the heart of the Sun five days after the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo and one day after Saturn stations direct for the final time in Sagittarius.  At the same time Saturn is stationing, Jupiter will have entered the third decan of Libra it rules and will be applying closely to a last quarter sextile with Saturn.  As a result the period of Mercury entering the heart of the Sun on August 26 is a potent moment to re-center amidst all of the changes being brought forth from external and internal events.  Saturn stationing brings a seriousness to the moment that calls for us to walk and talk in absolute integrity with our inner values and principles, while the harmonious aspect between Jupiter and Saturn can bring opportunities to stabilize and strengthen both the vision as well as the foundation of whatever we are developing and crafting.

Iris_Carrying_the_Water_of_the_River_Styx_to_Olympus_for_the_Gods_to_Swear_By,_Guy_Head,_c._1793_-_Nelson-Atkins_Museum_of_Art_-_DSC08946

Iris Carrying the Water of the River Styx to Olympus for the Gods to Swear By (1793) by Guy Head

Mercury Stations Direct in Leo

Mercury stations direct on September 5 at the same degree as the Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  Mars will have already entered Virgo by the time Mercury is exactly stationing, but during the course of its stationing Mercury and Mars will unite at the end of Leo.  Both the Sun as well as Mars will have united with the North Node of the Moon in Leo during Mercury’s retrograde, and Mercury will furthermore be stationing direct four degrees away from the North Node of the Moon.  At this point we can receive a important message that connects us directly with however the narratives of our lives has been transmuting during this period of eclipses, and with the new information will come opportunities to create movement within whatever openings came through with the eclipses.  Mercury uniting with Mars while it is stationing can coincide with some heated and difficult conflicts, so it will be important to be actively practicing mediating skills in conversations with others.  There is immense inspirational fire available in this period to push yourself forward dramatically in areas of growth you previously have not fully embraced.

The influence of Neptune looms over the stationing direct of Mercury, since the Moon will be applying to a conjunction with Neptune and within a day of its stationing we will experience a potent Full Moon in Pisces united with Neptune.   Amping up the energy even further is the fact that Jupiter in Libra will be getting closer to its final opposition with Uranus in Aries.   The opposition between Jupiter and Uranus is a breakthrough moment in which many diverse, ingenious insights and messages will enter the collective.  Some of the most powerful moments of the Jupiter and Uranus cycle, however, often come in the private moments of significant conversations and relationship experiences, or the work of isolated artists creating outside the rays of mainstream spotlights.  There is amazing inspiration and imagination available within the surrounding transits of Mercury stationing direct to seize and work with.

Finally, its interesting to note that Mercury will be stationing direct while in conjunction with the Persephone asteroid #399.  The myth of Persephone emerging out of her time in the underworld is a fitting symbol for the fact that both Mercury and Mars will be emerging from out of their underworld experiences while united with the Persephone asteroid.  Demetra George wrote the following about the Persephone asteroid in her book Finding Our Way Through the Dark:

In the birth chart Persephone, as a daughter of the patriarchy, symbolizes the process of a child’s separation from its mother.  Persephone can indicate how and where, either physically or psychologically, we may be abducted and plunged into an underworld experience (sometimes at an early age) where we encounter terror, loss, and confusion, and feelings of abandonment. This descent can enable us to develop a relationship with the hidden forces in our unconscious, activate our psychic abilities, release the past, discover a new sense of our adult self and strengths, and emerge transformed and renewed.  Some individuals who experience Persephone as a tragedy from which they have never recovered may react by developing patterns of distrust, withdrawal, fear of sexuality and intimacy, fantasy life, depression, chemical addictions, separation anxieties, victimizaiton, passivity and powerlessness, and being acted upon by the strong will of others.

–Demetra George

Persephone’s name means “she who is to be feared” (Guttman, p.176), and it is possible to view her abduction into the underworld as more about her destiny than a tragedy, for the unalterable shift she created in the cosmos through becoming a life partner of Hades who would descend and ascend back and forth between the upperworld and the underworld, was a calling that fit the unique gifts she held within her soul.  Roberto Calasso in The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony wrote that Persephone stepping into her role as Queen of the underworld who can re-ascend to the world above implied that the “invisible would now reassert its rights over the body of the visible more strictly than before: their dealings with each other, long diluted and mingled together on earth, would find a new center of gravity.”   Persephone, Mercury, and Mars united at the end of this retrograde signify that the time has arrived to collect all of the wisdom and courage you can draw from the past period of underworld experiences in order to re-ascend into our wider communities with whatever gift or message you have cultivated to share.  Like Iris soaring with golden wings and bearing a pitcher full of underworld water, we can create rainbows out of the stormy atmosphere and commit ourselves to oaths of living and creating in accordance with our essence in good ways for all.

References

 

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

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

Guttman, A. & Johnson, K. (1993). Mythic Astrology:  Archetypal Powers in the Horoscope.

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

Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

 

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Disks Bearing Spirals (1923) by Marcel Duchamp

Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius

The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach rode on, once they had come and fetched me onto the legendary road of the divinity that carries the man who knows through the vast and dark unknown . . . And the axle in the hubs let out the sound of a pipe blazing from the pressure of the two well-rounded wheels at either side . . .

There are the gates on the pathways of Night and Day, held fast in place between the lintel above and a threshold of stone.  They reach right up into the heavens, filled with gigantic doors.  And the keys- that now open, now lock – are held fast by Justice:  she who always demands exact returns .  . .

— Interpretation of Parmenides poem by Peter Kingsley from Reality 

Every six months or so when we enter eclipse season, the wheels of destiny seem to spin with greater ferocity as the fierceness of fate reveals itself.  The particular sequence of eclipses we are entering now have amplified volatility due to the presence of Mars in each: we first experience a Lunar Eclipse with Mars opposite the Moon, and then flow into a Total Solar Eclipse in which Mars will unite with the North Node of the Moon in close proximity to the eclipse.  Furthermore, in between eclipses we will enter an especially turbulent Mercury retrograde phase that will eventually end with Mercury turning direct again while united with Mars at the same degree as the Solar Eclipse (28-29º of Leo).  Though the partial Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius on August 7 will not produce the sort of blood red shadow on the face of the Moon that would occur with a more powerful alignment of the lunation with the nodes, it is nonetheless an otherworldly portal into the mysterious quality of time we experience in between eclipses, especially when the solar eclipse on the horizon will create total darkness during its brief transit.

Saturn rules the lunar eclipse in Sagittarius and is conjoining Black Moon Lilith, while also forming a sextile with Jupiter in Libra and the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, as well as a trine with Uranus in Aries, the North Node of the Moon in Leo, and the Sun in Leo.  Lilith in cultural myth is the outsider who has become exiled due to her insistence on sovereignty of her own self expression, and the astrological point of Black Moon Lilith also corresponds to what we have been keeping exiled from our conscious awareness about ourselves.  Black Moon Lilith is a balancing point to the wide ranging motion of the Moon that signifies the vast range of our perceptions, as the calculated point of Black Moon Lilith balances the Moon’s closest approach to earth with its farthest point in orbit.   Since the Moon being closest to us in orbit could be said to have the greatest conscious impact, while farthest it could be said to be farthest from conscious awareness.  Black Moon Lilith is an unconscious balancing point connecting our ego consciousness (Moon) into what has been cast off or kept out in the subconscious.

As we are now getting closer to the end of Saturn’s final retrograde phase in Sagittarius, the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse calls us to reclaim the cast off parts of ourselves it is now vital to embody with responsibility and integrity.  There can be a human tendency to avoid speaking out when afraid of becoming exiled from a group or made into an outsider, and yet the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse pulls us into the shadow of the outsider and who or what has been cast out of mainstream cultural privileges.   There is potential available to utilize whatever cultural privileges you possess to take action on behalf of those lacking privileges or caught within cycles of oppression.  Open your ears at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and listen to the voices your conscious awareness does not usually acknowledge.  Within the shadow of the eclipse there can be a dismantling of groups formed around taking action based upon humanitarian ideals, yet through the shifting more powerful reconfigurations may manifest more deeply rooted in core principles of liberation.

ClavisArtis.ouroboros

from the Clavis Artis

Eclipses can feel like an uncontrollable tidal force taking us into an unknown we do not always feel ready for.  In combination with their unworldly visual element of shadow when seen, people have feared eclipses for ages, in ancient times portraying them as a great dragon of chaos and creation consuming our Sun and Moon.  Since dragons are symbols of instinct and chaotic destruction that bring together the spiritually elevated with the chthonic, the symbolism of eclipses also involve ultimately discovering greater wholeness through the dissolution they bring about.  When stepping into the streams of eclipse season its best to remember the old fragmentary wisdom of Heraclitus:  unless you expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is hidden and pathless.

The word eclipse is connected to the ecliptic, the apparent path of the Sun from our perspective on Earth.  Eclipses occur when a New Moon or Full Moon falls within range of the South Node or North Node of the Moon, as the nodes are the points of intersection in which the Moon’s orbit crosses the ecliptic.  The South Node of the Moon marks the descending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic, and as a result is associated with past karma, the unconscious, and release (the tail of the dragon), whereas the North Node of the Moon marks the ascending arc of the Moon across the ecliptic and symbolizes an arising point of conscious desire for intake and manifestation in our material realm (the head of the dragon).  Thus the lunar nodes and their symbolism as being the head and tail of a dragon are karmic significators in astrology, as what is consumed at the head is released at the tail, and what is carried in the tail fuels the desire of the head.

In contrast to a solar eclipse in which the Sun is overwhelmed by the shadow of the Moon, symbolically the meaning of a Lunar Eclipse is rooted in the phenomenon of our Sun casting the shadow of our Earth onto the face of our Moon. Linking the Moon to what we carry from the past within our body and mind, the past transmutes in the shadowy face of the Moon to allow for new emergence and presence.  Dane Rudhyar in The Astrology of Transformation wrote that at a lunar eclipse “the traditional perspective born of past experiences of adjusting to life and society is blotted out by an eagerness to meet experience in a new, original manner.” As the Moon is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aquarius, and the Sun is conjunct the North Node of the Moon in Leo, the past activation of how we have been modifying our self expression to fit into group and societal norms as well as our own ideals could become overshadowed by ambitious desires for new growth and creative expression.

Vitally, Mars is beginning to pull itself out of the symbolic solar underworld at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse on the side of the Leo Sun and the North Node of the Moon, having gained about four degrees of separation from the Sun at the very beginning of its current synodic cycle.  The Sun and Mars aligned in Leo with the North Node of the Moon brings more emphasis to creative actualization and pursuing desires that make one feel viscerally alive, rather than restraining oneself due to guilt, shame, or other forms of repression.  In the collective this can be both empowering as well as dangerous, as there will be fierce martial conflicts raging forth from the lunar shadow.  On personal levels keep in mind that Mars is still so close to the Sun that it remains more difficult to get a clear sense of the new desires Mars is inciting, resulting in feelings that are more instinctual than rational.  Do your best to avoid getting hard on yourself for not achieving your visions of success at this time, as the new form of Mars has not yet taken full shape.

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Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity by Yayoi Kusama from Infinity Mirrors exhibit

One of the most import aspects within the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is an opposition between Mercury in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces.  This is an epic opposition, as both planets are extremely strong in each of their current locations:  Virgo is both the home and exaltation of Mercury, and in modern astrology Neptune has become associated with a  rulership of Pisces.  However, this happens to be one of those oppositions that does not actually perfect for over a month, in this case not until the time of the Libra Equinox.  This is due to the fact that Mercury is preparing to station retrograde in Virgo, stationing exactly in less than a week.  As a result there will be some important insights and realizations we begin to gain through the opposition of Mercury and Neptune in the coming weeks that we will not fully understand until about a month and a half from now when they finally come back together and complete their exact opposition.

Many astrologers do not like the opposition between Mercury and Neptune because the presence of Neptune can make it more difficult for Mercury to execute its choices and actions with exactitude and detailed clarity.  Yet there is a true gift found in this opposition that can open our awareness to elements of reality that have previously been cloaked in invisibility in one form or another.  It can also be possible to open perception to a deeper connection with Spirit through the opposition between Mercury and Neptune, as well as create sublimely beautiful and surreal works of art.  Mercury is adept at weaving and mending the disparate together into beautiful  new patterns and tapestries, however, and so it will be important to bear in mind that perceptual mending will be required in the next couple of weeks.

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Takpekpe (Conference) by El Anatsui (2006)

Uranus, the planet many modern astrologers would say is ruling the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse, looms large over the lunation no matter what your astrological view upon rulership is.  This is due to the fact that Uranus stationed retrograde four days before the eclipse, and planets that have recently stationed always bring more power to the cycle at play.  Oftentimes Uranus stationing can bring an unexpected shock or an upsetting event, yet the catharsis of released emotion and thought can break us free from a past repetitive pattern we realize was underlying the troubling issue.  This is even more the case than normal at the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse due to Jupiter in Libra recently completing its final last quarter square with Pluto in Capricorn.  The square between Jupiter and Pluto dredged up deep material needing to be processed and resolved that can now become integrated into the developing relationships and structures we are focused upon.  Now that Jupiter has begun to separate from its square with Pluto, it is beginning to finally approach its sextile with Saturn in Sagittarius that will help us stabilize all of the chaotic discharges of August.

One of the blessings of the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse is the conjunction between Venus and Ceres in Cancer, an aspect that supports the tender love and care needed to nurture the wounds of the psyche and body that could manifest within the astrological volatility of coming weeks.  After Venus and Ceres form their union in Cancer they will next form an opposition with Pluto and a square with Jupiter.  By the time of the Total Leo Solar Eclipse on August 21, Venus will be applying to a square with Uranus and Ceres will be opposite Pluto.  It will be more important than ever to open hearts in love and deeper intimacy that truly nurtures what others need and what we need within, rather than what we have been led to believe is needed through various forms of cultural conditioning.

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6 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Aquarius 2 Decan

The Lunar Eclipse falls in the second face of Aquarius associated with the Six of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Swords in the image are anchored, suggesting firm resolve and grounding, yet staked into a boat journeying through watery, liminal space. There is a vision behind the image, a bold determination to follow foresight into foreign territory, with the ferryman in a role of guidance not unlike the psychopomp Mercury.  The destination on the far shore is not capable of being reached by the passengers without the utility of the boat and the labor of the ferryman, and so there is a letting go in needing to be along for the ride.

The second face of Aquarius is ruled by Mercury, seen in the image of the Six of Swords as the ferryman creating a network between shores.  Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “Heaven and Earth” to this face, writing that it connects multiple territories with a sense of “principled but fierce wisdom” and “independence, of living and becoming according to one’s principles.”  Coppock connected Mercury ruling this face to the need to “connect worlds without becoming beholden to them,” allowing for “the connection of the orthodox and the unorthodox, the known and the unknown.”  Coppock artfully concluded, “The steady commerce between heaven and earth is maintained by a figure standing between them, mediating” (p. 233-4).

The fact that Mercury rules the second face of Aquarius where the shadowy lunation occurs brings to mind again the significance of Mercury stationing retrograde in Virgo in between eclipses while forming an opposition with Neptune in Pisces.  Mercury will be stepping into its role as our guide of soul once again, activating it’s Hermetic gift of integrating the dualities of upper world and under world, light and dark, masculine and feminine, and what other dualities you can imagine.  Mercury can help us organize concepts that facilitate navigation while at the same time functioning as a more magical, nonlinear guide to the deepest core of our soul.  We are entering an otherworldly time of eclipses where it will difficult to predict exactly what will happen other than stating that the changes on the way will bring the potential to unlock and activate greater depth from within into our external collective.

References

 

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

Kingsley, Peter. (2013). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

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

Leo New Moon & Mars

Paul Klee Pride of Lions

Paul Klee (1924) A Pride of Lions (Take Note!)

New Moon in Leo

The Leo New Moon on July 23 is united with Mars, bringing primal intensity and vigor to the lunation.  New Moons are a time to set intentions, yet the symbolism of the Moon being invisible correlates with the necessity of embracing the unknown for no matter how much passion we invest into our intentions, we must ultimately surrender when forces out of our control emerge to contend with.  This is especially important to keep in mind at this martial New Moon in Leo, for the coming astrology suggests that unexpected elements are likely to emerge in the weeks ahead.  The influence of Mars on the New Moon points to the vital importance of standing up for yourself and reasserting your energy toward the role you wish to play within our global collective.  There will be challenges to face in the lunar cycle ahead that are capable of reshaping the course your life trajectory is taking, and so it will be imperative to boldly flow with the changes with courage and a presence ready to respond responsibly in accordance with the vision you wish to manifest.

The Leo New Moon escorts us into the most impactful period of astrological aspects in 2017.  The darkness of the New Moon will ripen into a Lunar Eclipse in Aquarius, to be followed by a Total Solar Eclipse in Leo.  The Leo Solar Eclipse will be followed by a Pisces Full Moon united with Neptune, and in between the Aquarius Lunar Eclipse and the Pisces Full Moon we will experience Mercury moving retrograde from Virgo back into the same area of Leo as the Total Solar Eclipse on August 21. Interestingly, Mercury is in Leo at the time of the Leo New Moon very close to the same degree it will later station direct on September 5.   Mercury is furthermore separating from a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon while forming a fiery triangle with Uranus in Aries and Saturn in Sagittarius.  As a result the Leo New Moon is opportune for going over the plans you wish to initiate in the coming months and strengthening their structural foundations.

ClavisArtis.Lion

from the Clavis Artis

Rebirth of Mars in Leo

The New Moon in Leo arrives at the very, very end of the synodic cycle of Mars that goes back two years.  The last time that Mars was regenerated in the heart of the Sun was on  14 June 2015 at 23º15′ of Gemini, and so it will be fruitful to reflect upon this two year period and the desires that you manifested as well as those that remained dormant.   Since we have been at the close of the Mars and Sun cycle in the past weeks, its important to realize that if you have felt a lack of energy or a need to rest as part of a feeling of something being reborn, that you have likely been tapped into the current Mars cycle.  Mars will unite with our Sun on July 26 at 4º12′ of Leo, and so this is a beautiful time period to ritualize a rebirth of Mars in your life and reinvest your passions toward whatever you most desire to create or whoever you want to be in our world.  Since the Sun will be receiving Mars in its home, there is enormous creative potency available in their union.

The Hellenistic text the 36 Airs ascribed the god Hephaistos to the first face of Leo where Mars will be reborn in the heart of the Sun.  Hephaistos is another aspect of Mars associated with smiths and artists who at heart is an embodiment of the primal potency of fire.  The Orphic hymn to Hephaistos calls the fiery artist to “suppress the rage of fire’s unwearied frame, and still preserve our nature’s vital flame.”  Hephaistos carried wounds of abandonment and rejection he transmuted into a creative process of fire that burned up the old to manifest his new inventions.  Similarly, as we have been facing old wounds and emotional issues through the course of Mars closing its past cycle with the Sun in Cancer, we are now given the opportunity to transmute the pain of the past into beautiful works of artistry and tools we can wield in the journey ahead.

Hephaistos created both the chariot of Helios as well as the winged sandals and helmet of Hermes.  What heroic role do you wish to play in the forthcoming two year cycle of Mars, and what symbolic or literal tool can you now forge in the solar fires to support the talents and skills you wish to share?  How do you want to direct the ambition, aggression, and courage of Mars being consumed and reborn in the Sun?  The mythic figure of Hephaistos is also fitting for the fiery triangle being formed by Mercury and the North Node in Leo, Uranus in Aries, and Saturn in Sagittarius.  Hephaistos can forge and create whatever image we desire, yet to succeed in our endeavors we will also need a level of courage that knows when it is necessary to fight as well as let go.  The Leo New Moon is perfect for discerning the inner principles that align with our authenticity and whatever we wish to creatively actualize, and then assertively pushing forward with our work in accordance.

pamela colman smith scythe woman

by Pamela Colman Smith

Venus opposing Saturn

The other major aspect of the Leo New Moon finds Venus in Gemini applying to an opposition with Saturn in Sagittarius.  This takes us back to the Venus retrograde in Aries and Pisces in which Venus stationed direct in Pisces in a square with Saturn.  Now Venus has moved forward into her first opposition with Saturn since their long engagement during her retrograde cycle.  Whatever shifting began happening in our life during February, March, April, and May as we entered and left the Venus retrograde period has now in hindsight become clear, and we can now witness and evaluate how the elements of our life have been rearranged.  Similar to the fiery triangle of Mercury, Uranus, and Saturn, the opposition between Venus and Saturn is also opportune for strengthening the foundations of the plans we wish to enact as we enter into eclipse season.   In fact, Venus is strongly activating the aforementioned fiery triangle, as she is in sextile to both Mercury and Uranus at the same time she is in opposition to Saturn.  The opposition between Venus and Saturn can not only help us figure out what aspects of our life and relationships need to be modified, but how exactly they need to be altered.

During the waxing lunar cycle Venus will move from her opposition with Saturn toward a trine with Neptune in Pisces following her ingress into Cancer.  At the same time Mercury will leave the creative fires of Leo for its home and exaltation of Virgo during the waxing of the Moon, toward an opposition with Neptune that does not perfect due to Mercury stationing retrograde.  Neptune in Pisces is veiled in the background of the Leo New Moon but does form the shadowy aspect of antiscia with Jupiter in Libra for the remainder of July.  The more we can effectively work with Neptune in Pisces at this time, such as shedding the illusions of the past and opening our imaginations in our creative process, the better we will be able to enter the flow of the coming eclipse season.  It will be helpful in working with Neptune to create some sort of daily spiritual practice for yourself, however you connect with Spirit.

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5 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

Leo 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Leo associated with the Five of Wands card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  The Five of Wands is associated with conflict and competition, and though its meaning could be linked to an inner battle of different aspects of one’s personality contending for control, oftentimes the strife among competing external interests is literal.  In one way or another it suggests a need to stand ground and fight to achieve a desired, prominent position.  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Spotlight” to the first face of Leo which can be connected to the imagery of the Five of Wands through the five youth battling for the attention of the starring role of the spotlight.  Coppock wrote that the “power of this decan is to focus a mass of attention on one point or person” (p. 122), and analyzed that the decan’s rulership by Saturn signifies the ability to direct the spotlight in order to both reveal as well as conceal, binding the attention, and projection, of an audience to one’s performing image.

Importantly, Coppock also noted that Saturn’s influence can be found in that the performer can become bound to their public image to such an extent that it can drain their energy and betray their inner authenticity.  Keeping all this in mind, remember at the Leo New Moon to make sure that the image you desire to project into our world aligns strongly with your essential authenticity.  Saturn in Sagittarius in trine with Mercury, Uranus, and the North Node of the Moon is available to assist with the discipline and integrity necessary to separate and sever whatever does not align with our inner values, and bind oneself with commitment to whatever does align.  Within the catalytic atmosphere of the coming eclipse season, there  will be found a fertile matrix through which to embark in creative directions attuned to the passions arising from within.

References

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

 

Capricorn Full Moon & Pluto

 

fluorite waterfall

Full Moon in Capricorn

The Full Moon in Capricorn on July 8 is applying tightly to a union with Pluto, dredging up more intensity from interior realms than is the norm for a Full Moon.  Invisible to the naked eye, Pluto rules the celestial underworld of the Kuiper belt.  Though we may at times ignore or deny the guidance offered by Pluto, any built up resistance ultimately floods our systems and forces us to make necessary changes.  The placement of Pluto in our birth chart reveals a theme we can become compulsively attached to for security, and so the Full Moon aligned with Pluto will illuminate what old attachments and projections need to be now shed and washed away.  The surrounding aspects to the Full Moon suggest a decay and decomposition of past ambitions at the same time that fresh desires for growth emerge.

The Full Moon in Capricorn is not only a key moment in the current retrograde phase of Pluto, it also provides penetrating insight into our experience of the current transit of Jupiter in Libra.  The Moon in Capricorn at the peak moment of fullness is transferring the light of Jupiter to Pluto, separating from a catalytic square with Jupiter.  As the Moon begins to wane in light, it will next form another square with Uranus in Aries.  The t-square forming between Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto is the volatile source of astrological intensity that has been building and will break open in August as we enter a season of eclipses in Aquarius and Leo.  In collective events, for example, we can see the correlation of the Full Moon with these aspects in the form of the recent G20 Summit in Hamburg that featured combative protests from the public as well as tense conflicts amongst world leaders that revealed the incredibly divisive nature within political power structures.

Pluto has been in Capricorn for the past nine and a half years and will make its first ingress into Aquarius six years from now.  The Full Moon in Capricorn is the perfect moment this year to review and reflect upon all of the changes wrought by Pluto’s slow passage through Capricorn since 2008, as well as how you want to respond to the death and creation found in the present moment.  Any feelings we have been clinging to desperately despite nothing in our current reality supporting our attachment to them need to be now released resolutely, for there is incredible potential available to seize within current transits to facilitate bold and dramatic shifts in direction.

Enki(Ea)

Enki / Ea

Jason Holley gave a talk at the 2017 Northwest Astrological Conference (NORWAC) on Capricorn that linked the sign of the Sea Goat with the ancient Babylonian deity Enki or Ea.  Known as the antelope of the deep waters, Enki in myth has been described as a crafty and wise problem solver who is the sole initiator of civilization and the molder of matter for every possible use.  Enki discovers rules and order for everything, divining the organizing principles and plans that underlie all of civilized life.  Irrigation of course was instrumental in the development of agricultural civilizations, and Holley further made the point that humans also dug canals so that gods could live on Earth.  Holley in his talk used the metaphor of opening up channels of fresh water irrigation to the importance of Capricorn replenishing and nourishing itself with the endlessly fertile, deeply subterranean waters of the subconscious.

The message Jason Holley transmitted regarding Capricorn is vital to take to heart at this stage of Pluto’s transit through Capricorn.  Instead of severing connection to the fresh waters of our inner desires due to fear that these impulses go against societal norms and could be dangerous and disruptive, we open ourselves to our subterranean waters and craft the order of our daily life accordingly.  Instead of living by consensus cultural “shoulds” and “oughts,” we step into a presence in which playfulness is embedded in our daily work in a process of constant creation and regeneration.

second beach tree cave (1)

As previously mentioned in past lunation forecasts, we are in the middle of an underworld season of Mars in which the red planet is being consumed in combustion by the purifying and regenerating rays of our Solar Light.  One question for this Full Moon in Capricorn is thus, what is the universe asking for you to release and let go of in terms of the willful force of Mars in your life?  You may in the past week or so have noticed a lack of motivation, ambition, or drive in certain areas of your life you are accustomed to investing more easily with energy.  At the same time, you may have been noticing desires for new areas of development that do not yet have completely stable foundations to support.  It is vital to realize that Mars will continue to be in combustion throughout the waning half of the upcoming lunar cycle and will not enter the heart of the Sun to be completely regenerated until July 26 following the subsequent New Moon in Leo.  I do not mean to avoid embarking on new ventures in the weeks ahead, only to have awareness that due to the current dark, clearing phase of Mars that it’s phase more readily supports release and reseeding rather than peak moments of drive.

paul klee suspended fruit

Paul Klee (1921) Suspended Fruit

Within the surrounding tumultuous aspects of the astrological landscape at the Full Moon in Capricorn, the inner planets Mercury and Venus are forming the vivaciously pleasing sextile.  Mercury in Leo is visible as the Sun sets as an Evening Star, while Venus is brightly visible in Gemini as a Morning Star.  Thus when awaking from dreams in the morning we will be greeted by Venus in the actively curious and intellectually stimulating sign of Gemini.  Venus can therefore guide our daily journey into reception of new perspectives and information as well as creatively activating conversations and connections within our wider community.  Mercury in contrast will become visible in the twilight of our Sun’s descent into night, helping us to digest and assimilate the various exchanges and expressions of our day.  Mercury in Leo is also an active and creatively stimulating placement, and so in tandem Mercury and Venus are in ideal positions to support new directions in creativity and pleasure.

In addition, Mercury will move across Leo to form a conjunction with the North Node of the Moon in the waning half of the lunar cycle ahead while Venus will be making its way toward an opposition with Saturn.  There results an interesting astrological phenomenon in which Mars is experiencing a cleansing purification at the same time that Mercury and Venus are in active, potent positions.   Both Venus and Mercury will be forming harmonious aspects with Jupiter in Libra, and so while Jupiter is under the weight of intense aspects at the Capricorn Full Moon, as the Moon wanes  in coming weeks there will be exciting interplay occurring between Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter that can help facilitate exciting and productive action.

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3 of Pentacles by Pamela Colman Smith

Capricorn 2 Decan

The full Moon falls in the second face of Capricorn associated with the Three of Pentacles card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of the Three of Pentacles we see a highly skilled sculptor in process of creating a divinely inspired masterwork.  There is a consultation taking place between the artisan and authorities associated with the institution, with carefully drawn plans for the masterpiece on display.  This is a fitting image for the second decan of Capricorn as it is a face in which great works can be created through collaboration, careful planning, and incredible effort.  The integral aspect of necessary effort and drive is supported by Mars being the ruler of this face.

Austin Coppock in his book 36 Faces ascribed the image of “The Pyramid” to the second decan of Capricorn, as it is a face in which the magnum opus is completed, sublime works of material manifestation whose perfect form almost appears inconceivable to create in hindsight.  Coppock wrote that as the focus of this face is on “structuring the territory itself,” there is a necessity for blueprints as well as hard work and discipline  in collaboration with numerous resources.  Coppock wrote that this face “binds one, or many, to the accomplishment of a daunting task” and so it is important to carefully discern what projects and relationships you are committing to as well as the consequences of your choice.  Fitting for the current combustion phase of Mars, Coppock also wrote that “ambition and hubris are not easily separated,” and so “Ambition must be distilled from hubris over and over again to achieve purity of purpose” (p. 217).

Regarding the second face of Capricorn, it is written in the Latin Picatrix that this is a decan “of seeking to do what cannot be done and to attain what cannot be.”  In contrast, Three Books of Occult Philosophy suggested this face signifies demanding “what is unable to happen, and searching for what cannot be known.”  In the Birhat Jakata, the image of “a woman, skilled in the arts, broad eyes like lotus petals, greenish and dark” emerges in this face, “searching all kinds of articles and wearing iron ear ornaments.”  Evocatively, the Liber Hermetis ascribed the image “of a bull on the body of a man dressed with the skin of a scarab” to this decan.  Clearly, the ancient images associated with the second decan of Capricorn suggest a face in which groundbreaking works of determination and grace can be created while dealing with whatever obstacles or tumult arises in the process of creation.  As the Capricorn Full Moon peaks and illuminates the depths of your desires, embrace the courage necessary to bring your inner visions into reality.

References

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

 

Cancer New Moon & Mercury

chagall la nuit blanche

by Marc Chagall

New Moon in Cancer

The New Moon in Cancer on June 23 follows closely behind the Cancer Solstice in which our Sun stands still, as well as the rebirth of Mercury within the heart of the Sun.  The solstice in Cancer is one of the peak moments of the year, the beginning of Summer in our northern hemisphere and the beginning of Winter in our southern hemisphere.  This year as our Sun stood still at the pinnacle of its furthest northerly reach, Mercury united within its fiery rays for an extremely powerful superior conjunction of the Star of Hermes with our Light of Spirit.  The longest day in our northern hemisphere and the longest night in our southern hemisphere, the Cancer Solstice pulls us within to explore the deepest desires of our heart, while also calling us to express our feelings and visions in our wider community, finding appropriate forms and mediums through which to communicate our message.

The last time Mercury formed a superior conjunction with our Sun was in March at the beginning of the Venus retrograde in Aries.  Following Mercury’s union with the Sun during its retrograde in April, Mercury spent an extended period of time moving backward and the forward again in union with Uranus.  The first half of 2017 has brought significant shifts, some unexpected and all necessary, as we moved from a period of eclipses into extremely volatile phases of Venus and Mercury retrogrades.  The Cancer New Moon comes at the perfect time to look backward to the first half of the year and what has and has not come into manifestation, while looking forward with focus on configuring what we need to shift and restructure in order to bring more of our desires into form and expression.  The second half of 2017 will continue to bring volatility and immense change.  As a result, the Cancer New Moon is ideal for centering within and nurturing ourselves and loved ones with intimate attention.  Tenderness and gentle strength that calms and soothes volatilized nerves will be important medicine in the lunar cycle ahead.

hilma-af-climt-2

by Hilma af Klint

Cancer is the home of the Moon, and so the New Moon in Cancer is always an especially powerful moment for setting intention.  Cancer is a cardinal sign of initiation and leadership that simultaneously connects with the emotional realm within as well as the emotions of those we meet in relationship.  Cancer holds our memories and in the reflection of its waters we catch glimpses of our essential nature and most cherished desires.  While the season of Cancer may make us think of ruminating over past memories, the current New Moon in Cancer is most vital in terms of making new memories that will enliven our passion for life and bring sustenance to our sense of soul.  This is a New Moon with which to launch yourself into living life fully in the moment, seizing the opportunities brought by day and night to receive the pleasure of being alive.  Humanity on our planet has been going through a difficult time of immense suffering on many levels, and the amount of change and reform in need of being enacted can feel overwhelming to achieve on an individual level.  The Cancer New Moon will support expressing yourself into your wider community and in so doing discovering collaborators who possess a sense of mutual purpose.

Mercury separating from the Sun while applying toward a conjunction with Mars is an important aspect of the New Moon, for in the lunar cycle ahead Mercury will unite with Mars in opposition to Pluto while both are invisible under the beams of the Sun, and then as Mercury emerges as an Evening Star around July 4 it will form a catalyzing square with Uranus in Aries.  Allow Mercury to soothe and open up whatever defense mechanisms have been internally preventing you from risking your heart in action.  As Mercury gets closer and closer to Mars, look for remediation outlets to express passions through so that they are less likely to become bottled up and unleashed in anger.  Its likely that many aspects of collective current events will incite anger and inspire action, and so this is also an excellent New Moon to look around your community for volunteer, service, or organizing opportunities.  Mercury combined with Mars can be volatile, yet in the end Mercury loves to connect and bridge and so by taking action there can be significant new connections made linked with purpose.

Hilma_af_Klint_-_1922_-_Birch

Birch (1922) by Hilma af Klint

Mars is playing a leading role in the New Moon as it is applying closely to a square with Jupiter in Libra.   Mars is currently invisible under the beams of the Sun, undergoing a period of purification and regeneration that will not complete until the Sun unites with Mars in Leo on July 26.  As a result the Mars square with Jupiter is potent and will dredge up deep issues of ambition and desire, some of which is in need of shedding while other aspects can be returned to our inner soil to reseed future visions.  Mars in Cancer is known as being in its “fall” since it is the opposite sign of its exaltation in Capricorn, and yet there is an interesting aspect in which Jupiter is receiving Mars through the square since Mars being in Cancer means it is in the exaltation of Jupiter.  An empowering interpretation can be found through realizing the wisdom we can gain when pursuing passionate desires even when we do not achieve our intended success.  The importance is in taking action and risking our emotional involvement and full presence.  It will be important to not become overly critical of ourselves for not having already achieved certain grand ambitions, but rather acknowledge and find value in whatever point of our journey we find ourselves within.

Mars in Cancer can bring about emotional outbursts and so it will be vital to find appropriate outlets for our feelings and focus on the relationships that can offer us nurturance and support.  The period from June 28 through July 4 is important to be aware of, as Mercury will unite with Mars and then oppose Pluto as Mars also forms an opposition with Pluto, followed by Mercury forming a challenging square with Uranus in Aries.  Further interesting is that just before Mars and Mercury enter into these intense aspects, they will have recently formed a supportive trine with Neptune in Pisces.  It will help to find work and projects you can pour your heart and energy into without become overly upset if the results do not match your idealized expectations.  There is tremendous power and inspiration found within these aspects, and we will gain strength through courageously engaging life fully rather than withdrawing through fear or defense mechanisms.

Another significant intersection between personal planets with the transpersonal at the Cancer New Moon is Venus in Taurus applying closely to a trine with Pluto in Capricorn.  At the previous New Moon in Gemini, Venus was in a square with Pluto that brought up some deep issues we can now integrate and find deeper stability around.  The trine from Venus to Pluto can also help us deepen intimacy with both ourselves and others through opening ourselves to the sort of full emotional involvement that facilitates buried issues reemerging into the light of conscious awareness.   Venus in Taurus can help stabilize and harmonize whatever has become out of balance, so look for ways to embrace Venus in your life in whatever forms bring you pleasure and comfort.  While opening ourselves to deep emotions may not always feel pleasurable, significations of Venus such as music, color, food, and intimacy can be a balm that helps us cross over the threshold of old inner obstacles.

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2 of Cups by Pamela Colman Smith

Cancer 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Cancer associated with the Two of Cups card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image we find two lovers coming together with shared passion on an equal level, with a caduceus of intertwining snakes and a winged lion arising in the space between their merging desire.   Fittingly for the erotic reciprocity found in the symbolism of this image, the first face of Cancer is ruled by Venus.  Yet Venus is not only about the romanticism of Eros and Psyche.  We can also find a connection between Venus with the first face of Cancer and the Two of Cups through the inner values that underlie all of our relationship dynamics with others, a source that can alchemize magical healing and power within the relationships that resonate with our essence.  The New Moon in Cancer is ideal for honoring the relationships that receive, support, and protect our unique expression and presence.

Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces ascribed the image of “A Mother and Child” to the first face of Cancer, as he wrote that the face holds the hungers of our emotions and biology, the womb that gives birth to us and all of our resulting needs.  Coppock further connected the themes of mother and child to the pursuit of romantic love found in the Two of Cups since “it is the perfect support, half-remembered from the womb, that gives rise to the human dream of similarly nursing bonds between committed partners” (p. 104).  Coppock wrote that idealized unions can be realized in the first decan of Cancer, the type of relationships that seem “as if the two reside in each other’s wombs, simultaneously devouring and being devoured, yet neither is depleted” (p. 105).

As the lovers in the image of the Two of Cups are greeting one another with chalices, consider at the Cancer New Moon what sort of chalice you are carrying into your relationships.  Who are you willing to share your chalice with and why, for what reasons.    The relationships in which equity and reciprocity coexist naturally will emerge with magnetic force in the lunar cycle ahead and will feel most deserving to share in mutual nurturance.  Remember to also pour an offering to the Earth and Spirit, and set intention to manifest your most cherished desires in the season ahead.

References

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

 

Gemini New Moon: embodied strength and vision

sigge bergstrom woman praying in forest

by Sigge Bergstrom

New Moon in Gemini

Silent, her Gemini mind rests from weaving together her present thoughts with the ancient words on the parchment lightly held by her fingers. Her elegantly long fingers, equally skilled at composing musical notes as they are at drafting lines in ink, close the tome.  The ceaseless wisdom of the old library with its smell of books no longer satiates her, and so she departs into a sensuous sunset sky of shifting colors signifying the time of transition.  She savors each breath of fresh wind and call of birdsong, finding her way to her favorite field to lay within and dream.  Feeling her hair in the grass, the vibration of earth below her, a waft of pungent sea air overcomes her.  She knows inside what she must do, the challenges she will have to face and the opposition of those in authority she will have to overcome.  She smiles pondering that no doubt centuries before her someone else lay in the same field she finds herself within now, his vision every bit as curious and adventurous, his determination and resiliency equal to hers.

Mercury in Taurus rules the New Moon in Gemini on May 25,  and is applying to a harmonious and dreamy sextile with Neptune in Pisces.   The New Moon also occurs within the bounds of Mercury, degrees of Gemini that the Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens described as “practical, musical, and fertile” as well as “calm and gracious, ringing with clarity and intelligence” while indicating “many skills, from scientific thought to true wisdom.”  Yet Mercury finds itself in the home of Venus, and Venus in Aries at the New Moon is in the middle of extremely volatile aspects both dredging up deep issues while offering insights into how to find a sense of freedom and hope in facing the forces of necessity.  Meanwhile, Mars is co-present in Gemini with the New Moon and applying toward a harsh opposition with Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius, an aspect which demands hard work, accountability, persistence, and focus in whatever we wish to manifest and must tend to in our daily responsibilities.

sigge bergstrom woodcut landscape

by Sigge Bergstrom

Mars opposing Saturn

Mars is out of bounds in declination at the New Moon and will continue to be out of bounds in the forthcoming lunar cycle, signaling that Mars has a more unrestrained and rebellious martial force than normal.  However, Mars is facing an opposition with a slow, plodding Saturn moving backward in Sagittarius, suggesting that the wild calls of adventure and discovery will face tests and judgment.  This could in part involve moralistic judgements from those in authority or anyone coming from a dogmatic perspective of how one is supposed to live that does not account for the unique circumstances of the person or situation they are judging.   Mars being out of bounds in the variable, airy, hot and moist sign of Gemini suggests that the energy is present to effectively move beyond the old dogmas of Saturn as long as one is simultaneously taking responsibility and living in integrity with inner principles and values.

Yet the opposition of Saturn to Mars also means that Mars cannot do whatever it pleases without consequences.  It also suggests there are some elements of challenges in our current reality we will not be able to change or control, and instead need to accept and mediate.  The days following the New Moon are ideal for becoming aware of all of the elements of life that need work in order to have a secure foundation from which to launch dreams and goals for the future.  It is an important time to honor one’s own boundaries as well as the boundaries of others, and to listen closely to the needs of others in surrounding community.  It will be helpful to recognize what aspects of current circumstances are out of our control and need to be dealt with, versus other elements that are possible to directly manage and will benefit from working to change.

The opposition of Saturn is the initiation of Mars into a season of purification and challenges that are frenetic and catalytic in charge at times.  In 2016 we went through a long period of Mars retrograde that culminated with Mars uniting with Saturn and Antares at the end of August 2016.  Much has changed since that time and we have had opportunities to discover a new sense of how we exert ourselves with our will force in the world and co-create within surrounding structures.  If the opposition between Mars and Saturn corresponds with disappointed feelings in one way or another, consider all of the growth you have undergone during the past nine months of Mars moving from a conjunction to an opposition with Saturn.  The coming lunar cycle is ideal for building upon the gains of the past with hard work, and hold potential for liberation from past limitations into finding ways to live and create with greater vital force.

 

marie laurencin the amazon close up

Venus square Pluto

Venus is barely separating from a square with Pluto in Capricorn as the New Moon in Gemini forms, but it is significant that she is in fact separating.  This means that the full intensity of Venus dredging up deep Plutonian issues will be felt during the Dark Moon immediately preceding the New Moon.  As a result the Gemini New Moon opens us to a new cycle in which we have already felt subconscious material arise within us, giving us the opportunity to bring awareness of deeply rooted feelings into an exciting and accelerated time period for Venus in which she will form a trine to Saturn and a conjunction with Uranus.  We will have the opportunity during the waxing of the Moon to free feelings from our depths and channel them into creative projects and unions in relationship.  Furthermore, collective events will involve numerous surprising and dramatic twists in storylines as Venus connects the tension of Pluto and Jupiter to Saturn and Uranus.

Venus has now cleared her retrograde shadow zone, formed her opposition with Jupiter, and completed her square with Pluto.  Venus has faced numerous, constant tests and difficulties in recent months.  However, instead of forming a harsh square with Saturn as Venus did when she stationed direct over a month ago, Venus will now be forming a harmonious trine with Saturn bringing the opportunity to embody greater strength drawn from the tribulations of recent months.  After Venus forms an electrifying union with Uranus, she will enter her home of Taurus while Jupiter begins to station direct in her other home of Libra.  Although the lunar cycle begins with tense aspects between Mars and Saturn as well as Venus and Pluto, as the Moon waxes we will find opportunities to practice equity in relationship that fosters freely sharing our essentiality in mutually supportive relationships.   It will not be a time of escaping in a fantasy of relationship, however, but rather grounding relationship in the details of daily reality and finding creative joy in the process.

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8 of Swords by Pamela Colman Smith

Gemini 1 Decan

The New Moon falls in the first face of Gemini associated with the Eight of Swords card illustrated above by Pamela Colman Smith.  In the image of a woman appearing to be frozen and tightly bound, many interpret its meaning as being paralyzed by fears running rampant within.  Sometimes the fear of paralysis connects to real trauma in the past that has become triggered by fears related to present circumstances.  While some interpretations suggest that the same mental swords enveloping the figure could also be used to cut away the fabric of bondage, it is also important to note the moist and muddy fertility of the ground she is standing on top of.  In relation to the Gemini New Moon, the 8 of Swords image also highlights how fear can arise in times when a huge new potential becomes available to step into.  As much as it is possible to release fears related to what has happened in the past that are being projected into the present moment, the more gracefully we will be able to flow into the tremendous change opening up at the beginning of this lunar cycle.

In contrast to the tightly bound woman in the 8 of Swords image, ancient texts ascribed a graceful woman of flowing mind and deft dexterity.  Ibn Ezra pictured “A beautiful woman standing in the air, and she can sew,” while in the Picatrix we find “A beautiful woman, a mistress of stitching, and with her ascend two calves and two horses. This is a face of the art of the scribe, of reckoning, of number, of giving and receiving, and of the sciences.”  Austin Coppock in his book on the decans 36 Faces connected the image of the 8 of Swords with older images through the power of the first face of Gemini to “discover the multiplicity within all unities, the complexity in apparent simplicities” which leads to “clever methods” and an opening of abundant flow that “de-centers and sometimes paralyzes its inhabitants.”  Coppock noted that the mental acuity of this face not only generates all arts and crafts, it also directs its prodigious curiosity to explore the multitudinous found within, both the light and the shadow of the deep Self.

Jupiter rules the first face of Gemini, interesting in terms of the forthcoming lunar cycle as Jupiter will station direct in Libra at the same time as the upcoming Full Moon in Sagittarius.  With Mercury in Taurus ruling the New Moon after having moved past its retrograde shadow zone into a harmonious aspect with Neptune in Pisces, there is a lot of visionary and imaginative potential buried in the darkness of the New Moon that will be unearthed as the Moon waxes in light.   Follow your obsessions, passions, and desires where they lead you, as the gifts of the coming lunar cycle will come to those willing to courageously open themselves fully to what life has to offer rather than recoil in apprehension over what fate may befall them from risking their heart in action.

References

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

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